Saturday, December 9, 2017

Books I Read In November

I had a decent month in November in terms of reading. I read 8 novels and a comic, which wasn't my best month of the year, but I still got to do a lot of reading despite being busy with life. So here are the books I read and some of my thoughts and opinions on them...

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows - This book follows, Mira, a princess who has been thrown into prison, after learning about the illegal trafficking of dragons. This was a solid start to a trilogy, it covers a lot of backstory and sets up nicely for the sequels. I really liked the characters and I'm interested to see how this trilogy will continue.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao - This book follows Xifeng, who has been told from birth that she will become the empress, but in order to do so, she has to follow her darkness and hurt the people she cares about. This book is basically an Evil Queen retelling, and that element of the story is so well done, and I absolutely loved how the fairy tale aspect provided set up for the sequel. This is definitely a slow build novel, but the writing was so well done that I did not mind. I'm really looking forward to the release of the second book next year.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia - This book follows Alex, who has schizophrenia, and how she copes with her mental illness and how it affects her life. I really enjoyed this book, I ended up listening to the audiobook in a day, because I wanted to know what would happen. The mental illness aspect of the book was really well handled. My only issue with the book was the development of the romance, but that didn't prevent me from loving this book.

Skin & Earth (Issue 5) by Lights - This is the second to last issue in Lights debut comic series, which ties into her latest album. I found that this issue took an unexpected turn, but I still absolutely loved it. As always, the art in this series is beautiful, and I listened to each song, while reading the corresponding chapter. I'm highly anticipating the release of the last issue (on Wednesday!), to see how the world and the story wraps up.

Release by Patrick Ness - This book takes place over the course of a day, following Adam, who is struggling with his sexuality and his religious family. This was a solid coming of age novel, with a little bit of magical realism thrown in (and in typical Patrick Ness fashion). This book just served as another reminder that I need to read all of Patrick Ness' books.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer - This is the first book in a duology, and the main premise is a superhero and a villain falling in love. I absolutely loved this book, and one of my favorite elements was the representation. Nova, one of the protagonists, is half Filipino and even though this ends up being a minor detail in the books, it is so fulfilling to see characters that have the same background as I do. I really loved the world that Meyer creates and I can't wait until the last book comes out.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust - This is a Snow White retelling and it focuses on the relationship between both the princess and the queen figure. I really enjoyed this book, it has such a unique application of the fairy tale elements, while still maintaining a sense of individuality. I also loved the added LGBTQ+ elements. This was a great standalone read.

Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi - This is a companion to Mafi's Furthermore and follows a girl that washes the bodies of the dead. Just like in Furthermore and Mafi's books in general, the writing is absolutely beautiful, and it was my favorite part of this book. I was not as invested in the story or the main character in this book, as I was in Furthermore, but I still really enjoyed this book.

Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn - This book follows Lottie, who finds out that she is rooming with a princess, and in order to protect the princess' identity, Lottie starts to pose as her. This book was all over the place, there are elements of fairytales, boarding schools, mysteries, magic and romance. That being said, it was still a fun read and I'm looking forward to following the rest of the series.

And those are all the books I read in November. I only need to read 10 more books in December to hit my reading goal, which I'm optimistic that I can achieve! - Jessica

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Snapshots

1. Princess Serenity keeping me company while I read Renegades by Marissa Meyer.

2 & 3. Tried a new coffee place and bubble tea place (Lucky Lab Coffee Co & Mango 8). Both were really good and my friend and I were freaking out over the lightbulb glasses at Mango 8.

4. I finally saw All Time Low live, I was a massive fan of the group when their first two albums came out and it was so cool to finally hear them play those songs live. I also met the bassist, Zack, after the show! - Jessica 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Books I'm Thankful For

It is officially Thanksgiving break for me and I thought it would be fun to share the books that I read this year that I'm most thankful for. So without further to do...

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - To be fair, I'm always thankful that I first read Harry Potter as a kid, but this year especially because it was my first time rereading the series in its entirety in 6 years. This reread reminded me how much I love the series and I'm already thinking about when I'll be able to reread it again.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - It is not often that I come across a book that is incredibly powerful. I was absolutely blown away by this book and how it handled such a sensitive topic. I listened to this book on audio and the narration is so well done, I could not recommend it more. 

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green - I'm so grateful for this book, because of how it deals with mental illness. I really felt like I was in the narrator's head and experiencing her thoughts while reading this. I love when books have the ability to transport emotions, like that.

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare - This book had so many twists and turns and I'm still reeling from it all. I'm especially thankful that the release date of the sequel was moved up, and the last book in the trilogy will be coming out next December.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer - I rarely see Filipino characters in YA literature, let alone Filipino protagonists. So when I saw that one of my favorite authors was writing a book with a Italian-Filipino main character, I started freaking out. Although that aspect of the book is pretty small, I'm so thankful for the representation in this book.

And those are the books I'm thankful that I've read this year. - Jessica

Friday, November 17, 2017

Instax Diaries #9

It has been almost a year since I've shared my last instax post, and I had a ton of shots building up to scan. I finally got to try out the monochrome mini film, and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on some monochrome wide film. The above photo was taken with my Lomo'Instant wide and it was actually an accidental shot, but I really like the effect. The rest of these photos were taken with my trusty Lomo'Instant.

Some b/w shots. I haven't had the chance to fully test out this film, but I really like the results so far.

The last two images are some of the most interesting shots that I've taken in a while. The first of the two was taken in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey storms. Austin was only hit with floods from the hurricane and whenever the storms stopped, the sky turned a crazy, orange color. And the last photo is a shot of a dead butterfly, I'm always on the lookout to capture living butterflies, but it never works out, and I get to photograph the sad ones instead. 

I bought a ton of film last week and I'm looking forward to shooting through it. I still need to buy film for my Polaroid One Step (I keep holding off cause it's twice the price of instax film). - Jessica

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Books I Read in October

In October, I read 12 novels, a graphic novel, a comic and a novella. In total, I read 15 works, even though it really doesn't feel like I read a whole lot. One of the books was for school (Women Without Men) and I won't get into it below, because I already had to write about it. Like last month, there were a lot of new releases that came out, and I was excited to get to those. So here are the books I read and some of my thoughts on them...

The Dire King by William Ritter - This is the final series of the Jackaby series. This was a really satisfying ending to the series. Overall this series is a fun read; it's a cool blend of mystery and monsters, and it's got a great female protagonist.

Hunted by Meagan Spooner - This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, with elements of Russian fairy tales. I was surprised by how much I loved this book, I thought it would draw a lot of similarities between A Court of Thorns and Roses, but that was not the case. I absolutely loved the elements of the Firebird and how they were weaved so well into the narrative. I'm a huge fan of slow burn stories, and this was a highly addictive read.

Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo and illustrated by Sara Kipin - This is a series of fairy tales set in Bardugo's Grisha Verse. This is honestly my favorite work that Bardugo has published, I would rank it higher than Crooked Kingdom. Each story is so unique and captivating. The stories are accompanied by a series of drawings that evolve like flipbooks with the story, and the whole presentation is perfect. I highly recommend reading this, if you're a Grisha fan because you won't be disappointed.

Ringer by Lauren Oliver - This is the second book in the Replica duology. This series follows two girls, Lyra and Gemma, who's stories can be read individually or together in alternating chapters. Like the first book, I read this in alternating chapters. I enjoyed this a lot more than the first book. In this book, Lyra and Gemma's stories are more separated than in the first, and so the story felt less repetitive. I really enjoyed the direction that this book went in and how the series wrapped up.

Skin&Earth (Issue 4) by Lights - This is the fourth issue in Light's comic series, that ties into her album of the same name. I've mentioned lately how obsessed I am with both the comic and album. I love this comic series so much, because the story and the music are interwoven so well, but are also amazing on their own. I absolutely love the direction that this narrative is going in and I was blown away by the ending. I keep listening to the rest of the album, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about potential directions the next issue will take. I'm counting down the days until the next issue, only 6 more!

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green - This is John Green's newest novel, following Aza, a girl with anxiety and OCD, and how she gets caught up in the search for a missing billionaire. I have been anticipating this book since it was announced, but I was also skeptical because I wasn't sure how this book would live up to TFioS's shadow. I absolutely was blown away by this book, Aza's issues felt so relatable and John Green did an amazing job of describing her train of thought. There were so many points in this novel where I related to Aza and I was in tears because of it. I absolutely just love this book, and I loved the writing which is beautiful, it's full of brilliant metaphors in typical John Green fashion.

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King - This story follows Lucky Linderman, who is constantly bullied and as a coping mechanism has dreams that he is rescuing his grandfather, a MIA POW from the Vietnam War. This is one of those books that I have heard a lot of hype over and it's been on my shelves for ages, that I'm finally getting too. I ended up really liking this book, although I did have a few issues with the narration.

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy - This book follows Willowdean, an overweight teenager, who enters into the beauty pageant her mother won as a teenager, and now runs. I really enjoyed this book, I listened to the audiobook in less than a day because I didn't want to stop reading it. The only thing that stopped me from absolutely loving this book was the love triangle, which just felt unnecessary. But overall this book is great, and I'm really looking forward to the movie adaptation, that's coming out next year.

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins - This is a mystery/thriller, following a small town high school, that is shaken by a series of murders. I think this book needs a warning label attached to it, there's a lot of gore and description of hazing. It took me almost two weeks to read this book (I usually read books in a couple of days), because of some of the triggers. That being said, I did like this book, I felt that it was something different from what I normally read and it was a good slasher book to read before Halloween. I honestly was surprised with how well the romance elements were weaved in to this story.

Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach - This book follows Parker, who stopped talking after his dead dies, after he meets Zelda, a girl who claims she's older than she looks. This is another book, that I've had for ages and I really wanted to like this story, but this book just ended up being okay. I found that Zelda's character felt like a plotpoint and her only objective in the story was too heal Parker.

Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener - This book follows Delaney, after she is mistaken for an alien princess and she has to pose as the missing princess. I randomly bought this book, because although it sounded like it had a ton of common YA troupes, I thought it would be a fun read. I've been having a lot of trouble finding fantasy/sci-fi books to read lately, and this one was a good fit. I ended up loving this book, it's a fast paced read and I breezed through it. I really enjoyed the characters and I found the romance addictive. I honestly can't wait until the second book is released next summer.

Life After Legend by Marie Lu - This is a novella, and is Day's persepctive of the epilogue of Champion, the last book in the Legend trilogy. Legend is one of my favorite all time series and I was so excited to hear that this was being released. Even though this novella is so short, I ended up in tears because of how much closure it adds to the trilogy.

Monstrees, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda - This graphic novel follows Maika, a girl who has an unusually psychic connection to a monster. This graphic novel has been on my radar for over a year now, and after getting into Skin&Earth, I've been in the mood to read more comics/graphic novels. The art in this series is absolutely stunning, and is the best part of the story. Unfortunately the story is really confusing, but I think as the story progresses, it will become clearer. I really like how this story is set in an Asia-inspired dystopian, matriarchal society, and how it deals with race.

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Steifvater - This story follows the Soria family, who's members are able to preform miracles. I really liked this book, the writing is absolutely beautiful and outshines the overall story, which I didn't find as nearly as enticing. I also really enjoyed the diversity of this book, and I think the author really handled the culture well.

And those are all the books that I read in October. I'm honestly amazed with the fact that I'm four books ahead of my Goodreads challenge for the year, and I only have to read 20 more books. Plus there are some new releases out soon, that I'm hoping will help me finish that challenge. - Jessica

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October Snapshots

1. Fawkes is really cute and I'm always taking photos of him. /// 2. I'm really obsessed with bookish candles and I've been burning the Phoenix Riders candle from Meraki Candles. It is inspired by Warcross by Marie Lu and I got it in the Fanmail box for the book. 

3 & 4. I bought the Nerdy Post "Back to Hogwarts" box and I loved it. Here's some of the artwork included. The journal is coincidentally by Cara Kozik, who designed the Owl Crate mug I shared in my last post. I also wanted to show off the exclusive Harry Potter wand pen that I got in last month's Wizarding World Loot Crate. It's made by Noble Collection, who also has another version here, I compared both and the WWLC pen is of much higher quality. /// 5. I also modified a section of my Harry Potter wall so that I could fit in all the new art from Nerdy Post, including this Hogwarts print, that I'm in love with. My wall is a hodge podge of various HP prints, so comment down below if you want to know where I got something.

6 & 7. Here's some random shots with some fairly lights that I've had for a while. /// 8. I finally tracked down physical copies of every issue of Skin & Earth. I was going to hold out until Lights published the graphic novel and just get the ebook for each issue, but I love the story and the album so much. I spent a little too much money to get the first two issues from her Canadian store, but it was worth it, and I was able to get the third and fourth issue at my local comic book store. I also recommend that if anyone is looking for the issues and can't find them at their local comic book store, to get them from her website. - Jessica

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October Owlcrate: Find Me in the Forrest

It's been a while since I shared an Owlcrate unboxing so I thought it would be fun to share since it's been a year since I got my first Owlcrate box. I also wanted to share because this is my all time favorite Owlcrate. I've been an avid fan of Owlcrate since before I was a subscriber, and I've been a fairly loyal subscriber since then. I did skip out of the August box, in favor of Litjoy's Wonder Women Warbringer box, and I'm still upset that I didn't get it cause it combined two of my all time favorite things, Harry Potter and coffee. One of the things that I love about Owlcrate is that they secure exclusive covers for all of the books involved and all of the items fit each month's theme so well. So here is the October Owlcrate, the theme is Find Me in the Forrest, and if you don't want to be spoiled, I suggest you stop scrolling here!

My favorite item in the box (and probably my favorite Owlcrate item ever) is this Harry Potter themed mug. It is an Owlcrate exclusive design by Cara Kozik. I can't wait until it get's colder here so I can use this mug everyday, but at the same time I never want to use this mug because I'm scared of breaking it. Anyways, I'm going to be taking pictures of this mug forever.

To go along with the mug, there is an adorable coaster. This features another exclusive artwork by Kirstin Askland. Fair warning, I do not recommend placing an ice beverage on this coaster, cause it dried a little weird. Yeah, I'm upset with myself for ruining it already. Another exclusive item was this Raven Boys themed candle by In the Wick of Time. I've developed a massive obsession with book candles, and I've been really happy with all the one's I've gotten.

The box also featured these adorable Where the Wild Things Are bookmarks by CraftedVan. I've wanted some bookmarks from that shop for a while, and I was really happy to see them included in this box. Also my bookmark problem has gotten out of hand lately, I have way more than I need. Tthe box featured this Robin Hood inspired tea from Riddle's Tea Shoppe. Riddle's Tea Shoppe also has a ton of Harry Potter themed teas, that I've been wanting to try. I love how three of the items in the box tied together. The box also featured a cute Princess Mononoke print, which I forgot to take a picture of...

And finally, the book of this month is Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore. My new Luna Funko Pop decided to join in on this picture. I've heard a lot of great things about this book and I'm excited to read it. All I know is that it is a magical realism story, heavily centered around a family garden. The box also included these some seeds to plant, and I'm looking forward to planting them next spring.

So that was the October Owlcrate. Next month's box is themed Castles, Courts & Kingdoms. I'm already really excited for it, because the details sound amazing. If you're interested in subscribing to Owlcrate (which I highly recommend), here's my referral link and you can use the code KINGDOMS15 for 15% off. They also have some past boxes on there website, although this one unfortunately sold out. - Jessica

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

TTBF 2017

Earlier this month, I attended the Texas Teen Book Fest. This was my fourth year in a row going, and this was honestly one of the best years. Last year, I went a little crazy and brought over 20 books with me, and I had a long list of authors that I wanted to meet. This year, I decided to keep it simple and I brought 4 books (When Dimple Met Rishi, Warcross, They Both Die At the End, and Geekerella) with me, and I wanted to meet those 4 authors (Sandhya Menon, Marie Lu, Adam Silvera, and Ashley Poston). I luckily got the opportunity to meet all the authors I wanted to see and chat with them a little.

Here's some of the highlights from the festival...
  • I picked up signed copies of The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell and There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. 
  • I got to meet the creator of Nerdy Post, a subscription box which features a ton of artwork. They were giving away a ton of cool art and I managed to get this beautiful Throne of Glass print. 
  • Definitely my favorite part of the day was meeting Adam Silvera. In They Both Die at the End one of the main characters, Mateo, mentions that he wishes he could visit Austin and see the bats from Congress Bridge. I thought it would be fun to get Mateo a postcard (which has more significance in the book) of the bats and Adam was so sweet when I gave it to him. He also wrote me an awesome message in my book. It was definitely the best experience I've had meeting an author. 
  • Marie Lu and I talked about corgis! It was great! 
And that was my TTBF experience. I'm already looking forward to next year! - Jessica

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Books I Read in September

I read a lot in the month of September, I read a total of 15 books and 1 comic. I think that I managed to read so much because there were a lot of new release and in general I was excited to read again. I also caught up to my reading goal on Goodreads! So reading doesn't feel as much of a chore now. Although one of the books (The Blind Owl) was for school, so I won't talk about it below because I had to write about it already and I'm still not sure on my opinion of it. So here are the books I read and my thoughts and feelings on them:

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys - This is a historical fiction novel, set during WWII and leads up to the events of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. I really liked this book, and it was really interesting to read something about WWII, that I had never heard of before. This book is told in four perspectives, and it was really hard for me to read, since one of them was a German soldier. I did however really like all the other characters, and I would recommend this, if you're interested in historical fiction.

Kids of Appetite by David Arnold - This book follows a group of outcasts before and after they are involved in a murder. I liked this book, but it did feel generic to me. It had a lot of quirky vibes, that are found a lot in YA contemporary novels. It took a while for the plot points to start connecting, but once it did, this book was much more engaging.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera - This book follows two strangers, who both find out that they are going to die in less than 24 hours, and they meet up on an app to spend their last day together. I absolutely loved this book, the concept is amazing and the characters pull you in. Adam Silvera is a master story teller, I feel that every single one of his books is so unique. Even though I knew the outcome of this book (not a spoiler cause it's actually in the title), I did not make it any easier.

Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana - This book centers around Princess Amrita, who is going to be married off to a neighboring kingdom, and goes on an adventure with an oracle, in an effort to change her fate. I really enjoyed this book, although I did feel that the plot was a little rushed towards the end. The writing was beautiful and I really liked the main character.

Skin&Earth (Vol. 3) by Lights - This is the third issue in Light's dystopian comic series, that ties into her new album. I absolutely loved the direction this story has gone. As with the two previous issues, the art was gorgeous. I'm so engrossed in this series and I can't wait for the next three issues to come out.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo - This book is an origin story for Diana. I really enjoyed this book. It's by Leigh Bardugo, who is amazing, and it's filled with diversity. I'm fairly new to the realm of Wonder Woman, my previous knowledge primarily comes from the movie, but I think this was a well told introduction to her story. I did have some issues with the romance in this book, (small spoilers ahead) because basically Diana's love interest is a demigod, and for me this completely undermined Diana's character.

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas - This is the latest installment of the Throne of Glass series, and this book centers around Chaol and takes place parallel to Empire of Storms. I went into this book with low expectations, the Throne of Glass series is one of my all time favorites and I was disappointed that the last book was pushed back when this went from a novella to a 700 page book. I completely changed my tune while reading this, I absolutely loved this book. I loved the new characters, and I also liked Chaol for the first time ever while reading this. I was completely blown away by how this book tied together so many elements from The Assassin's Blade, so even though Aelin is not physically present in this book, it is still her story. It's still really hard knowing that the last book isn't coming out for another year, but I can't wait to reread the series closer to the release date.

The Wrath & the Dawn and The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh - This series is a One Thousand and One Nights retelling. I really enjoyed this series, I thought the writing is beautiful and it has a great cast of characters. I really enjoyed how the fairy tale elements were adapted into the authors own story.

Warcross by Marie Lu - This book is set in a Si-Fi world, where the virtual reality game, Warcross, has taken over people's lives. Every year there is a tournament, involving the best players, and the main character, Emika Chin, finds herself apart of the games after hacking the servers. Marie Lu is one of my favorite writers and I did go into this book with high expectations, and I absolutely loved this book. The world building is incredible and I love how diverse the characters are. And the cherry on top of all the amazing elements of this book, is that one of the main characters has a corgi! I just absolutely love anything that Marie Lu writes and I can't wait for the second book to come out.

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner - This is a coming of age novel, following three best friends, who live in a small town and are trying to tackle their senior year. I had the same reaction to this book, that I had with Kids of Appetite. It's a good book, but I felt that it has a lot of generic elements of a YA contemporary novel. But I think I have a minority opinion on this book, because everyone else that I've seen has loved it.

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake - This is the second book in the Three Dark Crowns series. I was really excited to read this book, because I thought it was the conclusion to the series, but it was announced recently that it has been expanded to be four books long. I was disappointed by the first book and I thought that this book would be able to redeem itself. The problem that I had with the first book was that the plot suffered because it was too romance centric and 4/5 of the main female characters are boy crazy. This book was a little bit better than the first, but ultimately the plot felt stretched thin and there is still too much romance, which is rare for me because I usually love romance elements in books. I honestly don't see myself continuing on with this series, which is such a shame because the concept is amazing, I just am not a fan of the execution.

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson - This book centers around Isobel, an artist, who paints portraits of fae. The autumn prince, Rook, takes her away to stand trial, after she paints him with a mortal flaw, revealing his weakness. This was actually the book among the new releases of this month that I was most excited for. I had heard that this book was loved by ACoTaR fans, and I went into this with extremely high expectations. I absolutely loved this book, the writing is beautiful and I love the world building. The romance was a tad predictable, but overall I loved this book.

Ghostly Echos by William Ritter - This is the third installment in the Jackaby series. I was initially hard for me to get into this story, because it had been so long since I read the second book, but I ended up really liking this installment. I really like the main character of this series, and I think she's a fantastic narrator. This book also had a LGBTQ+ character, and I really enjoyed that element. I read most of the last book in the month of September, but I wasn't able to finish it until yesterday, so I'll talk about in my next wrap up.

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan - This is the second book in the Magnus Chase series, which is Riordan's take on Norse mythology. It's really hard for me to read this book and not compare it to Percy Jackson and The Heroes of Olympus. So while I like this series, I just don't love it, like the author's other series. I did not find this installment as engaging as the first, I still feel like Magnus' humor is a little forced and I don't care for how the gods are represented (they act like 12 year olds to me, which makes sense but I think its a bit to much). But I really like the cast of characters and just how there's so much diversity in this series. The last chapter of this book, was honestly my favorite, because it set up for a Percy Jackson crossover.

And those are all the books I read. Seven of these, I listened to on audio, so audiobooks were the true hero in saving my reading challenge. There are several new releases coming out this month, that I'm looking forward to reading, and I hope that these books can keep up my momentum. - Jessica

Saturday, September 30, 2017

September Snapshots

1 & 2. Fun, random shoot while I was reading Warcross. Fun fact: one of the main characters in the book has a corgi!

3. I finally got a Polaroid! I've been wanting one for a while, I've always been faithful to the Instax line (cause it's way cheaper to shoot), but I got this camera for a really good deal. Now I just need to buy some film. /// 4. Added these to my Happy Hello collection. The bookmark of Hermione is such an accurate representation of me reading.

5. So many books have come out lately, that my shelves don't even look like this anymore, cause I have had to move around a lot of books to make more room. /// 6. Chaol + Tower of Dawn.

7. My friend and I went to see Metro Station. It was such a fun, throwback show. /// 8. Another one of my friends is in this play, "The Wolves." If you're in the Austin area, it is open until the 21st and I highly recommend it. /// 9 & 10. I saw Paramore live for the 5th time! They were incredible, as always.  - Jessica 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


I'm definitely one of those dog owners who gets excited about their pet's birthday. Especially since Fawkes is a year old this week (we don't know the exact day that he was born but Hermione Granger's birthday is just as good time to celebrate it). He's grown so much since I got him for Christmas, but he's pretty small compared to my family's other corgis. I'm also definitely the person who get's their pet cakes that say Happy Birthday (but I'm waiting until this weekend when my sister is here with Hazel to give it to him). So to celebrate my dogs birthday, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite shots I've taken of him.

Isn't he so cute? He's not a huge fan of getting his picture taken, but I reward him greatly. - Jessica

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Books I Read In August

August was a busy reading month. I finished 12 novels, 1 graphic novel, and 2 comics. Here are the books I read and some of my thoughts and opinions on them:

Beast by Bree Spangler - This is a YA contemporary that is loosely inspired by Beauty and the Beast. I've been looking forward to picking up this book for a while, because I heard it had good trans representation. I really liked that aspect of the book, but I had a hard time getting over the main character's misogyny. Through out this whole book, I kept wishing that it was told through Jamie's, the main love interest, perspective.

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab - This is the second and last book in Schwab's Monster's of Verity duology. I really enjoyed this installment. This book was entertaining and I left it both shocked and satisfied at how it ended.

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith - This book follows Alice after she buys a winning lottery ticket for her best friend. I really enjoyed this book, I really liked Alice's character and how she dealt with her environment. This book definitely made me more interested in reading more books by Jennifer E. Smith.

Legend of Korra: The Turf Wars (Part 1) by Michael Dante DiMartino and Irene Koh - This is the first edition in a graphic novel series, that takes place right where the show left off. I absolutely loved this. LOK is one of my all time favorite shows and the story and characters translated so well in graphic novel form. I loved how we got to see how Korra and Asami's relationship progressed and also how their relationship is perceived in the universe.

Skin and Earth (Vol. 1-2) by Lights - This is a dystopian comic book series that directly ties into Light's new album. I have been a huge fan of Light's music since her first album. I was immediately intrigued with the concept for the album and the comic, and I think it's genius how well these two mediums interconnect. I listened to the released songs from her album on repeat while reading these two volumes, and I love how they tie into each other. I'm really interested in this story and I think that Light's has created a really cool universe.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon - This story centers around Dimple, after her parents allow for her to go to a summer program, mainly because they have set her up with her "Ideal Indian Husband," Rishi. I loved this book, the characters were so intriguing and I loved how Dimple and Rishi interacted. If you've read this book then you would know how much I needed an iced coffee and an iced chai while reading it.

Summer Days and Summer Nights edt. by Stephanie Perkins - This is an anthology of 12 short stories, written by 12 various YA authors. I don't usually read anthologies because the stories are either hit or miss for me. There were 4 stories that I really liked, but the other's did not stand out as much to me, and overall I ended up rating this a 3/5. If you want to check out my Goodreads review, I have the individual ratings for each story.

Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen - This is the first book in a fantasy trilogy, surrounding Kelsea, as she returns to her kingdom after 18 years of hiding, and has to fix it's many problems and escape death. I thought this was a good start to the series, I did have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that there is a heavy dystopian aspect to the world. I really liked Kelsea as a main character, and I'm interested in how the magic system works.

Harry Potter Books 2-7 by J.K. Rowling - I really thought that I was a little in over my head, when I decided to reread the series and gave myself a 2 month deadline to do so. I ended up only reading a little bit of the second book in July, so I really had to make sure that I stayed on top of rereading the series, and the audiobooks helped so much. It was really cool to experience the story in a different medium. I absolutely loved rereading this series, and I'm so tempted to just start it back up again, since the Kindle in Motion edition of the first book just came out.

So those are all the books I read in August. There are a ton of new books coming out this month that I've been looking forward too, and I also want to continue on with the Queen of the Tearling. School has just started back up, but I'm hoping that I'll still have a good amount of time to read for fun and not just dense scholarly papers. - Jessica