To be happy you must have taken the measure of your powers, tasted the fruits of your passion, and learned your place in the world.
Jackie Kai Ellis‘ story was definitely an inspiring read. The Measure of My Powers is a moving memoir about a woman raised in a Asian family of academic achievers, with a successful career as a designer, with a charming but controlling husband, who finds herself in the midst of depression; unhappy, unfulfilled feelings of inadequacy.
With her inner struggles and failing marriage that’s childless, she finds hope in her love of food that sparks her to go on a trip to a pastry school in Paris and to open her own bakery where she finally finds self-acceptance and happiness. She then became a food and travel writer, creator of the bespoke food tours of Paris and winner of many awards in her hometown Vancouver and internationally. However she struggled with a lot before she got to where she was now, which is probably the most inspiring part. Ellis suffered from severe bulimia, anorexia, depression, over-bearing parents and as mentioned before a narcissist of a husband.
This story is told in a essay-like format that jumps around the timeline of Ellis’ life. You travel to the Congo, Italy and Paris with her as you turn each page. Reading each description of what she sees you can easily visualize the scenery and feel like you are there with her. As you keep reading you watch her discover her love for food and art. This is the story of one women’s journey to finding herself. I loved how at the end of each chapter she includes a recipe…from delicious desserts to savoury dishes. I am so excited to try baking and cooking some things!!!
Minus the food recipes Ellis included some inspiring and motivational recipes that you can do yourself to see the positivity and clarity of your life. For example, my favourite exercise was “A Recipe for Seeing Beauty”. You start by collecting a rose, placing the rose near your face, allowing each petal to graze your cheek and close your eyes. What do you smell? Ellis states to consider the scent a fragrance. Then place the rose in a cup, next to your favourite book or journal, right next to your bed and as soon as you wake up in the morning, before opening your eyes breathe in that lovely scent again. Remember the beauty and feelings you had while smelling it, start the day of with a lovely feeling.
For anyone looking for their next amazing read, I would definitely recommend this memoir. It will inspire you to be your best self, to work at what you truly desire and how to overcome obstacles and put your own needs first!!
‘There are moments in life that we may regret. We think of them as mistakes, still feeling the pangs, before we gently remind ourselves that the circumstances, actions, words spoken and the choices we make are mere stones that pave the road we explore, perfect in its own way. And the more of the road we see, the less we tend to regret.’
This quote really stood out to me because, last year, with the help of my friends, I learned a lot about myself and about the term regret. I learned that every decision you make you should never regret anything. No matter what the outcome is, you will always learn from your mistakes and everything happens for a reason to lead you on the path you are on now!! Always put yourself and your happiness first and always make sure you are doing everything right by yourself! The key to happiness is self-love.
You can purchase this on Amazon or Indigo!! Links below!!
Back with another “She Reads” article and I couldn’t be more excited to talk about the books I read this month!! Couldn’t be happier to end off the year readings these picks!!
Thank you for all the support with Pardonne Mes Obsessions! I truly cannot thank all my readers enough for reading every article and supporting the blog all together! Cannot wait to continue this journey and for all the upcoming articles in 2021!
Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
My first and most favourite read of the month was Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella. Shoutout to my best friend Soph for buying me this for my birthday…one of my favourite gifts! Not only is the cover super cute but the storyline was just as good! The characters in this novel were relatable and portrayed a realistic vision of young woman and man getting into a relationship. The story follows a young female named Ava, who believes love should not be found on the many filtered dating apps that categorize your preferences of men based on height or their astrological sign. She believes in real feelings not algorithms. After going through a recent breakup and totally being over dating apps she decides to take a break from the dating and social media world and goes on a writing retreat in Italy to finish her novel. The fascinating thing about this retreat is that you are not allowed to use your real name or give away any personal details about yourself. Your main goal is to focus on your novel without anyone’s personal lives getting in the way of your writing. Each individual on the retreat has to come up with a different name. When a martial arts retreat gets cancelled on the island, Ava who now goes by “Aria” meets a young man named “Dutch” who seem to click right away. Immediately they both fall in love without the pressures of reality setting in. Breaking the rules, they both allow each other to ask one personal question a day. It isn’t until they both go back to London and their true identities “Ava” and “Matt’ settle in, that they realize the fantasy is over and their true selves are let out of the bag. As the fantasy starts the fade, they realize how different both their personal lives are. From food habits, to annoying habits and interests…are they really compatible? Will they be able to overcome their differences and adapt to each other’s lives? Read this book to find out!!! I found this novel to be relatable in the sense that I think the same way as Ava…I don’t like dating apps and believe they are trash. It was refreshing to see a novel that touches on relationships where both individuals are completely different and go through different obstacles that both try to overcome in order for the relationship to work. I also loved how Ava travelled to Italy for a writing retreat, that is a dream of mine!! Working on a novel in Italy?! I’d be gone in a flash!
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Rating: 4 out of 5.
I was super excited to read this novel because the show Little Fires Everywhere had premiered earlier this year! Again, shoutout to my best friend Jess for giving me this fantastic read for my birthday! I am that nerd who likes to read the book before watching a movie or TV show and I have to say, the directors did such an amazing job following along with the storyline except changed up the ending, which only made sense for the show to start up a second season. The storyline follows a mother-daughter duo who move every so often and upend their lives and the picture-perfect Richardson family. Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl Warren, move to Shaker Heights, Ohio in 1977 and become tenants of Elena Richardson. The Richardson family is sought out to be this perfect family with no flaws however when a huge legal battle tears the town apart, both families uncover disturbing and real truths about themselves and the past that disrupt everything. The novel also emphasizes the topic of motherhood and displays the true power of what they would do to not only protect themselves but would go to any lengths to protect their kids. The ambition and message of this novel is super powerful, and I was so glad to see Reese Witherspoon bring this book to life. I loved that the novel was set in the 70s because you got to read about a different era and see how different life was even with the smallest rules that were set. I definitely recommend reading this novel, I finished it in one night, I could not put it down.
Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Datingby Christina Lauren
Rating: 4 out of 5.
The third read of the month was following one of my favourite tropes…best friends who fall in love with one another, without realizing until…they see them with other people. Another guilty pleasure read. Christina Lauren’s novels are all my favourite because it always follows a relationship trope that everyone always loves. Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating follows Hazel who is “a lot to take” in her words and believes no men is up for the challenge of sticking around and dealing with her. She is honestly such a good person just looking to have fun wherever she is! She is a light in a dark room. Then there’s Josh, who has known Hazel since college…since she threw up on his shoes at a party and is the complete mellow opposite of Hazel. Fast-forward 10 years later they meet again, only for Hazel to find out Josh’s ex cheated on him and has completely turned his life upside down. Now that’s where Hazel comes in and starts being the breath of fresh air and ball of fun that Josh has always needed in his life. Although that doesn’t mean they date…at least not each other. Instead, they pick dates for one another and setup a double-blind date every week, that progressively gets worse and worse each passing week. Setting each other up on horrible blind dates means there is nothing between them…right? This novel is both funny and touching at the same time. Watching both Josh and Hazel setting each other up when it is super clear as a reader that the connection and tension between the two characters is there, is such a fun and frustrating read! A Christina Lauren novel isn’t a Christina Lauren novel without a little bit of steamy scenes in it, so that is a bonus! Christina Lauren novels never disappoint, I will always recommend these novels to anyone looking for a fun romance to read! Also, shoutout to Christina Lauren for noticing my story and reacting to it, which made my entire week!!!
Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Alright I am super excited to talk about this novel because it is written by one of my all-time favourites…Colleen Hoover!! I will forever be a die-hard Co-Ho fan and will forever recommend her novel to anyone and everyone looking to read a heart-dropping, emotional, fun…rollercoaster read. Heart Bones has such a meaningful title, and you don’t realize the significance till later on in the story and after finding out what it means your heart will melt. The story follows a young girl named Beyah who has not had her life given to her on a silver platter. She has made it so far on her own without the help of her rich daddy and her mother who is a drug addict. An unexpected death leaves Beyah with nowhere else to go but to her dad’s summer house in Peninsula, Texas who she hardly sees and knows. Her plan was to stick it out for the summer, head low and not making friends till she has to leave that dreadful place and head to college although her neighbour Samson, disrupts that plan. Samson and Beyah have nothing in common, Beyah comes from a life of poverty where Samson comes from a life of wealth. The one thing they do have in common is that they are both drawn to sad things. There connection is to tense, and they decide to both have a low-key summer fling till they both have to go their separate ways on August 2nd. Although, things are too good to be true and Beyah can’t ever seem to get a break in life. Can Beyah and Samson overcome the rip current that’s about to wash away their little fling? Read this novel to find out!! Colleen Hoover always finds a way to throw you off in her novels. I will literally be sitting in bed, thinking everything is normal then suddenly I find myself gasping and putting the book down to process the shocking turning point she threw into the storyline. It is always unexpected and something that you could never even think will happen in the story and Colleen Hoover thinks of it and makes it 1000000 times more dramatic and entertaining. It’s the turning points in her novels that not only make the storyline unique but also distinguishes her characters from other novels by not making them “basic” instead adding a little spice to their lives. This novel was just released in July and definitely has summer vibes although is a fantastic read. Anyone and everyone should definitely read this! Shoutout to Colleen Hoover for seeing my stories and replying to my messages on Instagram! Truly a dream come true!
I hope you guys are influenced to go out and purchase some of these books for your next read!!
She reads books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live
– Annie Dillard
A good book should make you feel all sorts of emotions while also inspiring and challenging you in any way. It should make you feel like you are on a rollercoaster and don’t want the ride to end. If you know me, you know I’m a HUGE bookworm. I read 24/7 and tend to binge books and finish them in one night. Backtrack to October, I’ve read quite a lot of books that month and I wanted to share my top 4 recommendations for my fellow bookworms looking for that next AMAZING read!
“She Reads” will be a monthly segment, where I will discuss all my favourite books I read during that time, that I think you all should read!! If you are a person who does not read but would like to start to enjoy books like I do, this article is perfect for you too!!
The first book I’d like to recommend is “Normal People” by Sally Rooney.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
“Normal People” has got to be one of my all-time favourites reads! I spotted this book in Chapters when I had gone one day with a friend. She told me that there was a show based off this book that was amazing and of course I had to read the book first…yes, I am that nerd. Normal People is about two characters Marianne and Connell, their secret friendship and their on and off again relationship. They are two young individuals who tend to drift apart many times throughout their lives only to always find their way back to each other. All they have in common, is that they grew up in the same town, Dublin, Ireland. The story starts when Marianne and Connell are in high school and each chapter demonstrates a certain amount of time that has passed throughout their lives and friendship. Issues of class, privilege, submission, emotional and physical pain come into play with the characters making it a very intriguing read. I read this book in one night, I COULD NOT put it down!! I’ve gotten a couple of my friends to read it and they love it too!!! It may seem like a cheesy romcom read, but instead Rooney tells the story of a true, raw life-like relationship and really touches upon the transformative power of relationships.
The second book I’d like to recommend is “It Ends with Us” by Colleen Hoover.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
“Fifteen seconds. That’s all it takes to completely change everything about a person. Fifteen seconds that we’ll never get back”
Okay bear with me, I have a lot to say about this book and author. You guys are probably going to hear me mention Colleen Hoover quite a bit, in future recommendations. Over the last couple months, she has really grown to be one of my favourite authors. Any book she writes is always honest, raw and powerful. One of my friends recommended this book to me as well, we both share the same love for this author. Just telling you guys it’s a Colleen Hoover novel should be enough for some of you to know she’s amazing. This was the first Colleen Hoover book I read and I immediately ordered three more of her books after reading this one. I read all her books so quick it devastates me when the book comes to an end. Her stories always bring you through a rollercoaster of emotions. I always end up crying a couple times throughout the duration of me reading them. AGAIN, I read this book in one night. It wasn’t like anything I expected, the ending of this book was surprising, shocking and wow…I could go on and on about this story, but I don’t want this article being 100 pages long.
It Ends with Us is about a girl named Lily who hasn’t always had it easy in life, but that has never stopped her from working hard and reaching her goals. She grew up in Maine, graduated college and moved to Boston and started her own business. She meets a neurosurgeon name Ryle who is stubborn, assertive and super arrogant, but on the other hand he is brilliant and smart. Ryle’s loathing for relationships is quite straightforward…he hates them. Throughout the story Lily finds herself becoming an exception to his “no dating rule” and questions why he had the thoughts and opinions he did about relationships in the first place. Another love from Lily’s life, Atlas, returns and you can only guess what would happen next. Before you assume, “It Ends With Us” is so much more than a “love triangle”.
I highly recommend reading this as the message is very moving and powerful. You don’t quite figure out the message at the beginning of the book, it is subtly there, you just don’t know it. As you continue reading the story, you realize towards the end how significant each moment of Lily’s life relates to the message.
“The fact that it is unexpected for you as the reader is very important because it’s also unexpected for the heroine”. I totally agree with this statement from a review off of the app Goodreads because once you realize the purpose of the story and the message, you are working with Lily herself and noticing how she can grow from trauma and become powerful and you feel as though you are experiencing that growth with her. I am not going to spoil anything by giving away the message, but this is a fantastic read, I would recommend this to everyone and anyone.
The third book, of course is another Colleen Hoover novel, “Ugly Love”
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Colleen always finds a way of packing so many emotions into one story with interesting storylines and deep character backgrounds, it’s insane. You guys are probably going to think I’m crazy but again I finished this book in one night. Ugly love was nothing like I expected it to be. Hoover always finds a way of surprising you whether it is at the beginning of the story or towards the end when your emotions are ALREADY all over the place.
Tate Collins is one of the main characters of the story. She is studying to be a nurse and lives in the same building as her brother Corbin. Unlike many typical novel storylines, Tate’s character was relatable and realistic. Miles Archer is the “bad boy” of the novel…an airline pilot, super mysterious and honestly kind of a dick until you got to know his past and his story. When Tate and Miles meet, they automatically hate one another and don’t even consider themselves as friends. The only thing they have in common is their physical attraction for one another. Miles is the type of guy who does not want love and Tate feels that she has no time for love, so that leaves only one thing that the both of them want from one another…sex. After they plan this set-up, Miles has two rules for Tate.
Don’t ask about my past.
Don’t expect a future.
Now when you read that you may think, wow what an asshole, but as you get farther into the story you realize he’s far from that. As one can only infer, they can’t handle the situation at all, and feelings get involved and it only ends up being messy and hard for the both of them. The novel switches from Tate’s POV to Miles’ in a mix of both present-day storylines and flashbacks. As you slowly read pieces of Miles past, they start to align with his present actions, and you begin to understand why he chose to be this way. The relationship between Tate and Miles is so much more than one could imagine. He does anything and is willing to sacrifice anything not to feel love or be put in a position where he could be close to a real relationship. It’s not your typical “bad boy and nice girl” storyline, it’s realistic and deeper than ever. The scenes in this book were written so realistically you feel yourself wanting to read more and more and not wanting to put the book down for one second. Ugly Love is the perfect title for this novel, because it shows you the before and after mess of a relationship of two very different people. I am not over-exaggerating at all, but my heart physically hurt after reading this book. I remember messaging my best friend, spamming her about how this book made me feel after finishing it, even though she honestly probably was confused. I must’ve cried for five minutes…if you haven’t noticed by now, I am a super emotional person. I definitely recommend this to anyone. Any Colleen Hoover novel will move you, inspire you and make you feel all sorts of emotions.
I was going to choose another Colleen Hoover book, but I decided to switch it up a bit and present the final book as “The Unhoneymooners” by Christina Lauren.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Confession time…my ultimate guilty pleasure is reading an enemy to lovers’ romance. The build-up, the tension, the “grab your hair” moments because you just want the two characters to be together, is one of the best and most stressful feelings in the world.
The Unhoneymooners is exactly that. This story is about Olive and her twin sister Amy. Olive believes she is the unlucky sister and that nothing interesting every happens to her. She has Amy thought out to be the better twin; she is getting married, has an amazing fiancé and thinks her whole life was written out of a storybook. As they are both planning Amy’s wedding, Amy forces Olive to spend the day with Ethan…her sworn enemy who just so happens to be the best man. After a whole day hatred banter between the two, all Olive wants is to get through 24 hours of her sister’s wedding in peace, so she can return to her boring life.
But…when the whole wedding party including the bride and groom, gets food poisoning from eating bad fish, Ethan and Olive are the only ones not affected. That also means the bride and grooms Honeymoon in Hawaii is on the market. Amy and her fiancé force both Olive and Ethan to take the trip. They both set their hatred aside and take the trip of a lifetime to Hawaii. Olive pretends to be her sister Amy so that the resort doesn’t get suspicious…which means Olive and Ethan have to pretend to be newlyweds. The weird thing is…she doesn’t mind pretending. In fact, she enjoys this little role play.
Again…if you are looking for that cheesy enemy to lover romance with amazing scenes I would definitely recommend any of Christina Lauren’s books!!! Christina Lauren is another one of my favourite authors, stay tuned for more book reviews on her stuff!
Hope you guys enjoyed this October review and I hope this intrigues you to go pick up one of these books!!! November has been crazy busy due to school, work and the many assignments professors have decided to assign us…BUT stay tuned for December where I will be catching up on my reading with a huge pile of books that are currently on top of my dresser and honestly I cannot wait to start reading again!!