Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Studying Abroad in London: Strikes & A British Thanksgiving

After the whirlwind weekends of Paris and Edinburgh, it was nice to just have a chill week off. Still, there were plenty of things that happened. I visited Isaac's hometown again, I had a British Thanksgiving, and I started getting serious about final assessments.

The reason why we visited Basingstoke and I didn't go to any lectures was because lecturers across the UK were striking from November 25th-December 3rd. There were a variety of reasons as to why, but if you're interested in knowing more, check out this article

November 25, 2019

After getting into Basingstoke rather late on Sunday, we slept in pretty late before heading to the grocery store to pick up stuff for dinner and breakfast. On our way back, we stopped and got lunch to take back and eat while we watched some shows.

When we finished lunch, I got started on being productive on blog posts and whatnot while we watched shows on the couch. After a while, we started in on making dinner--steak! I love me some steak and potatoes. Once we finished eating, Isaac headed off to football while I continued being productive on blog and school work. 

November 26, 2019

Tuesday was another lazy day in. I made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and then we ate them while catching up I'm A Celeb and some more Psych for the rest of the day. At the end of the day, we ate dinner with Isaac's family before we all sat around playing games and eating candy. Not to brag or anything, but I totally kicked ass at Words with Friends. After games, Isaac and I watched a couple episodes of Psych before heading to bed. 

The other exciting thing that happened on Tuesday was that I hit 100,000 blog views! I've been doing this for so long and I can't believe that I finally hit 100k!

November 27, 2019

On Wednesday, in typical fashion, we slept in late and watched Psych all day before Isaac went off to play racquetball with his dad. After that, we ate dinner and packed up the rest of our stuff to head back to campus. On the way back, we stopped at ASDA to get groceries before finally getting back to Roehampton. 

November 28, 2019

On Thursday we slept in and didn't really  have a productive day. I got jealous over seeing everyone's Thanksgiving meals on Snapchat and Instagram before I went to the one the college hosted with one of my friends.

It was a nice meal. The food was good and you could tell that the college really put a lot of thought into it. As a Thanksgiving meal it wasn't that great, but as a regular old dinner it was fantastic. I got  bacon-wrapped turkey, a bunch of veggies, and even mac n cheese. Afterwards, I went back to my room to watch Psych with Isaac and eat ice cream. 

November 29, 2019

We slept in on Friday again before going to lunch and then heading back to be productive. I made a day-by-day schedule of all the assignments and other things I had to get done before the end of the semester since I want to finish them before the 13th.

Isaac had to head to his first day at work so I stayed in the library until almost midnight working on various blog and homework things. It was almost midnight before I got back to the dorm where I continued working on things before I fell asleep waiting for Isaac to get back. 

November 30, 2019

On Saturday we slept in before getting lunch. After that, I worked on homework and hung out with Isaac throughout the day until he had to go to work again. Instead of being productive, though, I watched Christmas movies and then started reading a book for review.

I stayed up reading and to let Isaac in after he got done with work. I ended up finishing the book a bit after Isaac got back. By the time we ended up falling asleep, it was about 5 am. 

December 1, 2019

We obviously slept in on Sunday before spending the day  working on homework and studying. Afterwards, we went and got food for dinner before watching Psych before bed. 

It wasn't a particularly exciting week but I did enjoy every day of it. I know next week will be a bit stressful with how many assignments I have to do but I'm still going to try to make the most of it before I have to head back home to good ol' Illinois.

For past weekly diaries, check out my study abroad page here.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

November 2019 Wrap-Up!

So November was a very eventful month in terms of traveling and exploring. I only managed to read three books, but I did enjoy 2 of them so I'd call it a win. I'm thinking that December will be a more productive month in terms of reading since I'll be on winter break back home and not really doing anything except spending time with my family and reading. But, anyway, let's just dive into November!

Title: A Match Made in Mehendi 
Author: Nandini Bajpai
Rating: 4 // 5 stars 

Title: Mrs. Dalloway
Author: Virginia Woolf
Rating: n/a -- read for class
I ended up DNF'ing this partway through. I had to read this for a class presentation but, as I didn't have to focus on the novel as a whole and instead just on excerpts, I can DNF it and not feel any worry. I really wanted to get through the entire thing but I. just. couldn't. I get that there's an actual plot. I get there's social commentary and all that jazz. But I just don't care because it's so boring. I can understand it fine if I read closely and annotate in the margins but that takes so long. At this point, I've already spent almost three and a half hours on this book and not gotten even halfway? But because I spent so much time on it I'm damn well counting it towards my reading challenge. I could have read an entire novel I actually wanted to read in that amount of time. Overall, I just don't care enough at this stage of my life to even attempt to finish this. It's just...not good.

Title: The Last Namsara
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Rating: 4.25 // 5 stars


October 2019 Wrap-Up
Studying Abroad in London: Mormons & A Welsh Adventure
Studying Abroad in London: A Very Harry Potter Week
Studying Abroad in London: A Parisian Adventure
End of the Year Book Tag: 2019 Edition
Thanksgiving Book Tag: 2019 Edition
Studying Abroad in London: Edinburgh Adventures

Thanks for reading!

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Sunday, December 1, 2019

Book Review: "The Last Namsara" by Kristen Ciccarelli

Title: The Last Namsara
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Series: "Iskari" #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length: 432 pages
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Date Started: November 30, 2019
Date Finished: November 30, 2019
Rating: 4.25 // 5 stars

*I was provided a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own*

From the moment I heard about this book I knew I wanted to read it. My first encounter was all the way back in 2017 when it first came out and two things happened: I fell in love with the cover and the synopsis drew my attention immediately. For some reason, it took all these years for me to finally read it, so I want to thank HarperTeen for sending me a copy and finally pushing me into  reading it. I'm so glad I did.

This book was great. It had so many different elements that I loved individually and just all came together to form a wonderful story. From the characters to the magic and dragons to the political was great.

The magic and lore in this book is really interesting. The world the characters live in is not just their own--there are dragons with them. At the beginning of the novel, our main character is a dragon hunter--an Isakri. While out hunting, she tells old stories that have the power to draw dragons to her. The whole idea of a magic system revolving around old gods and dragons is just so unique to me.

Not only that, but the political intrigue and how society was structured in this book was very interesting. While you're reading, you're not really sure who you can trust and what's actually going on in this kingdom. We start off the novel thinking one thing and, by the end of it, have completely been bamboozled by the events.

The two main things that kept me engaged, though, were the characters and the stakes. What I liked about this book and the reason why I read it in one sitting was the fact that there were twists and turns that kept raising the stakes throughout the novel. It seemed like we'd just figure out how to deal with one thing when another curveball was thrown.

I really liked our main character, Asha, but I also loved all of the side characters. Our main character is in a really tough spot, mentally and physically. It doesn't ever really seem like anything can go well for her. Our side characters are also wonderfully written, which makes me excited since the next two books in the series are companion sequels following different side characters!

The one thing I will say was that I didn't feel like the romance was as strong as the rest of the components in the book, though that isn't necessarily a bad thing. I enjoyed the romance but I would have also been completely okay if it wasn't there, so I'm not sure how much it really impacted the plot besides how it influenced the different characters' actions.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I am definitely excited to read the next two. I think that the author has created a unique and compelling world full of high stakes and interesting characters that will keep me coming back for more time after time. I highly recommend!

Thanks for reading!

You can follow my bookstagram here. A brand new giveaway will be posted soon!

To get more awesome content like this post, click the follow button to the right!

I am a "BookishTextDesign" Influencer! Use my code LAUREN10 for a discount off your bookmark purchases! Check out the shop here

Get free worldwide shipping with Book Depository using my affiliate link