Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December 2013 Reflect & Renew

Say goodbye to December AND 2013. This year flew by so fast (not that I have complaints because honestly, I'm totally relieved it's over) and I'm just incredibly excited for 2014 and what it has in store for me. There's something that's telling me it's going to be terrific, splendid, and all types of amazing wrapped up! But before I get too hyper about the new year (it's not for another five hours!), here's my December wrap-up and man, what a great way to end the year!

PS. No 'on my blog' portion for this month. I was just too lazy, oops.

what happened.

December, as per usual, was full of festivities! From my birthday to Christmas to today's New Year's, it was a whirlwind of fun. Especially now that I'm on break. Unfortunately though, this is my last week of no school and OMG, I'm SO not looking forward to going back. Can summer just be here already?

1. I helped out at an outdoor theatre for a winter play. It was freezing, especially since it was night-time! I was so glad hot chocolate and other nice goodies were available to help warm us up. To be honest, I didn't do much helping out except for shining a flashlight on icy patches but it was so much fun! I've never been to an outdoor play in my life and this one was really great. Major props to the actors for braving it out in the cold!

2. I got Spotify...even though it's not technically available in Canada yet. But pushing that aside, I am absolutely obsessed! I love making playlists more than anything in the world and Spotify has lead me to some great songs and rekindled my love for others. My use of Spotify right now though is currently at a standstill because I deleted my Chrome extension during the dark period when my internet was completely malfunctioning. Now that it's better, I might have to see to reinstalling it one of these days!

3. I gorged my face with so much yumminess! I did so much eating this month that I don't think I'm going to be able to walk for the next few weeks. But I can't say I'm complaining. I think the best thing I put into my mouth this month was my basil pesto linguine but gosh, my malai tikka and chicken panini are a close second. And of course, all the biscuits and chocolate and cake I ate but that's a given.

4. Celebrated my birthday. Woohoo! It was a pretty sweet day, hanging out with my family and friends. I didn't even have to go to school for the whole six hours! And not to be materialistic but I got some great gifts too! Just a wonderful day through and through.

5. Saw Once on stage. I watched the film and absolutely fell in love with Glen and Marketa and the songs. It was such a joy to see it play out in front of me and I really commend the writers for building more of a plot to the story yet not detracting from the music which was AMAZING. Also, I appreciated the bits of humour they added. Really lightened up the story a whole lot.

6. I helped at a community dinner at a church. I got to sing carols as well! For me, there's nothing more in the Christmas spirit than contributing to your community. It was such a delight to meet such nice people and I totally missed caroling! It's been ages since I'd done it so it was a real treat to be able to be a part of that once again.

7. And today, I went to catch the last screening of Maidentrip with my grandmother. It was such an inspiring film and Laura is a person I look up to very much. I can definitely relate to her because I've had that same yearn to explore the world and while I don't think I could do what she did, her story is one that I know will encourage me to chase after my dream

currently reading.

Right now, I'm working to complete Between the Lines by Samantha Leer & Jodi Picoult. It's going okay so far, but I'm hoping to see that it's going to pick up. Feeling a little juvenile at this point and some things aren't explained as thoroughly as I would like but it was recommended to me by an Indigo employee (and their judgement is always appreciated) so I'm not sure what to think at this point!

listening to.

I wish I could have linked to Spotify this month, but as I said, it's down so Youtube will have to make do.

Back Together - Jesse McCartney
Yay, Jesse's back! I spent like five years of my childhood fangirling over him so it's so great to see him back with such a great EP. Especially love this song. It's so head boppy.

Say It To Me Now - Glen Hansard
From the Once film! I've been listening to the soundtrack over and over and over again and still, this is one of my favourite songs. I just can't get enough of Glen's voice.

Chocolate - The 1975
I've been really into this band lately and Chocolate is still my favourite song by them. Which is probably no surprise since chocolate is about my favourite food... Just kidding.

Synthetica - Metric
I haven't listened to Metric in AGES but I really love their new song and the music video is tres cool. Missed Emily's voice. Plus, go Canadians!

Mistletoe - Justin Bieber
Of course Mistletoe is going to make my list! What better song to get you into the Christmas season? This is one that never fails to make me crack a smile.

and that's it! tell me what did you do this month in the comments.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Hunger Games Survey Pt. 2

Finally, part 2 of the Hunger Games survey is released! If you missed Part 1 with my wonderful introduction, you can read it by clicking this link. 

And again, credits for this amazing survey go to Jasmine at Flip That Page. Go send her some love!

District 1
Cashmere & Gloss
(Favourite fictional siblings)
Jasmine made such great choices for her survey so I must, once again, agree with her answer for this. Nothing can beat the Weasley twins from the Harry Potter series! Nothing!

District 2
(Favourite bad-boy character)
The first name that popped into my mind was Noah Shaw from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and I guess he counts right? He's a pretty cheeky lad and judging from how everyone is talking about the amount of girls he's screwed, he mustn't be very 'good', if you know what I mean.

District 3
Beetee & Wiress
(Favourite genius/geeky character)
Okay, so I have to agree with Jasmine once again. Cricket from the Lola and the Boy Next Door totally takes this title. I was thinking Hermione but I might save her for another category... ANYWAY, Cricket was a really awesome character and I just absolutely loved him. Read the book now if you haven't!

District 4
Finnick Odair
(Favourite swoon-worthy character)
I was going to pick Noah Shaw again but then, I remembered freaking Roger from Amy & Roger's Epic Detour. How can you not like the guy? Great taste in music, funny, smart and not too hard on the eyes either. But what I loved most about Roger was he was an actual freaking human being and not some idolized Adonis. There's a guy I can actually imagine existing in reality.

District 5
(Favourite mysterious character)
Hmm, this one is tough but thinking back to all the characters I've had questions about, the one that sticks out the most to me is Jonah Griggs from Jellicoe Road. Still don't really have a great grasp on him even though I absolutely ADORED him while I was reading Jellicoe.

District 6
The Morphlings
(Favourite secondary character)
Finnick Odair from Catching Fire! Such a memorable character and every scene he was in was so exciting to read about!

District 7
Johanna Mason
(Favourite female character)
Georgia Nicholson from the Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series. Words can't even express how much I loved this girl and to be honest, I still use all her lingo to this day! Can never get enough of saying nuddy pants or nunga nungas.

District 11
(Favourite fictional kid)
I seriously can't think of anybody so I'm just going to cop out and say Eleanor & Park because I remember there were children and I'm sure they were cute because all children are cute.

District 12
Katniss Everdeen & Peeta Mellark
(Favourite fictional couple)
Ew Jasmine, why do you force me to make such difficult choices??? There are SO many fictional couples I love, this is so hard. I think I'm going to say Noah and Allie from The Notebook because that's like the epitome of a perfect relationship right there and they're just so good together.

The Capitol
President Snow
(Favourite villain you want to kill)
Confession time: I secretly love all the villains and I don't know if I would want to kill any of them! I'd probably end up cackling with them anyway so I'm just going to say Peter from Divergent because he was a rude dude.

Do you agree with my choices? Tell me in the comments!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

When You Go to Renew Your Book From the Library But It Has Holds On It

Inspired by some of my favourite Tumblr blogs: justgirlythings, littlereasonstosmile, and littletswiftthings. I love looking at the mini-posts on these blogs because they brighten up my day so I thought I'd make a bookish version! 

When You Go to Renew Your Book From the Library But It Has Holds On It

This is when my fifth grade teacher would say c'est la vie.

But man, when you find out that you can't renew a book because other people are waiting for it, it's a downer. Who knows when said book might end up in your hands again? Who knows how long you'll have to wait before you get to find out whether John and Jane get married?

And for me at least, there's almost always a tiny bit of contempt in my soul for the person who came along and ended short my time with the book. Obviously, I'm not the only one who uses the library and obviously, it is fair because I can't be hogging all the books but (and this is when I'd cross my arms and stomp my feet), IT'S JUST NOT FAIR.

The funny thing is that even though I understand how sucky it is to not be able to renew your book, I've probably done the same thing to many people, considering my ten million holds at the library. Just imagine the person on the other side of the city yelling at ME for stopping them from finishing their book.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando

Published July 5, 2012 by Dutton Juvenile
Paperback, 239 pages
Borrowed from library

After Mary lost her spot at Georgetown University to jerk Jake Barbone, she's been finding a way to get him back. And with a week until she graduates, the perfect way to get revenge arrives in the form of the Oyster High Scavenger Hunt. Racing all night against the clock, Mary and her team hustle to make sure they come out on top. But of course, nothing goes without a hitch or two...

I hate that I didn't like this book. Because it just sounded like something I would enjoy so much and after feeling really bleh about the books I've been reading, I was really hoping things could start looking up. But obviously, it's just not in the stars for me. I tried so hard to like this book but I could NOT look past the complete...grossness of everyone and everything.


By now, if you've read my previous reviews, you'd know that I tend to go full-rant mode when a book gets anything below three stars. I probably shouldn't even bother labelling these reviews with a warning, it should just be assumed. But anyway, I want to start my rant by stating again that I really wanted to like this book. The premise sounded so interesting, including all this fun stuff about scavenger hunts which really was fun. If there's one thing I liked about this book, it was reading about the scavenger hunt which was larger than life.

If there's one thing I didn't like though, it was Mary. She was THE WORST and let me tell you why: Mary was juvenile, self-centered, whiney, rude, mean, ignorant and just a terrible person in general. God bless her friends for putting up with her because I know I wouldn't be able to do it. All she did the entire race was take advantage of her friends, be rude to them, boss them around and complain. 

The thing I disliked the most about Mary though was how she reacted to the news of Winter, her best friend being with Carson, her crush. It makes sense to be disappointed but not at all to victimize Winter for stealing 'her man'. Not saying that what Winter did was very nice but for goodness sake, leave the damn guy alone! Mary needs to grow some guts and learn to be more mature. Carson is not freaking obliged to like you. And I am certainly not surprised that he doesn't because man Mary, you make it hard to even want to read about you. 

And the worst part was that I couldn't even bring myself to agree with Mary on Barbone. He really didn't seem bad at all and I don't think Mary had a good reason to dislike him enough to want to make him feel humiliated and ashamed. As it appears, all Barbone really did to her was taking her spot at Georgetown which is obviously pretty sucky but wasn't even his fault. I don't know, maybe this is just me making up reasons to dislike Mary (which I am wont to do when a character really rubs me the wrong way) but don't hate on Barbone! 

It's probably a red flag when it turns out that the antagonist is my favourite character.

Okay, so it turns out that I have an abnormally large amount of stuff to say about this book and I am nowhere near finished with my thoughts so I'll just quickly dash them in here.

To me, Patrick came off a bit icky and so I don't blame Mary for not liking him. I think I would give the same message to him as I did to Mary: grow up. So the girl you like doesn't like you. Deal with it. And oh my gosh, do NOT kiss her in an attempt to make her 'feel things'. That's just a bad idea. 

Another example of a bad idea is stealing your principal's car just to win the hunt. That is so unbelievably illegal and it's kind of hard to believe that NO ONE is hyperventilating about the consequences. 

Anywayyy, I can't say I really enjoyed this book. I mean, I liked the scavenger hunt but the characters were all super aggravating and we all know what happens when I don't like the characters... 

Don't know that I would recommend this to anyone. I really didn't like this book but from Goodreads, it appears that I am, for the most part, alone in my opinion. Maybe you'll like this?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Published August 21, 2012 by HarperTeen
Hardcover, 304 pages
Borrowed from library

Max thought she and her boyfriend, Hugo would be forever. But then he breaks her heart. Reeling from the humiliation of being dumped, Max flees her stifling boarding school to New York City where her mother lives. And it's there she comes up with the plan to help girls get over heartbreak once and for all. Just when things are starting to work out for Max in New York, old flame Hugo arrives there and Max is left shattered to pieces again. But this time, her friends and her clients are also at stake.

Guys, this book is what I have been waiting for for a VERY, VERY long time. It did not garner the ever elusive badge of honor and five star rating but it came VERY, VERY close to doing so. Over You just gave me all the right type of shivers and feels. After a week, I'm still squealing over how cute this book is! 

I loved the idea of a program to help girls get over heartbreak. I thought it was creative and unique and Max seemed really good at what she was doing with the program! It makes me wish this type of thing existed in reality because we all sure could use someone to help us cope after our hearts have been broken. But while I thought the heartbreak program was interesting, I didn't appreciate the sexist tone towards boys. As if they were the only ones in history who ever, ever broke a heart, as if that was what boys did. I don't know if this was what was meant by the authors but I just thought I would point it out because definitely boys are not the only ones who cause heartbreak. 

All the characters were really amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about each of them. This is just one of the cases when I wouldn't have minded the book to carry on and on, as long as I could continue reading about the characters. It was such a treat to peer into their individual lives and I loved everyone from Max to Zach to even Taylor and Hugo!

But guys, ESPECIALLY Ben! I admit, there was a bit of instalove between him and Max but it wasn't in a way that it was unrealistic. Ben looked at Max and thought she was pretty and that is completely natural! They both might have moved past the stages of love quite fast but honestly, I didn't really care. Weirder things have happened and while it can be annoying to see instalove in books (especially so often), it truly does happen in real life. Sometimes, people do just click that quickly!

The thing about this book though, is that I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if I had read it at another time. You know when a book comes at the exact moment you need it to? That's what happened to me with Over You. Before I read the book, I was feeling rather down and then I read it and TONS OF FEELS hit me right in the face and made me laugh and cry at the same time and want to yell at the characters for being so stupid but it felt great. It totally cheered me up and got me excited about reading again and I don't know how long since I've felt that. So I definitely have to thank Emma and Nicola for taking my mind off of things! 

Over You was such a great read for me! Opened my eyes about a lot of things and really made me feel SO much better. It's the most refreshing book I've read in a long time and has gotten me excited about reading all over again. There was so much to like about this book: New York, Zach, Ben, the clothes from Teen Vogue. It was so close to being a five star read for me but there were just a few minor things that got into the way. Some of the things that happened to Max were a bit unrealistic and the narration was also quite convoluted. It was hard to discern what was happening at times because of the way the third-person narrator flipped back and forth between each of the characters. Still, Over You was a very fun, rewarding read that I will revisit in the future! On a side note, I think this book would be so much fun as a television show!

people who are looking for cute romances and something fun. If you want a pick-me-up, this is the book!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Hunger Games Survey Pt. 1

You may remember I did a Harry Potter survey back in October. It was a lot of fun so I was really excited when I saw that the wonderful creater of the Harry Potter survey, Jasmine, made another one centered around The Hunger Games! 

While I must be honest and say that I'm not nearly as large a Hunger Games fan as I am Harry Potter, I'm still looking forward to answering these questions and of course, hearing what you guys have to say! 

Once again, I have split the survey into two parts. This is part one but you can expect part two next week!

District 1
Luxury Items
(Favourite book involving royalty)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer, for sure! Partly because it's the ONLY book I've read in the past six years involving royalty but also because it was a great read! Cinderella is one of my favourite fairy tale of all time so it was wonderful to see it retold in a unique way.

District 2
Masonry & Weapons
(Favourite book on war)
For sure, I'm going to have to agree with Jasmine on this one and pick The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It's one of my all time favourite books and while the war wasn't a main main focus in The Book Thief, it was still splendidly done!

District 3
Electronics & Technology
(Favourite science fiction book)
I don't read much science fiction but one that really impressed me was All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. I loved the way time-travelling was used in this book (even though it could have been explained more) and the story was absolutely AMAZING. Had me biting my nails the entire time!

District 4
(Favourite beach read)
I'm going to interpret this the same way that Jasmine did and choose Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. It's such a fun and light read - perfect for the beach!

District 5
(Favourite book involving superhuman/supernatural characters)
I think witches constitute as 'superhuman' so Bras and Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski will be my pick for this one. It was such a fun read and I loved the idea of a modern-day witch in Manhattan! I was kind of really obsessed with it in grade five.

District 6
Transportation & Healing
(Favourite road-trip/self-discovery book)
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. This book introduced me to the magic of road trips so I will forever treasure it. I am now OBSESSED with taking road trips and you can bet when I take that around-the-world trip I've been planning for months now, this book is coming with me.

District 7
Lumber & Wood
(Favourite book with a wilderness/dystopia setting)
I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan. It took me a while to think of a book for this category but once I'll Be There came to mind, I felt so stupid for not thinking of it sooner! I really adored this book and the wilderness setting for part of it was so well written!

District 8
Fabrics & Textiles
(Favourite book cover)
GAH. I have actually have no clue! There are so many stunning covers so I'm going to narrow it down to my favourite 2013 YA book cover. And that goes to Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. To be honest, I love all her covers but this one hit the right note with its minimalism!

District 9
(Favourite under-hyped book)
This one's a toughie but I have to go with The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney. The book really stood out for me with its educational message and strong characters. I really, really recommend this!

District 10
(Favourite book featuring animals)
I read Love That Dog by Sharon Creech about four years ago but it definitely fits in this category. It was such a cute and fun read about dogs - what could get better?

District 11
Farming & Agriculture
(Favourite fictional setting)
Definitely, definitely Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series! J.K. Rowling wrote it in such a way that it itself almost felt like a whole character. With the shifting staircases, the annoying poltergeist Peeves and the grand Christmas banquet in the Great Hall, which other setting would I rather choose?

District 12
Coal Mining
(Rock-solid favourite)
This title will always belong to Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I can read that book over and over and over again and not get tired of it EVER.

The Capitol
Central seat of government
(Favourite book with a political agenda)
Honestly, I don't read much books regarding politics so I can't say my picks for this one will be too 'political'. With that said, I have chosen Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins for The Capitol even though I absolutely DETESTED it. It's the only book I can think of that has some essence of politics!

Now tell me, what are your picks for each district? Do you agree or disagree with my choices? Are you a Tribute?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Thoughts on Gifting Books

The holidays are coming soon so I'm sure most of you are starting to think of presents to give. I'm really excited to start gift shopping but the problem is, I have no idea what to get! I'm just SO BAD at buying gifts that I almost always end up buying mine at the last minute. So thank goodness I have a back-up plan for when I really, TRULY cannot find anything: books.

Books are always my absolute last resort and I have to say, it's a last resort I'm pretty comfortable with! I have an abundance of bookstores nearby so I know I can always get a book in dire situations, if need be.

As a person who loves books and someone who would be MORE than happy to receive a stack of books for Christmas though, I get asked a lot (or at least by my parents) why I don't often gift books. And the answer to that question is actually quite complicated so I thought it'd be interesting to break it down in this post.

The truth is, I don't like gifting books. I LOVE recommending books and forcing people to read books but when it comes to giving them as a present, I'm a bit more...hesitant.

For starters, I'm never quite sure what my friends or relatives - let's call them giftees - have read or haven't read which obviously, makes book shopping a bit more difficult. I can usually make a rough assumption based on books I've heard of through the newspaper or the blogosphere and my (sparse) knowledge of what the giftee has read. Most of the time though, this method is basically as good as closing my eyes and randomly picking a book which is reason #1 why I don't gift books.

Reason #2 is that I always end up picking books for myself instead of the giftee! What happens is I get frustrated by my complete uselessness in the bookstore when I'm not shopping for me so I start doing...just that. It's easier! Honestly, you should see how annoyed I get when I'm shopping for books and especially when I'm browsing in the Teens section, I just get distracted and forget about the person I'm buying the book for. Oops.

And then sometimes, I just feel like maybe the person won't be able to appreciate the book as much as a blouse, for example (reason #3). I have great friends and relatives that do enjoy books but I feel as if it's more enjoy as you would a glass of orange juice in the afternoon. Good but perhaps it wasn't necessary or something else might have been better. So I don't gift them books unless I have no other idea. Books just feel so insubstantial compared to everything else they might like better and I know that if I were to get a book for some people, they'd be really bummed.

And obviously I know that it's the meaning that counts and not what you get them or how much you spent but it's just nice to know that you're getting them something they'd REALLY like. It's the holidays after all! If I can, I'd like to shell out a bit more to treat my loved ones to something nice.

How about you? Do you like giving books as presents for the holidays? Or are you like me? Do you get distracted when shopping for books too? I bet it's hard not to! Tell me in the comments below! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Discontinuation of Weekly Recap (Among Other Things)

Since I've been really focused on my blog for the past few days, I've been thinking a lot about tweaks I want to make to ensure The Runaway Reader runs smoother so I wanted to make another blog announcement so that you're all updated with what's going on here! 

I've been thinking a lot about Weekly Recap lately and have finally come to a conclusion I'm happy with. After much thought, I have decided to discontinue Weekly Recap. I love the idea of the recaps but honestly, they're not worth it. They take up a lot of time and I feel like there's no point in posting weekly. It feels more like filler than a post that actually has substance.

With the discontinuation of Weekly Recap, I've decided to reinstall Reflect & Renew from my old blog, Random Reads, which is a recap that goes up monthly instead of weekly. It's basically going to cover the exact same things as Weekly Recap did, except everything will be nice and organized into more categories.

And as of now, the Novel Report will no longer be its own feature. I have the same feelings about Novel Report posts as I do about Weekly Recap: too time consuming and mostly filler. And upon second thought, I realize it's not necessary to create an entire post for books I'm reading when I can easily integrate it into my recap posts. So from now on, you'll be able to find details on my reading life in the Reflect & Renew recap posts. 

The Novel Report also shared my DNFs which will not be going into my recap posts but will be given their own feature, Novel Roundup which is again, reinstated from Random Reads. It's basically an overview of all the books I didn't finish or didn't review and I think it'll be helpful for me to keep track of the books I read that don't appear on this blog!

And now back to Weekly Recap, do you guys remember how I had a section dedicated to blog posts around the blogosphere? Well, I've decided to create a separate feature for that too! I love sharing posts but I want it to extend further than the book blogosphere. There are so many great posts around the web PERIOD and I want to share that with you guys so I've decided to introduce Around the Web (I know, such a creative name) which will also be a monthly post and feature all of my great Internet findings for that month. 

So those are all my blog announcements this time! Thank you all for being so great while I'm trying to figure things out, I appreciate it a lot! Love you all loads! xx

Sunday, December 8, 2013

When You Find Other People Loving the Same Book As You Do

Inspired by some of my favourite Tumblr blogs: justgirlythings, littlereasonstosmile, and littletswiftthings. I love looking at the mini-posts on these blogs because they brighten up my day so I thought I'd make a bookish version! 

When You Find Other People Loving the Same Book You Do

Because a Jennifer Lawrence gif often explains it best. (Also, thanks for all your wonderful tips on how to use gifs! I think I'm getting the hang of it!)

But if you're a bookish person, you know what I'm talking about! When someone else loves the same book as you do, you can't help but feel giddy. And for us book bloggers, it's even MORE special when it's someone out of the blogosphere. It's just like, YES.

This actually happened to me the other day when someone asked me if I had read Anna and the French Kiss. And I literally wanted to scream my pants off because not only had I read it, I LOVED it. And finding another group of people who loved St. Clair and Anna and their story as much as I did outside of the blogosphere made me so happy for so many reasons.

It's like a giant YES to the fact that reading is not dead. A YES to the fact that reading can bring people together. And a YES to being able to explore great stories that make you explode with feels.

That's what I'm talking about!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Weekly Recap: December 1-7, 2013

I've noticed that many bloggers do a recap at the end of each week and since I actually love reading those posts, I thought I'd start doing it as well!

First week of December, you guys! This makes me SUPER happy because December is my absolute favourite month! I'm so pumped for Christmas, New Year's Eve and my birthday (coming up in a week or so)! School is also starting to wind down which is great because finally, I get some time to relax and chill.

This week, I had my third week of classes in the second rotation of my Design Tech course. It's basically a Photoshop course and it's actually really fun! I'm so clueless when it comes to Photoshop but there are a few kids in my class who are amazing at it so that helps a lot. I've actually made some pretty cool things and I can't wait to show you guys! 

I also had my first Girl Guides meeting this week and I'M SO EXCITED. The girls are all so sweet and there are so many activities planned and I'm just really, really excited! Since I arrived three months late, I'm definitely behind on getting my requirements for the Canada Cord (the ultimate badge for a Pathfinder, which is the unit I'm in) which makes me sad but I'm going to try and compensate for all the weeks I've missed. How cool would it be to get a Canada Cord? Next week, I have a trip to Brickworks for Girl Guides and I'm going to be doing some community service which I'm really excited about! I love volunteering and Brickworks is a beautiful place so that's definitely something to look to next week!

1. Doodle Jump. I'm so new at this game but I'm loving it! The ninja theme is my favourite. So much fun! 
2. Subway Surf. This week marked the discovery of two amazing phone games. I have yet to download Subway Surf on my phone but bet on it because I absolutely love this game!
3. Brookside Dark Chocolate Fruit Crunch. It's my favourite after school snack lately. I love the combination of the dark chocolate, rice crisps, and the fruit gems. So delicious! 

I shared my blogging manifesto with you guys.

None this week!

Since I've just come back, tell me what I've missed! Any great posts you think I HAVE to see? Share in the comments! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Published September 2011 by Tom Doherty
Hardcover, 316 pages
Borrowed from library

The main character in this story, Cas, is a ghost hunter. He's taken on the job since his father died in a gruesome fight with a deadly spirit. Armed with the all powerful athame his dad used, Cas moves from town to town with his mother, following leads from trusted sources to defeat the ghosts. After hearing about a deadly ghost in Thornhill, Anna, that kills anyone who steps into her house, Cas relocates there to finish her off. But when he steps into her house to investigate and observe the ghost he's to kill, Cas realizes that Anna is unlike any other ghost he's ever hunted. She's tremendously powerful and comes so close to killing him...but doesn't. She spares him but Cas knows that he's going to have to do a lot more research before he can think of killing her again. He's wholly unprepared for Anna but the thing is, there's something far, far worse and more powerful than Anna...and it's out for Cas.

(ie. it's not something that, once you know, will ruin the book for you)

I'm definitely a horror gal. I actually get scared so easily but I love it! So when I heard that this book was scary SCARY, I knew I needed to pick it up. And Anna Dressed In Blood just sounded too perfect for me! I love reading about ghosts, especially human-killing ghosts.

And when I picked up the book and started reading, I was immediately hooked by the ghosts which is for sure, definitely, ABSOLUTELY  great sign. It's just so great to know that a book finally matches your expectations! So many books have left me disappointed and I almost feel like I have no chance in ever getting what I want. But with this book, I expected good, creepy, interesting ghosts and got exactly that! Blake made them so realistic that they seemed to pop out of the pages. I don't think I can confidently say that I don't believe in ghosts any more!

What didn't match my expectations was the fear factor of this book. From everything everyone had said, I went into this book totally thinking that my socks would be knocked off over how terrifying this book was. And then I read this book without anything as big as a jaw-drop. Which by the way, happened when we learned about Anna's backstory. (If you've read this book, you know what I'm saying! My jaw literally hit the floor. It was so unexpected and made me overcome with fury. I mean, can you imagine that?) I've been waiting for a good horror for SUCH  a long time and while this book definitely brought it in the supernatural game, personally I found the scariness was lacking a bit for a book I totally expected was going to be scary and for one that classified itself as horror. 

I also didn't fancy the characters too much. They weren't outstanding and I'm not going to lie, I'm definitely not going to remember any of them. They were all rather dull and didn't really make the book any better for me.

But now can we talk about the Anna and Cas romance? Like man, was it weird! I think it kind of worked though because I totally forgot for around a quarter of the time that Anna was a ghost. But I'm not sure what to make of that: is it a bad thing because her ghost-ness was lost or is it a good thing because it made the relationship make sense? I know I shouldn't be prejudiced against this - after all, everyone can love whoever they want, even if it's a ghost - but for me, I just didn't feel it was necessary to this story. But it did add some interesting dynamics to the end, knowing that Cas and Anna both like each other. 

Anna Dressed In Blood had a great premise that really piqued my interest (ghosts!) but it sounded better on the flap than it really was. This, by no means, MEANS I didn't like the book. It just wasn't as I expected. I did love the supernatural aspect but really wanted more from the book when it failed to scare me. I also didn't like the characters too much and some parts of the book didn't make sense/weren't explained very well. A good start to the series though and I would endeavour to read the next book because I'm actually really curious to see what happens to Anna and the rest of the gang. Also because it gets WAY better so excited to see that!

people who like ghosts or the supernatural. If you like the show Ghostbusters, this might interest you because it's also about a ghostbuster (though I really wouldn't know - I've never watched the show).

5 Favourite Drinks from Starbucks

One of my FAVOURITE places in the entire world is Starbucks (which is why I'm lucky that five stores are within walking distance from my house). I love coffee in general but man OH MAN, do I enjoy their coffee! It's expensive but SO WORTH IT. On a bad day, it is a total pick-me-up and sends all kinds of nice snuggly feelings through my body.

Sometimes I wish I can hire a barista to work for me and make me yummy drinks all day long. Especially with winter coming, I think I definitely need some hot drinks to fight the cold and also, to spread the holiday cheer! For me, no Christmas is complete without a steaming cup of hot chocolate from Starbucks. They're basically synonymous with each other.

So as part of my Christmas countdown, I've decided to feature five drinks I think are perfect for the holidays from Starbucks. Next time you make a visit there, think of trying one of these!

Chocolate is a staple during the holidays so of course, a chocolate flavoured coffee would make my list! I found this gem after a friend had ordered it. It was so good that I bought one myself a couple days ago on my way to school! It's a nice and hearty coffee with a sweet but not overpowering chocolate taste. It's absolutely delicious and great for someone who isn't a huge fan of the way coffee tastes.

This is most definitely my favourite hot drink from Starbucks! I'm in heaven just thinking about it. The hazelnut is amazing in this drink and really reminds me of all the Ferrero Rochers I get around this time! The foam and the syrup puts the cherry on the cake. I HIGHLY reccommend this one!

Remember all the salted caramel toffees you used to get for the holidays? Because I sure do and while I don't get them any more during the holidays, I've found a great alternative - this drink! I wasn't too crazy about the salted caramel mocha because the salt kind of made me sick. It was a great touch to the drink though and the caramel syrup with whipped cream was really yummy! 

I will always remember the vanilla latte as being a gateway drink to the world of espressos at Starbucks. It was a light and simple coffee, perfect for on the go and great to get you in the holiday spirit!

And last but not least, the original holiday drink from Starbucks. I think hot chocolate is a given for any child's Christmas so you just HAVE to get yourself a cup of this this year if you haven't tried it! It's creamy and chocolatey and warm enough to heat you up on a cold, wintry day.

And that concludes my holiday picks from Starbucks. If you do try one of these this year, give me a shout and tell me what you thought! But for now, I have to ask: do you share my love for Starbucks? Have you tried any of these drinks and what did you think? What are some holiday drinks you would reccommend? 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

My Blogging Manifesto

Hi guys! I am officially back from my prep week hiatus and feeling totally re-energized about blogging.

It was important for me to take a break because I felt like I really needed to re-evaluate my blog and where I want to go with it. These past few weeks have been tough for me, in terms of The Runaway Reader and I felt like I was slipping further and further away from what I wanted the blog to be. And the problem was that I had no clue what I wanted in the first place!

So during my hiatus, I thought long and hard about what The Runaway Reader represents and came to some conclusions that I decided to form into a blogging manifesto. In the past, I never thought I needed one but now, it's becoming clearer and clearer to me that I do need one. I need something to guide me and lift my spirits up whenever I'm in another blogging slump. So without further ado, my blogging manifesto! 

Annie's Blogging Manifesto

  1. My blog is a part of me and will always represent who I am.
  2. I will treat this blog as a hobby, not as a duty.
  3. I will blog with passion and integrity always.
  4. I will not let anybody else determine how I blog.
  5. I will always try my best to do as much I possibly can.
  6. But at the same time, I will understand that I need a break sometimes and will not fear taking a step back from blogging.
  7. While blogging means a lot to me, I will not compromise my life outside of the blog because of it.
  8. I will not be afraid to go against the tide.
  9. I will not feel obliged to do ANYTHING.
  10. I will always make sure to display proper conduct.
  11. In no circumstances will I ever participate in spreading drama or negativity.
  12. I will not let myself get jealous or compare myself to other bloggers.
  13. I will not think about blogging statistics.
  14. I will be appreciative of each and every reader I have.
  15. I will do my best to respond in a meaningful way to every comment when I can.
  16. I will make an effort to be active outside of my own blog.
  17. I will accept the fact that the day when I no longer want to/can blog will arrive and learn not to be fearful of it.
  18. I will continue to blog because I love it and not because I have to.
  19. But most importantly, I will appreciate and be proud of what I have accomplished and learned because of blogging.

So this was mostly just a post for me to refocus and re-evaluate some of my goals when blogging but if you have a manifesto too, I want to know how it works for you!