Thursday, March 15, 2018

Laugh It Up!: Embrace Freedom and Experience Defiant Joy by Candace Payne (Audiobook)

Hey Everyone!

So who remembers this video?

A bunch of you right? Or maybe not, I don't know.  I remember my mom sharing it on Facebook, and then it just showing up everywhere!  Funny thing, I never got around to seeing it, up until about a week ago.

I was rather surprised to receive Laugh It Up! Embrace Freedom and Experience Defiant Joy, the audiobook, by Candace Payne (Chewbacca Mom herself!) for Christmas from my mom.  Apparently, Candace Payne is some sort of inspirational speaker now.  She inspires people to believe in joy and just enjoy themselves.


That word...

I have never heard that word used so much before.  No joke, the word "joy" must have been used EASILY a hundred times in this book.

From Goodreads:

The world knows Candace Payne as "Chewbacca Mom", the wife and mother of two from Dallas who captured the hearts of nearly 200 million people around the world with nothing but a toy Chewbacca mask, a smart phone, and infectious laughter.

Candace's viral moment of simple joy became Facebook Live's top video.  But what the video doesn't show is Candace's storied journey of daunting obstacles on the way to the joy-filled life -- extreme poverty, past trauma, and struggles with self-worth.

Laugh It Up! tells the rest of the story behind the woman in the mask.  Like most of us, Candace has often felt overlooked, undervalued, and insignificant.  But she has also discovered the secrets to unshakeable joy that no circumstance can take away, and Laugh It Up! will help you discover and experience the same.

Join Candace to discover the gift God has given us all to experience life to the fullest.  All you need to do is answer "yes" when joy, whom Candace personifies as a friend, calls you to come and play.

Do your knees knock when thinking the future?  Joy hopes for what can be.
Do you feel unseen and unnoticed?  Joy is content whether backstage or center stage.
Do you feel crushed under the weight of regret?  Joy loves you enough to weep with you, but also enough to help you move on.
When life punches you in the gut, it can be difficult to muster a smile -- must less a laugh.  But with humor and power, wit and wisdom, Candace lights the way forward to a life that is free indeed. 

My Review:

So...first off, I'm just going to say it...

Why did Chewbacca Mom write a book??  

One YouTube Video and that needs an autobiography??  

My mom got me this audiobook, hoping it would cheer me up and get me to laugh.  It is not a cheery book.  Besides her rants about "joy" throughout the book, there was honestly not much to laugh at.  

Where to start...

First off, there were quite a few rants throughout this book.  Not only about "Joy".  There were five minute descriptions about the plots of the Disney movies Inside Out and The Lion King...not necessary.  A lot of people have seen those movies, and if they haven't, they need a one sentence (two tops) description, and then people can look them up themselves.  

Second, her choice of words got to me.  "The struggle is real", was used multiple times, and same with "what evs".  Both of them make me cringe so much anytime I hear them.  From anyone!  Hearing it on audio...ugh.  She also used hashtags in her sentences.  Also cringe worthy!

And third, she was a bit preachy for my taste.  

Now, while this book wasn't the enlightening experience my mom thought I would receive, it had its moments.  I can see where Candace is coming from.  She really does seem like she is trying very hard to fit in, and be a happy person.  I truly admire that.  

I will say this...I still don't really understand why an autobiography was necessary for Chewbacca Mom.  Now, to be fair, some people really wanted this...I guess.  I am just wondering how many people saw the Chewbacca Mom video and thought "I want an autobiography!"??  

This woman has had things happen to her in her life, but so has my neighbor, my cousins, people I see on the street, and even myself.  But I don't think that means those people need to write a book about it.  Shit happens.  Please excuse my language. But seriously!!

Overall Review:

So overall, this book is an okay read, just not something I found to be helpful myself.  I wanted more humor, I think is what it is, but that didn't happen.  And I may have walked away disappointed.  I am giving it two bookies, just because there still were a couple of good moments that I enjoyed.  Like her story of going to Disney World.  But overall, I found it to be an unnecessary rant about "joy", and how a broke mom bought a Chewbacca mask, and made a viral video that has been viewed about 200 million times; and how her entire life before led to that random glorious moment, that led to her five minute fame.  That being said, I think it is admirable that a stay-at-home mom of two boys was able to get out of her shell and get out into the world, and experience things.  

The Romance Bookie :)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Fifty Shades Freed (Movie Review)


So my husband and I celebrated Valentine's Day a few days late, because of work and us both having gotten the flu.  So Saturday we spent a nice day out, getting Nitrogen made Ice Cream at a place called Sub Zero, eating a late lunch out, and seeing the movie Fifty Shades Freed.  Even though this series's luster has died down a bit, since its insanity began a few years back, I still find these to be a guilty pleasure.  While the first movie, I found there to be a few things missing, I loved the second one!  I found the character growth to be phenomenal!  The part where Christian bows down to Anna and you see that moment of submissiveness in him, I found to be incredible!

So yesterday my husband and I saw the final installation in the series.  Now, thinking back on it, it has finally hit me that this is it!  There will be no more, and to be honest, I am going to say the one thing that many people will not agree with me on...I wish they had split the final book into two movies.  I really do.

So if you have been living under a rock these last five or even six years, here is a description of the final movie in the series.

This is from IMDB:

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson return as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades Freed, the climatic chapter based on the worldwide bestselling "Fifty Shades" phenomenon.  Bringing to a shocking conclusion events set in motion in 2015 and 2017's blockbuster films that grossed more than $950 million globally, the film arrives for Valentine's Day 2018. 

Believing that they left behind shadowy figures from their past, newlyweds Christian and Ana fully embrace an inextricable connection and shared life of luxury.  But just as she steps into her role as Mrs. Grey and he relazes into an unfamiliar stability, new threats could jeopardize their happy ending before it even begins.


The movie went right into it!  It wasn't drawn out as in the book, straight to the point.  Christian and Ana got married, they went on their honeymoon.  And then!  And then more sex.  But honestly, the sex isn't my favorite part.  It's Christian and Ana's chemistry.  Like I mentioned above, I think these actors have really grown into their characters.  I personally, am very happy they picked Jamie Dornan.  He is perfect!  

The movie did feel a little rushed at times.  I wish they could have spent more time when it comes to the house Ana and Christian buy, and the bitchy architect.  Plus there was mention of Elena (aka Mrs. Robinson), but she was nowhere to be seen.  We didn't get to really hear much more about Christian's background, besides little information about his foster home life.  

Ana could be a little infuriating at times, just because she wanted to rebel against Christian and be in control of her own life, which I totally get, but at the same time Christian just wanted her to be safe!  I know I know, feminism and all, I shouldn't be agreeing with the controlling billionaire who has some serious issues.  But he really cares about her.  

Overall review...

Four Mookies!   Really enjoyed it, and in fact I want to see again right now, but given insane movie ticket prices, I am just going to have to wait for it to come on blu-ray!  The reason why it got four not five, is because I wish it had gone a little more into details on certain things.  Even if it could have been an hour longer, or split into two!  I am bummed that another series has officially come into an end.  Overall, I do like the movies more than the books. I haven't been able to get into the series EL James has written that has the series in the POV of Christian, her writing just has gotten to me.  I liked them when I originally read them, but listening to the audiobooks has sort of ruined the books for me.  The woman who did Ana's voice...oh god, terrible!

But definitely go see it, if you've ever like the series!  I cannot wait to see it again!

The Romance Bookie :)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

2018 Update

Hello Everyone,

It's been a while.  August...Wow!  My 7 year blog anniversary passed in December, I failed at that.  To be honest, I don't even know what to say at this point.  I've been in a reading rut for quite some time, and trying to find something that peaks my interest, but nothing has.  It's bad.  I know my passion for reading is still there...somewhere.  I mean you don't go from reading over 100 books in a year, to nothing!  I know it will come back.

Things have been difficult, if I'm being honest.  The stress level in my life has been at a 100 for so long now, and the sad part work isn't even what is causing it!

So to give you a couple of updates about what has happened since my last post...

1. As of August I am working two jobs.  One is as an assistant teacher in a toddler classroom at a preschool.  And for my second job, I got a promotion over the summer and became the supervisor of the after school program I worked last school year.  I love both of my jobs!  Working with the children, doing office work as the supervisor, and talking to parents is actually very rewarding for me.  And while I don't have one full time job with benefits, I am working 35 plus hours a week, between both the jobs, and am honestly pretty happy right now.

2.  September 22nd, was one year since my dad passed away.  My mom had been invited by a friend to see the band U2 in concert in San Diego, so we all pushed her to go, to help keep her mind off of things.  My husband, brother, a very close family friend, and I went to a place called Firefly Ceramics, where we got to pick out a ceramic and paint it ourselves.  The store then fires it in a kiln and you get to pick it up a week later. It is a lot of fun, and was the fourth time we had gone since my birthday in July.

3.  October 4th was my husband and I's one year wedding anniversary.  We like to celebrate the date we actually got together which is June 6th, because for one, it was just too close to my dad's passing, and two we have too many anniversaries at this point!

4. December 4th, the biggest fire in California history started.  I happen to live in the small little town it started. Ojai.  Holy moly was that an insane thing to witness!  Those first couple of days, we still stayed behind, and it felt like FallOut.  Everything was just gloomy orange glow, and everyone left were just going through motions.  My husband and I evacuated with our dog, Roxy, for five nights to San Louis Obispo.  Those were the most nerve-wracking five days ever!  We were in the red for over two weeks!  That fire did so much damage.  In the end, the little town I have lived for almost twenty years now proved that it can put up a damn good fight!

That empty little space in the center, not covered in red...yeah that's where I live. Crazy right?!  Unfortunately, hundreds of home were still damaged and destroyed; for the people affected, our town came together and did everything in their power to make sure people were taken care of as much as possible, given the circumstances.

So yeah, that took up quite a bit of our time in December.  While in SLO I was able to finally use my Netflix account (we don't have internet where we live), and start watching Thirteen Reasons Why!  I'll write a post about it, when I finish it eventually! What I was able to see, was really good!

5.  The holidays blurred by.  We tried to make the best out of them.  Things have been a bit rough with taking care of family matters, so that sort of put a damper on that.  But we really tried to make the best out of it.

6.  And then now 2018 is upon us.  Well, it has already been for over a month.  Valentines already passed, and before we know it will be summer again.  Ugh, I'm turing 27 this year!!  That's still considered mid-twenties right??  It will also be NINE years since I graduated high school!  Jeez!  I started this blog a year after graduating!

2018 has been something so far.  It started off with some health problems on my side.  Dealing with those day-by-day.  We don't know a whole lot yet, it may be fixed over time, with the proper steps.  For the past month, I have been spending more time on myself, with the goal to becoming more healthy, and finally taking that step forward, instead of backwards in my weight goals.  My husband is super encouraging, he's been there every step of the way.  Every doctor appointment, and taking walks with me.  He got us a stationary bike, so the mornings I have off, I spend 20 to 30 minutes on that, and stands by encouraging me to move more.  I think I can really do it this time!  Five pounds down already!

So, anyway, for The Romance Bookie things have been insanely slow.  I want all of you reading this to know, I appreciate that you took the time out of your day to do so!  I have a couple of posts coming up hopefully!  At least one tomorrow!  I just saw Fifty Shades Freed in theaters yesterday, so I'll be writing my review for that after this.  And then my husband just finished an audiobook about a week ago, and I asked him to do a guest review, so I'm hoping I can motivate him to do that!  He totally said he would!! :)

Anyway, hope to be back soon with an actual book review.  I do miss it!

Love you all!

The Romance Bookie :)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Everything, Everything Movie Review

Hey Everyone!

Back in May I finished the book Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.  It was the first book to get me out of my reading rut, at least for a little while, this year.  It was hard to put down, it had a great story line, characters, and was very well written to me.  So it's been a crazy few months (when isn't right?!), and I was never able to catch the movie in theaters.  I tried, I really did, but it just never seemed to work out.  But anyway, on Tuesday the movie version of Everything, Everything hit Redbox, so I reserved my copy, and picked it up after work!

My review of Everything, Everything, the movie:

Image is from

I really liked the cast.  Now to be fair, I already had seen the cast, before reading the book, so I was imagining them as the characters already as I read.  Amandla Stenberg, who you may remember as Rue in the first Hunger Games movie, played a really good Madeline.  She was very convincing.  Olly was played by Nick Robinson, who I know from the TV show Melissa and Joey.  His character was good, but I expected there to be more on his background.  The book talked about his family life a little more than the movie, but the movie did cover the basics for sure!  Madeline's mom, played by Anika Noni Rose (who did the voice of Tiana in Disney's Princess and the Frog) was good, but I expected more anger out in the end from Madeline (I don't want to spoil the ending, so read the book, or watch the movie!).  

I did notice something that bothered me...I know this is going to maybe sound a little petty...but Madeline has this rare disease that does not allow her to go outside, due to exposure to germs.  So because she has such a low immune system, one that is almost nonexistent, her house has to be 100% decontaminated and has these systems by the door, that sanitizes anyone that comes into the house.  Anyway, throughout the movie Madeline wears these all white, Birkenstock sandals.  

They look like these...

Photo Courtesy of

Anyway, in one scene in particle, Maddy is sitting on her couch, in her completely 100% germ-free house, and her shoes are up, and you see the soles, and they were dirty!!!  Technically that shouldn't be if she lived in a completely 100% germ-free house, right??

I know, I know, it's a movie, let's not get too picky.  But that stuck out even for my husband, who hasn't read the book, but who knew what it was about, and actually liked the movie too!  

But that was my only complaint.

I will admit, I liked reading the story more than actually watching it.  It was more detailed, and translated into a motion picture did have it be a little slow at times.  Overall, though they did a great job!  It was a lot like the book I thought!


The Romance Bookie :)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess: Royal Crush (#3) by Meg Cabot

Hey Everyone!

So once again, it's been a few months.  I don't even know what is my life anymore, to be honest.  Let's see what has happened since my last post...

1.  I graduated!  I officially have my Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Studies!
2.  My husband and I had a wedding celebration for all our friends and family.  We had quite a bit of family from Germany come for the occasion, which was amazing <3.
3.  My husband and I got a three day mini-getaway to beautiful Palm Springs.  That was amazing!
4.  I just got a promotion for my job, and a second job!

Life has been crazy. This past year...I just don't know.  Next month, it will be a year, since I lost my dad.  That's been hitting me more and more.  Overall though, this summer has just been spent attempting to recuperate a bit.  Things have been a bit everywhere though, just taking care of a lot of things, that I couldn't while doing school.  Without the help of my amazing husband, I don't think I would be getting through stuff anymore.

It's been rough, but the other day I got a wonderful surprise in the mail, when I received Meg Cabot's newest book, From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess, Royal Crush, the third book in the Olivia Grace series!  There is something I can usually always count on to cheer me up, and get me into reading again...Meg Cabot!

From Goodreads:

From the Inside of the Book-jacket: (Normally, I use Goodreads, but that is TOTALLY the wrong description!!):

"Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison is turning thirteen.  Even better, she's finally starting to get the hang of this princess thing.  Just in time too, since her half-sister, Princess Mia Thermopolis, is expecting to give birth to twins any day now!
"It's pretty much the worst time possible for a school field trip, but Olivia must attend the Royal School Winter Games.  Between Grandmere chaperoning, Olivia's snobby cousin Luisa complaining about her relationship woes, and everyone insisting that Olivia has a crush on Prince Khalil (even though she isn't sure that he wants to be friends anymore!), things are quickly turning into a royal mess!"

My Thoughts:

I love this series!  Not only is Olivia Grace absolutely adorable, but it is in the world of Princess Diaries, so I get to hear about Mia and Michael, and Grandmere, and everyone else!  Mia has her twins!!! What are their names?? are just going to have to read to find out!  I was not disappointed! :)

Olivia, who is about to turn thirteen, is growing up, just like Mia in the Princess Diaries.  She has changed even from the first book!  I am really looking forward to watching her grow more and more. She has been through a lot...losing her mom at a young age, living with "family" that doesn't like her, finding out about her father, finding out that she is a princess!  That's a lot for an almost thirteen year old to take in!

Meg's humor is present, of course!  Grandmere still has her amazing sassiness.  Mia has grown A LOT!  She really is an adult now, ready to be a mommy.  I just love that so much!

Overall Rating:

My only complaint I have to wait ANOTHER YEAR for the next Meg Cabot book!!  I am really forward to what is next!

The Romance Bookie :)