July Wrap-Up + Harry Potter Release Party

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Harry Potter Releasing

Unless you have had no access to the bookworm community lately you probably know that on Saturday night the bound script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released! With all of the local bookstores in Saint Paul I had a plethora of release parties to choose from, but I of course had to go to Red Balloon Bookshop’s: partly because I love their events, and partly because that is the store where I so many years ago attended the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (I was 8, by the way)

The store was wonderfully decorated, everyone was dressed up, we participated in a fun scavenger hunt through the store, there was cake for Harry’s birthday, and we all counted down to midnight. Even though the series is over it was great for everyone to come back together in their love for it for this release. I guess you could say it was sort of ~magical~

Traveling

At the very beginning of this month I came back from Nationals in New York, (we did moderately well) and then halfway through the month my family took a little trip to San Diego, California in which I learned to surf (!!) and took many pictures of palm trees. I also made a travel diary type video of the trip.

Packing for College

It’s happening. I don’t have everything together yet, but I have an idea of everything. I’ve been thinking about filming a “dorm haul” video and writing a post about the books I’ll be bringing, so you can look forward to that.

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What I’ve Been Reading

On the Blog

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June 2016 Wrap-Up + July TBR

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I really thought that I would have some great things to share about my summer so far right here… But with synchronized swimming nationals June is always a bit of a lost month of long practices for me. As you read this I am actually at nationals right now. Afterward I’ll probably be writing a little post about the whole experience (it’s legit my last junior level competition EVER) so you can look forward to that if you want to see how it all goes!

Other things… Well, I saw the movie Zootopia twice this month and really loved it, and spent way too much time watching the live stream from Vidcon. Just putting that out there. I also drove to my college to tour stuff again and register for classes. I even saw the dorm room I’m going to be in next year AND met my roommate so that’s pretty significant.

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What I’ve Been Reading

  • Illuminae (Illuminae #1) by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff (reread) ★ I love Illuminae so much and it basically was as intense the second time. I was super nervous even though I already knew what was about to happen… Serious props to this one.
  • Gemina (Illuminae #2) by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff SO GOOD. I may have enjoyed this one slightly less than Illuminae but it was good for so many different reasons than Illuminae was and I really loved it. I want the third book sooo much right now it’s a little sad.
  • Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire ☆ This was an odd little book. Interesting enough… But nothing really happened. And all the teased details of all the character’s different worlds really leaves me wanting more of each of their stories. Either way, this was a quick and different sort of read.
  • Vicious by VE Schwab ☆ I really LIKED this book but I found it a bit slow and the ending didn’t do a lot of what I’d hoped. My favorite parts were all the flashbacks in the beginning with Eli and Victor at college so when the “current time” stuff took over the whole plot I lost a little interest. The concept of the powers was really cool but not amazing. I liked the characters but didn’t feel a huge connection with them. Since I love both Schwab and super-villain stories I kind of thought this could be a new favorite but I guess it just feel a little flat for me.
  • You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan ★ So beautiful. I just want to read it again and again and again.

Quote of the Month

“I think you have to gamble in order to win.” – Nina LaCour and David Levithan, You Know Me Well

On the Blog

July TBR

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May 2016 Wrap-Up + June TBR

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I started May off with my regional Synchronized Swimming competition in which I achieved my biggest goal by winning first in the individual figure competition, and both my routines qualified to nationals. Closer to end of this month I then had my school’s “prom” (it was a lot of fun) and I graduated from high school. So… A pretty big month.

What I’ve Been Reading:

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  • A Court of Thorns and Roses (#1) by Sarah J Mass ☆ I’ve been a little wary since I did not really enjoy Mass’s Throne of Glass, but this was a very entertaining book! It was really intriguing and I liked reading it.
  • A Court of Mist and Fury (#2) by Sarah J Mass ☆ Overall enjoyable, but it took SOO long to read. A lot happened that seemed pretty… Unimportant. I enjoyed some parts of this more than the first book, but page count aside I read the first one so much faster and it never felt at all like a chore to read like this one sometimes did.
  • The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan ☆ This was so much more like Percy Jackson than Heroes of Olympus which means Tamara = happy. That said, this book felt much more simplified, predictable and maybe even overall… Younger? But I still enjoyed it.
  • The Crown (The Selection #5) by Kiera Cass ☆ This was a really good series conclusion. It did frustrate me in parts, and the first three books probably had a better story arc, but I still thoughrougly enjoyed The Crown. I also thought it was kind of the perfect length – I read it quickly and didn’t get bored at any part.
  • White Sand Vol. 1 by Brandon Sanderson / Rik Hoskin ☆ It was interesting and I’m intrigued enough to read the other volumes, but the story felt a little rushed and weirdly paced at the beginning. Plus, I didn’t feel much depth to the characters, but that’s a problem I often have with graphic novels. (I feel incredibly weird not loving a Branderson book…)
  • Goldfish by Nat Luurtsema Goldfish is not a bad book… But as I synchro swimmer I had many problems with it. Here, just read my review.
  • I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil ☆ I thought this was pretty good. It was an enjoyable, interesting read that really did some different sort of stuff with high school tropes.

June TBR

I think I’m heading back into a science fiction kick this next month, but I’ve also been loving contemporaries lately. These are just suggestions of course, but here goes:

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April 2016 Wrap-Up

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Is it strange that I have nothing to say about April? It feels like this month flew by, and that not much happened when it came to school, reading, blogging… anything. I do feel like I’ll be getting back into blogging and everything in the next month, and I also want to get back to making videos on my youtube channel. Here’s to more in May!

What I’ve Been Reading:

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Music of the Month:

This month I really got into the spirit of “I want summer time and I want it now!” and so in lieu of creating a monthly playlist I instead decided to put together this year’s summer playlist… like two months too early. But it’s alright. This is mostly just really pumped up pop but I like it a lot. Great for workouts, road trips, stretching, cleaning out my closet…

How was your month? Did anything great happen for you?

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March 2016 Wrap-Up + April TBR

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A lot of really important things happened in March that went by really fast. I received my last college letters, I committed to where I’m going next year, (University of Illinois class of 2020!) and now I’m into the last quarter of my high school career. I’ll admit that now that I’ve gotten here it’s a little bit scary. I’m glad I now have a plan, and yet… My life is going to be changing in a lot of ways. I’m ready for it, but I also a little fearful. I think now is the time to try and savor my last two months of high school (as much as I can enjoy school 😁) and have some fun with my real life friends before we all separate.

I didn’t do pretty much any blog stuff over this month until spring break this last week, but you may notice that my blog looks a little different! I was getting a little tired of the old theme and I decided to switch things up. I hope you like it as much as I do!

What I’ve Been Reading:

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  • The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson ☆ A slightly slow yet explosive start to a series that I now love. This is a 1000 page adult high fantasy book, which is not normally my style, but it’s also Sanderson, so… I was willing to really dive in and I knew I would like the flow of the writing and the world building. This is definitely a grittier and heavier book than many of the Sanderson novels I love, but also soooo necessary to understanding the whole story of his other high fantasy books as this series really dives into all the books’ interconnected universe. I had a few frustrations with this book: It was a huge book and therefore sometimes felt long, my favorite character(s) were sometimes absent as narrators so I would be waiting for them to come back, and one character who I now like annoyed me a lot in this first one. All in all though, the magic system is great and the plot is so nuanced I enjoyed it anyways.
  • Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2) by Brandon Sanderson ★ The parts of Way of Kings that I didn’t like were totally worth it to read just so I could get to Word of Radiance. No second book syndrome here, as this book moved much faster than the first. I enjoyed Words of Radiance considerably more than Way of Kings; partly because I had warmed up to the characters I didn’t connect to in the first book, partly because my two faves took center stage, partly because all the characters finalllllyyyy met each other and their story connected, and partly because it extended the universe and magic that had been already introduced and it was fantastic.
  • Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia  A solid NO from me. I recommend reading my goodreads review for my full thoughts. Mostly, the main character here went way belong the “dislikable” category and landed solidly in the “cruel and uncaring” category, with the book framing her behavior as okay and even admirable. The ending seemed to be trying for character development, but I didn’t see any changes at all.
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins Not my cup of tea.
  • Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare ☆ Review!
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stepanie Perkins ☆ This was really cute and lovely but I enjoyed the first half a bit more than the second half. I think the level of indecision just kind of got to me?? I can’t really pinpoint any sort of problem but there’s some sort of feeling there knocking it down to four stars. Stephanie Perkins’ writing is truly GREAT though. It flows so perfectly and makes her books so hard to put down.
  • The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski ★ These were rereads in preparation for the third book, and were JUST as good as the last time. This trilogy is so addictive I could barely stop reading it, even with the knowledge of everything that was going to happen. The writing is beautiful but also very flowing and easy to follow in a way that leaves me hanging on and wanting more. I love the world, and I love the characters, and I am both scared and excited to read The Winner’s Kiss in April.

Events

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I went to two book events this month: first was a stop on the Penguin Teen tour with Alison smallmarierutkoskiGoodman, Sabaa Tahir, Rachel Hawkins, April Genevive Tucholke, Alwyn Hamilton, and Karen Bao. I have yet to read books by most of these authors but they were all so great and the event was filled with people and was a lot of fun.

The second event I attended was one with Marie Rutkoski on her tour for The Winner’s Kiss, the final book in The Winner’s Trilogy. I loooove this series and after re-reading the first two books this week it was so cool to meet the author. She spoke about musicianship and the real-world inspirations for the fantasy world in the book and was super interesting.

Quote of the Month:

“All people are musicians … The question is whether or not they share their songs” – Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

Music of the Month:

April TBR

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Not going super ambitious on the tbr this month because I am notoriously bad at sticking to them. (I always seem to get new ARCs I really want right after posting a tbr) Also, totally accidentally this group of books turned out very red, white, and blue…

How was your month? Did you read anything great?

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