New Year, New Things Happening

Hi everyone!

You may have noticed that I was on a roll with my posting, and then I seemingly rolled off a cliff or something.

rolling down a hill gif

Well, I don’t really have any reasoning behind it except that I got busy and was less motivated to post on here. While I do enjoy writing, it has started to seem more like a chore for me, which is not good. I also feel that this may not be the medium in which I choose to express my opinions/ideas/reviews/etc. That’s why I have started a YouTube channel, also titled The Library Lush. I feel that I can express myself better on video because I’m all about tone. And with writing, it’s sometimes difficult to tell when I’m being snarky, or sincere, or funny, etc. And I HATE having to use LOL all the time to indicate that I’m joking.


So, I’m not going to make any promises I can’t keep. I’m going to keep the blog active because I already paid for the domain (forgot about that automatic withdrawal!), I just don’t know how active I will be. I will try and post my booktube videos here as will, and I will *probably* post reviews here as well as on my channel for those who would rather read them than listen to me talk. Other than that we will just have to see.

I wish everyone a wonderful and blessed new year and thanks so much for stopping by!

Ps. The last three songs that I would pick for the soundtrack of my life would be “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion (she was my first tape!), “So Small” by Carrie Underwood, and “Worth It” by Francesca Battistelli.


When I’m Fucked Up, That’s the Real Me

Day 4 in my 7 favorite songs (of my whole entire life!) in 7 days.

Song #4 is…”The Hills” by The Weeknd.

Here’s the thing. I can’t NOT have The Weeknd on this list. His voice, his sound, his style…I’m just like YAAAAAASSSSSSS to everything.

Ok, yes to everything but the hair.
Ok, yes to everything but the hair.

But really, it’s his voice that does it for me. From “Wicked Games”, “Twenty Eight”, “Adaptation”, his cover of “Dirty Diana”…it was really hard for me to pick a favorite song by him because I pretty much love all of them.

So why “The Hills”?

Well, again, a favorite song has to be one that I can just play on repeat and just keep coming back to. And with the unconventional style (I mean, that opening, c’mon) of the song and his voice and the lyrics, it pretty much had to be this one (although I almost gave it to “Wicked Games”).

I just really love the line “when I’m fucked up, that’s the real me” because that is so true! And it doesn’t have to mean when I’m fucked up from booze or weed or whatever (although I’m sure it does in context with everything else the song talks about) but to me, I interpret it as “when I’m at my lowest, when I’m not ok, that’s the real me”. Because a lot of times we’re just putting on a face to everyone and not showing the internal fuckery that’s going on inside us.

im ok

Yea, this song probably isn’t that deep. But again, music allows for the power of interpretation, which is a glorious thing.

Sidenote: check out the remix with Nicki Minaj.

You Do You While I Defy Gravity

Day 3 in my 7 songs in 7 days series. My 3rd favorite song EVER is….

“Defying Gravity”, originally performed by Idina Menzel from the musical “Wicked“.

I may have a thing. NBD.
I may have a thing. NBD.

So fun fact: I used to do theater in high school, which began my appreciation for showtunes (thank you, Mr. Harlan & Mrs. Browning). However, my appreciation for “Wicked” began my junior year of high school, when my choir sang “For Good” at the graduation ceremony for the class of 2005. The following year, my senior year, we sang “Defying Gravity” for one of our concerts.

And that’s when my love for “Wicked” began to blossom.

First, I would listen to the soundtrack on repeat. Then, when someone enlightened me that there was a book that the musical was based on, well then you KNOW I HAD to read it.



I gobbled up the other 2 books that followed, “Son of a Witch” and “A Lion Among Men” (although I STILL haven’t read “Out of Oz” :/) and then the summer after graduating from high school I was blessed enough to see “Wicked” ON FUCKING BROADWAY!! Although, sadly, it wasn’t with Idina Menzel 😦

So anyway. Back to the song.

“Defying Gravity” is not the original “fuck you” song (I’m interested to hear what you think is) but it is a classic “fuck you” song. Elphaba is basically saying “I don’t care what you think, I’m going to do me and all you haters can suck it”.


I think my favorite verse is: I’m through accepting limits/because someone says they’re so/some things I cannot change/but ’til I try I’ll never know

Because sometimes the person limiting us is ourselves. So this song is not only a “fuck you” to the haters but it can also be a sort of mantra to yourself that you CAN do you and NOT apologize for it!

Yes you are Ron Burgundy...yes you are.
Yes you are Ron Burgundy…yes you are.

I Still Am

Day 2 of my 7 songs in 7 days series. Song #2 is…

Kelly Clarkson’s “Sober”

This song is off of Kelly’s 2007 release, “My December”, which is not her greatest album but it’s not like she could put out anything bad. This album just wasn’t my favorite. This song, however?

This song is a fucking gem.

I first listened to this song as a sort of break up anthem, because of lyrics like “been a long road since those hands I left those tears in” and “3 months and it’s still hard enough, 3 months I’ve been living here without you now” and I’m sure in 2007 I was trying to get over somebody.

dont want to date me

However, a couple of years later I got stupid and made some really bad mistakes–like getting a DUI…twice. So then this song took on a whole new meaning for me. Not only because it was a time in my life that I needed to physically get sober, but because I also needed to mentally get sober as well.

glass case of emotion

The lyrics that really got to me, like punched me in the heart, were:

And I don’t know
I could crash and burn but maybe
at the end of this road I might catch a glimpse of me


Three months and I’m getting better, yeah
Three months and I still am

For a long time I was just going through the motions, but this song reminded me that I. STILL. AM. And even though there are days where I sometimes don’t quite know who I am or what I am doing, I. STILL. AM.

Ok, maybe not quite Beyonce, but you get the point.
Ok, maybe I’m not quite Beyonce, but you get the point.

So yea, this song kind of shows the power of music and how magical it is that a song could mean one thing to you at one point in your life and then completely change its meaning at a different moment.

“Where Words Fail, Music Speaks”

I was nominated on Facebook by my coworker/friend Brooks to post 7 songs in the next 7 days that pretty much give me life (aka my favorite songs) so I thought I would post them here because 1) I hate super long Facebook posts and I feel like my reasoning behind my favorite songs could get wordy and 2) this blog is not strictly for books (I did say I was a pop culture enthusiast) so why not put my other love, music, on here too?

i love music
I have very strong feelings for music.


I grew up having an eclectic taste in music compared to my family. And by eclectic, I mean that I listened to Top 40 while they all listened to 70’s and 80’s rock. Except my mom, who also listened to Cher. My first tape was Celine Dion’s “Falling Into You” and my first CD was Britney Spears’s “Baby…One More Time”. So as you can see, I was destined for Top 40 appreciation. But that doesn’t mean I’m not open to listening to other genres! I also love showtunes (symptom of being a theater kid in high school), some country, rap, r& b, etc. What I look for in music is either a really good beat or great lyrics. It’s like an eargasm if there is both.

I may have been caught dancing like this in public once or twice.

Picking 7 songs out of my iTunes library of 2200+ is going to be hard but I’m going to try. What makes a song my favorite? It’s got to be something I can listen to over and over without getting tired of it. It’s got to speak to me somehow: I’ve got to feel like the lyrics apply to me somehow. We listen to music to either feel good or to feel that someone else understands our pain, right? So here is song #1–

Connor Maynard–“Marvin’s Room” (Drake cover)

Ok, so yes, this is a cover. And it’s not that I don’t like Drake’s original version. But 1) Connor’s voice is just mmMMmm. I love me a good tenor. 2) the stripped down piano version here is just a more intimate feel to me, and therefore you can appreciate the voice and the lyrics more. I think most of us have gotten drunk and called/texted an ex when maybe we shouldn’t have. This song is what I imagine I would have said to an ex if I had been drunk enough (ok, more like ballsy enough).

drunk text

And yes, Connor has original songs, but this is the one I keep coming back to because of his voice and just the piano. It showcases his voice so well.

So that’s it for song #1! Stay tuned for song #2.

Ps. If you liked this cover, check out JoJo’s cover of it as well.



The Gardener of Baghdad: Review

Gardener of Baghdad

Title: The Gardener of Baghdad

Author: Ahmad Ardalan (Goodreads & website)

Published: 2014

Source: I recieved a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary (via Goodreads):  Adnan leads a weary existence as a bookshop owner in modern-day, war-torn Baghdad, where bombings, corruption and assault are everyday occurrences and the struggle to survive has suffocated the joy out of life for most. But when he begins to clean out his bookshop of forty years to leave his city in search of somewhere safer, he comes across the story of Ali, the Gardener of Baghdad, Adnan rediscovers through a memoir handwritten by the gardener decades ago that beauty, love and hope can still exist, even in the darkest corners of the world.


I liked this novel, and I liked the idea behind it, but I did not love it. Let me tell you first what I liked about it, and then I’ll tell you the issues I had with it.

I liked the story itself. It’s about a Baghdad book store owner, Adnan, who discovers a hidden memoir amongst his books one day. The memoir was written by Ali, who became the Gardener of Baghdad in the 1950s after having been orphaned at a young age and working on his family’s farm. Ali discovered his passion for gardening after reading an encyclopedia on plants that was given to him by his friend Mr. Radhi.

At an event celebrating one of his gardens, Ali meets Mary, the daughter of an English general who is stationed in Baghdad. Ali falls head over heels in love with Mary, and he spends many agonizing months to work up the courage to tell her how he feels. When he finally does, he is elated to know that she feels the same way. During that time period, however, love between an Iraqi man and an English woman was not smiled upon, so Ali & Mary are forced to leave Baghdad. Mary’s father is irate over Mary’s leaving and accuses Ali of kidnapping his daughter.

About a year or so later, while still living in exile, Mary gives birth to their daughter Laila. A few weeks after the birth, Mary becomes dangerously ill, and it is decided that she must go back to Baghdad to get the medical treatment she so desparately needs. However, Ali is advised to stay behind because he is still being accused of kidnapping Mary. Ali refuses to leave Mary’s side though, and it is before their journey back to Baghdad that Ali pens his memoir, and it is before their journey that the memoir ends.

Adnan, having become engrossed with Ali’s story, is desparate to know how it ends. Did Mary survive? Was Ali arrested for kidnapping Mary? Did they have a happily ever after? To find the answers, Adnan tracks down one of Ali’s relatives, and is finally told what really happened to the Gardener of Baghdad.

Like I said, I liked the story. It was very reminiscent to me of Chris Bohjalian‘s The Sandcastle Girls, another historical love story that features a wealthy American socialite and an Armenian engineer that is set during World War I. I love history and romance so any novel featuring both I am bound to enjoy.

However, I had some issues with the writing aspect of this story. For one, the characters seemed very two-dimensional to me. It was like the reader was “told” how a character was supposed to be instead of letting the character’s actions and/or words speak for them. Adnan and Ali were decent characters, but Ali fell in love with Mary just by looking at her, and she wasn’t given much of a voice. The side characters, such as Ali’s mentor Mr. Radhi, his cousin Mustafa, and various others were enjoyable, but I never really felt a connection with them.

I also had an issue with how the reader was not really allowed to “discover” the story. What I mean by this is that in order to answer any questions the reader may have had regarding certain historical events or foreign terms mentioned by the characters, the author fits the facts about these events and terms into the dialogue between the characters, which just makes the conversations between the characters seem unnatural. Therefore, it was difficult to connect with them.

Overall, I did like this novel. I liked the story and I liked the idea behind it. I just think it could have used a little bit more editing.

Goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 stars


July Wrap-Up

Another month has gone by, and more books have been read! I managed to read most of my July TBR, give or take a couple. Here’s what I read in July:


One More Thing: Stories & Other Stories by B.J. Novak: 2/5

The Rosie Effect (Don Tillman #2) by Graeme Simsion: 5/5

Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends, From Cleopatra to Princess Di by Kris Waldherr: 5/5

Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome by John Scalzi: 5/5

A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2) by Beth Revis: 2/5

Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3) by Beth Revis: 3/5

The Heir (The Selection #4) by Kiera Cass: 2/5

Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown: 3/5

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein: 3/5

My favorites were The Rosie Effect & Doomed Queens. I loved The Rosie Effect because, duh, more Don Tillman! I think I have a slight crush (I promise a review is to come!) In this installment Don has to deal with the repurcussions of his wife Rosie becoming pregnant, something they BOTH did not plan for. Don has to figure out if he can be the type of father he thinks their child deserves, because his eccentricities pose a challenge.

I loved Doomed Queens because it was royal history/royal trivia. For a book about the deaths of various queens and royal women, this book was not gloom and doom at all. Waldherr writes her research with a touch of sass and has fun little sidenotes about the ladies she features. A great, short, actually fun read for any royal history buff.

My least favorites were One More Thing & The Heir. I was disappointed with One More Thing because I thought it was going to be a memoir style of book (it’s not). Some of the stories Novak wrote were funny, but most of them were just “eh” for me. And I was disappointed with The Heir because Eadlyn (daughter of America Singer, protagonist of The Selection series) was just not a likable character for me. I get that not all characters are going to be likable but I would *hope* that the main protagonist of the book I am reading would be someone that I root for. Eadlyn is not that protagonist. To me she was just a straight up bitch with no endearing qualities about her. I could go on but I’ll leave that for a separate post.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve read! Have you read any of these? What have you been reading lately? What’s on your August TBR? Let me know!

Happy reading!