January 2016 Monthly Recap


~*~On The Blog~*~
Holy cow...It is the end of the January! I cannot believe it. I have been in the UK for just over three weeks. And, fun fact, as you read this post I will be on my first trip out of London since arriving. I am currently on a Saturday-Sunday trip to Wales! AHHHH! This month has been a rollercoaster of emotions, but I am settling in and loving every minute of it. At the bottom of this post you will see my London recap so far. I haven't read much because there is so much to be seen, but this long bus ride to Wales is determined to change that! This month has flown by...and I cannot wait to see what is in store for me next on this crazy adventure.

Books Reviewed:
Remembrance by Meg Cabot - 4.5 stars
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard - 4.5 stars
The Imposter Queen by Sarah Fine - 4 stars
Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan - 3.5 stars

Books Read This Month:
I have challenged myself to read 75 books this year, let's see if I can! I'll be keeping track in this section.
1. Remembrance by Meg Cabot (eARC: 400 pages)
2. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (ARC: 509 pages)
3. Edward II by Christopher Marlow (eBook: 92 pages)
4. King Henry IV Part 1 by William Shakespeare (eBook: 160 pages)
    DNF's of the month 
    1. None
    Total Pages Read This Month: 1,161 pages
    Total Pages Read This Year: 1,161 pages
    Total Books Read This Year: 4
    Total Books DNF'd This Year:0

    The Broadway Review:
    • I saw my first show in London! Perhaps that will be enough to bring this meme out of retirement.
    Giveaways:
    • I was part of The Imposter Queen blog tour and I adored this book! The giveaway for 3 finished copies is almost over, but trust me, you want to enter this one!
    Lili's Travel Diary:
    • I launched my new series with a pre-arrival post detailing what exactly caused me to want to study abroad. And now I am here! OMG, I cannot believe it.
    • Day one in London was really hard, so I used my second travel diary as a way to get the feels out because I was alone and struggling. 
    • However, I did some touristing around London for the first week and things began to slowly look up. Things are pretty great right about now. And I totally got to do some serious touristing.
    • But let's be real, Platform 9 3/4 deserved its own post because this was a fandom bucket list goal that was finally achieved!
    • I haven't experienced intense culture shock the way my friends going to Africa have, but there are some things that are very different in the UK than they are in America, so I did a post sharing 20 pieces of culture shock I have experienced so far.
    • I also had to compare education between the US and UK because now that I am two weeks into classes, I am drawing constant comparisons between the two. I think both countries can learn a thing or two from each other.
    Discussion Posts:
    • I talked about the fact that I was heading to London and my blog would probably experience changes. It's kind of ironic that it took going to another continent for my blog to be ridiculously active again. Anyway, this post launched my new meme Lili's Travel Diary so I can keep track of my travels around Europe.
    • I also took a moment to talk about what I perceive as the downside of ARCs. There's been a lot of drama about ARCs lately, so I just wanted to get my thoughts out. I am curious to hear any comments!
    • My 2015 End of the Year Survey went up and it was super hard to complete since I only read 55 books last year. The shame!
    Guest Posts and Bonus Content:
    • I was part of the Truthwitch pen pal blog tour where I linked up with a UK blogger to ask Susan Dennard a question. It was such a cute idea! Find my post here.
    • I also got to interview Alison Goodman, author of THE DARK DAYS CLUB, EON, and EONA about her latest novel and had a blast. Definitely one of my favorite interviews ever done on the blog!
    ~*~What I've Been Watching~*~

    Broadway/West End Shows:
    • I saw The Master Builder at The Old Vic after a few UK book bloggers were kind enough to invite me. Thank you Cait, Jim, Deb, and everyone else. I had so much fun seeing Ralph Fiennes blow my mind with his amazing ability!
    TV:
    • The Challenge: Bloodlines is coming to an end but it has been a great season. I am not a big fan of any of the remaining teams minus Cara Maria and Jamie so I hope they bring home the W. I am, however, super happy that Bananas and Vince are gone because, dang, did I hate Vince (even more than Bananas!). Their elimination took out all of the entertainment from the show though, so let's see what happens next.
    • My first binge since coming to the UK was Making a Murderer and boy, do I have thoughts. I'll probably be doing a post about this later, but I think Steven Avery is innocent. What about you? There are definitely a few failures in our justice system with this one.
    • I am watching Sherlock as a movie night with a couple of the girls I am friends with here in my residence hall. We are four episodes in and I am absolutely obsessed. I am 100% a Sherlockian, except I think the fandom should be referred to as the Sherlock Holmies thank you very much.
    • I have been streaming a few American Football games because I am so ready for this Super Bowl!
    Movies: 
    • I saw the movie Sisters with Dana before I left for London. It was a lot funnier than I thought it would be, but it does not measure up to the amazingness that has been Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's previous collabs. Also a few cameos from Parks n Rec characters which is always lovely.
    ~*~Reading Challenges~*~

    Fairytale Retelling Challenge:
    0/10 Completed
    • not yet
    Flights of Fantasy Challenge:
    2/30 Completed 
    • Remembrance by Meg Cabot
    • A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
    Contemporary Reading Challenge:
    0/16 Completed
    • not yet
    Backlist Books Challenge:
    2/12 Completed
    • Edward II by Christopher Marlowe
    • King Henry IV Part 1 by William Shakespeare
    Contemporary Romance Challenge:
    0/6 Completed
    • not yet
    Finishing The Series Challenge:
    1/7 Completed
      • The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot
      ~*~Around London~*~
      London, I am slowly falling in love with you. I cannot wait to see more.

      Countries
      I came to England with the goal of exploring 10 countries. Let's see if it happens.
      2/10 unlocked.
      • England- Though I have been here when I was 12, I am counting this because it is my home base and I plan on exploring the heck out of it.
      • Wales- I am currently in you, so more thoughts will be coming later.
      Sights Seen
      • Museums: The British Museum, The Tate Modern, THe Natural History Museum
      • British History: Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, The Tower of London, Kensington Palace
      • Parks: Hyde Park, Regent's Park, Green Park
      • Theater: The Old Vic
      UK Food Eaten
      • Holmes Fish & Chips was cute. Really there's a ton of fish and chip shops around London, but this is close to me on Baker Street and I wanted to say I had a London delicacy, even if I only ate the chips due to my vegetarianism.
      • Wahaca is one of the few Mexican restaurants that you can find in the UK and it is so good! It is created by someone that won UK Top Chef in the past, and the best part is that it is affordable. I will definitely be going back.
      • Gourmet Burger Kitchen gave me the absolute best veggie burger I have ever had. I am definitely going back, even if they make my wallet cry. Thank God for student discounts!
      • Nandos is also a UK rite of passage and I did not allow my vegetarianism to get in the way of experiencing it. Salad and peri fries, I am in love with you. Give. Me. More. Now!

      Food I Cooked
      It should come as no shock to you that I am a terrible cook, but I have vowed to cook more on this trip because I need to experiment and save money.
      • Macaroni and cheese- It was meant to be fried mac n cheese but the fried bit failed so we just had a lot of regular mac n cheese
      • I cooked my first ever omelette! I know that is silly, but it was a big deal to me. haha

      US v UK Food
      This is more a section for fast food comparisons since there's not a lot of US and UK shared foods otherwise, but why not?
      • I had UK Chipotle and I have to say it is better than the US. Firstly, their chips are SO MUCH BETTER! And yes, they are called chips here even though the proper terminology is crisps. Anyway, everything is fresher and I just love it.
      • I also snacked on some UK Shake Shack fries by complete accident and can say they are quite the same as back home. No big difference here.

      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

      The Imposter Queen by Sarah Fine | Blog Tour & Giveaway

      I am beyond excited to finish out The Imposter Queen blog tour for Sarah Fine. She is an amazing author friend of mine that I have been with since book one, and I knew I needed this book in my life the day she told me about it such long ago. Trust me, it lives up to the hype! Check it out:

      ~*~*~

      Series: The Imposter Queen #1
      Publication Date: January 5, 2016
      Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
      Reading Level: Young Adult
      Pages: 415 (ARC)
      Source: From Publisher For Review
      Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

      But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

      Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.
      ~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

      This was one of my most anticipated books for 2016, and I am so happy to have been able to participate in this blog tour. This book was everything I wanted it to be and more with the only disappointment being a few pacing issues here and there. The beginning of this book is especially slow, but it's almost like it is a reflection on Elli's life in the Temple on the Rock because it is such an unforgiving, dark place. 

      At its core, this book seems to take a stab at the crazy concept of fate. Elli was raised under the impression that she would one day become the Valtia and wield a crazy amount of magic to protect her kingdom of Kupari. However, that fated future was brutally ripped away from her when the magic of fire and ice failed to enter her after the death of her predecessor. At its heart, this is a story about a girl struggling to find her place in the world after everything she thought was right proved to be wrong. And the romance, crazy battles, ridiculously interesting lore, and love just make her journey even better.

      I really like Elli as a character. She's flawed, and everyone knows that I love me a good flawed heroine. Her biggest flaw, though, is that she is kind of a doormat at times, but one can't even be mad about that when it becomes apparent that there is no other way for someone raised to sacrifice her life for the good of her people to act. She is strong, selfless, intelligent, and determined to prove herself to the world, and all of that overshadows the occasional frustration of her turning into a doormat.

      Plus, it's hard to not love a girl who is so loved by such an amazing man. I am not going to reveal the love-interest, but I will say he is on Malachi's level for me (the very first male love interest I ever fell in love with from Sarah Fine's SANCTUM), and he is so cool he is ice-cold. What really caught my attention is that there are also traces of an LGBT love story in this novel. I've been racking my memory and I do not think I have encountered any LGBT romances in fantasy recently--most of my ventures have been in the contemporary genre--so it is refreshing to see something so important and beautiful explored in this book as well.

      The lore is worth mentioning too because it is the driving force behind the war that erupts in the pages of this book and it is so intriguing. This lore is so expansive that it seems real instead of something conjured up from the depths of a skilled writer's mind. It explains everything, it is interesting, it is beautiful, and it can also be horrifying. In other words, it is perfect for this world ruled by fire and ice.

      Full of the darkness and grit that has caused me to love Fine's writing style, this new series is one that will appeal to fantasy lovers. Elli and the gang are experiencing some of the most fantastical adventures of 2016, and fantasy readers will revel in its awesomeness while they beg for book two.

      4 stars

      ~*~Links~*~
      |Goodreads|Amazon|Book Depository|Author's Website|

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

      Giveaway

      Simon & Schuster is awesome and they are offering 3 finished copies to 3 lucky winners!

      a Rafflecopter giveaway
      Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

      Lili's Travel Diary #6: School


      As you read this, I am completing my second week of school here in London. I can say it is vastly different from back home for a variety of reasons. I have spoken to some few UK friends that attend other uni's and they say that everyone's experience is a bit different depending on the school, so this is mostly comparing the University of Westminster to what I have experienced back home in NYC. I am constantly drawing comparisons in my mind and trying to explain the differences to curious European residents, so I thought it would be interesting to get my thoughts down on paper.

      ~*~*~*~

      1. Schooling in General
      Uni is only 3 years here in the UK, so even though I am graduating early in 3.5 years back home, I am graduating late in their eyes. Year one is full of level 4 courses, year two is level 5, and year three is level 6. I am dominantly in level four and five courses because of how they transfer, but I am in one level six course and I see the intensity of it in comparison to non-final year courses for sure. It is the class I am most worried about.

      2. Scheduling
      Here, a computer schedules for you. You make a list of about 10 modules (not courses/classes as it is in the states) with your priorities closer to the top. When making this list you do not know when the classes are offered or who they are taught by, just that you have an interest in them and what level they are. Some classes are like my Brands and Branding class where they only meet once a week, so you get that time slot no matter what. Other classes like my Shakespeare and His Contemporaries class meet at two different times on Monday, once on Thursday, and twice on Friday. Which module you get put into depends on where your other priorities lay and how many people are already placed in each class. So you're pretty much helpless to a computer's algorithms. From what I understand, I am very fortunate to have Wednesdays and Fridays off because of this.

      However, I seriously miss NYC scheduling where I create my exact schedule with days, times, and professors I want. I am learning to appreciate The Hunger Games that is NYC scheduling...but it makes my life so much easier! Definitely less stress once you have a schedule made.

      Plus, someone seriously has to introduce Rate My Professor here. It is so under the radar that I pity these poor unfortunate souls that could easily avoid a terror of a prof.

      3. Classes
      I am also noticing that classes are a bit different here. They only meet once a week, whereas they meet twice a week back home typically. Humanities courses are just two hours straight, and since I am used to 90 minute classes back home I truly feel that extra half hour even though a class that meets once a week for 2 hours is significantly shorter in the grand scheme of things than a class that meets twice a week for 90 minutes a pop. These classes are small seminars where you just speak to your professor about the assigned readings/projects as you would in any typical American classroom.

      I am noticing the business courses function differently. The business courses are back-to-back (except not always! I am lucky in that regard) 90 minute lectures and 90 minute seminars. The lecture is typically huge; I have one with 230 students for my Advertising module, and then they split into smaller groups for the 90 minute seminar that follows. It is in the seminar that you review the lecture (which becomes mind-numbing and repetitive) and do any group work. This is also where you present group work and hand in any essays.

      When I have two business classes back to back on Tuesdays, I literally do not like to talk to people because I am so exhausted afterwards.

      4. Professors
      Every teacher here is on a first name basis with the class because apparently they have not achieved the rank of professor yet. It's crazy to think about! They are simply lecturers, and are often referred to as tutors which has an entirely different meaning in the states. This explains why some of the lecturers look so young because you can become a lecturer immediately after leaving uni. My friend Ray who is a regular Londoner did that for biology, after all. I asked someone why they don't like to be called professors, and they told me it is because professors typically teach postgraduate school (graduate school for Americans) and most uni tutors have not earned the title.

      In America, if you are teaching at a college you are a Professor because you have earned the title as part of your preparation for the job. Sure, a lot of profs have PHDs and like to be called Doctor, but many are okay with Professor. In America I have only ever had two professors prefer to be called by their first name. One was the best professor ever who was heavily into Shakespeare and so chill it just made sense, and one was from India...so I suppose this makes sense.

      In the UK there is also a huge diversity among professors. Back home, the only diversity in professors I had was my public speaking professor being from India. My Italian professor was even American! Here I have 6 professors...one is American, one is Italian, one is German, one is Welsh, and two are British (though one mumbles and speaks so fast I have trouble understanding him). It's nice to have such diversity, though it leads to language barriers and lots of opinions that are a bit challenging to accept at times. Americans are often made fun of in many of my classes and I just try to slide down in the back awkwardly willing nobody to look my way or ask me to open my mouth.

      5. Grading
      Grades are so different here! When they first talked about them I nearly choked on my water. It is very hard to get an A here. An A, from what I understand, is above a 70...and a lot of teachers won't even give 80's at all. A 60-69 is still a very good grade, 50-59 a fair grade, and 40-49 is in need of help. However, a 40 is still passing here because it is the equivalent of a D-. In order for all my courses to transfer home I need a D in each, so I am unsure if that is an American D or a British D. Either way, this system throws me off so much. When I heard someone bragging about getting a 68 my eyebrows went into my hairline.

      6. Coursework
      They break down your coursework for you as you pick your modules so there will be no surprises. One of my classes is two 1,500 word essays popping in at 50% of my grade each. Another class is a 25% presentation of 10 minutes, 25% 3,500 word report, and a 50% exam. One class is a 1,500 word essay for 30% and then an in-depth 3,500 word report for the other 70%. The last one is just 50% group advertising project and 50% individual analysis and report. How crazy is that? So much of your grade rides on something so little...with ridiculously small word counts! Back home I am used to 10+ page papers, and here we are talking 2-5 page papers max because if I go over the word count I am deducted points. I have to learn to be as concise as possible.

      While some people think that this would make their lives easier, it is stressing me out beyond belief because there is so little room for error. I can't believe I am saying this, but give me homework and more projects and essays to better balance my grade! And on top of it all I have to learn Harvard Referencing and brush up on my King's English. AHHHHHHHHHHH

      7. Breaks and Exams
      There are only 12 weeks of classes here and each class has 1 if not 2 study weeks at a time of the teacher's choosing, so it's more like 10/11 weeks of classes, which is significantly shorter than the 15 week semesters in the US. 

      On top of that, whereas the US has one week of Spring break, I have all but five days off in April for Spring break. And then the entire month of May (May 3 - May 27) are for exams! I am fortunate to only have one exam, so that's a lot of travel time for me. But, you know, the negative of exams here is that they don't give them in the Fall semester. While that is great for everyone who chooses to study abroad in the Fall, it's terrible for full-time students because if the class has an exam, it happens months later in May! I feel like I would forget everything important by then.

      ~*~*~*~

      I think there are both positives and negatives to UK and American schooling, and perhaps I am clinging to American schooling because it is familiar to me and what I've spent the past 3 years learning. I like how the semesters here are shorter, and I love their breaks and faculty diversity, but when it comes to scheduling, classes, and grading I find myself yearning for home.

      What was your uni experience like? Which way of teaching do you enjoy more? Comment below with your thoughts and, as always, your comments are appreciated. <3

      Waiting on Wednesday #62

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

      My pick of the week is...
      Riders by Veronica Rossi

      Series: Riders #1
      Publication Date: February 16, 2016
      Publisher: Tor Teen
      Reading Level: Young Adult
      For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

      Recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can't remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

      Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen--Conquest, Famine, and Death--are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

      They fail.

      Now--bound, bloodied, and drugged--Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he's fallen for--not to mention all of humankind--he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

      But will anyone believe him?

      Why I Am Waiting

      THE LEGENDARY FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE?!?! Do I need to say anymore?! I do not think I need to say anymore!

      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!

      Review: Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

      Series: Reign of Shadows #1
      Publisher: Harper Teen
      Publication Date: February 9, 2016
      Reading Level: Young Adult
      Pages: 293 (ARC)
      Source: New York Comic Con 2015
      Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

      But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

      With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

      With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best.
      ~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

      Oh, man, it kills me that I didn't love this book as much as I wanted to. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed it, but for the book I was most excited to grab at New York Comic Con this year, I'm disappointed.

      Sophie Jordan builds a ridiculously awesome tale. A blind princess stuck in a tower (ala Rapunzel), forced to hide while the never ending darkness consumes her kingdom. And then a boy comes along, the first boy she has ever met actually, and turns her world upside down. There's even a funny scene where he's naked and she has no idea and oooohhhh the blushes. Anyway, back to seriousness.

      Don't get me wrong, I love Luna even though her name reminds me of my cat. She's an incredibly strong heroine and she does not allow her blindness to hinder her. If anything, she uses it to her advantage to become more in tune with her other senses and really understand her surroundings. She is the type of main character any fantasy reader can get behind. And Fowler is pretty great, too. He's dead inside after losing everyone that means something to him. He just wants to survive and find a glimmer of light in this bleak world. Initially unhappy to be saddled with Luna because bad boys always prefer to travel alone, his heart slowly warms again as he realizes that the light of someone's life isn't always literal. This is a romance I could easily get behind!

      The world is GREAT and the writing is pretty decent too because Luna's lack of sight doesn't hinder the telling of the story. I just love the idea behind this infinite night with terrible creatures that live underground and only come out in total darkness and feed on human flesh. Bats the size of humans flying around and dive bombing critters that hide in the forests? Creepy, yet so intriguing. A crazy King that murdered the royal family to take over the kingdom of Relhok, not knowing the newborn daughter survived and will one day reclaim her kingdom that he has run into the ground. Political intriuge, bloody wars, strong characters, an irresistable romance and a seriously messed up villain. What more could I want? The answer is that I want it all to fit together properly. There are so many amazing elements in this story and Jordan struggles to knit them together to create a properly fulfilling and complete tale. There's something lacking in the world-building, and I can't quite put my finger on it. There are no outright holes, but it's like the netting is sewn together and is barely hanging on.

      My other issue is the predictability. There are certain bits in the story that were very easy to predict, and there's only one huge plot twist near the very end that I also saw coming pretty early on. The foreshadowing is a little too obvious, and anyone paying close attention can guess the twist. It really depletes from the reading experience because it is such an important twist, you know? It's just too obvious to be shocking, so the end of the novel doesn't pack as much of a punch as it could.

      But, if you're like me and find yourself emotionally invested in Fowler and Luna because they're both so dang amazing, this ending is going to make you hurt. This cliffhanger is a heart-stopping doozy, and I am anxious for book two simply because I need to know what happens next--even if the foreshadowing leaves me with a few suspicions.

      All in all, a decent read. Not amazing, but not terrible. It's quick, engaging, and will hold your attention long enough to make you want book two. And with an ending like this, you won't be able to fight the temptation to pick up book two because you'll need it so badly.

      3.5 stars

      ~*~Links~*~

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

      Lili's Travel Diary #5: 20 pieces of culture shock I've experienced so far


      Let's be real for a moment...I don't see myself ever not being homesick on this journey. It is 5 months in a new country that I do not know very well! And I came here expecting to not be as surprised by certain things because, for one, I am going to a city that does speak English, but I am noticing things are very different here. And it's making me miss the familiar a lot.

      I could be sitting in my kitchen eating carrots only to realize I have to go out and buy a tupperware or something for the ones I don't finish, whereas they are just there when I am home. Little things like that are making me miss home, but the culture here is vastly different too.

      I figured it was time to chronicle exactly what I am experiencing because it's hard for me to wrap my head around it sometimes. Plus, someone close to me asked me to make a list to better understand why I have been thrown off so much and I thought it would be entertaining.

      ~*~*~*~

      1. You have to pay for bags whenever you buy things, so there's been more than one occasion that I ended up awkwardly holding things on my way home or wasting money that I didn't need to spend on an extra bag or two.

      2. The tubes are very quiet. People sit and put their music on or read a newspaper or simply put their heads down. You do not speak, and it's so different than back home. If you speak, people will glare at the foreigners because they are so out of place.

      3. Speaking of which, the tube is so different from NYC! I am finding that I've had a decent time navigating it compared to many others because of the rad skillz NYC has instilled in me, but the tube is cleaner, faster, and all around a nicer experience than the subway. But it has so many more issues on the weekend. Right when I think I am getting the hang of it, something shuts down.

      4. I have almost gotten hit by cars a million and one times since arriving. My gut instinct is to look one way when crossing the street when I typically have to look the opposite. Certain parts of London, especially the parts surrounding my uni, have signs painted on the floor saying which way to look but not all of London does. Some streets look like they are one way roads, but are actually two, and some look like they are two way roads and are actually one. It's all so confusing. I'm hoping I adjust to this because it throws me every time I step outside.

      5. It gets dark here ridiculously early! I am talking like 4 PM (or 16:00 as many Brits say) and it's again throwing me off.

      6. If you don't specify that you want tap water in restaurants, they're still going to charge you for ordering a water.

      7. For most places you get charged extra simply for eating in instead of taking out. It's like going out is a grand affair. It's making me lazy and I now spend way too much time in my dorm kitchen.

      8. Contrary to popular belief, fries do exist here in the UK. They're skinnier fries as opposed to thicker-cut fries which are known as the chips we Americans hear so much about.

      9. Learning the difference between a pub, a bar, and a night club has taken me some time, and I am quickly learning that I am more of a pub girl. The drinking culture here in pubs is radically different than at home (more of a have a few beers/ciders/drinks while eating a ton of appetizers type thing) and while I like it more here, I do not see myself engaging in it often for financial reasons, which makes me feel out of place because it is simply something that happens here?

      10. Uni professors can be very young here. When my first professor walked into class I had a conversation with him as if he was a student. Then he stood up and introduced himself to the class (first name basis, no usage of professor here), and I noticed his wedding band...right before he mentioned his child. I have noticed that a lot of people here marry a bit younger at home or there must be something in the water keeping people looking so dang young! Sign me up for this elixir.

      11. On the topic of water...a lot of fellow Americans say it tastes funny here. I sense no difference, but I know quite a few people who have told me it tastes chlorinated to them. It may be because we are drinking lots of tap from the kitchen since it is so expensive to actually pay for water here.

      12. Food is different, too. Yogurt is creamier, hot chocolate tastes better, orange juice cannot even be consumed it's so different, and so much more.

      13. They have certain regular sized supermarkets like at home, but they mostly have tiny express stores on nearly every street that have the essentials to get a week's worth of meals and nothing more. Not what I am used to because it is such a small selection, but I suppose it's all you really need in the grand scheme of things.

      14. I knew coming in that the currency relied heavily on coins, but having one and two pound coins is throwing me off because coins, in my eyes, are change. I feel so embarrassed every time I am awkwardly rifling through my wallet and people start pointing out which coin is what to me.

      15. Everything closes earlier here. A lot of restaurants close between 6-8. A lot of pubs close between 11-midnight. Night clubs and certain bars stay open closer to American hours, but it's like London shuts down at a certain time including tourist attractions. Even the tube closes at midnight!!! The tube! How crazy is that?! I guess I am very spoiled as a New Yorker.

      16. Tea is a way of life here. I am slowly adapting to the fact that I feel incomplete without tea. I've had a professor consume four cups of tea in a single three hour class, and even stop class for an extra break so that they could get more tea. Back home I really only drink tea when I am sick.

      17. Pedestrians do not have the right of way here. If a car is coming, they do not have to stop because it's their right. And it's freaking scary to those of us who are still adjusting. If you get hit, it's your own fault.

      18. London is an expensive city, and I thought I'd be fine because I deal with NYC prices all the time back home, but I was so wrong. I am talking without the exchange rate...because that makes me want to cry even though it's at the best it has been in years. Every time I take out my wallet, it wants to start weeping. I can feel it. And then I do the exchange rate in my head and the weeping turns into gut-wrenching sobs.

      19. Nobody I know has a TV here unless they live at home with their parents, which a lot of the students at my school do because it is such a large commuter city and school. But anyway, in order to have a TV you must purchase a license to have one, and then purchase the TV and everything else necessary to make it work. Call me spoiled, but I am used to just being able to bring a TV from home to the dorm if you want one and have had one every semester because TV is such a large part of American pop culture. It feels weird to not have access to one at all, so I am trying to watch more Netflix but even then I am missing US Netflix a lot. I just miss the act of vegging out in front of a TV and watching stuff.

      20. The people here are a mix of beyond nice or very unwelcoming. In the just under two weeks that I have been here, I have had people stop going where they are going to escort me where I was going because I was lost, and I have been spat at when ordering a drink in the pub as the words "ugh, foreigners" past this man's lips. I am unsure if London has a reputation. NYC has a reputation for being rude when I do not think they are, so now I am curious if London has a reputation at all? The niceness is super welcome and is helping me to feel more at home, but every time I get called a foreigner angrily it makes me feel awkward, which is surprising since this is such a tourist destination. It is not what I was expecting in that regard.

      These are just some of the many pieces of culture shock that have hit me since coming to the UK. I have so many other things to talk about like just how drastically different uni is here than at home, but that's a post for another time. Is anyone else surprised by any of these items on this list?

      The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman Blog Tour & Giveaway


      Before we begin, I have to say I am fangirling so hard to have Alison Goodman on my blog today. She is an ultimate favorite author, and the fact that I got to ask her some questions still blows my mind to this very moment. Learn more about this awesome book and read her even more awesome answers below! Please also enjoy a giveaway courtesy of Penguin Teen.

      About The Book

      New York Times bestseller Alison Goodman’s eagerly awaited new project: a Regency adventure starring a stylish and intrepid demon-hunter!

      London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

      An Interview with Alison

      1. I was so excited to read THE DARK DAYS CLUB because I loved EON and EONA so much. How did the writing process for the two series differ?
      My writing process didn’t really differ that much– I write from the beginning of the book to the end without jumping ahead. My research process, however, was a bit different. The Dark Days Club is historically accurate so I did a lot more cross-checking of facts and reading newspapers and magazines from 1812, the year the book is set. I also read over forty books about the Regency, found moon phase charts for the time, checked weather reports for each day in the book, searched for paintings of real people and places to help my descriptions, and estimated travel times using an old Regency atlas. I also visited London and walked the same streets that Lady Helen walks in the book and visited some of the same shops and parks. I even stayed in her Georgian house at 12 Half Moon Street, which is now a boutique hotel.

      2. Speaking of which, where did the idea for this series come from? I can honestly say I have never encountered creatures quite like this before.
      It was a chain of events that inspired The Dark Days Club. I actually got the idea for the series on a tram in Melbourne. I was going home from a writing conference where I had attended a session called “Researching the Regency”. I have always loved the Regency era—I’m a big fan of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer-- but I had it fixed in my mind that the research would be a bit out of my league. However, the session made me realize that I could, in fact, do it. So with that revelation buzzing through me, I got on the tram, stared out of the window and started to think about the kind of Regency novel that I would like to read now. The answer came very quickly: Pride and Prejudice meets Buffy. I grabbed a pen and paper and started writing down the outline of The Dark Days Club. I don’t want to say too much about the creatures in the novel– spoilers!—but I based them on human yearnings, and they are attracted to certain types of energy within humans such as bloodlust and the desire for pleasure!

      3. Do you think Eona and Lady Helen would get along?
      Interesting question. I think that, initially, the class difference would make things a bit awkward; Lady Helen is a noblewoman and Eona grew up in servitude. However, both Eona and Lady Helen are, at their core, very fair-minded and curious young women, so I think that they would soon start conversing and recognize the essential integrity and courage within each other. They also have a similar dry sense of humour, so that would help too.

      4. What is your favorite thing that you have learned while doing research for THE DARK DAYS CLUB?
      I think my absolute favorite would have to be learning how to Regency dance. When I started going to class, I was so surprised – the dances are far more robust and faster than you see in a lot of the Austen movies and TV adaptations. There is also a lovely sense of camaraderie, and a real sense of achievement when you get the dance figures right. We do a lot of whooping when we get through a whole quadrille (a very complicated dance for four couples). In one of the 1800’s dance books I’ve studied, the dancing instructor made it clear that “whooping and hollering” were not proper behavior for assemblies and balls, so even in those times people celebrated loudly when they got a dance right.

      5. How did you come up with the name THE DARK DAYS CLUB anyway? I’d definitely be drawn to it on a bookshelf.
      In the Regency era, there were a lot of clubs and societies set up for different interests that ranged from gambling , eating beef and drinking port, to more socially useful clubs that helped the poor and educated children. I thought, why not a club for demon hunters too? In my novel, Henry Fielding, the real-life novelist and magistrate, created the Dark Days Club to protect humanity. It is probably a bit cheeky of me to make him the founder, but part of the fun of writing the Lady Helen series is weaving together real historical events and people into my fictional Regency England.

      6. I fall in love with your worlds every time I read them. Can you share any writing advice for aspiring fantasy writers out there?
      Thank you! For me, building a believable world always starts with research. In the case of Eon and Eona, I used the research as a jumping off point to help me create a mythical China and the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. For The Dark Days Club, my research helped me develop a vivid picture of Regency England in my mind so that when I began to write, I had a solid foundation of historically accurate information from which to build my 1812 London. So my first world-building tip would be to research your world. If you decide to have flying horses, then research how that would work so that when you describe one of those flying horses soaring through the air, you have the authority of knowledge behind it. I would also advise aspiring fantasy writers to avoid pages of flat information that have no character action. These are called info dumps and are the fastest way to bore a reader. Instead, drip feed your world and how it works through the way your characters interact with their environment. As we walk through our lives, we don’t notice everything around us; we only focus on what is important to us at the time. The same goes for our characters. Funnel your world through them. Show them picking up a quill pen and realizing that the nib needs to be recut, or walking along a beach and feeling the sharp rocks through their thin soled shoes. Each thing they note or use or have an opinion about helps build up a picture of the world for your reader. Use all five senses –not just sight—so that your reader not only sees the world but can also feel it, smell it, hear it and taste it. It is through the senses that you can create a vivid and truly engaging fictional world.

      7. And for the most important question of all…Iron Man, Captain America, or Thor?
      Thor, hands down. I have to admit Chris Hemsworth might have something to do with that choice…but seriously, Iron Man (Tony Stark) is charming but way too full of himself, and Captain America is so upright and way too uptight. Give me a demi-god with a big hammer any day!

      Thank you so much for stopping by, Alison! I had an amazing time interviewing you!

      Giveaway

      PenguinTeen is giving away a hardcover of this lovely novel to one lucky winner. Enter below, and may the odds be ever in your favor!
       
      a Rafflecopter giveaway

      Lili's Travel Diary #4: Platform 9 3/4


      Friday, January 15th of the year 2016 forever deserves its own post. Why? Because the Harry Potter nerd in me soared to new heights. Ever since Platform 9 3/4 was unveiled at King's Cross I knew I wanted to go, but was unsure if I ever would go. Plus, Warwick Davis who plays Professor Flitwick/Griphook in the movies owns the Harry Potter shop right next door, so even though I knew I wouldn't be buying anything because yikes tourist prices to the extreme, I knew I'd be walking in the steps of someone in a franchise that is very near and dear to my heart. (I also took note of a few things I may come back for before leaving London depending on what my bank account looks like at the time).

      I hit up the platform with five other girls. Only one was as ridiculously excited as me, and the others were more like "we are here so we should do this!" type thing. One girl didn't take a picture with it, which was 100% crazy pants to me. WE ARE AT PLATFORM 9 3/4 QUARTERS! I know it's a tourist attraction, but how can your inner franchise fangirl not be screaming to be let out?

      Oh, well. Her loss.

      I noticed while we were at the platform that my small group kept repeating, "I can't believe we are doing this." To be honest, I was stoked. This has been on my bucket list because these books mean so much to me as a reader...I mean, they helped me pick my chosen profession after all! I wasn't ashamed of being a tourist, and it didn't seem like most of the people ahead of us or behind us in line were ashamed either.

      To each their own, but this is my thing and I wasn't going to let their views on it damper my excitement.
      A tribute to Alan Rickman (Professor Snape)

      Part of the reason I decided to go to the platform that day was because Alan Rickman passed away the day before. I heard a rumor that a small tribute was building next to the platform, and I wanted to be part of it. Sure, I didn't know where to buy flowers, nor can I really afford them, but I stood there and admired him for a brief moment before the guards shooed me away. I know him predominantly as Professor Snape, who a lot of people don't like but I loved as a character because he was so complex. He brought him to life for me and I'll never forget him for that. Of course I've seen him in a million other movies, but that's the role that hit home for me, and that's why I was so affected when I found out about his passing.

      I hear that the tribute is even larger as I write this post, but this is what it looked like around 4:30ish on Friday after I waited in line for a total of maybe 20 minutes. Now it has at least quadrupled in size.

      Of course, I had to take a cute picture with the trolley at the actual platform. While I knew you got to pick your house color for the scarf, I didn't realize you also got to pick a wand if you so chose! I thought people had to bring the wands from home. Anyway, I decided to go with Gryffindor for classic purposes. The Gryffinclaw in me was battling with what to go as, but if I go back to purchase a souvenir I can always pay homage to the Ravenclaw in my that I predominantly identify as anyway.

      They have very strict rules. Left leg up, left hand on the trolley, right hand with the wand, face the professional photographer and not your friends, on the count of 3 smile as I wave your scarf. It's pretty funny, and I have to say I like the picture. But they give everyone the option of doing a jump, too, and that's my ultimate fave and the most liked picture I have ever posted on Instagram. You people get me!

      #Lilicannotjumpatall
      Someone on Instagram commented saying that this is the best one of these they have seen so far, which is super flattering. I was beyond nervous it would come out blurry or something after waiting so long for it. There is a small blur near my back, but my scarf is flying, there's a smile on my face, my hair isn't terrible, my jump seems kind of graceful (what the hell?! I am not graceful at all) and my trolley is taking me through to the Hogwarts Express! You are looking at one very happy blogger.

      I do not have a trip to Warner Brothers Studios booked just yet, but I cannot wait for the chance to go. This small dose of this fandom has made me giddy with excitement. London is about discovering myself and meeting new people, but it's also about indulging a fandom or two every now and then. ;)

      Waiting on Wednesday #61

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

      My pick of the week is...
      The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

      Series: The Girl From Everywhere #1
      Publication Date: February 16, 2016
      Publisher: Greenwillow Books
      Heidi Heilig’s debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City to nineteenth-century Hawaii to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.

      Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.

      In The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility with witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, and enchanting romance.

      Why I Am Waiting

      Three words for you: time traveling pirates. WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT?! Oh, I know, enchanting romance. Oh wait, it has that too! I never knew I needed a book like this until I was informed of the fact that such a book existed. I had the fortune of meeting Heidi at an Epic Reads party at New York Comic Con 2015, and I am so thankful I did because she is freaking awesome. I cannot wait for this book to be unleashed onto the world. I have huge hopes for it. Plus, it's published on my birthday so that means it has to be awesome.

      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 Books Coming Up On My TBR

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

      So I moved this week's topic around a bit because it was easier. Am I going to get into trouble? haha

      1. The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury- This is the only book I brought from the US with me to London. I am 100% sure it is going to blow my mind.

      2. Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman- The fairytale retelling nerd in me is much excite.

      3. Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell- S&S is killing it with the fairytale retellings this season!

      4. Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally- I will read anything Kenneally writes, as she already knows. The teasers she has been sending me for this one have been ridiculous!

      5. The Deal by Elle Kennedy- Dana has told me a lot about this series and even offered to Kindle Share her books with me, so I am definitely going to take her up on that offer!


      6. Proposal by Meg Cabot- It came out today! I cannot wait to read it! I promised myself I would not buy many books in London, but I am springing for this ebook because NEED.

      7. The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye- This looks like a Lili book if a Lili book ever existed.

      8. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab- It's Queen Schwab's return to YA. I cannot resist.

      9. Leaving Amarillo by Caisey Quinn- I have this book directly on my laptop, so something tells me it will be read relatively soon in a boring class. Sorry...okay, kinda sorry...but not really.

      10. Tell The Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan- I cannot resist the temptation! Must. Read. Soon.

      It comes as no surprise to me that this list is dominated by fantasy, but I am pleasantly surprised to see some contemporary romance on here since it is a genre I was hoping to explore more of this year! Do we have any soon to be read books in common? Don't forget to link your own TTT posts below.

      Adult Review: Remembrance by Meg Cabot

      Series: The Mediator #7
      Publication Date: February 2, 2016
      Publisher: William Morrow
      Reading Level: Adult
      Pages: 400 (eARC)
      Source: From Publisher For Review
      In REMEMBRANCE, the seventh installment of the Mediator series, all Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva).

      But when she stumbles across an ancient murder, old ghosts—and ex-boyfriends—aren’t all that come back to haunt her.

      REMEMBRANCE will be the first ever adult installment of the Mediator, published by William Morrow, the adult division of HarperCollins, the company that brought you the YA books in the series.
      ~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

      I have been anticipating this book so much that I decided to treat it as a read-along with my friend Paige so we could fangirl as we read. Best decision ever because this book was everything I wanted it to be and more!

      The first adult installment in this series promised foul language, violence, maybe some sexy times?!, and lots of love, so I was so ready for this book. What struck me was how easily Cabot was able to pick up the story where it left off so many years ago while having a six year age gap in all characters. I felt right at home after reading the opening disclaimer by Meg Cabot that this could be read as a standalone if the reader so wishes. My burning hatred for Paul hit me full force at page one, my love and adoration for Jesse immediately after, my respect for Suze still burned just as strong, my appreciation for Father Dominic and extreme dislike of Kelley Prescott...all the feels were still there. It was all there after years of waiting, like a natural instinct that has laid dormant in anticipation of this moment. All of the characters were consistent with who they were six years ago with an additional ridiculous amount of character growth (shout out to Dopey and Sleepy for surprising me in the most interesting of ways).

      The plot of this book was also significantly darker than all of its young adult predecessors. I felt my skin crawling at certain moments, my heart falling to my toes as I bit back my revulsion. Suze's world has always been dark, but never this dark. It is worth mentioning such things because they can be triggers for some. To avoid spoilers, ignore the following sentence and skip to the next paragraph unless you are easily triggered when it comes to: child molestation, murder, child pornography, and suicide.

      Part of the reason this world is so dark is because Cabot seriously blurs the lines between bad and good, and explores the fact that every good person has a bad streak in them. Both Jesse and Suze cross these lines on multiple occasions, and it gets readers thinking about good versus evil and how perception can really change how you look at a person.

      But, rest assured, Jesse and Suze are still as amazing as ever. Jesse's saving lives and Suze is saving ghosts and they work well together, even if Jesse is a bit too chivalrous at times. Our favorite OTP is engaged and ready to take on the world, their romance is as hot as ever, and Jesse's desire to call a flashlight a cordless lamp still has me cracking up. All is good in their world. Except for the fact that there's a demonic-seeming child haunting Suze, Paul is still be his usual sucky self, Jesse just can't give in to the sexual needs inside him (much to my dismay!), and Suze can't escape her enemies from high school. So, in other words, same old, same old.

      There is only one overarching complaint I have about this book and that is the fact that a very integral plot-line was dropped out of nowhere just because it seemed to suit the characters. I expected better from Cabot! Sure, said plot-line was brought about by Paul who nobody really likes aside from his banter, but Suze spends a good portion of this novel exploring said sub-plot for a while and then it just up and vanished when it was convenient to do so--forgotten when, at one point, it had the capability of demolishing the future she dreamed about. I found this to be very unsatisfactory and also very out of character for Suze, but then again, Cabot also breaks extreme character with Jesse near the end and I can't complain about that moment. I could get past the fact that the first seven chapters of the books are made up mostly of a ton of phone conversations out of annoying convenience to check in with all our old faves than anything else, but I could not get past this.

      In the end, this book blew my mind. I zoomed through it because it was the book I desperately needed without realizing until it was handed to me. Jesse and Suze are one of my all-time favorite couples, and while the ending of book six was satisfactory, this book brings one of my most recommended series ever to a close that leaves me feeling warm fuzzies that will never subside. I am one content reader. The only way I could be any happier is for this series to never end. (Please?!)



       4.5 stars

       ~*~Links~*~

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

      Lili's Travel Diary #3: Touristing around Central London


      Week one has been kind of intense for me. I got sick but was still determined to see London. I find myself kind of feeling guilty for those days where I just wanted to stay in bed because I felt I was missing out on doing things. I keep having to remind myself that I am here for 5 months, not 5 weeks, and will have time to explore when my body wants me too.

      I have been feeling better despite my constant exploration so far. While I have been posting the highlights on my Instagram, I have a more comprehensive photo album on Facebook. Just comment or tweet me if you want to add me and we can figure it out!

      The first bit of exploration that I did with a small group of people was London proper. We had been in London for 3 days and never really felt like we were in London. In some aspects, I keep comparing my admittedly posh area (central London) to NYC, but that's a post for another time. We wanted to see some of the landmarks uniquely associated with London, and it's on this little excursion that I felt like I would hack up a lung, but that I also felt like I was finally in England.
      Buckingham Palace and me in one of my many 50 shades of neutral ensembles
      Our first stop on Monday was Buckingham Palace. I went here back when I was 12 and came to London as a Student Ambassador, so I wasn't as surprised to see it as some of the others. It is known as one of the more disappointing palaces because, well, it isn't stereotypical palace-y. But with that in mind it is still a beautiful piece of architecture. You can see in the picture that the flag is flying which means the Queen was in residence the day I was there. And this is rumored to be a preferred home of the Queen of England, so I say it's pretty grand.


      A short walk away is the world's favorite clock tower, Big Ben. We had no idea where we were going, so we just kind of followed the spire until we found it. I took the obligatory photo on the left next to the phone booth with Big Ben in the background. So London, vair posh. My friend took a nicer one on her real camera since all I have is a cell phone, but I have to say it came out pretty well. While walking in the direction of Parliament and Westminsters Abbey (yes we saw them, I have pictures but they're simply not as pretty as these), I noticed the gorgeous picture on the right where you can see the sun setting on Big Ben and the London Eye in the distance. I've ridden the eye before and cringe at how expensive it is, but I think I may ride it around the time I leave London as a proper farewell. It seems fitting.


      The next day was a relatively calm day. We went to the British Museum because it was free entry. This museum is gorgeous, but I struggled with it. They have many exhibits on the Greeks and Romans, for example, which I see quite often at the museums in New York City. I found myself fascinated by the Egyptian exhibit and waved hello to the mummy of Cleopatra. They also had this really unique exhibit about clocks through the ages, some of which I am still convinced are not clocks. And even a money gallery that featured everything from coins to Harry Potter limited edition currencies and Disney dollars. I was a fan of those sections for sure. I am not the biggest museum person back home, but I want to change that in London.



      Obligatory fish and chips happened on Thursday. We had different plans that involved staying outside but it was raining, so we wanted to be smart about it. As a vegetarian, I only got the chips, but they were so delicious. Baker Street, the street where Sherlock Holmes went on quite a few adventures, is less than a minute walk from my residence hall, so they have a lot of Holmes themed spots on the street ranging from hotels and eateries. It is quite cute. Plus, I knocked out a London delicacy to the best of my veg-head ability.

      Thursday night involved a boat cruise where they take us around the river to socialize with other study abroad students. I can say I wasn't the biggest fan because
      • it was absolutely freezing out and I was still sick
      • a lot of people kind of grouped themselves based on programs and that was that
      • I have never encountered a DJ that sucked so badly
      No, seriously. The DJ played Stayin' Alive on the dance floor! What even. I know there's different music in the UK, but they're not stuck in 1977.

      On the boat cruise we went under the Tower Bridge, and I got the beautiful snap below. I got a shot of me with the bridge in the background, but my face is as red as a tomato because it was so cold, so I am sparing you (and myself) from having to look at it again.

      The Tower Bridge lit up at night.
      On our way back we passed the Tower of London, and being the tourist that I so badly do not want to be but realistically am, I could not resist yet another snap. I will be visiting it next week, I think, and can better talk about it then!


      Classes start next week and I have a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday schedule with my earliest class starting at 1PM. I have to admit I am a fan. While I wish I had Mondays off, my class that day doesn't start until 2 so it gives me time to travel on the weekends and come in on Mondays and I have Wednesdays off to explore London. Plus Fridays off are always magical, especially since it is normal in America and a privilege here in the UK. I am currently pledging to explore a new neighborhood every Wednesday, but we'll see if that lasts or not! haha

      Until next time...

      Lili