Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 2014 Reflect & Renew

So I haven't really done a Reflect & Renew in AGES and honestly, I wasn't really into doing one for this month either but given the craziness that has been my past three days, I feel like I need to sit down and take some time to reflect. I have to so much to do in terms of blogging that I don't really know WHERE to start but I think a wrap-up is good? I'm actually a lot shocked that July is only JUST ending because it feels like I should be heading back to school already. Like July was a lot of fun and one of the best summer months I've had just staying in Toronto but it felt sooo long.

what happened.

1. The World Cup. I almost forgot that this was a thing that happened in July. It feels like this happened three months ago but in reality, it was just a few weeks ago. Which is kinda crazy? But oh my gosh you guys, watching the World Cup was so much fun! It was so great to get caught up with all the craziness and excitement and MY TEAM GERMANY WON!!! <333333

2. Canada Day. Canada Day happened at the very beginning of this month and we did the same thing we do every year: gather with friends & family, sit out and watch fireworks and of course, celebrate the greatness that is being Canadian. It wasn't anything new - like I said, it's the same thing we do every year - but it was a lot of fun just to meet up with my family again and just celebrate!

3. Lots of barbecues. I think I basically lived off of barbecue food this entire month. And I like barbecues as much as the next person but I don't think I can ever look at hot dogs and hamburgers and corn the same way after having them four days in a row.

4. Encountered many computer crises. First, I got a virus from clicking this really legitimate looking request from Chrome to update my browser. That took freaking ages to get rid of and was such a pain in the butt. THEN, my computer broke and wouldn't start properly. And naturally while my computer was broken, my wifi had to stop working as well RIGHT WHEN I NEEDED IT THE MOST. Did I ever mention how much I freaking hate technology? But the good part is that my computer is now fixed and it's working a lot better than it was before. I had to update everything and redownload some applications but that didn't take too long. My wifi still isn't really working so we might have to get that checked out too? Like I don't know, it kinda works in flickers because I get notifications on my phones from Twitter, Tumblr etc but it doesn't connect all the time. So yeah, it's weird.

5. The Kardashian game. I told myself I wouldn't get it... but then I did. And I'm kinda obsessed. I don't even know why because you don't really do anything in the game except for wait for energy and tap things which weirdly, I find really satisfying. I'm currently on the C list, by the way and I'm very, very close to getting to the B list so you know, I'm pretty much the new Beyonce. Or maybe I should say the new Kim Kardashian?

6. I feel like I'm missing a lot... But I can't really remember. I feel like that should sum up what July was like for me right there. Okay moving on.

currently reading.

Well, I just got like ten new books to read so my immediate TBR just got super huge. I actually finished a lot of books yesterday while I was waiting for my computer to get fixed so I'm only reading like two books right now and those are: The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and Noggin by John Corey Whaley. I might start The Merciless and Pushing the Limits today as well but I'm not sure yet.

highlights of the runaway reader.

what to expect in august.

  • Surveys because I'm kinda in the mood to do them. I hope you guys won't mind if I just do a few surveys that I've been meaning to do for a while for the next week or so?
  • Reviews for Torn Away and Being Audrey Hepburn (because those are my review copies) and some other books that I haven't decided upon yet (as you can see, I'm a very fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type person when it comes to blogging)
  • Bookish Radar, the August edition
  • A discussion post on independent bookstores

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

Saturday, July 26, 2014

[MINI REVIEW] Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Published September 8, 1998 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first in 1963)
Paperback, 304 pages
My school forced me to read this

Initially, I was thinking of doing a full review for this book but it's been so long since I've read this that I can't really remember anything any more. Not to mention that I've blocked any memory of this past school year since summer started. But I have this thing where I just hate not reviewing a book so I decided to do a little mini review instead.

Cat's Cradle is a weird book. Like a really weird book. It follows this man named John as he attempts to track down members of his karass (don't ask, just read it but basically, a karass is a group of people who are put together to kinda work towards the same goal, objective) to write a book on it. There really isn't a distinct plot to this book, it's really just John's adventures as he searches for information for his books and all the little things he learns along the way and the people he meets. 

But you know, there's genius in all this madness. There is no denying that Cat's Cradle is wacky (well, at least not for me) because everything is just so exaggerated and outrageous but that's kinda what makes this book work so well. It's crazy and totally weird at first but when you finish the book and really think about it, that's when the genius of Vonnegut starts to come together. Vonnegut uses humour to his advantage, to express his thoughts on two running topics in this book: science and religion - and he does so rather well. But while I could understand the general idea of what Vonnegut was saying about those two topics, I admit that a lot of the book's irony and satire was lost on me. Like this book is almost too complex and intricate - actually, it IS too complex and intricate - for me to totally get everything that Vonnegut was saying. I don't think I ever will honestly but reading some of the analyses for this book was rather interesting. I can't say that I picked up on a lot of the things the writers of those essays mentioned but yeah, I'm sure it was in the book! 

In all seriousness though, Cat's Cradle - though confusing for me at a lot of times - does really offer some great food for thought. Vonnegut's opinion and outlook on the world is a rather depressing one but is really interesting. And besides all that deep, meaningful stuff, Cat's Cradle really is a very readable book. It took me a while to get into it but once I did, strangely I didn't want to put it down. One of the very, very, very few books for school that I have actually finished front to back. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Most Owned Authors on My Auto-Buy List Tag

Much thanks to Meg at Adrift On Vulcan for tagging me! I've been meaning to do this for a while (ie. yesterday) but then I got hit by a virus which sucked but thankfully, there are some great step by step guides out there and the virus is now free from my computer!

But back to the tag, now that I'm sitting here, I've realized that I've totally misunderstood the purpose of this tag. I somehow read it as "My Most Owned Authors OR Authors on My Auto-Buy List" and that was what I had this post planned out as. However I'm actually supposed to list the authors on my auto-buy list in order of how many books I own from them from most to least. 

The thing is though, I only own one or two or most of the time, zero books from authors that I would totally consider to be on my auto-buy list. And also, the authors that I do have a lot of books from, I do not consider to be on my auto-buy list at all. So for me, it just doesn't make sense to do this tag the way it's intended to be done. For me, it makes more sense to do it my way where I split up the two categories. Because if this were a Venn diagram with most owned authors in one circle and authors on my auto-buy list in the other, THERE WOULD BE NOTHING IN THE MIDDLE. Does that visual make sense? Do you get now why it makes more sense for me to split the two up? So yeah, I'm BREAKING THE RULES today because I'm just such a rebel. 

1. J.K. Rowling (9 books)
Of course J.K. Rowling is on my list! The Harry Potter books are must-own for me. Like if I didn't have them all already, they would be the first thing I'd go out to Indigo to buy because they just NEED to be in my collection. I don't have any of her other books though, not even the companions to the Harry Potter series like Quidditch Through the Ages and The Tales of Beedle the Bard. I have extra copies for both Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which is so weird, I KNOW but that's why the count is nine books instead of seven. I wasn't sure if that was legit but I mean, they're separate copies so I'm just going to count it.

2. Carolyn Keene (8 books)
Ms. Keene, author of the Nancy Drew series, is tied with Sara Shepard (and C.S. Lewis) for 8 books! I was so in love with the Nancy Drew books when I was younger and I had this really nice boxed set of the first eight books in the series. I don't think I read all of them but there were a couple that I remember loving so much that I read them again and again and again.

3. Sara Shepard (8 books)
Oh, Pretty Little Liars. I love you too much. TV show wise (which is actually SO GOOD) and book wise. I only own the first eight books of the Pretty Little Liars series which was actually how many books were set to be in the series until they decided to extend it (you can tell from the acknowledgements where Sara mentions that Wanted was the last book). And OMG, there are just SO MANY BOOKS now. I think I read up to Twisted and then I just gave up. There are so many, guys and the thing is that nothing significant was ever revealed in the books that I read after Wanted so it was just like filler. But when that last book comes out (god knows when, I've stopped keeping track), I know that I'll do a binge read of this series just to say that I've completed it. Because no matter how much I tell myself I'm so done with keeping up with the series because it's just so long, I still HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END.

4. C.S. Lewis (8 books)
And that is thanks to the complete Narnia chronicles (and an additional copy of The Magician's Nephew - yeah, I know, I have so many extra copies)! I remember watching The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe when it came out in theatres and loving it and then watching Prince Caspian when it came out. I was like the BIGGEST Narnia fan who didn't even read the books at all. Except The Magician's Nephew but that was so long ago like I can't even remember what went on. And oh my god, was I the only one who after watching the movie and seeing Edmund so in love with those Turkish Delights, wanted to have one as well? I hadn't had them before the movie and afterwards I saw them at the market, I begged my mum to get a few for me because if Edmund liked them, they had to be good, right? GUYS, DON'T HAVE IT. IT WAS SERIOUSLY LIKE STICKING A GIANT PERFUME JELLY INTO MY MOUTH. Honestly, don't know why Edmund would risk everything just to get some freaking Turkish Delights. Like dude, they aren't even that good.

5. Rick Riordan (5 books)
Oh, the Percy Jackson series. They were all the rage when I was in fifth and sixth grade and I remember just gobbling them up. Which reminds me I actually do want to reread them because I need to finish the Heroes of Olympus series and I need a refresher!

1. J.K. Rowling
Yes, JK Rowling is back! But seriously, whatever that woman writes, I will read it. Even if it's an adult book that doesn't interest me in the least bit like The Casual Vacancy. I WILL READ IT. And buy it so yeah, she's definitely on my auto-buy list.

2. Morgan Matson
One of my favourite, favourite, favourite YA authors ever! I loved Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, really really  really liked Second Chance Summer, and really liked Since You've Been Gone. Her books are just SO GOOD and summery and amazing and fantastic and I love her. No one else can make me go absolutely NUTS waiting for a book to release like Morgan Matson and believe me, I will buy every single one of her next books.

3. Sophie Kinsella
Sophie Kinsella makes me laugh SO HARD. Her books are just like the ultimate pick-me-up when I'm having a bad day. I can't even explain how much love I have for this author. I just adore every single one of her books even when they're so wacky, I just love them.

4. Stephanie Perkins
Just so much love for her Anna series and she's just so fabulous. Like YES OF COURSE SHE'S ON MY AUTO-BUY LIST. And guys, Isla. Isla is coming out in less than two months and it's making me all jiggly.

5. Roald Dahl
Yeah, I know he's dead (sorry to be so morbid) so it's impossible for him to come out with other books but I feel like I have to include him because this man is a GENIUS and I love his books to bits. I also don't own all of them so technically, it does make sense for him to be on my auto-buy list if I still have yet to buy his books, right?

And now, we have reached the end of this post. So I hope you guys enjoyed reading that, as much as I enjoyed making it and make sure to tell me in the comments which authors you own the most books from and which authors you have on your auto-buy list.

As for the people I tag, well, if you haven't done this tag yet and you want to, then I TAG YOU. SO DO IT. SERIOUSLY. And then link me your posts so I can see them!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Published June 3, 2014 by Roaring Book Press
Hardcover, 199 pages
Received from publisher through NetGalley -- thanks!

Told in four different perspectives, the story of Alice Franklin gets unravelled. At its core, this book is about rumours and the consequences of them. Rumours about Alice Franklin and how she slept with two guys in one night and how she was the cause of one of the guys' death in a car crash swirl at school. It doesn't matter whether they're true or not because everyone believes it and eventually, Alice gets shunned by her schoolmates. Through the eyes of Elaine, the popular girl; Kelsey, the former best friend; Josh, the friend of the deceased and Kurt, the boy next door we find out what their reasoning is behind their actions as they all play a part in the story of Alice Franklin and bit by bit, we'll also discover what the truth about Alice is.

I'm having such a hard time writing a decent review (I believe this is my fourth time writing this and it usually only takes me one try) so I'm just going to jump straight in and break my thoughts down for you.

The Truth About Alice is one of the shortest YA books I have ever read at only 199 pages but I am so amazed at what Mathieu was able to include.
Really, it is this that impresses me the most about this book. Mathieu hits upon so many key themes and ideas and she does it in 199 pages. And it's amazing. You might think it's a bit too short for a full story to grow - that was what I first thought - but it is possible and Mathieu shows us that. I'm walking away from this book satisfied and confident that everything that the author wanted to say has been said. There really is nothing in this book I could want to change because it's fantastic the way it is and I actually the fact that it's on the shorter side works to its advantage! At the heart of The Truth About Alice, we have a story about rumours in high school and how it affects people and the damage that it can do and I found the shortness of the book helped pack in that idea really nicely. If it were longer, I feel like maybe there would have been too much going on that it would have been harder to discern what the point of the book was. But The Truth About Alice isn't long, it's short and sweet and powerful.

The story didn't really kick in for me until the second half.
I have to be honest with you! Reading this book wasn't immediate and continuous love for me. I had a really hard time enjoying what I was reading in the first half because for whatever reason, it just wasn't clicking with me. I couldn't really see where the book was going and what it was leading up to and that bugged me a bit. I don't necessarily want everything to be laid out so that there's no spontaneity but I do also like a level of awareness when I'm reading. I like to have an idea of where the story is heading and with The Truth About Alice, I had zero freaking clue. And perhaps it was because I couldn't let that go or that I didn't like the characters much but I just could NOT get into it. Until the second half. As you know. Then, the story just really came together for me and I started to enjoy myself a lot more.

And if we're continuing to be honest, I'm going to say that I did not like any of the characters one bit.
They were annoying and frustrating and the things they did were so horrible and you really do question whether these people are even human at times because they do such terrible things to their peers for their own benefit. Like do they not have a conscious? So yeah I did really despise the characters about 90% of the time but seriously? It's the fact that they it's true. These characters who did horrible things strengthened the story. And I think that was the point. Like these aren't characters that you're supposed to like. They do horrible things and I have to tell you that there were points where I was just so FED UP with these characters that I had to take a breather. They really are frustrating... but at the same time, I could understand where they're coming from.

I read an article once about how we seem to be much less forgiving and understanding when it comes to characters in books when they do something we don't feel is morally right. And I have to say I agree with that. I'm the type of person who, in real life, hates thinking the worst of people and jumping to conclusions about what they've done. I don't believe that the actions of a person necessarily defines them (not all the time, anyway). But in books when I see characters do silly and bad things, it's like a switch for me turns off. It probably does have to do with the fact that characters are indeed characters - they aren't real - and no matter how great an author's development and writing could be, I don't think I'm ever going to regard a character the same way as an actual person because I don't think I'll ever be able to totally see them as a person, if that makes any sense? I can feel maybe 70% or 80% but I don't know if the full 100% will always happen for me.

(I'm not sure if I'm making any sense at all because this sounds really confusing to me even in my head but I'm just going to roll with it, okay?)

The thing is though, humans are HORRIBLE. We do terrible, terrible things every single day. You see it in the newspaper, on TV. And yeah, spreading rumours and ruining someone's life basically is different from going on a killing spree or blowing up a town. It's WAY different but even so, I liked how Mathieu had the characters explain their actions. I never felt like they justified what they did and made it all right but it made me kinda see what it was like in their positions. And it was tough, it was hard to see how much damage these people caused just because they were worried for themselves but I can't say I've never had the same thoughts as they've had. Even if I haven't done something so bad on that scale, I do think I find a little bit of myself in each of them based on their actions and what I have done in the past. I'm not perfect and I know I have done some really shitty things in the past. And sometimes there isn't a really good explanation for things. Sometimes it's just I wanted to fit in or I didn't want to get in trouble or she/he was an easy target. And maybe it is a weak reason for bullying someone and ruining their life but that's just the way we are. And I don't know, I suck at phrasing my thoughts but that particular idea? Whether it was intended or if it's just something that I gathered from the book, it's so interesting and heartbreaking for me at the same time. But it made the story stand out. And maybe this is controversial but I feel like all of us can have a bit of understanding for each other and what we do even if it's like the worst person alive and even if they do such horrible things it makes you want to puke. Because at the end I feel like we're kinda all one and the same in our thoughts and feelings.

So I probably should have saved that for a separate post but basically yeah, the characters are horrible but I kinda liked that about the story. How it didn't perfect things up and it was interesting to see the characters' reasoning behind their actions. Even though it still doesn't excuse what they've done and how bad their actions were. And I'm sorry for how long that was.

And finally, I really liked the way Mathieu wrote this story with four alternating POVs. 
I didn't really think it would work but it did work really well! I felt like the characters were distinct enough (meaning that they fell into categories really nicely: the popular girl, the jock, the wanting to fit in girl, and the nerdy outcast). They were definitely stereotyped a lot but I didn't mind that. It helped set them apart in the POVs which I thought would get really confusing and unnecessary but quite the opposite actually! I thought they added a lot to the story and I can't imagine a better way to have told the story of Alice Franklin.

Okay, I'm just going to start wrapping this up because I know I rambled SO MUCH. My reviews seem to get longer by post. But anyway, I really did enjoy this book a lot! I feel like Mathieu did a wonderful job telling her story and I can't imagine it any other way. The thing about rumours in high schools and slut shaming and all that stuff is really serious and it's important to let people - not just teens - understand the consequences of those things and I think Mathieu was really able to let that sink in. It also made me think a lot, evidentally, which might have been better expressed in another post but I couldn't help myself. It kinda all came out. So yeah, really really liked this book overall! It can be hard to stomach at times, the sheer terribleness of what these people are doing but it's definitely a rewarding book if you stick with it! And... yeah, I probably have more to say but with that really long ramble, I think I'm sucked a bit dry so I'll leave it at that! 

YOU if you're looking for a book that packs a lot of punch and that deals with some more serious issues like bullying and slut-shaming and stuff like that. I honestly think that everyone should pick this up because it definitely does deal with situations that everyone could do with learning a little more about.


Kelley @ Oh, The Books! gives it 4 stars: "It’s part mystery, part social commentary, and a great helping of exploring relationships. And probably the thing that sold me hardest on this book? The writing was high quality; it does not read like a debut!"

Andi @ Andi's Abc's says: "Actually that was my biggest problem with the story. The bullying was never dealt with at all. Not by the school, not by Alice, not be Alice’s mom. It was pretty bad and it was used like a nonissue, background plot point."

Kelly @ Effortlessly Reading gives it 3 stars: "On the other hand, although I do like how raw and real The Truth About Alice was, in the end, I felt like I got nothing much out of the book. Yes, I got the message The Truth About Alice is sending out, but I just didn’t have a strong sense of the book."

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bookish Radar (6)

As a book blogger, my bookish radar is always on. I'm constantly hearing about titles of books and while some of them don't particularly interest me, others so do. These are the books that I currently have my eyes on. I WILL READ THEM IF IT'S THE LAST THING I DO. Inspired by On the Smugglers' Radar @ The Book Smugglers and Waiting on Wednesday @ Breaking the Spine

Released June 26, 2014

A haunting debut novel about a mixed-race family living in 1970s Ohio and the tragedy that will either be their undoing or their salvation

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.
When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia’s older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it’s the youngest of the family—Hannah—who observes far more than anyone realizes and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened.

A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

I can't even tell you how much I want to pick up Everything I Never Told You RIGHT this second. I've heard it's a mystery which is great because I do love mysteries but that it also has more of a focus on family and social status and all of that just sounds FABULOUS. And I love that it centres around a Chinese-American family because I'm Chinese so yay for representation! I have 9 books at the library now and more to arrive plus books that I've bought and haven't read yet so I know I won't be getting to this really soon but MAN, I will definitely be making a point to pick this up when I get this mess sorted out with!
Released September 28, 1972

For Joanna, her husband, Walter, and their children, the move to beautiful Stepford seems almost too good to be true. It is. For behind the town's idyllic facade lies a terrible secret -- a secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will ever be the same.

At once a masterpiece of psychological suspense and a savage commentary on a media-driven society that values the pursuit of youth and beauty at all costs, The Stepford Wives is a novel so frightening in its final implications that the title itself has earned a place in the American lexicon.

I love horror and I love scaring myself but I haven't read a horror novel EVER. Or not one that scared the shit out of me anyways. Which is disappointing because like I said, I do love scaring myself. And this one sounds really good! I'd only heard of his other novel Rosemary's Baby but while I was perusing Goodreads, as one does, I came upon this book and while the synopsis doesn't tell me much, the fact that it was a horror novel and that it is "so frightening" just sold me.  

Expected release date: July 23, 2014

It's the Carnevale of 1750 and Venice's ballrooms, theatres, palazzos and squares are filled with delicious gossip, devilish fun and dangerous games. In this glittering masked world, everyone has a secret...

Set in an age of decadence made famous by Casanova, Masquerade uncovers the secrets of seven teens, from the highest aristocrat to the lowest servant – their dreams, desires, loves, loyalties ... and betrayals.

All the world's a stage. Let the show begin.

I've seen this book a lot featured on Australian blogs as I'm fairly sure it's part of Penguin Australia? Anyway, that's how I came to find out about this book and apparently it's being pitched as a Gossip Girl meets Downton Abbey but of course, set in 18th Century Venice. And that just sounds great. I know a lot of people don't listen to comparisons but I like them to give me a general idea of the book. And I love Gossip Girl (the books and the show) and while I haven't started Downton Abbey yet, Dame Maggie Smith is in it so I'm SURE it's great (also everyone talks about it so there's that) so this book sounds like it's going to be pretty interesting! Like, YES PLEASE. Venice? Oh my god, yes. Secrets? EVEN MORE YES. Social hierarchies? Yes, yes yes. Have I said it enough times to let you know that I really want to read this book?

Expected release date: November 25, 2014

GIRL ONLINE is the stunning debut romance novel by YouTube phenomenon Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella.

I had no idea GirlOnline would take off the way it has - I can't believe I now have 5432 followers, thanks so much! - and the thought of opening up to you all about this is terrifying, but here goes...

Penny has a secret.

Under the alias GirlOnline, she blogs about school dramas, boys, her mad, whirlwind family - and the panic attacks she's suffered from lately. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets the gorgeous, guitar-strumming Noah. Suddenly Penny is falling in love - and capturing every moment of it on her blog.

But Noah has a secret too. One that threatens to ruin Penny's cover - and her closest friendship - forever.

So you might know Zoe Sugg as Zoella, a popular Youtuber who I absolutely ADORE. And admittedly, I'm interested in this more because of the name attached than the actual premise (which I still love by the way because it sounds fantastic. Like a musician boy? And New York? And England? And blogging? YES.) but seriously Zoe is just so cute and sweet on camera and I read her blog and I totally love that she has a book out. And ahh, it just sounds so cute and sweet like Zoe and I'm so unbelievably excited. I promise I will be the first one in line to buy this book. 

Those are my picks for this month! Tell me in the comments if you've read any of these, and what books are currently on YOUR radar!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Life of a Blogger (4): Tattoos

Hosted by Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat. Life of a Blogger is a weekly feature designed to reveal more about the blogger outside of books and blogging.

This week, we're talking about... tattoos.

Okay wow, I haven't done a Life of A Blogger in a heck of a long time! I've been meaning to do them more regularly because I do love the topics and think they're so much fun. I might start catching up on them in the weeks to come. But anyway I thought I would jump in for this week since I didn't really have anything scheduled (haha, when do I ever have things scheduled?) and I have thought about tattoos in the past.

So first of all, I guess I should start with whether or not I have any tattoos? No, I don't. I think you have to be of a certain age to get them, right? Like 16 or 18? And I'm 14 so I'm not quite there yet. Also, I'm extremely doubtful that my parents would allow me to get a tattoo right now even if I could. I'm not sure if they would even when I'm 18 and am technically an adult. They're not too keen on the idea of tattoos but I'm hoping that if they're small and in less obvious places, they might relent.

I'm HOPING for that because I would like to get tattoos one day. Nothing big or extravagant and nothing with colour. I just want something tiny and sweet. I've kinda thought about getting a tattoo in all different parts of my body: my ankle, the inside of my wrist, on my finger, on my rib, behind my ear, and on my nape. But I don't think that's all going to happen. I feel like I like the look of tattoos but could probably not deal with the commitment. I mean, I know I could always undergo laser surgery to take them off but I might as well just not go through all that hassle just to do that. I wish there was like a tattoo kit where you could draw on tattoos that look real but are temporary.

Anyway, the only place I know I would want a tattoo there FOR SURE is my nape. Like, directly under my hairline. I'm not super certain what I want yet but I think I want the number seven in Roman numerals. And I think that might be the only tattoo I'd ever get because it's the only one I feel certain about. The other ones, I'm more iffy on and I also don't really know what to get there though I do have a Pin board with examples and they're all so cute!

Follow Annie's board inked. on Pinterest.

So yeah... that's about all I have on this topic! Feel free to link your posts in the comments below and tell me whether you have tattoos and if not, if you would like to get any!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

10 of My Go-To, Comfort Films

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

I can't deal with this week's topic which is your Top Ten Favourite Films and/or TV Shows. I have way too many of both for this post to be anything other than 100 000 words long. So I thought I would narrow it down and instead, do ten films that I watch whenever I need a pick-me-up or just whenever I want something comfortable and familiar. Think of your favourite comfort food except with films! Even this was really hard but I think I managed to pick a good top ten! So without further ado, here are 10 of my go-to, comfort films!

Directed by Will Gluck
Starring Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Woody Harrelson

Oh gosh, I don't even know how many times I've seen this film. I could seriously recite to you every single line in this film right now (I couldn't but a few more watches and I'll be there). I first watched this back in 2011 and I've seen it so many times since, I've lost count. I just love this movie so much. Maybe it's the allure of New York City? Or maybe it's because the opening scene is one of my favourites. This is just seriously one of my favourite go-to movies and I can't even tell you exactly why I love it so much, just that I do!

Directed by Gary Winick
Starring Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer

Another one of my favourites! 13 Going On 30 has such a fun and awesome storyline. I haven't seen it nearly as many times as I have Friends With Benefits but it's still a good old favourite! Though the striptease scene still makes me cringe to this day. Oyy.

Directed by Jason Moore
Starring Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson

Girl power! Singing! Acapella groups! A cute boy! And hilarious lines! I don't think you could go wrong. EXCEPT for the vomit scene. Ick ick ick ick ick. But other than that, this is a really fun film! Can't wait for the sequel!

Directed by Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly
Starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds

While we're talking on the topic of singing in movies, here's a classic musical! This is just such a great movie and ahh, it's just so good. There are times when it drags on (especially that part towards the end where they're just dancing for like twenty minutes) but really, just such a delight! Watch this if you haven't and watch it again if you have!

Directed by Kenny Ortega
Starring Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale

This was MY LIFE when I was six. I was so obsessed, I went out and bought all the High School Musical books there were. I have the Unofficial Story, the All Access book, and the one about all the stars. Those books were my BABIES. And while I'm not obsessed with it any more, I do still really love this. I feel like High School Musical will always have a place in my heart. I've watched this like at least 30 times to date and this movie, I can DEFINITELY recite to you.

Directed by Luke Greenfield
Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, Colin Egglesfield

I've seen this movie so many times as well. It's always playing on W and when I don't have anything else to watch, I'll just stay and rewatch this. It's another one I don't seem to get tired of. I remember I cried at the end when I first watched this. Oh, the memories. I never really liked Dexter because of the cheating. I was Ethan all the way! Mostly because it was John Krasinski but well.

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Starring Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Liam Neeson

Oh, MAN. It was so hard choosing just one Hayao Miyazaki because that guy is KING and all his Studio Ghibli work was just so good. Ponyo was the first of his I'd ever seen though and it was what sparked my love for Hayao Miyazaki. Whenever I need cheering up, I always watch one of his films. They're just all so good!

Directed by Mark Waters
Starring Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Jonathan Bennett

I can't have a list of my go-to, comfort movies without Mean Girls! It's hilarious and I've watched it so many times but it's fabulous. I love screaming out the lines with the characters and Rachel McAdams and Lindsay Lohan are so ON POINT in this film.

Directed by David Frankel
Starring Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt

Another movie I cannot NOT have on a list of go-to films! This is an all-time favourite, mostly because Meryl Streep is kick-ass in this film. She totally nails the role.

Directed by
Starring Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds

This movie makes me laugh so hard every single time. And I love it. 

So that concludes my list of 10 of my favourite go-to films! As you can see, I'm big on romantic comedies. There are seriously so many more films I wish I could have included (The Parent Trap, Despicable Me, etc) but I didn't want this list to climb up to 100! Tell me in the comments if you love any of these movies to and share your go-to movies down below!

Monday, July 14, 2014

[MINI REVIEW] Burn for Burn & Fire With Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Burn for Burn #1
Published September 18, 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Paperback, 358 pages
Borrowed from library

Because the third and final book in this series is coming out very soon, I thought I would finally get to reading the Burn for Burn books which have been on my TBR ever since this first one came out. 

Burn for Burn centres around three girls named Lillia, Kat and Mary. They don't really know each other but they share one thing in common and that is they each have one person they'd like to act revenge upon. So the three of them come up with three separate schemes to get back at their respective target and agree to help each other out with them.

I definitely felt like this book had a bit of a Pretty Little Liars vibe but instead of being placed in the victims' shoes, we got to see everything from the instigators which was really interesting! Some of the acts went a bit too far in my opinion and honestly if I could, I would have jumped straight into the book and talked some sense to the girls! But that really didn't have an impact on my overall enjoyment. I still really, really loved this book. Burn for Burn was the first book for me in a long while that really captured me and I didn't want to put it down at all!

There were a few things, of course, that I would have liked to see. For instance, more fleshed-out characters. I don't feel like the characters were all that well-developed in this book and I feel like if they had some more dimension, it would have made the story a lot more interesting! There also seemed to be, at the very end, a bit of supernatural/paranormal activity which was a bit confusing because I didn't see it coming at all and it isn't explained at all but I expect it to be touched more on in the sequel. 

Overall though, Burn for Burn was really enjoyable. I had such a fun time reading it!


Burn for Burn #2
Published August 13, 2013 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 517 pages
Borrowed from library


After reading Burn for Burn, I had to pick this book up immediately. If you've read Burn for Burn, you'd know it ends on a kinda cliffhanger. We see Mary taking out revenge on her target, Reeve who, under a variety of different circumstances, gets injured and hospitalized. Which sucks majorly because that means he can't play football any more which is nearly his entire being. But Mary still isn't satisfied and wants to hurt him even more, add insult to injury (literally) so when she finds out that Reeve has a thing for our other gal, Lillia, Mary pleads with her to get Reeve to fall in love with her so she can break his heart. 

Obviously, there's a lot more of a romance element in this book than there was in Burn for Burn but I actually really enjoyed it. I LOVE fake relationships for reasons I won't say here because it could spoil you (though it's predictable enough that you would be able to guess without even reading) and the one in Fire with Fire was no different. The best thing about the fake relationship was that it allowed us to get a better understanding of Reeve's character. I can't tell you how much I disliked him in Burn for Burn and while I tried to hate him in this book (because all things considered, what he did was so BEYOND shitty) I just couldn't! Honestly, I kinda loved him. There's so much more to his character in this book than Burn for Burn and I loved that. It was the same thing with Rennie. In Burn for Burn, she was just depicted as the bad guy and there wasn't anything more on her character but in this book, it was totally different. Like Reeve, there was a lot more substance to her and depth which made everything a lot more interesting!

And I just have to mention this: Kat is freaking awesome. I seriously wish Kat would be my best friend. She's fabulous. And though I know I SHOULD feel bad for Mary, I don't. I actually think she's my least favourite character and given the ickiness of Rennie, that's saying a lot. But yeah, I don't like her one bit.

But anyway, I loved this book and enjoyed it so much more than Burn for Burn. Which was great but pales slightly in comparison to this. Cannot wait for the third book now! There are so many things I want to see happen in the third book and while I'm super pumped up for it, I'm also super scared because I feel like SHIT'S GOING TO GO DOWN and I'm not ready for that. Talk to me if you've read these books and we can cry over the anticipation of the third book together!