Fiction Friday: Brambles by Intisar Khanani (Dauntless Path #1.5)

Brambles by Intisar Khanani

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved Thorn. So it was a no-brainer that I would read this when I found it on Scribd recently.
“Brambles” tells the full story of how Alyrra earned the contempt of her family and even her closest friend.
It’s a story that is briefly mentioned in “Thorn” but while I STILL don’t get the cruelty of those around her (Alyrra did the right thing. Guess that makes us both silly, naive geese. It’s cool. We don’t mind) it was enlightening to see the full story.
The short story took is quick to read but packs a quick emotional punch. We also get to see how her relationship with the magical wind starts.
“Thorn” was one of the last books I truly enjoyed before Covid and “Brambles” really took me back to that feeling of being involved in a story without really realizing you are reading a story.

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Fiction Friday: Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires #1) by Rachel Caine

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Claire Danvers is a college freshman who just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. When she gets on the campus mean girl’s radar, Claire is left beaten and bruised, desperate for another place to stay off-campus.
She finds a friendly face looking for a room-mate but her new living situation might not be any better.
Instead of mean girls and cruel pranks, Claire now has to deal with vampires and magical books. Her room mates are older, nicer and hiding secrets of their own.
I’ve had several books from this series just sitting on my shelf for years (like most of my books do) and boy, do I regret not picking it up sooner.
Morganville is a TOWN FULL OF VAMPIRES. This book is basically everything I wanted and I really hate past me for taking so long to pick it up.
The worldbuilding and backstory of the vampires is really in depth and I loved how the characters all seem pretty well-rounded for supernatural beings.
If you’re a fan of fantasy or fangs, give this a go.

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6 Ideas for Selfcare Sunday

So Selfcare Sunday is by no means a new idea however it is something new for me.

I usually wait until I am close to tears before I decide “That’s it. I need a break.”

By picking a specific day, I know I am going to actually make time for me and I swear it makes the work week easier. Here are 6 ideas on what you can do to carve out some time for yourself. Also side note- it might say Sunday but you can (and should) always make time for YOU!

  1. Enjoy a warm beverage- For me this is either hot chocolate or a second cup of tea/coffee. Nothing brings me more comfort than the feel of a warm mug in my hands. (Often I end up drinking lukewarm tea because I was too busy using the mug to warm my hands).
  2. Journalling- Get out all your thoughts before the week begins so you can start the new week clearheaded and free. Bonus points for writing out your to-do list for the week so when the morning rolls around, you know exactly what it is that you need to do.
  3. Coloring- Coloring is an excellent destresser and a great way to calm your mind.
  4. Have a spa day- Whether it’s just a face mask and moisturizer or a full-on facial, take the time to treat your skin. It’ll feel amazing AND your face will be glowing by the end.
  5. Go all out for breakfast- Treat Yo self. And your tummy. You deserve to be spoiled and what better way that to start your day and your week with a breakfast that you’ll love.
  6. Escape into a book or TV show- Now this is something you all know I love. Watch some Netflix or catch up on your reading. You can escape reality without even leaving your couch.

Do you participate in Selfcare Sundays? What are your Sunday selfcare tips? I’d love to know below.

Fiction Friday: Book Review- My Five Dates (A Love Like That #2) by R.L. Kenderson

My Five Dates by R.L. Kenderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this book partially because I enjoy this series but mainly because I REALLY like this cover. Sloan decides to take revenge on her best friend’s cheating boyfriend but unfortunately gets caught by his brother, Caleb.
Caleb is not a fan of his brother and his crappy behavior. But when he sees the opportunity to get ahead at work with Sloan playing the part of his dutiful girlfriend, he takes it.
She’ll pretend to be his girlfriend to impress his boss and in return he won’t tell his brother about her damaging his beloved car.
They agree on five dates but of course, it isn’t long before they start having genuine feelings for each other.
I loved how this was such a quick read. It was fun and light-hearted and I absolutely adored Caleb’s character.
Definitely give this a go if you want a book that isn’t too heavy and will leave you with all the feels.

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Fiction Friday: Book Review- The Devil Wears Black by L.J Shen

The Devil Wears Black by L.J. Shen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Maddie is a free-spirited, kind-hearted designer who doesn’t know how to say no. Her ex, Chase Black, is a cheating scoundrel who has no qualms about being a jerk.
So when Chase walks back into her life and demands that Maddie pretends to be his fiance, she takes great joy in refusing him. At first.
But eventually Maddie realizes Chase just wants to act out an engagement in order to please his dying father.
Maddie goes along with Chase’s plan in an attempt to help him and his family. But it isn’t long before she starts to develop genuine feelings for both him and his family.
This was very different from L. J Shen’s usual work however I enjoyed it regardless. This was so much less angsty but still very beautiful and well-written.
Chase Black is an asshole but it is hard not to root for him considering his messed-up past with his bro/cousin. Maddie reminded me of Jess from New Girl but she was adorable and I just wanted to see her get the happy ending she deserved.
If you are a fan of contemporary romance, give this a go.

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7 Things You Must Do Before an Interview

No matter how old you get or how far you are in your career, interviews are an unavoidable part of life. Here are 7 tips to help you minimize your stress on the big day:

  1. Figure out where you’re going and how long it takes you-This is especially important if you’re going somewhere you haven’t been before or if the venue is situated somewhere out of the way. Take a drive to the interview venue and monitor how long it takes you. It’ll save you from being late on the day of the interview. And if the “did you have trouble finding this place?” pops up in conversation, you can show that you know how to plan ahead. I did this for one of my earlier interviews and while I did not remain in that position, this was something that impressed the hiring manager (who tracked me down a few months later for another job).
  1. Research the business and if possible the interviewers- check out the company’s website and social media pages to get an idea of their work as well as their values. This helps you to learn more about them as well as see if you fit in with their company culture. If you know who is your interviewer, try to find out more about them too. LinkedIn is great for finding who knows who but you can also try social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Maybe you and your interviewer went to the same university or have similar interests which you can use as a talking point during the interview. However I do recommend confessing to cyber stalking. Remember you are trying to build a connection, not get a restraining order.
  1. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep- Ensure you’re well rested before an interview. If necessary do something the night before to ease your stress such as a workout or meditation. I have a bedtime ritual of tea, face mask and then colouring that always calms me before an interview.
  1. Revise your resume and cover letter- Go over your cover letter and resume, paying special attention to what projects or job roles may help you in this interview. Have you demonstrated teamwork? Excellent leadership skills? Figure out how you can tie your past and present experience into this job role. This is also a great time to practice your elevator pitch.
  1. Pick out a professional outfit- be sure to pick out an outfit that looks professional but is also comfortable. The last thing you want is to be tugging and adjusting your clothes throughout the interview. It’s uncomfortable for you and distracting for the interviewer.
  1. Promote yourself to yourself- An important part of an interview is to project confidence. Remind yourself of all of your amazing accomplishments both in and out of work. Keep a list of everything you’ve done that you’re proud of. You want to project confidence in your interview so it’s important that you remind yourself why you’re so great. 
  1. Prepare questions and your answers- Do your research and prepare answers to some common interview questions. I like to look for general interview questions and as well as questions specific to the field that you’re applying for a job in. Be sure to also make a list of any questions you might have (and make sure they show your sincere interest in the position).

Interviews may be nerve-wracking but with enough practice, you can train yourself to be calmer as well as more prepared.

Fiction Friday: Book Review- A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer (Cursebreakers #3)

A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

IT IS HERE!!! The final Cursebreakers book.
This book has the viewpoint of EVERYONE and I am so here for it.
“A Vow So Bold and Deadly” takes a look at both princes and their attempts at preparing for the war that lies ahead.
Meanwhile, Lia Mara struggles with her people who do not respect her and her wishes for peace. They see her as weak and waste no opportunity to show her that.
What I really liked about this book was that no one was the way they seemed. The unassuming, meek serving girl, the headstrong Princess, the bloodthirsty Prince of Emberfall.
Brigid Kemmerer has a gift for creating rounded characters with real flaws and that really shines out in this book.
I also enjoyed seeing how Rhen and Grey prepared for war, neither of them sure whether they could trust the other or not.
From the very first book, I loved how close these two were and in my heart, I knew this was basically their story. “A Vow So Bold and Deadly” cements that fact.
This was a wonderful read that I enjoyed immensely and I am so sad to be leaving this world behind. Maybe I should go in for a reread?

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Fiction Friday: Book Review- The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

The Devil Wears Prada (The Devil Wears Prada, #1)

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So heads up, this book has very little in common with the movie.
So if you’re looking for the exact same plot line, don’t pick this up.
However if you’re looking for a fun read about a toxic boss, I highly recommend this book.
Andy gets a job as an assistant to the demanding (and probably mildly delusional) Miranda Priestly. It’s a job many girls would kill for.
Andy has no interest in fashion and certainly doesn’t fit in with the glamorous, skinny girls at work. But all she has to do is stick it out for a year.
But as time goes on, Miranda’s demands become more and more ridiculous and the job starts to take its toll on Andy’s life outside work.
I really related to the toxic work environment and loved that it was such an accurate portrayal of how a job can affect you mentally.
This book took me back to my first job after uni and surprisingly, it was a trip I really enjoyed

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Luck and Stuff

I hate talking about my job. Both on this blog and in real life. I know it sounds weird considering I spent months complaining about my lack of success at finding a position in my field. However everytime I’m asked about my job, I get a wide goofy smile on my face and I have to mentally slap myself (“You’re a professional! Act like it dammit”).

That being said there are several days when I can’t believe my luck at finally getting the job.

And that, my friends, is where the problem starts. I keep telling myself how lucky I was to get the marketing internship especially since our company hasn’t had any internal positions in the entire three years that I’ve been there.

While several marketing internships have administrative tasks only, I get to learn new things everyday while also actively learning about paid media.

So yes, in that case I was really lucky. And I really do appreciate it. Except I forgot a vital part of the story up until I overheard a conversation between my mum and aunt.

My aunt was telling my mother how excited she was for my new job and how I was “so lucky”. My mother agreed and then said I worked hard for it.

At this I was mildly confused. Sure I worked hard at my Customer Care job but it wasn’t a tough job. But then my mother continued, “She was always studying and doing things online. She really wanted that job.”

I felt like she was speaking about someone else. I had forgotten about that. I had spent early mornings, late nights, lunchbreaks at work and even a few leave days working on Digital Marketing courses and assignments. It seemed like in the few months that I had the job, I had forgotten what exactly it took to get me there. The months of saving to pay for those courses (my father had paid for my university degree and I wouldn’t let him pay for more studies since there was no guarantee it would pan out), the times with friends that I sacrificed and even the one week leave I took to ensure I had adequate time to complete assignments.

I felt proud of myself but also a bit disappointed. It wasn’t luck. I worked hard and the right opportunity presented itself to me.

I am still so grateful for my job but the one thing I’m taking out of that conversation between my aunt and mother is that no matter what studying further IS important. You never know when the right opportunity would come your way.

We Need to Talk About Toxic Work Environments

Why does no one talk about toxic work environments? We need to talk about the feeling of dread and despair in the bottom of your stomach when you realize it’s time to return to work.

That feeling of being so exhausted no matter how much sleep you try to get. Eight, nine, ten hours…it’s no use. You’re still drained. Emotionally, mentally, physically. Sleep. Diet. Exercise. Nothing seems to help.

You don’t have the energy to do anything but no matter how much you try to “rest”, your body is still exhausted. It’s like your body decided one day to just give up.

We need to talk about that feeling of walking on eggshells, of working constantly and hoping that nothing you do or say will get you in trouble. That feeling of being watched, that feeling that someone is waiting for you to make a mistake so they can pounce on you.

That feeling of hoping that with all the hours you put in, all the exhaustion you’re feeling, you DON’T make a mistake because if you do that could cost you your job.

We need to talk about watching our friends and colleagues being forced out of jobs and fired. That feeling of heartbreak for them and their families. And then wondering, is it better to be forced out? Is it better to be left without an income but with your mental health scarred but not totally damaged. No, not yet. Or is it better to have money and watch as your mental health declines and slowly by slowly you lose all sense of self?

That feeling of seeing friends leaving jobs they’ve held for years and years just because your job has turned toxic. That hurt in your heart knowing that it was not supposed to be like this. That something somewhere has gone terribly gone.

But you don’t know what the issue is or how to fix it. So you sit quietly and you drag yourself to work. You walk on your eggshells and you hope for the best. That something someday will change.


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