The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan




The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
308 pages
Delacorte Press, 2009
Rating: 4/5

It has been awhile since I last read a YA book that sucked me in so much that I just HAD to finish reading it. Looking back, I can’t distinguish anything particular about this book that consumed me so much. Perhaps it was the world building and the creepy factor. The characters were alright, the plot was smooth with a few little bumps, and the pacing was a little weird but workable. Zombies freak me out and they were really well written in this story. I was afraid of what was beyond the fence, but knew that the characters would have to face it at some point. There were some plot holes that I glossed over, but nothing to be annoyed about.

I think it was a pretty decent book. I went into it blind which I think is probably the best idea. Apparently this book was hyped quite a bit so it unfortunately disappointed some people. I feel that it needs to be read with an open mind.

It toyed with the concept of faith and hope quite a bit. Duty vs emotional choice was another common theme. The main character was quite selfish, so that put a contrast towards the rest of the characters and made things a little more interesting. Some parts the pacing zoomed by, and other parts it dragged on. There were times when I wished more time was spent on a particular “scene in time” but if I had my way, the book would have easily been 500 pages long (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!).

So why 4 stars? I wanted to keep reading. It got to me emotionally. I thought about it before I slept and while I slept. It creeped me out.

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The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom



The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
222 pages
Hyperion New York, 2012
Rating: 3/5

A relatively short read about time and how it affects all of us differently. It is about three characters that are about as different as you can get, yet they are all involved in the consequences of time and come together to learn some life lessons.
The tone reminded me of the Alchemist, in that it was slow, thought provoking, and yet very simple. The writing was to the point and it wasn’t flourished with adverbs and adjectives. He even used a couple of descriptions multiple times to really get the point across (i.e. “coffee coloured hair” for the jolting emotions residing with a particular boy, Ethan). Sometimes simplicity offers the most complex and thought provoking ideas. This is the type of book that Mitch Albom wrote.
Honestly, this book wasn’t my cup of tea, but I can see the significance of the writing and how it does reach out to many people. I just wasn’t one of those people. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting upon my own life and the time I have, so to me, this was nothing new or thought provoking. It was a decent read. I’m curious as to how I will react to other topics he writes.

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The Awakening by Kate Chopin


Rating: 5/5

This book was written in 1899, over one hundred years ago. What was life like back then? How does it compare to the life I am living now?

These are the questions I asked myself upon my second reading of The Awakening. My actions today, seemingly innocent and plain, would be shocking if recreated when this novel was written. As a privileged, 28 year old, unmarried, Caucasian woman, I have to also ask myself: What differences in my life, in my current socio-economic situation, are there to the life of the protagonist of the Awakening? The familiar actions I take for granted were considered shocking and even rude to the society of 1899.

What am I talking about? Here are some examples:

  • leaving the home without informing someone of the exact details of where, when, why I was going
  • being away from home without worry of some higher status individual coming to see me and being turned away due to me not being home
  • Partaking in hobbies for the sake of having fun, for nonsensical reasons and feeling no remorse
  • being an agent of my own agenda, without relying on a husband to inform me of what it is I should be doing every waking moment of my life
  • Doing things because I feel like it, not because I should be expected to partake in what society expects me to do.

Does that sound a little bit ridiculous? Today we take for granted all the freedoms and sociological expectations that we have so much wiggle room we don’t even notice it.

This book is about feminism in the definition that I prefer, the first wave, in which women sought for equality in regards to gaining political power (the ability to vote, which came much later) to make changes on an economic, sociological, psychological, and reproductive levels. It is about basic human respects, embracing independence, and challenging what has been ingrained in our minds.

To me, this book is about feminism and the individual seeking freedom and independence. It is told through a summer vacation, with mini scenes that show the challenges of the time in very subtle ways. We really need to analyze each scene, to dig deeper into actually seeing what has been written. A scene is a scene, but it can also be as dramatic or as plain as the reader decides.

For example, there is a scene where our protagonist goes to the beach and visits with another woman. This other woman does not enjoy swimming. Regardless, our protagonist decides to go swimming alone anyways. She lingers out in the sea but eventually returns to the house with the other woman whom had waited for her.

On the surface, this looks like a scene of two friends in which one decides to take a dip, then they retreat back to the house. But if you dig a little bit deeper, you will find the following:

  • Our protagonist ditched the woman to go swimming. Instead of respecting what the other woman’s wishes were, she was selfish and decided to go do what she wanted, not what she was expected to do (stay and chat with the other woman)
  • She lingered in the sea, hoping that the other woman would get fed up and leave. This did not happen. This contrast shows that the woman on the beach was much more familiar with sociological expectations than our protagonist. Even though our protagonist was selfish and went into the sea, the woman stayed on the beach even though she probably wanted to be elsewhere.
  • These two women don’t seem to like each other. Yet one of them is firm in sticking to societal norms whereas our protagonist does not seem to care about the consequences of her actions.

All in all, I would recommend this book if you are looking for a classic, something to challenge your beliefs and what you take for granted, a literary exploration of themes, and an introduction to the beginning of feminism in 1899.

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Finish 7 by Summer RESULTS

IMG_20160411_195011How did I do?

Honestly, not that great, but it was a first try at this concept and it made me more aware of what I have, what I use, and what I don’t use.

I finished the Me to We tea from David’s Tea and the Juicy Jay’s chocolate chip cookie dough incense. I hardly touched the other two teas and the book didn’t capture my attention – instead, books on computer programming did capture my attention, go figure! As for the makeup, I didn’t hit pan in any of the shades but I did get quite a bit of use out of the Quo pallet. The Pacifica pallet was difficult to use as the shades were so light I had to use  quite a bit of product for it to show up on my (ivory) skin tone.

What did I learn?

Although I love Pacifica products, these eyeshadows just didn’t do the trick for me. Instead of holding onto them forever, I’m going to pass on them and focus on something new. I love Mary Kay products so I think that’s where my next interest will come from.

The Quo eyeshadows were lovely but I found the whole thing quite bulky and difficult to travel with. So although there are shades that are reasonable to use year round, I didn’t take them travelling with me which meant that I didn’t use them for 1/3 of the time.

Tea is always lovely and I have way too much. I made a Tea Collection video (seen below)

so I think I might focus on one type of tea and run through it all, rather than to randomly pick a couple teas that I may or may not feel like drinking.

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Tiger’s Promise



Tiger’s Promise by Colleen Houck
109 pages
Colleen Houck
Rating: 3/5

I was really looking forward to this book, as it is a prequel to Tiger’s Curse. In Tiger’s Curse, the timeline is hundreds of years after the prequel. I was hoping to get more backstory on the curse, the characters, and the other specific important things from the series.

What I got was a nice, slow build up… and then suddenly an ending. The ending was dramatic, but it seemed forced and rushed.

The character Yesubai is our protagonist and we did get to learn a lot about her. I was pleased at her strong, noble personality compared with Kelsey from Tiger’s Curse. The facts and personality traits revealed about her were very subtle but lend a feeling of awe and beauty.

Mainly, this was a book about abuse, love, sacrifice, and faith. I think it could have been a lot better if it wasn’t a novella. There is no mention of tigers at all, which gives you an idea of where the story cuts off compared to the history learned in Tiger’s Curse. I feel like I got half the story that I wanted. I really like this series but this one was a little underwhelming for me.

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I am doing a giveaway on my YouTube channel. Check out the link for more info on how to win!





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Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa


Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa
164 pages
Harvell Secker
Rating: 3/5

When I finished reading this book, my cheeks were red and hot and I had a chilling sensation in my body.

This book is about a particular sexual fetish which takes advantage of a young, Japanese woman in her limited world working in a hotel with her mother. Some would read this book and be disgusted, others would be fascinated.

I liked how the book exposed a topic that many are afraid to look into. Instead of being the outsider, we are giving the insider’s perspective. We agree with Mari until a certain point where things change, but we can sympathize with her and understand the draw.

What I liked and will remember about this book was the writing. It evoked a lot of emotions and sensations regarding touch – which is a sense that I am particularly sensitive towards. I could feel everything that happened to Mari. Was that a good thing? Well it wasn’t a bad thing, but it also wasn’t the most comfortable feeling in the world. As I was able to experience what Mari was experiencing so clearly, I think it is a sign of great descriptive writing.

As this book deals with adult content, I would only recommend this to curious minds that are very open minded about sexual fetishes and that want to be challenged by reading something that may make you feel like you are doing something wrong.

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