Wednesday, June 28, 2017

ARC Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross (Warcross #1)
By Marie Lu
YA, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Penguin Canada
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths. For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation. Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem... and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire. In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all. 
Hey everybody! *crickets crickets*
Yes, I am aware it has been quite some time since my last post and for that I have no excuse. I have certainly been missing the blogging world however, and reading in general. So, when I had the opportunity to read Warcross I most certainly did not pass it up.  Finally, I could do some reading which wasn't coming from a source material forced upon me from my Professors.

Just the summary itself sets it self apart from the more commonly seen YA scenarios and honestly I can not remember the last YA I read set in a sci-fi/futuristic world. It is not a common sub-genre within YA so it was refreshing to experience. It was also well executed, Lu's world-building clearly is the crux of the book and without it you'd be lost. With it, you are fully immersed in the story from the very beginning and throughout the story just wanting to learn more and more details about the world that these characters call home. Perhaps this (alongside the non-stop action) is what added to the book's seemingly compulsive pull on me to continue turning the pages far into the night.

There was quite a bit of terminology alongside the featured technology expectantly involved in this story and it was handled in a clear way that honestly just had me marveling at its coolness (for lack of a better term) and at times feeling quite honestly jealous at its element of escapism. There is just something about escaping from the daily grind of reality, as captured by this story, that is so appealing. The irony is  not lost on me that I managed to escape the current stress of my own life by reading this novel, meanwhile in the novel you could definitely see examples of characters doing the same.

Speaking of characters, Emika was a pleasant enough narrative to read through. I enjoyed her definitely more as the story went on and especially had grown fond of her by the end. That is certainly a sign of good character development, as in the beginning I was rather ambivalent (and honestly skeptical of her). I just found Lu was trying to cram in all of the emotional turmoil Emika suffered throughout her whole life  in the beginning of the story and for the cynic I am, I just found it to disingenuous and therefore it nearly had the opposite effect of the intended. I did not feel sorry for her, rather I felt annoyed at being bombarded with her life story instead of learning it throughout the course of the novel. I honestly found it to be a poorly guised technique for me to connect and sympathize to Emika straight away. It did not work.

However, what did work was seeing Emika grow and change. This was especially highlighted when Emika got more and more engrossed in the games and seeing her handle these heightened stakes. You really do get a sense of her intellect, integrity, loyalty and bravery throughout Warcross and for me that was what I found appealing. It was seeing her challenge to adversity present in the novel and her fighting spirit. It was seeing her character grow to be less naive and learn from her previous thoughts and mistakes. Without giving away spoilers, Emika becomes a character you can truly root for and, through some of Lu's emotionally evocative scenes, you not only understand her emotions but truly empathize and connect on a greater level. 

Emika's relationships to side characters in the novel are also interesting, and I would say that they are a little bit different to what you would normally see in YA. There are definitely layers present in their interactions and especially of that with the love interest. While I found Emika's backstory to be completely in your face obvious, I found the side characters (including the love interest's) to be more subtle and definitely more mysterious. By the end of the book there is still so much you do not know and it just leaves you with even more questions. I like that in the sense that it has you evaluating more closely what is going on and reading in between the lines to piece some details together. The side character's themselves are also just so much fun and I think give Warcross that extra little spark. I loved seeing their friendships with Emika not only grow but get challenged and altered throughout.

A bigger focus throughout the story was the love interest's relationship with Emika, which I briefly mentioned in the above. Honestly, I am rather iffy on it. While I feel Emika's attraction and strong feelings made sense (given there was a previously held almost 'celeb' like idolization) I cannot say the same of love interest's. It seemed as if his feelings just came out of the blue and I am not sure what the base of this was for him, therefore I do get some insta-love vibes. However, I enjoyed Emika and her love interest's romantic interactions and witty banter present throughout Warcross. Lu can definitely write romance. This is also a relationship that I think is completely tied into the ending and I am most certainly curious to see where Lu goes with it.

The ending ahhhhhh. I do not know where to even begin.  It was an ending that certainly packed a punch and one was I was not expecting at all, the very definition of plot twist. It was not a twist completely thrown out of left field however, with it making sense and looking back I could see the tiny hints weaved throughout the novel that would lead to its conclusion. The ending of Warcross certainly changed the course of the novel and I assume the resulting path will further complicate things in the sequel to come. I cannot wait to read it and see what else Lu throws at us.

 This was the first novel of Lu's I have ever read and I certainly am not disappointed. While everything else I have highlighted in this review is relevant to my feelings on this book, the most pushing (yet seemingly basic and inarticulate) thought I continue to have is that I simply had fun reading this story. It has been quite some time since I have truly read a book without pause and was smiling, gasping and just being so damn engrossed in it. I literally missed the train stop I was supposed to get off to meet my boyfriend at because I was reading Warcross. For a  novel with elements of escapism in it, I found myself having so much pure joy at reading it and in fact escaping for a bit myself. I have already touched on this idea a bit already but something inside of me cannot help reflect at how ironic this all is, and how books can provide that feeling for many.

In summation: read this book and escape for awhile. You will not regret it and will have a blast. 

~ Thank you Penguin Canada for the advance copy~
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Monday, January 23, 2017

20 things I've learned in my 20 years // IT'S MY 20TH BIRTHDAY WHAT

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY. Ahhh, I really cannot believe I'm now 20 and no longer a teenager :o I started blogging back in 2014 (on YA Midnight Reads) which is pretty wild to me. I'm growing up but honestly I still feel quite young.

I suppose it is that feeling that has inspired me to write this post. I am going to make it my goal; to craft one of these posts every single year as I grow older. In this way I hope to see a concrete representation of  growth and also to see if anything about me has changed. If nobody else reads this I honestly think it'll just be interesting for me to see personally and it's something I'm quite excited about. LOL I suppose it is one regular post I will guarantee on this blog. 

Now onto 20 things I have learned over the course of my 20 years on this lovely planet Earth. Some will be deep, some more silly but irregardless things that I find relevant and important. This list is in no particular order and please do ignore typos. I'm literally spilling my brain directly into this and I'm sure there will be a shit ton of errors and run on sentences. 

1) The importance of learning to be okay with be alone, how to deal with loneliness and the fact you're never truly alone. Loneliness is something I have most certainly experienced and I would say this feeling was really highlighted in the past two years of my life specifically. With highschool friends moving away, attending a University over 30 000 (lol not sure how big this is compared to the rest of the world but it's large to me okay) and not originally knowing anybody there, and some big friendship/boyfriend breakups AHHHH. There have been some times where I have felt completely alone. This is not a nice feeling and because of the frequency of it lately I have had to learn how to deal with it. I have learned to appreciate the time I do spend alone with doing activities that do make me feel happy. Whether it be reading, watching tv or even writing to express how I'm feeling, there is something to usually occupy my mind. Furthermore I have learned that you're not truly ever alone. This is something I've partially learned from this community in fact, that you can reach out to others online who have gone through similar experiences and lean on each other. You can feel this genuine support and new ideas you may have not even considered that will make you feel so much better.

2) Family matters.  I'm 20 and to say I have had my fair share of disagreements with my family would be quite the understatement. We all have very strong personalities after-all that tend to clash. However if I have learned anything in this past year due to unfortunate circumstances is that the bond family shares is something to cherish, is so special and important. We must value the time we spend together as (excuse me I'm going to be really frank) we don't have forever. Nobody is going to have our backs in the end more than our family and despite any tough arguments/disagreements we must remember that there is so much love present. It's also important to realize (and this may be obvious to some) that yes our families are indeed human. They have their own shit going on, they're not just roles in your life but people.

3) Stop being petty and just fucking talk about it. LOL this is something I struggle with. I really do tend to be quite passive aggressive and drop hints when I'm upset. I honestly thing sub-tweeting was invented for people like me. Clearly, this is not a healthy way to deal with my anger/sadness and it will avoid a lot of unnecessary build up of conflict if I avoid being petty. As hurt as I've been I have found it so much easier to directly address the source of the pain I'm feeling. Yes this can be pretty nerve-wracking but it really does save time to cut the bullshit and get to the root of the problem. I've found it removes the unnecessary drama component as well and usually leads to a more successful resolution. 

4)  Stop saying ‘Sorry’ or ‘It’s okay’ when you don’t mean it. #Canadianprobs You don’t realize how frequently you say it until you do and sometimes you don’t realize how much power those words actually can give people. You give power to other people and in some cases it can excuse their behavior and the hurt it has caused you if you just simply say it all the time. If you’re not sorry or you don’t feel okay, don’t say it at all and say something else. If someone is apologizing but you don’t forgive them yet? Don’t say ‘it’s okay’ when it isn’t or else this could end up with you just getting more and bitter in some circumstances. 

5) Try not to let jealousy overpower you. I'm naturally a really jealous person who tends to especially so in cases of friendships and relationships. Ooops. But I'm working on it. Remember you are  awesome and amazing and are not going to get replaced. Jealousy is going to cause you a lot of problems inevitably but don’t give into it. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others and find happiness in our own selves.

6) Your self-worth is not determined by others. Stop caring so much about what others think because their opinions do not matter as much as how you see yourself. If you love and value yourself, that’s enough. If someone talks bad about you, who cares? We need to stop putting so much care in regards to what the media perpetuates as the norm (especially in beauty standards) and accept ourselves. guess what?! The perfect person/woman/life/job/social life/anything does not exist. Dealing with this highly ingrained social and cultural norms in a healthy way is a zillion times easier said then done. Baby steps.

7) Trust your gut instinct. I tend to second guess things which just leads to me overthinking and then going with my original idea. This could really be easily avoided if I just followed my gut in the first place. It's vital to have faith in yourself because you are the one in charge here. Trust yourself and it will make decisions a whole lot more simple. 

8) Acknowledge other people's opinions AND feelings.  This is something that may seem like common sense but sometimes when we get caught up in our own way of thinking it is something that can be overlooked. Acknowledge that different views may exist even if you do not agree with them, they are still valid to the person who holds them. Also you must importantly acknowledge a person's feelings. For example, if they are offended by something and you're not? Fair enough. Don't just toss aside their feelings as being null/void/wrong. That is going to do absolutely nothing and usually ends up derailing any positive and important discussion from occurring.

9) Live a little. Take some risks. Break from routine.  #YOLO hahahaha. As cheesy as it is, I've found this really true. I tend to be somebody who enjoys the comforts in life and usually doesn't stray to far from the norms of day to day life. But what are some of the best memories of my 20 years on this planet? The times I've taken risks. Clearly this should tell you something. The most fun adventures that are to be had will not be occurring during your daily routine most likely. This is why you should really mix things up. However, I must recommend NOT to try the ghost pepper. Yeah... that was a risk gone wrong.

10) Don't be shy. Be active. Alright, by this I am not talking about being active as in physically healthy (lols also important and I need to work on that), I'm talking about being active in terms of sharing your voice. Don't be shy or scared to share your views. Take an activist role by sharing your thoughts/values/beliefs because that is how you learn and grow.  Advocate for what you believe in and you'll undoubtedly find a community with similar thoughts which will allow you to truly have meaningful conversation. If you never speak up then you'll be severely limited and that will impact your growth in the long run. 

11) Educate yourself and know the facts. If you are going to be engaging in some sort of meaningful discussion as previously mentioned or just any sort of conversation about controversial issues it usually helps if you know what is going on. By this however I don't just mean what is going on in your life/your personal connection to the issue at hand. Be worldly and diverse in your thinking. Think about others and how SO many different factors may come into play. I think knowledge is so important and research is crucial to really getting a better understanding of the world, as is listening and truly trying to understanding the experience of others. Never stop trying to get a more cohesive view and keep on learning. Question everything, it's how you learn and grow. 

12)  Learn when to stop caring/ one sided friendships suck balls. Recognize when you care more than the other party, you need to know when to pull back. In the long run you have to stop caring and realize some people will never feel the same way you do- time won’t change that. This is something I really have realized in regards to one sided friendships this year. Despite all of the effort you may pour in there will come a point when you'll realize you're getting nothing in return. This isn't normal nor is it okay. Friendships are a two sided thing and if you're the one constantly trying to make it work while the other person is cruising/only there when it's convenient? So not worth it. Cut the strings and you will feel so much relief. 

13) HOLY DLKASJDALKJDA IT IS EXAM TIME AND I'M GOING TO FAIL WHAT IS EVEN LIFE OMFG I CANNOT BREATHE.  (HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESS) Life can be all sorts of stress at times and it can be so so so so overwhelming. This is why finding stress relieving techniques will save your life. I think I have some sort of a system down?? For me I love baths. I used to be the type of person who could not stand them but now I'm obsessed. I think Lush deserves some of the credit for this, their bubble bars/bath bombs smell so great and are so fun. They make bath time even more relaxing and fun. Other than baths, another thing that helps me is to totally take a day away from studying as counter-productive as that may sound. This requires not only taking a break from studying though, but also from anything that may remind you of it. So your phone buzzing with constant panicked texts and reminders? Bye. Try to completely disconnect from everything. Food, ugh don't underestimate the power of good food.  This is what works for me but I know everybody has different techniques. I'm still perfecting mine. 

14) Life is not some super romantic movie or some typical YA romance novel. Hah. This point is a little cynical but true for me. Growing up I've constantly been immersed and actively consuming romantic material. Which yeah, I'm not crazy- ......of course I realize that books/movies don't = real life. But I suppose some of those tropes are harder for me to shake in terms of my expectations which are admittedly at times unrealistic.  I had some pretty grandiose notions of a relationship that definitely has sprung from these over the top romantic forms of media. Now, I'm not saying do not have standards but it really is important to go into things open minded without any preconceived notions of things will be. Or else yeah, you'll end up pretty fucking disappointed. Yes, you'll fight with your boyfriend/girlfriend and it won't be pretty. Yes, there probably won't be any huge grand gestures. Appreciate the little things :)

15) Be money smart. Hahahaha. Okay! So with student loans and all of that bullshit it’s probably time for some finance planning. Yes, we can still splurge and have fun. But, perhaps buying food all the time isn’t the best (……BUT IT TASTES SO GOOD). Work on budgeting and allotting certain amounts of cash for certain treats. Value your job, it really is so important despite what you may rather be doing. I'm really realizing this now as I recently lost my job /: which leads me to my next point...

16) Don't give up. In regards to my previous point, which deals with me not having a job there has been so many times I've felt completely hopeless. Times are super tough where I live right now, to the point where 94 people are applying to a part time retail job. You have got to keep pushing to see any results though. I applied to so many places and finally have received an interview (which is actually tomorrow haha) so I hope that all my attempts will eventually amount to something.

17) Fake it till you make it. For me I have always loved dressing up in fancy clothing, doing my make-up, fixing my hair and trying new looks. I found it easy to slip into the mask of confidence while doing so and it made me feel good. Then there came a day when I was applying red lipstick when I realized something- I was not faking confidence anymore. I was sincerely confident in myself and getting dolled up was just an extension of that- no longer was it the basis of that feeling. It really did take some time but looking back at my 16 year old self I really think I've grown so much. Do I still have days where I'm not 100% feeling it? Yes totally, I am human. Nevertheless I have made so much progress in terms of self-confidence and that is growing with each passing day. 

18) TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL. I have not traveled a lot recently and it's killing me :( However, the next chance I get you bet I will be getting my ass on a plane. Travel to me is something so rewarding and such a learning experience, and not just in the ways you expect. Yes, you'll undoubtedly learn/develop a new appreciation for different cultures and different ways of life but you'll also build essential life skills. Planning, language, navigation, packing, new foods....the list goes on and on. There are literally no cons, I mean besides the lighter feeling in your bank account. 

19) There is no better medicine than some girl talk. There is nothing that beats crying/ranting phone calls or late night car rides where you just leave everything on the table. I appreciate these so much. You really do feel a weight lifted off your shoulders after these sessions. I also find them to be the true friendship builders. See if you can stand to see me crying with mascara all over my face and then we can maybe be real friends [; 

20) I don't have it all figured out. LOL I'm no where near close to having everything in life figured out. I have so many more mistakes to make and learn from. I have so many more opportunities to learn what I adore and cannot stand. I have time to change my mind and start fresh. I am able to make new friends and learn new perspectives. I may loose people I may have thought would be in my life forever or at least a very long time
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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Must Watch TV Shows

So clearly I have not been reading as much as I used to and I believe that is partially due to the fact that when I'm having down time I just want to relax into my sofa and watch netflix. I have always loved watching TV but that love has only grown over the years it seems which is why today I'd like to share some of my favorites with you (: I'd say they're quite spread out overall but I do notice some overarching trends I seem to like.

Without further ado, some of my favorite TV series (in no particular order):

  • Jane The Virgin (2014-present)

This show is just hilarious. I mean with a plot surrounding a women who is accidentally artificially inseminated I think that can be expected. It uses the dramatic tropes of actual telenovelas in a satirical way that is just so well done. You'd think I would find this show overly dramatic/cheesy but honestly the writing is so good in the way that the show doesn't take itself seriously. This just adds to its charm, not to mention how easily binge watchable it is. There are also some very well done romance arcs that I just adore. However, the real star of the show is the beautifully done relationship with Jane and her family. 

  • iZombie (2015-present)

I feel as if this series is a little bit more unknown? I completely adore it to no end though. It's written by Rob Thomas (hello, Veronica Mars creator) and you can definitely tell with the gripping plot, hilarious one liners and refreshing take on the tired cop show trope. It is a show that is also surprisingly emotional in some scenes (the season finales hold nothing back) and it packs quite the punch. I really wish more people I knew watched this one so I could have more people to talk about it with. Currently it seems as if the next season won't be coming out for a while so PLEASE. Binge watch this and get back to me. 

  • Stranger Things (2016-present)
Omg if you haven't watched this already...WHAT ARE YOU DOING!? It's a stellar netflix original that everybody seems to love, I haven't heard of anybody who wasn't immediately drawn in by the very creepy sci-fi undertones this series has. It is also very emotional and I 100% cried after the finale. You will definitely become attached to the characters, and for me personally I definitely became attached to the children in particular. They're insanely talented actors/actresses for sure whose performances will blow your mind.  I need season two already please. 

  • Gossip Girl (2007-2012)

Haha, this one is an classic. Objectively super over dramatic but my ultimate guilty pleasure. I actually just started/finished this series around this time last year. It is one that you can definitely binge watch as it's just so addicting. You certainly grow to love (or completely despise...yes i'm looking at you Jenny Humphrey) the characters and do see quite a bit of development over the course of the series. Romance wise there is also no shortage of that on Gossip Girl, with one of my favorite ships of all time (Chuck & Blair) being present. However, there is still one part of me that dislikes a certain romance that ended up being endgame in the series finale  (;

  • How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014)

Can somebody give me props for finishing all 9 seasons of this show during the last summer? Haha cause that certainly happened. And I enjoyed them all. I mean minus that series finale because WTF WAS THAT!? However, even with my intense dislike of the way things ended (I'm obviously not alone in that) I still recommend this show. Despite the ending, I enjoyed and laughed during every episode. I became so attached to these characters, their lives, their storylines, their romances. This show never failed to bring my mood up, even in its more emotional points. I have so much love for it and think I always will.

  • How to Get Away With Murder (2014-present)
This show is probably one of the most intense and heart pounding I've ever watched. There is some much tension and suspense in every episode. I adore the way the story is told (flashbacks leading up to the big moment seen in the season finale) and it makes the show even more addicting. The characters are also not black & white in the slightest, they're so complex and grey that it makes you wonder about them all. Of course, I must give props to Viola Davis as her portrayal of Annaliese never ceases to blow my mind. 

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017-present) 
This show is very new, it just got added to Netflix this month. .....And I finished all of the episodes available in a single weekend. Oops. I loved reading this series when I was younger and this show captures the books perfectly. It's quirky, humorous, emotional, dark, mysterious, hopeful and I cannot wait to see the rest of the book series get played out. The acting in this show that is also so amazing, from the children, to the side characters and to Count Olaf. 

  • Modern Family (2009-present)

This show has been on air since 2009 and is still going strong. Which is something that I do find remarkable honestly. It really is an hilarious show and I always laugh multiple times during an episode- guaranteed. I love the family dynamics and even as the situations can get pretty unbelievable they're done in a way that doesn't come across as contrived or forced. The show also tackles some pretty big issues in tasteful ways. It incorporates a lot of diversity and I love it. 

  • Hart of Dixie (2011-2015)

I really wish this show lasted longer than it did. It was honestly so cute and different than what I usually watch. I loved the atmosphere of the small town and its hilarious members. For all of its numerous funny moments there were actually some pretty deep emotional ones that made me feel all of the feels. Of course I must mentioned the relationship between Wade/Zoe. As complicated as it was I found it to be simple in terms of how obvious their feelings were for each other (; Definitely one of my favorite tv couples. 


I hope from this post you found some new TV shows to check out!! 
Also if any of you have watched these shows I would love discuss them with you. Haha, clearly I am an avid TV watcher of sorts and love talking about my favorite shows :)

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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking Back on 2016 Books // Random Musings

Hey guys! Lol if any of you are actually still here and read this blog.

Here I am returning (honestly most likely one of my classic blips and blops back into this blog only to leave for many more months) and I am not going to even bother explaining what excuse I have for you this time. Honestly mainly because I don't have anything other than the standard- school. Furthermore,  2016 has been pretty rough for me and I know it has been for a whole lot of people also. I don't want to rehash the details haha but let us just bring on 2017 already. 

Before that though I'd like to embrace being basic af (which a phrase I dislike immensely but seems to have really blown up this year? Like bruh, why are you shaming girls for liking to take selfies with the dog filter? It's cute okay) and making a list of books that I read in 2016, was too lazy to properly review and still want to give a little shout out to.

After logging onto Goodreads and frantically adding all of the books I've read this year, I have achieved a grand total of 27. 

Hahah, I mean my goodreads goal this year was 25 so that makes 27 sound a little better right? God, I look back on say 2012 and see that I read 110 books- so mind boggling to me. I guess I just figured the world was ending? LOL. Anyways, for the little amount of time I read this year I am quite impressed with how many out of those 27 novels I honestly really enjoyed. I suppose I felt as if I had to make whatever minuscule amount of time I had to read count and frankly I had no time for shit books I knew I wouldn't enjoy. So this year I've really relied on such wonderful bloggers that I'm lucky to call my friends (RashikaKellyNickNereydaShannonValHollyZoe coughhh) and honestly have just stalked their reviews/harassed them for recommendations. Love you guys <33 Otherwise the books I've found myself have been searching for seem to fit very specific genre. I seem to be really interested in thrillers which is something I could not have predicted myself.

Okay, enough with the blabbing- let's get into the books!! This is a list that isn't in any sort of order as that would require me to be decisive which is not my strong suit. 

1) The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis 
This is a story I didn't expect in the least. But holy fuck, it blew me completely away. It was told in such a raw and unrelenting sort of way that to some would feel harsh but to me was undeniably realistic and hard hitting. It deals with such huge issues such as rape and slut shaming in a way that is stings with the realism of what girls face today. It's core messages crucial and especially relevant in our society. It also has a thriller sort of aspect that wouldn't let me put it down. Finally, that ending was insane. I actually shed a tear. McGinnis definitely didn't shy away from it and the ending is one that has (and will) stick in my mind for many months to come.

2) The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson
Now this is another story that I just couldn't put down. I ended up reading it till past midnight and even when I finished felt some residual creepiness stemming from the story. It is a dark story that certainly made me shudder on more than one occasion. I did love the way it was told, the main character being a central player among the many girls who were held captive was being interviewed by two FBI agents. However she didn't simply tell her story, more so she danced around it and left you wanting more details just as much as the agents. Slowly her story formed though, in a non-linear fashion which could have been confusing but instead was well written and done to only further build the suspense.   

3) My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows 
This is one of the more light reads I enjoyed this year, despite its apparent length. It is honestly so much fun! It made me laugh out loud on numerous occasions and by the end of it I really formed a strong bond with all of the characters. The romance was also done in a way that really made my heart melt, but never did it overtake the main story at large. I found that these three talented authors have managed have managed to blend their writing styles in a cohesive way that it never even feels like there is more than one author writing- which is an issue I have definitely encountered before. The three POVs are handled amazingly.

4) You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott 
This is another murder suspense sort of thriller. It was beautifully crafted in the way that the characters and the family dynamic was so convoluted and twisted that I couldn't look away. I felt myself gasping at every reveal and found myself at the edge of my seat as the book utterly brims with tension. It is hard to discuss this book (and really a lot of the the thrillers I mentioned) without spoiling anything. Trust me on this one everybody. 

5) The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
The romance in this one was SO SO SO cute. It really did turn me into a ball of mush, and despite its obstacles I was rooting for it since the start. I also adored the friendships highlighted in this story- like I would love to have a friend group alike that. Furthermore, there was the main character struggling to deal with her mother's death. I felt this was done beautifully and very realistically handled. It certainly can be very tough and I love that Matson didn't shy away from talking about it despite this novel on the surface level being more of a beach read. ALSO DOGS.

6) Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
This story was a courtroom drama taken to the next level with racism being handled in a way that yes- is most certainly still relevant in our society. It also made me realize that depth white privilege goes and how it can also exist quite subtly. Picoult weaves a very eye opening novel with a strong main character that will have you thinking beyond its hopeful ending. Being the cynic I did have a wee bit of an issue with the ending. That aside though, I enjoyed this novel and I think it speaks to a high level of talent that Picoult even manages to make the character of a white supremacist multi-layered instead of one dimensional.  

7) Starflight by Melissa Landers
I'm mentioning this one despite the fact I had a few quibbles with it. Starflight was just so much fun that I could easily overlook the issues I had and still really enjoy the novel overall. There was a whole crew of characters and I really fell in love with them, especially our main characters of course AND OH MY GOD DON'T GET ME STARTED ON HOW I FEEL ABOUT THE SLOW ROMANCE THAT BLOOMED BETWEEN THEM. Ugh. They were also very hilarious characters themselves, with their banter making me smile on numerous occasions. I cannot wait for more of the fun space action, I believe this is a series?

8) The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
I didn't read many debuts this year, but this novel definitely left me amazed and wanting more from Khoury. The writing in this one was simply gorgeous, I seriously had so many different passages and quotes highlighted. It is a retelling of Aladdin and truly does wonders to its inspiration. I personally have a soft spot for Aladdin so I was a little worried going into this one, however Khoury created her own original story while including little notes to the original tale. While the romance in this one was definitely feels inducing, I also loved the relationship between Zhara and Roshana. I also enjoyed the world building! 

9) Summer Skin by Kristy Eager
This is a novel I certainly wasn't expecting and wouldn't be on my radar normally as I don't read NA usually. However, this one really has me wanting to dive into that genre and explore it better. Summer Skin is the ultimate beach read complete not only with a sexy romance to boot but also some awesome friendships and kick-ass moments of feminism. This book is snarky and empowering, the main character making me laugh and also making me want applaud throughout the story. 

10) The Sun is Also a Stat by Nicola Yoon
I think a lot of people will be surprised at me for putting this on my list. I am a little surprised myself, not being a fan of insta-love myself. The romance (which is central to the novel) is arguably that. However I found myself believing and falling for it myself. I suppose the part that made it work for me was the character themselves and how they were developed to act/feel during certain circumstances, this is what made their romance seem more believable. I also really adored the cultural aspects in this novel that were prevalent throughout. I feel as if it was a really realistic portrayal of the lives of immigrants who come to America and as well as those born there. I do have more quibbles (such as the ending and the character of Charlie) but all in all Yoon crafts another unputdownable romance. 

If you guys have stuck with me to the bottom of this longer than anticipated post I love you so much <33 Thank you so much for sticking with me despite my frequent absences and just being such lovely humans. I'd love to hear some of your 2016 favorites. 

I wish you all of the best in 2017 <33

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Discussion: Is book blogging falling out of trend?

Sometimes I have these ideas for larger discussions but just cannot fully flesh out all of my ideas. These ideas usually come to me on the spur of the moment and during either time spent in the shower or at 3 AM when sleep just seems like an utter impossibility. This is one of those times, and I have no doubt that in the comments there will be a brand new large discussion in itself.

Hahaha, okay so I'm sure the title of this discussion got a few raised eyebrows  but please hear me out and consider firstly my position in all of this. Recently I haven't been so active in the book blogging community at all (been quite the lurker really) and while I have my own personal reasons for this, I can't help but notice that in general the book blogging community seems to be getting noticeably less active as a whole. I've noticed a decline in comments on some of my other favorite blogger's blogs, and when chatting with a few they've admitted to a sharp decline in stats over a recent period of time. Furthermore I see a lot less interaction between blogs in general and unfortunately even a decrease in meaningful conversation between members on social media.

While I'm sure this can be attributed to many unique factors I cannot help but also notice the uprising in popularity when it comes to booktube and bookstagram. This has lead me to wonder.... has book blogging reached its expiration date? Does it have an expiration date? Are we nearing it or beginning to head towards it? Logically new trends and forms of media will always exist and continue to develop in our technological era that we live in. But are book blogs a way of the past now, the current roads of promotion for new releases being something more accessible for people on the go and through already popular apps?

I do definitely notice that many publishers and some authors are making using of instagram and such to promote new titles. It can certainly be a powerful marketing tool. As for the core member group of bibliophilies, I've seen some that have moved entirely from blogging to these new forms of media. Some seem to be doing so at a slower rate. I honestly am not involved in bookstagram or booktube, but from what little I've observed and more so what I've heard: they're both thriving and growing communities.

I do know it is quite sad (even for myself) to think of something that had such great importance to me as the book blogging community to be a trend. However it's difficult for me to deny that things certainly seem to be waning at the moment. Do you think this is just a lull in the community? Or do you think that this will just continue and other forms of media will rise? Do you think I'm crazy?

All pertinent questions.
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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Personal Thoughts via Gifs

To be honest I love to read about other peoples lives. Whether this is something my curious self just enjoys, I figured I would share some things about myself. I've been thinking for quite some time of how to do this in a more unconventional way than your typical list and then the lovely Shannon made a post that I absolutely adored. Essentially it was your typical fact post but in the form of gifs which to me made it so much better and more creative than the norm (:

Without further ado, here is me casually taking Shannon's idea (love you girl!) and applying personal facts about my life with gifs (:


This is me whenever I have spare time. Let's be honest, I can spend so much time on the internet (really not doing much) and yet the hours tick by. My laptop is something that is very much a part of me.


Sometimes I feel confident in my body and appearance. When I do I tend to go all out and wear clothing that some may consider "revealing" or clothes that "show off" a bit. So fucking what? It is not because I desire boys attention (which really is a personal choice one consciously makes, so would there be anything wrong with that? Furthermore why should it bother anybody else?) but rather I feel okay with myself and how I look. Also omg I find sex enjoyable, so obviously that is not okay cause wow- girls finding consensual sex pleasurable!? crazy. 


Honestly I know I am something. Lol, but what exactly? Cue my casual normal existential crisis, usually just brimming beneath the surface. I currently am enrolled in a pre-law program of sorts (it's officially called Law & Society, a four year bachelor program) and plan on going to law school after. But like??? Even with that plan I'm still so unsure of everything. Would I even be cut out to be a lawyer? Would I even like it? Or what about the people in my life right now? If recent events have proven anything, people can be temporary. The uncertainty of the future and my place in this world is something that weighs on me all of the time. And I know I'm just 19 and shouldn't worry so much but ahhh I just do. 


I absolutely adore the movie Mean Girls so I just had to slip in a gif from that movie in this post. It's pretty accurate to my life though, whenever things get tough? I go for the most carb loaded food item available. I wouldn't mind some cheese fries right now. I just love food, alright? I figure I can eat whatever and whenever in usually large amounts and like work out once in a blue moon.


This scene from Gossip Girl is so iconic to me. It also happens to be quite relevant to my life, with my shopping addiction becoming more and more relevant it seems. Tbh the concept of self-control isn't one that bodes well with me when faced with an irresistible pair of heels. Ooops.


I love all movies, but I do have a soft spot for those over the top ones rom-coms that just happen to be unrealistic. See, I can even acknowledge the fact that these movies are just that-movies and nothing more. I know the things I watch will not happen to me. But I will not lie, a small part of me still is wanting to have that grand romantic gesture (or at least something resembling romance tbh) or crazy long proclamation of love occur in my life. I guess you could say  these Disney movies and rom-coms and even books tbh have brought out my inner romantic all while at the same time crushing it with my inner cynic. Eeep.


This is shockingly a new one for me. Previously in my life I would have considered myself to be fairly cool & collective, in the sense that if I felt any sort of emotion I'd either distance myself or keep it locked up. I could play the "it doesn't exist if you don't think about it" denial card better than anybody else. Recently though I've left that completely at the curb and god guys- I can be a total emotional mess. More often than not that has been the case in my life. I've accepted it and I find it totally normal- IT IS OKAY TO CRY AND HAVE FEELINGS EVERYONE.


Haha, this one is a little sad but true. Honestly I've grown up with technology and it has become such a part of my life that when I don't have my phone it just doesn't feel right. It's just so useful, whether just to text a friend to hang out or rant when you're going through a mini crisis. I also love to take selfies with my friends. I admit to that addiction fully, as well as spending a little more than average on social media and youtube. Another thing I've found is how my the only natural way to get out of an awkward conversation on the train 


Come on, sometimes you just gotta blast Taylor Swift and sing (or in my case more like devil scream) along completely off-key. It can be therapeutic in a slightly weird way.


Eeeee. I need to work on this. When I don't like somebody, it tends to stick. I hold grudges. Sometimes I have good reason to and other times I really don't. It can rather surface level or just because a friend/somebody close to be got hurt or doesn't like them. This is a flaw I need to really work on.


And that is all folks! Lol I hope you guys enjoyed these truly random (and surprisingly long) insights into my personality. 


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Friday, June 3, 2016

Update: Dealing with Grief

Hello to anybody who may still happen to be around. More than usual I've been quite MIA in the blogging community due to the fact I've not only been quite busy but also because I've had to deal with the ramifications of a death of somebody very close to me. To say that recent times haven't been easy would be quite the understatement and it would be no exaggeration to say this is the toughest time I've been through in my nineteen years of existence.

I thought I would be prepared for the impact a death would have in my life. It was one that wasn't unexpected and something I knew would sadly happen, nonetheless when it happened it honestly hit me very hard. I have learned first hand there is no way to be fully prepared for a death of a loved one and the resulting impact it will have on your life.

I suppose I have learned many things recently. Such as how to cherish all memories both good and bad, yet not to get lost in them, how to sleep when your mind is going a million miles a minute and how that it is okay to feel and that you should take time to do so. Regularly in society crying is associated with weakness and I definitely don't think that should be the case. Crying is a natural emotional release and is something that shouldn't be ostracized, it is okay to cry.

So what is this purpose of this post? I can assure you that is isn't to garner further sympathy.

This post is less about getting into the details of my own situation and more so the struggles of moving forward when all you want to do is just lock yourself in your room and never face such an unfair world, which all of a sudden just has this gaping hole. It is about some of my feelings and observations that I hope will serve the dual purpose of not only being therapeutic for me to write but also helpful for others.

This post is for people who have experienced or are currently going through similar circumstances and feel like they're alone. It's for those people who do feel totally isolated when grieving and even a long time afterwards still feel the sting and that nobody could possibly understand what they're going through.

I'm here for you, no matter what you need or want. If you don't want to talk about it (understandably) I'm still here for you. Whether it be as a distraction to take your mind off things for a bit.

As for myself I'm doing fairly well I think. For blogging I do have a few posts and such planned so despite my recent inactivity expect to see some action here soon.

Love you to bits.
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