Saturday, May 20, 2017

Piano Playing Away


Playing music is one of my favorite hobbies, but I regrettably don't have a lot of time to practice. Because of life in general, I don't get to play as much as I'd like, but I love when I'm listening to music and I come across a song that I know that I have to learn. Those are the moments that make me excited to play, and it's times like those that I really wish that I could find the motivation to practice every day.


My keyboard has always been in the living room, and I finally moved it into my room last week and I have been able to play so much. Last week, I got Paramore's new album After Laughter and I have slowly been learning songs from it. I'm really grateful for summer vacation and having the time to practice. A similar thing happened over spring break, a little after Ed Sheeran's new album came out and I learned a couple of the songs on guitar. So here's some random rambling about how much I have missed playing music. - Jessica

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Books I Read in April


April was a decent reading month for me, considering the amount of school work I had to juggle. I read 9 books and 5 of which, I listened to on audio. Audiobooks are basically saving my reading challenge, because as a way to destress, I'll listen to them while I'm driving or while I'm playing Animal Crossing. I've been using my local library to download audiobooks to my phone and if my library doesn't have the audiobook, I'll use my Audible membership. I used to be the person who didn't care for audiobooks, but I've completely changed my tune on them. So here are the books I read during the month of April:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - This book centers around Starr, after she witnesses her childhood best friend get killed by a cop. I was blown away by the intensity of this book, it tackles some really heavy issues. I listened to the audiobook and I absolutely loved how the narration added to the emotions of the story. I highly recommend this book and I can't wait to read more from Angie Thomas.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - This is the second book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. This was a reread, in anticipation for the third book in the series. ACOTAR is one of my all time favorite series and this book is the reason why. The first book is good, but this book is incredible and I absolutely love the characters and their story.

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley - This book follows Solomon, a boy who has agoraphobia and hasn't left his house in 3 years. I had a lot of mixed feelings about this book, because I loved 2/3 of the main characters and could not stand the main female character, Lisa. I liked how this book approached the subject of mental illness, and how the book emphasized the importance of friendship.

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi - This is the sequel to The Star-Touched Queen, and follows Gauri who is introduced in the first book. I loved the first book and was looking forward to picking up this book, but I felt that it didn't quite live up to the first book. I found the plot entertaining, but I could not get over the instalove aspect. I ended up rating this a 4/5 stars on Goodreads despite this, because I really loved the ending.

The Land of Stories: A Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales by Chris Colfer - This is a collection of short stories, and has some loose ties to The Land of Stories series. Going into this book, I expected it to be the actual book that Alex and Connor read in TLOS, but I was wrong. It is much more like a carbon copy of the actual fairy tales, and only some of the character traits crossed over from TLOS. This was a quick, entertaining read and the illustrations were really beautiful, but this was another book that I was a little disapoint in.

The Last True Love Story by Brendan Kiely - This book follows Hendrix and Corrina, as Hendrix fulfills his promise to his grandfather to take him to his hometown and visit the place where he fell in love with Hendrix's grandmother. I enjoyed this book, it was a really quick read and there was excellent character development. This book did have some common YA character and plot tropes, but I still enjoyed it.

Champion: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, Leigh Dragoon, and Kaari - This is the graphic novel adaption of Champion, the last book in the Legend trilogy. The Legend trilogy is one of my favorites, and I have really enjoyed the graphic novel adaptions. Like the first two adaptions, a lot of the plot points were left out and there are issues with pacing, but I really like the art style. 

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Callavaro - This is the first book in a trilogy, that follows Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great-grandchildren of Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes, as they investigate a murder at their school. This book is essentially a retelling, and I really enjoyed those elements. I think the mystery element of this book was really well done, and mirrored the original sources in a respectful way. I'm interesting in seeing the direction this book takes, and seeing the relationship between Jamie and Charlotte develop.

A Book of Spirit and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes - This is the first book in a trilogy, that is a spin off to the Falling Kingdoms series.  This book takes place in both modern day Toronto and Mytica. I absolutely love the Falling Kingdoms series, and I was really looking forward to reading this book. I enjoyed the cast of characters, but I struggled with seeing how the two worlds combine and I'm looking forward to reading the second book to see how Rhodes develops the story more.

And those are all the books I finished, I started making my way through Strange the Dream, but I've now put it aside for a bit to focus on A Court of Wings and Ruin and Always and Forever, Lara Jean (my two most anticipated releases for this year). Summer break is so close and I'm looking forward to how much time I'll have to read. - Jessica

Sunday, April 30, 2017

April Snapshots


1. I finished my reread of the first two books in the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy, gearing up for the release in two days! One of my favorite things to do when rereading my favorite books is to mark my favorite parts and quotes. I've only done this for Sarah J. Maas books and for my Harry Potter books, so tabs in my books signify how important they are to me. 


2. My favorite item in this month's OwlCrate. An exclusive candle from Novelly Yours, that is Simon and Baz inspired. Carry On is another favorite of mine and I was so excited when I received this. /// 3. I found an arc of the first book in The Land of Stories series at a secondhand bookstore, and I couldn't resist and had to get it. I knew it would be a cool addition to my TLOS collection. 


4. A grilled cheese sandwich made mac and cheese! It was so good. /// 5. Fawkes and his puppy cone. A friend and I went to get snow cones and Fawkes got his own treat too. 


6. USA vs. Russia. I saw the USWNT at the beginning of the month. A lot of my favorite players weren't on the pitch, but I still love watching this team play.


7. Sometimes your favorite musician takes 7 years to release new music, so once you get your physical copy in the mail, you freak out a lot. I absolutely love this EP and can't wait to hear more music from the Criss brothers. - Jessica

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Fawkes


Why do puppies have to get big so fast? Fawkes has grown so much since I got him, he's now 7 months old and I can't deal with how fast he's growing. I wanted to take some pictures of him in bluebonnets because these photos of McCoy and Hazel are some of my favorites of them. But with how busy school has been, by the time I got around to taking him out, there wasn't a whole lot of good bluebonnet patches. Plus with how hot it has been getting, every time I tried to place him in front of some bluebonnets he would run to the shade. So here are the photos I managed to get of him...


His derp face gets me so much in the last one. I really need to start taking more photos of him and the other corgs and get back into sharing photos on the corgi blog. I've also been debating lately on setting up an Instagram account for posting photos of Fawkes only, but we will have to see if I can keep one up. - Jessica

Monday, April 17, 2017

Favorite Posts (Part I)



Everyone once and a while I like to browse through old posts, it's a great way to reminisce and sometimes cringe at some of my old photography. I've been in a bit of a blogging stump lately and I wanted to start a new series where I revist some of my favorite posts.

Cyanotypes - I really miss taking darkroom and developing my own photos and prints. One of my favorite classes that I shared on my blog was when we made cyanotypes. One day I'll make cyanotype prints again!

Thank You Harry - My Harry Potter wall is one of my favorite parts of my room and I loved writing about my experience with Harry Potter and a little bit about how it's impacted my life.

Instax Diaries #4 - Instant film is pretty much the only film I shoot now a days, because of how convenient it is. I love each time when I have taken enough instant shots to be able to share them. This post in particular features some of my all time favorite shots I ever taken on Instax film.


Bookshelves (Part 1 and Part 2) - Along with my Harry Potter wall, my bookshelves are another favorite part of my room. And I love looking through my blog and seeing the evolution of my shelves, to how I use to organize everything and especially the volume at which my collection has grown in a relatively short span of time (most of my collection is from the last two years). I'm also really proud that these are two of the most viewed posts on my blog.

December Unboxings - I have developed an obsession with subscription boxes lately and last December I received three (Owlcrate, the Wizarding World Loot Crate, and Litjoy Crate). I had so much opening these boxes and sharing some of the items in them. I also had so much fun taking these photos and editing them. I hope to do some more unboxing posts in the future.

- Jessica