2021: Reading Wins & Disappointments

Today, I’m sharing some of my favourite and least favourite reads of 2021, along with goals for 2022! I am chuckling at the fact that in my mid-year check in I mention how much I am sweating in the heat, and now I’m typing from my chilly bedroom! (Hello, climate change…) 

This year, I’ve read 37 books which is pretty great (probably helped along by the fact I included a few long fics in there as well). But overall, I had a great reading year. Since I almost reached 40 books this year, that is going to be my goal next year. It would be really cool if I reached it, as that would be my new record!

I already did a few wrap ups earlier, so I will focus on what I read later in the year!

Related posts:

What did I read in 2020?
Mid-Year Book Freak Out

Some favourites were:

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

I wasn’t sure what to expect since this had pretty mixed reviews, but overall I loved it. Nikolai’s one of my favourite characters, so I guess I was biased on that front, but I also loved reading Zoya’s character development. *Them* I felt like this book was cliffhanger after cliffhanger which I loved. Especially, Nina’s chapters!! I will admit the last half was a bit slower as we crawled deep into the political strategy of the war, so that was less entertaining for me. However, I still have to say it was one of my favourites of this year, and a must read for any Grishaverse fan. 

Chain of Iron book by Cassandra Clare Cover is blue with a girl wearing a gold dress and who has long flowing brown hair

Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare

This book has me in a chokehold which I will not be released from until Chain of… whatever the next one is called is in my hands. The drama, the romance, the mystery (had to be my fave)! I thoroughly ate this story up, and yes, I will not be relaxing until I read the third book!!

The Renegades Trilogy by Marissa Meyer

Another end of the year fave has been the Renegades Trilogy by Marissa Meyer. Now, I can’t say this series is a literary masterpiece but by my level of enjoyment, it is! I’ve had this on my TBR list for a while and wasn’t sure when I’d get to it. But, when I saw someone on BookTok compare it to Miraculous Ladybug, it skyrocketed up there. This is a story you can have a lot of fun with if you don’t take it too seriously. There’s enemies to lovers (of course), and secret identities (my favourite), oh and superheroes! I’ve been listening to the audiobook of the third book Supernova while working on a book-themed puzzle I received for Christmas <3

lore olympus cover features persephone on a horse in pink on the bottom half of the cover with Hades in blue (the underworld) at the top of the book (upside down)

I just read the hardcover Vol. 1 of Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe and fell in love with it! Now, I’ve been catching up on Webtoon and just finished Season 1 of the comics.

I have also been on the Marvel train recently as I caught up with my movie marathon that I started in the summer just in time to watch Spider-Man: No Way Home. The movie was fantastic, and now I’m hoping to get into reading some of the comics. I’ll be starting with Daredevil because I am obsessed with the show and would like to learn more about his character!

End of year disappointments:

the starless sea has a swirling blue cover with a gold bee imprinted on its centre

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

I think what hurt the most was the fact that this was going really well! I read over 100 pages just on the first day of having the book, and I was so happy to have an actual book back in my hands! (I had only had time for really listening to audio) However, this one really fell flat. There were so many obscure twists and turns I really thought were going to get explained that never were. The mystery was just never solved… There were some really beautiful lines in here about stories and magic, but by the end it felt like a lot of that had been lost, as I was just struggling to comprehend what the point was. There also was a romance thrown in here which felt really lacking. It was like the book was trying to get you to root for them when there was nothing to root for. 

the song of achilles cover features a trojan war helmet on teal background

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

I think with all the rave reviews, I really just expected too much from this one. It just didn’t hit as hard as I was expecting it to and maybe knowing how it would play out it didn’t affect me as much.

Some book related goals for the future:

Annotate & Review More

I’m getting more into annotating and recording my thoughts of what I read. I’d like to write a short review for every book I read and either leave it in the book on a sticky note (if it’s mine) or record it in my reading journal. I think it’s occurring to me that I am not forgetting what I enjoyed so much in books I read 4, 5 years ago and hey I’d like to remember! Tabs just don’t do it for me anymore!  I have yet to reread a book that I’ve annotated, but I think that would be a lot of fun too. I’m more comfortable writing in my own books now, but I did get some translucent sticky notes from Muji which I am super excited to try out! 

Start a book club

My friends and I had an idea to start our own little book club. It got a bit derailed because of business during the semester, but we had a few people interested, so I hope we can make it a reality! 

Start a ya lit podcast

This might be a bit ambitious considering I can barely now post on my blog or TikTok account, but I think this would be so fun! I’d love to start a podcast with my close friends and delve deeper into themes, tropes, and issues relating to YA literature. We would probably branch into conversations on writing and reading experience as well! I think it would be a great way to stay in touch with them as well as start conversations about what we are reading. I’ve had a lot of topic ideas, so we’ll see if I can someday bring them into fruition. 🙂

How were your reads of 2021? Do you have any anticipated reads for this year or book goals?

The post 2021: Reading Wins & Disappointments appeared first on Procrastireader.

Blog Post #34: Will Review

In West Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground is where I spent most of my days… Hey everyone! I hope you all are staying healthy and safe during this time. I’m really sorry that I haven’t posted in a while.

But… I’ll try to make it up to you with this week’s review! I’m still really into autobiographies and recently found a good one.

It’s Will by Will Smith!

Most of you probably know him from the hit TV series, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, or the Bad Boys franchise. Here, we get a glimpse into how he became the person/entertainment superstar he is today.

Certain things I’ve always appreciated about Will Smith, especially lately, are his honesty and down-to-earth personality, which shines through in Will.

He begins with his upbringing, which included describing the emotional as well as physical abuse inflicted by his father. In the book, he delves into how these traumatic events deeply impacted his perception of himself and what it means to truly be happy.

Of course, there are hilarious moments, with explaining why he actually paid his own child support. (I know – crazy right?)

From detailing how he met DJ Jazzy Jeff and becoming a multimillionaire at 20 years-old, (then rapidly losing the money) to befriending Nelson Mandela and his daughter, Willow, shocking him one day by shaving her head, so many elements of Will Smith’s book will make you gasp out loud.

Also, another reason why I found the novel quite fascinating is his insightfulness. In the latter half, Will incorporates his profound journey of discovering self-worth and articulates it incredibly well. At one point, he went to great lengths so he could engage in self-care, which proved to be a productive, but further, an emotional time.

Overall, Will Smith is so transparent in this book. He draws readers in by highlighting the defining moments of his life and career, ultimately crafting an excellent autobiography.

Javiera Wears What 2.0

I last updated this blog about six months ago, and wow, has the time flown by. The last time I wrote for this blog, I lived at home with my parents in Canada, a full-time student, and working two part-time jobs. Presently, I live abroad with my boyfriend in Zancudo, Costa Rica and have successfully graduated from university with my bachelor’s in Communication. Even just reading that out loud, I am astonished at how quickly life can change. However, no matter how much my life has changed, my love for writing and fashion has not. Despite the fact that I took a prolonged hiatus from my blog, I want to resume where I left off.

When I started my blog, I made a vision board of how I wanted it to look and feel. To get back into my pattern of writing weekly blog entries, I’ve decided to create a vision board for this next chapter in my blog. As I previously indicated, I’ve evolved significantly and thought that my blog should develop alongside me. I’m still the same bright, exuberant maximalist I used to be. However, now I have new experiences and locations to influence my fashion and writing.

Vision board created using Canva

For my new vision board, I have added more inspiration from the beach and the warm weather. Since moving to Costa Rica, I have realized how much I adore being in the sun and by the ocean. My style has definitely evolved to incorporate more laid-back pieces that can be easily styled over a bikini. For this next chapter in my blog, I want to really find my niche audience. Fashion is such a broad category that has several different subcultures. To really narrow down my audience and find my voice, I will focus on specific areas of fashion that interest me the most. Over the course of the year, I have grown to love bohemian fashion and beachwear. I love vintage clothing and funky shoes such as cowboy boots and sparkly sneakers.

My vision board now includes more images since I’ve begun experimenting with graphic design. I purchased an iPad during my second to last semester in university, and since having so much spare time laying by the beach, I’ve begun drawing and creating little graphics. I would love someday to get these images printed onto graphic tees so that I can wear them and showcase my designs.

Lastly, I didn’t include an image of myself in my initial vision board since I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to make entries about my wardrobe. This is because while I was a student/part-time worker in Vancouver, I would mainly wear sweatpants or my job uniform and had little freedom to experiment with my personal style. Moving ahead, I’d like to do a monthly style edit in which I present some of the ensembles I’ve been wearing.

XO,

Javiera Guevara

Big Summer Wrap-up 2021

Hi everyone, and welcome to my big summer wrap-up! What classifies as summer for me is a bit weird now since I’m in university, but I’ll be counting the summer months from about June-August. (Yes, I have been procrastinating this post for a while…) Overall, these past few months I have gotten to reconnect with some friends, experience the hottest weather ever, and consume a bunch of media. (Which is why I need a wrap-up like this to remember it all!)

Books:

Faves:

My faves were definitely Rule of Wolves and Chain of Iron! They were both exciting and frankly heartbreaking…

Least Fave:

I wasn’t a fan of The Summer I Turned Pretty, and I definitely care more for the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series. While I didn’t dislike Howl’s Moving Castle, I was excited for it after watching the movie and was hoping for a little more! I wanted to know more about how the magic worked, but the movie is actually quite different in terms of plot! I found the book also dragged on at times, so it took me a while to read it. :/

Special shoutout to fics:

I usually don’t read long fics, but since I’ve gotten so many recommendations on marauderstok, I’ve read a few really great ones! (on Ao3)

All my cards are here haey1

This is a marauders band au and it was just a great time. Now the acoustic version of “the one that got away”  is stuck in my head…

That’s the art of getting by by sarewolf

I wanted to read a wolfstar raising Harry fic and this one did not disappoint. It was written really well and it was hard not to fly through it quickly. There were so many painfully beautiful quotes. :’) I thought the author wrote the characters well and wrote them realistically with all the grief and trauma they’d been through.

Hauled:

Ninth House (I bought downtown as pocketbooks were 2 for $15 and I got .. for my mom and now she’s on a Louise Penny marathon!)

Such a Fun Age (I found in a free little library while walking around my friend’s neighbourhood!)

Life Updates

In terms of life, there have been some big changes!  I recently started a co-op job and I quit my part-time job working at a bakery which I was in for about 2 ½ years. I had been wanting to find a better job for a while so I am happy that I am moving onward! I did feel a sense of loss leaving the other day, I think partly because it has become so familiar to me and I’ve met a lot of great people there that I am going to miss it for a while. (Editing this: I def don’t miss the job but still thinking about the people!) Still, I knew it was a place I wasn’t really happy a lot of the time. I believe it was a necessary step on the way to gaining more confidence and independence in myself, but a lot of times it felt too stressful for a part time job. This could also just be that I’m generally anxious and seem to always find something to worry about… but that’s something I’m working on. Now, I am excited to work in a position where I can use my strengths in writing and creativity! I know this will also help me to gain an outlook on what type of job I might be interested in the future. 

Movies/Shows:

I was inspired by my friends to start a Marvel marathon this summer! We watched Captain America Winter Soldier together and most of the other movies I watched with my brother and family. I went to see Black Widow as my first movie at the theatre since covid and it was really good. I hope to see Shang-Chi soon too! Everytime I watch a Thor movie, I can’t help but think how fun a Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard adaptation would be 🙂 I’m planning to continue the MCU even though it’ll be limited to weekend movies now. My friends and I also finally got around to watching New Moon together which was lots of fun.

What did you read/watch/enjoy over the summer? I know for sure I’m missing the time that I had to read (now audiobooks are my best friend, though I really want to sit down with a book)

The post Big Summer Wrap-up 2021 appeared first on Procrastireader.

Review: Taking on the Plastics Crisis by Hannah Testa

In this personal, moving essay, youth activist Hannah Testa shares with readers how she led a grassroots political campaign to successfully pass state legislation limiting single-use plastics and how she influenced global businesses to adopt more sustainable practices. Through her personal journey, readers can learn how they, too, can follow in Hannah’s footsteps and lower their carbon footprint by simply refusing single-use plastics.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

While trees provide us with some oxygen, most of the oxygen we breathe is actually produced from marine life in the ocean. Approximately every other breath we take is generated from the ocean.

I picked up this little pocket book about a month ago from my local library, and I’m so glad I did. While I don’t usually reach for non-fiction, this looked like a quick read to give me further insight on the plastics crisis. I worked at a grocery store and seeing the amount of single-use plastic packaging used made this problem plague my mind. This book was exactly what I was looking for: a quick read but packed with informative detail and insights on steps one can do to make a difference. 

I loved reading the prologue where Testa recounts how she has created change from a young age. She once organized a fundraising event with her friends to help a local farm. A viewer donated $10,000 to the cause after the event raising money for the farm (a viewing of the American Girl movie Saige Paints the Sky) was featured on the news.

Takeaways:

A line I hear often is that an individual’s lifestyle changes is not enough to make major changes to the climate crisis. While it is true that large corporations and businesses are the ones that have the most impact, ordinary people are the ones who bring up these issues and demand change. Testa mentions many other young change makers like herself who have contributed to making change on a larger level. While the problem cannot be changed by personal commitment alone, Testa and other activists’ work has reminded me of how one person’s idea can turn into a collective effort. Like how a 12 year old’s wish to create a better space for farm animals ended up with $10,000 towards the cause. 

As Testa mentions, it is up to consumers to speak up and hold big businesses accountable.

“Businesses rely on consumers to buy their products, so if customers decide to no longer buy their products until they ditch their single-use plastics and eliminate their plastic packaging, businesses will shift to match the needs of their customers” 

This is something I’ve seen in action with the popularity of reusable bags, fees on plastic bags, and paper or reusable straws replacing plastic straws. I think this is a sign that it is possible and that we are moving in the right direction, though this is really just the beginning. Hannah also gives readers solutions on how they can live a life free of single-use plastics, including: using reusable bags and food containers, shopping second hand, seeking out products with little to none plastic packaging, and more. 

Plastic is Toxic

This was a very insightful and sobering read as well. While I, like many others, are aware of the ongoing climate crisis, we often think of the garbage that pollutes our waters and has devastating consequences on wildlife. But, still, I wasn’t quite as aware of the extent that plastic affects our health negatively. Plastic in our water means plastic in our food, which negatively affects many coastal communities that rely on the water for their livelihoods. Along with that:

“Plastic also releases toxins into the food and drinks it comes in contact with. So, yes, your plastic coffee cup is leaching toxins into your coffee. It’s no surprise that plastic is considered a potentially human carcinogenic material.” 

The 5 Rs?

While working at a grocery store, I experienced first-hand how although recycling is an option, a lot of plastic doesn’t even get recycled. There is a lot of confusion about what can get recycled or what could get a bag of recycling thrown in the trash. Testa addresses this recycling confusion, as policies change over time and also depend on your local jurisdiction. 

What is there to do about the plastic crisis? Testa introduces readers to a concept that goes beyond the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) taught in school. (With recycling being a last resort- did you know only that in Canada, only about 9% of plastic is actually recycled? ) The two Rs she includes are to Refuse and Raise Awareness.

Final Thoughts: Read this book!

While I did already know some of these things before reading, I was able to learn even more about the crisis. Now, I am more aware of the problem and what I can do to limit my use of single-use plastics, as well as inspire others to do the same. I highly recommend picking up this book if you are wanting to become more environmentally conscious. (Which really should be everyone because plastic affects our health, wildlife, and planet!) Testa’s words give a great understanding of this problem and show the power that everyone carries to make change. 

Check out Hannah’s website here! She is currently raising money to donate copies of her book to schools in marginalized communities.

(Cover image photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash)

The post Review: Taking on the Plastics Crisis by Hannah Testa appeared first on Procrastireader.

Verity – Colleen Hoover

Release date: December 7, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What you read will taste so bad at times, you’ll want to spit it out, but you’ll swallow these words and they will become part of you, part of your gut, and you will hurt because of them.

Colleen Hoover, Verity

I’ve been hearing so much about Colleen Hoover on BookTok lately so I decided to finally pick up one of her books, and to start I chose Verity. I honestly didn’t read much into what the book was about, I just knew that Colleen Hoover writes a lot of really great romance novels. If you’ve read Verity, you must know how shocked I was when I read this and quickly discovered it was a thriller. I was pleasantly surprised with this. Verity was so good, and perfect if you’re looking for your next spooky book for October!

Synopsis

Verity follows Lowen Ashleigh, a struggling writer who receives a job offer from a man named Jeremy Crawford at just the right time. She’s asked to finish the series of famous author Verity Crawford (Jeremy’s wife), who is no longer able to write due to injury. Lowen writes these novels at Jeremy and Verity’s home, where she finds more than she expected, including an autobiography by Verity herself which no one else has seen. The chapters get more and more terrifying as Lowen continues reading, unable to stop, and she learns all sorts of horrors about the Crawfords. On top of all this, Lowen develops feelings for Jeremy – making quite a chaotic story.

The writing

I’ll start by saying that Colleen Hoover’s writing had me hooked from the very first page – first line even! She’s really able to get into the minds of her characters and make you believe what she is writing. After learning that Verity is more on the thriller side than romance, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it as much, since I was expecting something different, but I was proven wrong. The writing is so gripping and terrifying, and just like Lowen can’t put down the autobiography despite its horrors, I couldn’t put this down – I absolutely devoured it.

Plot

There was never a slow point in this book, and I think that was in part due the back and forth between the plot of Verity and the chapters of Verity’s autobiography. This made the book fly by so quick, as every chapter offered something new and the horrors only intensified. It was so interesting to read the autobiography – which could’ve been a whole book itself – and then also read about how Lowen reacted to the new developments she learned about the person she was supposed to be writing for, the person laying in the bed a few doors down. We got to see two completely different forms of Verity, while never really knowing who the real one was.

And that ending – wow.

So, just how scary was it?

This isn’t a horror novel, but I always find mind-bending thrillers to be much more real, and as a result, scarier. I had to start reading two books at once because I wasn’t able to read this book at night without going to bed feeling uneasy. That being said, if you get scared easily, you’ll be fine. It’s not so much scary as it is disturbing, and I think this is such a great read and you should definitely pick it up (what’s the point of reading in October if not to pick up a creepy book?!).

Final thoughts

It’s been a while since I enjoyed a book this much – hence why I haven’t made a review in a while (sorry!). Pick this up, read it with a friend and make your guesses as you go – it’s really fun. This is a must read for October, and for those of you who have read this make sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Also, check out my most recent TikTok about Verity. 🙂

Blog Post #33: Think Like A Monk Review

Hi, all!

I’m back! It’s been how long? (sorry!) But I’ve got a good one for you! This week’s review is going to be on Think Like A Monk, by Jay Shetty.

Think Like A Monk provides readers with so much insightful advice that I’ll never forget. I’m super happy I found this book and can share my thoughts on it here.

Shetty was a monk for three years, learning profound lessons during his time at an ashram in India. Taking what he learnt, Shetty has since adopted the corresponding values and applied them to his everyday life. He thus, shares them, including useful tips on how people are able to live meaningfully.

An overarching theme Shetty discusses throughout encompasses achieving one’s “dharma” – establishing what you are skilled at, then finding a way to harness it and serve others.

Another specific takeaway for me is more effectively using negative emotions, which obviously are inevitable. This incorporates being anxious regarding future, potentially unpleasant events, but in experiencing these emotions, going through a careful analysis and ensuring you take the proper measures to, depending on the situation, avoid possible unfavourable outcomes, or make the best of them.

Essentially, channel the negativity and turn it into productivity.

For example, he presents an illustration involving complaining. Say, you don’t like that your partner consistently comes home late from work. It won’t help long-term if you complain to friends about the issue even though, for some, expressing this to them may offer some temporary relief. Rather, directly bring the concern up with your partner. Conflict could arise, but you’re taking necessary steps to resolve it.

Overall, Think Like A Monk is so inspiring. The suggestions Shetty make are hard-hitting and, more importantly, realistically achievable. I have the utmost appreciation for his work. Please, please read this novel!

In Anticipation…

Well, here we are again. I honestly never thought I would get to experience life on campus again before I graduated. To say that I am excited to be back would be an understatement. That said, after taking the summer off it’s definitely been a little bit tough to get back into the swing of things academically. I’m already a bit behind in my work as I’m still working 4 days a week and playing soccer. I’ve also fallen off my gym grind which doesn’t make me the happiest.

So, what is this semester going to look like? Honestly, I don’t know. Rumour has it we might have to go online again and that is very disappointing to say. Online learning is not my favourite and being back in person, going to all my favourite food spots, and even driving up the mountain playing my fall playlist through the fog and rain is something I have missed dearly.

My goals for this semester? Simply to get through it. I think that is a very realistic goal considering everything. I have also been considering the possibility of continuing my studies in grad school and working towards writing a thesis. I will definitely work hard this semester for good grades, but I just hope I get through it with some fragment of mental health. As for my goal financially, I hope to be able to continue to work my part time job (will be lowering my hours ASAP) and pay for my car, meals, other bills, etc. My goals physically are to score a goal in my soccer league! I just recently started playing soccer again after taking a few years off. I played for a huge chunk of my life and I’m excited to get back into it. Another goal I have is to continue to make time for the gym. It has been a struggle to find time to get in the gym between work and school, but it is still something that brings me an immense amount of joy. I want this semester to be a time that I fuel my body and get stronger every day. Mentally and physically.

Moral of the story, get vaccinated and do the things that make you happy!

Here’s to a great semester,

xx Savannah

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Malibu Rising – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Release date: May 27, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

No, you have to be so sorry that I know you’ll never lie to me again, so that I know I can still trust you forever. Like nothing has changed.

Taylor Jenkins Reid, Malibu Rising

I had such high hopes for Malibu Rising, since Taylor Jenkins Reid has been one of my favourite authors for a while now. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones & the Six are both on my favourites list, and it was Taylor Jenkins Reid’s writing that really got me interested in historical fiction novels. Her stories are always so believable, and are always impossible for me to put down; they are filled with drama and gripping narratives of the past. When Malibu Rising was released, I knew I needed to read it right away.

hi

Malibu Rising follows the four Riva siblings, Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit as they prepare for Nina’s annual summer party – which sounded like the perfect summer read to me. The siblings are famous, both because their father is Mick Riva (a singer who makes an appearance in Evelyn Hugo), and because they themselves are surfers, Nina a supermodel, and Hud a photographer. The book goes back and forth from the past, during Mick Riva’s younger days, to the present, where all four siblings are more grown up. This type of setup is quite typical of Taylor Jenkins Reid, and has been a favourite of mine as well.

Unfortunately, this book did fall short for me, and I’ll get into it what I liked and disliked from it. Let me know if you’ve read Malibu Rising and share your thoughts in the comments!

The World

Taylor Jenkins Reid writes historical fiction so believably that I often have to remind myself that it’s historical fiction. After I read Daisy Jones & The Six, I found myself researching the band and all their songs thinking to myself, “Wait, was this an actual band?”, because I was so convinced by her writing. What I loved about this book were the references to her other novels and characters – I mean Mick Riva himself is from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. She builds this world of celebrities through the decades, and her characters refer to older ones as icons or recall headlines from the past that were key moments in her other works. Taylor Jenkins Reid makes you truly believe that Daisy Jones existed, The Six existed, Mick Riva and his four children existed, Evelyn Hugo existed, Celia St. James, existed, etc. That, of course, I loved about Malibu Rising as well, but I didn’t feel that it was to the same extent.

Characters

Taylor Jenkins Reid never fails with her characters, and as someone who reads for the characters more than the plot, that factors into how I rate a book. If I didn’t love Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit as much as I did, this book would definitely get 3 stars, but I loved these characters so much, and a story about close siblings was really refreshing.

I genuinely liked reading about all four of the siblings, but Nina and Kit were definitely my favourites. Kit was the younger relatable one who seems always to be a little left out, but I feel she had the most character development and I really enjoyed that aspect. I loved Nina the most, and reading about the sacrifices she had to make and issues she had to endure being the oldest sibling.

This book made me pretty emotional – again not uncommon with Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books – especially reading about the relationship between the siblings and everything they went through as a family. I don’t want to spoil too much about their lives, but just know that the dynamic of these four siblings will bring you to tears.

Why I Didn’t Give it 5 Stars

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones & the Six were two books that just completely blew my mind, and I think I had those high expectations going into Malibu Rising, which it just didn’t live up to. I was expecting a book where secrets and drama were in no short supply, but I felt this was really lacking the wow factor, and I didn’t have any moments where i was truly shocked. With Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books, I find they are books that I just completely fly through out of a desperation to keep reading and find out what will happen. With Malibu Rising, I took over a month to read it, because I kept putting it down and picking up other books; there wasn’t really anything making me feel like I needed to keep reading.

I also wish surfing was a bigger topic because I thought that would’ve been really interesting, and I loved the backstory of how the siblings got their first boards. As for the big party, I didn’t feel that it lived up to it’s name of “party of the year” and I wish there was a little bit less random seemingly unrelated things be focused on.

Final Thoughts

Read this book. It’s not my favourite of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books, but it’s still a really moving book with some of the best characters I’ve read about. It’s the perfect summer book, so go read it because Fall is just around the corner!

Review: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever.

Malibu: August, 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva…

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“When there is only you, you do not get to choose which jobs you want, you do not get to decide you are incapable of anything. There is no room for distaste or weakness. You must do it all.” (147)

Hi Everyone!

Today, I have a review on a book I recently blazed through, Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Similarly to TJR’s other books, Malibu Rising is filled with drama and secrets from the past as the story transitions between the 50s and 80s. If you’ve read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, you will already be familiar with one of the main characters, Mick Riva. The chapters of the Riva siblings kept me hooked as I was eager to find out what would happen to them. Without getting into spoilers, I’ll say this book was a really enjoyable, mysterious, quick summer read!

yellow outline of 2 surfboards one with flowers the other with waves standing in the water

What I liked/didn’t like

While I was invested in the Riva siblings’ story, there are a lot of anecdotes on minor characters which I didn’t really care for. I found they added drama to the story but not much else. My favourite part of the book was how it explores what it means to be a family and how we all have the power to become our own person. I have more to discuss on this, but I’m trying to keep this review spoiler free, so you’ll have to read and see for yourself!

“She had to choose what, of the things she inherited from the people who came before her, she wanted to bring forward. And what of the past, she wanted to leave behind.” (357)

Characters

While there is some romance in this book, the main love story is really between the family. My favourite characters to read about were Nina and Kit. I loved their relationship of the youngest and oldest child. Nina realizes she has babied Kit while trying to protect her, and Kit encourages Nina to start doing things for herself by the end of the book.

“Despite having long ago learned some people don’t keep their promises, all three of the younger Rivas knew they could believe her.” (141)

POVs

Even though the chapters aren’t split between different character’s POVs, TJR still moves seamlessly between different POVs in a chapter. This way you still learn a lot of what each character is thinking in the moment. I think this is really cool and fun to read, especially when their thoughts contrast each other. I loved reading this with the siblings as they all have such different personalities:

“Hud found it hard to be mad at someone who was suddenly being so transparent. Jay found it refreshing, the idea that it was OK to admit you suspected yourself of being a dickhead, deep inside. Nina had to stop herself from rolling her eyes.” (325)

yellow outline of 2 surfboards one with flowers the other with waves standing in the water

Final Thoughts

I read this book as part of a book club with a few friends, so I’m looking forward to discussing it further with them! This book didn’t have as many twists as I expected. It’s almost as if I knew what was going to happen, but not in a bad way. It was set up so you could inevitably see what was going to occur, but when it eventually happened I was still shocked.

Have you read Malibu Rising or are planning to read it? Do you agree with my thoughts? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Cover photo is by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

The post Review: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid appeared first on Procrastireader.

The Henna Wars – Adiba Jaigirdar

Release date: May 12, 2020

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Of course Muslims can be gay. How can anyone think otherwise? The two aren’t mutually exclusive. I am the living, breathing proof.

Adiba Jaigirdar, The Henna Wars

The Henna Wars is a book I heard of more recently through BookTok, and after seeing the long waitlist at my local library, I decided to listen to the audiobook. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it, since I usually prefer fantasy books, but I absolutely loved it! It follows Nishat, a Bengali Irish lesbian girl, as her life begins to re-intertwine with a girl from her elementary school, Flávia.

This book ended up being a lot more than I expected, and 100% worth the read! It’s a great romance, and an important own voices narrative with cultural, religious, and wlw representation. Please make sure to read content/trigger warnings before reading this.

(Also this cover is amazing!)

Plot

This book deals with quite a lot, but it surrounds Nishat’s business class project, which is for each student – or group of students – to create their own business. After putting henna on her sister at a wedding and receiving positive feedback on Instagram, Nishat decides to start her own henna business. However, she learns that Flávia, who is biracial (Brazilian and Irish), teams up with her cousin Chyna and also decides to do henna for her project. Nishat, who really likes Flávia, is angered by the fact that they are appropriating her culture. She tells her this on several occasions, but Flávia doesn’t quite seem to understand why there is something wrong with what she is doing, nor does she see henna as anything other than art.

The Henna Wars also deals with the “trendiness” of cultures. Chyna is quite a popular person at her school, and so many people want to hop on the “trend” that she’s “created” with henna. While henna becomes seen as something cool, especially when done by Chyna and Flávia, other parts of Nishat’s culture are not, such as food, which is never spoken of in high regards by Nishat’s classmates.

Characters

I absolutely loved Nishat. She was such a strong character who was really comfortable with who she was and not afraid to defend herself. As a Muslim, and as a teenager going to an all girls Catholic school, Nishat doesn’t have a lot of support when it comes to her sexuality. Through all the scrutinization and conversations where she is told “Muslim girls aren’t lesbian” or that she needs help, Nishat stands strong. However, this obviously takes a toll on her, especially with her family’s views. Nishat’s sister Priti is her #1 support, and their relationship is one of my favourite parts of this book, and so important in the story.

Flávia was really hard to like at some times, especially with the comments she makes about Nishat not being an artist, and her unwillingness to listen to Nishat tell her about why henna is more than just art. Nishat is pretty conflicted when it comes to her feelings for Flávia, but as Flávia opens up, we really see a different side to her and her story.

Final Thoughts

I really loved this book. There is so much to discuss with this book, but I also want to keep it spoiler-free, so please go pick up this book, and if you’ve read it, leave me a comment with your thoughts! 🙂

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Hi everyone! It’s almost July and you know what that means…I’m living through a massive heatwave right now oh my god.. (Kudos to my parents for buying me a fan, so I feel a little less as if I’m melting into a puddle!) Actually, it means it’s past the mid-year point! So, here I reflect on how this year has been for me so far in the realm of reading. Since I’ve edited this post, I actually am two books ahead of this screenshot (so, 17/30) but the 15/30 was actually very satisfying so I decided to keep it in for that reason 🙂

I found this tag after reading posts from two other amazing blogs you should check out: Forever and Everly & Truffle’s Literary Wonders !

I tag Kay at Musings of a Middle Child and Ahaana at Windows to Worlds, if you’re interested in doing it (no pressure, though!) 🙂

Best book you’ve read so far

I Wish You All the Best

I loved this book so much and read it in a day! Check out my review here.

Best sequel you’ve read so far

New Moon (Twilight, #2)

The only sequel I’ve read is New Moon… and it definitely wasn’t the best. So more like worst? It was just boring for the majority of the book, but it did pick up near the end!

New release you haven’t read yet but want to

I’m pretty behind on the new release train so a lot… I just started reading Rule of Wolves last night, though! I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews, so I’m excited to see what I think of it. (I’ve narrowly avoided some spoilers)

Most anticipated release for the 2nd half of the year

Any way the wind blows by rainbow rowell

I thought most of my anticipated releases had already come out, but then I remembered Any Where The Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell*. After reading Wayward Son, I need to see how the heck this series is gonna end! A lot of people seemed frustrated with how it left Simon and Baz’s relationship, but I personally thought it was a very realistic sequel after the events of Carry On.

*Also just a note on Rainbow Rowell: a lot of readers have pointed out problematic aspects in her books like Eleanor & Park which you can read about here.

If you buy your books, I would recommend supporting own voices and marginalized authors where possible! If you’re interested in reading something from a problematic author, try an alternative like borrowing the book or buying second hand. Also, make sure you are taking steps to acknowledge any problematic content and read critically! Since this is a new release, I’m planning just to wait for it from the library. When I finally read it, I’ll probably also make a TikTok discussing my thoughts, along with the one issue I’ve noticed in the series so far.

Biggest Disappointment

The Darkest Part of the Forest

I was just expecting a little more after I really enjoyed The Folk of the Air series, but unfortunately this wasn’t it. Read my review for The Darkest Part of the Forest here!

Biggest Surprise

I hadn’t heard much at all about The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta before having to read it for class, but it pleasantly surprised me! It is written in prose as well which was different, and it was done so beautifully.

Favourite new author (debut or new to you)

I’m sure I’ll find one by the end of the year, but for now I’m not sure! I really loved Casey Mcquiston’s writing style in One Last Stop, but I think I’d have to read more from them to say if they are a new favourite or not! Also, I haven’t gotten to read These Violent Delights yet, but I already love the author, Chloe Gong, from watching her TikToks.

Newest Fictional Crush

Hmm no new ones really, but I started Rule of Wolves, and I’m very happy to be reunited with my favourite privateer turned demon-king, Nikolai Lanstov :))

Newest Favourite Character

Moony, Remu, “Casanova of Gryffindor Tower”, Remus Lupin… So, I fell into the big hole that is the marauders fandom this year, and to have Ron summarize what it’s been like:

You're gonna suffer but you'll be happy about it | Harry potter gif, Harry  potter movies, Track and field

It started with the occasional marauders edit or cosplay I found on my TikTok FYP, and then I found myself reading a 500K word fanfic… I can’t get over how insanely talented so many people in the fandom are in the content they create! It really is what makes me love the marauders so much. I wanted to pick one or two of my favourite TikToks/ creators to share, but I really couldn’t decide..so, I sorted my faves by if they’re happy (they just give me so much serotonin) or sad marauder videos:

Happy/Funny: Mystic, Alec, Ace & El (real-life wolfstar), Andy, surviving the heartbreak

Sad: Liz, Molly, Parus, Dasha, this take on the AS trend

What’s great is that there is so much left untouched in their story by JKR (as she’s a shit), and fans have just created their own headcanons and narratives on what the era was like. Although I always adored the marauders since I first was a young HP fan, (POA supremacy) being older and discovering the fandom, I have learned so much more. Especially in terms of Remus’s character, I learned how he was heavily queer-coded and that many fans find chronic illness/ pain representation in his character. (I learned about more problematic things JKR has done, like said that lycanthropy is a metaphor for HIV & AIDS…)

Though I already liked Remus’s character, the marauders fandom has added so much more depth to him and made him one of my favourites. (Did I just bomb this post with a tangent on the marauders? maybe..)

Book that made you cry

Parachutes

Parachutes by Kelly Yang (click the link to read my short Goodreads review!) While reading Dani’s story, I was rooting for her so hard, and I was so proud of her in the end that tears came to my eyes. Reading the author’s note further made me appreciate the hard work and emotional labour Yang put in to write the story, as it was influenced by her own experience with sexual assault.

Book that made you happy

One Last Stop

My current read is One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston, and it has made me pretty happy so far! (hopefully still when I read the end..)The characters are really loveable, and there are so many moments they make me chuckle.

The most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

I recently bought Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley and look at that gorgeous cover! 😍 I was gifted Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo which also has a pretty sick cover, but I especially adore the silver foil which is on the book beneath the dustjacket!

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Well, here’s just a sneak peak at my never ending TBR!

Book to movie adaptation

I don’t think I’ve watched any book to movie adaptations, but I did watch Shadow and Bone! While it is far from perfect, I did enjoy a lot, especially the visuals! While I didn’t love reading the Grisha trilogy, I think the show and the cast did a great job at bringing the world to life. Read more of my thoughts on the show here.

I also did a “mid-year check in” on my BookTok if you’d like to check that out! Anyways, hope you’re doing well and staying cool if you’re also stuck in the heatwave!

Any thoughts on the books I’ve shared? How many have you read so far this year? Any books coming out soon that you’re excited for? Let me know by commenting below! Talk to you soon…

The post Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag appeared first on Procrastireader.

Instructions for Dancing – Nicola Yoon

Release date: June 1, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Despite how it might seem, this is not a love story.

Instructions for Dancing, Nicola Yoon

I picked up Instructions for Dancing as soon as I heard of its release, and I was very excited to read it. Not only am I a fan of Nicola Yoon‘s work, but I thought the premise of the book sounded really interesting as well. The story follows Evie Thomas, who doesn’t believe in love anymore, but suddenly she gains the ability to see the entire course of a couple’s relationship when seeing them kiss. The book warns that this is not a love story, but going into it I still expected a light and fun romance. It ended up being a lot more than that, so much so that I put this book on my favourites list. Definitely go give it a read!

Characters

I think I loved all the characters in this book (save for maybe Evie’s dad) because they all offered different thoughts and ideas. I loved Evie, who tends to think and prepare a lot, and as a reader, I loved that the protagonist was a reader as well. Evie’s family and friends were really fun to read about as well, and I especially enjoyed the segments of text messages between them. They really made me laugh, and I felt they were accurate representations of teenagers texting – sometimes it made me think of my own silly texts with friends.

My favourite part of this book was definitely the dynamic between X and Evie. X, who is quite the opposite of Evie, is her love interest, and I really enjoyed reading about the growth of their relationship and what they were able to share with each other. Their relationship was interesting right from the start, and I knew they’d be great together, and that they’d make quite an impact on each other.

Plot

The plot took me completely by surprise. I don’t normally gravitate towards YA romance or contemporary novels, but I genuinely loved this one. It’s a fairly quick read (I was able to read it in one night) and the plot is fast-moving and doesn’t have any boring filler bits. Evie’s friend Martin compares this plot to the movie Big, a comparison I agree with as well, and I also really loved that movie.

I loved the little bit of magic that was incorporated into the book, and I thought it was just enough to make it seem believable and keep readers intrigued. I was hooked the moment Evie received her book, Instructions for Dancing, and knew this plot was going interesting places. It was really cool to be able to see Evie learn the relationship course of various people in the story, as it offered insight into these characters as well, even though these revelations were often heartbreaking too.

I thought this happy fun plot would continue through the rest of the book, but that isn’t quite the case, so be prepared for that. This book will make you cry – and not happy tears – but nevertheless, it’s a really impactful read.

Acknowledgements

In the acknowledgments of this book, Nicola Yoon shares a very personal story about losing parents to terminal illnesses at the time of writing this book. This hit really close to home for me, and made me cherish this book even more, as I am currently losing my grandfather to an illness as well. Nicola Yoon wrote about late night lonely car rides to the hospital and “how illness and death remakes the world,” and it really resonated with me at this time. I feel really appreciative that she was able to share that with readers, as I know her words will impact many and change the way they view this book. It’s easy to skip over the acknowledgments or author’s note at the end of the book, but maybe this time give it a read.

Final Thoughts

I loved this book, and after reading the acknowledgments, I loved it even more. Thank you to Nicola Yoon for writing this book and for sharing your story, and to everyone else, please go read this!

Mister Impossible – Maggie Stiefvater

Release Date: May 18, 2021

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I don’t look like a dream, do I?

Maggie Stiefvater, Mister Impossible

I’ll start this review off by saying this was hands-down the book I was most excited for in 2021. However, this did not quite live up to the expectations I had. Mister Impossible is the second work in the Dreamer Trilogy, which follows Ronan Lynch, who was in Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series. I absolutely adored Call Down the Hawk, it even made my favourites list, but I have some thoughts about Mister Possible that I want to discuss in this post.

Plot

The plot was a little confusing for me, which could be because it’s been over a year since I read the first book in the series, but I really wasn’t very intrigued. It picked up in the very last few pages, and the book ended on a cliffhanger. This book focused on multiple plots: one with Ronan, Hennessy, and Bryde; and another with Declan, Jordan, and Matthew.

I found Ronan’s chapters to be quite boring and irritating at times, as I really enjoyed seeing the way Ronan interacted with his brothers and with his old friends, but they did not have many scenes together, and some of his favourites didn’t appear at all. What I did enjoy was that Ronan’s chapters involved a lot of going into his head and seeing things from the past, which were always really interesting to learn. Quick Spoiler Alert: We got to read the scene from Ronan’s childhood in which he dreamed his brother Matthew which was very cool, since it was always something that was just fact, but not actually explained or shown. However, oddly, I seemed to enjoy Declan Lynch’s chapters even more.

Characters

I’ve mentioned on this blog that Ronan Lynch is one of my favourite characters of all time, but I feel as though this book changed my opinion a bit. When I was younger I used to find him really funny and appealing; he was that cool character who always swore and was angry. Now it’s a little different for me, and this is the case for Hennessy as well. In this book, I found that I gravitated towards the characters of Declan, Matthew, and Jordan more. Stiefvater really gave us insight into the thoughts and lives of the oldest and youngest Lynch brothers, which we never got in The Raven Cycle, and I absolutely loved them. It’s easier to understand Declan’s difficult personality when you’re reading his thoughts and concerns about his brother, and when he finally has a likeable love interest who isn’t named Ashley, Ashleigh, or Ashlee. As for Matthew, unlike in Call Down the Hawk, we really got a lot of insight into his character, and it absolutely broke my heart (read page 244). I think Stiefvater just really has a way with her characters, and there’s something about the Lynch brothers that just pulls me in.

Final Thoughts

This review in short: I love Matthew Lynch.

Seriously though, I didn’t love this book, but I didn’t hate it either. This is one of my favourite worlds/characters/stories, and while this book wasn’t as good as the first in my opinion, it’s still worth the read, and of course necessary if you want to read the final book in 2022!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Blog Post #32: Love, Lucy Review

Hey everyone!

It’s been a minute and I’m happy to be back. This week’s review is on autobiography, Love, Lucy, by none other than the TV icon herself, Lucille Ball.

I’m a huge fan of I Love Lucy, so I was really eager to read about the woman behind its magic. However, I believe it is also the only show I’ve ever seen her in and I had no clue about other projects she’s done. Ball’s life was a whirlwind, to say the least. Many elements in this book truly surprised me.

From losing her father at age four and living with a close relative who was involved in a tragic accident that left him destitute, to juggling various odd jobs and eventually starring in many films, theatre productions, and television programs, there is just so much information Love, Lucy provides that will boggle your mind. Plus, there’s name-dropping galore! Humungous stars like Fred Astaire, Clark Gable and Katherine Hepburn are mentioned several times. What? I enjoy reading about legends interacting with one another.

Another major topic touched on is her real-life marriage to Desi Arnaz, who she has two children with and famously played her onscreen husband, Ricky Ricardo. Readers will receive a glimpse into the numerous challenges they faced as a couple which eventually led to divorce.

In closing, Ball’s work ethic was unbelievable. She worked ridiculously long hours and even her pregnancies didn’t slow her down. I was exhausted, not to mention amazed just reading descriptions of the crazy work schedules she undertook without a second thought. If anyone knows what it takes to reach superstardom, its Lucille Ball. Her legacy is so well-deserved.

Overall, I loved Love, Lucy. Lucille Ball’s refreshing honesty and humbleness is what makes for a great autobiography. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking to find solid storytelling by an iconic figure in entertainment.

Book Recommendations for Pride Month

Hi everyone! Here are 8 book recommendations with LGBTQ+ main characters to read during Pride month or to add to your TBR to read throughout the year!

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman

I will always recommend this book as it is one of my faves! If you like One Direction, or any other boyband, read this book!! I am a sucker for anything with musical content and I just wish I could listen to The Ark’s music irl.

Rep: trans & gay mc, questioning mc, bi side characters

green cover of "The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This is just a classic right here. In it, Evelyn Hugo recounts her life as a Hollywood star packed with twists and turns, and shares the story of her greatest love. *Just a note: this isn’t YA, but adult*

Rep: bi mc, lesbian mc

Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts)

Jack of Hearts (and other parts) by L.C Rosen

This book is similar to the show Sex Education in the way that Jack is a teen writing a sex-ed column for his friend’s blog. The mystery involved was my favourite part of the book. Jack is receiving threatening messages from someone who claims to love him and demands he acts like a “good boyfriend’. I actually read this all in one sitting as I was genuinely creeped out by the notes and had to see who was behind it all.

Rep: gay mc

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

This is such a beautiful book and is told entirely in prose, making it quick to read! It follows the mc Michael throughout his life from a young boy to university as he uncovers his identity and finds a passion of performing in drag as The Black Flamingo.

Rep: gay mc

I Wish You All the Best (I Wish You All the Best, #1)

I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver

I Wish You All The Best is my favourite read so far this year! Read the synopsis and my review of it here.

Rep: non-binary mc, bi mc

Her Royal Highness (Royals, #2)

Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

This is a sapphic enemies-to-lovers, oh my god my roommate is a princess moment, and I’m here for it. Oh, it also takes place in Scotland. This is a really light, fluffy, and fun read. <3

Rep: I can’t recall if specific labels are used, but the main romance is wlw

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

If you haven’t read Heartstopper, what are you doing? Heartstopper is a graphic novel series of which the first four volumes are out in print, but they can also be read online on Tumblr or Tapas. It is a super quick read and is just so heart-warming. The series is currently in production with Netflix, and I can’t wait to see the show. Also, the cast is super adorable!

Rep: most of the cast in the books are LGBTQ+!

Loveless by Alice Oseman

Idk, can you maybe tell that Alice Oseman is my favourite author? I just had to mention Loveless as there are hardly any other books I’ve read with aro-ace characters, and I’ve only seen people say amazing things about this book! Read the synopsis and my (fangirly) review for it here.

Rep: aro-ace mc, wlw side couple, non-binary side character

Will you be picking up any of these this month? Have you read any already? Do you have any recs for me? Let me know in the comments below!

The post Book Recommendations for Pride Month appeared first on Procrastireader.

I Got Book Mail!

Hi all!

This is just a quick post to talk about book mail that I received, which is very exciting for me as I’ve never gotten book mail before! I was sent The Infinity Courts – a new release – and Ariel, and I’m super excited to read them both!

@musingsofamiddlechild

if you couldn’t tell i’ve never received book mail i love u both so much @procrastireader @guccikarlucci_ #booktok #bookmail #yabooktok #yabooks #fyp

♬ cigarette daydreams – chillytunees

Blog Post #31: From This Moment On Review

Hi everybody!

Whooooooeeeeeeeeeee. This week’s post is on a REALLY good one folks. I just finished reading Shania Twain’s autobiography, From This Moment On,and am still reeling from it.

Many people know her as the singer who’s broken records, gone on sold-out tours as well as a force to be reckoned with in country music. But, with this book, readers get a glimpse into the very long journey she faced before achieving super stardom.

Twain firstly discusses her difficult childhood growing up in Timmins, Ontario. Not having enough money often was the source of anguish for her family, which ultimately led to a household where physical violence, unpaid bills and lacking basic necessities became the norm. Sometimes she and her siblings were sent to school without lunches, therefore staying hungry throughout the day.

The “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” hitmaker also talks about how music was a huge help for her. From tragically losing her parents at age twenty-two and taking on the responsibility of keeping the Twain family together, to being subjected to harassment in a male-dominated industry and burnout during the earlier stages of her career, From This Moment On is a stunning tell-all that will amaze readers.

One relevant point Twain makes as well is when she states how saying a person is not allowed to have personal issues if they have a certain socioeconomic status indicates blatant inconsiderateness. She herself, who can speak on this and has been on both sides, mentions that this should not be the case at all. Everyone endures things, no matter what. Though financial stability does definitely bring a sense of comfort, it alone is not enough to provide someone with true happiness.

I literally cannot put into words how incredible this novel is. It has made me cry, laugh, and gasp out loud while reading. I, kid you not, also couldn’t sleep one night because of something she says in the book that sent a chill down my spine.

I have never read an autobiography with so many details included and absolutely loved From This Moment On. I highly recommend it.

April Wrap-Up: Books, Shows & Summer Reading Plans

Hi everyone! This month has been a whirlwind with my semester coming to an end. If you also just finished the semester, I hope your finals/papers went well and that you can take a bit of a break now! I found it a bit rough near the end, but I made it through. :)) In this post, I will go over all the media I enjoyed, including the highly anticipated Shadow & Bone Netflix show! 

yellow flower graphic

Books:

New Moon (Twilight, #2)

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

I started this one in September.. and just finished it finally. I put it down for a while because nothing was happening and it started to put me in a reading slump. The last few hundred pages did get more interesting, but overall it felt like a bit of a drag compared to Twilight.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
The Lives of Saints (Grishaverse)

The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo

This was a quick and intriguing read! Read my full review here.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Dress Codes for Small Towns

Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens

This was the last book I read for my GSWS class and I really wanted to like this, but it fell short. It just felt like a contemporary book that was trying too hard. I didn’t mind some of the characters and I liked the religious community aspect, but that was pretty much it. The writing just seemed as if it was trying to be “quirky” with names like “the Hexagon” for their friend group and “Einstein” for a whiteboard. Not my favourite.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
yellow flower graphic

Movies & Shows:

Selena S1 Eps: 1-7

I started watching Selena with my brother who has been singing “Como La Flor” around the house ever since. So yeah, we’ve been really enjoying it so far. Feeling: inspired by Selena who only learned Spanish when she started her career. Season 2 comes out next week, so we’re planning on finishing the rest of the episodes soon!

The Social Network

Did I watch this mostly for the iconic “Sorry, my Prada’s at the cleaners…” Andrew Garfield line? Maybe… (I blame marauders TikTok). Feelings: Overall, I didn’t really care much for the movie, but I also was half asleep while watching it (my bad). This was the perfect time for me to watch it as I just finished my Publishing course where we explored social media and advertising. It’s definitely interesting to see how much Facebook has evolved from Zuckerberg’s initial ideas along with social media as a whole.

Shadow and Bone S1

I watched the show over 2 nights, so I could try and stream with my friend(s). It’s been quite a few years since I read Shadow & Bone, so my memory was a bit spotty on the details, but I was so excited to see the crows come to life. Feelings: Malina deserve the world, the crows (including Milo) are all icons, and Matthias and Nina’s parts were my favourite. I didn’t mind how they mixed the two storylines. At times it felt a little strange, but it also just felt like extra crow content which I could appreciate. The biggest criticism I’ve seen is on the racism that was added in the show, which I hope they address in Season 2.

I haven’t watched a lot of movies or shows in a while. To be honest, I have spent most of my spare time scrolling on TikTok. A few movies I have on my list to watch next are Dead Poet’s Society, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Howl’s Moving Castle.

yellow flower graphic

Reflecting on my reading for the next few months…

Lately, I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed with how much I want to read and how little progress I seem to be making. Last month, I got my hands on a few of my anticipated releases, but have been feeling down that I haven’t gotten to read them yet. Thinking about it, it makes sense as I was busy with readings for class and other work. What’s important is that I leave time for myself to read a book just because I want to, and not because I have to.

I recently read this great post by Drizzle and Hurricane Books, “10 Tips to Overcome Reading & Blogging Fatigue” and it reminded me how important it is not to compare my reading amount to others. (It can be easy to wonder, why am I not reading that much? Then realize it’s not a competition…) Also, just to remind me of why I read, which is because I enjoy it!

Marie says this really well in her post, and it resonated with me a lot. While being part of the book community is really fun, social media especially can leave you feeling inadequate. I don’t “need” to read certain books just because everyone’s talking about them at the moment. I don’t need to rush through them all. Instead, I can think: I have all these great releases to enjoy during the summer! Also instead of binge-reading, I can allow myself more time to reflect and make content about what I am reading. I don’t need to read every day if I’d rather make a video or watch a show.

This is just a bit of self-reflection, but maybe it can help you if you have also had these thoughts. As an end-of-semester gift, I bought myself a hammock! I’m looking forward to sitting and reading outside when the weather is better 🙂 *Cover photo is my own*

How was your April? Do you ever feel a bit overwhelmed by your TBR? Did you read or watch anything that I did, or have any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments below!

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