Author Archives: victoria

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)

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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)

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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

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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…

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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!

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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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How to Stop Procrastireading (when you really have stuff to do)

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!)

graphic of person reading in a bathtub

Take breaks

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. 

graphic of man drinking tea with a laptop and book on the counter

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.”

graphic of a girl in yellow sitting in butterfly pose on a yoga mat with 2 plants and a window behind her

Move 

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. 

graphic of girl reading in front of window showing clouds

Be kind

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. 

graphic of person on laptop sitting crosslegged with a dog and plant on either side of them

Ambiance

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*

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Review: The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“There have been too many stories in between, miracles and martyrdoms, too much blood spilt, too much ink. There was a war. There were a thousand wars. I knew a killer. I knew a hero. They might have been the same man.’’ 

The Lives of Saints, Leigh Bardugo

Hi everyone! Today I will be talking about The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo which is a companion book to her other books in the Grishaverse. Also if you are a Grishaverse fan, you might be interested to know that there’s an art fundraiser going on right now until April 23. Artists have teamed up and designed beautiful Grisha-themed works for sale on RedBubble with all proceeds going to support BLM and Stop Asian Hate. Check it out here!

How stunning is this book?

The Lives of Saints tells the stories of the various saints in the Grishaverse, and the physical copy is actually designed to look like a copy of the Istorii Sankt’ya that Alina would have in Shadow and Bone! I love this idea because it’s like you have something out of the universe for yourself. When it first was released, there was a lot of criticism on how the half dust jacket looked with the book, but the reason it’s there is so information is not printed on the physical book and it looks as close to a replica as it can be. The dust jacket can easily be taken off too!

close up of gold detailing on the red cover of "The Lives of Saints", background is the sky and branches of a tree
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I would recommend getting a physical copy of the book if you can, as it is so pretty! The book is very sturdy and the texture makes it feel like a real religious text, especially with the beautiful gold foil decorating it. This attention to detail continues on inside with beautiful illustrations for each saint’s story. I initially wasn’t sure if I would buy it for myself since it is on the pricer side, but I was lucky enough to receive a copy as a gift from my friend, Karli! I’m really grateful that she got it for me because it is the perfect addition to my collection! 

Thoughts on the Stories

I first heard the story of Sankt Nikolai, because Leigh Bardugo read it on her IGTV just before the release date and I loved it so much. (I think this would be great to read in audiobook form as well! I also just saw that Ben Barnes narrates it so, YES) The stories are just a few pages long so it is very fast to move through, but I also think you could take your time and come back to this book since they all are individual stories! The Lives of Saints displays Leigh Bardugo’s work as an incredibly enchanting storyteller with the twists and turns she packs in these short stories. Some people might prefer The Language of Thorns for the longer stories, but I personally enjoyed The Lives of Saints more!

Some stories are based only on the saint’s life, while others tell the story of someone who prays to that certain saint. I think my favourites were probably Sankt Nikolai and Sankt Egmond (which gives the story of how the Ice Court came to be, which Six of Crows fans will love). There are of course other references to the Grisha Trilogy with “Sankta Alina of the Fold” and “The Starless Saint” at the end of the book which were also very cool to read. The stories can get quite dark (a lot are martyr stories) and I think I had a nightmare from reading this before bed the other night, so I’d recommend maybe not reading before bed if you’re like me…

Let me know your thoughts, feelings, and/ or questions on The Lives of Saints! Have you read it, or are you planning to?

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How To: Fall in Love With a Book

These are usually the steps I take when I fall in love with a new book/series! Though this doesn’t happen with every book if you keep trying, I am sure you will find one you love. If you are in need of book recommendations, my blog is the place to start! I have a category of book recommendation posts here.

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Shadow and Bone Trailer: Thoughts & Theories

Hi everyone! With Rule of Wolves getting out before release day as well as the full Shadow and Bone trailer being leaked early, there’s been a lot of excitement in the Grishaverse this past week. Having seen the full trailer which has given us a lot more of an idea as to how the two series Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows will be adapted, I thought I’d share my thoughts and theories. (I will be going into detail about the plots and characters from Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows so warning for mild spoilers!) For brevity from now on, I will be referring to them as S&B and SoC. *Cover photo is from Shadow and Bone Netflix*

Theories:

So, before the release of the trailer, there was a lot of confusion on how these two series were to be adapted in one show. They are separated in time and space with S&B being set in Ravka while SoC is set in Kerch (among other locations) years after S&B. However, SoC does utilize flashbacks in order to tell each of the character’s backstories, including how Inej became a member of the Dregs and how Nina and Matthias meet. 

Being the namesake of the show, S&B has seemed to be the focus, with some kind of a prequel to the story of the Dregs in SoC. With the full trailer, it has become more evident how they plan to do this. I am crediting this to my friend Karli who sent me audio messages pointing this out after watching the trailer when I was still too excited to think coherently. 

The trailer moves from S&B clips to SoC clips with Kaz saying “she’s real” to Inej. It seems that at the Crow Club perhaps Per Haskell (?) is giving a mission to the Dregs to bring him Alina for “1 million kruge.” The clips at this time show Kaz, Inej, and Jesper who we know from SoC are already working together. In a few of the clips, it looks as if Kaz may be dressed in a Ravkan guard uniform and in another, it looks like a Ravkan flag behind Inej (heist time?). This also explains why Wylan, who has a large part in the novel SoC would not be cast yet, as he is the final edition to their crew.

Though Nina and Matthias have been cast, we have not seen too much of them except for a still of them sitting in a snowy location covered with furs. This would work with their flashback scenes from SoC where they must survive together after the shipwreck. There is a quick shot of Matthias in what looks like a cell which I initially associated with them breaking him out of Hellgate, but to work with this timeline, it could just as easily be the end of the flashback when Nina sends him there. So instead of the heist that they embark on in SoC to the Ice Court, it seems as if Kaz, Inej, and Jesper are on a heist to Ravka to find Alina.

Thoughts: 

While this is definitely a bit different than the original events of the books, I am excited for it. I like the idea of a prequel for the SoC characters as it goes along with their storylines and doesn’t interfere with what happens later on. Essentially, we are just getting more screen time with them! I also have faith in the changes they are making to the show as Leigh Bardugo has been heavily involved and I trust she knows what to do in her world to make this work. 

Although I am not as attached to S&B as I am to SoC, I am really loving the visuals, casting, and everything we have seen with the series so far. I can’t deny that it looks SO GOOD. Even though it is an interesting plot, I remember finding it a bit slow at times, so I think the visuals of the show and (addition of the crows) will leave me enjoying it a lot! With the show coming out on Netflix in just over 2 weeks, you bet I will be counting down the days until I can Netflix party it with my friends.

How are you feeling about the upcoming show? Any other thoughts or theories I should hear? Let me know! 🙂

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