Book reviews

Book Review: The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

The cheerleaders book review

I don’t know what it is about murder and cheerleading, but they are a surprisingly good combination. In her newest novel Kara Thomas managed to write one of the most compelling murder mysteries I’ve read so far this year.

Five cheerleaders in a small town die, in three separate incidents, within a month’s time. Is it a coincidence or is there something sinister going on in the town of Sunnybrook? Our protagonist is Monica Rayburn, the sister of one of the cheerleaders that died. When she finds her sister’s phone in the desk of her stepfather, she begins searching for clues about what might have led her sister, Jen, to commit suicide five years ago. 

The story is primarily told from Monica’s point of view, but occasionally shifts to Jen, showing us what happened in the weeks that lead up to her death. Monica’s character is dynamic and realistic. She is appropriately angsty for a sixteen year old, but also sincere while finding out who she really is.

What I loved most about this book was how intricate the mystery was, making me shift from one suspect to the next. You know those thrillers in which every single person could have done the crime? And you just don’t know? This is exactly one of those books. As the reader, you want to crack the case as much as the main character. And while Monica is flawed and not always likeable, that makes you want to root for her anyway.  Continue reading “Book Review: The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas”

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Bookish posts · Tags & challenges

Tag: The Sunshine Blogger Award (What I’ve Learnt From Blogging, My Favorite Things About Myself and Practising Self Love!)

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August is here! I am excited, because september can’t start soon enough for me. I’m so excited about law school, as well as autumn to be here.

I was tagged by the lovely Jamie Lee Jenkins to do this Sunshine Blogger Award. Definitely go check out her blog if you’re into fitness and lifestyle related posts. Her recent post Things I’ve Learnt As An Intern is very interesting and valuable.

I don’t do tags very often, if you check out this blog semi regularly you know that. But this one was so nice and positive that I really wanted to do it!

Rules:
Thank the blogger who nominated you and link their blog so others can find them.
Answer the 11 questions which the blogger who nominated you asked.
Nominate 11 bloggers and ask them 11 different questions.
List the rules and display the Sunshine blogger award logo in your post and/or on your blog site.

Jamie’s 11 Questions: 

Who is your biggest inspiration in the blogging world?

My biggest inspiration is definitely Cait from Paperfury. Not only does she always write quality blog posts and is it a joy to come back to her blog, she also managed to get a book deal at a super young age! I have yet to read her novel, but I’m super excited about it.

When you’re feeling down what is one thing that is guaranteed to make you smile? 

It’s hard to pick one thing! Especially because as of lately, my life is going pretty well and I haven’t been feeling down a lot. For this one, I’m gonna go with the Brooklyn 99 TV show. That show always makes me laugh no matter what!

Summer or winter? Why?

Right now, I will say winter. But when winter happens, I will probably say summer! It has been incredibly hot in my part of the world in the past few weeks, and the drought has killed many plants and trees. I like sun as much as the next person, but this is a little too much. I fare the best in autumn!

What are three things you have learnt from blogging?

I have been blogging for a really long time (close to 10 years at this point). I have learnt to be disciplined because of blogging – posting regularly and fitting it in your schedule isn’t easy. I have also learnt to be proud my own space here on the internet. When I was younger I would dismiss my blog as a ”stupid hobby” or be afraid to tell people about it. Now I know that I’m a capable writer, and I’m proud of my blog and what I’ve accomplished. Last but not least, blogging has taught me that meeting people from the internet isn’t weird. I have met some of my greatest friends through blogging!

What are your three favorite things about yourself?

This is a tough one! I like my persistence. If I have a goal, I’m not one to give up on it. I’m also a very considerate person. When someone tells me their story, it’s like I can feel their emotions and in my work as a caregiver, I always try to be considerate of my clients. I also have a natural hunger for knowledge, and I’m curious about everything. I consider this one of my greatest assets.  Continue reading “Tag: The Sunshine Blogger Award (What I’ve Learnt From Blogging, My Favorite Things About Myself and Practising Self Love!)”

Bookish posts

This is Why Goodreads Doesn’t Allow Half Stars

why goodreads doesn't allow half starsI think we all agree that Goodreads isn’t perfect. The app is clunky, heck, the website is clunky. Even though as stats nerds, we all use and love it. But there seems to be one specific feature missing the entire book community agrees on: Goodreads doesn’t allow half stars.

And to an extend, I agree. How often does it happen to you that you read a book, and it’s more than a three star rating, but definitely not a four star rating? It happens to me a lot. And these are the moments that I despise Goodreads’ star rating. Because damn, why wouldn’t you allow half stars?

Here’s why
This will be a fairly practical answer. And although Goodreads has never put out a specific statement on this matter, goodreads founder Otis Chandler is among the people who are not fans of half stars.

From a marketing standpoint, half stars are usually not a good idea. The more choices you have, the more you will feel confused about what it is you have to choose – it causes a specific type of stress. Humans will mostly describe thing as something that they disliked, liked, loved or hated. Now categorizing those emotions so clinically into numbers isn’t such an easy feat. For a site to be popular and widely used, it needs to make the user access as convenient as possible. It needs to please the general masses. And there are people who don’t care about cumbersome rating and review systems. Continue reading “This is Why Goodreads Doesn’t Allow Half Stars”

Bookish posts

Five Factors That Make Me Want To DNF A Book

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I’ve talked about getting comfortable with DNF’ing books on this blog before. In that post, I wrote about why it’s hard to DNF books and how to deal with the guilt that comes along with it.

In this post, I want to dig a little deeper. What are my personal dealbreakers when it comes to reading books? When do you I decide it’s time to stop? And most importantly, let me know about your dealbreakers in the comments below!

Bad writing
One of my major dealbreakers when it comes to quitting books is bad writing. Of course, what this actually entails is subjective. I can get real technical about it: inconsistency in terms of verbs, passive voice, paragraphs or dialogue that doesn’t flow and/or that’s unrealistic. I appreciate style, but when I read a book and I constantly get annoyed by the way it’s written, I just quit.

Having trouble understanding a character’s motive
I always preach that I do not need to ‘relate’ to a character – I actually think it’s amazing to read about characters who are vastly different from myself – but I do need to understand a characters motive. WHY do they feel the way they feel, and how did that happen? If the author fails to make that clear, I just stop caring about the story.

Slow moving plots
I admit, I get bored easily. There are a lot of character-focused novels that I enjoy, but I do notice a trend: books with very slow moving plots are not my favorite. When I’m halfway through a book and I still don’t know anything about what’s going on, nor do I feel like the characters have really gotten anywhere, there is a big chance that I will just quit. At that point, it is no longer ‘suspense’ and I just stop caring. This is why I DNF’d The Raven Boys.  Continue reading “Five Factors That Make Me Want To DNF A Book”

Bookish posts · personal

Mid Year Reading Goals Update: How Am I Doing?

mid year reading update.png

Does anyone else LOVE reading about other people’s reading goals? It’s just so fascinating to me.

At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post about my (somewhat unconventional) reading goals for 2018. Since we’re halfway through the year, I thought I’d update you on every single goal to see how I’m doing. I thought I was doing pretty well, but I’m not so sure now..

Goal 1: Stop worrying about how much I’ve read, or haven’t read
In 2018, I wanted to get rid of the feeling of competitive reading. As I said in my original post, I sometimes feel pressured to read ”x amount of books” and it can stress me out. I’m really trying to let this go, but it’s hard. I set my GoodReads goal for 52 books at the beginning of the year, with the idea that this was a ”loose” goal. But now if I look at it and I see I’m ‘only’ two or three books ahead of schedule, I want to read more because I don’t want to fall behind! This is stupid, because I should be proud I already read 29 books this year. In short, this is something I’m still working on.

Goal 2: Read more classic novels
This goal is going pretty well! So far, this year I read the following books that could be considered classics:
– 1984 by George Orwell
– Animal Farm by George Orwell
– The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
– Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I’m quite happy with this list, and for the second half of 2018 I want to try to expand this to at least 10 books. I’ve found it very valuable to (re)read these classics now that I’m a bit older, as I feel like I can grasp the symbolism and meaning of the story much better. Continue reading “Mid Year Reading Goals Update: How Am I Doing?”

personal

HUGE Life Update: Moving to Rotterdam, Getting Out of my Reading Slump and Law School!

dalindcy life update

If you are among the people that read this blog semi-regularly, you’ll have noticed that the amount of posts have plummeted in the past two or three months. This dip in posts usually happens to me at least once a year, and I have come to the realization that it’s just how my cycle of inspiration and creativity works: rather than one continuous stretch, it comes in BURSTS. Churning out content in between isn’t impossible for me, but it comes less natural and I enjoy the writing process a lot less.

With less blog inspiration usually also comes a reading slump. And BOY was I in a reading slump the past few months. In June, I read ONE book. Kind of a big one, but still. The previous months I had read six to eight books. It’s fine, I don’t pressure myself to read because it is a hobby and it should be enjoyable. Instead, I picked up a drawing hobby! If you follow my Instagram, you’ve probably seen some of my artsy projects!

Luckily I’m getting out of my reading slump now. And that has everything to do with the fact that I have finished school for the year! I managed to get 60 credits this year, the maximum obtainable, which means I’m getting something called a propaedeutic diploma – and this is making it possible for me to fulfill a big dream of mine: I’m going to law school in September!

Something else that helped me get out of my reading slump is the fact that I have finally moved to the city of Rotterdam. I grew up in a small town south of the city, and had a two hour commute every day just to make it to my college. But hey, that’s finally over now! This also means I’ve moved out of my parent’s place, and I’m on my own for the first time ever. It feels weird, but I also know in my heart that it was time to get my own place. I needed the independence. I’m currently writing this on my balcony, and if I look to my left I see my new, beautiful bookcase you can also see at the top of this blog post. If that doesn’t make you excited to pick up a book, I don’t know what will. 🙂

Since so much has been changed in my life the past few months, I really felt the need to update you. It just doesn’t feel right to resume my usual blog post scheduling without letting you know what has been going on and why it has been a little more quiet on here. But now, I am reading again! Which also means I’m writing again.

Bookish posts

Collecting Books and Being Conscious of The Environment: is it Even Possible?

books environment ecofriendly ereader

I will be the first to say I’m not a fan of ecosmugness, but I am a fan of being ecoconscious and ecofriendly. But is it even possible to be ecofriendly as a (mostly physical) book lover? Shouldn’t we all just buy an ereader?

According to The Guardian, Using an Amazon Kindle to full storage capacity means you will offset the emissions caused by its manufacture in a year. Keep it longer and you save 168kg of CO2 per year (the amount produced by 22.5 real books, and we know us book lovers read much more than that). It’s said that those who swapped to an ereader between 2009 and 2012 cumulatively prevented release of 9.9bn kg CO2 emissions in total.

According to the same article, it’s estimated that the US book industry consumed approximately 30 million trees in a single year. This had a carbon footprint of approximately 12.4m metric tons of carbon dioxide. Shocking numbers? I thought so too.

Sooo.. I should probably buy an ereader now?
Hold on, not so quick. A study done by the New York Times found that one ereader requires the extraction of 33lb of minerals. This includes Coltan, a metallic ore that is in part derived from Congo, where the production has helped fuel the war. Add about 300 litres of water (79 gallons) and 100 kilowatts of Fossil Fuels to that, and you got an ereader. Books only need a fraction of those resources, and no Coltan at all.  Continue reading “Collecting Books and Being Conscious of The Environment: is it Even Possible?”