Shortcake || slow-burn hate-to-love romance

shortcake book cover

Title: Shortcake
Author: Lucy Watson
Genre: Romance
Category: Adult
Series info: Standalone book

Goodreads

I was just browsing through romance titles in my recommendations, looking for new books that I might like when I came across Shortcake. To be honest, I’ve never heard of this book or this author and I didn’t have many expectations. Still, I decided to give it a go and was pleasantly surprised.

Content warnings for the book: grief, anxiety, mild PTSD.

THE PLOT

Emelia Anderson has been the live-in care nurse for Rose for a long time. When Rose passes away, she leaves the house to her grandson Benjamin and Emelia. The family, especially Ben, believe that Emelia conned Rose into adding her in the will and this animosity causes Ben to hate Emelia. Em is shocked that Rose included her in the will and hates that her character is being judged in such a way.

As much as they want to, Ben and Emelia can’t back out as Rose’s stipulation was that they have to renovate the house together while living in it for three months. Bizarre, right? If they fail to do so, the house will go to Ben’s father, whom Ben hates.

In the three months that they reluctantly live as house mates, Ben and Emelia get to know each other and develop feelings.

MY REVIEW

First of all, this book is longer than most romance books. But it has all the content which makes every page worth it.

The slow-burn chemistry was on point. I love slow-burn romances and this was done SO WELL. Ben and Emelia hate each other from their first meeting, which leads them to argue and fight a lot. It was really interesting to see their relationship grow from that start.

The book was hilarious. Emelia is a hoot and reading from her point of view was highly entertaining. She’s awkward, clumsy and sometimes rash in her decisions and it makes for some really funny scenes. The book made me laugh out loud and giggle multiple times, to the point that my mum was amused just watching me read.

Emelia has had a traumatic experience in the past, which has led to her developing anxiety. I really like how her anxiety was shown and her how she still makes the best of her life. It wasn’t a huge part of plot, her anxiety and milk PTSD were present and represented well.

The one thing that did disappoint me was the ending. The ending felt very rushed and messy. After the build-up of almost the whole book, the last part wasn’t very satisfying and felt off-paced.

OVERALL

A really nice romance read. I read the entire book in one sitting because it was too good to pause reading.

Would recommend: for hate-to-love and slow-burn romance lovers. Also if you’re looking for a very fun romantic comedy.

I rate this book..

4/5 stars

Do you like hate-to-love romances? What’s your favourite romance trope?

thoughts on Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social media streams that are currently in use, and it comes with new advantages and challenges.

The social media app has been around for a long time now, and its STILL rapidly growing. More and more people are registering for it everyday, and there are TONNES of accounts and account types to look through and stalk.

But.

Let’s be honest, right now, Instagram is a hot mess.

person using Instagram on their phone

One one hand, the app is doing SO WELL. Cases in point:

  • The multiple communities formed. We have the study community, the bullet journal community, the book community, the aesthetic accounts, the meme accounts, and so many more categories. Whatever you’re looking for is available in large numbers.
  • Instagram trends. There are new trends everyday and there are different trends in every community. It brings people back to the app to see what’s new and trending so that everyone can keep themselves up to date.
  • Stories. When they first introduced stories, we were all really skeptic, but stories have actually taken off! In fact, more people look at and engage with stories than they do with normal posts on their feed.
  • Since the entire app is based around visuals, it’s perfect for capturing attention quickly. In this super fast world where we are all racing and want to spend lesser time on everything, pictures and visuals are on the top of the game. Because of this, businesses and consumers both highly benefit from this app.
  • It’s provided a perfect platform for photographers and artists to showcase their work. It has also encouraged more people to get into photography and try new and unique styles.

There are many more points which I’m not mentioning, but these are enough to showcase just how successful this app has been. But on the other hand, Instagram does have it’s flaws. Cases in point:

  • It can become toxic. If you’re on Instagram to personally follow the lives of friends and acquaintances, the app has a huge hold over your mental health. The talk about Instagram being a “filter” and only showing the good sides has been around for a long time so I won’t bother explaining that.
  • It sucks your time like a black hole. Because it’s so easy to consume content in very short amounts of time, you tend to spend more time on the app. I know many people who spend HOURS of their time just scrolling on Instagram. While its good to consume content, it’s not as useful unless it helps you in any way. If you’re an influencer, or work in a graphics/visual-related career, understanding the trends on Instagram is required. But otherwise, it’s A HUGE WASTE OF TIME.
  • Some of the updates on Instagram are complete trash. As Instagram adds more and more features, the usability of the app is degrading. I’m not sure if this is just me, but I find that I much prefer lesser options to click and swipe through than the number of options available on the app right now. There are too many buttons, swipes and taps now, which makes the usability flow messy.
  • Let’s not even talk about the algorithm which makes it hard for influencers. We’ll be here all day with that.
  • Also, the app is currently a NIGHTMARE for people using accessibility tools. And it’s definitely a challenge for creators of accessibility tools.

Everything in this world has pros and cons, and obviously Instagram can’t be free of that. But I would like to point out one thing. Instagram today is wildly different than the vision it started out with. Remember Instagram when it first caught wind? It was all about people sharing their lives through pictures, and text NOT being the focal point. At that time, every social media platform we used centered around text so this was very new and exciting. The app was simple to use, had very few user actions which ensured that our attention was on the pictures on our feeds, and was cohesive. The explore page was just that, used to simply explore new accounts and content which we might like.

Today’s Instagram does not feel cohesive. Sure, they’re incorporating multiple elements related to visuals but does it actually feel cohesive? We have the main feed, then we have the stories, then there’s IGTV. These three things itself are entirely separate sections with accompanying extra features of their own. Our explore pages don’t feel appealing anymore because of the IGTV videos included in and the options on top for various genres.

The main drawback is that we spend minimal time looking at our feeds. Ever since stories arrived, we keep going through them instead of the content on our feeds. Because tapping to go to next story is easier than swiping and double tapping etc. We users are lazy and it’s shifted the entire dynamic of the app’s usage.

Speaking of the changed app usage dynamic, can I just rant about the 101 things on screen? Right as we open the app, we have multiple things popping up and fighting to grab our attention. The short attention span of users is fully exploited by constantly changing where our attention is pulled.

For example, the latest Instagram update which puts a red dot next to your account name to indicate new notifications in ANY of your accounts. So there’s a red dot that’s constantly pinging my attention to tell me that there are outstanding notifications in some account of mine. This may seem good, but it’s not for people like me who can’t ignore notifications. I can’t leave messages unread or notifications unseen. I can’t ignore them, and usually clear them all off as soon as I can.

If you’re thinking “why not just clear the notifications so the red dot will disappear?”, it’s not possible with a larger account. One of my accounts receives notifications CONSTANTLY and I have blocked notifications from the app because of that. Since I blocked them, notifications from that account don’t bother me unless I open that specific account. With this new update, those notifications cause the red dot to be persistent in every account which drives me nuts.

Another update which I’m on the fence about is the categorizing of accounts you follow. It’s great to know whom you’re interacting with less, so that you can correct it, but I’m not happy that it takes me so many taps to get to that point. That function is BURIED somewhere under several other things.

There are users who are good with all the distraction and multiple things on screen, but there are users like me who like our screen and usage to be simple. With every Instagram update, the UI feels more messy, which discourages me from using the app. Instagram is repelling me at this point. In fact, my daily average is 30 minutes with all three of my accounts. I spend minimal time using the app because just looking at it’s screen drains my energy.

I am not an avid user of the app, and would open another app if I can. Aesthetics are available on Pinterest as well, and trends are much better seen on Twitter. My Instagram usage has been declining over the past few months, and it has hit a low this month because of blogmas taking up my time. And this has made me realize that I don’t particularly like the app. I don’t miss it, and there is nothing I’m missing out on by not using it.

Bookstagram is a wonderful place with all the book aesthetics to make my heart warm, and I really like taking and posting my own pictures. But this time away has shown me that it’s not that great. I’ve been irregular in posting and viewing for the last month and I feel nothing. There’s a picture in my camera roll ready to be posted from two weeks but I don’t have any urgency to post and be regular on bookstagram. It’s quite liberating, I won’t lie. And now I’m actually considering deleting my bookstagram account.

It’s just a thought so far, and there are pros and cons to it as well. I like that all the bookish content is separated from personal content (which is on another account). And I don’t want to mix it up. So right now, I’m thinking I’ll keep the account but only use it when I really feel like it. While it means irregular posts from it, this also does mean that whatever I post will truly be something I want to share. There won’t be any posts just because I’m forced to stay consistent.

The same goes for the entire app, to be honest. From now on, I’ve decided to not feel any responsibility towards my accounts and only do what I feel like, even if it means not opening the app for days at end. There will be new photos only if I really feel like taking them. Although I might use stories regularly, but they will also be less, as they have been this past month.

Wow this post is nearing 1.5k words so I will stop. If you’ve stuck through with me this far, thanks for lending me your precious time!

What are your thoughts on Instagram? Are you on board with all the new updates?

startonyourshelfathon banner

I'm joining #StartOnYourShelfAThon! + Jan TBR

There are so many interesting readathons and challenges planned for 2020, and I’m a sucker for many of them.

When CW first tweeted with her readathon idea, I was all for it, and eagerly awaited her announcement post. I knew that this would definitely be one of the challenges that I do.

#StartOnYourShelfathon is a readathon where the main goal is to prioritize reading books you already own (physical or electronic). To be honest, I don’t do very badly* with my unread books. I don’t have that many unread physical or electronic books. BUT. The books I do have tend to be ignored for a long time.

For me, the goal is to use this challenge to not neglect the books I own longer, especially physical copies.

*meaning, better than what I consider to be a problem haha

If you’d like to know more about this year-long readathon or would like to join in, go on over to The Quiet Pond where CW has written an impressive post with the most beautiful graphics*. She’s also done AMAZING planning for this readathon, completely infusing it with new elements and fun things. I’m super excited to join in.

*in fact, I took the banner for this post from her! Isn’t it gorgeous?

MY PLAN

Although the readathon has technically already started, I’m joining in from next month and will be doing it as a 2020 thing.

My goals will be broken down to months. Some months may have more books on the TBR, and some might have less, but I will be reading at least 1 book every month for this challenge. Meaning, from my owned books, prioritizing the oldest ones.

CW has had a brilliant idea to also make a Discord server for the readathon in case we want to chat. I will be joining the Discord server. While I’m not sure how that will work or how much I’ll be talking there, that’s the part which actually drew me in. I’ve never seen Discord being used for reading challenges before so this will be a ton of fun.

To keep track of the readathon, I will be doing updates posts in April, August and December 2020, along with the star maps to track my progress and make my own constellation.

JANUARY TBR

That all said, time to set my first TBR for the challenge! I’ve decided on 5 books for January.

  • Kafka On The Shore by Haruku Murakami

I own this book as a paperback and it’s been sitting on my shelf for MONTHS. Since it’s bought from a secondhand bookstore, I can sell it back for half the price to buy more books. Definitely have a plan to go and get more books so I need to finish this one haha.

  • The Silva Mind Control Method by José Silva

My friend lent me this book a long time back saying it would be helpful for my mental health and how I deal with my shitty physical health. I read a bit of it but since it’s non-fiction, I can’t be motivated to read it. Hopefully, because of this readathon, I finish reading it once before starting to practice it.

  • Stillwatch by Mary Higgins Clark

I bought this book back in February 2019 in a book fair, and I don’t know why I still haven’t read it. It’s pretty small, and the author’s books are always engaging, so it should a quick read.

  • Becoming by Michelle Obama

This mammoth of a book is my real challenge in January. I own it as an ebook, and have started it, but have not made much progress yet.

  • I Owe You by Sophie Kinsella

Since I know that I will be reading romance at least once, better to check off an old ebook which I know I will enjoy. Kinsella never disappoints me and I’m looking forward to read this one.


And that’s my TBR! A few people from my Bangalore Bookstagram club are also planning on joining in for this readathon, so I will have company to do this. Hopefully they’ll remind me to follow this haha.

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest

Are you participating in any challenges or readathons next year? Do you think they are helpful?

blogmas 2019 header image

A-Z Reading Challenge 2019

It’s the end of the year! Which means that it’s time to look back on all the challenges and see how we’ve done.

I didn’t join in on any challenges this year since I knew that I won’t be able to keep up with them all. College has been HECTIC, and I was expecting it. But there are two challenges that I always participate in passively. It’s the Goodreads reading challenge, where I set my goal to 150 books this year. Another is the A-Z Reading Challenge.

How this challenge works is that we have to read books for every alphabet. For A, we should read a book whose name starts with A. The one rule is that “The”, “A” and “An” doesn’t count. For Q, X and Z, the letters can be anywhere in the title.

P.S. This is part of my blogmas! Follow my blog to not miss any of my posts since I’ll be posting everyday leading up to Christmas. You can also check out all the posts I’ve published so far.

Here’s what my list looks like!

A – Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

B – Butterface by Avery Flynn

C – City of Ghosts by V.E. Schwab

D – Defy Me by Tahereh Mafi

E – Educated by Tara Westover

F – The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

G – Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

H – Heartache and Hope by Jay McLean

I – Intercepted by Alexa Martin

J – Justice by K.C. Lynn

K – Knots by Deblina Bhattacharya

L – The Lie by C.L. Taylor

M – Muffin Top by Avery Flynn

me standing next to a stack of books of my height

N – Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

O – On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

P – Punk 57

Q – Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

R – Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

S – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

T – That Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson

U – The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

V – A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

W – The Wicked King by Holly Black

X – The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Y – The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Z – The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez


I completed it! When I was planning this post and noted down the books for every letter, I was still missing Q and Y. It was only last week that I managed to complete those haha. And that’s by cleverly choosing a small book for Y. But I’m glad I did 24 letters without consciously trying!

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest

Are you doing the A to Z Reading Challenge as well? Or are you doing any other challenge? Tell me in the comments!

The Gilded Wolves || full of adventure

Title: The Gilded Wolves
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: Fantasy
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Book 1 in The Gilded Wolves series

Goodreads

Even though I haven’t read much Young Adult this year, I still notice the popular books and trends. One of the books which has been HYPED UP is The Gilded Wolves. Almost everyone was talking about it. Especially since it involves a diverse set of characters, the praise was high.

So when I got the mood to read a YA book, this was the first one that I picked.

SYNOPSIS

The book is set in France, 1889. But we don’t really see the mundane France. Right from the beginning, we’re introduced to the new concept of “Forging” and the hidden Fantasy world.

In this hidden world lies The Order, and the Four Houses that protect the art of Forging. Severin, the last heir of one of the houses, was denied of his birthright as patriarch of the house years back. Ever since, he has been on the path of revenge, and his only mission is to be instated with his birthright.

Over the years, he has brought together a band of people to work with him. Laila, the dancer from India with her own mission. Enrique, a well-read historian looking to be recognized. Zofia, a very smart engineer with a debt. And Tristan, Severin’s brother in everything except blood.

Right as Severin’s dream is close enough to reach for, things go awry and the group is thrust into a mission they didn’t sign up for. Together, they discover hidden truths and learnt what it truly means to be family.

MY REVIEW

First of all, this book reminded me why I loved the Fantasy genre. It has been so long since I read a Fantasy book, and reading this was like breathing fresh air. It was wonderful.

The plot is very captivating. We are taken on an adventure through this book. An adventure with a denied birthright, Forging, mystery, manipulation, secrets, betrayal and magical objects. Basically everything you want in a great Fantasy book.

The writing was very descriptive. We are given details about everything, especially the history in this world. At times, I found the descriptions and background information too much. Yes they’re planning something and are researching a lot for it, but there was way too much unnecessary information for me to read through with concentration. That could have been reduced.

Even though the plot was really good, what really made the book great were the characters. The characters were brilliant. They were each unique and fully-fledged i.e. with depth and layers. Every character was endearing in their own way. They are precious.

There was also enough highlight on each of them. I never felt like we saw more of one or two and less of the others. They were all equally the main characters of this book.

The found family trope was executed beautifully. The relationships between the characters, and what the relationships mean to them, was shows really well. The interactions were very fun to read as well, and didn’t feel like an overkill.*

*cough Aurora Rising cough

Many readers have compared this book to Six of Crows. While I do see the similarities—with the plot type and character relationships—I still think that they are entirely separate books. They have similar concepts but each with their own spin and meaning to it.

OVERALL

I’m very happy with this book. I absolutely loved reading about the characters going on their dangerous adventures together. It also brought back some of my love of YA Fantasy.

Would recommend especially: if you’re looking for a book with the found family trope, with a very Fantasy-world, and adventure.

I rate this book..

4/5 stars

Have you read The Gilded Wolves? Do you like the Fantasy genre?

blogmas 2019 header image

My Favourite 2019 Blogging Moments Tag

Hey everyone!

It’s been a long year with ups and downs in blogging for me. I wanted to somehow round it up and found the perfect tag by Laura @ the book corps. It’s her original tag and she’s made a great one.


RULES:

  1. All the answers must be about your blog posts.
  2. Please link the original creator of the tag!
  3. You don’t have to provide just one post for each question, you can provide as many as you want so long as they were written in 2019.
  4. If you haven’t written a post that matches one of the questions, choose one that relates to it as close as possible.
  5. Tag 5+ bloggers to they can share their accomplishments too! And make sure you read the posts they share!

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK REVIEW?

the friend zone book cover

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

My favourite book reviews are directly proportional to how much I like the books lol. If I like a book more, I put more effort into the review. I quite liked The Friend Zone, and I really liked writing the review for it.

Also, I changed my reviewing format halfway into 2019, so I’m not counting any of my reviews before that haha. Now that I changed my format, I just like this one SO MUCH BETTER. I don’t even like looking at the previous ones.


WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE DISCUSSION POST?

what blogging is actually like image

What Blogging is Actually Like // 10 TRUE FACTS About Blogging

This post was in the making for quite a while. When I was thinking up post ideas one day, because I was in a creative ideating mood, I came up with this post. There are small things about blogging which aren’t technically what blogging is about, but comes with the hobby. I simply wanted to share and lament over them, and bond over this hobby with everyone else.

Writing this post took up quite some time, and I spent a lot of time on deciding what to write and how to format it. But it was really fun and I like reading that post myself.


WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE FUN POST?

i.e. a post that doesn’t fall under a particular category like reviews, discussions or tags do.

me with an open book and a cup of tea

THINGS I COULD DO INSTEAD OF READING

This post was written partly for shits and giggles, because I don’t really want to be reading less and I don’t regret reading so much. But there are times when reading takes away time for other random things that I could be doing. I wrote all of the things I would do if reading wasn’t my #1 priority.


WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK RECOMMENDATION POST?

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FAVOURITE BOOK TROPES

This post was written in response to a Top Ten Tuesday prompt for favourite book tropes. I mentioned all my favourites tropes and recommended five books for every trope. This was fun to think about, because I never thought of my favourite tropes past top three. I had to go through my Goodreads and see what other tropes jumped out from my favourites, and then find more books to recommend for that trope.


WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK/BOOKISH PHOTO?

a row of books with the letters H and M, featuring Haruki Murakami books.

I really like this photo. I took this back when I was doing a cluttered, reds/oranges/pinks theme for Instagram. This theme pushed me to add many things in the frame and go all out on eye-catching colours. This photo is my favourite because of the letters. One of my friends made the letters to make up my nickname “chume”, from which I borrowed H and M for this photo to talk about Haruki Murakami. Here’s the original Instagram post.*

*shameless plug, but follow me on Instagram for more pretty pictures!


WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE ORIGINAL IDEA/BLOG POST?

the winternight trilogy discussion and review header image

THE WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY // REVIEW + DISCUSSION WITH TEENU

Not sure how original this is, but this was one that I came up on the fly. I didn’t buddy read this trilogy with Teenu but we did read it around the same time. The normal review style was becoming kind of boring, and I wanted to do some kind of discussion because I NEEDED TO TALK about this trilogy. And so, this blog post was born!

Teenu and I basically just discussed with free reign over text. Later, I compiled all of our texts and rearranged them so they make some sense to the readers. It took a LONG time for me to put together, but I’m really glad with it.


WHAT’S YOUR ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE BLOG POST YOU WROTE THIS YEAR?

kill me heal me header image

KILL ME, HEAL ME // KDRAMA REVIEW

My enjoyment of writing a review is directly proportional to how much I liked what I’m reviewing. Kill Me, Heal Me is my #1 Kdrama right now, and I HAD to do justice to it in my review. I spent a LONG time for this blog post. After the drama, I wrote a lot of notes in my bullet journal. Then I let myself think over it for a month or so and come up with more before actually writing the review.

Talking about it, and putting my thoughts down with images and everything, was really nice. I really like how it turned out as well. And I’m pretty sure others like it too because it receives quite a bit of attention from search engines haha.


HAVE YOU REACHED ANY BLOGGING ACHIEVEMENTS THIS YEAR?

girl working on her laptop

I actually have quite a few!

I GET MOST OF MY VIEWS FROM SEARCH ENGINES.

Many of my posts have made their way to front pages when similar terms are searched. In fact, if you search “Doctor Stranger review”, my review is the first result to come up! It also shows up for variations of the term. My review of W: Two Worlds and Kill Me, Heal Me have made their way to the first few links as well.

My book reviews are getting attention from search engines too! My posts on Everything, Everything, Girl Online Going Solo, and Genuine Fraud are the most popular from search engines.

And what I’ve mentioned above aren’t the only posts to be seen from search engines. There are many more, which leads to most of my views coming from search engines. Doctor Stranger review alone has received over 4000 views!!! When I first realized, I was amazed and I continue to be as this blog grows.

I HIT 50K VIEWS AND 30K VISITORS IN TOTAL.

It was surreal to open my insights page notice that over 30,000 people have visited my blog and thought it’s worth it. I was so happy to see this.

MY BLOG NOW HAS OVER 700 POSTS!

Over the years, I’ve been writing posts and my motivation to blog has just been growing. It’s so weird to think that I’ve written hundreds of posts. This blog literally contains most of my thoughts and opinions from the last few years.

I ALSO REACHED 1600 FOLLOWERS RECENTLY

My follower count has been steadily increasing and the number hit 1600 just a couple weeks back. Again, this is so cool!

While 2019 has had it’s ups and downs for my blog, downs particularly in my blogging slumps, it’s had quite a few ups in the attention it’s been receiving. I’m so grateful that my blog is considered worth it and that people keep coming back.


I TAG..

Charley @ The Miss Charley | KayCee @ Wonderstruck | Kelly @ Dream in Lace | Jenna @ Bookmark Your Thoughts | Rebecca @ Bookishly Rebecca | Emer @ A Little Haze Book Blog

What were your favourite moments of 2019, blogging or otherwise?

Songs on repeat header

Songs On Repeat // Blogmas edition!

Hey everyone!

I usually do this post with all my favourite songs at the end of every month. But because I’ve been doing Blogmas, it’s given me a lot of time to spend listening to more songs while I blog. If I did this at the end of the month it would be way too long.

So, here are all the songs I enjoyed while blogging this month!

Hard To Say Goodbye by Ekali & Illenium

Blogging is all about chill and relax vibes, which is exactly what this song is. YouTube recommended it to me and it’s perfect.

Grand Escape by RADWIMPS

Back when I watched Weathering With You in the theatre, it was a totally different experience. The music, the vibes and everything was so immersive. My friends quickly obsessed with this song, and since we listen to music together a lot, the obsession caught onto me as well.

Trampoline by SHAED x ZAYN

This is another really chill song to listen to. Their voices go well together as well, which makes the song so good.

Make Us Never Happen by SHY Martin

If I ever went on late night drives, this would be playing in the car. But since I don’t, it plays at night when I’m blogging.

we’ve never met but can we have a coffee or something by In Love With A Ghost

THIS. MUSIC. IS. LOVE.

I found In Love With A Ghost with this music, and I am obsessed with their work. The music is so good. This one is currently my absolute favourite and I listen to it when I blog or study. It’s perfect to listen to at 5:30am when you’re studying. Speaking from experience.

Nevada by Vicetone

YouTube played this song after Hard To Say Goodbye and the algorithm got the vibe totally right. This one has more beats, but it’s still good EDM to play in the background.

Need Your Love by Gryffin & Seven Lions feat. Noah Kahan

This is the most recent fave. I can’t stop listening to it, and it’s the first song I play when I open YouTube.

Tanto by Jesse & Joy and Luis Fonsi

After finding Jesse & Joy last month, I’ve been slowly listening to much of their music. I absolutely love Joy’s vocals, and it comes out well in this song. I wish they didn’t do the collab with Luis Fonsi because his voice overshadows hers from the second verse, which is so sad.

Corre by Jesse & Joy

This is not the music for blogging, but I listen to it when I’m in the sad mood. It’s a sad song, and the music video shows a sad story too. But again, Joy’s vocals are too good.

Ecos De Amor by Jesse & Joy

This is THE song to listen to for Joy’s singing. It’s so good! I’ve listened to this so many times that I know all the words in it. This is also a sad-ish song, so not great for blogging, but I listen to it other times.


Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest


What songs have you been listening to on repeat recently? Do you already know of the songs I mentioned above?

blogmas 2019 header image

All I Want For Christmas Book Tag

Hey everyone! We’re halfway through blogmas!

When I decided to do blogmas, I was very worried about whether I’ll be able to make it, but now that it’s half-way through and I’m still going somewhat strong, I have hope!

Since there is (clearly) a lack of Christmassy posts on my blog, I thought I’d add a little holiday cheer in by doing a Christmas book tag. I found this tag on Sophie’s Corner while blog-hopping a couple days back and thought it would be perfect to do.


[1] What fictional character do you want Santa to leave under your Christmas tree?

Jem Carstairs! I haven’t read The Infernal Devices in years but Jem will forever be one of my favourite fictional crushes because he’s a GEM*.

*haha see what I did there. I should shut up.

[2] What character do you want to kiss under the mistletoe?

Um. Do I have to think of a romantically single character for this? Imma just say Josh Im from Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating.

me sitting with my stacks of books haha.

[3] You write your Christmas list for Santa, what are the top 5 books on it?

  • A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai. I. WANT. THIS. It sounds tooooo good and I want it in my hands.
  • Six of Crows collectors edition!!!! It’s too pretty.
  • And of course, Crooked Kingdom collector’s edition too.
  • Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talie Hibbert.
  • Well Met by Jen DeLuca.

[4] It’s secret Santa at Hogwarts, what do you most want to receive?

A time turner, because I want to do SO MUCH everyday and I need more than 24 hours haha. I’ve noticed just how much I want to do everyday nowadays. Other than reading and blogging, I’ve started to game with my friends as well which takes up a quite some time. Then of course there’s studying and getting caught up on shows and movies. Oof.

[5] You get to spend the day with the characters and movie adaptation actors from one fandom, what do you pick.

The Mortal Instruments, always. It would be SO MUCH FUN to hang out with the varied characters from the fandom. Also, who would turn down the chance to meet Magnus Bane?

I’m also partial to the movie adaptation actors for TMI. I’m not happy with the TV show actors. I mean, come one! Lily Collins. Jamie Bower! Speaking of, I was so sad when I heard that Godfrey Gao passed away last month. He was a really great Magnus Bane in the movies.

an open book with tabs

[6] What fictional animal would you like to replace Rudolph and be able to meet on your roof?

I’m a simple person. I want to meet Church, the cat from The Mortal Instruments. He seemingly has a long lifespan and is the smartest cat ever. I really want to hang out with that cat.

[7] You invite 10 fictional characters to your New Year’s Eve party, who do you pick?

I’ll limit myself to only 1 of The Mortal Instruments (and related books) from this list because they’ll take up all 10 spots (and more!) haha. And I should talk about other characters as well.

I pick..

  • Kenji from Shatter Me by Tahereh mafi. He’s awesome.
  • Brynn from Fumbled by Alexa Martin. She’s a hoot.
  • Kal from Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, because I just like him.
  • Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. Obviously!!!!
  • Alex and Henry from Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.
  • Kell, Lila and Rhys from A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab.
  • Janie from Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid.

[8] What character would make a good Santa (doesn’t have to be appearance, personality counts too)?

I’m coming off as a total Magnus Bane fangirl but.. Magnus Bane. He is PERFECT to be Santa, though! He’ll give hilarous gifts, drown everything in glitter, and make sure you get what you want.

me standing with my kindle

And those were my answers!

If you’d like to do this tag, consider yourself tagged by me! Do link back so I can see your answers.


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What books would you like to be gifted this Christmas? Tell me in the comments!

Wilder Girls || gory and creepy

Title: Wilder Girls
Author: Rory Power
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

When this book was released, it became a huge hit in the Bookstagram community. Everywhere I saw, people were reading or talking about this book. This cover was shown to me so many times that I didn’t even have to add it to my TBR, it was just imprinted in my head.

It took me a while to pick it up since I wasn’t in the mood for YA. But the second I wanted to, I read this one. And it’s safe to say that I went in with HUGE expectations.

SYNOPSIS

The book is set on Raxter Island, which has been taken over by a disease called “The Tox”. It has affected the entire island including the trees, the animals, and even the people. Ever since it hit, the island has been put on quarantine.

The girls in Raxter School, a boarding school which has now turned into a weird hell, have scales on their body, bones sticking out, and other weird body parts which have developed because of the Tox. They were told that a solution will be found, and to just hold on, but it’s been 18 months. They stay locked up in the school, only a few wandering out for supplies.

Hetty, Byatt and Reese are a tight knit group. When Byatt goes missing, Hetty vows that she will find her. In the process, she discovers so much more that she was looking for.

MY REVIEW

Let’s do this in parts.

THE GOOD

This book is unique. I have never come across a story like this in YA, and it was very interesting to read. The Tox is an unknown thing, and no one knows what it is, how it actually came to Raxter, or how to get rid of it. They’re just hanging on and living with it.

Reading the book will put you in that world. The writing is highly detailed and eerie. Sometimes, I could barely handle it because I was so grossed out with the descriptions. The author hold back from exactly detailing everything related to the Tox. I was slightly nauseous a couple times as well*. The writing also sets the creepy vibe well. This is not a happy book. It’s one meant to creep you out.

The characters and the relationships were nice. We focus more on Hetty, Byatt and Reese. The complex relationships between these three was nice to see. They’re super close and will always have each other’s backs.

*note: don’t read when eating, or right after eating.

THE OKAY

I feel like the characters were sometimes underdeveloped. Since we read through Hetty, we know a lot about her and she’s a full-fledged character. I can’t say the same for Byatt and Reese, and we barely think about others if not Tox-related. The characters could have been worked on much more. Byatt especially confused me. I always felt like I’m reading a surface-level version of her. There was no clear depth.

The plot, overall, was quite unimpressive. The book spends so long describing the Tox and it’s effects on everyone, and how daily life has become since the quarantine. But it never pays off. It’s as if the author thought of this situation and somehow constructed a plot around it, but the plot was never the main focus. It didn’t feel like there was a point to it.

THE BAD

I’m someone who is ALWAYS up for romance, no matter the genre. So when I saw the hints of romance in this book, I was ecstatic at first. But a while later, I wish it didn’t exist.

The romance felt like a needless addition to the plot, and at times it took attention completely away from the main plot*. The timing of the romance scenes was very inconvenient as well. I just could not go with it. I wish there was no romance at all.

*if there’s actually a main plot.

The book got pretty boring about halfway. By that point, all the Tox descriptions and intrigue was waning. I needed some actual plot, but none was forthcoming. I actually had to pause reading it, read another book, and then get back to it. By the 80% point, I was speed-reading so I could be done with the book faster.

But the book’s ending was NOT satisfying. I really hated the way the book rushed through to provide some form of an ending. But it doesn’t actually end as well.. It was an open ending! There’s still so much mystery around the Tox and what happens to the three girls. We still barely know anything. It’s like the author gave us clues and told “figure it out yourself.” To have sat through an entire book, that was highly underwhelming.

OVERALL

I was highly disappointed. For the amount of hype going around, this book is not worth it. Sure, the concept of the Tox, and the descriptions and vibe were cool. It was very different than the usual YA books we get. But I still would have liked a proper plot and some form of definitive ending.

Considering that the book was about the Tox, the least it could have done was leave me with no questions about it. But I still don’t exactly know what the Tox is.

Would recommend: if you’re looking for a unique YA with creepy vibes.

Would not recommend: if you can’t handle descriptive gore, and like proper endings.

I rate this book..

2.5/5 stars

top ten tuesday header image

Top 10 Romance Reads of 2019

2019 was my year of romance reading.

Over the last few years, the number of romance books I read has been slowly increasing. This year, my favourite genre changed from Fantasy to Romance. Or maybe it changed late last year but I only came to terms with it in 2019.

Since I was all into Adult Romance, I gobbled up romance books A LOT. My Goodreads challenge has very few books which are not in the Adult Romance genre. As I read so many of them, I thought I’d share my favourites with y’all.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is a freebie, so we’re free to post any top 10 list of ours. And I’m so glad because I can’t join in on any of the Christmas lists haha.

Note: most of these are Adult Romances and contain various degrees of explicit scenes.


[1] Rafe by Rebekan Weatherspoon

Rafe

I read this book only recently and it has SWOOPED into my favourites easily, destroying the chance for any other book. This book was SO GOOD. I’m still reeling from that reading experience.

  • Awesome chemistry.
  • Cute AF six year old.
  • BREAKING GENDER STEREOTYPES.
  • Being understanding and respectable about boundaries!!!
  • ADULTS ACTING LIKE RESPONSIBLE ADULTS.
  • Slow and true relationship growth.

I read that book twice in the span of a month. After my first read, I read two other books, but then this was just too good and nothing else compared so I HAD to reread it.

Click here to read my entire review.


[2] Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan

long shot

This is too good to not be one of the top picks. I knew when I was reading the book that it would make into my top reads of 2019. It deserves more talk and more recognition.

  • SO MUCH MORE THAN ROMANCE.
  • Will definitely break your heart at least once.
  • Domestic abuse rep.
  • HARD TO READ.
  • The romance is so worth it, though.
  • STRONG CHARACTERS.
  • Major trigger warnings!!!! (mentioned in my review)

Click here to read my review.


[3] RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE BY CASEY MCQUISTON

red white and royal blue

Honestly, is there ANY surprise that this is included in my list?

  • HILARIOUS.
  • Very strong characters.
  • T H E R O M A N C E.
  • It’s suuuuuper gay and chaotic.
  • BRITISH PRINCE AND FIRST SON OF AMERICA!
  • Cute as heck.
  • The banter between the characters is highly entertaining.
  • YOU SHOULD READ IT.

Click here to see my full review.


[4] The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

the flatshare

Yoo this book will NOT get out of my head. It’s been so long since I read it, and it still pops up in my thoughts like ?? What is that effect? The plot is ah-mazing.

  • OPPOSITES ATTRACT.
  • They share an apartment, and a bed, but have never met.
  • CUUTE ROMANCE.
  • Conversations via sticky notes around the house!!
  • A+ CHARACTERS.
  • Finding long lost love!!!
  • An adorable meddling 5 year old.
  • GREAT CHEMISTRY.
  • Content warnings mentioned in my review.

Click here to read my review.


[5] The Friend Zone by Abby Jiminez

the friend zone book cover

This. Book. It gave me way too many feels, and broke my heart a little too much before saving me. A really really nice romance book with a well thought-out plot.

  • STRONG FEMALE LEAD.
  • Female lead has uterine fibroids, and we see it affecting her life in detail.
  • FRIENDS TO LOVERS.
  • Open-minded and understanding male lead.
  • AWESOMESAUCE CHEMISTRY.

Click here to read my review.


[6] FUMBLED BY ALEXA MARTIN

fumbled

Alexa Martin is an author whom I discovered this year and am LOVING her work. Fumbled was my first book of hers and I’m sure I’ll read many more.

  • HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS.
  • A super cute 10 year old!
  • Perfect for fans of football.
  • FRIENDS GOALS.
  • Just is a very fun read.

Click here to read my full review.


[7] HEARTACHE & HOPE BY JAY MCLEAN

heartache and hope

Okay so I actually did not write a full review for this because I binge read both the books in this duet in less than two days. After that, I was just reeling from the effects and my heart needed TIME. Then I just couldn’t not form proper sentences for this book.

  • WILL BREAK YOUR HEART. Definitely. For sure.
  • Heartache and Hope. The title says it all. It’ll break you, fix you back, and repeat.
  • HIGH SCHOOL LOVE.
  • A really good plot. And so unique.
  • VAR VETERAN REP. PTSD REP. DISABILITY REP.
  • Honestly, all the representations were brilliant. The female lead’s mum suffers from PTSD after being a PoW. It’s.. a lot to take in.
  • You will need time to heal after this duet.
  • WORTH IT.

Advised to read content warnings before picking up the book.


[8] FAKE IT TILL YOU BREAK IT BY JENN P. NGUYEN

fake it till you break it

This is the only Young Adult book in this list. It’s technically contemporary but it’s pretty much romance so I’m counting it.

  • ENEMIES TO LOVERS TROPE.
  • In a different way, it’s also kind of friends-to-lovers trope.
  • FAKE DATING TROPE.
  • The characters are awesome.
  • ADORABLE AF RELATIONSHIP.
  • It’s a light and very fun read.

Click here to read my review.


[9] THE UNHONEYMOONERS BY CHRISTINA LAUREN

the unhoneymooners

Christina Lauren have smoothed into my favourite Romance authors list. So of course one of their books would be in this list.

  • Perfect vacation read.
  • Or just for a chill afternoon.
  • ENEMIES TO LOVERS TROPE.
  • The plot was really nice.
  • HILARIOUS BANTER.
  • Cool characters.
  • WILL MAKE YOU LAUGH.

[10] FOREVER RIGHT NOW BY EMMA SCOTT

forever right now book cover

When I found and picked up this book, I didn’t have many expectations. I just read it, and it was okay. But by the time I finished the book, it really made an impact on me. I spent days just thinking about it. After a while, I reread it and liked it even more.

This is one of those books which sneaks up on you and you don’t even realise when it becomes one of your favourites.

  • ALCOHOLIC RECOVERY REP.
  • A strong female lead, who I’m honestly inspired by.
  • She’s also very compassionate.
  • SINGLE DAD TROPE.
  • The characters in this book were A+.
  • SLOW-BURN ROMANCE.
  • Emotional and sweet.
  • MAKES A LASTING IMPRESSION.

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And those were my top romance reads of the year! (so far haha)

What were your favourite reads of 2019? Have you read any of these books? If you’ve done today’s Top Ten Tuesday, leave your links below!

how to consistently blog without tiring yourself out

How To Consistently Blog Without Tiring Yourself Out (Part 1) // Blogging Tips

One of the main challenges bloggers face is publishing great content regularly without burning out or falling into a blogging slump.

I’ve been blogging for almost 4 years now, and it took me a long time to figure out how to manage college and real life with my blog. Once I started really looking at other blogs, noticing how their content is better than mine and started working more on my posts, I found it hard to blog consistently.

Writing and publishing a great blog post involves many steps, and sometimes it is hard to keep up when trying to post often.

After a while of experimenting, reading multiple blogs about advice and tips, I finally managed to blog consistently for a long time. After several months of doing it, I decided to concentrate more on my academics and stopped giving as much priority to blogging consistently.

Recently, I’ve been slowly working at getting back to it and I’ve found it easier to get back now that I know what works.

Today, I’m here to share my notes and to-do lists which help me stay on top of my blogging while managing college, hobbies and other facets of life. I’m breaking down these tips into 2 parts in order to keep the post shorter.

Note: this post is part of my blogmas 2019 posts where I publish a blog post every day from 1st to 25th December. Make sure to follow me to not miss any of my posts! You can also catch up on the posts I’ve published so far.

AVOID BLOGGER BURNOUT WITH THESE TIPS // BLOGGING TIPS

PLAN AHEAD

This is the one piece of advice EVERY seasoned blogger will give you. Planning always helps, because you set some goals for yourself and you make a roadmap to achieving it.

And plan as much as possible. Varying degrees of planning works for different people. Experiment and find out what works best for you, with the way you blog.

If you blog a whole post in one sitting, plan a set time for it days beforehand so you don’t make any other plans. Take that time out specifically for blogging.

If you blog in iterations or steps, plan out what you’re going to do when. It will be helpful to know when to put little bits of effort such that you get your post published the day you want it to be up.


MAINTAIN AN IDEAS JOURNAL

Ideas come to us all the time, and we don’t have the time to draft blog posts for them immediately. And every idea counts. A small idea can turn into a really great blog post. This is why maintaining an ideas journal/notebook/list helps. You can record every idea, hence they’ll never get lost.

Another plus point to this is always having a bunch of ideas on hand. You may sit down to type up a post, and not have an idea then. You can just pull up your list of ideas and pick one to work on.

workspace picture
Image by Thought Catalogue on Unsplash

TAKE PHOTOS IN BULK

Blog posts look much better with graphics, especially if they are color coordinated and match the post’s theme. But the problem with images is finding the time to take them, because we require ample time, good lighting and set-ups.

Hence, taking photos in bulk in advance will be very helpful. If you plan out your upcoming blog posts, you will know what posts you need images for. Take out a day, let’s say every Sunday, and spend an hour or so stocking up on images.

A related tip would be to edit them all at the same time, if you want to edit. Doing the same tasks in bulk saves a lot of time.

SET ASIDE TIME REGULARLY

Blogging consistently requires time spent on blogging regularly. Set aside time at least every few days to do a task related to blogging. Be it planning, finding out ideas, blog hopping, taking pictures, or typing.

Scheduling in time for blogging in your routine effectively inserts the hobby into your days. After a while, your mind will adapt and you will begin to get into “the blogging zone” during those times.

The problem with having a creative hobby is getting into the zone and formulating ideas. Incorporating your hobby into your routine, and making sure that you don’t lose touch from it, helps a long way.

girl working on her laptop
Image from Unsplash

BREAK DOWN A BLOG POST INTO MULTIPLE STEPS

This ties in with the points that I mentioned above. Breaking down blog posts into multiple steps helps spreading out a post into multiple days.

This means that you can take small amounts of time every day or few days and do small tasks, leading up to a whole blog post.

For example, maintaining a routine like this:

  • Jot down ideas all the time.
  • Plan which blog posts you want to write.
  • Plan when those blog posts should be published.
  • Take images for those posts.
  • Type the blog post.
  • Hit publish (or schedule)!

Doing the blog posts in steps also gives a sense of satisfaction, since you are being productive and getting things done.


MAKE THE BEST USE OF WEEKENDS

Weekends are the only times we have control over our free time. Especially the mornings on weekends. I have noticed that most people are at their best productive levels in the mornings. I call myself a night person, and I do get work done in late nights, but once I started having a morning routine for blogging I noticed my productivity going up.

Wake up early during weekends, make a drink for yourself, and settle down on your laptop or desktop. Even one day every weekend is enough. I used to blog for three hours on Sunday mornings and managed to post thrice a week for several months. If there was time during the week, I would take advantage of that and blog for further ahead. At a point, I was scheduling blog posts a month away. That was my peak consistency level.

Making efficient use of weekends helps a ton, and you will definitely see the difference in your blogging.

One way is to keep the tasks that take longer for weekends. Such as actually writing a complete post, or taking photos in bulk in the right time for good sunlight. Whatever takes you the longest, do it over weekends.

mug with hustle written on it.
Image from Unsplash.

Summarizing the points:

  • Plan ahead.
  • Make an ideas journal.
  • Take photos in bulk.
  • Set aside time regularly for blogging.
  • Break down blog posts.
  • Make the best use of weekends/

All the points I mentioned above consolidate into one routine. But the simple use of each, even if you’re trying out only one of them, will make a difference themselves.

The above points help in not burning out because it makes sure that you’re working on different parts of blogging every few days. You plan one day, take images another day, and write another day. As you won’t be doing the same thing all the time, or everything at once, you will not be pushing yourself to tire out.

Pinterest image.

how to consistently blog without tiring yourself out (part 2) // blogging tips and advice @ the wordy habitat
Save this post on Pinterest!

I have a few more tips on this topic, and I will be sharing them on part 2 of this post soon. Make sure to keep an eye out for it!

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Do you already follow any of the points I mentioned in your routine? Are there any tips I missed which are super useful? Let me know in the comments!

Christmas Jars // movie review + GIVEAWAY

Christmas Jars Blog Tour banner

Christmas time means watching tons of Christmas movies.

By now, I’ve watched quite a few Christmas movies and I have to say, they make you feel good. Cozying up in blankets with a hot drink or just watching when it’s all gloomy outside and watching a Christmas movie has a charm of it’s own.

When I got the chance to participate in the blog tour for Christmas Jars, I jumped on the chance. It sounded really nice and cute.

Christmas Jars poster

Based on the New York Times best- selling novel by Jason F. Wright

Hope is an aspiring reporter who has had her fair share of tragedy in life. Abandoned at birth, she’s grieving the recent death of her adopted mother when her apartment is burglarized of all her possessions. While reporting the burglary to the police, Hope discovers a jar full of money, labeled “Christmas Jar.” Shocked and grateful for this act of kindness, Hope discovers that people all over her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, have been receiving Christmas Jars for years during times of need. The jars are always anonymous and always contain different amounts. In this heartwarming Christmas classic, Hope goes undercover to discover the secret behind the Christmas jars, putting into motion a series of events that will change her life, and her community, forever.

Movie Trailer
Buy links: Deseret Book | Amazon.com

Christmas Jars has all the Christmas-movie things down to a T. It’s cozy, cheesy, funny and has a happy ending. What more do you need? The movie is perfect for a Christmas pick.

I watched the movie with a few of my friends because I thought it would be fun to watch as a group, and I was right. While I would have enjoyed the movie alone as well, it was super fun to watch with others. Even though my friends and I are quite critical about plots and don’t like cheesy/cliché things, we enjoyed the movie.

The plot was really nice. Hope, our main character, was anonymously given a Christmas Jar full of money at a bad time in her life. After finding out that many others have been gifted at rough times as well, she vows to find out who these generous gifters are. This search completely changes her life.

As the movie starts with Hope as a newborn, the timeline is pretty straightforward. There’s no jumping in time or confusion as you watch the movie. If you’ve watched a lot of movies, then you can also probably guess what’s going to happen next. To me, the twist was very predictable, but I still enjoyed the movie.* It’s a clean plot, so you can just sit back and enjoy.

*I went a little extra critical and found two plot holes too but it’s a Christmassy feel-good movie and you should not question things.

The best part of the plot was that it all comes full circle. I really liked that. I like when movies can connect things from beginning to end, and that happened here. Personally, that’s a fave so a big plus from me.

The one thing that I really appreciate about the movie is that it leaves you hopeful. By the end of the movie, you’re happy. The story makes you believe that there are good people and restores your faith about kindness and giving. Not only that, it also shows how just a little bit of help from someone, who goes out of their way to help you and believes that you’re worth it, motivates you to fight back harder. The message of the movie was really nice.

As for the romance, since it’s not the main plot, it’s barely there. The romance was nice but it was very cheesy and cliché. It was over the top for me, so I didn’t like it much. But I do think that it’s perfect for Christmas movie lovers.

OVERALL

I quite liked it. Would have watched it on my own even without the blog tour. Definitely recommended if you’re looking for a new Christmas movie to watch. It’s also appropriate for all ages, so it’s a good one to watch with family or just with friends.

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you like watching Christmas movies? Which one is your favourite?

blogmas 2019 header image

Let's Chat // Spotify Wrapper, YouTube Rewind, New Music by Halsey, Taylor Swift

Y’all, it’s been an eventful week online.

I was wondering how to talk about everything, whether to make separate posts or include them in a life update. But then, I just figured I can make a chatty post about them all together.


SPOTIFY WRAPPED

First of all, twitter has been waiting for Spotify Wrapped for at least a week prior. I’ve seen so many memes about their Wrapped predictions, such as break-up albums and totally wack music tastes. Some tweets were quite funny and relatable. So, I started anticipating my Spotify Wrapped as well.

Since Spotify released only this year in India, there’s not much data for my account. Truthfully, I used Spotify a little bit using fake VPNs but it never lasted long. I was tired of the fake VPNs haha. It’s not much data, though.

I have to say, Spotify doesn’t have every song so during the last two months I’ve switched to using YouTube for music. Especially since I listen to a lot of songs from Kdrama OSTs, and Spanish TV shows, which aren’t available on Spotify.

Anyway!

Everyone got their Spotify Wrapped stories and playlists a few days back, and it’s HYPED. I see so many people sharing their stats online, and showing off their music tastes.

My Top Artist was BTS. With my favourite BTS song being Dionysus. Is there any surprise? I think not. Ever since I became an ARMY, I somehow always am listening to BTS songs. Be it old or new, there is always a BTS song to fit my current mood.

spotify wrapped 2019 top 5 artists

After BTS, my top artists were Taylor Swift, 5 Seconds of Summer, Diplo and Sia. I am surprised Diplo came into the list, though. I didn’t listen to much of his music this year.

music that defined my decade

Even though there isn’t much data on my account from 2017 and 2018, this is pretty accurate of my music tastes back then. 2017 was the year I discovered Oh Wonder, and I was OBSESSED with their music. In 2018, I was all into music from the Shadowhunters TV show, which led me to Fleurie‘s music. Until today, Hurricane is my favourite song by her.

There were some solid great songs that I listened to in 2019, and I’m sure I’ll love that they’re all in one playlist for me to listen again later.

I have to give props to Spotify. I loved the presentation. I saw my Wrapped on both the app and on the desktop website. I loved the web version even more. The presentation style, UI, music, and everything was put together in a really good sequence. The calls to action to tweet artists and share your stories was put in very appropriate places as well.


YouTube Rewind 2019

Yo.. YouTube didn’t even try this time.

We know that Rewind 2017 was bad. Rewind 2018 was cringey as heck, didn’t include people we actually liked, and was a mashup of weird and random things. It became the most disliked video on YouTube.

I don’t think I was alone when I forgot about YouTube Rewind completely. There was no one who actually looked forward to this year’s rewind. We didn’t care, and we didn’t have expectations. But, it is possible to be disappointed even when you didn’t expect anything.

This year’s rewind was basically statistics. It felt very impersonal, looked like it was made in a rush in the last 2 days, and as if the rewind team had no budget for production at all. I understand having no budget, because they sucked last year and YouTube probably doesn’t want to shell out cash for another failure. But. Some effort wouldn’t have killed them.

shaking head gif

The video mostly consisted of top 10s, which is stupid. We don’t watch Rewinds for that. That was never the purpose of it. Another stupid part was adding in random videos in increasing order of likes, which included what they thought were the “trends” of 2019. Highly inaccurate, if you ask me.

To try and “make the video better”, they added in some highly liked music as tracks. Newsflash: a video isn’t made great just by playing popular music in the background.

I was confused through it all. Okay, some videos were most liked, and I may not be very active in the trends, but there were random ass videos and people. They don’t define YouTube 2019, even if they got a ton of likes. It’s like YouTube has completely forgotten what Rewind was even for.*

can we ask why gif

This year’s Rewind screams lazy lazy LAZY. Even the intro and outro screams zero effort. I was so bored through it all, I kept skipping forward to see if anything was worth it. Spoiler: nope. I honestly won’t be surprised if YouTube Rewind gets cancelled next year. I’d prefer it. I’m sure many would forget about the existence of Rewind soon enough, including myself. The new decade could start by leaving YouTube Rewind behind.

*Or, my theory is that they fired all the good team members after and now Rewind has gone to shit. Or maybe those members quit YouTube one by one because they hate working there. And now the team left has no vision.

The very small pros of Rewind 2019, but only because I’m comparing it to the absolute disaster called Rewind 2018:

  • They acknowledged the disaster called Rewind 2018.
  • They mentioned that we know better (but also clearly did not care to TALK to some viewers and find out what to do)
  • They acknowledged PewDiePie’s existence. I mean, it’s stats of top 10s so it’s hard not to, but still.
  • They acknowledged BTS. Again, kinda hard since it’s stats. But since we know that they deleted tons of views from BTS’s music videos, ARMYs need much more than this to forgive YouTube.

Christmas Tree Farm by Taylor Swift

I pop in online after a long and great day with friends, to see that Taylor just dropped a new song? Halsey dropped two songs as well, but more on that later. What a day!

First of all, Taylor has been doing really well this year. Especially with everything thrown in her her. She’s coming out the winner and is an absolute queen. I used to only listen to some of her music, and wasn’t a huge fan. But this year has made me a Swiftie.

Christmas Tree Farm is such a nice song! I absolutely love the vibes. The video was really cool, there’s jingle bells and Christmas cheer in the background of her song. The song also doesn’t sound like her recent music, but I love it. It’s a happy song, and spreads happy vibes. It’s perfect for Christmas.


Halsey’s New Music

Halsey shared her next album’s tracklist on her Instagram recently, and it hyped us all up for it. All the ARMYs, including myself, became super excited to hear SUGA’s Interlude, which is a collab between Halsey and SUGA from BTS. SUGA does awesome collaborations, so I was looking forward to it.

And then, Halsey just dropped two songs yesterday! One was SUGA’s Interlude (heck yes!!!!) and another was Finally // beautiful stranger.

SUGA’s Interlude

The opening chords are signature SUGA. The sounds, the vibes, is totally SUGA’s style. We can hear it right from the beginning. I have to say, I don’t think Halsey’s voice is perfect for this song. I can imagine it better with a softer voice, because Halsey has a pretty strong voice.

Also, the song is really short. It’s over in no time. There aren’t much lyrics to it anyway. Halsey’s lines are just repeats. I liked the lyrics, though. The meaning is nice.

Overall, it’s okay. I really like the instrumentals, and will probably listen to the instrumental version a lot. But the song isn’t something that I would listen to on repeat. The tones are perfect for SUGA’s rap, but not Halsey’s voice.

Finally // beautiful stranger

I. LOVE. THIS.

The vibe is PERFECT for Halsey’s voice. I really like the sound of it. The tones, and the guitar is so good with her voice. Her singing style could not be better for it. I think she did wonderful with this song. I really like the lyrics as well.

I can totally see myself listening to this on repeat. The vibes are perfect for evening bus rides, chill blogging time when it’s raining outside, or just to listen to with a coffee while looking out the window.


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LET’S CHAT!

That’s it for what I thought of all the updates this week. What about you? What are your thoughts on you Wrapped? And on Rewind 2019? Any new music which you love?

if we were having tea header image

if we were having tea… // 04-12-2019

It’s Blogmas day 4!

While I did plan out most of the days for blogmas, I left a few to spontaneous posts, and today is one of them. When I was blogging consistently and putting out three posts a week a long time back, the one thing I missed was spontaneous blog posts. I nailed down the planning and scheduling part, but it meant that every post of mine was written at least a week in advance, leaving me no room for current updates posts.

Lifestyle posts are some of my favourite. I really love just typing casually like I’m having a conversation with y’all. And if we were having tea is perfect because it’s what I would be telling you if we were having tea together in person. I suggest getting a hot tea while reading this, because I’m drinking tea while writing this and it’ll complete the whole vibe haha.

a steaming cup of tea gif

If we were having tea… you would see me bundled up in multiple layers and struggling to breathe because I’m sick. The last time I fell sick, I ended up in the ER because my throat infection triggered my swelling to grow in a very fast rate. Doctors specifically told me to NOT. FALL. SICK. until my surgery is done. But, my immunity system is horrible so I’m sick again.

I went to the doctor ASAP and got meds, and I’m being very careful about exposing myself to the cold now. It’s been about a week now, and while I’m better than before, my cold shows no sign of reducing. Sigh. The tea we’re having definitely helps. Hot drinks are saviours for my nose and throat.

Now, every time I go out, I wear a full sleeved thick top, a wool sweater above it, a wool scarf, and a beanie. All of it to keep myself very warm. But hey, I’m using this to constantly wear my Ravenclaw beanie haha.

If we were having tea… I’d complain about the weather being SO COLD. It’s freezing in the mornings! I live in Bangalore, and we’re known for having consistently gloomy weather and light showers throughout the year. But this year, the summer was actually hot and there was no rain. The trade off is that the winter is colder than ever, which is not good for all of us because we’re used to pleasantly cold winters. Not freezing cold winters.

To properly understand how our weather is throughout the year, you should notice our wardrobes. We have normal clothes, and a few jackets. Light ones for summer and spring, thicker ones for the winter. But our thick ones are nowhere near to the actual thick jackets people in other areas wear. We don’t have summer and winter clothes! It’s all the same! Which is why I’m struggling with this winter. I have a total of 1 woolen sweater, and its not even that thick.

"tis the season to be a walking marshmallow" gif

If we were having tea… I’d tell you that my final exams started. I finished one of my lab finals yesterday, and it was the hardest lab I’ve ever had. I’m so glad it’s done. I have the next one on 10th (yeah we have HUGE gaps, it’s kind of annoying because our exams go on for a month). After that, my theory finals start on the 16th. I haven’t started studying for my theory at ALL, and considering how many classes I missed this semester, I really should start studying.

If we were having tea… you would hear about my reading. I’ve been in a huge reading slump, and I read only 2 books last month. I was actually quite ahead on my Goodreads reading challenge, but I’m quite behind now. I have 11 books left to reach my goal, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to complete the goal. With exams, and blogging every day for Blogmas, not much time is left to read 11 whole books. This might become the first time I don’t reach my reading goal.

But. I am attempting to get as close to my goal as possible. Last night, I started reading The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. For the last few month, the books I’ve been reading have been adult and mostly romance. I’ve lost touch with the YA world, especially YA fantasy which used to be my favourite genre. I really miss it so I’m trying to dive back into it now.

If we were having tea… I’d share a new lofi mix with you. I came across it on YouTube without even looking for lofi mixes, but it’s SO GOOD. I found it two days back, when I was studying for my exam, and it’s helped so much. The whole time I was studying and revising, this song was playing and helping with my concentration. Even the title is so nice! Also the artwork is pretty cool.

If I were to pick a time of the day/night to listen to this, I’d say very early morning. I woke up at 5:30am yesterday and was revising with this music. It was perfect. The comments section is also really nice.

If we were having tea… I’d say that I’m looking forward to 2020. While 2019 has been good for me in many ways, which does not include health, I’m more excited about what’s to come. 2020 is the year I’ll graduate from college, and start working. It’s the year when I’ll get some independence with respect to money, and be able to start taking care of my mum instead of the other way round. Right now, I feel like I’m in a limbo. We’re in a house we don’t like, and we want to move but we’re waiting for me to graduate. I’m in college but all I can think about is how my work life will be. Especially since I already have a job lined up, which also gives me a paid internship starting next month until I graduate, I’ve almost left college behind.

My friends have started being nostalgic, and while I can relate, my thoughts are towards the future. I’ve always been like that. I enjoy the present, think about the future, and only become nostalgic of a farther past. I started becoming nostalgic about high school only two years after I finished it. While I don’t know about college nostalgia, I do know that I’m not someone to be nostalgic in advance. Some of my friends miss the current day while we’re still having fun. They’re like I’m going to miss this so much, when we technically still have 6 months of college left!

All I can think about is the new decade, and all the changes and opportunities it’ll bring.


If we were having tea in person right now, what would you tell me?

The Knight Before Christmas // Movie Review

My Netflix recommendations are FILLED with Christmas movies.

Christmas is right around the corner, and no matter where I go online, I see Christmas-related content. It’s really nice to see the cheer and happiness spreading around. And the same can be said for streaming services. It’s pretty obvious that a lot of people will be watching Christmas-themed content, and probably binge-watch Harry Potter movies again because they have THE BEST Christmas-time vibes.

So I thought, why not jump in on the wagon and try a Christmas movie. I also had zero patience to spend time looking for a good movie, and just pressed play on what Netflix recommended me. And, because the movie released very recently, I happened to watch The Knight Before Christmas.

But before getting onto the review, what is up with Vanessa Hudgens and Netflix Christmas movies? She was in The Princess Switch last year as well. I never watched that because it looked super cringey and my trusted friends did not like it.

The reason I gave The Knight Before Christmas a go was because I actually liked the trailer. A dashing male lead, time travel and all the cozy Christmas vibes? Sign me up!

the knight before christmas cole
The Knight Before Christmas – Josh Whitehouse – Photo Credit: Netflix / Brooke Palmer

What was the movie about?

A 14th century knight named Cole is transported to 2019 Christmastime by a magical old woman. She said that he has to complete his “quest” by midnight on Christmas Day if he wants to be a true knight, because apparently you can only be a true knight if you fulfill your great quest. What is his quest, you might ask? He doesn’t know!

Not gonna lie, the quest thing really had me questioning. How are knights supposed to fulfill quests and become true knights if they don’t know their quests? They just keep waiting? Makes no sense.

So anyway, back to the plot. Cole is in 2019 Ohio, in his knight armour. Cole wanders around looking for the old woman, and is super confused about his current surroundings.

Brooke, a high school teacher and non-believer in true love, takes Cole in after accidentally hitting him with her car. She believes that he may have temporarily lost his memory due to which he “thinks” he’s a 14th century knight. Brooke offers her guesthouse to him for the time being.

Love story ensues.

the knight before christmas cole and brooke
Image credit: Brooke Palmer/Netflix

So.. was the movie good?

It depends on what you’re expecting.

If you want a movie with a really good plot, great chemistry, good acting, and thought out details, this not the movie for you. You will hate it.

If you’re looking for a random Christmas movie to watch while being cozy with a hot drink and don’t care what it contains as long as it ends well, this is the one for you.

I watched the movie simply to watch a Christmas movie so I wasn’t very disappointed, especially considering that I haven’t seen many other such movies to compare with. Sure, if I was expecting a really good movie with a great romance, I’d be disappointed. I would have also noted and obsessed over details, but I decided to let it go. Normally, I’m a huge critic but since I didn’t expect much, I’m not really bothered.

My thoughts, in detail:

  • There was NO CHEMISTRY between the couple. The one thing I was really looking forward to was romance, because that’s my current favourite genre, and it sorely disappointed me.
  • The acting was not great. I’m mainly talking about Vanessa Hudgens because I could not see her as Brooke. I just.. no.
  • Josh Whitehouse was highly charming as Cole, and he was perfect for the role. He was awesome.
  • The supporting characters were okay. I wasn’t invested in them.
  • I feel like the writers just had a a great overall idea of the plot, but totally messed up when stretching it for a whole movie. I recognized plot points, i.e. certain parts of the story which are the structure of the main plot. But everything in between was just a mess. And sometimes, totally unnecessary.
  • I hated the ending. It was so cringey, I didn’t even properly watch it. I could not handle that level of cheese. It wasn’t even cheesy at the point. It was just cringey.
  • I think Brooke was supposed to have a character arc, but it was totally flat. I saw no character growth, and I also could not see her as a full-fledged character. She just smiled all the time and went around preparing for Christmas.
  • Everything on screen, at all points, was themed. The colours clearly bring in the Christmas vibe. At every point, there’s some green, red and white on the screen. As far as the set is concerned, the movie nailed it.
the-knight-before-christmas-cole-and-brooke
Image credit: Brooke Palmer/Netflix

There is one thing that really bothered me. Brooke, in the beginning of the movie, advises a high school student who recently got dumped by a boy that there is no such thing called true love. She says that it’s a fairytale and, in the real world, we have to concentrate on our lives and not hope for our Prince Charmings. At the end of the movie, after falling in love with Cole, she tells the student the complete opposite. The student moved on from her stupid ex at that point, and was being told that there is true love.

I was waiting for Brooke to say something like “true love will come at some point, and you will know it. Don’t worry about your ex, he’s not the one.” But instead she was basically telling the student to go back to her ex, or go back to being heartbroken? It came off like that. And that got me super annoyed.

Okay so.. skip the movie?

Yes.

I don’t have much to compare with, and it STILL fell short. I’m sure that if I was expecting a good movie, I would have hated it so bad.

I say skip this movie. It’s not worth it. The only good part of the movie is Josh Whitehouse as Cole. If you want only eye-candy, you can go for it. Otherwise, nah.

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What’s your favourite Christmas movie? Have you seen The Knight Before Christmas?