Recommendations | 5 Books with Names in the Title

Hi everyone!

I hope you’re doing well and you’re having a fantastic day! Today I’m starting a new fun little series on my blog – I’m calling it a series because I want to do more blog posts like this one in the future. 🙂

In this series, I’m going to share with you five books that – you guessed it! – have names in the title. I thought this would be a fun way of sharing random recommendations with you, with different genres and writing styles!

Let’s take a look at the books then!

And here they are! I just realized that for some reason I only picked female characters for this post – it wasn’t on purpose, I promise! But no worries, I’ll compensate with male characters in the next “Books With Names in the Title” post.

Some of them you may already know because I’ve talked about them for a while now, but some of them are new additions. So let’s go through them individually!

1. Michigan vs. the Boys by Carrie S. Allen

You have read it correctly: Michigan. Don’t think of the state folks, because the main character of this book is a girl named Michigan!
When I first read the synopsis (below), I thought this would be a “girl power” kind of book of a girl who bested the boys of her hockey team, but I was wrong. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but it’s a very serious book with some serious topics. It’s a story about bullying and perseverance, even when the world seems against you.
It’s heavy, but it’s a book that left a mark on me. I was left with very strong feelings and I know I will never forget about this book. I believe this book is extremely underrated and I wish more people gave it a chance! I highly recommend giving this one a try, just be aware of trigger warnings for abuse, bullying and violence throughout the book.

Synopsis

“When a determined girl is confronted with the culture of toxic masculinity, it’s time to even the score.

Michigan Manning lives for hockey, and this is her year to shine. That is, until she gets some crushing news: budget cuts will keep the girls’ hockey team off the ice this year.

If she wants colleges to notice her, Michigan has to find a way to play. Luckily, there’s still one team left in town …

The boys’ team isn’t exactly welcoming, but Michigan’s prepared to prove herself. She plays some of the best hockey of her life, in fact, all while putting up with changing in the broom closet, constant trash talk and “harmless” pranks that always seem to target her.

But once hazing crosses the line into assault, Michigan must weigh the consequences of speaking up – even if it means putting her future on the line.”

2. Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

You guessed it, Rose Gold is the name of the main character for this book.

This book is a fictitious story based on Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s true story. If you don’t know Gypsy Rose, I recommend you do a quick Google search because this case was absolutely crazy and messed up!

It portrays a very toxic and intriguing mother/daughter relationship, and you get to see the way they talk to each other versus their thoughts – that was one of my favorite parts of this book. 

And by the way, this is in essence a thriller! It was very creepy and haunting, and I was very impressed with this book. It was really good and it was a very interesting approach to creating fiction through true-crime.

Synopsis

“For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes. And Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…

And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home.”

3. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Yup, Vanessa is the main character’s name for this book.
How to describe this book? I would say disturbing but important. I definitely took a lot from this book and I know I will never forget it. After finishing the book I didn’t know how to feel because even though I was very interested in it, I felt disgusted and uncomfortable at the same time.
This book is about a teenage girl who has a secret relationship with her English teacher. You would think this is a very obvious problem, but it’s not a straightforward and simple book to understand. The goal of the book is exactly that: to be confusing and to make you question things, and maybe encourage you to start a conversation about it.
I’m not going to lie, it’s a very uncomfortable, difficult book to read and you should keep that in mind if you decide to pick this up. But I honestly think it’s worth it and I highly recommend it.

Synopsis

“Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.”

4. Fable by Adrienne Young

This is a book I’ve recommended a few times here on the blog. The main character’s name in this story is Fable! Cool name, huh? But the best thing about this book is the really cool, atmospheric story! The way the characters talked and acted, the terms used, the scenery… Everything contributed to create a rich story in Fable! It’s definitely the type of book that you don’t know who to trust. Everyone acts suspicious and has an agenda here! I will say there were some points the story felt a bit slow paced, but not to the point that would bother me. Still, there is a lot of adventure, danger and secrets to unfold, so if you like pirate stories you are in for a treat!

Synopsis

For seventeen-year-old Fable, the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home she has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one, and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father, and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him, and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men. Fable takes you on a spectacular journey filled with romance, intrigue, and adventure.

5. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

The name of the character is – you guessed it again – Nina Hill.
This is a very fun, contemporary romance! The characters were sweet and quirky, and I loved their interactions. As the main character, Nina was a likable character and I related to her a lot. She is the kind of character who likes to stay at home and be quiet with a book in her hand – who doesn’t?
Still, my favorite thing about this book was the writing and humor! It’s a very charming and wholesome book, and there are so many funny references and dialogs that will make you giggle. I would recommend it for a fun read, with nice characters and humor!

Synopsis

The author of Other People’s Houses and The Garden of Small Beginnings delivers a quirky and charming novel chronicling the life of confirmed introvert Nina Hill as she does her best to fly under everyone’s radar.

Meet Nina Hill: A young woman supremely confident in her own…shell.

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all–or mostly all–excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

And we’ve reached the end of the list! I hope you found this post (at least a little) interesting and I hope you found some new books. And once again, I’m always looking for book recommendations so let me know if you have any for me!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post! I hope you liked what I had to share with you today. I’ll see you in the next one! 🙂

Review | Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (Charlie Bucket #2) by Roald Dahl

“You’ll never get anywhere if you go about what-iffing like that.” 2.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: knock knock jokes, glass elevators, oxygen buttons, space hotels, anti-aging pills and zero gravity.

Last seen flying through the sky in a giant elevator in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie Bucket’s back for another adventure. When the giant elevator picks up speed, Charlie, Willy Wonka, and the gang are sent hurtling through space and time. Visiting the world’’ first space hotel, battling the dreaded Vermicious Knids, and saving the world are only a few stops along this remarkable, intergalactic joyride.

When I first watched the “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” movie, I did a quick research and found out there were two books in the Charlie Bucket series by Roald Dahl. And I thought to myself that they would probably make a movie for the second book. Now that I’ve read the second book, I finally understood that would never happen (for different reasons).

I recently read the first book and I fell in love with the story. So right after I finished, I started reading the second book, “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator“, and I was left disappointed.

There were several things that didn’t work for me with this book, but to name the biggest ones: it was full of (bad) nonsense, politics and was just all over the place.

In this short story the elevator goes to space, they meet aliens and the president of the USA… and then the story changes to anti-aging pills. Ahm… what?

I know this story is supposed to be full of nonsense, but I was expecting the good kind of nonsense, with fun, magic and morals for kids. But this was just a pointless mess. Needless to say I was disappointed.I wasn’t a fan of this. This took a very unexpected turn! The first one is exceptional, and this… was not at the same level. I would recommend only reading “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”! Just forget this one exists.

Review | Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket #1) by Roald Dahl

“Everything in this room is edible. Even I’m edible. But, that would be called canibalism. It is looked down upon in most societies.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: chocolate factories, surprising prizes, unexpected songs, golden tickets, Oompa Loompas, quirky characters, cabbage soup, a shared bed and a lot of chocolate.

Greetings to you, the lucky finder of this Gold Ticket from Mr Willy Wonka! I shake you warmly by the hand! Tremendous things are in store for you!

One miraculous moment changes Charlie Bucket’s life forever.

A boy who only gets to eat cabbage soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner finds a Golden Ticket that will take him into Willy Wonka’s magical chocolate factory.

Joining him on the tour are four horrible blighters:

Augustus Gloop – a great big greedy nincompoop, Veruca Salt – a spoiled brat, Violet Beauregarde – a repulsive little gum-chewer and Mike Teavee – a TV addict.

With a chocolate river, crafty squirrels and mysterious Oompa Loompas, Mr Wonka’s chocolate factory is the strangest, most magnificent place Charlie has ever seen.

What other surprises are in store for the lucky ticket winners?

Aaaaah I loved this book so much! I was such a fan of the movie that I always thought to myself “I really need to read the books”. And now that I finally did, I couldn’t be happier.

I think what was the most surprising thing for me was that the movie is so true to the book. There are a few differences of course – like for example in the book the kids are accompanied by both of their parents and we get to see the news reporters at Charlie’s home – but overall, it was very true to the book. They even used a lot of the sentences and songs in the movie! Ok, I’m done talking about the movie comparisons, I promise.

The book was special, wholesome and incredibly inspiring and magical – so everything you would want in a fantasy middle grade book! This is my first ever Roald Dahl book, and now I completely understand why his books are so popular. The characters are amazing and quirky and every single one of them serves a very specific purpose in delivering a message. 

It’s a book that teaches kids to be humble, behave and be good to others. Not only that, but it’s incredibly fun and magical. I highly recommend it if you like middle grade!

Review | How to American: An Immigrant’s Guide to Disappointing Your Parents by Jimmy O. Yang

“I take pride in playing immigrant characters. I’ve come across people who had a negative opinion about playing Asian characters that have an accent. I’ve even met Asian actors who won’t audition for a role that has an Asian accent. They believe these accented characters reinforce the stereotype of an Asian being the constant foreigner. Frankly, I can’t relate. I was an immigrant. And no matter how Americanized I become, no matter how much Jay-Z I listen to, I’ll always be an immigrant. Just because I don’t speak English with an accent anymore doesn’t mean that I’m better than the people who do. My job as an actor is not to judge anyone and to portray a character with humanity. There are real people with real Asian accents in the real world. I used to be one of them. And I’m damn proud of it.” 4/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: music production, acting gigs, stand up comedy, college days, new friends, a new language and new opportunities.

Standup comic, actor and fan favorite from HBO’s Silicon Valley and the film Crazy Rich Asians shares his memoir of growing up as a Chinese immigrant in California and making it in Hollywood.

“I turned down a job in finance to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. My dad thought I was crazy. But I figured it was better to disappoint my parents for a few years than to disappoint myself for the rest of my life. I had to disappoint them in order to pursue what I loved. That was the only way to have my Chinese turnip cake and eat an American apple pie too.”

Jimmy O. Yang is a standup comedian, film and TV actor and fan favorite as the character Jian Yang from the popular HBO series Silicon Valley. In How to American, he shares his story of growing up as a Chinese immigrant who pursued a Hollywood career against the wishes of his parents: Yang arrived in Los Angeles from Hong Kong at age 13, learned English by watching BET RapCity for three hours a day, and worked as a strip club DJ while pursuing his comedy career. He chronicles a near deportation episode during a college trip Tijuana to finally becoming a proud US citizen ten years later. Featuring those and many other hilarious stories, while sharing some hard-earned lessons, How to American mocks stereotypes while offering tongue in cheek advice on pursuing the American dreams of fame, fortune, and strippers.

This was surprisingly nice! I went into this book blindly since I haven’t watched “Silicon Valley” and I wasn’t familiar with Jimmy O. Yang and his work as a comedian/actor, so I went into this book without knowing anything about the author. And now I’m glad to say I’ve become a fan!

Jimmy is a very funny and positive guy, and it shows throughout the book. I listened to this as an audiobook and he was the one narrating it, and I just laughed the entire time! I promise, you will have a great time reading this.

What I liked so much about this book was how he shared his struggles as an immigrant from China to the USA. It was not easy for him to fit in and constantly being mocked for his accent and not understanding English, and yet, he was able to overcome his struggles and became very successful as an actor and comedian.

And I really liked the ending of the book! It was the cherry on top.

I was very inspired not only by his story but also for his positive attitude towards life. It’s an inspiring and funny book that I will always recommend to others!

I want to watch Silicon Valley now.

Recommendations | Celebrity Books That Are Actually Good and Why

Hi bookish friends!

Do you enjoy reading celebrity books? Personally I’m a little skeptical when it comes to picking up books like these. I know most of them have people helping them write their stories, but I still keep my expectations low when I decide to pick them. I think it’s because most of the time I’m left disappointed… but other times I’m impressed.

I really like reading about other people’s lives because there is so much we can learn from each other. People can be very inspiring when they tell their own stories and send a message with their words. And that is why today I’m bringing you five recommendations of memoirs from famous people that I actually enjoyed and took something from.

So let’s get into these book recommendations! Here are some of my favorites and why I loved them so much:

1. Becoming by Michelle Obama

Starting out strong with Becoming by Michelle Obama! I read this a few years ago and I was a big fan of the book. 

It doesn’t matter what your political views are – this is not a political book. It’s a book about a woman, her childhood, her education, her family, growing up and helping others – becoming. I respect Michelle Obama very much! This is a very honest and inspirational biography in my opinion. I listened to the audiobook version and I’m glad Michelle is the narrator of her own story!

Not gonna lie, I was a little intimidated by how bulky the book is. But I still decided to read it and I’m very glad I did. Don’t be intimidated by the book’s size, it’s definitely worth checking out!

Synopsis:

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

2. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Another book I picked randomly but ended up loving was “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah. Just like what happened with Jimmy O. Yang’s book (you’ll see below), I didn’t know a lot about Trevor so I also went blindly into his book.

What made me really like this book was what he shared about his youth in South Africa and his mother. The experiences he had while growing up were very interesting and I learned a lot about appartheids and what is like living in South Africa. Also, his mom is a badass, but you definitely need to read it to know what I’m talking about!

I also highly recommend the audiobook version.Trevor is the narrator and he added a very personal touch to the story. Definitely worth your time!

Synopsis:

The memoir of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

3. Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey

The reason why I decided to pick up this book was a weird one. I was never a big fan of Mariah Carey (for different reasons), but my mother is a huge fan of hers. So when I saw she had a memoir I decided to read it, just to understand her life a little better. It’s funny to see how it became one of my favorite memoirs I’ve read!

She had a rough upbringing and she had a very hard time dealing with racism. Her relationship with her family was very bad and to top it all off: she was in an abusive and manipulative marriage. Needless to say that she went through a lot!

I wouldn’t say her story is the most inspiring story ever, but I really liked to read about her life experiences and it made me understand her better. I would say to give this one a try!

Synopsis:

It took me a lifetime to have the courage and the clarity to write my memoir. I want to tell the story of the moments – the ups and downs, the triumphs and traumas, the debacles and the dreams, that contributed to the person I am today. Though there have been countless stories about me throughout my career and very public personal life, it’s been impossible to communicate the complexities and depths of my experience in any single magazine article or a ten-minute television interview. And even then, my words were filtered through someone else’s lens, largely satisfying someone else’s assignment to define me.

This book is composed of my memories, my mishaps, my struggles, my survival and my songs. Unfiltered. I went deep into my childhood and gave the scared little girl inside of me a big voice. I let the abandoned and ambitious adolescent have her say, and the betrayed and triumphant woman I became tell her side.

Writing this memoir was incredibly hard, humbling and healing. My sincere hope is that you are moved to a new understanding, not only about me, but also about the resilience of the human spirit.

Love,
Mariah

4. I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

This was a very pleasant surprise as well, and one I would definitely recommend to other memoir lovers! It’s one of the best books I’ve read in 2022 – so that’s saying a lot! Like everyone else who came across this book, I was hooked by the title. “I’m Glad My Mom Died”? That sounds very scandalous… and intriguing!This is Jennette McCurdy’s memoir, and trust me: it’s a good one. I watched iCarly occasionally (not religiously), so I was already familiar with Jennette’s work as an actress, but I would have never in a million years guessed what was behind her success. This is a very personal memoir, but mostly – it’s an important one. This is just a real life example of what so many child actors go through growing up. They frequently are abused and exploited by parents and people in the business, and they’re scarred for life – just like Jennette was. I highly recommend this, it’s a very impactful and tough book to read.

Synopsis:

A heartbreaking and hilarious memoir by Jennette McCurdy about her struggles as a former child actor—including eating disorders, addiction, and a complicated relationship with her overbearing mother—and how she retook control of her life.

Jennette McCurdy was six years old when she had her first acting audition. Her mother’s dream was for her only daughter to become a star, and Jennette would do anything to make her mother happy. So she went along with what Mom called “calorie restriction,” eating little and weighing herself five times a day. She endured extensive at-home makeovers while Mom chided, “Your eyelashes are invisible, okay? You think Dakota Fanning doesn’t tint hers?” She was even showered by Mom until age sixteen while sharing her diaries, email, and all her income.

In I’m Glad My Mom Died, Jennette recounts all this in unflinching detail—just as she chronicles what happens when the dream finally comes true. Cast in a new Nickelodeon series called iCarly, she is thrust into fame. Though Mom is ecstatic, emailing fan club moderators and getting on a first-name basis with the paparazzi (“Hi Gale!”), Jennette is riddled with anxiety, shame, and self-loathing, which manifest into eating disorders, addiction, and a series of unhealthy relationships. These issues only get worse when, soon after taking the lead in the iCarly spinoff Sam & Cat alongside Ariana Grande, her mother dies of cancer. Finally, after discovering therapy and quitting acting, Jennette embarks on recovery and decides for the first time in her life what she really wants.

Told with refreshing candor and dark humor, I’m Glad My Mom Died is an inspiring story of resilience, independence, and the joy of shampooing your own hair.

5. How to American by Jimmy O. Yang

This was my most recent memoir read and it was very surprising. I haven’t watched “Silicon Valley” and I wasn’t familiar with Jimmy O. Yang and his work as a comedian/actor, so I went into this book without knowing anything about the author. And now I’m glad to say I’ve become a fan!

What I liked so much about this book was how he shared his struggles as an immigrant from China to the USA. It was not easy for him to fit in and constantly being mocked for his accent and not understanding English, and yet, he was able to overcome his struggles and became very successful as an actor and comedian.

I was very inspired not only by his story but also for his positive attitude towards life. It’s an inspiring book that I will always recommend to others. Oh, and the best part? He’s very funny and has great comedic timing!

Synopsis:

Standup comic, actor and fan favorite from HBO’s Silicon Valley and the film Crazy Rich Asians shares his memoir of growing up as a Chinese immigrant in California and making it in Hollywood.

“I turned down a job in finance to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. My dad thought I was crazy. But I figured it was better to disappoint my parents for a few years than to disappoint myself for the rest of my life. I had to disappoint them in order to pursue what I loved. That was the only way to have my Chinese turnip cake and eat an American apple pie too.”

Jimmy O. Yang is a standup comedian, film and TV actor and fan favorite as the character Jian Yang from the popular HBO series Silicon Valley. In How to American, he shares his story of growing up as a Chinese immigrant who pursued a Hollywood career against the wishes of his parents: Yang arrived in Los Angeles from Hong Kong at age 13, learned English by watching BET RapCity for three hours a day, and worked as a strip club DJ while pursuing his comedy career. He chronicles a near deportation episode during a college trip Tijuana to finally becoming a proud US citizen ten years later. Featuring those and many other hilarious stories, while sharing some hard-earned lessons, How to American mocks stereotypes while offering tongue in cheek advice on pursuing the American dreams of fame, fortune, and strippers.

And there you have it: five of my favorite memoirs of all time! I found every single one of these very inspirational and I always recommend them to every reader I know. Every celebrity featured in this post had (very different) struggles that they were able to overcome, and I think that’s why their books were so inspiring and impactful to me.

Let me know if you have read any of these and what were your thoughts on them. If you have any recs for me, let me know in the comments – I would appreciate it very much!

Once again, thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you liked what I had to share with you today. I’ll see you in the next one!

Review | The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

“Being with you is as good as being alone.” 3.75/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: festivals, movie tickets, curious facts, heritages, quizzes, lost relatives and a lot of books.

The author of Other People’s Houses and The Garden of Small Beginnings delivers a quirky and charming novel chronicling the life of confirmed introvert Nina Hill as she does her best to fly under everyone’s radar.

Meet Nina Hill: A young woman supremely confident in her own…shell.

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all–or mostly all–excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

I enjoyed this a lot! I think the only thing I didn’t love about this book was the “perfect” ending. It’s not that it was bad, but it felt a little cliché the way things turned out so perfectly. Not that that’s out of the way, let me tell you all about what I loved!

The characters were sweet and quirky, and I loved their interactions. Nina was a likable character, but sometimes I was annoyed at how she kept pushing Tom away for the worst reasons. With that said, I understand her upbringing was very unique and she spent a lot of time alone, so I’ll give her that! I adored Tom and how sweet and supportive he was. He balanced Nina perfectly and their chemistry was cute. I also liked all the other characters, including the girls from the bookstore and Nina’s “new” family members. I even liked Lydia (well, mostly by the end of the story).

But by far, my favorite thing about this book was the writing and humor! It’s a very charming and wholesome book, and there are so many funny references and dialogs that will make you giggle. The start is a little slow, but once you get the hang of it, the book flows and you get into the story way easier.

I would recommend it for a fun read full of great characters and humor!

Review | Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell

“…I’m your friend. And friends don’t let friends live small lives.” 4.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: missions, pies, memorable last work days, succotash, trains, corn mazes, a snack thief, fall food, an angry goat and a lot of pumpkins.

In Pumpkinheads, beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Rainbow Rowell and Eisner Award–winning artist Faith Erin Hicks have teamed up to create this tender and hilarious story about two irresistible teens discovering what it means to leave behind a place―and a person―with no regrets.

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years…

What if their last shift was an adventure?

This was soooooo cute, I loved it! I wish I’d read this in the fall, it would be perfect.

The story is so incredibly cute and the friendship made me feel warm and fuzzy. I loved the whole “mission” thing where they seek Marcy while grabbing snacks along the way.

And can we talk about Marcy’s nicknames for a second? Vanessa Fudgens? Fudge Judy? I burst out laughing every time Deja gave her a different nickname.

The illustrations are by far the best thing about this book. The art is soooo beautiful and rich and atmospheric… The illustrator described the fall feeling perfectly with the colors and details.

And now I’m having pumpkin pie cravings… I wonder why.

Review | The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

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“It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.” 4/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: clock time, pain, ego, overthinking, fear, love and the power of now.

To make the journey into the Now we will need to leave our analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind. From the very first page of Eckhart Tolle’s extraordinary book, we move rapidly into a significantly higher altitude where we breathe a lighter air. We become connected to the indestructible essence of our Being, “The eternal, ever present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death.” Although the journey is challenging, Eckhart Tolle uses simple language and an easy question-and-answer format to guide us.

A word-of-mouth phenomenon since its first publication, The Power of Now is one of those rare books with the power to create an experience in readers, one that can radically change their lives for the better.

So I finally read “The Power of Now”. Overall, my opinion of this book is positive, but I still a little conflicted with what I’ve read and I can’t fully accept the premise… but I’ll get to that in a second!

The book talks about how we should be living in the present and to not overthink, because when we do that we get stuck in the past and in the present. It’s important to focus on our emotions in the “Now” and accept what we are feeling, whether it’s pain or happiness. That way, we’ll finally be able to connect to our true essence – our “Being”.

It was a very interesting read! I believe this book has a very interesting point of view on the “Now”, overthinking and how pain controls our lives. It made me reflect on my own thoughts and how overthinking the past or the future is pushing me away from inner peace.

One thing I found interesting was what he said about how people try to have a relationship with themselves (by using phrases like “I want to love myself” or “I’m my own best friend”) instead of just being themselves. By using this internal dialogue we are separating ourselves into two different entities, when we should just be ourselves fully. That was a very interesting point of view!

Another point of view I found interesting was when the author talked about modern art. He says artists nowadays are not truly connected to their inner “Being”, and their art reflects that – it has no heart. To be honest that made a lot of sense to me! Obviously there are exceptions out there, but I feel the same way about most modern art.

So why didn’t I love this book? Even though I agree with most of what was shared by the author, I was sometimes confused and I didn’t agree fully with the teachings. I think the “problems” I had with this book were the inflexibility of the points of view and the attitude behind them. For example, the author says to live in the present at all times and that we should forget the past and the future fully. And when the questions are made, like “but I have to pay rent, how can I do that by living in the present?”, the author responds with the same sentences over and over again “just live in the present”. This didn’t sit very well with me. I wish these responses were more specific.

I understand the point is to not question what the main message is and just accept what is being said as it being the ultimate truth. And part of me couldn’t do that. It just feels unrealistic to constantly live in the now – I’m pretty sure not even monks can do that at all times. And sure, the past is in the past and the future is not here yet, but I believe it’s important to know where you came from and where you’re going. Thoughts can save us from a lot of trouble in my humble opinion! In the book he mentions this as well, but it is quickly brushed off.

The writing was okay considering how complex the topic is. I liked the answer/question format a lot, and I believe it helped a lot to get the messages across in a simpler way.

You can read this book if you’re not religious, but keep in mind that there are plenty of references to various religions. With that said, he only uses examples of teachings, the book is not religious in nature.

I liked the book, but I wasn’t super impressed. It is not a perfect book by any means, but I still took some interesting points of view from it.

Review | Cupcake by Cookie O’Gorman

“For the first time in my life, I actually felt like a princess.
And it had nothing to do with the tiara. Or even the boy.
It was all me.”
4.75/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: homecoming court, chalices, baking, wasps, trust falls, cute dresses, practice time, Disney princesses, school dances, rom coms, SJM books and prom queens.

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking this will be just one more story of the ignored, “big-boned ” girl, who sheds her glasses and a few extra pounds and finally attracts the notice of the most popular guy in school.

Except it isn’t. Because I’m not unpopular. Not all that ignored. And I love the way I look―just as I am.

Then someone puts my name in for Homecoming Court.

The bigger surprise?

People actually vote for me!

Now, I’m a “princess”―whether I like it or not―but the guy I’m paired with isn’t exactly Prince Charming.

Rhys Castle is the strong, silent type who always wears a frown―he’s certainly never smiled at me. I’m 99.9% sure he hates being on Court and being my partner, but surprisingly…he doesn’t switch when he gets the chance.

Turns out Rhys has a secret―something that makes him run hot and cold throughout the entire three weeks of Homecoming festivities. Whether he’s stepping on my feet during dance lessons or gallantly escorting me through the Homecoming parade, I can’t get a read on this guy, and for the first time, I find my confidence wavering.

But there’s more to Rhys than meets the eye. And the more the spotlight shines on me, I realize there’s more to me, too.

This book was super cute and sweet! Not gonna lie, this one is probably one of my favorites from Cookie O’Gorman. I think the main reason for that is our main character, Ariel! She is a really sweet girl who loves to bake and share with other people her baked goods. She was very surprised when she got nominated for homecoming court, because she feels like she doesn’t fit with the rest of the court for being a plus-size girl.

Enter the charming prince, Rhys. He is the school’s star quarterback and Ariel’s pair for homecoming court! At first he seems a little distant, mysterious and cold, but quickly his sweet personality shines through! I honestly loved seeing them together during the homecoming activities and how their romance developed day by day.

I can understand how this book may not be for everyone since it’s a “too perfect” kind of story, but I personally love reading books like these. Sometimes you just need a fluffy, cute story to boost your happiness levels!

I personally think this is a good, entertaining story about how everyone deserves love at every size. And not only that, but we should all strive for our own happiness and love ourselves.

I loved it so much, I actually read it in one day! Being a “big” girl myself, this book definitely hit different. Loved it and recommend it!