February 29, 2016

Book Review: The Captive Prince by C. S. Pacat.

I first picked up this book because everyone on the internet was saying how it was AH-MA-ZING and that everyone should read it. Granted this is not a very popular book, but I still haven't seen one negative review about it on GoodReads or Youtube. Not one. And I don't really get why. I mean, the book is good but I can definitely see why some people wouldn't like it - including me. I gave The Captive Prince 3.5/5 starts on GoodReads and here is why.

This is the first book in The Captive Prince trilogy and if you look at it on that way it was really well written and put together. It explained the world really well, how things worked and why each character was a certain way. I liked the Game of Thrones vibe, the plot in general, most of the characters and the fact that homosexuality is not seen as a problem.

In the book we follow Damen, the soon to be king of Akielos. When his father dies, his brothers tries to take the throne for himself and sends him as a slave to an enemy nation. He's sent to care for the needs of this nation's prince (soon to be king as well) and things pick from there. I don't want to say too much because I don't want to give out any spoilers but I think this is all you need to know going into this book.  

The first thing I didn't like was the way sex was explored and since there's a lot of it going on it was kind of hard for me to over look it. There's a lot of rape, violence and physical punishment. I get that the book is supposed to be set in the past where kings and queens and killing family members to take the throne were a thing, but it was still weird for me and it made me extremely uncomfortable reading about it. And not a lot of things make me uncomfortable.

I also had a few problems with the writing. It was kind of confusing and I sometimes I would finish a page and have to go back to the beginning because I din't quite understand what was going on. Because of that it took me a long time to finish it and in the end I was just tired. You know how some books seem to suck in your energy? The last bad thing I have to say is that I NEED MORE ROMANCE. I was super excited to read about a gay couple, specially in that setting, and I felt like I needed more romance. Maybe it was my fault 'cause I thought the romance was going to be a big part of the book. 

Now, let's talk about the positive parts. I really like the plot and the ide behind it. I liked how the world and the different nations. You can see that the author put in a lot of work into differentiating their different customs, even the way they dress. To me, as a reader, I really appreciated the details and I could construct the whole thing in my head and immerse myself in the story.

The main character, Damen, was a total bae. He was kind and ethical (can't find another world for what I'm trying to say). Even in that crazy setting where everybody thought rape was a form of entertainment (WHAT? Just no. That's not alright even in fiction.) he kept fighting for what he thought was right. 

In the end, putting aside the bad stuff, I think it was a good book. I couldn't see what all the hype was about but I still enjoyed some parts of it. I don't see myself continuing on with the trilogy any time soon. Right now I'm on a major suspense/thriller vibe. I just finished "The Girl in 6E" (soooo goooood) and I'm currently reading "What Alice Forgot" (pretty good so far). 

Have you read The Captive Prince?
Did you like?
What are you currently reading?

Thanks so much for reading and I'll see you soon. 

February 26, 2016

8 Simple Ways to Help the Planet and Save Money.

I'm a little ashamed to admit it but I only started to "really care" about the environment and how my actions affect the world when I started my little "journey" to minimalism. I've always cared, I've always recycled, I've always turned off the lights when I left the room but what really made me mindful of my actions and how much I was consuming was when I discovered minimalism and decided to try it out. 

I'm not here to tell you how to live your life or that you need to throw all your stuff away and live like hippie. I'm just saying that when you really stop to think about it you realize how much you consume and how much of it goes to waste. And this is not only bad for the planet, it's also really bad for you wallet. And if you think that you don't buy more than you actually need I bet that, if you stop right now, you can come up with at least 5 things that are just sitting there in your room collecting dust.

I'm not just pointing the finger. Even after decluterring and trying to be more minimalist, I can still look around my room and see things that I don't really need in my life. But that's beside the point and I digressed a little. Shopping and consuming a lot of thing is just part of the problem.

Having said that, I thought it would be good to start a discussion and think about all the things that we could do to change this mentality that we all share. I hope that this post helps you to be more mindful of your actions and realize that you can do a lot to help buy doing very little. And this is how:

Bring your own reusable bag: This is something super easy and yet not a lot of people do it. Whenever you go shopping remember to bring your own reusable bag to carry your groceries. In some groceries stores they even give you a small discount when you bring your bag but even if they don't give you the discount, nowadays most stores are charging for each plastic bag you use. It's true that they're not very expensive, but if you can avoid wasting money you should.  

Don't flush the toilet every time you pee: I know a lot of people may think this is disgusting and not very sanitary. But when you realize that every time you flush your toilet you're using from 5 to 8 liters of water you'll probably change your mind. I wouldn't recommend doing the same when you go number two or when you're using a public bathroom but you get the idea. Save water, flush less.  

Recycle: I've been recycling for a while now and, unfortunately, I don't make any money from it. But I know there are a couple of recycling centers that pay a small amount for plastic bottles or cans. You're not going to get rich doing it, but you're helping the environment and that's what really counts. And also, a couple of extra bucks every month can't hurt.  

Buy less new things: Not a lot of people realize that buy shopping less you're not only helping your wallet but your planet as well. Restraining from buying one lipstick is not going to instantly save a baby dolphin. But when you realize that your actions add up to a bigger scale, shopping less can really make an impact. By shopping less you're creating less waste, pollution and all that bad stuff indirectly. Again, this only makes sense when you inset yourself in the bigger picture of the world population, but I believe that even the smallest of actions count.

Buy more used things: And when you do have to shop, try going on thrift stores and other markets. If you can avoid buying it new, buy it used. It's cheaper, you're "recycling" in a way and it's super fun to go to thrift shop and used bookstores. 

Go for the eBook: I read a lot and I follow enough book bloggers to know that eBooks are not very popular among readers and that there are a lot of people that strongly defend physical books for a variety of reasons. But when you think about it, books are printed on paper and paper comes from trees soo.. Not very eco-friendly if you ask me. I don't know scientifically how this industry impacts the environment but I know it has to impact it some way or another. And if I can avoid it, I will. I usually prefer reading on my Kindle anyway. But when I do need to buy books for school I try to get used books or just check them out from my local library.    

Sell or donate things you don't want anymore: If you don't want something anymore and it's still in good condition, donate it. And if you need the money or it's something that it's in super amazing condition, sell it. I actually made a blog post a while ago about how and where to sell things online and if you want to check that out you can just click here. But from the top of my head, you can always try eBay and Amazon. 

Don't wash you hair everyday: First of all, washing your hair everyday is not a very good idea. I don't know exactly why. All I know is that there's something about letting your roots dry completely so your hair won't fall out and I don't care if you're a boy or a girl - nobody wants their hair to fall off. And also, it's a pain in the ass and ain't nobody got time for that. On top of all that, you're going to save water and money because you'll less of that expensive conditioner, shampoo and styling products. It's a win-win situation! 

I hope you guys enjoyed this post and you if you practice some on of those tips on your everyday life please let know on the comments. A lot of people think that their actions don't matter or that they have little impact in the world as a whole. But when you realize that there are 7.4 billions of us sharing this planet and that you're part of a much much bigger scale, every little thing counts. So, remember to do your part. 

Do you have more tips to share with us?

Thanks so much for reading and I'll talk to you soon. 

February 21, 2016

Life Update | Boyfriend, Moving and Why I was Gone.

What's up, guys?!

I feel like a Life Update is long over due. If I'm not mistaken the last one I did was in the middle of last year and a lot has changed in my life since then. Thank God, right?! Not that I wasn't happy with my life before but I like change. I feel like you can't grow without it and also, I get a little bit of anxiety when things stay the same for too long. I know a lot of people are the opposite and get bad anxiety with big changes but in my case, I hate feeling stuck and like nothing is going on in my life. 

First update I have is that, as of January of this year, me and my boyfriend are now living in the same country. If you're new here you're probably a little lost and you should go read my about page to catch up. But long story short, Sebastian got a job in Brazil and we're just a 40 min flight away - as opposed to the 10 hour flight from Brazil to Spain. We're happy and extremely excited. Don't know when we'll ever live in the same city but, for now, the same country will have to do.

Secondly, I wanted to share with you guys the reason why I was gone this past week and it's because I'm moving. I'm not moving in with Sebastian - we're not there yet. But I am moving. By myself. And I'm a little scared. I was planning on staying in my parents house until I got a good job (a.k.a. a job that pays well enough that I can support myself) but things are just not working out. Traffic is insane here where I live and  it's been taking me one and half hours to commute every single day and I just can't deal with all of that anymore. So, me and my parents made a deal and they are going to help me out for a while. This week is going to be the first week I'll be living completely alone. I'm excited but also a little scared. We'll see how things go.

I hope I can keep up with the blog shedule this week but I can't make any promises. Sometimes living and blogging is just too much. I need to juggle work, school, working out, studying, having friends, spending time with my family and a bunch of others things that I'm sure I have to do but I just can't remember right now. I can't even keep up with my shows - I miss Pretty Little Liars and Suits a lot. So, if I neglect the blog a little bit just know that it's  not because I don't care or because I've given up blogging - I'm just trying to find my balance. Most weeks I'm able to stay on top of everything and put aside a couple of hours for blogging but sometimes I can't and I'm really sorry for that. 

Now, let's talk about positive things. Let's talk about traveling! Me and Sebastian are going to have some much needed days off in October and we're planning our next trip. We're thinking about exploring South America and we're opened to suggestions. A friend of mine suggested we go to Colombia and I've been checking the prices of flights and hotels. We're looking for something super affordable and relaxing. We want to take sometime to relax and just enjoy the pleasure of doing nothing. We've been extremely stressed, him with his new job and me with all of the things I've mentioned above, and we're looking forward to a break. 

One last thing, I think you'll have noticed that I've been doing some changes on the blog. Talking about different topics and things like that and I wanted to know your opinion on it. I'm gonna write a more specific post about this "change" but for now I just wanted to know if you guys have been enjoying. I know I'm not talking about beauty and fashion as much as I used to and there's not much of a reason behind it. I guess I just changed and other things have sparked my interest and this has been reflect on the blog. So tell me if you're liking it or hating it. Maybe you didn't even noticed. Maybe you did. Just let me know, I like hearing feedback even if it's not positive.  

That's pretty much all that's been going on in my life. 
Do you have something exciting coming up?
Do you have any suggestions for our next trip?

February 15, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson.

Let's just take a moment to appreciate this cover. It's so beautiful. I usually don't like books with humans on the cover but in this one it just works. Maybe because they're not staring at you like they know all of your deepest secrets. I know it's bad but I have to admit that I picked this book up mainly for the cover and also because I needed a book set during summer for my Reading Challenge. Another one I can cross off the list - YAY!

I have some mixed feeling for this one. I definitely enjoyed it and I would recommend it if you're looking for a fun and light summer read. Morgan Watson's writing is super easy to read and incredibly funny. I seriously found myself laughing and I can't say that about many books. I also think I read the whole thing in just three sittings. 

The book centers around the friendship between Emily and Sloane. They are super close friends but when Emmy comes back from a family trip Sloane is just gone. There's no one at her house, she doesn't answer her phone, doesn't return her messages and no one knows where she went. She just disappears. 

After a while, Emmy receives a letter from Sloane with a list of thirteen tasks for her to accomplish during summer. These are things that Emmy wouldn't normally do on her own and they're supposed to get her out of her comfort zone and make her have fun during the summer. As Emily starts going through the list, she starts to think that if she finishes everything Sloane will magically turn up again and it'll be like nothing ever happened. 
But a lot of things happen. While Emily is trying to go over the list she ends up meeting new people and making new friends. She learns more about herself and the things she likes and doesn't like to do. Overall, this book was pretty good and I believe I gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads. It could be a 4 stars but the friendship between the two main characters really bothered me. Although in the end the author kind of explains why Sloan was acting so weird, it still wasn't enough for me.

In my opinion Sloan was flat out a bad friend and I didn't like how Emily forgives everything and is so depended on that relationship. Putting that aside, I really enjoyed the other parts of the book. I loved the new friendships Emmy made and how her relationship with Frank develops. And I also really enjoyed the fact that the list helps her get out of her comfort zone and do different things.

Like I said, I really enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA/Contemporary. If you're already a fan of this genre I don't think you'll be disappointed. It's cute and funny. There's a good romance going on. There are playlists in the middle of the book. The writing is easy and you can ready in two to three sittings. I also plan on reading more books from her, like Amy and Roger's Epic Detour. 

Have you read this book?
What would you recommend I read next?

Thanks so much for stopping by and I'll see you soon.

February 13, 2016

Links I'm Loving.

Heeeello, everyone!

I'm here today with another Links I'm Loving. It's been a long time since my last one, right?! I love doing these posts simply because I love sharing cool stuff I find on the internet. Before I had a blog I would just send them directly to my friends but now that I have a blog I get to do it over here. And, hopefully, reach more people. Like always, I have mix of videos, blog posts and one random site. I hope you guys enjoy them and let's get to it!

Twuffer: Someone recommended me this website on Twitter when I asked for apps to schedule tweets and I love it. I have a real hard managing my social media accounts for the blog so this was a huge help. I'm not a big social media fan and although I enjoy checking out Instagram and Twitter once in a while, I don't do it everyday. And for the blog, I feel like it's really important to have a big presence especially on Twitter. 

Amy Young: I love Amy's channel. I think I've mentioned her before in the blog but I had to mention it again. She's just amazing. I could be wrong but I think she has her own "life coaching" business and her videos are amazing. If you have problems with finding a  good relationship, self esteem, fake friends and what not, specially if you're girl, I think you should check out her channel. One of my good friends is single now and I send her one of Amy's videos almost every week because they're all so go and so on spot, you know.  

Erik Conover: They're my favorite vloggers right now. "They" as in Erik and his girlfriend, Jessica. They do daily vlogs and I just love how nice and genuine they look. It's hard to find vloggers that don't look like they are putting on a show for the camera. I've only started watching them this year and I'm already obsessed. And also, they live in NY and I love to see the city and the places they go to. If you enjoy daily vlogs, I highly recommend checking them out. 

One Pan Pasta: I saw someone doing this on Instagram and it blew my mind. I had no idea such a thing existed and now I have to try it out. I've been looking for recipes everywhere and that's the best one I found. I still haven't tried it out but I really really want to. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, just focus on the name itself. It's basically making a pasta dish using just one pan for everything. You just put all of the ingredients (including the uncooked pasta) in one pan and let them cook together. 

Beginner's Guide To Meditation: I've been really into improving myself this year. I know it sounds kind of cliché - kind of like the whole "New Year New Me" thing. But I've been really focusing on getting in real good shape, improving my diet, being more productive and just over all better if that makes any sense to you. And, of course, I've been doing a lot research online and everywhere I go they said that meditation is really good for your mind and it helps you in pretty much every aspect of your life. And since I don't know much about meditation, this article really helped.

Did you like the links?
Have you ever meditated?
Do you think it helps you in any way?

Thanks so much for reading!  

February 10, 2016

BOOK TAG: Totally Should've.

Heeeeello, everyone!

I hope you all enjoy reading TAG posts as much I enjoy doing them. I think it's a fun thing to do every now and them to mix things up a little bit over here. Although this TAG is about books and I've been talking a lot about books lately. But what can I do? This blog is about my life and what I've been doing and I can't help it if reading is taking much of my free time these days. I promise I'll give the book topic a rest for a while, though. 

But as soon as I saw this TAG at Abookutopia I knew I had to do it here in the blog. If you're a reader like me you know that feeling you get when you read an amazing book and all your dreams come crashing down when you find out that there's no sequel and that's it, you need to keep going with your life without proper closure. So this TAG was made so we can explore those feelings and fangirl over books. If you're interested in reading my answers, just keep reading!

1. Totally should've gotten a sequel: Eleanor & Park but Rainbow Rowell.
Seriously, what happens next? This book didn't end on a cliff hanger and I feel like the author ended the story very well but I want to know more. I got so involved with the characters and their lives that I want to know how they're doing. Is Eleanor happy now? What's Park doing?   
2. Totally should've had a spin off series: I'm not a big fan of spin off series but I would make an exception for anything remotely related to Harry Potter. I'm serious, if JK Rowling came out with a book about Harry's grocery lists I would buy it and I would love it. JK Rowling, we need you! Please give us more!

3. An author who totally should write more books: Rainbow Rowell. 
I think Rainbow Rowell is my favorite author as of now. I love her writing and the way she creates her characters. The only book from her that I didn't read is Landline but I already bought and I'm sure I'll get to it pretty soon. I need more book from her asap because I don't know what do with my life when I'm done with Landline. 

4. A character who totally should've ended up with someone else: The Selection series by Keira Cass. This one is hard to say because I've read this book so long ago but I remember that I wanted America to end up with Aspen. I wasn't a big fan of Prince Maxon. 

5. Totally should've ended differently: Dear John by Nicholas Sparks. I know this book came out a long long time ago but it still makes me sad when I see this book on my bookshelf. I mean.. Why they couldn't end up together?! They were perfect for each other. 

6. Totally should've had a movie franchise: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I loved the first movie with Jim Carrey and I don't know why they didn't keep going. But I've read somewhere that they're doing a TV show or something. I just hope it's true because I really like these books. 
7. Totally should've had a TV show: The Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I'm in love with this series. I wouldn't say it's best writing in the world or the best story line but something about it just hooked me and once I start reading these books I can't put them down. This happens to me with all Armentrout's books, they're incredibly addicting and action packed which makes them perfect for a TV show. 
8. Totally should've had only one point of view: The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings. If you read my review for this book you already know that when of my main problems with this book was the different points of view. I like book with different POVs but this one was just too much. The chapters alternated between the two main characters and at the end of the book I was completely lost and didn't even care enough to go back and see which POV I was reading from. 
9. Totally should have a cover change: The Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. These book are so good but the covers are soooooo ugly. Seriously, who designed these covers and who approved it? They're awful and I feel like they don't represent the book at all. If I had a say in it, there would be a cover change tomorrow.
10. Totally should've kept the original covers: I don't have an answer to this one. I only pay attention to covers when the comes out to see if I like it or not. And since I do most of my reading on my Kindle, the covers don't really matter to me that much.

11. Totally should've stopped at book one: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd. This is the first book of a trilogy and I honestly don't see the point of it. This book end very well. I didn't particularly liked it (I gave it 2 out of 5 stars on GoodReads) but I had my closure. I have no idea what the next books are about and I won't be reading them to find out. I like the premise of the story (that's why I read it in the first place) but Megan's writing style was not for me and I don't see how she could extend this story any further. 

This is it for the TAG, guys. Please let me know if you do this TAG on your blog because I'd love to read your answers. If you don't have a blog feel free to leave your answers on the comments too. I hope you're all having a great day and if you're not I hope it gets better soon. I know I haven't been posting a lot lately but I was traveling in the beginning of the month and I had a lot of work to do. But I'm going back to schedule this week and there's a lot of fun stuff coming. 

Did you like the TAG?
What would answer?

Thanks so much for reading and I'll see you soon.

February 1, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings.

To resume my thoughts on this book in two words I'd say: not original (at all). Needless to say after that but I was not impressed and a little angry with this book. I don't like to bash on books because I can only imagine how hard it is to write a book and get it published, but I really didn't like this. I just finished reading and I want to do this review right now so I don't forget anything important. Also, since I just finished the book my feelings maybe a little too intense but I'm gonna try to be as impartial as possible and not focus only in the things that I didn't like about it. 

My first and main problem with it was, obviously, the fact that I didn't think the story was original. I felt like I was reading Divergent or The Hunger Games all over again, just with a different set of characters and a different group of people controlling society called The Murder Complex, hence the title of the book. 

This is a dystopian novel and it followed Meadow Woodson and her family (sister, bother and dad) in their attempts to survive in this incredibly dangerous world. People are constantly dying, there's always a bunch of corpses on the streets, there's not enough food, not enough jobs and the whole process of getting a job is really messed up. I also feel like I need to warn you that the descriptions are very vivid and explicit, just keep that in mind since there are a lot of graphic deaths in this book.

Meadow crosses path with this boy named Zephyr James (the best part of this book were the names of characters, seriously considering naming my first born Meadow) whose job is to collect the bodies that pile up over night on the streets. I know.. Very creepy. One day, while leaving work she finds him dying on the streets and tries to save him, but since he's just a Ward (people from the lowers classes) the doctor in the hospital doesn't want to save him. But there's a turn of events and she figures out that he's more than just a Ward and things get a little more interesting from there. I don't want to give out any spoilers but they get together to save society from this Murder Complex who is killing everybody.

Another thing I didn't like was the fact that the book is told from two different perspectives. One chapter is from Meadow's point of view and the other from Zephyr's and this got confusing at times. I found myself constantly having to go back to the beginning of the chapter to remember from which perspective I was reading from and in the end I just didn't care anymore.

The turning point wasn't even good or chocking. I'm not going to talk too much about because of spoilers but I just like: "Really, that's the twist?". The whole "this world is dangerous and I have to do everything to survive" thing also got a little boring because it was brought up ALL THE TIME.
The positive things for me were the action and the fact that the author didn't rely on the romance to make the story. The entire story is very paced and the action pack. There are a lot of combat scenes, fighting and training. So if you're into that, you might enjoy this book. And the "romance" between Meadow and Zephyr was talked about very briefly in and I believe they have a super fast kiss once.

Having said all that, you guys are going to think I'm crazy, but the book is not particularly bad. I can see how other people can enjoy it, it just wasn't my taste. It was well written and it had its good moments but I couldn't get over the whole lack of originality. I know it's hard to come up with different ideas, specially now that everybody is so caught up in this dystopian vibe, but it just didn't do it for me. 

As I was doing my research before writing this review, I discovered that this is Lindsay's debut novel and I can definitely see how there's room for improvement. Maybe things get better in the next two books but I don't see myself picking them up in the future. 

I gave this book 3 out of 5 starts on GoodReads

Have you guys read The Murder Complex?
What did you think about it?
What are you reading right now?

Thanks for reading.