Saturday, August 29, 2015

The College Diaries | The Time Being Self-Conscious Conquered my Life

It's Friday and it's been yet another week at college. Honestly at this point I feel like I've already been here years yet it's barely been two weeks. Feelings of anxiety and homesickness are definitely not as common. I've finally established regular eating and sleeping patterns and overall I'm not hating the experience.

Classes started this week and I don't think I've ever been happier to be back in a classroom. There's something about the teach/learn interaction that is so straightforward and beneficial that I just love; proclamations of a true nerd, am I right? But seriously, for me succeeding inside the classroom is exponentially easier than succeeding outside the classroom. In the real world everything isn't typed up in convenient PowerPoints or condensed into a textbook. Sometimes we have to gamble and assume which, more times than not, doesn't end how we want it to.

But today I actually want to talk about my difficulties inside the classroom. I like to think I'm a fairly intelligent person. Subjects that usually frustrate the normal student aren't as bad for me and so far my classes have reflected that. Even though I'm taking an advanced course typically meant for upperclassmen and graduate students, it doesn't seem like an extremely hard class, material-wise. Though what is hard for me is discussion. Raising my hand to ask a question or give an answer. The potential of being wrong looms over me and my mind immediately associates being 'wrong' with being 'stupid' and scares me from even trying. Every time the teacher asks the question, I almost immediately have an answer in my mind but by the time I get the courage to vocalize my answer, someone has already answered.

Being so self-conscious of myself and what others think of me really limits me, both academically and socially. There's always some worry going through my mind. What if people think I'm a nerdy know-it-all? What if they think I'm dumb? What if they think I'm mean? What if they think I'm clingy? But the truth is, people don't think about me nearly as much as I think they do. Don't get me wrong, sometimes they do. But if those people are really analyzing you that much, maybe they aren't necessarily worth your time.

I agree it's not as easy as it sounds. But next time I find myself hesitating because of other people I'm just going to think "F*** it, who cares?" and do it. So today I decided to run for the President of my class. I refuse to be intimidated and I refuse to be submissive. If I win, great, and if I don't, oh well at least I tried. If there's something you're hesitant about doing, I say go for it. Don't let other people hold you back.

Those are my thoughts for this week. Now begins my first official weekend at college, so I'll let you know how that goes. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday Talks | First or Third Person Narrative?

Welcome to another Tuesday Talks, a GoodReads group started by Janie and Janelle where we discuss book-related topics every Tuesday. Today we're going to discuss the pros and cons of first and third person perspectives in books. I honestly think that both of them have advantages and disadvantages and different books and authors work differently with each perspective.

First person narrative is really good for coming of age and contemporary novels. Through first person we get to see directly into a person's brain. We get to see their course of action and why they do what they do (a skill I wish I had in real life), which is really helpful especially when the protagonist makes a grand revelation. However first person is restrictive, we only get to see from one person or a small number of people.

Third person is a bit more interesting because we can get so many different perspectives but still get some amount of internal thought from the characters. It's not as deep as a first person narrative but still gets the job done. I think third person is really good for action and adventure books, where most of the plot and conflict is external. Third person allows us to see different sides of the same external event which is an interesting way to build the storyline.

I don't think that I can objectively say whether one type of narrative is better than the other. Both have some pros and cons and I really think that these different types are better applicable in different genres. What do you guys think? Do you like one type of perspective more than the other? Let me know in the comments below! 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The College Diaries | Pros and Cons of the College Life

As high schoolers we dream of going to college. We dream of having the infinite freedom of living away from our parents. No one to nag us or interfere in our lives. And while college is a fantastic and completely worthwhile experience, it's not absolutely flawless.

PRO: Freedom. 

This is the biggest and by far most common pro. We can basically do whatever we want, be wherever we want, eat whatever we want. There is no one nagging us to eat or sleep. I have been at college for about six days and for so many of those days we've stayed up until one or two in the morning just sitting and talking, something I normally wouldn't have been able to do at home. We even get freedom inside our classroom. Finally we can take classes and subjects we actually like rather than just fill a quota.

CON: No privacy/ alone time 

As an only child one of the things I cherished most was my alone time. Time I could talk to myself and just sit and think, allowing myself to relax and unwind. It was time I didn't have to socialize or keep up a reputation. And in college that time is exponentially smaller. First of all, most people have a roommate. And since you share such a small space with someone, it's fairly difficult to find time to have the room to yourself. And second, you live in a building filled completely with other people your age. People are constantly going in and out of rooms and going up and down the stairs, so complete silence and aloneness is hard to achieve.

PRO: People 

This could be both a pro and a con, but in order to spin it in a more positive way, I'll make it a pro. There are so many people in college and so many types of people. Everyone has some type of story to them and it's actually a lot of fun to meet and learn the backgrounds behind all of these people. There are people you instantly click with, and there are others that take a bit more figuring out, but all together it is definitely an interesting experience.

CON: It's so much easier to feel lonely

This sort of contradicts a previous point I made. Although it's hard to achieve a state of being alone, feeling lonely is very easy. This is the first time away from your parents, and if you're extremely close with your parents like I am, then their absence is extremely palpable in your life. On top of that you realize that at college everyone comes to do their own thing. Some people have class, while others have jobs or internships. No one is going through the exact same path so it's hard to have people know exactly what you're going through.

There are both PROS and CONS to the college lifestyle, and while I am excited to continue on this journey, I'm also terrified. There are so many interactions and relationships that I'm making for the first time here and I'm very worried that my lack of experience will unintentionally mess them up.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Heir | Kiera Cass

Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible.

But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.

Eadlyn doesn't expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought.

Continuing the Selection Series, the Heir proved to be yet another cute, light read. Set more than eighteen years in the future, we get to meet America and Maxon's daughter Eadlyn, a woman close to taking the throne as the first woman leader. The caste system has been officially disbanded however there's still unrest in the public, and in order to distract them from the rebellion beginning to brew, Eadlyn is forced into a Selection of her own. 

While this new series seems like a repeat of the original, I'm excited to see the different perspectives, one of the selector as opposed to the selectees, and I am especially excited to see more of a development of the characters and the world. 

I had mentioned in my review of The One that I felt the world was only briefly introduced and I'm hoping we get to see more. Perhaps in the later books we'll be able to step outside the castle and get a first hand view of the riots and rebellions. 

One character I am particularly looking forward to is Princess Eadlyn. In just the first book, we began seeing a dramatic difference in her personality. She begins as a stubborn girl, someone who has spent their entire life training for the crown. She knows how she should look and act; prim and proper, but she refuses to acknowledge any part of her that is vulnerable. Her heart and her personality is blocked by a thick brick wall, masked by a picture of perfection. By the end of the book we begin making small dents and I'm hoping it's completely torn down by the end of the series.

It's definitely worth continuing if you've read the other Selection books. And if you haven't read those, I definitely recommend them if you're looking for a cute, light read. I'll link my previous reviews down below if you want to read more about the other books. 

The Selection
The Elite

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The College Diaries | The Time I Moved In

Hey guys,

So I know I've been a little all over the place with my discussion posts and reviews lately but I promise I have a good reason. The last couple of days I've been busy moving into college, which is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

So at the moment I'm feeling a bit more homesick than I feel like I should. I got to move in today and unpack my stuff and I will say that I'm pleasantly surprised by the size of our room. While the people next to us got a slightly smaller room with barely a wardrobe, we got a fairly large room with two closets, two desks and four dressers.

Upperclassmen make orientation as easy as possible. They open themselves up to answering any and all questions we have, regardless of the topic and I think everyone else is having just as much trouble digesting this whole college situation as I am.

"What time is curfew?"
"Are we allowed to go off campus?"

It's hard to realize that after all this time, we're completely free. In fact, I went outside at one in the morning and my friend and I ran through the sprinklers, something I wouldn't normally have done at home.

It's an interesting adventure and I'm really hoping this homesickness feeling wears off and I really begin having fun and studying just as hard. It's about two am so I'm gonna sign off and hopefully write more tomorrow

~Fantabulous College Student 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Free For All Friday | I'm Terrified

College is every teenager's dream. It's the first time in their life they get to live away from their parents and finally get the chance to be independent. They're free to party, sleep, and eat however they want. But of course I can't be like most teenagers. Instead of being excited I'm terrified.

Tomorrow I move into college and it's the biggest change I've ever been through. I'll go from a quiet, small household to a dorm full of energetic teenagers. Weekends will no longer consist of me alone in my room watching Netflix... well I mean it might but the likelihood of that happening is far less. And while these immediate changes like sharing a bathroom and a bedroom are significant, the most terrifying thing is that this is where life begins. From here on out I have to begin building up my "career" in fact, I can begin referring to my academics as part of this so called "career." I have to plan my classes, volunteer work, internships, jobs, everything around this career, so that it helps me in the future.

I had a graduation party a couple days ago. A couple family friends came over as a sort of good bye and as they were leaving, they told me how excited they were to, hopefully one day, see my name in the news or a fancy research magazine. Let's be honest, if I'm going down the medical field the only way I'm going to be showcased like that is if I do something spectacular, something worthy of Grey's Anatomy. It's an expectation, an expectation to be successful. While most children (usually Indian or Asian) are pressured to do well academically and continually forced and nagged to sit down and study, I never had that. Throughout high school I was self-motivated enough to manage my study habits on my own and as a result I've grown a reputation. I'm the "perfect" child everyone else gets compared to, and trust me it's not as good as it sounds. I've set the bar high for myself, perhaps a little too high. I've started the race of life at a full on sprint and I'm terrified I'm going to burn out before reaching the finish line. I'm terrified I'm not going to live up to the expectations and goals other people have set for me. And honestly I'm most terrified I'm not going to live up to my own expectations.

I just wanted to get some of my thoughts out there about college. I have no doubt they're going to be an exciting four years, but I'm equally terrified and anxious. Maybe you guys feel the same way, or have any experiences you want to share, I'd love to hear about them! 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson | Discussion Post #6

Welcome to the last Well of Ascension discussion post! But don't worry we still have one more book to read. We've done a bunch of other discussion posts for the last two books which are here:

The Well of Ascension | Discussion #3
The Well of Ascension | Discussion #4
The Well of Ascension | Discussion #5

And of course, two books in there are guaranteed spoilers so instead of leaving and never coming back, join us, because trust me these books are not something you want to miss!

1. What do you think of Elend as a Mistborn? Do you think it will damper his relationship with Vin?

Courtney: I think it’s going to be very interesting to see Elend as a Mistborn, in a good way. I really don’t think it will cause issues with Vin because she will feel more comfortable if he’s capable of protecting himself. It might even make them closer, since they will be able to share more of their experiences with each other.  
Saloni: It was constantly a problem that Vin was a Mistborn while Elend wasn’t so I’m not sure Elend becoming a Mistborn will be too big of a problem. I think it’ll help both of them be able to understand each other more. The only problem I can forsee is a sense of competition brewing between them, but the probability of that happening is very unlikely. 

2. What are your thoughts on the creature that was released from the Well of Ascension?

Courtney: I feel like this creature is connected to the voice that Zane heard and the spikes in the Inquisitors. I’m not sure if it’s just some creature that can be vanquished or some sort of evil deity. It’s obviously very powerful and I think must be connected to the mists in some way. It has to also be related to the fact that documents change over time. It’s all connected in some greater way.

Saloni: There is so much mystery surrounding this creature and all we know about it is that it’s been released from the Well. I think the power that Vin/ the Lord Ruler had kept the creature at bay but I’m not sure exactly how the creature is connected to the Mists. Maybe when the Lord Ruler kept his power, he prevented the creature from being released which stopped the Mists. Maybe releasing the power is dangerous because it frees the Mists.

3. Did the novel meet your expectations?

Courtney: Honestly, yes. Yes, it did. It’s always hard going into a sequel because you want it to live up to the first book. In some ways I prefer the Final Empire, but in others I prefer the Well of Ascension. They both build the world and characters so beautifully that it’s really impossible for me to say which I prefer. Even on a second reading I was amazed by how good this book was.  

Saloni: Surprisingly it did. The author’s job is exponentially harder as he or she tries to meet or even surpass the original book. I think Sanderson did a fantastic job of maintaining those high expectations. Both The Final Empire and The Well of Ascension were amazing, in every aspect. I couldn’t say one was better than the other. 

4. Is there anything you would change about the novel as a whole (characters, setting, events, etc)?

Courtney: Vin. Not really her as a character, but some of the story involving her. I felt that her sudden acceptance of her place and role was too abrupt. While I think it was important for her to be vulnerable in the beginning and unsure about certain things I felt that she regressed too much. Other than that minor problem I don’t think I would want anything changed.  

Saloni: I do agree with Courtney that Vin’s sudden acceptance was extremely abrupt but I don’t think it affected the storyline too much. I do wish there was a bit more about the Lord Ruler and his mysterious powers. I understand that so much of that information is cloaked in mystery because we’ll probably find out everything in the last book. But I almost felt like we had too little fact and too much speculation, so it was slightly hard to believe that everyone happened to figure out so much of the missing information on a whim. 

5. What did you like most about the novel?

Courtney: Tough question because the whole thing was excellent, but I’m going to have to say Elend and his character progression. I loved his character from the first book but this made me love him even more. Being in his head, seeing his struggles, it was all very beautifully done. I think his character progression is one of the best I’ve seen in a Sanderson novel. I don’t remember feeling so invested in his character the first time around, so I think some of that has to do with my own mindset. He was brilliantly written.  

Saloni: This is such a hard question because everything in this book was fantastic. Elend was a great addition to the book, and I love that we got to see his perspective a bit more. In general I loved how expansive this book was. We got everyone’s perspective from Vin and Elend to Straff and Zane, which was different from the first book.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tuesday Talks | Book Enjoyment

A week has passed and it's Tuesday yet again, which it's time for another Tuesday Talks. Tuesday Talks is a GoodReads group started by Janie and Janelle where we discuss book-related topics every week. Today's topic discusses how long past enjoyment we'll stick with a book.

For me it honestly depends on why I'm reading the book. If it's a book that someone requested me to read and review I most definitely finish it, even if it takes me months. As a book reviewer I find that it's unfair to both the author and potential readers of the book if I review a book without completely finishing it, so I power through regardless.

If it's a book for personal enjoyment I typically won't power through if I don't immediately at least somewhat like it. I'll procrastinate reading it, eventually fall into a reading slump, pick up another book and months pass before I even think about the book I previously read. Maybe, if I'm feeling optimistic I'll pick it up and give it another try, but usually I don't. It spends the rest of its days collecting dust on my shelves.

Personally I don't enjoy keeping myself occupied with something I don't enjoy. So unless I have to, I don't. But I might be the only one, so let me know in the comments how you guys fare with unpleasant books. Do you keep reading them or abandon them as soon as you lose interest? Let me know in the comments below! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

'89 Walls | Katie Pierson


College is not in the cards for Seth. He spends his minimum wage on groceries and fakes happiness to distract his mom from the MS they both know will kill her. It’s agony to carry around a frayed love note for a girl who’s both out of his league and beneath his dignity.  

Quinn’s finishing high school on top. But that cynical, liberal guy in her social studies class makes her doubt her old assumptions. Challenging the rules now, though, would a) squander her last summer at home, b) antagonize her conservative dad, and c) make her a hypocrite. 

Seth and Quinn’s passionate new romance takes them both by surprise. They keep it a secret: it’s too early to make plans and too late not to care. But it’s 1989. As politics suddenly get personal, they find themselves fighting bare-fisted for their beliefs—and each other—in the clear light of day.

+5 Cover Design

I have to admit, this cover really caught my eye. The combination of the color contrast, the pictures and the font overall is very striking. I can see how it relates to the story without it being too obvious or literal. It's a fantastic cover. 

+3 Writing Style

It was obvious that the writer had put in a lot of research into shaping the political aspects of the book. But I'm not much of a political person, so those parts didn't necessarily attract me. Generally I would say that the writing was average, nothing great but nothing horrible. The reader could easily follow along with the events of the book and the characters. 

+2 Plot Development

This book wasn't very long, maybe two hundred pages or so, but there was a lot crammed into it. There were so many directions this book could have gone in, but rather than picking one issue.

+2 Character Relationships

Character relationships were my biggest problem throughout this book. The relationships seemed rushed and there seemed to be no conflict. Going into this book, I really thought it would be something like Lauren Myracle's The Infinite Moment of Us, which I loved. Unfortunately the relationships in '89 Walls didn't seem as real as they could have been. 

+2 Character Development

While there was some development of characters throughout the book, I really didn't feel like they grew all that much. Any changes in character were incited by specific events, but I don't feel like anyone really matured or changed. 

+2 Likability of Protagonist

Honestly, I didn't really like either of the protagonists. They were both stubborn and close-minded, not at all open to understanding other people's circumstances. I couldn't relate to any of the characters and most of their behaviors were frustrating and confusing. 

+3 Necessity of Minor Characters

There were one or two characters that could have been considered crucial, but I think even if all the minor characters were removed, this book could have still existed. We didn't see any complex relationships. The minor characters would pop in every now and then to say something to further the plot and then disappear. 

+4 Setting Description

I had no real problems with the setting. I could easily understand the locations and picture them in my mind. 

+2 Dialogue

The dialogue between the characters were as rushed as their relationships were. The only dialogue with substance was the political arguments. But in regards to the relationship, everything said was underwhelmingly simple. 

+1 Predictability

This book was extremely predictable. The events unfolded exactly as I thought they would. The author attempted to foreshadow certain ending, but it wasn't as subtle as it could have been.

+50 Finished

Final Total: 76; C

I had such different expectations going into this book. Essentially I didn't expect so much politics. If I were more of a political person I think would have enjoyed this a lot more, but honestly I was in it mostly for the romance and relationships, which proved to be underwhelming. I think this is definitely a good political read, but not as great if you're looking for a light, cute contemporary novel. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson | Discussion Post #5

Welcome to another discussion post! For the last couple of months, Courtney from CourtneyReads and I have been reading The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson together and we've done basically a million other discussion posts, which you can find below.

The Well of Ascension | Discussion #3
The Well of Ascension | Discussion #4

I am warning you, there WILL be spoilers! We talk about everything that's happen so you better grab the books and get on this reading train, wouldn't want it to leave without you!

1. After Vin left we didn’t really see much of Elend and Spook, what do you think happened to them?

Courtney: I think the main reason we haven’t seen much of Spook and Elend is just that they are traveling and it wouldn’t add much to the story. As long as they are just traveling, they should be safe. It seems like the more important aspects, as far as plot goes, are happening in Luthadel. I don’t think we have long to wait before we meet up with them again though.  

Saloni: I do find it a bit strange that we haven’t gone back to Elend’s point of view for a while. One theory is that nothing is really happening with them so we’re more focused on the fighting happening at Luthadel. Another theory is that something happened to them while they were travelling and the next section is going to expose what happened to them. For some reason I feel like this lack of perspective is somewhat important, but then again I may be wrong. 

2. What are your thoughts on the Koloss’s weakness?

Courtney: This was really interesting and I also feel very important. The fact that the Lord Ruler built in a weakness in his creations has to mean something. I’m not sure where this will go, but I think it’s going to be important in future events. Maybe to understand the Lord Ruler or maybe to understand the power that he took at the Well. I’m not sure. But it’s definitely interesting. And the connection with the kandra is very interesting as well.  

Saloni: I thought the parallel between the koloss and the kandra was really interesting and I don’t think we’re done with both of them. The Lord Ruler created both of these creatures and I think their origins will help us lead back to the Lord Ruler and his seemingly supernatural powers. I think this information will help us figure out why people considered the Lord Ruler “God”.

3. Do you think there is some connection between the Lord Ruler and the God that haunted Zane?

Courtney: The God that haunted Zane is important, I think. I’m fairly certain it has something to do with his metal spike. I’m not sure if this voice was the Lord Ruler or some greater power that haunted Zane. I feel like their has to be some type of connection, but I don’t feel like the Lord Ruler is truly still around. This has to be important though. Sanderson is very deliberate when it comes to these things, so he wouldn’t have given us all this information about the voice and the spike if we didn’t need it.

Saloni:We’ve constantly been told that the Lord Ruler had some type of divinity in him, which gives him a God-like power. I can’t help but connect this “God” to the same God that haunted Zane. Perhaps the spike has something to do with it. I think the spikes allow the Lord Ruler to invade the individual’s mind and speak directly to them. While the Lord Ruler is physically dead, I think some part of his spirit is still alive and within the mists that have been released.

4. What do you think will happen when Vin finally reaches the Well of Ascension?

Courtney: I feel like there isn’t enough information regarding the Well. She hears the thumping and sees the Mist spirit, like the last Hero did, but what does that really mean? I also don’t know what kind of power is going to be at the Well once she gets there. Obviously the Lord Ruler was able to take some form of power and create the Final Empire, but how this will play out with Vin is a mystery. An important mystery.

Saloni: There’s so much mystery behind the Well. In all of the records there are frequent mentions of the fact that the Lord Ruler took the power for himself instead of letting it go. We assume that this is because the Lord Ruler became selfish and wanted the power for himself but perhaps taking the power was what held back the Mists. I really don’t know how Vin is going to react to this power since no one really knows how this power works. 

5. Sazed has lost much of his faith after Tindwyl’s death, how do you think this will affect the future of the empire?

Courtney: Sazed, while quiet and servile, is extremely important to the rest of the crew and kingdom. I think his lack of faith and belief after Tindwyl will definitely have an impact on what happens with Vin, Elend, and the rest of the crew. He so often seems to be in the background of things, but without him they would all be lost. I feel that this depressed state he is in will have a larger role as the story progresses. And probably not in a good way.  

Saloni: Sazed is an extremely important background character and his depression-like mindset is definitely going to affect the crew. Sazed is at the core of the crew’s knowledge, about everything and if he decides to give up and not believe, he, whether he knows it or not, affects the belief of the rest of the crew. I do think this will play a significant role in the next book, but I’m not sure exactly how.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Free For All Friday | Social Media

Don't get me wrong, I love social media as much as the next person. As a blogger it's a great way to connect and network with other bloggers, authors and publicists, and as a person it's a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. But I feel like our generation is becoming more and more dependent on social media, to the point where the number of likes we get dictates how we see ourselves.

I recently went on vacation with a couple of family friends and noticed this rising dependence on social media, particularly Instagram. These middle schoolers and high schoolers spent so much of their time thinking of poses and captions, even missing out on the fun of water handball to go take pictures specifically for Instagram on the beach.

These kids have a formula. They know exactly what types of pictures people like and exactly what time is best for "maximizing likes." When social media is used to boost self-esteem it's not a problem, but when it begins to do the opposite it starts becoming a concern. Ideally social media is a platform for connecting, gives us a way to talk to people we normally wouldn't be able to. But it also gives us a better way to compare one another.

One hundred likes versus fifty likes has absolutely no significance. It doesn't mean you're prettier or more popular, because let's be real neither of those words has any meaning. Likes are a result of luck and chance; that someone happened to scroll past your picture and pushed a button.

With all this technology, it's so easy to blur the lines between digital and real. It's a growing side effect of all these wonderful platforms and a problem I think needs to be addressed.

But maybe I'm the only person who thinks this is a problem? What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments below! 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

P.S. I Still Love You | Jenny Han

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.

She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.

When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

As a companion novel to To All the Boys I've Loved Before, I had high expectations going into this book. All of them were met until the end, which I'll talk more about in the Spoiler-Filled Discussion. We get to see more of Lara Jean and Peter, both struggling through this relationship of theirs, dodging different obstacles like Genevieve and John Ambrose. 

I think my favorite part of this book, besides the cute, cheesy romance, was the interactions between the characters. The relationship between Lara Jean and her sister, Peter and Genevieve, and Lara Jean and John all played significant roles in the arc of the story. 

All in all, I think it was a very well-written conclusion to the story, even though I did have some specific problems with it. 

It's a cute contemporary read, perfect for the summer weather. I'll link my review to To All the Boys I've Loved Before in case you want to learn a bit more about the storyline and characters. 

Spoiler-Filled Review

While the story was cute and adorable, there were bits and pieces that I just didn't love. 

My first issue was with Peter. I'm not going to lie, I never really liked Peter. In the first book I was Team Josh and in the second book I was Team John. Peter never seemed like the ideal boyfriend for Lara Jean and this book confirmed just confirmed my beliefs. 

Genevieve constantly disrupted their relationship both intentionally and unintentionally. Throughout the entire book Lara Jean felt insecure about Genevieve and Peter's relationship and while some people might say she's being unnecessarily jealous, I completely understand the place she's coming from. It's not the fact that Peter is talking to a girl. It's the fact that he's missing games and secretly talking and meeting up with his ex-girlfriend, who is secretly plotting to get him back. Peter wasn't in wrong, but I just think he should have been more open and honest about it with Lara Jean, especially if his relationship with her was in trouble. 

Near the end Lara Jean had told him that she deserves someone who'll put her first and I completely agree with that. I don't think Peter was the one to do that. He and Genevieve have too much history and too many ties to cut off. But I do think John would have been able to do that for her, which is why I liked him more than Peter.

At least in the first book there was some secret behind Josh and Margot's relationship that made me feel weird about Josh and Lara Jean. But in this book, nothing got between John and Lara Jean, leaving me wondering why John wasn't a viable candidate. 

I'm happy for Lara Jean but I still wonder what could have happened if she pursued something with John. I understand this was Peter and Lara Jean's love story, but I still preferred John. The ending is really what brought the book down for me, but I'm sure all you Peter fans loved it. 

Were you guys Team Peter or Team John? Let me know in the comments below! 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson | Discussion Post #4

Hello everyone! Welcome to another Brandon Sanderson Discussion Post! Throughout this summer, Courtney from CourtneyReads and I have been reading the Mistborn Trilogy together and we've been doing discussion posts after each section. So if you want to know what we thought about some of the books you can check out our previous discussions for book one and book two!

There will be spoilers ahead so please join us if you haven't read these books yet, and let us know what you think!

1. Since TenSoon the spy, why do you think he divulged so much information about kandra and their weaknesses?

Courtney: I think that TenSoon was forced by Zane to kill OreSeur and take his place, assuming that Vin would be cruel and manipulative like Zane. His opening up and divulging of secrets was a slow process. I think he genuinely came to care for Vin and she for him. He even warned her to stay away from Zane at times, knowing that Zane was not trustworthy and was playing with Vin’s emotions. I hope we see more of him in the future.

Saloni: Some part of him was playing a role, which involved him acting as OreSeur but even so I don’t think that’s the sole reason he helped Vin so much. I really believe that as he and Vin began talking, some part of him began to trust her and open up to her to the point where she could glean some of his secrets from him. Even at the end TenSoon seemed reluctant to leave Vin and become reassigned which shows me that there was some amount of true trust between them. 

2. Do you think Vin is the Hero of Ages?

Courtney: It seems to obvious for that to be the case. While there are many similarities between the things we know about the Hero of Ages and Vin, I think we are missing vital information. I think she’s important to the Hero of Ages, I just don’t think she is the hero herself. I’m not sure if it’s someone we already know or if they will be introduced later, but I think Vin will play an important part no matter who the hero is.

Saloni: While it is the outcome that makes the most sense, it’s also too predictable. Though Vin does have immense similarities to the Hero of Ages that matches some of the characteristics from the logbook, I think it would be too easy an ending to simply proclaim Vin the Hero of Ages. I think Sazed or Tindwyl will find something in the logbook or the rubbing that shows that someone else is the Hero of Ages. 

3. It was revealed that Zane had a metal spike in his body, do you think this has anything to do with the voice he was hearing? Any thoughts on why the knowledge of this metal spike was important?

Courtney: Sanderson is too focused to give us information that we don’t need. Everything in his novels is important. I feel like this revelation, made here at the end of Zane’s life, was important for us to know. And I do think it has something to do with the voices. I don’t really know how, but I think they are related. So far the only people we know of with metal spikes are Inquisitors, who change because of those spikes. I think the two are somehow related.

Saloni: I was wondering about the same thing actually, more so “God’s” last words before Zane’s death. The fact that Zane wasn’t actually insane has to have some type of importance but I couldn’t figure out how it would play into the story since he was dead. Perhaps the steel Inquisitors are controlled by this “God” whose voice is induced by the spikes? Though I’m not completely sure. 

4. What do you think of the Crew’s plan to send Vin and Elend away? Do you think it will work?

Courtney: The Crew is such an amazing part of this novel. I don’t think that their plan will go as they think it will, but I was happy to see them formulate it nonetheless. It was nice to see them all come together and acknowledge their doom, while trying to save some of their younger friends. And their logic was good, since Vin and Elend would be able to return and help eventually. I just don’t think they will truly leave like the crew expects.  

Saloni: There is no way the crew’s plan is going to work. I feel like there are way too many variables at play for this plan to work out flawlessly. It was an ideal plan but I don’t think it’s going to pan out exactly how it’s supposed to. Perhaps the Hero of Ages is Vin and the plan to send Vin and Elend actually works to get rid of the Mists and save the world. It seems a bit farfetched and very idealistic but maybe a version of it is possible.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tuesday Talks | Multiple POVs

Hey guys, welcome to another Tuesday Talks, a GoodReads groups started by Janie and Janelle where we discuss book-related topics every Tuesday. Today we'll be talking about multiple POVs in books.

I think the idea of multiple POVs depends on the author and the book. The art of mastering multiple POVs is a complicated one. The author has to be good enough to write in two distinctly different voices while still making it relevant to the plot. There are so many authors that have been able to make it work, but I want to talk about one specific example that doesn't work: Allegiant by Veronica Roth.

I know there are a lot of arguments against this book because of the ending, but I want to take a step back and talk about the book in comparison to the others in the series. Allegiant was the only book in the series that had both Tris and Tobias's perspectives and we all knew how that ended. I listened to this book through an audiobook so there was a change in voice when the narration changed, but there were several people who weren't really able to separate between Tris and Tobias, frequently having to look back at the chapter headings to figure out who's voice it was.

I think that the idea of multiple POVs can be incredible useful in telling a story, giving the audience a broader understanding of the characters and their personalities. But it's a very delicate art, something that's not necessary or good in every book. For me it just depends on the book and the author's skill level.

What do you guys think about multiple POVs? Love them, hate them? Let me know in the comments below! 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Kissing in America | Margo Rabb

In the two years since her father died, sixteen-year-old Eva has found comfort in reading romance novels—118 of them, to be exact—to dull the pain of her loss that’s still so present. Her romantic fantasies become a reality when she meets Will, who seems to truly understand Eva’s grief. Unfortunately, after Eva falls head-over-heels for him, he picks up and moves to California without any warning. Not wanting to lose the only person who has been able to pull her out of sadness—and, perhaps, her shot at real love—Eva and her best friend, Annie, concoct a plan to travel to the west coast to see Will again. As they road trip across America, Eva and Annie confront the complex truth about love. 

In this honest and emotional journey that National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr calls “gorgeous, funny, and joyous,” readers will experience the highs of infatuation and the lows of heartache as Eva contends with love in all of its forms.

BEA was incredible. Not only because of all the free books but because of the wonderful authors I got to meet, and Margo Rabb was no different. We began talking and I found out that she'll be coming to a Barnes and Noble near me and I'd have the chance to meet her again. So of course, before then I wanted to read her book so we could talk about it. 

I will say that this book did not disappoint. Just by looking at the cover and the title, I honestly though this book was about two immigrants falling in love, but soon into the book I realized I was wrong. 

Rabb did a fantastic job of intertwining a different type of love story within this book. I will admit that there were a few side plots that seemed mildly unnecessary even though I understood the purpose of them, but overall I think it did a good job of depicting a different type of love story. 

While Eva wasn't an unlikable character, I didn't particularly love her dependance on Will. She spent most of the beginning pining over him and thinking about him, which I didn't particularly love but I understand that it was crucial to the storyline. 

Overall I loved the way the story ended up progressing. It's a nice, light read and if you've enjoyed Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid and Papertowns by John Green, this is something you might enjoy.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Stacking the Shelves | July 2015

It's been a while since I've accumulated enough books for a Stacking the Shelves post, but I finally have a bunch and I want to share them with you guys! Some of these books were sent to me to review, others were given to me and then I bought the rest. But I would say that this month was pretty fruitful in terms of good books.

The Balance by Michael Seldon 

The author requested me to read and review this book and so I was very fortunate to get a really nice hardcopy of the book. At the moment I'm currently reading this book and am very excited to finish it! 

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

My wonderful friend bought me this book as my graduation present. We had met the author Margo Rabb at BEA and later we saw her again at her EpicReads Panel at Barnes and Nobles with three other fantastic authors, and Robyn Schneider was one of them. Although we couldn't buy all of the showcased book, months later I finally got this book from my friend and I am so excited to read it! 

The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson has been everywhere lately, and because of all the hype I had to pick up these books. In fact, Courtney from CourtneyReads and I are doing a buddy read of the series, so if you want to check out our latest discussion post click here. I'm really enjoying this series and the hype around Brandon Sanderson, I think, was proven. 

The First Three PJO Books by Rick Riordan

My library hosts a summer reading program every year which allows its patrons to win free books. So of course, my mission is to collect every new Percy Jackson cover. As of now I have the first three and now I just need the last two and I'm set. 

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan 

I would say that I have good self-control. I don't usually impulsively buy books, but even the best of us fall off the wagon sometimes. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Lightning Thief and of course Barnes & Noble released an "Exclusive Collector's Edition" which I had to buy. I really don't know why I bought it, but I did and I don't regret it. 

Sapient by Jerry Kaczmarowski

This book was also sent to me to read and review. I would describe this book as a sci-fi thriller and I enjoyed most of the book. I recently finished it so I should have a review going up very soon!