summer entertainment: to-read/watch

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Hey hey!

How is everyone’s week going? I had a relaxing weekend in Seattle spent with a lot of friends – I crossed off two items off my bucket list: canoeing and the Starbucks Reserve Roastery! I’m halfway through my first full week of my internship and y’all, I am really tired but learning so so much already!

Even though I’m exhausted at the end of each day so far, I’m still ready to power through my list of books to read and TV shows I need/want to watch. I thought I was going to have tons of free time this summer but after really sitting down and planning each day, I have a limited amount of time. Between interning during the day, going to the gym, spending time with friends in the city, traveling, and studying for the GMAT (crying ūüė≠), I’ll only have commutes and maybe an hour before bed that I can read at my leisure and watch Netflix. So here I am, planning ahead which books and shows to best entertain myself this summer.

If you saw my post from two weeks ago, you know I want to finish 20 books this summer – very do-able, in my opinion, but I’ve selected my top five books/series I want to complete this summer. Here they are:

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I’m usually not one to read high-fantasy in the summer since I gravitate toward light summery reads, but I’ve had some of these books on my Kindle for way too long and I just need to full send and binge-read these fantasy series. They are all highly praised though, so I’m not too worried about being disappointed. I added¬†Crazy Rich Asians to my list as well because who else is STOKED for the movie (out on August 15!)??

As for the TV shows I’m planning to watch, let me give you some background first: I don’t have Netflix during the school year for the sake of staying focused on my grades ūüėā.¬†SO, I haven’t seen a lot of must-see shows…summer entertainment 3

The Office¬†is the #1 show I’ve heard people gasp at when I tell them I’ve never seen it; now that my humor has been primed from¬†Parks and Recreation, I think I’m ready to fully enjoy the humor. I finished the first season already and I¬†do have mixed feelings but I’m definitely going to push through.¬†Of course, I’ve been following¬†The Bold Type on Freeform (the best #girlboss show ever). I’m excited to dive into Black Mirror and¬†Friends as well. I tried watching¬†The Crown¬†earlier this year but it was hard to get into – I do want to try again though because I’ve heard it’s worth its while.

What books or shows are you entertaining yourself with this summer?

Thanks for reading!

Jen

 

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spring reading | 2018

Spring Reading

Hey y’all!

Just wanted to pop in with a little spring reading update. I’ve been so relaxed for the past week or so ever since I finished my final exams last Thursday. I love spring break and being at home! I actually had jury duty yesterday but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. As long as you bring something to do to pass the time, you’re golden (a.k.a book for me!). I’m looking to hopefully go see¬†Love, Simon in theaters before heading back to Seattle over the weekend. The soundtrack is great!! Have y’all seen it yet?

Since I’m about halfway through spring break, you can bet I’ve finished some books already. My last post about my recent reads was back in late February, and after that I was knee-deep in school work and final exams, so I hadn’t finished much until break. Luckily, I’ve been spending (too much) time in bed reading all break. Here’s a little reading update!

Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet by various authors

I had read this romance anthology in the spirit of Valentine’s Day. The concept itself sounded so cute! I have to say I was a¬†tad¬†disappointed with it though. Out of the various short stories, I only really enjoyed three of them (Click, The Dictionary of You and Me,¬†and¬†The Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love if you were curious!). I’d say pick it up if you’re in the mood for a collection of lighthearted stories to read in-between darker/heavier reads.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I had to (and wanted to!) read this one for the Panhellenic book club I’m part of, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Adichie does a great job developing both Ifemelu and Obinze, and also exposed me to some issues regarding race that I had never considered. It’s such an important novel for readers who want to be more present and aware about society and racism.

The Moth Presents All the Wonders: True Stories about Facing the Unknown by various authors

You might remember me talking about this book a few times this year on my blog, and I finally finished it all in one go over break! Overall it’s pretty eye-opening to be able to read from so many different perspectives. So many of them were depressing though, which made me sad, but some had little hints of humor since many of the storytellers were/are stand-up comedians. I think I would still prefer listening to these Moth stories via podcast or liveshow.

Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aceman

If you haven’t heard of the hype surrounding this movie, you’ve been living under a rock. Ever since I heard the hype and the premise, I knew I wanted to see the movie, but obviously read the novel first. Y’all, it’s set in the Italian Riviera – that’s all I really needed to hear. But¬†Call Me By Your Name is so much more; it was surprisingly really intense and while it’s not the most amazing book I’ve ever read, I was a little shook after finishing the book. Aceman has a way with storytelling that digs deep into emotions and thoughts about how love changes over time that I had never encountered before. I’m even more excited to see the movie now!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

My current read! After reading¬†Call Me By Your Name, I honestly needed something light, so I went with something I’ve been meaning to pick up for¬†forever – Jenny Han’s other infamous trilogy! It’s also being made into a movie, which looks adorable. I’m planning on binging the trilogy all in one go.

That’s it for now! What have you been reading lately?

Jen x

recent reads: january & february

Recent Reads - January and February 2018

Hi everyone!

How was everyone’s long weekend? I semi-enjoyed the extra day off but I was mostly in the library studying for my midterm that’s tomorrow (wish me luck!). My sorority did have our winter formal on Friday night though, which I had a great time at. Nothing like a little dancing to rid the mid-winter blues!

Today I wanted to share with y’all what I read in January and February so far. Consider these mini-reviews!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

If you’ve been following the most popular books of 2018 so far, you’ll undoubtedly come across¬†Little Fires Everywhere. I solely picked this one up based on its hype, and from Celeste Ng’s prior praise from her debut,¬†Everything I Never Told You.¬†This story is one of those quiet, intricate, and poignant novels that keeps readers engaged the entire time. From the beginning, I felt like I was tiptoeing along an empty hallway, and every so often, there would be a creak in the floorboards.¬†Little Fires Everywhere doesn’t necessarily have a big “twist” in the story, but there are multiple small ones all throughout the story. Ng seamlessly develops each character one by one without making it obvious when she shifts the focus of each character’s backstory.

One thing I thought was interesting was the setting, both location and time. It’s set in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and when Ng first introduces the town, I didn’t even realize it was a real place. It seemed too perfect, too quaint – but Ng captures that exact essence. Second, it’s set in the 90’s, and I’ve come to the conclusion that she chose this time period because of the lack of technology and resources that makes the story more compelling and mysterious. Essentially, the lack of technology makes it harder to track people down.

In all, I really enjoyed¬†Little Fires Everywhere. While it was a little overhyped, I can certainly see the appeal that Ng has on her readers. I’m looking forward to reading Ng’s future novels.

Defiance by CJ Redwine

I’d say that these days, I don’t naturally gravitate toward post-apocalyptic fantasy novels, but I bought this one on my Kindle right when I got into ebooks and it was honestly probably on sale for $1.99. If you know what sunk costs are, know that I don’t believe them. I feel guilty if I don’t read what I bought!

Defiance had a lot of potential in the beginning; I forgot what it was like to be immersed in a fantasy world. As the story went on though, I was a little let down by how little world-building was involved. I think C.J. Redwine could have talked more about the history of the world and how it became.

What I did love was the dual perspective of the two main characters, Rachel and Logan. I really enjoyed reading about their character development and how their circumstances affected their decisions.

While it was an enjoyable read overall, I feel that there are better high fantasy reads out there with much better developed worlds. There are two books following¬†Defiance, but I can’t say I’m interested and invested enough in the world and the characters to continue.

I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski

Y’all know that I’ve been missing Europe ever since I came back to the States mid-September. I find something almost everyday that reminds me of my trip, and my heart is squeezed by nostalgia every time. When I heard about¬†I See London, I See France, I jumped on it. It’s a YA Contemporary about two best friends’ summer getaway to Europe. There’s drama, romance and all of the touristy things. It’s a super light beach read, but perfect for those who miss Europe (aka me). This was just what I needed. Definitely keep this fun read in mind if you’re heading to Europe anytime soon (or read it on the plane!)

Finishing three books throughout a month and a half is pretty good, I’d say! I’m currently making my way through¬†Americanah which I’m reading for Panhellenic Book Club and¬†Meet Cute, which is the ideal Valentine’s Day anthology. I’ve been sneaking in 30 minutes or so every other night to read a little before bed. I’m pretty happy with my consistency so far!

What did you read in January and February?

Thanks for reading,

Jen

 

5 books to pick up in 2018

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How is everyone’s week going? Wednesdays are hard, but you’re halfway through the week. My first week of school last week was pretty good, but I can already feel that things are ramping up.

Last week, I shared my goals for 2018. My friends always tell me they want to read more, but a lot of the time, they don’t know where to start or don’t have time. I wanted to round up my top five favorite reads of 2017; even though I’ve never read so little in a year (a meager 20 books in 2017, nine of which were completed over winter break, ha), 2017 was my most diverse reading year yet. If you need a great read to help kick off the year, I hope y’all pick up one of these!

ADULT FICTION: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

I’ve mentioned this one a few times on my blog already, but I have to mention it again.¬†The Hating Game was undoubtedly my favorite read of 2017. I devoured this one and literally couldn’t put it down (I read it on my flight to Greece!). It’s about these two co-workers at a publishing company who absolutely despise each other to no end. This book definitely has a lot of romance if you need your fix, but I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed the banter between the two main characters. Sally Thorne captured their relationship¬†perfectly.

ADULT FICTION: The Martian by Andy Weir

Most of you have probably already heard of this one (it’s a movie starring Matt Damon), but I finally got around to it in 2017 and highly, highly enjoyed it. I don’t naturally gravitate toward science fiction, but this one was immensely engaging and Andy Weir’s writing style is probably one of the most distinct and hilarious. Un-put-downable and incredibly detailed, The Martian is not only thrilling but also impressive.

ADULT NON-FICTION: Quiet by Susan Cain

As an introvert myself, I knew I had to pick up Quiet. Funnily enough, I used some research that was in this book as part of my English paper freshman year, and after reading a few excerpts, I knew I needed to read the entire thing. I related to this book¬†so well and it helped explain a lot of my tendencies and what I can do in the future as an introvert, and why¬†it’s not bad to be introverted.

ADULT NON-FICTION: Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr

I actually listened to this one on audio in preparation for my trip to Rome last year and thought it was the perfect introduction/way to get a little taste of what Rome is like from someone who lived there for a full year (my my, that would be a dream!). Doerr’s other work,¬†All the Light We Cannot See, is one of my favorite books of all time, so you can imagine how much I loved his autobiography about all things Italian.

YOUNG ADULT FICTION: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

I loved Morgan Matson’s debut novel,¬†Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and her writing style ever since I was introduced in 2011 (gulp, that was like six years ago!!). I don’t know why it took so long for me to pick this one up! It’s about a girl whose best friend suddenly disappears but leaves a bucket list for her to complete. It’s not a mystery – far from it, actually – but a cute, summer-y contemporary story with tons of character growth and self-discovery. It put me in the best mood – highly recommend.

There you have it! My favorite books of 2017 and ones that I think you need to pick up. Thanks for reading!

Jen xx

winter break to-read list

Winter to-read list

Happy December!

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving Break? I hope all of my US readers got to spend time with family and eat lots of good food; I got to go home for a few days, saw my family and an old friend from high school, did some low-key Black Friday shopping, and while I had to study for some quizzes and finish some homework assignments, I did read¬†I Am Malala and catch up on¬†Riverdale.

With the quarter coming to a close, I’ve been studying hard for my final exams, but after that comes the holiday break! I’m more than stoked to be cuddled in bed for days on end with my nose in a book and a cup of Earl Grey tea in hand. I’m only on winter break for two weeks, but I have¬†no other obligations, so I’m planning on finishing a couple of reads! I’m so behind on new releases and debuts, but I think since I’m home, the goal is to read a lot of the books I already own. Here’s what I hope to read during my holiday break:

Quiet by Susan Cain

I’m so sad that I haven’t finished this one yet! I started it earlier this fall and got about a third of the way through, and never found the time to finish it again. I should be able to finish this one really soon since it’s so engaging and self-reflective.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I’ve had this one on my Kindle for forever, and now that the movie is out, I want to read it before seeing it! I have pretty high expectations – we’ll see how it goes.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Okay, even my mom knows about this book, and she doesn’t even read. I’ve known about this one for awhile now too and am totally in the mood for a cute, charming story like this one!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Don’t yell at me –¬†I’m screaming at¬†myself for not ever having read this one yet. I feel like it’s time though, you know? It’s a fat one but winter break is the perfect time for it. If I’m reading historical fiction, it better be set in WWII. Don’t worry, I’ll have tissues near by!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Who knows if I’ll have time for a fifth book, but I would love to squeeze this one if possible. It’s been too long since I’ve reread¬†Anna. If you don’t know,¬†Anna and the French Kiss is one of my favorite reads ever and really inspired me to go to Paris. I have yet to reread¬†Anna since actually going to Paris this summer – it’ll be fun to know the references this time around!

That’s it for my two-week holiday break! What are you planning on doing?