My favorite blog posts of the last month are coming a bit early as I leave tomorrow for Thailand for two weeks! With that, no promise of a solid post schedule, but you can look forward to reading all about my trip when I have time to write.

Here are my top five posts from all categories:

  1. A fetus does not try to “move away” during an abortion: With the new bills being proposed in the U.S., the abortion debate is as hot as ever. Along with a great video I watched on YouTube about the science of pregnancy, scientific literacy is so important when it comes to healthcare arguments.
  2. The best travel jobs around the world: I might be a bit biased, but I think the best one isn’t listed in this post (field work researcher). There are so many worldwide opportunities in my field (with field trips to Ecuador, South Africa, Egypt and Portugal in my degree alone) and also helps the planet.
  3. 10 local foods to try in Thailand: I can’t wait to get my hands on some weird and wonderful eats this week. Pray for my bowels.
  4. Sustainable menstruation: Although I’ve seen a handful of these posts throughout the year, this one was especially well-written and comprehensive. May or may not have bought a few cloth pads after reading it.
  5. Hiking the Himalayas: Everest has made the news again recently with its overtourism issue. However, I would one day like to make the trek to Base Camp.

Science, sustainability and veganism

Travel destinations

Entertainment

Blogging

Photo by Andrew Knechel.

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I know I usually include four books in my reviews, but with these three books, I met my GoodReads reading challenge goal of reading 35 books this year! My main goal was to read more books than I read last year (25) and I’m really proud of myself for doing so. I hope to continue reading a lot and surpass whatever my final count is next year.

As a reminder, here is how I rate my books:

  • (★★★★★): Loved it
  • (★★★★): Really liked it
  • (★★★): Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it
  • (★★): Barely finished it

Another few notes: I will warn if there are any spoilers with (start spoiler) and (end spoiler) so you know when to stop reading and pick up again if you don’t want to ruin the book for yourself. I no longer go out of my way to watch adaptions, but will continue to mention them and their general critiques (from Rotten Tomatoes) in my reviews.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

81-DFVziuwLRating: ★★★

Genre: Young adult, dystopia

GoodReads rating:  4.21 / 5 (2,590,000 ratings)

Medium used: Audiobook (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Date started/ finished: 14/5 – 18/5

Summary: In dystopian Chicago, society is divided up in five different factions “dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue.” When Beatrice gets puzzling aptitude results, there seems to be no right choice when it’s her turn to choose her lifelong faction at age sixteen. Meanwhile, tensions between the different factions brew and war may be on the horizon.

Thoughts: Now, most people give this series shit for riding the 2010’s dystopian train, but I don’t have a problem with that. The idea is original, but the execution is meh. I have a lot of unanswered questions about the factions but all in all, not terrible. For most of the book, I felt like I was reading a a fan fiction; a watered down plot with more romance than I care for. Not to mention the romance hardly makes sense, it’s so sudden and intense it made me feel awkward reading it. The plot really dwindled about 3/4 through and seemed to completely fall apart at the end, like the author was rushing to meet a deadline or something. It left me absolutely no desire to read any of the other books and slightly wishing I hadn’t even read the first.

Other adaptations: The movie might actually be better than the book. Some casting choices were questionable and the soundtrack doesn’t always fit the tone, but it follows the plot well and puts the focus on the action in the book.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

81cAi-RIjcLRating: ★★

Genre: Fiction, young adult

GoodReads rating:  3.99 / 5 (208,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-reader (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Date started/ finished: 12/5 – 19/5

Summary: When billionaire and father of childhood friend Davis goes missing, Aza and her friend Daisy pine after the cash reward by getting close to Davis… until Aza’s mental illness and feelings of Davis make things a bit more complicated.

Thoughts: The only good thing about this book was that it was short so my suffering was short-lived and I didn’t waste my money on a paper copy. Okay, maybe not entirely true, but basically. John Green and I had some beef prior to this book. I tried my best to watch The Fault in Our Stars movie with an open mind, but cringed so hard at the scene where the characters kiss in the Anne Frank house and everybody claps (seriously, poor taste). Anyway, I also tried to read the book, but again, cringed so hard at the lead holding a cigarette between his lips without lighting it as a “metaphor” (who actually acts like that?)… that was maybe two chapters into the book. I decided to give this book a try hoping the plot of a missing billionaire would distract from the inevitably horrible characters this dude is prone to writing… I was wrong. While I can relate to the main character Aza and some of her O.C.D. as a bit of a dermatillomaniac myself, that’s about as far as the compliments go. The plot goes nowhere, the dialogue is unbearable and the characters are forgettable. I could tear into this book all day, but it’s not worth the energy.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

the-great-alone-kristin-hannah-hi-resRating: ★★★★★

Genre: Historical fiction

GoodReads rating: 4.33 / 5 (210,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-reader (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Date started/ finished: 26/5 – 31/5

Summary: Former Vietnam POW Ernt is down on his luck in Washington when he inherits land in remote Alaska. The Allbright family (wife Cora and young teen Leni) move up north to find life off the grid didn’t make things better for their family, but worse. Ernt gets violent and radical, putting his family and the community in danger. Meanwhile, Leni tries to navigate what implications her parent’s relationship have on love as she navigates her feelings for classmate Matthew.

Thoughts: Wow, Hannah should rename this book The Great Sad. It’s very conflicting, thoughtful and emotional. I cried… a lot. I think the last time I cried at a book like that was when I read my all-time favorite book, The Green Mile. I do have some cons about this book, but it couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. I put it on hold at the library so long ago I forgot what it was about, however, in the meantime I got a job in rural Alaska and reading about life in the last frontier was really inspiring. My cons are: the ending was a bit unrealistic (but welcome as the rest of the book was quite dark), Hannah tends to over-describe at times, and I didn’t feel it was “historical” fiction because there weren’t too many era-specific plotlines. To be honest, any other time I would have given this a four-star, but the Alaska setting and pulling of my heartstrings made it a five-star read.

Photo by Radu Marcusu.

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First and foremost, I got a big girl job… officially! In my March In Review post, I mentioned I had a good outlook for a fisheries position in Alaska, but wasn’t 100% sure I would get it as they didn’t want to interview me quite yet. I had that interview this month and got the job on the spot! I will be a fisheries observer for Saltwater, Inc. where I will be based at one of their stations in Alaska (my first deployment will be based out of Dutch Harbor… you know, the one from Deadliest Catch), be deployed at sea collecting data for a couple days to a couple weeks, come back to shore to send my data and get my bearings again before going out to sea again. This cycle repeats for a contract of 30-90 days and after my first contract, I can choose when/how long I work for. My duties will be recording bycatch (species not meant to be caught), record fishing effort and catch composition/quantities, completing catch logs and more. I start in early July with training in Seattle for three weeks then off to Alaska for my first 90-day contract. I’m excited for this unique job and new adventure!

Anyway, back to what I did this month… I saw my favorite band Rise Against with my friend Maria for a special acoustic show in an interesting venue (The Theater at Ace Hotel). It was different from any other set I’ve seen them play but really awesome and relaxed.

I also drove back home to Tucson for my brother Kyle’s graduation and to spend time with my family (including my brother’s new dog Scarlet) and friends. Most of the ceremony was appropriate, but I feel they spent too much time on too few special honors students. However, I really enjoyed how each student said a quick blurb about what they’re doing next. It really made me think about how far I’ve come since my graduations.

Halfway through the month, I had a tonsillectomy and boy, it was a bitch. The surgery went smoothly (I was asleep the whole time) and when I woke up they said I had the some of the biggest tonsils they’ve ever seen… as if recovering from this surgery as an adult wasn’t hard enough. I spent the first week totally in bed, limiting my activity to sleeping, watching some T.V. (I couldn’t even focus on a book, the horror!) and eating nothing but Jell-O. After about ten days, I started to turn around and had my first solid foods. That started a good feedback loop to recovery and I’m happy to say I’m pretty much completely recovered after two and a half weeks. My throat is a bit scratchy but I can eat most anything I want and talk mostly to full capacity.

Last week, I went to RuPaul’s Drag Con for the first time. I got a one-day pass and wasn’t really sure what to expect. I arrived as the queens were making their entrances on the pink carpet but couldn’t see anything as the carpet was lined with fans who arrived earlier. I did however watch some of the red carpet from a T.V. and brushed shoulders with a few queens (Latrice Royale, Manila, Morgan McMichaels, Acid Betty, Gia Gunn, Willam, Aquaria, and more!) on their way to their booths. My first priority was to meet my all-time favorite queen, Katya, but the meet and greet line was already capped off, so I opted for my second choice, Yvie Oddly. I waited in line for about two and a half hours (one hour without Yvie present because of some press work and another two because V.I.P.s got priority access) to meet her, told her how creative and fierce she is with a good head, got a few pictures and was on my way. After that, I didn’t have the money (a lot of queens require you spend a minimum amount of money on their merch for a meet and greet, luckily Yvie’s was only $15) or the patience for another meet and greet and I missed most of the panels I was interested in. I walked around the exhibitors, bought a few things, saw some queens at their booths but didn’t queue up to meet them, took one look at the massive food truck lines and headed out. If you’re thinking about going to Drag Con and are a massive fan, spend the money on the weekend V.I.P. or arrive early and have a plan with general admission. It was a neat experience but I don’t think I need to go again next year.

The next few months are going to be crazy with my Thailand trip, Diego visiting and starting my new job!

May In Review 2018 || May In Review 2017

What I’m listening to: Tourist History by Two Door Cinema Club

What I’m watching: The Act

What I’m reading: Check out Reading Wrap-Up posts #07 and #08 for what I’ve read this month.

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ZEuRytyrTell us a bit about yourself.

Hi! I’m Chloe and I’m an 18 year old blogger. I love to talk about books, read books, and take pictures of books! I hope to work in publishing and write my own book one day! I mainly read Young Adult books, but I’m trying to branch out more into Middle Grade and Adult. I also really love animals. I have two dogs and six cats and they often make an appearance on all of my accounts, haha.

How did you get into blogging?

I originally wanted to try out BookTube, but I found that I was incredibly awkward in front of the camera. Plus, I knew next to nothing about video editing or even how to upload videos to Youtube. I knew I wanted to talk about books aside from on Twitter and Instagram, so I thought I would give blogging a shot! It would allow me to do the same things I wanted to do on BookTube, but I would be able to edit more easily and I could write everything down instead of talking. It sounded like it would be a great fit for me!

Tell us about your favorite blog post.

I’m not sure! I don’t have one particular post I love more than the others or one I’m prouder of. I do love the reviews I wrote where I had a lot to say and I think I got all my thoughts across in a coherent way. Examples would be Sherwood, There’s Something About Sweetie, and Descendant Of The Crane.

What are you doing when you’re not blogging?

When I’m not blogging, I’m probably still talking about books haha. I read a lot and I’m pretty active in the bookish community on both Twitter and Instagram. I’m a high school student, so I’m also working on things for that! Photography is also a hobby of mine and most of my pictures revolve around books. And I’m probably petting my cats at any given time.

What has been your favorite read of 2019 so far?

Ah, this is hard! I’ve recently read and adored Kingsbane by Claire Legrand! It’s the sequel to Furyborn and I loved it so much.

Do you DNF books easily or try to power through them? A little bit of both?

It depends on the book really. I definitely believe that if I’m reading something I’m not enjoying, I should put it down and pick up a book I will enjoy. On the other side, I want to give the book a solid chance before I put it down, since it could get better. So, I’ll power through a little bit, but if I don’t like it after a while, I will put it down.

Where else can we find you?

Twitter || Instagram

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic.

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Sorry for my lack of posts recently, I went home for my brother’s graduation and have been recovering from surgery for the last week. Also, I have officially landed an amazing job opportunity, which I will share later in my monthly wrap-up post.

Here are my top five posts from all categories:

  1. Important things to look for in a tour company: It’s so important for your safety, comfort, fun and funds to pick a quality tour company.
  2. 5 days in Iceland: I’m really hoping to do Iceland as my next “big” trip so I’m keeping my eyes peeled for any and all tips.
  3. 50 habit tracker ideas: This inspired me to do a habit tracker again, it really makes me feel like I have my shit together!
  4. A to Z TBR book tag: I always love creative bookish posts I can get inspired by between my book reviews.
  5. Best places in Greece: This country looks so gorgeous and this post really outlines the best parts of both well known destinations and a bit off the beaten path.

Science, sustainability and veganism

General travel and study abroad

Travel destinations

Lifestyle

Entertainment

Blogging

Photo by Andrew Knechel.

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