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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2018 – A Review

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          2018 has been an odd year because it’s been good in some regards and bad in others. I started the year ready to take on the world, I made changes after changes in order to improve myself and achieve my goals and so the start of the year was probably why 2018 might be my best year so far. I started Marbled Intentions and I even started writing my favourite story ever. I got close to 1k followers on Instagram and made so many amazing friends on there too. People I can easily call my internet family and who have become such an integral part of my daily life – I am thankful for all of you. I also made up with old friends this year, we got over our differences and came out stronger in the end. I made more of an effort to keep in touch with old friends and made memories I will treasure forever.

          In 2018 I finally went vegan. This is big for me because I have a hard time making these big decisions so I am proud of myself. I started penpaling this year so I now know how to mail stuff and I am less awkward and anxious on paper. I learnt to write letters and to appreciate deeper bonds with people in my life. In 2018 I saw Burn The Stage with my friends and revisited an old story that’s always been my home. This year I finally allowed myself to drop my scepticism and allow myself to be curious about the potential of being spiritual. I learnt that this moment is a blip in time and better days will come.

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          This year I started to understand myself better – I am a very chill person but small things can set me off. I have trouble relating to people but I have no trouble guessing how they’re feeling. I now know that I don’t have a dream like so many other people do but I have my writing passion and that’s enough for me. This year I learnt that in order to be completely free I have to rid myself of expectations. I learnt to value myself above others because I can’t pour from an empty cup. I learnt that I only live once and yes, it’s sad that I missed some things I’ll never get to do/have but I can’t do anything about that so what’s the point in being sad about it. In 2018 BTS taught me to love myself and for that I’m grateful.

          This year I also went vegetarian for Christmas, skipped A LOT of classes and got a few bad grades. In 2018 I didn’t really learn much about my spirituality even though I allowed myself to. I created Marbled Intentions, posted three times per week during the summer holiday and completely stopped posting in November and October. In 2018 I fell into such a slump that I started doubting myself as a person, I started going back to the darker days and I debated dropping out of university. In 2018 I pulled my friends closer while I pushed my family away. I didn’t read as much as I wanted, I didn’t stick to a skincare routine and I still eat a whole lot of junk food.

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          So yeah, 2018 has been good but it has also been bad. But we wouldn’t know happiness without pain so I am grateful for this year either way. I’m turning 20 in January. In less than three weeks I will officially have been on this earth for two decades and that scares me in ways I don’t even know how to describe but I’m also excited because 2018 gave me the tools to move into my 20s confidently.

          This is the last post of 2018 so I’d like to thank anyone who reads this blog (I don’t really check the stats so for all I know I might be talking to myself). The plan for next year is to post every Saturday at 12 PM GMT so stay tuned for that and have a great New Year!

          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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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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Halloween Movies

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I’m not really a movie person, I do enjoy a good movie especially at the cinema but I don’t really go out of my way to watch movies. Instead, I watch a ton of TV shows! I genuinely think it’s because I have a hard time parting from the characters after only two hours. So because I’m not a big movie person, I decided to do something about that – I want to be a movie connoisseur and what better way to become one than to watch a bunch of Halloween movies?

Now mind you, Halloween is not very big in the UK. We have that small Halloween corner in supermarkets and most people don’t open their doors to trick-or-treaters (not that there are many of those either) but the spooky atmosphere is still there if you strive for it, which I am.

Without further ado, here is my list of Halloween movies for the month of October!

Hocus Pocus

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This movie is a yearly must watch for me. I love the soundtrack, the characters and the overall vibe of this movie because it puts me in such a cosy, fall mood!

Casper

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This is one of the movies that I vaguely remember watching but not really? So I want to (re)watch it this October just to see what it’s about and if I did actually watch it in the past.

Twitches

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This was my favourite Halloween Disney movie! I loved the characters and the whole, magical world and so I would like to relive those days.

Corpse Bride

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I think we can all agree that Tim Burton makes amazing movies, and Corpse Bride is one of those movies. I watched this back when I was 11 and I fell in love with the story and the aesthetic! My wannabe emo self loved this movie.

Nightmare Before Christmas

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I mean, of course, this movie would be on this list. I can actually sing (very badly) every word to This is Halloween, that’s how obsessed I’ve been with this movie!

Harry Potter

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I am one of those people who hasn’t actually watched the Harry Potter movies. I’m pretty sure I watched the first one and the eighth one and since I love the books so much, I think it’s time that I give the movies a try too!

The Addams Family

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Oh boy, I could talk about The Addams Family for years and years and not get bored. I watched the cartoon growing up and then I began watching the movies and I would really like to revisit the movies this October. Plus I have the biggest crush on Morticia.

Ghost Ship

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I actually watched this movie for the first time this year and I completely loved it, despite the obviously low budget, slightly weird characters and cheap scare tactics. I really think I liked it solely because of the soundtrack, the cheap scare tactics and the ending.

Carrie

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I vaguely remember watching this movie at a sleepover back when I was a teenager but since I only remember that one gruesome part, I would like to rewatch it again this month.

Scream

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Another one of those movies I watched at a sleepover when I was thirteen or fourteen years old that I would like to watch again.

So here it is, my list of Halloween movies! I was going to add The Grudge to this list but I value my sleep so better not. What are your favourite autumn/Halloween movies? Thanks a lot for reading and make sure to check out my last blog post which is my September playlist!

With love,

Sonny xx

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Worst TV/Literature Tropes

trope (n)

1 A figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression.

‘both clothes and illness became tropes for new attitudes toward the self’
‘my sense that philosophy has become barren is a recurrent trope of modern philosophy’
‘perhaps it is a mistake to use tropes and parallels in this eminently unpoetic age’
1.1 A significant or recurrent theme; a motif.
‘she uses the Eucharist as a pictorial trope’ Source

As we have already established, I am a big book person. I love books, I love reading and I love ingesting stories. It’s a form of escapism for me. I feel the same way about TV shows – I get to know unique characters that I can relate to or learn from, I get to understand someone else’s mind and how they work as a person through the way they wrote the book/script for the TV show. I just love it.

What I don’t love, is when that source of escapism is tainted by bad tropes. It ruins everything, the stories, the characters and the entire universe that has been built. I think that’s definitely one of the reasons why I’m so picky with the way I consume any type of media. I’m selective about the books I read, I never liked those cheesy romance novels, about the shows I watch (I don’t like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones) and I even do that with anime! I’m so particular about the things I don’t like because it helps me pick and choose what to spend my time on (and my energy, let’s be honest).

The first trope I hate is the best friends turned lovers trope. I hate how unrealistic it is, how it doesn’t let our main girl, because let’s be honest, it’s usually the girl who ends up crawling back to her childhood best friend, grow into the person she can be. I believe this trope is a comfortable way for an author to write a novel which a lot of people will enjoy. It’s all about comfort, about being secure and not stepping out of the comfort zone. People find it easier to digest a story about a girl who’s infatuated with two boys but in the end chooses the childhood best friend because it’s easy. She doesn’t have to get to know this new guy, she doesn’t have to see if it’s going to work or not because it’s safer to go with the comfortable choice, even though that choice might not be a good one. Urgh, this trope pisses me off so much that I could write an entire essay about it.

The second trope that I hate is diversity for the sake of diversity. We are in 2018, we live in a *mostly* diverse world, in a global world, but some authors still choose to stick to one type of character (the white cis heterosexual male/female). When they do choose to write diverse characters, they don’t write them because these characters are just that, humans experiencing the contents of the plot, but because that’s what’s expected in 2018. I really dislike this because even though it is 2018, a lot of people still can’t relate to the characters they read about/watch on screen. Everyone wants to feel represented, to feel heard, to not feel invisible. And so when so many books and TV shows attempt to be diverse, it almost always comes across as disingenuous. These diverse characters never get a normal plot of their own, their stories almost always revolve around their diversity. The LGBTQ+ character’s story is almost always about their struggle as an LGBTQ+ character, they’re rarely just people with a different sexual preference. This trope is so disappointing, even though we are making a lot of good progress, it’s really not enough.

The third trope I hate is the 1000-year-old monster dating a 17-year-old girl. I have to preface this by saying that I have read these types of books and I have watched TV shows that revolve around this trope (Twilight, Vampire Diaries) and came to find this trope creepy. I understand why it’s the way it is. People are dreamers, they want the impossible, they want to feel unique and adventurous and what’s more adventurous than vampires and beasts and zombies? The part that I don’t understand is, why do they have to be so damn old? How is it normal for a 200-year-old vampire to pursue a high school girl? Would people be alright with this trope if the love interest wasn’t a vampire and was just a plain old guy? Of course they wouldn’t because it’s gross! Just because the 200-year-old vampire looks like a 25-year-old student, it doesn’t make the situation better – it makes it worse.

Lastly, I hate the plain-jane trope. Writing characters for the sake of relatability is such an overused trope, especially in YA, that I can’t even begin to describe how much I hate it. It doesn’t necessarily stop me from reading the novel because when it happens I tend to focus on the story rather than the character, but at the same time, I believe that a story is incomplete without a good, well-rounded character. Women are always written either as the blonde bimbo who sleeps around a lot, the geeky girl or simply, with no personality because it allows people to insert themselves into the story. If the author writes a story where the main character is very detailed and real, people who haven’t found themselves yet cannot relate therefore the book doesn’t sell. It’s as simple as that. The male characters don’t get it any easier though. It’s always the nice guy who’s not really nice, the geeky guy who can’t get the hot girl and when he does he doesn’t change at all (but when the geeky girl gets the popular guy she has to change completely) or the mindless hunk who can get any girl but somehow falls in love with the geeky girl.

While I don’t like these tropes (and many others, I might make a second post), it doesn’t mean you can’t like them. Everyone views the world differently and everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, their own likes and dislikes and I respect that!

I hope you enjoyed this long, ranty blog post. Feel free to tell me all about the tropes you hate or love. Thanks for reading and make sure to read my last blog post which is a list of my favourite BTS songs.

With love,

Sonny xx

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