2018 resolutions

Or rather, goals.

  • read more
  • explore a new continent
  • travel every school break (again)
  • ask people for book recommendations
  • write letters
  • journal more often (especially when traveling)
  • say no
  • don’t do things I really don’t want to do, but also be flexible
  • keep in touch
  • call my mom more often
  • buy less stuff; focus less on materialism (experiences > things)
  • continue hosting book club
  • plan fun date functions for my sorority
  • adventure more in Florida
  • take a road trip
  • have a volunteer or work experience abroad
  • be a positive role model for my younger sister
  • encourage others to share their feelings
  • be more consciously kind
  • talk less about others
  • continue to be open, but be more selective about who I’m vulnerable with
  • remember gratitude
  • be gentle with myself and others
Advertisements

2015 Recap

With the end of one year and the beginning of another, I find that I do a lot of thinking and reflection on the past 365 days of my life. As I was pondering the year 2015, I began to realize just how much happened and changed for me this year. So I thought I’d write a 2015 recap that highlights my, well, highlights, of 2015. Enjoy.

I met Lightning players and got cool, autographed stuff.
This year, I met (and took photos with!) goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and left wing Ondrej Palat. My dad won me a signed, game-used Valtteri Filppula stick at an auction, and I had a few chance run-ins with defenseman Anton Stralman. I also got most of the 2014-2015 team’s autographs at an open practice held in a town nearby.

The Lightning tweeted me. Several times. 
They tweeted me happy birthday on my birthday (the Lightning beat the Dallas Stars). Then they delivered a birthday cupcake to me at my seat a few days later and got the whole row to sing me happy birthday. I tweeted them to thank them and they tweeted me happy birthday again! Later in the year, they retweeted my Black Friday picture with Ondrej Palat. AH.

I joined Lit Up Review
I became a bimonthly contributor for a teen book blog run by a bunch of bibliophiles and fangirls just like me. It’s been a fun experience and has inspired me to write more book reviews/discussions.

I traveled a lot.
I went on five trips this year. First, I visited Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts over spring break in March with my dad. We toured colleges, skied, saw relatives, and attended a Lighting/Bruins game in Boston, as well as a UVM/BC college hockey game. Next, I traveled to Portland, Maine in early July with my mom, dad, and youngest brother. He had a hockey tournament, but on the off-days, we explored Portland and its surrounding area, including a few state parks. Just two days after returning home from Maine, I left with one of my best friends for Europe. But I’ll discuss that trip a bit more below. In September, I traveled to Chicago with my mom, touring colleges and taking a day trip to Indiana to attend my first college football game. The Chicago Blackhawks were also present and the team sat just yards away from us, with the Stanley Cup, no less. Finally, in December for Christmas break, my family of six traveled to Keystone, Colorado to ski for over a week. More on that below.

Zayn left One Direction. 
I think this is fairly self-explanatory, but I’ll spell it out anyway. As an avid 1D fan, this was a rocky year. Zayn left the band, the four remaining boys finished their tour and released an amazing new album, and now they’re going on a yearlong break. Sigh.

I was inducted into the Order of the Gold & Black honor society. 
It’s the most selective and prestigious honor society at my school – only twenty juniors get in in the spring. And I was one of them. It’s always nice when your hard work pays off, and getting recognized for it is just a bonus.

The Lightning made the Stanley Cup Final. 
Need I say more? I attended every home playoff game and it was such a blast. Looking back on the 2015 playoffs, it was definitely one of the best times of my life. I have so much love and nostalgia for that period, though going through it was actually very intense and nerve-wracking.

I got job. 
I’ve worked all throughout high school – babysitting, tutoring, swim instructing, and working baseball concessions – but in June I started my first “real” job at a women’s clothing boutique. I think it’s been a valuable learning experience and it’s always nice to have a steady (if meager) income.

I started watching Game of Thrones.
AKA the greatest show on earth. Jon Snow, Jon Snow, Jon Snow. In England, I bought the complete box set of the book series, along with a Funko Pop! and Jon Snow sweatshirt. In Northern Ireland, I got to go on a Game of Thrones filming locations tour. So, so cool. (The cast was actually in the area filming at the time, but we didn’t know until we met a locations scout for the show on the bus back to Dublin.) I can’t wait for season 6!

I visited Europe for the first time. 
I left North America for the first time this year and got to travel to my favorite place on earth: Europe (sorry Canada). I visited Paris, France; London, Oxford, and Cambridge, England; Dublin and Malahide, Ireland; and Belfast, Northern Ireland (along with all the GoT tour stops, like the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge).

My best friends graduated from high school and started college.
Two of my high school best friends left my hometown to begin college this fall and it was very bittersweet. There was definitely an adjustment period I had to go through, as I was so unused to not having them around. But yay for school breaks when they come back to visit!

I became a senior.
It’s actually crazy to think about. I’ve been dreaming of this for years, but when it finally happened I just couldn’t wrap my head around it for awhile. Again, another adjustment period because it was weird at first being the oldest in the school. But now, I’m doing just fine.

I was named a National Merit Semifinalist.
This was something I distantly hoped for, but actually earning this honor was an incredible surprise. It’s opened up scholarship opportunities for me and just makes me happy and proud.

I attended some amazing concerts (key word: some). 
I attended 5 Seconds of Summer’s Rock Out with Your Socks Out Tour with my friend Kathryn in September and it was tons of fun. The highlight of the year though, in terms of concerts, was Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour, which featured opening acts Shawn Mendes and Vance Joy (both were phenomenal live). For the not-so-great, I attended The Weeknd’s Fall Madness Tour, which was supposed to open with Halsey. However, she was in the hospital on my tour date. The music was too loud, people were drunk, vaping, and smoking indoors, and, while The Weeknd sounds good live, the show was just a total bust for me.

I concluded my swimming career.
I finished my nearly ten-year stint with competitive swimming at my last high school State meet. I swam really well, medaling in the medley relay and doing two personal best times in the 400 freestyle relay.

The Hunger Games film franchise ended. 
The odds are always in this film franchise’s favor: The Hunger Games films are arguably some of the best book-to-movie adaptations out there. I absolutely adore these movies – the screenplay, actors, acting, characters, plot, everything. The final installment to the series, Mockingjay Part 2, released in November and it was fantastic.

My family took its first family vacation in 2.5 years…
… And survived intact. We traveled to Colorado for Christmas – the first Christmas I’d ever spent outside of my city. We stayed there for nine days in a cozy little condo with a fireplace that warmed us from the -10 degree weather outside. Colorado is breathtakingly beautiful, and I really enjoyed the longer runs down the mountains (as opposed to the northeastern U.S., where I’ve skied in the past). And our private instructor, Will, was awesome!

I applied to colleges. 
What a hellish nightmare. Absolutely awful. 0/10, would not recommend. But seriously, joking aside, it’s not a fun process. I’ve received two acceptance letters and one deferral, but I won’t hear from the majority of schools I applied to until February or March.

Well, that’s it for me and 2015.
What were some of your 2015 highlights? 

Thanks for reading.

751707090435814070915

2015 End of Year Book Survey

2015-end-of-year-book-survey-1024x984

Jamie of The Perpetual Page Turner created this incredibly reflective end of year book survey back in 2010. I participated last year and thought it was a lot of fun and a good way to look back on the year’s reading, so I decided to take part in the 2015 edition, too! Without further ado, here it goes.

Note: I completed this survey using only books I FINISHED in 2015 (there were plenty of books I started but didn’t get around to finishing).

reading-stats-2015-1024x278

Number Of Books You Read: 43
Number of Re-Reads: 3 (I’ve gotten so bad at re-reading due to lack of time and a huge list of unread books I want to read!)
Genre You Read The Most From: Hmm… Probably fantasy (mostly YA), but I read a fair number of contemporaries (for me), and quite a few “classics.”

best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2015?
QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas. Hands down. LOVED.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
I have two for this question: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers (the conclusion to a trilogy whose first two books I adored) and I Was Here by Gayle Forman (one of my favorite authors).

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  
Good: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson blew my mind so unexpectedly.
Bad: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir because it was good but didn’t live up to being one of my most anticipated 2015 releases.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Well, only one person did, but THRONE OF GLASS, THRONE OF GLASS, THRONE OF GLASS. By my queen, Sarah J. Maas. Obviously.

 5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?
Series start: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Sequel: I don’t have a resounding answer for this one.
Series end: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?
Marie Rutkoski and Brandon Sanderson (I’d been meaning to get to his books for forever.)

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I read a lot of good books for school this year, but three stand out to me as some of my favorite school books ever, and even as some of my all-time favorite novels.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Ummmmmmmmmm Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas. Is that even a question? Followed by A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas and The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson.

 9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

11. Most memorable character of 2015?
Finch from Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places and Rowan Whitethorn from Sarah J. Maas’ Heir of Fire.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?
I’m not sure that beautiful is the right word, but I loved the writing styles in All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. I also thought Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns was very well-written. Cassandra Clare’s City of Heavenly Fire had her typical humor and wonderful characters, and I think that, by this point, Sarah J. Maas’ books go without saying. Also, Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson was hauntingly beautiful.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. I’M SORRY TO KEEP REPEATING BUT THIS BOOK IS AMAZING.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

“It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.” – Theodore Finch (All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven)

“She was fire, and light, and ash, and embers. She was Aelin Fireheart, and she bowed for no one and nothing, save the crown that was hers by blood and survival and triumph.” ― Aelin Ashryver Galathynius (Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas)

“‘You cannot pick and choose what parts of her to love.’” ― Dorian Havilliard (Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas)

“So we’ll just let things take their course and never be sorry.” ― Lois (Benediction by F. Scott Fitzgerald)

There are probably many more that I am forgetting, but those were the standouts in my Goodreads quotes list!

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
Well, this is sort of lazy, but I don’t feel like checking the page counts of 42 books. According to Goodreads, the shortest “book” I read is A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner (which is a 17-page short story) and the longest book I read is The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson (763 pages).

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most
THE KISS OF DECEPTION by Mary E. Pearson!!! Plot twist!!! AHHH!!!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

  1. Aelin and Rowan (Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas)
  2. Violet and Finch (All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven)
  3. Isla and Josh (Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins)

I have lots of ships but I’ll just leave it at those three.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
You really should have seen this coming, but Aelin and Aedion from Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas!!! And, um, before that, it was Aelin and Rowan from Heir of Fire (if you reference question #18, you will see why I switched).

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 By An Author You’ve Read Previously
C’mon, now. Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, and A Court of Thorns and Roses, all by miss Sarah J. Maas.

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Not counting school books, The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (recommended ages ago by Regan of Peruse Project).

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
Finch from All the Bright Places and Rowan from Queen of Shadows. Runner-up: Josh from Isla and the Happily Ever After.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
The Final Empire and The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson (fantasy), A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (historical fiction), The Martian by Andy Weir (science fiction).

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan, City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. Oh, and like all of Sarah J. Maas’ books. 😉

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (bawled), The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (started tearing up in class), The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski (angry tears and threw the book across the room), Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (almost teared up). I’m sure there were others.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Evertrue by Brodi Ashton was a fun conclusion to the paranormal romance trilogy Everneath. I can’t remember if I cried at the end, but I probably did at least a little bit.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?
Either The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien or Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski. I HATE MISCOMMUNICATION. ESPECIALLY IN CLIFFHANGERS. DESPISE IT. NO, NO, NO! (And yes, I liked this book.)

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?
My lovely Canadian friend Annie’s book blog, The Runaway Reader.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?
Probably my review of An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. It’s lengthy, but very thorough and I spent a lot of time on it.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
I really liked my Halloween Reading Recommendations post, and my discussion post about reviews.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I got involved with NetGalley for the first time this year, which is pretty cool. I sort of went crazy requesting books at first, thought, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?
I joined Lit Up Review as a bimonthly contributor, which has been an awesome experience thus far. I’ve met a few book-blogging friends and I’ve LOVED receiving comments on my posts – it’s a huge blogging highlight for me.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
While I think I’ve actually become more consistent with blogging regularly, my reading life suffered a serious setback this year. I developed other interests that occupied more of my time, and with extracurriculars and school and college applications, I’ve neither had nor made as much time for reading.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
My most popular post was the Top 15 Books I Want to Read in 2015. My most popular review was All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Probably all my posts, to be honest. I’d rather receive comments than views because they’re more personal and interactive!

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I ordered from Book Depository for the first time and it’s awesome – now I can buy UK editions whenever I want! I also visited Waterstones twice while I was in London and loved it so much.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I didn’t set a goal for the number of books I wanted to read this year because I didn’t want to put pressure on myself and wanted the freedom to read whatever I wanted. I read seven of the fifteen books I wanted to read this year (that had released prior to 2015) and started two others. And I read more “classics”!

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?
The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson and The Rose Society by Marie Lu.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?
SO MANY. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare, The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan, A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, The Last Star by Rick Yancey, The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, Heartless by Mariss Meyer, and the fifth installment to the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, to name a few. 🙂

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
There are a few that I’m interested in, but I’m mostly looking forward to non-debut novels!

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?
Sequel: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Series Ending: The Last Star by Rick Yancey and the untitled third installment in The Young Elites trilogy by Marie Lu.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?
Write more book reviews and read/re-read more!

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
Like I previously stated, I am way behind on my NetGalley ARCs, so I don’t have an answer for this one!

What was the best book you read in 2015? Let me know in a comment below! 

Thanks for reading.

751707090435814070915

 

Read in 2015

In chronological order, here is a list of books, novellas, and short stories that I finished reading in 2015.

1. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
2. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
3. Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
4. Evertrue by Brodi Ashton
5. The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
6. Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes
7. Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway
8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
9. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
10. I Was Here by Gayle Forman
11. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
12. The Meaning of Shit: A Scatalogicon by Summersdale
13. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
14. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
15. Bridge of Snow by Marie Rutkoski
16. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
17. Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
18. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
19. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
20. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
21. Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan
22. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
23. The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson
24. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
25. Manga Classics: Emma by Jane Austen, Stacy King, Crystal Chan, Po Tse
26. Manga Classics: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Stacy King, Crystal Chan, Nokman Poon
27. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
28. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
29. How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster
30. Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling
31. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson     (re-read)
32. A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner     (re-read)
33. The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant
34. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
35. The Lesson by Toni Cade Bambara
36. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
37. 100 Successful College Application Essays Compiled and Edited by Members of the Staff of The Harvard Independent
38. The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
39. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley     (re-read)
40. The Martian by Andy Weir
41. Benediction by F. Scott Fitzgerald
42. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
43. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Most Anticipated Book Releases of 2016

Hellooooo. Today I am looking towards the new year, specifically at exciting book releases in 2016. NEW BOOKS, YAY! Later on, I will be writing a post about the top books I want to read in 2016, which will likely consist wholly of books that have already released. But without further ado, here are my most anticipated book releases of 2016.

  1. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (January 5) | Goodreads
  2. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (March 8) | Goodreads
  3. The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead (April 5) | Goodreads
  4. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (May 3) | Goodreads
  5. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan (May 3) | Goodreads
  6. The Last Star by Rick Yancey (May 24) | Goodreads
  7. The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson (August 2) | Goodreads
  8. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (September 27) | Goodreads
  9. The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan (October 4) | Goodreads
  10. Heartless by Marissa Meyer (November 8) | Goodreads

You’ll notice that there are no debuts on the list, and that’s because I tend to be a bit wary of debuts until they release and I hear other people’s opinions. If you’d like to check out my “most-anticipated-2016” shelf on Goodreads, you can keep up with new releases that I’m excited about as I discover them throughout the year.

What are some of your most anticipated 2016 book releases? 

Thanks for reading.

751707090435814070915