Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Boyhood | Movie Mini-Review

4.0/5.0 stars

Quick thoughts on Boyhood:

Not much of a plot, or definitely not your standard overarching movie plot. It literally followed 12 years of one boy's life struggles, triumphs, and daily encounters. Incredibly unique concept, especially since it was filmed with the same cast over the twelve years of filming. It wasn't really fast or slow paced; it was simply a true portrayal of life with drama, lulls, and everything in between. If you're in the mood for some action, or even a simple by-the-book movie, this won't fulfill it. With it's unique and indie qualities put into consideration, I highly enjoyed the thought and time that was brought into the making of the cinematic experience. What might be my favorite aspect of the movie is how relatable the references were. The boy is my age at the end of the movie and they made a lot of references from each year with the clothes, music, pop culture, etc. The flashbacks were simply fun to experience along with the lead character. In the most simplistic terms, this is an interesting movie well worth your time if you have the attention or intrigue for it. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2014 Year In Review

2014 was SUCH A GREAT YEAR. I loved it wholeheartedly, even during all the really tough parts, which this survey doesn't focus too much on so I tacked on some questions that would allow me to express though parts too.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you have never done before?
SO MANY THINGS. Went to not only my first author events but FOUR author events! Graduated. Flew on an airplane (SIX actually) alone. Went to California; Massachusetts, Smokey Mountains. Saw the Pacific Ocean; wild black bears, seals. Successfully navigated a subway station (not without help. That's for next time). Ate authentic Italian, Mexican, Latin, Saudi, and Indian food; homemade ice cream; peace pie. Moved out. Started college. (Insert things that I CAN'T TELL THE WORLD. Teehee!) Went ziplining; white water rafting. I actually started a journal of "firsts" to document my new experiences and these are just the highlights!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Excitedly YES and for sure!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! My cousin (whom I visited earlier in the year while she was still pregnant) gave birth to her first child! Welcome to the world, Samantha!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Sadly, my grandma died on New Year's Eve. 3:03 AM.

5. Where did you travel?
Poway/San Diego, California; Sterling/Boston, Massachusetts; Kentucky, Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Asheville, North Carolina!

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
Less self-doubt, although that's kind of stupid because I know this is prime time to doubt and question everything! So maybe just less self-criticism.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
June 2: Graduation day.
August 21: Move in date.
December 31: Grandma's passing.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Graduating with 4.0 GPA, in top 10 of my class, going to away to college on full tuition scholarship, got to see my grandma more/grow closer to her before she past away, actually being able to lose weight and be healthier when I set my mind to it.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Can't say I necessarily had a huge failure. I hit a lot of goals I had been striving for for years now.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
For the first time in a while, no. Since I was 8, I've had injuries and mystery diagnoses that have been the bane of my existence, and in the first time in a while, my issues, for the most part, faded away.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Did I have to buy it? Because the best things I got this year were gifted to me. A Temperpedic mattress pad (glorious!), a huge ass cuddle blanket (so soft!), and BOOKS.

12. Where did most of your money go?
COLLEGE. The fees are RIDIKULLUS. To entertainment such as traveling, movies, books, etc. It was my one last hoo-rah before I have to get serious about life! ;) Oh who am I kidding. I hope my entire life is one big hoo-rah!

13. What did you get really excited about?
Graduating (AMEN!), traveling (AHHHH!!!!), author events, Colleen Hoover, making new friends, starting college, being alive!

14. What song will always remind you of 2014?
All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor. Unfortunately. My best friends LOVED this song and jammed out to in whenever it came on the radio. Which was every 20 minutes.
Gold by James Vincent McMorrow - And the music video is STUNNING. All the feels!!
Let It Go by Everyone Who Ever Sang This Song ;)
Stay With Me - Sam Smith
Boom Clap - Charli XX
What You Wanted - OneRepublic

15. Compared to this time last year, are you...
Happier or sadder? Happier. Less weight on my shoulders. Last year, I was getting ready to go back to school and continue my senior project and felt pressured to know what I wanted out of life and THE STRESS. That's all gone now.
Thinner or fatter? About the same. I gained more weight, but I lost 10 pounds in the last 8 weeks so woot woot!
Richer or poorer? Poorer. I quit the job I hated and then made a big dent in my savings, but I don't think I regret any of it. Especially the job part.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Writing. I want to write books but I get so unbelievably discouraged at the mere thought of trying. It's pitiful really. My hobbies such as knitting and sketching.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
It didn't take up too much of my time because I've been significantly better at it but not mindlessly browsing the web. I've wheedled out at least 85% of the mindless scrolling through social media I used to do out of boredom, but more recently picked up the habit again.

18. How did you spend Christmas?
I visited my grandma at her nursing home. Read. Had dinner with my family. Read some more. :)

19. What was your favorite TV program?
Parenthood, which has been the case for the past SIX YEARS. I'm so sad I won't be able to say this same answer next year because Parenthood is ending this coming February waaaaah!

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
The Kite Runner, This Star Won't Go Out, Breaking the Rules, Maybe Someday, Cruel Beauty, Where She Went, Just One Day, and MORE.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?
Daughter - discovered this year; loving!
Greg Laswell - discovered this year; loving!
Mat Kearney - discovered in 2013; love his pandora station
Ben Rector - discovered in 2013; love his pandora station
Bon Iver - discovered a few years back; never gets old; he is my go-to!
James Vincent McMorrow - discovered in 2012; new gets old; he is another go-to!

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
I made a post on m top 14 here!

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 18 and didn't do anything remotely 18-celebration-like! I'm a big family person so my parents surprised me by taking me to an awesome Italian (my favorite!) restaurant I had never been to and met up with my aunt and uncle. :)

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If I could have read more in September through November. My reading went AWOL during my first semester. And although I wouldn't replace the memories I made with reading, I wish I could have added more hours into the year to make up for my loss of reading (I only read 3 books for my own enjoyment the entire first semester!)

26. What kept you sane?
Music, my friends, and my family.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
#1 - It's okay to not have your shit together on every aspect of life. You'll get there.
#2 - The world is at your fingertips; you can do anything you want to do as long as you make it happen <Basically my year motto.
#3 - Take chances! You're only guaranteed today! <Also my year motto.

28. What regrets/disappointments do you have about 2014?
Wasting too much time on little, mind-numbing activities (like surfing the internet) and procrastinating when I could have been writing or working on my "dreams" instead of just drowning in escapism. I also wish I had followed through with more of my plans to meet up with people when I said I wanted to get together with them. I know life gets really busy, but I don't want to keep making empty promises. I feel phony when I do that and I don't mean to.

29. Words or sayings that remind you of 2014:
"Proud of you" "bae" "Ohmigawwwd" "I love your more" "That's debatable" "Bye Felicia!" ^^Things me and my friends say jokingly LOL.

30. Did you have any new favorite foods or drinks?
I started enjoying shrimp more this year. I also really enjoyed the peach pie I had for the first time. I love peaches, why haven't I had them in pie form before?

31. Did you have any new favorite health/hair products?
Not that I can think of.

32. Did you have any new obsessions?
I can't think of any right now, but I know I did. I'm a fangirl for Pete's sake. ;)

33. Did anyone new walk into your life?
Lydie. Sierrey. Anna. Dozens upon DOZENS of friends from my first semester.

34. What was your personal style? In clothes, accessories, room decorations, etc
Casual with flare here and there. Jeans, tank tops, flowy tops and leggings, big sweatshirts, sneakers. Minimal accessories. I always wear hair ties on my wrist. I either wear my hair natural (curly), a high bun, or at night I will braid it before bed. As far as decorations, I love neutrals and blues. I themed my dorm room around those colors and will do the same next year.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Top Ten 2014 Releases I Want to Read In 2015

The original title of this TTT is "Top Ten 2014 Releases I Meant to Read but Didn't Get To" but I don't like that because most of these books are 2014 releases I knew wasn't going to read in 2014 due to time and other books I already wanted to read. So these are the 2014 releases I really want to read this year!

Reading 10 books released in 2014 is actually one of my book goals for 2015 so yay, now I have a list of what I'm going to read!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Review: Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen. Complete strangers since this morning.
He'll do anything to remember. She'll do anything to forget.

Genre: YA? There were mature topics discussed in this first book, but I don't think it could really be considered NA. And a mixture of contemporary, mystery, suspense, and romance! It's just everything amazing all in one!

Pages: 104

Date published: January 8, 2014

Never stop. 
Never forget. 
Just remember.

Rating: 4 stars
My review:

UPDATE: Okay! I've completely gone crazy! After having time to contemplate the book and its clues, more and more questions are popping into my head and I cannot wrap my mind around what's going on! There is so much more to this plot than I ever imagined that I almost want to say y'all should disregard my review. Just know that this is a great mystery/suspense/romance and if you are into trying to decipher a story word by word, this is totally up your alley! I'm torturing myself trying to make sense of it all and loving it all the same.


What the what?!?

I can't even. What? NO!!!

I just finished Never Never. I can't believe what I just read. This is so different from anything else I've ever read and I loved every second of it! Colleen Hoover, props to you for thinking of this crazy idea, and Tarryn Fisher, for getting the ball rolling. Brilliant.

The plot! Holy shoot the plot was awesome. I don't want to reveal anything about the plot because reading the first chapter sneak peek after knowing nothing about the plot messed with my mind! In the best way possible, of course, and I want you guys to go into the book not knowing what to expect! After the first chapter, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the full story, but was going to have to wait until the paperback came out (because I couldn't buy both paperback and ebook). Gratefully, I won a copy from a fellow CoHort (thank you again, Meredith!) and then devoured it. I loved experiencing all the confusion and curiosity and carefulness of Charlie and Silas as they tried to relearn and put the pieces together. I felt so in tune with Charlie and Silas, as if I too were experiencing the events and emotions with them. Trying to figure out what was going on put me on such an edge. Every time another piece about themselves was discovered, I was anxious, excited, and smiling so much. I found myself rooting for Charlie and Silas, loving them more and more with each bit I was learning about them. Especially with each new tid bit that made their relationship more flawed and complex, things started clicking in place and I was just thinking I LOVE THIS! I love Charlie. I love Silas. (Especially Silas. Can he get any more perfect??) I love Landon (I want him) and Janette. I love Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher...

The reason I'm not giving Never Never 5 stars is because I'm still conflicted on its length. I love the plot and where it's headed, but it's so short that we weren't able to get a complete story. I feel like I am hardly entitled to give it a rating when it isn't complete. It's like rating an excerpt and rating an entire book off of how I liked that one part. Of course, after reading Never Never I discovered that the reason it is so short is because Never Never had to be published in a novella series, due to Tarryn not being contracted with Colleen's publisher. I would have loved to see Never Never as one bind up instead of three separate publications, because like I said, this just wasn't a full book, but I understand the legality of the situation.

Anyway, I love this story so much and there's still so much left to learn (basically everything since nothing was really cleared up in this first installment) about Charlie and Silas, their families, and what the heck happened! There were some elements/motifs that were barely touched up on in this first book (atoning for one's mistakes, serving a purpose outside yourself) that I'm going crazy imagining how they'll play out in the sequels! I know this is just the beginning of what to expect from this series and I cannot wait to read the other books.

Never stop. 
Never forget. 
Just remember.

Available now:

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Top Ten Most Anticipated New Releases For 2015

Originally this TTT was "Top Ten Most Anticipated Debut Books For 2015" but I typically don't hear of debuts until closer to their release dates or when there is a bunch of rave surrounding them so I'm sharing the new releases I'm most excited to read this year!
The other two 2015 releases I'm excited for and don't have covers yet are:
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
November Nine by Colleen Hoover

What new releases are you excited to read?

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find more TTT lists from book lovers and bloggers by clicking their blog name.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Rethinking My TBR Pile & 2015 Goals

This past year I restructured my TBR list quite a bit. I had over 300 books on the list, a lot of which I added after seeing good ratings for or pretty covers (sue me). ;) It became overwhelming very quickly so I split my TBR list into FOUR separate shelves. I know, that sounds like it would make things so much more complicated, but honestly, it has actually helped me! Let me explain them:

1) To-Read
Named after Goodreads' default bookshelf
Purpose: For all the books I DEFINITELY wanted to read at some point
Criteria: These books must interest me because of the synopsis, author, and/or convincing recommendations from multiple people (friends, family, bloggers, BookTubers, etc)
Current # of books listed: 154

2) Maybe
Named after my indecisiveness/wariness
Purpose: For all the books I wasn't sold on, but didn't want to cast aside right away; to keep in mind
Criteria: These books include ones that crossed my path and peaked my interest for some reason
Current # of books listed: 292

3) Kindle Freebies
Named after the kindle books I downloaded for free (pretty straight forward)
Purpose: To keep straight the dozens upon dozens of free kindle books I binge downloaded when I first got my kindle (as well as freebies I later downloaded).
Criteria: These books include ones a) I know for sure I will read at some point and b) ones I don't know much about but am willing to crack open because, um, they were FREE.
Current # of books listed: 44

4) Classics to Consider
Named after the classics I'm considering reading (super straight forward)
Purpose: To keep track of the classics I've been coming across.
Criteria: These books include classics from authors I have not read before and am not sure if I will like there writing style, but I want to give a try some day and am not sure which of their books I want to try.
Current # of books listed: 25

In the end, what splitting my TBR list into four different shelves has allowed me to do is a) prioritize the books I really want to read and b) not let the "gems" get swept away in the overflow. With that said, I was looking at my TBR list again (does anyone else do that? Just look at the books you can't wait to read in anticipation?) and what did I find? I discovered that...

On my main TBR list I have:

19... 2015 releases
30... 2014 releases
31... 2013 releases
20... 2012 releases
16... 2011 releases
23... 2000 to 2010 releases
11... released before 2000
+ 4 more books without estimated release dates

Last year quite a few of my reading goals revolved around the books' publishing years and after seeing the figures above, I decided I still wanted this aspect to be a part of my reading goals for this year, that way I'm not neglecting books published a few (or many) years back. I already made 10 book goals for 2015, but I don't want to add 7 more on top of that so I'm going to make similar goals to last year's except have them coincide with my other goals. Meaning: I hope I can read past the 53 books I need to read in order to finish my 10 goals so that when I'm done, all the books I've read for the year will also fulfill these added goals. So my coinciding book goals for 2015 are:

Read 10 books released in 2015
Read 15 books released in 2014 
Read 15 books released in 2013
Read 5 books released in 2012
Read 5 books released in 2011
Read 10 books released from 2000-2010
Read 5 books released 2000 releases

65 books in 2015.

I'm not sure how feasible this goal is (I'm going to be a lot busier this year than I have been in the past!) BUT this is best case scenario and I would love to cut my main TBR list by approximately a third so I'm gong to go for it! :) (I figured a third by keeping in mind the books I'll likely move from my maybe, kindle freebies, and classics shelves as well as the books I've yet to discover)

Until next time, happy reading!