Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Things I'm grateful for

I hate mentioning this over and over but not posting on my blog makes me cranky because it shows that I'm not reading. I still don't have much to report on books as of now. However, I still want to post SOMEthing so I'll take this moment to write about all the things I'm grateful for since Thanksgiving is tomorrow!

1) First and foremost, my health. 2014 has been a series of eye-opening moments for me and one thing I realized was that I haven't been taking care of myself properly. I've been trying to break a lot bad habits (like eating too many carbs and not balancing that with enough protein, having a terrible sleeping schedule, etc.) and so far it hasn't been a picnic but I'm getting there. I've been making my mental and physical health a priority and I can't tell you how much better I feel now. 

2) My home. I can curse mother nature for dropping so many leaves on my lawn but you know what? There are many people in this world who don't have a roof over their heads or food or water. I am blessed that every day I can come home to a place where I feel safe, a room to call my own and a kitchen filled with food. Which brings me to...

3) Food. Here in the U.S. Thanksgiving is known as a time for family and friends to come together to celebrate the good things and to eat. Again, I can't say how thankful I am to know that I can put food in my belly and up to this point in my life, I haven't known what it feels like to starve. *crosses fingers* 

4) My education. The fact that I have an education and that I can read and write at this moment is a wondrous thing. And in two languages no less. Going to school isn't for everybody but at the very least you can learn basic life skills and gain knowledge. Knowledge is something that no one can take from you.

5) My workplace.  I've been working at a library and I have to say, I think it's one of the best places on earth. Not because a library itself is amazing but because my coworkers are all fabulous people who have created such a welcoming atmosphere and because despite the fact that I'm still the new kid, they treat me very well. I honestly cannot complain about going to work. How can I, when I always have a smile on my face there? 

6) My loved ones. I don't want to categorize between family or friends because the only difference to me is that some people are blood related and some are not. But blood doesn't guarantee bonds, experiences do. I'm grateful to have such lovely human (and furry*) beings in my life that radiate kindness and good vibes. I love you all. 

7) Books. My goodness, what kind of bookworm would I be if I didn't include books on this list? My relationship with books and reading continues to evolve over time but what remains constant is the joy that I feel whenever I pick up a book and am able to lose myself in a story and its characters. Books are a staple in my life, a necessity just like food and water and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

I'm sure I'm missing a bunch of other things from this list but these seven are the big ones for me. What are you thankful for?

*My puppy makes me laugh and smile every day. How can I not include him?! ♥ 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Five

Dropping in with a quick update about life!

1) Um, how is it already time for Thanksgiving? Why is 2014 barreling towards a fast ending? lol.

2) So, so happy that I can eat without crying! To make a long story short, I've had horrible pain in my tooth but thanks to a visit to the dentist (and unfortunately a root canal*), I'm doing MUCH better.

3) Yesterday was my puppy Toni's birthday! He is now officially two years of age. ♥

4) I plan on reviewing...at some point. I'm in a weird reading mood if it isn't already obvious.

5) I'm officially obsessed with Thrift Books. Have you heard of the website? It's amazeballs. I also tried ordering something from Book Outlet and I have to say, my first purchase from them came in a timely fashion and the book was perfect! :D

So how is everyone else's November panning out? Any NaNoWriMo peeps out there? :D

*I thought it was wisdom tooth pain but it ended up being way worse. Ugh.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Publisher: First Second
Release Date: June 7th, 2011
Source: Public library (ilu, public library!)

Synopsis: Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn't kidding about the "Forever" part. Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who's been dead for a century.

Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya's normal life might actually be worse. She's embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she's pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.

Or so she thinks. Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya's Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining debut from author/artist Vera Brosgol.

Review: I admit I'm in a weird reading mood right now where I pick books up and despite liking them, I don't feel compelled to finish them immediately. So I turn to graphic novels because they're easier to get through and because pictures :D 

So after hearing about this book for so long, I decided it was time to pick it up. So glad I did because I ended up really enjoying it. Anya is a very relatable character for any middle or high school student--she tries to fit in by acting a certain way, she hides her insecurities by being sarcastic, she has a crush on the hottest, popular guy in school and she smokes because it makes her seem cool. I swear, seeing her interactions and how she went about her daily life reminded me so much of former students that I alternated between shaking my head and smiling. 

I also felt that there was a bit of an ESL feel to Anya's Ghost because Anya comes from a Russian family that immigrated to the U.S. (similar to the author/artist of the story). Anya mentions more than once that she had a rough beginning in the states by not knowing the language or how to dress like the other kids but she learned over time how to fit in. It's that curious battle that we all had more or less while in high school--how do I fit in and not seem like a weirdo?  

Then there's the other issues that pop up during your teenage years: worrying about your physical appearance, comparing yourself to others, and in Anya's case trying to seem more American. One small moment that got to me was when she wanted no part of her mother's Russian meal and to appease her mother, she pretended to take it to school only to throw it out. That part killed me because food is linked to your culture and omg girl you do not throw out good food!!!! 

ANYWAY. Then comes the interesting twist in Anya's life. Emily, the ghost that she meets when she falls down a well. Emily was undeniably a much more intriguing character due to her backstory and I won't spoil it for you but I was actually surprised by the turns this story took. In the end, Emily served as the foil to Anya's character and Anya learns many things about her perception about others, herself and how she is in charge of her own life.

Final Verdict: I really liked Anya's Ghost. I felt like there were some details in the story that could have been dealt better and I do wish that the story itself extended a little more (that ending came too soon!) but Anya, Emily and the rest of the characters won me over. Also, Vera Brosgol's drawing style is simple and clean. Anya's Ghost is definitely worth your while! I even think that Anya's Ghost should be a title found in any teacher's classroom library. :D

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Five

1) The weather has been crazy here in NY. One day it's perfectly warm and people can wear shorts and tshirts and then it becomes so bitterly cold that if you don't wrap yourself up, you may get frostbite! I like the cold but the abrupt changes in temperature is annoying.

2) Still reading the same book that I started in October. Let's not talk about how my reading pace has slowed to a paralyzed slump...or that I haven't even read ten books this year. *hangs head in shame*

Le cone of shame

3) So my birthday is this Wednesday and I am not at all prepared for it! I honestly didn't realize we were fast approaching the 12th until I looked at my calender. Holy. Crap. I AM NOT READY TO BE 23. That means another year has flown by...

4) Having some tooth issues. I have had to take medication in order to numb the pain but omgosh I don't think I'd wish this pain upon my worst enemy. Moral of the story: take care of your teeth and go to the dentist every three months! x______x

5) After loving the first few episodes of ORPHAN BLACK, I for some (silly) reason fell off the bandwagon but I have picked it up again and HOLY MOTHER OF GOD this show is amazeballs. One word: clones. That's all you need to know. I highly recommend that you watch the show if you haven't already! The plot lines are cray cray and the acting is fantastic. My favorite clone right now...it has to be a tie between Helena and Alison. (#sorrynotsorry for claiming Alison, Alex!) I also think Felix is pretty fab too.
Adorbs pic. Source.