I’m Back! + REVIEWS: Big Lies in a Small Town, The Chain, Crown of Midnight

It has been awhile my friends!

I really missed writing in this blog. I would think of posts for the week then it would go by without me posting anything. Life and school would get in the way and in the blink of an eye it went on for about 3 months?

School Update

I am currently in the middle of finals right down (4 down, 3 to go!) and so it’s the fake illusion of having extra time since it’s a break from clinic. I was really upset back in October when I found out we don’t really have much time off for the holidays. I felt like I heard that they had more time last year. I don’t like to travel around the holidays anyway but it would have been nice to have a break since we have been going nonstop since May.

In September my class was applying to places to go for our externships next year. Externships are basically “month long interviews” at hospitals you are interested in going to for your residency. I was so excited that I got all of the places I want to go on the first try and they all picked my first choice month. I look forward to it but I know it will be a lot of work!

I am also working on a research paper for my school’s journal and a poster for a surgery conference!

I finished by surgery rotation back in September and started Ortho/Peds in October. A lot of people would complain about this rotation and I can definitely say that it’s tiring – especially Wednesdays when I am in clinic from 9am to 8pm. Other than that, there a lot my workshops which I really like – it makes me feel like we are learning more instead of being slaves in the clinic (lol). But with more workshops comes more practical exams (I heard they’re not too bad though!). One concern my profession has as a whole is that it’s becoming to surgery focused while forgetting about basic biomechanics and orthopedics. Being in this rotation really gave me an appreciation about how much you can help people by putting something in their shoe rather than cutting them with surgery. It made me realize that when I come out of residency, I want to be able to do everything instead of only doing surgery.

Review: Big Lies in a Small Town

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Published: January 14, 2020

Synopsis: This book follows the lives of 2 women – Anna Dale (1940) and Morgan Christopher (2018). Anna Dale was chosen anonymously to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Being from New Jersey, she decides to visit the small town to learn about what matters to the people who live there in order to make the new mural design. The townspeople are sour because they were hoping an artist named Martin Drapple from their small town would win. Eventually they began to warm up to her an insisted that she stayed while she worked on the mural. Fast forward to 2018 and Morgan Christopher was in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. After being in prison for about a year she is visited by the daughter of her favorite artist saying that there’s an assignment that only Morgan can perform so she can get out of jail early. The job is to restore an old mural. Morgan has been through 3 years of art school but has never taken on a task so daunting. But since it’s her only chance to get out, she willingly accepts.

Review: I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this book. Before I read it, I was in kind of a “reading slump” – not super into the audiobooks I was working my way through and only giving 3 stars max to books I was reading. This book reminded me what a 5 star book felt like – wanting to constantly continue reading, always wondering what will come next, and finishing the story in about 2 days. This book had the perfect amount of mystery to keep you guessing what was going to happen next, was organized with whose POV you were reading, and the ending came together perfectly. This was my first Diane Chamberlain book and I definitely look forward to reading more!

Recommend: I would recommend this book to people who like historical fiction and mystery! But warning – there is some racism and sexual abuse.

Thank you Netgalley & St. Martin’s Press for the ARC!

Review: Crown of Midnight

Synopsis: This book picks up with Celaena doing her work as the King’s assassin. You find out shortly that she’s not so complacent – she has been “killing” people by telling them to run away and change identities while grabbing bodies that were already dead to bring to the king. While training and working for the king, Calaena and Chaol start to get closer. While working on the next assignment, something happens that changes Calaena’s world and outlook forever.

Review: I thought this book was better than the first book in the Throne of Glass series but I still wasn’t as impressed with it compared to ACOTAR. It looks like the 3rd book gets even better so maybe it’s just a slower start to the series to get the reader acquainted with everything? I definitely still look forward to continuing it (once my library book is ready…)

Recommended: For people who like ACOTAR and fantasy.

Review: The Chain

The Chain by Adrian McKinty
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Published: July 9, 2019

Synopsis: It’s not about the money, it’s about the chain. Rachel got a call that would change her and her daughter’s life forever – her daughter was kidnapped. In order to get her back, she needs to pay a ransom and kidnap another child to keep the “chain” going.

Review: I was intrigued with this book just from the synopsis. While reading it, I could easily imagine it as a horror movie. The first part of this book was really good at showing Rachel’s emotions and hardships she was dealing with to get her daughter back. In the second part of the book every other chapter was about the people who began the chain – their upbringing all the way to present. I thought it was an interesting way to let the reader see both sides of it. Thank you Orion Publishing Group & Netgalley for the ARC!

Recommended: For people who like movies like “Saw” or mystery/thriller books.

Moving Forward

I am going to do reviews like this from now on instead of having separate posts for each book.

I aim to post 2-3 times a week – my other posts being about traveling and whatever else I feel like talking about. I would see a lot of people only talking about books on their blog/instagram and having different accounts for different things and I’m not really into that. I tried to do that on instagram but how I see it is that this blog is mine and so you’ll get all the different pieces of me – whether that’s school, travel, cooking, reading, etc.

I missed everyone that takes the time to look at this blog. I hope you are as happy as I am to be back ❤️

REVIEW: The Selection by Kiera Cass // Who will be chosen to be the next queen?

WARNING: Spoilers

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Duration: 336 pages
Format: ebook
Genre: YA, Romance
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“But no matter what, I want you to be loved. You deserve to be loved. And I hope you get to marry for love and not a number.”

Page 26, The Selection

Synopsis

Against all odds, America Singer was chosen out of all of the applicants from where she lived to participate in the selection – a competition for the possibility to be Prince Maxon‘s queen. When America sent in her application, she had no intention of participating because her heart was with a man named Aspen – who was in the caste below her.

When America arrives at the airport, she already gets a taste of how the other girls in the competition will be. She immediately got along with Marlee – a bubbly, kind girl who introduced herself by hugging America instead of shaking her hand. The rest of the girls were not as kind but still formal.

After arriving, America was overwhelmed with all the rules in the palace – not being able to go outside, wear comfortable clothes, and less communication with her family. The first night she tried to get to the backyard but the guards stopped her. This caused her to faint when suddenly Prince Maxon showed up and walked her outside.

As the competition continues, the true colors of the contestants are revealed as the pool gets smaller and smaller.

Review

Cover: All of the covers in this series are beautiful with the elegant gowns – I think that is what made so many YA reading girls drawn towards the series.

Plot: I like the idea of this plot – seeing 35 girls compete for the chance to be the next queen. To have better opportunities for their families and to live a better life. My only problem is, just by reading the official synopsis, you can guess pretty much the whole book. It’s too obvious – you can infer that the main character will be the girl Prince Maxon likes the most and so she will still be around by the end of the book (or else there wouldn’t be so many other books!). I can already guess in the future – she will be the one who wins. There was maybe 1 twist I didn’t see coming, but everything else was too easy. I have heard that the other books get more intense so I am hoping there will be more exciting events.

Writing: The writing was simple and enjoyable to read. It was the aspect of the book that made be not able to put it down.

Characters: I love the relationship between Prince Maxon & America in the beginning with America being his confidant/spy among the contestants. Slowly, America realizes she is falling for him and starts to get upset when he is going on other dates with girls and when she hears about him kissing other girls. I understand America’s anger, but it is also unfair because she was the one who pushed him away originally. Aspen (America’s boyfriend from back home) also drives me crazy when he becomes a guard at the palace because when he spends time with America, she could get in huge trouble if they are found. The other competitors being cutthroat keeps the competition interesting.

Overall: I really enjoyed the easy reading of this book so I will definitely be continuing the rest of the series. Despite the book being completely predictable, I am exciting to read what happens next.

“No, I’m not choosing him or you. I’m choosing me.”

Page 253, The Selection

REVIEW: Across the Universe // A journey to a new life

Across the Universe (Across the Universe #1) by Beth Revis
Duration: 399 pages
Format: audiobook
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

WARNING: Some spoilers

Synopsis

This book starts with Amy and her parents being frozen in cryochambers in the hope to help cultivate a new planet to life. They are put on a spaceship called Godspeed to spend 300 years traveling through space to this new place.

There has been several generations on the ship – made up of a race of people who all have similar characteristics. Everything is orderly – generations are born at the same time and the generations all live and die together. The leader of the ship is named Eldest and his next-in-line is named Elder.

Elder was talking to someone else on the ship who had a suspicion that there was a hidden level on the ship. So, Elder took it upon himself to check it out. This is when he found all of the frozen bodies in cryochambers.

Soon after one of the bodies was found to be thawing. Luckily, Elder and the Doctor were able to get her out of the liquid and she completely thawed and lived. Amy was the one who came back alive about 50 years too early. She is starkly different form the population on the ship with bright red hair and green eyes. She is in shock to find out that she was thawed early and her parents are still in their cryochambers. Eldest doesn’t make it any easier for her by telling the whole ship that she is crazy.

The rest of the story is focused on finding out who is thawing the bodies? And why are they doing that? Will they really make it to the new planet in 50 years?

Review

Cover: The cover is definitely eye-catching with the beauty of space, Amy, and Elder. In the story there is some romance between them but it is confusing for both of them. I hope there is more in the future books!

Plot: The premise of this story is really interesting. At first I was drawn to what it was like being in a cryochamber. I always assumed you were just asleep – kind of like when you are sedated for surgery. But, with Amy it seemed that her mind was pretty lively for all of those years despite being frozen. Then when you experience Eldest training Elder and telling him how they were able to prevent war with each other – I found that fascinating too. This story is very different from anything I have read before.

Characters: The characters in this story definitely keep things interesting. Even seeing how the “normal” people in Godspeed act by having no emotions and mating at certain times is fascinating. You can feel Amy’s frustration when she finds out that she’s not at the planet yet but she somehow kind of comes to turn with it. The dynamics between Eldest and. Elder are interesting too – especially how Eldest can make everyone on the ship essentially worship him.

Overall: I really enjoyed listening to this book and look forward to reading more in the future! It was a really unique plot with enjoyable characters throughout the story. The twists and turns kept the story interesting and enjoyable.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

August Wrap Up & Favorites

I kept up the reading momentum in August by reading a total of 15 books! This year has been incredible since my goodreads goal was 25 books (last year it was 12). So I have already greatly surpassed my goal thanks to reading challenges and this book community!

Favorite Audiobook

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

This book had be enthralled from the start. It captures you into it’s world and leaves you in shock with what is going on. I know this book isn’t everyone’s cup of tea – but I highly recommend you try it (even if you don’t typically read sci-fi books). You can read my full review here.

Least Favorite Audiobook

Marked by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast

I was looking forward to starting this series but I wasn’t really impressed. I felt like not a lot happened in the book. You can read my full review here.

Favorite New Series

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

I can’t believe that I ended up reading all of the books in order one right after another – this series is that good. The hype is definitely real. I highly recommend – especially if you’re into YA Fantasy. Read my full review here.

Book I was really looking forward to

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen has seriously been my favorite author since middle school. I was so excited that she was releasing a new book this month and it definitely didn’t let me down! While reading this book I really wished I was on a lake this summer. Check out my review on this summer read here.

Books I look forward to in September

Gypsy Secrets by J. L. Vampa

I received an ARC for this book by the incredible J. L. Vampa. She is a newer author but the Queen’s Keeper series has definitely been amazing so far. This novella releases in 2 days!

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

After starting this series with the book Scythe back in July – I am excited that I finally have this book from the library!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

After finishing the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, I needed something else for my Sarah J. Maas fixing. I am patiently awaiting to start this series once my library hold is finished!

Other Faves

Sea Salt & Orchid Candle from Queer Candle Co.

I usually don’t buy candles, but when I smelled this candle I knew I had to buy it. Even when it isn’t lit and you have the lid off, it distributes a pleasant aroma. I can’t wait to see what it’s like when I do light it!

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Sanrio Fortune Cookies

I think today is the last day for this collection but they are seriously so cute and perfect. 2 of my favorite things coming together. The little twin stars set is my favorite!

Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie Recipe

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 4 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 scoop PEScience strawberry cheesecake protein (can also use a plain vanilla protein)
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Blend the 1st 5 ingredients until smooth. Pour into a cup and mix in chia seeds.

How was your August? Are you excited for Fall?

WWWW Wednesday 5

This meme is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What I am currently reading

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles 2) by Marissa Meyer
I just finished the first book in the series called Cinder. I really enjoyed it and so I rented the 2nd book from Libby as an audiobook!
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
After reading The Nightingale, I knew Kristin Hannah would be one of those authors I would continuously read. A classmate recommend I check out this book by here and I am glad I have started it!

What I recently finished

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles 1) by Marissa Meyer

This book is definitely not your average princess story re-telling. This book takes you to a completely different place that makes it seem like an entirely different story except for some subtle similarities.

Uglies (Uglies 1) by Scott Westerfield

I was not sure if I read this book when I was younger but I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I look forward to the rest of the series!

What I am reading next

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
After being disappointed by Marked, I hope this vampire series will be more enjoyable!
Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
I know I said I was going to read this last week but my hold was kind of suspended and I got involved with other books. Hopefully I will get to it because I love this series!

REVIEW: A Court of Frost and Starlight

“You were born on the longest night of the year.” His fingers again stroked down my back. Lower. “You were meant to be at my side from the very beginning.”

Page 53, A Court of Frost and Starlight
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
Duration: 229 pages
Format: ebook
Genre: Fantasy, New Adult, Romance
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis

The goal of this book is to give the reader a look at life after Hybern’s war and the preparations for the Winter Solstice. Feyre is busy with High Lady duties while Rhys is busy with enforcing the Illyrian armies to train women soldiers. Elain is also shown acclimating to the Night Court by tending to a garden and other household duties with Nuala and Cerridwen while Nesta has completely closed herself off.

Review

Plot – This novella is definitely more lighthearted than the main books in the series, which was a nice change of pace. Crazy events didn’t happen but the book still went at a good pace to keep you reading. I think it was a good way to tide fans over until the new book is released.

Writing – I like how you get different POV’s in this book. They’re marked clearly and I like having the ability to get a glimpse inside other character’s heads besides Feyre. Some of the overused phrases I have mentioned in my “A Court of Wings and Ruin” review definitely make their appearance again but since it’s so short, they’re not used quite as often.

I found this novella and enjoyable read and the foreshadowing for what is to come. I hope the series is continued and I can’t wait for the next book!

“to remember that she picked it. Picked me. That it’s not like my parents, shoved together.”

Page 20, A Court of Frost and Starlight

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

How did you like the A Court of Thorns and Roses series? Did you read this novella as well? What did you think?

REVIEW: Always Never Yours

“You’re in luck, you know,” I say. “Every one of my boyfriends finds the perfect girl right after we break up.”

Page 321, Always Never Yours

WARNING: some spoilers ahead.

Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberly
Duration: 349 pages
Format: ebook
Genre: romance, YA
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis

Being the girl boys date before they meet their perfect match is exhausting.
There’s Tyler who fell madly in love with my best friend while we were dating.
Anthony who kissed me and figured out he was homosexual.
Amongst others who have left for any other number of reasons.
It’s really hard to see your worth when you don’t feel like you’re worth anything.

Review

Plot – This book revolves around Megan Harper’s relationship mishaps, all while she is playing Juliet in her school play of Romeo and Juliet. I think it is an interesting premise for a YA romance novel. This book goes through Megan evolving and being able to finally see that she IS worth something, and that the other boys that just used her were all to get to a good end. Another frustrating aspect was when Megan still went for Will, even though she could tell there was chemistry between her and Owen. I felt really bad for Owen to stay by her during all of that and to listen to Megan after they broke up.

Characters – To be honest, Megan is one of those characters that can make me really annoyed. I understand being upset about family problems, but I get annoyed when the characters bring it up several times. I thought after she went to Owen’s house and saw that he literally takes care of his 10 year old brother, that she would realize that she doesn’t have it bad at all. Other than the complaining, I do like the banter between Megan and the other characters (especially Owen) – that’s what really keeps the story alive and entertaining. I love Owen as a character, it is rewarding to see the nerdy kid people don’t pay attention to blossom into this hardworking, witty young man throughout the book.

Overall, I found this book enjoyable if you want a kind of immature romance book. It will keep you hooked until the end. If there were less frustrating parts and Megan was a bit more mature, I would have enjoyed this novel more.

“Everyone’s an idiot like Juliet sometimes. Or everyone should be. Juliet dares to care about something. It makes her do crazy things.”

Page 315, Always Never Yours

⭐️⭐️⭐️

REVIEW: The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
Duration: 440 pages
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fiction
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“Life is a journey, wouldn’t you rather be the person behind the wheel than the one just being carried along?”

Page 154, The Rest of the Story

Synopsis

Emma Saylor has her summer planned out –
✓Dad getting married
✓ New house being remodeled
✓ Staying at her friends house and crushing on boys while her Dad and Step-Mother go on their honeymoon
The plan gets disrupted when her friend has a family emergency and is unable to let Emma stay over. She has no other options except her grandmother from her mother’s side that she hasn’t seen since she was 3 years old. Since her mother passed when Emma was 10 years old, she hasn’t even thought about this side of the family. When she arrives, North Lake seems like a distant memory to her. During the 3 weeks she gets to spend there, it shows her getting to know this part of her family that becomes near and dear to her heart.

Review

Sarah Dessen has been one of my favorite authors for over 10 years. She has such a unique way of writing relaxing stories that make you immersed in the story and invested in the characters.

Plot – It’s kind of funny that I reread one of Sarah’s old books – Keeping the Moon – just last month. This book was really reminiscent of Keeping the Moon except updated for the current times. Both books deal with the main character going to stay with an aunt during the summer while meeting people they become close with and falling in love. The way that Sarah updated this story to make it more relevant with the circumstances Emma’s mom passed from (opioid abuse) and delving into how Emma deals with her anxiety. Even though the plots had similarities, they had quite different feels based on their settings.

Characters – I enjoyed Emma’s resilience. When she first arrived to North Lake her cousins thought she was the spoiled rich kid who just got to laze around. She proved them wrong by helping them work at her aunts motel and by knowing her struggles with her mother and anxiety, you know she is a strong girl. I loved the feel of the relationships between everyone at North Lake – how you know that they all grew up together and they have that loving friends-like-family type vibe.

Writing – Sarah Dessen has a very simplistic way of writing that feels so laidback and enjoyable. When she described North Lake it made me crave to be by a lake this summer – swimming, barbecuing, lighting sparklers, etc. Even though the writing isn’t incredibly detailed, it is done in such a way that you want to continue reading.

Overall – I was very happy with Sarah Dessen’s new book. I really enjoyed that she made it relevant to current issues while still keeping her simplistic summer relaxation vibe.

“You can make your life, or life can make you. Was it really that simple of a choice?”

Page 181, The Rest of the Story

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Have you read this book or any of Sarah Dessen’s other books? What did you think about it?

REVIEW: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
Duration: 384 pages
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis

Jules Larson was struggling after losing her job and her boyfriend within the same day. Desperate for a new job while living off of her friends couch, she finds a job that seems too good to be true – an apartment sitter at the most prestigious apartment building in NYC that pays really well. She would be a fool not to take it. The first day she moved in she met another apartment sitter named Ingrid who tells her that she’s starting to feel uneasy and terrified at night. What could possibly going on at the Bartholomew?

Review

I loved this book from start to finish. It drew me in with the grandeur of living at the Bartholomew and how this girl with hardships got an opportunity of a lifetime. Then when things started to get creepy and unsettling – I couldn’t put the book down. Especially near the end when you discover what is actually going on there – I was in absolute shock. I could not have guessed about what was going on. I cannot wait to read Riley’s other books – which I heard are all fantastic.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

WWW Wednesday 4

I’m a little late to writing this post BUT – this is one of my favorite posts to write so I still wanted to do it anyways!

What I am currently reading

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
For a book battle I needed to read a book about space. One of my teammates suggested this book. I just started the audiobook a couple days ago and it’s pretty interesting! It’s about a family who gets frozen so they can travel 301 years to somewhere in space to get more natural resources for Earth.
The Selection by Kiera Cass
I have been hesitating to read this book for awhile. What was holding me back was the main characters name – America Singer. I thought it sounded lame. BUT I’m really enjoying this book (and I couldn’t put it down enough last night to write this post).

What I recently finished

Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberly

I thought this book looked intriguing based on how beautiful the cover is. I enjoyed some parts of it but I also think I’m too old when I read a YA book with a main character who complains a lot.

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

I thought this book was fascinating and well written to keep the reader involved in learning more. It’s like hearing all the juicy gossip without being a part of it – which is the best of both worlds.

What I am reading next

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

What I am currently watching

Nigeru was Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu (JP)
I haven’t watched many dramas this year, but this one has to be my favorite one thus far! It’s funny seeing how awkward Hiramasa is. I like that Japanese dramas are fairly short – they don’t drag it out as much as Kdramas

What I recently finished

Toumei na Yurikago (JP)
I enjoyed this drama throughout. I loved seeing the babies and experiencing the joy of life and the sorrow of loss throughout the show. Definitely recommend!

What I am watching next

Shoplifters (JP)
Not sure which drama I want to start next, but definitely want to watch this movie!