Friday, March 31, 2017

March 2017 Wrap Up

There goes yet another month. Wrap ups are one of my favourite kinds of posts to make because I love reflecting and it's really fun to look back on previous wrap ups to see what I was up to.

I think I'll start off with what I read this month
- The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
- Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
- Geekerella by Ashley Poston
- We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan
- Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy
- The Laramie Project
- Optimists Die First by Susan Nielsen

I'm actually quite impressed since I've been relatively busy and didn't actually realise I had time to read seven books. Although, to be fair I started Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy back in February. I actually really liked almost everything I read this month which is great. My favourite being We Come Apart.

I've done a lot of blogging recently. Mostly because I'm trying to catch up in my reviews. I've also been feeling pretty inspired this month. I've also been incredibly happy with the responses I've been getting on my posts. I feel like my hard work is paying off more and more every day. I'm feeling very happy with where it's all at. My favourite post I wrote this month was probably my Things I'm Grateful For post because I had a lot of smiles while writing it and I really love the idea of it and hope to do more in the future.

I've haven't done a lot else this month except school and band. I've knuckled down pretty hard because I am looking to smash it. I've found it's a lot easier to knuckle down when you're doing classes you want to be doing. I'm really enjoying my classes which is great and I feel like I'm learning a lot. It is miles better than high school and I'm really finding myself along the way.

A lot of things are happening in April that I am really excited about. I'm really looking forward to it and I hope you are too. I'm wishing you the best of luck in April and I hope you've had a great March. I hope 2017 is treating you all as well as it is me.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

John by Cynthia Lennon

5 Stars

“Once again John and I kissed good-bye.”

Holy moly. Guys, you've got to get on to this. There are so many words I could use to describe this but most of these words would probably get my post flagged. It just blew my mind and I can't get over it. 

35238I haven't read non-fiction in such a long time in fact I don't even remember the last one I read. It would've been years ago though. I'm not always a big fan of non-fiction because I find I really need to have a fascination with the topic to enjoy it. I do have a massive fascination with the Beatles, particularly John. It was strange because it was written so well that it almost felt like fiction and I'm struggling to wrap my head around the fact that this is a real story. 

It was incredibly vivid and raw. Cynthia Lennon had me feeling everything. In the two days it took me to read this, I fell in love with John Lennon, I had a baby with John Lennon, I was betrayed by John Lennon, and I lost John Lennon. It was so engaging that it felt like all that was happening to me which was the insane part for me because I didn't realise non-fiction could be told in such a way. Everything was described so well that I create the images in my head which I wasn't expecting it since everything happened so many years ago. 

I was worried the book would bore me because I already knew most of the story but the thing is, I knew what happened but I didn't know everything else. I don't know how to word this in a way that makes sense. Basically, reading the story from the memory of a woman who spent so many years with John and in John's orbit, it makes it very intimate. It's kind of like, the book made everything sound less like facts and more like something that truly happened to someone. Before reading this, everything was simple facts 'John was shot and killed' 'John had an affair with Yoko Ono', that sort of thing which for a lot of people is kind of general knowledge and for the past year with my interest in the Beatles, it's been just general knowledge to me so it's kind of shocking to put it into a real life scenario. It's not like I didn't know that all this was real, it just put it into a different context for me.

I have so much respect for Cynthia, she's always been one of my favourite Beatles' girls. I don't know how she managed to write a book about a man who did such a horrible thing to her and still portray him in all the ways she saw him beforehand. It had no bitterness to it, it had this air of truth to it. She still managed to write the happy times and the lovely times and the times he was awfully sweet to her. I guess that's another thing that made this book feel like a fiction book to me. She told it just like a story in the way that she didn't give hints to what was coming up so even though I knew what was coming up and how it would end, I was on the edge of my seat hoping and hoping it wouldn't. It was totally bizarre and I respect Cynthia for being able to put all her feelings now to the side so she could write a truthful and accurate representation of John. 

I both hate and love John Lennon and this book only made it that much stronger. Both the love and hate were just multiplied which makes it even more hard to discuss the many ways I feel about John Lennon. I've always been more of a Paul girl with a side of George perhaps. I have no problem saying I think John is an arsehole but in that I have a deep appreciation for him. It's complicated. But, the book gave me a lot more reasons for why I love John and why I hate him. 

If you're interested in the Beatles or just John or the sixties in general or even if you just like biographies. I think this would be something you'd be interested in. I think it was fantastic, I wouldn't go as far to say anyone would enjoy this because I definitely think you have to have some sort of interest in it to appreciate it. I will definitely go on to read a bit more non-fiction after this wonderful experience. It was so real and beautifully honest. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

3 Stars
I received a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This was a fun book. I had a lot of fun reading it and it gave me a huge desire to watch Star Wars which I'm not even a huge fan of.

As you can probably tell from the title, it's a retelling of Cinderella. This immediately appealed to me because since beginning the Lunar Chronicles, I've been super into retellings. I think they are so fun to read and I'm just really into them at the moment. I think Geekerella was done really well in the regards of being a retelling, you could follow the aspects of the original story and there were some really cool ways that the author incorporated the original story. The one thing being that it was predictable but I think that's a challenging thing with all retellings since they are based on a story we already know. It was done well and it made it a fun read.

As for the romancey side of the book. I wasn't really feeling the connection between Elle and Darien, I thought there wasn't too much interactions between them for me to really feel that between them. It almost felt like the author was really pushing it. I liked Elle and Darien as characters but I'm just not convinced on the two of them together. It didn't feel natural and I thought it progressed a little fast for my liking. I do love a slow burn.

My heart was in a constant state of lurching for Elle with her step mum and sister. I can't believe how horrible they are to poor Elle. In that way, the story was absolutely spot on to Cinderella. I did really like Sage though, even Calliope. I think Sage is a brilliant friend and a lovely person. I also think Calliope is a real sweetheart even if her sister is the literal devil.

It was good. I keep using the word fun but I think fun is the only word for it. It was a really fun read. It was nerdy and dorky. I don't know that I'd reach for it again but I did enjoy it. It was worth the read and if you're into retellings like me then I think you definitely have to check it out.

Monday, March 27, 2017

How To Period

Today, I'm on my period. I'm quite mad about it because I wasn't expecting it. I thought it was two weeks early, turns out March is going way too quick for me and it's right on time. My favourite thing to do while I'm on my period is to talk about my period. And because I always love getting tips from other people, I decided I'd make my own list of tips for people with their period.

1. Always Have A Pad Or Tampon On You

Always. Even if you aren't on your period, you don't know who might need it. It's super reassuring to have one on you just in case and it's a super nice thing if someone else doesn't have one. I can't count the amount of times when I'd only just started getting mine that I'd have to ask around because I'd forget. It's really nice to know that others would help you out if you're in need.

2. Leggings Are Your Friend

All I wear on my period is leggings because they're comfy and dark and happy. When you're on your period, the general consensus is that you want to be as comfortable as possible. You don't really want to be wearing your tight skinny jeans or anything. Also, I find leggings are the best if you're feeling bloated or often get bloated on your period.  I personally don't get bloated very often but I can't imagine it's not great to have anything too tight going on.

3. Hot Showers Are The Answer To Everything

Hot showers are fantastic. They do wonders for you. A hot bath works too, but I know not everyone feels comfortable having a bath on their period. Personally, I like baths a bit better because standing can be hard when you've got bad cramps. The water will actually stop the bleeding for a while so it's not like you're going to be bathing in your own bloody water but I'd also recommend just making sure everything is clean down there before getting in. Also, if you have the water hot enough, the pain of your burning skin will distract you from the cramps. (Just joking, please don't do that.)

4. Don't Be An Asshole About Other's Tampon Or Pad Preferences

This isn't much of a tip. Just don't do it. I personally use pads because I found tampons to not sit well which made it really uncomfortable. We like what we like and if tampons are best for you, use them but if pads are best for you, use them. It's really simple and I don't know why people have to be such assholes about it.

5. Overnight Pads Are A Brilliant Thing

For a long time, I didn't both using overnight pads because I didn't think there'd be much point to them. A couple months ago though, I started and it changed my whole sleeping experience. I was always very paranoid about bleeding on my sheets and it ruins the quality of my sleep a bit. Overnight pads are so good, they feel a bit like a nappy but you're only sleeping in them so it's not much to worry about. I don't have to worry about leaking when I wear them and they hold a lot more blood because they're made to be worn for hours.

6. Take Care Of Yourself And Do What's Good For You

There are so many things out there about periods but I think the most important thing is to do you. I know some people say exercise and healthy eating is the way to go but honestly, when I'm on my period I don't feel like moving or doing anything. I've had cramps so bad I couldn't stand longer than a couple minutes so it's definitely not my thing. But, that might be your thing, maybe that's what helps you the most. It's all about figuring out what works for you because we all have different bodies so it's not going to be universal. Be a little kinder to yourself this time of month because you'll need it.

So, there you go. Just a few of my favourite things to keep in mind. It's not a great time but there are things you can do to make it less crappy. I wish you all luck, whether you're on your period today or if it's coming up. Don't forget, if you're on your period, no one can shame you for eating as much cake as you want.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

4 stars

“The problem with wanting," he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, "is that it makes us weak.”  

10194157Oh, my lord. Okay, people rave about Leigh Bardugo so I had my expectations set pretty high but wow. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. I really pleased about this because I bought this and Six of Crows on complete impulse when I saw them online after reading all the hype. I can not wait to get the next two in the trilogy.

Before I get really stuck into it, I have a few words to say and they are, slay me Mal boo. I love him, I might say this about almost every semi charming fictional boy I come across but you need to believe me when I say Mal is a babe and I think I'm in love with him. To be completely honest with you though, for a while there I was starting to think he was an absolute prick.

I had a bit of trouble trying to get into it to begin with but once I was in, I was in good. I think I usually  need to take a little adjusting time when I read a fantasy book. Especially today since I haven't read a fantasy book in a month (*shudders*) so, it probably took me a little longer but holy hell, you have to know that once I got into it, I struggled to put it down. So, that in itself was pretty good.

I'm a bit obsessed with the Grisha world now and I really hope we get to see more of it in the next books. I reminds me very vaguely of the Pyrithian (there is no way I spelt it right but I don't feel like checking). Shadow and Bone actually reminds me of a lot of books, for example, at one point it felt very Legend-esque but it also kind of felt a little Divergent-y with a hint of The Hunger Games then a dusting of The Mortal Instrument. Very intriguing combinations there, if you ask me.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and I absolutely can hardly wait until I read the rest of the trilogy. I think we've got a very good basis for some interesting plots, I'm intrigued to see what Leigh Bardugo has done with them. Great book, I'd seriously recommend it if you haven't already read it!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Most 'me' Book Characters Ever

Today, I'm making a list of the most 'me' or relatable book characters. Not much to really explain here, so we'll dive straight in.

1. Hermione Granger

I adore Hermione and I think she is one of the best characters to relate to.We are both massive book worms and have a desire for knowledge. Hermione really tries her hardest and I like to think I do too (most of the time). She's also just so sarcastic and blunt which is so me.

2. Molly Peskin-Suso
Molly from The Upside of Unrequited reminds me so much of me. I, too, am a serial crush-er. I also know what it feels like to feel like every one around you is in relationships. I love her inner monologue, she just really reminds me of me. She has her fair share of awkward moments, as do I. She's one of my favourite characters.

3. Simon Lewis

Because he's a huge nerd and so am I. He is also very sarcastic, like me. I think he's hilarious and definitely the highlight of the Mortal Instruments series.

4. Tessa Gray

Even if I think she can be a bit pretentious sometimes (same), I still think I can relate a lot to Tessa. Tessa adores books and learning and so do I. She's very selfless which I can't relate on but I can definitely relate on the book loving.

5. Cath

Cath from Fangirl is someone I think we can all relate to. Obviously, she is a fangirl and that on it's own makes her very relatable.  I understand Cath and her love for Simon Snow because I feel that. I also understand her wanting to interact with as little people as she can because same.

There you go, some characters that I relate to on a personal level. I'd love to hear who you relate to!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

3 Stars

"We come together. Now we come apart."
I'm going to get the not so great part out of the way first because I have a lot of lovely things to say about this book. My not so great point is, I don't really understand the point of the book. Actually, I get the point, I think the point is two people on the outside coming together. But, I really don't get the ending. It was sad, definitely sad but I don't really understand it. It felt rushed to me because everything happened so fast and nothing was explained. And I need to know what happens. I was left more than a little confused.

I thought Nicu and Jess were lovely characters with a lot of depth. I thought it was really interesting to read that inner monologue of Nicu and it felt very realistic. I think the verse format gave Jess and Nicu a lot of shape. It told of their relevant thoughts and made everything more important and relevant to the story rather than the regular way of storytelling. It was much more condensed and therefore a lot richer.

I think it was such a wonderful story of two outsiders building a friendship under unlikely circumstances. Both such troubled teens and both so different. I think that's absolutely wonderful. I love a good unlikely friendship story. Jess really cares for Nicu and you could really tell throughout the book. Jess has a good heart.

It was quite confronting to read though. Seeing the way the other kids treated Nicu, it was shocking. I've grown up in a place where that doesn't really happen. I go to a school with kids from Afghanistan and Iran and Singapore and all sorts of places. For me, it's never been anything but a normal thing and no one has ever treated the international students any differently. But, obviously it happens and it's really sad to me that it does happen. It gave me something to think about.

I was really excited to finally be reading something from Sarah Crossan because I've heard a lot of good things. She did not disappoint and neither did Brian Conaghan. A book unlike others and something definitely worth checking out.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

4 stars

“Phones are distracting. The internet is distracting. The way he looked at you? He wasn't distracted. He was consumed.”  

9627755Awh, I love this so much. I reread this in anticipation for the pending arrival of my copies of Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. I've been waiting a good year or so for these babies so you have to understand my excitement at finally having ordered them. Anyway, I adore this.

It is so cute, I can't find anyway to be mad at it because it is so bloody cute. Also, hello? It's set in Paris which makes it the most romantic book I've ever read. I can't get over the literal sweetness, I am always down for a fluffy read like this. But then again, it kind of ripped my heart out for a while. Which was not cool.

I thought Isla was a pretty relatable character, to me at least. I like her, have an autistic friend and people give me a lot of shit for it but I don't understand why he can't have friends like everyone else. I liked that this was represented in the book. Kurt reminds me a lot of my friend and it kind of hurt a little to see him being treated like he was in the book but I love that Isla understands. Isla, also, has a tendency to run her mouth off and subconsciously ruin things. But, I get that, it made her more relatable to me because I've been in similar situations, not as severe yet but I understand it.

Josh is an absolute babe, even when he kind of screwed things up or said things so mushy that they made even me cringe. Artistic people just make me swoon always, never have I ever been in anyway artistic but it's characters like these that make me with I could draw more than a stick figure. I also find it incredibly attractive when he draws Isla, before I die a boy better draw me. Please form a single file line, fellas. He was just super sweet and concerned about Isla. He was just trying to do what he thought was best for her the whole time, it was lovely.

I am beyond thrilled to start reading the rest of the trilogy and it'll be interesting to compare books. I've heard Anna and Lola were even better than this but honestly, I don't know if I'm prepared for that amount of fluff. So, you'd better stay tuned for those reviews to come.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

3 Stars

"Part of me wanted to fling myself on the bed and hold him. Part of me wanted to fling myself on the bed and pummel him."

I received a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

30335388I have a few issues with this book. Which is a definite shame since I wanted to love it. The cover is gorgeous, it sounded great. It just wasn't so great in execution.

Firstly, I don't suffer from anxiety or anything but I'm at least 95 percent sure that Petula's anxiety wasn't well written at all. It was like it was written to add quirks and things for readers to find 'relatable'. I don't know, it seemed strange and very exaggerated to me. I don't think the author intended for Petula to be presented this way and in the acknowledgements she talks about the research she did in writing the book so, I think the author had her heart in the right place. I just hope she can learn from it.

It described itself as a love story for cynics which totally appealed to me, I'm a huge cynic in real life. Not so much when it comes to reading but that's different. But, nevertheless, I thought this was perfect but I didn't really get a whole lot of it. It didn't feel to me like the romance was the big theme here. Which is strange because it was a big part of the book but it I just wasn't really feeling it.

I think the idea for the plot was lovely. I loved how the kids all united to help each other get better but again, I didn't quite like the way it was done. I felt like the book was perhaps a bit short and therefore rushed. So we didn't get much on the other characters and for me it almost defeated the purpose.

I'd have liked Petula's impulsiveness to have been touched on more but instead it was all her 'quirks' because they were cuter and easier to like. It seemed to be pushed to the side. Which seems funny to me because I thought the book was supposed to be about those sorts of issues.

I loved the cats. They were probably my favourite characters. It made me want more cats, they really stole the show and I loved their book inspired names. I'm totally going to give my next pet a book inspired name.

Anyway, I think the book was good in theory. I don't think any harm was intended so I am hoping the author will improve. It was a quick read and it had it's cute moments and a big theme was friendship so that was nice. I'm pretty undecided on this. I've given it a meh rating because I really can't make up my mind.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Infinite Moment Of Us by Lauren Myracle

3 Stars

“It's what you feel, and guess what? Feelings are like three-year-olds. They're not rational. They're just there.”

17290266Ugh, this book. I feel like I have a lot to say about. I probably don't but I feel like it. First, I just finished it 10 minutes ago and I have that weird feeling in my stomach where I feel like crying. I don't know why I feel like crying really, well I mean I do, it's a very raw book but, I can read death scenes without feeling anything. Also, when I first got this book a few years ago, I won't lie, I wanted it because the cover is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

I'm going to start of with the thing that we all secretly want to talk about. Sex. There was sex in the book, yes, yes, yes. Now, this is cool, this is fine. It's about 18 year olds and love so there's probably sex but I feel like I need to discuss this because it was very much in detail. I don't mind a sex scene, they're usually well done and subtle enough that you don't know every detail but you still know it happened. Not to say this wasn't well done, I'm more talking about it for the benefit of anyone who want's to read The Infinite Moment Of Us because it's so detailed and it made me a little uncomfortable to read but in another way I was glad it was so thorough because I liked to know that sex isn't always perfect and that it hurt and it was kind of awkward. Too many times in books, sex is displayed (I mostly mean when girls lose their v-card) as perfect and wonderful but they don't talk about some of the pain or awkwardness. Anyway, my biggest point in mentioning this is so if you aren't comfortable reading about sex then this might not be the book for you. Although, if you want my opinion, I liked how straight forward it was.

I feel like that was a long talk about sex but moving swiftly on, I really like the book. It is so raw and I love raw. Also, Wren and Charlie have their issues because they're 18 and it won't be perfect. I like that this book exhibits that. It was a bit sudden and I, perhaps, would have liked more build up. Maybe a slower burn but it's whatever really, I don't particularly mind. Wren is such a sweet soul and reminds me of me, I over react over literally everything. Just like her. Charlie is really lovely too. I loved Tessa, why can't we all have a Tessa in our lives? She is such a gorgeous friend. I love her. She really wants the best for Wren and that is so precious and I love to see such lovely friendships in books.

I like it, it's a nice read. It's got the right amount of fluff (although, let's be real, there can never be too much fluff) it's got a little bit of drama. The end is fricking lovely. Possibly a little bit cringe worthy. What is there not to like? I couldn't tell you.

Also, take this masterpiece of a review I wrote when I was 14.

So sweet, so cute, so adorable, so much awkward sex scenes. If it weren't for how awkward the sex scene was I would love it I'd probably be giving it more stars.

I felt as though it was a bit too in depth. People have sex, we know, it just seemed like that was so much of the book.

I also feel that Charlie and Wrens relationship started too soon in the book and was too easy, it seemed like a dream come true. It wasn't exactly realistic, I would've enjoyed it more if the relationship was more realistic.

I think it was a very cute story, awkward but cute. I did like it, not as much as I had wanted to like it but I did like it

Ahh, look at me go. My precious lack of correct grammar and my extensive vocabulary. Oh, how my feelings have changed.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

5 stars

“A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.”  

1885I may have lost count of all the rereads I've done so far this month so I wouldn't be able to tell you what number this is, although the months dwindling to a close. As I write this, it is the 23/9/16 which I understand this will actually go up in February of 2017 but I have so many reviews to post, it's insane. Anyway, when I first read this, I was 12 and it was on recommendation from my English teacher who I had so much respect for, I would've sold her my soul. I lost a tiny bit of respect as she became my history teacher but anyway, she told me I'd probably enjoy it because I loved Heidi. The first time I read this was an absolute blur so of course, I had to reread it. It turns out, I retained very little of it.

It's kind of pointless to do a review on Pride and Prejudice but honestly, it's more of a discussion and I like to discuss each book I read. It's good to be able to come back and say 'oh, that's what I thought of that'. It makes for easy reference for myself and somewhat interesting content. So, I guess I'm 'reviewing' Pride and Prejudice.

As far as classics go, this is one of my favourites. Jane Austen is one of my favourite classic authors. I don't always like classics though, for example, I absolutely hated Wurthering Heights and could barely finish it. I love Jane Austen's writing style though, the characters are more three dimensional than some characters tend to be in classics. Elizabeth has a lot of personality and she's fun to read.

I love that Elizabeth stands her ground, especially towards the end. She is a great representative of the early strong literary women. Marrying was not a priority for herself and she knew she didn't want to marry for the sake of money, which is great. I think Elizabeth is a great character.

Mr Darcy is just gorgeous, especially once he proposes and we really get to see him more as a character. That's the one shame with classics, I find, we never get to know a huge amount of the love interest and we don't get all that we get in romance type novels now. This is obviously because romantic relationships are much different now than they were when a lot of classics were published but it is a shame nonetheless.

I give it a five stars because I really like it and think it's probably the most likable as far as classics go. It's one of my personal favourites and I know it's a favourite upon many.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Things I'm Grateful For

Today I'm feeling really grateful for a lot of things so I thought it would be nice to write about all the things I'm grateful for. This'll probably be split into a few posts because there's so many things I could list. I hope this inspires you to look into what you're feeling grateful for and write your own post (or posts).

1. My Parents
I have two beautiful, loving parents who I wouldn't exchange for the world. They're always so supportive of me and what I want to do. They allow me to live the lifestyle I want to live and they are my best friends.

2. My Kitty Cat
Louis is the most annoying cat I've had the pleasure of meeting. I have no problem saying out of all four cats I've had in my life, he is the most annoying. But, I adore him. He's like my little baby and he always knows how to cheer me up. I wish I could give him the world.

3. The Beatles
Because I really love their music and it gives me goosebumps which I haven't really experienced before. They inspire me and they give me a certain escape. They have a song for every emotion I'm feeling and I'm really glad that they are a thing.

4. Books
Obviously, this had to be one. I love books and I love the way there's a book for everyone. I love that they help educate me and give me somewhere else to go. They've opened up so many worlds to me and given me a lot of opportunities so far.

5. The Opportunity To Have An Education
I complain about school 90% of the time but deep down, I'm so grateful for it. I know there's a lot of people who would die to have the opportunity to go to school like I do. I tend to think a lot of people take it for granted but I aim to make the most of it because I am really lucky.

6. Socks
I love socks. My feet are perpetually cold so socks are one of my favourite things. They're so cosy and lovely. I have countless pairs of fluffy socks and I still feel like I need more. They're a simple thing but they're really nice to have.

7. The Opportunity To Have A Musical Education
I'm really grateful that the schools I have gone to have had awesome opportunities for musical studies. I really doubt I'd have gotten into it without those opportunities. The city I live in is notorious for it's music programs and I know living where I do I have so many more opportunities.

Andddddd, that's all for this time. I think it's really important just to let yourself appreciate even the littlest things every now and then. Even if it is just your favourite pair of socks or the tea you drink of a morning or a favourite song. Remember what's good and what matters.