Review: Van Life: Inspiration for Your Home on the Road – Foster Huntington


Van Life: Inspiration for Your Home on the Road – Foster Huntington

Van Life: Inspiration for Your Home on the Road

Title: Van Life: Inspiration for Your Home on the Road

Author: Foster Huntington

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 256

Source: Barnes and Noble

Showcasing hundreds of gorgeous and inspirational photographs of vehicles in idyllic settings with unique, quirky interiors from around the world, Van Life who anyone daydreams about living off-the-grid while on the ultimate road trip.

More and more people-from millennials to baby boomers-are taking a break from conventional life for the freedom, tranquility, and adventure of being on the road and living in a converted vintage truck, camper, or van.
One of these van-dwellers, Foster Huntington, created the #vanlife hashtag as he chronicled his adventures living in a van while driving it across the country. He tapped into a community of like-minded individuals looking to explore nature at their own pace and live a debt-free lifestyle.
Van Life showcases the best crowd-sourced photographs from Foster’s tumblr account, van-life.net, many of which have never been posted. Organized into sections like Volkswagen vans, American vans, converted vans, school buses, and more, the hundreds of photos include shots of the unique vehicles, the beautiful locations they’ve been parked including stunning beaches, dramatic mountains and picturesque forests, fully designed interiors with kitchens and sleeping quarters, and more.
Also included are interviews with solo travelers, couples, and families who are living this new American dream.

5 out of 5 stars


This book was beautiful and I think it served it’s purpose well. There wasn’t a ton of information throughout the book actually talking about van life, but there were a lot of beautiful photos that really inspired me to want to take the leap towards van life.

If you saw my last review (Zero Waste) I mentioned there that I have been getting more and more interested in the idea of minimalism and zero waste. Included in that short list is also van conversions. This has been a more recent obsession, but I love the idea of using this vehicle as a home for traveling.

I’m so fortunate to be living in the middle of the US, so it’s fairly easy to go any direction, so I think van life would be a wonderful option for me. I love traveling, and I think this would be an interesting way to travel, even if it’s just for a few weeks or months at a time.

Overall, I do wish this book had more information about what van life is actually like, but there are also other resources out there specifically for that. I’ve been watching tons of van conversion videos on YouTube, and just recently watched the documentary “Expedition Happiness.” *highly recommend, by the way. beautiful movie*

I’m just inspired even more to travel, but alas. I’m stuck in one city because of college for the time being. Soon, though. Maybe this summer will consist of at least one road trip.

Review: Zero Waste: Eliminate Your Trash, Simplify Your Life, and Heal the Earth – Shia Su


Zero Waste: Eliminate Your Trash, Simplify Your Life, and Heal the Earth – Shia Su

Zero Waste: Eliminate Your Trash, Simplify Your Life, and Heal the Earth

Title: Zero Waste: Eliminate Your Trash, Simplify Your Life, and Heal the Earth

Author: Shia Su

Release Date: April 3, 2018

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Format: Paperback

Page Number:

Source: Barnes and Noble

Easy and Effective Strategies to Jumpstart a Sustainable, Waste-Free Lifestyle. We have a worldwide trash epidemic. The average American disposes of 4.4 pounds of garbage per day, and our landfills hold 254 million tons of waste.

What if there were a simple–and fun–way for you to make a difference? What if you could take charge of your own waste, reduce your carbon footprint, and make an individual impact on an already fragile environment?

A zero waste lifestyle is the answer–and Shia Su is living it. Every single piece of unrecyclable garbage Shia has produced in one year fits into a mason jar–and if it seems overwhelming, it isn’t! In Zero Waste, Shia demystifies and simplifies the zero waste lifestyle for the beginner, sharing practical advice, quick solutions, and tips and tricks that will make trash-free living fun and meaningful. Learn how to:

Follow the five Rs: Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot Build your own zero waste kit Prepare real food–the lazy way Make your own DIY household cleaners and toiletries Be zero waste even in the bathroom! Be part of the solution! Implement these small changes at your own pace, and restructure your life to one of sustainable living for your community, your health, and the earth that sustains you. 

5 out of 5 stars


I’ve been wanting to get more into a zero waste lifestyle for awhile now, and this book has given me the push to actually go through with it!

I was just browsing Barnes and Noble with my mom and she came across this book and pointed it out to me. She and I have been going on a small sustainability journey together, so the title stood out to her. I immediately had to have it, and here we are.

I love the concepts that were talked about in this book because it really does make so much sense to be more environmentally conscious. Reducing your waste really isn’t that difficult to do, you just have to be diligent about it.

There were some amazing tips and recipes throughout this book and I plan on doing a reread of it when I get back home for Christmas break. I think it’s a super amazing book to be able to flip through and reread.

I highly recommend this book to you if you’re at all interested in a more eco-friendly and earth happy lifestyle. Zero waste (or low waste) is totally do-able. It also goes really hand-in-hand with minimalism, which I’ve also started to get into. Check out my lifestyle YouTube channel!

REREAD Review: City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5) – Cassandra Clare


City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5) – Cassandra Clare

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5)

Title: City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Release Date: May 8, 2012

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 534

Source: Barnes and Noble

What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

5 out of 5 stars


Again, I LOVE rereading these books. They’re literally my favorite thing that has happened to YA literature… um ever.

This is only the second time I’ve read this book even though I thought it was more than that. I forgot how much happened in this book that I was kind of shocked the whole time lol.

As much as I hate Sebastian for doing all of these horrible things to Jace and Clary, he is an amazingly written antagonist. I literally have no criticisms of Cassandra Clare’s writing because of how complex and perfect the world is.

SPOILERS:

If you haven’t already read this book, you’re WAY behind and need to get it together. This was published in 2012… come on ;)

I love Jace and Clary, and forgot how angsty this book is regarding their love life. They so badly want to sleep together but now with this whole heavenly fire situation…. it’s just kind of funny, honestly.

I also love Simon and Izzy. The sexy vampire bedroom scene. I was swooning even though I knew it was going to happen.

All in all, this is such an amazing series and I can’t wait to finish my reread!

Review: Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) – Maureen Johnson


Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) – Maureen Johnson

Truly Devious (Truly Devious, #1)

Title: Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1)

Author: Maureen Johnson

Release Date: January 16, 2018

Publisher: HarperCollins

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 416

Source: Barnes and Noble

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

4 out of 5 stars


I would give the first half of this book 3 stars, but the last 150 pages TOTALLY redeemed it. I couldn’t stop reading the last part of this book because I was completely hooked. Again, I find this to be a common trend that I’m having recently because of my lack of time to read. I always want to be reading and enjoying books, but I just don’t have multiple hours a day to spend reading, but when I have the time, I enjoy the book so much more.

I have a plan to read more consistently, though. I’m going to actually do the #readingafter10 started by Ariel Bissett on her Instagram, and I’m going to limit the amount of time I spend on my phone. I don’t know if anyone else uses the Screen Time setting on your iPhone, but it blows my mind. Last week I spend 18 hours on my phone. 18 hours of wasted time. I could have finished around 3 more books in that time!

Anyway, aside from the little tangent, I really enjoyed this book. It’s been awhile since I read a mystery so it was really fun to try and figure out everything that was happening in the book.

I really liked the characters of this book, and I was kind of shocked that they were so young. I guess that’s just me getting older, but it’s weird to read about 14 year old high school students when you’re 19 and in college. I, for some reason, just always imagine the characters I’m reading about to be my age even if they’re totally not. Again, that’s a me thing, not a this-book-kind-of-thing.

I REALLY can’t wait to read the second book in this series because this one ended on such a cliffhanger. I need to know about the murders, the dry ice, the tea box, the… everything. I want to know what happens next!

I think this was the perfect book to read around Halloween time *even though it’s technically the beginning of November now.* It was spooky and suspenseful, but not scary. Scary books just freak me the freak out, but I love a little spookiness around spooky season.

I can’t wait to read the next book, because the plot is thickening and I’m so excited for it.

Review: Dear Evan Hansen – Val Emmich


Dear Evan Hansen – Val Emmich

Dear Evan Hansen

Title: Dear Evan Hansen

Author: Val Emmich

Release Date: October 9, 2018

Publisher: Poppy

Format: Audiobook

Page Number: 368

Source: Scribd

Dear Evan Hansen,

Today’s going to be an amazing day and here’s why…

When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family’s grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.

Suddenly, Evan isn’t invisible anymore–even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy’s parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he’s doing can’t be right, but if he’s helping people, how wrong can it be?

No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He’s confident. He’s a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself.

A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation.

4 out of 5 stars


I heard one of my close friends gushing about this musical when it came out. He told me that I should read the Wikipedia page and start listening to the soundtrack right away. I took his advice, but felt like a poser because I didn’t think I had enough information. So when I saw that this was coming out as a book, I was IMMEDIATELY sold.

Dear Evan Hansen follows Evan as he’s starting his senior year of high school. He has severe anxiety and really doesn’t want to go to the first day, but his mom convinces him to go. He broke his arm over the summer, so she tells him that maybe he can have people sign his cast for him; get him to step outside his comfort zone a little bit. His therapist has been telling him to branch out and “put himself out there,” so he decides to go to school.

It’s just as bad as he thought it was going to be, but he keeps up with his therapist’s assignment of writing letters to himself by starting with: “Dear Evan Hansen, Today’s going to be an amazing day and here’s why…” He’s printing off his letter for his therapy appointment after school, and the school’s bad boy, Connor Murphy, starts talking to Evan while he’s printing out his letter. Connor asks Evan if he can sign his cast, but then Connor notices that the letter mentions his little sister Zoey, and immediately becomes defensive and takes the letter.

Connor committed suicide that very same night of the letter incident, and the letter was found in his pocket. As the letter was addressed to Evan, everyone starts to think that they were friends. Evan is called to the office the next day and is told the situation by Connor’s parents, but instead of telling the truth about the letter, he starts to weave these lies about how he and Connor were secretly best friends, all for the benefit of trying to spare his family’s feelings.

This book was so beautiful and powerful, and I think it would be amazing to read for a high school setting. The soundtrack of the musical is also amazing, and is so wonderful to listen to after reading this book. I loved the message of this book and will recommend it to plenty of people in the future.

I related to Evan as a character because of his anxiety and spiraling thought patterns. I know that anxiety is ridiculously hard to cope with, and sometimes you don’t realize you’re anxious until after the fact. I loved the way his character was written.

I also loved that the perspective changed throughout the book between Evan and Connor. It added such depth to the storyline, and I just can’t gush about the book more.

I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 because I felt like the pacing was a little strange at certain points. This could be because I haven’t had an extended period of time to read so it felt a little scattered.

Again, I think so many people could benefit from reading this book and listening to the soundtrack. I really want to go and see the musical live, but the tickets are so expensive… ugh life is hard. But on the bright side, this book is amazing.

October Wrapup


Read:

  1. Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) – Neal Shusterman *review*
  2. Wanderlost – Jen Malone *review*
  3. Boredom (Death Note Volume #1) – Takeshi Obata
  4. In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It – Lauren Graham *review*
  5. Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) – Cassandra Clare *reread review*
  6. Law of Attraction: The Science of Attracting More of What You Want and Less of What You Don’t – Michael J. Losier *review*
  7. Confluence (Death Note Volume #2) – Takeshi Obata