Thursday, November 8, 2018

Twenty-One was Fun

I have been 22-years-old for a full month now.  And so far so good, but this year is going to have to be something else if its going to top being 21.

On my twenty-first birthday I challenged myself to complete the "1 Second Everyday Challenge" using the app.  I was successful with it and now I have this little video to remind me of all of the fun things that I did during the year.  I love that I have this video to look back on.  It's crazy how one second can remind you of such great memories.  Sure, some days were more exciting than others, but I had a pretty great year.

When I first turned twenty-one I was living in an on-campus apartment with my best friend.  We had never been roommates before and we had such a fun time.

Then, in November, I went to Iceland with some family and friends.  It was the first time my brother left the country.  It was four days of craziness!

Of course, with christmas comes an assortment of fun things to do on campus as I go to a catholic school.  We participated in the gingerbread house contest and went to christmas feast.

From January to April I was studying abroad, which has to be the greatest decision I have ever made. I met some great people and had such a fun time.  I traveled in and out of Britain, my brother came to visit me, my sister, mom, and friends came to visit.  It ended up being a positive choice for so many people!

I came home just in time for Spring Weekend at my college so I got to see all of college friends before the summer started.

Summer was filled with working and friends, so it was amazing.  And then it ended with a trip to South Carolina, which was a fun-filled week to say the least.

Back at school I am now a senior, living with two close friends and two girls I didn't know until move-in day, but have quickly grown close to.  I have a packed schedule with 3 classes, 2 jobs, 1 internship, and numerous club responsibilities, but I'm making it work!

I'm so glad I downloaded this app so I can look back and see all of the good times I've had.  I find myself smiling throughout the entire video!  I can't wait to see what Twenty-Two brings!!


Saturday, October 6, 2018

Books I Read in September

I did not get the chance to read one book in August.  I started a few, but I went on vacation and then school started soon afterward so I just didn't have the time.  September didn't give me a whole lot of time to read either because I'm currently working on my senior thesis, but I did get a couple books for fun in that I wanted to share with you.  

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
This book wasn't exactly a book I read for fun, but I ended up really enjoying it so I wanted to share.  This year I am a writing assistant at my school, so the director asked us to read it since we would be dealing with student papers.  I don't usually like nonfiction books, but since this one was written by Stephen King it didn't feel like a typical memoir.  The book is broken into three parts: King's life, Writing Tips, and then King's Life again.  It was really interesting to read about how an author as accomplished as Stephen King comes up with ideas for his novels and the tips he has learned along the way.

From Here to You by Jamie McGuire
I love returning to the Beautiful world, as many of you know if you've been here for a little while.  This was the first of that world that didn't have to do directly with one of the Maddox brothers, but the twins and even Thomas made a few cameos.  This story is one where love isn't always convenient, but it's always worth it.  Darby just left an awful relationship and had no intentions of jumping into another, especially since she's pregnant.  Meanwhile, Trex has had an image of the perfect woman in his head and that woman is Darby, except for the fact that she has vowed off any man with a career close to his.  The two of them certainly face their challenges and doubts, but they are able to fight through all of the issues thrown their way.
Two things that didn't make sense to me in this story: 1) There's a moment when Tyler is talking about going to pick up Ellie from the airport and propose to her since she's back from rehab.  Right after that Jojo comes in as a new photographer, but shouldn't that Jojo scene happened a few months ago when Ellie is sent home?  2) When Trex leaves to make sure his little sister is okay from her car accident I find it very unlikely he would have left Darby alone right after seeing her abusive ex-boyfriend come into the hotel with two other men.  What do you guys think about either of these?

Sadie by Courtney Summers
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book, so I wrote a longer post about it, which you can read here!

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Jamie McGuire and Christina Lauren book releases in the same month?!  You know I was thriving with this.  This book was so funny.  I really loved the dynamic between Josh and Hazel and how they kept setting each other up on dates but really they just wanted to hang out with each other.  They reminded me of Jenson and Pippa or Niall and Ruby: the seeming opposites, but exactly what each other need.  I also loved how the shocker at the end wasn't a huge issue, they both just went with it.  I thought it was nice because it would have been so easy for that to a complicated situation, but the two of them didn't allow it to be.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Happy publication day to Sadie by Courtney Summers!! 

St. Martin's Press gifted the eBook version of Sadie to me and I just finished it hours ago.  The book goes back and forth between Sadie's point of view and West McCray's podcast, allowing you to know what happens and what the evidence shows might have happened on Sadie's journey of revenge.  And yet both points of view allow you to learn new aspects of Sadie's life and motives.  This story was full of love, heartbreak, twists, and discovery as she chases her sister's killer for miles.  From the first to the last page there is something to be learned about Sadie, and yet she still leaves you guessing because that's just who Sadie is.  

Courtney Summers is already known for her well written and dark young adult novels, earning rave starred trade reviews on every book. With a fierce and independent female lead, SADIE (September 4, 2018; Wednesday Books) continues in this vein told in part as a podcast, similar to Serial, about a missing girl determined to avenge her sister’s death. A propulsive and harrowing read that will keep you riveted until the last page, Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career.

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.  But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.  When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.  

Below you will find an excerpt of Sadie, just in case you need a little bit more convincing to read this book.  

COURTNEY SUMMERS lives and writes in Canada. She is the author of What Goes Around, This is
Not a Test, Fall for Anything, Some Girls Are, Cracked Up to Be, Please Remain Calm, and All the

Below you will find a Q&A she did regarding her most recent work.

  1. Did you experience more difficulty writing one or the other, or did you like writing in one form more? How much of the novel did you write in chronological order, and how much did you jump around?
    1. I enjoyed both of them. Writing Sadie’s perspective was very familiar to me because all of my books feature an intensely close first person, female point-of-view. Writing West’s perspective, the podcast format, proved a little more challenging. Not so much because of the way it was written (scripts) but because each episode had to propel Sadie’s narrative forward and give us a different way of looking at the things she went through. So far, I’ve only ever been able to write in chronological order!
  2. Was this how you always envisioned the book or did it change as you wrote it? 
    1. Regina Spektor said something really interesting about writing songs that I’ve always loved and related to as an author. She said, “[A]s soon as you try and take a song from your mind into piano and voice and into the real world, something gets lost and it’s like a moment where, in that moment you forget how it was and it’s this new way. And then when you make a record, even those ideas that you had, then those get all turned and changed. So in the end, I think, it just becomes its own thing and really I think a song could be recorded a million different ways and so what my records are, it just happened like that, but it’s not like, this is how I planned it from the very beginning because I have no idea, I can’t remember.” I feel something similar when writing—the heart of my idea remains intact, but the way it takes its ultimate form is always a little different (or even a lot different) than I might have been expecting, which makes it difficult to recall the starting point. But that’s okay as long as the heart is still there and you’re satisfied with and believe in what you’ve created.
  3. What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters? Which of your characters do you most identify with, and why? 
    1. When I first started Sadie, I was extremely skeptical of West—he had to prove himself to readers over the course of his narrative and given the nature of his job, I was curious to see where writing him would take me. I really loved the way his arc unfolded. I wasn’t necessarily surprised by it, but more gratified by it than I realized I would be. I identify with little pieces of all of my characters, but I like to keep those to myself because I don’t want risk readers thinking about me while they read. I like my role as an author to be invisible.
  4. What gave you the idea for SADIE? 
    1. One of the things that inspired Sadie was the way we consume violence against women and girls as a form of entertainment. When we do that, we reduce its victims to objects, which suggests a level of disposability—that a girl’s pain is only valuable to us if we’re being entertained by it. But it’s not her responsibility to entertain us. What is our responsibility to us? I really wanted to explore that and the way we dismiss missing girls and what the cost of that ultimately is.
  5. Do you have a favorite scene, quote, or moment from Sadie?
    1. My favorite moment is a spoiler, but my favorite quote is this: “I wish this was a love story.”
  6. If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be? 
    1. I used to have an answer for this kind of question but the older I get, that’s changed. I wouldn’t tell her anything. Her experience as a writer unfolded the way it was supposed to and I like how it’s turning out.

Friday, August 31, 2018

South Carolina Wardrobe

I don't buy new clothes often, but when my sister planned a huge family trip to South Carolina, I decided that was a good excuse to grab some new pieces.  South Carolina in August is HOT and unbelievably humid, so I tried to choose clothes that were lightweight.  This did absolutely nothing to stop the sweating, but I figured if I was going to sweat out half my body weight every day I was at least going to try to look good while it happened.   

The crop-top I'm wearing here is from Jawbreaking, a few years ago.  I know the company was sold, so I don't think this top is still available.  The overalls are from Shein.

This top is from Charming Charlies and the bottoms are actually the shots from the overalls.

This entire outfit is from Shein, but I got the top last September.

This high-low jumpsuit was something I found in TJMaxx at the beginning of June.

Again, this entire look is from Shein.

If you're interested in seeing more of what I did instead of just what I wore please head over to my YouTube channel.   

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Books I Read in July

More Than Her (More Than #2) by Jay McLean
More Than Him (More Than #3) by Jay McLean
More Than Forever (More Than #4) by Jay McLean
More Than Enough (More Than #5) by Jay McLean
Lucas (Preston Brothers #1) by Jay McLean
Logan  (Preston Brothers #2) by Jay McLean
After reading More Than This last month I quickly read all of the other books that took place in that world.  All of these books were similar as they are companion novels, but I loved it.  I often reads book with the meet > get together > fight > break up > make up equation and I am never disappointed.  Each couple in these stories face very different challenges which keeps the stories from feeling too repetitive.  More Than Her and More Than Him actually follow the same couple so that also shook up the stories a little bit.  These were easy reads that I got off of Kindle Unlimited and I highly recommend you check them out if you're looking for some love stories. 

Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach
I read We All Looked Up a while back and absolutely loved the way Tommy Wallach writes so I was exciting to finally get my hands on this book.  I still love the way he writes, but I honestly don't really know how to describe this book.  It's written as a college essay - if a college essay could be an entire novel and not the 700 words I had to fit it all in.  And at the end he says something like, "Did I make this up or not?" and that's exactly what I was thinking the entire time!  Because surely an immortal girl doesn't come not your life days before she tries to kill herself, but then I started double guessing and not knowing what to believe.  This made me feel very confused as I read the book, which had a simple plot line.  I think this is also why I really enjoy Wallach's way of writing, because he can describe a weekend between a boy and a girl that makes you question whether or not there is some type of supernatural magic going on.  

More Than We Can Tell (Letters to the Lost #2) by Brigid Kemmerer
This one was probably my favorite of the month.  It's the sequel to Letters to the Lost which I read last month and I love how the books compare people communicating anonymously to each other to people communicating anonymously to everyone but each other.  Rev and Emma talk to each other face to face (or back to back) and help each other open up about their families and themselves.  Emma has to come to terms that her parents are happier apart and Rev struggles when his abusive biological father reaches out to him.  At the same time, Emma is communicating with someone she thinks she knows, but actually doesn't because he uses the internet to create a fake identity.  It's kind of like Kemmerer's way of saying that even though we hope people who reach out to us end up being the Declan's and Rev's of the world, that's not always the case and the internet is a place you need to be really careful.

Dray (Custom Culture #3) by Tess Oliver
A few month ago I downloaded a free iBook called Freefall and within it there were two other couples.  I skipped book 2 in order to get to Dray and Cassie's story, but what I didn't count on was them being broken up most of the book.  That definitely wasn't the story I wanted to read, but it wasn't awful by any means of the word.  But I would say it was a little frustrating because both of them clearly wanted to be together, but Cassie wanted to try a new job opportunity and Dray didn't want to be blamed for holding her back.  When trouble does find Dray, Cassie drops everything in order to help them and his danger is what allows them to admit that they are important to each other. 

Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry #1) by Simone Elkeles
Rules of Attraction (Perfect Chemistry #2) by Simone Elkeles
Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry #3) by Simone Elkeles
This month is just full of repeat authors...This series I really enjoyed and it was different for me because the Fuentes brothers are Mexican and I admittedly haven't read many books with the main characters being so.  It gave me a glimpse into what a Mexican-American family might be like and how each member prioritizes family and friends.  All of the brother's face conflicts when they make decisions because they have their family, their girlfriends, and gang members all expecting different things so they know they can't please everyone.  Lives are at stake and family secrets are unveiled to kids who have classmates only concerned about what colleges to apply to.  And then the girlfriends all have things happening in their personal lives that prevent them from fully opening up as well.  The stories involve tough choices and finding balance between what they want to do
and what they have to do.  


Sunday, July 8, 2018

Bath & Body Works Haul

The Bath & Body Works Semi-Annual sale is one of my absolute favorite things.  I've gone every summer I think since I started college and I get everything I need for the year.  And it's not one of those sales where everything is 20-30% off...It's like 50-75% off, which is absolutely amazing to me!

Originally $24.50                                Sale price $12.50 ($12.25 for Rose Water & Ivy)
I love candles, but I feel like they're one of those things that are sneaky expensive, so whenever there's a sale I stock up!  I bought three this year; two to commemorate my travels and one because it smelt good and the jar was cute.

Sheet Masks
Originally $4.95                                  Sale Price $1.50
Putting on a sheet mask and watching a show is my ultimate nighttime relaxation, so there was no way I was going to walk away without one of each of the scents.

Originally                                           Sale Price
Cucumber Melon $13.00                     $3.95
Aquamarine $13.50                            $3.37
Body lotion is a necessity for me.  I use it after I shave and especially in the summer when my skin is dry, so I love to stock up when I can.

Clay Scrubs
Originally $16.50                                Sale Price $4.12
Scrubs are used for the same reason as lotions for me, so I love picking up new ones to try out.

Hand Soap
Originally $6.50                                 Sale Price $3.00
These I bought because they were on sale and I knew I would need them for my apartment in the fall.

Shave & Shower Oil
Originally $13.50                               Sale Price $3.37
This one is something I didn't even know existed when I first walked into the store, but I've already started using it, and I really like it!  I probably wouldn't have boughten it had it not been for the sale which is another reason why I love that Bath & Body Works has such a highly discounted deals.


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Books I Read in June

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Having a fear - whether rational, irrational or somewhere in the middle - can be very debilitating and it takes a lot to share it with someone.  Paige's boyfriend drowned, and she hasn't gone swimming since.  But Paige is headstrong and doesn't want her fear to control her, so she creates a list of things she wants to do (including swimming) before the end of her junior year.  But, as life usually happens, a curveball is thrown Paige's way in the form of Max Chase, the cousin of Paige's longtime crush.  Max ends up being the most helpful person in Paige's mission to check off boxes even though they don't go how she originally imagined.  But the items on the list are hard for Paige and what is she supposed to do when they're all completed?  Also, Max came into her life after the list was written so why does he start to feel like the most important goal?

All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire
I love Jamie McGuire, especially her Beautiful books, but I was excited to read this story since it had been a little while since she's released any novels.  This book's main focus was on Elliot and Catherine and how reconnecting with someone can be even harder than first introducing yourself if enough time and life events take place.  Catherine has secrets in her life she's not willing to share with anyone and Elliot has to work hard to keep his anger at bay.  But as they're trying to figure out who they are some of their classmates start to disappear and the town is rattled. And HO-LY PLOT TWIST.  Now, I am someone who will skip to the end of the book and spoil the ending for myself, but with this one, willpower I was warned that there was a twist so I used willpower and kept from ruining it for myself which was the best decision I could have made.  I was completely stunned and super impressed since the plot twist totally threw me.  It was so good!  

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
You know how there are some people in your life you only know in one setting?  For example, if you've ever had a teacher that was very private with his personal life, it may shock you to learn that the toughest grader in your school is unable to say no to his nephew's requests.  That's kind of what this book is like.  Two people start communicating with each other anonymously so that it is easier to share their pain with one another, but they know each other in real life too and seem to hate each other.  And when one of them figures out the other's identity, a decision has to be made whether or not to keep the other in the dark.  Innocence may be bliss, but the truth gives a clearer picture of who these two are and whether or not their connection is only through the written word.  My mom always says, "You never know what happens behind closed doors" which is extremely fitting for this story.

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
This book is similar to the other two books I read this month in that it's two people who kind of know each other, but then discover that there is so much more to them (apparently that's a theme I enjoy).  Skylar wants out of her hometown and college is the way to do it, but when her mother starts to make poor decisions Skylar starts to rethink where she wants to be and where she needs to be.  Josh came back from Afganistan having traded a leg for PTSD.  The two of them have enough issues of their own to keep themselves busy and yet they end up using the other's problems as the perfect distraction.  They care for and understand each other in ways even their best friends never did.  

Defending Allye by Susan Stoker
Release Date: August 7, 2018
I got this book through NetGalley, but you can get it by the end of this week.  This book starts off a new series all about Veterans who now work to take down sex-traffickers and other gross, bad guys.  This book begins with Gray rescuing Allye from the worst trafficker of them all, but when it becomes clear that the sex-trafficker isn't going to give up so easily, and when his feelings for Allye grow, this mission is far from standard for Gray.  He has to let go of his past if he's going to have any form of a future with Allye.  This book has got action, suspension, and love, so naturally, I loved it.

More than This by Jay McLean
Mikayla meets Jake on prom night, moments after finding out her boyfriend has been cheating on her with her best friend for half the length of their relationship.  Jake decides to ask Mikayla to join him and his friends to prom to help turn her night around.  And it works.  Until he tries to drop her off at home and she discovers her family has been murdered.  Jake does everything he can to help Mikayla, but she begins to panic that so much in her life changed in one night that she doesn't know who she is anymore.  Now she has to decide if she can figure that out with Jake around or if she needs to take a step back from him.  Jake has no choice but to let Mikayla do whatever she wants, but he certainly doesn't want any space between them.  How do you balance when so many good and bad things happen at once?


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Some Family Comes to London | April 13 - April 21

***I would like to preface this by apologizing because this post is long overdue.  When I got back from London, I quickly jumped back into life and started working.  Then I went back to school for a little while for Spring Weekend and then drove to my friend's school to watch her play Lacrosse.  Basically, these two weeks have been busy, but I'm back!  So here we go...

My Study Abroad program officially ended on April 14, but I stayed in London for an extra week because my mom and sister flew over to see the city.  I didn't film this week because I already had a video that I had to wait to upload and I didn't want to deal with two.  I did kinda regret this by about Tuesday, but then it was too late, so you only have the written word for this part.

Friday, April 13
I was able to meet up with my mother and sister on Friday because all of my finals were done by Wednesday night.  It took me three buses to get to them which was very interesting with a giant suitcase, a carry on suitcase, and a backpack.  When I got there and got settled, we decided to go out and get something to eat and then we walked to a Poundland.  When we got back to the Airbnb, we watched Baywatch.

Saturday, April 14
We spent today at Camden Market, walking around, doing a little bit of shopping.  And then we went to Primrose Hill and walked up it to see the city views of London.  We then walked past the London Zoo before grabbing some food and heading back to the Airbnb, where we watched The House.

Sunday, April 15
When I was at my internship someone told me about the Shoreditch Flower Market, so we decided to check it out.  And it was crazy.  There were so many people I don't know how you're supposed to be able to enjoy the flowers.  The ones I did see - through gaps between people's heads - were very pretty and smelt amazing.  We walked through it once, and then I said, "Let's go to this cool place called Borough Market" which we did, only to realize that Borough Market is closed on Sundays.  So we grabbed a late lunch and then made our way back towards our house.  We watched Hidden Figures, which I would definitely recommend to anyone.

Monday, April 16
Can one visit London and not go to high tea?  I'm pretty sure the country immediately deports you if you try.  I'm kidding of course, but my sister wanted to go to tea, and she found a really cool one.  It was by a company called B Bakery, and it took place on a double-decker bus, so you get to be chauffeured around the city while you eat finger sandwiches and mini cakes.  I personally, don't drink tea, but they had hot chocolate so I was good to go.  It was a very cute experience and I was glad we did it.  When we got off of the bus, we walked to Buckingham Palace and after taking pictures, we tried again to go to Borough Market.  This time it was a success, and I bought a meat pie and some fudge.

Tuesday, April 17
Today was exciting as we went down to Brighton and spent time at the beach!  We walked along the pier and then walked around the Lanes.  We got some food and had a nice day in the sun.

Wednesday, April 18
This morning started off slow because we were waiting for my second cousin and her mom flew in and they were making their way to the Airbnb.  Once they got in and had some time to get settled we made our way into Central London.  We walked around Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, and then made the journey to Harrods.  By the end of the day, everyone was exhausted from travel and walking.

Thursday, April 19
Today started, 4am early.  We had to be at the train station by 6am because we were headed to Paris for the day.  However, when we got to the station, our train was canceled, which caused some minor panic for a minute, but we were able to get on the next one which was only 50 minutes later.  Once we got to Paris, we walked to Notre Dame before grabbing a bite to eat.  We decided to do a Hop On Hop Off bus tour because we only had a limited amount of time and didn't want to spend all of it walking from one place to another.  I really enjoyed the bus because they had headphone jacks that gave you the history of all of the things we drove past, so we got to see more than we planned.  We got off the bus near the Eiffel Tower and contemplated walking up it before deciding the line was too long, so we went to a park in front of it and took pictures with it instead.  We also went to a perfume factory and a Longchamp bag store.  It was a fun, jam-packed day.

Friday, April 20
This morning we went to Sky Garden, which was one of my favorite places in the city.  The views were amazing, and it's a nice place to sit and have a drink.  From there we went down the street to the Tower of London, where we got a Beefeater Tour and saw the Crowned Jewels.  By the time we did those two things, everyone was ready for lunch.  Personally, I thought we should have stayed a little longer and seen more things, but I was outvoted, and I had already been there twice before, so I've seen pretty much everything there.  We got pizza from Zizzi's before making our way towards St. Paul's Cathedral.  However, we ended up getting sidetracked by a bar because it was such a beautiful day and everyone was out and about.  We also got to meet up with a friend of my cousin's who she met a couple summers ago.  We walked around with her, finally made it to St. Paul's and then went to another bar where we met some people and hung out for a while.

Saturday, April 21
After almost four months, today was the day I was heading back to the USA.  We really only had time to get breakfast and then make our way to the airport.  My cousin and her mom were leaving from Gatwick, and me, my sister, and my mom were leaving from Heathrow, but they were in Terminal 5, and I was leaving from Terminal 3.  Somehow I ended up in a priority economy seat, which was amazing.  It's incredible what a little bit of extra leg room will do on a long distance flight.  I have no idea how I got the seat, either.  The girl sitting next to me was my age, also coming back from study abroad, but she said she paid extra and chose the seat.  There is no way I would have paid extra money for a plane ticket, at least not on purpose, so I don't know what happened, but I'm not complaining.  When I landed at the airport, I hung out with my dad as we waited for my mom and sister's flight landed.  I bought myself a Coolatta from Dunkin Donuts to welcome myself back into the country.

And that's that.  Like I said, I'm back working and hanging out with my dog for the summer.  I think that because this last week was with some family and had a more vacation feel to it I was able to adjust back to being home easier.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Studying Abroad: The Last 2 Weeks

I WISH THIS WASN'T THE END! But I am also very excited to head back to Massachusetts, so this is a very bittersweet time for me.
If you're new here and want to read about my time studying abroad, click the names to read about Month 1, Month 2, or Month 3

For the most part, the past two weeks have been full of writing final papers, studying for a final exam, packing, and watching YouTube videos in bed, but I did manage to a have a few eventful days thrown in there as well.

Thursday, April 5: Dickens Day
About a week and a half ago, a friend and I tried to have a Charles Dickens Day, but it was Monday, and the Dickens Museum was closed, so we rescheduled to today.  The day started off normal.  We went to the museum, which was very exciting to see how Charles Dickens lived and where he wrote his novels.  We hung out in the safe for a while before heading to Ye Old Cheshire Cheese, which is the Pub that Sydney Carton takes Charles Darnay after he wins his trial.  This is where things got weird.  My friend and I sat for a while, got a drink and some french fries and then decided to walk to Harrods for a sandwich because the food on the pub menu was expensive and not really our taste. As we were walking out, the bartender said something to my friend that I didn't hear as I was so focused on getting to a bathroom.  However, next thing I know we're walking past the bathroom and up to some sectioned off function room.  The bartender disappears as we're left staring at a bunch of stuff that bars collect: old photographs and accounts of funny things that happened there.  It was interesting, but I had zero idea what was going on.  So we're in a room and all of a sudden we hear the bartender say, "Don't jump, there's a story of a girl who jumped from this window because she was being chased by someone with a knife.  Kinda like the knife I was using."
HOW DOES SOMEONE RESPOND TO THAT?!?!?!?! For the record: he meant a paring knife he was using to cut lemons or something.  Awkward laughs ensued, and then we were led to another room downstairs where an eighth edition of A Tale of Two Cities was opened to the page were Carton and Darnay were in the pub.  That was actually really cool since it was the main reason we were there, but the whole situation was just so bizarre.  Finally, he shows us some weird article about a bird, named Polly, who died in a pneumonia epidemic a long time ago.  He went back down to the bar he was originally at, and we got out of there as fast as we could.  Meanwhile, I still had to go the bathroom but didn't want to in the pub, so we went to a McDonalds close by and then headed to Harrods.  One of the funniest parts was that on our way to Harrods we were talking about what just happened and talking about what we would have done if something serious happened.  As we were talking about knives, a man walking in front of us looked back, pretending to be looking down the street but he was definitely looking back to see who we were and why we were talking about being stabbed in a pub.
In the end, we decided that the bartender was probably just trying to be nice and there was no point where either of us was really scared for our safety, but the whole event was ridiculous.  We rewarded ourselves with some Harrods cake so all was well.

Friday, April 6: Golden Tours Trip
The next day was much calmer.  The same friend, a few other friends, and I had booked a Golden Tours trip way back in February to Leeds, Dover, Canterbury, and Greenwich.  We got to explore the Leeds Castle and try Mead, walk onto a beach under the cliffs of Dover, explore a cathedral in Canterbury, and take a boat ride across the river from Greenwich.  The day was so fun and filled with laughs.  The five of us were the only people who were under the age of thirty who weren't with their parents and the tour guide deemed us "The Famous Five" which made me feel like a US Olympic Gymnast.  We also all ate fish and chips while we were in Canterbury, which was a first for me and I have to admit it was pretty good.  I mean who can go wrong with fried food and ketchup?
Once the tour was over, we got ice cream and walked through Hyde Park for a little bit before heading back to our housing.

Thursday, April 12: Wimbledon & Goodbye
This morning two friends and I went to Wimbledon Tennis Museum, which I was really excited for because I played tennis in high school and I figured if you go to London you have to see Wimbledon - even if you do wait until the last possible day.  We went to the museum which ended up being a lot better than I expected.  There were interactive parts and movies and reading all of the little blurbs were really informative.  We also did a virtual reality exhibit that taught you about the history of Wimbledon and also showed you 360 views of the 2016 matches.  With our museum pass, we were able to go to center court and see where the final matches are played.  We also got to ask the worker who took us into the court a bunch of questions about how to get a ticket, which is a lottery system.  We were out there for a couple hours because Wimbledon is kinda a hike from where we're staying, but I am so glad we decided to make the trip.
Tonight was also a send-off party hosted by the school I've been studying at.  I went with a couple friends for a little while - mostly to get the free food - and it was nice to see some people one last time before leaving.

And that's it!  Friday morning I woke up and headed off to meet my mother and sister at our Airbnb that we'll be staying in for the next week.  Studying abroad has been an amazing experience that I would recommend to everyone, whether you go for a full semester or a couple weeks over the summer.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Freefall by Tess Oliver | Book Review

Reading Group: M for Mature

Synopses: After leaving high school, with a hard won diploma and the title of most likely to break hearts, Alexander “Nix” Pierce has left his wild, out of control years mostly behind him. A small inheritance from his grandfather has given him the funds to open up his tattoo shop, Freefall, and he has started to pull his life together. Aside from trying to keep his best friend, Dray, from killing himself in the fight ring, and his slight obsession with a pin-up model he’s never met, Nix’s life is going smoothly . . . until Scotlyn James, the object of his obsession, walks into his shop.

Ever since a tragic accident killed her family and left her alone in the world, Scotlyn James hasn’t spoken one word. Up until now she didn’t care that she had no way of talking to people. Her awful aunt would never have listened, and Lincoln Hammond the arrogant, selfish man who pulled her from the streets of Los Angeles wouldn’t hear her words if she could speak. But when Lincoln insists she get a tattoo to cover up a scar on her side, Scotlyn meets the artist, Nix Pierce. And now she longs for her voice. Now she has found someone who will hear her.

Cover: I hate covers like this.  In general I don't like when people are on covers of books because I like to imagine my own person and I can't really do that if the cover says, "THIS IS WHAT THIS PERSON LOOKS LIKE!!!"  Also, I don't like covers that so blatantly say Romance Novel.  I would probably never buy this book as a physical version.  

My Review: As with most of the books I download for free on iBooks, I picked it because it seemed like a quick read.  I did enjoy this book as well, but it didn't have any surprises in it and I don't have a lot to say about it.  Girl is in bad relationship; girl meets new boy, who just so happens to already know her; boy saves her from bad situation; couple fight scenes; happily ever after.  Don't get me wrong though because I am all for stories like this, especially to read right before bed.  And yes, I did need to force myself to put my phone down so that I didn't stay up all night finishing it in one go.  I appreciated the humor throughout this story, especially between Nix and his friends.  And as cheesy as it is I love the concept that Nix was the one who could hear Scotlyn when no one else could.  It was a little bit of a fate/coincidence thing where he's been holding on to her photo for a long time and then she actually comes into his life.  I mean what are the chances of something like this actually happening?  Maybe that's why it's so fun to read.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone who's looking for something to read quick.  Plus, it's free on iBooks!  The only issue now is whether or not I pay for the rest of the series...

Click to stay connected:
Main Twitter: @juliann_guerra
Second Twitter: @writerjewels
Instagram: juliann_guerra
Second Instagram: writerjewels
Tumblr: juliann-guerra
Goodreads: Juliann Guerra
Wattpad: @writerjewels
Pinterest: Juliann Guerra
Spotify: juliann.guerra
Bloglovin: Juliann Guerra

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Baby Daddy by Kendall Ryan | Book Review

Reading Group: M for Mature

Synopses: We met in a trapped elevator. Emmett was on his way to work, sophisticated and handsome in his tailored suit and tie. I was on my way to the sperm bank. Awkward, right? At thirty-five, my life hadn’t taken the path I thought it would and I was tired of waiting—I wanted a baby. And I was ready to take matters into my own hands to make it happen. After our ill-fated elevator encounter, Emmett insisted on taking me to dinner—he also insisted on something else—that I ditch my plan involving a turkey baster and let him do the job. He would be my baby daddy. He was a wealthy and powerful CEO with little interest in diapers or playdates. And since he didn’t want kids, I’d be on my own once his bun was in my oven, free to go my own way. But once his baby was inside me, it was like a switch had been flipped, and I got a whole lot more than I ever bargained for. 

Cover: This is one of those books that I would never buy the paperback version of because I'm too self conscious to risk being seen with it. I love a good romance novel, but I don't need the strangers around me to know what I'm reading.  

My Review: I downloaded this book onto my phone because I have the app Book+Main where authors post samples of their work and I read some pieces on there and really enjoyed it.  I read it before bed over the course of two nights and I really enjoyed it.  It's a simple story really: Girl asks boy to have a no strings attached relationship because she wants a kind, strings get very much attached, happily ever after.  I'm such a sucker for books like this because they're easy and enjoyable to read.  Perfect for ending a day spent writing papers and working on presentations.  I really liked how Jenna knew what she wanted and was going to go for it no matter.  Then, of course, Emmett comes in and shakes up her plans a little bit, but her end goal is still the same as it always was.  It's Emmett who really needs to reevaluate his future and decide what he wants out of his life.  He's afraid of settling down because he watched his own parents fail at marriage and doesn't want to do that to someone else.  It takes some convincing from the people around him to make him realize that he isn't the carbon copy of his father and there are things he can do differently to have a happier life.  The interesting twist is that Jenna is pregnant with his baby, so he has to be either all in or all out. 

Click to stay connected:
Main Twitter: @juliann_guerra
Second Twitter: @writerjewels
Instagram: juliann_guerra
Second Instagram: writerjewels
Tumblr: juliann-guerra
Goodreads: Juliann Guerra
Wattpad: @writerjewels
Pinterest: Juliann Guerra
Spotify: juliann.guerra
Bloglovin: Juliann Guerra

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Studying Abroad: 3 Month Update

How is it possible that it's April?  That by the end of this month I will be back in the USA?  That's absolutely crazy to me!

If you're new here and want to read about the other two months I've been in London, you can read about Month 1 here and Month 2 here!

The beginning of March was spent in Dublin, Ireland which you can read all about here!

Saturday, March 10th was spent doing homework, but I did get outside on Sunday, March 11th.  I decided to go souvenir shopping for some family and friends, which I will have to wait to tell you about in case some of them are reading.

Saturday, March 17th was another homework day, but I did get the chance to go out with some friends at night.  We wanted to go to an Irish Pub, but because it was St. Patrick's Day the lines were out the door and around the corner so we ended up at BrewDog, but we still had a lot of fun.

On Sunday, March 18th I met up with some friends I met when I went to Berlin last month and watched the parade.  The London St. Patrick's Day parade was not like the parades I've seen back home: no one was cheering or clapping or jumping around.  Naturally, the girl I was with and I were doing these things and it resulted in someone next to us asking where we were from.  When we said America he said, "Yeah I figure."  He was Canadian though so he also realized that this parade was a little lacking.  The rest of the day was spent in a bar with a musician taking requests.  We were responsible for some Britney Spears and Stacey's Mom being played.

Friday, March 23rd was the last day of my internship, which I was very sad to walk away from.  I had such a blast being a Publicity Intern at Simon & Schuster UK.  The people were amazing and I learned a lot about the publishing world.  The fact that it ended also reminded me that my time here in London is almost over.  My best friend, who is studying in Italy, was in London too so we were able to get dinner and hang out for a couple hours.  It was great to see her and made me excited for all of my friends to be home over the summer.

Saturday and Sunday I was in Nice, France with my roommate which you can read about here!

Since I no longer have to go to my internship, a friend and I were going to have a Charles Dickens Day on Monday, March 26th, but the Dickens Museum isn't open on Mondays so we ended up rescheduling that and going to Harrods to get lunch and cake instead.  On our way there we also stopped inside a bookstore, which we said would result in no book buying.  But then we started talking to a sales associate and both ended up buying a book.

Thursday, March 29 was really exciting because I met up with a friend I haven't seen since Junior Year of High School.  She was a foreign exchange student and now she's studing in England.  She has some time off so she came down to London and we saw Wicked, which was amazing!  I had chills throughout the entire thing.

Friday we took a bus to Brighton for the day.  We then took another bus to the Seven Sisters and walked around there.  However, it was raining and cold, so we ended being absolutely soaked and pretty miserable.  But we made the most of it and still had a good day.

Saturday, March 31 we slept in and then headed to Chinatown for some food before my friend had to leave.  We actually had to wait until noon for the place we wanted to eat lunch to open so we got ice cream at about 11:30am.  It was great.

Only a few weeks left for me here in London.  I look forward sharing with you what I get up to during that time...
© Juliann Guerra
Blogger Templates by pipdig