Book Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

The Ruby Circle is the sixth and final installment in Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines series. It picks up about a month after where Silver Shadows ended. Sydney and Adrian are living in the Moroi court, the only place where they can be assured protection from the Alchemists, who are still intent on punishing Sydney for her marriage to Adrian. Meanwhile, everyone is searching for Jill, who disappeared without a trace at the end of Silver Shadows.

Like the previous two books, The Ruby Circle is told from both Adrian and Sydney’s perspective, and Mead continues to handle the dual perspective well, staying true to the inner voices of the characters that we have come to know over the past five books. We also see how Adrian’s continued hallucinations of Aunt Tatiana speaking in his head are affecting him, and how much he continues to struggle with his use of Spirit.

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Book Review: Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Tell the Wolves I’m Home is Carol Rifka Brunt’s debut novel, and what a debut it is. I picked this book up on a whim—I was intrigued by the title and wanted to know what it meant. What I got in return was a book of such beauty and heartbreaking emotion that I will be recommending it to anyone who will sit still long enough to listen.

The novel centers on fourteen-year-old June Elbus, who lives in New York City in 1987. June is something of a loner, a girl who spends her afternoons wandering in the woods, imagining that she is living in medieval times. Nobody understands her quiet like her uncle and godfather, Finn. But when Finn dies, a void is left in June’s life that she thinks she will never be able to fill. That is, until she receives a package from Toby, a man she has never met. The two strike up an unlikely friendship, and June soon discovers that she isn’t the only one who cared about Finn.

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Book Review: Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover’s Maybe Someday delivers all of the elements that I have come to expect from this bestselling author—a likeable protagonist, rounded characters, and heartbreaking conflict—as well as compelling twists that kept me hooked from start to finish. Maybe Someday begins with 22-year-old Sydney finding out that her boyfriend has been cheating on her with her best friend and roommate. The novel opens with a scene of Sydney, who finds herself to be a “purseless, crying, violent, homeless girl,” sitting in the rain with nowhere to go now that she has to leave the apartment she shared with her traitorous friend.

In the same apartment complex lives Ridge, an attractive musician who plays his guitar on his balcony almost every night, and someone that Sydney has noticed from afar. Soon, their lives are intertwined in complicated ways that neither of them could have anticipated, and they find themselves having to make some tough choices.

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How to Study Abroad

by not making the same mistakes I did.

So you want to study abroad. Maybe you’ve always dreamed of perfecting your French in Paris, or studying Pride and Prejudice near the birthplace of Jane Austen. You are not alone. Many, many college students dream of studying abroad, and each year thousands of students pack their bags and head overseas.

Once upon a time (okay, like three years ago) I was planning on studying abroad. I got pretty far into the application process, but because of a few, very avoidable mistakes, it ended up not working out. The problem for me was that, as a first-generation college student from a working-class family, I didn’t know anyone who had studied abroad before, and I was hopelessly lost when it came to making the kinds of decisions and doing the sort of planning that you have to do in order to study abroad.

I did learn a lot from this ordeal, though, and today I want to share what I learned with you in hopes that it will help you to get on that plane and make those study abroad dreams a reality. But please remember, I am by no means an expert. These are just some things that I picked up when I was trying to arrange my own study abroad. Every experience is different, and your experience with study abroad may be very different from what I talk about here. At the bottom of this post, I have included some links to other resources to help you in your plans.

(Please note: All of the information here is primarily intended for US college students. I don’t know how much of this will apply to students outside of the US.)

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Book Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

In his book, The Book Thief, author Markus Zusak does what many writers can be hesitant to do: tell their story through an omniscient narrator. Luckily for readers, Zusak’s choice of narrator pays off. The Book Thief begins in 1939, and follows the life of young Liesel Meminger, a German foster child living under Hitler’s reign, whose desire for knowledge leads her to steal books any chance she gets.

The omniscience of the narrator gives an original perspective on the events that unfold in Nazi Germany. Rather than tell the story through Liesel’s eyes and risk creating a biased or narrow point of view, Zusak is able to use the more unbiased omniscient narration to simply lay out the “facts.” Zusak uses the narrator to invite the readers: “If you feel like it, come with me. I will tell you a story. I’ll show you something.” And that’s exactly what happens. The reader is shown Liesel’s story, the story of one small girl, living her life amidst the greater context of the evil happening around her.

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