I Rewatched/Reread ‘The Hunger Games’ Trilogy in a Week

Welcome!

I want to preface this post by saying I LOVED THE HUNGER GAMES books and movies in middle school. I only read THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy once in sixth grade (nearly a decade ago!!) and never picked it up again. Only recently did I begin re-reading books (see my Sarah Dessen Summer Readathon). I have seen the movies numerous times, but only when they first released in theatres. I may have watched my DVDs once or twice, but I have not watched any of the movies since my junior year in high school (four years ago!). Needless to say, I have not consumed HUNGER GAMES content for more than a few years.

rewatching the films

With quarantine draining my motivation, I decided to watch the movies after I finished my finals’ work for the day. I completely spaced on the fact BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES released within the week. I had not watched the first film since seventh or eighth grade, so I had a general sense of what happened. I forgot a lot of the details, though.

In the first movie, I could tell the budget was lower than the rest of the films because people weren’t sure how well it would do. I forgot how bad Peeta’s hair looked. His hair is so stiff through the entire movie. I also forgot how sassy Peeta was in the movies. As I re-read the books, I laughed at his sass 1000x more. The first scene I cried at with THE HUNGER GAMES movie was Katniss volunteering for Prim. I know, it’s literally less than 30 minutes into the film. This became such a common reoccurence.

I fell in love with Katniss and Peeta all over again. As I watched the first film, I truly appreciated Haymitch and Effie more than I did as a middle schooler. Perhaps that’s a sign that I’m truly an adult. I don’t know. Haymitch’s relationship with Katniss made me cry because he became like a father figure to her through the films. He took care of her but also pushed her in the arena. Effie became just as attached.

By the end of the first film, I was pretty sure I had felt all the emotions and could not cry anymore. I was wrong. Within a few minutes into CATCHING FIRE, I was a mess again.

I knew where the movie ended, so I was prepared for those emotions. For the majority of CATCHING FIRE, I was frustrated with Katniss being blind to her emotions. Actually, I think she just wouldn’t allow herself to truly feel her emotions towards Peeta to protect him from herself. She saw herself as broken, but Peeta helped Katniss see herself as whole again. Katniss helped Peeta, too, in numerous ways.

The scene that got me crying in CATCHING FIRE was when Katniss asks Peeta to stay with her on the Victory Tour. I was not prepared for that scene to bring up so many emotions. I loved everything between them in this film. Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson truly brought these characters to life so well. When they kiss in the arena on the beach, I could see the moment in Lawrence’s eyes that Katniss realized how much she loved Peeta. CATCHING FIRE truly did a wonderful job of developing their romance in the film. And, yes, I bawled at the end even though I knew how it ended.

MOCKINGJAY PART ONE was frustrating for me with how much Katniss relied on Gale. What really made me frustrated was how much the film has Katniss and Gale kissing. They kiss way more in the movies than in the books. Perhaps this it to play up the love triangle, but at this point in the films everyone knows Katniss will end up with Peeta. CATCHING FIRE made that obvious. Gale as a whole made me upset. This is how I feel about Gale:

I started crying when Katniss first sees Peeta. In MOCKINGJAY PART TWO, I bawled at the first sight of Peeta. I basically cried any time Peeta was on screen for the last two movies. For PART TWO, I cried five minutes into the film all the way to the meadow scene. Josh Hutcherson did a phenomenal job acting as hijacked Peeta. Rewatching these films reignited my love for Peeta but also Josh Hutcherson. I even made a TikTok about Josh Hutcherson.

I don’t know how much else I can speak about the films because I basically cried through watching all of them. By rewatching the films, though, I realized how much I missed THE HUNGER GAMES. This led me to listening to the first book on audio while working. Once I reached the halfway mark of the audiobook, I realized BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES released the following Tuesday. At that point, I figured out I could actually reread the entire trilogy before the prequel released if I read a book a day.

rereading the books

While listening to THE HUNGER GAMES audiobook, I was surprised by my enjoyment of the first six chapters. I know this is odd, but I specifically remember my entire friend group (myself included) discussing how slow the first six chapters of the book were in middle school. While I was listening, I appreciated how well Suzanne Collins wove in history with action. She did a great job of keeping the pace of the book moving while explaining the intricate history of Panem.

Peeta and Katniss’ connection in the books is more obvious than the films. Gale truly never stood a chance to book Peeta. He has sass, can bake, and helps Katniss see the best parts of herself. Gale meets Katniss where she’s at, but he was just someone who helped her through a tough part of her life. He was never meant to help her grow as a person. The intimate moments between Peeta and Katniss made me cry. I even knew what a majority of those moments were going to be from watching the films, but I still cried!

I finished the audiobook in less than two shifts at work. I even started the first few chapters of CATCHING FIRE, but I finished reading it physically. I read CATCHING FIRE in an afternoon, and I loved how Peeta is rebellious in his thinking. He is more subtle than Gale, though, which I appreciated. He knows how to work the crowd into seeing it as compassion instead of a direct rebellion against the Capitol.

When Peeta brings up a baby, I was confused at first as to how anyone could think Katniss got pregnant. Then I remembered from the train on their Victory Tour and the time before the Games in the Capitol where they slept in the same bed. Naturally, everyone else thought they were having sex, but they weren’t. Peeta is quite something in CATCHING FIRE.

On another Peeta note, I love how Suzanne Collins develops his character more by showcasing him as more than just a baker. I got more glimpses into Peeta’s life pre-Games in CATCHING FIRE. Everything made me fall in love with him more. Katniss also fell in love with him more. The beach scene in the book confirmed my movie suspicions where Katniss truly knows she is in love with Peeta at this point. She doesn’t outright say it, but she describes it as more of a warm feeling when she forgets about the Games. This is where I get the idea she’s trying to protect Peeta from herself since she won’t acknowledge her love for Peeta. But I also have to remember she’s only 16/17 in these books.

When I finished CATCHING FIRE, I forgot Katniss actually saw Gale and was in District 13. The film ended earlier than the book did for dramatic effect. When I started MOCKINGJAY, I knew I had to finish it that day since BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES came out the next day. While I flew through the book, I still cried numerous times. I took a TikTok break or two to control my emotions. In the book, I got so frustrated with how clingy Gale was to Katniss. The scene where they makeout in District 2 got my blood boiling. He KNEW at this point how in love Katniss was with Peeta. Gale literally says he will never be with Katniss while Peeta is around because she loves Peeta. Gale just needed to let her go, especially when he got jealous of Finnick simply talking to Katniss. Like, Gale just… he just needs to stop.

MOCKINGJAY really brushed over a lot of the deaths, too. I nearly missed Finnick’s death (I KNOW!) since I was reading so quickly. Prim’s death is seen more through Katniss’ grief than in action. Suzanne Collins brilliantly showed Katniss’ grief in the following months. I loved how well everything flowed together and emphasized Haymitch’s importance in Katniss’ life. He understood her on a new level after Prim’s death. I appreciated their relationship developing after the Games.

Peeta returning to District 12 made a bigger impact on me than in the films. Obviously, I cried during the movie. But in the books, Peeta is literally planting bushes in memory of Prim when Katniss catches him outside. I love Katniss’ reaction of finally taking a shower, getting dressed, and eating once Peeta returns. He really brings her to life again. But she also anchors him at the end of MOCKINGJAY. Together they are literally unstoppable.

I would also like to take a moment to appreciate how Suzanne Collins foreshadows the end of MOCKINGJAY in CATCHING FIRE. This queen has Katniss talking about seeing Peeta with his future children playing in the meadow in a world free of the Capitol and its Games. Like… let’s just take a moment. There were multiple other moments of foreshadowing throughout the books. I could never have truly appreciated these books without re-reading them at least once. I can see myself reading these books numerous times in the future. I can only imagine what more I can notice with every reading.

If you made it this far, please comment below your thoughts! I feel like I ran a marathon writing all my reactions and thoughts to the movies and books in one post. I am currently reading BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES, but I will be sure to write a (probably spoiler-filled) review within the next week.

xo,

Charley

may 2020 bullet journal flip-through

Welcome!

I finally got around to creating my May bullet journal after barely using my April spreads. Maybe someday I’ll show the world my April bujo, but for right now I wanted to share spreads I’m super excited for showing!

After two months of quarantine, I decided I needed to mix things up a bit. In April, many of my spreads went unused since they didn’t fit my quarantine lifestyle. I really wanted to embrace the life changes in this month. In order to do this, I adapted a lot of my spreads into my weekly spread. I have been taking things day-by-day and week-by-week instead of an entire month at a time.

Let’s jump right into it:

May 2020 bullet journal cover
artist cred: @sarafaber_

I found this picture on Pinterest, and I cut out the girl for my May cover page. I pinned this picture a while ago to use in my bullet journal, but I just never got around to it. When I was feeling creatively drained at the beginning of this month, I pulled it out to give me a jumpstart. Something about how peaceful she looks really made me want to be her.

artist cred: @sarafaber_

I actually ended up following Sara Faber on Instagram after I discovered who the artist was! I love the style.

artist cred: @sarafaber_
Deuteronomy 30:19 verse page
Deuteronomy 30:19

In April, I started working through Sadie Robertson’s LIVE book, and she used this verse for a reference. I absolutely fell in love with it. I love the idea that I have a choice each day when I wake up. I have it posted above my desk right now. I wanted to remind myself that even in these safer-at-home orders and relentless negative media, I have a choice for my response to my circumstances. (Let me know if you want a full post on these thoughts!)

Monthly calendar may bujo 2020

If you follow me on Twitter, then you probably immediately looked for the ‘y’ stamping effect in May.

I legitimately bought an alphabet stamp set without a ‘y’ and chose the month of MaY to use them. I tried my best to not make it super obvious, but it’s hard. A stamp is a stamp, you know? I still really love how the calendar came out. It was my first time this year making it a two-page horizontal spread. I wasn’t convinced I would have enough room for my ‘Important’ column, but this turned out better than expected!

What I devoured bujo spread
artist cred: @sarafaber_

Here is where I combined a few different spreads, and I used up more of Sara Faber’s drawing. I combined my ‘What I Devoured’ spread with my goals tracker. I felt like I have been watching more shows and movies than reading lately, so I needed a space to plan my TBR and watchlist. April really had me floating in a limbo space. By making an intentional TBR, I hope it helps me become more motivated to read again. On the right, I have what I actually read, watched, and accomplished. I needed to have a space to track what I actually did during the month since I ended April feeling very unaccomplished.

I started my first weekly spread out for next week. I work the rest of this week, so I didn’t feel like I would have enough time to complete a to-do list. I’m excited to start planning out my weekly to-do list, though. I created three boxes under each day to prioritize three things from my weekly list to complete each day. I’m hoping this helps my productivity because I won’t be as overwhelmed by the impending list.

bullet journal weekly spread finance and habit trackers

With the right side, I put a weekly finance tracker instead of having a monthly tracker. My finances are pretty fixed since my work is currently only allowing a certain amount of hours each week. I also haven’t been spending as much due to quarantine. I also added in a weekly habit tracker. I usually fail at using habit trackers, but I thought this would be helpful for me to hit daily goals.

weekly spread trackers

And that’s my bullet journal for May! I hope you enjoyed it. This month is definitely a different look for me, especially with my color scheme. I really wanted to incorporate Sara Faber’s artwork style, and pink naturally came to me. I dialed it down a lot with the neutrals, but I’m feeling it for May. ✌

What has been the biggest change for you in quarantine? Do you like the combined weekly spread look? Let me know in the comments!

As always, you can follow me on Pinterest for more bujo content. You can usually tell when I’m about to start new spreads or what my theme will be from this board.

xo,

Charley

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My Quarantine TV Show Watchlist

Welcome!

During this quarantine, I have found myself watching more TV shows on Netflix this past month and a half. I wanted to share a few of the shows I have found comfort in watching!

girl meets world

Girl Meets World (TV Series 2014–2017) - IMDb
Google Images

I started watching this show after using the first episode as part of a lesson plan for school. When I was younger, I grew up watching Boy Meets World, so I had been meaning to watch Girl Meets World since it came out. This was exactly the show I needed during a stressful time. I loved everything about the characters: their development, support with each other, and personalities. Seriously, I used the first episode to show how secondary characters necessarily support the main character. THAT’S how good they are. I will say the love triangle gets a bit ridiculous towards the end, but the show gets better.

new girl

New Girl (TV Series 2011) - Trailer - YouTube
Google Images

If you follow me on Twitter, then you definitely know just how quickly I fell in love with this show. I legitimately watched half a season a day for the past few weeks. I couldn’t get enough of the brilliant way the writers developed the romantic relationships over several seasons. Nick and Jess were my favorite couple, and the show wrecked me when they broke up. But I also cried several times with all the proposals and romantic gestures. Don’t get me wrong: the show is not a rom-com. It’s definitely a comedy-centered show.

this is us

Watch This Is Us Episodes at NBC.com
Google Images

This Is Us was the first show I caught up on while in quarantine. I was a season and a half behind from the last time I watched it. I started watching the show when it first premiered since I loved the premise and Mandy Moore with Milo Ventimiglia. Catching up wrecked me emotionally since the show makes me cry once an episode. I couldn’t believe just how powerful the latest season was for character development in the show. I definitely recommend this for anyone who is a writer simply due to the grace it approaches the complex plot lines.

normal people

Normal People (TV Series 2020– ) - IMDb
Google Images

This show is actually on Hulu, but I definitely recommend if you are looking for a moving and aesthetically-pleasing show. I am a third of the way through the show, and I am in love. The show brilliantly displays the difficulty of relationships and societal pressures. I literally fell in love with Marianne and Connell within two episodes. I may have cried, too.

never have I ever

Never Have I Ever Netflix
Google Images

I have only watched the first few episodes of this show, but I absolutely am in love with the characters. The way the show is approaching grief so far is raw. I can’t wait to dive into the show more over the next week.

Which shows have you watched during quarantine? Any shows you recommend rewatching? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley

Self-Quarantine Diaries No. 02

Welcome!

A few weeks ago, I shared a few reflections on my first week in quarantine due to COVID-19. I had been furloughed by work, started my first experiences with online classes, and started a puzzle. Well, a month later, a lot has changed.

To begin, I went back to work in a very limited sense. My work is only fulfilling curbside orders or ship-to-home orders for books. The biggest focus is having us rearrange the entire store and deep clean everything. I returned to work on Tuesday, and I legitimately could barely walk by the end of my shift. I had moved bookshelves, loads of books, and laughed with my coworkers again. I know I am incredibly blessed to be back at work.

Which leads me to my next change: I am giving back to my community. With the stimulus check and returning to work, I have some extra money to provide to my community. I have shopped a few small businesses, ordered contactless delivery food, and donated to food banks. My donations are nothing huge, but I know the difference a small act can make. I encourage you, if you can, to look around your home and see if you can help in any way you can. Perhaps it’s staying within your home.

Before quarantine, I bought two puzzles with the idea that I would have an abundance of time. I didn’t even finish one puzzle. My brain could not focus on the puzzle for extended periods of time, and I grew frustrated. I quickly fell into binge watching shows. Within a month, I watched a season and a half of This Is Us, all of Girl Meets World, and five seasons of New Girl. I can confidently say I will have New Girl finished by the middle of next week at the latest.

I have not been able to focus on reading in any capacity. As I scroll through Twitter and Instagram, I know many other readers are feeling the same way. Reading is usually an escape for me, but, after a full day of terrifying news and online classes, I simply cannot focus enough to start a new book. I did manage to finish Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden.

It was a light enough book for me that I could easily sit down and read it in bigger chunks. I loved the focus of the humanitarian work, but I did get irritated by the main character not believing in the importance of baking. Let me know if you would like to see a full review here on the blog about this book.

As far as school goes, I officially was late to one of my Zoom classes since my professor changed the time, and I forgot about it. I have definitely gotten less motivated throughout the month to actually do my work in a consistent manner. A few of my professors have even stopped posting consistently which does not help my procrastination. I can feel the drain of online classes every day from my classmates, professors, and myself. I have three weeks left, so I can only hope to find motivation somewhere.

Realistically, I am feeling the drain of quarantine on my spirits. I try my best to check in with my friends and family with video chats or texts. As well all know at this point, it’s not the same. I know I have to do my part, though, to stay home as much as possible for those around me. I am doing all that I can to practice my part in this whole system.

How have you been doing during COVID-19? What does quarantine look like from where you are? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley

Matching Outfits to YA Book Covers

Welcome!

I recently saw this trend on TikTok and Instagram where people matched their outfits to book covers. Personally, I didn’t think I had any outfits that would match the books I own. After a quick video chat session with my friend, I found some pretty awesome combinations!

shiver by maggie stiefvater

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater matching book cover outfit

The Selection Series by Kiera Cass

The Selection trilogy by Kiera Cass matching outfit

Lovely War by Julie Berry

Lovely War matching book cover outfit

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge matching book cover outfit

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter: Chamber of Secrets matching book cover outfit

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer matching book cover outfit

I had a lot of fun putting together these outfits! I did make this a TikTok (follow me @themisscharley) and added in an extra outfit. Make sure to check out the TikTok to see the full outfits and a bonus one!

xo,

Charley

Guest Post: Bullet Journal Spreads You Can’t Live Without

Hey everyone!!

I’m super excited to be collabing with Charley on this bullet journal blog post: we’ve wanted to do this for so long and am just now getting around to it (#thankscorona). As the title may suggest, we are both doing each of our bullet journal spreads that we can’t live without. I’ll share mine here on Charley’s blog, and she’ll share hers on mine, so be sure to come check it out here!

I’ve been bullet journaling for four years now, and have used lots of spreads with differing uses and styles. Some I’ve found are more helpful than others, and so today I’m here to share the bullet journal spreads I can’t live without! Grab yourself a whipped coffee, because I’ve been OBSESSED with them recently (and you can see mine featured in all these photos 😂)

Yearly Goals

To start off, we have my yearly goals list. Every year, I set some goals for the upcoming year, and the best way to keep track of them, I’ve found, is to write them in my bullet journal so that I don’t forget! Every month, when I set up my new monthly spreads, I refer back to these spreads to see how I can be making progress towards them that month.

Grid Spacing Chart

I got the idea for this spread from AmandaRachLee, and ever since then, this spread has been a LIFESAVER. Basically, this spread makes it super easy to figure out how many spaces horizontally and vertically you have. If you don’t already have one, I highly recommend putting one in your bullet journal!

Photo a Day Tracker

I started using this tracker last year, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to do it again this year! I try to take a photo every day of the year, and it gives me such a cool look back on what I did every day of the year! This spread doesn’t actually reflect the photos taken, but having this tracker in place makes it that much easier to keep track!

Books to Read

I always have a huge list of books I want to read, and this spread makes it a lot easier to keep track of the books I want to read! It’s super simple but super cute, and it makes my life so much easier!

Monthly Habit Charts

These habit charts are almost like daily routines: I have my morning routine, daily routine, and nightly routine all on this chart. Having everything written out makes it so much simpler for me to keep track, and keeps me from forgetting anything!

Weekly To-Do Lists

And of course, the weekly to-do lists, my second brain, which save my life several times this week! I’ve tried out all sorts of weekly spreads, from super fancy and with a ton of functions, to really simple and literally being just a list of things to do. Here are two of my favorite weekly spreads that I’ve done.

Those are all the spreads that are invaluable to me in my day-to-day life. Thanks Charley for letting me post on your blog! And make sure to come over to my blog to see what Charley’s favorite bullet journal spreads are!

Let’s talk. Which spread from this list is your favorite? What do you use your bullet journal for? Have you tried whipped coffee yet?? Leave a comment and let me know!

Hanne is a college student studying biology during the day, and a lifestyle and book blogger at night. She is passionate about getting the word about people’s books out into the world, as well as making time to do the things that you love. To this end, she also bookstagrams, bullet journals, and drinks too much coffee. You can find her everywhere @HanneasinHannah (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest) and her blog at losingthebusyness.wordpress.com

Self-Quarantine Week One Reflections

Welcome!

I started writing three different posts this week, but none of them felt quite right. I struggled with knowing whether or not to write about the Coronavirus quarantine. One part of me wants to create “timeless” blog posts that don’t mention the quarantine at all. The other part of me wants to be relatable and express where I am in life right now.

So here goes a reflection on what has happened since I went into self-quarantine:

I got furloughed

If you’re like me at all, then you may have never heard the term “furloughed” before COVID-19. I know I certainly had no idea this term existed which was scary when I heard it the first time from my store manager. Furlough is when you are still an employee of a company but you don’t go to work for an extended period of time. It’s not a vacation, but you can get paid depending on company policy. I am so lucky to get my PTO and two weeks’ worth of pay.

The last time I didn’t have an hourly job was my freshman year of high school. Even in middle and high school, I volunteered after school or babysat. My spring break week was strange to have no schoolwork or work to do. I will touch on what I did later, but I had to create a routine for myself to feel some semblance of normal.

Luckily, my state governor announced being able to file for unemployment even if you are just furloughed, so I will hopefully be able to start seeing an income in that way. Unemployment has a negative connotation in society, but these circumstances will hopefully change the shameful words used.

classes went online… to Zoom

Many of my classes this semester are teaching methods courses which requires going into schools, group work, etc. With schools shut down for the rest of the semester, half my professors are requiring Zoom calls. I had never heard of Zoom until two weeks ago. As I’ve gotten used to it, I do think it’s a pretty neat program for classes with breakout sessions, whiteboards, etc.

I struggled to get into a zone with online schooling since I have always attended school in-person. I rarely used my desk for homework, let alone lectures. My chair definitely isn’t as comfortable as I thought it was. I have construction going on outside that literally shakes my entire house while I’m trying to concentrate.

Overall, this week went pretty well with classes. My schedule is blocked out for my morning classes, lunch, and then three hours of strict homework time. I surprised myself with how productive I have been recently. Thursday was a struggle, though, since I didn’t sleep well. I tried and tried to focus in my homework block, but I was simply too tired. Thursday turned into a nap and mental health day for me. I pushed myself during the rest of the week, and I thought I was alright with the quarantine. I discovered I need to structure my night for more relaxation than normal.

I re-downloaded TikTok

If you missed my Lent post, then you may not know I gave up social media for Lent. No Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok. This week I downloaded TikTok, though, out of pure boredom. I watched just about every YouTuber I subscribe to on YouTube try to learn new TikTok dances in their videos. I decided to download the app and allow myself an outlet to be creative or just goofy. I have a timer set, so I don’t sit on it for hours. I haven’t downloaded the other apps onto my phone unless absolutely necessary (i.e. I’m a small group leader for middle school and the weekly large-group teachings are on there.). By the time this post goes up, I will only have about a week left of Lent.

I started a puzzle, read four books, and watched too many TV shows

Before I went into self-quarantine, I picked up two puzzles from work for spring break. I decided to start with the really difficult bookshop puzzle, but I have lost some steam with it. I didn’t realize how large the measurements are for the entire puzzle, so I started putting the puzzle together on my floor. With my bad back, I can’t sit on the floor for extended periods of time like I would enjoy. Perhaps on the weekends, I will put more of the puzzle together.

When I visited my sister for spring break (pre-“safer at home” orders), I read three books while in self-quarantine. I shared those reviews on Goodreads (and one here). I just finished reading A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews aka Cait from PaperFury (recommended as part of my ’12 Book Recs from 12 Friends’). I devoured that book in a matter of days. I cried at the beginning, the middle, and the end. I really wanted some vegan cake. I can’t believe it took me so long to read that book. 10/10 recommend!

For the past two years, I have fallen behind in watching so many shows. Well, last Saturday I watched half a season of This Is Us. The combination of a comfy bed, rainy outdoors, and a cry-worthy show made the entire day escape me. I also started watching New Girl for the first time. I am weirdly invested in that show now.

Let me know what you’re doing in quarantine! Any recommendations for what I should do next? Also, let me know if you want more posts about how I created my weekly schedule, reviews, etc.

Stay safe and healthy! Be mindful of those around you.

xo,

Charley

Most Likely by Sarah Watson ARC (Spoilers) Review

Welcome!

With my spring break, I took time to visit my sister and spent time just chilling. Like, actually relaxing. And, man, I am glad I had ‘Most Likely’ in my bag to devour in less than 24 hours! I could not set this book down for so many reasons. Let’s jump into it:


Most Likely by Sarah Watson cover and synopsis

title: Most Likely

author: Sarah Watson

category/genre: YA/NA contemporary

book depository* // barnes and noble // amazon

Add Most Likely to Goodreads!

The book opens right before a future presidential inauguration in which one of the ladies is about to become the President. The only ‘hint’ readers get before jumping into present-times is that the future President is somehow connected to Logan Diffenderfer. I literally spent the entire book trying to figure out the mystery based on this one clue. And let me tell you… Logan Diffenderfer is literally connected to every single character in this group. I nearly threw my book across the room multiple times with frustration from how well done Sarah kept the ending unsolvable.

Which brings me to the plot twists... my mind was literally blown from how well done Sarah Watson delivered the dynamic shifts. The plot twists didn’t so much as change the plot as they changed how I viewed certain characters’ decisions and lives. For me, I loved how Ava went on a journey to find her biological mother. On that trip to Stanford, she broke down any perceived stereotypes about people who choose adoption for their children. When Ava went to a “junky hospital”, she didn’t find a Mexican woman with a drug addiction. Instead her biological mother was the doctor who provided care for her community. I loved how Ava not only discovered her biological mother but also her calling to go to Stanford instead of an art school. Ava’s storyline is probably the most interesting for me personally.

CJ’s storyline made me smile with warmth. Her struggles with coming to terms about the SAT (or any standardized test to be honest) hit me hard. Personally, I never struggled with standardized tests score-wise, but, when people began comparing scores and placing the pressure of a specific score, I crumbled with comparison. Seeing CJ struggle with removing her worth from the score is a struggle students feel when they grew up taking standardized tests every year or two in K-12 education. What really made me smile, though, was how CJ navigated her relationship with Wyatt. I loved seeing how their friendship shifted into a romance and the conversations they had about being a person with disabilities. Also, CJ’s personal essay for Stanford literally made me start crying. I could talk about her storyline forever.

Jordan’s story made me feel like I could take over the world. I will say I was surprised to find out she wasn’t the future President. Sarah Watson set up the book to make Jordan the most probable candidate for becoming President. When she worked the entire book to keep the playground, give hard-hitting interviews, and focus on everything the future had to offer to her. Jordan’s romance always felt a little off to me, but I kind of love how Jordan took back control of how the romance was told. While she did launch her birthday night off with some crying, Ava, CJ, and Martha made sure there were laughs there, too.

Martha developed extremely well over the book’s entirety. I love how complex of issues her character alone tackled: sexuality, financial pressures, etc. You name it, and Martha probably conquered it. I love how seamlessly Sarah Watson drew Martha into a well-rounded character and showed how issues are interwoven. The glimpses into Martha’s parents’ lives and looking at a community’s history with income allowed me to truly see how every decision a community makes impacts lives in different ways. Martha’s perspective brought such a fresh twist to the cast of characters who all came from relatively well-off economic backgrounds. Martha drives past this, though, and goes on to conquer her future.

I categorized this book as young adult/new adult since every young person needs to read this powerful and motivating story of young women. As a twenty-something college student, I found such inspiration in reading about women finding their purposes and discovering themselves. In a digital age, people compare themselves to others and focus on what they don’t have. This book made me look at the women around me and just how much they support me in my journey like the Ava, CJ, Jordan, and Martha did in the book.

As to which character actually became the President of the United States, well, I think it would be more fun to try to connect the dots on your own. 😉

‘Most Likely’ by Sarah Watson is ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ for Gen Z with a cast of diverse characters perfect for leading the United States of America. Go ahead… pick it up now. Or… order it online.

Do you have a favorite cast of characters? Any sisterhood books you recommend? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

xo,

Charley

Ten Fantasy Books for Contemporary Lovers

Welcome!

For anyone that knows me, contemporary is my favorite genre to read. Something about finding the magic within my own world makes me warm inside. Reading to me is all about exploring. When I read outside of my genre, however, stories pleasantly surprise me. My favorite genre to dive into is fantasy! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a genre freebie, so I thought I would share a few of my favorite fantasy books as a contemporary lover!

serpent and dove by shelby mahurin

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin cover

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

this savage song by victoria schwab

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab cover

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwaba young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

falling kingdoms by morgan rhodes

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes cover

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It’s the eve of war…. Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword….

daughter of smoke and bone by laini taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor cover

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

house of salt and sorrows by erin a. craig

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A Craig cover

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

the cruel prince by holly black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black cover

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

four dead queens by astrid scholte

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte cover

Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but in fact, she’s one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. Varin runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.

An enthralling fast-paced murder mystery where competing agendas collide with deadly consequences, Four Dead Queens heralds the arrival of an exciting new YA talent.

clockwork angel by cassandra clare

clockwork angel by cassandra clare cover

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…

enchantee by gita trelease

Enchantee by Gita Trelease cover

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians…

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.

But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns… 

the hazel wood by melissa albert

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert cover

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away-by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

Which genre makes you step outside your comfort zone? Do you have a favorite fantasy book to recommend? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley

What’s On My Spring 2020 Reading List

Welcome!

With all the craziness of school getting cancelled and daily work changes due to COVID-19, I didn’t particularly have the energy to write a post. But then, I reminded myself how much of an escape reading and books can be for me when I’m stressing. I know Tuesday is technically already past us, but I wanted to jump aboard Top Ten Tuesday’s topic for this week: Spring 2020 TBR.

throw like a girl by sarah henning

Throw Like a Girl Cover by sarah Henning

Throw Like a Girl was recommended by @booklovinjean as part of my ‘Twelve Book Recs from Twelve Friends’ challenge for this year. Technically, it’s a book for May, but I might just get around to it before then.

the betrothed by kiera cass

The Betrothed Kiera Cass cover

Y’all, I am so excited to get my hands on this book. I pre-ordered through Barnes and Noble, and I can’t wait until May begins to dive into a new royal world from Kiera Cass. This world is sure to be full of glamor and politics and everything I loved from The Selection series… AND MORE.

they went left by monica hesse

They Went Left Monica Hesse cover

They Went Left is the May Barnes and Noble YA Book Club pick, and I cannot wait to dive in to a historical fiction again. I haven’t read anything by Monica Hesse yet. Her book ‘Girl In the Blue Coat’ has been on my list for a while now. I am intrigued to see a WWII era book from after the war ends and the effects the Holocaust had on the Jews.

most likely by sarah watson

Most Likely cover by Sarah Watson

I am such a huge fan of ‘The Bold Type’, so when I heard Sarah Watson wrote a book along the same feminine-power ideas, I knew I had to pick it up. As Barnes and Noble’s April YA book club pick, I am even more excited to talk with other people about what happens in this book!

live by sadie robertson

LIve cover by Sadie Robertson

I grew up watching Sadie Robertson on Duck Dynasty, but I recently rediscovered her with her podcast. I picked up this book to buddy-read with one of my friends, and I can’t wait to read it with her. Sadie’s podcast is always full of so much wisdom and purpose which I’m sure will carry over into this book. I flipped through it quickly before buying it, and I love the mixture of pictures, short chapters, and color!

clean getaway by nic stone

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‘Clean Getaway’ by Nic Stone is another ‘Twelve Book Recs from Twelve Friends’ choice for April which @gryffindorbooksofficial recommended. I read ‘Dear Martin’ by Nic Stone earlier last year for a class, and I enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see how her writing style differs with a middle-grade book compared to a young-adult book.

a thousand perfect notes by c.g. drews

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Technically, ‘A Thousand Perfect Notes’ was recommended by @hanneasinhannah for my January read. The book came super late, though, so I was not able to get my hands on the book until early February. Hopefully, I will find time to read it before the end of the semester for sure.

Which books are you hoping to read this season? Do you have any ways you destress? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley