Tuesday, July 25, 2017

What I've Been Doing This Summer (Besides Reading)!

This summer has been such a busy one.  I'm still chugging away toward my goal of reading twenty books before classes start in the fall and I've been steadily working on writing my manuscript.  But besides all this reading, writing, and blogging, I've also been doing a lot of other (pretty significant) things!  

1. I moved into a new apartment!
This was really exciting.  Even though I hate the process of moving, I love the fresh start that comes with moving to a new apartment or house.  It always feels like an opportunity to find out a little bit more about myself and my style.  I'll be sharing some pictures of my room as soon as I get the chance! 

2. I've been working out consistently!
One of my goals this summer was to work out and get more in shape before classes rolled around.  Just in general, I'd like to be healthier and more fit in general.  I've been running some (ugh) and going to pilates classes with my mom, which has been really fun! 

3. I've been spending time with my brother!
My little brother is going off to college soon and I'm so proud of him but will be so sad to see him go.  To me, he still feels like my seven year old little brother, way too young to be leaving home.  We've been catching up, going to the beach, and playing video games tomorrow.  

4. I got a position at an online social content platform! 
I'm now a content creator for The Odyssey!  It's an online platform composing of tons of different collegiate communities.  In each community, students and alumni from the different school write and post articles and posts.  I'm really excited about it!

This summer has been very eventful and exciting -- and it's not even done yet!  I have so many more things planned and I'm looking forward to spending the rest of my time with family and friends! What have you been up to this summer?  Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Review: When Dimple Met Rishi

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi 
Series: None
Author: Sandhya Menon 
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Source: Gifted.  Thank you!

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Find When Dimple Met Rishi online!
This was really, genuinely, just so cute.  Really, Rishi Patel was so cute.  While I had a few problems with this book, for the most part, it just made me happy.  This was the type of book that I would read to put a smile on my face.  I loved learning more about Indian culture through Dimple and Rich's interactions with their families and with each other.  The diversity and Rishi Patel was what really pushed this book up to four stars for me.  

Like I've said, Rishi was definitely my favorite character in this book.  He was so sweet and kind.  I loved his goofy side and how sweet and protective he was of Dimple.  He wasn't shy when it came to standing up for himself or for Dimple.  The only problem I kind of had with him as a character was how he sometimes seemed to be two different people?  Like . . . one moment he's a goofy, unsure, shy guy and the next he's prim and proper and saying exactly the right thing.  While I liked both aspects of his personality, the changes were sometimes jarring.  

I didn't warm up to Dimple as well as I did Rishi.  To me, she came off as rude and sometimes a little Mary Sue-ish.  Like, she judged other people really harshly and basically forced herself to be angry and rude to Rishi when they first began getting to know each other, despite how kind and apologetic he was.  It felt like she was trying really hard to be a "strong female character" by forcing certain traits, despite the fact that there is many different ways in which a female (or any) character can be strong.  She was also very adamant about making sure the reader knew that she did not wear make up (repeating this fact frequently) and that she didn't like clothes and at times made it seem like she believed that girls who did like those things weren't as good?  I don't know, this was a vibe I got from her while reading.  

As far as the plot goes, it kept me entertained and I had a fun time watching Dimple and Rishi work on their project.  There were a few subplots that felt a little under developed to me and that I wish were explored further, but overall, I had a really good time reading this.  

Despite a few problems with Dimple's character and some under developed subplots, I enjoyed this read a lot.  I loved learning more about Indian culture and I adored Rishi so much.  I'm excited to see what else this author comes up with and I look forward to reading her next novel!

“This is our life. We get to decide the rules. We get to say what goes and what stays, what matters and what doesn’t.”

Four out of Five Teapots


Friday, July 21, 2017

My Favorite Authors (and Favorite Books By Them)!

Over the years, I have had quite a few authors that I've deemed favorites -- authors whose books are amazing and make my heart pound.  The people that leave me making grabby hands at every single book they release.  But within that group of favorites, I have the select few authors who I adore.  The authors that have written books that have changed my life.  Those authors are my favorites.  And even though I love all of their books, there's always one or two that stand out to me.  

So, today I thought I'd share these all time favorite authors with you guys, and my favorite books written by them.  This is a tough list to make but I hope some of my favorites match your favorites! 

1. J.K. Rowling
It's not a true favorites list without J.K. Rowling in the mix.  I'm rereading the Harry Potter series right now and it is, as always, delivering all the feels. 

My favorite book Rowling has written is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  It used to be Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix until I reread the entire series last year and found a new appreciation for the fourth book. 

2. Sarah J. Maas 
Sarah J. Maas has quickly and easily earned herself a spot within my ultimate favorite authors list in recent years.  I absolutely have fallen in love with her writing style and her attention to detail in her fantasy worlds.

My favorite book of SJM's is A Court of Mist and Fury.  This was the book that made me really fall in love with her characters and her fantasy worlds.  And yes, I totally love Rhys.  Her skill when writing characters is inspiring.    

3. Stephanie Perkins 
Stephanie Perkins is the author that really made my love of romance in novels bloom.  I adored reading Anna and the French Kiss and I fell in love with the relationship she created between Anna and St. Claire.  Now, I need at least a hint of romance in every book I read, otherwise I just don't enjoy it as much. 

Anna and the French Kiss is definitely my favorite book written by Stephanie Perkins.  The pacing, the characters, the friendships, the romance, the Parisian culture -- all of it was just amazing and it drew me in.  This book also taught me not to judge books too harshly by their covers because I avoided it for the longest time due to the original, cringy cover (which they changed to the one above, thank goodness).  Of course, when I eventually picked it up (despite the horrible cover), I loved it.  

4. Rick Riordan 
Okay, so I feel a little guilty about this one because I haven't actually read all of Rick Riordan's books.  HE HAS A LOT OF THEM, OKAY?!  But his Percy Jackson series is one of the reasons I fell so in love with reading.  I couldn't get enough of his humor and writing style. 

My favorite book by Rick Riordan is The Last Olympian, the final installment of his Percy Jackson and the Olympian's series.  This book was just the ending I'd been yearning for while reading the first four books in the series.  It was so perfect, I want to experience it all over again. 

While there are many, MANY other authors who have written books I love, these are a few of the ones who have truly made an impact on my as a person and have changed who I am as a reader, writer, or person.  Who are some of the authors that have had an impact on you?  Do we have any overlapping favorite authors? Which books are your favorites from these authors?  Let me know in the comments below!  

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review: Eliza and Her Monsters

Title: Eliza and Her Monsters 
Series: None
Author: Francesca Zappia 
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance 
Publisher: HarperCollins 
Publication Date: May 30, 2017 
Source: Gifted! Thank you!

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.
In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.
Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.
But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart. 

Find Eliza and Her Monsters online!
Okay, so, um . . . THIS IS THE BEST EVER.  Seriously, this book is full of so much awesomeness I can barely handle it.  I mean, the main character, Eliza, was just so relatable.  She spent like, 95% of her time on the internet, interacting and talking with the friends she made there and staying comfortable and safe within her room.  Plus, this book focused so much on the process and pressure that comes with creating art, and dealt with themes of depression and anxiety so well.  I just loved everything about this book.  Read it.  

The characters in this book have made themselves very comfortable in my heart.  I just adore them all so much and love how excited and passionate they were about Monstrous Sea and their other interests.  I felt such a sense of kinship with them; like, these would be my people if I were in this world with them.  They would be the people I wanted to be friends with, who I gravitate toward.  Like I said before, Eliza was especially relatable -- she just felt so much more comfortable behind a screen, when she was creating and sharing her work anonymously.  I felt so much for her.  Even when I saw her making mistakes and even when I wanted to scream in frustrating at some of her decisions, I still got it.  I got where she was coming from.  Wallace, Eliza's love interest, was so precious and so amazing.  I loved how much he cared about Elia and how they worked together to overcome some obstacles.  Their slow growing friendship and slow burn romance was just so cute.  I love it and them.   

ALSO, I just loved Eliza's little brothers.  They were seriously such an amazing and important aspect of the story and they made me want to go hang out with my own little brother.  I love sibling relationships in novels and this one was so true and felt real.  I wish they had been features more prominently in the story.  

Oh my goodness, this review is getting long but I just have SO MUCH TO SAY.  A unique and super cool aspect of this novel was the illustrations throughout.  Obviously, Eliza's webcomic, Monstrous Sea, was such a huge part of her life.  So it was neat to see some of the illustrations and excerpts from the comics throughout the novel.  While I didn't *totally* understand the overall premise of the comic, I still appreciated the detail and skill that went into the comics.  It was a vital part of the story and the character's lives so I liked getting a peek at it.  I also liked the role it played in the main conflict in the book.  It was a unique problem and one I enjoyed reading about.  

This was my first book by this author and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  The characters were what really drew me in, but the writing style, the plot, the illustrations were all so amazing.  I read this book in a whirlwind and I can't wait to see what's next from this author.  

“How can I want something so badly but become so paralyzed every time I think about taking it?”

Five Teapots

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #110

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine which spotlights highly anticipated upcoming releases.

Title: Tower of Dawn 
Series: Throne of Glass #6 
Author: Sarah J. Maas 
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy 
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Publication Date: September 5, 2017 

In the next installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, follow Chaol on his sweeping journey to a distant empire.
Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.
His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent's mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.
But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

Find Tower of Dawn online!

Why I'm waiting on Tower of Dawn this Wednesday: Okay, I'm gonna be totally honest here . . . I kinda have a chip on my shoulder about this book.  Like, yes, obviously I'm going to read this book and be excited for it because it's Sarah J. Maas and I love her writing but also I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WITH AELIN.  This book has made me wait longer to find out what happens with the main cast of characters.  Also, I'm just not a big fan of Chaol.  Never have been.  So I'm slightly frustrated and grudgingly excited about reading this one. 

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?  How do you feel about Tower of Dawn?  Are you bitter about it like I am?  Ugh, I just want to know what happens with Aelin and Rowan and the rest of them :( But hopefully this one will be good and will give us some insights about what's happening around the world during the time frame of the fifth book.  But still.  Anyways, leave me your link in a comment below so I can check out your posts! 

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