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Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Ottawa.

A photo I took back in September of a view
that made me realise how beautiful this city is.
Looking back on the last draft I have saved for this blog, I see that it is about my last day working at the bookstore back in British Columbia. I had written a few paragraphs and stopped mid-sentence, apparently unable to complete my thoughts. Back in August, I had no idea what my next few months would be like... how could I have anticipated all of this? How could I have anticipated falling head-over-heels in love with this city, these people, this life? I was so upset about having to leave the bookstore, so nervous to move across the country on my own, to leave everything I have ever known.

The month of August was suddenly filled with saying goodbye to everyone and to everything; it was saying farewell to the places I have been familiar with for 18 years, seeing the Pacific Ocean and the mountains for the last time for a few months, hugging my friends and family tightly and realising just how much I love them. August was a month of goodbyes and then on the 29th, I boarded a plane and those goodbyes turned into hellos.

I've now been in Ottawa for just over three months and in a little over a week I'll be making my way back to BC for Christmas break. First semester has flown by... I feel like 'frosh' was just a few weeks ago, that I was just moving in and getting to know these people only a short while ago. In a way, I guess that is true. Three months is hardly any time and yet these three months have taught me so much. I have had experiences I could never have dreamed of thanks to my incredible job, experiences that I will never forget. I have met people that have become some of my best friends, people that I cannot imagine my life without anymore. I am struggling through school, pushing my way through the challenging classes, but loving it and realising just how much I adore English literature.

Over these past three months, I've hardly been reading for pleasure, as school, work, and socializing has taken priority. I've missed blogging so much, especially as of late, but I know that it'll go in a wave. I don't read enough anymore and I'm trying to change that, but it's so strange for me to think that these things I used to think identified me so much -reading and blogging- are things I hardly do anymore. I'm going to make an effort to read more over the Christmas break while at home and maybe blog a bit, but maybe not. I just needed to write, get my thoughts out, and say hello. Because I miss this.

Happy reading and happy holidays.
Much love,
Kristy

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Lacking Creativity & Feeling Empty

Hi. Long time no chat, huh? God, I swear this is the 50th post I've started off similarly to that... But I've come to the realisation that I'm really the only one that probably has noticed. So, where've I been this time? At home. At work. Mostly in bed, to be honest, sleeping and not really wanting to get up. But let's start from the beginning, shall we? I'm not really sure where I want this post to go, but I'm just going to start writing and hope something comes out of it, because I haven't done this in such a long time.

I graduated from high school this past June and ever since then, I've felt... Really off. In the beginning of the summer, I was so relieved and so overjoyed that school was over and that I was having fun with my friends that I didn't really notice anything, but then the excitement started to die down. I was all of a sudden hit with the realisation that the absolute insane past few months were over, that my schedule was no longer completely jam packed with stuff to do, and that I had so much time on my hands. Which terrified me. Leading up to the end of the school year, I was busier than I could have ever expected. I was working part time at the bookstore (up until Mid-May, when my manager gave me some time off because of how busy school was getting,) taking university courses in the evenings four nights a week, interning at the school district office, finishing high school courses, as well as battling through the entire course of History 12 within a month online (it's a long story). So, yeah, the last few months before graduation were rough and that's basically why my last post on this blog was in the beginning of April. Reading was not on the top of my priority list, as essays, homework, studying, work, and other stuff like that had taken its place.

The nice thing about being so busy was that I hardly had time to think. It was like I could almost turn off my brain emotionally and just think more about what I had to do for school, not how I was feeling or anything like that because basically, I had no time. It was so easy to just stop writing, reading, and doing the other things I loved that exercised my mind in an emotional sense, because it was one less thing to do and one less thing to worry about. I was able to kind of shut myself off and just focus on the stress of finishing off high school and everything else. Except, I've learned over the past few years that shutting myself off is not the best thing to do, because that just leads to breakdowns in the middle of the kitchen with my mum wondering what in the hell is going on. And yeah, there were a few of those. But overall, from about April to June, I was hardly thinking about anything substantial or creative and mainly focusing on the issues that had arisen with my university applications, my high school courses getting messed up, my university courses being completely impossible, and whether or not my hair was going to continue falling out in huge clumps. Fun.

But now, it's all over. Prom was amazing but is over, exams and final projects are long past finished, my yearbook is decorated with different colour paragraphs expressing memories and love, and I am now both waiting eagerly for and slightly dreading the 29th of August, the day I fly to Ottawa and move in to my university residence, start my new job, and wait for classes to start. And I'm terrified that my life will get super crazy busy again and I'll have wasted this summer being in a slump and then my creativity will just disappear completely. I'm starting to get a bit better at making myself read at night instead of watching another episode of Switched at Birth, as well as making collages and sketching instead of napping when I know I don't need to. I'm trying really hard to be creatively healthy, if that makes sense, because I know that once Ottawa comes around and I start up everything again, it's going to be really difficult maintaining a balance of work, school, reading, and art, as well as a social life.

So why am I telling you all this? Well, mainly because I needed to get it all out into words and vent a little, but also I needed to explain why I had such an extended absence. I also wanted to say that I'm not sure where this blog is going to end up. I don't want to give it up, but I know how difficult it was to keep it up during grade 12, so I can't imagine it is going to be any easier during university. But I'm going to try. So hello again, for now. I'm hoping I'll talk to you soon.

Happy reading,
Kristy

Monday, 6 April 2015

Review: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Page Count:  320 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: April 7th 2015
Find it on Goodreads: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Source: Borrowed an ARC from Raeleen (thank you!!)



Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.


It's been difficult for me to sum up my feelings for this book in words... but basically this GIF of a smiling Jeremy Renner probably gives you a good idea of my face after finishing it: 


I. loved. this. book. Here's why:

  • It kept me guessing about who Blue was. The entire time I was reading, my mind kept making scenarios up about the different possibilities of Blue's identity and how Simon would react. 
  • Simon wasn't a clich├ęd LGBTQ character that I've seen ten million times before! He was so much more than just the 'gay best friend' or the 'closeted tough-guy jock.' He had a legitimate personality that revolved around things OTHER than his sexuality.
  • The friendships were awesome and complex and relatable! This friend group had problems, but they talked them out instead of getting all dramatic about them! Platonic friendship representation is so great in YA and I wish there was more of it!
  • The book brought up really important societal issues about sexuality, gender, and race, like this quote (taken from goodreads) : 

"Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn't be this big awkward thing whether you're straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I'm just saying.” 
YES.


  • SIMON. Probably one of my all time favourite YA characters, he was cynical, funny, a lover of Oreos and Harry Potter, and just all around incredible. I felt like I knew him, like we were friends, which is one of my favourite feelings when I'm reading a book.
  • It made me happy! While this book does bring up some super important ideas, it is also just plain sweet!



I have so much more to say about this book, but I might have to add onto this review later, because for now I'm tired and need to post this asap! Please, please pick this book up if you get the chance. It's cute, it's funny, and it's important. 


Happy reading!
~Kristy

Monday, 9 March 2015

Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Page Count:  348 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: February 10th 2015
Find it on Goodreads: The Ruby Circle
Source: Purchased




The epic conclusion to Richelle Mead's New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series is finally here...

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.



As sad as I was about finishing this series, I must say that this was a wonderfully satisfying finale! Over the three years of having this blog, I have professed my undying love for Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy/Bloodlines world too many times to count. These series are so addictive and incredibly readable and this finale was no different. Mead tied up a lot of loose ends and left little hints so as to not be boring all throughout the book about where the characters were going to end up after the book ended and I was so enthralled the entire time I was reading it. I loved the conflicts Sydney and Adrian had to go through, both physical and mental, and the resolution in the end was incredibly satisfying. It honestly felt like Mead was writing for us, the fans, and did our wishes justice while still keeping it realistic to the plot and characters. I am so sad that this was my last time reading one of Sydney's and Adrian's stories for the first time, as they are one of my favourite couples to read about. Sydney is by far one of the most important characters that I've read in a long time for me personally, because she was so different from Rose, not as physically strong or tough as her, but instead using her mind for whatever came at her. I have said it before and I will say it again: these are not just Vampire books. They are books filled with interesting stories, complicated characters, and exciting plots. I am so devastated that this series has come to a close, but it was a good run and I can't wait to see what Mead comes up with next.




Happy reading!
~Kristy

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Taylor Swift Book Tag


Hey guys! I saw this lovely little tag the other day on Gone With the Words and I loved it so much! If you didn't know, I'm a huge Taylor Swift fan, so this tag looked super fun!


 “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
Pick a book (or book series) that you were pretty sure you were in love with, but then wanted to break up with:

I ended up being so sad that I couldn't get through the last book... I might try again, but for now.. *sigh*

Red
Pick a book with a RED cover

LOOK AT HOW LOVELY THIS IS

 “The Best Day
Pick a book that makes you feel nostalgic

you know what I'm saying.

Love Story
Pick a book with forbidden love


Sydney and Adrian, fighting off Alchemists and Moroi in order to

 “I Knew You Were Trouble
Pick a book with a bad character you couldn't help but love


Kai... need I say more?

 “Innocent
Pick a book that someone ruined the ending for


Through a passing comment on goodreads, someone mentioned how this ended and at first I didn't even believe it, but then I heard it again, then I read it... yeah.

Everything Has Changed
Pick a character from a book who goes through extensive character development


The way Ana goes from thinking she's unworthy of life in the first book to realizing her potential in the finale gave me chills.

You Belong With Me
Pick your most anticipated book release




Forever and Always
Pick your favourite book couple


Literally not even a question, Romione is the ultimate OTP.

Come Back, Be Here
Pick the book you would least like to lend out, for fear of missing it too much
Changing this for my current situation to the book series that I lent out a YEAR ago and still haven't gotten back (I'm looking at you, Paula...)

WAIT NO SHE RETURNED THEM RIGHT BEFORE I'M POSTING THIS BUT I'M NEVER LENDING THEM OUT ALL TOGETHER AGAIN AH




Teardrops on My Guitar
Pick a book that made you cry a lot

 basically I looked like this in the back seat of my grandparent's car while reading this: 



Shake It Off” 
Pick a book that you love so much, you just shake off the haters


I feel like this series is super well loved by so many people, but also kind of looked down upon because of a. vampires and b. the movie marketing (that kind of failed). but honestly, this series is way way better than any other vampire books I've ever read. Ever. 

 “Blank Space
Favourite autographed book

(I don't have a picture at the moment of my copy, but I'll post it asap!)

Welcome to New York
Favourite setting


Paris, England, and Amsterdam... travel books are kind of cheating when it comes to favourite locations, but I'm not even sorry. This book made me re-fall in love over and over and over again with travelling, even though I've never really fallen out of love with it.

Today Was A Fairytale
Favourite retelling

I absolutely adore the myth of Hades and Persephone, so this series was great, or at least the first book! It fell flat for me with the third book, but The Goddess Test was awesome!


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Problems I Have

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Bookish Problems I Have. 



1. I get distracted easily, which makes getting into a book that might be a bit more challenging SO hard, as I end up getting distracted by shiny objects (literally and figuratively)

2. I work at a bookstore, which is awesome, but that also means I get a discount, which means I have a hard time restraining myself from spending my paycheck on ALL the books.

3. Speaking of buying too many books, have I mentioned how many books I have sitting on my shelf that I haven't read yet? It's humiliating. 

4. I'm super tired lately 'cause school is busy, so it's hard for me to stay awake sometimes if I'm reading before bed. I have to fight to keep my eyes open and need to seriously evaluate the question of "sleep or read?"

5. I want to read EVERYTHING, but I feel like with this blog, I have to keep up with my YA and more modern fiction, because that's what I'm reviewing. But I also want to read the classics, and I just don't know if anyone would be interested in reading reviews on timeless books, or whether or not I could get over the intimidation that comes with reviewing them.

6. My back is beginning to hurt more and more from all of the books -school related and not- that I have in my backpack. Ow.

7. I forget about ebooks! I have egalleys on my phone and computer, but if I don't read them right away, eventually I'll forget about them and then they'll expire!

8. Speaking of forgetting, when I read the first book in a series and it takes a year or longer for the next one to be released, it's really easy for me to lose track of what happened.

9. I'd love to reread more books, but then that stresses me out a bit because I also want to read NEW books and I just can't make a decision. 

10. Reading is the ultimate form of procrastination for me, as I can justify it to myself by saying that even though I'm not doing my homework, I'm still being productive and feeding my mind, even when I'm supposed to be writing an essay.

So those are some bookish problems that I have and am trying to work on! Let me know if we have any in common or if you have any you'd like to share!

Happy reading!
~Kristy

Monday, 16 February 2015

Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Page Count:  449Hardcover
Date Published: October 24th 2014
Find it on Goodreads: Talon
Source: Purchased



Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.




Kind of disappointing honestly... I liked it enough, but it was definitely not what I was hoping. But I also don't really know what I was hoping it would be. All I knew was that it was about dragons and I. love. dragons. But this book ended up being more a contemporary summer read with little bits of dragon/action scenes in between. The result? 



I just found it kind of predictable and it was another case of me not really caring about what was happening or what the characters were doing. I really didn't like Ember's voice;  I found it whiny and annoying and juvenile, which made me so sad because she had so much potential. I didn't mind Garret's, but Riley's I couldn't have cared less about. There wasn't much that happened that made me really really excited about this book until the last few chapters, as the battle scene was pretty cool and well written. But then the book ended and even with the cliff-hanger, I just didn't have too much desire to find out what happened next. 

Overall, it wasn't terrible, but I did not enjoy it as much as I had hoped and I was pretty disappointed in it all. This was a story that had so much potential but it kind of felt short in my mind. I liked it enough, but it took me a while to keep going and actually finish. 



Happy reading!
~Kristy

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Page Count:  528 Hardcover
Date Published: May 13th 2014
Find it on Goodreads: We Were Liars
Source: Library




A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.



Huh. Well, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting... I can't even say too much about this because it's obviously a mystery and that's the whole thing with this book: no one knows much about it until they start reading. However, I will say this: E. Lockhart's prose is beautiful. She has a gorgeous style that made me love reading her work and it was honestly half the reason why I enjoyed the book and kept reading. The story was interesting, but I also felt kind of disconnected from the characters, and I'm not sure if that was an intentional part of the book or not, but it kind of made me not care too much. I did think the whole mystery was interesting enough, but the book still wasn't as WOW as I was expecting it to be. 




Happy reading!
~Kristy

Monday, 9 February 2015

Reading Challenges??

Other than the Goodreads Reading Challenge, I have never participated in any sort of bookish challenge. It wasn't that I wasn't interested, it was just that I had never really paid much attention to them, but this year, as I am trying to break out of my reading habits and try new things, I have decided to participate in some! Or at least try! I totally forgot about the popsugar one, so I'm officially declaring myself as a late participant of it, and as the year goes by, I will be trying to participate in at least one more, maybe two if I'm lucky. Who knows, maybe I'll fail, but at least I can remind myself that the only true failure is not trying, or whatever that quote is.


Anyways, that's all I really have to say about that, so onward with this month of February and newly joined reading challenges!




Happy reading!
~Kristy

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Read If I Had A Book Club

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Books I Would Read If I Had a Book Club. I've always wanted to join a book club, but I have yet to find a group of people that can commit to it, however it's nice to dream, so here are ten books I think would be great to read together with a group so that we can discuss it!







happy reading!
~Kristy

Monday, 26 January 2015

Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Bantam Dell
Page Count:  850 pages, Mass Market Paperback
Date Published: First published 1991
Find it on Goodreads: Outlander
Source: Was given as a gift


The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives. 


Whatever is was that I was expecting, it wasn't that. This was recommended and gifted to me by an exchange student that my family hosted from Germany a few years ago. She was a huge fan of epic fantasy, so when I picked this up, that's what I was most expecting.... Boy was I surprised.


*possible minor spoilers ahead if you haven't read this?*

Epic fantasy, this was not. I knew Outlander was a time travel novel, yet I didn't really realize that was only a simple part of the plot, that the story was more about the history of Scotland and the romance between Claire and Jamie. Then, as I was getting used to the historical overload, Jamie and Claire have their wedding night.


Now, I  know this is probably tame compared to other books people read, but having not expected any sort of explicitness, I was reading this in my French class and well, my cheeks went a little red.

Speaking of their marriage, I'm unclear on my opinion of whether or not Claire was committing adultery by marrying Jamie while being in a different time than her husband, Frank. Plus, the brutality of her punishment from Jamie made me sick to my stomach. I understand that it was part of the times, however it still made me uncomfortable, as well as the talk of him possibly forcing himself upon her.... it all just made me a bit squeamish, considering those actions are now rightly considered unacceptable.

What I did appreciate was the vivid historical detail and how much obvious research Gabaldon did for this novel. It made the story feel all the more real while in a setting so foreign to me. There were times where it felt almost as if there was too much detail, too much information, and the plot was overloaded with descriptors. The first 100 pages were honestly really dull, and I skimmed through much of it, hardly paying attention. The middle felt mostly like world building and a bit of plot, but kind of jumped around. Then the third quarter was filled with action, albeit was a bit odd, but I was hooked. Then the last quarter dragged on for a while longer, ending in a scene that I was glad I wasn't near anyone for, because my cheeks were redder than a tomato.

I don't know if I will be reading the rest of this series, but this was surely an enjoyable book, if not a bit dragged out. This is purely escape fiction, which is not what I was expecting, but once I got into it, I didn't really mind. It was a nice break for my tired brain.




 Happy reading!
~Kristy
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