Sunday Summary: Back To School & Learning To Drive

First Day Outfit 

Hey guys! Wow I haven’t done a Sunday Summary in absolutely ages. My last one was in November. But this week was an eventful one and so I thought why not. Plus I really wanted to write but I didn’t know what to post.

1) This was my first week of Year 2! It’s been interesting so far I suppose. My timetable is absolutely crappy. I’ve got early classes every day except Wednesday. Two of my teachers are ‘laptops down’ kind of people so I have to print out lecture notes and readings every week now which is beyond annoying. And there’s other stuff going on that is making me miserable but it will probably not end well for me if I post about it here.

2) I started driving this week! I did one lesson on Thursday and another one on Saturday. I did countless laps around the small circuit and so far I think I’m doing pretty well. I mistook the accelerator for the brake once and nearly hit the curb too many times but it’s been going well. I absolutely love driving. It gives me such a high. I’m just worried about getting to the point where I don’t have someone next to me watching my mirrors for me and getting ready to slam the breaks or grab the wheel if I make a mistake. So far simply driving at around 15km/hr requires 100% of my attention. I can’t imagine having to add checking my mirrors and changing lanes to the mix. But I guess everyone learns eventually.

3) I finally joined a CCA! Well 2 actually. Vid and I joined two groups that help people and that volunteers at places. It’s totally up my avenue so I’m excited about that.

4) I had two anxiety attacks this week plus one almost attack. One was before school started on Monday. The almost one was right before my first driving lesson and the latest attack was this morning. I woke up and my dad was leaving for his week long business trip. So I was missing him. And then I was scrolling through the Nepal tag on twitter and catching up with the developments of the rescue mission. I guess that was what really triggered it. It just got me thinking a lot about death and I was worried about my dad. What finally tossed me over the edge was that I walked out of my room to find that my mom had gone to the AGM meeting at church. I probably would have been okay if I had seen her but I didn’t and so it was just a combination of my parents and the earthquake in Nepal that made me feel really panicky, scared and alone. I was pacing the length of my house and trying my best to calm down but I couldn’t for quite a while because I was breathing too fast. Anyway it took me a while to come down from that and I really wanted to just write and get it off my chest.

 I don’t know. Ever since my grandpa died, I’ve become so sensitive to death. Every time I see a death on TV or hear about it on the news or even think about it, everything I felt watching my grandpa’s coffin being closed and being rolled into the cremation chamber thing just comes rushing back at me in full force. I don’t know if that’s normal or whatever but that’s what’s been triggering a lot of anxiety for me. It happened last week in the middle of the night as well. It was again triggered because I was thinking of his funeral. I really don’t know. All I know is that anxiety is really becoming a part of my life and I’m scared about that.

5) On a slightly lighter but still not so light note, Derek Shepard from Grey’s Anatomy has just died. I’ve watched his character develop for 11 seasons. I’ve watched Derek and Meredith fall in love. Watched them adopt Zola. Watched Meredith give birth, build their house, build a life. I sobbed harder then I’ve ever sobbed for a TV show. It was awful.

I’ve probably rambled on enough and it’s almost dinner time so I should probably go. Here’s to a better week 2.

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Hometown Hunt

Hey guys! So guess what. Summer is around the corner and I quite frankly don’t understand why the heck everyone is so excited. I live in Singapore and that means we have one weather all year round, every single day of our lives, and that is BLOOMING HOT.

But okay. One of my top readerships come from America so I’ll cater to you guys who have the wonderful experience of four seasons in this post.

I recently discovered Eventbrite . Eventbrite is this cool site that helps you find and get the word out about events happening in your area. You can even visit their ‘Sell Tickets’ page to promote and track your events. But what really struck me was their ‘Hometown Hunt’ project. So basically, they are asking bloggers from all over the world to share more about a particular place in their country that does really cool events and things. Now you know me. I spend 50% of my life at home and the other 50% in school. So this question really made me think.

I finally decided to settle on the Grand Theatre at Marina Bay Sands. I first went there to watch the Broadway version of Lion King. It was the best musical I’ve ever watched. It was truly epic. The second time I visited was with my classmates. Our school too us to see the Broadway adaptation of The Sound Of Music. Again, I completely enjoyed myself.

The theatre is huge and gorgeous. It all just comes together to form this authentic experience of going to the theatre.

They put out all the Broadway shows which I personally adore. I love live musicals and so I love this place. If you’re ever in Singapore, this is the place to go to watch a show.

*Apologies for the lack of quality on the pictures. These were crappy iPhone shots and my computer was being difficult when I tried to edit it*

Red Queen By Victoria Aveyard

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win? -Goodreads

THIS BOOK. 

THIS FREAKING BOOK.

I LOVED IT SO MUCH DAMMIT.

Okay so here’s the story. I have basically not read a single fantasy novel since I did the whole Mortal Instruments series back in January 2014. I’ve been doing contemporary ever since and I finally decided that I wanted to sprinkle a bit of fantasy back into my reading lists. So I picked up Red Queen. It had good ratings and people generally seemed pretty obsessed with this book. So I plunged. AND OH MY THIS BOOK WAS GOOD.

From the very first chapter, I knew that this was going to be a good book. You know how sometimes you can just tell if a book is going to tank or if its going to soar? Well I knew this was going to be great. The writing was easy to read. It was smooth. The words and the style just flowed over my brain and tongue.  (Don’t you dare tell me that you don’t understand that. I know you do)It was very easy to follow along and to place myself in that castle and in that village. It was easy to merge myself into their world and to feel what they were feeling. 

I did read a number of reviews before reading the book though and everyone mentioned that there was a sort of twist at the end. So I kind of saw what was about to happen before it did and that softened the blow which I was a bit upset about. But it was still pretty cool. I mean it still affects you and you’re still left with that ‘what the hell’ face after.

I was also really impressed with the way Victoria handled the conflict in this book. Usually when I read scenes with conflict in it, I tend to roll my eyes a lot because it’s hard to control. Often it can end up sounding fake or overly dramatic. But in this book, Victoria did an excellent job. There was perfect control in her writing. I didn’t find any parts to be too dramatic or anything like that.

A lot of people complain that this book bears many similarities to other fantasy novels but I don’t read a lot of fantasy so to me, the whole idea of the story was shiny and new.

Overall this was an absolutely excellent book. I would recommend it to anyone especially people who are looking to read more fantasy novels. I literally can’t wait for the second book in the series which will unfortunately only be out next year.

My Rating: 5/5
Purchase the books at The Book Depositary using my special link Here

Mid-Year Resolutions + Going Back To School

Hey guys! Today is officially my final day of my break and I’m sad but also pretty happy. It’s seriously been the best holiday I’ve ever had. I did so many new things in the 2 months. I went to America for the first time. I tried, saw and experienced some of the most amazing things that I’ve only read and seen in books or movies. I got to have the time of my life. I got to completely chill out at home. I went drinking. I had ice cream. I watched movies and TV shows. I read about 11 books. It’s been such a blast.

But all good things must come to an end. I have had my fun and part of me actually feels ready to start my second year in school. I’m surprisingly excited to start learning. I know this won’t last long though. I always go into a semester super enthusiastic and everything but once the mountain of work starts piling up, I’ll inevitably find myself curled up on my bathroom floor with the shower running and I’ll be crying and basically having an epic meltdown (that has regrettably happened before). And I’ve heard the worst horror stories about year 2 from my seniors. Apparently you don’t get to sleep some nights. I don’t know.

I’m excited and nervous and everything but I’m mostly glad to be going back to a scheduled life. Holidays are great but they are also pretty unscheduled. There are days when you just sit in a corner and read and there are days when you are half productive. It’s all very messy which I don’t always like. I like order. I need to know what’s happening in my life.

Since I’m going into a new year of school, I decided that I would do a little mid-year resolution type thing. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you would know that my grandpa died about 6 hours before 2015 began and also that I was in Bali when he passed. It was a very chaotic and scary start to my year and because of that, I didn’t welcome the year the way I planned to. I wanted to do proper resolutions and do a 2014 wrap up. But I just couldn’t do it and by the time I was ready to, it no longer made sense.

I did a short new year post on Christmas though and I scheduled it to go up on the 1st. I actually almost forgot that I did that with the chaos of the days and I had no way to pull it down because I was in Bali and had no way to get it down. So I let it be. Anyway, in that post, I mentioned that my resolutions were to:

  1. Say yes more often. 
  2. Be confident. I am not an ugly person and I have no reason to feel that way.
  3. Don’t let anxiety and worry control you.
I think that I have done a pretty good job of keeping to them over the last 4 months. I have said yes to at least 90% of what I’ve been asked to do. I have started putting in more effort in dressing well and doing my makeup well and I feel beautiful. I really do. I’m still working on the anxiety and fear. In fact I still do get anxiety attacks especially at night and they are horrible but I’m working really hard on walking into situations with a no fear attitude.
So I decided to update my resolutions. School edition. Remember that you never have to wait for a new year or a new month to decide that you can change something about yourself. If you decide today that you don’t like something and want to change it, do it right now. Don’t feel you need to wait for a particular day to do it. Because then it will never work. Resolutions can be made at any time.
  1. Don’t procrastinate. I will finish as much of my work as I can as soon as possible.
  2. Don’t forget to take time off to relax every now and then
  3. I will put my all into everything I attempt to do
  4. I will do more to step out of my comfort zone
 So these are my resolution for this new school year. I want to now pose this question to you. Do you have any resolutions? It can even be just one but I would love to hear if you’ve decided to make any mid-april resolutions. Post them in the comments.
If you are starting school again next week or sometime soon, get excited. It’s stressful and scary but it’s also exciting because just think of all the amazing things you will learn and experience and do. I wish everyone an amazing school year ahead.

More For The Heart By Ekta Garg


“Making The Proposal”: Readers learned in Two for the Heart about the end of Pooja and Akshay’s unique arrangement—get married and then prepare their divorce papers—but did you wonder how it began? Just how did Pooja and Akshay make this crazy deal in the first place? Find out in this first story in More for the Heart.“Reminiscence”: In Two for the Heart, sisters Rose and Helen reconnect with great reluctance after an 11-year estrangement. These two women have spent more than a decade apart. What convinces Rose to stay this time around? Sit at the table with Rose and watch her internal transformation in the second story in More for the Heart. -Goodreads

When Ekta emailed me to tell me that her next book in her Stories In Paris set was out, I was super excited. I throughly enjoyed her first book in this set and I couldn’t wait to see how she proceeded with the storyline.

I was thankfully not disappointed. 

The second instalment of the series went backwards in time. It explored the beginning of Pooja and Akshay’s ‘marriage’ and it goes into the reasons why Rose decided to stay and take care of her injured and grieving sister. 

I truly enjoyed going deeper into the psyche of these characters. In my review of Ekta’s first book in the series, I mentioned that I thought the stories would do well as full novels. I think with this second book, I understood what Ekta has been trying to do here. She’s been trying to create a full novel but in bits and pieces. It’s such a unique idea that I haven’t really seen much of before. 

I had a few issues with the the way Ekta wrote in some parts. I found some parts to be repetitive and staggered and while that did impact the flow of the story at some parts, it wasn’t too much of an issue. I actually had a lovely discussion with Ekta regarding her writing style. By the way, she is so so nice. One of the nicest authors I’ve come across. 

Overall this was an extremely lovely read. I enjoyed it a lot and I think it’s something that anyone would love. 

My Rating: 3/5
*This book was given to me by the author to read and review*
Purchase the books at The Book Depositary using my special link Here

Fangirl By Rainbow Rowell

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Now that they’re going to college,  Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind? – Goodreads

I’ve been wanting to read Fangirl every since I read and loved ‘Eleanor & Park’. So basically forever. So, I finally decided to set some time out of the stacks of books I have to read and review to give myself this book treat. And let me tell you, it was worth every second I spent waiting and finally reading it.

When I was younger, I used to read and write fan fiction. Yep. I wrote one Twilight fic that I never finished, one Vampire Diaries story that was extremely fluffy. And finally I wrote a Titanic/Twilight crossover that I spent a year writing and that till today, is one of my absolute favourite things I’ve ever written. (Follow the links I’ve placed around this paragraph to read the respective stories).

So this book to me was extremely close to my heart. I could feel my inner fangirl/fan fic writer squealing with joy because this was my world. I felt so incredibly close to Cath. Cath is basically me. I was so excited to be finally reading a book with a character that I felt I could 100% relate to. I always read books with people with many friends and who go out to parties and things. It was so amazing to read a book that finally seemed to get me. The social anxiety, the strong desire to just be holed up quietly in my room, the lack of friends. The fear of going to the cafeteria because I’m alone. The fear of a relationship. Cath was me and I couldn’t be more grateful to Rainbow Rowell for once again making me feel like there was someone out there who understood me. 

This book was simple because Rainbow Rowell writes simple but amazing stories. Nothing much exciting happens in the book. It basically just rolls Cath on a journey of self-discovery. But it was all about being part of a world that I felt was mine in every aspect. I felt so incredibly happy to be able to experience this book.

It just takes everything you’ve ever felt for the world and puts it out into writing so you don’t feel alone anymore. That’s really all I can say about it. I really recommend you read it and see for yourself what a marvellous piece of art Rainbow has once again produced.

My Rating: 5/5
Purchase the books at The Book Depositary using my special link Here

The Boy Next Door By Katie Van Ark

Maddy Spier has been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner she spends time in his arms every day. But she’s also seen his arms around other girls—lots of other girls.  

Gabe can’t imagine skating with anyone but Maddy, and together they have a real chance at winning some serious gold medals. So, he’s determined to keep thinking of her like a sister. After all, he’s never had a romantic relationship that lasted for more than two weeks.
But when their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy’s been hoping for or the big breakup that Gabe has always feared? -Goodreads
This is my first book review in about a month and of course it has to start on a negative note. Welp. Great way to get back into reviewing. Just fantastic.
Okay let’s start at the beginning. I read the summary and I was immediately drawn in. When I was 13 and 14, I did figure skating. Yup. I had a trainer and I went every Monday. I could do jumps and spins and it was great. Until it wasn’t. My workload from school made it such that keeping up with skating was impossible. So I stopped. But I’ve still always loved the sport. 
So when I heard that there was this book about figure skating partners who fall in love, I was like , ‘Hell yes. I need this in my life right now.”. I mean, you know how I feel about a good ‘ole romance where the pair are friends before and then they fall in love. Anyway, thankfully, Swoon Reads hooked me up and very soon the book was sitting in my lap.

I got into it and I really really really wanted to love it. But I didn’t.

So first of all, Maddie and Gabe are completely all over the damn place. One minute they were complaining about how they couldn’t be together and the next they were practically having sex in a theatre. Following the story was seriously so hard because they were everywhere. There was absolutely no proper chain of events or even a coherent flow of thinking. The way they handled their transition from friends to lovers was horrific. I would expect that kind of uncertainty and confusion from perhaps 15 year olds. Or maybe even 13 year olds. Certainly not young adults.

And then there was the fact that there was no proper reason why they couldn’t be together. Or maybe there was but it just wasn’t properly brought across. I get that they couldn’t be together because they didn’t want to jeopardise their skating and that Maddie didn’t like what a womaniser Gabe was. I get that. But again, one second they are crying about how much they want to be together and the next, Maddie is performing a freaking strip tease for him. I MEAN COME ON.

BUT

I gave this book 3 stars. Why would I do that when I only have bad things to say? Well that’s because I actually liked it. It was one of those weird books that really suck but that you kind of like anyway and you’re not sure what to do with it because you liked it but you also didn’t. I honestly don’t know. I guess certain parts were nice and it helped that it was a romance novel so the mushy parts helped to balance out the bad writing.

ANYWAY

To conclude, it was just a very haphazard book. Half the time I didn’t know what was going on. One second they would be okay and the next they would just be not okay. It was like the author wrote the book in parts and just forgot where she left off so she decided to start from the top. The other characters, like the parents, were just as weird and pretentious. it would have been nice to see some conflict with the parents. I mean no one puts themselves so completely into the debt of someone and then doesn’t have the occasional flare up. It was so superficial. I really wanted to like it and I kind of did but I also didn’t which is sad because this book had so much potential.

My Rating: 3/5 stars
*A copy of this book was sent to me to read and review*
Purchase the books at The Book Depositary using my special link Here

I’m Back + Life Updates

Hey guys I’m back! Well okay I’ve been home for about a week or so now but I’m back to blogging. Going away for two weeks really messed up my blogging schedule and my body clock and basically everything and I’m only just starting to feel like things are settling down again. So let me give you my updates.

1) I said that I would try to blog every day while I was away as sort of a travel journal thing. However, the reason why I didn’t do that was because our trip was jam packed. We were constantly doing something. We left early in the morning and came back usually pretty late. And when we were given free time, my friends and I just didn’t want to sit around in the hotel so we explored what we could in the vicinity of our hotel. Then, since I was on the writing team, there were nights when I was up till 2am doing articles for something we did during the day. It was pretty busy and I had no time to blog. So I decided that it would be a good little break for me. Ever since I started this blog about 9 months ago, I’ve been posting regularly. So this was a nice little break for me and I think it made me hungry to get back to the keyboard and I’m excited to be back.

2) I am planning to do a photo journal sort of post over here. One for Seattle and one for Portland. However I am not exaggerating when I say that I took about 1000 over pictures. So sorting and editing them is taking me some time. I am aiming at getting the post up by next week hopefully. However, it will be featuring only a very very select few pictures that basically will sum up the hundreds of things we did there. If you want to see a raw, unedited and unsorted glimpse into my trip, click here. This is a Facebook album with all the pictures in it. I was updating this as I went along and so it would appear that some pictures have doubled over. Basically I’m in the process of cleaning that up as well. But yeah. Head over there. It’s a lot more fun I promise.

3) To every author, publisher and friend that has sent me books or summaries or requests, I have seen them. And I haven’t replied about a quarter of you because I have been so busy and I have been pretty much out of wifi. From what I know, I will be starting doing book reviews and getting back into reading again as of today so if you have an email that has yet to be replied, I’m so sorry but you could send me a little reminder and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

4) I AM SO HUNGRY OMG

5) My reading schedule has been so screwed up by the trip. So I read the entity of Colleen Hoover’s new novel, ‘Confess’, on my flight to Seattle. Then I did pretty much zero reading at all while I was in America. Then, on the flight home, I finished reading ‘My Heart And Other Black Holes’. Which I sort of only remember hazily because my goodness my body clock was so screwed up and that flight was like travelling forwards in time or something because we completely lost the 1st of April. It was so weird. I was sleeping and reading and I kept falling asleep with my Kindle in my hands and I’d wake up and just flip it open and continue and then fall asleep over it again. Oh goodness. That flight was not great. Anyway I’m now reading ‘Red Queen’ by Victoria Aveyard. It’s my first fantasy book since I read the Mortal Instruments series in January last year. I’ve been contemporary all the way since so I wanted to change that a bit. So far it’s slow progress but I’m really loving it.

6) I just went and had a cheeky Oreo to curb my hunger. WHICH REMINDS ME! LOOK WHAT I GOT!

I got the limited edition Peanut Butter Cup Oreos!! I’ve been dying to try a limited edition flavour and I was so excited when I found it in Fred Meyers. I’ve wanted the Red Velvet Oreos for the longest time. But this will do…for now.

7) I watched Cinderella in theatres two days ago and I’m not kidding, it was the first movie I’ve seen in theatres since about August last year. It’s bad. I know. But Cinderella was so good and I’m actually listening to the soundtrack as I write this. Patrick Doyle did a fantastic job with the soundtrack. I’m in love with it.

8) I went drinking yesterday with one of my closest friends and this was my second time properly drinking. We went to China One and had a liquid buffet. Obviously it was my first. Anyway I did the one thing that my cousin always tell me not to do. I mixed drinks and I didn’t balance it out with enough water. I had 5 drinks but since it was a buffet and 2 out of the 5 drinks were surprises, I only finished 2 drinks and a shot. I had about half of the rest. I had a Vodka Sprite, Bourbon Coke, Lychee Martini, Tequila Sunrise and we did a Tequila shot. I was more high then I’ve ever been but I held it together. I was swaying but I could (somewhat) walk straight. I managed to still have conversations with both my parents without doing anything funny. Anyway it was very fun and I enjoyed it so much. It was also the first time I’ve ever done a tequila shot with the salt and lemon so that was exciting.

Choker: Claire’s
Top: American Eagle

9) If you’re wondering how I did my hair, it was sea salt spray from ‘Not Your Mother’s’. I sprayed it on while my hair was still damp (newly washed). Then I just scrunched it up a bit. No brushing. That was key. My hair was still drying when this was taken but it looked good.

I think that’s really all for now. I don’t know if anyone read that long post but if you did, congratulations! You now know more about my last few weeks then my parents do (I didn’t tell them what  drinks I did). Anyway stay tuned for more book reviews and other fun stuff. I’m so excited to be back!