InstaReview: Dream On

The second book in the Silver Trilogy by Kerstin Gier, Dream On, continues with the dream travels of Liv and her new friends.

From the author of my one of my favourite time-travel series, Dream On (book two in her Dream series) is a different type of travel – dream travel. Continuing from the first book, (spoilers ahead!) Liv spends time in the dreams learning to manipulate her surroundings and self with Henry. This book is a little bit sinister mystery -who's sharing Liv's personal life with Secrecy, and why is her sister sleepwalking into dangerous situations? It's also got that cheeky humour that I'm beginning to notice as Kerstin Gier's style. It keeps you tuned in and turning the pages (especially towards the end). However, it does leave quite a few loose ends which I'm assuming will be wrapped up in book three. Loved the idea of dream sharing, and very curious to see it all tied together in the last installment. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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[Caption] From the author of my one of my favourite time-travel series, Dream On (book two in her Dream series) is a different type of travel – dream travel.
Continuing from the first book, (spoilers ahead!) Liv spends time in the dreams learning to manipulate her surroundings and self with Henry. This book is a little bit sinister mystery -who’s sharing Liv’s personal life with Secrecy, and why is her sister sleepwalking into dangerous situations? It’s also got that cheeky humour that I’m beginning to notice as Kerstin Gier’s style.
It keeps you tuned in and turning the pages (especially towards the end). However, it does leave quite a few loose ends which I’m assuming will be wrapped up in book three. Loved the idea of dream sharing, and very curious to see it all tied together in the last installment. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

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Philly – A Weekend

There was a part of me that assumed I couldn’t travel on my own, and it was that part of me that I wanted to challenge. Travelling with friends is fun – as long as you and the friends are compatible travelling companions, and I’m lucky to have some good friends that are great travel buddies. Still, I wondered what it would be like to set my own pace, to wake up at 11 am and spend three hours wandering a museum or sitting in a park reading a newly purchased book from the local bookstore, simply because I fancied doing so at the time. So, when I was started feeling a deep desire to spend time alone, I took a random weekend trip to Philadelphia.

I had to set goals, I wanted to see two places of interest, the Liberty Bell and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and I wanted to visit at least one local bookstore – if I purchase something, that would be a plus!

After arriving by Amtrak on Friday afternoon, making my way to my Airbnb for the weekend (in the heart of the city!) and finding some cheesesteak at Reading Terminal Market, I decided to map out my weekend. The next day I’d try to visit the Liberty Bell and take a walk across town to the museum, then the following day it would be bookstores and shops. Continue reading

InstaReview: Heartstone

You’ve got your dragons, sassy heroine and dashing hero; but layer that on top of Pride and Prejudice and set it in an alternative historical time and you’ve got quite a fantastic novel.

If you like good retellings, Pride and Prejudice, and dragons, then you'll enjoy Heartstone by Elle Katharine White. Overlaying the well-known plot is a story of Riders and their dragons🐲 (or wyverns🐉, or other mythical creatures) who defend the country from Tekari (mythical creatures who don't care much for humans). There is a lot of history there, and while I do love a good retelling, I did wonder what would have happened if the story veered just a little, and expanded outside the scope of the P&P plot. The politics could have been intriguing, and the dragon training and bonding could have made for an exciting read. However, keeping to the limits of P&P I'm pleased with the direction the book takes. Aliza is as witty and intelligent as Elizabeth, and Daired just as caring under a snooty exterior as Darcy. The addition of the dragons did add another dynamic to the story and Akarra turned out to be my favourite characters. 🐲 I would have loved to see a bit more regarding the change in character of Daired – we definitely saw a good deal in Aliza, more than we did in the original P&P books. I'd like to know more about the hobgoblins in the garden of a certain stately house and the mysterious Pan. About Carlyle and what happened to him. And how Mari could know certain things about these creatures, but the fighters didn't. I suppose White could have gone on building the world and expanding, but that might have made for a much longer book, so perhaps that was a good choice to keep it concise. However, I hope there are more stories set in this world. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ . . #bookstagram #books #bookish #booksofinstagram #instabook #booklover #bookworm #igreads #ilovebooks #bookaholic #readingaddict #bibliophile #instaread #reader #reading #read #amreading #review #igreviews #bookreview #ellekatharinewhite #heartstone #dragons #highfantasy #fantasy #janeausten #prideandprejudice #harpervoyager

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[Caption] If you like good retellings, Pride and Prejudice, and dragons, then you’ll enjoy Heartstone by Elle Katharine White.

Overlaying the well-known plot is a story of Riders and their dragons🐲 (or wyverns🐉, or other mythical creatures) who defend the country from Tekari (mythical creatures who don’t care much for humans). There is a lot of history there, and while I do love a good retelling, I did wonder what would have happened if the story veered just a little, and expanded outside the scope of the P&P plot. The politics could have been intriguing, and the dragon training and bonding could have made for an exciting read.

However, keeping to the limits of P&P I’m pleased with the direction the book takes. Aliza is as witty and intelligent as Elizabeth, and Daired just as caring under a snooty exterior as Darcy. The addition of the dragons did add another dynamic to the story and Akarra turned out to be my favourite characters. 🐲

I would have loved to see a bit more regarding the change in character of Daired – we definitely saw a good deal in Aliza, more than we did in the original P&P books. I’d like to know more about the hobgoblins in the garden of a certain stately house and the mysterious Pan. About Carlyle and what happened to him. And how Mari could know certain things about these creatures, but the fighters didn’t. I suppose White could have gone on building the world and expanding, but that might have made for a much longer book, so perhaps that was a good choice to keep it concise. However, I hope there are more stories set in this world. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Netflix Originals Faves

I’ve had Netflix for a few years now and have always been a fan of the shows they offered. In recent years, Netflix has started creating Netflix Originals – and I’m hooked!

It started innocently enough, take a popular TV series, put up an extra season, like Arrested Development. But then they started producing their own series altogether like Orange is the New Black. And from the successes of those, they basically took over all my TV watching time. So, here are seven of my Netflix Original faves (in no particular order).

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A Series of Unfortunate Events is based on the children’s book series of the same name. Before Netflix, there was a movie that spanned four of the thirteen books. Let’s just say, Netflix’s approach – currently, each book is two episodes – is a much better one.

The costumes and set design are gorgeous! Since they worked closely with the author of the series, they managed to keep true to the source material – with a few extra bits (that work!) here and there. I especially loved the way they included the story’s narrator – Lemony Snicket. And the acting? Remarkable!

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Netflix released season three of Black Mirror, that was the first time I heard of the show – a British Sci-Fi show with a satirical glimpse into modern society’s psyche. I started from episode one of the third season – imagine a world where you rated others based on your interactions, now imagine those ratings determining your worth to society. Then I moved back to the first episode of the first season. I’m glad I didn’t start with that one, most people I spoke with afterwards were turned off from watching the rest of the series because of the pig storyline. Yeah, what a way to kick-off a series!

There are so many great gems of episodes, so much to think about after seeing each one. Thought provoking is definitely a phrase I would use to describe this.

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As a lover of British history – specifically the monarchy – I was especially happy to see that Netflix was releasing The Crown last year. I binged watched over several weekends, and I’m anticipating the next season. It was so well done, with great acting! Clarie Foy and Matt Smith were exceptional.

Queen Victoria is still the most fascinating monarch to me, but Queen Elizabeth II is coming in a close second.

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I’m not often interested in documentaries, but 13th came highly recommended by quite a few friends, so I decided to watch it. Wow, did it pack a punch!

As an immigrant, who migrated just a few months short of my high school graduation, I didn’t spend a lot of time learning U.S. History in school, and to be honest, at that point in my life I didn’t care much for any history lessons. Now, I enjoy reading about historical figures and learning about past events, so seeing how the laws – and America’s particular history with slavery – shaped the current penal system was fascinating.

It gives you a lot to think about, and I appreciate that it looks at both sides of the political spectrum and has people from both ends commenting on our current system. I believe that it’s a must-see documentary for anyone living in the U.S.

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I’ve heard Stranger Things being described as a nostalgic movie for folks who grew up in the 80s, and I can understand why. There are a lot of references to things a kid of the 80s would understand. Nevertheless, it’s a series anyone would be able to enjoy. I wouldn’t call this a horror, but there were some frightening bits and a lot of suspenseful moments. I’d think of it more like science fiction, a little bit like Firestarter or E.T.

The acting was good overall, but I think the kids stole the show, especially Eleven. I’m looking forward to the next season. Warning, you might have the urge to eat Eggos after watching this show.

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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is one of those shows that I find funny, no matter how many times I look at an episode. There are so many little gems that one might miss after the first viewing. I really love that there was a sweetness to the show under all the comedy.

Season three is releasing soon, and I’ve got my calendar marked!

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A recent fave of mine, The OA is a good deal magical realism and some mystery. It’s compelling enough to keep you clicking on the “Yes, I’m Still Watching” button. I appreciated the way they slowly revealed Prairie’s missing years, allowing the viewers to switch back and forth between believing she’s insane and wondering if, perhaps, what she’s saying is real.

I can’t wait to see how the story continues!

~*~

InstaReview: The Sun is Also a Star

Every since I read the NTY article on it, I have been intrigued with the 36 questions that gave you an intimate look into anyone’s life – even strangers. Just the idea of it was really intriguing, so, after reading rave reviews about The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, and the fact that she integrated this study in her story, I had to add it to my TBR pile. Then, after seeing that it was one of the BOTM picks, I had to get it!

✨ The Sun is Also a Star, ☀️ by Nicola Yoon is part humour, part tear-jerker and overall brilliant. It's told from the perspectives of Natasha 🇯🇲 and Daniel 🇰🇷🇺🇸, with a smattering of stories from the people who shifted their paths during the day they first met. There were times where I found myself wondering about the seemingly endless day of traveling around Manhattan – no "train traffic up ahead"? – and a few times where I had to go back to see who was telling the story; but after getting into the rhythm of the storytelling, I found myself engrossed, until the last tearful sentence. Seriously, read the last few chapters at home. This book is more than just a romantic tale (cheers on the great use of the 36 Questions to Fall in Love article). The characters are diverse and their interactions felt real, and that's what makes me love it so much. It could be the story of someone I know. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ . . . #bookstagram #books #bookish #booksofinstagram #instabook #booklover #bookworm #igreads #ilovebooks #bookaholic #readingaddict #bibliophile #instaread #reader #reading #read #amreading #review #igreviews #bookreview #nicolayoon #thesunisalsoastar #immigration #romance #weneeddiversebooks #diversecity #jamaican #korean #manhattan #botm

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[Caption] ✨ The Sun is Also a Star, ☀️ by Nicola Yoon is part humour, part tear-jerker and overall brilliant. It’s told from the perspectives of Natasha 🇯🇲 and Daniel 🇰🇷🇺🇸, with a smattering of stories from the people who shifted their paths during the day they first met.

There were times where I found myself wondering about the seemingly endless day of travelling around Manhattan – no “train traffic up ahead”? – and a few times where I had to go back to see who was telling the story; but after getting into the rhythm of the storytelling, I found myself engrossed, until the last tearful sentence. Seriously, read the last few chapters at home.

This book is more than just a romantic tale (cheers on the great use of the 36 Questions to Fall in Love article). The characters are diverse and their interactions felt real, and that’s what makes me love it so much. It could be the story of someone I know. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

~*~

Google Pixel

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love (and depend on) Google. It keeps my appointments, my emails, my documents and now, my photos. Because first time ever, I have a Google phone – the Pixel.

I’ve had the Pixel for almost four months now and our journey has been a bumpy one. The first device I picked up started restarting once I began loading apps. I had to return it for a new one. Then, in January, I dropped it, right on the face! It had a long – but light – crack, that you could only see if the screen was turned a certain way. I was going to get it replaced, but I kept putting it off because it wasn’t unusable – and part of me was in denial that I cracked my screen after only two months!

Then, one fateful day in March – a cold, grey, Monday – I shattered the screen. I was placing a letter in the postbox and I pulled my phone out to check to see if I would make it on time for the next train, and it fell. Face down. On the pavement. Shattered.

Of course, now it was unusable! While I knew it was working because I could feel the buzzing, the screen was nonoperational. So, I took it to uBreakiFix, and they fixed it in a matter of minutes. Now, I have a screen protector and a warranty.

Nevertheless, my bad luck aside, the Pixel is by far my favourite phone. There’s a smoothness to the display and the apps that I can only describe as delightful, and the pictures it takes are astounding1. And of course, the unlimited cloud storage space is a huge plus!

It’s much lighter than my last Android and I love the Live case – mine is the lower half of Manhattan. The battery life is great! I don’t have to charge it multiple times a day like I did my last phone, once is enough. And the rapid charging is a plus.

I know there was some concern with the fingerprint sensor is on the back of the phone, but I think that’s the perfect place. This is the first time I’m using a fingerprint sensor on a phone, and I have no issues with it being on the back, especially since I could use multiple fingerprints to unlock the phone, thus being able to easily use both my left and right hand – one-handed – without fumbling around the front. Overall, a really well-designed phone. I’m curious to see where Google goes with this.


1My Instagram has more photos taken with the Pixel.

 

~*~

InstaReview: By Your Side & On The Fence

[Caption – formatted] A look at two @kasiewest novels that I read recently – By Your Side & On the Fence. 💏 

In By Your Side, Autumn, who has protective parents, managed to gain their approvals to go away with her friends for the long weekend. Unfortunately, she’s stuck in the library 📚 with no phone 📵, and Dax – the anti-social assumed violent guy 💪 from her school.

It was EXTREMELY difficult to believe that one could be stuck in a public place like this. Won’t doors open from the inside? Regardless, the story was engaging and the situation allowed them both to be vulnerable with each other. Of all the Kasie West novels I’ve read, this one saw a lot more character growth – them having to reveal parts of themselves to each other that no one else sees, and in Autumn’s case, to her friends

–#–

On the Fence was a “girl/guy next door” read. Growing up without a mother and in a house filled with a cop father and brothers, Charlotte (call her Charlie 🏀) was accustomed to being one of the guys. 🏈 Even with Braden – their next door neighbour. But, things change when they start having late night chats by the fence.

This particular plot was perpetually moving, never a slow/dull moment. Some of the characters from previous Kasie West novels made an appearance. There was that trademark banter that I’ve come to enjoy from Kasie West’s novels, but I also loved the family dynamics in this one

Overall, I’d call both of these “adorable beach reads”. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ .

A look at two @kasiewest novels that I read recently – By Your Side & On the Fence. 💏 In By Your Side, Autumn, who has protective parents, managed to gain their approvals to go away with her friends for the long weekend. Unfortunately, she's stuck in the library 📚 with no phone 📵, and Dax – the anti-social assumed violent guy 💪 from her school. It was EXTREMELY difficult to believe that one could be stuck in a public place like this. Won't doors open from the inside? Regardless, the story was engaging and the situation allowed them both to be vulnerable with each other. Of all the Kasie West novels I've read, this one saw a lot more character growth – them having to reveal parts of themselves to each other that no one else sees, and in Autumn's case, to her friends. . On the Fence was a "girl/guy next door" read. Growing up without a mother and in a house filled with a cop father and brothers, Charlotte (call her Charlie 🏀) was accustomed to being one of the guys. 🏈 Even with Braden – their next door neighbour. But, things change when they start having late night chats by the fence. This particular plot was perpetually moving, never a slow/dull moment. Some of the characters from previous Kasie West novels made an appearance. There was that trademark banter that I've come to enjoy from Kasie West's novels, but I also loved the family dynamics in this one. . Overall, I'd call both of these "adorable beach reads". ⭐⭐⭐⭐ . . #bookstagram #books #bookish #booksofinstagram #instabook #booklover #bookworm #igreads #ilovebooks #bookphotography #bookaholic #readingaddict #bibliophile #instaread #reader #reading #read #bookphoto #readingaddict #kasiewest #onthefence #byyourside #youngadult #ireadya #romance #contemporary #addictedtoreading #instareview

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