Reread: Just Listen

The first time I read “Just Listen”, was back in 2013, in kindle format. As an avid reader, I must confess that digital books are –while useful– just not the same. The feelings that paper transmits, turning page by page and being able to smell the newness or mustiness, it’s incomparable to anything else.

I read this book in three days, I would have finished it in less but I decided to spend my time doing other activities as well, given that it was Christmas. “Just Listen” is centered on Annabel Greene, a Lakeview model and high school junior who apparently has it all. Except that she doesn’t. Before the end of the previous school year, she fought with her best friend Sophie –the most popular girl at school– who thought Annabel had hooked up with her boyfriend, Will Cash. Annabel decides to isolate herself from any social interaction through out the summer, dreading the beginning of the new school year.

Alone and withholding so many secrets, she becomes friends with the school outcast, Owen Armstrong, best known for his aggressive tendencies, such as punching people in the face. She begins to learn things about him, like how music is his number one obsession, how he has attended Anger Management classes and has a twelve year old sister who loves fashion and looks up to none other than Annabel Greene. Owen is the complete opposite of Annabel –he never holds back and is always being plain honest. But this is almost impossible for her to achieve, or so she thinks until she realizes that the only way out is by confronting the truth.


Sarah Dessen is my favorite YA author because of the way she conveys delicate topics and makes the reader empathize so much with the protagonist. In this case, Annabel was a victim of sexual assault, and as most victims, she didn’t speak up right away. She was scared, angry and ashamed of what had happened to her. She thought that by keeping quiet, it would all go away. However, as time passed, it only got worse.

This novel addresses the importance of communicating effectively, of speaking up when you need to. That’s it’s okay to reach out for help and allow yourself to be vulnerable, that there will always be someone there to hold out a hand for you, even if it’s the person you least expected to do so.

Next year I plan on rereading “The Truth About Forever” and “Along for the Ride”. I’m also thinking about purchasing more Sarah Dessen novels that I haven’t read before, like “Saint Anything” and “Lock and Key”. But first, I have to finish the other stack of books waiting to be opened.

That would be all for now. Happy holidays!


Review: Quiet

la luna vita book blog infj

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to finish “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking“. As I mentioned this before, I can devour a novel in a few days but reading anything other than fiction tends to bore me –even if it’s a topic I consider important.

This book was everything I expected and much more. Susan Cain, being an introvert herself, accurately describes all the struggles that most introverts face at some point in their lives. I praise how she took her time to travel, interview both introverts and extroverts, authors, teachers and scientists, and how she neatly laid it out for everyone to understand. Sure, from time to time, she shares her own experience. But this book is based on research and assertively argues that there is nothing wrong about being an introvert and that –just like anything else in life– having a certain personality type it’s downsides and upsides.

Here are some of the topics I found most interesting:

  • The extrovert ideal: In the early twentieth century, America switched from the Culture of Character to the Culture of Personality. “In the Culture of Character, the ideal self was serious, disciplined and honorable.” Impressions didn’t matter, actions did. But in the Culture of Personality, the opinions of others became more important, people had to be “bold and entertaining“. It has persisted ever since, only causing more cases of anxiety because the pressure of reaching the extrovert ideal can be mentally exhausting.
  • Introverts can be good leaders, and work better with an extrovert team. The same happens with extrovert leaders that achieve better results with an introvert team. Both styles complement each other. Not to mention, there has been famous introverts who became leaders or caused a huge impact in history, such as: Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi, Charles Darwin, Eleanor Roosevelt, among others.
  • Cain also discusses highly sensitive people. When I got to this chapter, I was about to skim it through, since I thought it wouldn’t apply to me. Turns out, thanks to this book, I realized that I’m a highly sensitive person. Not something I’m proud of (I wish I could I drink normal coffee and not have my heart rate rise like crazy) but many things have started to make more sense now that I know more about this condition.
  • Opposites attract is not a myth. My boyfriend is an extrovert, an ESTP to be precise, just the complete opposite of me an INFJ. The author mentions how couples need to learn from each other, accept their differences and look for a middle ground. I felt identified and definitely learned from the other couples she interviewed.
Whether you’re an introvert feeling a bit out of place, or an extrovert who is simply curious about the subject: read this book. You won’t regret it. It’s very eye-opening and will bring you to an epiphany so you can live your best quiet life.

“Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you’re supposed to.” 

Review: Only Love Is Real

Today I’ll be sharing my thoughts on “Only love is real” by Brian L. Weiss. This is not the type of book I’d purchase, it was actually a gift. I tend to read mostly novels, though I’m trying to change that. Other types of books, such as memoirs, usually bore me (I confess I never finished Eat Pray Love). But since this one was a short read, I decided to give it a try. And I’m glad I did.

Before going more in-depth, the book covers spiritual topics such as reincarnation. So if you are strongly against it, feel free to skip this post. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but there is no need to generate a fuss.

First off, a little background on the author. Brian L. Weiss is an american psychiatrist and hypnotherapist that has made many appearances on TV, including The Oprah Winfrey Show. I kept my mind open while reading this book. I had previously heard about sessions were the person being hypnotized shared some details of their previous life — such as name, year, geographic location– and afterwards they’d look up the information to find it did match old records.

The plot focuses on how two of Weiss’ patients were soulmates. They had shared more than one life in the past, but due to awful circumstances (such as wars and diseases) they had been separated every time. In today’s date (or life), these two people did not know each other, they would go to their appointments on different days. Hence, Weiss was stuck in a complicated situation. As a psychiatrist, the ethical code states that he cannot interfere in the patients’ lives and introducing them would be –more or less– an interference. In the end, thanks to external events (or destiny) they end up meeting in a flight. And as expected, they have instant chemistry.

But the message the author tries to get across is not really how these two lucky soulmates encounter, it goes beyond that. We as humans by default have a soul. I found it interesting that according to this author and the research he’s done, most souls occupy the body in the moment of birth, not before. A soulmate does not necessarily imply a romantic relationship, but rather a strong spiritual connection. Someone’s soulmate could be their mother, who perhaps in a previous life was their daughter (which was the case with Joan Rivers when he visited her on her show).

Some people carry their frustrations from previous lives to the present day, such as phobias or unexplained physical pain. We all come to this life for a purpose and exit the body learning a lesson. Some lives are smoother while others are on a rougher path. Our bodies are like cars but our souls are the driver. The cars can change brand, model and size, but the driver will always remain the same.

All in all, I give this book a 4/5. I know I tend to be a bit generous with the ratings, but I found this book very eye-opening. The only thing I would have liked is to find more information on other patients and learn who the ‘masters’ were. But I guess he explains that in the rest of his books. If you’re looking for a spiritual read, then this book is for you.

´Til next time!

Reread: Twilight

la luna vita blog

I cannot emphasize enough how rereading Twilight automatically took me back to 8th grade, making me feel like a teenager again. Now after being done with it, I’m seriously considering rereading the rest of the books. But for the time being, the only saga I’ll be focusing on is Harry Potter.

It’s not the same reading a romance/fantasy novel when you’re fifteen than when you’re twenty-four. There are plenty of stuff from the ‘adult’ world that one ignores while being younger, falling easily in love with the characters. Around the time the Twilight film was released, there were a bunch of graphics circling the internet, stating that Edward Cullen had raised the standards for future boyfriends. Well, this book simply raises the standards for any relationship.

It’s not like I don’t believe in romance. I’ve actually been in a relationship for the past three years, so perhaps there are a few things that I’ve learned along the way. Firstly, it doesn’t matter how much someone attracts you, in real life no one will take such intrepid risks after knowing you for such a brief period of time. Bella and Edward literally had only two dates to get to know each other, plus a few days sharing a table at lunch. The love represented in the novel is highly unrealistic and kind of toxic if you reflect upon it.

Not to mention the way time lapses in the novel. At first, time progresses at an average speed. But after the Saturday that Bella and Edward spend together in the forest, everything happens too fast. She meets his family momentarily and then has to run away and save her life. I feel like Meyer could have filled us in better on the Cullen’s before the two protagonists declared their love to one another. I know that either way we get to know the characters better in the rest of the books, but in my opinion there’s a gap that could’ve been filled before Bella flies to Phoenix.

Nevertheless, it was entertaining to grasp the small details I had forgotten and that were overlooked in the film.

Harry Potter: Book 2 – 4

Harry Potter Books La Luna Vita Blog


Given that I’ve read the first four Harry Potter books in a row, I’d thought it would be better if I wrote a collective post, rather than one per book. It’s actually a bit hard to write a review because J.K. Rowling is a fantastic author. While reading, you automatically get transferred to Hogwarts and the magical world. Not to mention, you get to know the deeper layers of the characters.

If you’ve seen the movies (which most likely you already have) I recommend reading the books. You don’t even have to read them all or start with the first one. Just jump straight to your favorite one. The books are written is such manner that you will understand them without impediment. Not to mention, the author always does a small recap at the beginning and sometimes makes references to previous events throughout the novel.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:

Harry Potter’s second year at Hogwarts starts to get more interesting. While still in the Dursleys house, he gets visited by Dobby, a house-elf who definitely knows more than what he lets on. His warnings are premonitory about the dark year that lays ahead. Thankfully, Harry is rescued by Ron and his twin brothers, they used Mr. Weasly’s magic car. Once he returns to the Wizarding world, Harry, Ron and Hermione meet their new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Gildory Lockhart, who is nothing but a narcissist and has never fought against anything remotely dark.

Things start to get strange in Hogwarts when Mrs. Norris, the caretaker’s cat, appears petrified in the middle of a hallway. Naturally, Harry and company were there at the wrong time and the wrong place. Later, when the Gryffindor students participate in a duel with the Slytherins (which is supervised by Professor Snape and Lockhart), Harry faces a snake that appeared thanks to one of Draco’s spells. Harry automatically speaks to the snake without noticing anything odd. The problem is that he’s actually speaking parseltongue, a language only Dark Wizards can understand. Therefore, the entire school starts to think he’s behind the attacks.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban:

The third year begins with the news of a convicted murder being out on the loose, warning both muggles and wizards. The Durselys, as usual, are inhumanly cruel to Harry. They get visited by Aunt Marge, who surprisingly enough is far worse than Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon. After constantly insulting Harry, he involuntarily blows her up and runs away with this Hogwarts stuff and with Hedwig. While alone in the empty muggle streets, Harry feels as if he’s being watched when suddenly the Knight Bus appears and takes him back to the wizarding world.

He later finds that the escaped prisoner is Sirius Black and learns what he has been punished for. On the train back to Hogwarts, Harry faints due to the presence of the dementors — creatures who feed on human happiness. This year with the help of the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Lupin, Harry will learn how to face these terrible creatures without passing out. He will also meet Sirius Black, who didn’t want to harm him after all.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:

Oh the terrible things that lay ahead of the fourth year. This is when the story starts to get creepy. Though not at the beginning, while still in Pivet Drive, he gets visited by the Weasleys. The Dursleys were expecting them to knock on the door. But since they’re not muggles, they decided to use the Foo Powder and appear in the Dursleys fireplace –which was a hilarious scene by the way. They picked Harry up in order to attend the Quidditch World Cup. Things start to get weird when the game ends, Voldemort followers cause a riot and the Dark Mark appears. Once again, Harry and company are spotted at the wrong place and wrong time.

When the new school year begins, they learn that it will be unlike the rest given that the Triwizard Tournament will be hosted in Hogwarts. Wizards from other countries are expected to arrive, and one candidate per school can participate. To everyone’s surprise, Harry’s name pops out of the Goblet during the announcement of champions, making him the fourth. His friendship with Ron stumbles and the entire school is against Harry participating. He confines his troubles to the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Mad Eye Moody. Only at the end will Harry comprehend that the malevolent Lord Voldemort was behind his participation and that he has returned to finish what he started.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

la luna vita book blog harry potter


Hello there! Well, a couple of weeks ago I finished reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time ever. I still do not comprehend why I never bothered to pick up the books when I was a kid. I was fascinated by the movies but too lazy to read all of those pages. I always told myself that I would read it soon, and then time passed by. My teen years drifted away, I stepped into adulthood and I remembered that promise I made myself so many years ago. It’s better late than never, right?
While reading the book, I couldn’t help comparing it to the movie. I enjoyed learning more about the characters, the small little details and quirks that were overlooked in the films. Before, I would always wonder how each Hogwarts House differentiated itself; while Gryffindor’s and Slytherin’s attributes were obvious, there was never an explanation on Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. Now that I’m reading it, things are starting to make more sense.

Here are a few details that caught my attention:

  • The Durselys are even more obnoxious than in the movies. Uncle Vernon is literally mad. Is it a coincidence that his name sounds a lot like venom? And how can someone be so cruel to a relative?
  • Professor McGonagall has black hair, yet in the movie she has gray hair. In the book she also seems to be stricter.
  • Harry Potter meets the Weasley twins before speaking to Ron, and when they do talk, Ron already knew who he was.
  • Harry and Draco first meet while buying the school robes in Diagon Alley, but Harry never mentioned his name.
  • Hermione is not only smart, but apparently she is also very organized and sets up studying schedules, which reminded me a bit of myself.
  • The first time they meet Fluffy (the three headed dog) Neville was with them. And in general, Neville has a lot more participation in the book.
Still, I consider the film to be good. Nevertheless, “good” is not an adjective that does justice for describing this book. I finally get what the hype was all about! Anyhow, I am aware that there is a long way to go, six books to be precise. I think one of the aspects that prevented me from reading the books sooner was that I was afraid I wouldn’t like them, and my overall preference for Harry Potter would be affected. I’m glad I was wrong. To the extent that I already have my own account on My House is Gryffindor and my Expecto Patronum is a Tonkinese Cat…but I swear I’m a dog person.

Final rating: 5/5

P.S. This was more of a first impression than a review. I’m still pondering whether I should do a post for each book, let me know what you think in the comments below!
P.P.S. Today I broke my “no spoilers” rule, sorry about that.