Monday, November 20, 2017

'Life And Death' by Stephenie Meyer - A Book Review

Let me start this off by saying if you are only on here because you dislike Twilight and want to write/say rude and hurtful things about this book or the original saga, please leave. I don't need that in my life.

I did my makeup just for
this picture.
Before I begin with the review of this book I want to tell you how much Twilight means to me, which is one of the reasons I chose to read this book.

During my sophomore year of high school, my aunt introduced me to the Twilight Saga.  I had been one of the kids who just went with the crowd and hated the storyline (without reading it of course). But I trusted my aunt and I was tired of hating on a book series that I hadn't read yet, also I was secretly interested in the story I just couldn't let anyone know that. So I borrowed all four books from her and went to reading. It was such an important time in my life when I read them that they became an important part of who I was. Yes, the books aren't the best ones that I've ever read. Yes, they have some things that could have been written better. But Stephenie Meyer knows this, and so do the fans, but it doesn't stop them from loving the story and the characters.  Nor does it stop me.

So now to the present.  I have Life and Death in my hands.  The story I fell in love with, but the characters have changed (except for Charlie and Renee but if you read it you'll understand why).  I knew that it would be hard to split up my feelings for Twilight with Life and Death, but it has also been such a long time since I read Twilight that I wasn't getting confused during the book or telling myself 'HEY stop that this is Beau, not Bella.'

There were sometimes while reading that I found myself trying to remember who in the Cullen/Hale family was who in each book (Royal = Rosalie, etc.) but I made myself try to stop that very early on and it was effective to a point.  When I was deep in the book I didn't worry about it.  However, whenever I would pick up the book after a time of not reading, my brain would revert to comparing characters for a few paragraphs.

Also straight up, @ Meyer: Please make a version where it is f/f love of Edythe and Bella because I feel like I need that in my life.  "Oh, yea, I'd read that gay book." -My roommate upon hearing me say that.

(My other reviews will not be this wordy I just have a lot of feelings towards Twilight and its world.)

My review will be just comments from parts of the book that I found I really liked, cried at, laughed at, or something along those lines.  There will be spoilers, but not many as the book is about 95% the same story, there is a twist surprise at the end so I will warn when I'm about to talk on it.

My rating:
I give the book 5 stars, of course.  The story, even with the twist, was so much more than I thought it would be.  Rereading the story brought me back to simpler time and the fact that the character changes helped make it a whole new journey for me.

Meyer's message in the beginning about how she chose to write the book this way and how she only kept a few of the characters the same really helped me with this book.  It helped me get a little more into the story and make it believable, instead of having 100% gender switched, and many of the characters had just such a different personality and weren't 'the same character but that opposite gender'.  I think that Meyer did a wonderful job in recreating her iconic story.

I'm also just so in love with Edythe.  I think it's the way that Meyer describes female vampires, or maybe that's more my type than I thought it was because Vampire Bella is literally so amazing and one of the loves of my life.  This is more evidence as to why I need a version of the story that's EdythexBella; if I have to write it to get it then so be it!  But I want it gay and I want it now.

My notes:
Pg 117-120: I really liked how Meyer connected the two characters from the airport to how Edythe saved Beau in Port Angeles.  I thought it was really interesting to have the situation like that since the one with Bella was so different because of the different dynamics of the characters.

Pg 140: I was so happy with how casual the reveal of Edythe being a vampire was in this scene.  It was obviously more dramatic in Twilight (or maybe I'm just thinking of the movie) but I just felt that being so casual and having Beau not feel as nervous about saying it made me feel not as nervous.

Pg 155: My sweet boi Beau telling McKayla about Jeremy but then bringing in the Man Code to show her how much he cares for the both of them but doesn't want to hurt either of them I just love him so much what a good boy.  My sweet son.

Pg 164: Their [Edythe and Beau] argument on who thinks about the other more is so embarrassingly cute and I look forward to the day I can be that cute with someone that I love.

Pg 178: Beau makes the comment that Edythe asks him so many questions on books, and I would talk for DAYS with a pretty female (vampire or not) about books if they asked.  Because books and pretty females are a large part of my life.

Pg 182: "It's twilight" - Edythe (She did the Thing™)

*no page but at end of chapter 11*: I really liked how Bonnie was given a deep voice.  I feel that most of the books that I have read the female characters I have read don't have a deep voice, they have that high feminine voice that is so distinctive of being a female character.  So having a deep-voiced female who was so badass made me happy to read.

*notes that I wrote all over the book*: CHARLIE IS SUCH A SWEET AND CARING FATHER EVERY TIME HE GETS HURT I GET HURT STEPHENIE WE NEED TO HAVE WORDS. I want to go and live with my lasagna-loving father, Charlie Swan.

Pg 210-213: I didn't remember Edward's story being so painfilled or full of emotion.  I just felt that Meyer gave Edythe a little more emotion and turmoil in her story and attempt to try to stay away from Beau.

Pg 214: IT'S THE LION AND LAMB QUOTE I HAD TO MARK IT I LOVE IT SO MUCH OH THANK THE GODDESS THAT MEYER KEPT IT IN THERE.

Pg 266: I like how the Volturi was two women and one man.  I don't know why, but I felt it was a nice dynamic especially with the lead being one of the females.

Pg 299: "It's called a hotel, Edythe." - Beau.  Sir leave her be please calm down she is just worried about her, but also I am screaming so loud why are you like this Edythe.

Pg 301: "I love you.  Whatever happens now, that doesn't change." -Beau.  Oh, when can I have someone love me this much where is my vampire lover?  I'm right here waiting for you!

Pg 311: Archie asking permission to touch Beau was honestly such a wonderful thing to read and I know it's small but I just...consent is so important no matter the circumstance.

Pg 319: Archie talking about Jessamine and how great she is makes my heart fly.  That's love right there.  He is boosting her up on a pedestal and I just love him more for it.  PRAISE YOUR S.O.!!!

Pg 325: "...a sudden wave of depression crashed over me. Jessamine looked up sharply, and the feeling dissipated."  Jessamine is literally a human Prozac pill lmfao.

Pg 341: "The memories were better than any reality I would see today.  But I raced away from them."  This line really struck me.  Sometimes I also run from the good feelings, and the fact of where Beau was running to (dance studio) at the time and thinking about Edythe made it more emotional and I was crying because I didn't want him to do this.

Pg 344-345: I totally forgot about the backstory of Alice (which means the same as Archie) and I cried at it.  My sweet children being hurt but luckily not remembering it.

Pg 371: " Don't you ever again think that I don't want you.  I will always want you. I don't deserve you, but I will always love you. Are we clear?" -Beau.  This was a great line that he said to Edythe but this is me to like every cat that I see.


THE FOLLOWING IS DURING THE TWIST AT THE END PLEASE STOP IF YOU HAVEN'T READ IT AND DON'T WANT A SPOILER
Pg 359: I very much like the fact that Beau changed in this book.  Like I so wanted that to happen in Twilight but at the same time, I loved the whole saga.  But having him change now was such a great ending.  But NOT THE HURT ON CHARLIE HOW DARE!  Reading about Beau's funeral and seeing Charlie being in pain over the death of his son just like...there are so many issues with hurting Charlie that is literally my only rule don't hurt my father.
SPOILER OVER YOU ARE SAFE TO CONTINUE

This has been my review/emotion dump of 'Life and Death' by Stephenie Meyer.  If you had similar or different feelings let me know in the comments, let's have a conversation!  Who are your favorite characters? Did you have a hard time keeping them separate from both books? Do you want it gay (m/m or f/f)??? If you just want to scream about Twilight I am ALL HERE FOR IT!

À bientôt!

Photo/Gif creds: my selfie with the book, Charlie Swan eating, Twilight, Bella's eyes, Bella reading,
while looking for gifs and pictures I came across this and died of laughter

Friday, October 27, 2017

My Myers Briggs Type & How It Fits Me

So the other day I was sitting in my living room with my roommate and some friends.  The conversation about our personality types came up.  My roommate and one of our friends chatted about what they were and labeled off a series of letters that made my head spin.  My roommate quickly looked up what the definition of hers was and began to read it off.  Our other friend and I got curious and we asked what they were talking about.

The Myers Briggs Personality Type.

I quickly opened my laptop and found the website to start the test.  I answered the questions to the best of my ability and with 100% honesty.  I hit the button that would bring me to my results and I got:

The Mediator (INFP-T)
53% Introverted vs. 47% Extroverted (which makes sense because I am an extroverted introvert)
78% Intuitive vs. 22% Observant
58% Feeling vs. 42% Thinking
54% Prospecting vs. 46% Judging
90% Turbulent vs. 10% Assertive (this is so true I am terrible at being assertive)

INTRODUCTION

"Mediator personalities are true idealists, always looking for the hint of good in even the worst of people and events, searching for ways to make things better (get out of my head). While they may be perceived as calm, reserved, or even shy, Mediators have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine (it me). Comprising just 4% of the population (ooooo I'm rare), the risk of feeling misunderstood is unfortunately high for the Mediator personality type – but when they find like-minded people to spend their time with, the harmony they feel will be a fountain of joy and inspiration."

"Mediators have a talent for self-expression, revealing their beauty and their secrets through metaphors and fictional characters." Okay now, this is just scary.

Other Mediators are: J.R.R. Tolkien (IM SCREAMING SO LOUD YOU CAN HEAR ME IN MORDOR I'M LIKE TOLKIEN), William Shakespeare, Julia Roberts, Lisa Kudrow, Tom Hiddleston, Frodo Baggins, Amélie Poulain, and Arwen.  I love and relate to at least all of these people and characters.

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

Strengths are: Idealistic, Seek and Value Harmony (okay MEEE), Open-Minded and Flexible, Very Creative, Passionate and Energetic (many people say that this is me), & Dedicated and Hard-Working.

Weaknesses are: Too Idealistic (make up your mind???), Too Altruistic, Impractical, Dislike Dealing with Data, Take Things Personally, & Difficult to Get to Know.

ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS

The site says that INFPs are dreamy idealists who wish for the perfect relationship.  We also jump into relationships wholeheartedly and have a hard time separating fantasy from reality (and this is about half true for me).

Conflict is a tough spot of INFPs, and we tend to internalize and overanalyze everything said to us (MEE). However, at our best, we strive to be the perfect partner.  NOTE: I account this with both romantic and platonic relationships because I love my friends as well.

FRIENDSHIPS

"Mediators crave the depth of mutual human understanding, but tire easily in social situations (me at family events); they are excellent at reading into others’ feelings and motivations, but are often unwilling to provide others the same insight into themselves – it’s as though Mediators like the idea of human contact, but not the reality of social contact. (i feel ATTACKED)"

Basically what the rest of the page says is that Mediators are great at offering help to their friends and other peers around them, but are stand-offish to do that same.  This is true for me because I love helping my friends, but just the thought of telling them what is wrong gives me anxiety because I don't want to bother them with my troubles.

"Mediators will always need to disappear for a while, removing themselves from others so they can re-center on their own minds and feelings (I do this at least once a month, at the most three). Often enough people with the Mediator personality type will emerge from this time alone having come to some momentous decision that even their closest friends didn’t know was weighing on them, evading even the option of receiving the sort of support and advice they so readily give (they are describing my life). Such is Mediators’ way, for better or for worse."

PARENTHOOD

"Mediator parents are warm, loving and supportive, and take immeasurable joy in the wide-eyed wonder of their children as they explore, learn, and grow. People with the Mediator personality type will give their children the freedom they need to do this, keeping an open mind and letting their children gain their own sense of understanding (literally before I took this quiz this is how I felt about raising my future child(ren), I want them to be happy and be able to be themselves). At the same time, Mediator parents will try to provide a backdrop to this freedom and experience, establishing a set of morals and values that guide that liberty with a sense of personal responsibility."

"The biggest challenge for Mediator parents, especially more Turbulent types who often have even more trouble with self-doubt than most, is to establish more practical and day-to-day structures and rules."  why don't you @ me already, I have 90% turbulent.

CAREER PATHS

"First and foremost is seemingly every Mediators’ dream growing up – to become an author." OKAY WHAT HOW DID YOU KNOW THIS ABOUT ME???

"...with their gift for language and written expression..." I want to be an author and I am a French major... GUESS THE TEST IS RIGHT!

In another paragraph, it also mentions how face-to-face jobs like social workers and teachers are a suitable fit, which makes sense because when I was younger I wanted to be a teacher and that feeling has never fully gone away.

WORKPLACE HABITS

"...there are a few basic truths about what Mediators seek in the workplace: they value harmony, need an emotional and moral connection to their work, and loathe bureaucratic tedium." Oh, this is me, if I don't have a good connection to those around me and my work it just doesn't sit well with me.

INFPs also need meaningful work that will leave an impression and not just something to do and forget so they can pay the bills.  This I find is exactly the type of work that I want to be getting into.  I want to do something so wonderful, that I never forget it or the impact it gave me from making it.  As a boss/manager role, most INFPs tend to focus more on the relationships which cause a problem with times when the boss needs to be the boss.  This is true for me because in my two clubs I like to have it open and free yet when I have a set agenda and want to get things done, it's hard for things to go smoothly.  But I'm working on it! ...granted because of this MB type...I might never fix it.

CONCLUSION

Mediators need to work hard on their weaker traits and other skills when they go into any situation, but all in all, I think that this Myers Briggs type really fits me and how I have become today.  The website offers a roadmap to the future if I want a premium profile, but for now, I think that I will just stick with this, and if I need help in the future I will see what that premium profile demands of me.

What's your Myers Briggs personality type?  Don't know, take the quiz.  Let's talk about it in the comments.

À bientôt!

Photo/Gif creds: mediator female, different types grid,

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Reading Challenge 2017 Completed!


Just the other day I was so happy to have gotten the notification that I have completed my reading challenge for 2017.  My plan was originally read 20 books, which I brought down to 15, and as of this post, I have read 16 books.  I did it!

I brought my amount down from 20 to 15 because I didn't feel that with school and other activities that I'd have the time to read 20 books, but it seems that I will get closer to it than I thought. I have gone OVER my challenge amount.

The last time I completed my challenge was in 2015 when I read 33 out of 20 books. It was a great year for me.  The next year I was going to try 20 books again, thinking I could do what I did the year before, but I only read 19. I knew that this year I should either put 15 or 20 books and I wanted to push myself.  So I put down the bigger number.  About halfway through the summer, I thought that I wouldn't get enough books and that trying to get to that higher number wouldn't be healthy for my mental state, so I lowered it. But thankfully from reading some books for my classes and finding some small amount of actual free time I was able to reach and go beyond my goal. It's surprisingly liberating to have the goal completed. Like a weight was lifted off my shoulder from this year.

Most of the books that I have read this year I have only reviewed on my Goodreads account, and one I reviewed on this blog. I have stopped making book reviews on my YouTube account because I never really have the time to stop and make a video, I'm just always moving. As it is it took me a few days just to write this post because I've been bouncing all over my campus doing so many things.  I can't wait to see what other books that I read this year!  I'll post a blog post on one of the last days of the year listing all the books that I have read and what rating I gave them.

À bientôt!

Reading Challenge photo from Goodreads.com

Monday, October 16, 2017

3 Months To Plan

Or is it more like 2 1/2?  I can't be fully sure right at the moment.  We are getting closer to the date, and so many things have changed for my trips.

The first major change, my study abroad trip is going to cost me a lot more than I originally thought.  And the second major change is that my service trip to Peru with some school friends is not going to happen any longer, or at least not for me.

I still have a GoFundMe for this trip and have since updated the description to reflect the changes in my situation, I have made only $57 from it so far from the amount that I have requested, but I am hopeful that I will have more later on.  I made an update there that I will put here.  I looked around the website for the university that I will be attempting to attend in France, Université Lyon Lumiere 2, and started to make a small little budget and trying to plan more for the trip. The cost for me to spend around 6 months there (11 January to 3 July) is around $4,400 if I eat out once a month, don't buy food at all besides getting meals out, and never leaving my apartment. Yes, my tuition should be helping me pay for some of this with my exchange program with my home university, but there are costs outside of what that'll help me with. And I don't know if I will be able to win the scholarship or grant that my university has available to me.

I'm struggling with what I need to do for this study abroad, but I'm ready for it all too. I'm nervous about what'll happen, but I'm excited for it all to happen at the same time.

I have sent my information to Lyon 2, and I am waiting for an email back to start an online profile to the university, so I think that means I am close to being fully accepted.

My father is no longer fully happy with me going because he feels there is too much going on right now in France for me to be safe, but I told him that everywhere isn't safe right now.  Staying put just because of fear is not something I can do at the moment. I have to go on this trip to France, it is for my major, it is for my education.

What I have next is looking at classes, picking them, getting my visa, planning the plane trips, and make sure that I still keep my grades up in this semester. I also need to make sure that my clubs are okay when I leave. I am the president of both my university's Film and French clubs, and I want to make sure that I leave my VPs with a solid club that didn't fall while I was busy doing other things.

If you have any tips for me on what I should be doing to help me get to this trip, I would love to hear them. If you could donate or share my GoFundMe, that would mean the world to me. I have the opportunity to make the most of my education and future career by going across the ocean to France, and I will do whatever I can to make that happen.

À bientôt!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Recreational Reading vs. Education Reading: What's the Real Difference?

It occurred to me during the first few weeks of my fifth college semester of what was recreational reading, what was educational reading, and what are their differences and similarities? While some of the points may be straight-forward, I find that some of the ideas I have thought of in my strange head will be shocking, or not, if you've come to this conclusion on your own. Then let me know in the comments below. I'd love to chat with you.

 black and white bollywood girls book books GIF

How much different can all these books be?

The main difference that I see between recreational reading and education reading is that one is assigned and the other you choose to read on your own time (or the time that you're supposed to be reading the assigned book...but not me...I would never do that...). It makes sense that this would be the main difference between them. You are assigned to read the first three chapters of a book or textbook, you choose to stay up the rest of the night reading the entirety of a book you have already read before because you enjoy causing yourself that emotional pain.

Another difference is the price and purchasing. I know from experience and friends that I would willingly spend upwards of $20 on a recreational book without really thinking about it, especially if it's a pretty cover because that's the real way to my soul if you can't spend the money on food. But telling me I have to spend $40 on a textbook that I will be using for the whole semester and be gaining knowledge from...THAT'S JUST ABSURD!

A similarity I find, which may shock some people, is that with both recreational reading and educational reading, you learn new things. Whether it's learning how to set up a camera shot or the history of Middle-Earth, your brain now holds information that it didn't know yesterday, and I think that's just beautiful. You can also learn new things about yourself. Surprisingly connecting with a character you felt had nothing in common with you can help you realize more of your true self that's hiding inside.

Another similarity I find with both of these types of reading is that they can have an opposite effect of what they mean to do. What do I mean by this? Well, it's simple dear reader. Sometimes you are assigned a book in class to read, like Frankenstein or The Hobbit, which starts off annoying since it's for school but end up being something that you really like and can't put down. Whereas you could find a book for recreation, start it, and immediately feel like if you continued reading it would seem like it was an assignment. For me, it was the Hobbit. I was assigned to read it in my sophomore year of high school. At first, I was a little put off by it, I hated getting assigned books because I felt that most of them were too annoying or boring. However, one chapter in and I was hooked on the work of Tolkien.

There is more to these two types of reading as well. I know that I must have missed something, or that someone else has noticed what I have. If you have, please, comment down below and let's talk.



À beintôt!

Photo/Gif creds: open book, book heart, keep calm,

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

'Hiroshima' by John Hersey - A Book Review

For me, this was a surprisingly emotional read.

I was assigned this book for a class that took a look from other countries media perspective during global events, the Hiroshima bombing being one of them. I knew very little of what really happened in that Japanese city, but I knew that what I was told as a child wasn't right, wasn't the full story.


In case you have not heard about this story before, let me give you a quick run-down of what happens. John Hersey, an investigative reporter for The New Yorker, wrote and documented the stories from six survivors of the Hiroshima bombing on August 6th, 1945. (here is a link to the original TNY posting).  The first four sections of the story were published in The New Yorker, while years later he went back and wrote a new section on what happened with the six survivors and their lives. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes history and also to anyone who wishes to know a lot of the truth from what the United States did at 8:15 that morning.

A small synopsis of the survivors and who they are, are as followed:
  1. Haysuyo Nakamura - The widow of a tailor, mother of three. Saved all three of her children after their house fell on them and brought them to the park with everyone else.
  2. Dr. Terufumi Sasaki - A doctor at the Red Cross Hospital in Hiroshima. After the bombing he was the only doctor in the hospital with the help of a few nurses; he got very little sleep.
  3. Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge - A German priest in the mission house. He spent a lot of the first day helping everyone who he came in contact with.
  4. Toshiko Sasaki - (not related to the above doctor) A young woman working in the Tin Factory who was stuck under books and left in the rain.
  5. Dr. Masakazu Fujii - Lost his hospital on the bank of the river.
  6. Kiyoshi Tanimoto - The owner of a church who ended up becoming a figure in Japan and in some circuits in the United States on some of his tours to help raise money.
I am leaving out a lot of detail so that you can go out and find the stories for yourself if you're interested in learning; spoilers aren't fun for anyone.

Now on to my feelings about the book.

I gave Hiroshima five stars on Goodreads for so many reasons. One was the level of emotion that it brought to me as I read it. I found myself needing a lot of comfort food reading the six stories in this piece, or maybe that was just because I'm over emotional anyways. Besides that point, John Hersey does a wonderful job of bringing you into that day and feeling the emotions that all those other people felt when they saw neighbors and loved ones burned and having their skin coming off. I gave it five stars because it was historic, and accurately so. There was nothing false, these were true stories from real people on the bombing day.

Hersey's storytelling of the six different survivors was touching and quick. I felt like the book spent so much time explaining when in reality it took almost no time at all, that's good reporting.

It's so telling to see, especially now, that some people still to this day do not know the destruction of the A-Bomb that the U.S. dropped on the innocent people of Hiroshima, I knew some of it but was still shocked to hear the dirty details that were described in this book, because I was told the G-rated story. Not one of people burning, dying with pus coming out of all wounds, and families torn apart by fallen buildings. I was not told the stories of everyone who lost something, just that my country did what we had to do...but did we have to do it? I know this is a little too political and controversial for a book review, but I'm just saying, from what I am know learning, there was not a need to drop the bomb on the city. We did it for testing.

I am sorry for what my ancestors did to the Japanese, I am sorry that there are still people alive, who were not alive during the bombing and that are still suffering the effects of what my country did to yours. I apologize to all the explosion-affected persons who have lived (and are still living) their lives in pain from the after-effects of the bombing.

Reading 'Hiroshima' by John Hersey helped me realize that there is so much more to the stories that I have been told when I was younger, the lessons I was taught in class. I just need to get a new perspective on the stories, a new view from outside. It's the only way to see the whole picture. The only way to really try to go for peace.

What are your thoughts on Hiroshima (the book or the actual event)? Have you read this before and had a similar/opposite reaction to it?  What's another accurate historical piece that you've read that gave you a new look on what you've been told (and would you recommend it?)?  Let's have a conversation in the comments.

À beintôt!

Photo/Gif creds: book cover,

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Why Are Books Important To Me?

Having recently moved into a new apartment and being able to have all my books with me in my room and on a shelf again has brought up some unseen emotions about books and reading I forgot I had. I began to remember why I loved reading and how I got into it in the first place. Now hold on, this is a long post with many stories.


From a young age I always loved reading, I loved stories.  My yiayia used to recite 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears' to my sister and me everything time she would put us to bed. It is one of my favorite memories of her, telling us the story with emotion while my sister and I watched.  She also used to tell us the story of how her family came to America from Greece right before she was born.  She would tell us stories of her parents, her siblings, and being the youngest and having to translate a lot for her parents. In some ways, I think my love of reading came from her telling us those stories.


From first grade, I always read any book that I could.  The Librarian became a friend. All the reading tests they held put me at least one grade above reading level (ex. while in third grade I was at a fourth to fifth grade reading level). I didn't care too much about it, I just liked reading. My yiayia died while I was in the fourth grade and I stopped reading for a bit, it wasn't something I thought of, it just happened.  Looking back now I can't remember reading much from the middle of fourth grade until a whole year later when I was in fifth grade.

One of my favorite quotes from this movie.
I was walking through the library shelves trying to find a book.  I wanted to read again, just didn't know what.  I had no booklr or book twitter to help little fifth grade me. I found the book companion to the movie Aquamarine. I loved that movie (wait a minute, I still love that movie...it's about MERMAIDS!). My sister and I watched it so many times that I could probably recite a whole scene, or close enough if you asked me to tomorrow. I picked up this little novelization and walked into my classroom with my fellow peers.  We did our studies and lessons for that day and our teacher, tired and not having a lot left for us to do that day, let us have a reading day.  I sat on the carpeted area and opened that book.  I don't remember many of the words, all I remember is that I read that book cover to cover that day.

From then on I read what I could get my hands on.  I reread a few books.  Many of the books I read in the elementary school years of my life went by in a blur, as I can't really remember a lot of those memories anyway. My full-blown book obsession bloomed in middle school; seventh grade to be exact.

In my reading class, my teacher gave us reading journals.  We were to read every quarter and document a small summary of the book every five pages so that he knew we were actually reading the book and not faking.  The first two quarters I read books that I knew I liked, books I had read before already. I was looking for a new story to read for the next journal. My mother had been trying to get me to read Witch and Wizard by James Patterson all that year, and I decided that I would finally try the story out. W&W is a story about a brother-sister duo who suddenly discover they are a witch and a wizard after their government takes them from their home in the early morning. They must learn how to use their powers and fight off their villain, The One Who Is The One, to save the world.

Like a lot of James Patterson's books, the chapters were very short.  I think out of all the Patterson books I've read, the longest chapter was maybe 7 pages. I was reading five chapters a night just to make it last longer, but I was sucked into the story. I finished that book and instantly needed the next one, but it wasn't out yet. From then I started to learn about more books, expanded what I wanted to read. The next book, The Gift, came out for W&W, and my whole life with books changed.



I now live off booklr, book twitter, and Goodreads (here's my profile) to find the next thing to read. When high school started I began to collect more books and keep them in my room.  I was able to take a large bookshelf we had that no one was using. I was able to discover through a friend my now favorite author, Julie Kagawa.

Ever since then I have expanded not just my bookshelf but my preferences on what I like to read.

One of my favorite moments that came from reading was when I was a senior in high school.  I had just recently read about three of the Mortal Instruments series and was working at a party store during the Halloween season. One day I was standing by the costumes and putting some items away. A young girl came up to me, her parents behind her. I turned and smiled at her. Our conversation went like this.

'Do you know how to make a costume of a Shadowhunter from the Mortal Instruments books?'
Her mother touched her child's shoulder 'Honey she doesn't know what that is.'
I gave myself a nice smile and looked down to the child. 'I LOVE those books. And since Shadowhunters wear all black I would just wear a black tee and maybe black leggings or jeans. As for a seraph blade, I wouldn't know how to make one. But there might be a video on YouTube or Pinterest.'

Even though I gave her no solutions to her question, she lit up from the fact that I knew what she was reading. I wanted to say 'YES! Other people read you're not a freak for reading. It's good and it's pure. There are people around you that like the same things as you!' But since I was working I didn't. I just continued to smile. The mother smiled at me as well as they went off to look for their costumes and talked about how to make their child's.

I've been called a nerd and a dork for reading. And while it might be true, the way the people used to say it to me was not. To say the words 'dork' and 'nerd' in hurtful/teasing tones to describe someone who is reading doesn't make for a happy person. I stopped reading at school for a few weeks, until I talked to my friends asking them to stop saying that, as it hurt my feelings. I also explained why I liked reading and they seemed to understand.

Reading helps me escape from the world, it helps me calm down from anxiety and panic attacks, and it brings me away from depressed episodes in my life. And with the way our world is turning right now (or at least in my country) it's good to find something to hide in for a little bit when it just gets too much to handle. I love meeting new people how love books and getting their favorite suggestions from them.  My To-Be-Read list is most likely over 1,000 books at this point; I'm too scared to count them all. It just gets bigger every day. There are so many more new books coming out. I'm finding more books with characters like me, characters that are not the normal of the past books, and just telling different stories.

This is why reading is important to me, why books are important to me. Why they are such a big part of my life. Books are a large part of who I am today, a reason why I want to write some of them in the years to come. I also really like the smell of them, nothing beats the smell of a new book.


Let me know why you love reading and books or leave your favorite book (stand-alone or series) in the comments!

À beintôt!

Photo/Gif creds: Belle, bibliophile, Matilda, Aquamarine, smell

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Transgender Equality Rally NH 2017

Yesterday I attended a Transgender Equality rally hosted by Rights And Democracy.  I had heard about the rally two days beforehand and knew that I wanted to go.  I put interested on the Facebook event but wasn't fully sure in myself whether I was going or not.  The next day came and I asked some friends if they were going, and the ones I asked weren't able to.  I saw that one friend of mine was going so I knew that if I did decide to go that there would be someone I knew.  I was still on the fence though.

The day of the rally came, it was just three hours before.  I was sitting in my living room thinking about it all.  Then a thought came to me.  I haven't been a good enough trans ally.  I haven't been a good enough ally to anyone really, not even for myself.  I told myself right then that I was going, whether I knew anyone or not.  I had to take the step to becoming a better ally to everyone who is getting hurt by our current world and administration.  Because if I don't do it now, it'll be too late for me to do anything.

I got dressed and convinced my mother to join me.  We both walked down to the park by our home, which turned out to be the wrong park so we had to walk to the other park close to our home where the rally actually took place.  The second I saw all those people standing in the park and could hear the music, I knew I was doing the right thing.

Walking into the rally, my mother and I signed in with RAD and got some papers.  The speakers hadn't started so we were able to walk around to the tables set up with organizations.  Lively music flowed from everywhere and I smiled seeing everyone else who came out in support.  I wrote on a small piece of pink fabric why I wanted to fight for the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals, which was hung on a piece of string to fly in the air other words of support and help.  I filled out a postcard which is being sent to my ward Senator asking them to vote for transgender rights and freedoms the next time the vote arises.

My mother and I continued to walk around as special guests sang and the speakers began.  We listened as we walked.  I met up with two friends who were there.  We all ended up sitting together as we listened to Gerri Cannon speak out about their life story, their struggles in life, and the beauty and strength that came out of it to make them such a strong and powerful individual.  They also mentioned at the end of their speech that they were going to run for the NH government.  I look forward to having them work for my state and work for the transgender Granite staters that just want their rights.  After Gerri spoke Sherry Frost, a representative from my state who is an outspoken ally to the LGBTQIA+ community.  One of the first things she said, which really spoke to me was "I hope I'm a good fit for allies."  There were more quotes from everyone when they spoke, but I was only able to come out of my trance to write down three of them that I really felt impacted me.


"I was free to be me." - Gerri Cannon
"This is where it [the fight for transgender rights] starts!" - Chloe LaCasse (MC)
"Everyone does better, when everyone does better." - Rep. Sherry Frost
Rep. Sherry Frost

Gerri Cannon


I really liked this poster.
There was also one big thing that hit me with this event, was how it felt.  The atmosphere was light and sweet (I sound like I'm describing cake).  There was only love and acceptance.  There was no yelling outside of the one chant.  Of course, there were cheers and whoo's while the speakers made their speeches, but everyone there in that park was happy to be there.

Well, almost everyone.  A small group of hecklers showed up during the guest speakers.  It was off to the side and not in the main area, so the speakers weren't stopped, but many of us could hear it going on behind us.  Could hear them yelling at others just trying to support other humans.  My mother had been over there while they yelled and told me one of them had said "I can't have any peace here." and their friend had said, "There are too many of you people here."

It was hurtful to think that these two people were not able to see that we were all people, and we all deserved to stand up for what we believe in and want.  Stand up for what we need.  After the hecklers left, and speakers were just about done.  What was left was music and chatter.  The afternoon was not going to be wasted just because all the words were spoken.

I had approached Rep. Frost to tell her 'thank you' for being an ally in Concord, NH for us all.  We need more of them like her and Gerri (I see future where they are also in Concord) to make sure everyone is actually free in this 'free' nation.
I Stand with Planned
Parenthood

I went home with my small bag of swag from the tables (I got my mom to take home a pin), a smile on my face, and a new urge to fight for everyone.

My bag of swag.














À beintôt!

*all photos were taken by me*

Sunday, June 25, 2017

$10 Library Book Haul

The library in the background of this logo/photo is from my
local city library.
This past Saturday I attended a book sale at my local city library.  It's called the 'Off the Shelves - $10 a Bag Booksale' and the name really spells out what it's all about.  You bring either a plastic or reusable grocery bag (or you can use a brown paper bag they can give you) and fill it with anything from hardcover/paperback books, movies, and informational books that they are no longer keeping in circulation.  Once you fill your bag(s) you pay for them.  $10 a bag and you get to walk away with a whole bunch of amazing finds.

This isn't the first time I've done this event at my library.  They hold it about four times a year.  I've been going to some of them for about four years and each time I bring home at least one full bag of books.  It's wonderful to come home with so many books.  I haven't read even one-eighth of the books I've gotten from there but that's not the point.

Below I will list the books I picked out along with the author name and the reason why I picked it.  I'll link the Goodreads as well (if I can find it).

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.  I picked this one because I had heard great things about 'Kite Runner' and both have been on my TBR list for a while.
I wish my bookshelves looked like this photo.
How I Became Stupid by Martin Page.  My mom laughed at the name alone so I read the summary on the back and it seemed really funny.
The Vampire's Doll by Jaclyn Dolamore.  The story was interesting and the cover felt nice in my hands.  I have a very weird relationship with books.  Then, honestly, the final reason that I had for picking this book was the description of the author in the book.  She seemed like an adorable person and I want to see what they have to offer me.
The Tolkien Companion by J.E.A. Tyler.  I really like anything Tolkien so this one was an obvious choice to pick.
Unfinished Tales by J.R.R. Tolkien (and edited by his son Christopher).  Again this one was an easy choice for me.  I was pretty sure that I already had this but the cover was different so I'll add it to the shelf.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.  So there were many reasons I chose this one.  I have always heard that Oscar Wilde was a crazy cat, and Dorian Gray was in an episode of one of my favorite television shows.  The last reason was the pretty green binding and hardcover of the book.
The Raven's Heart by Jesse Blackadder.  This is the first book that I placed in my bag during the book sale.  I liked the fact that it was an interesting historical fiction novel with what seemed like a possible kick-ass heroine.  There was also some wording on the back of the book that gave me a strange feeling of a possible LGBTQIA+ relationship.  So that was definitely something for my list of 'Will This Book Be Good?'.



I also got a Scooby-Doo comic book and a cookbook of Cajun food because it was themed a little with pirates and I want to try new foods.

So now I'm going to be off finishing my reading challenge for 2017.  I'm a little bit behind on it right now.  So if you need me just know that I'll be either working or having my nose in a book.



À beintôt!

Photo creds: sepia library, book haul logo was designed by me on Canva, bookshelves, girl reading,

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

6 Months To Plan

My fourth semester of college is finished, I'm heading into a busy summer, and then another action-packed fall semester to start off my Junior year.  While all of that is settled and I know what I have to do there, there is also another item, or two of them, that I must attend to.

The first is a trip to Lyon, France.  A wonderful, stunning area in the south of France.  I will be going in the end of winter and spring of 2018.  I will be staying in the dormitories of Université Lumière Lyon 2, an excellent school in Lyon.  I will have most of the cost for this trip paid for by my tuition, but some of it I will have to pay out of pocket.  I am excited about this trip, as I have been since I first started this major.  I knew one day I would have to study abroad, and I have been dreaming of France.  I get the chance to go now.
here for the spring of 2018, to study abroad and gain more knowledge for my French major.

My next item is another trip; a service trip.  I will be going to Peru with another group of students room and board while in Peru, food to eat while we are traveling the country, insurance for each member, and more expenses.  This will be hard for each of us to pay off.
from my university in the summer of 2018 for a month.  There we will be helping build stoves for families in Urubamba.  We will also be spending time sight-seeing in the old Inca villages during this month.  We will be working on raising funds but it will be tough on campus.  Each person on the trip must pay almost $5,000 to go.  This includes the cost of the airplane ticket, our

I must raise the funds for Peru, save money for Lyon, pick my classes for my study abroad, and gather supplies and clothing for handling the terrain in Peru (it is very different land from my home of New Hampshire).  I have created a GoFundMe campaign to help me gather funds for both of these trips.  I am not asking for your money, just a share if that's all you can do.  My job over the summer and the small amount of money I will raise during my fall semester won't allow me to gain the proper funds in time.  I will be in France during some of the payment deadlines for Peru.  I want to have all the money I need by December the latest.  All I need is a share.  Of this post or my campaign.

I'm telling you about this because I want to start keeping updated on my travels.  I will be doing more videos on my YouTube channel once it becomes closer to the date, and making a video for the campaign page to better explain what I'm in need of funds for.  I'll be having a tag on my Tumblr (#Monica goes abroad) on my Tumblr for smaller updates on the fly if one wants to follow me there.

Well, now it's time for me to go.  I hope you all have a wonderful start to your summers.  May it bring all that you wish.

À beintôt!

Photo creds: Lyon, Peru, field,

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tolkien Reading Order??

What's this?  I've never heard of an order to read Tolkien books other than The Hobbit > Lord of the Ring: Fellowship of the Ring > LOTR: The Twin Towers > LOTR: The Return of the King.  What's this craziness all about?

I was recently told while reading Tolkien's 'The Silmarillion' that I should have read the entire LOTR trilogy first (I have only read The Hobbit before The Silmarillion).

What I found on the Tolkien Society website, was that there is really no set order.  It goes with age, preference, and they one give lists of books in the order of publishing date. (this is not the full list, but it is from the smallest list I took two of them off of the end)
  • The Hobbit
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Tales from the Perilous Realm [mainly short stories with only nominal Middle-earth content]
  • The Silmarillion
  • Unfinished Tales
  • The History of Middle-earth series
  • The Children of Húrin
So, by this list, I went out of order, but in the second, much larger list on the website, I was even more out of order.  What I pick up from this list is that really, there is no order to read the books, except for the LOTR trilogy.  Those you read in order, but the rest of the books is mainly fair game to a point.  Having found this new list, or published dates, I now know that there is just about as many books as I thought Tolkien had written as well.

As I found other books, they really only included a small few of his stories.  Others say that it's a better idea to read stories that Tolkien wrote with no editing help from his son Christopher first, then the ones Christopher helped with afterward.

I had wanted to read the LOTR trilogy before I read the Silmarillion, but it was a matter of where the books were when I started reading.  My LOTR books were my storage unit from my recent move, and The Silmarillion was in my apartment with me, because it was with my college stuff.  So I knew I had a personal reading list.
  • The Hobbit
  • Lord of the Rings (all three)
  • The Silmarillion
  • Children of Húrin
  • (then order of which books bought first)
What's your order for reading the Tolkien books?  Did you come up with this list before, during, or after you started reading his wonderful stories?  Out of the Tolkien books you've read (if you have), which one is your favorite?  Let me know down below!

À beintôt

photo creds: monogram, books, quote

'Life And Death' by Stephenie Meyer - A Book Review

Let me start this off by saying if you are only on here because you dislike Twilight and want to write/say rude and hurtful things about thi...