Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmas Reading!

Hello everyone!

I've actually read a nice few books lately (okay actually like four,but still) but none of them have been good enough to waste my time reviewing. This has put me in a tad bit of a reading slump, but given that it's almost December it's time for me to pick up some Christmassy books that will hopefully get me back in the reading mood.

First up, a favorite of mine that I used to read every Christmas, but actually haven't read in about three years now; Chicken Soup for the Soul's Book of Christmss Virtues, a collection of little holiday stories that always makes me feel Christmassy. Yay!

Then, I'm super excited to have found a copy of My True Love Gave to Me that has the beautiful blue cover and the hot pink page edges. I think this is going to similar to Let It Snow, which I read last Christmas. I'm so excited!

If you guys are planning to do any Christmas reading, I'd love to hear about it! 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Book Review: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

352 Pages
Goodreads Rating: 3.84/5
Published: June 2014

Guys, this book is freaking adorable. Your stomach will hurt from laughter and from sympathy, depending on the chapter.

Amy has Cerebral Palsy and has spent her 17 years having no one but adults as friends. She makes it her mission for senior year to make some friends, real friends, and asks her parents to hire "peer helpers" or other seniors to help her during the school day, in place of teacher aides. Her overbearing, strong-willed mother and her doormat father reluctantly agree, and set very high standards for whom they will accept to be Amy's "peer helpers".

Matthew is quiet, keeps to himself, and spends an excessive amount of time washing his hands. He's completely confused when Amy, a girl he knew vaguely in elementary school, messages him online asking that he apply to be one of her peer helpers. Even more surprising, when Matthew hesitates, Amy persists, saying she had hoped he especially would apply.

Reluctantly (both on Matthew's part as well as Amy' s mother), Amy gets her wish and Matthew gets hired to be one of her four peer tutors. Sarah, the quiet, studious girl who's Mom died in middle school; Chloe, the underachiever with the incarcerated boyfriend; Sanjay, the attractive, trying-to-be-popular jock; Matthew, the quiet boy with OCD.

Over the course of senior year, Amy and Matthew develop something special, and by the following Summer, they are going behind Amy's mother's back to spend forbidden time together. Their friendship ends on a sour note when Amy leaves for university, leaving Matthew behind to his job at the movie theatre. It seems as though what they had is lost, until months later Matthew receives a message from Amy, asking for his help with what will be their biggest challenge to date.

This book made me laugh, mostly from the sheer and very realistic awkwardness of Amy and Matthew. I love that the book was not afraid to be realistic about the ins and outs of both medical conditions it dealt with, like the fact that Amy could not eat without drooling all over herself, and that Matthew sometimes had to leave dinner dates sitting by themselves to spend forty minutes scrubbing his nail beds in the bathroom.

The characters were very lovable, and I quickly grew attached. At the end of the novel, a plot twist that became pretty predictable after reading the chapters about prom night, broke my heart. Amy and Matthew went through a really tough time dealing with this problem that arises, and though the ending wasn't necessarily a "Happily Ever After", I felt it was exactly how it should've been.

I most definitely recommend this to anyone and everyone. Such a great contemporary.

My Rating:

If anyone else has read this I'd absolutely love to hear what you think of it!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Long Weekend Happenings!

I'm currently on day 3 of my 4-day long weekend, and the much needed break from school has been lovely. Thus far I've 

- Watched a ton of Christmas movies, in addition to multiple episodes of House and Once Upon a Time on Netflx
- Finished reading Pride Over Pity by Kailyn Lowry and The Beautiful and the Damned  by Jessica Verday
- Started reading Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern (loving it!)
- Attempted a Christmas themed acrylic painting 
- Made a list of things to get people for Christmas
- Wrote out all the Vocab words for my next Biology unit (what's a long weekend without some schoolwork? On the bright side, our next unit is Reproduction, which means babies, yay!!)

Tomorrow, I'm planning to get up early and attend the local Remembrance Day Parade and Ceremony with my Rangers group, and then I think the boyfriend and I are going to finish our university applications. I'm so glad that I'm finally getting around to applying to nursing school! (Ok, actually I'm really glad that I'll be one step closer to moving out and studying something I actually want to learn about). 

Hope everyone else is having a weekend half as relaxing as mine, and that you take some time to remember the reason behind our long weekend, and those who lost their lives fighting so that'd we now have the freedom to lie around having a stress-free weekend <3

Saturday, November 8, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

With only 45 days left until Christmas Eve, I for one am getting super excited about the holiday season. This year is tinged with nostalgia for me because it will be my last Christmas at home before I leave for university. I feel like it's extra important to go all out preparing for the holiday, and to take in all the little community events I won't be at home for next year.

That being said, I've naturally started scoping out all the Christmas programming available. Ergo, the reason behind this post.

Here is the  ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas Schedule , compliments of The Frugal Navy Wife. This is the list of Christmas shows and movies they'll be showing, starting on December 1st!

Showcase Television channel has also started showing Christmas movies, and will continue or I do so every Sunday afternoon throughout the holiday season. Tomorrow, November 9th, they'll be showing Arthur Christmas (to make you laugh) , Jack Frost (to simultaneously invoke laughter and hysterical sobbing), and Disney's A Christmas Carol (because Jim Carey is always a good idea). I know I have my plans for tomorrow figured out!

Also, for the other unfortunate people who only have access to Canadian Netflix, our list of Christmas movies to choose from is short, but How the Grinch Stole Christmas has recently been made available (10 points to Canadian Netflix!)

That's about all I wanted to say in this post, I hope everyone else is starting to get into the holiday spirit as well. Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for reading! :)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November TBR

So now that it's November, it's basically Christmas correct?! I'm beyond excited.

Anywho, for this month I'm planning to read three books:

1. Pride Over Pity by Kailyn Lowry

2. The Beautiful and the Damned by Jessica Verday

3. Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Also, if time allows, I may read some more in Harry Potter et L'Ecole des Sorciers , the first Harry Potter book, translated into the French language. I started this back in June but it's taking me forever to get through. I'm hoping to perhaps finish it within the year.

What will you all be reading this month? :)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book Review: The Finisher by David Baldacci

497 Pages
Goodreads Rating: 3.69/5
Published : 2014

I first picked this book up because it's cover had super cute colours and that cool textured font thing going on. When I started reading it, I had no idea what it was about, other than that it is generally a YA fantasy novel, and I expected it to be mediocre at best.

I actually ended up loving this book, even though it took me forever to read due to lack of time. The characters are honest and relatable and funny without trying, which is what I probably enjoyed most about the book.

Vega Jane is 15 (I think?) and takes care of her younger brother John, as her parents are permanently ill and live at The Care. Vega and John are poor, living in a group home under the strenuous laws of the ambiguous town of Wormwood.

When worker Quentin Herms, who worked alongside Vega, disappears and the town cracks down on the case, Vega takes it upon herself to use the clues Quentin left her and figure out what kind of town Wormwood really is. Vega ends up finding a world of magic and terrifying creatures, far more than she bargained for,

Vega soon finds herself in trouble with Morrigone, the female member of Wormwood's council who essentially tries to ruin Vega's life. This time not even Delphi, Vega's adorably speech-impaired, lifelong friend can help her, and she must take her fate into her own hands.

I personally thought all of the necessary characters in this book were really well developed, and that the book did a great job describing anything that may seem different from our world. All the magic and mysteries were understandable and interesting to read about. This story was equal parts sadness, magic, and girl power to make for a great read.

My Rating: 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Weekend Reads! 24/10/14

Wow, I can't believe a whole week has passed since I last posted - this month has gone by crazy fast! Just thought I'd share with you all what I'll be reading this weekend.

First of all, I'll be finishing The Finisher by David Baldacci, most likely tonight because I only have about 100 pages left.

I'll then be starting two new books:

Pride Over Pity by Kailyn Lowry, one of my favorite moms from MTV's Teen Mom 2. My boyfriend got me this book when it first came out and I'm so glad I'm finally getting around to reading it.

The Beautiful and the Damned by Jessica Verday. I have no idea what this book is about but I'm hoping for some historical fiction and perhaps romance...we shall see!

I'd love to hear what everyone else is reading this weekend! Thanks for reading and have a lovely weekend everyone :)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Weekend Reads 18/10/14

A little late, but this weekend I've been reading The Finisher by David Baldacci. I'm currently almost half way through the book, and hoping to finish it by the end of October, if not before.

What are you all reading this weekend? :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I Cooked! White Chicken Lasagna Rollups

So, I cooked tonight! It occurred to my mother that in my seventeen years I had never cooked a meal, and so she made it my project of the year to cook one meal per month, in an effort to spare me from the Ramen Noodle Diet when I go to university next year.

Tonight was Round 1, so I slightly adjusted this super easy but tasty recipe from the awesome blog Creme de la Crumb: White Chicken Lasagna Rollups

I swapped the Parmesan cheese for white cheddar and added mushrooms, but Tiffany from Creme de la Crumb still gets full credit for the recipe, as well as the photo above because mine were much less attractive! (That's putting it nicely, but they were delicious so my parade refuses to be rained on).

I, and my mother were super pleased with how the dish turned out, and things are looking up for my dietary habits once I start living on my own. I'm kind of excited now to cook again next month! If anyone has any recipe suggestions for me to try I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!

Thanks so much for reading, and Happy Thursday!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Book Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

725 Pages
Goodreads Rating: 4.52/5.00
Published: 2014

I would like to start off by saying that I binge-read the first five of these books, and felt that the series could have ended where the original trilogy did, with City of Glass. That being said, I did grow quite attached to the characters in these books and was only too glad that I got to read more about them.

This book was action packed and there was no slow or dragged out parts as there often is by the time a series reaches six books, and for that I was grateful. I'd like to highlight some of these points of action and how I felt about them......WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!

Emma Carstairs & The Blackthorns: Ok, I admit it took me more than a hundred or so pages of reading before I figured out who in the heck these people were and why they were in this book. If I'm not mistaken, these characters are going to be the main crew in Clare's new series, The Dark Artifices. I thought integrating them into this book was a creative way to familiarize readers with them and get their background story, as I believe this new series is set a few years into the future. The story of these characters pulled at my heart strings, largely because of the terrible losses they were enduring at such a young age. I thought Emma and Julian's friendship was the sweetest thing, and I hope that continues to be a prominent thing in this new series.

Magnus: I feel like a lot of things went down in this book and made Magnus a more important character than in the previous books. I enjoyed this because he is one of my favorite characters of the series, and though I haven't read The Bane Chronicles, I need to do so very soon. I also loved that we got to see more of Magnus and Alec, and I was glad they got to a good place in their relationship before the book ended - they were quite possibly my favorite couple of the series.

Jordan and Maia: I was SO distraught when Jordan died. I spent the next hundred pages or so waiting for some weird magic thing to go down so that he would be alive again. I felt so bad for Maia and the extra grief that she carried because she'd been intending to break up with him before he died. I was glad to see that as the book went on, her grief began to ease just a little, and she started to move on with her life, taking over as leader of the New York pack, and starting to form a relationship with Bat right at the very end.

Isabelle: Isabelle, the badass chick with the golden whip on her arm, was my favorite female character in this series. Throughout she always came off as the fierce, strong, independent girl who had no need for anyone else, but she became much more open to others after Max's death, and it was nice to see her open up and be vulnerable for a change. I found her and Simon's relationship to be mostly awkward with a touch of adorable. Isabelle finally allowed herself to accept her love for Simon, for whatever he was or was not, and he allowed himself to believe he really did feel for Isabelle and that she was not just a distraction from what he thought he really wanted, which would have been Clary.

Clary and Jace: At this point in the series, I was kind of feeling 'meh' about their relationship. To be honest it had dragged out and been over exaggerated in my opinion, and I was sick of hearing about the spark between them everytime they touched or kissed or looked at each other. I found it to be repetitive and started to take away from other elements of the book. On another note, all the power to Clary for finally stepping up and doing something when faced with the choice Sebastian gives her. The plan was well played on her and Jace's part. Though they are the main characters I must admit I enjoyed reading about them the least. 

Sebastian: Much as I hated douchebag Sebastian throughout, it was sad yet right that he turned back to Jonathan, without the demon in him, before he died. The extra level of feels added as Clary and Jocelyn mourned the brother and son they'd never had was just enough. 

Raphael: The vampire that everyone loved to hate. I admit I was a little saddened by his death. I fully expected him to take Sebastian up on his offer and kill Magnus without a thought, but it was nice to see that he did indeed have a conscience and a heart. I regretted that Sebastian killed him after reading that, although it was predictable considering his actions.

Simon: Oh, Simon. All the feels. Simon has been the adorably dorky and devoted best friend throughout the entire series. He never really belonged but yet a scene was never complete without him. It broke my heart when he offered to give up his memory so everyone he loved could return to their own realm. And then when he actually did forget everyone, and Clary went to their school and he didn't recognize her, I was devestated because I had hoped maybe it didn't go as planned. Though I thought the way in which he got his memory back was a bit shadily written, and maybe not as hyped as it deserved to be, I was pleased with where we left Simon in the end. 

As I said before, this series probably could've ended after City of Glass, but this book allowed the characters to finish growing into the people they were meant to become, and because of this I did appreciate getting the chance to read it.

My Rating: 

If you've read this series or just this book I'd love to hear your thoughts, as well as your recommendation on which of Clare's series I should start next! Thanks for reading :)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!: 10 Things I'm Grateful For

In honour of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday (October 13 here in Canada), I'd like to share with you my list of 10 things I'm grateful for:

1. My awesome parents, who support me no matter what, and always try their best to give me what I want (and usually succeed).

2. My incredible boyfriend, who never lets me down and is always there for me no matter what. He also makes me a priority and will do just about anything to make me happy. 

3. Being born in Canada, where I get a free basic education, freedom to be who I am and express my opinions. 

4. My friends. One in particular who's been there as long as I can remember and who always manages to give me a good laugh. Being in my last year of high school I'm starting to see who my real friends are and who I was just a convenience to...much as I look forward to going off to uni and meeting some new friends, there's definitely a couple I'll be sad to leave.

5. Netflix, because what else does one do with the occasional pocket of spare time in their schedule? Why, binge-watch House or Once Upon a Time, of course. I do wish though that we got the same shows in Canada as they do in America :( #WhyCan'tIHaveCriminalMindsToo?

6. Chocolate, aka the physical and edible form of all things holy. 

7. Tweezers, because without killer eyebrows you have nothing. I don't know where I'd be without mine, and I have no desire to find out.

8. Peanut Butter, the food by which I prefer to sustain myself. No further explanation shall be given or should be necessary.

9. Little kids, because what is cuter than an innocent little kid who just trusts and loves you unconditionally, even if you just taught then swimming or skiing lessons or they see you at the grocery store? I babysit pretty frequently and while kids can definitely be a challenge they say the darnedest things and I always leave with a smile on my face. 

10. My health; As of yet I've been very lucky with my health. I have friends who've been diagnosed with everything from anxiety to appendicitis to diabetes and we're only 17. So far, so good, for me and though I often take that for granted I have been very blessed.

This is just a short, somewhat satirical list of things in my life that I'm grateful for, which obviously could be made into a much much longer post. 

I'd love to hear about the things you all are grateful for this season in the comments below! 

Thanks so much for reading, and to my fellow Canadians, Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

My Favorite Halloween Movies!

It's Halloween October, and so the only appropriate way to spend your evenings this month is with a blanket and cup of hot chocolate, watching your favorite Halloween movies. Below is a list of my favorite films to watch this time of year!

1. Halloweentown (1998)  - Three siblings who have never been allowed to celebrate Halloween discover that their grandmother and mother are actually witches. They must work together as a family to save Halloweentown from the evil forces at work there. (This is shown on Family channel every October; there are also two sequels to the movie but they are significantly less entertaining in my opinion).

2. A Cinderella Story (2004) - Servant to her stepmother and obnoxious stepsisters, Sam Montgomery looks forward to meeting her anonymous internet crush at the school's Halloween dance.

3. Carrie (1976) - An abused and timid high school girl discovers she has telekinetic powers, and is pushed over the edge on the night of her school's prom. (The new version with Chloe Grace-Moretz is great too, but I'm partial to the original). 

4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001) - Need I explain? And although it is technically not a Halloween movie, it totally counts.

5. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) - Jack Skellington, king of Halloweentown, discovers Christmas Town, but doesn't quite understand the concept. 

6. Practical Magic (1998) - Sisters who have grown up knowing they possess magic and are burdened by a terrible curse must work together to fight the family curse and other supernatural forces that threaten their whole family. 

Hopefully you'll enjoy at least one of these if you decide to check them out! Feel free to let me know your favorite Halloween movie in the comments below. Have a great October! :)

Hi there!

I'm a 17 year old high school senior from Canada.

I enjoy reading, baking, swimming, volunteering, travelling, trying delicious food and drinks, spending time with my wonderful boyfriend, watching movies, painting, writing, learning to speak French, and the occasional Netflix marathon. Oh, and more importantly, I like to document my life in photos.

Enter the purpose of this blog - to document my life and share the things that interest or inspire me with other people. Here you will likely find book reviews, recipes, things I read about online, photography, DIY projects,school and graduation related posts, as well as a plethora of other random posts.

In other news, I am a nationally certified lifeguard, an Honours student, and I am hoping to go to Nursing School starting Fall of 2015. Eventually, I hope to become a doctor, but nursing will be a stepping stone along the way.

I'm looking forward to getting this blog up and running, meeting new people, and hopefully, through this process, motivating myself to pursue my interests more regularly.