Monthly Wrap Up: September 2022

Hey, hi, hello! Where did September go? Does anyone have a clue because I literally blinked and the month was somehow over. đź‘€ I don’t even know where to begin with the happenings this month (mostly because I can’t recall all of it for some reason?) so I’m going to stick to the highlights and keep this life update short and sweet:

  • My 3-months in India came to an end and I flew back to Jakarta at the start of the month.
  • I got to unbox some great book mail from the months I was gone!
  • My cousin got married at the end of the month and it was hella tiring but also wicked fun.
  • Lots of family reunion stuff—it’s been a lot but oh so good to see my aunts, uncles and cousins from the US, Canada and Australia again after years of separation.
  • I got a job as a consultant at the UN—woo for employment! 🥳
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Book Review: The Belle and the Beard by Kate Canterbary

Goodreads: The Belle and the Beard (The Santillian Triplets #3)
Publisher: Vesper Press
Published: 23 April 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

đź“– SYNOPSIS

Jasper-Anne Cleary’s guide to salvaging your life when you find yourself publicly humiliated, out of work, and unemployable at 35—not to mention newly single:

1. Run away. Seriously, there’s no shame in disappearing. Go to that rustic old cottage your aunt left you. Look out for the colony of bats and the leaky roof. Oh, and the barrel-chested neighbor with shoulders like the broad side of a barn. Definitely look out for him.
2. Stop wallowing and stay busy. It doesn’t matter whether you know how to bake or fix things around the house. Do it anyway. Dust off your southern hospitality and feed that burly, bearded neighbor some pecan pie.
3. Meet new people. Chat up the grumpy man-bear, pretend to be his girlfriend when his mother puts you two on the spot, agree to go as his date to a big family party. Don’t worry—it’s only temporary.
4. Cry it out. Screwing up your life entitles you to wine, broody-moody music, and uninterrupted sobbing.
5. Get over it all by getting under someone. Count on your fake boyfriend to deliver some very real action between the sheets.
6. Move on. The disappearing act, the cottage, the faux beau—none of it can last forever.

Linden Santillian’s guide to surviving the invasion when a hell-in-heels campaign strategist moves in next door:

1. Do not engage. There is no good reason you should chop her wood, haul her boxes, or pick her apples.
2. Do not accept gifts, especially not the homemade ones. Disconnect the doorbell, toss your phone over a bridge, hide in the basement if you must, but do not eat her pie.
3. Do not introduce her to your friends and family. They’ll favor her over you and never let you forget it.
4. Do not intervene when she’s crying on the back porch. Ignore every desire to fix the entire world for her. By no means should you take her into your arms and memorize her peach-sweet curves.
5. Do not take her to bed, even if it’s just to get her out of your system.
6. Do not, under any circumstances, fall in love with her.

⚠️ CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNINGS

Sexism, slut-shaming recounted, alcohol consumption, drug use mentioned, pregnancy & childbirth mentioned, grief & loss depiction, recounted death of an aunt and death of a father from suicide recounted

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Monthly Wrap Up: August 2022

I keep asking these questions everywhere and to everyone but someone please tell me, is August really already over? How is it already September and we’re counting down the last few months left of 2022? It really beats me how the year has gone so quickly. August was my last full month in India and it was busy with photoshoots, travelling to Goa for a getaway from city life and to Agra for the Taj Mahal. What a time it has been and I can’t believe that as I’m writing this right now, I’m already leaving tomorrow evening!

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Monthly Wrap Up: July 2022

As I knew it would, July passed by in a blink! The two biggest and most exciting things that happened were reuniting with a bestie after 13 years apart and getting my first bookish tattoo. Ngl, I’m still extremely obsessed with my tattoo and I can’t stop looking at it because I love it so much! Other than that, the weeks have passed by in a blur or going to work, trying to go to the gym as often as possible and being as productive as we can.

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Book Review: The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by Elizabeth O’Roark

Goodreads: The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Devil #2)
Published: 20 January 2022
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

When Drew Wilson’s ex-boyfriend Joel “Six” Bailey asks her to go on his family trip to Hawaii with him just as her life is falling apart, she decides it’s the perfect time to give him another chance.

The hitch? The Bailey family includes Six’s rude older brother, Joshua—a hot-nerd doctor who has hated Drew since the moment they met and once suggested she’d steal the family silver.

Drew is determined to win the Baileys over and give this thing with Six a fair shot…but Joshua is making that difficult. Not simply because he is in her way at every turn, but because—as one tropical adventure leads to the next—she’s beginning to wonder if obnoxious, odious Joshua might be the brother she actually belongs with.

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Book Review: Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?
Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken. Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…
She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.
It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness. Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.

A YA coming of age read that tackles issues of identity, the pressure to succeed, diversity and freedom to choose, Radio Silence is a tour de force by the most exciting writer of her generation.

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Book Review: Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Goodreads: Felix Ever After
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Published: 18 May 2021
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

Felix Love has never been in love – and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalisation too many – Black, queer and transgender – to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages – after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned – Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle . . .

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognising the love you deserve.

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Monthly Wrap Up: June 2022

A part of me still finds it hard to believe that June is already over because it means that it’s almost been one month since I’ve come to India! Since I’ve been here, there have been some really great moments but also challenging ones. It’s been so lovely to see one of my closest friends after years of not seeing each other—she has built a successful business for herself and it’s so awesome to see her thrive and be an absolute boss babe. I’ve really pushed myself out of my comfort zone and it’s been fun and nice to have someone to talk to face-to-face to reminisce and to talk about the future!

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Book Review: Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong

Goodreads: Our Violent Ends (These Violent Delights #2)
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published: 16 November 2021
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

The year is 1927, and Shanghai teeters on the edge of revolution.

After sacrificing her relationship with Roma to protect him from the blood feud, Juliette has been a girl on a mission. One wrong move, and her cousin will step in to usurp her place as the Scarlet Gang’s heir. The only way to save the boy she loves from the wrath of the Scarlets is to have him want her dead for murdering his best friend in cold blood. If Juliette were actually guilty of the crime Roma believes she committed, his rejection might sting less.

Roma is still reeling from Marshall’s death, and his cousin Benedikt will barely speak to him. Roma knows it’s his fault for letting the ruthless Juliette back into his life, and he’s determined to set things right—even if that means killing the girl he hates and loves with equal measure.

Then a new monstrous danger emerges in the city, and though secrets keep them apart, Juliette must secure Roma’s cooperation if they are to end this threat once and for all. Shanghai is already at a boiling point: The Nationalists are marching in, whispers of civil war brew louder every day, and gangster rule faces complete annihilation. Roma and Juliette must put aside their differences to combat monsters and politics, but they aren’t prepared for the biggest threat of all: protecting their hearts from each other.

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Monthly Wrap Up: May 2022

IT’S JUNE!? That’s what has been constantly repeating in my head since yesterday. Wild. Anyway, what was May? May was my birthday month and it was one of the best ones I’ve had in a while because I had online and offline friends that made me appreciate it more. I’m so thankful for all the friends I’ve made on here and I wanted to say that I appreciate you all so so much! đź’ś

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