28 Sept 2017

Jamie Travels to Prague, Czech Republic! Part 1

28 September 0 Comments
What do I call this post? Can you call it a vlog if it's on a blog? Is it just a regular blog post? Is this a personal blog post? I don't know how to classify this, but I am here to tell you all about my trip to Prague, Czech Republic which took place from September 8th to 25th, 2017. I was there for a school course that also included guided tours, lots of food, and maybe some indulgence in beer (I mean, it is cheaper than water there). So here is a bit of information about what I did, what I saw, and some tips and tricks if you want to visit and do bookish things (although I didn't do a tour of the sights in Daughter of Smoke and Bone cause I did not like that book)!

September 8th, 2017

I left Canada and had some difficulties at the airport cause I had to check my carry on bag which meant I was carrying some stuff around by hand because it didn't fit into my backpack. Then I spent sooo long on a plane (over 15 hours!!) but honestly I got a lot of work done on my thesis so I was pretty happy about that. There were a bunch of crying babies but I made due.

September 9th, 2017

I arrived super early in the morning to Prague which was good because it meant I got to spend some time getting to the dorm and showering before I had to do anything for the actual course. Luckily my room was ready for me as soon as I arrived, so I unpacked and promptly took a nap. I checked in to the program that afternoon and met a few people so we headed into the city centre, grabbed a drink, then went to the opening dinner. Everyone had to introduce themselves and I felt really awkward about it because I was the only one from Canada and I was a bit older than everyone, but overall it went fine. After, everyone went for a drink but I ended up leaving after just one because I didn't really feel like staying out too late drinking since we had a tour of the city the next day.

September 10th, 2017

We toured through Prague all day which was really fun. The city is breathtaking and honestly it was just a good time overall. It was raining a bit but that didn't damper our time outside. I took some good pictures and it was fun. We had "ice breaker" activities in the afternoon where we played some games as teams to win prizes and my team sorta came in first (they miscalculated but we lost by 0.5 points so we basically won). It was a lot of fun and the people I had on my team were fantastic!

We came in first sorta

21 Sept 2017

ARC #Review: WINTERSONG by S. Jae-Jones

21 September 0 Comments


Author: S. Jae-Jones
Series: Wintersong #1
Source: eARC via Publisher
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Rating: 1.5/5 stars

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book and decided to review it. This does not impact my opinions.

This was one of those books that we both felt pretty neutral on because while it had pretty prose with vivid descriptions that transported us into the world, it left us wanting a lot more. This felt over before it really began and had us wishing the pace slowed down so we could savour the story, the relationships, and the world just a bit more.

11 Sept 2017

#Review: REBEL RISING by Beth Revis

11 September 0 Comments


Author: Beth Revis
Series: Star Wars Canon
Source: Audiobook via Audible
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Rating: 3/5 stars

When Jyn Erso was five years old, her mother was murdered and her father taken from her to serve the Empire. But despite the loss of her parents she is not completely alone—Saw Gerrera, a man willing to go to any extremes necessary in order to resist Imperial tyranny, takes her in as his own, and gives her not only a home but all the abilities and resources she needs to become a rebel herself.

Jyn dedicates herself to the cause—and the man. But fighting alongside Saw and his people brings with it danger and the question of just how far Jyn is willing to go as one of Saw’s soldiers. When she faces an unthinkable betrayal that shatters her world, Jyn will have to pull the pieces of herself back together and figure out what she truly believes in…and who she can really trust.
If you read my status updates on Goodreads, you'll know that I was not a huge fan of Rogue One and thought that this would help me get more into that story and the character of Jyn. However, that wasn't really the case. As well, I wouldn't really classify this as a YA novel because even though Jyn is a teen during the novel, it never really feels like she is a teen and the novel ends with her in her 20s. I divorced this story from the canon and found myself enjoying it more as just a space opera rather than recognizing it as part of the Star Wars mythology.

7 Sept 2017

ARC #Review: FIREWORKS by Katie Cotugno

07 September 1 Comments


Author: Katie Cotugno
Series: N/A
Source: ARC via Publisher
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: April 18, 2017
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

From Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-'90s boy-and-girl-band craze.

It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along. 

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing. 

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through. 

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free and decided to review it. This in no way impacted my opinions.

This book was SO good. It took me maybe 5 hours to power through it because it was addicting and nostalgic that I felt like I was reliving my childhood. The characters, plot, and setting worked so perfectly that I didn't even feel like I was reading. It was just a magical, wonderful experience and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a great historical fiction novel (come on guys, it was almost 20 years ago)

5 Sept 2017

4 Sept 2017

#Review: WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead

04 September 2 Comments


Author: Rebecca Stead
Series: N/A
Source: Purchased from Audible
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Publication Date: July 14, 2009
Rating: 4/5 stars

Four mysterious letters change Miranda’s world forever.

By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner.

But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper: 

I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own. 
I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter.

The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.
"It's simple to love someone. It's hard to know when to say it out loud." 

I listened to this one as an audiobook so I got a bit of a different experience with this one. I loved that I was able to hear the change in emotions and how the characters grew throughout the book. This was basically an ode to A WRINKLE IN TIME and I loved that book so this one was great to me.