top reads

top reads of 2016

Monday, December 28, 2015

taking from other 'top reads of 2015' i've seen posted throughout the blogosphere, i decided why not do a top reads of 2016? very original i know ;)

this will be somewhat of a 2016 TBR of books i really want to get around to reading. this past year i've found myself scrolling through Goodreads multiple times, trying to find those books i've had more of an inclination to read. it gets rather difficult when you have a very long list and can't immediately find what you're looking for.

it's interesting to see how your reading tastes (and all other non-reading related likes) change over the years. looking back at my Goodreads reading challenge's are a good indicator of how i've evolved.

even though i only began to use the Goodreads platform in 2014, it's crazy how two years 1.) fly by and 2.) you change as a reader- and/or person as a whole.

1. Half of a Yellow Sun

surprise, surprise- another Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie book. i've heard from other readers (and Goodreads reviewers) how much they enjoyed Half of a Yellow Sun over the highly popularized Americanah. and while i bought Americanah on a whim and instantly read it, i'm a bit embarrassed to admit that i've checked out Half of a Yellow Sun twice and never even cracked it. it's a shame. but i'm hoping in 2016 i will finally get around to reading it!

2. Asking For It

i don't know too much about the premise of this book, only that it deals with some pretty heavy topics. i like plunging into stories like this- without too much background or foreknowledge. i discovered this through Rosianna's BookTube channel, where she briefly discussed it. she mentioned how wonderful it was and since then i've heard other various glowing reviews.

3. Between the World and Me

this is another book that i was exposed to through BookTube (sort of). John Green spoke about this on his vlogbrothers channel and the way it excited him, intrigued me. i'm not a TFIOS fanatic (even though i really really enjoyed it, or any other John Green novel for that matter) but lately i've been watching several of these vlogbrothers videos which switch off between him and his brother, Hank. i like the quick, choppy way they communicate historical and worldly events.

4. Uprooted

all i know about this book is that it's fantasy. i need more fantasy in my life. it seems to be one of those genres that i know i will automatically enjoy, but never seem to fully get to reading. maybe it's because many fantasy-related books are usually lengthy and i don't have too much time on my hands, but i need to shake this weariness. last time i went to my library i went with the intention of checking Uprooted out, but it wasn't on the shelf. hopefully, next time!

5. Selected Poems by E.E. Cummings

occasionally on Tumblr i get snippets of E.E. Cummings poetry and they all truly resonate with me. about a month ago i researched all of his work and shelved several of them on my TBR list. this one seemed like a good starting point. the only thing is that it's a bit difficult to find books of his poetry at my local libraries, and they are surprisingly quite pricey at the bookstore. i will have to keep trying for 2016.

6. Oryx and Crake

i loved The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood so for next year i want to pick up this other dystopian classic. this is another book that's been raved about and that many people seem to enjoy. this edition is specific is beautiful, so if i can't grab it at my library i might make a purchase and just buy it.

7. Gotham Academy Volume I

i saw the single issues of this when i was browsing through Housing Works Bookstore in NYC. they looked so cute and feisty! even though this has been on my TBR for a while, and i haven't heard too many people speak about it, i want to pick it up. in 2015 i read various graphic novels and i want to continue with my streak haha

8. When You Reach Me

ok, here's another one i basically have no idea about. i TBR'd this on Goodreads back in July and ever since then it promptly pops up on my feed every other month or so. it's a sign from the universe saying, "read this, read this." i'll take it. i know this is sci-fi related and also in the YA genre, all good things that highly interest me, so i have a feeling i will most definitely enjoy this!

9. Northanger Abbey

I'M SO EXCITED TO READ THIS and in this very same edition! my best friend and i did a gift exchange this month and one of the things i got (no matter the way or method) was this beauty. my very first Penguin Classics Hardcover edition. i love it so very much. a co-worker of mine back at university told me about this and how it was her favorite Jane Austen novel- one i had not read. well, it will be read and loved in the upcoming year, so wait for my review and comments!

10. Sweet Tooth Volume I

another graphic novel coming your way! this time around, i saw this highly praised by Lindsey over at LindseyRey's BookTube channel. i believe she's finished the entire series and has given it nothing but admiration and love. i've been to my local Barnes & Noble's but haven't seen this there yet, so i might have to stop by the comic book store near my house. the storyline for this sounds SO COOL, as if you needed further evidence by the front cover image...

11. Gilead

historical fiction is just not a genre i give enough attention to. i like history but i think i enjoy it more in a video content platform. boring high school textbooks just made me shun away from reading anything history related in that way. but, when i do get into a great historical fiction novel, i get into it. this one has been on my radar since July as well. i've seen other people have been picking it up lately and that makes me so happy, i want to hop onboard this train!

12. You

i was so close to buying this the other day when i saw it at the bookstore but i refrained. clearly, not because i do not want to read it but because i want to check it out from my library first and see if i end up loving it like so many other people have. this novel is along the lines of some crazy psychopath who becomes enamored by a girl he briefly meets and i believe is told in both perspective's- his and his victim's. sounds something like The Girl on the Train, which i really liked, so why not?

13. Runaways Volume I

i need to find this at one of my local libraries. i tried buying it online but sadly it's around $30. i can't justify paying that much for a graphic novel right now. i've read Saga Volume I by Vaughan and liked it, but have heard even more amazing things about The Runaways. hopefully, some way, somehow i will be able to find this and finally read it.

14. The Storied Life of A.J. Fickry

everyone that has picked up this book has loved it. for me, it's been one of those novels that has received so much hype, that i seem to disregard it. but i have a hunch that i might actually really end up loving this if i just give it a chance. again, i'm not too sure about what this is about, so i'm just going off of the title and front cover. i'm guessing there is someone named A.J. Fickry and it's about his (or her) life? great use of context clues, alex.

15. Kafka on the Shore

for 2016 i will pick up a Haruki Murakami book. i read The Strange Library this past year and it was definitely different...if it's not this one, Kafka on the Shore, then i want to read Norwegian Wood. i've heard that Murakami is not everyone's cup of tea, but so far what i've read has peaked my interest. his work might require a bit more of downtime though and quiet, so i will have to make room in my schedule for it.

16. Middlesex

i bought this lovely out of print edition of Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. i have Virgin Suicides tucked away in one of my many boxes that are accumulated in my garage from my move back from university, hence why i haven't been able to read that yet. when i saw this at The Strand bookstore in NYC, it called my name and somehow made it's way to the cashier. can't wait to finally read a Eugenides novel!

compared to 2 years ago, i would say my reading tendencies have changed. i think the majority of it has to do with graduating university and not having schoolwork reading double up with leisure time reading. instead of gravitating towards YA and romance books, i now want to explore more mature readings- something i surprisingly did more of in high school (aka how i read the majority of classics i have).

do you have a 2016 TBR or any specific book in mind you want to get around to in the new year? 


monday thoughts

Monday, December 21, 2015

i'm a little late on this one, but it's still Monday and that's all that matters.

i've been thinking lately about who we surround ourselves with. positive energy radiates from not only within, but from those around you. over the years i've narrowed down my close group of friends, sticking with those that have not only seen me at my best, but at my worst.

i can be very pessimistic and cynical at times, overdramatic as well, but that's when my friends come in and snap me out of it. they uplift me and try to see where i'm coming from. i've realized that you shouldn't want people who instantly agree with you. you should have friends who question your train of thought and motives. they should make you see both sides of the situation- not just yours.

as we become older, everyone seems to be on this daily routine of work, come home, eat, sleep, repeat. the weekend is the time to sleep in, exercise, run errands, see family, and occasionally hang out with friends.

gradually though, that last point has become more prominent in my life. i think it's so important to hang out with friends, especially while we're young. we should be making travel plans and scheduling our next trips. we should check out that new coffee shop we heard about or grab some dinner after work.

make sure you have those people around you who are open to new things, who push you, and themselves, to not only experience what's directly in front of them but what's around them. like that famous saying goes, "if not now, then when?"

when you have friends like this, those that inspire and radiate positivity, you tend to feed off of that as well; in turn, you garner some of this same energy; and who doesn't want more happiness in their life?

with the new year right around the corner, i want to fully take advantage of these opportunities with my close group of friends. they are not the best at coordinating but i might just have to give them a little push. it's always nice to catch up in person, not just through text messages or group chats.

i want to go back in time when people still called each other instead of text. i want written letters and mailed postcards.

if you change your lifestyle to solely focus on those who love and cherish you, friends who are more worried about living their lives than seeing others through social media, i think we can construct our own perfectly, un-perfect utopia.


life || what's going on

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

i saw this post over on Alphabeth and thought i would follow suit. i know i posted monday thoughts earlier this week, but this post seemed perfect for a collective reflection on what's been going on recently. life is so tumultuous and you never know what's around the corner, so let's freeze a fragment of time through these quick notes:

Reading: i'm currently reading In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park. it is such a powerful read with a rich historical overview. i'm simultaneously learning and being inspired.

Watching: Attack on Titan on Netflix. i've heard really good things about this anime so i thought why not? i wanted to watch something that was outside my norm and this has been just that. it's action-packed and extremely intense! 

Buying: this past weekend i was on the hunt for a new winter jacket i could use for my upcoming trip to New York. i thought i found one but it turned out to be too big, so unfortunately i had to return it. but on Monday i managed to find one, and at a reasonable price, so i'm good to go! although the temperatures have been pretty odd on the east coast...

Listening: the theory of everything soundtrack and the new Coldplay album.

Feeling: a bit stressed about the amount of work i have to do. i'm a bit hard on myself and always want my final drafts of projects to be perfect. also feeling a bit sad because i got into a minor fender bender last week and i still haven't had the chance to take my car into the shop :( 

Planning: to go to New York next week! i'm so excited to see my best friend and revisit the city!

Wishing: for some cold, preferably in the 40s/50s. i know this is weird because others are suffering of the cold and would rather be in sunny Florida, but i want to feel a change of season and some cold, crisp afternoons!

Enjoying: conversations with my dad. 

Eating: i just had some really good pasta my dad made and a sneaky stash of Justin's peanut butter cups i have in the fridge.

Hoping: to end this week on a good note! 

Thinking: how much i'm going to have to spend on my car and how i can't wait for next week to get here already- eek!

Lacking: time, sleep, exercise  

Trying: to prioritize my time and give a bit more of myself to this blog and posting. it's hard especially after coming home after a long day of work. all i want to do is eat and sleep!

Drinking: my usual cup of coffee in the morning and lots of water. 

Wanting: harmony and stability in the upcoming year. 

Cooking: i've gotten back into baking this past couple of months. i made some really good pumpkin bread in November as well as some pecan pumpkin muffins (lot's of pumpkin goodies)!

Deciding: what to do after i finish this post. keep fixing my blog up, put on my pjs or instantly delve into my book? decisions, decisions...

Wearing: running shorts (even though i have no plans to run today and have not been running for a couple weeks now, shame on me, but mostly the sun for setting so early) and a black t-shirt 

Needing: more TIME and energy! 

what about you? what's been going on?

top ten tuesday

top 10 books i read in 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Top Ten Books I Read in 2015 Collage

here is my weekly post for top ten tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. this week's topic is "top 10 books I read in 2015."

the above books are in no particular order, they were just my overall batch of top 10 for the year. i really enjoyed all of these, even if some of them didn't receive full 5 star ratings for me on Goodreads. these are books i can see myself re-reading in the future and still enjoying; each one was in a distinct genre, had engaging plots and great character development!

below, i listed the books in case any of them were caught off due to resizing:

  • Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
  • Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
  • Jem and the Holograms Volume I: Showtime by Kelly Thompson and Sophie Campbell 
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 
  • Telling Secrets by Frederick Buechner 
  • Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
  • Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

have you read any of these? let me know down below- happy tuesday! 


monday thoughts

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Thoughts Picture

there's just something about Mondays, isn't there? a supposed fresh new start that signals the start of the week. the day that screams, "READY OR NOT HERE I COME." a day that many dread and few embrace.

i think 'monday thoughts' will be a new weekly post on this blog; a way to write out all my weekend happenings, because this is the time where you find yourself finally able to go out late, sleep in if you want and just find a moment for yourself. life continuously churns and sometimes the weekends can feel as though time lazily stops for a few minutes or aggressively powers through quick, hazy afternoons.

today i'm stuck contemplating the feeling of growing up. it's a funny thing because at 18 you're considered an adult, or at least here in the United States. this is usually around the time that you find yourself graduating from high school and going away to college.

you move from a structured, educational system, teachers still coddling students, offering extra credit assignments and distinctly telling you what to do to a more liberal environment; one where you're not explicitly told what to do, but where you're the one expected to make your own choices and decisions.

looking back while i was at university i lived in a bubble; a warped version of reality where schoolwork entirely consumed you, but wasn't necessarily a true representation of the outside world. you still didn't get the opportunity to firmly stand your ground in the "real world" and know what was coming upon graduating.

it's not until you do your 4 years, obtain your degree, apply for jobs, and start working that you realize it's all been a bit of pretend. i graduated in May and it's been about 8 months so far of working full-time and moving back home.

i feel as though it's taken this long for me to realize how the "real world" truly functions. adulting is hard. when you're young all you want to do is grow up and become an adult, a magical age where you automatically reach maturity and are able to properly sustain yourself.

but life isn't that easy. you have to work, work extremely hard, to reach your goals- even the small ones. i'm still young, i'm only 23, going on 24 pretty soon, and sometimes i look around and think is this it? it would be easy to think that way.

yet, there is still so much to do and experience. as time continues to pass, the more i find myself becoming my own person, leaving major life events behind, like graduating high school or college, and developing more of my own values and outlook on life.

i don't want to confine myself to certain time regulations, i.e. "by age 30 i need to have this or be here in my life." but i do want to come into a more defined version of myself, someone sure in what she wants and want she likes. someone who can support herself and help her family. a young woman with a solid group of friends and a long list of things she has yet to do.

book review

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Thursday, December 10, 2015

here we go, a review. i'm a bit hesitant about writing this one because this book touches upon heavy political topics, such as immigration and race. but it's one of those novels that will stick with me (i already find myself wanting to read the author's other works and re-read this book in the future sometime).

also, because i believe this is more of a "seen but not heard" read; a book that has had a lot of hype, but that not too many people tend to pick up, i thought i should sit down and write a proper review about it.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a story about two young teenagers, Obinze and Ifemelu, who fall in love in their native country, Nigeria. they find themselves deeply attached to one another even with two differing personalities; Ifemulu, brazen and proficient in her opinions and Obinze, silent but wise for his age. their country's political and economic unrest, prompt Ifemelu to apply for a student visa in America, ultimately with a goal of studying at university. She is accepted and leaves Nigeria, also leaving Obinze behind, with the hopes of being reunited in the coming months.

Picture of Americanah book coveri really enjoyed this novel. like i said in my Goodreads review, a lot a lot. it was a book that opened up my eyes to many things i see on an everyday basis and question, but perhaps not out loud, if that makes sense? it brings to light questions of race and color that exist, because they do, and how these differences cause shifts in behavior, from acquaintances, friends, family, employers, and overwhelmingly all of society.

Adichie does such an excellent job of describing certain nuances and expressions of thought, especially from Ifemelu, that i've experienced or thought myself. i connected with Ifemelu on a very deep level in certain instances and i love when that happens. it's as though that character and i have shared something personal and true, without knowing each other in real life. so, in actuality, that connection is more with the author.

it's no secret though that Adichie is herself intertwined in this book. many of the events and character development she lays out, are taken from a core of herself. and to this, i find no fault, because it means she gave part of herself to the story and writing- she's engrained to the book on some macro level.

i found the writing to be nostalgic and personal; constructed words that expressed things i've felt before but could not be written down or pronounced properly. yet, i did find a couple faults. for example, i still don't think there was enough character development. Ifemelu was given ample room for her thoughts and experiences, but i felt as though Obinze did not.

there was a sense of an existing dual narrative, but looking back- no. especially towards the final chapters, Obinze was abruptly cut short, in my opinion. i wanted to see more inside his head and thoughts, but as a reader i didn't get that. i also felt as though i understood Ifemelu on a deeper level, but simultaneously, she felt cold and distant from everyone and everything. she only had one good friend throughout the entire novel and at one point you never heard anything about her parents.

i appreciated the topics on race, especially from a non-American Black residing in America, but the blog posts seemed to be more of an appropriate outlet for these discussions. if anything the characters seemed to be inserted for the main purpose of expressing such notions, instead of organically building out their own existence within the plot.

i'm interested in reading other novels by Adichie, i've read that Americanah, is merely the tip of the iceberg and other works of hers (not as popularized as this book) are even more inspiring and wonderful. i highly encourage those of you who have been meaning to read this to get to it. you will not be dissapointed. i found myself wanting to find time and light to pick this up when it was put down. i had never been exposed to any Nigerian history or read a novel with a Nigerian backdrop of any kind, so it was also enlightening on that level.

have you read Americanah? what did you think of it? 

top ten tuesday

top ten new-to-me authors i read in 2015

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

another Tuesday, another top ten post. i'm determined to get the hang of this and post more regularly. so here we go, this week's Top Ten Tuesday is: top ten new-to-me authors i read in 2015! thanks to The Broke & the Bookish for creating this weekly post. this one in particular, sounds like a great wrap-up as we approach the end of the year.
 1. Frederick Buechner: i read Telling Secrets in November and loved it. this was actually a recommendation from Beatrice, over on booksoverlooks on BookTube. like her, i find myself reflecting back on this book and can see myself rereading it next year. 

2. Gayle Forman: i know this past year there has been a lot of hype surrounding Gayle Forman, particularly for her If I Stay series but i actually became enthralled with her writing based off of her book, I Was Here. this novel is raw and very emotional. you can read my Goodreads review here

3. Patricia Briggs: oh man, Patricia Briggs. i had such good times with her and all her characters during my last semester at university. i really love both of her series'- Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega. if you're interested in starting one of these series, i suggest beginning with Mercy Thompson. you can begin with Alpha & Omega but you get more backstory and details by beginning with Mercy.

4. Jodi Meadows: i read the Newsoul series earlier in the year, but i can still recall how much i enjoyed Meadows's writing. this series had such great themes for a YA book. it had many underlying messages and the entire storyline has still stuck to me months after finishing.

5. Marlon James: i want to give a shoutout to my university and professor for making Marlon James's The Book of Night Women assigned reading. Marlon James recently won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for his novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings. i haven't read his award-winning novel, but The Book of Night Women was amazing. it's full of history and great narrative. i write more about it in my Goodreads review!

6. Margaret Atwood: i read The Handmaid's Tale during lunch breaks. when i finished it, it was one of those books i wanted to instantly go and buy, as i had rented it from the library. the writing was so exquisite and beautiful.

7. Ava Dellaira: this is based off of reading Love Letters to the Dead. personally, i really connected with this book. there were so many instances and emotional scenes that hit home for me. i loved the epistolary style for a YA novel and how heartfelt and true it was. this also got picked up to become a film i believe, so that will be interesting to watch when it's finished!

8. Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: i mean this is pretty self-explanatory if you've explored my blog a bit. this is obviously related to Illuminae, which is one of my favorite books of 2015. so amazing. enough said.

9. Ann Brashares: i'm late to the game on this one, i'm aware. if you've read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants then you're familiar with this name. i only managed to read the first book in the series in 2015, but i want to finish it up in 2016.

10. Jean Rhys: this is an author that you either hate or you love. and i personally really love Jean Rhys. she really takes her time to delve deep inside a character's emotional ties, tiptoeing between their surroundings and internal sentiments. i feel like i'm in a daze when i read her novels; but a good daze, one that is dreamy and melancholy. 

are any of these authors familiar or on your top ten list? let me know!   


#rockmytbr 2016 reading challenge

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

this challenge comes at such a great time. over the past several months, a small pile of books has been collectively growing underneath my TV stand (where i usually just stash my recent purchases). maybe it's because the titles are obscured and all you can see is a pile of nondescript books lying on a shelf, but it's definitely growing.

i mentioned before that i don't usually buy books, which is true, but many of these books have just been lying there since May. some of them are graduation gifts, others a splurge on BookOutlet (hey, they have some great deals on there!) and others are just impulse purchases at Barnes & Noble (guilty).

either way, they are there, sitting and mocking me for being a hypocrite. my library checkouts get read more than the actual books i own. i feel awful. luckily, Sarah K over at The YA Book Traveler has created the #rockmytbr 2016 Reading Challenge!

oh yeaaah. made for me. this challenge is open to all readers, so whether you're a book blogger, booktuber or bookstagrammer, anyone is welcome to join! the only requirement is that you have to read a minimum of 1 book per month that you already own. i'm sure this also includes all those books you've accumulated over 2015, or previous years, but make sure to stay updated over on Sarah's blog.

so far these are the books and graphic novels i'm hoping to get through with the help of #rockmytbr:

  • 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
  • The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith 
  • Chew Volumes I and II by John Layman 
  • Ms Marvel Volume II by G. Willow Wilson 
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (this is a re-read bc i bought a beautiful edition)
  • The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
  • 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab 
  • The Caller by Juliet Marillier
  • Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (i need to read The Shining first though!) 

let me know if you have any of these books listed in your own tbr or if you're interested in jumping in on any of these! at the end of each month i'll update my progress with this challenge either through here or through Twitter!
- alex

blogger positivity campaign

letter to jk rowling

Friday, November 27, 2015

i'm going to be a bit late in the day for posting this, but technically it will still count. must get better at posting!

for today's Blogger Positivity Campaign, hosted by the lovely Jillian at Jillian's Books, you are supposed to write a letter to a) a fictional character, b) an author, c) your favorite ship or OTP (“One True Pairing”), or d) your favorite book that has HELPED or INSPIRED YOU as a reader. so, without further ado...

blogger positivity campaign

blogger positivity campaign: intro + something i wish i did more of

Monday, November 23, 2015

i am horrible. i just went through my e-mails since i was away last week and realized i missed not one, but two, events for the Blogger Positivity Campaign hosted by Jillian from Jillian's Books. i need to set myself a schedule and become more consistent. endless apologies. but here is a cheeky 2 in 1 post, making up the past 2 blog posts i missed for the campaign (as well, as the other post i published today).

The Blogger Positvity Campaign


  • Introduce yourself and your blog
hi there, I'm Alexandra, but I go by Alex. my blog was created during my senior year in college. i had a long hiatus for a while but i want to continue to post on here and write about what i'm reading, as well as life events that are occurring. 

  • Where do you blog from?

i blog from good ole' South Florida. the most humid and swamp-like state of the U-S-A.

  • Who or what made you the reader you are today?
i would like to say that i come from a big literary-inclined family, but the truth is i ride solo when it comes to reading in my household. i would say immigrating to America made me the reader i am today. English is not my first language, but my second. when i arrived here i was not fluent in English and had a bit of trouble acclimating to school. reading helped me excel academically and truly learn the language. it made me feel safe and allowed me to find a home in my school's library and all the books it offered. since then i have been a lifelong bookworm.

  • Who or what made you decide to create a book blog?
i started this book blog during my senior year in college. it was a great way for me to freely write about what i wanted; less school-related papers and more about trips or books i was able to go on and read during the weekends. looking back at my earlier posts, i realize they are a bit lengthy but it reminds me of all the thought and effort i put into them once i had finished reading something.

  • What are your thoughts on the blogosphere today?
i can't say i have a lot of thoughts on the blogosphere today. this blog was more of a platform for me to get all my thoughts down. i didn't have much time in the beginning to interact with others and can still say i am a bit of a noob at it. but i think blogging is great once you get the hang of it and become consistent. it's great to have the chance to engage with others who might live across the ocean from you but share the same interests.

  • 5 random facts about you?
alright, here we go.

  1. i am obsessed with my dogs. they are both maltese and are big, fluffy white balls of fur 
  2. i hate the cold if it's coming from an air-conditioned source. but i love the natural cold- the way the temperature drops and scarves and boots come out, the way the leaves change and how long drives become more enjoyable with a cool breeze blowing through
  3. staying in on friday night's with a book and pizza is paradise
  4. i prefer checking books out from the library than buying them
  5. i was born in Venezuela 

  • 5 favorite books you've read and loved?
so hard, but randomly choosing from my Goodreads favorites:

  1. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  2. Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier
  3. Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
  4. I Was Here by Gayle Forman
  5. 1984 by George Orwell 

  • 5 favorite book bloggers! 
for this one i wish i could add more info, but i want to be honest with my answers. i don't really follow many book bloggers yet. i watch a lot of BookTube videos though. this year (like last year) i am making a resolution to get out more on the book blogging community! 

Something I Wish I Did More of in the Book Blogging Community

this post is a bit of a freebie for the Blogger Positivity Campaign. seeing as i already mentioned that i am not too active on the book blogging community, the only thing that really springs to mind for this post is "i wish I was more active." i need to change my layout a bit and make it more interactive, as well as become more consistent with when i post. i also need to get out there and leave comments, follow people and explore other's book blogs. i tend to do things a little bit differently and out of order, so all of this is not surprising to me. but with a little scheduling and planning i'm sure it can be accomplished.

if anyone has any tips or tricks on blogging interaction and getting more exposure, let me know down below!

book review

illuminae on a monday morning

Monday, November 23, 2015

two weeks ago I finished reading Illuminae by Amie Kaufamn and Jay Kristoff. at the time i didn't have a chance to go back and write a review about it. kind of a bummer. i thought that's ok. then this morning i went on Twitter only to discover some pretty surprising news: Illuminae is getting picked up by Warner Bros. and Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment group. 

so yes, casually putting it out there, Illuminae, published back in October of this year, will be adapted by none other than Brad Pitt. to be honest, i thought this was a little random. personally, i had no idea that Brad Pitt even had an "entertainment group" or that he was interested in young adult storylines. not that Illuminae, isn't a spectacular book or anything, but that was pretty quick...and once again, Brad Pitt. Brad Pitt. (how many times have I written Brad Pitt so far you ask? 5, not including the one in this question).

if you haven't heard the buzz surrounding Illuminae...WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?! just kidding. don't fret, i'm not one to inherently keep up with trends. yes, i do know which books are being hyped up and getting on the New York Times Best Selling list, but that doesn't mean i jump on board with them. i'm one of those people who waits until the buzz fades away so i can then make up my own opinions, without being swayed too much by the masses.

this has worked out great for me. why?

  1. i usually don't buy books- i like to rent books out from my local libraries. 
  2. i can stick to reading what i'm in the mood for without feeling pressured to pick up everything else is reading
reading that last sentence over i feel like such a snob, but it's nice to go against the flow every once in a while. staying as objective and truthful as you can is big in my book. do what you feel is right, always. stay weird and different, always.

to give a quick synopsis of Illuminae: it follows 2 main protagonists, Kady and Ezra, who are casually attending class at their high school in the beginning of the book, when the planet they live on is attacked. the novel takes place in 2575 where 2 corporations are trying to gain dominance in the galactic world. Kady and Ezra are not only classmates but romantically involved (at the tender age of 17- because this is a Young Adult novel), something that is on rocky waters when all hell decides to break loose on their planet. the become separated, stationed in two different ships, but manage to keep in contact through e-mails and text messages.

these various messages and memos are what make Illuminae so distinct. the writing format isn't compromised of your typical block paragraph, chapter by chapter synopsis. it is literally e-mails and computer hacking that Kady and Ezra engage in, trying not only to get in contact with one another, but figure out what is truly going on and why their home planet was attacked.

Illuminae is one of those science-fiction stories that will grip you right into the world and pull you in headfirst. the way it's designed and formatted is unique but the writing is all there, adding even more to the characters and world building. it's beautiful, especially a certain section in the middle where it's poetic and choppy on purpose. it's action-packed. you will be following along reading the messages that are exchanged anxiously waiting to see what happens. there is an AI you need to be aware of and romance that manages to surpass an interplanetary war.

basically, go pick it up. please. if you couldn't already guess, I gave Illuminae 5 stars on Goodreads.

let me know if you've read this or are planning on it- happy monday!


peace for paris

Friday, November 13, 2015

Peace for Paris sign

when i got home from work today the only thing i wanted to do was lie down and mindlessly scroll through my phone. my mom was going on about watching the news and seeing what was happening in Paris but i didn't pay her any attention.

the entire afternoon passed. we went out, ran some errands, went to the mall, and finally as i was in the backseat of the car i decided to ask, "what's going on in Paris?" it's moments like these where i reflect back on what i was thinking at the time, what i was doing, who i was with, what my train of thought was...

my mindset the entire day was "i can't wait to run home and lie down." once i had fulfilled that i then began thinking about the materialistic things i wanted to look at and buy- superficial enjoyment. when i pulled up the ny times and began reading, my heart dropped. this is what i kept putting off, what i nonchalantly shrugged off.

more than 100 people have been reported dead at this hour. more than 4 locations were used as prime vantage points of attack. paris, i am praying for you. social media has advanced so rapidly over the years that we now have the advantage of connecting with people all over the world to send an S.O.S. in these crises, to provide comfort and show that we too care. you are not alone.

i feel useless and redundant asking the question people always seem to come back to during these horrific acts: "why did this happen?" there is no one answer. i'm not sure even those behind the crime would be able to sufficiently explain their reasoning. just as we can not answer, when will this end? when will the hate be gone? we can only try to put love, understanding and compassion first.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King Jr. 

technology is not only at our disposal for entertainment but for awareness. tonight you are in my prayers Paris. i pray for the victims, the affected families, the bystanders, the unaware tourists, the children, humanity.
- alex 


hello, it's me

Monday, November 09, 2015

in all actuality, hello, we meet again- almost one year later? time is weird, it goes by so quickly, more quickly than we realize. i've been trying to make the most out of my days because of this fact. i want to enjoy the little things but also make sure that i've made the most out of each day i'm given. i was about to let this blog go but there was something that pulled me back. 

maybe it was all my lengthy reviews or the genuine enjoyment i felt at keeping up with this, but when i looked back i knew i couldn't close it. there was too much writing and work that i put into this. during my last year of college, reading for enjoyment and writing everything down was nice. i know, what a great way of explaining my feelings. but that's what it was. when you're in school you're constantly running around, stressing over papers, projects, quizzes, mid-terms, research, life. school has its own beauty but it's also a conundrum of anxiety and stress. when you get home the real work is beginning, which is reviewing and studying for the next day or week ahead of you.

adult life is surprisingly a bit less panic and a bit more go, go, go. and when you're not running around trying to chase the hours after 5PM, you're trying to relax and figure out what to do with your spare time; should you pick up a book? bake? cook something new? scrounge the sales rack at the mall? pick up a new hobby? it's all very strange- how we get caught up in each new phase of our life, trying to figure out the direction to take as we go.

so i want to continue on "all alex reads." i want to jot things down, make over my blog and look back at my posts, seeing my progress over the years. also, connect with some more of you out there. 

now back to the title at hand. let's not lie to ourselves, this is a judge free zone- how many times a day do you repeat Hello by Adele? i have to admit that i'm guilty of more than 3 times a day. hope everyone's off to a good week! 
- alex

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

One of my goals for the new year was to venture out and discover new book blogs, and that's exactly what I did! I've discovered The Broke and the Bookish and I would highly suggest you go and check them out as well, there are really great posts and features- I really like their Bookish Jobs for Bookish People and Student of the Month (I've linked the most recent posts I could find). Exploring the blog I found that they had an original feature called Top Ten Tuesday and knew I had to participate. It's now or never. 

This week's Top Ten list is centered around "ten books I'd love to read with my book club/If I had a book club (or you could pick a specific kind of book club- like if you had a YA book club or an adult book club, etc)." I had to think about this one for a while, but then I went on my Goodreads and it didn't take long to decide. If I had a book club, and a very specific one at that, it would definitely be a Graphic Novels one! I have been wanting to read more comics, graphic novels and I'll even add manga in there because I feel as though they're all under the same collective group. 

1. Deadly Class by Rick Remender 
Centered around the 80's with an ancient group of assassins and teenagers in high school. Yeah, right up my alley.

2. Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson
"It's Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Gravity Falls and features five butt-kicking, rad teenage girls, wailing on monsters and solving a mystery with the whole world at stake." UM. Does this need further explanation?

3. The Sandman: The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman
I'm going to cheat a little bit with this one because I've already read Volume 1 and really liked it, but haven't managed to pick up Volume 2. Either way, this series is really interesting. A bit weird but I hear it gets better as you go. 

4. Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan 
Kids who discover their parents are super-powered villains and by the same author of Saga? It just seems natural to start this.

5. Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan
I know another Vaughan graphic novel, but I mean I can't resist the ratings on Goodreads and recommendations from other readers! It seems a bit gorey and violent, so probably not the best for those with a weak stomach.

6. The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen
I don't know much about this one except that it has to with powerful gods taking over human bodies, 12 to be exact. 

7. Soulless: The Manga by Gail Carriger
You have Victorian London and a woman who connects the gap between the natural and supernatural worlds. And there are forces conspiring against said person! What more can you ask for?

8. Locke & Key by Joe Hill 
I have heard about this all over Booktube and Goodreads, so it's about time my fictional graphic novel book club got its act together and around to reading it! 

9. The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg
I feel as though this is one of those graphic novels that are just so pretty to open up and look at in general. I've heard the illustrations are beautiful and so is the storyline.

10. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
I can't tell you how many times I've seen this on BookOutlet and put it in my cart. Yet, it has never made it past that (then again neither have a lot of others). But there's just something about this story! 

So there you have it! I feel like I've just knocked it out of the ballpark with keeping with my 2015 goals. I wanted to find new blogs and get into more graphic novels. With this imaginary book club I feel as though I'm progressing towards finishing more graphic novels! What do you think? Have you read any of this or plan to? Let me know! 



Mini-Weekend Roadtrip

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tuesday's are the new Monday's for me, does anyone else feel that way? I had a 3-day weekend this past week and it was great! It's just a bit of a downer coming back to schoolwork and responsibilities :( I had the chance to do a bit of traveling though, which I was very grateful and excited for. I went to Savannah, Georgia which is about 4 hours from where I go to school. I had been wanting to go to Savannah for a while now because I've heard it has great places to eat, drink, dine and just walk around in general. Plus, the city is historically rich and full of stories so I couldn't wait to see the past/present mixed together. When my friend's birthday came around and she asked me if I wanted to come I could not resist!

I will post some pictures down below of what I did and saw, oh and what I ate, because I had some really amazing food. I only stayed for a night in Savannah, but I really liked it! I find myself relating a lot of cities to New Orleans (I went there last summer), so I would say that Savannah is a more toned down version of Nola. There is definitely night life because of the universities surrounding the city, but it's not quite as rambunctious. The port area where the market was situated, was not like New Orleans at all though. The architecture and the cobble stones really set it apart, as well as it's wide streets and foliage everywhere. Without further ado, my mini-weekend roadtrip! 

My friend's dog joined us for the ride, so I had to take a funny selfie with him :P


Being a College Student

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I'm trying to be more consistent on here (aka not disappear), and also expand my horizon on my posts. That is why I wanted to talk about being a college student. I know there are probably a lot of people out there who have been in my situation (perhaps recently), or that are currently still in school. I'm a senior graduating in May, so this will be my last semester. And this has been a long time coming, trust me!

I did not do the typical 4-year degree, nor did I do the 3-year program, instead I'm part of the select and special 5-year group. I have indeed taken the long and tedious route, and it has been a marathon not a sprint. It's crazy to look back but I can clearly remember the very first day that my parents dropped me off, and now seeing where I am and how much things change I'm in awe. Time really does fly and still find myself grappling with that fact. 

I have always been very dedicated about school, that one girl who cried if I got anything lower than an A. But transitioning into college was completely different than what I had been accustomed to in middle and high school. Jumping into classes and realizing how much studying I would have to put in, kind of disoriented me. I would say that I began my first 2 years, right and steady, trying to pick the "right" major and still discovering all the things I had at my disposable; for example, organizations to join, people to meet, things to do. I wanted to do it all. But picking a major was always really difficult for me. I just couldn't seem to choose one that I thought was "good" enough- something that was going to set me up for both happiness and stability. I was looking for a career that I could see myself doing for the rest of my life and never regret picking; at least those are the only things I ever thought about when trying to decide. 

It honestly was not until this past year, that I definitively settled on something. It's definitely out there, and when I tell people they look at me like I'm crazy, but I've gotten used to it. My official major is English Literature with a minor in Biology. I have taken about all the science classes you can name, with exceptions of a few, because for a while there I was gun-ho about medical school. My mind has changed since then, because I decided to be honest and truthful with myself about things I passionately enjoy and wouldn't mind doing everyday. You know that saying that you should wake up each day doing something you love? Well, I was waking up each day dreading what was to come and looking forward to the end of the day when I could sleep.

I think the whole picking a major process and all the "mile stones" and requirements that come with one, are ridiculous. They cause more stress and bring about more tension and unnecessary emotions in your life. Trust me, this whole college thing isn't easy. You will go through highs, some very good ones, but some really bad lows. I have been there and experienced a lot of it. I wish the college I go to offered more "liberal" degrees, and accommodating programs for the interests each person has. Instead of cornering you into one set thing. Also, I would love if the misconceptions on what majors or minors "go with each other" could be thrown out the window. I am a girl who loves her books and writing, but am still fascinated by science and computer things. The fact that one doesn't compliment the other is nonsense in my opinion. 

I'm really happy to be graduating but also really scared. I'm about to stop doing something that I've been accustomed to for the last 5 years. Weirdly enough I'm not necessarily nervous about leaving this school environment, but I am skeptical about what next thing I'm going to jump into. I'm still thinking about that. Let me know what your college experience was/is like. What's your major? What was your path like? Hang in there, we're half-way through the week! 

weekly wrap up

Weekly Wrap Up

Monday, January 12, 2015

First week of school is over (even though it started on a Wednesday), nevertheless my first last day of my undergrad semester has gone and passed. Now to just kick butt for the rest of the year, which is easier said than done. I have been getting some reading done but nothing that has led me to writing a review about it. And not because the books I've picked up are bad, on the contrary they're really good, but because they're part of a big series. With that being said, let me just say that I may have found a new favorite author- Patricia Briggs. Man, her books are awesome!

pic name pic name pic name

book review

Rebel Belle Review

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

I don't know whats been going on the last couple of days but I have completely gotten out of the reading slump I was in and jumped right back into reading. *cue reunited and it feels so good*
There's nothing better than feeling fully refreshed and energized to pick something new up. And that's exactly what I've been up to. A couple of nights ago (or days? guilty of staying up until 4AM) I finished Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins. Now I wish I could day I don't judge books based on their covers, but who am I kidding? I completely do that. Nice covers entice me, they pull my eyes their way screaming *LOOK AT ME* So, when I glanced at Rebel Belle, the cover did nothing for me. But I had heard such good things about it that I thought why not? I needed a fluffy read to get back into things, and that's exactly what it did.

book survey

2014 End of Year Book Survey

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner

2014 Reading Stats

Number of Books You've Read: 90
Number of Re-Reads: Honestly I could not say because I don't keep track of my re-reads and don't really re-read entire books just skip to all my favorite passages/scenes but if I had to estimate it would be 3-5
Genre You Read The Most From: YA


Hi 2015!

Saturday, January 03, 2015

I take full responsibility for completely disappearing since the end of November. As soon as I came back from Thanksgiving break it was GO TIME with tests, finals and last minute projects. Then December came and went! I got a chance to go to New York for my very first time and it was amazing. I'm so incredibly lucky to have an amazing friend who was generous enough to allow me to spend a week with her and roam the city. I will post some pictures down below of some of the things I did and saw!


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