Saturday, March 25, 2017

Top Five Winter Reads + Reading Stats

Hello friends,

First things first, I finally redesigned my blog!! I've been wanting to do this for awhile and I'm so happy with how it turned out. As you can see, I even renamed my blog. Thoughts? Thanks to the beautiful and wonderful Julia, I was able to get something on the blog that I really love and I'm super excited for this new look, so I'm really hoping you guys like it too.

Today I'm discussing my top five reads of the winter. I thought this would be an easier way to discuss my reading life versus giving an overview of every book I read during the month. My winter reading season was pretty decent, so I'm really excited to share with you the new books I discovered and enjoyed during the past couple of months.

1. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

  • THE WRITING IS ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL. Hannah Kent writes in a way that is so completely raw. At times it was so formal and stoic, and then other times completely atmospheric and haunting. She wrote in a way that placed you in the middle of the story, in the center of the characters' minds. It was phenomenal. 
  • COMPLETELY RAW IN EVERY WAY. Like wow, Kent weaved together a story the was so dark and bleak and kept nothing out. She was not shy about including the messy, grittiness of 19th century rural Iceland. My heart broke multiple times, let me tell you. So much hurt and human endurance were within these pages.
  • SO CHARACTER DRIVEN. This might not be a plus for some people, but I adore character driven books, so this made me even happier with the story. We follow the life of Agnes, who she is, who she was, and how she got to the point of killing her master. I was so deep into her life, it was difficult to put the story down.
  • HISTORICAL GOODNESS. I adore historical fiction and am so excited I found another one that I love. Kent actually was inspired to write this story from her travels in Iceland, which I find so awesome.
  • DESCRIPTION GALORE. As a person who has never been to Iceland, I don't know exactly what the countryside looks like, but that didn't matter with Burial Rites because Kent had such a strong descriptive voice. The characters, landscape, and environment were perfectly illustrated,

  • OCCASIONALLY A LITTLE TOO GRAPHIC. As I said, the story itself is extremely raw and Kent doesn't sugar coat anything, thus giving an occasional violently or sexually graphic scene. 
  • A LITTLE DRY PLOT WISE. You sort of know what the outcome is going to be when you start the book, so there's not a huge complex plot you're following. 

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

  • SO MANY HUGGABLE CHARACTERS. Kvothe is my baby, I adore him. He's sassy and smart and flawed and just adorable. And all the side characters are just precious little cinnamon buns (you know, except for all the evil people) and I want to be friends with them all. 
  • MAGIC. Umm this is a really solid reason and doesn't really need explaining, but the magic system is so cool!! Plus there's a magic school so obviously it's a pretty awesome read.
  • ACTION AND PLOT GALORE. So much was going on in this story and it really worked. I loved following Kvothe's life, rooting for him. and uncovering secrets. You span so many events with Kvothe, so it's just really cool and exciting. 
  • MUSICALLY TALENTED PEOPLE. There was so much focus on music and the importance of it. All I want in my life is to listen to Kvothe play his lute and sing. 
  • ALSO THERE WAS A DRAGON. Which is amazing and worth all 700 pages right? 

  • A BIT SLOW AT TIMES. Although I really loved the characters and there was quite a bit of action, there were a few times the story dragged a bit, but that's to expected in such a chunky book. Because of those slow moments, it took me longer to finish this book than it normally would have. 

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

  • SUPER DEVELOPED CHARACTERS. Like wow, all of them were so amazing and fleshed out. I adored our two main characters and their butt kicking friends. The evil characters were also nicely done and villains I enjoyed reading about. 
  • SO MUCH ACTION. Action after action after action. This was such a fast paced read and I couldn't put it down. Events were always going down and Sabaa Tahir was constantly keeping me on the edge of my seat. 
  • STELLAR WRITING. Tahir is a wonderful writer! She was descriptive without over doing it and created really natural characters with real dialogue. Nothing about the story and characters seemed fake-like, Tahir did such an amazing job of creating a fictional story that seems so real, I was fully immersed in the lives of these characters and the events that were happening. 
  • INFLUENCED BY ANCIENT ROME. Umm how cool is that? It's dark and violent and full of action and fighting. It's cool.

  • NOT ENOUGH WORLD BUILDING. Tahir was super descriptive with characters and setting, but there was not a lot of background information.
  • MISSUSE OF VIOLENCE. I like dark and suspenseful books, and there was a ton of awesome action from this book in particular, but at times it would use violence as shock factor without it doing anything to the plot, which was just annoying. 

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

  • SO MUCH CUTENESS. I don't smile or giggle a lot while reading books, but this book had me laughing and grinning all the time. The characters are little adorable cookies and wow I adored them.
  • SET IN AN AIRPLANE. They meet at an airport and then sit next to each other on the plane and have adorable conversations and fall asleep on each other's shoulders. *cue fangirl squealing*
  • THEN SET IN LONDON. And people have British accents so it's cool. 
  • ACTUALLY REALLY REAL. Although it sounds like it would have insta love and unrealistic characters, everything about the book seemed really natural. The situations and feelings each character went through were all relatable and the dialogue was actual human dialogue.
  • A SUPER FLUFFY READ. This was just a super easy read and I flew through it. It's a nice story to indulge in when you need something that isn't too heavy and has a happy ending. 

  • A LITTLE TOO MUCH CHEESE. Cute story, cute guy, but lots of cheese piled on top of it. 
  • MAKES YOU WANT TO MISS ALL YOUR FLIGHTS. Because if that happens you'll meet an adorable British dude named Oliver who will fall in love with you and buy you chocolate and bring you to London. Right?

Hidden by Helen Frost

  • WRITTEN IN VERSE. Which for some people this is not a plus, but I love anything in verse so this was a huge deal for me (If you have more recommendations on books in verse hit me up friends). 
  • POWERFUL STORY. It's about a girl who was accidentally kidnapped and the daughter of the accidental kidnapper. Their stories are really interestingly interwinded and there is so much development that goes on within the pages about dealing with your past, abuse, social status, and friendships. 
  • SUPER SHORT, FAST READ. I believe I read this in a day, I completely flew through the story. Helen Frost was able to create a powerful punch in such a short amount of time, which I really admire.
  • BEAUTIFUL WRITING. Hidden really reflects the kind of writing that I just really love. Everything about it was super atmoshperic and placed you into the character's minds, which I think is really important with writing in verse when trying to portray emotions and hardships.

  • OVERUSED TROPES. Rich girl with a group of rich friends vs. the poor girl. Rich girl realizes poor girl isn't that bad. Cute boy rich girls like falls in love with poor girl. Not necessarily bad or unrealistic, just a bit uncreative. 
  • ENDING BEGAN TO DRAG. The plot began to slow as the ending drew near since a few problems get resolved early on.

Reading Stats

  • 16/70 books read in 2017
  • six 5/5 stars read this winter (City of Heavenly Fire, Burial Rites, An Ember in the Ashes, A Torch Against the Night, The Name of the Wind, and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight)
  • five 4/5 stars read this winter (A Little Something Different, The Stonekeeper, Anya's Ghost, Page by Paige, and Hidden)
  • five 3/5 stars read this winter (Graceling, The Horse and His Boy, Three Dark Crowns, Stalking Jack the Ripper, and The Pacific Northwest: An Interpretive History)

What books have you read this winter? Any recommendations? I would love to discover more historical fiction novels or books written in verse, so if you have any floating around in your head, let me know! Don't forget to friend me on goodreads so you can get daily updates on what I'm currently reading and enjoying.

Have a wonderful week,


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Blessed Is the One Whom God Corrects // Job 3-5

Hello friends,

So back in January, I shared a little bit about Job 1-2. Now if you haven't read that post, you totally should, but for a little recap, I discussed my fondness for pity parties and how reading Job was like a slap of conviction in my face. You see, Satan sees that Job is so pious, but tells the Lord that he is only that way because of how blessed he is. He bets that Job would indeed curse God's name if he has hardships, so God allows for Satan to do what he wants with Job. Job in turn looses his crops, servants, livestock, and family. Basically, he looses everything.

Yet Job still does not curse God, instead he falls to his knees in praise.

Fast forward to Job 3, where Job has been sitting in silence for seven days, his friends not daring to say a word to him, and finally he speaks.

"I have no peace, no quietness.
     I have not rest, only turmoil."

-Job 3:26

Job sits there and curses the day he was born, curses that fact that God sparred him after he was born, and then goes on to curse that fact he is still alive even in such turmoil. Yet, he still does not curse the name of God.

I mean, look, we've all been there. Sometimes it seems like everything would have turned out better if we hadn't lived, if we had not been allowed to set foot on this earth. After all, that would have sparred us the pain, right? But no, Job is wrong to say such things. For who are we to question God and His mercy?

Now one of Job's friends comes up to him and basically tells him he's being hypocrite.

"But now troubles comes to you, and you are discouraged.
    it strikes you, and you are dismayed,
Should not your piety be your confidence
    and your blameless ways your hope?

-Job 4: 5-6

Job's friends reprove him, reminding him that only the wicked question God's ways. Instead of focusing on our afflictions, our eyes should be on God. Instead of questioning His ways, we should be in awe of His righteousness.

Guys, we could all use friends like this. Friends who call us on our mistakes, even when doing so is uncomfortable. Friends who speak the word of truth when we seek advice (or when we aren't seeking it and need it anyway).

Finally, they go on to say that ultimately, God should be regarded in all afflictions. Trials do not come by chance, but God uses them to shape us. Instead of of quarreling with Him and questioning Him, we are take cover in His arms and trust in His goodness.

"Blessed is the one whom God corrects;
     so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.
For he wounds, but he also binds up;
     he injures, but his hands also heal."

-Job 5:17-18

Blessed is the one whom God corrects. Wow, can we just take a moment to think about that? Honestly, that is so hard to comprehend. Something bad happens in your life, and right away you think "what did I do wrong?" But the Lord says that we are blessed when we receive correction from Him. Nor does he inflect discipline and leave us to bleed out, but he heals our wounds and comforts our soul.

So how about you, what's your response when hardships come your way? Do you curse the Lord? Do you question His goodness? Or do you seek to find correction in hardships and take comfort in the Lord? Let us learn together from Job that in everything, God is there and we are never alone. Instead of cursing what has wronged us, may we look to God with trust and love and rely on Him to guide us through whatever we may face.

With much love,


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Hey There March


Well well well, look at that, it's almost spring! Can we all just take a minute and realize how crazy that is? Seriously, two months have already passed, yet I continue to call 2017 the new year. I'm nearing the end of the quarter, with only one week left of classes and then college finals! (yay but also not). I'm really looking forward to this March, though. Sure, I have finals and will be taking the SAT, but I also get a few weeks of break, plenty of time to relax and read, a possible road trip, and find out whether or not I'm going to university next year. It's safe to say March will be a good month, or so I hope. But still, IT'S MARCH like how?? I can't get over it.

Currently// Housesitting far away from home and spending time with two adorable pups, eating way too many pop tarts and not enough carrots, dealing with Washington's extreme bipolar weather, approaching finals week and freaking out because nope, writing way too little and watching Netflix way too much, being awkward every time I pass someone anywhere and pretend to suddenly be super interested in the ground, and drinking mango smoothies whenever I get the chance.

Reading// Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake and honestly guys I'm really disappointed with it. It sounded SO good yet all it has is semi good writing, terrible pacing, way too many side characters, and really disturbing relationships and insta love. Also, Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco, which I'm also not loving so far. I find the writing to be very immature, the love interest to have no character whatsoever, and the protagonist to be inconsistent. But the atmosphere of this book is so cool and I love how creepy and gruesome it is (don't judge I promise I'm not a creep).

Listening// I'm been listening to the soundtrack of Sweeney Todd nonstop lately. I'm not sure what it is, but I find it to be perfect reading/writing music. I'm also really into my God Time Playlist over on my spotify. It's a wonderful way to start off my day while on the way to school, or while getting ready to go. Singing praises to God always starts my day off right.

Enjoying// Julia's post, You Gotta Do It (because wow she is so inspiring and beautiful). Aimee's post, I'm Tired of YA (because yes this is everything i've been thinking in a post). Elissa's post, Being Raw in a Pulled-Together World (because wow she gets me every time and i love her). Cally's post, Keep Hope / new, old (because guys everything she writes is gorgeous and makes my heart sing). And Sarah's post, Flashback Alert || Childhood - Do You Remember? (because whoa so many childhood memories and feelings).

Loving// Drinking pomegranate juice and freaking others out by making them think I'm drinking red wine, writing snippets of poetry during class lectures, girl scout cookies and their sent from heaven thin mints, cuddles with Murphy while watching Friends and drinking tea, face-timing with Elissa and Julia and squealing about life, nice police officers who apologize for pulling me over, and the smell of fresh cucumber skin products.

Disliking// Preparing for finals week, showing up to housesit and realizing there is no coffee maker, going a week without Murphy kisses, books with cringe worthy romances, sun turning to rain turning to snow turning to mush turning to rain turning to snow, being cold all the darn time, mean drivers who don't let me merge onto the freeway, and living thousands of miles away from Julia and not being able to go on adventures with her all the time.

Blogging// Hey There February, where I say hello to February and discuss what's been happening. Chats Over Coffee #2 // On Vulnerability, where I talk about why vulnerability is important and how you can incorporate it into your life. And I'm a Bad Blogger // Tired Eyes and No Words, where I vent about being a bad blogger and confess how much I miss everyone.

Hoping// To crush my finals and end with a bang, study well for my SATs and get them over with, get accepted into my dream university, write with more intention, spend more time reading and less time staring at a screen, journal small snippets of my day, and be joyful in all circumstances.

How was your February? Can you believe it's March already? Guys I now I say that in every wrap up but whoa time is going by so quickly! If you don't mind, I may just go hide in a hole for a few days and contemplate my life. Anyone with me?

Have a wonderful week,


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