Saturday, October 31, 2015

October Snapshots

1. Hammocking with the corgis. // 2. Iced tea and a cannoli from Mozart's Cafe // 3. New shoes. 

4 & 5. The two most important purchases of the month: the illustrated edition of the first Harry Potter book and Pentatonix's new album. Both of them have brought me to tears (in a good way!) // 6 & 7. I've never been a much of a bookmark person until I discovered these adorable bookmarks from HappyHelloCo on Etsy. I loved them so much that I already ordered the companion sets for Celaena and Fayre from that shop! - Jessica

Monday, October 26, 2015

House Playlists


I have recently developed a love for making and listening to playlists, recently I've seen a ton of Harry Potter related ones and decided to try my had at making some. I originally made the Gryffindor playlist to listen to for myself, but I had so much fun making it that I decided to do the rest of the houses. For these playlists I decided to pick songs that I though matched the characteristics of each house but also songs that I think that would be playing in their common rooms. 

Listen | Tracks:

1. Walk the Moon - We Are the Kids // 2. Fall Out Boy - Young Volcanoes // 3. Of Monsters and Men - King And Lionheart // 4. Fall Out Boy - The Phoenix // 5. Paramore - Last Hope // 6. Coldplay - Violet Hill // 7. Lana Del Rey - Born To Die // 8. Florence and the Machine - Howl // 9. Lights - Speeding // 10. San Fermin - Jackrabbit // 11. Walk the Moon - Anna Sun // 12. VersaEmerge - Fire (Aim You Arrows High) // 13. Pentatonix - New Year's Day

Listen | Tracks:

1. Halsey - Castle // 2. Panic! At The Disco - Let's Kill Tonight // 3. Fall Out Boy - Disloyal Order of Water Buffalos // 4. Paramore - Ignorance // 5. Lorde - Glory And Gore // 6. Pentatonix - Cracked // 7. Walk the Moon - Up 2 U // 8. Pentatonix - Natural Disaster // 9. Fall Out Boy - Dance Dance // 10. VersaEmerge - Fixed At Zero // 11. Bastille - Bad Blood // 12. Imagine Dragons - Radioactive // 13. The Naked and Famous - Punching In A Dream

Listen | Tracks:

1. Of Monsters and Men - From Finner // 2. Coldplay - Strawberry Swing // 3. The Lumineers - Morning Song // 4. Lana Del Rey - Black Beauty // 5. Florence and the Machine - Between Two Lungs // 6. Florence and the Machine - Long & Lost // 7. San Fermin - Emily // 8. The Civil Wars - From This Valley // 9. Panic! At The Disco - Northern Downpour // 10. Coldplay - Swallowed In the Sea // 11. Lorde - Team // 12. Freelance Whales - We Could Be Friends // 13. Freelance Whales - Generator ^ Second Floor

Listen | Tracks:

1. Mumford and Sons - Roll Away Your Stone // 2. Of Monsters and Men - Black Water // 3. Paramore - Misguided Ghosts // 4. Penatonix - Take Me Home // 5. Florence and the Machine - Shake It Off (Acoustic) // 6. Lights - From All Sides // 7. San Fermin - Philosopher // 8. Lights - Oil and Water // 9. Walk the Moon - Iscariot // 10. The Civil Wars - Dust to Dust // 11. Panic! At The Disco - The End Of All Things // 12. VersaEmerge - Up There // 13. Ed Sheeran - I See Fire // 14. Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal

I had a lot of fun making this post, from picking the songs and making the album covers. This was my first time making playlists on Spotify, so I didn't pay attention as much attention to song order but I think the idea's that I had for each one are there. Credits (X)

- Jessica 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Instax Diaries #5

I shot through another pack on film on my Lomo'instant camera so that means it's time for another Instax post. I experimented a bit with the close up lens attachment, I really loved the results and I need to buy more film so that I can experiment with it more. A couple days ago Lomography announced the new Lomo'Instant Wide camera and I have been drooling over the features. I will most likely try to sell my old 210 and preorder the white edition with the lens. I really want the ability to have more exposure adjustments, the ability for multiple exposures, and the remote control lens cap is such a cool feature.



Saturday, October 10, 2015

Throne Of Glass Series Review

You could rattle the stars," she whispered. "You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.” 
― ElenaThrone of Glass
Throne of Glass is a fantasy series by Sarah J. Maas, which takes place in a world where magic has disappeared. It is a planned series of 6 books, 4 books and a prequel book have already been published. The first novel starts with the main character, Celaena, an assassin who is trying to earn her freedom by competing against 23 other killers to be the King's Champion. These books are full of well developed characters, amazing world building and stories, romance, and so many twists and turns. I absolutely loved every second of reading this series. I fell in love with the characters and stories, and I had so much to say about these books so I decided to do a full review. So here are my thoughts and opinions on the Throne of Glass series:

The Assassin's Blade - This is a bind up of five prequel novellas. The author recommends that this be read before reading the first book, but I read it after reading Throne of Glass and that's the order that I would personally recommend. This is a slow read compared to the other books in the series. I enjoyed some of the stories more than the others. This provides a lot of insight into Celaena's character, and I loved all the details about her relationship with Sam. These stories also include a lot of important characters and details that are referenced throughout the series.

And basically everything from here on out is spoilers, so proceed with caution...

Throne of Glass - Pretty much right off the bat, I was hooked by this series. I really loved the main characters, and I found the premise really interesting. I found the competition so important, Celaena is fighting against 23 guys who immediately write her off because she's a woman and I was so happy when she would prove them wrong. I shipped Celaena and Dorian so much while reading this, they are my favorite relationship in this series and I know that they probably aren't going to be endgame but as long as I get more of their friendship I'll be okay. Overall I think this book is my favorite in the series, this book is such a solid base and I love how the characters, story, and the fantasy elements develop through out the whole series.

Crown of Midnight - I didn't love this books as much as rest of the series, but I still really enjoyed it. Nehemia's plot during this book really angered and saddened me, because she was such a fantastic character and I still think she could have accomplished so much. I wasn't a huge fan of Celaena and Chaol's relationship, and that's maybe because I was not a huge Chaol fan to begin with and his actions bothered me in this book. I had a sneaking suspicion that Celaena was secretly Aelin, just because of her reaction when Chaol first brought her up. But that did not stop my heart from racing from reading the last couple of pages (I actually finished reading this book after midnight and couldn't fall asleep for an hour because I was so worked up over the ending).

Heir of Fire - I really enjoyed how the story expanded in this book along with the introduction of some new characters. I really liked the introduction of Rowen, and his relationship with Celaena. Rowen and Celaena's friendship became one of my favorite of the series and I really love how they understand and help each other. I also liked the introduction of Aedion, I really enjoyed the similarities between him and Aelin, especially how they both would defy the king. It took me a while to get into Manon and the witches storyline, but I ended up really liking her character after she claimed Abraxos as her wyvern. This book overall did take a while for me to get into because of the change of setting and how the narrations was split between more characters. I like the contrast between Celaena's character at the beginning of the novel, where she is hiding her true identity and seeing her absolutely defeated, to the end of the novel, where she is embracing her identity and she's realized her full power. I loved Dorian's character development during this novel, one of my favorite moment of this books was when he stood up for himself and Celaena against Chaol. I also felt that his relationship with Sorscha was so sweet, and I think they could have been really great together.

Queen of Shadows - This book kept me on my toes, and I shed some tears while reading it. Each chapter that Dorian had left me in tears, he's my favorite character and I was so scared for what would happen to him throughout the book. I'm really concerned for his mental state after this book, I hope he'll be okay because I think he'll make a fantastic king. Aelin's plan was so well thought out and I was blown away by how everything came together. I was a little disappointed that the author chose to go with the romantic route for Rowen and Celaena. I think they function better as friends, but I don't hate them together (I'm still wishing that Celaena and Dorian will somehow pull through). I absolutely loved the reintroduction of Lysandra, and I love how her and Celaena absolutely hated each other during the prequel stories, but how they ended up becoming friends. Female friendships like theirs are rare in YA literature, and I can't wait to see how the author continues to develop their friendship. The ending to this book was so satisfying, and I'm really happy that it did not end on a cliffhanger because my heart might not have taken it. There are still events that took place near the end of this novel that I'm not sure what the author is going to do with them, but I anxiously awaiting for the last two books of the series.
“Let's go rattle the stars.” 
― Aelin GalathnyiusQueen of Shadows
Alright so that's most of my thoughts on the series that I had to get out. I highly recommend this series, it's one of my favorites behind Harry Potter. The last two books are scheduled to come out in 2016 and 2017 respectively. It's such a long to wait, but I have so much faith that it will be worth it because I don't think that Sarah J. Maas' writing can disapoint me. - Jessica

Friday, October 2, 2015

Books I Read In September

September was a really good month for me in terms of reading, I ended up reading a total of 12 books. Almost half of those books are from the Throne of Glass series, and those books are pretty giant (the latest one is 650 pages). Most of the books I read this month are fantasy novels, and I rediscovered my love for this genre. I'm now officially obsessed with Sarah J. Maas, I read all of her books this month and I am going to read everything she puts out in the future. So here are the books that I read, and some-what-spoiler-free thoughts I have on them:

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King - This book centers around a girl, Astrid, as she deals with her family and comes to terms with her sexuality. I really enjoyed reading this book, it was beautifully written and Astrid is such an interesting narrator. I'm still a little on the fence about how I felt about the passengers stories through out the novel, I found a majority of them disinteresting and confusing. Astrid was easily my favorite part of this novel, and I really loved her characterization.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, that centers around Fayre after she kills a wolf and a beast demands that she must pay for it. I am so happy that I finally picked up this book, because it was so good. Through out reading this book I forgot that it was a retelling, because the story just felt so unique. I think that can be contributed to Maas writing because she knows how to write action, romance, and characters so well. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the series coming out, because this book was so good but also because I'm a little scared of what Maas is going to next.

Half Bad and Half Wild by Sally Green - This book is set in a modern society where witches secretly live and are classified by there blood. The main character, Nathan, was born to a white, "good" witch and his father is the "evilest," black witch. I found the premise of this book really interesting, and I liked the first book. It was well written, but there were parts of the story that I didn't find interesting. The second book, on the other hand, I liked way more than the first. I really liked where the story was going during the second book and I found that I had a better understanding of the characters. What I really liked through out this series was Nathan's relationship with other characters, especially his brother, Gabriel, and his father. Overall I've enjoyed this series so far and I'm looking forward for the final book.

Legend: Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, Leigh Dragoon, and Kaari - This is the graphic novel adaption to the first book in the Legend series. I had previously read the series last month and I absolutely loved it. I really liked the art style but a lot of the original content was cut and as a result I felt the story lost a lot of it's pacing and development. I think this is a really cool addition for fans of the Legend series but I wouldn't recommend it to anybody who hasn't already read the first book. This was my first foray into reading graphic novels and I really hope to read more in the future.

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa - This book centers around three friends, Jeremy, Mira and Sebby. The thing that really intrigued me about this books is told by three friends and they are each told in a different point of view. I've never read that before, and it's really interesting to jump between chapters and have the point of view switch from first to second to third. I really liked how this book touched upon some series subjects and how it handled diversity. There were points in this book that I thought were just weird, but I did ended up really enjoying the characters and the ending.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman - This story follows Tristran Thorn as he ventures into a fairy tale world to retrieve a fallen star. I really liked how this book felt like a fairy tale at times but there were some really obvious adult moments to the story. This book had some slow moments, but overall it was an enjoyable read.

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas - I'll be posting a full review for this series next week. But I will say now that I absolutely loved this series and I can't believe it took me so long to read it. 

And those are the books I read in September. I've got a lot of unread books to work through (because I have a book buying problem, here's the evidence), and so many new books are coming out this month that I'm looking forward to, particularly Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (cough J.K.Rowling cough) and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. As always, feel free to follow me on Goodreads to see my reviews on these books and I see my progress this month. - Jessica