Sunday, August 31, 2014

August 2014 Reflect & Renew

Well, August just flew by. And now, September has arrived again. Which means that I have school again. And there is nothing that makes me want to barf more than the thought of school. Ew. But first, let me revisit my last month of freedom by telling you what shizz went down with me.

what happened.

1. Went to the dentist. Which sucked but has to happen every year whether I like it or not. I just had a check up and a little cleaning which went well and I don't have any cavities which is good because there is NOTHING that makes me more uncomfortable than the feeling of getting a hole drilled in your tooth. It still wasn't fun though because the hook is like the worst thing on the planet but my dentist is such a sweet guy and makes it seem like the funnest thing on Earth. He's basically Barney except not a dinosaur.

2. Also went to the CNE. Which stands for the Canadian National Exhibition (I think?) and it's this carnival thing we have every year here in Toronto. This year was my first time going since I was five and it was really fun! Every year, it's all in the papers but I never go and this year, I finally went and it was amazing. But be careful, you're going to end up spending sooo much money because you just want to go on all the rides and eat all the food. Can't say it wasn't worth it though.

3. Again, I feel like I'm missing a lot. I'm sure I did more than just that this month. But I'm blanking out. So. Sorry for a lame recap. My life really isn't that interesting anyway so...

currently reading.

I just got so many new books to read and I'm SO excited to get to them but first, I promised myself I would finish Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan first. It is such a ginormous book with really tiny writing so it takes me forever to finish one page but on the plus side, I am really enjoying myself. Up next is On the Fence by Kasie West and Open Road Summer by Emery Lord!

highlights of the runaway reader.

what to expect in september.

  • A week-long break at the beginning, just so I can adapt to my new schedule with the start of school (cries in a corner) blogging wise. Obviously I'll have less time to blog so I'm thinking of taking a week off just to draw up a rough schedule of posts and have some drafts to go so that I don't have to do everything on the fly.
  • My wrap-up post for August
  • The August edition of Annie's Ultimate Playlist, and towards the end of the month, a very special themed edition!
  • A Bookish Radar for September
  • The Seven Deadly Sins Tag and the Emoji Tag
  • Reviews for Shadow and Bone, Torn Away, among many others

and that's it! tell me what you did this month in the comments. and stay tuned for another month filled with blogging goodness!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

2 Years of Blogging!

As of today, Thursday August the 28th, I have been blogging for two years.


I feel like I'm dreaming. I feel like this is all a dream and someone needs to pinch me right now. My brain hasn't even begun to process this fact because it all feels at once like a really long time but also a really short time. And usually I'm pretty good at being sappy and talking about how much blogging means to me and how much I love you guys but now that the moment has called for it, I just can't seem to muster up words that adequately describe how wonderful it is to reach such a big milestone.

If you told me back on that fateful day in 2012 when I first started blogging that I would manage to continue doing so for two years, I would have said you were out of your freaking mind. I NEVER stick with things for any more than five months at the most (and you will hear ALL about this from my mum, except that she prefers to refer to all my endeavors as "projects") so if you told me I would stick with something for two years, I probably would have laughed in your face. But it seems, accidentally, I've stumbled upon this great love of mine: blogging about books (and occasionally other random things).

There is this one quote that I like from E.M. Forster about passion. It goes "One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested." And so I am very, very fortunate to have found my passion after years of just being mildly interested in things. I have to admit, however, that none of this would have been as fun and as interesting if you guys weren't with me all along the way. And I mean, ALL OF YOU. Everyone who has commented on my blog, who has taken the time to talk to me, who has taken the time to read my posts and et al. THANK YOU. It is you who keeps me going, who gives me the motivation to continue to blog and even if I have no idea who you are, just the knowledge that some of you are out there and maybe somewhat appreciate what I do here makes me so happy beyond words.

But first, there are some people that I would just like to really, really quickly thank for being my...friends? I feel like I can say that now, right? Or just people I've only talked to once or twice but I still really, really appreciate. God, there are so many people I want to just SPILL MY LOVE OUT FOR YOU and tell you how much I appreciate your existence but we'd be here all day so just very quickly, these are the people I'd especially like to thank and give a quick shout out to!

LesleyChloeShannelleJosephine, LizMitchiiShellyEmilyMeg,  Rachel, ChiaraEmilyP.E. & MariCharlotte, Jen, Aimee, Emily, and Zoe: THANK YOU!

I think I might be missing a few people but anyway, that's what I came up with on the spot but again, I really do appreciate each and everyone one of you!

It's been a crazy ride, these two years. But I can honestly look back and be proud of everything that I've accomplished and thankful of all the wonderful things I've been able to experience and learn because of blogging and thankful of all the brilliant people I've met (or stalked) through blogging.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Life of a Blogger (5): 101 Things I Hate

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... 101 things you hate.

I did the 101 things you love list a few months ago but weirdly, never got to doing the 101 things you hate list. I was actually a bit hesitant to do it just because I don't have a lot of things I hate, if any at all. Most of the time, I might say I "hate" something but it's just extreme dislike. But not hate. You know when you were younger and you'd say you hated someone and then this annoying kid would come over and be like "hate is a strong word"? No? Well, okay maybe it's just me. But yeah, I was that annoying kid. The word "hate" just makes me uneasy and it seems so... certain? unchangeable? Even so, I managed somehow to come up with exactly 101 things I hate. But not really. Don't think of it as hate, think of it more like extreme dislike, yeah? Okay yes, the annoying kid in me is coming out again. Let's move on.


1. Losing someone
2. Pigeons (they're everywhere in Toronto and they scare the shit out of me.)
3. Spilling my drink (especially when it's on my shirt and/or my pants because then I get stuck wearing my gym uniform for the rest of the day because my clothes are gross and wet. Ugh. I suppose it's better than not having anything to switch into though.)
4. Cough syrup
5. Green tea
6. Hangnails
7. Slut-shaming
8. Dog drool (Dogs are cute, sure, but not when they drool on you!)
9. Geese
10. Stepping in dog poo
11. Mosquitoes (and mosquito bites)
12. Shaving
13. Screwing up my nail polish
14. Computer viruses (don't even get me started.)
15. Raw fish (which is why I refuse to eat sashimi)
16. The sound of coughing
17. Oatmeal raisin cookies
18. Homework
19. Going to the dentist
20. Split ends
21. The sound of snoring
22. Early mornings
23. Stepping in gum
24. Dijon mustard
25. Having to pee when I'm asleep
26. Retainers (I have them but ew, they're so gross!)
27. Losing touch with someone (I guess you could argue that this is the same as losing someone...)
28. Typos (I don't bother to fix my typos when I see them but it doesn't mean I like them. It's just I'm too lazy.)
29. Flossing (I still do it but I hate it. And I still don't have a good method of getting my upper teeth without drooling everywhere and getting frustrated. Problems.)
30. Losing stuff (which happens to me a lot.)
31. The feeling you've forgotten something
32. When people don't respond to my messages! (unless they're lame and it's clear that I don't expect a response but if it's important, then you should reply when you see it!)
33. Okra
34. Mispronouncing words and names
35. The feeling of hopelessness
36. Doing dishes (least favourite chore.)
37. Running out of chocolate
38. Periods (you know what I mean.)
39. Feeling left out
40. CD scratches
41. Ice-less water
42. Stickers that don't peel off nicely
43. Fevers
44. Public restrooms
45. Pimples (why do I have so many??)
46. Feeling bloated
47. Melted ice cream
48. Feet
49. Chapped lips (mine are always chapped and I hate it. I don't know what to do!)
50. Ripe bananas (I only eat bananas if they're yellowy-green or spotlessly bright yellow.)
51. Plane food (especially Air Canada plane food.)
52. The sound of motorcycles
53. When people don't pick up after their dogs
54. The sound of sirens
55. Running out of data
56. Tangled wires
57. When people use the pet name "baby" (don't mean to offend anyone if you do it but it just bugs me.)
58. Cockroaches
59. Not knowing where my things are
60. Seeds in grapes (which is why I don't like purple grapes.)
61. Twizzlers
62. Bacon (I know, this makes an abominable Canadian but bacon just grosses me out. It's okay if it's in little pieces because sometimes I find them in chicken caesar wrap and while it would be nice if it weren't there, it's okay because it's really tiny and I can forget I'm eating it. But those thick, long strips? Nooo thank you.)
63. Outgrowing my favourite item of clothing
64. Migraines
65. Wasabi (please sushi makers, when you're packaging the sushi in the little boxes, can you make sure that the rolls aren't touching the wasabi? Or the ginger for that matter.)
66. Running out of things to talk about (especially if you're meeting the person for the first time or if it's like a person you're really trying to impress/be friends with.)
67. Grapefruit
68. The feeling of guilt
69. Turkish delights (I don't know why Edmund was so gaga over them. Not worth it, dude.)
70. Pepperoni pizza
71. People talking to you when you're TRYING TO READ
72. Dandruff
73. Sunscreen (I rarely apply sunscreen when I go out which I know is so bad for my skin but I'm just so lazy.)
74. Slush (like that mixture of rain and snow and it's all like gross brown and gray.)
75. When people wear too much cologne
76. Armpits
77. Runny noses
78. Rum cakes
79. Crocs
80. Knotted hair
81. Blisters
82. Traffic jams
83. Being stuck in rush hour
84. Goji berries (my mum loves these.)
85. Dried up markers
86. Microsoft Office 2003 (2007 is okay but 2003 just bugs me and makes me want to scream.)
87. Emery boards
88. Mouthwash
89. Paper cuts
90. Cucumbers (to those people who say it tastes like nothing so therefore, it doesn't make sense that I don't like them: they do taste like something! Like weird cucumber taste! Gross!)
91. Nestea Zero
92. Internet Explorer
93. Working out
94. Snowboots (I really don't like putting on snowboots. They're so clunky and uncomfortable and mine are hideous. I know most people aren't great fans of Uggs either but I'll try to wear my Uggs as often as possible during the winter. Unless of course, I have no choice and there's like slush on the ground and several centimeters of snow.)
95. Caps (like baseball caps. They're fine on other people and in general but I really don't like wearing them.)
96. Splinters (and getting them out.)
97. The feeling of grogginess after a long nap
98. The smell of wet grass
99. Butterflies
100. Wine gums
101. White-Out

That took an EXTREMELY long time. Maybe add "making a list of the things I hate" to the list of things I hate? Anyway, tell me in the comments what things you hate and maybe we can bond over them!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Trilogy #1
Published March 4, 2014 by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
Hardcover, 355 pages
Borrowed from library

The Winner's Curse tells a story about a girl named Kestrel, born to wealth, being the daughter of a very highly regarded general. One day, walking through the streets of the market with her best friend, Kestrel stumbles upon an auction for slaves and surprisingly, ends up walking away with one. And after spending some time with him, Kestrel soon finds herself falling in love with Arin. And he with her. But besides the fact that he's her slave, there are also other reasons why this relationship between them may not work out...

Reaction immediately after finishing: "OH MY GOD. What was the beauty I just read? I need The Winner's Crime in my hands NOW. Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god." HOLY FUDGE NUGGETS YOU GUYS. This book is goooood.

Don't let the hype scare you. DO NOT LET THE HYPE SCARE YOU.
I probably will not be helping the case with this review and I acknowledge that. I can't help wanting to shout my love for this book from every corner of the world because it gives me all types of feelies and squealies and tinglies that still stay with me even after finishing this book way back in July. Or June. But it is important to let you know that you should not let the hype scare you. And take this from me, a person who runs as fast as they can the other way from hyped books. I admit, they scare me! I'd rather avoid a book completely than be the only person on Earth who dislikes a book everyone else loves. Talk about the WORST feeling. Which is why it took me a while to get to The Winner's Curse but it happened. And I loved it. It was every bit as magical as the reviews suggested. And now I say that you should give it a shot. Obviously, it's not guaranteed that you'll like it but on the other hand, there is a very good chance that you will. All these readers can't be wrong, surely? So read it, read it, read it!

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about the WORLD-BUILDING.
I don't read a lot of fantasy and even LESS high fantasy so world-building isn't something I pay too much attention to. I mean obviously you can't go without any world-building at all but I guess what I'm trying to say is that in contemporaries, the author doesn't have to describe every single detail because, well, we're all familiar with it, right? But with fantasies, and especially high fantasies where it's a complete different world, it is so important for the author to be able to bring their imagination to life on the page. It's really up to them, and them only, to show us what's going on because nobody else knows! So anyway, having said that, I feel like the world-building in The Winner's Curse was really fantastic. I was able to vividly imagine this country (which I don't think we were ever given an exact name for?) and I honestly felt like I was part of it. Like I was actually in the book watching from the sidelines. So A+ for that! I really did feel so immersed in this world and the story.

The Herrani and Valorian dynamic was very interesting.
So in this book, there are two... races, I suppose? We have the Herrani people and the Valorian people and it's very much the slave-master dynamic between the two. Not too long ago, there was a war between the two and the Valorians ended up conquering the Herrani and summoned them to a life of slavery and poverty. And so obviously, the Herrani are NOT happy with this arrangement and want to get back their freedom and equality again. One of my favourite parts of this book was seeing how this into Kestrel and Arin's story. I'VE ALREADY SAID TOO MUCH. But basically, Arin is Kestrel's slave which translates into Arin is Herrani and Kestrel is Valorian which means they should hate each other but they don't which means trouble. You'll see...

Speaking of Kestrel and Arin, they were beautiful together.
I ship it 100%! And if my ship gets f**king ruined, I will scream. SCREAM. For those of you afraid of instalove, there is NO instalove here. Actually in this book, we have one of my favourite tropes ever: the hate-to-love trope! It always gets to be so exciting and so wrought with emotions and THIS BOOK GAVE ME FEELS. SO MANY FEELS. ALL THE FEELS. FEELS FEELS FEELS FEELS FEELS. I'm still not okay.

I could not stop flipping the pages!
I seriously could not put down this book. I mean, obviously the romance was great and so was the plot and the world but the best part? Rutkoski's writing. SOO BEAUTIFUL. Usually I feel like third person narratives detach me from the story, like it puts a barrier between me and the characters but not with this book. The third person narrative actually worked so wonderfully and the words. Oh my, the words. Marie Rutkoski has a way with words, let me tell you. And she is exactly the person that makes me seethe because why can't I write so beautifully? But on top of how GORGEOUS her writing was, it was also kinda brilliant how much she was able to fit into 350 pages. Like no offense but it makes the other books I've read with 300 pages look shabby in comparison. Really though, Marie Rutkoski achieves so much in these pages. She has the character development, she has the fabulous world-building, she has EXCITEMENT and she has you flipping through emotions like crazy. One second you'll be laughing, the other you'll be hanging onto the book for dear life in fear of what's going to happen next. And then before you know it, it'll be over and you'll be shedding a tear or too. 

I really enjoyed reading The Winner's Curse. I felt myself flipping the pages as fast as I could just because I was so immersed int the story. I loved the writing, I loved the characters, I loved the world-building and basically everything. Everything about this book was so good and now it's like why didn't I read this book sooner? Why did I wait so long? Because it was everything I hoped it would be and more. Well-deserving of all the praise and hype it gets. Bravo!

people who like high fantasies and don't mind a little romance. Or if you like romance but want a different type of romance. Or simply, if you're looking for a good book to read.


Thea @ The Book Smugglers gives it a good, but with some sizable reservations: "This brings me to the most frustrating thing about The Winner’s Curse: the book’s lack of substance. Sure, there are nominally high stakes, but really? This is a book light on repercussions and heavy on trivialities."

Kelly @ Effortlessly Reading gives it 4 stars: "The Winner’s Curse is made out of feels. I don’t know how else to describe it – every single page (except for the first one-third of the book or so) is made out of feels. I felt for Arin’s situation and hurt for him, but on the other hand, I also felt for Kestrel’s situation and understood her anger."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What Bugs Me Most When I'm Reading

As a reader, what REALLY bugs you while you're reading? What is one thing that just makes it so HARD for you to concentrate and focus on the story in front of you? What totally ruins the idea of getting lost in the pages for you?

Is it when people talk to you while you're reading? Or is it when that blasted motorcycle zooms by BEING SO OBNOXIOUSLY LOUD? Or maybe it isn't anything to do with your surroundings, maybe it's simply that you just CANNOT get into the book for some unknown reason.

And dude, I feel you. I really, really do. But while I really hate when people talk to me while I'm reading and when motorcycles interrupt my precious silence and those awkward moments when I just can't get into a book, there is nothing that takes me out of a story faster than thinking as a reviewer while I'm reading.

And what I mean by that - what I mean by "thinking as a reviewer while reading" - is:
  • thinking about what to rate the book
  • thinking about what possible points - positive and negative - I should mentally jot down so I can include it in my review
  • worrying about whether or not I SHOULD in fact write those points down in case I forget it
Sometimes, I just can't help but wonder if I would still be worrying about these things had I not started book blogging and reviewing.

Probably not.

I can't say this with certainty though because it's been a while since I've known the life of not blogging (was that even a thing? what did I even do back then?) but from the little bits that I do remember, I'm fairly sure that I never had to worry about what to rate a book before. Or worry about remembering every single reaction I have while reading the book.

And I miss not having to think about those things when I'm reading. I miss the days when I would just read for the joy of it, even if I can't remember much of what that was like any more.

Perhaps it's stupid for me to spend time wishing for the past. I should just accept that this is natural, right? That this "new" way of being a bit more critical when reading and being a bit more attentive to the details is just a natural result of blogging and reviewing books for two years now. I mean, blogging is such a big part of my life so why wouldn't it play such a big part when it comes to reading? It should be a no-brainer, totally obvious that yes, OF COURSE, how you read will evolve.

But... I can't help it. I can't help wanting to relive what it was like to read without having to worry about reviewing the book afterwards. And there SHOULD be a switch in my mind that I can just turn on and off whenever I want - like on, when I want to be in reviewer mode but then off when I just want to read leisurely without thinking about reviewing - but there isn't. Blogging is so ingrained in me now that I'm ALWAYS in reviewer mode. And again, maybe it is really pointless for me to be griping about this because perhaps the only way I can counter this is to just wish that I never started blogging and reviewing. Because I'm sure this is something that we all can relate to. Becoming more critical while we read is something that is supposed to happen the more we blog.

Sometimes though, I feel like it's getting in the way of my enjoyment for books. I feel like I can't ever get into a book fully because there's that switch in my brain that's perpetually stuck on ON that makes me hyper aware of what I'm reading and then, to over-analyze what I've just read so I can remember to potentially include it in a review.

Thinking "as a reviewer" is good when it comes to writing reviews. But I'm still struggling to see if it's good when it comes to me just wanting to read leisurely, without thoughts of reviews and ratings. Maybe it IS just natural and I should accept that and move on.

What do you think? Do you find thinking "as a reviewer" ever come between your enjoyment for a book? Are you like me and sometimes find yourself wishing for the days before blogging when reading was so free? Or have you accepted this as something that was bound to happen and moved on? Or maybe this doesn't bug you at all? Tell me in the comments below! I want to know what you think!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bookish Radar (7): Non-Fiction Edition

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

Hello! A quick little note from me: I decided to spotlight a specific genre for this month's Bookish Radar. I'm not sure if this is something I might consider doing more regularly for future Bookish Radar posts as I do like the sound of it but for now, the reasoning behind this is only because I've become really eager to read more non-fiction so I've spent a lot of time combing Goodreads to find non-fiction books I might be interested in that don't fall into the memoir category. But as I'm a total newbie when it comes to reading non-fiction, I thought I might show you guys some of the books I've been interested in lately and see if you've read any of them and/or if you have any good non-fiction recommendations for me! I know not all non-fiction books are for me and it depends from person to person, based on interests and stuff like that but GIVE IT TO ME. I want a change of scenery from the usual fiction and am up to give anything a try so tell me some of your favourite non-fiction books in the comments! That is all. Carry on.

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis
Released August 30, 2011

A renowned cardiologist explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrink unsightly bulges, and reverse myriad health problems.

Every day, over 200 million Americans consume food products made of wheat. As a result, over 100 million of them experience some form of adverse health effect, ranging from minor rashes and high blood sugar to the unattractive stomach bulges that preventive cardiologist William Davis calls “wheat bellies.” According to Davis, that excess fat has nothing to do with gluttony, sloth, or too much butter: It’s due to the whole grain wraps we eat for lunch.

After witnessing over 2,000 patients regain their health after giving up wheat, Davis reached the disturbing conclusion that wheat is the single largest contributor to the nationwide obesity epidemic—and its elimination is key to dramatic weight loss and optimal health. In Wheat Belly, Davis exposes the harmful effects of what is actually a product of genetic tinkering and agribusiness being sold to the American public as “wheat”—and provides readers with a user-friendly, step-by-step plan to navigate a new, wheat-free lifestyle.

Informed by cutting-edge science and nutrition, along with case studies from men and women who
have experienced life-changing transformations in their health after waving goodbye to wheat, Wheat Belly is an illuminating look at what is truly making Americans sick and an action plan to clear our plates of this seemingly benign ingredient.

There's some controversy surrounding this book and the accuracy of it but I'm still quite interested in it. I don't know anything about this subject and I think it's one that's particularly intriguing - especially since wheat is such a big part of our daily diet when you think about it. Hopefully, I'll be able to glean something useful from this book and maybe gain some insight into our diets even if I don't catch every single thing.
Released May 17, 2004

Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers some willingly, some unwittingly have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.

Oh my god you guys, I can't tell you enough how much I want to read this book. This has been on my TBR for ages but for whatever reason, whenever I go to the bookstore, I totally forget to check if they have this book in. Which needs to change. Because I want this book now. Maybe it sounds a bit creepy that I want to read about cadavers which honestly I've never been interested in learning more about until this book because even from the synopsis, Mary Roach makes cadavers sound so interesting. And apparently it's really funny and I can always go for a bit of humour.

Released March 11, 2013

Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.

Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked onFortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one ofTime’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2010, she gave an electrifying TEDTalk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which became a phenomenon and has been viewed more than two million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.

In Lean In, Sandberg digs deeper into these issues, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to cut through the layers of ambiguity and bias surrounding the lives and choices of working women. She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of “having it all.” She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home.

Written with both humor and wisdom, Sandberg’s book is an inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth. Lean In is destined to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can.

A few of my friends have read this and really enjoyed it, saying "it's a must read for all women". I wasn't initially interested in reading this book because I thought it was more of a memoir but after finding out what this book was about, it was promptly added to my Goodreads. I have watched her Ted Talk but I've forgotten exactly what I thought about it so I can't say much on that part but yeah, definitely interested to read this book as a woman and see what Sandberg offers! 

Released May 7, 2013

If you graduated from college but still feel like a student . . . if you wear a business suit to job interviews but pajamas to the grocery store . . . if you have your own apartment but no idea how to cook or clean . . . it's OK. But it doesn't have to be this way.
Just because you don't feel like an adult doesn't mean you can't act like one. And it all begins with this funny, wise, and useful book. Based on Kelly Williams Brown's popular blog, ADULTING makes the scary, confusing "real world" approachable, manageable-and even conquerable. This guide will help you to navigate the stormy Sea of Adulthood so that you may find safe harbor in Not Running Out of Toilet Paper Bay, and along the way you will learn:

What to check for when renting a new apartment-Not just the nearby bars, but the faucets and stove, among other things.
When a busy person can find time to learn more about the world- It involves the intersection of NPR and hair-straightening.
How to avoid hooking up with anyone in your office -- Imagine your coworkers having plastic, featureless doll crotches. It helps.
The secret to finding a mechanic you love-Or, more realistically, one that will not rob you blind.
From breaking up with frenemies to fixing your toilet, this way fun comprehensive handbook is the answer for aspiring grown-ups of all ages.

You may wonder why on Earth I would read this book when I'm not an adult. And I will tell you that the scary age of adulthood is not that far away for me actually. FOUR MORE YEARS. FOUR MORE YEARS UNTIL I'M 18. That's some scary shit and it's scary shit I think about a lot. Like what am I going to do in university? And what am I going to do after that? And all that type of stuff. So. I think this book will be very handy in helping me learn how to be an adult because at this point, it's a bit unfathomable to me that I can just somehow mature in four years and be ready to vote and drink and do all that fun stuff. At the very least, I hope I might be able to get some entertainment from this book. 

That's all for my non-fiction picks for this month. Some questions for you: have you read any of these books? And what other non-fiction books do you think are worth a read?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mid-Year Book Freakout

Remember last week when I did the Countdown Survey? Well, that was a lot of fun (albeit a bit stressful because WHAT DO I CHOOSE?) so I kinda wanted to do something similar again! Which, if you haven't guessed by the graphic, is indeed the Mid-Year Book Freakout, created by Chami and Ely from A Book So Fathomless. I was initially going to do a mid-year check in and make a fancy schmancy infographic to show all the books that I've read so far which I PLANNED on getting up in June. Obviously that didn't happen and since it's August now, there's no point in really making one any more so I think doing this survey seems like a good alternative. Now having said that, let the mid-year book freakout commence!

(I really am freaking out at this point though because I haven't even reached 50 books yet for my goal of 100 books by the end of the year and it's AUGUST. AUGUST.)

1. Best book you've read so far in 2014. 
Ugh, starting things off hard for me, eh? Seriously tell me how I'm supposed to manage to answer this question? I've been really lucky in that 2014 has been a pretty good year for me reading wise and I've only given like two or three books two-stars and anything below that. Everything else is pretty much a four star or a five star and some have three stars but not many either. So I definitely have a large pot to pick from. I'm not entirely certain of my answer because I'm just really indecisive and HAVE NO CLUE but I'm going with Torn Away by Jennifer Brown. It was just such a great novel through and through and so powerful. I can't say it was 100% the BEST book I've read so far in 2014 because I might go back a few months from now and say it was so-and-so instead but Torn Away is definitely AMONG the best books I've read so far.

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2014.
This has to go to Fire With Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian which is the second book in the Burn for Burn trilogy. Guys, I LOVED this book. I LOVE the series. It's just so much awesomeness and excitement rolled into one great book.

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to.
Hmm, I definitely want to read Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. It's gotten really positive feedback and I know a lot of people love it so it's definitely on my TBR. I think I'm going to place an order for it when I get some other books soon so I'm probably going to end up finishing it before the end of this year!

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
This is a tough one. I'm going to go ahead and say Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian because the second book left me with SO many questions and I just need to read the third book and know that everything's going to be okay for my ship. It was either this or Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins but that is coming out in less than a week (I think?) or maybe it will already be out by the time I publish this so I'm going to count that out. But oh MAN, I am so excited and nervous for Ashes to Ashes to come out and then to read it.

5. Biggest disappointment.
I've had a pretty good reading year so far as I've said, so there haven't really been many books I didn't like to begin with. And of that very, very small percentage, there haven't been any that I was really disappointed that I didn't like. Um, maybe The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han though? (I realize I've already mentioned Jenny Han in like three answers. This was kinda the year of reading Jenny Han books for me though.) I was really expecting to like it as I love contemporary and really enjoyed her book Shug which was kinda like my favourite thing ever in sixth grade. I didn't hate it but it wasn't my favourite either.

6. Biggest surprise.
Small Damages by Beth Kephart has been the biggest surprise for me so far. I really did not like the first half of the book but the second half just got me totally hooked on all the characters and the story and the setting. I still didn't end up LOVING it but it was a total 180 from how I felt about it at the beginning so I ended up giving it four stars!

7. Favourite new author.
I am so in love with Jenny Han. Maybe you can tell by how many times I've mentioned her already? This really has been the year of Jenny Han for me though. Prior to this year, I'd only read Shug and now I think I've almost gone through all of her books? So that's a pretty big accomplishment. Her books are really just so enjoyable and even though I may find the main character freaking annoying or a bit naive and immature, I still have such a fun time reading her books! Which is HUGE because usually when I find the main character unsavory, I want to immediately stop reading.

8. Newest fictional crush.
Jason Lippincott dude. I'm kinda obsessed with him. I even wrote this huge, long paragraph about how much I loved him in my review for Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill. And let me tell you why he's so great: he's a ginger, he's part British (you know how I feel about British guys), he's funny, he's sweet and the BOY CAN SING. That's it, I'm done. SOLD.

9. Newest favourite character.
Oh my gosh, there are so many but I probably have to go with Lara Jean Covey from yes, another Jenny Han book - To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. I was so taken by her that I even wrote this post about all the reasons why we could be BFFs and I still stand by it. So you know, Lara Jean, if you're out there and somehow reading this post, can we please be BFFs? Please?

10. Book that made you cry.
I'm not a crier when it comes to books but I have surprisingly cried reading three books which is pretty huge for me. The one book that garnered the biggest waterwork is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. If you've read the book, YOU KNOW WHY. You can't sit through that and not cry, or at least, want to cry.

11. Book that made you happy.
Well, I recently just finished my third reread of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling and that made me SO happy. I haven't picked up a Harry Potter book in two or three years and it was just so wonderful to jump back into the world. And the narration was a lot funnier than I had imagined it so I was laughing and smiling with all the characters and oh god, it was just such a great experience.

12. Favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year. 
I don't actually know if I've seen many book to film adaptations this year to start with so this is a pretty small category for me but still, I'm giving this title to The Fault in Our Stars movie. I feel like even if I did watch like ten other book to film adaptations this year, this would still take the category. It was just so well done and beautiful and you can read more of my gushings here.

13. Favourite review you've written this year.
Hmm, favourite review I've written this year? I had to go through my entire archive because nothing popped to mind. I don't really think any of my reviews are good, they're all like super long and rambly but I do like this new format that I have to write them a lot. It just makes it a whole lot more enjoyable for me which is the important thing right? But hmm. I think maybe my review for How to Love by Katie Cotugno? I think that's one of my more coherent and put-together reviews so I'm going to go with that!

My beautiful copy
which is even more
beautiful inside.
14. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year.
Without a question, the most beautiful book I've bought so far is Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I got this really nice special edition of it at a bookstore for eight dollars when it's usually marked at THIRTY dollars so besides being a really, really beautiful copy, I also got it for a lot cheaper which is always a bonus!

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
I'd like to finish Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and the rest of the series by the end of the year. I hate reading series when the books aren't out yet and since it is now a completed series, I think it's time for a binge read! I actually have the first book on my bedside table right now so it's just a matter of actually getting to it and then getting my hands on the next two books and novellas (maybe? I think there is a novella but I'm not sure).


Those are my answers for the Mid-Year Book Freakout. I'd love to know what yours are so pick a question (or two) to answer in the comments! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door #1
Published July 14, 2012 by Dial Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 394 pages
Borrowed from library

All the time Samantha has been living next door to the Garretts,  her mother has openly voiced her disdain about them. Because the Garretts are messy and rowdy while Samantha and her mother are neat and reserved. But secretly, Samantha longs to know what it's like to be a part of the Garrett family which is why she's been sitting on her window (or roof?) for the past years watching the Garretts as they go about their day. And then one of the Garretts, Jase, pops into Samantha's life and everything changes. Things happen. Good things and bad things but you'll want to read this book to find out!

Okay, sorry for that craptastic synopsis. I mean, all of my synopses are kinda crap but this one was particularly crap, I know. I didn't want to give out anything though and no offense to the blurb writers for My Life Next Door but your synopsis basically spoiled 3/4 of the book for me so thanks for that. I mean, yeah sure we could all guess where it was going but at the very least, give us the choice to pretend to be surprised when THINGS happen. Anyway, you should read this book to find out what happens but also for enjoyment because it was pretty enjoyable. I didn't love it but I did rather like it.

I went into this book with high expectations.
Not super high. This was my first Huntley Fitzpatrick after all and I wasn't sure if I would like the writing style and what not so my expectations weren't as great for this book as they were for, say, Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson, an author that I've loved and read previously. They were still pretty damn high though, mostly due to the positive reviews this book has garnered and the fact that I considered this book very "me". As in "wowee, I just know I'm going to LURVE this book". Well, I didn't love it but I didn't hate it either. And it wasn't just an okay read. I actually quite enjoyed it but I was a tad disappointed that I didn't love it though because I had went in expecting to.

My Life Next Door has a story line a bit similar to Romeo and Juliet's.
I have no clue if it was in fact based around it or if the author took inspiration from the novel but while reading it, I just couldn't help pick up on the similarities. It really isn't a bad thing at all, even if Romeo and Juliet isn't my favourite Shakespeare. I'm more mentioning this to see if anyone else who's read this book sees this? I thought Jase coming up to the roof to see Samantha was pretty likening to the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet and the BIG INCIDENT at the end was a bit like the Tybalt-Mercutio-Benvolio drama. But maybe I'm just spewing nonsense? Anyway, if there's one thing that I'm sure about, it's that I liked the prohibited romance (even if it was only on Samantha's side, considering that her mother disproves of the Garretts and all that) and THAT'S IN ROMEO AND JULIET. And I love it. 

Well, Annie, what did you think about the characters? You always have something to say about the characters so what did you think of the ones in My Life Next Door?
Well, I shall tell you what I thought about the characters. Honestly, I didn't care much for most of them. Frankly, our main character, Samantha was pretty forgettable. She really did not stand out at all in my mind. Her best friend, Nan, was absolutely ridiculous and delusional and if she weren't so horrible, I would almost have been sad to see her go. Samantha's mom was horrible. Clay was horrible. Jase was sweet but nothing more. Sorry Jase, you're a good guy but I honestly just did not feel anything towards him. He was a bit too cardboard cut-out for me. Like a little TOO perfect. The characters that I did like though? Tim (Nan's brother) and the rest of the Garretts. The kid Garretts had me laughing so hard. I can't remember their names any more (the suspect? My usual book amnesia.) but I DO remember my reaction. I loved them so much. And Tim was probably my favourite character out of all of them. I really thought he was the most well-developed character which is kinda crazy considering he's a side character. He STOLE the show though and I loved him so I'm happy he's getting his own novel!

The story wasn't slow but the pacing felt a bit weird for me.
I didn't find the story to be slow exactly because it certainly wasn't hard for me to keep flipping the pages but it definitely took a while for things to build up and then another while for things to happen. It took a good chunk of the book before we reached the big UNTHINKABLE mentioned in the book synopsis which was actually quite big and I felt because it was introduced so late into the story, it was almost a bit pointless because everything was resolved so quickly. A little bit too neat for something so big. I just wish that some of the Sam and Jase scenes were chopped even though they were fun because I really would have loved to see what happened after the unthinkable had it had some more space to fully be developed. So yeah, the pacing was definitely a bit off for me and that was why the book lost me about three-quarters of the way through. I just hated WAITING and WAITING for the big thing to happen. 

And one last thing: the ending was so unsatisfying.
SO unsatisfying. I don't really know what else to say except for that. I still wasn't totally over the whole blow of the plot twist and how things resolved themselves very quickly so I was hoping that there would be some more closure in the ending, some more SOMETHING but there wasn't.

I was expecting to love this book but sadly, I didn't. I was left wanting more and I didn't get it which put a damper on my overall enjoyment of this book. I still did really like it though and it was a really fun experience which is why, all things considered, I'm giving this book four stars instead of three.

fans of Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson. Also if you're looking for a summery read, this is a perfect book to sneak into your beach bag!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cover It Up! (1): An Introduction & Favourite August 2014 Releases

I've been thinking of creating a feature centered around book covers for a really long time now. I know there are so many in the blogosphere that it probably makes no difference that I'm introducing this because I'm sure tons of people have beat me to it already BUT I honestly just kinda want to do it for myself because I love talking about covers and recently I've been looking for things to spice up my blog a bit and I think this will be really fun! If not for you, then at least for me.

For the very first post, I thought I would show you guys my favourite covers of the new August releases this month. Which was actually rather difficult because there aren't a ton of books out this August and (no offense to book designers or whatever) not to mention, ones that actually have nice covers. I managed to find nine books though with covers that I really do love a lot though so I'm going to be talking a little about each of them and then at the bottom of this post, I'll attach a little poll for you guys to chime in with what your favourite cover out of my picks are OR to suggest a new release coming out this month of your own with a gorgeous cover you love that I didn't include in my post but you think really deserve the recognition.

Released 8/5
So this cover didn't really catch my attention at first but after seeing it around the blogosphere quite a bit, I have to admit that it's grown on me. I think the photograph is really interesting for some reason with the girl opening the flap of something. I don't love the font but on this cover, it works. I can't really explain why I'm so taken by this cover honestly because it isn't the usual illustrated and bright cover I love to love but I just really, really like it. Is that a good enough reason?

Released 8/12
Again, this isn't the type of cover that I'd usually go for but there's something about this cover that really catches my eye. It's a pretty minimalistic cover but it's also really interesting with the boy's head replaced by a pixelated image on an unspecified tablet thing. And the bonus is that it actually holds relevance to the story. It's great when a cover is pretty and eye-catching but it's even greater when it hints at the contents inside.

Released 8/12
It's hard to say but I think this might be my favourite cover out of all of them. I love illustrated covers and this one is BEAUTIFUL. It reminds me a bit of the hardcover edition of The Diviners with the eye. The eye is rather quirky looking and I love what it adds to the entire cover. The one thing about this cover though that impresses me the most is the attention to detail. Everything is accounted for like the descriptions of what I'm assuming to be the characters written in the borders and the ring of roman numerals surrounding the pupil (not sure what that signifies). And my favourite part: the title blending in with the house.

Released 8/5
So this is actually the very first English edition of this book which was initially published in French. This is another simpler cover but I find it really interesting as well. The fonts don't really seem to work up close but from afar, I find they actually go rather well together. And I love the little detailing in the top corners!

Expected Release Date: 8/19
This cover kinda falls in the same category as Grasshopper Jungle for me, as in obnoxiously bright. Just looking at it gives me a headache (though I'm sure it'd be less BAM in person) but I like it all the same. The bright red cover just makes the paper crane stand out even more which I gave bonus points for because I love making origami cranes. And also the handwritten font. Just love. So much love.

Expected Release Date: 8/26
Hmm I may or may not be rethinking my decision of pronouncing The Supernatural Enhancements my favourite cover because A Little Something Different sure does give it a run for its money! Cute illustrations? Check. Interesting fonts? Check. Pretty colours? Check. Just all together, a piece of art. If I could have it framed on my wall, I would!

Released 8/5
I like pink. I like shoes. I like the skirt. And man oh man, do I LOVE the font! I've always found a liking to quirky handwritten fonts and I definitely really like this one! It kinda reminds me of writing with a paintbrush when all your letters turn out really huge and bold. And I think overall, the cover really does suit a book called "a very modern fairy tale".

Released 8/14
Well, first of all, let me just say how much I want to read this book. I LOVED Dangerous Girls, really thought it was one of the best mysteries that I'd ever read so now for Dangerous Boys to finally be out is really exciting for me. And now about the cover, it's rather simple really and I don't think it's a super memorable cover either but I DO really like the colours chosen and the sparks. I've always had this fascination with sparks and those sparkler thingies. Just think they're so cool!

Released 8/14
Oh my god, ISLA. I have so much to say about how freaking happy I am that this book is FINALLY OUT but I'm pretty sure you guys already know my thoughts on that so we'll just move swiftly to the cover. Which I love. This is where I'm kinda glad I didn't buy Anna and Lola super early when they still had the old covers because these new ones are much prettier, in my opinion! I love the ombre effect and the skyline of New York in the background and ah, it's just so pretty!

Now, it's your turn! Tell me your thoughts about these covers and maybe any suggestions for future Cover It Up! posts in the comments. I would really, really love to hear from you! And don't forget to vote in the poll attached below! 

Which cover of these August 2014 new releases is your favourite?
Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
Random by Tom Leveen
The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero
I Love, I Hate, I Miss My Sister by Amelie Sarn
Ghosting by Edith Pattou
A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
Charlie Glass' Slippers: A Very Modern Fairy Tale by Holly McQueen
Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Please Specify:
Poll Maker

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Countdown Survey

Maybe it's the season of surveys because I have been finding so many fun surveys around the blogosphere, including this one, the Countdown Survey, which I found over on Great Imaginations. This survey was originally created by Christy's Book Addiction. I've been getting a bit tired of writing reviews and have been looking for something that'll put the fun back in blogging for me so this is like perfect timing for me!

10 Books Already Released on Your Wishlist
Hey people, already thinking of what to get me for my birthday and/or Christmas or simply just to show your appreciation for such an awesome person like me? Here are some ideas!

10. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
9. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
8. Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn
7. Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
6. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
5. On the Fence by Kasie West
4. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
3. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
2. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
1. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

9 Favourite Covers
I really hate this topic because you guys know I have the hardest time picking! I tried to pick ones this time that I haven't talked about yet.

9. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

8. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

7. Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

6. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

5. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

4. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

3. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

2. Bunheads by Sophie Flack

1. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

8 Not Yet Released Books You Can't Wait For
Why does it have to be so faaarrr away?

8. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
7. The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
6. Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
5. The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
4. Girl Online by Zoe Sugg
3. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
2. Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
1. Even in Paradise by Chelsea Philpot

7 Auto-Buy Authors
Err, I don't think I have seven auto-buy authors.

7. J.K. Rowling
6. Morgan Matson
5. Jenny Han
4. Sophie Kinsella
3. Stephanie Perkins
2. Sarah Dessen
1. Geronimo Stilton

6 Book Boyfriends
Oy, how I love this category! Haha!

6. Cricket Bell from Lola and the Boy Next Door
5. Dexter from This Lullaby
4. Roger from Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
3. Jase Garrett from My Life Next Door
2. Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter
1. Jason Lippincott from Meant to Be

5 Books Your Recommend the Most
Do these categories get harder and harder or is it just me?

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
3. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
2. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

4 Books You Thought You'd Like but Didn't
Okay never mind, this is a pretty easy category.

4. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
3. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
2. Paper Towns by John Green
1. How My Summer Went Up In Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

3 Books That Made You Cry
These are the books that wrecked me with feels.

3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
2. How to Love by Katie Cotugno
1. A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

2 Books You Never Plan on Reading
I like to say never say never and who knows? Maybe one day, I will read these books but not now.

2. The rest of the Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard
1. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

1 Current Favourite Genre
I think you can guess...

1. Contemporary


So that was actually much harder than I expected it to be. Maybe I'm just indecisive? If you've done this survey as well, link to it in the comments below because I'd love to see your answers. And if you haven't, then maybe pick a category or two to answer!