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!
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!
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 Sixare 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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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)
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!
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)
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)
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)
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 agreewith my thoughts? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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 Warsis 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!)
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.
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.
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!
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 loved this book so much and read it in a day! Check out my review here.
Best sequel you’ve read so far
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
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.
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!
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 Delightsyet, 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:
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:
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 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
My current read is One Last Stopby 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 Wolvesby 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…
Despite how it might seem, this is not a love story.
Instructions for Dancing, Nicola Yoon
I picked up Instructions for Dancingas 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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 Impossibleis 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.
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. QuickSpoiler 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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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*
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
I’ve been in a bloggy mood lately.. so here’s another one! This review is going to be about Brutally Honest, an autobiography by Mel B aka Scary Spice from the Spice Girls! I first became a fan when I saw her on the judging panel of America’s Got Talent and was really curious when I first heard that she released a book.
She’s always been vivacious as well as outspoken, which are traits I’ve admired about her since day one. That’s why it is needless to say that Mel B definitely doesn’t hold back in this tell-all work.
She firstly provides a snapshot of her childhood growing up being only one of two biracial children in her Leeds, UK, neighbourhood and multiple encounters with racism. Another experience emphasized is how Mel’s father’s emotional withdrawal from the family as she grew older had a negative impact on her future relationships with men.
If I’m honest, (pun totally intended) I, I’m sure like many others who follow her, had absolutely no clue her ex-husband, Stephen Belafonte, was abusive and even after revealing this fact, I did not expect that the abuse was to the extent she described. I believed she married the love of her life, but little did I know… She later herself clarifies how she is great at pretending, which scared me.
From explanations as to why being a Spice Girl will forever be a part of who she is and numerous career highs to extreme emotional turmoil lasting ten years that chipped away at her self-esteem and then eventually rediscovering her self-worth, the details in Brutally Honest will take readers on a roller coaster ride.
I’m so happy that Mel B is doing (better than) well now. She is such a strong person and I applaud her for being so open and vulnerable.
For those who are looking for just a solid autobiography, I encourage you to consider Brutally Honest.
Its been a while, my apologies for not updating sooner. I need to get better at being more consistent, don’t I? Anyway, this week’s review is going to be on The Answer is…Reflections on My Life, written by the one and only Alex Trebek!
With the chapter stylized as Q&A from the competition show, Jeopardy! which he hosted for over three decades, readers receive a glimpse into the many significant events of this TV legend’s life, as stated in the title.
Trebek is such a class act… One can definitely tell whilst reading. The novel encompasses everything and more you’d expect from him. He talks about his childhood including a scary accident causing him to feel regular bouts of severe pain that lasted twelve years, as well as fond memories of his parents’ kindness whilst growing up. Trebek also discusses crazy experiences as an adult, with chasing after a thief who broke into a hotel room he was staying in and finding out how he has a half-sibling whom, for the longest time, was kept from him.
You will see other more heartfelt moments like when he knew his wife, Jean, was “the one” right after meeting her or profound interactions with a child living in an impoverished country.
All throughout, it is almost as if Alex Trebek is an old friend of yours having an honest conversation about the things that made him who he is today. I cannot stress enough how incredible this human being was.
What continues to amaze me is the way he carried himself prior to his passing. He was extremely humble. If I’m not mistaken, I remember one time during an interview that he already thought of what he would say should he decide to leave Jeopardy!. No fuss involved, just taking thirty seconds to thank everyone for the opportunity.
Do you need a great autobiography you can cuddle up with on a rainy day? Want to laugh and cry? If so, I implore you to consider The Answer is…Reflections on My Life.
Here we are. Week 12/12 of my weekly creative challenges. As my classes are coming to an end for the semester, I will be taking a break from posting.. BUT, the summer and sunshine only bring the desire to create, so I will be back ASAP with some more challenges
For this final week, I challenge you to create a self portrait of yourself. Don’t include any descriptor words, just draw yourself wearing your favourite colours. Write your name at the bottom, and give yourself a background that you will enjoy. Let yourself shine through your drawing and show us the essence of you!
For my self portrait, I decided to show off my rosy cheeks and messy pink hair. Pink is my favourite colour to dye my hair, however, to be as truthful as possible – I also included my brown roots (because i’m so lazy at consistently dying my hair!) I am pictured in a band T-shirt of my favourite band, Modern Baseball (aka MOBO). The flowers in the back are my two favourite colours, pink and green, and I wanted to capture some fun groovy energy in my portrait, because that’s how I want my ideal self to be!
Draw a picture of yourself. Post it down below. What are you like? Whats your essence?
This week, I found a stack of old National Geographic magazines that I had taken from my grandparents house. I have fond early memories of their bookshelves being filled with Nat Geo because they had gotten a monthly subscription sent to their house. Remember when we subscribed to newspapers and magazines and they arrived directly to our door?? Those were the days. Anyways.. I came across a few pictures and wanted to save for some type of craft. While tearing out the picture, I accidentally tore it in half. I was bummed, and then I thought of an idea.
I glued the half picture into my notebook, and i drew the rest of the picture myself (or my version of it!) After pencilling that in, I went over it with watercolour paints and acrylic. To finish, I outlined with sharpie and called it a day. I actually enjoy how they turned out!:
Before taking PUB 101 I thought publishing was different types of decisions about what to post on your blog. Now I think that publishing is very important because people want to share, show what they like and read about other people’s lives. Now I know that publishing takes a lot of time. This is because it takes responsibility to think of what we post in public.
For this course, I created a blog about myself as a person and my life. My blog name is THLife because it represents my name and last name. I created this blog in January 2021. I would like to use the blog to meet people who share my interest. My imagined audience would be people who share the topics of my interests. I also believe my classmates would be some of my audience. My blog is for all ages. Maybe people who have interest in video games. At first, I thought people would interact more with the blog and send their reactions. I am thinking maybe advertisements would help. Before I used to think that advertisement was trash or links that sent you to nowhere. I think advertisements should be genuine. They should have specific questions or details about age.
An online presence is a relationship that connects with social media. I haven’t started any business as of yet. In the future I could use THLife as a business idea. I plan on sharing my artwork. This way people get to know me and my art better. I am still thinking about this because in the blog I have not disclosed my name. So far, No one has contacted me on my social media or haven’t gotten any emails from me.
I addressed my audience through the theme selection. What I did is I chose the theme first because the theme is important and editing the colors. If I were to create advertising for my blog, I would use south park phone destroyer. This advertisement would be for mobile game users. I think this would be a great idea to reach and audience that likes videogames.
So far no one hasn’t commented on my site yet, probably some people couldn’t understand what my blog could be. I have shared the links with my friends but people seem to be shy commenting. Looking forward, my goal is to keep checking my blog for two weeks or make changes as possible. I will keep checking my blog everyday for more updates. Looking back, I learned a lot about WordPress. One thing that really changed me is the wordpress guide on how to set up a blog. I liked the editing, and choosing a theme for your blog.
First, I had some trouble accessing reclaim hosting. When I started this blog, I started editing the different pages of the blog. First thing I did was choose a theme. Then I edited the pages from the theme to organize them with my ideas. At this point I started visiting my classmate’s blogs to learn about what they were doing. In this process, I learned that there were themes with a variety of colors. I noticed some classmates added cool images, while others wrote great paragraphs. I realized that many classmates made the blog personal by writing about their hobbies and what they liked. I feel like I did the same thing.
Some of the changes I made is that I learned how to edit the text color. I did this as I could tell it was hard for my audience to see some of the text in my blog. I realized that by changing the color it would be easier to see.
One blog that inspired me is Daily Hive. The main website was created in a Canadian source in 2008. The co-founders are Karm Sumal and Manny Bahia. The channels they use are facebook, instagram, twitter, linkedin and youtube. Their content is organized in the following categories: DH news, dished, listed, urbanized, venture, offside, mapped, grow and curated. Each article has a topic and is organized on one of the different categories.
I like that Daily Hive is a specific website from Canada, I follow them on Instagram. I like that Daily hive has really neat articles that they post. They post events, scenery and other types of content. I think their design is very pretty and nice. One of my favourite posts is when they used cherry blossoms to announce the beginning of spring. I liked it because it makes reference to a very important tradition too. I’d like to explore what is behind the scene, or how is daily hive invented when they post media. What Daily Hive is doing is they are mostly talking about different topics. I found out on their page they have different statements that mark what they believe in as an organization.
I really enjoyed doing the peer review. For this assignment, we got to react to the blog of our classmates. I really liked the process of receiving feedback from peers. For this assignment I did not have any dislikes. On a personal note, I disliked having negative thoughts about my blog. With this assignment I enjoyed receiving positive feedback on what to improve.
Another thing I learned about in the course was website resources. I learned about lots of websites I was not familiar with. What I found is there are some helpful websites I found that support others. I really enjoyed the Matthew Stadler video on vimeo. He was talking about how publication works, he says that it can be any topic you discuss about your blog. He mentions that publication is the host’s responsibility for the audience to know what are the needs. He also mentions that topics could be found in books and conversations as this can relate to your audience. When he said making a blog should be an easy thing, In my words I thought making a blog is supposed to be simple. Another thing that in my mind is he has his own words to express why publications are created. Publications are a main source on the internet. I think. When I think of this video, I realized he described how publications work. What is different from my side of the reflection is that my topic is not related to what he was talking about. Another difference is that after going through the process I believe making a blog is not an easy thing to do. I relate to this phrase because building my blog was not easy.
My favorite weekly topic was Designing yourself on week 5. I liked that we had a guest speaker who showed a lot of examples on how to modify formatting within your blog. During her presentation she showed us really creative ideas. Some of those I tried to add to my blog. In this course, I’ve learned that making a wordpress account takes time to make your blog.
Another concept I really enjoyed was when we talked about digital breadcrumbs. This podcast included an example of how a girl used her phone and left a trail behind. It answered questions like “Why do we leave trails? and Where do the breadcrumbs come for? It also talked about how people find our knowledge to chase the trail that is leading. This podcast relates to my blog because the connection between podcasts and presentations are quite similar. Now that I realize this i’ve noticed how when to communicate on media it’s just like your in an interview. I learned from the podcast that spreading bread crumbs can be seen and followed on the internet. How does the article relate to the vimeo video? This article relates to the video on the purpose Matthew Stadler was talking about. He said that websites are created and invented by the internet and everyone around the world is watching.
The course was really great, I enjoyed the experiences on learning how a blog works. This helped me a lot to understand how the internet works and how to create content. I liked the guidance and help on how to make changes step by step. Tutorials were quite helpful as our TA brought great questions to guide the discussion. I thought publishing was going to be challenging at first, but I realized that I could relate what I know into how I can publish a post. I think the course was a great experience although it was my first time trying to make a blog in person. I will check with my blog later on. However right now I want to take a break from staring at the computer all the time. Taking a break from the blog would really help me in being less stressed for assignments. I think I can start looking at blog posting in a different way.
Sometimes, I don’t want to paint anything particular. My favourite part about painting or drawing or anything is the colours. Some people focus on the linework and shading, I focus on the colour scheme. The thing is, I can’t really decide on which colour sometimes because i just… love them al! I wish all colours would go together equally, but it usually ends up in chaos (just take a look at my blog! I started out with the colour scheme of blue, red, and yellow – but i’ve now just decided to go with what colours make my heart happy in the moment that i’m using them. I like chaos is beautiful, but there is something to be said about *organized chaos* !
To practice, I decided that this week I would work on picking a colour, and getting the most out of different variations of the same colour .. also known as … monochrome painting!
I couldn’t decide on any one colour, so I went down the line of the rainbow, and tried to make different shades on each page! My favourites ended up being the Pink and Purple pages that I did in the beginning. Adding white to anything will take a colour and make it lighter (obviously!) but it also makes it different enough to contrast!
Your challenge this week…
Pick a Colour! Any Colour! But stick to it. See how many variations you can make with that one colour, and use it to make a picture – or just vibe out on the page and see where your brush strokes take you!
With the last week of the semester comes a dreaded enemy… procrastination. (Well it’s been here all semester, but for some reason feels the hardest to shake now. The end feels so close, and yet so far). For myself, this often seems to develop in the form of being a procrastireader. I have found it especially hard during these past semesters while doing work entirely at home. If you have also struggled with procrastireading, here are some tips for getting back on track. (So you can finish with school and get back to your reading of course!)
You do need breaks. One of the things I struggle with the most with school and personal life is having a balance. I tend to just get ideas and want to do whatever I have in my mind at that moment. This is especially tricky with online school when I don’t have something scheduled that I need to attend. However, I can’t tell you to completely stop reading when you have a busy week. Why? Because you need a break! You deserve to rest and take a bit of time for yourself every day. When I am tempted to procrastiread, I remind myself of how good it feels to sit down with a book after a productive day and relax.
Set time limits
It can be really hard in the moment to stop, and I often start feeling guilty for not doing my work. If you are really into your book and it’s hard to put down, remembering that it will still be there for you later to continue is a promising thought. You can also use this as motivation. “If I work on this assignment for this amount of time, I can read for an hour before bed.”
After putting down your book, I find it helpful to do another activity to get my mind off of it. It can be really hard to stop thinking about a book I love, even long after I have closed the pages! You could do a physical activity like yoga or going on a walk, or make yourself a meal. These actions all force you to focus and can ground you back to reality and your tasks.
After your mind is off of it, sitting down and getting some of your work done will be a great feeling. Even if it isn’t everything you would’ve liked to do that day, getting any work done is an accomplishment. Plus, future you— who is now rewarded with reading before bed— will feel a lot better.
The hardest part is getting started. Set the study mood: get tea, a candle, and turn on a study playlist. Make yourself feel like the main character. I usually put instrumental music and keep it interesting by adding new songs that Spotify recommends me. Oftentimes, I worry that I won’t know what to write which is why I don’t start and begin to feel stuck. I realized that I don’t actually know that unless I start working. Then if I do get stuck, I can take the action to reach out to a friend, teacher, or ta, and ask for help.
I feel like I’m sounding a little bit dramatic, but this is really often my experience with procrastireading. I will read a book I like so much that I want to marathon it. Unfortunately, I often don’t have the time in my schedule to do so! However, during the summer I may attempt a 24-hour readathon, which will not be hard to do in this mood! This usually just happens with books I am loving, but I often still find other ways to procrastinate. I will go on TikTok/Instagram/Twitter, or basically, do anything not related to what I need to get done. So, this post is focused on procrastireading, I hope these tips are able to help you if you struggle with procrastination in general! *graphics are from Canva, cover photo is my own*