Rainy Day's Books, Video Games and Other Writings

Two Years Later and All I Want to Do Is Write: Reflecting on My Blogging Journey

Two Year Blogging Post Image

On July 28, 2015, I made a decision that changed my writing life in ways I never imagined. I created this blog, which I’ve found has grown for me as a wonderful space for me to write about the things I love.

Over this second year, I’ve learned just as much as I did my first. I learned more about my blogging space, realized that my blog’s name and appearance needed an update, and made the changes necessary to make my blog appeal to others. I came up with a name I personally connected to so that others could find ways to connect to me and would want to follow my blog.

I also realized how much I enjoy using this writing space to write, even at times when I don’t feel like writing. Lately, I haven’t been writing as many posts as I’d like. Part of that is due to having a busy life: adjusting to my new work hours, things going on around the house such as painting bedrooms and replacing carpet (speaking of which, I’ll definitely have a new #weekendcoffeeshare very soon where I talk about all of these things), basically life is keeping me hectic right now. So one of the things I hope to do within the next couple weeks is get more writing done here.

My overall experience this second year has been amazing. Like the year before, I see that my writing is improving with every post I publish. I also find myself wanting to write more, to just keep writing whenever I find myself itching for it. I also hope to do a variety of writing. I don’t want this blog to forever be a place for just book reviews and video game posts (though I haven’t been doing much video game playing lately so that’s something I’ll definitely have to work on). I want to branch out, use this blog as a place to experiment and try writing about different topics. Maybe even do more fiction writing and poetry, whenever the mood strikes me. As the years go by, I want to grow with my blog and my writing to continue improving with each word I write.

If I had to give advice to a new blogger, I’d tell them to just keep writing. I’d let them know there are going to be days when they don’t feel like writing and that’s okay. I’d tell them not to get discouraged, to keep trying because giving up is not an option. I would also tell them that if you love blogging enough, everything will work out as long as they keep patient and keep going with it. I’d also tell them that when they aren’t writing blog posts to read other bloggers. Because what other bloggers say might be a good source of inspiration for your next blog post, even if you don’t realize it or you can make connections with amazing people who enjoy the same things you do. Oh, and to comment on other blog posts too. Not only to let a blogger know you’ve enjoyed their work, but to start a conversation, to continue being involved in the blogging community. All of these things are lessons I’ve come to learn during my two years here at WordPress.

While I’ve yet to know what this next year of blogging has in store for me, I’m currently happy with the way my blog is right now. I have a good group of followers who are supportive with my posts, and I’m continuing to enjoy the writing process when it comes to blogging. I can’t wait to see what this third year has in store for me because I know it’ll be just as great as the others.

Rereading Memories: The Inkworld Trilogy (Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath)

Inkworld Trilogy Book Covers

Growing up, I didn’t always have as deep of a love for the written word as I do now. When I was a child, I actually spent most of my days playing video games and watching television. It wasn’t until one of my English teachers mentioned Inkheart in the sixth grade and I read that book during the summer that my love for the written word manifested into what it is today.

If you’ve read my blog post How I Became a Reader and Writer, you’d already know this. In that particular post, I talk about Inkheart’s influence on me. I’d like to further continue that conversation by saying that I feel like the Inkworld trilogy as a whole has taught me so much. It has taught me not only about myself and my own reading preferences, but also some important lessons every writer should at some point learn.

I say all of this because I’m currently rereading this trilogy once more and want to have an open discussion about the Inkworld and its influence in my life. Because while Inkheart out of all of the books in this trilogy really shaped me into who I am, I believe Inkspell and Inkdeath also helped contribute making me into the fantasy loving person I am today. This trilogy taught me lessons no other series (well, maybe except for Harry Potter) has taught me. Every time I read these books, I find myself discovering something new within their pages.

Inkheart opened me up to the idea that there are books I’d enjoy. As a child, I didn’t enjoy reading quite as much as I do now. But this book in particular sparked an interest in reading for me I never truly experienced anywhere else. It made me believe in the power of the written word, and that fantasy was truly the genre I was destined to enjoy. I read this book at a time when I still felt like I was a child, right before things changed in my life for the worse. It’s the first book that truly spoke to me, made me want to open myself to becoming a more creative person and brought about a spark in me I didn’t have before.

Inkspell completely set my imagination on fire. With its detailed description of the Inkworld, I found myself drawn to its pages, wishing I could go to this world myself, despite its many dangers. This book especially drew me into the fantasy genre because I could feel the magic all around me as I followed Meggie and the rest of the characters into this enchantingly dark world. Like Inkheart, I found myself continuously flipping through the pages to find out how this book would end, wanting to see if things would turn out alright for everyone involved. I read this book at a different stage of my life than whenever I’d picked up its predecessor. I was struggling because my life had been turned upside down and I needed a book to escape. This book was perfect for what I needed because I wanted to get away from the real world and this book helped me do exactly that.

Inkdeath made me realize that I can be the hero of my own story. It also taught me that every character in a story has an important part to play, even if you don’t realize it at first. This book also taught me that even when things seem bad, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. To never give up hope, even when that’s exactly what you want to do. For me, this book came at a point in my life when I exactly needed it. I was dealing with some difficult circumstances and this book helped me believe in myself and made me realize that I’m the hero in my story. And that when things seem dark and scary, there’s always going to be light too.

Rereading this series once again many years later, I find the child within me coming alive. I’m reminded of why I want to be a writer to begin with, and find myself inspired to keep writing even at times when that’s not what I want to do. I’m reminded of where my love for the written word truly came from and try the best I can to never forget that.

As a writer, Inkheart taught me some of the basics when it came to character development. I learned through the pages how to create life-like characters who I could imagine standing in front of me. I learned about dialogue, how to make the words that come out of a character’s mouth sound believable, even when you have a hard time with it. I learned voice because of Mo/Silvertongue and Meggie’s ability to read characters out of their stories. I could imagine the way they talked, almost as if they were using their gift in front of me.

In Inkspell, I learned about world building. I learned how to create a place so believable that people could see it in their imagination. About making things detailed so that when someone is reading your story, they can see it themselves without you having to give too much away. I also learned how to further advance the plot of your story so that the reader doesn’t lose interest along with including interesting information that’ll make your reader want to continue reading. Learned to end stories in a series with a cliff hanger so that my readers will want to read the next installment to find out what happens to the characters.

With Inkdeath, I learned about conflict. I learned how to build up conflict so as the keep the reader hooked. I also learned how to surprise readers by making the unexpected happen, such as having minor characters play a crucial role in the story arc. I also learned how to kill off characters only to bring them back changed in their development.

Each book in this trilogy offered so much to me as a writer. But this trilogy as a whole also taught me so much about myself and the things I enjoy. It made me realize how much reading and writing mean to me that it’ll always have a special place in my heart. I hope others enjoy this trilogy as much as I do every time I read it.

If We Were Having Coffee: Sorry for the Long Absence

Coffee cup and book on the table in the morning

Good day everyone! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week. I know I’ve been pretty absent from my blog these past couple weeks. I’ve had a lot going on in my house that’s resulted in me being away from writing on here for a little while. But I’ve also been adjusting to my new work schedule too. However, I’m going to try the best I can from here on out to write more frequently. After all, July is the month I started my blog two years ago (July 28, 2015) with my first book review of Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World. So you’ll definitely be seeing more posts from me in the near future, that’s for sure.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve had a lot going on. We’ve been making some changes to our house, such as having our upstairs trim painted white, outlets changed so that when we plug things in, our cords won’t fall out, and having an AC unit put in my bedroom because it gets really hot in there. We are also talking about painting me and my sister’s bedrooms to make them look the way we want. It’s kept me pretty busy doing things like go through my clothes to see if there’s anything I want to get rid of and rearranging drawers to make more space and keep my room organized.

I’ve also been having an inner emotional battle with myself lately. It’s because something happened this week that’s made me realize how careful I truly need to be in who I trust. I don’t feel like necessarily talking about it just yet because I’m still dealing with it emotionally and the whole thing makes me sick to my stomach to think about. This is all I’m going to say about it for now though because I’d much rather be talking about happier things. Just know I’ll be alright eventually and that once I’m ready to talk about it I will.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you my sister is moving back home very soon. When she was home for Memorial weekend, she had a job interview for a job in her field and she’s been offered the position. That’s the other reason Mum wants to paint both our rooms. So that when she moves back home, both our rooms are already painted and she doesn’t have to move as much stuff to do it. She’s also going to have our carpeting upstairs replaced so that all of our rooms upstairs (except the bathroom) have the same carpet. It’s going to be nice to see my sister again and to have her back at home. I’ve missed having her around so it’s going to be nice to have her here.

I’ve also been watching more YouTube videos and recently started reading one of my favorite books that started me into wanting to be a writer Inkheart, which is actually the first book in a trilogy. Once I’ve finished rereading these books, I’m probably going to do a blog post about the trilogy, which I’m still trying to work on now.

That’s pretty much it, right now. I’m really excited to see how the color I’ve picked out is going to look in my room and can’t wait to see how the carpet is going to look once it’s been done. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week and will talk to you again soon!

First Impressions: The Sims FreePlay

The Sims Freeplay Image Two

I’ve been playing this game for several weeks now, not sure exactly if I wanted to write about it in the first place. But after some much needed thinking, I figured why not?

I started playing The Sims FreePlay because I wanted to play a Sims game. I wanted to immerse myself back into this world where I control the actions of the characters I’ve created. Where I was given total power over the choices I made and could see the consequences of my actions play out in front of me.

In this version of the game, which comes on your phone or tablet, your main objective is to build a town full of people of your own creation. You build all sorts of homes and locations for your Sims to either visit or work on their career in order to make some money so you can further create. Along with creating these places, there are quests you can fulfill to your own discretion which will gain you more items, hobbies or locations to unlock. It’s up to you what you do in your town, but you also need to make sure to satisfy your Sim’s needs as well.

What I like about The Sims FreePlay is that it’s free. Unless you want to spend money on this game so you can get these different types of points to progress on your tasks, you don’t have to spend any money on this game whatsoever. You can play the game without spending any money and I like it because I don’t want to spend money on app games if I don’t have to. As you progress your town, you also earn Simoleons and XP for each of the buildings you’ve created whether it be homes, businesses or career locations. I think this is a nice feature in this game because it allows you to earn money without only having to invest in a career and gives you more experience points.

I also like that you have so many choices of things to do in the game. You can complete tasks whenever you want, though there’s a time limit to gain certain items if you don’t complete tasks by a certain time. You can also choose which buildings you want to build as long as you have enough Sims living in your town. Some buildings cost more money and need more Sims in the town than others, which can sometimes be a pain because it could be the exact building you need, but you need one more person before you can start building it.

In The Sims FreePlay, you also have a variety of hobbies you can choose to complete. These hobbies are things like cooking, fishing, fashion designer, and woodworking, just to name a few. What I like about having these hobbies is that you can unlock more of them by completing certain quests. However, the downside to these hobbies is that your Sim can only focus on one hobby at a time. I don’t know yet if that changes after you’ve mastered the hobby, but I find it to be very inconvenient because whenever you try and learn a new hobby, you lose all the progress you made on the hobby you’d worked to master before.

The Sims FreePlay Fishing Hobby

What I like the most doing in this game is completing these tasks. I like them because they are interesting and can level you up faster. I also like them because you see your Sims doing all sorts of interesting things. For example, while I’ve been playing this game, I’ve been focusing on the Sim I created in my image to start learning the spell casting hobby. I did this by completing one of the quests in the game and just following every objective that has to do with spells or magic. This now allows any of my Sims to learn magic or brew potions if they choose.

However, I do have some criticisms for The Sims FreePlay too. One of my criticisms is that skills like painting and playing the guitar advance your career instead of counting as hobbies. While it’s nice because you can get promotions for your Sims faster, I wish they could be counted as hobbies instead because that would be more realistic. Instead, they are activities you can do that count towards career promotion.

Another criticism for me of this game is that it’s way more time consuming than any of the other games. What I mean is that when you go to do certain tasks, you have to wait a certain amount of time until what you’re doing is done. So for example, a task that takes 5 minutes won’t be completed until that time has passed. Unless you have points you can use to get these tasks done faster, some tasks you’ll have to wait for hours until they’ve been finished, which can be a pain when it comes to completing these quests. Especially if you decide to do them under a time limit to unlock certain items. I usually complete them whenever I feel like it and don’t worry about stuff like that, but I feel like it can still be a pain for those who want to get tasks done at a faster rate. In the other Sims games, you can usually fast forward time so this isn’t an issue whenever you play. But for those who want to complete things at a faster pace, just know you might not have luck with that.

My biggest criticism for this game though is the style options. In this game, there really isn’t a whole lot of clothing and hair options for your Sims. Everything is pretty basic, making it extremely difficult for you to make unique Sim characters as you continue building up your town. I’m hoping as I continue to play this game that I’ll be able to unlock even more unique clothing and hair options so that I can try to make my Sims look different from each other in the future. But right now, my options are pretty limited.

But overall, I find myself enjoying this game as much as I do the other Sims games I’ve played in the past. It’s to the point where I’m starting to play the Sims game I have on my PlayStation 2 again in the hopes of progressing further than I ever have before. In many ways, you could say I’ve become hooked to the Sims again, which has never been that much of a struggle before. I highly recommend this game if you are looking for something casual to play or if you’re looking for a Sims game to play but don’t know where to start.

If We Were Having Coffee: Being a Productive Member of Society

If We Were Having Coffee 03

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week and are enjoying your Saturday so far. For me, I’ve been pretty busy, which is what I’d like to begin with talking about for this post.

In my last #weekendcoffeeshare, I mentioned that I was going in for a job interview on Tuesday. Well, I definitely had the interview and guess what? I got the job! They had me start the very next day, had one of their coworkers show me what my main responsibilities would be while I was there. So the position I applied for is to handle the front of the deli, but specifically, I’ll be handling the salad bar foods and helping serve to customers whenever my section is running slow. I’m also responsible for cleaning the bathrooms and cleaning the salad bar whenever we close, because I applied for this position to specifically work at nights in this section. Whenever I applied for this position, I was told by my friend that they didn’t really have someone for this position at nights and that they were having trouble finding good people. So I figured, why not me?

So far, I really like it. I like it because I’m constantly on my feet moving to restock my section. There’s no down time for me or anything at all, which is good because I like being busy. I don’t like just standing around with nothing to do when I’m at work so it’s nice to have a job somewhere where that’s not really much of a problem. I also like it because my coworkers are a friendly bunch and there’s no drama. I come in, do my job the best I can, leave whenever they are satisfied with my cleaning abilities and there’s not too much fuss about any of it. As long as I do my job and they are satisfied with my work (which so far, has been the case, from what I’ve heard) then there’s not a problem. I also like that we get 50% off on food and get free refills of fountain drinks. It’s nice to know I can save my money whenever I eat there. We also get money from credit card tips that’s split up among the people working during a particular shift. These tips go into our total paycheck, which is nice because it’s additional money I can save and it shows how much the company values their employees.

There are however, some small downsides to this job so far. For one, I’ll mostly only be working nights. While it’s nice because I’ll be able to sleep in and use most of my day however I please, it stinks in the sense that I won’t be working quite as many hours as I’m used to. I also have to adjust to working again, to being a productive member of society. What I mean to say is I’m having to get used to being on my feet again, which is something I always seem to struggle with whenever I go back to work after having summers off. I know part of it is because I’m always at home during the summer and don’t take time out of my day to work out or go walking, which is something I should probably be doing. But I can never seem to put that into my schedule for whatever reason. I don’t know, but it’s something I can always work on in the future.

But so far, I’m really pleased with this job. Everyday I’m there, I’m working with different people, all of whom seem really friendly and am constantly on my feet the whole time. I go home, usually tired but satisfied about my day because I know I’ve done a good job. But it feels right because I don’t feel quite as miserable. Because I have a new job though, I’m going to have to make some adjustments when it comes to my writing. I’m not sure yet how often I’ll be posting here on my blog. Once I adjust to these hours, I’ll know for sure. But right now, I’ll have to play it by ear and see.

I’m not at work today though because Mum got tickets from work to go to see one of our local baseball teams play. So whenever I was interviewed for this position, I let the manager know about it beforehand. But other than my new job, I haven’t been up to too much this week. I did however finish reading Before I Fall and am still continuing to play The Sims Freeplay on my phone. I’m still debating whether I want to write a review on it in the near future or if I’m just going to continue playing it and not worry about a review. I think as of right now, I’ll just wait and see as I continue playing it how I feel. Playing this game though has really made me interested in wanting to play other Sims games. To the point where I’ve actually been watching another Youtuber I enjoy play The Sims 4, which is the one I really hope to one day get whenever I have the funds to buy myself a new laptop.

Before I forget, I also want to let you know I’ve also recently decided to share my blog posts on my Instagram account. I figure it’s one more means of getting my blog out there with the possibility of getting more followers through it. I mean, it is another form of social media so I really don’t see too much of the harm in it. Hopefully that will get me more followers and it’s another form of social media I use quite frequently.

So I think that’s really all I have to say about my week. I don’t know yet if I’ll be doing another one of these posts next week since I’m still getting used to my new work schedule. If I do, I’ll be sure to let you know how the baseball game went. But I hope you’ve all had a good week like I have and I’ll talk to you again soon!

Book Review: Before I Fall

Before I Fall Book Cover

Rating: 3 stars

With this stunning debut novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver emerged as one of today’s foremost authors of young adult fiction. Like Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why and Gayle Forman’s If I StayBefore I Fall raises thought-provoking questions about love, death, and how one person’s life can affect so many others.

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

I both enjoyed this book immensely and was frustrated with certain things about it all at the same time. But I really appreciated Samantha’s character growth throughout the story. In the beginning, she starts off as this mean girl who nobody can touch or hurt. She’s mean to everyone else who isn’t a part of her clique, and she doesn’t feel bad about it. But it isn’t until she dies and has to repeat the day of her death over and over again that she begins to realize how much harm she’s unintentionally inflicted on others. While I honestly feel like it’s too late for her to fix the problems she’s caused, it was nice to see her realize how much she hurt people and try the best she could with what she was given. Seeing her character go from being a total bitch to everyone around her to trying to set things right made me appreciate the way her character was written. While my dislike of her doesn’t improve, I’m glad Lauren Oliver gives her some much needed character development.

But at the same time, I feel like her actions are more selfish in nature despite how much her life has changed. I say this because most of the story she doesn’t focus on making things right with people. She spends most of the other days screwing around with other people because she knows it won’t really change anything. It takes her awhile to realize what she’s supposed to be doing, but she still manages to mess things up. Then, on her last day, she pretty much talks about how it’ll be the last time she sees her family and gets pretty emotional over the whole thing. While I know these things are a part of her character development, it still frustrates me because a lot of time in the story could’ve been saved for her to do something to further her along. I also believe this though because if the car accident hadn’t happened, she would still be the same character she was in the beginning of the story.

However, I appreciate this story’s message, which is that every action you take has an effect on everyone else in some small way. You see this throughout the story with the choices Samantha makes with each of these days. Some of her decisions result in a ripple effect that we are able to see when Oliver has her make certain choices on that day. I also like that each of these same days are handled differently and that we learn more about the other characters. I appreciate this aspect in the story because it allows us better understanding of these character’s actions, and gives us a better glimpse into their everyday life. You learn something new about each of the characters the further along you get into the story, and I really appreciate how that’s tackled.

I also like how realistic this story is about the high school experience. For some people, high school is one of the best times of their life while others really hate it. I appreciate that this story covers that experience really well by going into topics such as bullying, cliques, drinking, rape, sex and suicide. These are not only topics that need to be talked about, but are things high school teenagers experience during those years of their life. It made me feel like I was at their high school on that day, meeting all of these people and dealing with everything Samantha was going through. It made me better understand her group of friends and their choices as well as what some of the other characters were going through. I liked learning more about these characters because it gave you as the reader a better idea of what happened and the role Samantha plays in their lives.

I would have to say my favorite thing about Before I Fall is the writing. I like the way the story is written with each of these seven days as a chapter that Samantha explains what she did on that particular day. I also like the writing because I think Oliver’s writing flows really smoothly and has a poetic feeling to it. She gets really descriptive at certain points in the story which makes you want to continue reading to find out what happens next.

However, I also have quite a few criticisms for Before I Fall. While I think Oliver is a beautiful writer, I also believe she made this story a little too fluffy. You see this with the repetition of this particular day when certain aspects of the day aren’t changed, such as the party at Kent’s house. It’s to the point where I feel like this book could be chopped in half and we’d still get an understanding of what happened in the story. She’d just have to include the really important things, such as the background information on Juliet and why her past friendship with Lindsay came to an end.

She wrote so much in this book, yet didn’t include one of the most important details in the story: Why did Samantha have to repeat this day? We know that after she dies, she’s stuck in this limbo of repeating the day of her death over and over again, but she never once explained why she had to go through this. We also get an ending to the cycle that doesn’t make sense, because both these characters died on the original day. So it would stand to reason that Samantha is supposed to save both of them from death, but that ends up being far from what happens. While I understand Oliver has this as a way for Samantha to prove how much she’s changed, I find it to be a flaw with the story, since both these characters are supposed to already be dead.

Besides Samantha, everyone else has no character development. Yes, we learn more about her friends and the people they bullied, but we don’t see any of these characters grow. I understand that all of these events happen on the same day so we shouldn’t expect this much of them, but I feel like they’re could’ve been a way to make this possible. Like with Lindsay, you start to see a little shift in her when Samantha asks about Juliet, but that’s really it. The only thing that changes with the characters in Before I Fall is the way Samantha sees them.

Speaking of which, I hate how Samantha and Kent’s relationship develops. Considering what’s happening in the story, I felt like having romance was completely unrealistic. Even though this is a young adult novel, I hate that she paired these two together because it didn’t make sense to me. I get that Samantha has known Kent since childhood, but that doesn’t mean they are perfect for each other. Especially with the way Samantha’s character is in the story, it just didn’t add up to me. It was almost like she was putting these two together since neither of them had anyone else. Yes, Samantha had Rob, but you could tell she didn’t care for him all too much. She only stuck with him because he was popular and someone she’d had a crush on for a long time. But you can tell she’s not right for Kent either, especially with the way she treats him in the beginning of the book. It seemed way too unrealistic to me because of everything that was going on that I wish she didn’t include any romance in the story at all.

While I enjoyed reading Before I Fall, it’s definitely not the book I expected. There are so many things with the story that if improved would make it the book people are raving about. But for me, it had too many flaws to meet those standards.



If We Were Having Coffee: Another Beach Trip, Another Day in Paradise

If We Were Having Coffee 02

Hello everyone! Wow, it feels like it’s been awhile since I’ve written one of these. Luckily, I actually have a lot to say this time around, partly due to not doing one of these last weekend. But also partly due to having some good news to share along with it. Anyway, I hope you’ve all been having a good weekend so far. I know I have, and I haven’t really done anything since I’ve been awake.

Hmmm… where to start? Okay, I guess I’ll start with what I’ve been up to during the week leading up to going to the beach last weekend. I mostly spent a lot of that time sleeping, reading, watching television, and playing app games on my phone. Seriously, I really didn’t do too much else leading up to when my sister Laney and her boyfriend Lawrence came to the house Thursday night. Though since my last weekend coffee post, I’ve been a very productive reading reviewer. Since my last coffee post, I’ve completed a total of four books, each uniquely different than the previous. I liked each of these books for a variety of different reasons. But I find myself surprised at being able to read this many books in this amount of time. I think part of it is because it’s been awhile since I’ve given myself the chance to really sit down and enjoy reading. And now that summer is here, and I have so much free time, I feel like I can do that. Not that I haven’t enjoyed the time I’ve spent on the books I’ve been reading while I’ve been employed. It’s just that I haven’t quite had as much time to sit and enjoy them, though I’ve definitely made the point in doing so when I was reading them.

Along with reading these four books, I discovered two other games in the App Store that I’ve started playing and enjoying, one of which I’ve actually played before a long time ago but quit because I felt like I couldn’t really do too much with it at the time. The first game I came upon made me chuckle because I was amused by it, but now I’ve become really hooked to it. And that game is called Pokémon Magikarp Jump. It came out last week, actually on the day when I first heard about it so I figured I’d give it a try and see how I’d like it. So far, it’s been very enjoyable and addicting to me. It has some Pokémon nostalgia that really makes it a fun game to play, even though the Pokémon you’re raising is one of the weakest ones in the games. The other one is called The Sims Freeplay, which is pretty much a mobile version of the games out on PC and console. I think part of the reason I stopped playing it the first time was due to it not having as much stuff for you to do. I remember the first time playing it I spent most of the time in my house working on filling my Sim’s needs and not going out in the world to really do anything. But this time around, it seems like there’s more things to do, and I have quests to complete too. I’ve also been making sure to keep the Sims I have busy by sending them away to work or having them compete in a competition because these things take them hours to do in real time. This allows me the chance to do other things while they are increasing their skills and making money, but can also be a hindrance for playing the game. Especially because the Sims games normally don’t have that time feature in them. Usually when you’re having a Sim do something, you can make time go a little faster and be done with it within a couple minutes. You unfortunately don’t have that option in this one, but that’s okay because these things always give me something to look forward to whenever I do go back to check on my characters. While it’s yet to be as much fun as the ones I know and love, I know once I unlock and build more of the town the game will get better for me.

The Sims Freeplay Image

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how much fun I had when my sister came to visit us last weekend. On Friday, Laney and Lawrence actually had to put in some hours for work so I for most of the day hung out in the living room playing Pokémon Magikarp Jump and reading. I also got my hair cut short, the pixie cut style I love because I like it so much while Laney had a job interview she had to go to. After all of that, we hung out at home for a little bit before going out to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant with the people we love. We continued the night after dinner by buying some wine and beer at Total Wine to enjoy at our house. Then on Saturday, we drove two hours to go to Charleston and Sullivan’s Island. We first stopped by the Charleston Marketplace to see what all they had to offer. We saw a collection of all sorts of different things, from necklaces and jewelry to paintings to spices and even Christmas decorations. Then we drove around Charleston to show Lawrence some of the different homes and historic landscapes before heading to Sullivan’s Island to spend the day on the sandy beach. We also grabbed some barbecue to eat for lunch, which turned out to be really delicious.

Charleston Trip Marketplace
I love going to places like this and seeing what they have to offer. I also appreciate that all of this was indoors so we didn’t have to be out in the beating sun for too long.
Charleston Trip Charleston Homes
Some of the Charleston homes. Was too busy looking to take any more shots.

Sullivan's Island Beach Trip One

Sullivan's Island Beach Trip Two

Sullivan's Island Beach Trip Three

Sullivan's Island Beach Trip Four
In this picture, you can see the wind moving along the beach and picking up the sand.

Sullivan's Island Beach Trip Five

Sullivan's Island Beach Trip Six

Sullivan's Island Beach Trip Seven

Sullivan's Island Beach Trip Eight

Sullivan's Island Beach Trip Selfie
Of course I had to get some pictures of myself there too.
Sullivan's Island Beach Trip Feet Selfie
Along with having my feet play in the sand.

As a family, we’ve actually never gone to Sullivan’s Island before. We’ve been to other beaches before, but this was our first time at this one and it was really nice. It was a beautiful day outside, which was something we hadn’t seen for a little while due to dealing with a lot of rain. The only downside was that it was very windy there so I didn’t do as much laying out in the sun as I’d have liked. But that was okay because I didn’t have to worry as much about getting burned. It was so windy that when I attempted to lie down I struggled because my towel was trying to blow away from me. I also ended up getting sand all over me because the wind was so crazy that it was blowing the sand along the beach. So I ended up going into the water to wash myself off, which proved to be a little difficult since I had sand in places I couldn’t reach. Once again, I enjoyed the feel of the sand between my toes along with the touch of cool ocean water brushing against my legs with the smell of the sea lingering in the air and the wild winds blowing against my face. I felt the sense of peace and tranquility I normally feel when I’m at the beach but it was wilder this time around, like the wind was nowhere near close to slowing down. It was a lot of fun though, despite the harsh winds because I was spending relaxing time with the people I care the most about. After our time on the beach, we went and grabbed some pizza to eat before heading back home. On Sunday, we showed Lawrence downtown, then went and grabbed some ice cream to snack on before heading back to the house. After that, Mum, Laney and Lawrence went to the gym while I took a nap. Once they were home, we started cooking food out on the grill for dinner and invited a friend over to eat and watch some movies we rented. After watching these movies, we then all headed to bed so we could rest and get ready for Monday. On Monday, we woke up early so that Laney and Lawrence could start packing up their things. We then went to Cracker Barrel for one last meal together before Laney and Lawrence headed back to Tennessee. Overall, I enjoyed the time we had together, and it was nice to meet Laney’s boyfriend for the first time.

And that’s pretty much all I have to say besides one more thing. The good news I have to share with you is that I have a job interview coming up on Tuesday. I have a friend that works at a new deli that’s opened up downtown and in several other places, and he’s mentioned my interest to them. So after completing my application, I heard back from them about meeting with them for a job interview. This is exciting/good news because I might finally have a job again so that I can make money while the other place I work at is closed. It sounds like they really need some good people so I’m really hoping this interview works out so I can get started right away. I also hope it works out to where I’ll be working full time or something because then I can leave the company I’m at now, since I’m not happy being there anymore. That place has just gotten so full of drama that I’m ready to be somewhere else where I don’t have to worry about that anymore. So wish me good luck because I feel like I really need it.

I hope you all are having a good weekend so far. I can’t wait to hear all about it.


Book Review: Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything Book Cover

Rating: 3 stars

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

While I enjoyed reading this book completely, there were some things with regards to the story that just didn’t add up.

Everything, Everything is about this seventeen year-old named Madeline. She’s allergic to the world and has spent a majority of her life inside her comfy home so that she doesn’t die. The only people she spends time with are her mother and Carla. But everything changes when a moving truck arrives next door and a boy named Olly and his family move in. When Madeline sees Olly for the first time, she knows her she’s going to fall in love and that it’ll be a disaster. But what she doesn’t realize is how much her life is going to change.

Okay, so there are a lot of things I like about this book. I like the characters who seem very personable and relatable. Especially Olly, who we see has a very terrible home life, yet has a lot of energy that allows him to overcome any obstacle that gets in his way. I find myself able to relate to his character the most because I’ve been in his shoes. I know what it’s like to have someone who’s supposed to be a father figure hurt you in the ways his father has hurt their family. But I also enjoyed reading the story from Madeline’s point of view. She’s a very intelligent lady who despite her circumstances manages to make the most of the situation she finds herself in. She becomes close to the only two people she can really talk to, and even though she wasn’t allowed to go outside, she makes the most of the time she spends with those she cares about. Her relationship with Carla is one of my most favorite things about this book. Carla is very kind and caring towards Madeline, almost like a second mother figure for her throughout. She gives Madeline advice and doesn’t begrudge her for any of the choices she makes. Even when she messes up, Carla is still there to support her and guide her in the right direction. I like their relationship because you can see how much they both care about each other, and how happy they are together.

Another thing I enjoyed about reading Everything, Everything is the writing style. It felt very personal, like I was reading into the heart and soul of Madeline’s character. It also reminded me a little bit of a journal because of the cute illustrations that were in the book. Well, that and also the fact that Madeline literally put all of her thoughts and feelings into it. I liked it because I’ve never read a book written like this one. Especially one from the perspective of a teenage girl whose thoughts are pretty personal and relatable. It made reading this book that much more enjoyable because it allowed me an even better understanding of Madeline’s character.

Everything, Everything Image1
An example of one of the pages in Everything, Everything.

However, there are a lot of things about Everything, Everything that don’t particularly add up. For while this book was a good read, I felt like the author should’ve done some research on Severe Combined Immunodeficiency. Especially because Madeline supposedly doesn’t know what exactly she’s allergic to so anything she eats or touches could cause her to get sick. Yet, you see Madeline do a lot of things that should’ve triggered her system if she really had this disease. For example, when she kisses Olly for the first time. She should’ve gotten some sort of reaction from the kiss, but she doesn’t. She ends up being perfectly fine, as if she and Olly didn’t kiss at all. While I completely understand why this disease is talked about in this way, it’s still disappointing because it would’ve been nice to see a positive awareness for this disease. However, I still managed doing research into it myself because I know I don’t know too much about it either. So I even though Nicola Yoon didn’t look too much into it herself, I did some research to at least make myself a little more aware about this disease.

I also didn’t like how cliché Madeline and Olly’s relationship ended up being. While I liked them as a couple, I felt like it was a cliché because it pretty much follows the boy saves girl plot or makes it where it seems like it’ll be impossible for them to ever be together. Then they end up together because of miraculous circumstances that would’ve never happened if Madeline hadn’t made the decision to leave her house because of Olly.  This bothers me because I don’t like the concept that falling in love with someone will make all your troubles go away.  Real life doesn’t work that way so reading a romance that acts like that’s true is frustrating.

I also felt like the ending to Everything, Everything was a cop out. It was a cheap way of explaining why Madeline didn’t have SCID. It also felt like a slap in the face because Madeline wasted many years of her life for nothing. It was also frustrating because her mother, who conveniently is a doctor, should’ve known that her daughter had no problems and should’ve addressed her own turmoil she was experiencing. While I get treating your own child’s health can cloud your judgment, I felt like it was a complete cop out for an explanation. It also added more into making this story even more unrealistic by using that to get Madeline and Olly back together at the end. Just wasn’t the ending I pictured for Madeline despite that I wanted things to go well for her.

As a whole, Everything, Everything makes a great young adult romance. However, it’s lack of true representation of SCID and giving a unique ending make it hard for those with health issues to feel like they are being represented accurately. I overall liked the story, characters and the style of the writing, but it messed up in the ways that really mattered, which is why my rating isn’t as high as I’d originally planned.

Book Review: Color Blind (Dr. Jenna Ramey #1)

Color Blind Book Cover

Rating: 4 stars

A neurological condition characterized by automatic, involuntary sensory perceptions triggered by seemingly unrelated stimuli.

There is something unusual about Dr. Jenna Ramey’s brain, a rare perceptual quirk that punctuates her experiences with flashes of color. They are hard to explain: red can mean anger, or love, or strength. But she can use these spontaneous mental associations, understand and interpret them enough to help her read people and situations in ways others cannot. As an FBI forensic psychiatrist, she used it to profile and catch criminals. Years ago, she used it to save her own family from her charming, sociopathic mother.

Now, the FBI has detained a mass murderer and called for Jenna’s help. Upon interrogation she learns that, behind bars or not, he holds the power to harm more innocents—and is obsessed with gaining power over Jenna herself. He has a partner still on the loose. And Jenna’s unique mind, with its strange and subtle perceptions, may be all that can prevent a terrifying reality…

Wow, what an enjoyable read! This book was quite the page turner. It was a mixture of crime fiction and neurology. The story centers on Dr. Jenna Ramey, a woman with the ability to read people through a neurological condition that allows her to see colors surrounding people. She uses her special ability to help profile and catch criminals. But she also had to use this ability to save her family from her wicked mother when she was younger. Now, she’s called to help with a case involving a mass murder who holds power even when he’s behind bars and who might possibly be connected with her mother in some way.

What I enjoyed about reading Color Blind is seeing the story from Dr. Jenna Ramey’s perspective. I loved learning more about her condition, being able to see the detail put into describing the colors she was experiencing from the people she talked to. I’ve never read a crime fiction story that went this much into detail, and I found each piece of information I learned about Dr. Ramey more and more interesting. It made the story that much more interesting for me to want to continue reading to find out what happened next. It also showed that Colby Marshall did her research on synesthesia, a condition I’ve never really heard of myself until now. Makes me want to do my own research on the topic to see what more I can learn.

I also enjoyed this read because I found the story and characters to be interesting. I liked getting to hear more about Dr. Ramey’s background, find out about her mother Claudia and how she saved her family from uncertain death. I like how personal this case ended up being for Dr. Ramey because you could see her doing the best she could to save those around her. I found myself really engrossed in this story because of how interesting the storyline became that I couldn’t put this book down. I wanted to find out how Isaac was connected to Claudia and how that resulted in the events that followed. I also found Dr. Ramey’s relationship with Yancy to be most interesting, even though I don’t really understand why her connection with him is stronger than what she had with Hank.

I also like Color Blind because it’s crime fiction. I especially like that they showed Dr. Ramey as someone who doesn’t bask in her celebrity status. She’s a sincere person who wants to do things to keep those she cares about safe from the harm her mother will cause. Because once her mother gets out, she knows her mother will come for her and those she holds dear. This book was just such a page turner for me that I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.

I appreciate that they include some video game talk in this book. I like that Marshall has Isaac and Sebastian meet each other to make their plans in a video game that they both play. It’s something you normally don’t see in crime fiction stories, so I was surprised by it, but really liked it.

There are only a couple of things with this book I didn’t particularly like. For one, I felt like the connection between Isaac and Claudia was too disappointing. While it was an interesting spin I didn’t see coming, it wasn’t all that surprising for me to begin with. You could tell there was a connection between the two from the beginning just from the way Isaac interacts with Dr. Ramey and how he knew more about her than anyone else.

I also felt like most of the ending was pretty rushed because the last half of the story moves along very fast. Everything happens all at once, like the pieces were there just waiting to be lined up. While I usually don’t mind that, in this story the pieces that came together were pretty disappointing. For example, they made the capture of Thadius too easy to me and I found myself actually feeling for Sebastian. Despite his ties to Isaac, he didn’t seem like too bad of a kid, just troubled and in need of serious help. The end itself while interesting just didn’t do too much for me other than make me sad that the book was over. The only thing interesting about it to me was what happened with Claudia because I find her character to be really intriguing.

Despite these small things most people wouldn’t have minded, I found Color Blind to be a fantastic read. It had a little bit of everything I enjoy about crime novels, plus gave me the chance to learn something new. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to read the rest of the series to see what happens to Dr. Ramey next.

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