To All The Boys I Loved Before (2018) Movie Review

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Summary: A teenage girl’s secret love letters are exposed and wreak havoc on her love life.
You can check out my review of the book here! This is a short review!
Pros:
Cast and Characters. We do meet a lot of characters in the movie, some of them we see quite a bit throughout but I’m just going to talk about two of them.
  • Lana Condor as Lara Jean. She is our protagonist. She has this thing whenever she falls for a boy and wants to move on. She writes love letters to them, addresses them but doesn’t send them, she puts them into her hat box and hides them in her closet. It’s her way of moving on from them. LJ is probably the quirky one of her sisters. Margot is calm and collected, Kitty and outgoing and loud and then LJ is just… not those things lol. She tries to be like Margot and Kitty in different ways but that’s just not her thing which works for her. She’s funny, awkward and a bit clumsy at the best of times. I really liked Lana Condor in the movie, she was cute, and I think really played the character how she was written in the book because Lara Jean is also very dreamy and whimsical, and I thought she managed to do very well. Also, she had great chemistry with Noah Centineo.
  • Noah Centineo as Peter. He is a lacrosse player and probably the popular guy in school. Everyone seems to like him, and he seems cool with everyone. When he gets the letter from Lara Jean, he tells her “I’m flattered but it’s not going to happen” lol which was still awkward and what not, but he rolls with the moment. When they make their deal, he holds up his end of the bargain but at the same time, he always tried to make sure LJ was comfortable which I liked about him. He was witty and charismatic and when you start notice that he might like LJ, it’s clear it confuses him to some extent. I still quite liked him in the movie, maybe not as much as I liked him in the book, but I still really liked him. I’ve never seen Noah Centineo in anything (I don’t watch The Fosters) but I thought he was fine, he had a natural swagger that I thought Peter had and he was cool, and handsome which all helped the character. He also had great chemistry with Lana Condor.
Supporting Characters. 
  • There are a lot of supporting characters in the movie like Janel Parrish as Margot who was fine in the role of being the calm, collected and maternal big sister. Anna Cathcart as Kitty who is Lara Jean’s younger sister and she was cute and precocious. Madeleine Arthur as Christine who Genevieve’s cousin and Lara Jean’s best friend and she’s is not that present in the movie but whenever she needed to be there for LJ she was, which I guess was her point. Emilija Baranac as Gen who served her role as Peter’s ex and a bully pretty much to Lara Jean throughout the film. Super unlikable lol.
  • Israel Broussard as Josh who is Margot’s ex-boyfriend and one of the boys who received a letter from LJ. He’s cool with the family, he was close with both Margot and LJ, in different ways, and when Margot breaks up with him before leaving for school, he seems a little lost in what to do with their family, but LJ tries to convince him it’s okay. However, when he gets the letter, he just wants to talk to her, but he avoids him. Now, he’s not in the movie as much as he is in the book. I think they hit on some of his bigger plot points, but he doesn’t show up as often which I think helps keep him from being unlikable which I found he could be in the book. They also didn’t do the love triangle thing either, which also helped. But Israel Broussard was good in the role of Josh, the boy next door.
The Romance/Chemistry. It’s very important that Lara Jean and Peter have chemistry and they did. Lana Condor and Noah Centineo were cute together, they had great chemistry even when they were just faking it for their classmates and their family. When they started to get comfortable around each other it just seemed so natural. It was natural in the beginning when they weren’t really friends with each other, they had a natural chemistry, but it grew even more as the movie progressed.
Cute Teen Movie. It’s a super cute movie. I really had a good time watching it because it’s lighthearted, the characters are all likable and it’s harmless. In the end, you could say you learned something about being brave and bold, and looking at people on the inside more so than the outside and all of that, which is true sure, but it’s also just a cute teen movie.
Cons:
The Letters Being Sent. I don’t like how we knew from the beginning that Kitty sent the letters (spoiler alert? lol) because it would have been cool for both the audience and Lara Jean to not know. Kitty had her reasons for it which in a way was kind of sweet, but it was also kind of mean and I just wanted that surprise for the audience to still come later the same way it did for Lara Jean. We didn’t have to see that.
Not Spontaneous Enough/Not Enough Love. I don’t want to compare the movie and the book, but I thought they should have allowed Peter and Lara Jean to do more things together. It just didn’t seem like a legit natural progression to get to the point at the end. I mean, you believe they start to like each other at some point but it didn’t seem like it was real because they didn’t do enough together, at least to me. Peter did a lot of spontaneous stuff in the book which helped LJ get attached to him, like showing up at her house and meeting her father, or when they went to the estate sale. I just wish they did more things together that didn’t really involve them showing off for other people because sure, that helps because of their deal but hanging out outside of all of that would really allow for them to really connect way more than I thought they did in the movie.
Overall, I really liked the movie, I thought it was super cute. I liked all the characters and the actors. I didn’t think anyone didn’t fit their character, nor did I think anyone over did or under did it. They all played their characters the way they were written, except maybe Kitty who was way more of a brat in the books than the movie. I really though Lana Condor and Noah Centineo had great chemistry with each other and managed to play off each other, even when their characters had to be awkward or not “attracted” to the other early in the movie. It’s a cute teen movie where you might learn something because the main characters do to an extent, but even if you don’t, it’s just a good entertainment watch. I only had two negatives which were I didn’t think they allowed them to do enough for me to really believe them in the end, I just wanted to see them hang out more outside of doing it to make Gen jealous. Otherwise, I really liked the movie.
Rating: 4 out 5 stars.
Have you seen To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? I swear it’s a mouthful saying and a handful typing it lol. What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments below!
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The Hate U Give Book Review

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Summary: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
Pros:
All the Characters/Even the ones you hate. There are a lot of characters in this book. A LOT. So, I’m not going to do the breakdown like I normally do.
  • Starr Carter is the protagonist of the story, it’s told in her point of view and I think she’s a strong and realistic character. Throughout the story she doesn’t think she’ strong or brave but we have evidence of that throughout the story.
  • Her parents Maverick and Lisa Carter are people who have lived lives that allows them to have wisdom to understand the world around them and to have a view that they hope would help their family and by extension others. Maverick wants to give back to his community and Lisa wants to do that but make her family a priority (not that Mav doesn’t want that too, it just gets lost sometimes).
  • Seven is Starr’s big brother and you’ll learn about her connection to him and her friend Kenya, but I really liked him because he has his own struggles and demons, but he always tries to be there for his sister.
  • Chris is Starr’s boyfriend from her PWI private school and they’re sweet together, he really tries, and I give him props for that especially towards the end of the novel.
  • In her school, there is also Maya and Hailey who are Starr’s best friends and make your own conclusion, but I hated Hailey. I’m surprised Starr held out as long as she did lol. I liked Maya though.
  • Uncle Carlos is a big part of the story where he acted as a second father in ways to Starr. He is a cop so when we first meet him, I was a little skeptical at first but throughout the book he becomes a big ally and he has some awesome moments throughout the story. Great character.
Starr’s perspective. Being that the story is told in Starr’s perspective who was right there when Khalil was murdered, it allows the chance for the story to be told by someone with a firsthand account. She experiences everything and tells it in detail. She is a narrator who lives in the moment and tries to understand what’s happening in the now while also worrying in ways about the future. By giving Starr the perspective and not making it third person, it allows for the chance for the reader to catch a glimpse into the heart and mind of the people who are first hand witnesses and know what it feels to be on the front lines of this situation. Starr is young but her dialogue sounds like a teenager, especially a teenager in her environment. Black people know what it’s like to have to be different people depending on the crowd and how hard and confusing that can be. What it’s like living in a hard and dangerous neighborhood but being able to see the brightness that exists in these places. Seeing the world through Starr’s eyes you feel that emotional confusion, disappointment, love, hope, bravery… all of it. At least I did.
Powerful Story. This story is RELEVANT! I cannot stress this enough. Whether you like the book or not, the story and the message is so important. Starr witnesses something so terrible that it affects her, it affects the people around her and it affected me reading it. We have seen so many deaths of black people, especially unarmed black people within the last few years and it still has an effect today. I think this novel takes something that has been so real and amplifies it and shows that people can have a voice when they feel like they have none. Starr agonizes over what she witnessed and constantly thinks about it to the point where it begins to affect her life at school, at home and she doesn’t know what to do to handle it. As the story goes on, we see her struggle with feeling strong and brave and by the end she has transformed into someone that I think we all want to be when faced with a trial such as this. Powerful journey.
Family Ties. Outside of the story, one of the strongest aspects of this book is the family. All of them. Starr has a great family and they all felt like real people. Her father came off as this big imposing man, but he cared about his wife and kids, he did whatever it took to protect them. Her mother was a protector but also a nurturing woman who knew her kids and who also did whatever it took to make sure her family was safe. Then there’s Seven who is the big brother and he has a lot of demons he must deal with, but he always tried to be there for his siblings, all of them. Sekani is the little brother and he is just like a little brother. We meet Uncle Carlos who is a strong character as well (there are a LOT of adults in this book which is great because for some reason YA books are allergic to caring and present adults lol) and of course Nana and Aunt Pam and then Seven’s other sisters and of course when they accept other people into their family. it’s just a strong bond that is created with all of them.
Real Aspect. I love how real the story is and how relevant it is. I think with a story like this, it could easily become something that feels over dramatic, or feel false but that doesn’t happen here. While I read the book, I truly felt like I was standing right there with Starr, experiencing everything she felt. All her emotions, her thoughts, I was on the sidelines and that is a testament to Angie Thomas and her storytelling abilities.
Thug Life. We learn about this twice in the story. In the beginning, Khalil and Starr have a moment driving where he explains this to her and she takes it in, but I think she really feels it later when she goes over it with her father. I’m not going to tell you what it means if you don’t know already, but it’s so powerfully used in the book that any time it came up, I immediately thought of what it meant for me, or for black people and it’s interwoven so well into the story without even being blatantly referenced that I still kept thinking about it after finishing the novel.
Cons:
Just a bit too long. This is literally my only complaint about the book. I think the story could have been cut down a bit because the stuff with DeVante could have been cut out or at least cut down. *gasps* Blasphemy! lol I get why it was there because it’s another chance… but he could have still been in the story but not an entire side plot. It made the story feel bloated. I had a really hard time thinking why I thought the book might have been too long. I went through a lot of parts of the book in my mind and everything else I could rationalize why it was written the way it was, why it was important but I kept coming back to the DeVante storyline and I kept thinking of ways to make it shorter, or to have moments of it skipped over by still arriving to the same conclusion of the plot and it worked out in my mind. I would also think in the movie, they would either cut it out completely or really file it down for the sake of run time.
Overall, I really really really loved this book. The hype surrounding it very much earned and I see why it’s such a powerful and relevant book for people. It’s important for stories like this to be told because it’s what’s happening in the world today and I think if people dislike this book for telling that kind of story then I’m not sure what to say because it’s real. The book may be a work of fiction but the nature of it is reality. The characters are well written and fully realized, the atmosphere feels real and I feel like I’m there beside Starr while these things are happening. It’s emotional and it is so real. My one complaint is a minor one and it doesn’t affect how I view the story overall. It’s amazing.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I know I had a con, but I think otherwise this book is pretty much perfection. I’m so glad it exists.
I work in the public library and I know this book is challenged by people when it comes to their young ones reading it and I don’t think it’s merited, sure, it does have profanity in it, but I guarantee you your teens curse or have in the company of their peers. You’re afraid that this book is going to taint how teenagers, or people in general, view law enforcement without them having the chance to experience it for themselves? I’m sure they already have by seeing the many videos available for public use of black people being killed. No one has to like the book, that’s fine but I encourage you to read it with the idea that this is black people’s reality, and this is what black people fear probably more than anything else.
Thanks for reading this review. Please leave your thoughts and comments down below if you’d like to start an intelligent dialogue. I’ll be happy to discuss.
Thank you to everyone who has followed me, I really appreciate the love and support and I hope you continue to do so.
Keep an eye out for future book reviews!

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

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Summary: Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
Check out my review for Love, Simon here.
Pros:
The Characters. I really like Simon. I think he’s a great kid, he’s funny, witty and quite lovable, my only problem with him is that he doesn’t fight back enough with Martin because you not about to hold anything like that over my head. But anyway, I liked in ways how he looked at the world, all the references, it felt like I was in the head of a teenage boy sometimes (I’ll mention more about this later). I also really liked Abby and Nick. Abby was just this bundle of joy who had a lot of things she kept secret, but she just had a positive outlook in everything and I loved her friendship with Simon. Nick wasn’t as prominent as Abby, but he seemed like a cool guy. I also really liked learning about Blue and later when we meet him, you already like him that when he physically is around, you like him even more.
The friendship. The friendship between Simon, Nick and Abby particularly is some of the best in the story. I don’t mind Leah, but I think I liked her better in the movie than I did in the book, she was too negative for me. But anytime Simon and Nick just hung out, I thought it was handled well and they seemed liked they’d been friends for years and I liked that Abby was just this bundle of light and joy that both Nick and Simon gravitated to without even thinking. I really loved the moment where Simon and Abby talk in the car, it was sweet, and I thought Abby was a great friend in that moment, even if she’d only been around for about four months.
Blue and Jacques. I think one of the best things about this book is the relationship we see develop between Blue and Jacques through the emails. Obviously, Jacques is Simon and we find out who Blue is later, which I don’t want to spoil for those who haven’t seen the movie or read the book. but I thought they were super cute and they had a nice little banter. We got to see and learn way more about Blue so in ways you learn to really like him just about as much as you may like Simon. When they finally meet (spoilers? lol) it’s still cute and I have to say they have good chemistry. You get hints throughout the story who Blue might be, you just must pay close attention.
Humor. I have to say this book is funny. I thought the movie was cute and funny but considering how Simon is a little potty mouth, I thought his voice was funny in the book. I laughed quite a bit at some of the things he thought about, or the things he would say aloud. Even his family was a bit ridiculous that I laughed at them. I think if you want some lighthearted humor but also some sardonic humor, this book has it in there just for you.
Cons:
Nothing Really Happens. I didn’t really think about this until after I finished the book, but nothing really happens. Sure, there’s the blackmail and the emails but outside of those things, that aren’t always in the forefront, nothing happens. I wasn’t engaged the entire time. I didn’t want to give this its own point, but I didn’t always buy Simon’s voice. Not always. There are times where I was very aware it was a woman writing him. I don’t think everyone can do voices that aren’t like them consistently.
The Blackmail story line. I didn’t like it in the movie and I don’t like it in the book. It was an addition that wasn’t needed, and I think it was mean spirited. I get the whole “Martin took away Simon’s choice to come out when he was ready” but that didn’t sit well with me at all. It just seemed like something that the author felt would make Simon seem like a victim. He was already struggling enough with wanting to tell his friends and family about his sexuality, it could have just been a journey like that instead of making it worse by taking the choice away from him. It really bothered me. Plus, the fact that Simon went along with it, you have a choice. No one had to know what the emails were about, he could have told someone and said, “this kid is trying to post my personal emails out for everyone to see if I don’t help him date my friend.” Sure drama, but I don’t like it. Not to mention, he starts to see Martin like a friend and then later even kind of agonizes over the fact that Martin could be Blue. Just… ugh. I hated all of it.
Martin Addison. I HATE this kid. In the movie, he was kind of likable because the actor made him likable, but I hate him, and it really bothered me how easily Simon just fell into this trap with him. I think the story could have still happened without his whole side plot, it was just extra drama that I think was unnecessary. He kept bringing up for Simon to meet his brother, who he said was also gay, and he would ask Simon who Blue was, and he wanted Simon to pair him up with Abby, but it was obvious that Abby did not like him that way. Later, when he gets mad at Simon for not “doing his job” or that he thinks Abby and Simon have a thing and he’s being played and retaliates in such an awful way. Ugh, awful character. AWFUL! What makes it worse is that it seemed like the author tried to make him likable because Simon would rationalize things about Martin, and I just… ugh, awful! I don’t care about his apology AT ALL.
Overall, I quite enjoyed myself reading this book. I think it’s a fun and quick read and the characters for the most part are likable people, especially Simon, Nick and Abby and of course Blue. I think the book is funny as Simon is quite the potty mouth and his reactions to things cause for a lot of humor. I also really love the friendship that Simon has with his friends and the romance that we see grow between Blue and Simon is also handled well. However, I do really dislike the blackmail story line of the book, I think it’s mean spirited and unnecessary. I also HATE Martin Addison, ugh what a terrible character, I felt like the author tried to make him likable and endearing and it did not work for me. But I still enjoyed the book overall.
Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars.
Have you read Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda? What did you think about it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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Long Way Down Book Review

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Summary: A story that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother. Told in short, fierce staccato narrative verse, Long Way Down is a fast and furious, dazzlingly brilliant look at teenage gun violence, as could only be told by Jason Reynolds.
Pros:
Characters. Will is the main character and it’s told through his POV and we really get to see and understand him as a person. He’s a fifteen-year-old who is upset and wants revenge for his brother dying because of the unspoken rules. He’s a good kid but he’s distraught but he gets to experience different people who were directly connected to him and his brother. I can’t go into too much detail about him without spoiling the story but he was great. The other characters were also great to know and understand and to see their purpose.
The Story. Without going into too much detail Will’s brother Shawn was killed and he think he knows who killed him. So according to the rules, you don’t cry, you don’t snitch and you get revenge and he just needs to continue following that last rules. So, while he’s on the elevator, each floor he meets someone different who has something to say to him, to explain and all of that. Amazing. It reminded me a bit of A Christmas Carol in ways just without the whole Christmas spirit and what not. But so good.
Jason Reynolds is a WORDSMITH! Let me say this RIGHT NOW! This man can write a story and he can do it by putting some words together that are KILLER. I mean, I would stop and reread lines just because it was so powerful. I mean wow. There’s a particular line where Will says something about how his mother had to realize that once his older brother Shawn turned 18, she had to take her hands off of him and put them together to pray. I was like WHATTTT. I mean, that’s amazing. There’s another line about God in there that was great. Nothing was wasted.
Emotional. I didn’t cry or anything but I could feel all of the panic, anger and confusion that Will felt throughout the story. Most of the book takes place in the minute it takes to ride the elevator. We meet several different people who had some kind of connection to Shawn and Will and every person had something to say that needed to be listened to and I felt everything. Plus, the use of words
The Ending. Okay so throughout the book, Will is in the elevator and each person he’s talking to gives him a story about what happened to them and when they finally reach the lobby, they all leave and the last person turns back to him and says “You coming?” which leaves the ending open ended which in ways is great because it allows the reader to make their own ending. I mean what do you think Will did? I think he didn’t follow them.
Cons:
The Ending!? This isn’t a con because it’s negative but it made me UPSET! When it ended, I was like REALLY?! REALLY!!!! That’s how it ends? Man, I love open endings sometimes but sometimes GIVE ME AN ENDING SO I CAN FEEL HAPPY ABOUT THE RESOLUTION! So, upset.
Overall, I very much-LOVED Long Way Down because it was such a real story but it was contained. It was a minute and so much happened. I loved meeting all of the characters, I loved how Will would react to things and how the other characters would speak with him, show him love, even if they weren’t necessarily close to him. I loved the emotional aspect of the story, as well as the writing because Jason Reynolds is a wordsmith. A WORDSMITH! The ending was also phenomenal but of course the ending was also soooo annoying because it was OPEN ENDED! *sighs* Short review but I can’t go into too much without telling the story, just know it was really good.
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Have you read Long Way Down? If not, what’s wrong with you? Read it. Right now. If you’ve read anything else by Jason Reynolds, then read this book. Read it.
Let me know your thoughts down below and be sure to like and follow this blog for more reviews!

To All the Boys I Loved Before Book Review

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I know there’s a movie on Netflix that I will watch and review soon. I wanted to read the book first and it prompted me to want to watch the movie more, which is a good thing.
Summary: What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Pros:
The Characters. I liked all the characters, the main ones for the most part. I think Margot and Josh were probably a little lower on the list for me, but they weren’t unlikable. I understood them, but they weren’t that important to me. Honestly, the ones I’m going to mention are the main two of the story.
  • Lara Jean Song Covey. She’s the kind of character that I think some people would find annoying and there were times where I would roll my eyes at her, but I overall enjoyed her. I thought she was a quirky, kind, humorous leading character and I thought she was very likable. Ironically, she reminds me of an anime character, which is something she references in the book about how people always think she’s dressing up as some anime character for Halloween, but her energy and how she reacts to things makes me picture how over dramatic the anime characters can be when something happens. While she’s clumsy and a bit over dramatic, she’s endearing and strong and she loves her family. Cute character.
  • Peter Kavinsky. Peter is like the cool guy at school, everyone likes him, and he’s swoon worthy. When we first meet him, he’s being helpful to LJ, but she also reminisces about him which gives us a little more insight about him through her eyes. Once he approaches her about the letter, I thought he was going to be a jerk about it and what not since he’s the cool guy and Lara Jean isn’t popular or anything like that, but he turned out to be just that but with a heart and kindness in him. I really ended up liking him. Alright, he’s not so much a jerk but he had jerk tendencies. I really liked how he related to Lara Jean’s family and how he seemed to care about her in ways that were probably a surprise to him. I’m interested in reading the other books just to see what happened with him.
Family dynamic. I really liked the Covey family. They had a realistic dynamic. Being a younger sister but also an older sister, I understand the feeling of having the responsibility fall to you when the oldest moves on to college. I liked that the sisters were close that they would sleep together just to share the closeness before Margot left for school. Even though Kitty was a little brat sometimes, I liked her relationship with LJ and of course their dad wins the award for “Trying His Best”. You get a real sense that they had a tragedy in their lives and while it was still sore, they tried to work together like a family. They weren’t perfect, but it worked.
The Un-Romance. So, Lara Jean and Peter make a contract to pretend to date for various reasons. LJ had a little crush on Peter after he kissed her in the seventh grade. From the moment he stopped to help her when she got into her car accident, I knew from that moment on there might be a little something between them and I liked it. I quite surprised at how much I liked it lol. It wasn’t really a romance throughout, it was a pretend one, but they worked. I liked how Peter got close to her younger sister and even her father. I thought it was cute how he wrote the letters throughout the day even though half the time, they were things like “You look nice” or “Meet me here…” but it was endearing.
The Writing Style. I really liked Lara Jean’s voice, she was sweet and quirky, and I really enjoyed seeing things from her perspective. I think she could be a bit long winded in how things were talked about or addressed, but I liked how the story just flowed without feeling weird and just caught up in her mind, since it’s told in first person. It was thoughtful, and I liked how Lara Jean viewed things around her.
The Story Idea. The idea of past crushes receiving letters written about them is enough to give pause. I think it’s cool that LJ would write letters to help herself move on and then keep the letters hidden. It’s a mystery as to how they got sent out because she is in utter shock when Peter comes up to her talking about her letter and she has no idea what he’s talking about. I thought that idea was cute. It was everything else afterwards, like the pretend to date thing that I thought was familiar.
Cons:
Josh/Love Triangle. I really dislike love triangles. If they’re done well with interesting characters and serve a point for the story then okay, but I don’t think it was all that necessary here. I mean, Lara Jean liked Josh before and because of the whole letter fiasco, she and Peter made an agreement to work together to keep Josh from bothering her and to help Peter make his ex-girlfriend jealous. Josh of course doesn’t like this. So, throughout the book, whenever he gets the chance, he brings up how he doesn’t think Peter is good enough for her, she’s innocent and what not and to an extent I get what he was saying and trying to do, but not only did he come off rude, but the love triangle just annoyed me. It was just the Josh part of the equation that was just ugh. I didn’t mind Josh, I was indifferent to him, but I felt like he was unnecessarily… kind of a jerk for the sake of a triangle.
Cliché and predictable. Don’t get me wrong it’s super cute, but super cliché and predictable. I knew how it was going to end, I knew what was going to happen almost like clockwork throughout the story. There may have been a few character moments that might have surprised me but in terms of the plot points, I pretty much called all of them because it’s a formula and this book followed the formula. The idea was a bit different, but the execution turned out to be familiar.
Overall, I very enjoyed To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I thought it was cute and it felt like a very energetic person was telling me the story. I liked all the characters for the most part, particularly Peter and Lara Jean. They really had a relationship that played well and didn’t feel forced or trying to hard. I thought the whole idea of it was cute and I really enjoyed the writing style as Lara Jean had a voice that kept me engaged. The Covey’s were also a great family. My main negatives are the fact that the love triangle was unnecessary and while I see the point, it made a character who didn’t have to be a negative become a negative. I also thought it was cliché and predictable once the plot gets moving. Otherwise, great read and I read it quickly. It’s fun. I feel like I said “cute” a lot in this review lol.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Have you read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? Did you like it? How does it compare to the Netflix movie?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to like and follow this blog for more book reviews!

Thinking Out Loud

ThinkingOutLoud
Found this photo online and added the words for the sake of this post. I don’t own it.
Part I: One and Only
Part II: Falling Fast
Part III: Hello Heartache
Part IVWhen It’s All Over
Thinking Out Loud (Part V)
It’d been days since he first met her.
She was on his mind every day regardless of how many times he tried to push her out.
She has a boyfriend.
Every time she invaded his thoughts he had to remind himself that she has a boyfriend.
Torture. That’s what it is. Every day he thinks about her, her eyes, her beautiful smile, the brown of her skin, the way she smelt, the curl of her hair and he knew he was losing his mind. He always saw her brown eyes, they were a rusted amber color that had to be created only for her. He remembered the way she looked at him when she realized just who he was and what they were supposed to be. Forever. Soulmates. She went through so many emotions in such a short period of time. He committed to memory every expression. He felt it as soon as she said her words and he knew she felt it too, she had to but she fought against it. After she ran off it kind of hurt. He didn’t want to admit it but it hurt like hell.
His mind constantly drifted back to the conversation they had after their first meeting; it was extremely awkward. However, the longer they sat in each other’s presence, it felt natural, like they were falling into an easy rhythm. He liked that. He hadn’t had that in a while. Not even with Natalie. With Natalie, there was excitement but she was analytical where he was creative. They worked but there were many times when they didn’t. He could see it now.
Of course, she had something to do with her boyfriend, so she left, and it was like… something inside of him left with her. He missed her and he didn’t even really know her.
It was because of his alleged constant “moping”, that he was dragged out for a night downtown at the new Jazz club The Broken Spoke. Blake and Eric insisted that he tag along with them, it was Open Mic Night and they wanted to be there because women turn up for Open Mic Nights. He was an artist but creative writing was not a strength besides he was more of an illustrator, a painter, a sketch artist…
“Hello! Earth to Mike!”
He blinked in surprise as Eric waved his hand frantically in his face. Blake watched him with a cool expression while Eric tried to stifle a loud laugh. Their eyes focused on what Michael doodled on the pad he always carried around. He’d been absentmindedly doodling and he finally glanced down at his pad and immediately felt embarrassed.
“You’ve been doodling her name for weeks.” Blake murmured as he slipped his hands in his pockets.
“This is sad.” Eric said as he slid into the booth and draped his arm around his best friend. “You have to get over this.”
Blake was mysterious and “dreamy” as Natalie used to say and Eric was so cool and open. It annoyed the hell out of him. He could never be like either of them. Michael was always the reserved one, always had been. Reserved. Not mysterious.
“Look, could you at least go and get a drink? Act like you’re going to have fun? Cool?” No answer. “Cool.” Eric pushed himself out of the booth and walked off, not missing a beat in his mingling.
Sometimes he hated Eric. They’d been friends since freshman year in college and it was because of him that he got out of his comfort zone. Blake came along some time around senior year and he just mixed right in. He was quiet but apparently there was something alluring about him. Eric was the shortest of the three, but he stood tall. Michael watched as he moved over to a booth full of beautiful ladies. They flirted. Eric was brown skinned with light eyes and girls seemed to just swoon. Always the lady killer.
His eyes fell on the girl at the far right in the group. He jumped to his feet thinking he saw… but in the end, it turned out not to be her. He stood there awkwardly for a moment before taking a wary glance at Blake who regarded him with dark green eyes.
“You should go and get a drink.”
Michael plopped back down with a loud sigh. “I don’t want to get a drink.”
Blake ran a hand through his dark hair and leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table. “Listen Michael. I know you can’t stop thinking about this girl, but, there’s nothing you can do. She has a boyfriend and in the end, the choice is hers. Right?”
Michael wouldn’t look at his friend. Eric was charismatic while Blake was observant and seemed to just understand everything. They both knew what happened and they had different takes on what Michael should do.
“Alright.” Blake stood. Michael didn’t even remember seeing him sit down. “We’re here to have a good time. There’s good music, a cool atmosphere. Do something other than draw.” He walked away and Michael wilted. He shouldn’t have left the apartment. He looked down at his pad, looked into the eyes he couldn’t forget and closed the book.
He forced himself to walk to the bar. It was long with three bartenders. There wasn’t a ton of people in The Broken Spoke but it seemed to be popular as all of the bartenders were busy so he slid into a seat at the end. After a few moments of waiting, the tall bald bartender stopped in front of him.
“Sorry about that. There’s always a rush at this time. What can I get you?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know in as you’re not much of a drinker or you don’t have a preference?”
“Both.” Michael wasn’t much of a drinker. He’d go out with his friends and have a few, or Eric would throw a party and he might drink but that was never a vice for him. He never knew what to order. The bartender nodded and seemed to think for a moment.
“Okay. I’ll give you something simple.” He turned around and did his bartending magic and slide a tall glass of dark liquid to him. “This is a rum and coke.”
That was one of his dad’s drinks. He tried it and it was… okay.
“Good?” The bartender asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Yeah.”
“Cool.”
The guy moved away to help someone else. Michael sipped at his drink and watched the people in the building. Someone was singing on stage, people were chatting in booths, chatting at tables and some were dancing to the girl’s song. It was nice.
He could see Eric swaying with a leggy girl on the dance floor. He glanced around till he found Blake leaning against a wall talking with a redhead girl. Some people just had it.
“You good over here?”
“Yeah. Thanks.”
“Are you here alone?”
Silence. Awkward shuffle.
“I might as well be.” He nodded to where his two friends were. “They’re doing their thing.”
Blake was tall and long, with his dark curls and green eyes. Girls just loved him. He and Eric were polar opposites but they had the same affect on people and neither one of them cared about soulmates.
“Not much of a ladies man?”
Michael turned away from his friends and leaned his elbows atop the bar. The bartender watched him with dark eyes. It was intense.
“What, you going to be my therapist now?” Michael chuckled.
“Well you know, we do do that sometimes.”
Silence.
Crap.
The intensity cracked when he chuckled and swiped a few glasses left on the counter. Michael always wondered if that was a real thing and apparently it is.
“Everyone doesn’t do it but I enjoy it. I went to school for psychology. People are interesting.”
“Is that why you became a bartender? To practice?”
Another chuckle.
“Nah. I like bartending and it just so happens I can talk to people. I wear a suit and tie during the day. Not much interaction with different people.”
Michael didn’t have to worry about not having people to talk to. He worked in a museum as a tour guide on the brink of becoming an educator. He saw hundreds of people a day. He loved art and wanted to be as close to it as possible. One day, he wanted to see his paintings, old sketchbooks, original comic drawings put into a museum to be seen by people forever. He always loved the idea of “forever”.
The bartender was called away, so Michael sipped more at his drink and turned back to the crowd. Eric was now sitting at a table with three different girls. One of them seemed intrigued by him and the other two were watching and talking amongst themselves. He searched the room for a tall figure and found him talking to the same redhead he was talking to before and even from far away, Michael saw something different in Blake’s body language. Michael watched for a moment and like he could feel the stare, Blake’s green eyes cut in his direction and they were wide. He’s never seen that look before, not on Blake but in the reflection of Theo’s eyes.
Did Blake meet his soulmate tonight??
Jealousy crept through his body at the thought. At the sight. It clawed its way from his stomach through his chest and he tore his eyes away from them and he tried to push it away.
“Ready for another one?”
He jerked hearing the voice of the bartender walk up to him.
“What?” The words caught up with him and he noticed his empty glass. “No.”
Silence.
“I think you do.” The Bartender mixed another drink. It seemed stronger this time.
“It’s so easy for some people.”
“What is?”
Everything.”
He had no clue if that was actually Blake’s soulmate, or if she was single, or if she was even interested in falling into that black hole that was fate. But it was the fact that someone who is indifferent to soulmates, someone who is so casual and so unbothered looked so…
“Hey.” His eyes snapped up to face the tall man before him. The Bartender’s expression seemed a bit worried. He wasn’t angry, at least he didn’t think he was. “I don’t what happened in the two minutes I was gone but get it together.”
“You don’t know me.”
“No. But you’re different now. Why?”
Michael clenched his jaw. This man was not his therapist and he didn’t have to tell him anything. Plus, it wasn’t like he was that much older than him, it wasn’t like he was this adult who had all of the answers. The bartender’s eyes flickered away from him for a few moments before settling back on him.
“So, you buy into this whole soulmate thing?” Silence. “Look. We’re human and we have free will. It’s not true love.”
“Yes it is.”
“No it’s not.”
“How do you explain the feeling then? You must not have met your soulmate.” Forget the sip. He drank.
“I have actually.”
Michael arched an eyebrow at the bartender’s words. It was impossible for him to have met his soulmate if he was so nonchalant about it. His parents are soulmates and they were in love. They argued because they’re human but they loved each other like they need each other to live.
“Then how can you say that? If you’ve met your soulmate then you know how it feels to hear your words and feel like every breath in your body–.”
“Because I make my own way. Just because I met my soulmate does not mean that I’m going to fall for her. She’s a stranger to me.” The Bartender rested his hands on the bar and spoke with a calm demeanor which irritated Michael. “I work in an office because it’s what I have to do but this is what I prefer to be doing.”
“So what?” Michael’s eyes narrowed. “Are you saying that fate pushed you into your office job but you go against it by being a bartender?”
“We choose our own path. Just because the universe says you’re supposed to do this with your life, or be with that person, doesn’t mean you have to listen.”
Every since he was a little kid, Michael knew what he wanted to do with his life. He loved art. He did different kinds and wanted to be around it as often as possible. That’s never changed. Michael liked signs. Whenever he felt there was a sign, he’d follow it. It lead him to greatness in many ways. Maybe not right away but life isn’t perfect. He ended up in the museum because he met someone randomly one day who worked there. He took it as a sign and applied. Look at him now, he’s moving up and he actually loves the museum.
“Maybe, but that doesn’t mean that you have to ignore it when a sign does come. People ask for signs all the time.”
“If you can’t find direction on your own–.”
“So you’re one of those then? One of those people who just ignore it when something is put right in front of you for a reason?” Michael ran a hand through his hair at the thought. The Bartender watched him. It made him uncomfortable. Michael wrapped his fingers around his sketchbook tightly, trying to maintain the stare.
The moment broke. The Bartender pushed off the counter and turned away from Michael. He spoke to the brunette bartender who nodded and smiled. He turned back to the young artist and rolled his shoulders.
“Taking a break.” Silence. Stare. Moves around the bar to take a seat next to Michael. “So it’s obvious you’ve met your soulmate. I can only assume that it wasn’t happily ever after for you?”
“She has a boyfriend.”
Now that he was sitting next to him, he couldn’t see his expression. Not that he really wanted to anyway. He heard the man make an understanding noise. It was quiet again. The only thing making a sound was the band playing in the background. He was sure Blake was still in enthralled with the redhead and Eric was still making his way through the lounge. Here he was, sitting next to a bartender who clearly doesn’t agree with him and he hasn’t moved yet. Maybe he just needed someone who wasn’t close to him to talk with. They always say it’s easier to talk to a stranger about personal problems.
“There’s nothing you can do about that.”
“I know.” Two drinks appeared in front of them and he took one like a thirsty man in the desert. Drink. “But what happens to me if she doesn’t choose me?”
He didn’t want to end up like his aunt. She found her soulmate, according to her, the woman was beautiful and everything she wanted in a partner but she was engaged to another woman. The woman chose to be with her fiance instead of his aunt. Aunt Sharon was still single. He loved his aunt but she always seems sad… would that happen to him if Theo chose her boyfriend and not him? Would he be sad for the rest of his life?  How could anyone ever measure up?
“I wish that it wasn’t like this. I’m an artist, I agonize in general,” Soft chuckle. “But I don’t want to be in pain for the rest of my life.”
“You have to make waves for your own life. I mean, what if you have to wait five years or ten years before you see her again? You make your own choices. Life doesn’t happen to you. You happen to life.”
Ugh. He didn’t even come here for this. He came here to have a good time. Well try to have a good time. He’ll probably be up late tonight sketching again. He might have to break out the big guns and cover up that hole in his wall with a new mural or something.
“This whole soulmate thing has people doing things they probably wouldn’t if they didn’t think their life was mapped out for them just because of some magic little words on their body. If we didn’t have them then none of this would a problem.” Pause. “I think you have to just live your life man. My parents aren’t soulmates and they’re happy.”
“My parents are soulmates.”
“Good for them. That doesn’t have to be you though. Artists always make their own way. I don’t think it should be any different from you.”
Michael also couldn’t help but to think about her boyfriend. If Theo did choose him, then what will happen to that guy? He’s been in that position before where he wasn’t the soulmate and he wasn’t chosen. It hurt like hell. Michael didn’t think he was a bad guy and of course he wanted Theo to choose him but… god this is so hard.
Silence loomed over them again. How could he love someone he didn’t even know? That’s what this guy was saying. That’s what kept him from making the choice of going after his soulmate. Michael wasn’t sure if he could do that though. Even without the matching soulmarks, he felt a connection to Theo, he knew he could love her no matter what.
“Hey man.” Eric sat on the barstool on his left and released a huge yawn. “I’m beat. You wanna go?”
“Where’s Blake?”
Eric waved his arm somewhere behind him without actually turning around to see. “He’s talking to that redhead over there. I think she’s his soulmate. I’ve never seen him look like that before.”
“That’s what I thought.” Well good for Blake. He took a deep breath and allowed himself to come down from being wrung so tight due to the extreme jealousy he couldn’t help but to feel. Now that’s drained away, he felt exhausted.
Eric looked past him at the man on his right. The Bartender nodded at him and downed the rest of his drink.
“Steve!” One of the girls shouted from behind the counter. He made an annoyed noise and jumped to his feet rolling his neck.  
“Guess I have to get back to work. It was cool talking to you man. You finished?” Michael pushed the empty glass to his outstretched hands and watched as he walked back around the counter. “Good luck in everything.”
Michael stood to his feet and stretched his limbs, he noticed that Eric was trading eyes with the brunette behind the bar. Michael shook his head and patted his shoulder.
“Come on man.”
He grabbed the back of Eric’s shirt and he stumbled back off the stool. He made a “call me” sign at the girl who winked at him. Michael shook his head.
“You okay?” Eric asked once he got himself together to catch up with his taller friend. Michael shrugged and stuffed his hands in his pockets as they moved towards the door. Blake was waiting for them with a mystified look on his face. “You get that girl’s number Blake?”
He nodded, his green eyes looking through his friends. “Yeah. Her name is Delia.”
Yep, soulmate. Michael knew because he acted the same way when he told them about Theo. Eric laughed and nodded turning Blake away towards the door. After he had a chance to get his life together, Michael smiled. He was happy for Blake. All the ladies could eat their hearts out.
Just as they got out the door, he realized he’d forgotten something.
“Oh hold up, I left my book. I’ll be back.”
He turned back made his way back towards the bar. He narrowed his eyes seeing The Bartender standing there flipping through his book. Michael didn’t mind people looking at his work but he’d rather if he was showing it instead of them stealing looks. As he got closer, he noticed The Bartender’s eyes were intensely focused on the pages.
“Hey.”
The Bartender had a tight hold on his sketchpad. After what seemed like forever, he looked up at the young man before him, his eyes a mixture between confusion and anger. He slammed the book down on the counter and slid it towards him. With a downward glance, Michael saw just what he saw.
Her eyes.
“Are you Michael?”

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018) Movie Review

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Summary: Count Dracula and company participate in a cruise for sea-loving monsters, unaware that their boat is being commandeered by the monster-hating Van Helsing family.
This will be a short review.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. So, we get the same characters we know and love from the other two films in this one. I’m not going to talk about Drac’s friends because while they’re in it, they’re not as important to the story as they have been in the past. Just know that they’re all present and they’re all still entertaining.
  • Adam Sandler as Count Dracula. He is a 540-year-old lord of the vampires and the founder of Hotel Transylvania. He’s been running his hotel for years and now he’s feeling a bit lonely after seeing his daughter and most of his friends find their true love. He doesn’t believe it’s possible again because monsters can only “zing” once. However, he meets Ericka and it’s a ZING at first sight. I like Drac, he’s funny, loving and protective of his family and you want him to succeed because he’s just that likable. Adam Sandler is a hit or miss for me, but I love him in these movies, he does such a great job as Drac and I think, especially with his movies of late, these are some of his best work.
  • Andy Samberg as Jonathan Loughran. A human who is Mavis’ husband and Dennis’ father. I think his role was reduced a lot in this movie, but he’s still sweet and funny. He’s really a happy-go-lucky guy and he’s always ride or die. Andy Samberg clearly has a lot of fun with this character and he’s funny and I don’t really find him all that funny.
  • Selena Gomez as Mavis. Dracula’s daughter and pretty much the main woman in Drac’s life. Mavis is headstrong and protective her family. She notices her father is lonely, especially since he runs the hotel, she sees that he takes care of everyone but now it’s time for him to have a vacation and be taken care of, so she plans the vacation. She is determined for her family to have a good time. I like Mavis, she’s like her father but I also love it when she gets angry or when she’s sure she’s right about something because she will do whatever it takes. Like when she follows her father after he follows Erika somewhere, she wasn’t playing any games. Selena Gomez does a great job voicing Mavis, she’s earnest, youthful but when she must be stern, she does it well.
  • Kathryn Hahn as Ericka Van Helsing. The captain and cruise director of the cruise ship Legacy. She is secretly continuing her great-grandfather’s wishes in eliminating monsters and is Dracula’s love interest. When we first meet her, she is so interesting and can see why Drac is immediately drawn to her, but we know her secret and it’s hilarious watching her
  • Jim Gaffigan as Abraham Van Helsing. Ericka’s great-grandfather who is a legendary monster hunter and Dracula’s archenemy.
Humorous/Entertaining. I laughed quite a bit during the movie. I think a lot of it had to do with the guy who was sitting next to us because he was having a great time. BUT, there’s a scene where they’re traveling to see the underwater volcano and the fish guide tells the full name of the location and that was hilarious that my friend and I cackled for like 5 minutes. Also, the entire side story with Dennis and Winnie and their dog was cute. Or the fact that Wayne and his wife got to be puppy free for a time and it’s something they never experienced. This movie has a lot of little hilarious nuggets in it that I was shocked at how much I genuinely laughed.
Warmhearted message. At the core, the movie talks about loving past the differences, which in a way is kind of what the first one talked about since Drac had to get over his hatred for humans to allow Mavis to be with Johnny. In this one, it’s almost reversed since Mavis does not fully trust Ericka. It’s cute and I think the movie handles the message in a clear and entertaining way.
Cons:
Predictable. I mean, did anyone really expect any twists and turns? We know from the jump that Ericka is a Van Helsing, but the “twist” comes when she falls in love with Drac, but I think everyone knew that.
Overall, I thought Hotel Transylvania 3 was cute and fun and it was an experience that I think many families would enjoy. It is the third in a trilogy (or maybe a series) so I do think it’s the weakest of the bunch, but I think it’s a solid sequel. If you are looking for entertaining animated characters, and cute animation with entertaining humor and a warmhearted message, then this movie is for you. I don’t have many cons because it’s a harmless movie. It’s predictable but that’s to be expected for a movie like this. Everyone can be entertained while watching.
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below and answer my BIG QUESTION.
Big Question: Which Hotel Transylvania movie is your favorite??