June Monthly Recap


~*~On The Blog~*~
June has been an intense month for me. I started 3 different summer jobs and have slowly been getting into the groove of things. I am loving Nickelodeon and Tor, but I am not loving the constant exhaustion that comes with commuting. Living in the heart of a major city in Europe for 5 months has seriously spoiled me. I think my sleep is still recovering over a month later, and unfortunately this blog has suffered. However, I managed to read a decent chunk this month, so things will be picking up again!

Books Reviewed:
The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - 4.5 stars
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare - 3.75 stars
Books Read These 2 Months:
I have challenged myself to read 75 books this year, let's see if I can! I'll be keeping track in this section.
20. The Graces by Laure Eve (ARC: 352 pages)
21. The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (ARC: 368 pages)
22. 738 Days by Stacey Kade (ARC: 432 pages)
23. Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige (ARC: 384 pages)
24. The Deal by Elle Kennedy (eBook: 342 pages)
25. The Mistake by Elle Kennedy (eBook: 296 pages)
    DNF's of the month 
    1. None
    Total Pages Read This Month: 2,174 pages
    Total Pages Read This Year: 6,219 pages
    Total Books Read This Year: 25
    Total Books DNF'd This Year: 0

    Lili's Travel Diary:
    • I only got one travel diary up this month because I was so busy, but it was my foodie guide to London! I hope you enjoy!
    Discussion Posts:
    • I took a moment to talk about First Day Anxiety when it comes to a new job. I have had many a first day at this point, and my anxiety is always in full swing the first week. I've come to accept this, and, in some ways, even view it as a positive aspect of who I am! 
    • It is currently convention season and I haven't gone to any this year. I decided to talk about it, and I've realized that I'm not as jealous as I used to be!
    • This isn't a proper discussion post, but I did a post about the top ten series I can't wait to binge and I kind of love it, so I'm sharing it again!
    ~*~What I've Been Watching~*~

    Broadway Shows:
    • I haven't seen any this month since it's been a huge adjustment being back, but I've got tickets to see one at the end of July and I am so excited to get back into the swing of things!
    TV:
    • The best thing ever happened and that is the return of Big Brother. I am so into the cast right now because it's a decent house so far, even if Jozea and Paul are absolutely bonkers. This is my favorite show, so I am so happy it is back!
    • The Bachelorette premiered in June and I watched the first two episodes and then gave up. *sigh*
    • I'm still watching RuPaul's Drag Race. I just finished season seven! I am excited to start season eight.
    • I've been religiously watching anything on Nickelodeon for work, so many shows I can't name them all. What an amazing network to work for <3
    Movies: 
    • I haven't seen any movies this month because of the whole adjusting to being back thing...thankfully that'll change in July!

    ~*~Reading Challenges~*~

    Fairytale Retelling Challenge:
    2/10 Completed
    • The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
    • Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
    Flights of Fantasy Challenge:
    8/30 Completed 
    • Remembrance by Meg Cabot
    • A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
    • Perijee & Me by Ross Montgomery 
    • The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
    • Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
    • Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi 
    • The Graces by Laure Eve
    • Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
    Contemporary Reading Challenge:
    8/16 Completed
    • Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
    • When We Collided by Emery Lord
    • Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell 
    • Radio Silence by Alice Oseman 
    • The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
    • 738 Days by Stacey Kade
    • The Deal by Elle Kennedy
    • The Mistake by Elle Kennedy
    Backlist Books Challenge:
    11/12 Completed
    • Edward II by Christopher Marlowe
    • King Henry IV Part 1 by William Shakespeare 
    • The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
    • A Woman Killed with Kindness by Thomas Heywood
    • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
    • 'Tis Pity She's A Whore by John Ford
    • As You Like It by William Shakespeare
    • The Knight of the Burning Pestle by Francis Beaumont
    • Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare
    • The Deal by Elle Kennedy
    • The Mistake by Elle Kennedy
    Contemporary Romance Challenge:
    3/6 Completed
    • 738 Days by Stacey Kade
    • The Deal by Elle Kennedy
    • The Mistake by Elle Kennedy
    Finishing The Series Challenge:
    1/7 Completed
      • The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot
        Do you have a monthly recap or thoughts on anything I'm reading/reviewing/watching? Share your thoughts below! Every comment is greatly appreciated! <3

        Top Ten Series I Can't Wait to Binge

        Top Ten Tuesday is weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

        Today's topic is a freebie, so I am choosing to attack some series that I can't wait to binge. I've realized that I am just so much better a binging series than waiting for the next book. In no particular order...

        1. The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan- I vow to read anything given to me by the author of Percy Jackson, even if it takes a while.

        2. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater- I read book one and enjoyed it, but also found myself thoroughly confused...though I attribute this to the fever I was running while reading it. Now that book 4 is out, it's time for a proper binge.

        3. The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh- This duology sounds freaking amazing. I don't know what else to say. I'm so excited to have it in my life!

        4. The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows- Another duology that everyone raves about. I can't wait to dive in!

        5. The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger- I've owned this box set for years, and it's time to dust it off and put it to good use. Carriger is hilarious and witty, and I always love her worlds.

        6. The Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter- I loved this series growing up, but I never finished it because my memory grew fuzzy. Time to remedy this mistake.

        7. The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski- I read book one and championed it, but was told book two had a major cliffy and to hold off until book three's release. Well, now that it's here, I'm ready for it!

        8. Off-Campus by Elle Kennedy- Everyone needs a little romance in their lives. I think this will be my serving.

        9. Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce- I have read the first book and enjoyed it, but didn't love it. However, the fandom love for this series is ridiculously strong, so I can't wait to get behind it for myself one day!

        10. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir- Hello, fantasy. My name is Lili. I know I will love you, and I'm a bit of a dunce for waiting so long to read you.

        ~*~*~

        Have you read any of your series? What did you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

        Let's Talk About It: Convention Season


        2016 is the first year that I am not attending any of the big book conventions. I didn't attend BEA because I was in Europe, I am not currently attending ALA because I have my internships and no money leftover after Europe, and I won't be attending NYCC because I have so much going on in my last semester of school that I simply won't have the time or headspace to handle it.

        When these realizations hit me, I was initially really sad. Sure, I'll miss the books, but I'll mostly miss seeing all my bookish people that I typically can only see at conventions. And yes, that sucks. But then I realized I don't really miss the books.

        Sure, I asked a few friends to grab me anything that strikes them as a "Lili" book, as I would do for them, but I find myself a bit thankful that I am not attending any conventions this year. I feel an intense obligation and need to read a lot of the books I pick up at conventions, and I also always end up grabbing way too many books at conventions. I never read all of them because I don't have the time and something that sounded interesting six months ago doesn't always seem as interesting to me in the moment.

        For the first time in over three years, my shelves have the space to breathe during convention season and I don't find myself freaking out and pushing myself to read constantly because I feel I have to. I am going at my own pace, picking up books as they interest me, and only requesting my friends to grab me books that I know I will love (unless the plot goes horribly awry). 

        Such a mindset is hugely refreshing, like a breath of fresh bookish air. I feel so much less stress and no obligation, and I love it.

        I can't say I am as sad about missing convention season as I initially was. I simply find myself staying of twitter for a few mental health days instead of fixating on something I can't have. Where's the fun in that?

        ~*~*~

        I used to have major FOMO when it came to convention season, but I feel like I have finally gotten over that. Are you the same or different? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

        Review: The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

        Series: The Fixer #2
        Publication Date: June 7, 2016
        Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
        Reading Level: Young Adult
        Pages: 368 (ARC)
        Source: From Publisher For Review
        The Kendricks help make the problems of the Washington elite disappear…but some secrets won’t stay buried.

        For Tess Kendrick, a junior at the elite Hardwicke School in Washington, D.C., fixing runs in the family. But Tess has another legacy, too, one that involves power and the making of political dynasties. When Tess is asked to run a classmate’s campaign for student council, she agrees. But when the candidates are children of politicians, even a high school election can involve life-shattering secrets.

        Meanwhile, Tess’s guardian has also taken on an impossible case, as a terrorist attack calls into doubt who can—and cannot—be trusted on Capitol Hill. Tess knows better than most that power is currency in D.C., but she's about to discover firsthand that power always comes with a price.
        ~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

        I've got one word to describe my reading experience with this book...Woah. I am sitting there, minding my own business, loving being back in Asher's presence, and Barnes drops one author bomb after the other in rapid fire succcession. Seriously, I saw not one thing in this book coming. It's been over a week and I still can't word.

        This is one of the best sequels I have ever read. Not an ounce of sequel syndrome can be found in these pages, and I just can't even human when I think about it because it was so addicting and fast-paced. Talk about how to write a thriller! Somehow Barnes managed to quadruple the high stakes found in the first book in THE LONG GAME, causing us that much more emotional trauma. All I can say is bravo. Bravo for keeping this cast of characters amazing and strong despite all the bad things that happen to them, and for giving us secondary characters (looking at you, Asher and Vivvie) who are worthy of their own series. One big bravo!

        I will say there was a developing romance in this one too. It took some really interesting turns--by interesting I mean downright shocking--and I liked the added layer to the story. High stakes in life, in politics, in love, in friendship...you name it, and someone was hella stressing about it in these pages. It's part of the reason why this book was so addicting!

        This book is not meant for younger readers. A lot of really intense, dark stuff goes down. I don't want to talk about it without ruining the shockingness (I've decided this is a word!) of it all, but I will say that there are a lot of things left open with this ending in the hope that there will be a third book. Go out, buy this book, read it, become an emotional mess, and buy ten more to force on other people so that we can get that third book!

        4.5 stars

        ~*~Links~*~

        FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for this honest review.

        Lili's Travel Diary #24: London Foodie Guide


        In the beginning of my time in London, I severely budgeted myself when it came to eating out. About two months into my time there, I got sick of saying no to food invites. I decided that this was an area that I'd indulge myself in because I'm only here once. As a foodie, I did a lot of fun research looking for places to eat. This has resulted in this huge guide keeping track of all my memorable outings with my thoughts and recommendations! I hope any future world travelers or my British readers will use this foodie guide as a source of future food-related adventures!

        It's not the fanciest thing to ever exist, but I sure as heck enjoyed eating my way through London and thought this would be kind of fun.

        ~*~*~
        • Balls & Co- This is a meatball restaurant, and I was really excited to go to it mostly because they had a vegetarian meatball dish made out of quinoa, beetroot, and feta! I really enjoyed them, though they're a bit overpriced so I do not see myself rushing back. This is a cute little destination perfect for a date night. Part of the appeal for me, really, was the whole vegetarian meatball thing. Make sure to request their complimentary parsnip crisps when you sit down because they are TO DIE FOR.
        • Borough Market- This is a market meant more for unique eats. I am a fan of the vegetarian Ethiopian stand, fresh fruit stand, home-made pasta stand that I can grab my spinach pasta from, the fresh cheese stands with all the free samples, and the Indian stand that has these fried onion things that are absolutely to die for. This is the market to go to if you want to stock up the kitchen or eat some street food that's a little more unique!
        • Camden Market- The best part about Camden Market is that if you want it, it is there whether it be food or clothing. I LOVE the pasta station here, but also the halloumi wraps, crepe pizza, and freshly squeezed orange juice. A little bit of everything, though it gets super packed on the weekends. 
        • Cereal Killer Cafe- This is a cafe that serves nothing but cereal. It was amazing for me because I went at my half way point here in London, so I was really craving the sugary goodness of American cereal. I noshed on the discontinued french toast crunch cereal and also some cinnamon toast crunch cereal. The best part about this adventure, though, was the stacked hot chocolate...coming in four different flavors, these gargantuan drinks will make any hot chocolate lover swoon. They cater to people with lactose intolerance and dairy allergies, which is a plus as well. If you manage to stop by, I recommend their Camden location over their Brick Lane location.
        • Chipotle- I am only putting this on here because I think UK chipotle is better than US chipotle. The guac is made with Spanish avocadoes so it is A+ and the food tastes so much fresher. I will never look at US chipotle the same again.  
        • Cutter and Squidge's Bakery- This bakery is famous for their biskies which is like a cupcake, cake, brownie, cookie combination. They're really expensive for a tiny desert and not that great. I would instead drop the money on the slightly more expensive but 100% delectable cakes because they are huge and absolutely delicious.  
        • Dishoom- This is a premiere Indian restaurant chain in London that I absolutely adored and it has a Bombay twist. The lines can get absolutely ridiculous and wrap around for blocks, so be sure to save yourself the hassle and make a reservation. I have gone for both brunch and dinner and I am all over it. This is the chain I miss the most.
        • Gourmet Burger Kitchen- LOVE ME SOME GBK! One of the best veggie burgers I have ever had, the Californian, is here. It's a bean burger made up of three different kinds of whole beans with avocado, lettuce, onion, cheese, and a chipotle sauce. My mouth waters just thinking about it. They also have a falafel base for vegetarians and an exclusive summer vegetarian menu. Their non-vegetarian menu is incredibly extensive, and if one of their burger combinations sounds more enticing you can replace the patty with a veggie patty too! I miss this place. 
        • Holmes Fish & Chips- I know you can seek out many fish and chip shops in London, but this one is my favorite. It's on Baker Street, feeding into the Sherlock Holmes fame of it, and was within walking distance of my dorm. I don't eat fish, so I pretty much go for the fish. And for less than three dollars I could get a double size order of vinegar chips and mayo. The guys there loved me so much that they even gave me discounts sometimes, which was wonderful. It was fun to have my own place, you know?
        • Hummus Bros- Avoid the Soho location due to hiked prices, but it's a hummus restaurant. Wraps, bowls, chips and dip...you name it and they do it. They also introduced me to a hummus guac combo that I am now slightly obsessed with. 
        • Ma Pluckers- This is a fried chicken restaurant with crazy popular reviews for its meat-based products. Yeah, I know, what was a vegetarian doing at a fried chicken restaurant? Well, they had a vegetarian supplement for chicken and waffles: fried halloumi cheese and waffles. DELICIOUS and cheap at only 4.5 pounds. And because I am a macaroni and cheese lover, I also had to indulge in their crack'n'cheez: a fried ball of macaroni and cheesy goodness that could have, honestly, served as its own meal. Once again, this macaroni and cheese dish is among London's best according to Buzzfeed.  
        • Maxwell's Bar and Grill- I went to Maxwell's on a mission: have a freakshake. They did not disappoint! They switch up their flavors each week, so you always have to ask the waiter what are the current flavors. They'll set you back 7 pounds a piece, but they are so large they can act as a full meal. They also have Monday Madness where everything on the menu is half off! Wonderful for us broke uni students. 
        • Melt Room- Super cheap by London's standards, you can get a grilled cheese classic or with the works for 4-7 pounds. This is a grilled cheese shop owned be a New Yorker in the heart of London. I went hard and got a macaroni and cheese grilled cheese. Holy cow, my love for this sandwhich knows no bounds. 
        • Mestizo's- I chose this restaurant for my 21st birthday dinner because I have been seriously craving Mexican food. It satisfied my craving, but still can't measure up to the Mexican food I can find in the US. I will say it is among the best I have had since coming here, though. I also was unaware of their *ahem* birthday traditions when I picked this restaurant. Unfortunately, these videos will exist forever.
        • My Old Dutch- This is a British pancake house, meaning it is a creperie. On Mondays everything on the menu was only five pounds (less than 8 dollars!). The crepes are, like, seven times the size of your head, and super filling. I am a fan of both the savory and the sweet. I loved the apple and cinnamon sweet crepe with ice cream and the eggs Florentine savory crepe.
        • Nandos- The chicken restaurant that everyone seems to be obsessed with. I am obsessed with all their sides and I love their caesar salads. Their veggie burgers aren't terrible, but not the best. Either way, every time I stepped foot in here I had to grab myself an order of peri-salted chips. I couldn't not have them. They are literally addicting. I hear there are a few Nandos here in the states in the Washington DC area, but that they have nothing but chicken and no vegetarian options. SO SAD :(
        • Prezzo's- This is an Italian chain here in London. A wee bit expensive, but not terrible for uni students. I went here for a friend's birthday because she enjoys it! It is at this restaurant that I realized no matter what, Italian food here is not as good as in the states. And, seriously, I am struggling to find some properly done pesto! 
        • Rabot 1745- We went here for my friend's brithday brunch. It is a chocolate restaurant! It's a bit pricy because, well, they somehow manage to put chocolate into everything (my toast had chocolate nib butter and my house chips had cacao ketchup), but it's nice for a celebration. You must try a hot chocolate!
        • The Diner- This is an American-style diner chain in Central London that I adore. The prices aren't terrible, their macaroni and cheese is among some of the best in London (according to Buzzfeed), and they have a special line for hard milkshakes and hard teas for those of us that are 18 and over.
        • Tortilla- The UK version of Chipotle that is slightly cheaper. Some people tend to have a preference for one or the other, but I just ate at whichever one I was closer to in the moment. The food is relatively the same, to be honest. At least, in my opinion it is.
        • Wahaca- This is a Mexican chain in the UK created by an ex Top Chef contestant. IT IS SO GOOD! Mexican is hard to come by in the UK, so this is some of the best I found. You order in little plates...so the typical person has 2-4 different things depending on how hungry they are. They have a ridiculous number of vegetarian options that I was all over, which was wonderful. Mexican food isn't always conducive to vegetarianism. I am going to miss this place!
        • Whetherspoon's Pubs- Pitchers of mixed drinks for 6-8 pounds, meals for 4-6 pounds for the most part. Decent pub fare, not OMG worthy, but it's cheap and satisfactory and there are many of them. 
         ~*~*~
         
        Have you ever eaten at any of these places? This list is making me miss London food! It is just so much healthier and yummier...minus the lack of salt! haha

        Waiting on Wednesday #74

        Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

        My pick of the week is...
        Metaltown by Kristen Simmons

        Publication Date: September 20, 2016
        Publisher: Tor Teen
        Reading Level: Young Adult
        Metaltown, where factories rule, food is scarce, and hope is in short supply.

        The rules of Metaltown are simple: Work hard, keep your head down, and watch your back. You look out for number one, and no one knows that better than Ty. She’s been surviving on the factory line as long as she can remember. But now Ty has Colin. She’s no longer alone; it’s the two of them against the world. That’s something even a town this brutal can’t take away from her. Until it does.

        Lena’s future depends on her family’s factory, a beast that demands a ruthless master, and Lena is prepared to be as ruthless as it takes if it means finally proving herself to her father. But when a chance encounter with Colin, a dreamer despite his circumstances, exposes Lena to the consequences of her actions, she’ll risk everything to do what’s right.

        In Lena, Ty sees an heiress with a chip on her shoulder. Colin sees something more. In a world of disease and war, tragedy and betrayal, allies and enemies, all three of them must learn that challenging what they thought was true can change all the rules.

        An enthralling story of friendship and rebellion, Metaltown will have you believing in the power of hope.

        Why I Am Waiting 

        I have devoured everything that Kristen Simmons has written, but this book looks awesome! While I enjoyed THE GLASS ARROW, I liked the ARTICLE FIVE trilogy more, so I cannot wait to see what this one has in store because the synopsis is screaming my name!!!! I don't know anyone who ISN'T excited for this one. Plus, who doesn't love a story with a strong friendship?

        ~*~*~

        Are you equally as excited for this book as me? Is there another book you are even more excited about? Please share your thoughts with me below!

        Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of the Year

        Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

        There are so many amazing sounding books coming out in the rest of the year! It was so hard to pick just ten! You know...aside from this one:



        In no particular order...

        ~*~*~

        1. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab- It's Queen Schwab, do I really need to say anything else?
        2. The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon- Yoon's debut novel wowed me in unexplainable ways, so I am so excited for her sophomore novel!

        3. The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid- I have loved Kincaid since INSIGNIA came out, but this book sounds RIDICULOUS in the best way possible.
        4. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff- Forget the gorgeous cover, just look at the synopsis and begin dying in anticipation alongside me.

        5. Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige- Hi fairytale retelling, please sign me up.
        6. Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge Oh wait, another fairytale retelling by a seasoned pro that has a tendency to skew towards the dark side? Sign me up x2.
        7. Heartless by Marissa Meyer- Another fairytale retelling by a seasoned pro that skews dark?! Sign me the heck up x3.

        8. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake- Blake is amazing when it comes to dakr atmospheres, and I happen to be a huge sucker for dark atmospheres.
        9. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter- A Russian fairytale?! ALL OF THE YES!
        10. PS I Like You by Kasie West- There is nothing like a fluffy Kasie West contemporary.

        Bonus 1: Caraval by Stephanie Garber- I know the book doesn't come out until early January, but I am counting it because it's probably the book I am most excited for.
        Bonus 2: Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi- I have already read this one, so I suppose it does not count. In case you're wondering, I loved it.

        ~*~*~

        Are you eagerly anticipating any of these? Do you have any recommendations for me? Comment below with your thoughts and links to your own post!