3 Things From The Past Week | 15

1. I can’t remember exactly what it was my son was doing, but he was standing nearby, close enough that I could think, for what feels like the hundredth time, that he has such beautiful, long eyelashes. I looked at him and I thought, I can’t believe that I made you.

He’s four and I’m still in awe of this fact.

I had my phone in my hand because my father-in-law had just sent me a message. I opened up our thread and wrote him: “I still look at DJ and can’t believe I made him. Do you ever look at your kids and think that, even though they’re all grown up?”

“They make me happy even now. DJ is a different, but just as good, type of joy,” he wrote.

Even now, days later, thinking about that moment makes me ache in the best kind of way.

2. I spent a lot of time this week noticing–and calling out–all the times I make excuses. It’s disarming, really, to realize how often I tell myself I tried when I didn’t.

3. I was recently interviewed by Nicole of Explosive Bagel. She titled the interview, “Finding Your Spark: Writing, Reading and Investing in Yourself.”

Nicole asked me things like, when did I first consider myself a writer, and how I deal with writer’s block (oh, boy). I also talked a little about my reasoning behind re-writing my first novella, Finding Lily, and how I became a self-published author.

Talking about myself is hard. I know I do it all the time in these 3 Things posts and elsewhere, but interviews are different. I feel pressured to sound smart and knowledgeable and to say something new and wise that hasn’t been said before (What’s that saying? There are no new ideas, only new ways of making them felt).

Anyways, you can read it here if you’re interested.

“Goodbye, Vitamin” was an Unexpected Gem

Goodbye, Vitamin

Before reading “Goodbye, Vitamin” I did something I don’t usually do—actually, something I downright refuse to do, which is look at the reviews of a book before I read it. You see, I want to open a book unbiased; I don’t want other people’s thoughts swarming around in my head before I’ve even given the book a chance.

I logged on to Goodreads and read four or five reviews.

Thankfully, they didn’t stop me from buying the book.

Goodbye, Vitamin, though short, is written in small vignettes that read just like a diary. Ding, ding—I’m in love already. You give me anything that looks even remotely like a glimpse into the private, inner thoughts of someone and I am all in.

All. In.

If you need proof of why I loved this book so much, here it is:

“It was grotesque, the way I kept trying to save that relationship. Like trying to tuck an elephant into pants.”

And:

When I brought it up, months later, Joel said, “What are you talking about?” because he didn’t remember it—he’d forgotten it completely—and it was at that point I realized that I could remember something and he could remember something different and if we built up a store of separate memories, how would that work, and would it be okay? The answer, of course, in the end, was no.

And, especially:

If I were you is something I’ve never really understood. Why say, “If I were you”? Why say, “If I were you,” when the problem is, you’re not me? I wish people wouldn’t say, “Since I am me,” followed by whatever advice it is they have for me.

And haven’t we all felt this way before:

What I want to know is what counted for something and what counted not at all. Now I feel like shit for spending that time–that’s the word it’s convention to use: spending—on what turns out not to matter, and neglecting the things that did, and do.

And, oh oh oh:

You know what else is unfair, about Joel? That I loosened the jar lid, so somebody else could open him.

That last quote… well, it stirred so many thoughts in me. But it’s safe to say that’s what the whole book did to me.

It reminded me that life is short. That nothing is guaranteed. That sometimes love doesn’t work out. It reminded me to pick up the phone and call my parents more often. To say “I love you” more.

Goodbye, Vitamin was, to sum it up, an absolutely unexpected gem.


To read more of my book reviews, click here.

June Reading List

After reading as much as I did in May I had a feeling that June wouldn’t be as plentiful. And I was right. Instead of reading this month I spent time traveling for work, watching too much TV (like season five of Orange Is The New Black and finishing re-watching the Dexter series with my husband) and trying (and failing) to make progress on my Finding Lily novel re-write. Not feeling sorry for myself though, no–that would be silly. (Hello sarcasm!)

I can tell, though, that things will pick up again in July. I always read a lot in the summer months–it’s got to be something about all the time spent poolside, sipping on riesling out of the new plastic wine glasses I bought because my husband can’t be trusted with glass, ha!).

What I read in June:

  • THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO by Taylor Jenkins Reid (BOTM) – I quite literally don’t have the words to describe how much I adored this novel. Go pick up a copy for yourself if you haven’t already. I talked about the book a little more in depth here.
  • SOMEBODY ELSE’S SKY BY JESSICA HAWKINS – Like the first in the series I read this book quickly, devouring it. Knowing I have to wait until October to read the final installment in the trilogy is torture.
  • SLIP OF THE TONGUE BY JESSICA HAWKINS – Ok, so I’ve been reading a lot of her work lately. It’s just what happens when you fall in love with an author. Like all her other books that I’ve read, this one didn’t disappoint.

In Progress

Here’s what I’m currently reading:


Coming Up

If you want keep up with what I read during the month, follow me on instagram @racheldelxo and @alovelettertobooks.

3 Things From The Past Week | 14

1. I’m coming to you this week from Kansas City, Missouri.

As I write this I’m fighting off tears. It’s Friday morning, I’m cold and I’m tired and more than anything I want to be back at home with my family.

My job thankfully doesn’t involve much travel. But when it does, I don’t like to be gone long. It doesn’t take more than a day away for me to miss my boys. To miss my bed. To miss home cooked meals and regular sleep patterns. Comfortable clothes and running shoes and a good cup of coffee.

I know the tears aren’t just about being away from home. I can blame it on that all I want but the truth is—and I’m finally admitting it—my writing isn’t going well. And I can’t recall a time I have ever struggled so hard. Every day, before I even sit down to write, I feel depleted. My heart is in it, but the rest of me isn’t. Even writing this, now, feels like a struggle.

So maybe I’ll let the tears come. As long as they heal me.

2. I recently had a friend ask me why I started writing these weekly 3 Things posts. Initially, they were a way to get myself writing. To write about things, people, places that I might not normally write about. I hoped–and continue to hope that writing these posts each week will force me to write about myself in a way that I’ve been too scared to. Take Chris for example; if I could one day write half as openly and honestly about my life the way he does about his? Well, then, I will have accomplished with these posts exactly what I had hoped.

3. I’d never been to Kansas City until now. I’m not sure that it would have been a city I appreciated earlier. In my twenties. But the 33-year-old version of myself walked for two and a half hours through the city. Sure I ducked into a few shops here and there, but mostly I just looked. I opened my eyes. I appreciated just how different the city is from anywhere I’ve been before. I took photographs of the buildings, of the doorways, of the stairs, of the water, of the street signs.

I walked for two and a half hours, sweating clean through my t-shirt because of the humidity that I’m not at all used to (coming from Vegas). But goodness, I think I could live here. It wouldn’t be too hard to love this city.

3 Things From The Past Week | 13

Author Rachel Del is always on vacation
1. I read something incredible this week. It was called On Finding Love Again. (No, I’m not trying to tell you anything; it just caught my eye and I couldn’t stop reading). You know how sometimes, when you’re reading, you come across something so profound that you feel the need to underline it? That’s what happened to me. This is my version of underlining what stood out to me.

We are all desperate for love. Every single one of us.

It’s true, isn’t it? 

This is not “being a girl”. This is being a human.

Some of us are more honest with our desperation. Others of us have gotten good at hiding it and stuffing it. Some of us have learned the art of knowing and acknowledging our need for love and finding realistic ways to meet it, without manipulating or cajoling. We’ve learned how to be the love of our own lives, to ask clearly and directly for what we are wanting.

Others of us are constantly performing and manipulating or taking love by force (which is not actually love by the way) because we haven’t yet learned the art of sitting with our own need, with our own desire, the art of going without something we crave. But regardless of where we are in our journey, there is one thing that levels the playing field.

We all crave love. We just do. We are all desperate for it.

Every single one of us.

I sent the link to a friend of mine and out of the many, many words, those first two lines is what she immediately highlighted and sent back to me.

It doesn’t matter where we are in life; married, single, etc., we all need love. Because we are human.

2. Next week I’ll be away for a few days for work. For some reason, I have it in my head that I’m going to just take a carry on. On Thursday night after my kid had gone to bed I pulled out the carry on with the intention of doing a dry run with my clothes, etc to see if I was crazy. Dom took one look at my clothes and said “no way.” I’m not a competitive person at all, but that made me even more motivated to fit everything.

You should have seen his face when I showed him how I could make all my clothes fit in just half of the carry on.

I think I’ve got this one in the bag. Pun most definitely intended.

3. I discovered the most delicious coffee this week. It’s called Stone Street Coffee and it’s brewed in one of my favorite places–New York. I ordered the Tanzanian Peaberry blend and it’s all I could ever ask for in a coffee. And probably the best thing about it is how low in acidity it is. For someone who drinks as much coffee as I do, that’s important.

I almost didn’t order the coffee. It had been sitting in my amazon wishlist for weeks. I told a friend I was nervous to try something more expensive. If I liked it, would the more affordable coffee start to taste lackluster?

But I ordered it anyway, and I’m so happy I did.

Some Thoughts on “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo”

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo since I finished it five days ago. This is not abnormal. Not when it comes to novels by Taylor Jenkins Reid, who quickly became one of my favorite authors after reading One True Loves last year.

Reid has this extraordinary way of creating at once the most complex, infuriating, satisfying and likable characters I’ve ever had the honor of getting to know. The Seven Husbands is no exception to the rule. In fact, Reid took her skills to a whole other level.

“[The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo] is an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.”

I can’t even begin to put into words how much I loved this book. It was beautiful and engaging and a little something like reading a gossip column, but in the best way. I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like it. Reid has outdone herself, continuing to show amazing growth as an author. I can’t even begin to guess where she’ll take us next, but I know I’ll be first in line to buy it.

And can we talk about the book cover for a moment? Everything about it is so beautiful, the colors so rich. It is so perfect.

Because I share so much of what I read online I often get asked the top five books that I would recommend. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo has definitely found itself a place on that list (speaking of which, would anyone actually like me to share my top five list?).

Anyway, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is out tomorrow, so you should think about grabbing yourself a copy.

 

3 Things from the past week | 12

This is 331. I turned 33 this week. I’ve been having a tough time with that number; what it means, what it doesn’t mean, what it’s leading towards and what it means I’ve left behind. I try not to be the type of person who looks back on their life, tortured by the things they cannot change. Instead, I want to look forward as much as possible—to what is ahead of me. To the wonderful things that will happen to me this year—at 33.

A work trip to a city, a state I’ve never seen before.

Two days spent by the water with my boys.

Finishing writing and re-releasing Finding Lily.

Bedtime stories.

Meals with friends and family.

Waking up beside the love of my life.

… and so many more things I can’t even begin to dream of.

So perhaps 33 won’t be so bad. Maybe it will turn out to be one of the best years of my life.

I certainly hope so.

2. An ex messaged me on my birthday. He was a wonderful boyfriend, but we were young. We thought we knew—but had no idea—who we really were. We’ve both, separately, made wonderful lives for ourselves. Still, it’s odd to look back now, knowing it’s been this long since we were together, knowing how I felt about him back then. It’s a startling reminder that love can fade, but that hurt can, too. I couldn’t imagine my life without him once. But look how well we’ve done. Apart. The way we were meant to be.

The truth is that it made me unbelievably happy to know he was thinking of me on my birthday, if only for the five seconds it look him to reach out.

3. There’s somewhere I’ve been wanting to go. A real destination, not some place in my head like I often go to. There, the trees are thick and plentiful. The water calls for me. Nothing but fresh air. Nothing but quiet.

We may go, finally. But it’s not for certain, and by saying the name out loud I feel like I may stop it from happening.  So I’ll keep it in my head and my heart, for now.

3 Things from the past week | 11

1. As an introvert I sometimes find being a writer to be a terrifying process. The act of writing is great—wonderful even. But everything else: reaching out to readers, projecting a fun image online—that’s where I struggle. I was not popular in school. I’m certainly no more popular now. And sometimes the writing game feelings a little too much like I’m jumping up and down, waving my hands around, asking for people to pay attention. And well—I’m too shy for that. I’m too worried that people won’t like what they see. Worse; I’m worried that even if they do see me, they won’t care.

2. Yesterday I cracked open Nevertheless by Alec Baldwin. I haven’t gotten too far but I think it’s safe to say that i’m going to enjoy it immensely.

Something he wrote has stuck with me. He was talking about his mother sending him out of the house to the grocery store. “I’d be more than willing to go. ‘I’m out!’ I’d think. I was nine years old and addicted to solitude.”
Addicted to solitude.
I couldn’t have said it any better.
3. Did you know that I blatantly stole the idea for my 3 Things series from this beautiful woman right here?. I stumbled across her writing somehow and was so inspired by her honest writing that I knew I wanted to write some of my own. Each week, I try to push myself to open up more and more. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, but I love having these little snippets of my life to look back on. Some day I hope I read back on today’s post having mastered the art of catching—and holding on to—readers’ attention. Maybe then I’ll be thinking: hey, I’m introverted, but I can still do this.

Wouldn’t that be lovely?

May Reading List

Wow, somehow I managed to read six books in May, which kind of blows my mind considering all I had going on. Wait—that’s not entirely true. When life gets crazy and my stress levels go up, I find I read more in order to try and balance things out.

What I read in May:

  • BROKEN BAY BY ANDREA DUNLOP – This one was short and sweet and boy oh boy did I want more. Andrea Dunlop is a fantastic writer.
  • WOMAN NO.17 BY EDAN LEPUCKI (BOTM) – This one started off with so much potential, but left me wanting.
  • WRITE NAKED BY JENNIFER PROBST – This book was absolutely brilliant. I am certain that Jennifer’s teachings will take my writing to a new level. A must for every romance writer.
  • THE FOXE & THE HOUND BY R.S. GREY – I enjoy Rachel’s books; they’re light and fun and always funny. While this one wasn’t my favorite, I still enjoyed it.
  • YOURS TO BARE BY JESSICA HAWKINS – My first (and certainly not my last) Hawkins read. This book was so sexy and I absolutely loved it. So much so that I finished it, put it down, and picked up Something In The Way.
  • SOMETHING IN THE WAY BY JESSICA HAWKINS – I read this book in one day, that’s how good it was. If you like forbidden romances, pick this one up. But just a warning: it’s a three part series, so it leaves off on a cliffhanger.

In Progress

Here’s what I’m currently reading:


Coming Up

I’ve just put in my order for BOTM and here’s what I chose:

If you want keep up with what I read during the month, follow me on instagram @racheldelxo and @alovelettertobooks.

3 Things from the past week | 10

1. You give me a book or a movie with a protagonist writer (or photographer, for that matter) and I’m all in. Just one of the many reasons that I’m thoroughly enjoying my first Jessica Hawkins read, Yours To Bare.

2. It’s been a good week. The hubby and I got out on the jet ski for the first time this season, we watched a movie together in the middle of the day. I’ve been writing; not just my novel but a lot more journaling, which always makes me feel great. Do you keep a journal? I’ve been working out again, which feels truly great. Work seems to have calmed down a little and I feel like I can finally breathe normalizing again. Plus, it’s a long weekend, so there’s still tomorrow to sit back and do absolutely nothing.

3. The heat here in Las Vegas is ramping up. I find myself kicking off the covers mid-sleep and turning on the overhead fan and boy! am I sleeping well. Finally.