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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Hogwarts Houses Study Tips: Slytherin

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Hi and welcome to the last instalment of my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips series. This time around I’m going to talk about my own house (once again sounding way too geeky) which is the house of Draco Malfoy and Merlin himself. Slytherins are known to be resourceful, fraternal and careful. We’re brave but smart at the same time so we’re good at discerning when it’s worth being brave and when it’s not. I genuinely do think that Slytherins are a mixture of all the other houses.

In this post, I am going to talk about ways in which a Slytherin (and anyone else, really) can use any means to achieve their ends.

Slytherin

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Resourceful

Fraternity

Preservation

Use any means

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My first tip is to use any method that is useful to you. Everybody learns things differently and so making use of different resources will not only allow you to discern which study method works best for you but it will also allow you to gather more information and get a deeper understanding of the subject you’re learning. You can do this by trying out different learning styles such as mind-maps, reading out loud or teaching the material to other people or simply by using your school’s library. I personally like to use websites like JSTOR which is a digital library created in 1995 which I can access through my school’s website. I also use ebooks and articles I find in my school’s library and by using all these sources I can make sure my notes are extensive and detailed.

Work with others

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This is where the idea of fraternity comes into play. Slytherins are mostly seen as selfish and mean but I genuinely think that’s because nobody really likes Slytherin. It’s a mode of self-preservation, I presume. However, I think that the fraternity within the Slytherin house is a very strong one and so I imagine in the Harry Potter books groups of Slytherins studying together in the common room until the early hours of the morning. I think that working with others is useful because it allows people to share information and further solidify their learning by teaching the material to others.

Take care of yourself

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Self-care is such an important thing and a lot of people either forget about it or don’t do it properly. Self-care won’t work if you’re not in the right headspace for it – you can put on a face mask and soak in a bubble bath but if your head is swarming with anxieties and worries, well, you’re not getting the best out of your self-care routine. To me, self-care means ridding myself of all worries and just caring for my physical and mental health. I have an entire list of self-care activities which you can check out *here*. Some of the ways I practice self-care are things such as meditating, walking outside without listening to music (I always have my earphones in my ears so this is a big improvement for me), tarot reading and working on my bullet journal/kpop journal. These activities are awesome because they allow me to rid myself of everyday stressors and just live in the moment, something I struggle with.

So here it is! The last part of my back to school study tips. I had so much fun writing this mini-series so thank you for reading and I really hope the tips are useful! Feel free to let me know how you study and what works for you. Also, make sure to check out my last blog post which is a list of all the TV/literature tropes I hate.

With love,

Sonny xx

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(GIFs ARE NOT MINE! CREDIT GOES TO WHOEVER CREATED THEM!)

Hogwarts Houses Study Tips: Hufflepuff

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The third part of my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips is all about helping hufflepuffs finding different and maybe even better ways of studying. This week I will be focusing less on study strategies such as ‘teach it to others’ and ‘ask for help’ and more on the reasons why some of us have a hard time concentrating on our studies. I think we can all agree that as students in this modern age, our attention span gets shorter and shorter as technology and social media gets better and better. I personally have days in which I sit down at my desk, ready to read a text from the 18th century and I just can’t seem to focus – or I focus for the first five minutes and then I suddenly catch myself staring at the wall and daydreaming about Sandra Oh. It’s not like I am underprepared, I have all my essentials right next to me – a notebook to jot down notes, coffee/water, snacks and my phone is far away on my bed. Still, I can’t concentrate.

I think people deal differently with this situation. Some of us get annoyed and take a nap, others persevere, maybe they even find ways to make the content fun and interesting. But I genuinely think that before we do any of that, we should come to terms with the reasons why we’re having such a hard time studying. Here are a couple of tips that might help with that.

Hufflepuff

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Patience

Loyalty

Dedication

Kindness

Unafraid

Be patient and kind with yourself

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You know how some older people tell us that our generation is lacking independence and focus? Well, don’t listen to them. Times are changing, society is evolving and technology has a very big impact on our day to day lives, even though we might not realize it at the moment. Back in the day, people had to buy newspapers to get their news, now it’s all at our fingertips. Back in the day research was done in libraries by reading tons of books, now it’s at the push of a button. Of course, we would find it harder to focus, we don’t have to sit down for hours just to accomplish one task. So be kind and patient with yourself, don’t stress too much and you will succeed.

Spend some time understanding why you’re having trouble

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Instead of just diving into whatever you have to do or study, take some time to analyse the situation. Why do you lose focus so easily? What’s distracting you and how can you make sure you keep focused for as long as you need to. Naturally, our minds can only focus for twenty minutes before our minds start to wander. I personally found out that because of my very active imagination, I tend to slip into this land of daydreams whenever I lose focus. So instead of sitting down for hours, trying to concentrate on a subject that I might not even like, I study in bursts of 20 minutes and take 5-minute breaks in between. This way I can give into my wandering mind and keep focused for those 20 minutes.

Don’t be afraid of change

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I wrote a blog post about how I stopped fearing change which you can read *here*. Change is such a natural phenomenon and it’s normal to be afraid of change because it means stepping out of our comfort zone. But change is essential to living a productive and active lifestyle – a life worth being proud of. If you really, really want to get that degree or become a doctor/lawyer/photographer/etc. then being a proactive learner is worth changing your habits for. Instead of resigning yourself to bad study sessions and going to class confused, take this opportunity to change the way you study and focus in order to achieve your dreams and your goals!

So here it is, the third part of my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips series. I hope these tips helped you understand and work through the frustrations of not being able to hunker down and learn. Thanks a lot for reading and make sure to check out my last blog post which is a list of my favourite kpop groups as well as the other parts in this series: Gryffindor and Ravenclaw!

With love,

Sonny xx

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(GIFs are NOT MINE – credit goes to their creators)

Hogwarts Houses Study Tips: Ravenclaw

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Welcome to the second part of my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips series! This time, I am going to give you some studying tips and advice that relates to Ravenclaw. As I mentioned in the first instalment of this series, Harry Potter is still very much relevant in today’s society even though it’s a fiction story about a teenage wizard. A lot of people relate to the Hogwarts houses system and some people even base some of their decisions and beliefs based on that.

This list is not meant to come across as law – people are multidimensional which means that what works for one Ravenclaw might not work for another. (I realize that I’m taking this way too seriously but bare with me).

Without further ado, here are three Ravenclaw study tips.

Ravenclaw

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Engaging

Helpful

Competitive

Talented

Productive

Teach it to others

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Learning is a layered process for a lot of people. When we first learn something we add the first layer which we then revise and add the second layer. To really consolidate our learning, it’s useful to teach the knowledge we just acquired to others. Not only does it point out the parts we didn’t understand but it also forms mental cues through repetition.

Discuss

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It’s easy to learn something from a book or a lecture and then dust our hands because it’s all done but just as we are multidimensional, the subjects we study are too. It’s worth studying subjects in depth, analysing and deepening our understanding not only because it helps secure those extra points in exams and projects but also because it builds confidence in our knowledge and our ability to listen to others with an open mind.

Quiz Yourself

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This particular point doesn’t work for me but a lot of my friends swear by it. Quizzing yourself, whether by using apps or covering the answers with an object or your hand is useful because it lets you know whether you really understood the concept and it further consolidates your knowledge through repetition.

So here it is, three study tips for all you lovely Ravenclaws out there. Thanks a lot for reading and please make sure to check the first part of this series which is all about Gryffindor study tips as well as my last blog post which is about my kpop journal.

With love,

Sonny xx

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(GIFs are not mine, credit goes to whoever made them)

Bullet Journaling: My 3 Favourite Spreads

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Up to this point, I think I managed to portray myself as someone who is constantly trying to get their sh*t together be it through self-care, self-acceptance, reading and being positive. Of course, that doesn’t work every time because everyone has those days, y’know? But something that really helps me keep myself on track in every aspect of my life is my bullet journal which I carry around with me at all times. My bullet journal is part of my morning routine and night routine (blog post coming soon) and it also serves as a reminder throughout the day.

I began bullet journaling at the end of my first year of college – I remember it so clearly… Scrolling through Tumblr on the study motivation hashtag and seeing all these amazing bullet journals. It left such a good impression that I started researching and watching Youtube videos (instead of studying for the exam I had the next morning). The next day, right before my exam (and I mean, right before – I have no idea how I made it to that exam) I went and bought my first bullet journal; an A5 black Moleskine that is still my favourite bullet journal to this day. My first spread in that notebook was a June calendar.

But what is a bullet journal? According to the Bullet Journal website: “The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.” (http://bulletjournal.com/) But to me, the bullet journal system means something a bit different. To me, my bullet journal is a physical, visual representation of my brain. Whatever goes through my brain is written down in my bullet journal such as reminders, to-do lists, quotes, song lyrics, story ideas, poems, blog post ideas, top 5 lists, research, birthdays, brain-dumps, etc.

Anyway, enough of me rambling about my absolute adoration for this amazing system, here are three of my favourite spreads that I couldn’t possibly do without:

Calendar

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This one is super basic but I guess the basics are always the most important. The calendar in my bullet journal is one of my favourites spreads simply because it’s so accessible when I have everything in that little (not so little) notebook. Yeah, I can use the calendar on my phone but it’s easier for me to flip from my weekly spread to my reminders and then back to my calendar instead of fumbling with my phone and writing things down and then writing them on my phone – it’s just too much work, I’d rather have it all in one place. Something else I like about my calendar is that it’s always paired with my monthly page which is basically a doodle/quote that fills the whole page. I think the reason why I like the monthly page so much is that it makes it easier for me to visually separate let’s say, July from June.

Weekly spreads

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Another basic one but again, super important. My weekly spread is where my productivity lies. Everything I have to do throughout the week is there, so easily accessible. I can just switch to my weekly spread and see everything I have to do that day. I also like my weekly spreads because of the way I bullet journal; I am a very visual person, I like colours and aesthetics and even though I’m not an amazing artist, I enjoy doodling. My weekly pages allow me to be creative and so they always have a different theme/aesthetic which is super fun to look at every day.

Research/Thoughts/Poetry/Quotes/Etc.

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I feel like not a lot of people actually do these or if they do they never put them out there for people to see. You always see beautiful pictures of daily spreads or monthly overviews but you never see these. My bullet journal is my brain and so whenever I’m listening to a podcast, reading a book or watching a YT video and I want to remember what I’m hearing I just take notes in my bullet journal. Same thing with quotes and song lyrics. I also write poetry in my bullet journal and I plan chapters for my stories and describe my characters. I think that having these types of spreads in your bullet journal not only makes your notebook more unique, it also helps you stick to bullet journaling and being productive as well as it keeps your mind constantly creative and occupied.

Honourable mentions:

Gratitude log

Sleep log

Wishlist

So here are my three favourite bullet journal spreads as well as some honourable mentions. I hope this list helped you maybe by giving you some ideas for your bullet journal or maybe even inspired you to start your own. Thanks for reading and make sure to check out my last blog post which was the first post in my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips!

With love,

Sonny xx

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Hogwarts Houses Study Tips: Gryffindor

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Harry Potter culture is still very much alive and very strong in today’s society. Everyone knows which house they belong to, they know the house’s traits and strongly identify with them throughout their lives. I am not ashamed to say that I am totally one of those people, in fact, I even made my own Hogwarts house when I was younger.

I’m not entirely sure why we want to compartmentalise ourselves and put labels on ourselves based on a fictional world but I know that personally, I get a sense of comfort out of feeling like I have that one thing figured out. Since growing up and learning about ourselves, evolving and becoming different people, Hogwarts houses can become a bit of a safety net if we don’t actually know who we are.

Therefore, I came up with a way to incorporate my Hogwarts house (Slytherin) into my everyday life, or more like my everyday student life. Here is my first instalment of Hogwarts Houses Study Tips – Gryffindor edition.

Gryffindor House

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Brave
Loyal
Impulsive
Chivalrous
Stubborn
Morally Tenacious

Get up and be active

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Known as ‘do-ers’, kinesthetic learners retain information better by using a hands-on approach to short-term memory studying. To retain information for a long-term period, a multitude of different techniques could be used such as colourful note-taking, listening to a lecture/seminar, lab demonstrations, etc. This form of learning is useful for people who have a harder time focusing and for those who enjoy moving a lot and focus better that way.

Apply class knowledge to everyday life

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By applying class knowledge to everyday life, it helps information stick better by creating mental cues through association (think about the Bone Dance from Hannah Montana). Using mental cues to constantly remind yourself of information that you have learnt in class is useful because it helps your brain repeat knowledge and thus remember things better.

Change up your study area from time to time

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A different study environment is useful because the brain connects the information it’s being fed to the environment it is in. Letting our brains associate all information with the same room makes the information blend together. Therefore, some ideas for a change of scenery are coffee shops, school’s library or your local library, the park on nice sunny days or even different parts of your house. Maybe instead of always studying at your desk, you can study at the kitchen table instead.

Quick disclaimer: all the information I’m giving you guys is basically what I learnt from doing Psychology at A Levels so for proper, in-depth knowledge on some of the things I’m talking about you can just do a quick google search to find out more info.

So here it is. The first out of four blogs dedicated to study tips based on your Hogwarts house. As you can probably tell I took the words associated with Gryffindor and applied them to different study tips. Hope this post has been helpful in some sort of way! Also, make sure to check out my last post which is 7 organization skills that I find work for me.

With love,
Sonny xx

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7 Organization Tips

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          Summers used to be all about hanging out with friends, lazing around and staying up till the sunrise but now that we’re older, summers tend to go a bit differently. Personally, I like to take my time to improve myself during the long summer vacations. When I finished my GCSEs I finished an online Creative Writing course and after finishing my first year of college I gave learning Korean a try. Despite the fact that every summer I try something new, I always lose focus by the end of the holidays and in turn, I end up showing up to class in September feeling unmotivated and confused because I let the end-of-term chaos roll into the new term.

          This time around, I decided to ask myself a few questions because usually at the end of the academic year I end up very confused and tired. Some questions I asked myself are “how was the first year of university?” and “what could I do better in the second year?” and after doing some self-evaluation and reflecting on my first year of university (I made a *post* about it – you should check it out!) I came to the realization that at some point throughout the year I lost sense of my goals and how I was planning to reach them.

          In order for me to find some motivation and feel more in-tune with my goals and aspirations, I came up with a way to get myself organized again. Through following this ‘recipe’ I am able to be self-aware and proactive about the way I spend my time, the things that are going to help me reach my goals and the things that won’t. Here are seven tips for becoming a more organized person.

 

Keep a tidy work-space

          Personally, this is an important part of how I keep myself organized and focused and although I know that some people thrive off of chaos and an organized mess, I am not that person. I need my work-space, be it my desk, the dinner table or my little corner in the library, to be tidy and efficient for what I am planning to do.

Preparing the night before

          This is also very important. How many of us hear the sound of the alarm in the morning and dread getting out of bed because even though the day just started, we have a hundred and one tasks to do from the get-go. It’s no surprise that we are so overwhelmed as we are always on the go, hustling and trying to reach our goals but I believe that would be easier if we started enjoying mornings a little bit more. Therefore, I take time to prepare my meal, my clothes and my bag for the next day the night before, that way I don’t wake up and immediately feel overwhelmed.

Cluster similar tasks together

          I honestly don’t know why I didn’t think of this before when it’s such a no-brainer. Instead of jumping from one task to another (doing the dishes to studying for finals) it’s easier to just cluster together similar tasks. For example, it’s easier to answer emails, make phone calls and listen to a lecture one after another because they all involve your laptop/phone and thus you can move from one area of your to-do list to another more seamlessly.

Focus on short-term goals on your to-do lists

          It’s easier to get muddled up, confused and anxious if we overload our to-do lists with tasks that have to be done, say, next week. If it can’t be done today it shouldn’t be on today’s list because seeing so many irrelevant tasks is bound to make us anxious about not being able to tick all the boxes. By focusing on short-term goals and breaking down our to-do lists in a practical manner we’ll feel less unmotivated and beat-down at the end of the day.

Plan Journeys

          This is important not only because nobody likes people who are always late but also because ‘the early bird gets the worm’. I can clearly and proudly say that I have NEVER been late to anything in my life and this is partly due to my anxiety and the fear of walking in and everyone staring at me and partly because I want to always make a good impression. On a daily basis, I make sure to arrive wherever I’m headed to at least half an hour before the set time. This allows me to work with the small inconveniences of every day, city life such as traffic, no service on the tube, etc.

Give yourself rewards for completing tasks or staying on schedule

          I think it’s safe to say that we are all only human. It’s natural to feel depleted and tired sometimes and therefore rewards are a great way to motivate yourself to keep going and to take care of yourself. I wrote a whole blog post about self-care which you can check out *here*.

Be aware of what works and why it works(metacognition) and don’t be afraid to change your time management techniques if they are not working

          When it comes to things such as the way you organize your life, it’s easy to assume that you can follow the same ‘recipe’ for the rest of your life but in reality, we are ever evolving creatures and our habits, goals and states of mind change and grow as much as we do which is why it’s critical that you review your organization/time-management techniques every so often while keeping it real with yourself. Some questions to ask yourself when doing this are “is this working for me?” and “are my techniques still relevant to my goals and my dreams?” More often than not the answer will be ‘no’ but that is the beauty of change. Allowing change to happen is important because it will give you something to work with when you’re feeling like your life isn’t going according to plan. So don’t be scared to be critical with yourself and embrace change!

 

          So here it is, a (long) list of my organization tips and the reasons why I think they could be helpful to you too. Thank you so much for reading and make sure to check out my last blog post which is all about my favourite books!

 

With love,

Sonny xx

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