Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent

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Purchase this book on Amazon: Unraveling Oliver

The following is a short summary of this novel from Goodreads:

I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.

Oliver Ryan, handsome, charismatic, and successful, has long been married to his devoted wife, Alice. Together they write and illustrate award-winning children’s books; their life together one of enviable privilege and ease—until, one evening after a delightful dinner, Oliver delivers a blow to Alice that renders her unconscious, and subsequently beats her into a coma.

In the aftermath of such an unthinkable event, as Alice hovers between life and death, the couple’s friends, neighbours, and acquaintances try to understand what could have driven Oliver to commit such a horrific act. As his story unfolds, layers are peeled away to reveal a life of shame, envy, deception, and masterful manipulation.

This was an exceptional novel, and the summary of the book is exactly what made me want to read it. I hadn’t read any reviews of the book before I read it, so I thought why not write one and maybe persuade a fellow reader to give it a go?! Unraveling Oliver was an intriguing thriller that outlines the life of the main character, Oliver Ryan, and everything that led him to that one night when he assaulted his wife for the first time. 

This novel had decent character development, but some characters could have been more thoroughly described to allow for a better analysis of their characteristics. The novel itself was definitely suspenseful, but not necessarily a thriller though. I’d say that I was captivated from the start, as Oliver is a very intriguing character. The novel outlines his childhood bit by bit, all leading up to his future circumstances in a sort of puzzle as you try to piece together the aspects of his childhood that ultimately lead to his future. The chapters alternate between different time periods, as well as characters, from their point of view which definitely kept the book going for me. these alternating chapters was very interesting and I found myself looking forward to reading the certain point of view of specific characters.

All in all, this is a great book for individuals who enjoy reading psychological mysteries, and enjoy the alternating chapters. If you’re interested in this book, you can purchase it on Amazon and if you use this link to purchase the book, I’ll make a small commission from it. Thank you very much for reading, I truly appreciate it. 💕

 

Doing Good Better by William MacAskill

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Purchase this Book on Amazon: Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference

I’ve recently gotten into reading non-fiction books, mostly regarding current events, psychology and self-help, so expect more reviews coming soon! This is the first book I’ll be providing a quick synopsis on, as well as my thoughts. Doing Good Better, written by William MacAskill, a professor at the University of Oxford, goes over a framework that helps us figure out how we can effectively use our money in order to donate to various causes. Many people feel better about themselves when they donate $10 here, or $20 there to a charity, without ever knowing what happens with the money they donated. Did you truly make a difference? Or are you just trying to feel good and worthy? Believe me, I used to do what I have described in the above scenario regularly, but then I realized that I actually wanted to ensure that my contributions were making a difference. Reading this book kicked me into gear to be more aware of which charities I’m donating to.

‘Effective Altruism’ essentially means that you’re constantly trying to figure out in what way you can make the largest difference possible, and MacAskill argues that we must use empirical facts in order to figure out where we should donate our money. I was rather skeptical before I read this book because I presumed that even donating a small amount of money would make some sort of difference in the world, but I later recognized that it is more important to make the biggest difference through reference to empirical facts. The concept of empirical facts has become more and more important to me as I progress through my university degree. I highly recommend this book for those who are interested in making a true difference in the world. 

If you’d like to purchase this book and read it, you can do so on Amazon by utilizing this link: Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference. Just as a note, this link is an affiliate link with Amazon. I believe that a lot of great value can be earned through reading this book. Please leave a comment below if you’ve read this book and what your thoughts were.

How I Study for Exams

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I guess it’s a little late to be writing this post as finals season has essentially ended, but I hope that this post helps you in some way this semester. I will be talking about how I study for my final exams because we all know how much content there is to understand for final assessments and doing so can be quite overwhelming at times. Personally, this past finals season was incredible stressful for me and I felt so overwhelmed at times. I’m just so glad that it’s over and I’m totally ready for the new semester to begin in which I will apply what I learned this semester.

  • Begin compiling your study notes as early as possible

Have all your lecture notes, readings and any other notes put together, in some sort of binder / folder, way in advance of the time during which you wish to begin studying. Doing so will ensure that once it’s time to study, you won’t be wasting time and procrastinating finding your notes but rather getting right down to studying. I’m guilty of compiling my notes really last minute and then having to rush when studying, but the few times I have taken this advice on board proved to make my studying experience rather relaxing (surprisingly).

  • Take regular breaks

Have a set time to take breaks (i.e. 45 minutes of studying then take a 15 minute break). Obviously this is easier said than done, but if you consciously make the effort to stop what you’re doing at the 45 minute mark, and do something that you genuinely enjoy during the 15 minute break, be it watching some YouTube, reading a book, eating a snack, getting a short workout in, it’ll make a world of a difference when you get back to studying.

  • Have snack(s) & water with you when studying

I’ve found that having to get up from studying to go and get some water / something to eat can be quite distracting and it may take you some time to get back into that studying mode. So have a snack / water bottle handy before you start studying. I usually have a granola bar and some ice cold water, these two things just help me concentrate.

  • Understand concepts, don’t memorize details

This tip depends on what you’re studying for, to be quite honest. But when it makes sense to understand greater concepts rather than details, go for it. Although it may take longer to understand concepts, it helps so much in the long run. Once you understand the concept, the little details will just come together. This piece of advice is probably the most useful advice I’ve ever gotten during my university career thus far. 

And that’s all I have for now. I will periodically add to this list once I come up with more tips that seem relevant, so keep coming back to check. Hope this post helps in some way!

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High School Semester In Review

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It’s been a while, but I’m back! I’ve been busying myself with school. Specifically, my finals and final tasks (summatives).

I’ve officially finished my first semester of grade 11. My courses were physics, data management, French, and accounting. I live in Canada, so my school is semestered. One semester I have four courses everyday and four different courses the next semester. At first, I thought I may be overwhelmed with the heavy focus on math-oriented subjects, but it was manageable.

I’ll go through each of my courses and explain the good and bad parts of each one.

Physics was pretty rough, not going to lie. Some units were fairly easy, and some were challenging. It was mostly lab experiments and tests. We had one project where we had to fashion an instrument to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. That was the only fun part of the class. My performance in the class overall was SO much better than I expected, but still not as good as I wanted it to be before I started the semester: 91%. I definitely will not be taking physics again because I know this is not for me. It’s far too logical.

Data management wasn’t the best either. The topics covered were sometimes confusing, like permutations. I had to do a lot of problem-solving questions involving them, and boy are they weird but fun at the same time. Many of the topics were straight-forward too, like analyzing graphs and finding the relationship between two variables. Unfortunately, my bad tests outweighed the good ones. Before my exam, I had a 91%. The exam was brutal and I just barely scraped up a 79%. My mark dropped one percent as a result, so I finished with a 90%. Again, it exceeded my expectations (as they’d been drastically lowered as I made my way through the course).

I love French. This year, it was different. No more memorizing and regurgitating. “Plug and chug”, that’s what my physics teacher calls it. Now, I had to analyze books and movies but in French. It was new, but I liked it. I was actually using my brain for once. This all came at a cost of course. My mark dropped this year to a 90% from a 94%. But I will definitely take French again for Grade 12, because if I’ve taken it for seven years so far, I think I can do one last hurrah.

Accounting turned out to be barely math-related at all, mostly just understanding. Once you get the primary concepts, you can pretty much teach yourself the rest of the course. I put in minimal effort, as did many of my classmates, and they too were successful. I passed this course with flying colours, a 97% to be exact. I will be taking accounting again next year because I now know it’s something I’m good at.

This semester, I have anthro/psych/socio, law, international business, and English. A very heavy focus on humanities this semester, so we’ll see how this goes. I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Thank you for reading 🙂

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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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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