Catcher by Kalyn Nicholson Review (spoiler-free)

          It’s safe to say that Kalyn Nicholson is my favourite YouTuber – ever. I’ve been watching her content for a couple of years now and she has blossomed with her audience which I find beautiful and poetic in a way I think Kalyn appreciates too. So when I found out that she’s writing a book, a futuristic book about a girl who meets her dream boy, literally meets her dream boy I was instantly interested. I am a writer, my favourite YouTuber is a writer, this is amazing, right?

          I waited until her book came out, I even waited for it to go on sale and was bummed out when she delayed it. Then I got it, read 23% of it in one night and stopped until yesterday when I read the whole thing in one sitting during a readathon. This is not to say the book is bad or anything. For a debut novel, it’s actually quite good.

          The story of Carson and Grey is set in the future in a utopian society. Carson was four years old when she lost her baby brother in a car crash and due to her parent’s strict upbringing, she grew up very sheltered – except that she started dreaming of a boy she named Grey at four years old. It’s her 18th birthday and she is hoping to make it to Yorker, her dream university in the big city but her parents aren’t having it then a fire breaks out and engulfs her childhood home and she is relocated to the big city by her uncle, Char. There, on the first day, she meets Grey in a coffee shop called Koze and the story goes from there.

          To start with the characters, the first time I read it I began noticing the lack-lustre main character and the fact that I don’t like her parents and even her best friend, Mina. It took me ages to get through that 23% because nothing was happening to these characters. It felt like I was reading one of Kalyn’s morning routine videos (which are great in video form) rather than reading a fantasy romance that was meant to make me fall in love with the characters. Nothing truly made me didn’t care for Carson. Heck, I even forgot her name throughout the book because she’s simply not a character I care about. She does her morning routine and feels crappy about being held captive by her parents but she has no insightful thoughts and ideas, she has no set morals that drive her. In fact, nothing drives her throughout the book, she’s mostly going through the motions and letting everyone walk all over her.

          The more I read about these characters the more I realized that I don’t like them – Carson is boring and easy to walk all over, her parents are forgettable until the end of the book when they become despicable, her uncle Char is probably the most interesting character thus far and Mina, well, she had potential but we didn’t get to see it. I quite liked dream Grey and I liked Hale with his sarcasm and asshole-like behaviour because it woke Carson up, it made her snap back and be interesting. I think the thing that bothers me the most about Carson is that she feels like an insert-character to the point where I could almost picture Kalyn as Carson.

          I also disliked the songs at the beginning of the chapters, the repetition of basic words like “portal” and “kissed” and the few spelling mistakes throughout the book. Not to mention that she threw us into this new, futuristic utopia with no explanation. What’s a portal? What’s a lift? It took me a while to understand that a lift is a futuristic version of a damn car.

          On the other hand, I really enjoyed the storyline, even though nothing really happened at the beginning of the book. I liked the pace of the book and I liked the way Carson discovered things in a digestible way. And that twist, oh that twist was SO GOOD it blew my mind and made me shiver and it made me love the story despite the lacking characters. And if we’re really being honest, one of the things that Kalyn did really, really well is the way she described the dream sequences, those are the parts that really made the book enjoyable. It made me see the world she built as I was reading and it made me fall in love with Grey just as much as Carson did.

          In conclusion, Catcher is a good book. I gave it three stars on Goodreads – one for the storyline, one for Grey and one for THAT TWIST that still makes me shiver when I think about it. Sure, the characters are lacklustre but they can be improved in the second book which I’m looking forward to, especially knowing that Kalyn is taking writing classes.

          Anyway, have you read Catcher? What did you think about it and if not, are you going to give it a try?

          Thanks for reading!

          With love,        

          Sonny xx

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2019 Goals

          I thought about writing this post at the beginning of January to mark well, the beginning of a new year but the more I thought about it the more I realized that I wasn’t completely sure whether the goals I set for myself in December would still be relevant for me in 2019. I am the type of person who likes starting over, I like new beginnings and therefore I love starting a new year. I stand by the ‘tomorrow is a new day’ saying and thus 2019 started and I was sat down at my desk, pouring over my goals and trying to break them down into more manageable tasks, to understand how I want to go about achieving them. This is how I realized that I wasn’t so keen on some of the goals I set for myself. Of course, in true perfectionist fashion, I started to panic because January already started and that meant I didn’t have the perfect plan to get me through the year (I am an anxious person.)

          This made me realize that:

  1. You can never have the perfect plan because life’s a bitch and it likes to throw curveballs.
  2. I can always switch things up. If halfway through the year I don’t care to learn to play the guitar anymore, I don’t have to do that. I don’t have to force myself to do anything that doesn’t make me happy and that is okay.

          Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m willing to just scrap goals just because I know I won’t achieve them or because I’m too insecure about doing them (e.g – going places on my own). I just have to adjust them, tweak a few things here and there and hopefully, I’ll achieve the goals I’m not 100% sure about. This is why when coming up with your goals, be them monthly, yearly, 5-years and 10-year goals, it’s important to sit down with a cup of coffee and really ask yourself what do you want to do. What’s worth your time here on earth and what makes you happy? Tailor your plans according to the answers to those questions, have some ambition and you’ll see you’ll come out a happier person in the end.

          So, a couple of my 2019 goals (as of now) are:

          Get a first in my second year of university – this one is pretty self-explanatory and a goal that most likely won’t change. Some of the steps I’m taking to achieve this goal is to attend each lecture and seminar as much as possible, to read for my seminars every day and to start my assignments two weeks before they’re due instead of leaving them until the last minute. I already wrote down all my deadlines in my bullet journal and my calendar on my phone.

          Go fully vegan – I’m quite embarrassed to say that I’m weak when it comes to sweets and I am the worst baker ever. As in I burn everything I try to bake. So if baking my own sweets is impossible and buying vegan sweets is super expensive for my student budget, well, I haven’t been really doing great in that department… but I am working on it every day and hopefully this year I’ll go fully vegan.

          Read 30 books – not counting the reading I have to do for university, of course. My reading goal last year was 30 books and I barely managed to achieve that. I’m not sure why I struggled so much when in other years I would read way more than 30 books with no problem. It’s probably because I have to read so much for school that when it comes to reading for pleasure I’m kind of exhausted.

          Finish three of the stories I started last year – I tend to go through phases when I’m super motivated to write so last year I started three stories, one of which I was supposed to finish over the Christmas break so this year I want to at least finish two of them – the one that I was meant to finish over Christmas and the collab. I think out of all my goals this goal and the reading goal are the most susceptible to change.

          Complete my BTS album collection – this one’s pretty up in the air too but right now I’m determined to achieve this goal. I’ve always been someone who collects stuff from W.I.T.C.H. comic books to well, books and stationery to kpop albums. I currently have all their Korean albums but I still need to complete the LY Her, Tear and Answer albums and the WINGS albums. Of course, this is going to be a pretty slow progress since these albums are damn expensive but I guess we’ll see by the end of the year if I manage to achieve this.

          Learn graphic design – I used to do graphic design for forums back in 2013 and 2014 and I’ve always enjoyed it so much but of course, I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to actually know what I was doing. This year I want to learn the right way and so I am planning to achieve this goal over the summer.

          So this is it, these are my current 2019 goals. Of course, these are all (okay maybe some of them) susceptible to change but I guess we’ll see. For now, I’m really excited to see what 2019 has in store for me. I feel like for the first time in my life I am finally able to look forward to my future without too much anxiety clouding my mind which is something I’m very proud of.

          Anyway, until next time!

          With love,

          Sonny xx

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Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi Review

          This review contains minor spoilers! If you haven’t read the book I suggest reading it and coming back to this blog post later.

          Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi is that book that every Instagrammer has on their feed, almost like Milk and Honey and other IG poetry. Of course, that’s why I picked it up and why I was interested, plus the cover is super pretty so on an evening out with friends I picked up this book and it sat on my shelves for half a year before I read the entire book in one day. Let’s just say I enjoyed it enough to power through 390 pages – but that’s something usual for me.

          Emergency Contact is the story of Penny and Sam and how they became each other’s emergency contacts. Of course, it wouldn’t be a young adult novel without the parental issues, the insecurities and the coming of age plot but the reality behind these characters is what made the book for me. I enjoyed Penny’s self-introspection and the fact that she didn’t change to make Sam like her and I enjoyed Sam’s characterisation. We got to see inside the brain of the broody male protagonist and came to understand that he’s not broody for the hell of it.

          I also enjoyed that the resolution was realistic and didn’t tie all loose ends – real life is not that clean-cut and looking at the way Mary H.K. Choi narrates her story I think her aim was to portray these characters as realistically as possible, which in my opinion she achieved from the beginning.

          One thing I didn’t like was how the two protagonists took centre stage all the time. We have Penny’s mum and Sam’s niece and a couple of other useless characters peppered here and there but we don’t really get to know them. Sure, we know Penny’s mum is *ahem* young at heart and we know Sam’s niece is hyperactive and needy but we don’t get to form bonds with them so when Penny argues or neglects her mum I don’t really care about it?

          I feel like I could have given this book five out of five stars if it wasn’t such a quick and easy read. It’s 390 pages but it felt like 100 at best – although it was realistic and the protagonists were well written, the plot wasn’t. It dragged on at times and was redundant at others which put me off reading it at first.

          Overall I would say I enjoyed Emergency Contact and I am looking forward to Mary H.K. Choi’s future releases! Did you read the book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments and I’ll catch you next time!

 

         With love,

         Sonny xx

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Chat With a Grammar Nazi Serial Killer by Ryan Suvaal Review

I received this copy for review however, all my opinions are honest.

Given that it’s such a short story I can’t really review it the way I reviewed other books on this blog and therefore I will keep my thoughts concise and straight to the point. This is a no-spoiler review!

I couldn’t help but enjoy this story for what it is: a funny, interesting dissection of the human brain and how we operate when we’ve been wronged. Throughout the story the serial killer is blunt and straight-to-the-point, she doesn’t seem remorseful at all except for the little clues of her humanity which he sprinkles during her conversation with Corrigan.

I quite enjoyed the dialogue because how straightforward it was, probably due to the interview style. I also enjoyed the prospect of the story – the dark web interview was interesting and the main character is funny and unashamed which makes for a fun to read protagonist.

Although I do find it ironic that there are quite a few spelling and grammar mistakes throughout this short story given the prospect of the plot.

Overall, I definitely recommend giving it a read!

With love,

Sonny xx

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Exhaustion

I always joke around with my friends that exhaustion is a powerful drug. You know that feeling when your body is just so, so heavy that you can barely move? Or when your head is so full and your eyelids are constantly ready to drop that you can’t focus? You lose motivation to do things that you love or even things you don’t love but have to do anyway. So you end up procrastinating, spending hours watching YouTube and then even more hours trying to catch up on whatever work you were supposed to do and then your sleep schedule is all out of wack and maybe your diet is too and this keeps on going until you break down.

That’s not healthy. It’s definitely very common, sure, but it shouldn’t be. We live in a society in which we rarely stop to rest and when we do, well, we think about all the things we have to do when we get back to work. How exactly is that rest? It’s not. It’s tiring and exhausting and it doesn’t help anybody in the long run.

Now, picture your body and mind as a machine – it works perfectly when it’s out of the box and it serves you well for a while but after that, the wheels start rusting and you might need to do some work on it to restore it to its original form. That can take the form of what we now know as self-care which can be of many types but is mostly advertised as bubble baths and scented candles. Others like to say that self-care doesn’t have to be all bubble baths and candles and meditation which is fair enough, not everybody responds to these things in the same way and doing something pretty mundane can easily trick us into thinking about work so what do you do when the bubble baths don’t work and going for a walk just doesn’t seem feasible? You go back to the basics.

I finally finished the first semester of my second year of university. I started the month of September excited and ready to go to university and do my best then bad things started happening one after the other, ultimately snowballing into a massive depressive episode which lasted for the past three months or so. This semester has been exhausting, to say the least. I missed a bunch of classes because I was exhausted. I didn’t do some of the reading because I was exhausted. I focused on less important things to make myself and my anxiety feel better. I procrastinated and tried to catch up and it just didn’t freaking work because I was and still am exhausted.

My arms and my brain ache as I’m typing this blog post, that’s how freaking tired I am. I sat down to write for one of my stories and I just couldn’t gather the energy to think about this whole other world full of energetic and diverse characters. I feel like there’s this fog clouding the inside of my skull and a cold well inside of my chest and I honestly don’t know how to repair any of those things in a way that will still get me the results I want. I keep saying that I’ll get my shit together, that I’ll figure a way out but I never do because, in the end, there’s rarely one answer to all of our problems. Sure, I can buy a new planner and sit down to write my new year resolutions and goals or I can clean my entire room until it sparkles but that’s just a band-aid solution to the bigger problem which is the fact that I strayed so far from the basics that not even bubble baths and planners can help me feel like a well-rested, well-adjusted member of society.

I aspire to a great life, we all do. I want to live comfortably, to travel and to… uh, well, I don’t know what else I want because I’ve been stuck in this loop of exhaustion and trying to fix things with band-aids that just won’t hold things together. I’ve been so caught up in fixing the petty stuff that I forgot that the world is not just the small bubble that I created around me, that in fact, it’s an ocean of dreams and ideas and opportunities for learning and adventure. I can only describe this as walking around with my eyes closed because this is how I’ve been living my life for the past twenty years or so. I want to open my eyes and finally feel that fire in my chest, instead of an empty, cold well and I want my vision to be clear so I can fully understand what I want from life and effectively work for it without getting so exhausted (we’ll get exhausted no matter what, after all, but it should never get this bad) that I end up procrastinating and covering it up with a dumb band-aid. Now, mind you, if bubble baths and planners work for you then that’s great! I thought they worked for me too and in a way they do but for me, to fully recover I think I need to get back to the basics.

What are the basics you ask (you probably didn’t)? Eating a healthy, balanced diet (keep in mind that I’m not talking about your weight-loss diets, but diet in general) at specific times of the day, drinking enough water, sleeping eight hours per night, getting enough sun, etc. I don’t do these things even though they are the bare minimum, basic things everyone should do. I make a healthy meal plan I never follow and I say I’ll go to sleep early tonight but I never stick to it even though these things have been proven to make me feel less exhausted. Instead, I slap on a band-aid by taking a bubble bath and getting right back to procrastinating.

Now, I’m not here to tell anybody what to do. In fact, during these three months, I realized that although I started this blog with good intentions, it turned into something I don’t enjoy. Sure, I like music and what not but this is not what I want to do with this platform. Instead, I’m putting this out there as a form of self-care. I am writing my thoughts down and working through them as I type the words and if this is inspirational to anyone then it is, if it’s not then whatever, it helps me.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this long word-vomit. The short version of it is that these past few months have been very difficult for me and I have finally found a solution to the problem which is to go back to the basics. Work on setting up a strong foundation for myself and then go from there, or at least that’s the plan – I’ll keep you updated.

I am planning to revamp this blog during the winter holiday which means new content and possibly a new look. I want this blog to be more ‘me’ and less every other lifestyle blog out there so I’ll work hard on that over the next few weeks! Thanks again for reading and I hope you’ve had a great week!

With love,

Sonny xx

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November Songs (2018)

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So… remember how I said I’d start posting every Saturday and that I’ll do my best to post more often? Yeah, that obviously didn’t work. To be fair, things have been super hectic lately. School has been taking up all of my time and I haven’t had time to come up with ideas for this blog, let alone write for it.

Anyway, thankfully I just finished another assignment and since I like music a lot and these posts are easy to write, I thought I’d type it up and put it up as soon as I’m done. This month has been super busy and hectic so of course, me being me I listened to a lot of music, most of which you can find on my Spotify since I won’t be able to add all of it here otherwise this post would be too long and really slow to load. So, this month of November I’ve been listening to the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina soundtrack as well as a bunch of BTS and other Kpop songs I hear on those Lofi study playlists. I will do my best to explain why some of the songs are so addicting but I won’t do that for all of them.

So, without further ado, here’s my November playlist.

Cliff Richard – Devil Woman

This song was so hard not to love (I tried, it’s generally not my type of music) but it’s so damn catchy and the whole witchy vibe it has going on fits the whole end of Autumn aesthetic I love so much.

K.Flay – Blood in The Cut

Literally just a catchy, repetitive song.

Fallulah – Give Us a Little Love

I love the vocals in this song, they’re very soothing so whenever I’m having trouble understanding something or working through an assignment I put this song on and it’s an instant reaction.

VCTRY – Black Magic Woman

I love the whole vibe of this song, once again, very witchy and spooky and I love listening to this song before going to bed or on my commute in the morning.

Billie Eilish – Belly Ache

I mean, it’s Billie Eilish, there’s not much to say here. Her entire discography is pure gold from the metaphors she uses to her unique voice and the catchy tunes.

BTS – Magic Shop

I’ve been listening to this song on repeat during the entirety of this month, mostly for comfort. Call me lame all you want but listening to BTS makes everything feel just a little better for me.

The Rose – I.L.Y

Usually, I don’t like songs that revolve around the phrase ‘I love you’ because I find them a bit cringy but The Rose is a major exception to this rule. Not only did they make an amazing song, like they usually do, but that whole chorus is just so soothing and Woosung’s vocals slay me every damn time.

CHUNGHA – Remind of You

Chungha’s music has slowly become a big part of my daily life. Her vocals and her overall sound fits every mood.

HEIZE – Wind

I love listening to this album whenever I’m feeling down or just upset. It’s such a good, slow pick-me-up album.

BigBang – This Love

I mean, it’s old BigBang. This song is the definition of comforting music.

So this is it, please make sure to check out my last post and have a good day!

With love,

Sonny xx

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Favourite TV Shows and Series

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I am that person who watches way too many TV shows. As I mentioned in my ‘using youtube as an escape’ blog post, I use media as a form of escapism. It helps me block out my thoughts, worries and anxieties and problems. I don’t even remember most of my breakups (not that I had many) because I just occupy my mind with TV shows. I’m not saying this is a good thing nor am I saying I’m content with it, I am trying to change this (says the person who watched 14 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy during exam season).

Not too long ago I realized that I’m not a big fan of sci-fi, paranormal shows. I have watched Supernatural (in my mind it ended at season 4) and Shadowhunters (I got bored of it real quick, Malec still has my heart though) but I prefer more realistic shows. I think the craziest TV binge I ever did was when I started watching Pretty Little Liars. I stayed awake for three days straight watching it over winter break and then finished the first five seasons in a week or so. Once again, in my mind, PLL finished at season 5.

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My number one favourite TV show as of now has to be Grey’s Anatomy. That’s all I’ve been talking about for the past 5 months or so and I am SO happy that season 15 is out now. I’ve even roped in a couple of friends which is my way of bonding with people (yeah, I know, I sound like a fun person). As I was planning for this post, I was thinking about why I love this show so much and I realized that I’m not entirely sure. If you don’t know what Grey’s Anatomy is about, it’s a medical show revolving around Meredith Grey who is a monumental screw-up and Derek Shepherd who is McDreamy and a bit of a McAss sometimes.

I know, this is not exactly selling the show but this might. I think the reason why I love this show so much is because of the characters. It has such a diverse cast, lgbtq+ characters including bisexual girls, trans men and their stories don’t always revolve around their sexualities. We also have people with disabilities and we get to see the struggle as well as them pulling through and dealing with their disability. Their social commentary is amazing too, Grey’s Anatomy has dealt with heavy topics such as shootings, addiction, depression, not fitting in because of one’s sexuality or gender identity, loss of a loved one and so much more. The show is so long and has evolved so well from its release back in 2005 to today in 2018. The story has evolved as did the characters and even though things changed, the show is still so fun to watch.

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My second favourite TV show is Dexter. This is another show I binge-watched in a couple of days, maybe a week. I have actually watched Dexter over thirty times to date and I don’t regret it at all! I can blindly pick a random episode of a random season and know exactly what happens before and after said episode. What’s Dexter about? Dexter is a blood spatter analyst at Miami Metro Homicide. He was adopted into the Morgan family as a very young child and as he was growing up, he noticed he had ‘urges’. His adoptive father who was a homicide detective taught him the code to kill serial killers. Now, if you ask me why I’m so damn obsessed with this show, I’m not entirely sure. I don’t mind bad characters when they’re done right and Dexter was written so freaking well that sometimes you forget that he’s a serial killer. This show is so morally wrong that it’s actually incredibly interesting to dissect because it gives a personal insight into the mind of a monster who kills other monsters, we get to love his family and friends, we get invested in the story and soon enough forget he’s a monster and – whoop, he killed someone. It’s a crazy rollercoaster of emotions.

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My third favourite TV show is Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Now mind you, this show is very explicit and not for younger viewers at all so if you do check it out, do it at your own risk and preferably only if you’re over the age of 18. Diary of a Call Girl is a TV show made after a book written by a former call girl (high-class escort). It’s a funny, real and sexy show that portrays the life of Hannah Baxter, a 27-year-old who goes by the name Belle. She lives a luxurious double life that gets a little messy when people in her life start finding out that she’s an escort. This show is relatively short, only 4 seasons, but it’s packed full of funny moments, sad moments, sexy moments. People usually watch Gilmore Girls when they want to feel cosy or they want something easy to watch after a long tiring day, for me that show is Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Not only did I love the books, but I also love the TV show too.

So here it is, a list of my favourite TV show. I know it’s quite long, especially the Grey’s Anatomy paragraphs but I hope you enjoyed reading it nonetheless, and that maybe it gave you an idea of what to watch next. Thanks a lot for reading and make sure to check out my last blog post which is my favourite Chase Atlantic songs.

With love,

Sonny xx

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