Review: The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life – Leo Babauta


The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life – Leo Babauta

The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life

Title: The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life

Author: Leo Babauta

Release Date: October 26, 2009

Publisher: Createspace

Format: Audiobook

Page Number: 105

Source: Scribd

3 out of 5 stars


I liked the concept written about in this book, but I feel like nothing was talked about deep enough to have a lasting impact.

I love learning about other people’s recipes for minimalism; it’s refreshing and nice, but I didn’t really relate to this book that much, honestly. I think there were some amazing points, but again, not enough depth.

Formatting, I think this book was effective. I listened to it on audiobook, but each new section started with a quote from someone talking about living more simply. I think this was a nice touch, and gave some more context to the book as a whole. I didn’t enjoy how short the chapter were, though. I wish that it had been longer and had gone into more detail.

I think some of the stuff Leo talked about was a little too hardcore for this being a “simple guide” to minimalism. He was saying that in some aspects of your life, what you’re currently doing is wrong and you should do it his way. At least that’s how I interpreted it.

I think the best part of this book were the sections on finances. I am 19 and am just starting my “adult life.” My parents are amazing and are providing my education for me, but I’m at the PERFECT point in life to start thinking about how I’m spending the money I’m earning.

Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.

This was my favorite quote from the whole book, because it’s so true. My parents have always instilled in me to not leave beyond my means, and thats what this whole finance section was about. It’s so refreshing to read something in the EXACT way I’ve always thought about money. I don’t have a credit card, and don’t plan on getting one because my debit card will suffice. I don’t see it ending well for me to be given the opportunity to spend money I don’t have. I love this quote because it’s unbelievably true.

So many people have things that they don’t own. Be it financed cars, a super huge mortgage, thousands in student loan debt. A lot of people don’t own their things, and that’s something that honestly blows my mind. My parents have always been the ones to buy their cars by writing a check; they haven’t financed anything. They paid off their mortgage in a short amount of time. I’m so lucky to have grown up in an environment where actually owning your things has been a priority.

Overall, I enjoyed this book because I think there was plenty of information that was helpful and valid, but I wish it would have gone deeper into the ideas behind minimalism more.

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.

REREAD Review: Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) – Cassandra Clare


Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) – Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)

Title: Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Release Date: December 6, 2011

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 502

Source: Barnes and Noble

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when it becomes clear that the mysterious Magister will stop at nothing to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, tortured Will and the devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal and fueled by revenge. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa is drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa answers about who she really is? As their search leads to deadly peril, Tessa learns that secrets and lies can corrupt even the purest heart.

5 out of 5 stars


I didn’t think it was possible to love these books more than I did before, but I literally can’t express how much I love them. Every reread just keeps getting better and better, and seeing Cassandra Clare’s writing evolve is beautiful and magical.

I love everything about this series and can’t fathom not having them in my life. So so so dramatic, but I’m just caught up in my feels right now.

I am never the biggest fan of love triangles, but Will, Jem, and Tessa are the epitome of a perfect love triangle. Tessa loves them both so much. The first time reading this series I was TOTALLY against Jem because I loved Will so much, but now I can see why people would want Tessa and Jem to be together. Will is still my favorite. He always will be. He’s my dream guy, just saying, but I see why people love Jem.

I just see that Tessa loves Will more… even if she doesn’t know it yet. My gosh, it’s just so good.

I love all the characters. The plot is amazing. The setting is amazing. I’m LOVING this reread and can’t wait to continue on so Clockwork Princess can break me again. I’m ready for the heartache of the finale of the trilogy.

Series:

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)

Review: In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It – Lauren Graham


In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It – Lauren Graham

In Conclusion, Don't Worry About It

Title: In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It

Author: Lauren Graham

Release Date: April 3, 2018

Publisher: Random House Audio

Format: Audiobook

Page Number: x

Source: Scribd

“If you’re not where you want to be on this day – don’t worry about it. Because the spotlight aspect of life? That’s not the satisfying part.” 

In this expansion of her 2017 commencement speech at her hometown Langley High, Lauren Graham reflects in her hilarious, relatable voice, on growing up, pursuing your dreams, and living in the here-and-now. “Whatever path you choose, whatever career you decide to go after, the important thing,” she writes, “is that you keep finding joy in what you’re doing, especially when the joy isn’t finding you.” She reminds us to be curious and compassionate, no matter where life takes you. “Whether you hope to be an actor or a politician or a mathematician, I’ve learned that empathy and kindness are your most valuable tools.” Grounded and inspiring, this is Graham’s roadmap to a happy life: “Be a fan, not a theater critic.”

4 out of 5 stars


This was just a quick audiobook listen whilst getting ready in the morning, but I thought it was very inspiring and well spoken.

I started watching Gilmore Girls with my mom, and we really enjoyed the episodes we watched. I think Lauren Graham is inspiring and beautiful and an amazing actress, so it was nice to get a little behind-the-scenes look at her life. This makes me want to listen to Talking as Fast As I Can also by Lauren Graham.

I think it’s always so important to realize how lucky you are and live in the moment more than you normally would. I fall victim to only thinking about the future and worrying WAY too much, so it was nice to have someone successful just tell you to chill out and have fun. As long as you put in the work, you’ll get there.

This applies to dance for me, because I definitely get into my own head and worry about pleasing other people pretty much all the time, but I need to let myself be happy when I’m dancing. I just need to relax, and not worry about it.

I think if you’re looking for something inspiring to get ready to, this would be perfect for you.

Review: Wanderlost – Jen Malone


Wanderlost – Jen Malone

Wanderlost

Title: Wanderlost

Author: Jen Malone

Release Date: May 31, 2016

Publisher: HarperTeen

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 321

Source: Barnes and Noble

Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe.

Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.

Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.

But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.

3 out of 5 stars


This served it’s purpose as a cute contemporary, and I think I can now say that I’M OFFICIALLY OUT OF MY READING SLUMP!

Wanderlost follows Aubree Sadler as she takes her older sister’s place as a tour guide in Europe for a group of senior citizens. Aubree has never left home, so she is nervous going into the trip, then accidentally leaves her phone and her sister’s pre-prepared information binder on the airplane before going to the first hotel. She freaks out, and everything seems to be going south, until she starts having phone check-ins with the tour company. She talks to a cute boy, Sam, on the phone and everything seems fine. She just has to keep pretending to be her older sister for the rest of the month-long trip. What could possibly go wrong?

This book was cute and fun to read, but it wasn’t anything super special. I was intrigued originally because the main character’s name is Aubree *spelled wrong, but you do you* and she was going to travel in Europe. Hello my name is Aubrey and I’m going to take my first trip this December *omg yay.*

I liked the romance of the book even if it was a little dramatic at some points. Sam was super cute and really sweet to Aubree, even though he only knew her by the name Elizabeth. Even if it was kind of insta-lovey, I found myself enjoying the fast paced nature of it.

I liked the group of senior citizens she was with. They were all fun, and I REALLY loved that the author made them real people. When people get older they don’t lose their personality, and I think sometimes we forget that they’re *what* still people?! Yeah. Crazy concept. I really loved that they were portrayed as individuals and not just “the group of old people.”

The trips they took and the places they went made me feel an extreme amount of wanderlust. But what’s new? That’s literally always me. But I do wish they would have talked about the places they were in more than just merely mentioning them. I get that this is a romance book, but I wish there was a little more emphasis on the plot.

Overall, this read a lot like a Sarah Dessen book, so if you enjoy her writing style, then you’d probably enjoy this. I think this book fulfilled it’s duties of a cute contemporary, but it didn’t blow me away. I’m so thankful that I’m now out of this reading slump though, because I was getting really bored with reading, but I feel renewed now. yay books

Review: Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) – Neal Shusterman


Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) – Neal Shusterman

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)

Title: Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1)

Author: Neal Shusterman

Release Date: November 22, 2016

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 435

Source: Public Library

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

4 out of 5 stars


This book was so good and I TOTALLY understand all the hype surrounding it now.

Scythe follows Citra and Rowan, who are chosen to be apprentices to Scythe Faraday. It’s unheard of, but not against the rules, to take on two apprentices. The scythes are trained to glean, or kill, people based on different statistics because humanity has beaten death. People don’t die naturally anymore, so people have to take care of death. The apprentices are trained and undergo three tasks that will show if they’re fit to be full scythes.

Reading a politically fueled book like this makes me wonder why I’m so interested in fictional politics, but not American politics. They just fall into separate categories, obviously, but I LOVE READING BOOKS FULL OF FICTIONAL POLITICS. They’re so fueled and realistic and I’m just here for it. The whole governmental system of these scythes is so interesting and there are so many things right under the surface that could be easy to look over, but are so beneficial to the story.

I wasn’t too sure how I felt about Citra and Rowan right away, because it’s set up that they’re going to fall for one another, but I ended up loving them individually and separately. Distance makes the heart grow fonder… I really enjoyed that Citra and Rowan ended up separated for part of their training because it really showed them growing individually, but also how they’ll *eventually* complement each other.

The actual writing style was simplistic, but still detailed enough that it kept you interested. I have decided that I don’t love short chapters. These chapters were SO SHORT (aka 40 chapters in this 435 page book) and it just took me out of the story a little bit. I do appreciate being able to stop at a chapter break, but there were just so many of them.

I loved that before every chapter there was a journal entry from one of the scythes mentioned in the book. A lot of them were from Scythe Curie and Scythe Faraday, but you also got to see other perspectives. I think this was a super cool addition, and you got so much background information from it. I think the way the book was set up was very telling of the skill of Neal Shusterman’s writing.

The only reason I’m giving this 4 stars instead of 5 is because the pacing seemed very off to me. The beginning was fairly slow, and the ending happened so quickly. I’m all here for the slow burn of a great book, but I just found that I wasn’t dying *pun intended* to pick up my book every second. If I were to rate the last half of the book, it would FOR SURE be 5 stars because so much happened and it was beautifully arced and crafted.

Okay. This ending. Wow wow wow. I couldn’t put my book down for the last handful of chapters because they were so perfectly written. You can tell a lot of care was given to the ending of this book, because everything worked out just how you wanted it to. Even if the decisions weren’t ideal, they were as ideal as they could have been. The cliffhanger at the end was absolutely perfect and I NEED the next book right now.

Also, the relationship between Citra and Rowan. Leaves just enough to the imagination that you are dying *ha* to see more, but there are also some things you’re concerned about. Why did Rowan become so violent? How will they regard this relationship now? How the hell is anything going to work out?!

I’m just so excited to read the second book, Thunderhead, because I know so much is going to be explained. I hope I love it as much as I loved the last half of this book!

Yay for being out of my month-long reading slump! I’m so excited to be excited about reading again. I think I just need to space out my re-reads a little bit, because I was getting a little burnt out with the Cassandra Clare books. But I’m back and ready to read YAY!

REREAD Review: City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) – Cassandra Clare


City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) – Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)

Title: City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Release Date: April 5, 2011

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 424

Source: Barnes and Noble

The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

5 out of 5 stars


I always forget where one book ends and the other begins, so it’s nice to take some time to reread these books.

I originally read them so fast, and back to back that I would have a hard time differentiating the books from each other. But man oh man I forgot how much happens in this book!

This whole review will be spoilers pretty much, so if you haven’t read the series don’t read this lol.

I forgot how much I love Jace before reading this. He was kind of annoying, but now we’re getting into his past and why he’s torturing himself and IT’S SO GOOD. I think it was such a great plot point to have Jace tied to Sebastian, and I forgot how creepy the last scene is. You see Jace losing ALL control over everything and it’s tearing him apart. Gotta love Cassandra Clare for ripping apart your favorite characters !!

Simon and Isabelle. YESSS. I also forgot how much I love this relationship. This is just the beginning but I’m waiting for one of the sexy scenes in… I think City of Lost Souls. Yes. I love this relationship. It’s so funny because they’re so different from each other, but I think that’s why it works so well. Simon is just clueless about girls and doesn’t see how much Izzy loves him.

Magnus and Alec. Fav couple from anything ever lol. I love seeing the start of this relationship again, too! Alec is so jealous of Will Herondale, and it’s just so funny to actually know who he is this time around. I believe the first time I read this series I read all of The Mortal Instruments books before reading The Infernal Devices, and am just now realizing I should have originally read them in publication order. There are just so many little things that make so much more sense now!

I think the best scene from this book was when Simon stepped in front of Lillith so she would die instead of her attacking Clary. It was just so powerful and showed how much he loves both Clary and Jace. I just love it.

I am so excited to read Clockwork Prince after this!

Series:

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2)

City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3)