Let’s Have Dinner | Bella of Ciao Bella

let's have dinner

‘Let’s Have Dinner’ is an original feature here on the blog.  It was inspired by Jamie’s ‘If We Were Having Coffee’.  On Jamie’s post, she catches her readers up on what is currently going on in her life, reading and non reading wise.  My posts are more collaboration with other bloggers.  Click here to read last month’s dinner post.

This month I’d like to welcome Bella!  We’ve been working together on Lit Up Review since about last year.

Who are YOU?  What’s your name, and where do you blog?

Hello, hello! I’m Bella, and I’m the blogger behind Ciao Bella {I’ve been writing there for just over four years now – crazy!}. I also contribute reviews and recommendations to Lit Up Review.

How are you?  What’s going on with you right now?

I’m doing well! As I write this, I’m preparing for a state-wide one-act play festival at the end of the month, beginning my college search {think going on tours and taking the SAT}, looking for the perfect prom dress, and binge-watching Scandal with my sister, because Shonda Rhimes is our favorite. Junior year is crazy, certainly, but I’m grateful for the friends and family that make busy days and late nights less stressful.

Since we’re having dinner, we should probably put our order in.  What are you having for dinner?

I will never turn down a dish of homemade mac and cheese; it’s comfort food at its finest. For dessert, I’d order a slice of apple pie with vanilla ice cream on the side. YUM.

Do you ever eat and read?  I know I’m guilty of this! ;D What about blog and read?

I’m known to always have a magazine – Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly – with me when I sit down for breakfast, lunch, or dinner; I like to catch up on current events as I eat meals! I haven’t, however, mastered the art of blogging and reading at the same time.

Do you like to browse at bookstores or order and pick up your books?

I love an afternoon in a bookstore. I typically won’t buy a novel, but rather, I write down the titles that catch my eye and later put them on hold at my local library. If I’m looking to add a particular read to my bookshelf, I would likely order it online and pick it up!

What is one thing that you have in common with your favorite character?

I don’t know if I could pick a favorite character – that’d be an impossible task – but I like to think I share traits with two of the five Bennet sisters in Pride and Prejudice: Jane’s endless optimism and Lizzy’s intelligence. My sister and I often joke that if she matches Elizabeth’s sharp wit, then my patience makes me the Jane of the family!

What’s the most relatable book you’ve ever read?

I found so much to connect to in Emery Lord’s The Start of Me and You. It’s one of my favorite books, not in the least because Lord captures the uncertainty of one’s future and the joy of living in the present {along with a heavy dose of girl power} so well. In the wise words of one Miss Anne of Green Gables, the protagonist Paige and I could be kindred spirits.

Wait stop… what music is playing while we have dinner?

Ooh, what a tough question! I think quieter music is best for dinner conversation, so I believe She and Him – I dig their Classics album – would be playing in the background.

What’s a book you’re dying to get your hands on?  *Doesn’t have to be unreleased

I cannot wait to buy a copy of Robin Stevens’ Poison is Not Polite. Though this middle grade mystery has already been released in the UK, the American edition comes out in April, which is to say: not soon enough.

What’s one thing that surprised you about blogging?

When I launched my first site, I had little idea what skills and knowledge I would learn outside of furthering my writing. Blogging has introduced me to the ins and outs of the publishing industry and the wonderful world of graphic design, and it’s taught me the importance of time management and prompt communication. Fun stuff.

I know you’ve been dying to say it… what’s one book you can’t believe I haven’t read?

You have so many excellent middle grade novels on your Goodreads shelf that I was shocked you’ve yet to read anything by Jessica Day George. Her fantasy novels rank among the very best.

As dinner continues, what’s your drink of choice?

It’s a boring choice, but I’d have a big glass of water! Were it still winter, I may order a mug of hot chocolate – with a heaping amount of mini marshmallows to finish it off.

If you had $100 to go on a book shopping spree, what would you get?

That sounds lovely! Assuming I could buy any 2016 releases, I would first buy the new Morgan Matson novel, The Unexpected Everything {I own all of her books to date}. I would then purchase the entire Burn for Burn trilogy, so I could re-read those at any time, as well as the second Family Fletcher release, The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island. I think I would then add a gorgeous copy of Sense and Sensibility to my shelves {it’s one of the Austen novels I haven’t read}, and with any money remaining, I would buy a book for someone random in the store.

Is there a genre that you turn to the most?

Contemporary, for sure. I’m not much of a fantasy reader, nor do I pick out too many science fiction novels, but mystery would come in as a close second!

Are you more of a standalone or a series reader?

I have no true preference, but I think by the nature of what books I enjoy, I tend to read more standalones than actual series. It’s probably a good thing – I’m awful at finishing the series I’ve already begun!

What’s one bookish trope (ex. ‘chosen one’) that you can never get sick of?

I don’t think I could ever get sick of the precocious, witty young narrators you see so frequently in middle grade fiction. So long as the author adds their own unique spin, these protagonists typically make for an engrossing story! A few outstanding books that use this trope include Jessica Lawson’s Nooks and Crannies and Lisa Graff’s A Tangle of Knots.

Favorite book quote?

My favorite quotes hails from a book with gorgeous, lyrical prose: Chelsey Philpot’s Even in Paradise. “I wish for the same thing I’ve hoped for since the beginning. I wish for a life so brave, so unpredictable, so full of unexpected joys and unforgettable love that no box could possibly contain all my memories. Such a life won’t be perfect. It’ll be something better. It’ll be my own paradise.”

Have you read Harry Potter? (Obligatory question). And if not, why not?

And it’s an excellent question! I’m slowly, but surely, making my way through the series; I’m on Book Three at the moment. I wish I had a better reason for why I’m so late to the party, but it was simply that I kept putting them off because I didn’t think I would enjoy them. How wrong I was!

What’s your favorite movie?

There are so many I enjoy! A select few include Moonrise Kingdom, Legally Blonde, Mr. Holmes, Up, The Miracle on 34th Street {original, please}, and Funny Face. My tastes vary widely, but pop some popcorn – it’d be quite the movie night watching these six films!

Is there a book to movie adaption where you preferred the movie to the book?

Hmm, nothing comes to mind, so I’ll take this question to recommend the film version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It stars Emma Watson, so I suppose my enjoyment was no question, but as someone who has yet to read this classic of YA fiction, I was surprised at how quickly I took a liking to it! Fingers crossed the book finds a home in my reading pile this spring.

What book do you recommend the most?

I’m always recommending Morgan Matson’s debut, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, to my friends who are in need of a good book. Revolution by the talented Jennifer Donnelly and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by the lovely Jenny Han are also two novels that earn my thumbs-up!

Have you ever had a book spoiled for you?

If a book has ever been spoiled for me, it’s at my own doing, as I like to look at the endings of mysteries before I’m even to the middle of the story! It’s like a puzzle, and knowing the outcome allows me to put the pieces together to solve it.

Can utopian books even exist, since there needs to be some sort of conflict for a plot?

That’s an interesting one! I’m going to say yes, though I declare that with hesitation; I believe a novel can exist without having any conflict, but that doesn’t make it a good book. One example that comes to mind is the classic Heidi – nothing truly “bad” ever happens to Heidi, so while I found it an adorable read, it was, at times, so sweet to come as any excitement.

Do we share any favorite books?

YES! You have Since You’ve Been Gone listed, which I’m in 100% agreement with – Matson is queen of contemporary fiction. We also both enjoyed We Were Liars and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

Of the classics that you’ve read, which one do think has lesson(s) that are the most applicable today?

I’ve always thought that A Tree Grows in Brooklyn has a number of excellent lessons that still hold relevance today. Betty Smith’s classic is set in the early 1900s, but her main character, Francie, is proof that resilience, hard work, and kindness are admirable traits, no matter the point in time.

If you could re-read any book for the first time, what would it be?

This may seem like an odd choice, but I would love to re-read the Nancy Drew mysteries as if it was my first time doing so. The series was one of the first I explored as a young reader, and it would be an absolute dream to “re-experience” the magic of finding a whole new world opened to you.

I know that we just had dinner, but if this chat would have been during your meal of choice, when would it have been?

Dinner is wonderful and all, but breakfast is my preferred meal of the day. I’m such a morning person, and nothing beats the dishes offered at brunch.

BONUS!  Pick a question to be included in the next dinner.

I hope you don’t mind me asking two! First, what is one book cover you would hang on your walls as art? And second – and more importantly – what do you think of Hamilton?

Thank you so much for having me, Mary! :)

Thanks so much for joining me for dinner Bella!  It was so fun having you.


About Mary

i'm an eighteen year old girl whose passions include analyzing books, making music with the piano, and drinking orange ginger tea

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