Wednesday, May 8, 2019

January - April 2019 Wrap Up

9:30:00 AM

JANUARY - APRIL 2019 WRAP UP

      I haven't done a wrap up since December, so it's been quite a while. I've written some little reviews since then every blue moon, but nothing comprehensive, so here are the books I've read since December.

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      Somehow I managed to read 25 books in the past 4 months, which is a hell of a lot more than I thought I'd read, so that's exciting. As you can see, the majority of them were Rick and Morty comics. To say I'm obsessed with them would be a slight understatement. I own all the current ones in physical copies. They have their own shelf on my bookcase because there are so many of them...

      So I thought I'd go over some brief thoughts on the books that I've read and then link to any reviews I have.

Half- Blood by Jennifer L Armentrout 
This book is actually a reread from a series I read and absolutely loved in high school. I loved it just as much as I did in high school and will continue rereading the rest of the books in the series. Here is a review from when I first read the book 4 years ago. 

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
This is also a reread for me. I don't particularly care for new adult and a lot of romance books, but this book is definitely the exception, and one of my favorites actually. I have a love hate relationship with Colleen Hoover, and this is one of the books from her that I actually love. Here is my mini review from when I first read the book 4 years ago. 

A Brief Chronicle of Another Heartbreak by Adi Alsaid
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I thought the book was alright, but it didn't blow me away. Here is my review on it. 

What if It's Us by Becky Albertelli and Adam Silvera
This book was a slight disappointment, thought I didn't go in with high hopes, due to my complicated relationship with YA contemporary romance. Here is my review on it. 

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
I really wanted to like this book because I absolutely loved her first book, The Hating Game, but this book was really nothing special. Nothing about the characters, plot, or romance appealed to me.

The Wicked King by Holly Black
Last but certainly not least, is my favorite book I've read over these past four months. This series by Holly Black has captured me. Holly Black makes me enjoy reading about faeries, and the complicated relationships and character dynamics in this book made it such a fascinating read. I can't wait for the final book to come out. I NEED IT IN MY LIFE!!!


      So that's pretty much been my reading life these past few months. Have you read any of the books I've read? If so, what are your thoughts? I'd love to hear everything down in the comments. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

So... I Started a Podcast

12:06:00 PM

SO... I STARTED A PODCAST!

      Hi you guys! I thought I would share some exciting news with you guys, which is, I started a podcast!!!


      My podcast, "What a Concept" will cover some of my passions like films, tv shows, occasionally books, and whatever else I feels like discussing. I've always had a passion for these forms of media, and while I've enjoyed discussing them as much as I could on this blog, I feel like I haven't been able to say all I've wanted to say and get the engagement I've wanted on this platform. So, after much trial and error and careful consideration I started a podcast.


      Now don't worry, I'm still going to be writing on this blog. Some things will be on here, some on the podcast, depending on the content. If you guys are at all interested, you can check out my podcast below. I'm currently working on getting it hosted across a variety of platforms. As of May 7th, I've only got one episode up, but I'm working on getting more content up.


Saturday, April 20, 2019

A Much Prolonged Life Update

3:58:00 PM

A MUCH PROLONGED LIFE UPDATE     

      It's been a hot second since I've done an update on here, so here I am, giving you one.


      I've been living in Chicago for a little over four months now, having graduated from university in December. The glow from being a newly graduated college student and being a real adult with a job has passed and I'm now in the phase where my life has a high level of monotony to it. There have been changes at my job that I haven't been a big fan of, so I don't like it as much as I used to, especially since it's become abundantly clear that most of the immediate people I interact with daily don't like me (and for the sole reason that I actually do work at work).


      March was a pretty good month for me. My best friend from college came to visit me twice, once for her spring break and again for the Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) here in Chicago. We had an absolute blast, especially at C2E2. I got a bunch of graphic novels, a Lord of the Rings wine class, a Godzilla shot glass, a Slytherin wine glass (yes, I have finally embraced the fact that I am not a Ravenclaw and own my Slytherin nature fully now), and a bunch of music sheet posters that have movie or book covers on them (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Deadpool, etc). Me and my two friends cosplayed as the Weird Sisters from the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, so that was dope.


      I've decided to apply to PhD programs this fall to go back to school next year (Fall 2020). I've gotten the much needed break I needed from school for my mental health, and quite honestly, I'm ready for more school. I miss being in an academic environment, especially a rigorous scientific one. I don't feel challenged enough anymore, and I love research and science so much. 


      Outside of that, not much as happened in my life. I live a pretty boring life. You would think with my boring ass life, I would have more time to read and blog, but it's just not something I've been feeling. As of lately I've been rereading some of my favorite books from when I was in high school and college, so that's exciting. In August I'm going on a cruise to Cuba with my Mom and we're also planning a multi-country Europe trip in October, so I'm really pumped about that. My mom and I aren't super close like most mother-daughter relationships are (at least how I imagine they are), so this is going to be interesting.


      Well, that's my life update. Thanks for tuning in.

Monday, April 15, 2019

"A Brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak" Spoiler-free Mini Review

9:30:00 AM

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Book: A Brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak

Author: Adi Alsaid

Release Date: April 30, 2019

My Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: The summer after senior year is not going as eighteen-year-old Lu Charles expected: after her longtime boyfriend unexpectedly breaks up with her, Lu can’t write a single word, despite the fact that her college scholarship is tied to her columnist job at hip online magazine Misnomer. Then, she meets Cal.

Cal’s ever-practical girlfriend Iris is looking ahead to her first year of college, and her plans do not include a long-distance boyfriend. When Lu learns that Cal and Iris have planned to end their relationship at the end of the summer, she becomes fascinated and decides to chronicle the last months the couple will spend together.

The closer she gets to the couple, the more she likes them, and the more she wants to write about them. The summer unfurls, and Lu discovers what it really means to be in love. On the page, or off it. The book is touching exploration of love and how it shapes us both during a relationship and after it has ended.

Disclaimer: I was provided an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Harlequin TEEN. 

      As some of you know, me and young adult contemporaries, especially those that surround romance, have a complicated and strained relationship. They used to be my shit in middle school and high school, but as I've gotten older and progressed through college, and now that I am done with college, I've found myself enjoying them less. They just don't appeal to me like they used to. I don't know if that's because I've matured and my tastes have changed or if I've found them to be more annoying and just reincarnations of the same tale twisted constantly. Probably both. Despite that, I still make the effort to read them every once in awhile. This author has written other YA contemporaries that have done fairly ok in the past, so when presented with the opportunity to read this book, I decided why now.


      All that being said, I thought the book was ok. The romance didn't really go the way I thought it was going and it all just felt really underwhelming. The way the main character views this couple and attaches herself to them is really strange and makes for a less than stellar plot. I think the idea behind the plot could be interesting, but there comes a point where there needs to be a shift away from the couple and more towards the main character and her romance. I understand the underlying messages that were trying to be portrayed, but they fell flat to me.

     So if you're looking for something cute to read, uhmmm... this may or may not be for you. Honestly there are better YA contemporaries that you could spend your time on.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

"What If It's Us" by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera Mini Review

5:05:00 PM

      Welppppp it's been quite some time since I've written on this blog. Can't say I'm surprised. Since moving to Chicago, I haven't done a ton of reading, and honestly, that's not such a bad thing. I've been able to hang out with my best friend whom I live with and haven't been in the same city with in four years. We've done a lot of catching up, and with work on my slab too, reading just hasn't been a top priority.

      I've picked up and DNFed several books in the past few months. Not sure why, but I've been very critical and picky with my recent reading choices. If it doesn't interest me or is a seriously annoying book, then I ain't got time for it. That being said, this is one of a few books that I managed to read until the end.

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Book: What If It's Us

Authors: Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

My Rating:

Synopsis: Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is? 

      I put off reading this book for quite some time because me and YA contemporary have a complicated relationship as some of you know by now. I loved these authors' other works, so I decided it was high time to bite the bullet and read it. All that said, I thought the book was alright. It was cute, but in my opinion quite problematic. I thought that Arthur and and Ben's relationship was unhealthy and quite one-sided. Maybe that was what the authors were going for, but it just didn't sit well with me. I also wasn't 100% on board with the ending. With how much work they were putting in to maintain their communication with each other, didn't understand why the ending was the way it was. Overall it was a quick, cute(ish) read, but after all the hype I heard, I expected more.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Top5 Books of 2018

1:51:00 PM

TOP 5 BOOKS OF 2018

      Somehow I managed to fulfill my 2018 Goodreads goal and read 100 books. Granted, most of those were graphic novels and comics because I did not have a lot of time to read full on novels. That being said, I did read some novels. Were they all good? Hell no. But, there were some shiny stars, and this list is the best of the best.

5. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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I really enjoyed the concept behind this one. I wish we had learned more about the mythology behind what kept the sisters coming back, but nevertheless, I really enjoyed the plot and the strange romance that ensued.

4. The Power by Naomi Alderman

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I had no expectations coming into this book and I'm glad I knew nothing about the books when I started. This book blew me away with the concept behind it and the mythology that was created behind "the power". People have always wondered what would happen if women were in charge, and this book gives an answer that no one could have expected, but in a good way. This book is raw and honest and something I highly recommend every take the time to read.

3. A Killer's Mind by Mike Omer

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I've always had a spot for mysteries and thrillers in my heart since at least middle school. This book drew me in and I absolutely loved the perspective of the main character. I'm so glad I caught on to this series from the start so that I can enjoy them as they come out. 

2. The V Girl by Mya Roberts

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Out of all the books I read this year, I think this was the most impactful and the one that blew my mind the most. If you haven't already, you should read my mini review that I wrote about this book. This book is about such an important topic and I think everyone that can handle the material should read this.

1. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Holly Black is one of my favorite authors and she did not disappoint. She makes me like fantasy and Fae over and over again. I loved the plot and the main character so much. It's been such awhile since I've enjoyed a YA book so much like I did this one. The second book, "The Wicked King", arrived in the mail yesterday and I can't wait to finally read it this weekend.

There you have it. Those are my top 5 books of 2018. If you have read any of the books on my list, let me know what you think about them. And if you have any recommendations for books similar to those on the list, please put them down in the comments.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Reflecting on 2018 and Visions of 2019

4:14:00 PM
     

 Hey everyone, it's 2019!

      I cannot believe that it is already 2019. As I am typing write now, I am sitting at my first real adult job, post-graduation (kinda, more on that later), in Chicago, IL, a beautiful view of the skyline to my left. Who would have thought that this is where I would be starting off the new year?


      2018 was a hell of a year for me, as I'm sure it was for a lot of you. It was full of anxiety and depression, but it was also filled with happiness and excitement.

      I started off 2018 in Costa Rica doing a study abroad program at La Salva Biological Station. It was one of the most amazing times of my life. I still can't believe I actually went on that trip and experienced all that I did. I also got to travel to NYC, my dream city, for a conference in March and although I was there for a short while, I loved (almost) every minute of it. I went to Oklahoma, a state I had never been to except in passing and got to experience an undergraduate research conference, and it was so cool to have witnessed all the research people my age are doing and represent my school's undergraduate research journal. And finally, I went on vacation with my two best friends to Chicago, the city where I now live. I had the time of my life seeing Hamilton and taking different tours. All in all, 2018 was a year of good travel, but in 2019 I have bigger plans for more travel.


      Just as there was good, there was bad. 2018 I had my junior and senior years crammed into 2 semesters, and that just about killed me. I graduated early (technically I get my degree January 18, but I'm done with school), something that really pushed my limits. I struggled so much with academia and finding my identity with it. I changed my career goals several times, and that shit gave me hella anxiety. I struggled with the MCAT, only to realize that path in life was not for me. I also came to terms with the fact that I needed a break from school. As much as I wanted to push ahead and power through grad school right after undergrad, I knew if I did that my mental health would go down in even deeper rabbit hole.



      So here I am at a new job that I absolutely love as I take a gap and focus on me. Me. That's something I've never really focused on before. Everything I've done as always been looking towards the future and at the bigger picture, but in doing so I've lost parts of myself along the way and forgotten who all this is for. As much as I would love to prosper and have everything in the future, that takes work, and that work is draining and kills a part of me. My immediate happiness and mental health is something I have struggled with for years and always pushed to the side because that was how I was raised. My father would say, "there is no such thing as self-esteem" and "you've got to have mental toughness" (how as a person with a psychology degree he thought saying these things was okay is besides me). I now realize how toxic those ideas are and that the only person who I really need to listen to is myself.


       I've got plans for this year. I plan on taking at least 1.5 years off before heading off to get a Ph.D, so I plan on making that time count.

      Traveling is one of the major reasons I'm taking time off. Going to Costa Rica filled me with an excitement that I've had such few times in my life, and I want that excitement more and more in my life. I'd like to go to Hawaii. I'd like to travel across Europe. I'd like to go to NYC again. I'd like to go on a cruise. All of those trips might not happen, but I would be happy if just one of them did.


      Being artistically creative is not something I go to do a lot as a science major. I miss that side of me. When I was in high school, I did drama, musical theater, orchestra, creative writing, and oh so much more. All of those things were the highlight of my days and I miss them more than I realized I did. While I can't do all of those things again, I'd like to start doing some of them. I'm having my violin sent to me so I can get back into the habit of playing that. I've got several WIPs that I'M GONNA FINISH DAMN IT. Me and my best friend who is now also my roommate are going to start a youtube channel and podcast that focus on our love for creating and watching film. I'd also like to get back into the habit of filming on my booktube channel, but not just about booktube stuff. And last but not least, I'd like to write more on this blog. While this started out as a booktube blog and will remain so, I'd also like to cover other things like I've mentioned before. I've dabbled in them in the past, but didn't get to really go through with them because of school and work, but now that I have the time, watch out, cause it's going to happen.


      If you're still reading this, thank you for taking the time out of your day to do so. I appreciate the fact that there are people out there that care about what I have to say. I guess all of this was just a long way of saying 2018 was a time. It was good, it was bad. But 2019, well I'd like it be more than just a time, and I hope you'll join me on that adventure.

My Rating System

★★★★★ This book is a gift from the literary gods
★★★★ This book was pretty damn good
★★★ This book had potential but missed the bar
★★ I probably didn't finish this book or it was god awful
★ Why does this book exist?

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