Love & Misadventure

Love & Misadventure by Lang LeavLove & Misadventure by Lang Leav
Publisher: Andrew McMeel
Number of pages: 78
My copy: Kindle edition

Lang Leav is a poet and internationally exhibiting artist. Awarded a coveted Churchill Fellowship, her work expresses the intricacies of love and loss. Beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully conceived, Love and Misadventure will take you on a rollercoaster ride through an ill-fated love affair- from the initial butterflies to the soaring heights- through to the devastating plunge. Lang Leav has an unnerving ability to see inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Her talent for translating complex emotions with astonishing simplicity has won her a cult following of devoted fans from all over the world.

* * *

My friend and I were browsing in Fully Booked sometime before Christmas when I spotted this Lang Leav’s Love & Misadventure and started browsing. I opened to a random page, read it, and cursed. Then I called my friend and we started picking random pages, cursing every now and then at the pages we read, because damn, the stuff we read kinda hurt. That was the time I added this book in my wish list, and hoped someone would give it to me. Because, as I said on my Twitter: “Lang Leav’s Love & Misadventure: <3 </3

Love & Misadventure is a collection of poetry and illustrations by Lang Leav that talks about love, and some misadventures in love. It’s quite melancholic and perhaps a bit painful and bitter at some points. The book is short, and I finished reading it while I was waiting in the bank, and it left my heart just a little tender in some parts after I was done.

Except that it didn’t leave me as wowed as I was when I first read it. Perhaps I was expecting it a little too much, especially after I’ve read several pieces before I finally sat down and read the entire collection. That, or this is another case of “mood reading” – when things I read at first resonated because I can relate to it more compared to when I finally read the entire thing. I also felt that some of the poems felt too…young. Not necessarily juvenile, but just something that felt like it was coming from a very young place. Did that make sense?

I don’t know; maybe I just wasn’t in that mood when I was reading this (granted, I read this right after I finished Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly, so that may have affected my appreciation). That’s not to say that the pieces I first read didn’t resonate with me again — it did, but maybe less because I’ve already read them before. I think Love & Misadventure is good, except maybe my personal hype had already faded from when I randomly read some pages of it.

Or, you know, I just really stopped relating to the poems I liked first. If that’s the case…then that’s good, right? :)

Oh, but if you liked the poems in Love & Misadventure and you want more, then I will direct you to Mindy Nettifee’s The First Time and Filipino author Marla Miniano’s blog. I think you’ll like these, too. :)

Number of dog-eared pages: 8

Favorite dog-eared quotes:

Everyone has one – an inventory of lost things waiting to be found. Yearning to be acknowledged for the worth they once held in your life.

Do you remember the song that was playing the night we met?
No, but I remember every song I have heard since you left.

A Time Capsule

This is where,
I began to care,
where I was befriended.

This is where,
my soul was bared,
where all my rules were bended.

This is where,
a moment we shared,
was stolen and expended.

Now this is where,
this is where,
this is where we’ve ended –

Rating: [rating=3]

What My Mother Doesn’t Know

What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya SonesWhat My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
Simon Pulse, 259 pages

My name is Sophie.
This book is about me.
It tells the heart-stoppingly riveting story
of my first love.
And also of my second.
And, okay, my third love, too.

It’s not that I’m boy crazy.
It’s just that even though I’m almost fifteen
it’s like my mind and my body and my heart
just don’t seem to be able to agree on anything.

I heard about What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones from Angie, but since she wrote about it for Retro Friday, I didn’t think it would be easily available here. Imagine my surprise when I spotted this during one of my book hunts. I shouldn’t have bought much then, but I’m easily swayed.

What does Sophie’s mother doesn’t know? A lot, actually, especially the ones about her love life. Sophie is in high school and while she says she’s not boy-crazy, she can’t stop thinking about kissable lips or obsessing about her boyfriend Dylan. She also can’t stop thinking about her online guy friend Chaz. And while we’re at it, she also can’t stop wondering about awkward, unpopular boy Murphy. There’s a lot that Sophie’s mother doesn’t know, and Sonya Sones regales these things to us in this wonderful, easy-to-read novel in verse.

I’m really starting to like reading novels in verse. This is my third verse novel for the year, and they make for excellent in-between book. I read this in less than two hours, and it gave my mind an easy break after all the serious books I’ve been reading. Sophie is a good narrator, and I immediately warmed up to her. She’s popular but she’s nice, and not completely selfish. I liked her relationships with her friends and her family, especially her relationship with her mom, which I could kind of relate with. It wouldn’t be entitled this without the mother aspect, right? While it’s not as strong and dramatic as the mother aspect in A Girl Named Mister, I think it still packs a punch. I especially like this passage:


There’s this
real corny thing
that Channel 5 does every night
after the late movie,
just before the news comes on.

They flash this sign on the screen
that says:
“It’s eleven p.m.
Do you know where
your children are?”

And just now,
when it came on,
I heard this little tap tap tap on the wall
coming from my mother’s bedroom
and I tapped right back.

What My Mother Doesn’t Know is sweet and charming. Despite the less words, it was still very eloquent. Don’t be fooled by how the blurb makes the books so simple or shallow. Sonya Sones hit the nail on the head in portraying a teenage girl’s preoccupations and experiences in first (second and third) loves. This is one of comfort reads that’s quick, easy and just right. If Sonya Sones’ work are all as comforting as this, then I’m definitely getting her other books. :)

Rating: [rating=4]

2011 Challenge Status:
Required Reading – July

My copy: paperback from Fully Booked

Cover and blurb: Goodreads

Other reviews:
Book Harbinger

The Day Before

The Day Before by Lisa SchroederThe Day Before by Lisa Schroeder
Simon & Schuster, 320 pages

Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.

Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.

The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him. And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now—he’s living each moment like it’s his last.

This is a book
written in verse.
My second one.
And I thought
it would be a nice writing exercise
to write a review the same way.

The Day Before was about a girl named Amber
who seemed to have ran away to the beach
to spend one day for herself.
The circumstances were mysterious,
and I was kept in the dark
for most of the time.
Amber meets Cade.
There was attraction.
But there was something about Cade
that disturbed Amber.
Like he had a dark secret.
Amber didn’t want to destroy their moment,
but she also didn’t want to lose him.

This book reminds me of several things.
A Walk to Remember is one.
It had that kind of vibe,
and I was ready to scoff.
How overused is that story?
But I was pleasantly surprised.
It wasn’t like that.

Amber and Cade had problems of their own.
Fears, really.
Unusual circumstances that
people their age shouldn’t deal with.
But they had to.
The problems and situations were real
and scary.
But there was hope.
And it was beautifully done.

The verse writing made it easier to read.
The pop culture references made it fun.
Like Amber and Cade,
I want to listen to Matt Nathanson on a drive.
Although instant attraction is never my thing,
The Day Before made it seem almost sweet.
Like anything was possible.
And I liked that.

The Day Before left me smiling.
This review doesn’t really do it justice.
I’m not even sure if this attempt
is the least bit poetic.
Lisa Schroeder does it so much better,
and I look forward
to getting lost
in her other worlds of verse. :)

Rating: [rating=3]

My copy: e-galley from Simon and Schuster’s Galley Grab

Cover and blurb: Goodreads

Other reviews:
Chachic’s Book Nook
Book Harbinger


A Girl Named Mister

A Girl Named Mister by Nikki Grimes
Publisher: Zondervan
Number of pages: 223
My copy: hardbound, won from Goodreads giveaway

My boyfriend used to think it was cute,
a girl named Mister.
Used to think I was cute.
Used to be my boyfriend
what feels like a million years ago.
Then again,
I used to be a good Christian girl,
the kind who would never, well…
Just goes to show how little people know.
Even I was surprised by me.
Now, I close my eyes
hoping to see exactly where I went wrong.

Mary Rudine, called Mister by almost everyone, has  attended church and sung in the choir for as long as she can remember. But then she meets Trey. His long lashes and smooth words make her question what she knows is right, and one mistake leaves her hiding a growing secret. Another Mary is preparing for her upcoming wedding and has done everything according to Jewish law. So when an angel appears one night and tells her that she—a virgin—will give birth, Mary can’t help but feel confused, and soon finds herself struggling with the greatest blessing the world will ever know. Feeling abandoned, Mister is drawn to Mary’s story, and together both young women discover the depth of God’s love and the mysteries of his divine plan.

* * *

I’m not a poetry person. When I was younger, I tried my hand at writing some poems because I wanted to be a writer. I started off with the poems with correct syllables and enough rhymes, and then I graduated to free verse poems which didn’t have the same poetic tone that other poems I read do. When I got to college and joined our literary folio, I
decided that I am not a poet, and while I appreciate some poems every now and then, I would really rather read prose.

I can’t really remember why I joined the Goodreads contest for A Girl Named Mister by Nikki Grimes. I think I was too excited to join giveaways then, and I was just clicking on “enter” whenever I see it’s a genre or an author or even a publisher I’d like. I’m not always lucky with giveaways, so color me surprised when I found out I won this book. I got kind of hesitant when I found out that this was a novel in verse, but a free book is still a free book. Of course, the book was sent to my dad (and it kind of took forever to get there), and I wasn’t able to get it until he stopped over in the country last weekend before heading to China for a company event.

A Girl Named Mister is a novel in verse about a 14-year-old girl named Mary Rudine, nicknamed “Mister” for her initials. She’s your typical Christian teenager who grew up in church: she’s a part of the choir, her best friends were from church and she believes in preserving her purity for marriage. Then she meets Trey, whose beautiful eyelashes captured her heart and eventually everything she has. As Mister struggles with her secret guilt and its seed, another Mary’s story plays out. This teenage Mary has always been a good Jewish girl, and she was soon to be wed to Joseph. When an angel appears before her and tells her she would be a virgin mother, her world is turned upside down (and it’s not just because she would need to find baby clothes). Mister finds solace in this Mary, and as she gets to know more about her namesake, she finds out just how deep God’s love and how big God’s plans can be.

I breezed through this book in a night. Being written in verse, it was a quick and easy read, almost like I was reading some kind of Psalm. However, the issues it tackled weren’t really easy. The story is as real as it can be, and I know it is happening to other teenage girls everywhere in the world. The good thing about this novel is how the author juxtaposed Mister’s story with Mary’s story. It was kind of hard to fathom at first how Mister, who bore the weight of her sin with her literally, could relate to Mary the mother of Jesus,  whose pregnancy was divinely ordained. I liked how the author showed that even if Mister sinned, He still had a purpose for her and she is not a lost cause. It’s easy to put God in a box and think that He cannot do anything about us when we do something bad. But as I’ve learned — not only in this book but in real life — His ways are higher than our ways, and He is bigger than whatever sin we can ever commit in this life. No matter how big the guilt is, His grace is still bigger and stronger and more powerful than that.

I also liked how real Mary came off in this book. It’s easy to think that Mary as this sweet, solemn-faced woman who followed God’s will without hesitation. In Nikki Grimes’ novel, we see Mary’s struggles as she accepted God’s will, as she told Joseph and her parentsabout the angel’s message and even her struggles as she carried Jesus in her womb. It’s always nice to realize that even if Mary was set apart by God to carry His son, she was also still very human. This book helped me see another side of Mama Mary. I thought the author got it spot on with this particular part:


I always thought
Mary had it easy,
her knowing all along
God was the one who
wrote her story.
Guess I was wrong.
Turns out she needed God
as bad as me. (p. 171)

A Girl Named Mister is a quick but not exactly an easy read. It made me cry and sigh, but in the end it made me smile as I, with Mister, realize the power of God’s forgiveness, the grace of second chances and the depth of His love. :) Highly recommended.

Rating: [rating=5]

Book trailer: I thought the book’s trailer was very creative and almost cinematic. :) Guess the part where I started tearing up again. ;)

[youtube 7EaFRS7vdIE]

Other reviews:
Handle Like Hendrix