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Month: February 2017

Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin

Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin

Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. LaskinRonit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin
Published by HarperCollins on February 21st 2017
Source: edelweiss
Pamela L. Laskin’s beautiful and lyrical novel in verse delivers a fresh and captivating retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that transports the star-crossed lovers to the modern-day Israel-Palestine conflict.

Ronit, an Israeli girl, lives on one side of the fence. Jamil, a Palestinian boy, lives on the other side. Only miles apart but separated by generations of conflict—much more than just the concrete blockade between them. Their fathers, however, work in a distrusting but mutually beneficial business arrangement, a relationship that brings Ronit and Jamil together. And lightning strikes. The kind of lightning that transcends barrier fences, war, and hatred.

The teenage lovers fall desperately into the throes of forbidden love, one that would create an irreparable rift between their families if it were discovered. But a love this big can only be kept secret for so long. Ronit and Jamil must face the fateful choice to save their lives or their loves, as it may not be possible to save both.

I received this book for free from edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I will be the first to admit that poetry and I are not necessarily friends. I have never really read a book that is entirely in verse (except for like the Odyssey and a couple others for school). It’s something that I’ve been curious to try and something that always intrigued me. That said, I’m not sure this was the right book to start with.

There were some really good moments. There were a few passages that I really enjoyed and thought were pretty beautiful. They were what I would expect poetry to be. They invoked feelings and a sense of something other than what you were living (if that made any sense).

Beyond the good moments, there were a lot of issues for me. For one, it was REALLY hard to follow the story. It seemed like the poems/chapters alternated POV between Ronit & Jamil, but you never really knew whose poem was whose. The later parts had their names associated with the poems, so I’m not quite sure why that hadn’t happened in the earlier parts.

Another issue I had was that I had no clue about what was going on. It was supposed to be a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. There were times where you could pick up on the families not wanting them together, but that was it. I never really connected with the characters or even the characters connection with each other. It just never fell into place for me. It was hard to know what was going on and what the plot was. It just felt really basic and didn’t really hold much substance for me. Having read what I have in terms of a story being told with verse, I know it’s doable to have more substance and plot and connections.

I was also really curious to see a classic story told in a modern time area that I haven’t really read about (the Middle East). For me, this could have taken place really anywhere. The location could have been another character (in a sense) and it just never really happened.

Overall, this book did let me down. Had it not been such a quick read I probably would not have finished it. I can’t really say I would recommend it, but poetry is very much interpretive so if you enjoy poetry, then give it a try! You never know!

priority 10(ish) for 2017

priority 10(ish) for 2017

I have been in a bit of a blogging slump. I’ve been reading the same couple of books for a bit now so I haven’t been able to really read any review books. I want to continue to push myself with writing and posting at least once a week so I’ve had to get pretty random. My last post was about starting a bullet journal and that inspired me to share the top 10(ish) books I want to read in 2017!

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin → This is one of the books I am currently reading and it feels like it is taking forever! I think the fourth book in the series (A Feast for Crows) really killed it for me. That book was such a pain to get through that I’m definitely dragging my feet with this one.

East of Eden by John SteinbeckI love Steinbeck (yes, even Grapes of Wrath) and I’ve never read this one so I really want to give it a try!

Columbine by Dave CullenI’ve been wanting to branch out and read more nonfiction and this topic is one I’m interested in. I never really knew about Columbine until I was in high school over 5 years after this happened.

Once and For All by Sarah DessenI really feel like this needs no explanation. I love Sarah Dessen and have read all of her previous books so I’m just pumped for a new one!

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson MandelaI got about half way through this probably 5 years ago or so and had to return it to the library and just never finished it. I now have a copy and really want to give it another go! I love Nelson Mandela and I think it would be interesting to see how things went down from his point of view.

The Sword of Shannara by Terry BrooksThis series is one that my husband grew up reading. We watched the show together and it peaked my interest so I decided I wanted to read the series as well! This first installment is one of the books I’m currently reading that has been fairly slow going so far.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater → I loved the first three books in this series and was so excited to get my hands on the final installment. That said, I still haven’t picked it up! I’m torn between rereading the whole series or just picking up this last book. I’m a little reluctant only because I don’t want the series to be over!

Paris by Edward Rutherfurd → I am obsessed with Paris and one of my personal goals is to travel there (technically for the second time). I of course picked this book up because it’s about Paris and there’s history (which I love). I just haven’t picked it up yet! I hope to change that this year.

So there you go! My top choices to read this year! (minus 2 that I already read – go me) I’ve definitely noticed my reading preferences change as I used to primarily read young adult, but I’ve been picking up more and more adult fiction. I like it! (I still love my young adult though.)

bullet journaling

bullet journaling

I feel pretty bad that I haven’t really reviewed any books here for a couple weeks. I haven’t really read any review books recently and the books I HAVE read aren’t really any that I have thoughts to share. So I decided to talk about something pretty random – bullet journaling! (if you couldn’t tell by the title… lol)

I dabbled a bit last year with a bullet journal and used a grid composition notebook. I wasn’t really fancy with it or anything. I liked the concept of it, but I just… didn’t like the work you would need to put into it to make it pretty like the journals/spreads you see on Pinterest and Instagram. As a result, I basically stopped using it!

I’ve always been a notebook person and I enjoy writing things down, but I never succeed in finishing notebooks or anything. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and have a hard time having a bunch of errors in my notebooks/planners as well. It’s something I’m working on and I think I’m making improvements!

I started using a planner at the beginning of the year and I’ve actually kept up with it! I’ve been using it for over a month pretty much everyday and I’m hoping that continues. I also started a notebook to use as a way to be more detailed in my days and thoughts and lists and I’ve been using that for the last month as well!

With my recent foray into Youtube, I’ve discovered (rediscovered) bullet journal videos. I’ve really enjoyed watching them because you can see a wide variety of styles and you can see that other people may make mistakes and they just roll with it. That has really helped me to embrace the fact that a bullet journal DOESN’T NEED TO BE PERFECT. Those videos have really helped me overcome that hurdle in my brain.

I’ve also discovered a whole community of ‘minimalist’ bullet journals. They don’t really get very creative, but they keep it very functional. I like it! It’s the style I would probably end up doing since I’m not good at doodling or writing in specific fonts or anything. I like simple and clean lines. I already know I would include pops of color, but that doesn’t distract from the minimalist style.

So… yeah. I’ve decided to give bullet journaling a try again! This time, I’m pretty dedicated to things and I ordered an actual dotted page notebook (the Leuchtturm 1917) and I will be setting up and starting it for March! I’m pretty excited. I’ve already figured out what collections I’m going to start with and what kind of layout I’m going to start with.

I hope to make it a combination of my planner and my journal that I’m currently using so I’m not having to switch between two notebooks. I do want to use it for actual journaling – not just planning and tasks and stuff. It’s been helpful to have a place where I can get my thoughts out and work through things on paper. I’ll probably incorporate work a little bit, but I’m not sure yet. We’ll see!


Sorry for the randomness of this post. I haven’t posted in awhile and this was a topic I’ve been wanting to talk about for awhile, so here we are! lol

challenge check in

challenge check in

So… I have a challenge problem. At the start of this year, I said that I was going to cut down on my challenges and goals and what not so as not to overwhelm myself. That didn’t really happen! Like at all… lol. I’m here to kind of check in and see where I’m at on my goals and kind of reevaluate where I stand and what not.

Blogging Goals

My first goal for 2017 was to post at least once a week. I’ve been pretty consistent with that, but I haven’t really been reviewing many books (due to the fact I haven’t been reading many review books). I’m okay with that, but I hope I can get back on track. I haven’t really been ensuring each post being over 500 words anymore. I do aim for a decent length and definitely a substantial post, but I’m not really paying attention to word count as much as I started out the year. So far I seem to be right on track with my blogging goals so that’s nice to see! Most times people fall off the wagon or slack off or what not by the end of the January so I’m happy I’m keeping up with things.

Reading Goals

This is definitely where things get interesting for me. I read WAY more than I thought I would in January so my main instinct is to raise my goal. However, if the end of the year is anything like the end of last year, I’m right on target.

overall goals

17 | 120 books → Like I siaid, I am WAY ahead, but I always have a slow down in the end of the year.
6,706 | 36,000 pages → I’ve read more pages than anticipated as well. I have been averaging about 394 pages a book.
12 | 60 female authors → I kind of figured that this goal would be an easy one to knock out, so I’m not really surprised where I’m at for the year.
03 | 48 male authors → I’m pretty okay with my progress here! I don’t read near as many male authors as I do female authors so it’s good to see progress. I just need to keep it up!
03 | 48 new to me authors → I want to say this one shocks me a little, but when I look at what I’ve read so far, I realize how much rereading and series installments I’ve read so that definitely takes away from this goal.
03 | 36 standalones → I am right on target for this one so I just need to keep it up! I’ve realized just how many series I read/start though.
03 | 36 review books → This is another goal that I need to keep my focus on. I go through phases of reading review books and I am currently in an off phase. I just need to make sure to not fall behind.
06 | 36 physical books → I’m a bit ahead here, but I’ve been focusing more on ebooks in the last couple weeks so I think everything will even out.
00% | 50% of what’s added to TBR in 2017 → Yeah… I need to get on this one. I’ve added like 20 books to my TBR and haven’t picked up a single one! Including review books was probably a not so good idea. 
01 | 08 completed series → I’ve been able to complete one series already and I have another one about to wrap up also! I think this is certainly achievable this year.
0 | 4 classics → I’m not necessarily behind, but I need to read one soon.
0 | 4 nonfiction books → As with the classics, I’m not behind, but I need to make sure I don’t fall behind.

reading challenges

I’m making good progress (like really good progress) on all my reading challenges. It’s nice to get ahead so I know that if life gets in the way, I could possibly still finish all my million reading challenges! (more like 25) lol


Overall I think I’m in a good place! I do need to slow down on my buddy reads and the fantasy before I get burned out. I think once we get a bit more into the new year things will lighten up as people kind of slow down and get back to the real world (myself included).