JNG’s Weekly Round-Up ~ What I’ve Read and Been Up to Recently

Hello and Happy Sunday, dear Readers!

My apologies for not having a Weekly Round-Up for you last week.  I had every intention of posting a review for the book I finished two weeks ago last weekend, but I must admit, I had a VERY busy few days and just didn’t get around to even turning on my computer.

Bruce Springsteen and his daughter, Jessica, on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar.

You see, last weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving, and although I had Monday off work to celebrate the holiday, my father and I actually took a short trip to New York City over Saturday and Sunday.  This wasn’t a spontaneous sightseeing excursion by any means (we’ve both been to New York before) – the reason for our trip was to see Bruce Springsteen’s show on Broadway.  For those of you who don’t know, Bruce Springsteen has been doing a concert/storytelling show on Broadway for quite some time now (he’s performed over 200 shows already, and received an honorary Tony Award), and this performance is EXTREMELY hard to get tickets to: you had to sign up to be part of a lottery over a year ago, wait in the hopes that you would receive an access code for tickets from said lottery, and then log onto Ticketmaster super fast to use this code to try to actually get tickets.  My dad signed up for the lottery as soon as it became available, but it wasn’t until something like 6 months later that he actually received a ticket code and somehow (we will never be able to figure out how!) managed to snag two tickets. This was perfect because my dad and I are the two biggest Springsteen fans in the worldin our family, and so we knew that this was the perfect occasion for a father-daughter trip to NYC.  We booked our flights and hotel back in the summer and started eagerly counting down the days.

And finally…finally…last Saturday morning we landed in New Jersey and made the taxi ride over to our hotel, the Radio City Apartments in the heart of Times Square.  This hotel was fabulously located, within steps of the Walter Kerr Theatre, and as we were taking a little walk around to scope out the area and get some pictures in front of the theatre, we noticed a little queuing area by the stage door with a metal barrier.  We asked a woman standing behind this barrier what it was for, and she told us that Bruce Springsteen himself would be arriving at the theatre a few hours before the concert to sign autographs and chat with his fans.  We knew instantly that we had to be part of this experience (we had, after all, come all the way from Canada and sacrificed turkey and stuffing and gravy back home for this event), and so we quickly changed and got settled into our hotel and rushed back to the theatre to line up.

Truth be told, we did wait outside, in this line, for about two hours before Springsteen arrived, but the experience is one I will never forget!  We chatted with fellow Springsteen fans and the time absolutely flew by, our excitement building with each passing minute.  And, when Springsteen finally did roll up…well, it was definitely worth the wait to see my father speak to Springsteen, show him his Born to Run tattoo (told you my dad was a super fan, haha!), and get a Canadian flag we had brought with us signed!

My dad and I outside the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York City.
My dad chatting with and getting an autograph from The Boss.
Springsteen leaving the theatre after the incredible show.

All this to say that, naturally, when I got home on Sunday night I was exhausted and so riled up from all the excitement that all I wanted to do was sleep and relax and read on Monday, rather than posting a Weekly Round-Up.  I also didn’t know how to put into words at that time what a special experience the weekend was and how much I will always cherish these memories that I made with one of my best friends and my biggest role model, my father! ❤

In any case, here are the two reviews that I have been meaning to post, of the short and sweet books I finished recently.  I’m currently reading the epic and very looong novel A Little Life, so I will most likely be giving it a larger review very soon, but hopefully you’ll enjoy these smaller reviews for now…

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Emergency Contact is a cute book, there’s no doubt about that (just look at that cover!), but it didn’t wow me. I liked Penny and Sam as characters and I thought their voices (both in their internal monologues and their texts to each other) were unique, but I found myself wondering at the point when I only had 100 pages left if anything was ever going to happen.  The plot is just so slow-moving, and although the relationship between Penny and Sam does develop throughout it, the characters themselves don’t actually grow very much at all.  There also isn’t really any sort of climax or major moment in the novel – everything kind of just moseys along at a leisurely pace.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and my reading experience was pleasant…but the novel didn’t really stand out for me as a hit at any point.

That being said, there were a few quotes that I thought were cute, so I may as well leave them here…

“‘Well….Does he say good morning to her in a way that’s reassuring?  To where it feels as if he’s holding her hand for the entire rest of the day until he says good night?  Would she be happy for him if his happiness meant that she couldn’t be with him?’”

“She smiled.

Sam smiled back.

She died.”

Overall, a pretty good read, but nothing outstanding.

❥❥❥ (out of 5)

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

I liked This Lullaby a lot, and I’m a bit sad that I wasn’t able to give it the proper attention it deserved because of a very busy weekend. This is the sort of novel I could’ve finished in 2 days, if not for the fact that I was pulled in a bunch of different directions – I did find, though, that every time I sat down to read it, I was sucked into the narrative and Remy’s voice very quickly. Remy was really the standout aspect of This Lullaby for me because she has this sassiness and sarcasm to her narration that I really enjoyed! She sounds so different from any of the YA heroines I’m used to encountering, and while her relationships with Dexter, her friends and her mother were interesting, it was the way Remy talked and described things that kept me going back to read more pages. The story isn’t out of this world or totally unique, but Remy is as a character and narrator, and so that made reading the novel feel very worthwhile for me.

All this to say that I would certainly read another novel by Sarah Dessen, but I am glad that I picked up This Lullaby first because I haven’t spent time with a badass main character in a classic YA novel in some time!

❥❥❥.5 (out of 5)

Thank you, as always, for continuing to come back to read my little posts!

xo

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

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