Amanda Reads: How to Be a Heroine

Long time no see, internet people! I’m coming out of hibernation today because I’ve just finished my second semester of graduate school, which means… free time! I’ve managed to squeeze in a little fun reading here and there in between my coursework and work work, but not quite enough time to write blog posts about books. But now… you better believe I’m back at it!

How to be a HeroineI’ve just had the immense pleasure of reading Stephanie Ellis’s How to be a Heroine. I’ve had this book, which I found at a used bookstore, on my shelves for quite some time. The purple cover and title are what called me to this book, but between the pages I found so much more to keep me reading.

I’ve been rather book slumpish lately with occasional peaks where one book will grab me, and How to Be a Heroine was that book. I found myself daydreaming about reading this book whenever I was supposed to be doing non reading things. I just devoured it.

How to Be a Heroine is part life-in-books, part memoir and part literary criticism–checking off all kinds of boxes for me. Ellis talks about the journey of re-reading formative books, re-evaluating what the heroines meant for her when she was younger and what she finds in them now.

At times, she realizes her heroines weren’t quite the models she needed and other times, the heroines still stand up today. Regardless, it’s a fascinating reflection on what it means to grow up with books. For readers, the books we read aren’t just hobbies–what we find in the pages impacts and changes us in real ways.

Though I hadn’t read every book discussed in How to be a Heroine, there was still so much to connect to in what it means to be a woman and the process of growing up and coming into your own as a person.

For the bookish woman who remembers being a bookish girl looking for examples on how to live her best life, I highly recommend this book. I’m already looking forward to re-reading it in year or so.

Amanda Reads: Small Admissions

Happy Tuesday, bookternet! This week’s book is Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel, which is billed as a book for fans of Sophie Kinsella and The Nanny Diaries.

(Full disclosure: I received an egalley of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review).

small-admissionsBecause of the Sophie Kinsella comparison, I expected the love story to take more of center stage in this book than it did. Instead of boy meets girl, this book is much more about the main character, Kate, trying to put herself back together and find herself after a devastating breakup that leaves her in a deep depression. Of course (spoiler alert) we later learn that there was a bit more to her breakdown than the breakup alone.

This book was interesting because it was told from so many different perspectives, flipping between Kate, Kate’s sister, and Kate’s friends so that there are many different plotlines happening at once. It sort of reminded me of the book version of those intricately woven romantic comedies like He’s Just Not That Into You and Valentine’s Day. Since I’veĀ  got a soft spot for those movies, I liked this quality.

The multiple perspectives also lent a bit of mystery to the story as it unfolds. We get the sense that each character is hiding some details about what exactly happened between Kate and Robert, and the plot thickens as each character heaps on more secrets. This really helped keep me invested.

Ultimately I was a bit unsatisfied by the love story, but probably because as a rom-com loving girl I wanted a bit more sparkle and shine to it. All in all, though, I enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who needs a light, heartwarming read with a little more under the surface to uncover.