3 Things About My Life This Month
|A homemade lemon cheesecake with peach slices!
1. I spent an amazing final week in India. Our last week was filled with visits from family--I got to see my cousin after eight years and she's the only one who's around my age and it was so nice to catch up! My grandmother's best friend also flew down from North India to spend the weekend with us. She has a close friend who lives in the same city but who has a huuge house and we stayed up late watching movies, drinking wine, and grilling tandoori chicken and paneer on his barbecue. We also went on a long four kilometer walk on this road that's shaded by banyan trees, planted by a childless couple a few years ago. It was beautiful and I'm so grateful to have left India with so many wonderful memories.
2. I was on, arguably, the worst flight of my life. From Frankfurt to Newark our flight back home from India was turbulent and terrible. I was asked to participate in all kinds of additional security screening both in Frankfurt and in Newark (because, you know, I look low-key terrifying apparently) and, to top that off, they lost one of our bags on the flight. So. We did get our bag after three days, thankfully, but it was an experience I don't want to repeat.
3. I'm kind of getting into...booktube? I've enjoyed a lot of mediums of the book blogosphere that aren't traditional reviews, from podcasts to interviews and blog tours, but I've found it really tough to get into booktube. I don't find a lot of booktubers I like to listen to or watch or, really, whose tastes align with mine. I follow the bloggers I follow because I trust their recommendations implicitly but it's harder for me to know that on booktube because so many of the videos are fun tags. So, if you have recommendations of booktubers I should watch, let me know!! I really want to get into this sphere of book blogging but I don't know where to start or if I'm doing it right so...HALP!
Top 3 Books I Read this Month
3 Most Popular Posts this Month
1. Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White
2. 2016 Releases from the Second-Half of the Year that I Cannot Wait to Read
3. Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Post I Wish Got a Little More Love
Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu
I am just so impressed by this series. I've been struggling to find a YA Fantasy series that I can really get behind, especially since fantasy is the new "in" trend in YA now, and it isn't until I picked up this series that I actually found it. Most YA fantasy reads like fantasy-lite, rip-offs of epics like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones that have been re-written, with a few more love triangles and a lot less politics. It's a disservice, I think, to young adults who genuinely love fantasy and can take on the vicious, often violent nature of adult fantasy, including the complex world-building. I have high standards for my fantasy, so a lot of fantasy-lite that many readers have been loving have failed to make me join the bandwagon. But I totally adore this series--it's vengeful, full of politics, unpredictable (really!!) and the characters are all good and bad, falling into shades of gray. The Young Elites is great and its sequel is even better, which is a tough act since most YA Fantasy novels that even start off promising quickly veer away into disappointment. But not Marie Lu's sophomore series. Read. It. You won't be disappointed.
Posts I Starred in My Blog Reader this Month
Jennifer Aniston wrote this fantastic piece in the Huffington Post titled, "For the Record" talking about media--mainly paparazzi--coverage of the lives of celebrities and particularly celebrity women and what those expectations can do and how harmful they can be. Essentially, it's about objectification. Of course, I am all about women ranting about female injustices. Duh, I loved this piece.
Here's an article I came across titled, "Why You Could be Better Off Alone." I think everyone gets a lot of crap for being single or, more so, for doing things alone. For eating alone. For sitting at a table alone. For taking a vacation alone. I love doing things with my friends but too often I've just decided to not experience something if my friends weren't free or couldn't join me--and that's doing a disservice to myself. I firmly believe that you shouldn't let the perceptions of others dictate whether or not you do something by yourself. If we could all stop being sympathetic to the person eating their lunch or dinner by themselves and instead appreciate their courage and gumption and let them enjoy their time with their thoughts, I think we'll all be better off for it.
Obsession of the Month
If you follow me on Goodreads, you may have noticed that I sped through the entire Elemental Assassin series this past month. Yes, all fourteen released full-length novels and three of the novellas that are most important to the series. So, it's safe to say that I've obsessed with Jennifer Estep and her adult urban fantasy series, starring Gin Blanco and her whole crew of friends and family. I'll be posting a series review of the books that have been released (there are, so far, two more scheduled) later this month but let me just say: this is one hell of a good ride. Few writers can hold my attention for fourteen books, but Gin's adventures just get more and more interesting. They're never repetitive or boring or tedious, which can sometimes even happen after THREE books with the same protagonist, so I don't know how Estep does it, but it works. In fact, Book 12, Black Widow, is my favorite of the series and, IMO, the best book. Book 12. If you haven't already, and are a fan of UF, definitely don't miss out on this.
3 Things I'm Looking Forward to Next Month
1. Friends! I didn't manage to meet a ton of my friends in July, but I'm hoping to catch up with them in August--even some friends who live farther away!
2. Mentor! Wellesley's Hindu Chaplaincy is going through a weird phase right now, where our old chaplain left and an interim will be in place this year and then we'll finally get a new, official one the year after that. I'm really close with the chaplain and was so, so sad that she would be leaving Wellesley but, as luck would have it, she's moving to NJ! So I'll be seeing her next month, along with her family--who I am also irrationally attached to. She's been a mentor, teacher, friend and older sister to me during my time at Wellesley so I'm really looking forward to spending some time with her and introducing her to my family.
I'm also incredibly nervous, though. Of course, nervous about speaking French for four months, nervous about taking classes in French, nervous about conversing with my host family, nervous about the inevitable culture shock, nervous about making friends, nervous about signing up for my courses, etc. But I'm also nervous that Paris will...disappoint. I've been dreaming about Paris for YEARS. I've been seeing it in movies and television, envisioning it in my favorite books and memoirs and now...I'm so scared it won't live up to my expectations.
But, despite my fears, I can't really imagine that I won't love my time there. There are a lot of unknowns and new experiences which will be charging at me, head-first, all at the same time, but I'm sure that being in Paris will make them a whole lot more manageable.
What are you looking forward to next month? What books did you read this past month that were fantastic? Any exciting trips or plans to round out the summer? I'd love to hear in the comments below! (And don't forget to recommend me booktubers and, as always, books! If you have any places I shouldn't miss out in Paris--or all of France, for that matter--please let me know! I've never been to Europe and could use any and all advice!)