Book Related Topics, christmas, Fiction, LGBT, romance

Book Review: The Guncle by Steven Rowley

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“Grief orbits the heart. Some days the circle is greater. Those are the good days. You have room to move and dance and breathe. Some days the circle is tighter. Those are the hard ones.”

Patrick’s sister-in-law and friend, Sara, dies and his brother has to go to rehab for addiction and convinces Patrick to take the children back with him from the funeral to Palm Springs for 3 months while he takes care of his addiction. At first Patrick is very hesitant. Yes, he loves his niece and nephew but in short bursts. He’s fine handling them for weekend long visits with their mother or when he flies back to Connecticut to see his family but being their primary guardian for 90 days alone seems nuts to him.

Patrick has no idea what to expect – he’s been dealing with the loss of the love of his life in a car accident for years and doesn’t think he’s the right person to guide his niece and nephew through their grief when he hasn’t even handled his yet. With humor and a lot of heart, Rowley leads his readers through a journey of grief and family.

I really enjoyed this one. I think most of the characters were very likeable (except Patrick’s sister, yeesh, talk about overreacting to things). I especially liked GUP (Gay Uncle Patrick). I like that they made Patrick a super likable person whose vices and excesses never came before his own niece and nephew. It was easy to find his shenanigans cute and funny because you knew he would never do anything purposely to endanger the kids’ lives. Patrick used to be a famous movie star who was in a popular TV show that made lots of money (a la Friends) and after it ended, he moved out of LA to Palm Springs and stopped socializing with anyone but his gay throuple neighbors.

Even though this book is light hearted and funny, it deals with grief and death in a very real way. Rowley does not at all shy away from the hard parts of losing someone you love. Patrick is very determined to make sure the kids mourn and are able to talk about their mother in an open way, without pressuring them to snap out of it. Patrick even hopes that their kid resilience will be a way for him to mourn Sara too but he soon finds out that he would have to be the adult in this situation and show them a way to grieve in a healthy way. To do that, Patrick is forced to deal with the loss of the love of his life in a tangible way instead of the avoidance game he’s been playing with himself for years.

At some point while reading this book, I had to google – “Is Steven Rowley gay?” because this character would seem super stereotypical and offensive if it wasn’t another gay man writing this. Thankfully, he is gay and all my apprehensions vanished. This is my first Rowley book and I definitely will be picking up his backlist titles especially when I am going through one+ of my reading slumps. This book was utterly delightful and funny and I recommend it. I gave this 3 stars on Goodreads.

Leggy

Book Related Topics, christmas

Our Best and Worst Books of 2020 + Holiday Giveaway!

We can’t believe the year has come to an end. Everyone dealt with the year differently and the way it affected our reading lives was also varied. For some, it was a coping mechanism and they buried themselves between the pages of books. For some (like Taynement), they couldn’t focus enough and their reading suffered and for some (like Leggy), nothing changed and their reading was the same. At the end of the day, reading isn’t about numbers and is about whatever you get out of it as long as it’s a positive experience and we hope reading (and our blog) was a positive space for you this year.

As always, we share with you our best and worst reads of the year and hope to share good tidings by doing our annual giveaway. Rules of the giveaway will be at the end of this post. Be sure to read and enter and good luck!!!

Taynement’s Best:

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This was one of the first books I read this year and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Who knew that the Black Lives Matter movement would make a dent in the summer but the book dealt with race through the lens of a black girl in her twenties, trying to figure out her life and enjoying her youth and an obsessive white woman living in her privilegde bubble. It was a pretty good debut book and I am glad Reid got to get some shine before the world started burning. It has already been optioned as a movie by Lena Waithe and I fully expect Reese Witherspoon to play the white woman, Alix – hehe. You can read my review on it here.

Other favorites:

  • Open Book by Jessica Simpson (It was a close tie for my favorite read. Review here)
  • The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo (Review here)
  • Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
  • Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi Abraham (Review here)

Leggy’s Best:

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When I reviewed this book back in June, I said this would definitely make my top 5 of the year. Well, it landed at the very top. I absolutely adored this book, I thought it was well written and every single word belonged there. I’m sad that it came out during such a terrible year because I would have loved to hear this author speak about this one at my local bookstore. My review is here if you want to take a look!

Other favorites:

  • Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (review here)
  • Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (aka, J. K . Rowling, I absolutely loved this one. It’s a tad bit too long but it’s my favorite of the Strike books so far)
  • Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb (I was bawling at the gym as I listened to the end of this book)
  • Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker (review here)
  • The Cradle series by Will Wight (This is my go-to series every time life gets tough, they’re so good which is why I leave them for my reading slumps. I talked about them here)

Taynement’s worst:

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It was a chore to read. It was trying to outsmart itself. I derived no pleasure from it and it had a twist at the end that had no effect on me – which means, I had checked out. We both read this book and you can read our thoughts here!

Leggy’s Worst:

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This is apparently the only book I gave 1 star this year so I’m going to go with this. I think this book had the propensity to be fun (which is why we picked it for one of our chitchats this year) but it was absolutely terrible. I found so much of it so problematic – the way sexual assault was handled, the way forgiveness was wielded as a crime canceler, I just found it ridiculous. Also, it was so badly written. I remember reading the first 10% on my kindle, putting it down and texting Taynement to see if this was an actual real book. You can read our thoughts on it here.

GIVEAWAY RULES

Okay guys our rules are simple – Leave a comment on here, letting us know your favorite and worst book of the year AND interact with us on Twitter (@2nightstands) or Instagram (@nightstands2). It could be a like, retweet, comment, repost – your choice. We will announce the winner when we return next year and the winner gets a $50 Amazon gift card. That’s enough to purchase a couple of books of your choice!

This is our last post for the year so – Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! and wishing an amazing New Year to all our readers! Here’s to a better reading year in 2021! Thank you for all your support!

Taynement & Leggy

Book Related Topics, christmas, Fiction, literary fiction, Non-Fiction, Self Help

‘Tis The Season – Gift Ideas For The Book Lovers In Your Life

Wow! We can’t believe that Christmas is round the corner. The world is still burning all around us but the fact that we survived this hellish year, only means we deserve an actual Merry Christmas for real. In a bid to make the holiday as close to normal as possible, most of us are still planning to give gifts. Good thing gifts are socially distant conducive. As we do every year, we have curated a list to make gift giving easier for the book lover in your life.

Cookbooks

Cookbooks are great to gift because everyone loves a good cookbook even if they have no plans of cooking from it. Pictured above are some of the cookbooks we loved this year. A lot of the recipes are easy to make with ingredients you can get from your local grocery store so anyone can cook through these or just admire the pictures and dream about cooking through them!

Here are some cookbooks we recommend:

  • The Full Plate by Ayesha Curry (this is very basic and the recipes are all under 1 hour but utterly delicious!)
  • Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin
  • Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten (she’s a household name and she knows good food!)
  • Home Style Cookery by Matty Matheson
  • The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food: A Cookbook by Marcus Samuelsson

Coffee Table Books:

Noone is visiting but because we are spending so much time at home, it’s always good to have aesthetically pleasing, conversation starters ready for when people do start coming over: There were so many coffee table books we loved this year apart from the two pictured above! Some of them are listed below:

Celebrating Blackness

With the kind of year we’ve had, this would be a great time to gift books that’ll help people learn a little more about their neighbors, and it doesn’t have to be very heavy books about race. Support and gift them books from their favorite black authors:

Fiction

Non-Fiction

  • I Don’t Want to Die Poor by Michael Arceneaux
  • Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby
  • Any Black Classic like anything from Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes. Support black art!

Reading Related Knick Knacks

  • Reading Rests
  • Reading Lights
  • Holiday Lettering Artist Pens
  • Or this amazing reading journal from Etsy! (Also, there’s always collectibles in your loved ones’ favorite books that are widely available on sites like Etsy!)
  • They love Harry Potter? Get them this amazing collectible quidditch set!
  • Love Game of Thrones? Get them this miniature Game of Thrones iron throne!
  • From stickers, to bookmarks to stationeries. Visit The Seasonal Pages and you are sure to find something at such affordable prices (Support Small Businesses!)

Good Ol’ Fiction and Non-Fiction Books

The first step to choosing a book for a loved one is finding out what they actually enjoy reading. Find out the genre they’re most comfortable in, the last thing they read from that genre that they actually loved then try to find them something in the vein. There are so many blogs (LIKE OURS!) that are great resources for reading different reviews and making a suggestion. There’s always nonfiction books on topics they’d enjoy like TV shows, books from their favorite personalities (podcasters, reality show characters, athletes etc.) and if all else fails, get a gift card to their favorite book store (Shop locally if possible!)

Self Help

As we’re getting into the new year, a lot of people might be interested in reading books that might help them achieve whatever goals they’re currently setting for the next year. Self help is always a safe go to as a gift. Just be careful what titles you gift them! LOL.

Here are some of our favorite self help books from 2020:

  • Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies: And Other Rituals to Fix Your Life, from Someone Who’s Been There by Tara Schuster
  • Wisdom from a Humble Jellyfish: And Other Self-Care Rituals from Nature by Rani Shah (considering we’re currently living through a pandemic and are looking for different ways to protect our mental health and develop a self care routine, I highly recommend this one!)
  • Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life by Mary Kondo and Scott Sonenshein
  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle

For The Nostalgic (and possibly older reader in your life)

Book Sets of Old Favorites like Tom Clancy, Ken Follet, Mary Higgins Clark etc.

Don’t Forget Yourself!

While you are shopping for everyone else, don’t forget to get yourself something. We are all hoping for a better year and whatever you need to help you plan, read better or remind yourself of the bad ass you are, here are some journals, notebooks (if you would like to take notes/quotes from the many books on your TBR list) and inspirational cards that are great gift ideas.

Hope this was helpful and you find some great ideas on here. Let us know if you have any questions or got some inspiration from the list. Happy Holidays!!

Taynement & Leggy

Book Related Topics, Chick-Lit, christmas, Fiction, movie related topics, romance

Bookish Matchmaking: Pairing Christmas Romance Novels With Christmas Movies!

I know we haven’t even had Thanksgiving yet and I don’t care. This is all we have and I can’t believe anyone would want to take this away from us! We’ve all been through IT this year and we deserve two months of Christmas wrapped in all the corny movies netflix and hallmark shove out every year.

Here are 5 book and movie pairings that should get you through a great safely distanced thanksgiving!

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  1. In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren – Maelyn Jones’ life is not going according to plan, she still lives with her parents, stuck in the same crappy job and now the Utah cabin her family has spent christmas for years with two other families is being sold. After a disastrous last Christmas at the cabin, fearing she has lost all chances with her crush, she makes a wish asking to relive christmas all over again and what do you know? Her wish is granted! This is a typical groundhog day type book.
12 Dates Of Christmas (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

If you like this book, you should check out a christmas movie by abcFamily called 12 Dates of Christmas starring Amy Smart and Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Amy’s character relives her christmas eve blind date with Goseelaar over and over again! (You can find this for free on the Freeform website or rent it on amazon!)

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2. One Day in December by Josie Silver – Laurie meets a strange man at a bus stop, their eyes meet and she instantly falls in love while her bus drives away. She spends weeks looking for said man at the bus stop but never finds him again until her best friend, Sarah, introduces him as her new boyfriend, Jack. And what follows is 10 years of will they? won’t they?

Serendipity (film) - Wikipedia

If you like this book, you should check out Serendipity starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. John and Kate’s characters meet Christmas shopping, fall in love at fight sight, instead of giving her his number like a normal person, she decides to leave it up to fate. 10 years later, they’re both engaged to different people, but of course it’s a movie so… will they? won’t they?

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3. The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss – 34 year old Kate Turner has made her peace with being single. Living in the small town of Blexford, England there aren’t exactly so many men lining up to date her. She’s content with her career and her side gig baking at her friend, Matt’s bakery. But her best friend signs her up to a dating service that promises to find you love in time for Christmas by setting their clients up with 12 blind dates. Will Kate find love with these new men or realise the love of her life has been right under her nose the whole time?

Just Friends (Film) - TV Tropes

If you like this book, you should check out Just Friends starring Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart and Anna Faris. Reynolds’ character loved his high school best friend Amy but she doesn’t reciprocate his feelings after he confesses them to her. 10 years later, he’s lost all his high school weight, become a very successful record executive dating famous Anna Faris. He returns to his hometown for Christmas, realises he still loves his old best friend and sets out to win her love.

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4. Recommended For You by Laura Silverman – Shoshanna Greenberg loves working at Once Upon, her favorite local bookstore. It’s her safe space from everything going on at home and she’s trying to save up money to fix her car. Her boss announces a Christmas holiday bonus that would absolutely save her car and she’s so sure she’s going to win until her rival at work, Jack (WHO DOESN’T EVEN READ!) starts increasing his sales to win the bonus. As the competition heats up, Shoshanna and Jack start spending more time together at the store and sparks start flying.

You've Got Mail (1998) - Rotten Tomatoes

If you like this book, you should check out You Got Mail starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks (OR The Shop Around the Corner which is the original 1940 film!). Now, the original movie makes it very clear this is a Christmas movie so hang in there with me! Meg’s character gets put out of business right around Christmas by Tom’s character. They hate each other in real life but unknown to them they’ve developed a passionate relationship online. When Tom’s character realises who she is in real life, he tries to repair their relationship in real life to see if they ever have a shot at being together. This is one of my favorite Romantic Comedies ever!

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5. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan – Lily has left a red notebook full of dares on a favorite bookstore shelf, Dash finds it and they run around New York City trading dares and getting to know each other without them ever meeting. Are they destined to find each other or is this just going to remain a fantasy world for both of them?

Dash and Lily Review: Netflix's Christmas Romcom Is Jolly Good Fun

If you like this book, you should check out Dash and Lily the adaptation of this same book on Netflix now. Is this Cheating? I feel like i’m cheating but I don’t care!

Have you read any of these? Are you into seasonal reads and movies? Let us know in the comments!

Leggy