A Thrilling Post: Why Can’t I Read Thrillers and Love Them?

I have a love-hate relationship with reading thrillers. I continue to consume them but none of them really thrill me. I’ve found with a lot of books that readers claim to have “shocked” them I go into them expecting the same thing only to be extremely underwhelmed because I guess the twist ending before it comes close to happening. One big example of this was when I read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (shockingly I never once got spoiled on it despite waiting so long to read it). I guessed the ending long before the actual ending but I still enjoyed reading the book nonetheless.

I’ve been picking up a lot of thrillers recently in the hopes of finding something that will actually wow me. I’m not sure how well this will end up going though. It seems by the end of every thriller I’ve read I find myself trudging along and just waiting for it to be done. I’m not sure why I’ve been in such a thriller/horror kick but I kind of think it’s just my anticipation for fall and Halloween… JUST GET HERE ALREADY SPOOKY SEASON. (Though I’m really not excited for winter but I genuinely cannot wait for fall).

I’m starting to wonder if I just go into thrillers with too high of expectations or if I’m just letting my pessimistic viewpoint of the books I’ve already read turn me off from new books too early. I think that one thing that really gets to me with this genre is that it’s typical with other genres for books to follow patterns. With thrillers following the same patterns, however, they become far too predictable for me.

One thing that I’ve begun to do when picking up thrillers is not reading a description. I’ve started doing this with a lot of books but especially with thrillers because if I know too much about the plot I start trying to pick out the loopholes and the whodunnit way too quickly instead of just allowing myself to be immersed in the story.

The main thing that I’m going to take from reading all the thrillers that I plan to is that despite the fact that in the end they don’t always impress me they’re still good. There are very few thrillers that I get all the way through and genuinely hate. If I do hate it there was most definitely something objectively wrong. A lot of thrillers are messy with unreliable narrators and I’ve come to accept that those things are just part of reading these types of books. For a while it was so hard for me to not get so incredibly frustrated with how idiotic some of these characters act until I forced myself to feel the fear and unease that they feel and realize that for the most part, they aren’t thinking straight.

If you have any recommendations of thrillers you think I should read, leave me a comment so that I can add them to my list! I’ve got a lot that I’m planning on working through and I’d love to have more.

In addition to reading a lot of thrillers, I’ve also been watching a lot of thrillers and I’d like to recommend two to you now.

The first is called The Endless:

Overall I found this movie really well done. It was very trippy and I already want to watch it again.

And the second is called I Am Mother:

This one is a Netflix original and I just watched it the other night and holy cow it genuinely fucked me up because robots and AI are one of my biggest fears and this entire movie played into that. I highly recommend.

So far this month I’ve read three thrillers and I’m already deciding which one I want to read next so expect to see a lot from this genre in my wrap up at the end of the month! Maybe I’ll be able to talk about something that wows me!

 

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State Park Chronicles: Nerstrand & Lake Sakatah

A few years ago, when I bought my first yearly state park pass, I made it my personal mission to try and go to every single state park in Minnesota. While living in Duluth for a few years I frequented parks like Gooseberry and Jay Cooke and this summer I’ll be making my 9th trip (I’ve gone there eight years in a row!) to Itasca State Park and camping with my best friend.

I’ve decided to chronicle my trips to all of the state parks here on the blog. I mean I might as well considering it’s been quite some time since I’ve kept up with the “Adventure” part of Adventures and Espresso. Not sure if I’ll go back and pull old pictures from some of those northern parks or if I’ll post new ones the next time I decide to drag myself to the North Shore.

To kick off this series, however, I’ve got two parks to share with you! Nerstrand Big Woods and Lake Sakatah. I went to both of these in one day, a Saturday a few weeks ago. Afterwards I promptly ended up sick, either with incredibly bad allergies or a virus. I’m still recovering from that!

Alright, so let’s start off with Nerstrand Big Woods State Park:

This park is located northeast of Faribault and takes it’s name from the Big Woods which is a large contiguous forest that covered most of Minnesota back when. Here’s a little snippet from the DNR about it:
When the first settlers arrived in 1854, they discovered an island of woods in the vast oak savanna prairie which now makes up Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. Sugar maple, basswood, oak, hickory, aspen, elm, ash, and ironwood trees shade the land. Over 200 varieties of wildflowers, along with countless varieties of ferns and mushrooms grew in the Big Woods.

Park highlights include 11 miles of hiking trails, gorgeous wildflowers, and a “hidden” waterfall!

While I was there I hiked around 6 miles. The trails were really nicely upkept and there were only a few spots where the mud got bad in the middle of the trails. It’s really nice and shaded for most of the trails, so many huge trees help with that. I think the only thing that I disliked was that the trail that leads back from the waterfall to the parking lot is almost entirely uphill… That was rough!! But I made it!!

I would love to go back to Nerstrand in the fall because I bet the trees will be absolutely gorgeous! I highly recommend this park.

 

The second park that I went to was Lake Sakatah. Members of the Dakota Nation originally inhabited this area and they named it Sakatah which loosely translates to Singing Hills. Cannon River, which the lake is part of, was an important way of travel for the Native Americans of this area because the Big Woods in this area made it difficult to travel across land.

So what did I think of Lake Sakatah? I was there for I think half an hour total? I will definitely go back there but the amount of mosquitos was so horrendously bad that I had to leave. I was coated in bug spray and yet they were still all over me. It was awful! There also wasn’t anything really clearly marking trails and I think that from where you park you almost have to take the main park road back to trails but I also didn’t do a ton of exploring to try and find out otherwise.

It has a nice fishing pier though and the lake seems gorgeous so if you’re more of the fishing or boating type over the hiking type this might be a good park for you to check out.

I think I’ll try to return there sometime this fall when the bugs have died off and attempt to explore just a little bit more. There’s also a paved biking/hiking trail that runs 39 miles from Mankato to Faribault and I think it would be fun to bike this sometime.

Overall it was a really fun day and it was great to be able to check two parks off my list. Hopefully I’ll be able to update this series soon! Just as long as the weather is nice I’m hoping to spend at least one day every weekend out at different state parks.

 

5 Things I Really Wish I Knew Before I Went To College

Since I’m going back to school this month, even though it’s technically online so I won’t really be going to school, I felt like I should share some stuff I learned the first time that I tried giving college a go.

This post is going to be five of the main things that I really wish that I would have known going in to my freshman (and sophomore) years.

It is perfectly okay to eat alone.

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I actually worked at the dining hall at my former college for three years. It was one of the best jobs that I ever had and it was a great work-study opportunity (so if you’re looking in to on campus jobs and the dining hall is hiring don’t push that one aside, it might be worth it!). Anyways, most freshmen are required to buy meal service plans if you live on campus. With working, however, I also got a free meal every single shift I worked. I also never went to the dining hall alone to eat.

If you’re wondering what that means, I basically wasted $2,500 because I didn’t utilize my meal plan in the slightest. I lived off of granola bars and ramen and oatmeal and the meals I ate during my shifts at work. I felt awkward and uncomfortable going to the dining hall by myself because I didn’t want to be that weird person that ate alone… Even though I was already the weird person that no one liked anyways so would it really have mattered? Absolutely not.

So if you’re in the same sort of mindset that I was in where you feel like you can’t go and get food by yourself, just know that it’s perfectly okay to do so. Food is more important than the potential judgment you might get. And in all honesty, how stupid is it to sit there and judge someone for eating by themselves?

And once you start eating by yourself? It’s really hard to go back to eating with other people. You can eat as much as you want, as slow or as fast as you want, and if you want to listen to music or read a book while you’re eating you can do it all in peace!! Definitely one of the best decisions was realizing it was okay to eat by myself.

Though I will say that if you don’t feel comfortable eating by yourself because you have to walk across campus to get to your dining hall, I completely understand that fear. I was lucky enough to go to a school where freshmen lived in the same building as the dining hall so I only had to walk down a few flights of stairs in order to get food.

Accessibility services aren’t just for those with visible disabilities and along with this, learn how to stand up for your accessibility!

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My next tip has everything to do with accessibility. If you are unaware, I struggle really badly with mental health. By the end of my freshman year I was in a horrible place with my anxiety and it really only kept going downhill. Two of my roommates sophomore year were registered with our accessibility services on campus and they urged me to do the same. I kept putting it off though because I was convinced that there was nothing that could be done to help me in my struggles.

I’ve never had issues with getting my work done on time and I’ve never had issues with testing. If you’re like me, you probably think that all the services could offer up would be the opportunity to take longer on tests or that someone would be able to take notes for you in class. But surprisingly I was wrong.

Some of my accommodations were the ability to have no consequences from calling in “sick” to class (especially in those classes that you could potentially lose entire letter grades from missing more than 2 classes) and also extensions on assignments if I needed one. Other people I know had accommodations for bathroom use during class, for the use of computers, and even for the requirement of speaking in class.

I think the biggest thing with this point is that you know what will help you succeed the most and if you’re in a position where you can request accommodations then do it. It’s not just for those with physical disabilities and there are a lot of ways that these people can work with your professors in order to help you succeed and thrive in school.

And if either a professor or someone else keeps you from using your accommodations or anything like that then always stand up for yourself and bring it to the attention of those in the disability/accommodation office and ask them for help in solving the problem. Sometimes this requires you to send multiple emails or make multiple phone calls but in the end it comes down to making sure that you are getting what you need.

If your advisor doesn’t work with you, find a new one.

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When I was given my official major advisor sophomore year I was thoroughly unimpressed with who they’d assigned me to. The first time I ever set up an appointment with him he told me that he refused to even meet with me because he “had no proof of me as his advisee”. I almost had to register for classes late and ended up not even discussing what classes I was going to be taking with him. Instead, I was “advised” by one of the heads of academic advising stuff solely because my advisor refused to even acknowledge that I existed.

That same semester I had also had a class with this professor and was thoroughly unimpressed with who he was. The class itself was interesting but that also came from the fact that I had a friend that I sat next to and we spent a decent amount of our time doing other work on our own computers and laughing at the absurdity of his teaching style. By the end of the semester I was well on my way to finding a new advisor and ended up making the official switch to a professor that I often frequented the office hours of and really enjoyed his classes and was very helpful and knowledgable in what I actually wanted to do with my future.

If you start off your college career with an advisor and you find out that they are not a good fit for you, find someone else. Don’t spend your time frustrated and annoyed with who is helping you decide and shape your entire future. Advisors are, yes, supposed to help you pick and find classes and guide you towards graduation but if you feel like you can’t connect to them in any way, I urge you to find someone that you can. It will be better in the long run I can promise you that!!

People can be just as catty and cliquey as they were in high school. Just because you’re all adults doesn’t mean that everyone will act like one.

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Be careful who you make friends with. Be careful who you spill all your deep dark secrets to. Prioritize yourself, your well being, and who you are as a person and if other people can’t handle who you are then how good of a friend were they in the first place? I feel like this statement is universal even to the real “grown up” world of full time work. People can be extremely immature forever. If your group of friends chooses to ditch you because you work at the only time they ever want to meet up then move past it and find some people who actually want to put the effort into spending time with you. There are better people out there.

Do your laundry and printing at weird hours.

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If your laundry room and printers are available at all hours, I urge you to find the weirdest times to go and do your laundry and printing. I would often go to the computer lab after 10 PM and there were many weekends where I would go do my laundry before 8 AM. Mid-week around early to mid afternoon were also a really slow time for the laundry room too. Don’t get stuck in the mile long line trying to print off your essay 10 minutes before your class starts. And laundry is so much less stressful when you don’t have to worry about someone else dumping your wet clothes, or your clean dry clothes, onto the floor because they’ve decided that they want the machine they’re in.

 

So I’m not really sure how helpful this post is but I hope you took something away from it. If you’re heading off to your freshman year this year, what are you most excited about? If you’re in school, what weird piece of advice do you have for freshmen?

Review: 100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons

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I’m going to start off by saying that I am sad. Sad because of how good this book could have been… And I feel like that is just the entire theme of my reading this year. I swear I say this for at least one book every month: IT HAD THE POTENTIAL AND THEY SHOULD HAVE WORKED IT OUT A LOT LONGER BEFORE PUBLISHING IT.

So I got an ARC of this book from NetGalley and was super excited to read it. I mean look at that cover, one of the prettiest covers I’ve seen in a while. It started off really good but in the end I had to rate it 2/5 stars.

This book is about a girl named Tessa who got into a car accident with her grandma which resulted in her being temporarily blind for can you guess? 100 days.

Tessa is a poetry blogger and so in an attempt to help her feel a little bit more normal again, her grandparents try to run an ad in the newspaper to find someone who can help her type the poems and publish them onto her blog.

In comes Weston, an amputee. He’s decided that this is the perfect opportunity to be treated like a completely normal person for the first time since he lost his legs. He asks Tessa’s grandparents to not tell her what has happened to him and together they work together as Tessa slowly recovers from the accident.

I’ll start off with the things that I did enjoy about the book:

The story was very sweet at times. I appreciated how close Tessa was with her grandparents and that she had a close group of internet friends that she found through her blogging. I also really liked Weston’s family aspect and how close he was to his brothers.

The writing was really pleasant to read and it was so easy to read that I flew through multiple chapters at a time when I actually had a chance to sit down and read this. I also liked that it was a pretty straightforward story with really no dilly dallying around the plot. It was short and got right through it all.

Also these are very small issues but if you’re looking for a book about blogging, this isn’t it. They basically talk about Tessa’s blog a total of three times. And it’s an extreme case of insta love.

And now… We get to the really big issues I had.

Both Tessa and Weston had extremely traumatic things happen to them. Tessa was in an accident that caused her to lose her vision and Weston had to have both of his legs amputated after getting an infection. And they were both left to just deal with the aftermath of that by themselves… I mean yes, they had their families but they never went to therapy, they never talked about therapy, it just didn’t happen.

When something traumatic happens your entire brain chemistry can change. The mental consequences of events like these are horrifying and I’m absolutely appalled that you could clearly see that both of these characters were suffering with PTSD like symptoms and yet were not ever treated like it was something that should be taken care of or evaluated. I mean Tessa had the chance of never being able to see again and they just decided “okay she can just learn how to deal with that if she doesn’t get her vision back”.

I mean, what would have happened if she didn’t get her vision back (which also I found that her getting her vision back immediately on Day 100 was so trite and predictable, really didn’t like that). If she had been permanently blinded she would have lost all hope that she had at her chance of recovery. That would have been devastated and her already fragile mental health would have been destroyed. I just think that the entire aspect of mental health was poorly written in order to have this incredibly preachy underlying message about how we all need to suck it up and get over our issues.

Here’s more on that, first with a quote:

“Everyone’s always treating me like I need help- and, sometimes, it’s hard to resist giving in. It’s hard to resist accepting what the world says about you… That you’ve got a disadvantage, a flaw, a problem. Because these days we’re told that it’s okay to let our problems control us. It’s okay to be the victim. It’s okay… because you have every right to be miserable.” I shook my head slowly, sweeping the room with my gaze.

“But I want to tell you that it’s not okay. It’s not okay to let your problem stop you from doing anything you want to do. It’s not okay to be your problem… because you’re a person”

I mean like the line on the cover says… “When life knocks you down… Get up” it just breaks me knowing how many people out there want you to feel like you are not allowed to feel the way that you feel. No, you can’t live every single day of your life miserable but you can’t go around acting like everything is peachy keen, sometimes you are the victim. Sometimes you are completely broken down. Sometimes you feel like giving up. And you know what? I’m here telling you that that is okay. We can’t possibly have everything together all the time.

Sometimes, our handicaps, our hurts, our abuses… Sometimes they win. And no those problems are not who we are but they are a part of us and we can’t ignore them in order to make everyone else around us think better of us. Sometimes we get knocked down and we can’t get back up again for a while. And I really, really don’t appreciate how this book preaches to the fact that we shouldn’t feel bad for what is wrong with us. I’m sorry but I will never be fully strong. I will never fully win. And I am incredibly angry that this book is trying to tell me that I am pathetic, yes it makes me feel pathetic, for feeling the way that I do.

There’s another line very early on in the book that says something along the lines of “no one ever sees the light by being told that someone else is dealing with something darker” and THAT is what I wanted to see more of. I have been told time and time again in my life that there are people out there that have it worse than me and that I’m not allowed to feel the way that I do because of that. I don’t know if I’m just being overly sensitive but it really hurt me to have Weston talk the way that he did despite never doing anything for himself to get help about his mental health other than deciding that he needed to essentially “man up” and just do whatever he wanted no matter what anyone else thought.

I just don’t understand how this author can go from writing a beautiful line like that to preaching that we aren’t allowed to be miserable about what is wrong with us. Especially because right after that quote Weston basically plays the victim saying that he can’t possibly be with Tessa because he’s an amputee. It just made no sense to me. I mean if Weston doesn’t want people to treat him like his handicap then he can’t act like that when that finally comes up.

I just think the story overall was so immature and absolutely poorly told in both cases of disability. I really wish that I hadn’t read this book because I know I’m going to get angry every single time I think about it.

I think that this book puts out a really entitled message and I’m really disappointed. This is not a book that I would recommend. I really wish that this book had been different.

I also wanted to share a link to another review that touched on some things that I didn’t talk about here. You can find that here.

Review: The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

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Apparently, romance does still have the potential to melt my cold, dead heart. Y’all, this book was so good. I got an eARC of The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai from NetGalley to review here.

This book centers around Rhiannon, an extremely cynical dating app creator who helped to revolutionize the dating scene. She got burned by a mystery match who ghosted her and then ends up finding out he’s a famous ex-football player and working with another dating website. She fumbles around with the idea of giving him a second chance and going against everything she believes about love and relationships. 

I found myself relating to how hard and cold Rhiannon is to love for herself and yet enjoying seeing it flourish in other people. Every single character was so unique and diverse. The main character is black, the love interest (Samson) is Samoan. Rhiannon’s assistant is a lesbian, her best friend is plus sized and has agoraphobic anxiety (I really really really hope that Alisha Rai does spin off stories of some of these side characters). One of Samson’s friends is a stay-at-home dad.

To me, these characters are coming up on that level of unique that I felt in Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston and honestly that’s all I could ask for from side characters.

The relationships in this were also all so good. Friendships, family, and love, just all very healthy and strong and I ate it up. There were also much deeper storylines regarding feminism, concussions in football, and toxic/abusive relationships and sexual harassment.

I hope it comes as no surprise that I rated it 5/5 stars! This was such a breath of fresh air after some of the not so great and sad books I’ve read recently. It was such a kick ass story and I am definitely going to be picking up my own copy of this soon!

One of the things about this story that I absolutely loved more than anything was how well Samson handled learning about Rhiannon’s “baggage”. How he just accepted all the trust issues she had and went with whatever she felt comfortable with. Like when she couldn’t handle being called by her full name, Samson immediately got himself to call her Rhi and never once tried to act like he could change the way she felt about her full name during intimate moments.

And at the end of the book when he said that he would take her as is trust issues and all? Guys, I bawled. Samson was such a sweet and caring man and even when he was getting down and dirty in bed he was still a good man.

If Alisha Rai writes more books in this universe of characters I will definitely be picking them up!

I would recommend this book to you if you like romance with slightly deeper plots, really sweet romance, and aren’t the biggest fan of smut. This definitely had some smutty scenes but it wasn’t overly done in my mind (I’m very picky with romance books in that sense). Also, if you’re like me and lean towards the cynical side when it comes to love and romance, see if this book can melt some of that ice cold heart for you too 😉

This book is out today so you can pick up a copy of your own at the links below if you’re interested!

Amazon // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

Mid Year Book Freakout Tag

I know, I know… It’s August. I should have done this tag in June. But honestly y’all, when have I ever been committed to doing anything in a timely manner. The answer is never. Like I try, I really try, but it usually doesn’t happen. I mean have I told you yet that my best friend and I do this thing where we never give each other birthday/Christmas presents on time? I think the record is six months after the fact?

ANYWAYS………..

Without further ado, here is me, doing my first tag:

At the time of writing this post, I’ve read a total of 30 books. I’d really like to double that number (at least) by the end of the year. Though I am starting school at the end of this month so I guess we’ll see how well that actually goes.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019.

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Lilac Girls by Mary Hall Kelly

This is a book that is going to have me thinking about it for years to come. I know that a lot of people have very mixed opinions about this book but I for one absolutely loved it. It just showed me yet more perspectives of the devastation and horrors of World War II and I can’t wait to pick up Mary Hall Kelly’s second novel.

I picked this book up on a whim when it was one of those “Buy 3 get 1 free” books at Barnes and Noble and it had been sitting on my bookshelf for almost a year. Books like this always take me forever to read and yet I love them so I’m really glad I picked it up!

I reviewed it here.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019.

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So the only sequel that I’ve actually read so far this year was A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. I will also probably be reading this a second time this year if I ever get around to finishing my reread/annotation of the Throne of Glass series because I plan on doing the same to the ACOTAR series.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

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The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

I’ve read most of Sarah Dessen’s books and I bought this newest one not long after it came out but it’s still sitting unread on my bookshelf. I’m planning on reading all of her books soon but not sure how long it will take me to read. I was thinking of reading them in publication order but I haven’t quite decided yet! Something about Dessen’s books just feel like home to me. They’re so familiar and soothing to me in a way that I can’t really explain and because of that I really want to read this because I know that it will let me forget about all of my own problems for a while.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

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Since everyone is cancelling her, I would just like to say PLEASE GIVE ME AN ARC. The more that people try to complain about this book the more I want to read it. Honestly I am in a huge mood for dark and twisted stories and I can’t wait to get my hands on this. I haven’t read one of Leigh’s books since the first book in the Grisha trilogy but I did love that at the time so I’m looking forward to this one.

5. Biggest disappointment.

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

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ugh. That’s all I want to say about this book anymore. If you want to read my full thoughts, you can look at my review here.

6. Biggest surprise.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

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I think I need to go into all books knowing absolutely nothing about them from here on out. Full review linked here!

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Casey McQuiston

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I love the way she writes characters! Red, White, and Royal Blue is a new favorite and I’m so looking forward to her new stuff. Also she’s a hoot to follow on Twitter!

8. Newest fictional crush.

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Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones! I read this back in January and I don’t actually have many fictional crushes. I don’t really have crushes in general anymore but I do remember enjoying Howl. I really need to reread this already. And I need to watch the movie!

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Clark from The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson could also be an answer but he’s not technically a new crush because I didn’t actually read that book for the first time this year.

9. Newest favourite character.

The entire cast of Red, White, and Royal Blue. Honestly none of the other characters in the other books I’ve read this year have truly stood out to me. But the personalities behind each and every character in RWRB were so genuinely unique and special and I loved that.

10. Book that made you cry.

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

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Radio Silence by Alice Oseman was a close second but TOoL made me actually bawl while I was at work and I had to try and clean myself up and pull it together every time a customer came in.

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Radio Silence though was such a cathartic read, I related to the characters on such a deep level that it really got to me. If I had read this book in high school I’m sure it would have meant even more to me. My review can be read here.

11. Book that made you happy.

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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This book had me literally squealing from happiness on multiple occasions. And the more Casey talks about her new book I cannot WAIT for that to get closer to release. In depth review at this link.

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta

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Absolutely love the cover of this book! Still need to read it though.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

All of the ARCs that I have received through NetGalley so far… I’m a really bad person and fell behind because of mental health being a nightmare. But other than that, here are the books that I need to read:

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

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Daisy Jones and the Six

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After I Do

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I just need to read those last three books by Taylor Jenkins Reid in order to do the blog post I was planning on for those. I keep going to pick them up and then not actually going through with opening them up to read them. Moments like this when I wish I could listen to audiobooks.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

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I am such a fake Maureen Johnson fan… Guys I still haven’t read Truly Devious and I am distraught. Though it might be in my best interest to wait until the last book comes out and then I can binge read them. WE SHALL SEE. And granted it came out when I was not reading or following anything book related but still!!

A single Jane Austen book

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Because I started that reading Jane Austen blog series waaaaay back when and still have yet to read a single page of one of her books!

Harry Potter 3-7

I think I talked in my Mid-Year Blog Goals post that I wanted to finally finish my Harry Potter quote series before the end of the year. So that means that I have to read 3-7 by December and compile all the quotes for those posts.

This list could be like about 100 books long but I think I’ll leave it at that. There are a lot of other books that I really hope to get to this year but I’ll have to see how well I can figure out balance once classes start. Fingers crossed I get through any of my anticipated books 🙂

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They say that time heals.

And sometimes I think that’s true.

I can finally listen to George Ezra again. I can finally wear my favorite dresses again.

I can drink chai tea and look at the moon and dream about the stars and my stomach no longer twists itself into knots.

 

But nothing you touched has ever healed.

No amount of time could ever touch it.

Parks and Rec just isn’t the same. Not since I was April and you were my Andy.

I still read every food label. Gluten hides in everything.

Chipotle makes me sad. Us sitting on that ledge and you happy dancing with your food. You happy was the best thing in the world. Your smile was pure sunshine.

 

I don’t know whether to wish for every memory of you to disappear because you were the best thing that ever happened to me.

Or just accept that no one I ever meet again will compare to you.

They tell you to fall in love with your best friend. And I did.

And it

tore

me

apart.

I wish I could start it over again. I wish I could stop missing you. I wish I could stop loving you.

I think that even if time tried to touch you, I wouldn’t let it. I’ll just let it pass me by.

If time really heals I hope it heals you.

 

July Reading Wrap Up

Well, hopefully this post will be short and sweet for you today! I read a total of seven books in July, it was a really slow reading month. Nothing has been able to hold my attention so I spent most of my month doing crossword puzzles and watching (and rewatching) Letterkenny.

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

fixherup

2/5 stars

This book had so much potential and completely did not live up to any expectations that I had. I was so disappointed in the story and the characters. Full review here. A lot of people really liked this book but honestly it just wasn’t to my taste whatsoever.

Amazon // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters

deadgirlsclub

4/5 stars

As of right now, four stars is my rating. I’m not really sure if I’m going to stay with that rating because the more I think about the story the more I’m not sure I liked it as much as I thought I did. There were was this underlying question of the possibility of supernatural aspects through the whole story and that really intrigued me and unfortunately I think that might be really the only thing I liked about the story.

Full review will be out when the book is released in December (wow that’s a long wait, I didn’t even realize that).

Amazon // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository  (Preorder links)

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

oppositeofloneliness

5/5 stars

This is in my top five favorite books of all time. Marina Keegan was a beautiful writer and I get emotional every time I think about this book. Her story is tragic but I hope that her writing lives on in people’s hearts and heads for a very, very long time. She had a lot of stuff worth saying. I found myself relating to her fiction stories more and more this time around and her nonfiction essays really pack a punch.

Here’s the link to my discussion post about my reread.

Amazon // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

5/5 stars

princeanddressmaker

This was such a cute read! I really liked it. I almost cried at the ending, it was heartwarming and sweet. What a unique story!

Amazon // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

sisters

5/5 stars

Raina Telgemeier is my favorite graphic novelist. I have loved every one of her books and I love the story in this one. Cute illustrations and a fun story I really highly recommend these graphic novels to everyone.

Amazon // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu

mooncakes

4/5 stars

This graphic novel comes out in October which I think is perfect because it’s a great fall read. The colors evoked that feeling for me as did the witchy story. The illustrations were gorgeous and there were a few that I would really enjoy getting full size posters of. I’m looking forward to picking up a finished copy when it comes out!

I had some problems with some of the dialogue feeling incredibly juvenile and a lot of the story felt underdeveloped. Sometimes this was due solely to the fact that the characters just didn’t want to talk about what they were experiencing which I felt wasn’t fair to us as readers. I would still definitely recommend it and I look forward to any further stories in this world.

Amazon // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

Sadie by Courtney Summers

sadie

5/5 stars

This book was really surprising! I had no idea what it was about going into it, I didn’t even read the description before beginning. It was really, really good though and I highly recommend it. It was very dark and sad but it was a story worth reading. If you’d like to read more of my thoughts, you can read my review here.

Amazon // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

Those are all the books that I read in July! Here’s to another month of reading! I’m hoping on finding some really good books to read in August. I’ve been so underwhelmed lately by what I’ve been reading and it’s really forcing that reading slump on me even more.

What was your favorite book that you read in July? Any big plans for reading in August?

 

** I received The Dead Girls Club and Mooncakes from NetGalley for free in exchange for honest reviews.

 

Reread Discussion: The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

Marina Keegan was 22 when she died the day after her college graduation. She was the same age that I am now and if she were still alive today she would be 30. After she passed, her parents, friends, and professors put together a book of her writing; both fiction and non-fiction, to be published.

Her essay, “The Opposite of Loneliness” was an overnight success and her book, which was named for the essay, was published in 2014. It was well received and widely talked about it and I don’t remember when I got it but according to Goodreads, the first time that I read it was in December of 2015. I can vaguely remember reading it by my desk lamp in my freshman dorm, tears streaming down my face and trying not to wake up my roommate because I was crying. I read it in one sitting.

As I sort of mentioned in a post last week, I’m really struggling right now. There are so many uncertainties, so many what-ifs and if-onlys that consume almost every waking thought.

Before I continue on with my post, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite excerpts from The Opposite of Loneliness. This is from the opening essay:

Of course, there are things we wish we’d done: our readings, that boy across the hall. We’re our own hardest critics and it’s easy to let ourselves down. Sleeping too late. Procrastinating. Cutting corners. More than once I’ve looked back on my high school self and thought: how did I do that? How did I work so hard? Our private insecurities follow us and will always follow us.

But the thing is, we’re all like that. Nobody wakes up when they want to. Nobody did all of their reading (except maybe the crazy people who win the prizes…). We have these impossibly high standards and we’ll probably never live up to our perfect fantasies of our future selves. But I feel like that’s okay.

We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lie alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out- that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it’s too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.

Every time I read the sentences “We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time.” It gives me chills. Just knowing that Marina was so young, that twenty-two is really young, it’s just scary. Everything we’ve ever done or wanted to do could be taken away from us in a second. It makes my anxiety consume me…

I remember hitting birthday “milestones”, 13 (my golden birthday), then 16, 18, 21… And now I’m only a few weeks away from being 23. I am so young and yet I feel like I have spent my entire life failing. I took school too seriously, I gave up on dreams, I dropped out, I fell in love, I fucked up, I got hurt, I created things, I destroyed things. I have experienced so much in my lifetime and yet I feel like I have done nothing. I feel like I could never create something that would make an impact, that I will never amount to anything. I feel like, because I didn’t do something by now that I will never do anything. And we’re constantly reminded that we’re not promised tomorrow, I mean look at what happened to Marina, her entire life was open in front of her and she never got to see the possibilities that she had in store.

As I read through Marina’s book this time around, I found myself more inspired than I have been in a while. It occurred to me that I spent my entire childhood dreaming about writing. Filling journal after journal, making up crazy stories, oversharing and always being dramatic. But I don’t think I was ever once told that maybe, just maybe, I was good enough to try out writing for a job. I get so inspired by reading things that other people have written, I constantly draft essays and stories in my head, I love editing stuff to make it into something that shines.

The inspiration and push I got from this book after rereading it was something I never imagined getting. And though I still feel like most of my life will be spent wading and wandering and trying to find a place where I truly fit in I genuinely want to say that Marina Keegan is an inspiration to me in a way that no one else has ever been. Though her life was short, her writing will live on in the hearts of many for years to come.

If you’ve never read The Opposite of Loneliness, I urge you to pick up a copy. Or if you don’t feel like reading the whole book, at least read the title essay, I know that you won’t regret it.

Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers

sadie

Last night I finished reading Sadie by Courtney Summers. I’d seen it a few times in various BookTube videos and was intrigued by the cover, 100% a judging the book by the cover situation, and checked it out from my library’s digital collection.

This book is written in an unconventional format told in two perspectives. One perspective is that of a podcast, titled “The Girls”, unfolding the story of Sadie and her sister Mattie as the host gathers more and more information. The second perspective is of Sadie herself, one of the missing girls. I’m a really big fan of stories that have odd formats, it makes it more intriguing to read and so when I saw that this was partly told through a podcast format I was even more excited to read it.

I for one, went into this book knowing nothing about the plot and I find that for mystery/thriller/crime type books that’s really the best way for me to go. If I know too much about the story I find myself trying to predict every twist and turn and end up ruining the book for myself. However, if you do want to know what the book is about here’s the blurb from Goodreads 🙂 –

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

After reading it, I decided to rate it 5/5 stars. There were very few bits that I found myself disliking and I honestly really enjoyed how it ended. I know that there were a lot of people taking off entire stars from their reviews because it was such an open ending but I felt like it was perfect. We don’t always get the endings in life that we want, nor does that happen in books. It felt more realistic to me than if we would’ve had some big happy ending. I felt that justice was served and that was really what Sadie had set out for to begin with. I’m trying to keep this vague to keep from spoiling it too much.

Content warnings for: pedophilia and sexual abuse, assault, murder

I think that this book did a really good job of showing just how hard it is to survive in small towns where no one ever seems to really succeed. That class difference can cause so many issues and is extremely painful to read about. It was really hard to read about how hard Sadie tried to provide a good life for her little sister. How hard she worked to protect her over her lifetime and it broke my heart even more as I read further into the story and found out more and more about the backstory of Sadie and Mattie.

If you are a fan of audiobooks I would recommend picking this one up. I read that it was a full cast audiobook and with the podcast aspect I think that would be a really cool way to experience that. If you’re a fan of true crime type podcasts at all I would recommend checking this book out. It was not an easy read in the slightest but it was such a good story that I know that I’m going to continue thinking about it.

This book was dark and sad and truly a story worth reading. If you’re interested in picking up a copy of your own here are a few links:

Amazon // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository