Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Monthly Rewind: July

I've always loved reading "Monthly Rewind" posts. It gives me a chance to catch up with my favorite bloggers--the books they read, the novels that stood out to them, and, most importantly, their lives. As many of you have noticed, I haven't posted nearly as much this year. In the midst of college, internships, travelling, and just LIFE, reading has never been forgotten but this blog...maybe? Either way, I want to shift the focus of this blog to include not only the books I read--honest, true reflections of novels that moved me or completely missed the mark--but also general discussion posts about my thoughts and, most importantly, the life I lead outside of the blogosphere.

I've always been a strictly "professional" blogger, or someone who has refrained from sharing much about themselves or their life on the blog. Partly because I was young when I started this blog--very young--and didn't know what to expect from the world wide web. And partly, too, because I didn't know how. But, as this long paragraph comes to a close, know that I want to. I hope that with these "Monthly Rewind" posts that I will begin, inspired by Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner, I can become more than a reviewer; I can become a person. And, perhaps, we can become more than blogger and reader; we can become friends.

3 Things About My Life This Month 

1. I returned from South Carolina! For those of you who don't know, I spent nine weeks of this summer in South Carolina, pursuing biomathematics research. I began college intending to become a Biology Major, which swiftly switched to a Math Major by the end of first semester. When applying to internships, however, a biomathematics program seemed the perfect fit due to my immense background in biology, established quite thoroughly in high school. This past summer, though, completely solidified my love for Mathematics. South Carolina was warm and beautiful (and I'm officially in LOVE with Sweet Tea!) but the highlights definitely include getting close to the seven other girls in the internship with me and
truly pushing the boundaries of my limited mathematics knowledge. If any of you are interested in the Biology or Mathematics field or just want to talk about finding your major in college or obtaining an internship, feel free to shoot me an e-mail! :)
2. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. My grandparents are visiting from India this summer and, as you can imagine, I don't get a chance to see them as often as I'd like because they live so far away. I usually try to see them once a year--either they come here or we go there--but that hasn't been the easiest task with flight expenses and my busy schedule while applying for college. They flew in while I was in South Carolina and I've been really enjoying spending time with them and learning a few simple Indian dishes from my grandmother.
3. I made plans to study abroad. With junior year swiftly approaching, and application deadlines for study abroad programs only a few months away, I've been thinking a LOT this month about studying abroad. Where I want to go, what I want to do, how costly it will be, and all the forms I'll need to fill out to do it. Needless to say, I am committed to studying abroad and will be applying this fall. If I get into the programs of my dreams, you all will be the first to know! *fingers crossed*

Top 3 Books I Read This Month

1. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly - Releasing in October, Donnelly's latest YA historical fiction novel is spectacular. It received a full five stars from me and you can read my review up on GoodReads, though it will be up on the blog closer to the release date.
2. Burn by Paula Weston - Yet another book whose review will be up on the blog soon, I've looooved Weston's Rephaim series and Burn, the concluding novel to the quartet, did not disappoint.
3. A Wish Upon Jasmine by Laura Florand - Just about everyone knows my love affair with Florand's novels. Her prose is decadent and her romances, set in France, are infused with depth and just so, so good. You can read my review of this one on the blog, already.

3 Most Popular Posts This Month 

1. Discussion: On YA's Tropeyness - In which I discuss common tropes which have plagued the YA genre for a few years (at least) and reflect on what I want from this genre in the future (including female role models, female friendships, diversity, etc.).
2. 2015 Favorites (So Far)! - I haven't had the greatest luck with books this past year--hence the reason this is one of my shortest favorites lists to date--but I'm hoping to change that with the latter half of the year ahead. Any good recommendations that I missed out on this year?
3. Review: Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare - One of my all-time favorite Tessa Dare historical romances (if not THE favorite of mine), I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and cannot recommend Dare enough, particularly for romances that feature headstrong, feminist females, supportive male counterparts who aren't assholes and a slow-burn, equal-footed romance.

Post I Wish Got a Little More Love

My review of Renee Ahdieh's The Wrath and the Dawn because it's one of my favorite books of the year and I want more readers to fall in love with it the way I did.

5 Posts I Starred in my Blog Reader This Month 

1. Beyond the Pages: Friend Breakups - I read this post and re-read it and then read it again. If there's anything that defines your entire first year of college, including the summer before your second year, it's friend breakups. Not just the friends you want to break up with from high school, but the friends you didn't want to breakup with between first and second semester of college and somehow...did.
2. On Becoming a Re-Reader - I've always, always, been a re-reader and reading this post put a smile on my face because re-reading...yes.
3. Perfect Opening Lines - Angie is--easily--the blogger I look up and aspire to become because her prose! But also, I just love her posts and this is a prime example of a beautiful, bookish article.
4. Why the Most Important Part of College for Women May Happen Outside the Classroom - I attend a women's college and, as such, I am fascinated by (a) women who attend co-ed universities and their experiences and (b) women's education. I enjoyed this post primarily because of how much it made me think about my own future as a woman and other women I knew who faced this same dilemma of reality when they stepped outside the classroom.
5. The Blog Most Likely To... - I was invited to join this "meme", of sorts, and couldn't come up with anything quickly enough but I really loved Lauren's post because it's so her and got me thinking about my own writing/reviewing/editing process (um, nonexistent, oops!) and, essentially, this post made me admire her more than I already do. Which is a lot. :)

Obsession of the Month

Mad Men! I've been binge-watching AMC's Mad Men like nobody's business and I am hooked! I love this show for its feminist themes and, most of all, Jon Hamm (swoooon!). But, mostly, I adore this show because of how much it forces me to think and reflect on happiness, the pursuit of happiness, and how difficult it is to truly attain it. It sounds morose, but this show is absolutely kick-ass and if you're looking for a new TV series to binge-watch, complete with superb film-making, scripts, and dialogue, look no farther than Mad Men.

Something I'm Looking Forward to Next Month 

Returning to Wellesley! I'm heading back to Wellesley on August 15th, two weeks before classes start so I can be trained as a Student Leader and help out during Orientation. My best friend is already on campus since she's been working at the Admissions Office all summer so I cannot wait to reunite with her and enjoy the campus before the Class of 2019 joins us and, most of all, before the rest of the students return. Orientation is terrifying as a first-year but as a sophomore, actually knowing the campus and having my friends with me, I can't wait!

What about you? What you have been up to this month? What are your most recent obsessions? Any TV recommendations for me since Mad Men is drawing to a close? What are you most excited for next month? 


  1. YES KEERTANA I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS POST. I love love love getting to know more behind a blogger, and I can't wait to see more about you in your blog. *throws confetti everywhere*

    This internship seems like it was a TON of fun, and fully meshed your interests together! Plus hanging out with a group of cool girls?! So awesome. (Plus, I love your glasses omg). When I start college next year (when did I get so old??) I will DEFINITELY be hitting you up for some internship advice. And like, college advice in general. Hopefully I'll get into one??

    Spending time with the grandparents is always fun! I haven't seen mine for a year, and probably won't for some time, sigh. But I hope you're enjoying your time with yours. :D

    STUDY ABROAD?!? THAT IS SO COOL. Where did you apply? I hope you get in!! Study abroad has always been this scary thing that I've wanted to try, but I don't know if I can do it. You'll definitely have to share all your experiences if you do go.

    Umm, a new Jennifer Donnelly book?!? How did I not know about this? I'm so excited to hear that she has another YA book releasing and that you LOVED it! I know you're a bit picky, so the fact that you gave it a full five stars tells me I'm most likely going to absolutely adore it.

    Going through all the posts you mentioned. They all seem so unique (like your post on Tropy-ness in YA!) and that's exactly the kind of stuff I've been loving lately. And that's so cool that you'll get to help out with Orientation!! I think that's something I'd like to do as a s'more in college. :D

    Fantastic post Keertana! I absolutely adored and can't wait to see more personal posts from you. <33

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  3. I love seeing more about you. I don't do much personally either. I think it is fascinating that you are getting a biomathematics! isn't it great when you find something that just fits?

    You are so adorbs and I'm glad you got to spend time with your grandparents. Have fun traveling! Have fun as a sophomore!

    TV recs... hm... the only one I was obsessed with is Outlander but that is mostly because I wanted to see how close they were to the book. Pretty spot on!

  4. Keertana, I really like the direction you’re taking with your blog. While my blog is all books and I don’t share much about my life (at least for now), I appreciate what you are doing. It’s great to know “real you”. It looks like you had a great summer. And good luck with your study abroad programs! PS. I absolutely love Angie’s post Perfect Opening Lines.

  5. I'm reading The Wrath & The Dawn right now. So far so good... I just get such joy out of carrying the book around with me. The cover is so gorgeous.

    You should check out Sense8 on Netflix! It's super intense but the characters are all amazing and have such interesting backgrounds and storylines. It's also impossible to watch just one episode, so be prepared to spend an entire weekend binge watching the series. :P

  6. KEERTANA HI I'VE MISSED YOU AND YOUR LOVELY WORDS. I love that you're sharing some of your personal life, because you're older than me and I love your wise knowledge. ;) Also especially because you've been provided to so many opportunities! I might just shoot you an email because it's not the easiest to find an internship straight after freshman year! And ohmygoodness, I'm actually pretty interested in being an orientation leader at my school... It seems so fun! Even though your reviews have been few and far between, they have still be fabulous quality reviews, which I highly appreciate! <3

    I'm really excited to pick up THESE SHALLOW GRAVES, although admittedly I haven't read a book by Donnelly yet. So glad you loved and rated it 5 stars!

    Best of luck returning back to school, Keertana! I hope to see your face around the blogosphere still <3

  7. I sit here and can't help but be in awe of how brilliant you are, Keertana. Seriously, Mathematics? Biology? God. I wish I'd paid more attention in school, and I wish I'd gotten farther in my education than community college. Sigh. You know what they say, hindsight is 50/50. Also, Wellesley? Go, you! I think studying abroad is fantastic! I wish you the best of luck, and looking forward to reading more about your studies. I will live vicariously through you. <3

  8. I am in favor of more personal posts! We at The Social Potato are definitely planning to start making these personal posts soon so it will be more intimate than just discussing about books. I didn't know that you were a biomathematics major and wow, hats off to you! I'm pretty certain that major is no easy feat and I admire not only your amazingness but also your drive to better yourself, the drive to overcome the limits. I say GO FOR STUDYING ABROAD. It's such a good experience to surround yourself with a new environment and learn from another culture, too. You'll get to meet so many new people and I'm sure being independent will also teach you more about yourself. Good luck Keertana and don't worry about the blog ;) Life is way more important and I wish you the best <3

    Faye at The Social Potato

  9. I LOVE reading rewinds for the same reason because I love knowing what is going on in my favorite bloggers' lives. It makes me feel more connected to them :)

    I cannot believe you're already doing internships though! I declared my major at the end of the year so that's one step forward but I've only just started thinking about the possibility of an internship. YAY FOR MAKING Study Abroad Plans!! :) I know where I want to study abroad and I know someone who goes to college there so I was going to ask them to show me around campus so I could get to know the place better before I start the whole application process! I hope you get into the program of your dreams!! :) *crosses fingers*

    I totally feel you about your grandparents. I haven't seen mine since 2013 for similar reasons (although my family just visited them so there is that.)

    I AM SO GLAD YOU LIKED BURN. I still haven't gotten my hands on a copy but I am dying to read it and I hope it won't disappoint me (I have a LOT of hopes pinned on that book because I'd like me some answers!)

    My obsession for last month was Suits. I binge watched the 4 seasons and am all caught up. ITS THE BEST THING EVER. But also, I love the sound of Mad Men so it's going on my to-watch list!

    I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer and your time with your grandparents and have a great time heading back to college!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  10. Keertana, I just want to thank you for your link to The Perpetual Page-Turner, because it’s amazing and it has a huge PERSONALITY. I understand why Jamie inspired you. You know, after I read your post and later looked at what Jamie does at her blog, I realized how great it is to know a real person behind the blog. You’re absolutely right, it helps to be not only blogger and reader, but to be friends. Now I’m thinking that maybe I should do it too, put more ME in my blog. Well, we’ll see. Thank you so much for inspiration!

  11. I just wanted to say that I adore your blog and this post is truly an inspiration to me!
    Keep up the good work Keertana!!!

  12. I love this personal post! I'm glad you had such a great time in South Carolina and that you've finally found what you really love to do. I hope you continue thriving at your college, because you deserve all the happiness in the world.

    And I hope you get to cut cake with your grandma at the end of the month. <3

  13. That's awesome that you'll be studying abroad! I can't wait to see where you'll choose. I really want to travel overseas someday and hope I can make that happen.
    Glad to see you loved Burn, too! Such an amazing series. I can't wait for Paula Weston to write more!

  14. Hi Keertana! I don't think we've officially talked before, but I'm here from GR (I'm a fellow The Summer of Chasing Mermaids fan). I just happened to look at your blog around the beginning of this month and noticed this post because I actually live in South Carolina. I thought it was a funny coincidence you visited SC this summer; I'm glad you had a good time. :)

    And I love that you're considering making your future posts more personal. Those blogs are the best if the bloggers are comfortable with doing that. Anyway, just wanted to stop by and say hello. And good luck with school (you may have already started back by now)!

    Summer at Xingsings


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