Saturday, April 23, 2016

BOOK TALK: carry on by rainbow rowell

Hello, cuties!
Recently for my English class, we had to read a book that featured a 'clash of cultures' theme. For my book, I chose Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I actually squealed when I saw it sitting on the library shelf. I have been waiting for this. 

Carry On is a story of both adventure and romance. Simon Snow is the greatest Mage to ever exist, and with the help of his adoptive(??) father and his friends, must defeat the Insidious Humdrum. 
Simon's roommate, Basilton Pitch, happens to be his nemesis. And at the beginning of their final year at Watford School for Mages, Baz is nowhere to be found. Simon and his friend Penelope believe that he is plotting against Simon, or assisting the Insidious Humdrum. 
That's all I can supply you with. Sorry. 


I LOVED this book. I was so excited to read this book when I found out that it was both about wizards and LGBT+ characters. 
Basilton Pitch was by far my favorite character. The way that Baz thought about Simon was so cute from the very beginning, and for my English project I got to write an essay on similarities between Baz and I - am I not a queer vampire? 
Penelope was a close second. She is a talented magician, and Simon's very best friend. She is very narrow-minded when it comes to the future up until her final year at Watford. She's at the top of the class, and she plans to follow in her parents' footsteps. Penelope is reliable and quick-thinking, and keeps Simon and Baz out of trouble countless times. 

I do feel like the beginning was quite slow. I wasn't instantly into the novel, so if you're disinterested with the first 50 pages, please keep reading! It gets better!! 
I also read on a lot of other blogs and review sights that people were annoyed by how similar Carry On was to Harry Potter. 
Similarities I found: "chosen one" troupe, wizards, wizard school, nemesis. 
Personally, I think that all of these are fairly common cliches. I am a big Harry Potter fan, and there are a lot of differences. Draco and Harry never fell in love. Harry never lost his magic. The magic worked differently, even. Harry Potter is such a well-known book that it has set a precedent for all other wizard novels, and that makes it hard for writers with new wizard ideas to publish those. {End Rant}. 
Back to the positive. I am an absolute sucker for romance, and this book spoke to that bit of me(much like Rowell's other novels). Simon and Baz were a slow-burn kind of romance, hitting a crescendo in the last 50 pages of the book when Penelope finally saw them as a couple. It wasn't too fast, but it happened, and it was perfect. 
In the end, the story with the Humdrum and the Mage ends up being so complicated that it's hard to summarize it. Basically, the Humdrum is Simon, the Mage is kind of evil, and Simon will lose his magic(and grow wings and a tail?). 

If you plan on reading Carry On, I have a few warnings for you: 
- do not read if you can't stand gay relationships
- do not read if you can't stand kissing(a lot)
- do no fall in love with the mage!! please!!
- penelope is the independent woman feminist character, please appreciate her

Thank you for reading! What did you think of Carry On by Rainbow Rowell? 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

BOOK TALK: P.S. I Still Love You

Good morning! Some of you might remember the last book talk I did a few months ago, on the first book in this two-part series. To All The Boys I've Loved Before 
P.S. I Still Love You is the sequel to this book that I loved so much. 

Warning: this book talk obviously contains spoilers. Obviously. 

Lara Jean is back and more confused that ever. Following the incident that left us scratching our heads at the end of the first book(with Peter and the hot tub on the ski trip), Lara Jean and Peter are still together... But not without a lot of problems. 
The first book was an exploration of Lara Jean: a shy girl who is suddenly thrust into a dramatic life when her younger sister sends out letters she wrote to, you guessed it, all the boys she's loved before. After one of those boys, Peter, breaks up with his girlfriend and wants to make her jealous, he and Lara Jean partake in a face relationship with each other. Only, it doesn't stay fake, when they both actually fall in love. Peter, however, is the poster boy for high school popularity. A lacrosse player with a sexed-up history falling for a shy, book-smart girl might sound like the regular teenage love story, but Jenny Han's writing turned it into something beautiful. 

“I know now that I don’t want to love or be loved in half measures. I want it all, and to have it all, you have to risk it all.” 

P.S. I Still Love You is different from the first book in more than just the plot of the story. P.S. I Still Love You is an exploration of more than just Lara Jean's feelings for her boys, but in her feelings for herself. Something I really liked about this book was the feminist, sisterhood undertones it had. Although Lara Jean was Peter's girlfriend and she loved him, she didn't give up everything for him, and that is what makes it different from the regular high school love story. Lara Jean was still absolutely dedicated to herself and her sisters, as shown through the scene in her bedroom where she is surrounded by her sisters and friend Chris after she finds out about the hot tub video. 

“When you lose someone and it still hurts, that's when you know the love was real.” 

The one negative thing I would mention about this book is how rushed it seemed at times. The plot wasn't as tightly woven and clever as it was in the first book. But to be fair, I feel that way about most sequels. To All The Boys I've Loved Before could have been a singular book, but I applaud and thank Jenny Han for gifting us with a beautiful sequel. As a commonly love-struck teenage girl, I appreciate this series more than I can describe. 

“Sometimes I like you so much I can’t stand it. It fills up inside me, all the way to the brim, and I feel like I could overflow. I like you so much I don’t know what to do with it. My heart beats so fast when I know I’m going to see you again. And then, when you look at me the way you do, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.” 

That's it! Thanks for reading, and remember to sub/follow to see me next time xx

Sunday, January 3, 2016

somewhere in memphis

Hello, cuties! 
 I feel like I've been in space for ages, even though I was just in Memphis for five days. Needless to say, it was amazing. 
I had so much fun spending all of that time with my lovely, beautiful band family. 

photo creds: amber zoe unless otherwise stated

photo creds: chase carpenter
 We left early Wednesday morning, and we were on the bus longer than expected. I won Cards Against Humanity on the way there, even though I was the only girl playing. We arrived at our hotel at around 6:30, then left right away after checking into our rooms to go to a rodeo. 
I didn't like the rodeo at first, but looking back, I would definitely go to one again. I wasn't really paying much attention to the actual bull riding, but the atmosphere was pretty cool. We came back to our hotel for dinner a few hours later, and we took a pizza to our room and I got to know my roommates a little better. 

Thursday morning we went to two museums and toured Beale street. The Stax museum of American soul was incredible. I got a few guitar picks and post cards, and bought a red beanie after I stole my friend's beanie and decided I liked it. The civil rights museum was also very cool. 
I would recommend to anyone going to Memphis to see the civil rights museum. The tour guides really know what they're talking about, and although the content is very heavy, it's a good learning experience. It covers the beginnings of slavery in the United States all the way to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr as well as current day info. We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. We went to a NYE party at a pizza place(think Craig's Cruisers, arcade + food + rides). We got back to the hotel a few minutes before the ball drop, and less than a minute after 12:00 I stood up and said "I'm out," because I was so exhausted, and the people in the lobby applauded my honesty and followed suit. 

 Friday morning we had a freezing rehearsal for our Liberty Bowl halftime show with Craig Morgan, and it was fun to meet people from all of the different bands. At the Beale Street parade later that day we had a dance/music battle with a band from Durant, Oklahoma. They were really nice(shoutout to the drum major who called me cute!!). I got to lead the clarinet section during the parade, which was nice. I made friends with one of the juniors I might be section leader-ing with next year. We relaxed for a while at the hotel after the parade, and then went to the awards presentation night, where the ZHS Band got an award for best music during the parade, and second best overall in class AAA(the highest class presented). 
Saturday morning we had another mass rehearsal, this time with Craig Morgan and his band. If you're a fan of Craig, you'll be happy to know that he is a really nice person!! I didn't know who he was before, because I don't listen to country music, but he gave us compliments galore. We went to lunch after rehearsal, and that afternoon/night we had the Liberty Bowl game. It was a lot of fun, even though I got sunburned. I didn't think to bring sunscreen, because I live in Michigan and it's only sunny enough to get burned three months of the year. 

friday morning rehearsal
I arrived back home this morning, after a terrible night of attempting to sleep on the bus. The friend who was sitting next to me was apparently unaware of how much she was invading my personal space in her sleep... Or taking advantage of how little space I take up? 
Thanks for reading! xx

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

winter gardens

Good morning, cuties! 
A few weeks ago I woke up early and got dressed to go to one of my favorite places in west michigan: the frederick meijer gardens. I spent about five hours there with my dad, brother and my brother's girlfriend. Here are a few of the pictures I want to share with you. 
I won't be sharing any pictures of us together, but we had a whole lot of fun c: 

 "introspection" sculpture
They have these amazing Christmas displays up right now. I got to see a Christmas tree with traditional Dutch symbols on it yesterday, which was quite cool. We saw reindeer and drank hot chocolate, took a look at some of the sculptures we never got to when we came in August. 
christmas display
I took so many beautiful photos that day, because that's how beautiful this place is. 

the small friend
on of the many christmas tree displays
christmas display

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

♡ back to school thoughts // journal entry ♡

Can you believe that summer is almost over?
Because I can. 
Pale kid is ready for the sun to hush up, thank you. 
Recently(like, today) on Polyvore I've made a few sets about back to school. I have yet to share these with my blog followers, because, well, my Polyvore fans outnumber you by about 100x(working on it).  

Last Wednesday was my class registration, and I got to see my schedule for the new school year. I was really excited about the classes I had, but then found out that I was placed in Latin I instead of Latin II, even though I passed that class last year. On Tuesday, yesterday, I went to the counseling office to get it changed. Thank goodness my counselor happened to be there at the same time and could help me get this changed; apparently schedule changing was supposed to be done at registration(I just got really lucky). 

My sophomore schedule; 

I've been having a lot of fun with the band these past few weeks. I'm super excited for the fall football games; our first track band(not required, informal games) game is this friday. 
Over the new year(I know it's a long time away) the marching band is going to Memphis to play at the Liberty Bowl, and I am beyond excited for that. I'm going to see Graceland with all of my friends. I didn't think I was going to be able to go, because my family isn't nearly as wealthy as most of the people where I live, so that makes it even more exciting. 

I am nervous and totally not-nervous for the new school year at the same time. 
Nervous: I get really awkward/anxious in most social situations, and meeting new people and teachers during a new school year is no exception. I got really lucky with my teachers last year(I liked all of them) and I'm nervous that I won't be that lucky this year. I was going to test out of English 10 but I missed the date and now I'm stuck in a class that's going to be way too easy for me. Even though my schedule this year is impressive to most(honors chem! APUSH! Latin II! Symphonic band!) I'm still not satisfied with it. 
Not-nervous: I'm in the marching band and the student senate, giving me a semblance of a social life on week nights. I'm a redhead now and redheads are fearless. 
Do I think I'll survive the first day? Yes. It's only two and a half hours long, after all. 

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

BOOK TALK: To All The Boys I've Loved Before

It's my second book talk! Before we begin, I'm currently reading "If I Stay" by Gayle Foreman & if you want me to book talk that book, make sure to leave me a comment or message!

To be honest, To All The Boys I've Loved Before was originally attractive to me because of it's beautiful cover. But in the case of this book, the inside is just as lovely as the outer shell. It's not what I expected. 
Here's the Amazon description: Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control in this heartfelt novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series.
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?
Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Before I read this book, I tried to guess what it would be about. Lara Jean would be a normal teenage girl, albeit a beautiful one(obvi), and everyone at school would find out about the letters and she would be bullied but then one of the boys would actually love her back and it would have cute ending 
No. I was totally wrong.
You open the book, and you find out that Lara Jean has two sisters - Kitty, younger, and Margot, older - and live with only their father because their mother has passed(for unknown reasons). The three sisters are very close, but their unity is threatened when Margot escapes to Scotland for college. Margot, being the strongest of the three, breaks up with her boyfriend Josh before leaving. Josh is one of the boys who received one of Lara Jean's infamous love letters. 

Do you know what it’s like to like someone so much you can’t stand it and know that they’ll never feel the same way?” 

Peter Kavinsky is also one of those boys. Peter, fresh out of a relationship with his longtime girlfriend, Genevieve. In an effort to make Genevieve jealous and make Josh believe Lara Jean no longer has feeling for him, Lara Jean and Peter pretend to be a couple. And in the end, the worst possible thing happens. 
I don't want to totally spoil it for you, so that's as far as I'll go. 

This book is filled to the brim with incredible writing style and wonderfully cute, thought-provoking(maybe both at the same time) chapters. Personally, I found Lara Jean to be a very relatable character. I think I might just go write a letter to David Bowie right now. 
It's been my favorite summer read so far, and if you're a hopeless romantic like me, I'd definitely recommend it. 

“When someone's been gone a long time, at first you save up all the things you want to tell them. You try to keep track of everything in your head. But it's like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand: all the little bits slip out of your hands, and then you're just clutching air and grit.” 

“Margot would say she belongs to herself. Kitty would say she belongs to no one. And I guess I would say I belong to my sisters and my dad, but that won’t always be true. To belong to someone—I didn’t know it, but now that I think about, it seems like that’s all I’ve ever wanted. To really be somebody’s, and to have them be mine.”

That's it! Make sure to leave a comment & follow me through email, Bloglovin' or Google c: