A Summer Half Gone Update

So I guess this is an update post of sorts, haven’t done one of these in a while.

I missed YALC this year, for those from the land across the pond whom may have no idea what it is (although I am aware that some people make their way here for it) , it’s basically the British equivalent of BEA, but it’s YA galore. So I missed that, mainly because I currently have a lot of dates with trying to persuade myself that it’s not worth giving up on the medicine dream, and trying to study for the upcoming 2 hour hell that I’ve booked to sit on the 18th of September; the hell is called the UKCAT, and is basically the test that most universities look for when distinguishing between candidates… And let me tell you, I do not want to see more circles and squares in my life or Venn diagrams for that matter.

But also because I just didn’t think I would be up for it life and self-wise – I’m generally struggling a wee bit when it comes to motivation, and I think the lack of posts on this blog illustrates that very well. I will, however, try to at least keep the Saturday posts going – I know I missed a weekend, but it was a busy weekend so I hope I’m forgiven.

Book wise, I actually haven’t felt the need to buy books in a while. I think the last title to appear on my shelves was Lord of Shadows which I didn’t even buy for myself… But I did receive City of Circles by Jess Richards courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton/ Sceptre which I’m very much looking forward to reading.

Overall, I can’t say this summer feels much like a summer at all, with various trainings, courses and now regular shifts at a local-ish hospice – I think that’s something I’m going to have to get used to as I transition out of the routine of school and enter “the real world” as some people like to call it.

So yeah,  this blog will not be abandoned – fear not. i'll be back.gif

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SO I WENT ON A TOO LONG HIATUS

So this post is an apology of sorts I guess, at one point during the last few months I went through a period of just not wanting to post – I would use the excuse of exams, I really would, but my real AS level exams totalled to a small number of 3; and started and were over with before I even knew it… As for mocks, they did add a bit of stress to the whole ordeal, and they’re not over yet – and yet I’m still writing this post so clearly… I really can’t blame school for my hiatus. shame.gif

At points I wished to have a slightly psychotic nun above me forcing me to do a metaphorical blogging walk of shame, but I didn’t and so  I dragged my absence out a little more than I intended to.

And honestly, at the start of it all I didn’t expect it to last so long, but I’m also not going to lie – at some points I didn’t expect to be returning at all. It seemed as though all the joy was sucked completely out of reading and blogging followed suit. And voilà! It resulted in a very demotivated Ola and no new content on the blog…

 But with time I discovered that I didn’t have to limit myself to the books I had been given to review (and often prioritised over books which I actually wanted to read for my own personal satisfaction, because y’know – logic) and discovered a new genre that it turns out I actually really like reading,  which is not only good because it helped me get back into reading, but because it involves medical and scientific books it will also help me with my chosen career path – so it basically did a very good job at killing two important birds with one stone.

Speaking of medical books and medicine, I might post a review of the books I come across from that genre here and there from now on, and I might start documenting my own journey into the medical world, as long and as complicated it may get – but who knows, maybe someone out there will relate to it, maybe it can help someone. But most importantly, I’d like to have something to look back to.

But of course, I am not about to forget the real reason for which this blog was created, to share my passion for reading – and now to share my journey to refinding and refueling that passion. I did come up with some ideas for an original series of posts that I might do at one point or another which will allow me to get my creative juices flowing – which is also something I’ve greatly missed during my leave.

In basic terms, I want this blog to feel like something that I actually created again, and not something pieced together from posts I was in a way, obliged to do. I think I’m ready to come back to this blogging thing, but this time – it will be on my own terms.

A huge thank you to those who stuck around during my little blunder – I will try my very very best to not disappear without a warning again.

“Per Aspera Ad Astra”

Red Rising, Pierce Brown

Joining The Pre-Ordering Wagon

I have never been hyped about a book enough to warrant even thinking about preordering it…

 I know. I know. Awful, flawed human being that I am I have just never sat and thought “hmm, that book is going to be absolutely amazing, I can tell already let me just go on Amazon/TheBookDepository/Waterstones.com and….” yeah, no – that has never happened.

I mean, of course, I do read ARCs that are at times incredibly amusing and I can tell that the proper edition of the book will be amazing, and I can tell that it will eventually end up in my little collection (by little I mean spanning approximately half of my bedroom wall) and yet I was never tempted enough to pre-order it early, even when there were numerous mentions of SWAG and other benefits… Pre-ordering? Not for me.

Or so I thought…

Until this mother trucker came along:

strange the dreamer

Image credits to Hodder & Stoughton

 

Could I resist the blue sprayed edges? The gold foil? The premise of the book?

Absolutely not. I didn’t even try – I knew I had to have it the moment I first lay my eyes on it, and I was going to do anything to get it too (and I mean anything).

This sudden newfound resolve to acquire the book by any means necessary wasn’t helped by the fact that I found out I’d have the opportunity to meet the author on her UK tour, this just fueled my excitement even more, because I’d get to meet the creator of some kick-ass books. I’m currently on a re-read of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and am planning to read the other two in the trilogy as well as Strange The Dreamer before seeing her – perhaps big goals for someone who barely reads anymore, but we can dream – eh?

So yes, I have finally gotten rid of my prejudice towards pre-ordering books AND I’m going to an author event (which is a rare occurrence, usually happening somewhat biannually?) both of which I’m really excited about, so that’s something I wanted to share.

Have you read any of Laini Taylor’s works?  Better yet, have you been one of the lucky few to read Strange the Dreamer early? Are you also going to meet her (I’ll be going to the London event if anyone is going too) or have met her in the past? Drop me a comment 🙂

Discussion: Blogging Burnout

SO this has actually been an issue of mine for quite a long while now and I guess that this post is also an update of sorts as well as a discussion.

I do not know why, or how, or when but at some point along the line I have started viewing this whole blogging thing as a chore more than anything else.

The enjoyment of it seeped out, leaving me where I am currently: unable to think of ideas for more original content (instead of just reviews, although those seem to be received quite well by my audience – so big thanks for that) and with very little will to blog at all – because without new ideas, is there really a point?

BUT for some reason I cannot bring myself to do anything about it – I’ve heard of people taking hiatuses to focus on their lives, and if  I was being honest I could probably do with one of those seeing as there are a lot of things going on at the moment. From deciding my entire future in the next 6 months and keeping my grades up to a high enough standard to allow me to pursue my aspirations in medicine, to my private life and all the issues that may arise in that from time to time, one could definitely say that I have quite a lot on my plate. And okay, maybe in retrospect this period of my life won’t seem at all that bad but currently, it is a lot to deal with and I can’t say I feel like I’m doing a good job balancing the whole thing.

And yet even with all that going on in the background, I still continue to write my blog – so maybe not all hope is lost in that respect. Although in recent days I have also hit a major reading slump to the point where it has now basically been two entire weeks since I touched a book…. which, uh… yeah doesn’t help the feeling of utter uselessness when in comes to this whole blogging thing.

So I guess the real point of this post was to open it up to you guys: have you ever experienced something similar to my situation, or maybe just a plain old blogging burnout? How did you deal with it – are there any tips that you would tell your past self now that could possibly help me as well? 

2016 End of Year Survey 

So 2016 is (finally) over. And I don’t know whether to be happy or sad – whilst the year had definitely kicked the global butt, taking lives and stealing hope from many-  it brought about changes for the better in my life, which I honestly could not be more grateful for.

Anyhow, I have chosen to do the 7th Annual End of Year Survey for this year, an idea that was created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner – I loved how it really made me think about my year last year so I thought that it’d be nice to give it another go!


2016 Reading Stats:

Number of Books Read: 69/50

Number of Re-Reads: One (I should probably raise that number a little in 2017, there’s so many worlds I’d like to visit again).

Genre You Read The Most From: YA Fantasy


Best In Books:

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

This is honestly the hardest question.  From 2016 releases – it’d have to be Radio Silence by Alice Oseman and backlist… definitely Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I think anyone close to me must be sick of hearing about this particular book by now.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

STEALING SNOW by Danielle Paige…. Honestly, the book was so bad compared to my expectations of it I was almost on the verge of huddling in the corner with a blanket weeping… I honestly expected it to be great due to the prospects that the synopsis offered. But –

no, it's not. It's not okay.gif

You can read my review of it here.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

I was actually really surprised that I liked a John Green novel, mainly because An Abundance Of Katherines  actually doesn’t follow the “John Green Formula” that his other books tend to religiously.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Definitely Red Rising for this one again. I even got some very non-bookish people to read it – an accomplishment I am incredibly proud of if I’m entirely honest.

 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

So I won’t include 2017 releases in this question… although I probably would .So Lady Midnight by Cassie Clare was my best series starter, it honestly made me want to return to the Shadowhunter world ASAP. I have high hopes for Lord of Shadows. The best sequel would definitely have to be Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. Pierce Brown wrote a masterpiece of a series ender though, taking the cake with Morning Star, I could not be more happy with how the story ended – and that is a rare thing for me to say.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

everyone gif.gifNo, honestly… I can’t pick. Basically all of the books I have read and loved in 2016 were books by authors that I had not read books from before. So honestly…. I cannot pick.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

This would definitely have to be Hello Me, It’s You by Hannah Todd. To be fair, I have never read a similar book in the style, so that’s why I have chosen it for this question. I would give it ALL OF THE STARS because it truly was a masterpiece in its own right and made me bawl my eyes out from cover to cover…

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Either Red Rising again, or if we’re going to be more original on this question and include a new book which I loved too – Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo would be the one. So much action, so much thrill, I only put it down once to eat and didn’t want to either.

9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman, I have yet to review the book because I could not give it justice with my words at the time I had read it. But I think a re-read would be best before I do.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

lady midnight cover

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Vivi from When We Collided has stuck in my head indefinitely. She was so vibrant and so alive in the novel that I still cannot quite get over her story… and how it ended.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

the-star-touched-queen-cover

The metaphors and style of this book were really pleasing to read.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

Hello Me, It’s You again. Honestly, the book made me reflect on so many aspects of my present, past and future life… I could not recommend it enough.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

The entirety of the Mara Dyer Series by Michelle Hodkin. Those books came out years ago. And I hadn’t read them until Summer 2016 which was a great mistake because  I actually really liked them.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

“Fear is a phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return.”
Leigh Bardugo, Crooked Kingdom

or

“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”
Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

Bardugo is truly a genius when it comes to writing. I could have picked many more quotes from the duology with ease.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

Shortest: History by David O’Hanlon – 52 pages. Longest: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – 698 pages (which is much shorter than I expected my longest read to be really)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

The Deviants by C.J. Skuse. SO MANY PLOT TWIST. SO MANY FEELS. No need to say more (but my thoughts on it can be found here)

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

KAZ BREKKER AND INEJ GHAFA (Six of Crows). MATTHIAS HELVAR AND NINA ZENIK (Six of Crows). STEFFI AND RHYS (A Quiet Kind of Thunder). I have a lot of feelings, okay?

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Frances and Aled from Radio Silence. Honestly, I could not contain my excitement when I found out that the love between them was of the platonic kind. Finally an author that understands that maybe, just maybe a guy and a girl can be friends without wanting to get into each other’s pants at any given point….

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

 

the problem with forever cover

Yes, I know Jen features on this blog a lot. But I do honestly love her work.

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Okay, this isn’t a book that got 5 stars from me. But the word solely was highlighted in the question. And a fellow ginger bookworm had recommended Last Will and Testament to me, and I thought it was decent if I’m honest. Despite it not really being my usual reading material.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

I CAN’T. DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE. nuh uh.gif

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

my kind of crazy cover

Although it was hard to believe that this was a debut novel because of how well-written it was.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown. That world is still ingrained into my brain in vivid detail and probably won’t be leaving anytime soon. Especially given the fact that we will hopefully be receiving another series set in the same world sometime in the not too far (we’re talking couple years max. hopefully) future.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

The Six of Crows Duology. The jokes and easy banter these characters had between themselves made me chuckle rather loudly at times, probably alerting my family to my weirdness.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

all of them.gif

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Blue Waters by India R. Adams – I had never heard of her books before I was contacted to review them. And I am honestly so glad that I had.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Either Hello You, It’s Me again for this one (I think the bawling my eyes out as an answer to the earlier question may have hinted at this) or Radio Silence. Both honestly made me think slightly too much which ended in a cryfest.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

I don’t know how he does it. Patrick Ness is yet again the answer to this question with The Rest of Us Just Live Here. The book was the right amount of wacky with a good balance of well-handled execution of anxiety and OCD in a character.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

When We Collided made me mad with its ending. But I have gradually come to accept it, so I can’t say that it made me mad in the bad way. Stealing Snow however irked me to the point I saw red…. so I can’t say the same for that particular novel.


Your Blogging/Bookish Life

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?

It would have to be the blog of one of the nicest people I’ve met because of blogging this year. Namely Sally over at TheDarkDictator. Her blog is honestly everything I would want mine to be!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

My review of Something In Between by Melissa De La Cruz was probably the most entertaining to write because I do like meself a good rant now and then. And it provided me with an opportunity to do so. You can read it here.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

The “I Dare You” Book Tag was really fun to answer – I honestly haven’t had more fun writing a post in a long long while.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

The Howler Party back in February was honestly one of the best evenings of my entire 2016 blog-wise. I had so much fun, met so many great people and I feel like it honestly helped me get over my fear of talking to people in the book blogging community at least partially which was rather nice and felt slightly monumental.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?

Most of it really, I love having the opportunity to converse with authors of my favourite novels more often than I had dreamed it possible. Also, meeting all the great people I had this year at the events I attended – those were definitely the best things that the blog has brought me this year. As well as the ability to  continue  sharing my passion with people.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

I’ve talked about this in my previous post. But it’s either been finding motivation or time. Both of which have been in scarce supply. But I think I’m managing.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My discussion on the existence of the Middle Book Syndrome proved to be quite popular. Followed closely by the “I Dare You” Book Tag.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I mean, this technically had nothing to do with books, or seemingly so anyway. But I sort of wish my Writing Prompt post got slightly more love (or even criticism if I’m honest… I want to know if I’m doing an alright job at this whole writing thing before embarking on a novel writing escapade)

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I haven’t actually discovered any new stores or sites this year that I wasn’t already at least aware of. Perhaps you could recommend some down in the comments?

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?2016-goodreads-challenge

I think you can say that I have 🙂


Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?  

I’m now starting Lucian Divine by Renee Carlino, which is a January release that I wanted to read in December but didn’t quite have the time.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?lord-of-shadows-cover

Or Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor, but it felt like cheating to put that first because I have already read it.

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I cannot wait till everyone reads Caraval by Stephanie Garber because it is definitely a special book that I absolutely loved reading and I think that people will definitely enjoy it. But as for a book that I have yet to read. An Empress of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza intrigues me.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

See the above. Lord of Shadows needs to be in my hands like, right now.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

Definitely read more, and blog more – try to find the spark that made me want to blog in the first place again.

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

Either the aforementioned Caraval, or A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard. Or Frostblood by Elly Blake. Something for fans for different genres. Honestly all 3 of them have gotten close to or 5 stars. I have yet to review them, but they will definitely get good reviews once I do.


So I guess that’s my 2016 Survey done, it was definitely fun to compare this to my 2015 one and see all the differences between the years. So much has changed, so I am definitely looking forward to doing this again next year!

Happy Birthday To Me! (And To This Blog)

So it’s a Wednesday, which actually thankfully coincides with the day I post and the 2nd Blogiversary of this blog- making my busy, shit-storm (pardon my French but there was no eloquent way of putting it) last week of term slightly easier.

So it’s a Saturday now, and I haven’t wanted to post on here in a while. My absence, whilst probably only noticed by a few has been deliberate, in truth – I do not feel the desire to blog lately and this post is taking me much longer than it possibly should.  It was supposed to be posted on the 14th of December, and yet here we are, ten days later with it still in the editing stages.

I can’t actually believe it’s been two years since I first decided to post on this very website. It feels like much longer sometimes, but then others it feels like only a few months.

I guess that’s because over the last few months (or this year in general really) I’ve started taking the whole blogging thing more seriously, trying my best to keep to all the various schedules and blogging more etc. etc. with varying degrees of success – but I definitely put in a valiant attempt at the whole thing.

And I mean, that all counts for something…right?

Or at least it did.  Until pretty much now where I’ve started questioning it all.

But I mean, I cannot take for granted the things I have been able to do/ learn through blogging. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people; authors, publicists, booksellers, and bloggers alike and honestly it’s been a wild ride because I am an extremely awkward person when it comes to new people (to the point where my opening line once was “HI I’M RATHER AWKWARD AND KNOW NO ONE HERE SO MIND IF I HANG WITH YOU GUYS?” said in a slightly panicked/manic/crazed voice – but hey, no one judged which was great).

I also learned time management, to a certain extent – I mean, I will still do school work the night before it’s due, but hell – I will not allow it to get in the way of me posting even if that means procrastinating both while having the title of a biology essay as well as an unfinished post draft open and unfinished in front of me for hours. But hey ho. I’ve managed to agree the two somewhat this year, surprisingly also around exam time when I learned to be slightly more efficient with my time use which is definitely a good thing.

 I guess I just hope that this learning curve will continue to extend, but it’d be nice if it only extended in the upwards direction and not in the squiggle it seems to have been doing these past few weeks.

I’m definitely thinking of minimising the amount of books I review from publishers, I’ve made mistakes when I first entered the realms of NetGalley, which is the greatest invention going really, but I honestly shouldn’t have requested all those goddamn books which I’m now not sure I really want to read which has actually landed me up in an uncomfortable reading slump over the past year at various points. I’m thinking of taking reading back to the few review copies I’m lucky enough to get given by publishers and the few books I really CANNOT wait to read till after release. Most importantly though, I want to go back to reading books which have been on my to-read for a while but have been shoved to the back of the pile by the review copies my request-happy, younger, silly self decided to acquire.

I’m hoping that the above will enable me to enjoy this whole thing more, perhaps even as much as when I first decided to take blogging on as a hobby after ditching my other ones (I used to draw and write a lot, but both of which I have decided to retire for a variety of reasons which I couldn’t possibly name). Because despite wanting to delete this site at times, I don’t think I’m quite ready to let it go yet, and both my metaphorical and physical voices of reason have tried (and succeeded I guess) to convince me to continue it, at least for a little while. To the voice of reason that actually reads these, thank you – I think I would have had many a regret if you hadn’t been there.

So I guess

happy birthday to me.gif

and to this blog, and I’d like to say a huge thank you to those who have been here throughout the last two years, and there are definitely a few- thank you for sticking by with my hectic attempts at writing my posts and let’s hope for a few more years of this whole blogging thing.

“If I waited till I felt like writing, I’d never write at all.” 

-Anne Tyler

Writing Prompt: Describe A Person You Admire

I’m currently undergoing some sort of reading and blogging slump and it was suggested to me to try something a little different. A while ago in my English class, we were asked to write a piece on a person you admire, and me being the indecisive person that I am, decided to do it on authors – because why not nerd out in an essay if you’re given the perfect opportunity to? And I guess this post will be a slightly more reviewed version of that.

I cannot say if this feature will become a regular thing on my blog in between the usual reviews and general booknerdery, but this week I just couldn’t bring myself to write another review, so I’m sorry for anyone who has come here expecting this. I’m willing to take any criticism and comments on this particular piece, any ideas for improvement are welcome.

I will hopefully be returning with a review next week, but in the meantime – here goes nothing!

thumbs up gif.gif


When I met one of my ultimate, all-time favourite authors, I was disappointed.

Not because he was some grotesque, unpleasant person (because he truly was the opposite of both of those things; thankfully, I might add) but because he was… well – just an ordinary man dressed in equally normal jeans and a shirt who sounded much alike any other American I had ever come across.

And yet that didn’t stop me from becoming an incoherent, rambling mess when conversing with him on a pleasant night of ‘partying’ (if one may call a gathering of bloggers who ate flying saucers whilst discussing books and the like partying – if you can, then please invite me to more parties) in Central London.

Whilst ink had flown through my veins from a young age, begging to be released in the form of words on paper, I had never been able to achieve what my role models seemed to be doing with ease – creating something so alive and furiously vivid that it stayed in people’s minds and thrived on for long after they had closed the covers.

What more, allowing them to find themselves in the characters, so carefully crafted to give the transcendent illusion that they were not alone at that moment in time, or ever – making them realise that other people out there were struggling with the same problems and that there was a possibility that these issues could be overcome if they kept trying and stayed alive to see the sunshine at the end of the storm. That the end of one story didn’t have to mean the end of a beautiful series, and that any potential evil could eventually be overcome if enough sarcasm and wit and strength and friendship was applied.

If I was being honest, I would say that books had helped me too in that way, giving me the power to continue through life and dispelling the notion created by Disney that I would need a prince to come and save me, and making me realise that I, myself could achieve it.

All of this because of tattooed corpses of trees…

So when I met the creator and mastermind behind a particularly beautifully crafted tale, I was  disappointed, for I had expected a god-like giant of a being, possibly with a golden aura radiating around him and a pet Pegasus at his feet for ease and convenience of travel. And definitely not a human being who spent the night chatting away and answering each of our weird and wonderful questions with patience and care, whilst making everybody present feel welcome. (And looking back, I am in a way sure that this disappointment was for the best, for I think that the internal screaming would have reached dangerous levels had it been otherwise).

Despite these differences from the concept created by my imagination, I could simply not deny the fact  that he had still created the world that I had gotten lost in, a world that had open my eyes to new possibilities, a world that made me challenge some ideas I had not had the courage to do so previously, a world that had made me cry, and laugh – sometimes simultaneously in a strange flurry of emotions. Most importantly, he created a world that has stayed with me since then, reminding me of its words of wisdom such as “Per Aspera ad Astra,” in times of difficulty and need and comforting me with the knowledge that for the most part, whatever happens , the most important things in life will turn out all right.