Sunshine Blogger Award

What a pleasant surprise!! Emer nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award which absolutely made my whole week (still makes me smile even though her post was a while ago… I have just been very behind on any and all posts). She is an absolute gem and if you aren’t following her already you should definitely check out her blog! Thank you, Emer, for the nomination ūüôā

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

How does it work?

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Do you own more than one copy of any book? If yes then what book/s?

I have two copies of most of the books in the Harry Potter series. My paperback ones are incredibly beat up seeing as I’ve read them many, many times since I was 6 so I’ve been trying to get secondhand hardback copies to have ones I can read without fearing they’ll fall apart.

I also have a number of books in both physical format and in ebooks (A few Sarah J. Maas books that I bought to read when I traveled abroad, and also Fangirl).

And, uh, I also have 4(?) copies of Pride and Prejudice even though I still haven’t read it…….

Describe your perfect day.

April 25th

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But really, it would have to be a gloomy fall day. Where the morning starts off foggy and the sun never really comes out of the clouds. You can almost see your breath so all the cozy clothes and accessories are warranted. The ground is covered in soggy leaves and it just rains on and off. I get to aimlessly wander a bookstore and a museum with a nice drink (probably an iced coffee or some chai) and then go home to just sit in bed and read/stream a movie or show that I love.

What attracts you to a book? The cover? Blurb? Recommendation from others?

Cover and title, even though the title really means absolutely nothing to me in the end. I’ve started to just ignore blurbs altogether because I like being surprised by what I’m reading. I’ll read the blurb once to decide if I’m really interested in it or not but then that’s it. I am a sucker for a good cover!!

You are having a dinner party and can invite three famous people (either living or dead) to the party. Who do you invite?

David Tenant, Josh Gates, and Taylor Swift. The closest I have ever gotten to any of them is that my roommate from my London study abroad trip and I stood outside the stage door for a play David Tenant was in and we SAW HIM. IN THE FLESH. He was RIGHT THERE. RIGHT THERE PEOPLE.

Who is your favourite superhero?

Spiderman, probably. Honestly, I say this because I don’t follow the superhero stuff at all. I have seen very few superhero movies (like less than 10 and uh, one of them is Iron Man 3 but I have not seen the other Iron Man movies)… But I have seen almost all of the Spiderman movies and I love Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland.

Which would you prefer to win: an Oscar or a Grammy?

An Oscar. When I was a kid I actually really wanted to be an actress. I was the lead in two or three plays back in elementary school and I feel like if I hadn’t developed such crippling anxiety that I would have continued to pursue theatre. If I could become an actress, even now, I’d take the opportunity right away. Plus I don’t even think if I was a good singer that I would feel comfortable enough to sing in front of people.

What is the first book that you ever wrote a review for?

On this blog, it was¬†Wild by Nature¬†which I actually won in a Goodreads giveaway forever ago!! On Goodreads, though, I guess it was for this book called Girl in the Arena and all I said was “I can’t even put into words how disappointing this was” so I guess it was really bad lol.

Coca Cola or Pepsi?

Pepsi. Unless I’m getting takeout from McDonald’s because then Coca Cola all the way.

And funny story about Pepsi, when I was living with one of my former roommates we basically lived off of Pepsi products (it was a low point for both of us, caffeine and sugar fueled all our antics). So one day we went to the grocery store and they had a crazy sale on six-packs of the pop but they had limits for how many each person could get (I’m sure you can see where this is going). So we each bought the limit and then went out and ran the rest of our errands and then went back to the grocery store hours later and bought the limit again. I want to say it was like 6 packs per person? So we had like 24 6-packs of Pepsi and Mountain Dew…. This is a lil embarrassing now typing this out lol.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Night owl! Funnily enough I literally just wrote a post about this! I could probably become almost nocturnal if my work schedule let me.

What is your all time favourite quote from a book you loved?

‚ÄúStand at the top of a cliff and jump off and build your wings on the way down.‚ÄĚ

From Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. This is the only classic that I read in high school that has absolutely stuck with me over the years. There were so many lines in this book that just made me think but I love this quote because it just fits with my horribly chaotic life. Still working on those wings.

What’s the last book you bought (eBook, audiobook or physical book)?

Uhhhh… So I bought 4 books while shopping with my sister the other day. Guts by Raina Telgemeier, The Alice Network by , Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, and this book about the witches in the Harry Potter series for my sister as an incredibly late birthday/general Halloween present (because I am a GREAT sister).

So with that I am tagging:

Kathryn (K-Specks)

Dana

Nicole

Amanda

Lauren

My questions for y’all if you want to participate are:

  1. What was the book that made you fall in love with reading?
  2. If you had to choose a non-natural color for your hair, what would it be?
  3. What is your favorite holiday?
  4. Do you have any special books in your collection (ex: signed books, special editions, etc)?
  5. If you could get away with one crime, what would it be?
  6. What is a scent that always brings back a good memory?
  7. What is your favorite format to read books in (e-book, audio, hardcover, paperback)?
  8. What makes you laugh until you cry?
  9. If you were a cartoon character, what would your signature outfit be?
  10. Who is a person you admire and why?
  11. What’s the weirdest fun fact that you know?

 

 

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My Favorite Videos To Watch (Play in the Background) While Reading

In a huge turn of events, I have started to quite quickly lose my ability to concentrate on reading anything if I have any background noise in which words are being spoken. This has never been an issue for me in the past and while I’m definitely sad that I can no longer mindlessly listen to a show on Netflix while I read, the situation has turned me on to some new videos that I want to share with you today!

Before, I would put on shows like Parks and Recreation or something short like that or as of late have really enjoyed watching reading vlogs. The only issue though is that now I’ve started to get caught up on the words that are being spoken instead of being able to zone them out. Cue me then reading the same sentence four times and still not being able to understand it.

But since I don’t do well with absolutely no background noise, I’ve turned to “aesthetic” background noise type videos in order to get by and still be able to read. This post was actually inspired in part by Zoe Herdt’s (readbyzoe on Youtube) newest video where she just reads in real time:

I actually watched this three times on Sunday while I was working on getting some reading in for various blog posts! It’s so peaceful and I really hope that she makes more like this. It felt like I was just sitting around reading with a friend and I loved it!

Some of the other videos I’ve found that I absolutely love are these:

These all have been super helpful for me in trying to be more productive with reading and give me that much needed background noise that my brain requires. Also these videos are all so creative and wonderful and I’m very grateful for the content creators who made them! Like that Howl’s Moving Castle themed video is six hours long!! Amazing!

So with that, I’ll sign off and get back to reading because I’m quite behind and have much to do. Talk to you all tomorrow!

Top Ten Tuesday: Extraordinary Book Titles

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Truth be told, I really don’t care about most titles for books? I mean I’m far more invested in the cover and the blurb… But if I had to choose some books that I felt like did have great titles, these would be those:

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry¬†¬†by Fredrik Backman

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

I love this one because it just hurts to read it. Like it evokes so much emotion and it’s literally just the title.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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It’s just clever because, ya know, more than one true love…

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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A book about burning books with the title that happens to be the temperature at which paper catches fire????? Extraordinary I tell you!

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee BenderThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

I haven’t read this book in years now but I remember the first time it ever caught my eye in the library. It was one of the first times I ever wandered into the adult section and this title just kind of ate away at me until I finally checked it out. According to my Goodreads I rated it 4 stars but I also read it in 2012 so I feel like this one warrants a reread sometime soon. Still love the title though.

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

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I will also give a runner up vote to Save the Date solely because the acronym for it is StD lol.

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

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Don’t even have commentary on this other than I love the title.

Pies and Prejudice by Heather Vogel Frederick

Pies & Prejudice

I absolutely love this series! It’s called The Mother-Daughter Book Club series and I am dying to reread it because I found out there’s an additional book that I never knew about! These characters are absolutely so near and dear to my heart and the fact that all of the titles are puns for classic novels makes them even better (I might be lying to you when I say this, they might now all be like this). Pies and Prejudice is my personal favorite ūüôā

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

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This title always makes me think when I read it. Also wondering how many times I can end up mentioning this book this year… So far it’s a lot.

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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I just like the juxtaposition of America and England with the RWB but it’s¬†royal¬†blue.

I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

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This might be the only book that I have ever bought off of title alone. Also another series that I desperately need to reread. Honestly, this whole series has pretty good titles.

So basically this post just shows that I really like really long and clever titles. Pretty much sums it up.

 

 

Middle Grade Monday: Ghosts & Hauntings & Spooks Oh My

Welcome to another Middle Grade Monday! I spent the weekend reading some spooky middle grade books and I’m going to discuss three of them today.

Growing up, I was a big fan of spooky books and unlike the person I have become now, literally any spooky book scared the pants off me as a kid. I’m still scarred over a Goosebumps book that I vaguely remember in which a kitchen sponge came to life.

One of my favorite spooky middle grade writers has been Mary Downing Hahn. I’ve read a number of her books and the two that I read over the weekend were an older one, Deep and Dark and Dangerous, which was published in 2007; and The Girl in the Locked Room, which was published in 2018. (I stole… borrowed… the latter book from my youngest brother and the former was one that I had in my collection from childhood).

I think that overall Hahn is a master at crafting spooky books for young readers. My sister and I devoured so many of her books. Old Willis Place, The Doll in the Garden, and Wait Till Helen Comes were among our favorites. I’d really like to get my hands on those sometime soon to reread!

Of the two books that I read this weekend, I would recommend The Girl in the Locked Room for younger readers. It’s the story of a ghost who has been trapped in a room for over a hundred years and finally meets a girl who may be able to help her. This story was really well done, had me hooked from the beginning and was interesting enough to keep me on the edge of my seat through the end. It was low on the spooky side of things, more mysterious than outright scary which I think will be appreciated by those who don’t like to get jumpy. The ending was fascinating, though I personally would have wanted it to end slightly differently than what was written.

After rereading Deep and Dark and Dangerous, I found myself disliking the story a lot. The story follows a girl named Ali who has been brought on by her aunt to baby sit her younger cousin at the lake cottage that their family used to visit when her aunt and mother were children. There, Ali and her cousin meet a mysterious girl named Sissy and the painful story of the past begins to reveal itself. It’s definitely spooky but the characters are unlikable, absolutely horrid in cases and it just felt jaded. It actually had a lot of the aspects of the first book that I read this weekend which was Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh which I would like to recommend instead.

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Both of these stories had violent ghosts, unbelieving parents, and older kids trying to save younger ones. Spirit Hunters follows a girl who has moved with her parents and siblings to a new house. From the moment they arrive, something feels wrong and the rumor is that the house is indeed haunted.

While I didn’t personally love Spirit Hunters, I 100% understand why so many people do! I think it would definitely have scared the pants off me as a kid and if I wasn’t such a picky adult it probably would’ve spooked me a bit now too. This book has a diverse cast of characters and is #ownvoices for the Korean American rep. I don’t want to say that this felt like an adult trying to write a middle grade book for the first time, but that’s exactly what it felt like. At times it felt like it was trying way too hard to be a middle grade book and I think that’s what kept me from enjoying it as much as I could have. But if you’ve got a kid who wants to get that real haunted house story, definitely have them give this book a try! It had all those scary vibes and was a tense ride as things played out.

I’m interested to see where the Spirit Hunters series goes and will be checking out the second book whenever that is published to see if it happens to grow on me.

I think that young readers would be fans of any of the books of mentioned in this post but I highly recommend The Girl in the Locked Room for mysterious ghost story vibes and Spirit Hunters for that classic haunted house story.

Next week I’ll be discussing a new release so be sure to check back again next Monday!

State Park Chronicles: Interstate State Park

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Well, well, well… Looks like my last state park post was a lie. I had at least one more hike in me. Maybe more, depending on the weather and how much work/school gets to me before it snows. And surprise, surprise, it’s snowing….

Anyways, I tried to go to my library a few weeks back and upon turning into the entrance road I realized that it was Big Truck Day (firetrucks and dump trucks and all that jazz all parked in the parking lot for kids to go check out, very very very popular). I had a panic attack and had to get out of the zoo that was the parking lot as quickly as I could and then I ended up just going home and changing and heading off to Interstate State Park instead. The drive was absolutely gorgeous, the weather was perfect and I’m so glad I ended up spending my whole day outside instead of at the library (though that definitely wouldn’t have been a horrible way to spend the day either).

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Interstate was originally named “The State Park of the Dalles of the St. Croix” and was a joint venture between Minnesota and Wisconsin. It was created in 1895 and then Wisconsin purchased land for their portion in 1900. I thought this was really cool! This is one of Minnesota’s most popular state parks and averages about 300,000 visitors each year.

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If you’re looking for the Hikers Club trail, it’s the River Trail which is about 1.5 miles long. It’s definitely not a bad hike, it’s got amazing views! But make sure you’ve got good shoes and watch where you walk. It’s a very rocky trail and I definitely made a few missteps that had me shaky and almost twisting my ankles. I would rate it more of an intermediate hike, definitely not crazy difficult seeing as it’s relatively short, but with the terrain it could get dicey.

And speaking of views, here are some of my many river pictures:

 

It was super busy when I went out seeing as it was a Saturday and one of the last really good weather Saturdays at that. So I definitely hiked this a lot faster than I was expecting to. Worked up a sweat from going so fast but it was great overall.

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I did find this really nice sort of “hidden” rock overlook that I sat down at to do a little journaling and eat some snacks. There were a number of these along the trail and I tried to stop at any of the ones that didn’t already have people at them!

Nature is 100% my happy place and I could’ve spent all day here if I let myself.

 

After getting to the Glacial Potholes I explored a bit (again, very busy and I always get a little anxious being around people when I’m hiking, which also I feel like I should write an entire post about being a female solo hiker because people always ask me how/why I do that?) If you’re into rock climbing this is the park for you! I didn’t take any pictures of the climbers because I didn’t want to be creepy but you can get a permit and go climbing here. If I wasn’t terrified to try climbing on natural rock I would have loved to give it a go! Maybe someday!

Instead of pictures of the rock climbers, here’s a pic of some candy I ate:

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The glacial potholes area was super cool and if I wasn’t sweaty and tired and wanting to hike back to my car I would have explored this area a bit more. I do have to go back to get a stamp for my state park passport though so I think I’ll explore this area more then! It was really interesting and I wish I would have taken more pictures. Next time!

I snagged this geologic information from the Minnesota DNR website:

About 1.1 billion years ago, earthquakes erupted from Taylors Falls to Lake Superior and caused at least 10 different lava flows. The hardened basalt rock from these lava flows partly formed the Dalles of the St. Croix and the bottom of the river. From 530 million years ago up until 70 million years ago, the state was washed by advancing and retreating seas. Evidence of these ancient seas is revealed in the sedimentary rocks and formations found in the park. These rocks contain fossil remains of ancient animals, evidence of various creatures, and ripple marks left in stone by the now vanished seas.

There have been many different St. Croix Valleys through the ages. The first formed about 70 million years ago and current valley formed about 10,000 years ago. A glacier formed both Glacial Lake Duluth, now Lake Superior, and Glacial Lake Grantsburg, now extinct. Glacial Lake Duluth was much larger than modern day Lake Superior. As this giant body of ice thawed, its meltwaters roared south to carve out the broad valley of the St. Croix. Only very resistant basalts were able to partially withstand the torrent, resulted in the dalles, potholes, and cliffs we see today.

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Author Adventures: Abandoning Projects

Back in July I wrote about 20,000 words in a project that I poured my soul into. And I ended up completely abandoning it. Why? Because it was really, really bad. It was one of the first fiction pieces that I’ve ever composed that made it over a few thousand words. It would have been a very obvious self insert to anyone who knows my real life. It was cringey (to me, who knows if the real world would despise it as much as I was in the end).

The story overall has potential but I wrote about an issue that was plaguing me personally and it was an extremely cathartic writing process. It helped me to mourn a situation that was causing me a lot of problems and move forward. It let me tell a story that I needed to tell in order to heal. There might come a time when I revisit the story but in recent weeks I was inspired by the possibility of two new stories which is great because I haven’t written anything other than poetry in months… And if I’m honest I haven’t written any poetry in a while either.

I’ve always felt this inherent guilt over abandoning projects. But I think the more that I shelve, the more I realize what I’m doing wrong and what I can do to improve. I may be a panster when it comes to writing but I think I actually need to learn how to outline. I’ve never outlined, in school I used to literally write my project/paper and then do the outline if I was required to have one. I like being able to write whatever scene is inspiring me at the time, but that comes at a cost. If I had an outline to follow, I could still do this but instead of just randomly writing really good scenes, I would be writing good scenes in their proper place in my manuscript.

Right now, I’m actually researching (WHO EVEN AM I) for a project that randomly came to me the other day and I’m taking it really slowly. Life is a lot right now and while I totally want to have results *RIGHT NOW* I think that I want to try to not abandon this project… And to do so I need to have my shit together. Which means doing a lot of research and compiling a cohesive outline.

When it comes to abandoning projects, I think I’ve started to take a more “it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later” approach. Though some projects I might never write in again, I’ve definitely started to borrow themes and scenes from old projects in my newer ones. Recycling at its finest!

It’s important to foster the works that you can be proud of and if abandoning something you don’t really want to see the light of day is what it takes to point you to something you could be proud to publish some day then abandon it. On the other hand though, I think it’s also important to not abandon something that you just get momentarily stuck on. If you have more ideas for one project, just keep writing through the stickiness, the editing will help fix it later. (Oof, that sounded so preachy and I apologize haha)

So I guess this was just me confirming that I abandoned a really big project and might potentially be starting two new ones now…

What do you do if you realize you might need to abandon a project? Do you abandon projects? Do you ever pick them back up again and if so how do you know it’s time to revisit it? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. It is October 12 and it is snowing…. Absolutely despicable.

The Biggest Differences Between Online & Traditional Colleges

So when this is going to be posted I’ll have just finished up my first two classes of the school year. Which is totally weird considering it’s only October but if I’m being honest I have actually come to prefer the accelerated speed of the classes that I’m taking. It’s a lot of work but it feels like every assignment is actually worthwhile instead of being busy work.

And actually… That’s a lie. I hate the accelerated speed of the classes and I have to spend every day trying to convince myself not to drop out again ūüôā

I will say though that if I wasn’t required to work full time (and wasn’t already struggling with that whole crazy aspect of life) and could focus more on school I definitely wouldn’t be having the issues that I’m having currently. I’m pretty sure that if I had a different job with different hours and different responsibilities I wouldn’t hate school as much as I do right now. And who knows, maybe I’ll enjoy it more when I start taking different classes.

In my post today I’m going to talk about the some of the biggest differences that I’ve noticed between attending online school and traditional school since I originally went through two full years of school.

Right off the bat, scheduling is completely different. It is up to you to make sure you’re meeting all your deadlines.¬†You don’t have set “classes” that you have to attend throughout the week so when assignments are due, it’s up to you to make sure you dedicate enough of your time to them to complete each one. For both of my classes I have assignments due every Tuesday and Thursday and one of them also has assignments due on Sunday. Do I frantically do my homework every single time it’s due? Yes. Should I probably get better at time management? Yes. But I also really only work well under intense amounts of pressure because I really don’t care about my schoolwork. I talked more about that in this post.

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One thing that I really like is that I go to a school in a different time zone so all my assignments are due at “midnight” which is actually two AM my time so if I ever needed to use the full deadline time, I feel like I have more time to do it. That’s another huge difference. You can go to school anywhere at any time.¬†This is great for people who have a family to care for or have to work full time. Balancing school and work and life is definitely difficult and I wish that I could give you advice on that topic but I am failing miserably and always have so I would recommend looking elsewhere for that kind of advice ūüôā

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For me personally, talking to professors and asking for help is harder.¬†Like hard to the point where I still haven’t filled out a form for disability accommodations because it’s online classes, my mental health shouldn’t matter in terms of needing to be accommodated for… It’s not like I have to miss classes or anything. And in terms of talking to professors. You don’t get the warmth of being in someone’s physical presence. It feels so much more formal than traditional schooling and I hate that. Online school has definitely turned me off from school even further, which sucks but at this point I’m just trying to get my degree and be done with it.

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That formality also carries over to how I feel about my classmates. School feels more like “clock in, clock out” than ever before. When I lived on campus I was constantly immersed in the goings on of literally everyone I interacted with. While online classes can attempt to foster some form of community, unless you put in the effort to get to know your classmates it’s not going to be there the way that it is at traditional schools.¬†For me, this isn’t that big of a deal. I hate getting to know people and one of my defining characteristics is that I’m not part of any sort of community. I get my assignments done and log off. (Which they tell you not to do, but I genuinely don’t care, whoops).

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At this point I think that’s everything that I’ve really noticed that’s different. Other than also that the school that I attend has accelerated classes which means that classes last about 8 weeks each instead of the traditional 16 of a semester. So while I take 4 classes each semester, I only have two going at a time. I do like this because it’s a lot less to keep track of and helps me from getting too bored with one class because it goes by so much faster than a traditional class. It’s definitely a lot of work but at the end of the day I would probably be doing that much work from 4 classes anyways.

I think the main draw to online school is flexibility and I appreciate that but I really am starting to miss traditional school and I’m very sad that I’m not allowed to pursue that anymore. So here’s to more classes and hopefully getting my degree over with sooner rather than later.

 

On Being A Night Owl

Since the end of January now I’ve been working a full time job that requires me to be there at 7 AM Monday-Friday. If all of my posts on burnout and stress over the past few months weren’t an indication enough, I’m not a huge fan of my hours. And don’t get me wrong, for the most part my job is actually pretty great (apart from customers who make me cry and sexually harass me…) and the hours help me avoid having to drive during rush hour but I am not and in no way will I ever be a morning person.

Over the years I have definitely strived to be a morning person, oh I’ve tried so much, but it just doesn’t happen. I can get up comfortably at like 8 or 9 but before that I am one cranky person. Ever since I was a baby I didn’t sleep well at night and over the years that just kind of stuck. I’m actually a big fan of calm and peaceful mornings, cozy beds and big cups of coffee, but it takes a¬†lot¬†of effort in order to be truly productive in the morning. Being awake with enough time to do a full face of makeup and eat breakfast are great but also sleep is much better. Honestly, most mornings I roll out of bed with about twenty minutes to get out the door. I usually do my makeup in my car in the parking lot when I get to work!

At night is when I truly find my energy. It honestly really sucks because I tend to get my energy up right around dinnertime and then almost immediately have to force myself to go to bed. This summer sucked because I was in bed before the sun set most days ūüė¶

I truly love the weekends even when it does completely screw up my sleep schedule. The freedom to stay up as late as I want is amazing. I get so much reading done! I love the peacefulness of a setting sun… When it comes to sunrises now I just get stressed out, it feels like there’s too much that must get done and I have to start rushing. A sunset indicates the end of the day and time to finally enjoy some peace.

I definitely don’t think that I could ever be nocturnal (tried it once, slightly enjoyed it but going to work at 8 PM did get quite stressful) but I feel like I thrive in the dark. Which makes work suck even more because while I enjoy getting 8-9 hours of sleep every night, I feel like I’m missing out on so much of my “me-time”. I genuinely miss staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning working on crazy craft projects or watching TV or reading.

And now, thinking back on high school… I have to wonder how I ever survived it. I would stay up until 3 AM multiple nights a week and then be up and in class by 8:30 AM and then straight to work a few days a week until 7 PM and so on and so forth. Also I really wonder where I would be right now if I had actually channeled all those late nights into something productive instead of just screwing around on Tumblr and YouTube… I guess I did cry over physics homework a lot too but still. Imagine the potential I had that I just wasted!

So I guess this post was just me lamenting about how much I miss being able to stay up late… Those were good times and I really can’t wait to have a different job where I can go back to all my late night shenanigans with no issues. Oh the qualms of a night owl who has to fit herself into a early bird box *cries forever*

Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

As is the case with so many of the books that I review, I got this at my library! I was super pumped that they had it and even more pumped that it had no wait time. 36478784._SY475_

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary takes quite the unique twist on the “there’s only one bed” romance trope. ¬†Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

This book has been a bit hyped up and I was hesitant to start reading it as I haven’t had the best rapport with hyped up books this year. By the end of it though I was pleasantly surprised with how much I had enjoyed it! I actually rated it 5 stars!

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Tiffy and Leon were such distinctively different characters and one of my favorite things about the book was how vastly different the writing styles were between their chapters. It gave them both a unique voice and it seriously made the book for me. When there are more than one narrator in a book I will sometimes get mixed up with who is speaking and this kept them so separate that I never got them mixed up.

I think that all the branched off plot lines in this actually held weight within the story which is not often the case in romance novels. Though I would have loved to see more with Leon’s patients, Holly and Mr. Prior, just because I adored them. Each portion of the felt tied up by the end and I was left feeling satisfied overall.

The characters were unique but not overly done which I really appreciated. I feel like it’s far too easy for side characters in romance books to fall into stereotypical roles. From the beginning I was a bit worried with the introduction of Kay but she ended up being so minor that I kind of just brushed my thoughts of her to the side (I could say a lot about her but I think I’ll refrain from doing so).

One of my personal favorite parts of this book was Tiffy’s job! She works as an editor for craft books and one of her clients crochets and knits and it honestly brought me so much joy to read all those parts. DIY should be included in more books.

I also really enjoyed the romance in this. Seeing the relationship between Tiffy and Leon unfold between notes left around the flat was perfect. I’m a big fan of unconventional relationships like this! Leon has a good chance of being my new favorite love interest. He was so gentle, sweet, and caring and I quite enjoyed reading his chapters (this is definitely not always the case when it comes to dual perspectives with males and females). He was so respectful and just genuine, loved him.

Minor spoilers ahead in terms of trigger warnings and discussing those plots points:

As a warning there is a stalking abusive ex in this book and if you are at all triggered by stuff like that I would probably pass on this book. I felt that the author handled this quite well and this is coming from someone who has been in an emotionally abusive relationship similar to the one Tiffy had been in. By putting her in therapy I felt that was one good step forward but I also felt like this didn’t completely lean in to the whole “love can fix everything”. Tiffy was still uncomfortable with falling into a new relationship but still felt more secure with her new relationship. I don’t know, it just felt good to me.

This was such an unexpected joy to read. It had me feeling all warm and fuzzy by the end and I really want to get my own copy so that I can read it whenever I want to. If you’re looking for a sweet slow-burn with a very happy ending, I would definitely recommend this to you!

Top Ten Tuesday: Character Traits I Love

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

The topic for today is character traits that I love… This kind of stumped me for a while because there are plenty of traits that I like but if they’re executed poorly, then I hate them instead.

I love witty and sassy characters. Oh and characters with a dry sense of humor are always pretty great too.

Gentleness¬†in male characters makes me swoon. Most recently I fell in love with Leon from The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary ‚̧

And also it might be negative but I, on occasion, like¬†arrogant¬†characters that get beaten down to the correct level. And by on occasion I mean I am trash for any arrogant character being put in their place. AKA Draco Malfoy in almost any Dramione fanfiction that I’ve read and loved…….

If they are¬†logical and rational¬†(especially characters in horror/thrillers) then I love them. I have genuinely gotten into fights with people before about how illogical people are in horror movies… One of my exes actually told me that no one could ever write a horror movie or book in which the characters acted completely logically. I have yet to take him up on that challenge but someday I will.

Creative¬†characters with a side of¬†quirky¬†aren’t that bad either. But if they get to the “I’m not like other girls/guys” level then I’m just annoyed.

Characters that are¬†intuitive and introspective¬†are the¬†best.¬†Like if someone can admit that they’re wrong or need to learn something in order to better themselves I stan.

I’m a fan of¬†adventurous and daring¬†characters because they are so the opposite of me. Headstrong¬†female characters are who I look up to, most of the time anyways.¬†I love reading characters that are what I¬†want¬†to be. But on the opposite side of that, I also really like reading¬†anxious¬†characters because they help me see more of myself. Characters who healthily overcome small bits of their anxiety are lovely. I really enjoyed Amy’s character arc in Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, that’s one of my favorite books of all time.

Overall, if your character is¬†dynamic and unique¬†there’s a good chance I’ll enjoy them. Just don’t overdo it or I’ll probably get annoyed.