13 February 2017

what have i been up to in the past 6 months?

i love everything in my life as of late.

i started college this semester at the University of Texas at San Antonio, majoring in math and working towards my teaching certification. i'm even in a course (UTeachSA) which allows me to go to a nearby elementary school and do fieldwork, which consists of observing and teaching a few lessons!

there are a lot of interesting people i'm meeting here, and i recently found the Students United for Planned Parenthood (SUPP) group, which i've decided to become a part of. i'm excited for everything here. i think i just missed school - missed studying, tests, even the stress, to some extent! i'm more mentally healthy than i've been in ages.

unfortunately i don't have time to read, or write, or knit like i used to. i miss doing those things. but everything here is incredible, and things are looking up.

08 September 2016

99 days by katie cotugno

99 days by katie cotugno -> goodreads

there are some very interesting reviews for 99 days on goodreads. some of them are praising this book, and the others are completely condemning it because the main character, molly, does not make good choices.

you cannot tell me you picked up a book about a girl who cheated on her best friend-turned-boyfriend with his brother and expected her to be a perfect person.

a lot of the reviews describe molly as a 'flawed character'. keeping that in mind, what's a perfect character? is it somebody who always makes the perfect choice and doesn't ever let anybody down or hurt their feelings? flawed characters are realistic. maybe that's why people don't like them. we turn to books for an escape, and sometimes a flawed character makes it a little too real for us.

the plot and molly's feelings are very back and forth. of course. i didn't have a problem with it - again, it's realistic, and i hate to admit it, but i've been in a similar situation with two boys. i think what really made this book 3/5 stars was the message that came in the last 20 or 30 pages -

why is molly being shunned by everybody? it's only molly, too. the boys who were involved have faced no consequences, no bullying, no "SLUT" painted on their lockers or car windows. where's their harassment? 

nowhere. it's only molly who has done anything wrong, apparently. this is brought up in the last 20ish pages, and i wish it'd been mentioned sometime sooner in the book. it's an important question, a relevant issue whenever anything like this happens in real life.

a celebrity dates another (married) celebrity in secret, and it's she who destroyed his family. she has to issue an apology for wrecking this man's marriage, because it was only her who made a choice, and he did nothing wrong. he is not expected to apologize. why should he? it was the woman who did everything.

(this was an issue that happened four years ago or so, with an actress and the director of the movie she was working on. remember that?)

so, anyway, 99 days, 3/5 stars. could've been better, could've had a lot more of the message at the end scattered throughout the book, but it didn't. and, whether we like to admit it or not, 99 days was realistic.

30 July 2016

monthly recap 07/16

2016 is officially over halfway done with. it's been a pretty busy year, and most of that business seems to be coming from this month.

  • i have a little brother, and i have as of july 12th at 12:43 in the afternoon. and oh my jesus he's the cutest thing i've ever seen. his name is justice, and it's hard to believe that after two weeks with someone (almost three weeks), i can love them this much. i've never been super keen on babies, but i swear he's trying to change that.
  • today i had my first job interview at a grocery store, and i got the job! i should be starting next week. it's even within walking distance of my house, which makes my life like 3x easier.
  • god help me i'm getting back into reading contemporaries, as seen in my review of love & gelato. my heart's aflutter. kasie west books here i come.
  • and i plan on reading ACOTAR soon. i don't like to use gifs in my posts because it feels very tacky imo, but i literally feel like that gif of spongebob saying "i don't need water......I NEED IT"
  • i'm hopefully starting college this fall??? community college, going to major in math and get a teaching certification. i'm keeping my fingers crossed. i've been accepted but i'm just having a billion issues talking to my department advisor.
i guess maybe this month wasn't as busy as i thought if i could sum it up in 5 bullets. either way, i'm hoping to make monthly recaps a regular thing on saccharian, so thanks for reading about my mildly interesting life anyway.

29 July 2016

love & gelato by jenna evans welch

love & gelato by jenna evans welch -> goodreads

my heart's actually about to explode in my chest. seriously.

firstly, it's been ages since i've read a contemporary ya romance, or at least it feels like it has, and i forgot how fluffy and fun they really are. secondly, i have an obsession with books that feature travelling and finding oneself. so it was really just meant to be.

love & gelato takes place in florence, italy. main character lina's mother dies, and before her death, she told lina to go meet her father in florence. and so they arranged for that, and during the summer, lina goes to florence and meets her father for the very first time.

throw in a journal her mother wrote in college, some descriptions of desserts that i could definitely classify as 'food porn', and a cute (half) italian boy, and it's all just delicious. i sped through this book like it was no one's business. there's a light mystery in love & gelato, which i appreciated a lot, because it wasn't heavy enough to make things super serious, but still just enough to be interesting and keep me captivated.

also, lina's kind of living my dream. travelling to europe and falling in love with a cute foreign boy? yes, absolutely. 4/5 stars. why am i not lina. i should be lina.

25 July 2016

#readthemallthon reading pile

find info + sign up for the #readthemallthon here.

i don't think i've participated in a read-a-thon this entire year, actually. but this is pokemon-inspired, so how could i not? i've been playing pokemon go these past couple of weeks and it's really rekindled my love for pokemon. (i mean, i actually haven't played pokemon go for about a week because i'm out of pokeballs and i haven't been to a pokestop recently, but you get the idea.)

so here's my tbr for the read-a-thon.

hopefully i can finally get around to reading the wrath & the dawn. i had this checked out at the library a while back, but i never read it and ended up checking it back in.

i cry a lot at like, everything, even if it's just mildly sad, but i think i'm going to go with me before you for this one. i have the ebook on my phone and i just haven't read that yet, either. i did see the movie when it was released and i cried at that, so i'm sure the book will make me cry as well.

there are so many books i've been meaning to read that are surrounded by hype, especially passenger. i've seen it in the new arrivals section of my public library and just eyed it with jealousy, because i've wanted to read it for ages and ages.

oh man, i love diverse books. for this one, i'm going to choose another book that i have on my kindle and haven't read: simon vs the homo sapiens agenda. i actually bought this one when it was on sale for $1.99 on the kindle store, and, again, i didn't get around to reading it.

i feel like every book i read is romance, which is totally fine with me really. i'm hoping i can read sing for this badge, although i don't know if i'll have the money to buy it on my kindle and i haven't seen it in my library. i'll keep an eye out, though.

i've never been big on paranormal books or fantasy, not gonna lie. i just don't think those genres are for me. for this one, i'm not sure if i'll go with the raven boys (i read the first one a couple of years ago and that's it, so i think i'll try rereading it and seeing if i actually enjoy it this time around) or truthwitch.

there are 3 books with red covers on my goodreads tbr shelf, and i've mentioned all of them already in this post. i'm undecided for this badge, and i think i'll just have to see what books have red covers/book jackets next time i go to the library and pick one of those.

i love books that take place in post-apocalyptic worlds. i think i'm going to go with starflight for this one.

this is such a cute theme for a read-a-thon, and i'm really excited to finally be participating in one.

17 July 2016

kill the boy band by goldy moldavsky

kill the boy band by goldy moldavsky -> goodreads

fandoms and fangirls are, more often than not, pretentious. we believe that we are the biggest fans of a celebrity or a series, and we like to judge other fans because we think they're 'lesser' fans than we are. they aren't stanning a group, or franchise, or whatever, right, like we are. we are incredibly pretentious about loving what we love. and for some reason, fandoms of books are so much worse.

i think it has to do a lot with the mentality of 'i'm not like the other girls. other girls party and sleep around, and i stay home and read books, so i'm a better person.' you know what i mean, and the fact that so many YA books are told from the perspective of the 'sweet virgin introvert' girl just reinforces that mentality.

and so a lot of the reviews for this book on goodreads are about how this book is an INSULT to the very meaning of fandom, and don't you know, the etymology of the word fangirl translates from greek to 'perfect human being who does nothing wrong'? it's just an attitude that so many reviews are sharing, about how fangirls aren't like this because "I'M not like this", and kill the boy band is an unrealistic representation and thus a disgrace.

(there are some other complaints of this book about fat shaming, and i don't feel i have a place to talk about it, so while i acknowledge it, i'm not going to try to confirm or deny it.)

kill the boy band is about four fangirls who are obsessed with basically a fictional one direction called "the ruperts", and somehow they find themselves kidnapping one of the band members.

this book is, to be frank, totally wild. i liked it a lot though. it pokes a lot of fun at fangirls and fandoms and fansites, but none of the jokes are even exaggerations if you sit back and think about it.

i rated it 4/5 stars on goodreads. this was such a fun read. i marked it from 'tbr' to 'reading' probably two weeks ago, but honestly i didn't pick it up and start reading it until this morning, and i finished it about six minutes ago. it was that good.

02 July 2016

potterhead july & growing up with harry

find the posting schedule for #potterheadjuly here.
find read at midnight here.

potterhead july has kicked off as of yesterday! (or, tomorrow, if we're considering when i'm writing this post.) this festival is intended to bring together fans of harry potter and get us talking about various things related to the series, whether it's about how we came to be fans, the fandom, the characters, etc. i have a billion things i could say about harry potter, but i'd really like to talk about how tied into my childhood this series became.

my mom never particularly enjoyed reading, but i remember seeing her reading the harry potter books when i was very young. she tried convincing me to read them too, multiple times, actually, but somehow, i'd gotten it into my head that the series was scary. probably because of the original order of the phoenix cover, now that i think about it. it is kind of ghosty-looking. i refused to read them, because i've always been a giant weenie, scared of ghosts and monsters and whatever else. but somehow, she convinced me to anyway, and she handed me the sorcerer's stone.

and then i was caught up to her on the order of the phoenix. i liked reading growing up, but it was the harry potter series that made me love reading. whenever i got caught up and ready to read ootp, she was still in the process of reading it. (i think i actually read the first four that fast.) to make me shut up, she bought me my own copy of the book, and i devoured that immediately. those were all the books that were out at the moment.

so, somewhere between age 5 and age 7, i read all of the books that were out in the series and waited patiently for the next book. i watched the movies to pass the time, and i remember seeing the prisoner of azkaban in theaters with my mom. i was 6 when that came out, and whenever lupin shapeshifted, i hid my face behind my mom's arm. i was still a weenie about scary things.

i don't remember much excitement surrounding me with the release of the half blood prince.

for my ninth birthday, my aunt and uncle preordered the deathly hallows for me. they printed out the confirmation for the preorder and stuck that in the envelope with my birthday card. i brought that paper confirming the preorder to show and tell in third grade. i was that excited. and then it was there, and i got it, and i tried reading it and i hated it.

i still hate the first chapter of the deathly hallows, with all the talk of the ministry of magic. i didn't care about the politics of the wizarding world then and i don't care now. sometime later, i was grounded for misbehaving, and all i had was my bookshelf to entertain me. i'd read literally every book there except for the deathly hallows, and so that's when i picked it up. i only managed to read it because i skipped the first chapter, and i missed a lot of the big key plot points and reveals because i didn't totally understand all of that heavy stuff at age 10 or 11 or whatever.

in 2010, at 12 years old, i signed up for fanfiction.net. i liked the harry potter fanfiction i found there, and i had a real craving for more material in the hp universe. even though none of it was canon, it was still satisfying, and i made an account to be able to comment and subscribe to stories. then, i started writing stories of my own.

everything i remember from then just zooms by; i started posting and replying to people on a harry potter fanfiction forum i found on ff.net, and from there i made friends. really good friends. they convinced me to make a tumblr account with them, and so i did. that's really where i became so invested in the internet and made so many friends. i'm sad to say that i don't speak to any of them anymore, just because somehow, we all got lost and separated from one another, but i remember a few of their names, and the different countries we were from. i remember late nights on a desktop computer, typing away on a word processor to write just one more chapter before bed.

i can contribute a lot of my writing skills to harry potter fanfiction. this used to embarrass me so much, and it still does, a bit, but it's also helped me grow. somewhere around age 13, i realized i liked to write stories a lot. around age 15, i realized i showed extraordinary talent in writing.

whenever people ask authors, "do you have any tips for aspiring writers?", the authors always say. "read. read everything you can get your hands on." what i could get my hands on was harry potter, then harry potter fanfiction, and it's amazing to me how much that changed my writing. (i haven't had any more shocking revelations since age 15, by the way. i'm still waiting on the ability to write an entire novel without my enthusiasm dying out after 40k words.)

it's weird to think that harry potter branches off into so many different aspects to my life and contributes to them. i made friends and i discovered a hobby, a talent and potential career path. a lot of people who have grown up with harry potter might say that it taught them about friendship, and the true value of love, and i can't say it did those things for me. it showed me what it meant to tell a story, really tell a story, and how to tell it well.

don't forget to check out the other potterhead july posts with the hashtag #potterheadjuly.