Playlist / Recently Played

Playlist / Recently Played

As I was scrolling through my posts, I noticed I hadn’t put up a playlist in a while, and since I’ve been listening to some pretty great stuff lately, I figured now was the perfect time to make one.

For some reason I’ve been exclusively listening to a lot of indie and rock music lately, (for three weeks straight I was only listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers) so that’s what this playlist is mostly going to be.

PS- you can totally tell which bands I’ve been loving with how many times they have a song on here. And if you want to follow me on Spotify to see my other playlists, my username is shannonnnicole.


Recently Played / Indie – Rock

  1. Chet Faker, Gold (Flume Re-Work)
  2. Harry Styles, Ever Since New York
  3. Mat Kearney, Moving On
  4. The Kooks, She Moves In Her Own Way
  5. NIHILS, Help Our Souls
  6. The Kooks, Bad Habit
  7. Panic! At The Disco, Collar Full 
  8. The Rolling Stones, Under My Thumb
  9. Red Hot Chili Peppers, By The Way
  10. Lorde, Buzzcut Season
  11. Aerosmith, Pink
  12. Aybner, Wherever You Go (You’ll Never See Me)
  13. Portugal. The Man, Feel It Still
  14. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dark Necessities 
  15. Harry Styles, Carolina
  16. Frank Ocean, Self Control
  17. Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Getaway
  18. Tame Impala, Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
  19. Foo Fighters, Walk
  20. Blink-182, Home Is Such A Lonely Place
  21. Young The Giant, Something To Believe In
  22. Tame Impala, Eventually
  23. Blink-182, Left Alone
  24. Beck, Loser
  25. Young The Giant, Amerika
  26. Tame Impala, ‘Cause I’m A Man
  27. Harry Styles, Meet Me In The Hallway
  28. Lanes, All Things Aren’t Forgotten
  29. Bad Suns, Salt
  30. The Shins, Mildenhall

Recipe #2 / Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal

FullSizeRender.jpgI absolutely love breakfast–it might just be my favorite meal of the day. The last recipe I posted is for lunch or dinner, so I’m going to share with you guys one of my favorite go-to breakfast recipes.

I love having oats for breakfast because they’re super versatile and full of fiber which will help keep you full until lunch time. I usually like to add some fruit in mine (usually whatever I have in the house or whatever is in season) and then some other goodies that go well with the flavor of the fruit. The one I’m going to break down today is banana + peanut butter.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • a pinch of chia seeds
  • a few drops of vanilla extract or a drizzle of honey (optional for sweetness)

 

HOW TO MAKE:

  1. Bring your cup of water to a boil. While the water is heating up, cut up the banana into slices, and then cut those slices in half so you have little half-circles.
  2. Once the water is boiling, then stir in the oats, cooking them on medium heat for about 5 minutes. (If you choose to have vanilla extract, put it in while the oats are cooking and mix it all together). After those 5 minutes, the oats are usually where I like them to be texture-wise, however you can adjust the cooking time according to your own preferences.
  3. Place the oatmeal into your bowl, and then add on your banana, the tablespoons of peanut butter, some cinnamon and your chia seeds. (If you choose to have honey, you can drizzle it on top of all your other fixings).
  4. Enjoy!

Into The Water / Paula Hawkins

Into The Water / Paula Hawkins

Just a little tiny bit of spoilers!

 

Synopsis: A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first 33151805women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.
Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.
With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.
Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.


 

Review: After reading The Girl on the Train and falling in love with it, I was extremely excited when I heard Hawkins had released a new book. However, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

Now, I know I shouldn’t compare this novel to The Girl on the Train, but since these are the only two books she has published using her real name and the themes are so similar, they are bound to get compared regardless.

I really did like the premise to this novel. Nel is the latest “victim” of the river in their town. Some say she jumped, some say she was pushed, and the readers follow her somewhat troublesome daughter and sister she hasn’t spoken to in years as they try to deal with the loss and really figure out what happened to her that night. I am a huge sucker for family drama and murder mysteries, but I couldn’t even get far enough into this novel to enjoy either of those things because of how it was written.

As we know, Hawkins is great with words and has no trouble creating characters that are realistic and lively. But this book just had too many of them. I read up to page 100 in the novel and I still had trouble with understanding all the characters and how they were connected with each other (which I really shouldn’t have trouble with by page 100).

Also, I think some of the characters were not as good as they could have been. For example, one of the main characters, Jules, was consistently panicky and unreliable, lying to the police in the beginning of the novel (when she really didn’t have a reason to) and seemingly making the whole situation of her sister’s death about herself. Many of Jules’ chapters have flashbacks of Nel being a “bad” sister to Jules and then Jules kind of goes on and on about how awful Nel always was to her. I understand backstory like this is important for us as readers so that we can understand the family dynamic, but I felt like it was too drawn out and too prominent in a way that almost overtook the storyline.

I do hope that one day I have the time and patience to go through and finish the book because I think Hawkins is a great writer, but for right now I’d have to give this book only 2 stars.

 

Rating: twostar

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry / Gabrielle Zevin

A LITTLE SPOILER AHEAD

SYNOPSIS: On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto “No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.” A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.51oqJRpuk-L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming. As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.


REVIEW: When I first got this book, I kind of thought it was just going to be a nice, uplifting YA story. And while that is true, there’s so much more to this novel that hides behind the cover.

The story centers around AJ Fikry, an old, widowed drunk who runs Island Books, and one night mysteriously finds a toddler left in his store. This event basically propels his life in directions he never would have thought possible, and as readers we get to sit in on the ride.

This book has so many chances to be cheesy and poorly done, but Zevin keeps it all refreshing with her dialogue and the twists and turns the novel’s plot takes. I think all the characters are well developed, even though the novel goes through time very quickly. The book covers a span of around 15-20 or so years, and through that we can see the characters growing and aging and dealing with all of the things that come along with it.

It does take a while for us to really get into the good stuff in the plot, however the slower beginning is still well written and interesting enough for me to not have just put the book down altogether. This novel will always stick out to me as a book with a lot of charm that left me feeling sadly optimistic about life.

fourstar

TBR / Summer 2017

TBR / Summer 2017

It is the first of July and summer is in full swing. With the warm weather and sunny skies, I tend to stick to light-hearted and fun books, but this year I can’t help but reach for different types of novels. I am currently finishing up one of the books on my Spring TBR which is more light-hearted and cute, (The Storied Life of AJ Fickry) so I’m just diving headfirst into these other genres for the summer.

Each synopsis has been taken from Goodreads.

 

INTO THE WATER BY PAULA HAWKINS

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.33151805
Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.
With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.
Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

I definitely want to read this book ASAP, especially with how much I adored The Girl on the Train. I usually tend to keep my thriller / mystery books on the sidelines until Autumn rolls around, but I just couldn’t wait for this one.

 

BIG MAGIC BY ELIZABETH GILBERT

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own 511b8-eTQdL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book. With my last semester of college approaching, I decided it’d be useful to give this book a go. Working and having a degree in a “creative” field is difficult at times, but so rewarding, and I’d love to hear what tips and tricks Gilbert has in store!

 

MODERN ROMANCE BY AZIZ ANSARI

At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?1200x630bf Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?” 
But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.
For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.
In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.

Even though I currently am in a relationship, I’ve always been intrigued with the way romance and love work on a larger scale. Ansari is one of the funniest comedians and actors in the business, so this book is bound to be filled with lots of interesting information and hilarious anecdotes to go with it.

 

HISTORY OF WOLVES BY EMILY FRIDLUND 

Fourteen-year-old Madeline lives with her parents in the beautiful, austere woods of 30183198northern Minnesota, where their nearly abandoned commune stands as a last vestige of a lost counter-culture world. Isolated at home and an outlander at school, Madeline is drawn to the enigmatic, attractive Lily and new history teacher Mr. Grierson. When Mr. Grierson is charged with possessing child pornography, the implications of his arrest deeply affect Madeline as she wrestles with her own fledgling desires and craving to belong.
And then the young Gardner family moves in across the lake and Madeline finds herself welcomed into their home as a babysitter for their little boy, Paul. It seems that her life finally has purpose but with this new sense of belonging she is also drawn into secrets she doesn’t understand. Over the course of a few days, Madeline makes a set of choices that reverberate throughout her life. As she struggles to find a way out of the sequestered world into which she was born, Madeline confronts the life-and-death consequences of the things people do—and fail to do—for the people they love.

I just picked a copy of this novel up from my local bookstore and I cannot wait to crack it open. This seems like the type of book that will have me itching to read more (which I love during the summer since I actually have more free time to do it). Even though this type of novel would usually take a seat in my Autumn section, I was too excited to wait that long, especially with that gorgeous cover.

The Shining / Stephen King

The Shining / Stephen King

I want to preface this by saying that I have never seen the movie The Shining, so I’m not in any way comparing the novel and the movie, or addressing the differences between them. I used a movie still for the photo  at the top because I honestly just thought it looked cool.

 

Synopsis: “Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.”


Review: This was the first fiction work I’ve ever read by Stephen King. Before this, I had only read On Writing, which is more of a memoir / how-to type of book, (which I also loved) but through reading this fiction, I completely understand why so many people love his work.

King has mastered the art of setting a scene. His landscapes are so vidid that they come to life, no pun intended, and he knows how to really pack in the detail for the reader without making it too boring to read.

Another thing I loved about this novel is the fact that it had first person narration from all of the members of the Torrance family, which helped round out the family dynamic and show the character development on a deeper level for all of them, not just Jack.

I honestly don’t have too much to say about this book other than I loved it, and I can’t wait to read the book that follows this one, Dr. Sleep. 

 fourstar