When Books and Life Collide

The last two books I read, though arguably different genres, ended up having some similar underlying themes and so I have some thoughts. Both books I read dealt with ideas of fate and destiny and parallel worlds. In A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray (review here), there is an invention called the Firebird, which allows for travel between different dimensions. In that book, there’s a discussion that even between those vastly different worlds, there are patterns. There’s a trend of people gravitating towards each other despite having made different choices. My most recent read was Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young, and this book is all about the idea of fate. The main character has an important decision to make, revolving around the failing health of her grandmother, and that choice divides the rest of the book in two as we follow the result of both possible outcomes. The series of events that follows results in the exploration of the idea that even if we make different choices in life, we can still end up in essentially the same place.

Does fate exist? This is something we’ve all thought about. It’s been discussed in TV, in movies (how many times have I seen Serendipity?) and no one really knows the answer. I don’t even know what I believe myself. I think the reason I want to believe in fate is that it brings with it a certain level of comfort. It’s reassuring to think that there’s a master plan for your life and that even if you’re responsible for your every day decisions, there isn’t much you can do to ultimately derail this.

I think there’s very much a reason I want to believe and it’s all a little personal so bear with me here. I’m 25, but I’m basically the equivalent of a college freshman. I walked the same path the rest of my friends did. I graduated from high school, I attended CEGEP (a 2 year college that is essentially grade 12 plus freshman year of university here in Quebec) and then I went to university. I never stopped to think about what I was doing. I chose a program I thought would be fine, and when I stopped doing well in school, which being smart was always my “thing”, I crashed hard. I developed some very bad study habits over my life and never did anything to fix them, so when I was studying something I didn’t like, things got worse. I kept thinking I was the problem, that I should be able to do this anyway. I didn’t realize what a toll it would take on me. I couldn’t seem to force myself to do the work, and felt anxious about it all constantly. It got to the point where I was just ignoring everything and thinking it would fix itself. I kept trying for YEARS. Finally, I decided I was done. I left school and decided I needed a break, at least for my sanity. In some ways it was a reprieve, in others not so much. My brother was on my case all the time, thinking that that constant pressure was the best thing for me. I think my mom didn’t know what to do with me. She later told me she didn’t think I would even go back to school, despite my having assured her time and time again.

Now to make a long story short (too late) I worked for a year and a half, and finally went back to school this past September to study business. I’m still not 100% sure it’s what I want to do, but I know better this time. I know to listen to myself and to realize that I’m not always the problem. Yes, I can work hard, but if something is not right, I need to change it. And I’m working hard to procrastinate less, because I really felt like I was on the edge of having a much more serious problem with anxiety back then. It’s not a perfect plan, and I’ll probably be close to 30 by the time I finally have my bachelor’s degree, but I finally feel right about what I’m doing, even if starting over is scary as hell.

So what does this have to do with fate? Well I often wonder, what did I do to my life when I made these decisions? Will I end up in the same place eventually, even with a 5 year detour? I really hope so. I hope that I would have found happiness then, and that I’ll find it now. If that’s the case, then I don’t mind that all I’ve done is stretch out my timeline. It’s scary to think that I’ve severely and permanently altered what I could have had, if only I’d learned to trust myself a bit earlier. On the other hand, I may not have been better off if I’d never learned these lessons. I still have to hold back the jealousy sometimes when I see my friends pursuing their master’s degrees and now PhDs, but I need to remind myself that not everyone has the same journey. It’s most definitely a process, but I’m getting there.

If you’ve made it to the end, thank you for reading. I’d really love to hear from you guys if you have anything to say. Maybe you have thoughts on the existence of destiny, or maybe you have your own story to share. Either way, I want to hear it!

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Top Ten Goals For 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I’m not sure if I’m a firm believer in New Year’s resolutions. On one hand, I know how slim the chances are that we keep them, but on the other hand I do like to think that each new year brings with it lots of possibilities and potential for change. That being said, here are 10 things I would like to accomplish in the new year:

Bookish

1. Read 75 books. I don’t think it’s necessary to assign yourself a quantitative goal when it comes to books, but I’ve been reading less recently. I’d really like something to push me to take the time to read more and watch less TV. I remember years when I’ve read 100, but this past year I barely hit 50.

2. Read more adult fiction. I don’t have this goal because I think I should be reading “adult” books and not YA. I just realized that because I love YA so much, I’ve been missing out on so many great books. I don’t have time to read everything but I want to carve out a bit more time to explore other things.

3. Read more classics. I can’t stand pretentious readers. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves in life. There is no single right way to be a reader. Personally, I would like to add more classics to my reading list this coming year. I think history is important and classics are literary history to me.

4. Read more fantasy. I have always loved fantasy. From Harry Potter to Tamora Pierce, fantasy was my genre of choice as a kid. I don’t want to stop exploring new worlds. I love contemporary YA so much that I sometimes forget to keep my reading options open. Specifically this year, I want to finish the Grisha trilogy, take the Throne of Glass plunge, and find out why everyone loves the Mistborn trilogy.

Blogging

5. Be more consistent. I’ve only been blogging for under a month and already I’ve had issues with posting consistently. Between celebrating the holidays with my family, getting over a cold and working constantly, I didn’t have much free time. I want to work on anticipating this and having posts ready ahead of time so I can still share new content during busy times. I already know this will be the most difficult thing for me.

6. Post more reviews. Posting reviews is difficult because you can only post as many as the number of books you read. And then of course there are books you read that are basically a big “meh” and what do you write then? I want to work more on articulating my thoughts. This ties back to goal #5 in that I want to consistently offer new posts.

7. Be creative. I’ll take vague goals for 100 please, Alex. What does this even mean? I’ve always struggled with my lack of creativity. I look at people with artistic talent and imaginative minds and I’m jealous. I don’t consider myself to be among those people, unless you count a relentless imagination for generating terrible scenarios. My one talent in life. There are a lot of bloggers out there, which means a lot of posts have been written and many opinions shared. I want to try to come up with original and interesting content.

Personal

8. Study. I’ve recently gone back to school after a little break. I’m trying to find out what it is I want to do as a career and taking my time to make the right decision this time around. I want to make myself proud with my work. I don’t want to have as many regrets as I do from the first time I went to university. I don’t want to keep thinking “I should have” or “If only I had” and instead I want those thoughts to begin with “I’m so glad I…” because really only I am responsible for my successes or failures. It’s taken me a while to come to terms with this, and some days it’s still a work in progress.

9. Work out more. The irony of wanting to be more creative and then having the most typical resolution possible has not escaped me, don’t you worry. I’ve had a hard time convincing myself to work out since I started a retail job where I’m on my feet for hours every day. In 2015, I want to get back to how active I used to be. I’ve never been that consistent, or at least I was very consistent for several months until I wasn’t at all. I want this to be the year that changes finally.

10. Be more adventurous. I’ve never been a very outgoing person, though I’m WAY less shy than I used to be. Even from five years ago, I feel like I’ve really grown as a person. Still, I want to push myself to try new things. I may not be as shy, but I’m still extremely self-conscious. I want to make myself do things even when there’s a very good chance I’ll end up embarrassing myself. I haven’t come up with a concrete list of things yet, but you recognize those moments even when you’re in them. Your first instinct is to say no, and instead I want to force myself to say yes.

 

There you have it! My goals for 2015. I’m sure I won’t be able to keep all of them, but I look forward to reading these again in a year, and seeing how I did.

What are your goals for the new year? Do you believe in resolutions at all? Leave me a comment below.

Baby’s First Audiobook-Veronica Mars Edition

I posted the other day here about how I’d never listened to an audiobook before and I decided to experiment with the Veronica Mars novel The Thousand Dollar Tan Line. This won’t be a traditional review of the book, though I will say a little bit about it. Mostly, this is going to be an account of my first audiobook listen. All the same, if you want to read more about the Thousand Dollar Tan Line, click here!

In short, the audiobook format just did NOT work for me. I’m a one book at a time person, and I kept wanting to pick up another book while I was listening but then I kept thinking about how confusing that would be for me. I have a terrible memory, so reading two books at once has never been a possible thing in my case. This is me:

 

goldfish

 

So if I take a day off from reading a book to read a different one, I’m basically like…

 

As a book monogamist, it’s a format that just doesn’t work for me. The Veronica Mars audiobook was just under 9 hours, and that took me an entire week to get through. I found my attention drifting constantly, which is probably why it took so long. I prefer the efficiency of reading a book myself.

The reason I started the audiobook in the first place was because it was narrated by Kristen Bell. This worked great for the parts that were actually Veronica speaking, but it just was not the same to have her imitating Keith and Logan. GIVE ME THE REAL LOGAN. What I really wanted was a live action version of this book, which is hardly its fault. Book, it’s me, not you.

Onto the actual book. Maybe it’s just me, but wouldn’t you naturally tell a Veronica Mars story from a first-person point of view? It’s perhaps not a true film noir style to do so, but through watching the show you become so accustomed to hearing Veronica’s thoughts. It was something I couldn’t get over as I listened. Because the narrator is not Veronica herself, Kristen Bell doesn’t voice it that way. While it makes sense, you’re still missing a piece of the show that you fell in love with. Another complaint I have is the lack of Logan. Without spoiling anything, he’s pretty absent for most of the novel. It’s also sad to be teased about him without actually getting to see him. I mean…

Veronica Mars

Yep.

I’m not sure this new series of novels adds much to the experience for me. If anything, it makes me miss the show even more. I’m a HUGE Veronica Mars fan, ever since it first aired on TV. I remember that crushing feeling of cancellation like it was yesterday. It’s actually the only show I own every season of on DVD. That’s commitment for me. Even with the movie, I miss these characters so much. I would have loved to see them one more time.

What if the audiobook had actually been voiced by each of the appropriate actors, with a different voice actor as the narrator. Basically it would have felt like an episode of Veronica Mars with described video and no actual video component. I would have LOVED this. Has this been done before? It could have been great.

To make a long story short (too late), I enjoyed revisiting my favourite Veronica Mars characters, but it wasn’t the same for me. You guys might feel differently, but personally I won’t be continuing on with the next one.

Anyone else a Veronica Mars fan out there? Leave me a comment below. 

What Does That Spell? Part 2

In my last post, Part 1, I let you guys know some titles I’ve loved in the past. This time I’ll be giving you a few books I’m really looking forward to reading. Some of these are titles I already own and haven’t gotten to yet and others I’m desperately hoping to buy in the near future. This all depends on the cooperation of my wallet/bank account of course. Without further ado, here is my name in books:

 

Side Effects May Vary-edited 2Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

I’ve had this one sitting on my shelves since my birthday in May. It didn’t get AMAZING reviews, and it got a little lost in the post-TFiOS shuffle for me, but every time I read the synopsis I’m convinced all over again that it’s something I NEED to read. I’m a sucker for books with lists (Since You’ve Been Gone) and especially bucket lists in this case.

 

Also Known As-edited 2Also Known As by Robin Benway

I’ve made it pretty clear how much I love Robin Benway. She knows her away around a funny book. I can’t imagine anything better than that combined with a high-action heist plot. I own this one too, and I’ve mostly been waiting for her to release more books beyond the two that are out, but I’m not sure I can wait much longer!

 

Rites of Passage editedRites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Seriously, have you guys seen the reviews for this book? I need it NOW. It makes me think of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna in military school. Compare anything to a Tamora Pierce book and I am in. Every review I’ve seen has described it as unputdownable and desperately in need of a sequel. Book, get thyself on my shelf.

 

Ask Again Later edited3Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas

I’ve heard Liz Czukas’ books described multiple times as fluffy in the best possible way and I consider that such a compliment. It’s difficult to write a book that’s lighter in tone without crossing the line into superficial. Her latest book, Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless, was just released to rave reviews from the blogger community and I can’t wait to read that one either.

 

Holier Than Thou-edited 2Holier Than Thou by Laura Buzo

I already included Laura Buzo in my list of top ten authors I discovered in 2014 and with good reason. She’s able to write characters in such a relatable way. I already loved her debut novel, and this one actually speaks more to me, so I’m expecting big things. The MC is a bit older and she’s on the cusp of having everything she’s ever wanted when tragedy strikes for her. Sounds perfect. Well, for everyone but her.

 

Well that’s it for Part 2. Hopefully you guys have gotten to know me a bit better through these posts. I’m really looking forward to getting some full reviews up here soon, once the exam period is over.

Have you read any of these titles? What’s on your TBR that you’re hoping to get to soon? Feel free to play along with me and give me your list according to your name.

What Does That Spell? Part 1

My blog is still really new and most of you guys haven’t had a chance to get to know me yet, so I decided I’d play a little game. This definitely has nothing to do with not having a review ready to post or anything. Absolutely not. So for each letter of my name, I’ve picked a book that I’ve read and loved.

 

Since You've Been Gone edited

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

It was a toss-up between this and Second Chance Summer, which is one of my all-time favourite reads. I live for stories where the main character is taken completely out of their element and forced to rediscover themselves in a different setting. I expect I’ll write a full blog post about this one at some point because it really hit close to home for me. I’m making this book sound so serious but it’s also tons of fun because of The List. The List of things that takes Emily out of her comfort zone and changes her over the course of a summer.

 

Audrey Wait edited

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

This one was my first book by Robin Benway so I had no idea what to expect when I picked it up and the best word I can use to describe this book is hilarious. I so rarely read YA that is just plain funny. It was also cute and Audrey has one of the best voices I’ve read. This book is from 2008 but if anything it feels even more relevant now in the age of internet fame. Plus, I’m sure we all remember this song and the madness that followed. Poor Delilah.

 

Rosie Project edited

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I will admit I don’t read a lot of adult fiction. You guys all know FOMO right? Fear of missing out. Well I love YA but there’s also so much else out there that I could potentially love and I’m afraid of never discovering so I try to branch out once in a while. The Rosie Project is one I picked up from a recommendation and I was absolutely charmed by it. It’s essentially a love story from the perspective of someone who is so analytical that they don’t believe in love, or at least not in their ability to experience it. Think Sheldon. Do yourself a favour and check this one out.

 

A Little Something Different editedA Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

A love story told from the perspective of everyone but the couple involved. This book was so refreshing and each voice felt completely different from the rest, which is so hard to do when you’re juggling every POV from an inanimate object to a nemesis. I read this one on a plane as I was heading to Orlando (DIAGON ALLEY) and it did just the trick to keep me distracted from the crying babies and hacking coughs invading my personal space.

 

 

Heist Society edHeist Society by Ally Carter

Ally Carter has a different style from every other author that I read. I don’t read her books for an in-depth emotional experience like I would Gayle Forman, but it’s not like you watch Ocean’s Eleven or the Fast and the Furious movies for character development either. Instead, she specializes in fun shenanigans and eccentric characters. She’s a great counter-balance for when you’ve just finished with some heavier reading. I’ve only read this first book but I think the entire series is out (unless there’s going to be a fourth one?) so I’ll be catching up soon!

 

Look for part 2 in the coming days, where once again I’ll be narcissistically using my name to list books. Part 2 will be a list of books I can’t wait to read.

Now I want you guys to do the same thing. Can you come up with a book you love for every letter of your name? 

Do YOU Audio?

I have a confession to make. I’ve never listened to an audiobook. It’s honestly never occurred to me that I should even try one. I was talking to a friend recently, and the topic turned to long commutes. She was telling me how it takes her an hour to get to and from work every day and to pass the time she started listening to audiobooks. She’s actually just coming to the end of listening to the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones etc) on audio which is over 200 hours. NOW that may be more of a commitment than I’m looking for but I realized audiobooks could be the solution to my transit problems because….

I am that person who gets distracted by every little noise and detail of what’s going on around her. I actually feel super awkward when I’m on the bus heading to and from school because I’m absolutely paranoid that the innocent-looking 50-year-old lady beside me is reading over my shoulder and judging me with her eyes. No seriously. This is basically me the whole time as I try to concentrate on my book.

 

loki gif

This is why I have perfected the awkward reading angle where I shield myself from stranger criticism. It’s very subtle and looks kinda like this:

falling gif

So I’m starting to realize audiobooks are pretty great. If you’re listening to the radio while driving, all it takes is one bad song and you’re right back to noticing the guy who’s tailgating you and the other guy who’s changing lanes without a signal. I have a lot of driving pet peeves, but hey Montreal is known for its terrible drivers. BUT. If you’re listening to a great book on audio, then maybe just maybe you can tune all that out.

SO MY POINT. I actually just started my very first audiobook. I was about 60 pages into the Veronica Mars book The Thousand Dollar Tan Line and the format just wasn’t working for me. The voices in my head are a poor substitute for Kristen Bell’s lovable snark. I’m about 10% in right now, but look for a review of that one in the coming days. Also look forward to tons of peer pressure if you’ve never seen the show. It’s my specialty and it’s more or less in my blog name. You’ve been warned.

Bonus Content

 Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner wrote a post about using audiobooks as a motivation for exercise which you should check out. It’s a great idea if you’re better than I am at multitasking.

So what about you? Are you an audiobook first timer like me or a seasoned veteran? When do you listen to them and what makes you decide to do audio vs. print? Tell me your story!

I finally did it…

Hey guys,

Welcome to my blog! This is something I’ve been talking about doing for years now. I’ve even had the site ready for close to a year, but something always stopped me before I put up a single post. I think I both loved and feared the idea of having something out there that was entirely mine. It’s exciting, but it leaves you open to criticism once it exists. It’s silly to obsess over that and maybe that helps to paint a picture of the obsessively self-aware, neurotic person that I am. In any case, it’s happening and now that it’s out there I have no choice but to follow through, right? That’s what I’m hoping anyway.

Special shout out to Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner for coming up with my blog name  when I only had a tagline. Also giant thanks to TiffBrianaBetty and Magan and Estelle for a combination of endless encouragement and patience as I went back and forth about doing this.

Hopefully I’ll have some content up soon for you guys to get to know me better, but you can always check out my about me if you want to know more.