This was the year I got more into book blogging. I used to share musings about small parts of the books I finished–not necessarily on what the book was about but just on whatever I latched on. But lately I’ve been practicing writing book reviews that actually cover what the books were about and/or how they made me feel. This was also the year I joined NetGalley, which I learned about from Heather @ Of Beauty and Happiness. NetGalley is a community of publishers, authors, and reviewers who work together to share upcoming releases. Anyone with a platform (other than/in addition to Goodreads, like a blog or Youtube channel) can be a reviewer. As a reviewer, I am so lucky to be able to receive egalleys to review before publication, and that has definitely encouraged me to read more this year! I’ve read one less book than last year (which was annoying because 28 is a prettier number and it allows me to collage a 4×7 image for this blog post), but I’m happier with my book choices. Less fluffy reads than last year.
– I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. –
Inspired by the secret life of the author’s grandmother, Lotus follows a young woman as she defies her fate and escapes to the city and all it holds for her—be it love, danger, or destiny.
Surviving by her wits alone, Lotus charges headlong into the neon lights of Shenzhen, determined to pull herself out of the gutter and decide her own path. She’s different than the other streetwalkers—reserved, even defiant, Lotus holds her secrets behind her red smile.
The new millennium should’ve brought her better luck, but for now she leads a double life, wiring the money home to her family and claiming she earns her wages waiting tables. Her striking eyes catch the attention of many, but Lotus weighs her options between becoming the concubine of a savvy migrant worker or a professional girlfriend to a rich and powerful playboy. Or she may choose the kind and decent Hu Binbing, a photojournalist reporting on China’s underground sex trade—who has a hidden past of his own. She knows that fortunes can shift with the toss of a coin and, in the end, she may make a choice that leads her on a different journey entirely.
Written with compassion and vivid prose, Lotus was inspired by the deathbed revelation that the author’s grandmother had been sold to a brothel in her youth. With compelling insight, Lijia Zhang reveals the surprising strength found in those confronted with impossible choices.
I was hanging up photos in my apartment when I realised that I hardly have any new photos with my college friends, and I hardly have any photos of me period. What I do have a lot of photos of are of staged and edited scenes of food, cafes, and travel that are… pretty, if I do say so myself.
What I love about these photos I’m sharing today that Ami took for me are how #candid they are. I always laugh internally whenever I use the word #candid, because my friends can all recall how I’ll take photos of them and then scold, “Be more #candid!” You know it’s all about that #aesthetic hahh.
These photos aren’t taken in the best lighting and make my bathroom look super jank, but they make me so happy.
I’m sat on the sofa in a position that to any other would look contorted, but to me is unexplainably comfortable. With the house still in the quiet hours of the morning, I’m curled up with my iPad, catching up with my Bloglovin’ feed. Every so often the calm in my heart will be interrupted by the slow internet connection in China, I’ll swear to take my daily Bloglovin’ time away from my morning ritual for as long as I’m in China, but then the page will load, and I’ll forget everything I just thought.
A cup of tea would be nice right now, but I haven’t yet figured out where the family has been keeping the kettle, or the tea for that matter. A lot has changed since I’ve left for college. Not sure what the breakfast situation is with everyone at the moment (whether or not they’re at a period of eating breakfast or skipping it). All I can find is a stale box of Lucky Charms. I’m not sure if it’s expired or if they’ve just forgotten to seal the box. I spy a box of chocolate truffles that look safe, so I’ll have one for breakfast, at least until the rest of the family wakes up and can tell me where the edible food is.
When I’m done catching up with my Bloglovin’ feed, the family is still in bed, so I pull up a book on my iPad and keep reading until I get distracted by my own thoughts, most likely a blog post idea or the beginnings of one. I’ll set down my iPad, reach over for my laptop, and start writing, something like this.
How has your month been?
(In chronological order.)
Memorial Day weekend // I love the little snapshots from throughout the weekend and the memories associated with them–the exposed brick, the musicals, the cooking, the baking, the friends; the mix of food photography, moody photography, and casual group photos.
Living off my reserves // A good book, a moment of realisation, and some more quotes.
“hack”MIT // My first hackathon, so that was pretty big. Also lots of tomfoolery. And some quality photos taken with my fancy camera. I think I’ve relied too much on my iPhone camera these past few months.
Cookie butter freakshakes // A day of indulgence with my girls.
Autumn // Appreciation post for my beautiful, magical campus. A blissfully happy day with my girls. Blessed with autumnal sunlight. It was one of the few times I set out explicitly for a photoshoot–not to cafe crawl, not to experience and tour Philly, but just to take photos. I hope to do this more often in 2017!
DIY reusable Soylent bottle // An “inside” joke in Christmas wrapping. Just for gags. A fluffy, spur-of-the-moment post written for no other reason than to indulge myself. I think I’m clever.
What was your favourite post of 2016?
This might be a little excessive, but there’s something so gratifying about seeing ALL the things that have made me happy in 2016. Yes, there have been many setbacks, but there is also so, so much to be happy about.
When I woke up to the droning of my family’s snores, I pulled up YouTube in hopes of drowning them out. I was watching a Zoella vlog in which she realised there was only one week until Christmas. After an hour of lying in bed catching up with my YouTube feed, I crawled out to take a shower and get ready for the day. Whilst showering, I had a realisation of my own: it was Christmas day!
Completely slipped my mind. Honestly, I think I’d be completely fine if it were just perpetually the third week of December, the height of the anticipation for Christmas (at least for college students, because the first two weeks of December are hell).
Then a few minutes later I had another realisation: it would be the New Year soon! I’d been counting down to Christmas since October, but for some reason I didn’t realise that the Christmas-time-of-year was also the New-Year-time-of-year. I hadn’t thought of any of the typical year-in-review or [insert blog category here]-in-review/round-up blog posts. I hadn’t thought about what I’d want to do for 2017’s 52 project. I hadn’t thought of any New Year’s resolutions or themes for 2017.
But imma do my best to catch up now.
I’ve never done one of these before, mostly because I didn’t think anyone would bother filling it out, but I’ve always been curious, and I’d like to grow this blog with the help of you all! I tried to keep it short and sweet; it only looks long because of the font size and because I listed out all my social media lol. Answer as many or as few questions as you have time for. I’d honestly be happy if I receive even ten feedbacks. Thanks tons!!