Review: How To Be Happy by Eleanor Davis

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This book has one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen. I’m in awe.

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How To Be Happy is a collection of graphic/literary short stories, which are two of my favorite things combined into one. I was doomed to give this 5 stars.

And I would have if I was rating it solely based on the illustrations, but the execution of the stories was a little confusing.

Every time I didn’t get the ending of the storyline, I would feel a little foolish— which I really don’t like feeling while reading.

But the art featured in this collection was just utterly whimsical. Trust me when I say that it was nearly impossible to not feature every out-of-this-world illustration. I literally had to stop multiple times while reading because I was in awe over how beautiful everything was.

Here are a few of my favorites (out of too many):

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My favorite stories were In Our Eden and Summer Snakes.

So, so beautiful.

4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying How To Be Happy, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

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Review: The Distance To Home by Jenn Bishop

Last summer, 11-year-old Quinnen was the star pitcher of her baseball team, the Panthers. They’re headed for the championship, and her loudest supporter at every game was her best friend and older sister, Haley.

This summer, everything is different. Haley’s death, at the end of last summer, has left Quinnen and her parents reeling.

What I liked:

• Quinnen’s alternating points of view between this summer and last summer.

• Book clubs: I had a nice little walk down memory lane when they featured Are You There  God? It’s Me, Margaret— particularly when I realized that I read it around Quinnen’s age.

• Deals with grief in an accessible way that is both honest and gentle.

• This book made me think about my own life situations.

What I didn’t like:

• The characters felt really flat and two dimensional— most of them had no depth or personality. There was also the lack of character development.

• The writing wasn’t holding my attention.

• Not a lot went on during this storyline— Quinnen went to baseball games, ate dinner with her family and complained about Brandon Williams. But other than that nothing happened that kept me flipping page after page.

• Quinnen and her sister, Hayley, were close last summer— until we get introduced to Zack (aka Hayley’s emo boyfriend).
It’s at this point Hayley goes completely out of character and starts acting, to quote Quinnen, like one of the mean girls on an MTV show.

And it’s also at this point that I gave up.

I was really hoping to like it (mainly because of the cover), but I was let down.

ARC kindly provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying The Distance To Home, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

“It seems like maybe these tiny little moments make an awesome difference in many of our rushed, jam-packed lives. Maybe we all love snow days, peeling an orange in one shot, and Popping Bubble Wrap.”

I picked this book up at exactly the right time. I had just recently started reading Everyday Sexism, and it ignited a spark within me that I had thought to be long extinguished. I felt such rage at the seeming unfairness of how tragedy was handed out— I actually had to stop reading because I felt so exasperated and, frankly, scared.

But this is where The Book of Awesome stepped in to calm down that toxic fire that kept swallowing my every being. I seriously couldn’t stop thinking about every little wrongness that occurred on a daily basis, until I picked this book up. (Also, the new season of Orange Is the New Black helped a lot— but that’s a story for another time.)

The Book of Awesome is, as the title might suggest, filled with awesome little moments that make your day a little brighter.

“With so much sad news and bad news pouring down upon us, it’s fun to stop for a minute and share a universal high five with the rest of humanity.”

It shares the joys of little things— from having a whole row to yourself on the plane, to being the first table to get called up for the dinner buffet at a wedding.

But there were so many great highlights that I decided to feature some of my favorite ones:

“The moment at a concert after the lights go out and before the band comes onstage.” 

“Hitting a bunch of green lights in a row.”

“The sound of scissors cutting construction paper.” 

“Being the first person into a really crowded movie theater and getting the prime seats.”

“When you’re really tired and about to fall asleep and someone throws a blanket on you.”

“The smell of rain on a hot sidewalk.”

“Staring out at calm water.”

“Finally remembering a word that’s been on the tip of your tongue for so long.”

“The moment at a restaurant after you see your food coming from the kitchen but before it lands on your table.”

“Frozen walls of air conditioning hitting you on hot days.”

“Catching somebody singing in their car and sharing a laugh with them.”

“Taking off your shoes on a long car ride.”

“When you arrive at your destination just as a great song ends on the radio.”

“Your favorite old, comfy T-shirt.”

“The smell of freshly cut grass.”

“Laughing so hard you make no sound at all.”
(This!!!!)

“Rain hair.”

“When your suitcase tumbles down the luggage chute first after a long flight.”

“Remembering what movie that guy is from.”

“The smell of books.”

“Falling asleep in the backseat of a car late at night on the drive home.”

“The smell of gasoline.”

“Finding the last item of your size at the store.”

“When you’re right near the end of the book, you feel the anticipation pulsing. As you sit still in absolute perfect silence, it’s amazing how your mind is racing, your heart is pumping, and your ears tune out the world around you. Maybe you put the book down to go to the bathroom or grab a glass of water, trying to guess the ending just before you read it: Will she find her mother, will he admit how he feels, will Gryffindor win the House Cup?”

“When you nudge the person snoring next to you and it makes them stop.”
(Made me think of that moment in OITNB season 4.)

It also had some pretty snazzy pictures, which I always love:

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Overall, this book was a satisfying stress reliever, a fun surprise, and a rare hidden gem.

“Life is so great that we only get a tiny moment to enjoy everything we see. And that moment is right now. And that moment is counting down. And that moment is always, always fleeting.”

4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying The Book of Awesome, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!