Saturday, July 30, 2016

|| t w e n t y || happy birthday giveaway!

it's my birthday today. happy birthday, me!! *eats all the cake*

we haven't celebrated my birthday on my actual birthday for almost five years now; since my brother and I are a month apart, it makes sense for us to celebrate somewhere in the middle. so yeah, there will be cake and ice cream this evening, and then actual birthday celebration things later in August, but on this blog, there are going to be FANTASTIC birthday festivities! *throws confetti and glitter around*

I am hosting a giveaway! *le gasp* during my trip to Chicago, I had the joy of reading This Savage Song, the story of Kate Harker and August Flynn, complete with monsters and music and general awesomeness. monsters against humans in a strange reversal of roles, with very little romance to speak of (platonic friendships, man. YA needs more frenemies like Kate and August). the premise is so interesting, and the writing is so poetic and beautiful it hurts. it's not a perfect book (you'll have to wait to hear my complete thoughts until my review of it later this month), but I literally could not put it down. the fact that book 2 won't be out until 2017 PAINS ME. and since I haven't liked a book this much in quite a while, I decided in about 2.4 seconds to give a copy away.


in addition, it will come with this lovely copy of Black Hearts at Battersea, because I think I raved about it a little too much in my post about my childhood reads, and now I must share the love.

good luck to you all! I wish I could give everyone a copy of this amazing book, but alas, I am a poor college student who needs to buy curtains and manga, the staples of life. I'll announce the winner in ten days, because ten is a fantastic number.

spread the word (or don't; all the more chances for you to get your hands on these books), and may the force be with you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
have some cake before you leave, and thank you for celebrating with me, in this weird internet way!

Friday, July 29, 2016

j u l y || 2 0 1 6

*deep sigh*

we made it, guys. I was ready for August before July started, and I guess that reflects how tired of school I was.

but I'm freeeeeeee now!!!!!

+ school

I managed to do very well in school this month, and I think that's mostly because with every month, I become more and more mentally present. I still have bad days and weeks where I forget things left and right, but compared to the days when I would forget my siblings names, things are so much better. last summer I couldn't even dream of doing this well in math, of all things. and I'm actually excited to take my next math class, because I managed to squeeze into my teacher's class next quarter. I'm also going to be taking human biology, and then in October, I'll be taking speech (yuck) and a culture class on Russian society. I'm pretty excited--plus, once I finish those four classes, I will be a college sophomore! and for someone who didn't think she would ever be able to go back to school, that's a huge blessing.

+ chicago

I got to go up and visit my best friend! we've been friends over the blogosphere for three years? four years? no matter how long, it's been one great adventure, and I'm really grateful she's a friend of mine. and I can't tell you how great it felt to hug her, finally. definitely will have to make that trip again. we went and saw the Bean, and explored Chicago, and I rode the L and busses without any anxiety, which I've never experienced before. it was such a good trip--I'm glad I can say I had an adventure at least once this summer. but right now I'm going to hide in my hole and rest.

also look at how freaking cute we are together--I miss her so much already.

we saw this in the wild and wanted to cry. a lot.
+ room

we are getting ready to paint my room! (by the time this is posted, it may be painted already. I don't know what the future holds!) I've moved literally everything but my bed and desk out of my room, and I actually really like how that feels. also, I did a DEEP vaccuuming of my floor. living with a cat is great, but fur and cat litter is nasty to get out of carpet. vacuuming is actually very therapeutic, if you didn't know.

the lighting sucks, so you can't really tell the colour, but it's white with a very soft pink tint to it. I was actually going to go with a cool white, but this looks so cozy and sweet and I love it. my walls are painfully bare, but I'm not putting anything up yet, since I don't want to destroy the paint. but so far, I'm really in love with my room right now!

+ health

this month I had some major anxiety stuff, but amazingly I found ways to get around it, overcome it, or just plain ignore it. it wasn't easy. nooooooo. but it was important for me to have those moments, where I literally had to sit myself down and say "You are making too much of this. Stop. Breath. Move on." but physically my health has been doing amazing. a year ago I wouldn't be able to take a three day road trip, then move all my furniture and paint my room the day after I get home. I couldn't even dream of that. this month also makes a year since I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I believe; at least, a year since my doctors decided they couldn't figure out exactly what I had. and I'm so much better. still a tired human being, but better.

+ tv shows


out of all the classic animes, I've never really caught onto the Naruto craze. now, I see why all my friends speak so fondly of this show. it's great to watch when I have nothing else I want to watch; I'm invested in the characters, but not enough that I feel like I need to binge-watch all seventeen seasons at once.

stranger things

OH MY GOSH. out of all the shows I watched this month, this one wins all the things. weird, slightly creepy, and reminiscent of 80s and 90s movies and Spielberg. plus--I have some major emotions over Nancy and Jonathan. and yet, I'm not angry about the way it all ends. I'm very ready for a follow-up season, but I liked how the show seemed realistic, despite its fantastic side.

mr. robot

Faith got me hooked on this tv show a while ago, but I can't talk enough about it. pretty sure Elliot has made me cry more than I should, him and his realistic anxiety and dissociation. mr. robot makes me hurt and confused, but in a really good way. and I can't wait for more. I also love this show because it constantly makes you ask--is this real? what's going on? you have to follow the plot; the plot doesn't guide you blindly.

it's gifs like these that make me love Rami Malek

squad 38

this show reminds me a little of mr. robot, in the way that the "good" guys are going against the bad guys, although the "good" guys aren't always doing good things. Seo Inguk will forever be one of my favourite actors, and he plays Jungdo extremely well. I love watching scams go into play, because there's always a catch that the audience doesn't completely know--and the way it gets revealed is amazing.

this guy is so sneaky IT HURTS

criminal minds

yup, still one of my all time favourite shows. every time Netflix adds new episodes, I do a happy dance around the house, because this show just makes me feel good. even though it's about murder and death and sadness. *shrugs*

+ hobbies

drawing! I wanted to draw so much this month, but the urge usually hit at about 10:30pm when I was supposed to be going to bed, so it didn't really happen until I finished school. I love me some lyric art--it's basically the only thing I can draw without feeling like a talent-less failure.

TRUTH--although a lot of art involves math...

writing has not really happened at all this month, but this past week was really REALLY good. I've decided to do some writing exercises/drills every day while I'm on break, that way I can get into the habit of writing every day when I go back to school. it's my goal to NaNo this year, but we shall see. my other focus, obviously, is the great ones. I would love to double my wordcount by the end of August--that would be about 60k. and I want to make progress in character development. right now, I just feel like Matt is hanging in this very depressed, very sad limbo.

I read a fair amount this month--not as much as I wanted to, but still enough that I was pretty happy with the dent I made on my TBR. but I'll talk more about that in my TBR post next week. here's a sneak peak of some of my favourite books!


basically my life

...also my life...

I love this style of pretty...

guess who might have a plot bunny hopping around that sprung from this nice drawing?

july was good to me. better than I thought it would be; better than it's been in a long while. still, I'm really excited to see what August holds. and for me to start school again. after this glorious break (I woke up at 7:30 this morning and got so much done; sleeping in is great, but getting up and being responsible is even better sometimes).

although I'll be honest this is pretty much me rn
I have a special surprise coming up soon, so be watching out for that! what have you guys been up to this month? hope y'all had a great july!


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

a year in music : vii

sometimes you need to go back to your roots

back to the songs you used to know by heart

to the artists you needed to get you through the day.

sometimes you need to branch out

try the music you think is overrated

and accept that you actually like it.

sometimes you just need music.


[ click photos for video ]

i. hollow
[ tori kelly ]

ii. highlight
[ b2st ]

iii. shut up and groove
[ heize ft. dean ]

iv. the day that I found God
[ switchfoot ]

v. rocket
[ tori kelly ]

vi. riptide
[ misterwives ]

vii.   아주 nice
[ seventeen ]

viii. can't help myself
[ eric nam ]
ix. air for free
[ relient k ]

x.  love we are we love
[ the sea the sea ]
xi.  starlight
[ taeyeon ft. dean ]

xii. and july
[ heize ft. dean ]

Friday, July 22, 2016

the books of my childhood

I've been have a TON of book nostalgia this week. like, I'll see something that reminds me of the books or series that I read when I was a little munchkin, or I'll walk by the bookshelf and see the worn spines that I love so much, and the nostalgia hits real hard.

just happily rolling along and then BAM--hit by a truck of feels.

is it weird to miss books? and not just miss the book itself, but also miss the person you were when you read that book? when I see these books, I'll suddenly remember how old I was, or that this was the first YA book I ever read, or how the book really made me feel something that I'd never felt before--and I never stopped feeling since then.

the nostalgia feels also revealed something else to me--my taste in reading has changed. or at least, the books I read now are very different than the books I read back in the day. which is kind of funny, because some of the books I read as a young child were a lot harder to read than some of the YA that I pick off the shelves from the library. probably because they were mostly older books, with a lot of British authors and such. this is the main reason why my brain automatically spells things the British way--favourite, colour, neighbour. I didn't even know I spelled these words the "wrong" way until I got to college. whoops.

ft. incomplete bookstagram pictures because I fail at life

ballet & theatre shoes

they didn't have ballet shoes at the library...or the old editions I used to I feel old.

oh man. just thinking about this book makes me happy and sad at the same time. Pauline, Petrova, and Posy Fossil were incredible, and even though I stopped ballet at a very young age, the dance/stage aspect of it fascinated me. the story of these three adopted sisters--who didn't share a drop of blood, but were sisters all the same--as they are just babies, brought home by their Great Uncle Matthew, to the point where they are all grown up and finding their paths in the world, inspired me. as a girl who read a lot of fantasy as a kid, this book was historical and about dreadfully "ordinary" people. and I loved it.

also, Emma Watson plays Pauline perfectly in the movie.

I actually forgot about Theatre Shoes until I went to take pictures of Ballet Shoes, but I think I liked it even more. Once again, a batch of orphans, thrust onto the stage so that they could have some sort of future. and even though it's fairly similar to Ballet Shoes, the characters are just as strong and interesting.

the wolves of willoughby chase chronicles

behold, the instigator of my love for weird and zany books. giant birds? we got 'em. witches? we got 'em. children being kidnapped and brainwashed and made to work in coal mines? got 'em. we've even got whales, mindspeaking, and lots of bombs and Hanoverian plots. gosh I love this series. Every character is amazing, and I love that, although there are definitely "main" characters, the stories shift over several narrators without being awkward or choppy. pretty sure Simon was my first ever serious fictional crush, because who doesn't love a guy who lives with geese and is a totally adorkable duke. Dido Twite was an inspiration to me, and by golly, I'm still mad that we don't get to see her and Simon get together. *cries because the Witch of Clatteringshaws* her sassy ingenuity really developed my strong love for zany, unique characters. I remember feeling so dissatisfied with what I thought was the ending, with Dido and Pa, so you can imagine my elation at the discovery of the last five books hiding in the YA section--to this day, Is Underground is one of my favourite books, because it blows my mind. I love how Wikipedia describes the series: "these books take place in an alternative history version of the 19th century and have elements of steampunk and magical realism." does that not scream READ ME READ ME READ ME? if I had to pick a favourite series out of ever that still fascinates me and that inspired me to write, the wolf chronicles would definitely win. just by writing this little blurb, I feel like I'm eight years old again and suddenly realizing that this amazing woman, this amazing author, passed away. IT HURTS, MAN.


also, my library has the whole series in hardback, but they are IMPOSSIBLE to find at a decent price. *cries for forever* (edit: oh my gosh--I found about half of them in hardback on thriftbooks for under $ to hunt down the missing ones...)

rosemary sutcliffe

I am very much a history nerd, and these books are the reason why. well, not really. but Rosemary Sutcliffe is by far my favourite historical fiction writer, because most of her books focused on the eras of the Roman invasion, Vikings, or the British captivity, which are my favourite periods in  history. Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch, and The Lantern Bearers, as well as The Mark of the Horse Lord (which might be the very first book I threw across the room because of the ending--DEATH. MUCH DEATH) and Sword Song were all well-read books by me and my older brother (the original history nerd. I merely followed his big footsteps). I liked how she followed the Aquila family through most of her books, without making them obviously a series. Her King Arthur books were really good as well, because they told the legend without embellishing a lot. They were simple, but elegant.

the mcgurk mysteries 

this was literally the only one they had at the library!! and it's like the worst one!! *sad face*

here we have the very not historical, very not British part of my childhood. I loved a good mystery. still do, but I have a soft spot for this intelligent pompous ginger boy, who solved even the most ridiculous cases (I mean, seriously, the Phantom Frog was ridiculous.) I loved his gang of friends too, especially Joey. McGurk was strong main character, which is why having Joey as the narrator was so cool to me. little did I know that that was a shout-out to Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. The fantasy spin-offs were my favourites, I think, mostly because I remember them best--time travelling detectives, man. The Weeping Witch also started my strong love for Hester Bidgood, about whom E.W. Hildick wrote a stand-alone. this is a series that I will hand to my niece and my children and say "READ." because they are fantastic.

why reading is literally the best

the leviathan trilogy

this is less my childhood and more my very first adventure into YA. Leviathan was a book that my older brother (the history nerd) recommended me, and when I found out that it was steampunk, I was baffled, because I didn't know what that meant (although, now that I think about how the wolves books were borderline steampunk, it all makes sense). I fell in love with Deryn and Alek, and the retelling of World War I but with Clankers and Darwinists. this is still one of my favourite trilogies, and I reread Goliath the other day, because I had some major Dalek feels (best ship name ever).

louisa may alcott

believe it or not, I am a big Louisa May Alcott fan. the first ever book that made me want to write--and I remember this because I basically copied the entire plot in the book I wrote at the age of twelve--was Under the Lilacs. I still have that book on my shelf, because it's sentimental to me. I also loved Little Women, Little Men (I LOVED Little Men. I read my grandmothers copy of Little Men to pieces), and Jo's Boys (also read this one to pieces). Rose in Bloom, although different, was adorable, and I loved it equally. I haven't read many classics (or at least the conventional ones--Cold Shoulder Road is definitely a classic, right up there with Dido and Pa), but the classics written by Louisa May Alcott are still some of my favourites.

idk how this gif applies but it's just great

my side of the mountain

oh my. I'd forgotten this one until I saw the movie on Netflix last night. did you as a child have dreams of running away? I did. especially on the nights before we had dentist appointments. I had it all planned out--I was going to run away and live in a tree, just like Sam did. everything about this book was amazing--from the detail to the drawings to the peregrine falcons. and the best part of it all was that it seemed totally doable--it didn't seem awkward or fake or cheesy. every little bit of it seemed realistic; at least, realistic enough to convince nine year old me that I could live on acorns and fish in the wilderness.

probably not the greatest idea

dragon's gate

yo. it's been YEARS since I thought of this book, but the moment I found it on one of my library lists, I did a dance for joy--the history nerd within me lives! this is part of a series, but this was by far the best book. it follows a Chinese immigrant who came over to work on the trans-continental railroad with his uncle and father. It's a bleak depiction of the struggles and prejudices that immigrants go through, as well as the harsh world that railroad workers live in. Dragon's Gate also holds one of my favourite bromances ever--Otter and Sean really made me think about friendships and racial differences at a very young age.

I love this book so much and I'm ashamed I ever forgot about it.

all things bright and beautiful

oh, James Herriot, you are a gem. I lowkey want to read this book (and the rest of the series) all over again, because it's been at least six years or so. my dad is a small animal veterinarian, so getting to see the life of a farming vet was a whole new world to me. James Herriot is also a hilarious author, because his anecdotes are genuine and the people leap off the pages at you. as long as you aren't squeamish, this book and its companions are so so great.

basically James Herriot at some point in his books, I'm sure

castaways of the flying dutchmen

want to sum up a hefty portion of my childhood? read all the books Brian Jacques wrote, and you've covered more than half of my life, basically. I devoured Redwall (yet another series that inspired me to write...maybe a little too much. *thinks back to my very first fantasy series and winces*), and when I got older, I fell in love with the Castaways of the Flying Dutchmen and the follow up books. these books still make me cry. and then when I remember that Brian Jacques passed away and there won't be any more, I cry even harder.

I'm going to stop there, even though there about ten more prominent books/series in my head right now, and I haven't even asked my mom what I'm forgetting, but if you haven't read these books, make sure you do. (at least read the wolves books. they're amazing. #teamDidoandSimon ) although I love YA and the progress in fiction that has occurred over the years, I consider many of these books the best books I will ever read. they're classy, they're funny, and they're unique. and they formed my childhood.

which, considering Joan Aiken's writing, is rather terrifying.

seriously--I kind of think of her as the Maggie Stiefvater of that era

what are some of the books that you read growing up? do you have a soft spot for some random series that literally no one has heard about (I feel like a lot of the books I read as a kid are kinda unknown--especially now).

hope y'all have a great weekend!

I'll be cuddling my kitty then driving off to Chicago!