Tag Archives: personal

Thanksgiving

I always say that I feel like I haven’t posted in forever when I post that that’s usually because it’s true. Sammy is the best, and I mean BEST coblogger because she does a lot of the work for me and if she ever wants to stop (hint hint) she should just throw her arms up in the air and be like FOR REAL DO MORE WORK.

WARNING! This post is going to be a bit more personal than usual. Yes there will be books, but lots of personal stuff too. BEWARE!

But I am very, very thankful for what she does. Not only is Sammy my coblogger, but she’s my friend of over 10 years. We met on livejournal (yes we are THAT old) and became close again a few years ago when we both started to read (eat? devour? consume?) books and review them. (TANGENT: does anyone else who reviews books rate like, EVERYTHING ELSE in their lives now? I find myself constantly asking my husband how many stars my cooking is…) I asked her to be my coblogger a few summers ago and she’s stuck around and has been amazing. Now we email and text and tweet each other about books and non-book things. She’s a great personal support to me and listens when I talk about my anxiety with people and relationship issues. She constantly sends me cute puppy pictures when I need to be cheered up and I love her!

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2015 has been a very interesting year and I swear wasn’t it just New Years and we were JUST buried under 100 feet of snow??? So much happened this year! I got a new job, husband and I moved to a new apartment and started to seriously work on some of the issues that have plagued us since we first started this journey to the USA together, I tried harder to participate in my family even though I’m still 12 hours away (at least this time it’s by car and not airplane), I made friends, I challenged myself to read books differently than I have before, and I tried to make myself a better person overall. I didn’t achieve all of my personal goals, and I’m sure that when I look at my bookish goals for this year that I didn’t quite realize them all… but that’ s okay! I’ll look back and learn and see what worked and what didn’t. That’s… kinda been the theme of this year to be honest.

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Two things that have happened this past year that I am so thankful for are the new friends that I’ve made and the improvements to my current relationships. I’ve always, always been horrible at keeping in touch with people, my family included. Husband and I have had our ups and downs but moving here was not the cure-all we’d expected it to be and we’ve had to work extra hard this year to really get to where we want to be. He’s doing well academically (really well, like scary well) and I feel like we’re really solid now. I also feel like we’ve found our borders when it comes to independence. I’ve been very dependent on him in the past and he’s been incredibly dependent on me since moving to the USA and I feel like we’re finally getting a handle on things and becoming more independent. Which has lead to me trying to make friends.

In Japan I had a good group of friends but then I moved from Tokyo to Tokai and we all became displaced. Since I am the worst at staying in touch if they weren’t on Twitter or Facebook they slowly faded from my life. See, the worst. While living in Tokai I didn’t bother trying to make friends because I knew that we were only going to be there for two years and I didn’t want anyone else to disappear from. So when we first moved to Boston husband encouraged me to make friends. I didn’t try at first because things were still unstable and I was getting used to the USA again. But this past year I’ve started to go out (to book events) and I even overcame my social anxiety to talk to people and managed to actually MAKE FRIENDS! And I am so grateful for them!

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Five things I’m thankful for:

  1. Health: This year my eye doctor cleared me for ONE FULL YEAR. Yes I don’t have to go back for a year. This is HUGE for me. She even said that my disease seems to be chilling out.
  2. My home! Earlier this year things were VERY stressful because husband and I were very unhappy with our living situation. We finally found a place we love and we’re really happy here.
  3. Friends: see above! Special shout out to Boston Melissa, NY Melissa, Mackenzi, Nicole & Ellie for hanging out with me at book events and having awesome parties. I can’t wait to get to know everyone more!
  4. Paying off my goddamn student loan and getting a new job.
  5. Family: there were a lot of ups and downs this past year but I feel like things are good.

And last but not least… books. Lots and lots of books. PILES OF THEM.

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Have a Happy Thanksgiving guys!!! And if you’re writing NaNo… may the words ever be in you favor!

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Halloween!

Hard to believe Halloween was just last weekend AND NOW IT’S OVER FOR ANOTHER YEAR! Ugh, it went by too fast. This YEAR has gone by too fast! I can’t believe that it’s almost 2016! So much has happened this past year and I am dizzy just thinking back about it.

So what did you guys do for Halloween? I made the BEST LIFE CHOICE ever and dressed up as my true self… er I mean…

H1Wednesday Addams!

I wore my costume to work the day before Halloween and won 3rd place in our costume contest! I was BEYOND pleased with how well this turned out!

Then on Halloween I went to a Halloween Book Swap at Mackenzi Lee’s (yes the author of THIS MONSTROUS THING GO BUY IT NOW) house. There were lots of bookish people there (as my husband calls us, “The Gang”) and everyone dressed up! I sadly didn’t get photos with everyone, but here are a few!

H3Mackenzi & I (She was one of the wives from MAD MAX: Fury Road)
H4Melissa & I (She was a Camp Half-Blood camper)H5Rachel & I (She was the Fox from the cover of FURIOUSLY HAPPY!)

There were like 10 or so of us in total and I’m really sad that I didn’t take more photos! Everyone looked so cool! We all ate and drank and chatted and relaxed and it was just a chill time with cool people and then…

H6BOOK SWAP! So I posted about our last book swap, back in June where a bunch of us got together, brought 10 books, and then laid them out on the floor. We then each got a number and went in a circle and got to choose a book! We decided to do this again and it was so fun! More people came so there were WAY more books this time. We all took turns, and sometimes people would steal books from each other (kinda like Yankee swap) and all while having really engaging bookish conversations. I am REALLY starting to love these parties!

H7Here are the books I ended up going home with! I am SO excited to read them all!

It was a really fun party and I’m so glad that I was able to go! I highly encourage getting your local book friends together and starting a swap group! It’s cheaper than #booksfortrade (postage wise), a great way to share books, AND it’s just fun to spend time with your people.

Did you do anything fun for Halloween? Tell me in the comments!

This Monstrous Weekend!

Hey guys! Sorry long time no post. As you know my life consists of hanging out with my husband in his AI lab and reading ALLL the books. This month I’ve done quite a bit of reading, but not a ton of reviewing… saving up for next month because I have a HUGE pile of books to review!

This past weekend was super bookish and super fun and basically ALL THE THINGS THAT I HAD HOPED FOR UPON RETURNING TO THE USA!!! I went to two book events and they were both AH-MAY-ZING.

First on Friday I took the day off from work and it was wondrous and I was lazy (okay so totally not) and ate lunch at my favorite cafe and cleaned my house and then went to pick up Melissa Giorgio from the train station!!! Melissa has been a friend of mine since high school but due to being out of the country we hadn’t seen each other since 2008, when she came to visit me in Tokyo. So yeah. Major reunion. She took the train up from NYC and got here around 3:00pm. We went back to Kendall Square, got her situated in her hotel room and then I took her on a tour of the MIT campus before we ate dinner and then went back to my place. She FINALLY met my husband and they chatted while I got ready for THIS MONSTROUS LAUNCH PARTY at Porter Square Books.

I’m sure you’ve all seen me tweeting about This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee. Mackenzi is a local friend and I was so excited that I could help support her new book. I’ve read the book (and reviewed it here) and I LOVE OLIVER SO MUCH OKAY. All last week I worked on what I dubbed THIS MONSTROUS SURPRISE which was…

TMT2This Monstrous Sign! (Omg I cannot stop with the puns! Not even sorry!) I drew it (first thing I’ve drawn IN YEARS) and I am SO pleased with how it turned out! I sat in the very front at her launch (it was PACKED!) and held it up when she first got up front and the expression on her face was priceless! I gave it to her as a present later on and I was so happy that she loved it! (as well as other people on social media! Woohoo!)

The launch was pretty awesome. Melissa Lee saved me a seat and me and my Melissas (Who will be Melissa Lee and Melissa G from here on) listened to Mackenzi wax poetically about Mary Shelly, Frankenstein and her awesome adventures in Europe. After Mackenzi was done reading and speaking everyone got in line to get their book signed. Thinking we’d wait out the rush Melissa Lee, Melissa G, and I went to do other things… which sadly was a shitty choice (another pun! if you’ve read the book.. read the book!) because we missed out on cookies and ended up waiting an hour in line!

But we did take some fun photos!

TMT3Melissa G, myself and Melissa Lee

IMG_1948Melissa Lee, Frankie & IIMG_1935This Monstrous Thing!!!!

It was not a late night because we had to all wake up early the next day for… BOSTON TEEN AUTHOR FEST!!!

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Saturday morning I woke up early to get ready. Melissa Lee was picking us up around 9, and I wanted to actually dress up since it seems like I NEVER get to dress fun anymore with work being a Professional Setting and weekends being super relaxed.

IMG_1958I was SO excited to wear my favorite black Murua shirt dress and this new pair of tights that I bought basically for the event. The text on them is very… interesting to say the least. I’m suspecting that they were made in Japan…

Melissa Lee came and got us and we arrived at the Cambridge Public Library a little bit before 10:00 AM, so we went to Starbucks where we ran into a horde of authors. We chatted with some of them in line and made friends with Adam Silvera (More Happy than Not) and Becky Albertalli (Simon Vs. the Homo-sapiens) who we then later kept running into (and Melissa Lee already knew them and had met a few times before).

btaf6All the authors!!!

btaf1Selfie with Adam and Becky!

btaf3Selfie with Kendall Kulper (Salt & Storm and Drift and Dagger), Adam, Mackenzi and some girls we don’t know!

btaf2Kissy kissy!

btaf4They gave out free copies of The August 5 and I got my copies of Blood and Salt and Salt & Storm signed.

I also ran into a few other authors I knew (one of them being Lori Goldstein; author of Becoming Jinn) and some other blogger/book friends. It was really nice to see everyone! And after hours of standing in line for Leigh Bardugo to sign ALL the books…

btaf5(Leigh Bardugo, Melissa G, Nicole Moy, half my head and Melissa Lee not pictured because DRIVING)

We gave her a ride to Porter Square Books. MOST EPIC CAR RIDE EVER!

So yeah. Pretty much Best. Day. Ever.

Recent Bookish Adventures

Hello! Look at me update! And not take six months to do it! So last month (June) and this month (July) have been rather bookish! In July I read something like 18 books and I’m now 28 books ahead on my goodreads challenge (to read 100 books). Holy crazy wow. Also last month I attended two book events here in Boston.

The first event was a children’s lit trivia night. I went with the lovely Mackenzi Lee and some other authors and book friends and while we did not win, we did exceptionally well (and I think we got like 4th place). I knew like two answers but hey, it was fun to go out and meet some new people.

After that Mackenzi and I set up the first Boston Book Swap (okay I’m sure it’s not THE FIRST but whatever, it’s the first of more that we plan to have!) we got the idea from the popular #booksfortrade on twitter and first it was just going to be the two of us swapping books but then we thought hey! let’s invite more people! So we (she) contacted all the book people we know in Boston (I know like, five, but more now!) and set up the party. Everyone was allowed to bring 10 books to trade. Sadly the day of the party was very stormy and rainy and not that many people wanted to trek out to Mackenzi’s place, so we only ended up with six people. But it was a TON of fun and there were A LOT of books!

IMG_1265All the books that were brought!

How it worked was like this: we each drew a number and then went around in a circle. You were allowed to choose one book from the floor OR you could steal a book from another person. Each book was allowed to be stolen three times. It took awhile and there were some hilarious steals but we all went home with lots of books!

IMG_1270All the books I ended up with! (Two were BEA gifts from Nicole and a few were extra’s given to me by Mackenzi)

I feel like the book swap was a success and I hope that more people will go next time!

This month I’ve been reading a lot as well, probably not as much as in June, but I DID get a huge ARC package from HarperCollins so I have A LOT of stuff to read…

IMG_1484IMG_1487I’m still in shock at how generous Harper was to me this month. This is my third time getting ARCs from them and this is the most I’ve gotten so far. I’m SO excited to read all of these, and a few are books that I have been DYING to read one of them being…

IMG_1486We are not surprised at all, now are we?

Again I cannot say how happy I am to be back in the USA where I can have the chance to participate in book events and make book friends and get physical ARCs. My bookish heart is filled and my bookish dreams are slowly being fulfilled.

For you to notice

omg.

I am so sorry I disappeared.

Sammy, you are the best coblogger in the history of cobloggers and I am so sorry that I am the worst. sobs.

Sooooooooooo hey guys. What happened? Well, my husband and I were EXTREMELY unhappy with our housing situation and one thing lead to another and then things snowballed and People with Power were consulted with and fees were waived and documents signed and now we live in a new apartment closer to both our workplaces and the T and just… stuff. And it’s quite and the problems we were having are gone and we are HAPPY.

But it was a lot of work and I couldn’t do anything for a good long while because I was so busy. Things like reading, reviewing and blogging. I was able to tweet so some of you were privy to those crazy weeks.

Things do seem to be calming down and I’m able to read more (albeit not as much as I used to, but I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen again) and I even wrote my first review in a long time! I’m…. not even going to look at my bookish resolutions because I’m going to just cry at how optimistic and hopeful I was.

I am going to talk about how I basically threw my reading schedule out the window of a speeding bus and watched it get run over by a semi-truck. Because I am dubbin this READWHATIWANT2015 (at least that’s my goodreads shelf). Yes, I am going to give ARCs priority (esp if they’re physical) but I’m not going to forced myself to read EVERY SINGLE ARC that I can get. I did this for the past two years and I read A LOT of crap. So I’m going to read what I want! And if I don’t want to read an ARC then I’m not going to. And I’m going to tackle my physical TBR shelf because it’s full and I have SO many books that I want to read!

i have also sadly made the decision to leave my bookstore job for lots of personal reasons and I’m happy to say that I AM going to start working at MIT soon! I am BEYOND excited with my new position and so excited to join MIT as a staff member.

That said my new job is going to take some time to learn and adjust to and while I’m hoping to get back to reviewing I’m still not sure where I am with actual blogging. I’ve been doing a little more personal blogging over at Safe As Life but not a ton. I am on twitter so you can always chat with me there. But hopefully this summer (I feel like I ALWAYS say this) I can get back into things. WAIT FOR ME SAMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Until then keep loving Gansey’s fancy face and be nice to Sammy! ❤

River’s Musings

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Okay let’s give this a try. I find that a lot of the reason why I don’t post much is because I can’t post photos without a lot of work. My photos are all on my iPhone and by the time I’ve gotten them to my computer I’m just done. So here I am updating from my iPad.

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On Christmas Day my husband and I went for a walk around MIT’s campus. I never get tired of looking at it. I love it here. I do miss some things from Japan (food, the train, convenience stores, certain products that I used to get at the drug store that I can’t get here) but I’m really happy here.

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On our walk we found this outside one of the dorms. I took a few photos and this is by far one of the best photographs I’ve taken in my life.

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We rang in the new year with wine, the ball drop in Times Square (streaming live) and we shouted HAPPY NEW YEAR out the window. I even saw a few fireworks off in the distance. I started the year with my traditional re-read of THE RAVEN BOYS and set my reading goal to 100.

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I was so excited to have the chance to order a ton of books from Bookoutlet during their Boxing Day sale and finally got my books a few days ago. I am so excited to read them!

Lately I have been feeling a bit discouraged about blogging and reviewing. I feel that I’m at the point where I can reach out to publishers to make connections and I really, really want to review physical ARCs. I got my Kindle while I was in Japan for many reasons, one of them being that it was incredibly convenient for me. I also was able to review eARCs because of it. But now that my lifestyle has changed I actually am not able to use my kindle as much as I had in the past and that means that a lot of my eARCs are going unread and I feel like I’m REALLY missing out. So I started to reach out to publishers and I’ve gotten both positive and negative responses. (Negative mainly being ignored). But as I see books that I was crossing my fingers to get popping up in other people’s hands and my mailbox remaining empty I’m starting to feel discouraged. Do I keep trying? Do I give up and just let reviewing fall to the wayside? I’m not sure what to do. But I don’t want to give up this blog and I want to work harder at it and make it better. I want to be involved with the book blogging community.

River’s Reading Habits

I feel like I used to read A LOT more when I was in Japan. Now that I have some free time I’m reading about the same amount, but I think that my reading habits have changed a lot and this is leading to the feeling of ‘omggggggggggg I never get to read anymore!’

So I thought it would be fun to share my reading habits! in Japan I used to work 2pm-9:30pm. I had a 15 minute train ride, and a half hour wait FOR the train after work. So I used to read in the morning (usually from 8:30am – noon while doing housework and eating lunch) and then I’d read on the train, on my hour lunch break at work, and then while waiting for the train. I 100% read on my kindle on my commute and at work. At home I would sometimes read physical books, but it wasn’t very common since I didn’t have a lot with me (due to space and access to a bookstore with a decent English section). I also read a lot when I got home because my husband was either not home or busy doing stuff for work/ prepping for grad school. I also had zero friends during the last two years of Japan (where I lived, all of my friends were in Tokyo, which was two hours away from where were living).

NOW… I work from either 9-5 or 11-7. I don’t have time to read in the morning. I ride my bike to work so I don’t get to read during my commute. At work I have two 15 minutes breaks and a 30 minute lunch, which I do use to read, but it’s not like I can really get into anything. When I get home I cook dinner (husband and I used to eat separate due to our schedules), make our lunches for the next day, do the dishes (I feel like I do this 90% more than I did in Japan), take a shower and get ready for bed. This usually leaves me with 1-2 hours of reading time depending on if husband wants to hang out or play pool/ ping pong. He’s also home A LOT more which leads to us talking and generally hanging out more than we used to at home.  On weekends I’m usually at home but I have to do things like laundry and shopping (in Japan I would do that on my days off and spread it out over two days, now I do it all in one day), and husband and I try to get out and do stuff sometimes. I still have zero friends buuuuut I just moved here, so I’m giving myself a break.

So mainly my daily schedules and routines have changed A LOT which means that my old ‘reading time’ has shifted and become super broken up. The only time I can really get into a book and read for hours now is if husband is super into his work at night and stays up really late (I stay up with him) or on the weekend.

Also I’ve noticed HOW I read has changed a lot too. As I said, in Japan I read on my kindle almost exclusively. The only time I ever had physical books was when I either: won something and had my mom send it to me, made a trip to Tokyo and picked up a couple of things at Kinokuniya, or a friend sent me something. I LOVE my kindle and I’m pretty addicted to eARCs and kindle edeals, so there’s a lot of selection on my kindle. But now that I’m in the states, WORK AT A FREAKING BOOKSTORE (hellooooo discount!), and have space for books I’m reading A LOT more physical books.

Physical books:

photo 1I am giddy beyond belief that I can do this. I am not a book snob and I am not going to disown you for having an ereader. I’m not going to preach about the feel/smell/texture/whathaveyou merits about physical books. But I do love books, I love to collect my favorites, and it makes me so happy that I can basically get whatever I want now (and not break my wallet).

So far I’ve been reading physical books at home. I don’t really want to haul them around with me because I have limited space in my bag (which is a small backpack now because it’s too much hassle to deal with a purse in a bike basket). I usually rotate between reading a physical book and then something on my kindle.

Kindle
photo 2Oh my old keyboard kindle. You have served me well. I love this thing and will cry when it finally dies on me and I have to switch to a touch screen. I love the side buttons! I used to read both ARCS and finished books on here, but now I mainly read eARCs. I do have a pile of finished books that I got through amazon eDeals on here, so I really should work on those someday too… hahaha. I used to keep this in my purse, but there’s no good way to keep this in my current bag without putting the screen in danger, so I’ve stopped carrying it around with me. I tried to read it at work, but it was too much hassle to go down to my locker, get it out, take it to the break room, read, and then return it all in my 15 minute break. So I leave it at home and read on it when I’m not reading a physical copy.

iPhone
photo (2)This is the biggest change to the way I read. Yes, I read on my iPhone. I didn’t want to, but as I said, getting my kindle out at work was just too much trouble and wasted my break (and lead to no reading time) so I decided to start reading on this (I keep it with me while I’m working, so I don’t have to waste time going and getting it/ putting it away). I 99% read eARCs on this (and 1% novellas). I generally try to read short things on here because I hate how it feels like it takes me FOREVER to get through something. I also read on it in short doses, so it doesn’t bother my eyes too much. (It’s also nice to grab and read on for a bit when I’m laying in bed waiting for husband and don’t want to get up and get my kindle). I know a lot of people could never imagine reading on their phone (and I’ve had a few coworkers ask me about it) but for me I’d rather READ than anything, and using this allows me to do just that.

So what do you think? Are my reading habits super weird? Are yours similar? I’d love to hear how YOU read (and I hope that Sam will post her own reading habits on here soon!)