Letter to December #2

21 December 2015

Dear December,

It feels like a long time since I last talked to you but it's only really been a week and a half. And how eventful was that week and a half. I volunteered to put together care packages for families in need, I took my finals, I went Christmas present shopping, I went to Disneyland. It's been great! Let me tell you this month has been a whirlwind of craziness and it's not even over yet.

For the past four years I've been part of a club that allows it's members to give back to it's community. This is really important to me. Every year since I've been a part of it I've been part of our holiday drive. It's our biggest event and my personal favorite. While our packaging day is long and crazy it's so worth it. That day was a really long day but it was great to be able to give back and do something meaningful. After packaging was over I went to my little brother's bad concert which was great except he missed the first song because he was late. *shakes head*. He's had a run of bad luck recently. But once he showed up on stage, he did really well. 

I've now been to Disneyland a total of three times; once when I was too young to remember, once when I went with my middle school band, and once last Friday. I think there's something to be said about feeling an infinite sort of moment. The entire day felt like a dream. I went on roller coasters and little kiddie rides and I felt really happy. I loved being able to be a kid and have fun without a regard about what comes next. That's what I love about you, December, I have the liberty to be as childish as I wish and be happy within that scope. I can be crazy about my holiday decorating, I can wear a a whipped cream mustache without being embarrassed, I can find the joy in the little details and smile like a dork. December is a time where you can look back and be happy about the year you've had, the past years you've lived, and find your inner kid amidst all the holiday cheer. 

I'm listening to Christmas music and i'm freaking out about college apps. With one chapter of my senior done and sealed with the end of my exams it's bloody insane to think that I'm at the end of my high school career. While high school is not something I would willingly relive, it's still bittersweet to be at the end, about to leave. Finals, as usual were stressful, but there was a new tinge of finality to these exams that made me both REALLY happy and sort of sad. 

A week and a half. That's all it took to end a chapter, to start a new one, to go to the happiest place on earth. December, you've been good to me, so thanks.

Love always,

Book Talk: These Shallow Graves

07 December 2015

Release Date: October 27, 2015
Book: These Shallow Graves
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Number of Pages: 496

The Basics:Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.

Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort accidentally shot himself while cleaning his revolver. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.

The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. Only now it might be too late to stop.

The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and the truth is the dirtiest part of all.

My Thoughts and Musings:

When I first saw this book on netgalley I fangirled because of the author. I LOVE Jennifer Donnelly, Her writing style is beautiful and lyrical. I love how she weaves stories and how she makes characters come to life. I was really excited to see and even more excited to have the chance to read it. Due college apps among other things I had to put off reading it until recently and now have finally read and fallen in love with it.

The plot is impeccable. I absolutely loved all of it. Donnely has an amazing way of creating a world and story that feels really real. The plot is original and different. It has social commentary for the time as well allusions to well known people and events of the time period. I love the depiction of society and the way Jo's world and the "real" world contrasts. The storyline is so fluid that it is able to take so many turns. Jo's journey to find the truth about her father becomes this giant thing that encompasses her world. Within this journey to find the truth about her father's death she also finds the truth about love and even herself. She discovers that her world is as broken as the one outside of it, just with a better, more beautiful facade. Jo has been sheltered and protected and has never seen the world for all that it is. She's seen the good, golden, happy bits and through this journey she is able to realize she was right in wanting more than what was being given or rather forced upon her. I love everything about the story line. It is well developed and intriguing, trust me you'll want to stay up reading it! The plot twists are mind blowing!

I can definitely relate to Jo. And I think that's why I love this book so much. Most of the characters are like that. Characterization is on point. You get to see different sides to different characters. Jo is strong but has her moments when she's not as strong. Jo is sweet, but also a badass. Eddie is snarky know it all, but a kind soul. Theres so many aspects to the characters that it's very easy to fall into the story. Like I already said I loved the social commentary and the secondary characters really helped drive that point in. Fay and Tumblr are kids that were taken in by a man and as a result they are forced to steal and the like in order to make him money. These characters where some of the most heartbreaking to read about but also the most inspiring. Fay is one of those characters that while doesn't have a lot of space in the book, makes a really big impact.

As for the romance...not gonna lie I loved it but it's also very frustrating.  Eddie is kind of a jerk at first but once he lets his guard down, he's hard not to love. The love story is secondary to everything else going on in the book, which I loved. It allowed other things to shine and never overpowered the book. It was well developed and sweet. It was a little bit cliche with the whole "not part of the same social class thing" but I think it fit in with the social commentary of the time. I think that this part of the book was really powerful in showing how girls of the time period were treated and how they were stripped of their own free will at times (no matter the social class). Eddie never treats Jo differently, which is a big reason why I love him and why I ship them!

Overall this book is awesome and you should read it!

Letters To December #1

04 December 2015

Dear December,

Life has been all sorts of crazy. It's a miracle I'm even alive at this point. But it's December again and I'm writing to you again. I can't believe it's been a year, so much has happened, so much has changed. I've grown and become a different me than I was last year. 
I'm so glad it's December. I love the chill in the air and the sweaters that come with the gloomier days (although it's always sunny in SoCal). I've been waiting to start my letters to you for a while and I'm so glad to start again. December, you are my favorite month. It's busy yes, with finals and apps to worry about, but there's a certain lightheartedness, a happiness that only really comes out when it's a little colder and Christmas lights up. 

There are so many people that don't like winter. They think it's too harsh, too deadly even. I love it though. I love the dark, long nights. I even can see the beauty in the bear tree's. I think Winter is a time of peace, of reflection, of dreaming. Even as the year draws to a close I can feel myself excited to make the most of the end of 2015.

I've been thinking a lot about the future, or rather fearing it.With one batch of college apps in and another in the works I can't help but wonder how different my life will look like a year from now. I haven't been able to appreciate the time I have because I'm to busy worried about all the "what ifs". To be honest I'm a little scared. Mostly i'm excited about going to college and growing more as a person and student, I can't help but be apprehensive and nervous.I spend so much time thinking about the tomorrows that I feel like I've lost a few of my todays. I want to appreciate them more, especially since it's December, the final chapter of this year.

I guess this letter is more of a mess than I anticipated. But December, I want you to know that i'm excited about what this month will bring. I might be nervous and stuff but I think I can put that aside long enough to enjoy the things I love about this month. Like the hot tea and blankets; the sweaters and scarves; the jolly warmth of coming home after a cold day out; the laughter that comes with playing in rain. 

It's nice to see you,

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