Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Music Recommendation: The Mowglis

I'm not a giant music snob; I would call myself a casual music fan who doesn't limit themselves to one genre.
So today, I thought I would bring you a music recommendation for a change of pace. This recommendation is the album Waiting for the Dawn by The Mowgli's, released this past year.

One of my favorite bands over the past few months of this year is The Mowgli's. Their music is really upbeat and it makes me happy to listen to them. And yet while their songs are simply happy, they are also full of meaning. The album Waiting for the Dawn is full of this happy music. Some of my favorite tracks include "The Great Divide" and "Time".

Overall. if you are a fan of more pop-like music and want to listen to something upbeat, I would recommend the Mowgli's.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top Ten (Five) New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2013

Top Ten Tuesday, as always, is hosted by Broke and Bookish. This week's list is "Top Ten New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2013." Unfortunately, I did not really read as much as I would have liked to in 2013, even during my holidays from school. Going over the list of books I have read this year, I have five new authors that I feel could become perennial favorites. 

Lauren Morrill
Though I have only read Meant to Be, I really, really liked it. It was a beautiful travel story and I loved it. She has a new books coming out in 2014 and I cannot wait to read it. 

Kasie West
Pivot Point was phenomenal and I cannot believe it is a series! I cannot wait to read the next one. I also have her contemporary novel, The Distance Between Us that I have been meaning to read for forever. I cannot wait to read more of her work. 

Gail Carriger
Again, I have only read one book of hers, but I really enjoyed Etiquette and Espionage. I cannot wait to read the next one in this series then go on and maybe read the previous series this one was based on. 

Olive Schreiner
It maybe more be the book in this case, but I really enjoyed Story of an African Farm during a semester where I did not really enjoy reading. So much thanks to Olive Schreiner, for getting me out of a reading slump this semester. 

Rainbow Rowell
I just read Fangirl and absolutely loved it! It spoke to me on so many levels and I cannot wait to read the rest of her work. 

These are the five authors I read and really enjoyed this year. I have one honorable mention though; while her work was not new to me, I really discovered how much I liked it this year.

Rachel Hawkins
I had only read Hex Hall previously, but now, I have read all of her work. I really got sucked into her world and really enjoyed it. 

What are your new-to-me authors of 2013? Let me know in the comments. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

How to Survive Finals Week

It's that time of year kids! No, not Christmas, FINALS WEEK.

My finals week was actually last week, but I know for many this is their last week of the semester. Having just gone through this experience, however, I feel I can offer some advice on the subject.

Tip #1: Study before the night before. 
This seems like a no brainer, but I think it still deserves to be mentioned. If you have no finals Monday, perhaps Sunday night you should study for the finals you have on Tuesday. Just a thought.

Tip #2: Get plenty of sleep. 
Don't stay up all night studying; it won't work out in your favor. Also, don't sleep all day and night the night before. Also doesn't work out. So getting about eight hours is your best bet for maximum productivity.

Tip #3: Relax and cut loose. 
It's okay to take a break and relax. Go get dinner with a friend or watch a funny YouTube video. Just take a break. You've earned it.

I hope this helps some of you. Good luck on finals!

Do you have any finals week tips? Leave them in the comments! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Photo from Goodreads
Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: September 10, 2013, by St. Martin's Press

Plot Summary:
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.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. 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?

My Thoughts:
I love this book. I really do.

Maybe it's because it took place at a time that would've been my freshman year, Maybe it's because it's about fangirl culture, something I definitely understand. Maybe it's because I just identify with the protagonist on so many levels.

I don't know what the magic combination is, but this book seems tailored to me.

This book basically follows Cath through the entirety of her freshman year and the ups and downs that go along with it. However, it is more a chronology of her real life versus her life in the fandom. In my mind, it does not really add up to what the blurp on the inside cover says. The book focuses more on her life than the Simon Snow fandom.

I think the main reason I loved this book because I just "get" Cath as a character because in many ways, I am Cath. A lot of the things she goes through regarding college are a lot of things I went through myself regarding college, like roommates and dinning halls. As for some of the more complex conflicts, I definitely understood the emotions behind it. I also really loved the complexity of Wren and their Dad.

Overall, I would recommend this book to people in college who will be able to reminisce about their freshman year.  People who are about to start college may also enjoy this. If you enjoy fandom and fan-created works, you will also love this.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fall 2013 Semester in Review

Independence Hall in Philly
Hallelujah, the semester is finally over! This semester has been a rough one, what with taking seventeen credit hours and the emotions this semester has inspired. Let's review:

The month started off great with Phi Sigma Pi National Convention in Philadelphia, even though I got super sick halfway through the convention. And continued to be sick up until it was time to go back to school.
Our new kitten, Hoover

This is where things started to get intense. What with preparations for Shay's wedding and the semester picking up, I was starting to feel stressed beyond belief. Also, it should be noted that this is the month I started writing creatively again, which was great. At the end of the month, we got our new kitten, Hoover.

Uptown Theater for Sara Bareilles
Shay's wedding was this month, which was easily the highlight of the semester! More stress, more poetry. Also, I saw Sara Bareilles in KC this month, so that was super exciting too!

Phi Sigma Pi induction in November
Here is where the semester starts to both get better and get worse. I was a lot less emotionally drained during this month, but my stress levels went through the roof and would remain that way for the rest of semester. I also celebrated my four year anniversary with my boyfriend and finally got Pokemon X.
Bonsai Chipotle run! 

Last two weeks of the semester stress levels still through the roof. In spite of that, I was still able to have some fun with bonsai trips to Chipotle and other not school related activities!

And now I'm on break! Though I still have to work a couple weeks, I will mostly be playing Pokemon, hanging out with Kelly, and reading. I had my last final yesterday, so my stress levels are slowly going down. My body hasn't one hundred percent realized the semester is over.

How did your semester go? Now that it's over, how do you plan to spend your break?