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: 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: Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) – Cassandra Clare


Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)

Title: Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Release Date: August 31, 2010

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 481

Source: Barnes and Noble

In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

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…

5 out of 5 stars


I LOVE THESE BOOKS.

If you’re a long time reader of this blog, you know that I LOVE Cassandra Clare. She’s my favorite author of all time because I love the world building, characters, plot, writing style, everything about them all. And here’s the thing. Cassandra Clare’s books get better and better. I honestly think that each new book is better than the last. I think this is a testament to how talented she is as an author because I thought the first book she wrote was amazing.

Anyway, I have a special place in my heart for The Infernal Devices series because: 1. Will Herondale is my ideal man, 2. London, 3. the best love triangle on planet earth.

William Herondale. Let me tell ya. He’s sassy. He’s eloquent. He’s broken *in this book.* He loves Tessa. He loves Jem. He has a mysterious backstory. He’s handsome. The list could go on and on, but I love him. My favorite character from the whole series is torn between Will, or Julian from The Dark Artifices. Cassandra Clare just knows how to write great male characters.

This book is set in Victorian London. Hello, yessssss. It’s my DREAM to go to London *IT’S HAPPENING THIS DECEMBER* so it’s amazing to see it even if it’s from another time. I love how the real places are woven in with fictional places. It’s just beautiful and amazing.

This love triangle is just starting and I’M HERE FOR IT. I usually hate love triangles because my idea is this. If you fall in love with someone, but later fall in love with another person, pick the second person. You wouldn’t have fallen for them if you actually loved the first. But here’s the thing. Tessa doesn’t know that she loves both Will and Jem yet, or who she loves more, because she met them at the same time, and they’re so different from one another. I’ve ALWAYS been team Will from the first time I read this book because… I mean he’s a Herondale, and I’m usually here for them, but I also love Jem. I just don’t love Jem for myself, but he’s good for Tessa. It’s just so conflicting, so we’ll have to see how I react to it this time while I continue my rereading.

I can’t begin to understand how Cassandra Clare weaves all of her stories together so seamlessly. The characters that carry over into the separate series just blows my mind.

The ending of this book is such a cliffhanger even though I know what happens. Magnus is one of my favorite characters. He said something towards the beginning of the book that was to the extent of: “yeah I like boys with dark hair and blue eyes.” YEAH YOU DO. It’s just cute because everything has a connection. I love it.

All in all, read this series. Love the books, talk to everyone you know about them :)

Series:

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2)

Review: Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood #2) – Becky Albertalli


Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood #2) – Becky Albertalli

Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood, #2)

Title: Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood #2)

Author: Becky Albertalli

Release Date: April 24, 2018

Publisher: HarperCollins

Format: Audiobook

Page Number: 343

Source: Scribd

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

4 out of 5 stars


I listened to this on audiobook on my drive back to college and it made the 5 hour drive FLY by. I always listen to my audiobooks at 1.5x speed, so that’s how I was able to finish it during the drive.

I really enjoyed this book and I think it was a good continuation/conclusion of the Creekwood series. I liked that Simon and the rest of the characters were almost central characters. The story stayed within the friend group which was kind of cool. I wish that I would have read this right after I finished Simon Vs. The Homosapiens Agenda, but I don’t think it was out when I read it.

I was kind of annoyed with how much swearing there was throughout this. It was so unnecessary and really didn’t have anything to do with the plot of the story. I think unnecessary swearing is one of my biggest pet peeves, so this could just be me being hyper-focused, but…

I think Leah was a cool character and some of her stories and scenes were very relatable. I find it kind of interesting that the whole book is about Leah being bisexual, but there wasn’t much about her wanting to be with a guy. She was very focused on being with a girl, which is fine, but I didn’t see how it was about her bisexuality, though.

I loved seeing Simon and Bram from the first book because they’re just so cute. I really think that that is one of my favorite relationships from a YA book.

Series:

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda (Creekwood #1)