Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (My Thoughts)

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What a legendary start to an incredible book series! Rather than writing a review, I’ll be writing about what I thought about this amazing book because there is quite honestly no way I could adequately review such a renowned novel. First off, let me just say that I know that I’m most definitely late to the party regarding reading this novel, but better late than never, right?! I was hooked right off the bat as JK Rowling just has a way with words that is so eloquent and imaginative.

My favourite part of this book (and believe me, this was hard to decide on because I loved the whole book) was when Mr. Dursley was purposefully trying to ensure that Harry did not read the Hogwarts letter. The lengths he went to, so as to ensure that the letters did not reach Harry, are quite hilarious. But how can a muggle match up to a wizarding school? He actually thought he had a chance in making sure that Harry never received his letter. As if!!!

After reading the first book, I would say that my favourite character by far was Harry Potter (surprise, surprise)! I just love his personality and how he defeated ‘You Know Who’ when he was a baby. Let’s see if my favourite character changes once I read the next book.

I’m the kind of person who reads a book before watching the movie, but this wasn’t the case for this series unfortunately. I watched all the movies (not in chronological order) prior to deciding to read the novels. I truly regret this decision because I know tad bits of information about the future storyline while reading, but this does not hinder my curiosity to keep reading and immerse myself in these books. Now that I’ve started reading the books, albeit quite late, I have decided to read the book first and once I’m done, I watch the movie with my family to clear up any questions I had regarding the things I didn’t understand when reading. I feel as though this is the best way to truly understand and enter the wizarding world.

I guess you could say I’m a little obsessed at this point. I get so excited when I pick up the book. Reading is a fabulous stress reliever for me, now that university is back on. Reading these books helps me escape the real world, even if it’s just for a few hours, and I couldn’t ask for anything better.

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What I Learned in 2017

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2017 has been a pretty significant year for me. I have started to rethink what I want to do with my university degree, I’ve struggled a little closer to the end of the year, however I have also learned a ton this year. This short post will concisely go over what I’ve learned this past year, and a follow up post will be uploaded later which will outline my hopes and plans for 2018.

Importance of spending time with family and friends.  I’ve realized that family and friends should always come first and work / school should come after. I feel so at ease when I spend time with them and doing so just makes those stressful times all the more bearable. Time is truly valuable, and you won’t get that family time back in the future.

Have a designated time in the day to do something you enjoy. Some things that I enjoy doing is reading, watching movies / tv shows and spending time with family and friends. I’ve found that doing something I enjoy allows me to take a break and recharge for what’s ahead. It’s okay to take a break and gather yourself.

When it comes to university, I realized the importance of understanding concepts rather than little details. Although understanding concepts may be incredibly time-consuming, everything will come together in the end. Chasing good grades is not the way to go. Rather, chasing genuine knowledge and understanding what you’re learning is of utmost importance because the good grades will follow and you’ll have increased knowledge at the end of the day. 

School is important but your health is far more important. When you feel yourself getting stressed, take a break because there’ll always be one more test or assignment that you can work on to improve your mark. One bad grade won’t ruin your life. It has taken me a while to realize this and I’m so glad that I finally did. To take care of my health, I relax with family and friends, read a good book, go to the gym for a good workout or just totally disconnect from social media and meditate. These methods have proven to be incredibly effective in me taking care of my health.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post and I also hope that your 2017 was full of life lessons and self-improvement. Stay tuned for my post on my plans for 2018. Here’s to 2018!

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Toronto Diaries (1)

Who doesn’t love to visit the city in the middle of finals week to relax, spend time with great friends and eat good food? That’s exactly what I did last week when I went to downtown Toronto to check out the Christmas Market, various cafés and the renowned Eaton Centre Christmas tree. I hope you enjoy reading this post and the pictures that go with it. Many of these pictures are taken by the super talented Rafia (InstagramTwitter & Blog), be sure to check out all her pages and give her a follow!

Copy of Happiest of BirthdaysMy friends and I woke up bright and early to go downtown by train. It was a really cold, snowy day which was totally perfect for photographing the city. It was snowing quite a bit and the weather was truly frigid, but we were ready for it!

Once we got to Toronto, we stopped at Versus Coffee to have some morning coffee. Versus Coffee is the cutest café I have ever been to, and the drinks there are absolutely delicious. I got a cappuccino and a chocolate chip cookie, and my friends got a campfire latte (with marshmallows) as well as a hot chocolate. T’was a great way to start the day!

After having a good breakfast, we decided to walk around the city and take some pictures. Toronto has some fabulous architecture and the following pictures are a mix of ones that my friend and I took. You can click the images to get a better view of the pictures.

Next, we headed over to the main attraction which was the Toronto Christmas Market. We went during the day, and honestly I think it would have been way better to go at night because the Christmas lights would have been on and the market would have most definitely looked better. Nonetheless, the Christmas Market was definitely worth the long walk in the cold as the poutine and mini donuts we had were amazing. Below are a few pictures my friend and I took!

Hope you enjoyed these pictures! Head over to my Instagram & my friend’s Instagram for more pictures from our Toronto adventure!

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Cannot Wait Wednesday!!! (4)

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Wishful Endings! This is where bloggers discuss the books that they’re excited to read, as well as those that are not yet published. This meme is a great way to inform others of books that are yet to be released, and to hype the books up!

As I have been looking for a variety of books to put on hold at the library for the new year, I thought it was fitting to write a quick post on a book that I’m looking forward to read in the near future. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn is one book that I’m super excited for! The following is a short excerpt of the novel from Goodreads:

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What did she see?

It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.

Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.

But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?

This summary is giving me creepy, thriller type vibes, and definitely sparked my interest.  I really like the cover of this book too, but I know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. What do you think of this one? Link your CWW posts below too!

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Liebster Award

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I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by the amazing Shaiz from Simply Shaiz! Thank you so much, I truly appreciate it! Please check out her fantastic blog. 😀

This award is awarded to bloggers for recognition and appreciation of their hard-work. I am so grateful to have been nominated, it means so much to me.

The rules for this award are as follows;

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show off your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started/give advice to a new blogger.
  • Answer the questions included below.
  • Select 5-10 bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and include the link to your post.

I literally wrote about how my blog started in a previous post, so if you would like to read about it, feel free to check it out here!

I will now answer the questions that Shaiz had for me.

  • Do you wish you started blogging sooner?

I feel as though everything happens for a reason, so I don’t wish that I started blogging earlier. The time during which I started was when I began reading books again and wanted to write reviews about them, so I think I started at the perfect time. 

  • What is your favourite childhood memory?

Visiting London is my favourite childhood memory. I absolutely love that city and everything it has to offer and I cannot wait to go back very soon.

  • What is your absolute best time of the year?

Definitely the winter once it starts snowing. It means that Christmas is nearly here and that it’s the winter break during which I can relax and watch Christmas movies.

  • What was the latest post you read about?

I honestly cannot remember which blog I read this on, but it was a travel post on the blogger’s trip to Bali, Indonesia. It was such an interesting post as I really want to visit Bali too some time in the future. I’ll update this post with the link to the blog post that I read if I’m able to find it.

  • Where do you find your inspiration for blogging?

I just love writing content and connecting with like-minded individuals in the blogging community, and seeing how supportive everyone is truly inspiring and motivating to me.

I nominate…..

  1. Rafia
  2. Judanna
  3. Marta
  4. Maloris
  5. Erica

Questions for my nominees:

  1. What is your favourite food?
  2. What is your favourite post that you have written?
  3. In your opinion, what is the best Christmas movie?
  4. Do you prefer movies, books or both?
  5. Best book you have ever read and why?

Can’t wait to read all of your posts, please comment your links below 💕

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The Accident by S. D. Monaghan (NetGalley)

Stacking it up & Sunday Post

The Accident by S. D. Monaghan
★★★★★

First off, I would like to thank Bookouture for approving my request to read and honestly review this novel! This was made possible through NetGalley! So, what an interesting novel! The beginning was very intriguing, and you get right into the book from the start. I had to take quite a few breaks while reading this one because I had a lot of things going on (i.e. interviews and presentations), but I always found myself wanting to get back to the book because it was that good. It has alternating point of view chapters, and is quite suspenseful. 

David and Tara are a wealthy, married couple who have it all. They are about to move into their new dream home and begin their lavish life together. They have a baby on the way and they cannot wait to raise their kid in this beautiful, custom home. One mistake can easily alter your life, as the cover of this book suggests. In an instant, Ryan is falling off a balcony because of a punch David just threw. What has David done? Why has he done it? He had such a great life ahead of him…… 

For some reason, I instantly liked David. He seems perfect, yet he is flawed and emotional just like everyone else, which makes his character more relatable than those goody-goody, perfect characters that make an appearance in other books. In fact, all the characters are well-developed, which makes the book all the more interesting. This book is incredibly well-written. Monaghan does a fabulous job hooking the reader in. I read every word carefully because it was written that beautifully. 

There was quite the twist in this novel, which was very unexpected. I would like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it kept me on the edge of my seat, which is why I gave it a solid 5/5 stars. Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did! 

Have any of you been able to read it in advance yet? Let me know what you thought of it! 

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About the Author
S. D. Monaghan grew up in Dublin and has travelled quite a bit. He has a degree in psychology and he has also studied screenwriting. He has taught English in Thailand, which shows how much of a well-rounded individual he is. At the moment, he is working on his novels in Dublin.
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Blogger Recognition Award

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Hello everyone! I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by the ever so talented Taiwo! Thank you so much for nominating me, I truly appreciate it. ♥

The rules of this award are as follows;

  1. Write a blog post to show your award
  2. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
  5. Select 15 other bloggers to nominate
  6. Comment on each blog to let them know you have nominated them. Provide the link to the post you created.

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HOW MY BLOG STARTED

Now, I’ll get a little into how my blog started. Exclusory wasn’t always Exclusory. It first started off as El’s Book Reviews on Blogger in the summer of 2015, I’d like to say. I decided to turn my passion for reading into essentially a diary of my thoughts on the books I read. Writing book reviews also allowed me to keep track of all the books I had read. Then, I took a break from blogging once the school year started, and got back into it during the next summer. At some point in 2017, I got quite sick of Blogger as there weren’t many options to make ones’ blog look aesthetically pleasing, well, at least in my opinion. So I made the decision to move over to WordPress, and it was one of the best blog-related decisions I’ve ever made. El’s Book Reviews was now on WordPress. 

During the summer of 2017, I decided that I didn’t want to just write about books anymore, as I wanted to write more study-related and lifestyle blog posts. So I started writing about these topics, but then I realized that El’s Book Reviews didn’t really fit with the types of posts that I wrote. Thus, Exclusory was born. I felt as though Exclusory effortlessly exemplified the content of my blog, but I’ll keep my personal meaning of this word a secret for a little while longer. 

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ADVICE #1

One piece of advice that I would give bloggers is to never feel as though you need to followed a certain schedule of posting content, and forcing yourself to constantly write posts. By all means, if this works for you, you keep doing you. Just in my opinion, and from personal experience, I write the best posts when I genuinely want to write a blog post rather than forcing myself to do so. I may not feel like writing a post for three weeks, but then when I do feel like writing one, it’ll be one that I actually enjoyed writing. Moreover, I’ve found that when I was forcing myself to write a blog post everyday, or every other day, I lost interest in blogging altogether and would stop writing posts for weeks. All in all, if you find yourself losing interest in blogging, just take a break and come back to it in a few days.

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ADVICE #2

Market. Your. Posts. Take full advantage of the vast array of social media platforms that are available to you, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, among others. Grow your audience on any or all of these platforms, and whenever you upload a blog post, be sure to advertise it on your social media. Don’t meaninglessly advertise your posts constantly though, as this may annoy your audience. So advertise a post when you first post it, and then when it makes sense to bring up your post again, be it during a comment swap or in light of current events going on, be sure to market it again. Through this technique, you’ll be able to reach a wide audience and show your talent to all.

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I NOMINATE…..

I’m super excited to read all of your posts. Thank you for being such amazing bloggers who inspire me ♥

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