Macau Trip: that was one year ago!!!

What have I learned this past year since my Macau trip?

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Well, fellow readers, I’ve learned many things. When I first set off on my trip to Macau, I thought I could handle it. I did a fairly okay job being the leader of my casa and making sure everything went well when we were in Macau. But what I didn’t anticipate how I was ill prepared to venture out alone when I was going to Hong Kong. I think now that I’ve had some more experience going alone to places such as Bath or even Barry Island, I am not as scared as I was a year ago.

I’ve learned some interesting social skills and find myself wishing I could go back and be a nicer person. I’m not saying that I was a horrible person on the trip, but I could have been less annoying and more willing to accept some things. I tried really hard to be liked and I think that may have come across in the wrong way. Looking back, I think that I was a tad bit more immature than I am now. Although I’m sure a few people didn’t see it that way.

I’m sure travelling Europe is different than Asia, but I think I was just not in the right place to be able to handle myself alone. Now that I know a few tricks to how to feel comfortable in a new place and the effect of research, I definitely would try to go travelling by myself again. This time I will do my research in to what hotel would suit me and which part has more activity to do at night. I definitely will not book a hostel that is in the middle of nowhere on a hill that I’d never hike up.

Although I don’t speak to the people I met on the trip on a daily basis, I do enjoy seeing what they’re doing through Facebook. I think Facebook tends to filter out what news you see on your page. I would happily meet up with anyone for coffee (or tea) that I met on the trip. Well, most people.

Looking back on what happened on my last day in Macau, I realise that I handled it pretty well for someone in my situation. Some people would blame themselves, but what could I have done? I had no clue of the pressures that girl was being put on to accompany me. If so, I would have been understanding and told her it was fine. But to not have heard from her at all that day felt bad. But that’s in the past. I don’t hold it against her and I’m moving past it. After all, I was originally just going alone anyways.

I’ve written a lot about my Macau trip and I even have it on my main page under “Macau Trip.” I’m eternally grateful for that opportunity and I can’t believe it’s been a year!

Here’s me now:

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Definitely a big change! I’ve learned so much and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings me!!!

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A Court of Thorns and Roses series review (first two books) by Sarah J. Maas

My love for books knows no bounds. What I love doing more than reading (okay, probably the same as) is writing about books. So you’ve read so many of my book reviews in the past few days. WordPress has said that my stats has increased in the past day and I’m thrilled. So with the process of writing comes the flow that will not stop. Seriously, once I start writing, sometimes it’s hard to stop. If I stop, I’ll lose motivation. So I will write another book review.

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This book series is yet to be finished, but I really want to talk about it. It’s a really important book that everyone should read. Okay, not that important, but you should still read it. The book series is called “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas. It follows this girl named Faeyre (I’m seriously naming my first child that if it’s a girl) who is a huntress. She kills a faerie and must live out her life as a prisoner in the faerie lands. The faerie who takes her “prisoner” is named Tamlin and is high lord of the Spring Court. Faerie lands are divided into seasons and times. For instance, there is a Night Court (which we will see more of in the second book), Day Court, Summer Court and Autumn.

Faeyre lives in luxury in Tamlin’s court while her siblings and father starve. Although Tamlin takes care of them. With this concept of faeries comes MAGIC. Tamlin can turn into a beast. If you’re familiar with “Beauty and the Beast” I’m sure you know where the story is headed. There is a blight in faerie magic and Tamlin is trying to fix it.

The first two books in the series are amazing. I was invested in the story from page one and the second book was not a disappointment. You know how most second books in a series *cough cough* New Moon *cough* have that “second book slump?” Well this one has the “second book spunk!” Okay I stole that from Sasha but whatever. Halfway through ACOTAR, we meet this guy named Rhysand who is very mysterious. He makes a pact with Faeyre near the end of the first book and things get crazy from there.

If you’ve read the “Throne of Glass” series that Maas also wrote, you might see a pattern in the way relationships are formed. You think that the first one is the true love, but then stuff happens and BAM! You no longer ship them and feels are had.

I think what I liked best, as I’ve said in most of my other reviews on different books, is characterisation!  The dynamic between Faeyre and her siblings are written in such a way that you can’t help feeling angry at the siblings. And the father is such an idiot!!!

If you are into faeries and fairy tales, you might like this series. I’m excited to see what happens next and can’t wait to get my hands on the next book.

I would give this a 5/5 stars for awesomeness! I was hesitant to start this book because I was unsure of the Beauty and the Beast element, but it was well worth it!

SPOILER SECTION!!!!

 

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The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson book review

It’s SUMMER!!! maxresdefault

Summer for me never really looked like this. I swear, it was mainly fog and cold… and I’m not even kidding. Because of the drought and global warming, my home now looks like summer, but it was not like this originally.

Nevertheless, I love summer. The idea that you’re free to do whatever you want is appealing to me. Even if I had to work or whatever, I still felt the draw of summer. So what does this mean for me? SUMMER CONTEMPORARIES!!!

It’s that time of year where readers sit back and read fluffy romance nonsense. Not that there is anything bad about those books, but summer contemporaries are easier to get into in the summer. I know, right? 🙂

So this summer I kicked off my contemporary streak with “The Unexpected Everything” by Morgan Matson. A story about a girl named Andie whose summer plans go out the window when her father, a congressman, is caught up in a scandal. Forced to find something else, Andie must face the fact that she is staying home for the summer. Home with her distant father who hasn’t been there for her since her mother died. Andie finds herself with a job walking dogs and more time on her hands. For someone who always has a plan, this idea scares her.

Plus, there’s a cute guy to boot… so why not check this book out?!

I never had that social life of a teenager. I always did some after school thing and then went straight home. I never really had a group of friends to do things with. So reading these kinds of books make me a little envious. But I do have some form of that now, in my early 20’s. Yeah, I’m reaching 25, but that’ll be in a year. Hey, I only JUST turned 24.

An interesting thing about Andie is that she never gets into a relationship for more than three weeks. She spends a lot of time, like me, crushing on someone longer than the relationship lasts. This changes when she meets Clark, this nerdy cute guy who writes fantasy novels.

What I loved about this novel was how it characterised each person. You have Bri, who loves movies. Palmer who is into stage managing. Toby who is in love with the idea of love. And you have the boys, Wyatt, Tom, and Clark. Even Andie’s dad is well written. I felt invested with the characters’ lives and their backstory. As a writer, I like to think about how other authors use flashbacks and loaded items, such as female hygiene products in the book.

The fact that the mom passed away five years prior was woven beautifully throughout the tale. The summer is a time when Andie’s relationship with her dad gets better and by the end you’re rooting for them both.

In the beginning of the book we have the stiff version of Andie that is glossed over for the magazines. She’s always conscientious about her image and how that will effect her dad’s campaign or job. Everything feels censored for her and we can tell that she’s going to need a lot of work if she’s going to fall in love, like you can predict from the synopsis of the book. It wouldn’t be a summer contemporary without romance and change.

This book does have emoticons, which is interesting to read. My eyes just kind of glossed over them, only briefly looking at what they were saying. I personally never use emoticons as much as normal people. I go on BookTube a lot and found this interview with the author about emoticons for the book. Check it out:

There were other videos of her from BEA, but I liked this one. I’ve only read this book of hers. But I’d be interested in reading more of her other books like “Since You’ve Been Gone” and “Amy and Roger’s  Epic Road Trip.”

Normally I would put up a spoiler review afterwards, but there’s not much else that I’d like to comment on. Terrible, I know, but I think I covered most of how I felt about this book. I enjoyed this book so much and I definitely recommend it to everyone. I do like the fact that Clark was wearing a Doctor Who shirt and having it seen through Andie’s eyes was awesome, since she is not a nerd. She didn’t even know the first shirt he wore was from Star Wars!!! Reminds me of this:

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I did a photoshoot with my friend the other day with the book… and a few others. They came out gorgeous!

So I hope you liked this review and don’t forget to subscribe! If you’ve read the book, feel free to comment your opinion below!

Christina Grimmie and the Pulse victims are in our thoughts RIP

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I know that my blog is mainly for book reviews and writing, but I thought I’d take some time to write about the recent events in Orlando. I am very devastated by what happened and cannot begin to fathom the horror families of the deceased are experiencing right now.

Let me begin with a small shooting, not 24 hours before the massive shoot out. Christina Grimmie. Only 22 and a former competitor on “The Voice.” She started off on Youtube, having been signed on to Selena Gomez’s parents’ record company. I started following her after this video:

 

I loosely followed her when she was in “The Voice” and had forgotten about her for a little bit. Every time I saw her videos I was inspired. She had this energy that you just couldn’t miss. She put her heart into the songs and didn’t seem ashamed to leave it on the stage.

She had so much going for her and the fact that this man singled her out really gets to me. Was this some kind of personal vendetta against her? Or maybe it was something else. But for whatever reason, this person decided to take an innocent life. I can see, maybe, wanting to kill someone like Trump or even just someone who did something so wrong. But to kill a performer like that? I may not have known Christina personally, but this devastates me more than I thought it even could.

That’s not to say that I wasn’t horrified by the Pulse shooting. In no way am I saying that I care more about this singer’s death than the 50 deaths that happened at Pulse. I will get to that in a moment. My heart breaks from all of this senseless violence. I saw this video that Sam Tsui posted as a tribute to Christina. It’s horrifyingly beautiful and I hope everyone thinks so.

As soon as I hit the link I couldn’t help crying. It feels like a dream that this is even happening. I hope Christina is looking down and seeing all the love we all have for her.

I want to write a letter to Christina, if you guys are willing to let me.

Dear Christina,

I haven’t met you, but you were a big part of my growth. I saw your videos and wished I was as talented as you. I was very happy to hear that you got into the Voice and how each judge turned their seat. What an accomplishment! You have inspired several people by doing what you love and I could tell by all of your videos that you loved doing what you did. I wanted to be like you, where I was happy to be doing what I love. No one can tell exactly why you were killed, but just know that you died too young. I firmly believe that if you’ve changed someone’s life, your life won’t have had no meaning. You’ve inspired tons of people and left a big footprint in this world. You will not be forgotten. The Heavens just got a talented and beautiful angel.

Yours forever,

Jillian.

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Sean Astin (Sam from Lord of the Rings) posted this amazing quote from “Two Towers” that really broke my heart in two, in regards to the shooting:

FRODO: I can’t do this, Sam.
SAM: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened.
But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something.
FRODO: What are we holding on to, Sam?
SAM: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.

I think in times of crisis, we tend to walk around like chickens with our heads cut off. We don’t know what to do or how to act. I certainly didn’t know what to do when I heard of Christina’s death and the shooting at Pulse. I felt bad for not being able to do anything and even more upset when I was enjoying my day. Things like this should never be a norm.

I also want to bring up that hate is not a mental illness. If it was, I could claim to hate Trump and it’d be sort of ok to kill him. I mean I dislike Trump, but it’d be totally wrong to kill him. By saying that I was mentally unstable because of my hatred isn’t correct. Cause you do know that our society will lessen your sentence if you have a disability. So if you claim hatred such as racism or homophobia for why you murder someone, it could change the outcome of your sentence. Which is not fair. And plenty of people will remark “where on your birth certificate does it say life has to be fair?” Yeah, I’ve heard that one before.

I will never claim to be politically aware. It’s hard to filter through what most people say into what is the truth and what is opinion. What I do know is this. This was a terrible situation, yes. But, if we let fear and anger control us, we may end up repeating history. Germany “feared” the Jews and they put them in internment camps. America feared the Japanese and put them into internment camps. Whenever there is fear from any other country, the solution always seems to be segregation and internment.

This idea that Trump has to build a wall is foolishness. And the fact that he’s blaming an entire religion, Muslim, for all the terrorist attacks, is just foolish. Sure, some terrorist attacks are from Muslim EXTREMISTS!!! But there are a ton of terrorist attacks from white guys. Oh, but they aren’t “terrorists” if they aren’t dark skinned. So far there have been 133 mass shootings in the USA in 2016 alone and we are only halfway through the year! And I bet most of them are from white kids/adults.

To conclude before I go on this rant, I am devastated to hear about these shootings. We need to do more than just pray for Orlando. We need to better our society so that this isn’t happening as often.

The Crown by Kiera Cass series review

Here goes nothing. I was planning on writing more scenes for my novel, but I feel really uninspired right now. So I thought I’d get to writing that review I keep meaning to get to. Well, one of them, at least. Maybe that’ll spark something in me to write more on my novel. I have most of the outline of it, but the actual scenes are just a bitch to write.

So the series I want to talk about is  the Selection Series by Kiera Cass. I know I wrote a review for the first three books and a review for The Heir but because the last book in the series has come out and I just finished it, I want to talk about the series, as a whole.

The last instalment in the Selection series is called “The Crown.” It’s basically what happens to Iliea (forgot how you spell that) while Eadlyn goes through her Selection. If you haven’t read the last two reviews I wrote, and you don’t want to read them just yet, let me recap what is happening. Basically twenty years after America and Maxon get married, the country of Iliea, which was formally the United States of America, is still in turmoil. With the taking down of the caste system, things were seeming to be okay. But there is a difference between social segregation and institutionalized segregation.

The difference being that society can’t really get over the caste system and tends to discriminate against people who were once fours or fives. Honestly, just think of the caste system as districts like in the Hunger Games and you’ll get it. Sort of.

So to help boost morale, Eadlyn, the oldest twin (literally came out a few minutes before her twin so technically she is the heir), gets put into a Selection. She must pick a husband from a random pool of guys all vying for her hand in marriage.

The book before the last book showed how things  have changed for Eadlyn and we get to see snippets of Maxon and America’s marriage. To hear my full review of The Heir, click on the link above.

I’ve already stated how much I hate Eadlyn. She is a complete brat and she is only likeable when she’s talking to her brother, which is few and far between. When she interacts with the servants or anyone “beneath” her, she is cold and indifferent. Such a change from the amazing portrayal of America in the first three books.

Through the Selection, Eadlyn shows some promise of compassion, but never enough that I miss the parts where she completely ignores the servants. She isn’t humble and the change Eadlyn has isn’t as powerful as I thought it’d be. Whenever people brought up the fact that the population of Iliea wasn’t in favor of her, I wanted to slap Eadlyn across the face and shout “duh! You’re too self centered and no matter what you’d still be this spoiled brat who can never be a humble servant for her people.”

As far as a review for the series as a whole, I have to give it a 3.5/5 stars. I was not impressed by the last two books and I don’t recommend reading the last two because honestly? If you’re looking for a typical happy ever after story, you just have to read the first three. The last two will change your perspective of the story.

The Crown was half assed and I felt like it was completely rushed. I mean, the book, in paperback form, is super small compared to most other final books in a series that I have on my bookshelf. I love Kiera Cass’ writing, but this book did not impress me. The ending felt rushed and definitely something that was only half thought of.

***Spoiler Section****

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