Saturday, December 31, 2016

A List of Cages by Robin Roe

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope that you all have a wonderful 2017!

25613472A List of Cages by Robin Roe

2 stars

A List of Cages follows two young men at very different stages of adolescences who share a past. Julian is a shy fourteen-year-old freshman. His parents’ tragic passing has left him stunted socially, emotionally, and physically; being under the care of Russell doesn’t help. Adam is a senior in high school and he has a group friends that mean the world to him. His ADHD makes him the lovable guy around campus and when he runs into Julian, his old foster brother, he makes it his mission to get Julian to break out of his shell.


I probably would have never read this novel if I wasn’t invited by Disney through Netgalley to review this title. It’s not my type of story. I’m not a big contemporary reader. The only time I read novels that have fantasy is if it’s historical or psychological because that’s just my preference. Even when I enjoyed contemporary as my main literary diet, I probably would’ve never picked this novel up. It’s not a striking novel. It has a gorgeous cover, but the synopsis doesn’t really draw me in or make me instantly interested in stepping out of my comfort zone.


I wish I could say that leaping out of my usual reads was amazing and groundbreaking, but this book left me feeling inconclusive about the overall story. It’s a quick read, but it’s not a read that will stick with me or haunt me. I like my contemporary to strike my heartstrings and make me feel like the lessons and tribulations the characters have experienced have helped me to become a better person. I don’t really think I took away from this novel. All I can say is… meh.


The writing wasn’t horrible, but it felt elementary. The sentences were choppy and short. There was also a lot of repetition. I can definitely see younger middle school students enjoying this novel because of its readability. My biggest issue is that it felt like a Perks of Being a Wallflower rip-off. Shy, awkward kid (who probably has a mental or social handicap) is welcomed into a large group of seniors who have fun parties. It felt way too much like watching Charlie interact with Sam and Patrick; just characters had different names and genders. Although there is a character named Charlie in this novel who plays a HUGE role throughout the novel.


Whimsical Writing Scale: 2

The main characters are Adam and Julian. I honestly didn’t care for the majority of Adam’s POV throughout most of the novel. It felt inconsequential and irrelevant. I think his POV was only necessary towards the end in the second part. His whole passages with his friends and their interactions were just boring and pointless. Julian is a really sad character, but everything just felt a little too sad for him. I just couldn’t connect to him. I felt sorry for him, but I also didn’t care until he was going through the absolute worst forms of torture. After that I just felt frustrated with him and I couldn’t wait for the whole story to be over. He’s too naïve and it was probably supposed to make me want to hug him, but I wanted to sit him down for a long talk on being sensible.


Adam’s friends were an interesting aspect to the story. I can’t say I really cared all that much for them. Charlie’s interaction with Julian were integral to the story and I enjoyed seeing the progression of the relationship. Besides that, I couldn’t connect to any of these characters and I just could care less overall.


Character Scale: 2

The Villain- I love villains, especially in everyday stories because in reality there aren’t any visible villains unless you find yourself in something akin to an Investigative Discovery special. The villain, Russell, Julian’s adoptive guardian didn’t feel understandable. I didn’t get why he was inflicting the horrible level of psychological torture that he was. That half-assed explanation in the heat of the “final showdown” felt disjointed and like a failed attempt to explain why he did what he did. Then, again, do we ever really know why serial killers kill? I guess I can see why his actions don’t make sense, but from my standpoint I’m dissatisfied.


Villain Scale: 2

Overall, I’m not sure who I would recommend this novel to. It’s one of those stories that I would recommend if you are interested based off the synopsis or if someone recommends it to you personally, but besides that I don’t feel like it’s a novel to seek out in a bookstore.


Plotastic Scale: 1.75

Cover Thoughts: I do love this cover. The illustrations are beautiful.


Thank you, Netgalley and Disney-Hyperion for allowing me to read this novel in exchange for an honest review.

This is the last novel I've read in 2016. It wasn't amazing, but I'm reading a bunch of amazing novels that I can't wait to finish in 2017. What book finished off your 2016? Did you love it, like it, or hate it? Let me know down below in the comments!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Books I've Read in 2016 Part #1

 

I forgot to write a post for this after uploading my video to YouTube. Forgive me! I'm going through the majority of what I read in 2016! 
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Drums of Autumn- 5 stars This series continues to be one of my favorites and I haven't picked a novel in the series up since finishing this one. I'm aching to return home to my favorite characters.
King Lear- 4.5 stars Easiest Shakespeare play to read! High school memories. (My thoughts are more eloquently expressed aloud in the video!)
Transcendence- 5 stars I knew that I would love this novel because it's what I call "the four leaf clover of romances". It's an unexpected plot with a beautiful and captivating tale. It transcends the ages!

Have you read any of these novels? If so, what were your thoughts on them? Let me know down below in the comments!


Great Tales of Horror by H.P. Lovecraft Part 1

 

I will eventually review this anthology of short stories and novellas, but for now here is my video review and collective thoughts on some of the stories!

What are your thoughts on these tales? Are you a fan of Lovecraft? Let me know down below in the comments!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Breaking Nova by Jessica Sorensen

Merry Christmas! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. :D

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Breaking Nova by Jessica Sorensen

First in the Nova series

1.25 stars DNF

SPOILERS as to why I read 33% and then skipped to the end

Breaking Nova follows the story of Quinton and Nova. Nova and Quinton have been suffered through tragic deaths that have left the broken, reeling, and guilt-ridden. Their first love’s death was the source of their pain and turmoil. Nova deals with wallowing in depression and filming herself in hopes of capturing some essence of life. Quinton deals with shooting and smoking up whatever he can find to numb the pain and memories of the past. I reached the 33% mark when I realized I had enough. After hitting that realization, I skipped to the last chapter and epilogue. Reading the last chapter and epilogue made me happy that I didn’t waste my time on this crap. I felt pretty meh and uninterested in this book, until I realized how much a shitty person Nova’s friend, Delilah is. After that every little thing began to really piss me off and don’t even get me started on how Quinton doesn’t own up to anything in his past and only wallows in pot, beer, and eventually meth. HE BECOMES A DRUG DEALER and I’m supposed to root for Nova and Quinton as a couple? Nope, bye. I have no time for that.


The writing wasn’t horrible. In fact, there were a few quotes I highlighted because I liked, but most of the writing is just wallowing in self-pity. I’ve been depressed and I’ve lost someone who I loved greatly. I was filled with anger and resentment. Then overwhelming sadness and the worst empty hollow feeling. Nova had a good bit of that, but Quinton was too high to be anything but whiny to me.


Whimsical Writing Scale: 2

The characters aren’t horrible, but they aren’t good people. They all suck. The only good person is Nova and she’s supposed to be “too good for this world” to showcase how different she is in comparison to all these wasteoids who just smoke and snort. Delilah is also the worst person in this novel. I don’t care what her past is and what she’s gone through she’s a bitch. Examples:

“Nova, what the hell.” Delilah waves her hand in front of my face and I flinch, breaking the steady pattern of numbers in my head. “You’re totally spacing on me.”

In this scene, Nova is having a panic attack and Delilah is completely offended that someone has emotions and may just need a friend to help calm and diffuse the situation. As someone who has had panic attacks and helped friends through panic attacks this shit pisses me off.

“Look, when I first met you, you were seriously so sad, and I was kind of terrified of you. But then I got to know you, and you know what? My opinion changed.”

Delilah also talks like a stuck-up idiot. Her vocal patterns and diction annoy the shit out of me. “Literally” ten seconds ago, she was complaining about how sad Nova is all the time and now she’s buddy-buddy.

“But it was hard, you know, being your friend…”

FUCK YOU, DELILAH. I hate “friends” that make everything about themselves. Instead of trying to be a better friend and talk to Nova about what she’s dealing with, Delilah makes rude comments about her “bestie” and then diverts the conversation back to herself and the struggle it was to be Nova’s friend. SHUT UP.

While I don’t like Delilah, what pushed me over the edge is when she allowed her boyfriend, Dylan, to verbally abuse her. He grabs her aggressively and forces her legs around him and then makes her go to the bedroom. Delilah looks at Nova pleadingly, but kisses Dylan before they disappear. WHAT THE HELL. Nova doesn’t even say anything to stop it. Delilah doesn't want to be in this situation, but she feels like this is all she has and Nova doesn't help her friend.

In the end, Delilah, Dylan, Quinton, and Triston all become meth heads and drug dealers. Nova comes out on top in college and has to make it her mission to save Quinton.



Character Scale: 1

Nova isn’t a bad character. She is tolerable and a decent heroine for a novel of this content. My problem is that everyone paints her to be “too good”, “above all the bad”, and they all seem to be under the impression that she shits roses. I have no patience for that kind of characterization.


Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 2

Quinton started out good and then his drug addiction became too much a blasé mention. It was his crutch. I know what drugs can do to people, I’ve seen it happen, but I don’t want to read about from someone who digs their own hole. I’ve read enough Ellen Hopkins to have my fill of those type of characters.


Swoon Worthy Scale: 1

I’m not wasting my time on this or any of the books in this series. I’m hoping that Sorensen isn’t a one-time good writer for me. I enjoyed The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden, barely tolerated The Secret of Ella and Micha, but I’m FUMING over Breaking Nova. Three strikes and this author will be out of my game.


Plotastic Scale: 1

Cover Thoughts: Shitty cliché romance cover.


Thank you, Netgalley and Forever Publishing for allowing me to review this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read Breaking Nova? What were your thoughts on it? Do you enjoy Jessica Sorensen's novels? If so, let me know down in the comments! 

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Trouble with Dukes by Grace Burrowes

29775870The Trouble with Dukes by Grace Burrowes

4.25 stars

First in the Windham Brides series & Spin-off to the Windham series

“Wealth only looks like it gives a man power. In truth it makes him less free.”

The Duke of Murder is the talk of the town. He’s fierce, unruly, and a Scot. Everything that polite women in society turn their noses up at, but Megan Windham feels that there’s more to Hamish that unfitting title of the Duke of Murder. While Hamish battles with himself and his new feelings for an English woman, Megan battles the unwanted affections of a lecherous man after her inheritance and he will stop at nothing… even if it means destroying Megan’s reputation. I was approached by the publisher to review a physical copy of this novel, which is very rare for me. I couldn’t say no to this novel because it has a hero with the title of the Duke of Murder and he is a Scot! This book is practically made for me because I love Scotland and I gobble up Scottish historical romances like candy. I haven’t read the Windhams novels so I have no ties to the majority of the characters mentioned and showcased in the story, but that didn’t lessen my overall enjoyment. It made me want to read the about this wonderful cast of characters.


“Death is within anybody’s grasp. The greater challenge is to live, and to love despite our errors and failings.”

The writing in this historical romance is very well-written. Usually HRs are light and don’t contain much depth, but this one had a lot of great quotes and discussions about war and what it does to a man. I really enjoyed how serious this novel was while also being incredibly sweet and romantic. It was a perfect balance.


Whimsical Writing Scale: 4.25

“A ball is a test of endurance. Think of it as a forced march.”

The main female character is Megan. Megan is red-haired and bespectacled, which is not a common mix in the HRs that I’ve read. She’s also incredibly fierce, but she also is naïve to others and it costs her a great deal throughout the novel. She also speaks Gaelic, which is awesome and very beneficial in winning the heart of a very hardened Scottish duke. She’s just a fun heroine that definitely made the story fun and memorable.


Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 4

The main male character is Hamish. Damn, Hamish is the perfect package. He’s sweet, caring, awkward, handsome, funny, and Scottish. I adored his jokes, especially the nicknames that he gave the Windhams- Worsthaven, Cowlick, Rosebud, and he was the highlight of the story for me (which is usually the case for HR). A successful HR has a hero that charms me silly. I loved how Hamish is a damaged character because it made him real. I understood the choices he made because of the war that he fought in and how it affected him. Grace Burrowes also said that she mirrored Hamish with Jamie Fraser in mind. Enough said.
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Swoon Worthy Scale: 5
The Villain- What a douchebag. Sir Fletcher is the most annoying character in this novel and the most despicable. He was trying to sink my ship with his manipulative, conniving ways and that is not acceptable.

Villain Scale: 4

The characters in this novel are all sweet and lighthearted characters. There is a lot of Windhams and it is easy to get lost and forget which is which, but that’s the charm of having such a big family.


Character Scale: 4

I adored the relationship in this novel. It was so sweet and romantic. All of my notes consist of “Aw, so sweet!” about twenty times. This sappy romance stole my heart and made me squeal with happiness. Sometimes a sweet, romantic Scottish historical romance is all a woman needs. Definitely recommend this one for HR lovers or anyone looking for something fun and light!


Plotastic Scale: 4.5

Cover Thoughts: I personally like this cover. In comparison to others in the genre it’s a good one.


Thank you, Forever Publishing for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
 
This novel comes out  today, 12/20/2016! Are you planning to pick up a copy? Let me know down below in the comments some of you're favorite Scottish heroes in HR novels! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Great Book Cull

I'm currently on a mission... a mission that will take years to complete and will probably never be fully complete. As a reader we constantly obtain new books, so when it's time to get rid of some, it seems like for every one book I give away I acquire ten more. This isn't a bad thing, but it's hurting my Kindle storage. I've been trying to cull some of the Kindle titles that I have acquired. I am a firm believer of DNFing so I'm getting rid of books that are both physical and Kindle freebies that have made my way into my Kindle.

BOOK One: Purging My Physical Bookshelf

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Miracles Happen by Mary Kay Ash

DNF

Mary Kay is a very prolific woman. She's one of the most successful business women in the world and her rise to fame in a world dominated by men set her apart from a lot of women. Mary Kay is the type of woman who always reached for the stars and wanted to do more than what was possible. She's a real inspiration and many women have careers due to her brilliant platform and marketing plan. She's an amazing woman, but she is not a writer. She is a time hopper-which isn't a good thing to be as a memoir writer. One second she's chronicling her childhood and the next she's talking about the start of her business. It's not smart formatting and it really made me uninterested. I didn't finish reading MK's memoir mainly due the poor writing as well as my complete lack of interest. I just don't find myself interested in learning more about MK than what I can find from her Wikipedia page. Maybe memoirs just aren't for me, but I don't think that's true because I absolutely love Night by Elie Wiesel. I know many people are motivated by MK and her brilliant ideas, but these ideas are probably best watched in a documentary than in a memoir. I'll be donating this to a used bookstore in hopes of this impacting a woman who needs it.


Cover Thoughts: This book is very pink. Incredibly pink. As Mary Kay liked to say, "Think pink," and boy did she love pink.


BOOK Two: Another Werewolf Bites the Bullet
11947156

Prince of Wolves by Quinn Loftis

DNF
I'm not planning to continue with this novel or this series. I've seen mixed reviews and even done research on later books in the series to see what people thought and I decided to read the first couple of chapters to decide whether I would continue or not. This series is just not for me- the characters are childish. The mythology and writing was focused on providing infodumps randomly submerged with everyday thoughts (which is a horrible idea). One second someone is in a limo and the next I'm reading a WHOLE freaking encyclopedia explanation on wolves in this universe. I'm sure others will love this novel to pieces, but I don't think I'll be one of them.
Cover Thoughts: The cover is really pretty!



BOOK Three: Racist and Offensive to Christianity Another Shitty Vampire Novel

10331607Turned by Morgan Rice

NOT INTERESTED
Read to page 17/192 (10%)
"Looking out at the sea of new faces, she felt alone. Not because she was the only white girl—she actually preferred that. Some of her closest friends at other schools had been black, Spanish, Asian, Indian—and some of her meanest frenemies had been white."

WHAT THE FUCK? This came out in 2011 and I get that these kinds of things were probably said by a lot of these Mary Sue losers that trotted around on every available book masquerading around as a protagonist, but these type of comments are just so offensive. Every Mary Sue wants to surround themselves in diversity, but none of them actually show any signs of befriending someone with a diverse background. If she wasn't so worried about color, then why is the first chapter filled with a lot of subtle shaming toward low-income areas with minorities? Not only is this offensive and an obnoxious character trait, but she also is the type of girl who isn't "beautiful in comparison to other girls... but there was something about her that made people look twice... she knew she was different". I wish that was me making fun of a cliched over-used trope, but these lines are literally in the first chapter.

Maybe I'm just overthinking it, but these little comments aren't okay and have never been okay. When I was younger I probably would've overlooked these comments, but I'm not who I was when I was younger and this is not okay. At least not for me. I won't be reading this novel. But this is free on Amazon, so you decide if it's for you!


Side Note: I went and read the synopsis for every book in this series and a few reviews. It is literally the same regurgitated story about the Mary Sue and her lover boy going back in time to find her father. Guess who her father is: JESUS. Y'all, I can't stop laughing and I'm also offended because I'm a Christian, but this is just so funny. Her mom is Mary Magdalene and her father is Jesus... I CAN'T. Why did she think this was a good idea or a good plot? OMG someone get this woman a sense of writing, editing, and plotting.


 
Cover Thoughts: This cover is ugly as hell.

 
BOOK Four: I Finished This One, But I Won't Finish The Rest in the Box Set

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Beautiful Demons by Sarra Cannon

First in the Peachville High Demons series

1.25 stars

I literally just finished this book less than an hour ago and I can't remember the girl's name. Her name is Harper (thanks, GR) and she finds herself in Shadowford Home after multiple foster homes go awry. Harper finds herself in Peachville, a town where everyone is obsessed with the high school cheerleaders. This book is incredibly short. So short that I didn't even DNF it because I read it in less than an hour. It's not an incredibly good story.


The writing in this novel isn't horrible, which is surprising since this is a Kindle freebie. It's very simple and it reads like a HP fanfiction that isn't good, but you don't want to stop reading because somehow you found yourself invested in this drivel.


Whimsical Writing Scale: 2

Harper is forgettable. This whole novel is forgettable. I'm already forgetting and I just finished it because it's not worth remembering, so my brain is slowly kicking it out for better things. (This is why I'm writing the review right after finishing it.) I don't care about Harper. I think she's an idiot. She's too easily swayed and she's a cardboard that has no personality. I DON'T CARE why she is a Prima or what the Prima is because she is no ballerina (I'm just going to stop). Anyway... this character is so underdeveloped that I like Bella Swan more. That's saying something.


Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 1

Brooding love interest that she shoves her tongue into after knowing for only a brief time. Then she mysteriously forgets him and can only focus on the sexy hot quarterback who hated her prior to one of the cheerleaders dying. They both suck and who cares who she picks because they are irrelevant idiots.


Swoon Worthy Scale: Broody Boy- 1 Douche Canoe-1

The Villain- Wow. (view spoiler) This is just bad writing and character development.

Villain Scale: 1

Also there's a really offensive comment:
"This town is very... progressive. Black lady sheriff. Asian woman mayor. Lots of minority women in charge. All very beautiful."
I get that the author is trying to hint at these women who would probably be oppressed in a male dominated society have powers and gain high positions, but it pisses me off that only successful women can have magical powers. Please, women don't need magic to be bad ass and successful in life.


Character Scale: 1

I have a box set of the first three books, but I won't be continuing with this series. It's just not worth the cliches and undeveloped and forgettable characters. It's quick and easy to read, but that doesn't mean that it should be read by everybody. If you're interested in YA paranormal romance that answers no questions and forces you to pick up the sequels then this is for you.


Plotastic Scale: 1.5

Cover Thoughts: I mean it's okay, but it's as cliche as everything in this novel.
 
 
 BOOK Five: A Book I Got For Review That I Feel Bad About Loathing

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Bloodspell by Amalie Howard

First in the Cruentus Curse series

1 star
DNF @34%


Well, I tried... I really did. I received this book for review and I was excited because it's been on my TBR shelf for a long time, but this book stuck in the 2011 Twilight craze. It's only difference is that it wants witches to be the defining factor. I will admit that this type of witchcraft is interesting- blood being the source of the magic. That was probably the only interesting thing about this novel. It fell incredibly flat for me.


The Good Lurking Inside a Not-So Good Novel:
-The lore was very promising. I didn't get all the information behind it, but there were some very strong ideas.


Problems I had with Bloodspell:
-The first chapter opens up with "preppy" white boys verbally abuse Victoria by calling her a slut. WHY: This bothers me because it's a blatant plot device to show how Victoria doesn't fit in and how the boys at this school don't see how much of a special snowflake she is.
-CLICHES: Talking cats who help witches, vampires that are like Edward, heroines like Bella,

Only this cat isn't my spirit animal so I don't care about what it has to say.
-They both happen to be piano prodigies. Edward Christian, are you going to compose a song for Bella Victoria?
-Christian has Edward Cullen mood swings.

TO

IN TWO PAGES.
-TWILIGHT literally this has to be a Twilight fanfiction.
"You're not human." It was not a question.
"No."
"You're a vampire."
"Yes."

This is an actual scene from the book. I just can't.

-Quotes like this: "I am not that boy anymore. I'm not him. This body is not alive. It's a dead monster that steals life from others."

More cliche bullshit.
-"I hate you" to "I love you" in 10 pages.


Whimsical Writing Scale: 1
Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: LOL
Swoon Worthy Scale: LOL
Character Scale: 1
Plotastic Scale: 1


I didn't realize how much I really didn't like this book until I typed this review after reading all my notes. This book sucks. I'm sad about it because I got this from the publisher, but I am not into Twilight anymore so this isn't the book for me. If I want to read Twilight, I will. I don't need a fanfiction with witches.


Cover Thoughts: Everything about this cover is just awkward. The font, the trimming, the ugly masquerade mask, the dress, and the writing just looks weirdly placed.

Review provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

All these covers have people on them. I don't know if this is a pattern. If so, then maybe I should steer clear from close up faces and ugly dresses with masks.

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts? Did you like them? Hate them? Let me know down below in the comments.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Last Part of My Summer Bok Haul

 

I look like I'm posing in this thumbnail. Staring off into the distance about how this book slayed my soul. I know what you're thinking- Sarah, it's Christmas why are you posting a video from the summer? The answer is because I'm busy and didn't keep up with anything in my free time. So, here it is!

The Books:
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I've read five of these books since purchasing so that's awesome! Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think? Let me know down below in the comments!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

My First Semester of College

Hi, everyone! It's been a long time since I've written a blog post or a review. I wish I could say that I was sorry for not posting often throughout the last couple months, but I'm not. I know a lot of people generally only go to college to get their degree and party, but I wanted my college experience to be so much more than that. I live in the same town as my university, but I chose to live on campus because of a scholarship I was awarded that pays for me to live on campus through marching band and winter guard.
Moving away from home was really scary at first. I had a panic attack the day I moved out, but I think I do better on my own living by myself than with my parents. I haven't had anxiety nearly as bad as I did when I was around my family and I won't go into all kinds of personal information, but living on my own has made me a happier person. I'm free in my mind and I don't berate myself as much as I did when I lived with my parents in my teenage years.
I also made a big decision in college. I devoted my life to Jesus Christ and it's the best decision I've ever made because I feel so much stronger having God in my life to guide me in the directions I need to take. I was raised Catholic, but there was a period of time when I lost my faith. I got really sick when I was an atheist and I found God again. It wasn't until my grandfather passed away my sophomore year of high school that I prayed regularly and started to slowly build a relationship with God. There was a time last year when I prayed to God about finding about a book that would bring me closer to Him and the next day I accidentally found Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis in a section of Barnes and Noble that I never wonder into. Reading Mere Christianity was one of the most life altering times in my life. It made me realize I wanted to belong to a community and when I came to college I found it.
I've also made a lot of great friends this semester, but the thing that makes me the happiest is the friendships that I was able to keep and develop further. My best friend and I have grown closer even though we go to different colleges and my other best friends who I attend college with have been such a positive influence with overcoming the stress of college work. I also found friends in old high acquaintances and I'm so happy to be able to have such wonderful people in my life. I currently don't have a boyfriend but that's okay. LOL I'm still waiting...
I also have the best major. Many people would disagree, but it's the best major for me. I'm majoring in Secondary English Education- which means I want to be a high school English teacher. I absolutely love the classes that I have taken so far for my major and I can't wait to get out of the extra fluff that I have to take that isn't valuable to my major.

So that's my first semester so far in college. I hope you have been wonderful! Let me know if you have had any major events happen in your life!