Book Review: Landline, Rainbow Rowell

What would you do if you found a phone that could call your past? Would you use it? Would you change anything?

Georgie McCool (aka owner of the greatest name in the universe) is on the verge of the career breakthrough she’s been waiting for since University. After two decades of slaving away writing other people’s shows, the show she’s been creating with her best friend Seth is one meeting away from finally being picked up by a network. The only problem is, that meeting is occurring two days after Christmas. A Christmas she’s supposed to be spending in Omaha with her husband, Neal, and their two daughters. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Georgie chooses her show because there’ll be other Christmases, but she never expected Neal and the girls to go to Omaha without her. Now stuck by herself in LA with a looming deadline and an empty house, Georgie begins to wonder if she’s made the right decision. When she picks up the old landline phone in her childhood bedroom to call Neal and try to work things out, she never expects to be connected to Neal…in 1998. Suddenly faced with the opportunity to fix her broken marriage before it ever began, Georgie’s whole understanding of life, time, and fate come crashing down around her.

landline_cover

Rainbow Rowell is one of my favourite authors (Fangirl and Eleanor and Park are two of my most consistently recommended YA novels), and Landline does not disappoint.  I loved Georgie as a protagonist (and not only because we share a name) because she was so flawed in boring, every day ways. She spends too much time at work, and is selfish, and sometimes forgets to do her laundry. There was nothing extraordinary about her (well, apart from her kick-ass Hollywood writing career), she was just a woman in her late thirties who had messed up her priorities and needed to deal with the consequences. Landline was quirky and fun, heartwarming and relatable. You’ll finish the novel wishing Seth and Georgie were your friends, and hoping that one day, you might find a spouse as understanding and forgiving as Neal. If you’re anything like me, you’ll also develop a sudden urge to become a comedy writer (which, seeing as I’m basically the least funny person in the world, is definitely not going to happen), and also really, really wish time-travel-through-phone-line was possible.

Although I picked up Landline from the YA shelf at my local Dymocks, I wouldn’t really classify it as such (mainly because it revolves around thirty-somethings rather than teens), but if you’re looking for an enjoyable read (YA or otherwise) without any depressing or heavy content, I can’t recommend Landline enough.

RRP: $22.99
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Rating: 4.5/5 

georgie x

Comparison and Contentedness

One of the worst habits I deal with on a day to day basis is comparing myself to those around me. Are they skinnier than me? Prettier? Smarter? More successful? More spiritual? In a happy relationship? If there’s a way in which I can discover a new failing within myself, I’ll latch onto it. It’s been going on for years, but it was only the other day, after finding myself crying in bed following a conversation in which my friend told me about her happy new relationship that I began to realise the extent of the impact it was having on my life.

My own life is not terrible, by any stretch of the imagination, and that’s something those around me frequently bring to my attention. “But Georgie,” they say, “you have an amazing job/you’re doing really well at uni/you have these awesome friends/your family are so supportive/you just won a trip to Paris/etc./etc.”. It’s at this point that I bring out one of the most used phrases in my vocabulary – “yeah, but…”. Instead of accepting the positivity they’re offering me, rather than seeing my life as it appears to outsiders, I’ll whip out my half-empty glass and go on to complain about everything wrong with my life. All I can think is “well, if they have it, why can’t I? I’d finally be happy if I had that”. Instead of counting my blessings, I’ve become obsessed with my perceived burdens. I’m single. My anxiety makes it hard for me to participate. My job can be stressful. I could be doing so much more than I currently am, I should be doing so much more.

Somewhere along the line, I missed the lesson on being content with what I have, with what God has given me. I managed to become obsessed with what I could have, rather than being thankful for the blessings right in front of me.

A few months ago, my mum decided to do one of those gratefulness challenges on Facebook. At the time, I laughed at her, but I’ve come to realise that I should be adopting one myself. Living moment by moment, day by day, and focusing on all the things I’ve been given rather than all the things I’m missing out on is the first step to potential happiness.

God has these amazing plans for our lives, plans that He mapped out for us before we were even born, and they are so much better than we could ever dream of. But we need to trust in Him and His timing, or we risk sabotaging everything He is working towards in our lives. If I spend too long stuck in my room crying about what I don’t have, I might miss out on what I could have, on what God wants me to have. Remembering we’re all on our own journeys, and at different stages of said journeys, is something I really need to work on. Life is not a race, as much as I feel like it is at times. Nobody wins for getting married first, or for having the best career at the youngest age. That’s just not the point of life, and I need to stop believing that it is.

Overcoming my comparison problem and finding a content heart is not something that is going to happen overnight, but I do believe that it is something which I can conquer (with a lot of work, and help from God).

So, today I am grateful that I am currently spending a week at home recharging my batteries, and that my plans for tonight involve eating one of my favourite meals, and marathoning Psych season six with my parents. Sometimes it truly is the smallest things that can make our souls the most joyful.

georgie x

Gig Review: A Great Big World

It could be argued that my music tastes are not exactly…sophisticated. In the past year I’ve seen 5 Seconds of Summer play four times, and One Direction twice. I spent a lot of money to see Miley Cyrus a few years ago, and cried when she played 7 Things. I also cried when I saw Big Time Rush at SlimeFest. Chances are, if it’s aimed at twelve to fifteen year olds, I will be there in a heartbeat. Target audiences? Who needs them!

Last night I went to my first concert that was not aimed at tweens, and I was a little apprehensive. I mean, what do you listen to when you take the hysterical twelve year olds out of the equation?!

The band in question was A Great Big World, of Say Something fame. I had come across one of their songs on tumblr accidentally, and instantly bought their debut album because it was so perfect. Aside from Say Something, their style is probably best described as super enthusiastic pop. The kind of music you just have to smile while listening to.

Despite having their album on repeat for months, I knew little of the actual band. Until I asked my friend Michelle at the concert, I wasn’t even sure which country they were from (which is a big deal for me, the girl who spent the entirety of year nine looking at The Jonas Brothers’ house on google earth). It turns out they’re two twenty-something guys from New York City, Chad Vaccarino and Ian Axel, but they also brought along a pretty kick-ass backing band.

From the moment they started playing The Circle of Life to introduce themselves onto stage, the only word I could think of to describe both the band and their performance was fun. They were bouncing around and genuinely so excited to be there. Chad, especially, has the best smile I have ever seen. He smiles with his entire face, and it was near impossible to not feel immensely happy while looking at him.

A lot of concerts these days are so utterly commercialised, and it’s like the artists are merely reading a script (“Hey *insert city*! You guys are the best crowd we’ve ever had, we’re so excited to be here!), but last night Chad and Ian were positively radiating enthusiasm. Even when playing their two sadder songs, Say Something and I Don’t Want To Love Somebody Else, the absolute joy of their performance was evident.

I’ve been trying to find a youtube video to capture the perfection of seeing them live, but everything I’m finding is coming up short. They were just so happy to be playing for us, and we were so happy to have them there. When you add Chad’s pink trumpet and enthusiastic triangle playing and Ian’s bouncing keyboard skills to the equation, you’re left with something that can’t quite be replicated unless you were actually there, in that moment.

Living in the moment was actually one of the big themes of the concert, with their songs This Is The New Year and Cheer Up! being all about finding happiness and fresh starts in every situation. This Is The New Year is definitely one of my favourite songs by them, and you may know it from Glee (although, you also may not, as everyone with any sense stopped watching that show many years ago). It’s a reminder that new years are not limited to January 1st, and that you can take any moment to make a change. 

My absolute favourite song by them, however, is Rockstar. I was so excited when they opened the show with it, and a teensy bit disappointed that the nature of concerts is that you can’t play the same song twice.

 It’s a big deal for me to say this, because I have seen almost all of my favourite bands in concert, but I think A Great Big World last night was the best live show I’ve ever seen. It was so down to earth, so positive, so catchy, so fun. I started the show with a smile on my face, and it didn’t leave until I went to sleep last night. If all you know of A Great Big World is Say Something, do yourself a favour and look up the rest of their music. They’re playing Brisbane tonight, Melbourne tomorrow, and Auckland on Tuesday, so it’s not too late to catch them on this tour. Otherwise, you can cross your fingers with me hoping it won’t be too long until they’re back in Australia again. 

frangipani princess xoxo

 

Is this thing on?

Uh, hi. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? (Almost four months. It’s been almost four months.) 

What have I been doing in those four months? Not much, really. Another semester of uni, deepening my relationship with God, being run off my feet at work, and uh, winning a trip to Paris. It’s been a busy four months, I suppose. I keep intending to post and then suddenly I blink and it’s well, halfway through July. 

I miss writing though. The feeling of vomiting your thoughts into cyberspace in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, they’ll be read. 

A girl I went to school with died today. We weren’t really friends, but she was part of my rag-tag circle at lunchtime. She was one of the five people in my French class. We weren’t really friends, but her death has hit me in an unexpectedly hard way. It’s been a surreal reminder of how short life is, and how it doesn’t wait for you to stop watching the latest season of your new favourite TV show (In The Flesh, if you were wondering) to get out there and achieve your dreams. It’s not going to wait for me to blink and suddenly find myself in December, or this time next year, or aged thirty. It doesn’t wait. And so I’m going to stop hoping it will, and take this terrible, horrible reminder to start living now, to start chasing your dreams today, because who knows what’s coming tomorrow. Life is heartbreakingly too short to live a subpar existence, to not strive towards happiness with every single step. So that’s what I’m going to start doing. And sometimes those steps will involve my bed, mcnuggets, and binge-watching TV shows, because achieving your dreams and dying of stress doesn’t sound like a very good life either. 

Here it goes? 

frangipani princess xoxo

 

On Turning Twenty, and Seven Years of Frangipani Princess

I turned twenty last week. I’m no longer a teenager, which is kind of a weird circle because when I first started this blog, I wasn’t a teenager either. It hasn’t felt like seven years, but here we are. My entire teen life is catalogued within the pages of Frangipani Princess (crazy, I know). This blog has been pretty silent for the last few months, and I guess in a way it would be fitting to stop writing here, close the blog down. Leave it as it stands, a chronicle of my life as a teenage wannabe journalist.

But even though my dreams and priorities have shifted (although my love of the Jonas Brothers and fast food remains), I can’t quite bring myself to say goodbye. I’m working in PR at the moment, and don’t think I’ll ever regain the burning passion I once had to work in magazines/be a journalist, but there’s something nice about having an outlet for the words that sometimes just need to come out.

Blogging has been so much fun. It has introduced me to some amazing people, given me some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and been a place in which I could develop my writing skills. I’ve gained internships and mentors and been able to turn my twelve-year old dreams into somewhat of a reality. It’s been crazy and fun and absolutely everything I could ever have hoped or dreamed for.

The thing about growing up, however, is that you realise your dreams might not be what you actually want, or need, in the bigger scheme of life. God gave me a pretty clear indication of that in the last few months, when after my internship at DOLLY finished, He pushed me in the direction of PR (which I had never seriously thought about) and and straight into my dream job (hello, fandom publicity). I loved interning in magazines, but looking back, it probably wasn’t truly for me (or was it? Maybe I’ll decide that they are my dream destination again. Who knows).

Life is all about changes and discovering who you are. My life is an eternal work in progress, and lately I’ve been more confused than ever about the direction in which I’m headed. At the end of the day though, there’s nothing you can do but sit back, enjoy the ride, and see where God takes you. So I’m not completely giving up on Frangipani Princess and blogging, but I’m also not coming back to daily (or even weekly) posting. I’ll write when inspiration strikes, and spend the rest of my time wondering about the future and spamming twitter with my thoughts on High School Musical, Hannibal, and Draco Malfoy.

Thank you for a wonderful seven years, dear readers. You gave my teen years a purpose and a focus (which was more important than you will ever understand). And if you’re reading this as one of the wonderful souls who took a chance on a young girl, through work experience, internships, or media coverage, I appreciate you more than I can put into words. I wouldn’t be where I am without you, so my sincerest thanks from the bottom of my heart.

I’ve grown up through these pages and posts, and you’ve been there to share a lot of that journey with me. Seven years. That was more than half of my life when I started this blog, and never in my wildest dreams did I ever think my twenty year old self would still be churning out words onto the homepage. It’s been brilliant, and I hope you’ll still occasionally drop by to see what the future brings.

Much love,

Georgie (frangipani princess) xoxo

 

Movie Review: Endless Love

After the death of her older brother, Jade (Gabriella Wilde) withdrew from her social life focusing solely on her high school studies and dreams of becoming a doctor. But when a popular classmate David (Alex Pettyfer) who watched her from afar for 4 years finally strikes up a conversation with her on the day of their graduation, Jade realises what she has been missing out on.

The pair quickly fall for each other in this story about the power of love and the passion of a first romance. Much to the excitement of Jade’s mother Anne (Joely Richardson), who was worried about her daughter’s seclusion, the two are completely devoted to each other. They speak of the possibilities of love with so much passion that it inspires Anne and reminds her of how true love can be . Of course, there is one problem: Jade’s overprotective father (Bruce Greenwood) who seems to have lost sight of the simple pleasures in life after the death of his son and will do anything to keep his innocent daughter from the rough boy from the wrong side of the tracks.

Apparently the film is based on the novel by Scott Spencer and is a remake of the 80′s movie of the same name. However, in an interesting and rather unusual (do author’s usually do this?) article for the Paris Review, Spencer voices his feelings about both movie adaptations. Personally, as I have neither read the book nor seen the original film, I can’t offer a comparison but if you have let me know for I am curious to see how you think it compares.

Though it may not be a very good adaptation,  as far as Valentine’s Day movies go, Endless Love is pretty standard with the typical way too many clichéd lines so if you’ve seen any Valentine’s Day movie ever, you can probably give this one a miss. That said, Alex Pettyfer’s sexy English accent did make a surprise appearance so it’s almost worth it for that.

Endless Love is in Australian cinemas now through Universal Pictures

Rating: 2.5/5

Steph @frangipaniprincess xoxo

Watch (And Cry): The Fault In Our Stars Trailer

The official The Fault In Our Stars trailer premiered last week, to the delight of John Green fangirls across the globe.

The Fault In Our Stars is one of my all time favourite books. Augustus Waters comes in second only to Draco Malfoy in my list of fictional guys I’d really, really like to marry. The book is so grand, so wonderful, that I had a lot of fears when I first heard it was being made into a film. After seeing the trailer, a lot of those fears still remain. Is Ansel Elgort right for the role of Augustus? (probably not, but is anyone?) Will the pretentious language of the novel translate into realistic teen conversation in the film? (again, probably not, because books use a different language to film. Maybe they should have adapted the conversation, but then most of the beauty would have been lost. Maybe it’s a lose-lose.) Will they ever be able to capture the bittersweet perfection of the relationship between Gus and Hazel?(This one I’m surprisingly less pessimistic about – Ansel and Shailene have amazing chemistry.)

I guess we’ll just have to wait until the 5th of June to find out for sure.

frangipani princess xoxo

Watch: One Direction, Midnight Memories

A day with a new One Direction music video is a very happy day indeed. It’s even better when the video is perhaps my favourite yet (although Best Song Ever is a hard one to beat).

Have a watch, and let the envy of the fact you’ll never get to run around London at midnight with One Direction sink in (or even the fact you’ll never be at a totally lame shitty party with them. I know, I feel it too.).

frangipani princess xoxo

Watch: Hannibal Season Two Trailer

I liked a lot of television shows in 2013. I even really loved a few. But one that truly stands out for me is Hannibal, the perfect show about a cannibalistic psychiatrist and poor, innocent Will Graham.

The thirteen episodes which made up the first season really weren’t enough, especially when it ended the way it did. I have known the second season has been in the works for months, but the waiting has been painful (Will Graham needs to be saved, dammit! Why is nobody saving Will Graham?!).

But now, finally, we have a trailer. Warning: Feelings ahead.

Hannibal Season Two will premiere in the USA on February 28th 2014, and hopefully in Australia eventually.

frangipani princess xoxo