A Small Stroke of Luck

Goodreads is (aside from Twitter) my happy place. It feels so authentic, and close-knit, a little family of book lovers all in one place. It’s so nice to see everyone get excited about a thing that also makes me happy! I love to read about people’s experiences –entire paragraphs about characters and world building and other grand adventures.

I love that feeling of checking my feed every morning, and seeing what is new and exciting out in the world of books. And lately, it has become the highlight of my day! There are more and more books added to my TBR at every turn, and it feels great to look forward to new releases.

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Some days, it is wonderful to have something to look forward to; especially when every day feels the same. Lately I find myself focusing more on the negative than the positive (I wish I was better at pulling myself out of these moods I get into). It’s not that my life is bad, it’s that sometimes my anxiety makes it *feel* that way–but I recognize that I am so fortunate in many ways.

When I found this in my inbox last week, it served to remind me of just that:

I ACTUALLY WON A GOODREADS GIVEAWAY.

And not just *any* giveaway (I mean, they’re all special in their own way of course), but it’s a RAINBOW ROWELL giveaway, and it honestly made my entire month.

I love Rainbow’s work so much–any book of hers that I pick up feels a little bit like coming home. (So far, my personal favorites are Fangirl and Attachments!)

so CUTE. I’m so thrilled, I love graphic novels and anything Rainbow.

In case you’re not familiar, Pumpkin Heads is Rainbow’s latest title, released on August 27th of 2019. It follows Dejah & Josiah as they work their last season at the local pumpkin patch before heading off to college! I will be sure to post a review as soon as I get to read it.

Of course, it is a graphic novel so Faith Erin Hicks is just as responsible for this beautiful book! I haven’t read any of Faith’s other works, but I will be sure to keep an eye out for anything from her in the future.

It seems so small, but I feel like this is the universe’s way of telling me to stop feeling sorry for myself. No bad day lasts forever, and there are tiny surprises waiting for each of us. I hope that you all find the thing that surprises you, and helps you in small ways. (And if you don’t, maybe I can be the one to surprise you.)

Thank you to Goodreads, and to the lovely writers of this book. You’ve helped me more than you realize.

As always, thank you for taking the time to ready my blog. I hope we can all talk about books together some day soon!

-Lux

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Book Review: Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

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I really like the color scheme, and the fact that this cover tells you so much about the story itself; it was a nice surprise!

**I know I talked a bit about this book in my last haul…but I have a bit more that I want to explain. Sorry for the double post, I just couldn’t help myself!

The story follows eleven year-old Ollie, and her quest for escape–any kind of escape. Grief has shattered her world, and now she can’t see her life in the same way that she used to. All of the things that she loved before make her restless and uncomfortable; she can only find solace in books and her beloved old house, at least when her dad isn’t trying to broach the subject of The Event.

One day, in a fit of recklessness, she takes something that doesn’t belong to her….and the adventure begins from there.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

**Very MILD spoilers in this review; there are no outright details, but the climax and the ideology that I saw there are discussed in some way**

My god, this BOOK.

I tried to be stubborn, to be observant, to analyze what really made me feel so many good things and…it’s just *everything* about this book. It was heart wrenching, and whimsical, exciting all at once. Though it is told from the perspective of an eleven year old, Katherine does not pull any punches; she talks through this book (and to juvenile readers) as though they are real people, as we all should–real people with problems, and emotions, and wisdom beyond their years when you least expect it. 

The atmosphere is foreboding, and yet the sense of adventure and camaraderie is always there. There is grief, and fear; but also kindness, and understanding, and maybe even a few laughs along the way. The climax of the story absolutely blew me away–her characters are so lifelike. 

While there is definitely action and adventure in this book, I would describe it as more character driven than anything else. This book is about gaining to courage to accept your individuality–to take responsibility for your own life and your choices, and to see just how powerful that can be.

That being said, there were quite a few people on Goodreads who were disappointed in the climax–but I honestly thought that was the most powerful moment in the whole story; you really see Ollie take control, and stand up not only for herself, but for her friends. She really grows into her own autonomy, and the realization that your life and your person belong to you–your life is what you make of it, and nobody can take that away from you. (I’m also a really big fan of the trickster archetype, as well. It’s almost biblical, and so powerful, in the way it is all written.)

I really love that Ollie was such an honest character, even when she was not at her best. She is certainly not perfect, and she is not always nice; she is not the Everyman heroine that does the Right Thing All the Time.

I can’t recommend this book enough–I might be picking it up again during October because it is so atmospheric. This is categorized as a middle grade novel, and while it is a bit spooky, don’t worry–there wasn’t anything particularly horrifying in there, and I think it would be perfect to read with your kid.

This is my first Katherine Arden read, and it most definitely will not be my last! The next book in the series, Dead Voices, will be releasing later this month and I plan to pick that up pretty immediately.

As always,

Thank you for taking the time read my blog! I hope that you are also enjoying some good books and content along the way–feel free to share in the comments. Until next time!

–Lux

Book Haul & Life Updates

Hey everyone! It’s been a crazy few weeks, but at least I have some good things to show for it. (Including new books and cute dogs and new apartments and haunted toilets).

(Have you ever heard a toilet scream? I can say now that I have and uh…or was that me screaming?)

For the last seven days (yes I said SEVEN and everything hurts and I’m so tired) I’ve been moving to a new apartment! I went from third floor to third floor, so I can safely assure you that moving is the exact form of Hell that I fondly** remember it to be…but it is all so worth it, and I’m so happy with the new place already.

**that’s a stretch my friend

I didn’t explain much about it here, but the last apartment was a…minor inconvenience…at its BEST. Our downstairs neighbors smoked in their unit, the building was older and so things were regularly in disrepair (which, to their credit, the maintenance crew did the best that they could), the water was shut off with little to no warning at least once or twice a month, and it was generally a bit of a wreck because tenants didn’t follow the cleanliness standards and the management never enforced them?….

ANYWAY.

The new place is big and beautiful and well cared-for and the best part is getting to set up my bookshelves all over again!! (I just really love that whole “design” process).

I Marie-Kondo’d my bookshelf over the course of last year and YES I kept all my Charmed novels that 13-year old me raged about because feelings

(This isn’t my only bookshelf! I will post more pictures as I get them all set up.) I did end up clearing out a lot of books and media in preparation for the move, and that helped immensely. If you’ve been keeping up with my incredibly slow posts over this last year, one of my goals was “quality over quantity.” I loved coming home and seeing a full shelf of the things that I admired, but…at the end of the day, a lot of the things that I was holding on to were things that I didn’t ever plan to read or watch again. Now, I have a new system–I will rent things from amazon or Netflix to watch, and when it comes to reading–I have a strict self-imposed “e-books only” policy! I download e-books to read, and if I absolutely love them I will invest in a nice physical copy. (Hardcover, if it’s available!) Yes, that typically means that I end up buying a book twice; but at that point, I don’t mind because I’m supporting the authors in an extra way, and I’m definitely okay with that.

Speaking of E-Books….

Book Haul July 2019

The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner

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Such a beautiful cover…I fell in love with it from that alone. Also, I only just now realized the Madeline Miller quote on the front and my heart is so full.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars (Downloaded on iBooks)

“Death lives here. Death will always live here.”

This was a beautifully told story wrapped in Russian folklore and Jewish history; the tale follows two sisters who are as different as night & day, and their complex relationship in the changing political and sociological landscape around them. It is a slight retelling of Goblin Market, by Christina Rossetti. I really enjoyed Rena’s portrayal of the girls; as I have two sisters of my own, I felt like their mannerisms and communication were incredibly relatable. I loved that they dealt with a lot of things that young girls are facing, such as self-perception and “first love”. While it is definitely a fantasy, I appreciated that the girl’s lives were centered around real life issues as well as the overarching fairy tale plot line. This story is incredibly character driven, and a bit of a slow burner…but so worthwhile. I would definitely recommend this book; it is ethereal and just so….wonderful! Will I be purchasing this in a gorgeous hardback? Most likely!

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

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I love the colors and the mood. Is it autumn yet?

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (Downloaded on iBooks)

“Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.”

My god, this BOOK.

I tried to be stubborn, to be observant, to analyze what really made me feel so many good things and…it’s just *everything* about this book. It was heart wrenching, and whimsical, exciting all at once. Though it is told from the perspective of an eleven year old, Katherine does not pull any punches; she talks through this book (and to juvenile readers) as though they are real people, as we all should–real people with problems, and emotions, and wisdom beyond their years when you least expect it. 

Ollie is a young girl struggling with tragic loss, and trying to find her way back to herself and the things she used to love. This book is excellent at showing the myriad of ways in which grief can affect your life–from sadness and apathy to irritation and restlessness, it’s never an easy time. Though it deals with a tough topic, there are so many beautiful aspects to this book that can give the reader hope. I love Ollie’s relationship with her dad. It was so sweet, and reminded me of that time in my life where all I wanted to do was read books, and hang out with MY dad.

The atmosphere is foreboding, and yet the sense of adventure and camaraderie is always there. There is grief, and fear; but also kindness, and understanding, and maybe even a few laughs along the way. The climax of the story absolutely blew me away–her characters are so lifelike. If you’re a fan of the Trickster archetype, found family, and grand adventures, I could not recommend this book more.

Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Piccolo

My Rating: TBA (Purchased a physical copy from Amazon)

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I’ve been a longtime fan of Gabriel, and I’m so happy to see him be successful!

I pre-ordered this right away, when Gabriel announced it on his Twitter! Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, what with all my physical copies of books still packed away–but I’m so excited to dive in! I’ve been a long time fan of Gabriel’s artwork, and I’m thrilled to see where Kami will take the story. My only experience with Teen Titans is the TV series that was published in the early 2000’s (Which I absolutely *loved*) so I’m excited to see a different spin on things.

Comeback: A K-Pop Novel by Lyn Ashwood and Rachel Rose

My Rating: TBA/Currently Reading (Purchased and downloaded on the Amazon Kindle App. They have great sales!!)

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The artwork is so light and cute!!

I’m in the first 10% of this, so I can’t really say much yet–but the atmosphere is cute! Already I can see some great K-Drama moments in there….I’m sensing the estranged/friends/lovers vibe? Maaaaybe a childhood friend?! I hope M can find his way to the ever mysterious A!

Sidebar–I’ve never had this happen before, but the pages are numbered strangely in this kindle book?? It is saying that there are 4,000 pages in the story and I’m somehow already on page 150 even though I’ve read maybe one chapter? I’m not sure whats going on with that, but I guess I’m along for the ride.

So,

That’s pretty much the extent of what I was able to purchase this month. I’m sure you’re all aware, but moving apartments is *so expensive* and uh…after pet fees and admin fees and deposits and truck rental fees, I’ll pretty much be living on Ramen this entire next month. Taking a step forward & making a nice life myself, with my boys, is so worth it.

Sweet little boy! This month was his birthday, too–Happy birthday Wesley!
My favorite

As Always,

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read my blog. I really love to write here when I’m feeling up to the task–so thank you for sticking with me through all of my inconsistencies. Until next time!

–Lux

Book Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

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I really love how this cover is set up; her red hair is so pretty!

The story follows Aileana Kameron, an 18 year old “socialite” and daughter to the Marquess of Douglas. She is supposed to be navigating to rigid social traditions of 1840’s Scotland–attending tea parties & balls, charming her male suitors & wearing the latest fashions. Instead, she’s on the hunt of her life–battered and bruised, searching high & low for the beast who killed her mother one year ago. (Also saving the world in the process, probably.)

My Rating: 3.5 Stars!

This one was…pretty good. I actually liked it more than I’m letting on here, but let me explain:

The premise of this book is interesting enough. It’s like if Buffy the Vampire Slayer was set in 1840’s Scotland, also except with Fae. The humor is pretty cute, and the writing is rather quippy. (Incredibly Buffy-like in that respect, and I love it). I like how easy the banter comes, and it feels so natural with her characters. I think of all the types of humor I’ve read in books lately, this one is my favorite. I can actually feel myself smile as I read the lines! Elizabeth May is the queen of sarcasm (If you follow her Twitter account, you’ll definitely see.)

The imagery & world building is simply stunning, and she paints a beautiful picture of a gothic/dark fairy tale. There are many steampunk elements, and I am pretty excited by seeing things from Aileana’s POV, a young inventor (& professional ass-kicker) confined by the expectations of society and her distant father. It had the potential to turn cheesy real quick, but it absolutely didn’t; she made it work.

The pacing of the book felt a bit strange to me, but it’s pretty clear how that happened–I feel like this is a book that started somewhere in the middle of the story. I’m at least grateful that we are spared another “Origin story”. (We can only watch Bruce Wayne’s parents die so many times, am I right?) However, this makes the characterization a bit uncomfortable because she’s already attached to all these characters that the reader knows next to nothing about. I think that gives it a bit of an insta-love stamp, but with all of her careful planning I can definitely tell that Elizabeth did not mean it to be that way. 

I think it definitely hurts her characterization a bit, *but* there are still two more books in the series & I’m excited to see which direction she takes it. There are so many different things that she can expand on, so many roads to go down, so much POTENTIAL with the continuation! I think her main focus in this book was to set the plot rolling, and now my prediction is that the second book will be much more involved with the characters and their dynamics.

I’ve wanted to read Elizabeth May’s books for the longest time, and I’m so glad that I finally got around to it! Have you guys read anything by her yet? Is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to in New Releases?

As always, thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. Please feel free to comment, I would love to interact more with everyone!

–Lux

Review: Tokyo Tarareba Girls by Akiko Higashimura

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I absolutely love her character designs

This story revolves around a 33-year old woman named Rinko & her closest friends as they navigate the Tokyo dating scene (or lack thereof?) Rinko is happy enough in life, but feels as though she let her 20’s slip by. She makes a new goal for herself: To be married by the time the Olympics return to Tokyo!

My Rating: 2 out of 5

This series was….just okay. I absolutely LOVED her previous work, Princess Jellyfish–and of course, this still has the same whimsical art style. But at the end of the day, I just couldn’t sympathize all that much with the characters, because they kept making the same stupid mistakes. 

I was attracted to this first because of her previous work, but also because as an unmarried woman pushing 30 (Okay, not quite though–I’m still 29) I thought I would find this more insightful. Unfortunately, it was more depressing to me than anything else; I know that the author was trying to emphasize that being single & 30 is not a bad thing, but…all the women cared about in this series was getting married, and what they were lacking BECAUSE they weren’t married. And I just….don’t understand that mentality at all. Maybe it’s because of a cultural gap or something, but I don’t see marrying later in life to be a bad thing. 

The characters constantly made bad decisions, and continued to place finding a husband above EVERYTHING ELSE in their lives, despite having careers of their own etc. They spent chapter after chapter complaining about the same problems, and nothing would change. A lot of the humor was awkwardly done, and seemed like an attempt to avoid talking about any real problems. To me, there was no “big moment” that made everything come together. 

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And uh…the male lead was incredibly unappealing to me. It was the classic case of “I’m traumatized and therefore going to treat everyone else in my life like trash.” The way he spoke to Rinko was at times borderline abusive, and a little hard for me to read. However, even though he was a jerk most of the time, even *I* couldn’t fault him for some of the things that he said because it was mostly common sense.

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Also (& I know she was just trying to be funny) a lot of the “jokes” in the series revolved around age, like once you hit 30 your life is basically over, and you’re an old spinster. I *hate* that trope. You’re not any less beautiful, or smart or worth any less, just because you’re 30. I really couldn’t handle it.

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What I DID like about the series is that it emphasized other very important things in a relationship–that you shouldn’t settle for something that doesn’t make you happy, and that you should NEVER feel pressured to change yourself for someone else. (I mean the little things, like your appearance or hanging out with your friends or what have you–habits that hurt other people don’t apply here of course!)

Another aspect that I greatly appreciate is the female friendship; these girls were there for each other through every twist and turn, and although they all continued to make bad decisions, they were there to help each other up every single time. I think that is the true love story of this series.

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So…it wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t my favorite either. I had a hard time picking apart the real meaning of the story, but there are a few gems in there.

People on Goodreads seem to really love this series; What did you all think of it? I would love to hear from the people who seemed to get more out of it than I did.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

–Lux

Book Haul!

It’s that time again…..to talk about all of the wonderful books I’ve picked up in the last three months! I’m really trying to curb my spending and read the books that I *already* have on my shelf…but uh, that’s clearly working out so well for me 🙂 I’m excited to dive in and read them! Have you hauled anything new that you’re looking forward to?

American Panda by Gloria Chao

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Such a cute cover!

I purchased and downloaded this book on iBooks, so I don’t have a photo of my own to show off. I’m about 70% of the way through, and although I can’t rightfully understand exactly what Mei is going through, I think that being young and unsure of what you want to do with your future so relatable. I wasn’t sure what I wanted from my college education for at least two years after I entered. I think that her outlook and her inner monologue is realistic and at times, painful–it’s hard when you constantly feel the pressure to live up to your family’s expectations! Overall, this has been a pretty good read and I’m looking forward to seeing how it ends.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

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I like the idea of the Magic Pumpkin food truck–cute and modern!

Another book that I purchased and downloaded via iBook! ( I think I should invest in a tablet at this point, because my fascination with E-books shows no signs of slowing down).

(But really, it’s SO convenient).

I’ve heard of this one for a year or two now, from the Goodreads/Wordpress grapevine and people seem to really like it. I mean, I love Cinderella (and I LOVED the Cinematic Classic “A Cinderella Story”) so I’m sure that I will thoroughly enjoy this one too.

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang

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So dynamic!

As an avid manga reader, I am used to long, drawn out/intricate plots and characterization. Because of this, the ending felt so sudden to me–but it was not bad in any way!

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The art is SO CUTE.

The Fantastical vs. Real Life comparison piece is definitely not uncommon in Japanese storytelling, and it was refreshing to see it spun from the view of a young girl!!! in the western world. I loved the theme of inclusion and acceptance from all sides, and the present reminder that the “moral high ground” doesn’t always mean the best even if it is intended to be. A short, sweet read for a rainy day (that will make you want to finish all the games you still haven’t gotten to yet….)

Sailor Moon: Eternal Edition Volume 3 by Naoko Takeuchi

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Speaking of graphic novels & manga, I have been–and always will be–an avid Sailor Moon fan & collector. These brand new Eternal editions are being currently published by Kodansha Comics–they are BIG, and SHINY, and BEAUTIFUL. They feature glossy, bright white pages and full color original illustrations from the original series. This was a definite buy for me!

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

I have been wanting to read this ever since I saw the Netflix series, which was PHENOMENAL. (I think it’s listed in one of my previous posts, under “currently watching”. Probably October?) I’ve only skimmed through it, but so far I can tell that some of the best lines from the show came straight from the book.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agathe Christie

I’ve never read a book by Agathe Christie, but you know…there’s never a bad time to start one. I have also never seen either of the two film adaptations but I’m on this big horror/mystery kick so I figured why not?? Also, the cover is lovely.

The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab

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I love the colors in this one

My best friend bought me a copy of this for my birthday! She knows I love V.E. Schwab (I promise I’ll return your copy of Vicious someday! It’s only been….5 years…) I haven’t even read the synopsis of this one yet, but Goodreads is blowing up about it and I’m kind of excited to go into it blind. Schwab will always be an instant buy for me.

And well,

There you have it. All the books I’ve bought in the last couple of months 🙂 Talk to me about some of your favorites!

–Lux

Currently Playing/Watching/Reading VIII

***I started writing this post at the beginning of the month, and never quite finished it. The sad part is that It’s still mostly accurate, as I’ve been suffering from Mashed Potato Brain and haven’t had the energy or attention span to start anything else, other than a book or two. So….the books will be updated to reflect the timing, but otherwise there are no updates for the others–womp womp.***

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I think my brain needs a break. Lately, I can’t seem to focus on a n y t h i n g. So this month, I’m easing up a bit in my media, as you will probably be able to see–and that’s totally okay. It’s important to listen to your feelings and not push yourself! That being said, can anyone recommend anything that is easy on the eyes/soul?

Without further ado….. (:

Currently Playing:

Pokemon X

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Proving that I’m several light-years behind on popular video games, whoops

I “finished” this game about two weeks or so ago–but I think with the Pokemon games, you’re never really finished, and that’s one of the best things about them. This one did not disappoint! The colors were vibrant, and the music was SO good. The Pokemon were appropriately cute, horrifying or bad-a** and I enjoyed every minute of it. I love that with games like these, you can take your time, to come and go as you please. I’m in a very “no-pressure” kind of mood so this was the perfect thing.

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I never realized that Professor Sycamore’s first name was Augustine, so I thought that was pretty cool!

Pokemon will always hold a special place in my heart–I think it only gets better and better. I love seeing all the creativity and heart that goes into each new generation, and I can’t wait to see what Sword & Shield will bring to the table. (Also the memes already have me dying.)

Currently Watching:

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim

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So far I’m really loving this! I’m only about halfway through, but I enjoy all of the twists and turns.

This story follows Kim Mi So, & her journey to self-discovery and happiness. She has lived her whole life serving and taking care of everyone but herself–her sisters, her father, and of course, her narcissistic and demanding boss. For the last nine years, she has catered to Lee Young Jun’s every whim and fancy, going way beyond what would normally be asked of a secretary. The story sort of starts at the end of her journey–she has finally paid off her family’s debts, and will no longer have to work in order to keep her head above water. She officially puts in her notice and…shenanigans ensue! Through various circumstances and growing feelings, it becomes harder and harder for her to say goodbye.

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Sometimes I feel like I watch K-Dramas just for the lovely fashion. She’s so pretty!! And her hair is so long and shiny!
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SO CUTE. I love the 90’s vibe.

I really like the vibe of this one so far. The story is not overly complicated, and it features a few of my favorite K-drama “tropes” without being over the top. This is a great one to watch casually.

While You Were Sleeping

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This show has completely BLOWN ME AWAY, and is probably one of my most favorite things that I’m working on at the moment. Every episode is thrilling and not at all what I would expect from a K-drama (Which is NOT meant in a bad way whatsoever–I just mean that I haven’t come across anything like it and it’s AMAZING.)

It follows field reporter Kim Hong-Joo, who experiences prophetic dreams. She spends her waking hours trying to ensure that these dreams do not come true, along with the help of Prosecuter Jung Jae-Chan & a police officer by the name of Han Woo-Tak. Every small things connect in ways that are surprising later on, and it’s just…great. The relationship dynamics, as well as family ties, are wonderful as well. This might make my top ten list at the end of the year.

How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World

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so CUTE. I want the Light Fury build-a-bear so badly!

I’ll be honest–I’ll always love the first movie the most. But The Hidden World explored a lot of important themes, and it made me happy to “grow up” alongside Hiccup on his journey. I don’t want to talk about it too much, and end up spoiling it for someone else–just GO SEE IT. It’s great, and the plot definitely holds your attention.

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WOW

Youtube

My favorite thing about YouTube is how casual it is, if that makes sense? I like seeing into the lives of “everyday people” (Even though I guess that’s not entirely the case.) Lately, I’ve been having a hard time focusing on much of anything. Sometimes my anxiety gets pretty bad, so its nice to have little snippets of things to watch, that will keep me distracted and yet not require large amounts of concentration. Lately BookTube has been HUGE for me, and keeps me inspired to read. One of my go-to channels:

Super Space Chick

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She’s bubbly, happy & incredibly knowledgeable on everything bookish. She’s dedicated to her channel, and consistently provides quality thoughts on all of her favorite (and occasionally not so favorite) books. Her videos range from 5-30 minutes generally, so she’s great to watch on the go or when you just need to rest your mind.

Currently Reading:

I’m actually pretty proud of myself for being able to read and enjoy so many things in the last month! Of the four listed below, the only one I haven’t finished is Brain on Fire, but I’ll get right on that as soon as my brain stops melting.

How to Train Your Dragon (Book 1) by Cressida Cowell

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Okay so, I will basically read anything that Cressida Cowell writes, even if it’s just her grocery list because this was PRECIOUS. Ten year old me would have gone HAM with this series. Different from the movie of course, but just so great. There are….12?? of these I think?? I’ll get around to the rest of them eventually.

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

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Such a gorgeous cover

Kiko Himura is a biracial high school student dreaming of attending a prestigious art school in New York City. This is a heart-wrenching story of Kikyo struggling to understand and accept all parts of herself, both Japanese & American, in addition to navigating her feelings about her not-so-safe home life. There are so many more layers to this story, and I wish I could do it justice.

This book was intense. I really enjoyed it, but it does deal with some heavy (and incredibly important) topics, so keep that in mind and make sure that you’re in the right mindset.

You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman

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You Asked for Perfect follows high school senior Ariel on his quest for academic perfection & an acceptance letter to Harvard. He works tirelessly to achieve this dream, from counting each credit down to the percentage, rehearsing his orchestra solo until his fingers bleed, volunteering at an animal shelter every weekend, all the way to reading homework assignments during Shabbat Services.

So what happens when, despite his best efforts, his grades begin to slip? Enter the family-friend-mysteriously-attractive tutor, Amir. They’ve never interacted much before now, but after such close proximity, will they grow into something more?…

Aspects of this book are so enjoyable, but for the most part…this was just an okay read. You can catch up on my thoughts here.

(Also I’m sorry, I shamelessly copy/pasted the synopsis I wrote for the review itself, because this post is already longer than I thought it would beeeee.)

After the Rain by Jun Mayuzuki

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High school Junior Akira works part-time at a family restaurant, where she develops a crush on her manager.

I’m not sure how to feel about this one. I like the slice of life vibe, but overall it didn’t catch my attention. I’ll definitely keep reading to see how it pans out, because it seems very sweet. I’m not sure how I feel about the love interest but uh….still cute.

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

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This is an autobiographical work about a woman who suffered through an extremely rare autoimmune disease, and her journey from madness to miracle. I won’t talk in depth about it, because for most of the book, you’re kept in the dark as well. I haven’t finished it yet–but it’s extremely well-written hard to put down. It was chosen as the book of the month for my book club, and I’m glad. It’s almost like a nightmare-ridden tale of Alice in Wonderland…so WOW.

So,

There you have it–my monthly currents. I haven’t really done much other than read and watch a small thing here or there, but I am glad I could pull it all together for this post. (Also wow, looking back it seems as if I’ve been reading a lot more!) As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I really enjoy having a small corner of the internet to talk about the things that I enjoy.

Until next time,

Lux