Ready Player One by Ernest Cline | Review

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In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.


A nerdgasm – John Scalzi 

The above sentence abridges Ready Player One, quite nicely. I’ll refrain from repeating the ever descriptive blurb and just jump right into it. Ready Player One is not for everyone. However, I cannot give a simple description of the person(s) it’d be geared toward. On the one hand, it’s overloaded with 80’s paraphernalia, from movies to music, and, obviously, video games, but it’s strictly the nerdiest topics in the 80’s. Then there’s the dystopian element, although it’s not heavily engrained within the novel, yet quite necessary to the plot. There’s also the whole otherworldly theme within OASIS. The particular audience this is geared toward is an enigma to me; therefore, I’ll say give it a try. If you’re not engrossed after chapter two, it’s not for you. I’ll try and review this, here goes nothing.

Level One: Did the 80’s throw up in here? 

Everything nerd-specific in the 80’s is mentioned in this book. The regurgitation of the 80’s within is pretty narrowed to simply “nerd” specific topics. Having been born in the 90’s with a fascination for the 70’s, 20’s and 60’s I cannot pretend to be well-versed in this time period. However, there were some wonderful things about the 80’s that I am well aware of.

 

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This not being an example

 

 

There was an overload of 80’s culture mentioned, with a variety of sci-fi and fantasy movies, video games (Atari, Pac-man, joust, asteroids, etc.), music (Rush), and the limited times Family Ties was mentioned. I feel as though this book can only be fully appreciated by an 80’s fanatic, or someone looking to indulge themselves in some nostalgia. The amount of geek-inspired information Ready Player One is packed with is truly awe-inspiring; however, if you really don’t care and aren’t interested in what the 80’s had to offer I’d skip this.

Level Two: Dystopi-no?

The dystopian present is a major contribution to the plot; however, it’s not done very well. Wade Watts lives in a vertical trailer park. Rape, murder, and thievery lurks within every crevice of his community (well, that’s what we’re told). Cars riddle the streets because of exuberant prices of gasoline. The Earth’s infected by humanities many unforgiving practices following the industrial revolution for energy. With the downward spiral in the economy companies like the IOI emerged providing resources for the needy in exchange for —basically — your immortal soul.

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Because of the desolate state of the world, the OASIS software is a haven for everyone looking to escape the real world. No one has to face reality with OASIS because it creates a virtual reality you can do anything from. Learning tools, jobs, clubs, shopping, socializing, whatever your aim, it’s got you. This actually isn’t too dissimilar from our present. Kids learn from iPads, and I shop online for nearly everything – what’s this world without technology?

Doesn’t this dystopian world sound quite intriguing? Well, don’t expect it. Cline tells us this world is so bad and we’re supposed to take his word for it. We’re in the real world for about 1% of the book, which isn’t enough time for me to establish that the world is in the toilet. Yes, burning fossil fuels and the continued utilization of non-renewable resources is a big issue. It’s a global crisis but did that engender stacked trailer parks and ravenous conglomerates? And honestly, the outside world doesn’t sound that bad. I’ve been to Cleveland and trust me, it looks like that regardless of a global crisis.

Cline both criticizes and commends the advancement of technology, giving his thoughts on the downfalls and advantages of its usage. However, all of his thoughts are much more pronounced and direct than this one. He goes on this near two-page rant condemning believers of organized religion and the belief in God as, put simplistically, the mythical imaging of idiots, and the reason for all the bad past events, yet discredits all the words he’s spouted off by saying,

“But hey, Halliday is my God, finding the egg my heaven. The egg falling into the hands of IOI is my hell, and the Almanac is my bible. So I can’t throw stones when I live in a glass house.”

I don’t personally practice organized religion, I’ve mentioned this before; however, I don’t believe in belittling others faith and values. This took down my dislike of Wade, in the beginning, thankfully, it wasn’t mentioned very often in the novel. It’s like Cline wanted to get that off his chest so he could continue the book without mentioning it again.

There were little things that bothered me about the dystopian element. Me being the picky person I am noticed a lot of disparaging things that made me scratch my head. Why is the entire world still in crisis if electrical transport has been established effectively? I’m going to guess they’ve found a way to power this electricity using wind, solar, geothermal, or hydropower because he said we were in crisis with gas and pollutants….unless they’re using regular old conductors in which case, what’s the point? Another issue was him printing out the Almanac. I know this is super extra to mention, but I have to! 1,000 pages he printed in an environmental crisis. Lastly, I didn’t understand how everyone had the internet. I pay 60 bucks a month for my internet and if everyone uses OASIS almost 24 hours a day. How the hell is everyone getting access since it requires a network connection.

Now, onto IOI. They had so much potential to be a badass villain it’s making my boots quake. I thought they were going to be like Mr. Robot’s enemies in the television series, yet we got this lackluster bad guy barely seen or heard and not very scary besides what happens at the beginning of the book. Which also makes me pause. SPOILER Wade doesn’t even blink when he realizes that the IOI really did detonate a bomb killing a whole lot of people due to his actions. We all know it couldn’t have technically been avoided, but you needed that emotion from his character that made you realize he’s a good person – the humanity. At first, I assumed it was Cline’s way of showing how the morality of people was gone, where the death of a player meant more than a human life, but this didn’t prove true because it wasn’t expanded upon. I don’t know, it’s just off to me.

Level Three: OASIS 

OASIS deserves it’s own level because Cline did a magnificent job immersing you into this software. Because it’s a software and being alone in a simulation there’s not a lot of dialogue involved in Ready Player One. This didn’t bother me, but for some,  it could lead to potential issues, especially if you dislike Wade. The descriptions and space/science fiction feel you receive from this part is an excellent dose of futuristic virtual reality. I’m not a video gamer  (After a stint of not washing and barely eating for three days playing saint row, I decided the gamer life wasn’t for me), but I absolutely loved OASIS. Now, Wade is supposed to be the quintessential nerd/geek gunter (people obsessed with finding the Halliday’s egg/with Halliday himself and his interest) unnaturally pale, overweight, and socially awkward with limited interpersonal skills. Wade doesn’t technically have his own personality, he’s a carbon copy of James Halliday. The music, movies, video games, books, etc. are all recreations enjoyed by Halliday, and it just seems like he enjoyed these particular things because of his obsession with the egg, not because he had genuine interest originally. Plus, Halliday was a nut – sorry to say but he was – therefore, he’s following the mind of a looney tunes character…Although, I understand what he was trying to do with OASIS and letting people escape so much that they no longer lived in the real world because OASIS was perfect and reality isn’t.

Game Over

 

 

 

 

2017: The Year of Classics | Randomness

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Yes, it’s January 6, 2017, and New Years was ages ago, however, I’ve been busy (sorry!) lately and this was the only time I could get around to it.

Can you believe it’s 2017?! I know I can’t. As I reflect back on 2016 I’m left feeling hollow and unfulfilled.  Last year I’d partaken in a bulk of YA novels, in which the majority shared a common critique: they all lacked true substance.

Sure, I read a few that continue to blow my mind to smithereens (The Knife of Never Letting Go series) in either creativity or cohesive plots and writing, but the ratio of this was like 2:8. For every 2 quality books, I read 8 mediocre/bad ones. This doesn’t mean I’m shunning YA as of 2017, but I’m going to focus more on classics.

However, it doesn’t end there. I’ve also decided to be spicy this year and challenge myself to a risqué endeavour (that sounds like an escort service) of *drum roll* no blurbs.

Yes! I’ve dedicated myself to not reading blurbs the entire year – at least until after I’ve completed the novel. I know, this is crazy – I completely agree – but I need to spice-up 2017.  This challenge is like adding freaking cayenne (or Chinese Five Spice, because that shit is powerful) and will add flavor to even the dullest of reading seasons. So, let’s get it started!

 


Currently Reading

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (started 2017)

Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2) by Amie Kaufman (started 2016)

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (started 2016)

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle (started 2016)

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff (started 2016)

Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby, #3) by William Ritter (started 2016)

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2) by V. E. Schwab (started 2016)

 

Updates | Random

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Hey guys! This is gonna be a super quick, update regarding a my posting.

I did make a promise to post everyday (here), so the question should be,

“Where the hell were you the last three days?”

To that my answer would be I volunteered three days ago, and the experience was strenuous, if not a bit traumatizing. After which, I became terribly ill – well moderately – and was ‘forced’ to stay in bed. Later on (two days ago) my sisters dogs got into a serious fight, in which we were  forced to break up. However, it resulted in her getting bit pretty badly, which led to her getting the bite checked out. Lastly, yesterday…. well I really don’t have an excuse for that one. Hopefully this answers any question you didn’t  might’ve had.

 

 

Popular Themes/Genres of 2016 | Random

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It’s December and the year is coming to a close, so I figured why not do a theme/genre specific post about the popular ones of 2016. This is my personal opinion of course based upon observations I’ve made. So let’s get this going!

Sports Romance

I’ve noticed an influx of Sports themed romance novels in New Adult fiction this year. Football tends to be the most popular of the variety of sports (perhaps since it’s considered one of the manliest sports in the US?), with mma, soccer, basketball, and hockey coming after it. Baseball isn’t nearly as popular (do they exist at all?). Anyway, these sport themed books are normally fun and short with steamy scenes and a cute HEA to finish. Sometimes the storyline is based around the sport, while others are based around the romance and the sport is just a bonus.

Time Travel

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3 Authors I Loved As A Tween | Random

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As a tween my taste in books were parallel. I’d stick to one author/genre for long periods of time and not explore the universe that is books. Nevertheless, I figured a post   concentrated around the tween years would be both nostalgic and fun, so here we go.

Meg Cabot

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Ah, Meg Cabot. When I was 12 her novels gave me life! You’d never get a typical world with Ms. Cabot. Although contemporary, the world she built was always fun and exciting, with a splash of drama. Whether you were the girlfriend of the President’s son, perhaps an unknown princess unprepared to even sit on a porcelain throne, maybe even the reincarnation of an old Arthurian tale – you’d never be bored! I remember the very first book I read by her – All-American Girl – and how much I enjoyed it so I ran out and borrowed the next and anything and everything by her. My favorite series would probably be The Mediator, but 1-800-Where-R-You is up there too.

The books I’ve read:

  1. The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries, #1)
  2. Princess in the Spotlight (The Princess Diaries, #2)
  3. All-American Girl (All-American Girl, #1)
  4. Ready or Not (All-American Girl, #2)
  5. Shadowland (The Mediator, #1)
  6. Ninth Key (The Mediator, #2)
  7. Reunion (The Mediator, #3)
  8. Darkest Hour (The Mediator, #4)
  9. Haunted (The Mediator, #5)
  10. Twilight (The Mediator, #6)
  11. Avalon High
  12. The Boy Next Door (Boy, #1)
  13. Teen eIdol 
  14. When Lightning Strikes (1-800-Where-R-You, #1)
  15. Code Name Cassandra (1-800-Where-R-You, #2) 
  16. Safe House (1-800-Where-R-You, #3) 
  17. Sanctuary (1-800-Where-R-You, #4) 
  18. Missing You (1-800-Where-R-You, #5) 

 

Sarah Dessen

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Sarah Dessen was a staple for me. Her novels brought out the romantic (although, I must say, I’m not romantic at all) in me, as well as cultivated my mind for more adult romance. My first book by her was Along for the Ride and I had never read fictional realism before this book, so I really enjoyed it. After that I got really into her novels and just started reading them really fast.

The books I’ve read:

  1. Along for the Ride
  2. The Truth About Forever
  3. Just Listen
  4. This Lullaby
  5. That Summer
  6. Someone Like You
  7. Lock and Key
  8. How to Deal

Susane Colasanti

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Yes, I’ve only read three books by her, but she was a staple during my tween years. Her books introduced me to multi-POVS and I just loved it! During that time she actually hadn’t written that many novels, but when I discovered Ms. Colasanti I was already moving towards Amanda Quick and historical fiction.

The books I’ve read:

  1. When It Happens
  2. Take Me There
  3. Waiting For You

 


That’s it for me. I know Harry Potter was a big deal then (still is) but, unfortunately, I didn’t discover that series until much later on. Do you have any staple authors you read during your tween/teen years?

Trap Jam by Steven Barwin | Review

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Olivia is living a double life — high-school student by day, drummer by night. Olivia doesn’t know when hanging out in clubs and drinking to appear older and enjoy the music scene became a habit, but she finds herself hungover at school and sneaking alcohol at home. Her bandmates Eddie and Lucas think she is older, and Olivia keeps up the pretence even as her real life starts to fall apart.
When Lucas catches Olivia talking to her friend Raymond in the women’s washroom, he beats up Raymond in a jealous rage. With Raymond unconscious and seriously hurt, Lucas tells Olivia that Raymond’s criminal brother is looking for them for payback. They go on the run, sleeping in a borrowed van and stealing to get by. Lucas keeps Olivia drunk and off-balance, telling her he loves her and pressuring her to have sex with him — even when she reveals she’s only sixteen. Still, through an alcoholic haze, Olivia sees that Lucas is delusional and dangerous. When she finally discovers that the story about Raymond’s brother is a lie, she realizes she has to get out of Lucas’s obsessional trap.


*I recieved this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.*

The idea for Trap Jam was inventive enough, but there was too much going on for the human brain to properly process. It seesaws between themes of pursuing your dreams, lying, obsession, alcholism, etc., but nothing is fully developed and is terribly chaotic. The writing is really spacey and unfocused, which also makes for a bad reading experience. There were multiple times I’d be reading and wonderded how the protagonist went from playing the drums to randomly riding a bike. There is some diversity in this, if you’re hardpressed for a POC protagonist then Olivia is your girl. I believe she’s either an Afro-Cuban or Dominican – I really can’t remember – and she’s also a female drummer which is cool. To conclude this review, I’d declare this to be a book new, teen readers. If you’re an experienced reader and mature in age then I’d skip it.

The This Is My Genre Tell Me Yours Book Tag | Random

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Tis’ the season to post every single day, starting – NOW!

This wonderful tag was created by the big bad (you know where I’m going with this) Drew@ TheTattoedBookGeek. Huge thank you to the the orang-utan librarian and icebreaker694 for tagging me; also, don’t forget to check out their answers because they’re great!

The Rules:

  • Credit my bad bad self Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek as the creator of the tag, use the created tag name graphic and link back to my blog.
  • Answer the questions
  • Tag as many people as you want.
    No long list, simple really!

 

What’s your favorite genre?

Movie-books. I know this answer is totally a cheat answer and I should be disqualified, but I don’t necessarily have a favorite genre. Therefore, I decided to be unorthodox and just throw this genre (non-genre) out there because it’s a combination of a vast amount of genres. However, some might not consider it a genre…

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Who’s your favorite author from the genre?

Um, I don’t think this question has a fair answer because of my chosen genre. But for the sake of answering I’m going to choose:

My selection of these two authors is based solely on how wonderfully their storied adapted to the big screen.

 

What is it about the genre that keeps pulling you back?

I enjoy being a vagabond regarding book genres. Movie-books give me that freedom, while also allowing me to compare them to the movies – it’s fun. But I must reiterate, I don’t sojourn with any particular genre, which is even true for this one.

What’s the book that started your love for your favorite genre?

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The first movie-book book I read was Jumper by Steven Gould. I remember loving the movie (yes, I know) and later learning it was based off the novel Jumper. With this information stored away, I went out and bought the book. Read it. And my first observation was, “The fuck am I reading! None of this happened in the movie!” But then I completed it and came to the realization that I enjoyed both the movie and the book equally, although they were immensely different. It was then that I concluded to seek out movies turned into books more often, until it just became a thing.

If you had to recommend at least one book from your favorite genre to a non-reader/someone looking to start reading that genre, what book would you choose and why?

Therein lies the beauty of the movie-book genre (or non-genre) because there’s not such thing as the right or wrong book! Whatever movies or tv shows you enjoy are most likely adapted from books, so you can take those and explore that on the page. My only suggestion would be to pick a movie you enjoy immensely to read.

 

Why do you read?

Escapism was my original motive, but as I’ve matured, so has my understanding of the reasons. I’ve come to realize my pleasure of reading is purely the enjoyment of imagination and exploration. I cannot go to Mars, but with The Martian I can experience  living there, surviving is an adventure, a discovery, a challenge that mere mortals could never ascend to. That’s why I read, not to escape – although at times that is my motive – but to explore and capture a moment in time that I’d most likely never explore otherwise.

 

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I tag:

Alex

Rachel

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Books On My TBR I Realized I Was Never Going To Read | Random

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Let’s be honest, this list is far heftier than the limited amount I’m going to include because it’s so easy to overload a post. The title is pretty self-explanatory, however, I’ll just go over exactly what I’m doing. So, I bought some new books a few days ago (if you follow me on Instagram you’d know what I’m talking about) and I realized the space for them was limited, therefore there were books spewed all around the room

 

In consequence (old school transition), I was forced to clean out my shelves and, surprisingly, found a few books I knew for certain I was never going to read.  Now I’m going to list said novels in this post. Doesn’t that sound fun!



 

The Devil Wears Prada – Lauren Weisberger

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Andrea Sachs, a small-town girl fresh out of college, lands the job “a million girls would die for.” Hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the high-profile, fabulously successful editor of “Runway “magazine, Andrea finds herself in an office that shouts “Prada! Armani! Versace!” at every turn, a world populated by impossibly thin, heart-wrenchingly stylish women and beautiful men clad in fine-ribbed turtlenecks and tight leather pants that show off their lifelong dedication to the gym. With breathtaking ease, Miranda can turn each and every one of these hip sophisticates into a scared, whimpering child. 

THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA gives a rich and hilarious new meaning to complaints about “The Boss from Hell.” Narrated in Andrea’s smart, refreshingly disarming voice, it traces a deep, dark, devilish view of life at the top only hinted at in gossip columns and over Cosmopolitans at the trendiest cocktail parties. From sending the latest, not-yet-in-stores Harry Potter to Miranda’s children in Paris by private jet, to locating an unnamed antique store where Miranda had at some point admired a vintage dresser, to serving lattes to Miranda at precisely the piping hot temperature she prefers, Andrea is sorely tested each and every day—and often late into the night with orders barked over the phone. She puts up with it all by keeping her eyes on the prize: a recommendation from Miranda that will get Andrea a top job at any magazine of her choosing. As things escalate from the merely unacceptable to the downright outrageous, however, Andrea begins to realize that the job a million girls would die for may just kill her. And even if she survives, she has to decide whether or not the job is worth the price of her soul.


First of all, that summary:

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Now that we’ve commented on that; my reasoning for not reading this one: After watching the movie, I can honestly say I have no interest in reading the written version. The movie was boring (to me anyway), not to mention, it wasn’t something I’d normally watch, but I gave it a chance and wasted my time. The whole naive girl turns devil woman is just snooze worthy and I’m not interested in fashion or reading about someone being treated like shit for a JOB, nope I’m out.

Something Borrowed – Emily Giffin

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Rachel has always been the consummate good girl—until her thirtieth birthday, when her best friend, Darcy, throws her a party. That night, after too many drinks, Rachel ends up in bed with Darcy’s fiancé. Although she wakes up determined to put the one-night fling behind her, Rachel is horrified to discover that she has genuine feelings for the one guy she should run from. As the September wedding date nears, Rachel knows she has to make a choice. In doing so, she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren’t always neat, and sometimes you have to risk all to win true happiness. 


I didn’t mind the movie. It was cliche and mushy with a huge side of cheesy, but I didn’t hate it, however, I got a strong feeling I would hate the book. Surprisingly (or not) I don’t enjoy reading Chick Lit. The narration always ends up sounding ranty without substance. Something Borrowed is the quintessential Chick Lit novel and I don’t see the point in reading it – sometimes the movie is enough.

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Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff | Review

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The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes


Illuminae has a massive overload of reviews, so my input won’t be something that someone hasn’t already stated, but I read it so why not review it.

Cons:
  • Format – The format of Illuminae while ambitious and entertaining, didn’t leave a considerable amount of potential to build an attachment to the characters or storyline. Since the entire novel is broken up into IM’s, articles, transcribed audio and video footage, data records, and recorded codes and information from A.I.D.A.N. While the storyline wasn’t difficult to follow, it just felt weird at times.
  • Characters – This can be reflected back to the format. Because of the way Illuminae is formatted it’s hard to be connected to the characters. Kady and Ezra were funny and their love was fun and heartfelt, but I just wasn’t invested in them.

SPOILER

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I’m Back!

I’m quite certain I am more excited about this return than you guys, but I couldn’t help it, I missed ya! However, I should probably explain the abruptness of my exit. There were actually a few things preventing me from posting, the most serious would be that I burned my hand cooking.

Yupp, I was making wasabi, honey mustard chicken and forgot the pan just came out of the oven and…sizzle. My hand was wrapped like a mummy for a while and it prevented me from typing, therefore, posting.

The second reason is because my job! I’ve had this HUGE account that I’ve written documents and contracts for for the past week.

The third would be my computer had been taken hostage. My cousin was here and….yea.

The fourth, I’ve been doing research for my trip to Thailand coming up in December and I’m excited!

Last, but not least, I’ve been school searching. As most of you probably don’t know, I took a year off before going to school in order to  “find myself” which is a simple way of saying I worked my ass off my senior year and deserved a break.

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Since school begins in Janurary I’ve been researching schools and talking to admission counselors etc.

But I’m back! And I’ve read A  LOT of books! If you follow me on Instagram, you’d know how much 🙂