GUESS WHAT??? SO, I relaunched my bookstagram (ha! [re]launched my practically nonexistent bookstagram) this month! I have been scheduling ALL THE POSTS and have been having so much fun learning more about photography and lighting and have basically been spending all of my time taking pictures. ANYWHO, I’m super excited to be part of this bookstagram community now and would love to see all of your accounts! I know I follow some of you already, but let me know your account names and I would love to check you out (not in a weird way… just you know your books). Also, if you wanted to follow me, that would be awesome too. Or not. Whatever you would like…
Our world is one filled with ever changing fads and trends. It’s hard to keep up and even more difficult to know what trends are good ones to follow and which are not.
Minimalism is not new, but it has had a new resurgence and has gained a lot of popularity recently. Minimalism is the concept of owning less physically so you can focus on what sparks joy and what is the most important to you. By getting rid of the physical (and mental) clutter in your life, you open up a space to find out what you really want to do in life and can focus on your goals and dreams.
I feel like this is a great concept because I live in such a commercialized and capitalistic country that is drowning in the amount of stuff owned. I don’t want to own items that don’t bring me joy and don’t serve a purpose because there would be no point. Once I cleaned my space and got rid of the things cluttering my room and my mind, I was happier, healthier, and more content with what I had.
However, people take it too far by criticizing others for not being hard core enough. Stop putting other people down just to make you (proverbial) feel good! I’m so sick of labels and people having to criticize others just because they feel they are not good enough or not doing enough. Everyone is different and should go about their lives differently. If every person lived the same life in the same spaces creativity and originality would be forfeited for the sake of a fad that a person may regret. So, no. A person does not need to donate everything they own and become a nomad to be happy, but getting rid of the items that are making them unhappy may bring a certain level of peace to their life.
what do you think about the fads and trends that consume society? minimalism?
THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP
BY MARIE KONDO
A while ago I read this book and while I didn’t agree with everything in the KonMari method, it does have it’s merits.
a messy room makes a messy life
visualize what life you want to live
what do you want your space to look like and why?
DOES IT SPARK JOY? IS IS FUNCTIONAL? EMOTION? INFO? RARITY?
begin with easy items & start with discarding
clothes (slope up to right by category, and fold unless the fabric is happier hanging)
put them in the right place: tidy by category not location // choose what to keep
have a tidying marathon and do everything in one swoop
get everything in one place. many times the same item is in many locations
tidying is a special event // only tidy once
not for everyday
daily tidying-putting things back // special-putting things in order
i am currently working on fourteen (yes, FOURTEEN) scholarships for college next semester
i have been interviewing a french rap artist for an international magazine (how on earth did i get stuck doing this… ugh he isn’t even a nice human).
i just finished the remnant chronicles series (i reread the first two and finally read the last) and am sad it is over, but it has quickly and easily become one of my favorite series! [super old reviews: the kiss of deception, the heart of betrayal]
Both the dust jacket and naked cover are gorgeous. I like the way the chapters are broken up with fact pages and deeper accounts from side characters as well as individual perspectives from the main characters. It gives the story a sense that everyone matters, but at the same time shows that the world doesn’t revolve around the two main character’s lusty romance. Everything is so scientifically poetic and is basically nerd heaven. It’s normal. They are like normal kids who sniff hair & fall in lust & have crazy families + immigration issues.
Dark matter + love (the analogies and all of the sciency explanations made my nerd heart happy).
The Sun is Also a Star was a great inside look into what it means to be an immigrant and to have to live with your parent’s mistake. Daniel and Natasha’s simple love story and the fact that sometimes “meant to be” doesn’t mean forever was cute (if a bit unrealistic). Things don’t always work out perfectly, but life isn’t perfect. Sometimes life is a string of imperfect perfections that come together and save lives. Sometimes people save lives in the most mundane of ways.
Even though it was a cute story, I felt like there were so many coincidences that just happened to work out and they seemed to both be willing to throw away everything for a person they had only just met. Sure, they both didn’t feel they had much to lose because they didn’t like the lives their parents were forcing upon them, but still… The suspension of disbelief boundaries were pushed.
Daniel is a poet. His parents want him to be a doctor who goes to the best school (or second best) and follows the American dream. To them, happiness comes from money and as long as he has the opportunities his father didn’t, he can be a rich doctor who will be happy. Daniel is quick witted, and funny and was so extremely wonderful!
Natasha is an immigrant from Jamaica, but her family is in America illegally. Her parents also have problems and her father is extremely selfish. She is afraid to dream and be passionate because what she has seen of her father’s dreams and passion has only led to heartbreak and destruction. I love all of her “Observable Facts” and how eventually Daniel makes her want to be passionate and illogical. She begins to believe the scientifically impossible.
Daniel & Natasha balance each other out in an against-all-odds OTP phenomenon. They are the perfect opposite nerdy couple and I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. To quote my notes: “SO CUTE OTP OHMYGOSH I LOVE HOW THEY ARE BOTH NERDY IN DIFFERenT WAYS LOVEloveLOVE” Daniel’s quest to make Natasha fall in love with her, and her purely scientific scoffing was so entertaining and was a whirlpool I could not escape from. Cynicism + Optimism = love that makes each other better. LITERALLY saying ahhhhh
Everyone and everything are more than they seem.
Immigration & the fears that come along with it
There are so many different histories and cultures. People may believe they understand someone and they may believe they understand their culture, but everyone experiences different things and have different histories.
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
“There’s a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s inevitable that you will.” (74)
“We have big, beautiful brains. We invent things that fly. Fly. We write poetry. You probably hate poetry, but it’s hard to argue with ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate’ in terms of sheer beauty. We are capable of big lives. A big history. Why settle? Why choose the practical thing, the mundane thing? We are born to dream and make the things we dream about.” (101)
“Maybe part of falling in love with someone else is also falling in love with yourself.” (150)
I’ve wanted to read classic fairy tale books for a long time.
Enter ROUND ONE.
[audiobook] Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Audiobook read by Jim Dale
I never loved the movie, but I really enjoyed the book. I listened to it read by one of the best narrators ever (Jim Dale) & it was so well done. The story is trippy at times & involved a lot of changing in size, but I enjoyed it & think I will watch the movies again.
“Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.”
I loved following Alice’s adventures and it was so much fun. I couldn’t help but smile at the silliness and mad people. Also, there are quite a few wonderful quotes (I just wish I had been reading it instead of listening for that reason. It’s hard to get down quotes when you are listening to the story.)
[audiobook] A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Audiobook read by Simon Creeble
I was on a 18 hour car ride while reading this and fell asleep a lot throughout, so I don’t have the fullest picture of the story, but was familiar with it before I even started. I liked it, but it isn’t my favorite. I felt that it was well done, but not as exciting as Peter Pan. That’s pretty much it…
The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson
This story was a little all over the place, but nonetheless adorable. The devil takes a mirror that shows opposites up to the sky to try to show it to God, but it shatters before it even gets close, and the shards fall down to earth. If people get the shard in their eye it causes them to see everything in a dark light, and if they get a shard in their heart they turn to ice and stop feeling things. Kai, a little boy, gets a shard in both, and then goes missing. This short story details his best friend’s journey to find him and save him from The Snow Queen.
It was very interesting, and if it was more organized I’m sure I would have liked it a lot more.
I enjoyed the simple writing and the length, but it just didn’t make too much sense and the characters were extremely shallow.
Also, WHY WEREN’T THESE CHILDREN’S GUARDIANS WORRIED ABOUT THEM? They were missing for a while and when they got back, the Grandmother just acted like nothing had happened.
The characters were honestly the only thing that ruined it for me. UGHH.
I know I should just LET IT GO, but it was nothing like frozen…
(*all gifs are the property of Disney and their creators and are for entertainment purposes only)
Disclaimer: I received this book in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
[audiobook] Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Audiobook read by Jim Dale
favorite of the four
so classic and well done
the lost boys are ‘precious’*
from the very beginning I was in love with Peter (there is just something about him, you know?). He did annoy me at times, but I could get over that.
finding yourself: “who are you?”
everyone needs some sort of adult who will love them and take care of them
*note: I am not Smeagol, but they were just so adorable.
I have read retellings from a few other character’s perspectives and I still can’t get enough. All of the characters enjoy freedom of interpretation. I fell into the story & want to read all of the retellings and watch all of the movies because there is always so much going on. All of the characters could be explored in much more depth and I adore it.*
have you read any of these stories? what did you think? do you want to read any of them? do you have any recommendations for me? LET ME KNOW BELOW 🙂 Also, I’m thinking about rebranding and redesigning my site… what do you think? I might also upgrade to a .com or .blog any advice?
I have been pretty absent for the past few months. With school and scholarships and college applications and getting a job and volunteering and nanowrimo and all of the other craziness that has been going on, I haven’t gotten to blog much.
I love blogging and have missed this and all of you, so I am going to start out small and post once a week and then hopefully post more as time goes on.
What types of posts do you like the most:
In 2016, I participated in my first two read alongs (they were awesome!!!)
2016 goals post DID YOU LIVE UP TO IT? no. That’s okay though. I have been in a transition period in life and sometimes other stuff gets in the way and needs to come first.
Goodreads 2016: I originally had wanted to read 100 books in 2016, but then I found that I was overestimating how much I could read and actually enjoy. I started reading books just for the book count, and I never want that to happen.
2017 Goals Galore
Goodreads 2017- 20 books
Flights of Fantasy 2017: basically just read fantasy books every month (as if I didn’t already do this hahahahahah) FANTASY IS LIFE!!!
I plan to have a first draft done for my WIP 🙂 🙂 🙂
I want to interact more and write more and do more.
I’m not going to promise I’m back 24/7, but I do want to be more consistent and hope to plan one post per week minimum.
(edit: I just found this in my drafts folder when I was cleaning it out and it is from over four months ago… oops)
A retelling is when an author will take an old story and recreate it to make a new one. Some of them twist the stories so they have a different ending, tell the story from a different character’s point of view, or have it set in a different time period.
Retellings have become popular lately. I think it is a nice way to experience classic fairy tales or otherwise in new exciting ways, but it leaves me wondering
HAS THE WORLD RUN OUT OF IDEAS?
Some people argue that there are only a few types of stories to be told and everything else is just a variation of those stories.
I don’t know if you agree with this, but the real question is:
are retellings just a way for authors to piggyback off of other successful ideas, or are they truly creative masterpieces?
I believe that there are certainly authors on both sides of this spectrum and it depends on how the readers take it.
How many times can a story be recreated before it gets boring?
I think there are many more retellings I would like to see, and I really enjoy the genre, but I think it will be interesting to see if it is still as popular in ten years.
TALK TO ME: this is a DISCUSSION after all 🙂
What do you think? Do you like retellings? Do you think they will be around for a long time? Do you think they are boring? Cheap knock offs? Creative twists of the story? Let me know EVERYTHING in comments. (I haven’t done a discussion in a while and I miss it.)
With the new year comes new reading challenges. From January 1st to the 15th I will be participating in the Dumbledore’s Army Readathon in which I will try to read a bunch of Diverse books and tackle my TBR.
See the original post for full rules. All graphics are courtesy of Aentee @ Read at Midnight.
I want to read either It’s Kind of A Funny Story or Will Grayson, Will Grayson for the topic of depression.
I’m going to read The Wrath and the Dawn, or A Thousand Splendid Suns.
I am going to read either Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, or More Happy Than Not.
I am not sure at all about this one. There are a lot of empowering females in books now, but they all seem to fit inside the same little box. I’m thinking possibly Jane Eyre or The Handmaid’s Tale, but maybe not for this particular readathon.
I’m cheating on this prompt because there are some books I just really need to read, but maybe they will end up having diverse characters or something? I need to read Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, Silent Echo, The Bronze Horseman and Fangirl soon.
I’m doubling up and still using The Wrath and the Dawn for this.
I will probably read either 1984, More Than This, or An Ember in the Ashes.
I hope to read at least 7 books in this span of time, but it will be the start of second semester, so I’m not sure how much time I will have. Let me know in the comments which ones I should definitely read!
Each 10 pages you read will earn you 1 House Point.
Each book you complete will earn you 5 House Points.
Each book you review specifically for the #DAReadAThon will earn you 5 House Points.
Crosspost your review to Amazon for 1 House Point.
Post an image of your #DAReadAThon ID on Twitter for 1 House Point, and it allows other members of your House to find you!
Tweeting on the #DAReadAThon hashtag (with meaningful tweets about your current reads, recommendations of #OwnVoices) will earn you 1 House Point each. You can have a maximum of 20 House Points from Social Media interactions.
Photos of your #DAReadAThon books or TBR pile will earn you 1 House Point each. This contributes towards the maximum of 20 House Points from Social Media interactions mentioned above.
We will catalogue the points at the end via a masterpost, and find out who the Hogwarts House Champion for Diversity is! (via readatmidnight)
Are you participating?
ALSO! The #DiverseAThon is January 22nd-29th so I think I will use that to finish up any books I don’t finish from this read a thon. I hope to do a lot more read a thons in 2017, so let me know if you know any good ones coming up 🙂
It wasn’t incredibly complex or deep, but it was a fun read and such a great book and story and GAH I need the next one IMMEDIATELY!!! The way Riordan has begun to weave the worlds together with enough sass to leave me laughing out loud is genius and I NEED MORE! (actually as soon as I finished this book I started reading The Trials of Apollo). The Hammer of Thor is somehow a step up from the last book. (If you are interested in my first review: The Sword of Summer) and I can’t wait to see what else will come.
I have learned so much about mythology of all types just by reading his books. They are generally pretty accurate and this is the type of sneaky learning I love doing.
Plot & Setting
Rick Riordan is so good at building worlds into each other. There are a lot of references to the other worlds he has created, especially since Magnus and Annabeth Chase are related. The way he made the gods’ world in the world we know and understand creates a connection. It makes it easier to visualize and creates a link between their world and ours.
Structure, Style, & Tone
The humor OH THE HUMOR! From chapter titles, to sassy characters, to edge of your seat excitement, this book is so funny. At times I could tell it was written for a younger audience, but that just added to it because it was very fast paced because of this.
Alex is so feisty and sassy and the gender fluid thing is kinda confusing but I ship her & Magnus so much. Sam is feisty in a different way & I really enjoyed the foiling between the two. Amir & Sam are the cutest & I loved how they worked through everything. The gods are idiots and never help with anything. Hearth & Blitz are two of the best & Jack is so stinking funny. THE SASS IS PALPABLE with Magnus. I like Magnus more and more with every line. He is just such a likeable and good guy. The way he handles everyone and everything is certainly worthy of Valhalla.
I was so into the story that I didn’t even think about taking notes or quotes down. I was just reading and consuming this book. That being said, it wasn’t a John Green novel, and there weren’t a ton of quotable quotes.
Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high. -credit to Goodreads
LET’S SQUEAL TOGETHER: What did you think about The Hammer of Thor? Did you like it better than The Sword of Summer? Are you as excited to attack any more Riordan books as I am? Which series of his is your favorite (I think Percy still beats them all)? Let me know in the comments.
If I could plan my “perfect” panel of authors and characters to speak at a conference, it would be…
The world Rick Riordan has created is the perfect balance of action, humor, and education. I have learned so much about mythology without even realizing it.
Sarah J. Maas
Sarah J. Maas’ world and character building skills are second to none. I could get lost inside of her stories forever*
*except for the fact that I wouldn’t survive for two and a half seconds…
Do I really need to say anything else? No? I didn’t think so.
Mary E. Pearson
Queen for reasons I can’t even get in to. Just. Read. The Remnant Chronicles.
What good is a panel without the ACTUAL CHARACTERS?*
*yes, we do have those capabilities and in AubreyLand it will happen. Just wait.
…is my spirit animal, and we would probably be best friends, and his sarcastic wit is given an A++.
GAH WILLL WILLL WILLL (Jem would of course come too). Just please.
Some characters need no explanation.
Percy Jackson & Annabeth Chase
Do you guys think Annabeth and Hermione would get along or butt heads? A&P are the dream team and are great individually, but together…
Bring on the crazy. You all know I love Winter.
There are certainly more, but some of them are dangerous and I’m not sure they wouldn’t kill me.
Authors: How do you create distinct characters and story lines? How do you stay true to who you are as an author?
Characters: How do you not make quick judgments about other people (i.e. this guy is a bad guy, just kidding not anymore???)
What questions would you ask?
Clearly Leo Valdez and I would moderate because then it would be the funniest panel ever.
I was approached by Cara from Eventbrite with the idea and asked my opinions for this post, however this is not sponsored in any way. If you are interested “Eventbrite is a global marketplace for live experiences that allows people to find and create events in 190 countries.” It’s a cool idea and might allow people to find conferences like this… well maybe not quite this perfect. haha
The best-selling author of The Liberator brings to life the incredible true story of an American doctor in Paris, and his heroic espionage efforts during World War II
The leafy Avenue Foch, one of the most exclusive residential streets in Nazi-occupied France, was Paris’s hotbed of daring spies, murderous secret police, amoral informers, and Vichy collaborators. So when American physician Sumner Jackson, who lived with his wife and young son Phillip at Number 11, found himself drawn into the Liberation network of the French resistance, he knew the stakes were impossibly high. Just down the road at Number 31 was the “mad sadist” Theodor Dannecker, an Eichmann protégé charged with deporting French Jews to concentration camps. And Number 84 housed the Parisian headquarters of the Gestapo, run by the most effective spy hunter in Nazi Germany.
From his office at the American Hospital, itself an epicenter of Allied and Axis intrigue, Jackson smuggled fallen Allied fighter pilots safely out of France, a job complicated by the hospital director’s close ties to collaborationist Vichy. After witnessing the brutal round-up of his Jewish friends, Jackson invited Liberation to officially operate out of his home at Number 11–but the noose soon began to tighten. When his secret life was discovered by his Nazi neighbors, he and his family were forced to undertake a journey into the dark heart of the war-torn continent from which there was little chance of return.
Drawing upon a wealth of primary source material and extensive interviews with Phillip Jackson, Alex Kershaw recreates the City of Light during its darkest days. The untold story of the Jackson family anchors the suspenseful narrative, and Kershaw dazzles readers with the vivid immediacy of the best spy thrillers. Awash with the tense atmosphere of World War II’s Europe, Avenue of Spies introduces us to the brave doctor who risked everything to defy Hitler. -credit Goodreads
Extraordinarily researched (2 years)
Learned a lot about free and vichy france, and got a lot more context as to the extent of how much wars affect everyone involved. America is normally a bit more removed from wars, but during World War II, even people who were separated from the actual fighting were still slaughtered in their homes and the people who were deemed inadequate were destroyed just for who they were.
It was slow and I never truly got into it until the last few chapters. I was interested as to what would happen to Sumner and his family, but it took me over a month to get through and I had to frequently stop and read other books or do other things.
I enjoyed the story and learned a lot, but it was one of the slower books I have read. That, however is my only complaint. It has very interesting concepts. It was better than a textbook, but not quite a novel.
Before the story even starts, it opens with this quote and I love it!!!
“We lived in the shadows as soldiers of the night, but our lives were not dark and martial… There were arrests, torture, and death for so many of our friends and comrades, and tragedy awaited all of us just around the corner. But we did not live in or with tragedy. We were exhilarated by the challenge and rightness of our cause. It was in many ways the worst of times and in many ways the best of times, and the best is what we remember today.” (Jean-Pierre Levy)
Okay, so maybe love isn’t the right word, but it is such a great description.
I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.