What I Read This Spring

Today is the first official day of summer! While it may feel like it’s been summer for a month already, I know it is likely to get a lot hotter where I currently live. Last year when I was just getting back into blogging, I wrote a few summary posts of all the books I read during the span of each season. Since I haven’t been writing monthly wrap ups lately, I decided to revisit that old format this year. While my life has been all over the place, my reading has been fun and I want to write down all my thoughts while they’re still fresh.

From March 20, 2019, to June 20, 2019, I read a grand total of seven books. That’s a whole lot more than I would’ve guessed considering how ambivalent I’ve been about being a book blogger. I did manage to stick to my spring TBR for the most part, and I’m really surprised at myself!

Long post made short, here’s the list of the books I read with my star ratings.

  1. Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor(★★★)
  2. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff(★★★)
  3. Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff(★★★★★)
  4. Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (★★★)
  5. The Promise by Chaim Potok(★★★)
  6. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo(★★★★★)
  7. Again, but Better by Christine Riccio (★★★)

I won’t go into detail of why I rated each book the way I did but instead contextualize my reading and give some talking points. Hopefully that will give you an idea of these books if you aren’t familiar with them already and whether you’d like to investigate them some more. I’ve included links to them on Goodreads and Amazon*.

*If you purchase any of the books I talk about in this post after following one of my affiliate links, I may receive a small commission at no extra expense to you.

alb-divider

Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor
⟡ Find on Goodreads | Amazon
⟡ My rating: ★★★

It is a general rule of mine not to buy new books if I don’t intend to read them immediately, and Akata Warrior has been one of those books that is a reminder that I had not been abiding by this rule!

Akata Warrior continues the story of Sunny Nwazue, which started in Akata Witch. After defeating the villain of the first book, Sunny’s destiny is not yet complete as she continues to learn about her magical heritage and how to master her unique gifts.

I talk about this book a bit more in-depth in my full-length review, but I will say that I really love the world and magic system that Okorafor has created. I’ll happily read more by this author, but I think I am done buying these books, at least until I have more disposable income. I think these books are really great and important entries to the young adult fantasy genre.

What these books have taught me as a writer is that books as rich and imaginatively exciting and evocative as Harry Potter are not exclusive to any one culture. You might think that this is a no-brainer, but this book has definitely gotten me thinking more deeply about how culture influences the magic systems devised by authors and what it can mean to people of color moving forward.

alb-divider

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
⟡ Find on Goodreads | Amazon
⟡ My rating: ★★★★

I’ve read Illuminae about three times now and I love it every time. I love Kady and Ezra and how the science fiction is so compelling and accessible to young adult audiences (myself included) who are not scientifically inclined. I like to think about all the young girls who may read these books and be inspired to go into STEM fields and kick butt.

I also love that these books deal with the ethical side of the equation. A lot of times in action-filled YA, death counts can be high and violence heavy. I like that the human cost of survival in these space expeditions and battles are highlighted and on the forefront of the characters’ minds, and not in an obnoxious or superficial way.

I would argue that is just about anything you could want in this series (i.e. action, romance, mystery, horror, etc.), so these books are endless fun. After you get into the rhythm of the storytelling (i.e. reading the files), these books are extremely immersive.

alb-divider

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
⟡ Find on Goodreads | Amazon
⟡ My rating: ★★★★★ 

This book was another reread on my journey to reach Obsidio. It was as enjoyable as the first time around. I don’t really know where to start with this book. I love it so much. If you hate series that introduce a completely new cast in each book, you don’t need to worry about that with this book.

For one, the protagonists Hanna and Nik just as terrific as Kady and Ezra, maybe even more so. It’s like the authors mastered the romantic formula of the first book and utilized it to perfection in the second book’s lead characters. Hanna is not your stereotypical spoiled princess and Nik is not your stereotypical drug dealer. This book may be more hilarious than the first and more of an emotional rollercoaster.

The other reason you don’t need to worry is we see Kady and Ezra in this book! They’ve not become completely irrelevant to the story. They enter Gemina right when Hanna and Nik need them.

Gemina is definitely my favorite book in the series, which may or may not be remarkable. I know that most bridge books in a trilogy are just that, a bridge that doesn’t really stand well on its own or it’s a clone of the first book. In my opinion, Gemina can’t really be reduced to either.

alb-divider

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
⟡ Find on Goodreads | Amazon
⟡ My rating: ★★★

After a short reading break, I finally picked up Obsidio. Unlike Illuminae and Gemina, I have only read this book once, and I’m already a little foggy on the exact plot of this book. Going into this book, I had fairly low expectations despite the fun of the first two because of how big a let down the final book of the Starbound trilogy was for me.

I will say that I did not care for Asha or Rhys very much. I feel like their backstory was a little unbelievable, and I wasn’t satisfied with how it was revealed. I also don’t like the dynamic between oppressed and unwitting oppressor. I would have maybe liked it if Rhys was more ruthless and he underwent more significant character development, but he was kind of pathetic but also brilliant liar somehow. What.

I think the problem is that the authors didn’t have a whole book to focus on them; they had to share page-time with Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik. By the way, I’m not complaining! I’m glad that we got to see how they dealt with the aftermath of the previous books and prepared for the return to Kerenza. I’m just saying Asha and Rhys’s romance was a probably a little lackluster as result.

I was able to enjoy Obsidio. Yes, I thought a few things happened that were a little too convenient and disneyfied to wrap the story up with a pretty bow, but I am aware of how challenging it might have been to conclude this series in just one book. I just wish that the villains of BeiTech, specifically Frobisher, could have been a bigger part of the climactic action.

alb-divider
The Promise by Chaim Potok
⟡ Find on Goodreads | Amazon
⟡ My rating: ★★★★

Last year in a similar post describing What I Read (That) Winter, I talked about The Chosen by Chaim Potok. It was a book I enjoyed passionately. I felt similarly passionate reading this book, but for very different reasons.

The Promise catches with Reuven as he is studying to become a rabbi. He still lives with his father who has been working on this controversial book, which is radical to conservative Jews because of how it analyzes Jewish texts. While The Chosen follows Reuven and his unlikely friendship with Danny in the years leading up to the formation of Israel, which was a hot button issue amongst Jewish sects in the 1930s, The Promise is set in a New York into which the Jews who survived the holocaust have immigrated. So there’s a lot of, not just, culture clash but also clash of fundamental ideologies that The Chosen merely introduces.

I feel really hesitant talking in depth about these two books, given that everything I know about Jewish theology and scholarship has come from these books. I am not Jewish, nor have I ever really even casually met practicing Jews. Even using the word conservative to describe the opposing viewpoint to Reuven’s feels like it may be inaccurate considering Reuven himself would probably be considered conservative in his own right.

The summary of the book would have you believe that it is about Reuven, Danny, and this boy Michael, but that storyline is more of a marginal thread that ties the book together. What I found most compelling about this book was Reuven’s struggle against his rabbinical professor Rav Kalman, a world-famous rabbi who survived the holocaust and is steadfast in his mission to smear the name and work of Reuven’s father.

I appreciate The Promise coming into my life at this time, because I feel like not enough people are talking about how we should talk to people we don’t agree with. I agonized with Reuven over his frustration with his professor. I was also inspired to see how he persevered. Truthfully, I would have been likely to give up in his position and make my own way. I think there is something to say about seeing things through. (If this is vague, I’m sorry! I just can’t go into more detail in this space!)

alb-divider
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
⟡ Find on Goodreads | Amazon
⟡ My rating: ★★★★

Similar to Akata Warrior and Obsidio, King of Scars was beginning to cause me a little bit of book buying guilt. It’s a book I had pre-ordered as soon as I learned about it and then when it came…nothing. I didn’t feel like reading it. Truthfully, I’ve not really been in the mood for fantasy these days. I’m not sure why.

As I had begun to hear hints of conflicting opinions about King of Scars, I was really nervous when I finally picked it up. It didn’t help that the first 80 or so pages were really discouraging. I could tell that Nina and Zoya were going to be central characters in this book, and they were never favorites of mine. Also, I was getting hints about a potential romance between Zoya and Nikolai, and I wasn’t sure I liked that development. Without spoiling anything, I will say that I was able to trust and respect Bardugo’s character choices in the end!

I don’t want to get into spoilers since this book once came out in January and there may be others out there, like I was, who are still waiting to pick up this book. I will just say that the book does end up becoming really exciting and satisfying after about 100 pages. I loved Nina’s storyline and can’t wait to see what she does next. I’m also still in shock-awe about what is revealed at the end! Wow!

alb-divider
Again, but Better by Christine Riccio
⟡ Find on Goodreads | Amazon
⟡ My rating: ★★★★

Again, but Better ended up being one of my most anticipated reads of this year, because it has honestly been on my radar since Christine started writing it. I had begun to follow her YouTube channel PolandbananasBOOKS somewhere between 2014 and 2015, discovering her from her collaborations with Katytastic. She started writing this book in January 2016 and made periodic writing update videos about her progress.

It was so inspiring to watch her talk about writing it, and I’ve recently gone back to rewatch the first ten or so videos where she talks about writing the first draft specifically. It is such a cool experience now having read the book to know a lot of what she is talking about plot-wise!

As for the book itself, it kind of blew me away. I wasn’t expecting much, especially after the first few chapters or so. I started it feeling like it was a fan-fiction of someone’s idea of college and college romance. But as I got deeper into the story, it began to feel so real and authentic. I could really relate to Shane and her awkward struggles, and even as a proper adult now feel like I’ve learned from her mistakes alongside her.

I do wish this is a book I had when I was still in high school, so I adore Christine for writing this book! I did not have the highest expectations for this book, but it is so much fun but also so relevant, which I think is necessary for contemporary novels these days. I may end up doing a full-length review later on…

End Note

Next Tuesday (6/25) I’ll be sharing the books on my summer TBR for Top Ten Tuesday, which is why I wanted to get this post written and published ahead of it! It’ll a look a little different from past TBRs, because it will feature a lot of books I don’t already own. Before that I’m hoping to share something else this weekend, but I’m not sure what yet! There have been some exciting job hunt developments that I’m hoping I will be able to share next week!

What did you read this spring?

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

Top Ten Favorite Page-to-Screen Adaptations | Top Ten Tuesday

Before I get started, let me just say that I’m not one of those people who thinks that the book is always superior to the movie. Nor am I someone who has to read the book before I see the movie. Maybe when I was younger did I think that I needed to do that, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that it doesn’t make sense to compare one art form to another. They constructed and consumed differently. It’s literally like comparing apples to oranges.

I think there are many cases throughout modern history that show an amazing movie or TV show can emerge from a mediocre book. It’s just as likely that an amazing movie or show can come out of an amazing book, while making significant changes to the source material.

Ready Player One was a book I loved and was able to binge-read overnight after starting it early one evening. While I was reading it, I felt I could see it play as an epic mini-series in my head. After all, the protagonist undergoes several major changes throughout the book. It would’ve been a dream part for a young actor to play. I could envision places where the story could end between episodes. When I found out it was going to be a movie, I was hopeful but my expectations were not high.

By managing my expectations, I was able to enjoy the movie. I was pleasantly surprised by the plot changes, which I recognized were necessary for the constraint of a movie’s conventional screen time. There were some amazing changes that helped the movie shine on its own; I’m thinking specifically of the ode to The Shining and how the one-who-got-away arc was portrayed!

Some of the books I’ve listed below I have not yet read, but I included them and their adaptations purely on my love of the screen versions! So while I cannot speak to the source material, I can say that I would be willing to check them out in book form should the right occasion ever present itself. So I guess the books are listed based on the virtues on their adaptations!

Page-to-Screen Adaptations

The Hunger Games

I read this book in college after watching the first movie. I wasn’t fond of the first-person present POV and felt the movie did an amazing job bringing Katniss and The Hunger Games alive in a way that made me care and feel for the oppressed people of this dystopian world in a way I’ve not felt since these movies. I was not compelled to keep reading the books, but I did keep watching the movies!

Patrick Melrose

Last year was a great year for mini-series adaptations based on books for cable network television. Showtime brought us Patrick Melrose (2018), the semi-autobiographical story of an upper middle class British man who was abused as child and grew up to become a self-destructive man. Almost every episode was set in a different decade, checking in on Patrick as he came into adulthood and struggled with his past and, ultimately, his parents’ death. It was so moving, I almost wanted to read the books. Ultimately, however, these kinds of books are not what I’m ordinarily drawn to.

Sharp Objects

The other amazing mini-series that came out last summer was Sharp Objects (2018), based on the book by the author of Gone Girl. Amy Adams portrays a troubled journalist, similarly scarred by her childhood, who is summoned back to her hometown to cover the investigation into the disappearances of two young girls. It’s an amazing whodunnit mystery set in the South complicated by the small town’s secrecy and hidden prejudices. The soundtrack is also fantastic.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

The movie adaptation for this book came out a few years ago and was a great example of how to take a source material and make it your own. The director, or screenwriter (who was the author?!), made a lot of subtle changes to the story and characters, none of which took away from the characters but instead rounded them out a bit more. I found the book hysterical and the movie kept a lot of that humor intact, which was really satisfying as there is still a sad story at the core. I think the movie might have been a tad melodramatic towards the end. To me, the book and the movie are very different, but I love them equally.

Atonement

I adored Keira Knightley and James McAvoy growing up, so I saw Atonement (2007) when it first came out, even though I might have been a tad too young for it. I followed the story and themes well enough, but I’ve really come to appreciate the true beauty of the film and its narrative devices as I’ve gotten older. All the actors in this film are brilliant. I’ve tried to read the book a few times over the years, and it hasn’t managed to hold my attention. I do think I may be ready to make another attempt soon!

Never Let Me Go

I can’t remember if I read the book before watching the movie, but I know that I knew about the movie before I knew of the book. It was one of my first forays into adult literary fiction and a book that defined my senior year of high school, strangely enough! I can’t remember how far the movie varied from the book, but the actors brought the Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy to life beautifully. And I think the movie stayed true to the ambivalence of the book regarding the dystopic vision of organ donation.

Interview with a Vampire

Okay, so this was an odd one to include on this list! I read the book when I went through an Anne Rice phase as a freshman/sophomore in high school. I had seen the movie in bits and pieces on TV growing up. I think we probably owned it on VHS. But having read the book, I think the movie is a great adaptation. The book is extremely mature, verging on erotica. Maybe it was supposed to be erotica. I don’t know! But I remember being really impressed by Rice’s writing style growing up. Anyway, the movie makes the story more palatable for a general audience and highlights the theme of eternal life’s loneliness from the book really well. The movie can stand alone on its own two feet!

Little Women

I think I read an abridged version of Little Women when I was younger, and I think I found it relatively enjoyable as an adolescent. I think the source material is ripe for great adaptations, similar to Pride & Prejudice (which I did not include on this because it’s too obvious a choice!). Jo is a relatable protagonist for all the rebellious young girls no matter the time period! I loved the Little Women (1994) movie with Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, and Christian Bale.

It

I tried reading the book a summer or two ago and struggled mainly because of how long and laborious the first chapter was, but I could recognize it was also beautifully written. It’s a bucket list item to read something of Stephen King’s and I’d like to read this book ahead of the next movie that is to come out. I often don’t feel compelled to read a book before the movie anymore, but I do want to be able to analyze the movie from the lens of the book.

From what I’ve read and heard, Andrés Muschietti’s films are great adaptations. All I know is that the first movie was beautiful and the teaser trailer recently released shows the next film will be as thrilling, if not more so, than the first.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I think the first two page-to-screen adaptations of the Harry Potter series were wonderful, but I don’t feel like the director/screenwriters did much to heighten the experience of the world. The movies were magical because they captured it from the books, which is all you could really ask for. But I think Alfonso Cuarón did a beautiful job bringing the third book to life and adding his own personal flair and style to the experience. In case you didn’t know, he also directed The Little Princess (1995)!

Let me know what you think about any of my picks in the comments down below! I apologize for the lack of images or links in this post, but I almost didn’t post it. I came on a last minute trip to visit family and I didn’t find the time or will to finish this post beyond writing it. I think it’s time to try something new for the blog and for myself, but I’m still mulling things over. I want to be more regular, but I think it’s time call a spade a spade…

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

Top Five Tuesday: Hogwarts House Reads!

Normally if I wanted to do a bookish meme on Tuesday, I would do Top Ten Tuesday. But I wasn’t feeling the theme for this or last week, so I did some looking and discovered a nice alternative: Top Five Tuesday. This month Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm decided February’s theme for Top Five Tuesday would be Harry Potter Houses!

This week’s specific house is Slytherin, but I missed the past weeks and wanted to combine them all into one post. The way it works is that you can pick five books a person from that house would enjoy OR books with characters that fit the traits of that house. I decided to (primarily) do the latter.

I hope you enjoy this blog post! It’s a little on the long-side but that’s hardly new, isn’t it? Chime in on your picks for each house in the comments down below. I’d love to read some contrary opinions on my selections as well ^_^

❝ They are experience-oriented, honest, practical, blunt, passionate, playful, funny, trusting, idealistic, stubborn and procrastinators. They live in the moment, don’t take themselves seriously, are wary of manipulators and liars, have a strong moral centre, and are unafraid to seize opportunities and make changes. ❞

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle | I think Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin are all little Gryffindors-in-training. While they all have their problems with themselves and their lives, they recognize trouble when they see it and work past their fear to save the world.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee | I’m not so sure about her brother or father, but I think Scout is definitely a Gryffindor. She has all the braveness and conviction of right and wrong that comes with being a child. She is not easily convinced to back-down, even if it means she will get into trouble.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld | Deryn joins the air force in this YA fantasy series by dressing up as a boy because girls are not allowed to enlist. I think she’s also a little too young. She finds herself wrapped up in a major adventure filled with danger and international intrigue, and she does it with relish. She’s a Gryffindor if I’ve ever seen one.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline | Wade is very much a brave protagonist who is unafraid to seize opportunities and do what is right. He has plenty of opportunities to go to the dark side, but he is loyal to his cause and the ones he loves.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo |Princess Diana is such a refreshing character in that she is so unwaveringly good. Her actions are led by her strong morals, even when it means breaking the rules. She is not afraid to take action if she knows it’s right.

❝ They are analytical, intelligent, logical yet impractical, curious, inquisitive, creative, witty, wise, interested in understanding things, cynics, fond of  intellectual discussion, introspective, independent, wordy, and self-entertaining. They observe rather than participate, are fond of learning for the sake of learning, and good at school (or really anything that they have an interest in!)❞

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin | A.J. Fikry is a bookstore owner who is more content to live in his books than experience the world and all it has to offer, despite his difficulty in keeping his business afloat. Luckily in this book life brings people into his life that give him and the stories more meaning.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman | Lettie and the Hempstock women seem to know a lot about the universe and its mysteries. Through the foggy memories of a young boy, we get a glimpse of their knowledge and power.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen | I think that Elizabeth Bennet, and probably Jane Austen (based on the movie Becoming Jane (2007)), are both Ravenclaws. They are both highly analytical of their society and intelligent, well read women who are more than capable of being independent.

The Chosen by Chaim Potok | I feel like half the book is about the two young protagonists studying Jewish scripture and law. They are obviously both extremely intelligent, motivated not only by their fathers but internally on a quest for truth and meaning. Danny is so competent as his Jewish studies that he adds additional subjects to open up his understanding of the human mind.

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor | I actually don’t remember a lot about Sunny’s character, but do recall that magic-doers in this universe (leopards) value knowledge for the sake of knowledge above all else. You progress by learning new skills and by gaining wisdom. See my review of Akata Witch if you are interested in checking out this underrated YA fantasy series.

❝ They are hard-working, determined, tenacious, loyal, honest, genuine, well-rounded, fair and just, open-minded, giving, good-hearted, accepting, compassionate, practical, patient, unemotional, and dependable. Their loyalty is not given – it’s earned.❞

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones | I think Howl is for the most part surrounded by Hufflepuffs. Sophie and Markle are definitely Hufflepuffs. They are loyal to him, hard-working, patient, and practical. I could even see how Howl might be a Hufflepuff, if you can see past the whole emotionally stunted man-child thing.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson | Stevie is a Hufflepuff. She reminds me a little of Tonks, with her interest in criminal justice. She’s hard-working, tenacious, determined in what she does. She’s also a compassionate and loyal friend.

How I Resist edited by Maureen Johnson | I selected this anthology because the pieces selected by Johnson all embody Hufflepuff traits in their appeals to compassion, open-mindedness, determination, tenacity in today’s youth.

The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle | The protagonist Adam is a scientist who learns that his work does not exist in a bubble and can have real-world consequences. He has a good-heart, but he struggles with who to trust and to whom to give his loyalty in this book. By the end of the novel, I think he discovers who deserves his trust.

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman | Malcolm is Hufflepuff through and through. He’s just such a genuinely good-natured little boy who follows his gut and is loyal to what he considers just causes. He becomes loyal to little Lyra when she is a just a baby when he learns there are people after her.

❝ They are ambitious, driven, goal-focused, determined, prepared, perfectionists, adaptable, realistic, self-reliant, charming, assertive, and ruthless. They are highly selective with their loyalty, love positive attention and thrive on praise, care about the impression they give, demand respect, and can be disloyal. ❞

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas | Celaena kind of a Mary Sue of a Slytherin if there ever was one. Charming, assertive, ruthless, check, check, check.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart | Once again, these characters are less bad and more ambiguous on the Slytherin spectrum. Without spoiling anything, I will say these childhood friends are loyal to each other and raised to be Slytherins, which is to say proud of their family, wealth, and privilege. But they are conniving and ruthless in how they decide to dole out punishment. And they suffer for it.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green | April May is a character I really didn’t know how to feel about as I read AART. I don’t think she’s evil or bad. Her heart is definitely in the right place for much of this book. But she’s definitely single-minded in accomplishing her goals, which leads to her stepping over the people who matter most as she continues to receive praise and admiration from countless strangers via the internet.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski | It’s been a while since I read these books! Kestrel, in my opinion, is definitely on the more good-hearted side of the Slytherin spectrum. She’s extremely intelligent and capable of manipulating others for her own ends, but I wouldn’t say she’s ambitious or driven by ego.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo | Kaz…hell, most of the people in the gang are probably a Slytherin, but Kaz takes the Slytherin cake. Only a Slytherin could have pulled off such a dangerous, high-stakes heist.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I stumbled across these prompts last weekend when looking for something for last Tuesday and decided it would be a fun challenge to think about. I think it’s a great way to introduce people to new books, because some people might want recommendations based on how the characters are and not just want happens in the book.

It was a little harder than I thought it would be to pick books for certain houses! I learned a little about myself what kinds of books I lean towards through this little challenge, funnily enough. I’ve been sorted into Slytherin twice by the Pottermore quiz, so it shouldn’t be that surprising that I enjoy trouble-makers, but I do want to read more books helmed by Gryffindor and Hufflepuff characters in the future!

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Aga Putra on Unsplash.

The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List | Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday (TTT)! It’s a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish but now run by the terrific Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week Jana provides the bookish theme and book bloggers share their top ten picks.

This week’s theme is Favorite Couples in Books, but I’m really bummed that I never posted my entry in The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List from a couple of weeks ago! I figured there is no reason I shouldn’t share it, even if it’s on the wrong week. But first, a little context.

I’m not really keeping up to date with new releases or highly promoted books in the YA blogosphere at the moment. Neither am I using Goodreads anymore, so a really cool post to find a few weeks ago was 20(ish) Books For Readers Who are 20(ish) // A List of NA Books Written in the YA Style by Kat @ Novels and Waffles.

I’m definitely well within the New Adult genre demographic and would like to read more about protagonists closer to my age engaging in plots that closer mirror the coming-of-age issues that 20-somethings face. I recognized a good few of the books on the list and have even read a couple (An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, Fangirl)!

So from Kat’s list comes my own, a list whittled down from hers to encapsulate the latest books on my TBR. Some of them are not too new to my TBR, but considering that I don’t regularly add books to my TBR anymore, they still work!

  1. Smothered by Autumn Chiklis | Eloise “Lou” Hansen is graduating from Columbia University summa cum laude, and she’s ready to conquer the world. Just a few minor problems: she has no job, no prospects, and she’s moving back into her childhood bedroom. Lou is grimly determined to stick to a rigorous schedule to get a job and get out of her parents’ house. Shelly “Mama Shell” Hansen, on the other hand, is ecstatic, and just as determined to keep her at home. Who else will help her hide her latest binge-shopping purchases from her husband, go to SoulCycle with her, and hold her hand during Botox shots?
  2. Bucket List to Love by C.P. Santi | Aya Contreras is thrilled to be studying in the land of sakura and sushi. Tokyo is a fascinating city to live in—vending machines, cosplayers, karaoke boxes, and bright, colorful conbinis on every corner. And the architectural design program she’s in is everything she dreamed it to be. The only problem? Her tutor doesn’t seem to like her. Well, she doesn’t like him very much either. Sure, Ryohei Mori is talented, and there’s no denying he’s hot. But he’s also a surly, bossy know-it-all who eats too many cookies. Another annoying thing about him is he’s nosy. And when he stumbles upon the crazy bucket list Aya’s sisters forced on her, he teases her mercilessly about it. But when their professor pairs them up for a design competition, things get . . . interesting. Fueled by beer and a whole lot of cookies, can Aya and Ryo cross out some items on her bucket list without killing each other? Or will they realize there’s much more to each other than they’d originally thought?
  3. We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun & Susan Mullen |Growing up across the street from each other, Scott and Cath have been best friends for most of their lives. Now they’ve graduated high school, and Cath is off to college while Scott stays at home trying to get his band off the ground. Neither of them realized that their first year after high school would be so hard. Fortunately, Scott and Cath still have each other, and it’s through their letters that they survive heartache, annoying roommates, family dramas, and the pressure of figuring out what to do with the rest of their lives. And through it all, they realize that the only person they’ve ever wanted to turn to is each other. But does that mean they should think about being more than friends? One thing is clear: Change is an inescapable part of growing up, and we share unbreakable bonds with the friends who help us navigate it.
  4. Again, But Better by Christina Riccio | Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal — but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that? Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change — there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure! Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart. Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic – the possibilities are endless.
  5. Three Mages and A Margarita by Annette Marie | Broke, almost homeless, and recently fired. Those are my official reasons for answering a wanted ad for a skeevy-looking bartender gig. It went downhill the moment they asked me to do a trial shift instead of an interview—to see if I’d mesh with their “special” clientele. I think that part went great. Their customers were complete dickheads, and I was an asshole right back. That’s the definition of fitting in, right? I expected to get thrown out on my ass. Instead, they… offered me the job? It turns out this place isn’t a bar. It’s a guild. And the three cocky guys I drenched with a margarita during my trial? Yeah, they were mages. Either I’m exactly the kind of takes-no-shit bartender this guild needs, or there’s a good reason no one else wants to work here. So what’s a broke girl to do? Take the job, of course—with a pay raise.

  1. The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton | The Blackburn women are cursed. Ever since the extraordinary witch Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island centuries ago and was shunned by the eight “original” settlers, Blackburn witches have been doomed to carry out a brief whirlwind affair with a descendant of the Original Eight. The vengeful curse, however, had unintended side effects: it diluted the Blackburns’ supernatural powers. That’s perfectly all right with seventeen-year-old Nor Blackburn. All she wants is a quiet, unremarkable life—her powers are blissfully unexceptional, her love life pretty much nonexistent. Nor hopes the curse has played itself out through enough generations that she’ll finally be spared the drama. But when a mysterious book comes out promising to cast any spell for the right price, Nor senses a dark storm headed straight for Anathema—and straight for her.
  2. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi | Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much. Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.
  3. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo | Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her? Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, ranging from Jodie Foster to George W. Bush. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more supernatural than any paranoid imagination might conceive.
  4. Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan | A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself. A prince in danger must decide who to trust. A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war. In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light.
  5. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak | The breathtaking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance. At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle. The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome?

I don’t know when I’ll next have any money for a book buying spree, but I do hope to find some of these or request them at my local library soon. I would like to make it my mission to seek out and promote more books that fall under the New Adult label. I’m a bit fatigued with the current slate of YA fantasy, so I’m much more interested in contemporaries and mysteries as a whole right now.

Are any of these books are your TBR?

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

Books I Meant to Read in 2018 but Didn’t Get To | Top Ten Tuesday

TTTpages

In case you haven’t noticed, this blog has been in a bit of a transitional phase lately. In an effort to show some more love to the books, I decided it was high time I participated in Top Ten Tuesday (TTT) again! It’s a weekly meme that was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish but now is run by the terrific Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week Jana provides the bookish theme and book bloggers share their top ten picks.

This week’s theme is Books I Meant to Read in 2018 but Didn’t Get To, which feels like a personal attack. There were a lot of books I hoped to read, last fall specifically, that I didn’t have time to get to. I have a love-hate relationship with TBRs, in that I love them but sometimes hate feeling like I need to follow them to a T. Let’s be real, life can throw curve balls at any moment.

I think this will probably be one of the weirdest collection of books you read today, if you are a frequent reader of these TTT posts!

  1. Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor | I bought the sequel to Akata Witch on impulse last year, perfectly aware that if I just waited I could have the matching paperback in a matter of months. For this fact alone, I’m annoyed I’ve still not read this book!
  2. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas | I started this book in December and just didn’t manage to finish it before the new year. I probably should’ve abandoned this series after Tower of Dawn, but I was so close to the end and wanted to see how this series of epic proportions wrapped up. Hopefully I will finish it by March.
  3. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor | This book was the subject of some major hype last year as it’s sequel’s publication date approached. As result, I became really nervous it wouldn’t live up to expectations. Also, the book is huge, so I was intimidated. It’s still high on my TBR for 2019, so hopefully I will read it sooner rather than later.
  4. The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid | This was one of those odd ball purchases that I don’t know what to do with. I’m in the mood for science fiction every now and then, so I don’t mind saving it for one of those reading moods to come along. I hoped it would come last year, but I’m cool if it doesn’t come until next fall.
  5. It by Stephen King | I’ve wanted to read this book ever since I saw the most recent theatrical adaptation. It feels like it needs to be a book for the fall, but it’s set in the summer (I think) so maybe it’ll call to me around May. I just want to read it before the next movie comes out!
  6. Disrupt You! by Jay Samit | This is the other book I started but did not finish in December. It wasn’t turning out the way I hoped it would, but I’m still hopefully it will have something in it that makes reading it worth the time and money spent on it.
  7. The Promise by Chaim Potok | I think this book is the sequel to The Chosen, one of my favorite reads last year. I had hoped I might read it last fall, but I don’t feel much urgency to read it immediately. It’s one that I think will mean more to me if I read it at the right time, so I don’t want to rush it. To be honest, I’m also a little worried it may not live up to The Chosen… I’m trying to manage my expectations!
  8. The Young Unicorns by Madeleine L’Engle | Last summer I embarked on a quest to reread some of my favorite childhood books centered around Madeleine L’Engle’s Austin family. I decided to wait until fall to read this particular book, but it didn’t end up a priority when fall came around.
  9. Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | I can’t believe I almost forgot this one! Wow. There was a time when this was one of my most anticipated releases. I think the reason I forgot about it is because I did want to read at least Gemina before jumping into the final book in this YA sci-fi trilogy.
  10. [Textbooks] | I hoped to read a few of my old textbooks from grad school last year and never quite got around to it. I made it a goal for 2019 to read one non-fiction book each year, so hopefully I’ll at least read the ones I find most relevant to life and my future work.

I hope to get to all of these books by the end of the year, but you never know. I’m sure I’ll get to most of them. I’ve done a really good job of cutting down on the number of books I buy, so I do a better job of prioritizing books that have been on my TBR for a long time. Of course, the only two books I entered 2019 anticipating come out this month! So I’ll probably read those two (The Vanishing Stair and King of Scars) before anything else, but those won’t take me all year. I hope. *gulp*

Are any of these books are your TBR?

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

My 2019 Bullet Journal + January Spread

Over the past couple of years, I have begun dabbling in bullet journalling. I’ve always loved stationary and keeping a planner in school. I’ve also always been highly reflective, creativity-inclined, and goal-oriented, so bullet journalling felt like a natural fit for me. I’m also attracted to the fact that it is something I could make and hold in my hands since so much of my time is spent online.

In total, I had created three monthly spreads before this month, for June 2017, September 2018, and October 2018. Each time felt like an experiment. When I was first starting out, I didn’t know what page elements I would want or need during the month. I didn’t know what was practical and or what would work for me.

I’m not going to lie, I did not complete filling out any of these previous spreads, abandoning each project at some point during the month. But each time I started a new one, I got closer to the right layout and elements for me.

In this blog post, I will share my inspiration, my January spread, and my rationale for what I decided to include in my bullet journal this month.

My Method

I was recently watching AmandaRachLee‘s 2018 Journal Flip Through for ideas when I came to an important realization. While I love her artistic style and creativity in spreads, I do not feel motivated to make my bullet journal a planner. I don’t have many important dates to remember each month and prefer to keep an actual paper calendar on my desk for quick reference.

Rather my aim with my bullet journal to track progress on my projects over time, to brainstorm, to keep a log of the things I want to do and actually do. Some people also make their bullet journal their diary, but I personally am keeping that in a separate notebook. I treat my bullet journal more as a physical manifestation of a online blog, highly selective and curated towards what I want to share and remember.

If you’re interested in starting a bullet journal, I highly recommend:

  1. Immersing yourself in the bullet journal communities in the blogosphere, on Pinterest, on Instagram, and on YouTube. There are a lot of fun ideas to parse through and only you know what spreads will work best for you.
  2. Practicing first in journals you already have. You don’t need to buy special notebooks or pens when you are just starting out! It will most likely just psyche you out anyway if you have perfectionist tendencies; you will be too anxious not to make mistakes.
  3. Using sticky notes to organize your layout. Some people like to create story board-like rough drafts before they start putting pen officially to paper, but I find sticky notes work just as well. After I list all the page elements I want, I go through my journal and figure out where things will fit most naturally.

I went back and forth with the idea of buying a new notebook for my bullet journal this year. The specific one on my wish list was the Scribbles That Matter A5 dotted notebook. It was only $20, but money was tight over the holidays and I wanted to buy gifts for my loved ones instead. *le sigh*

Also, the more I thought about it, I realized using a regular notebook would work just as well. It would be my gimmick if I started dedicating more of my blog-space and focus to journalling. So I looked through my small collection of notebooks I had collected over the years and decided to use a more recently acquired journal, my Target decomposition notebook. It’s a nice size and makes me happy every time I look at it.

One negative to this notebook is that my pen ink (Pilot G-2, fine, ball-point) bleeds through the pages quite easily. My current solution is to tape pages together so I do not need to worry about the visibility of the ink marks. It feels a little wasteful of page space, but I figure I might find better solution later on this year. I know there’s liquid paper I could paint over the back, and I could also start gluing in loose leaf.

My January 2019 Spread

I decided to make clouds my January theme because it’s been a very rainy winter in Texas this year and because I always feel like I always have my head in the clouds, especially around the new year. Clouds carry a lot of symbolic meaning.

I did not come up with this theme on my own. My spread is heavily inspired by my bujo idol AmandaRachLee‘s April 2018 set-up, from the distinct cloud design to specific page elements like the mood tracker. Where I deviated was primarily in the actual layout. I don’t love drawing out calendars, so my spreads have elements that lend themselves better to list formats and brain dumps.

Directly after the main page, I have a page for my mood and habit trackers. I find it enlightening to be able to see at a glance how happy or unhappy I was during a month, particularly since I generally end the month without remembering everything that went on. I’m still working out how I want to visually depict my mood (e.g. via size of rain drop, length dropped, or color shade of blue-grey).

I used to make my habit trackers a simple table that would take up half a page. I decided to try out this mini-calendar design to better be able to see how consistently I was sticking to the daily habits I wanted to nurture.

Next up is my two-column January event planner. I break it up into personal and blog categories for better spatial organization. Personal plans might be related to work, appointments, or social events. For the blog section, I like to keep track of the blog posts I plan to write. Once they are complete and published, I go over the final titles in ink so I can see at a glance what went up that month.

Next to my plans, I like to be able to see the specific goals I set for the month. The ones shown in the picture below (see page on the right) were ideas I had last week before I hurt my back. I plan to get to them once I’m 100% again!

I also like to keep space for brain dump. Here I record any special ideas I might have regarding writing, blogging, or any number of my projects. It’s not a lot of space, but I do find that it’s enough room key ideas that remind me what I was thinking at the time.

The newest addition to my monthly spread a place for weekly notes and to-do lists. Many people allot space for diary-like notes they want to remember. I personally see myself just writing to-do lists and short life highlights. I folded a page in half to reduce the number of times I would have to draw the side-bar calendar. 

I have still been thinking about how I want to use this space, so I’ve not applied much ink beyond the side-bar calendar. I do think it will be a place to keep track of what I end up doing each day or maybe job positions for which I apply.

 ☙ ❧ End Note ❧ ☙

I hope you liked this blog post! I have been wanting to start talking about bullet journalling on this blog for a long time. In case anyone’s interested, I think I will try to share a flip through this spread at the end of the month with some more commentary about how well my set-up worked. I’d also like to start doing more focused posts about the set-up of my bullet journals.

I will be back this weekend most likely with a writing update + 2019 writing plans. I have a post on my recent reads that is nearly complete, but I think that I will not be able to finish the last book I want to talk about until after this weekend.

Do you bullet journal? How do create your monthly spreads? Is your set-up organized entirely differently?

 

Thoughts on AART and Heist Society

I just realized that both of the books I talk about in this post have to do with the value of art. I probably didn’t make the connection before, because it was quite coincidental that they have been my most recent reads. But I did want to dedicate a post to these books that I would be able to look back on if need be. The result today is spoiler-free, so if you have no yet read them, you can safely read ahead.

As you might’ve been able to guess, I’m writing this introduction after having already written my thoughts. So I can tell you how hard it was to limit my discussion to just the first major points that came to mind. I feel like I could rant for thousands of words sometimes on the books I read, but that would just be too much.

• ⟡ • An Absolutely Remarkable Thing • ⟡ •

I read An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green primarily in October. It was a book I had highly anticipated as a casual viewer of the vlogbrothers YouTube channel Hank shares with his brother John. I’m not the biggest fan of John Green’s books, having only been able to finish The Fault in Our Stars, which I actually did like. But Hank’s book appealed to me purely based on the synopsis, so I was happy to be able to support his debut novel.

I set AART down extremely satisfied with the book. It stayed in my mind for a few weeks after. It has one of the best finales and denouements I’ve ever read. After meandering on the smaller details for most of the book, it becomes extremely action-packed and…emotionally impactful. There’s a moment towards the end that had me shed a tear. It was unexpected! It’s hard to talk much more about the final scenes without spoiling the book, so I won’t go any further!

Early on in the book, you realize that AART is being narrated by the protagonist after all the events of the book have gone down. It led to some satisfying foreshadowing, but I also found it annoying at times. April May makes a lot of mistakes in the book, some of which I didn’t particularly find myself sympathetic to, even after the fact. I dislike how she frames them, like, she knows she was wrong and thinks that her awareness of the fact makes it less bad. In my opinion, it’s akin to the author trying too hard to make readers feel or think a certain way.

Also her logic, or line of thinking, is at times hard to follow. I think that the biggest problem actually was just that Green assumes that everyone is going to have the same socio-political stances as he does. I do, but I’m not as far left as he, or April May more accurately, seems to be.

Other than that, I really loved this book. I think it’s so timely and relevant with how social media can give people so much power and how important it is to wield it responsibly. I also think it’s important in exploring how humanity can work together towards and common goal. It’s very reminiscent of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which I saw Hank say was intentional, but different in its selection of villain.

So many staples of science fiction, that I’m aware of, paint massive corporations as the bad guy. In AART, the villains are people who fall prey to the fear and anger exacerbated by fear-mongering conservative pundits.

I feel like this book is so a product of our current political climate in the U.S. It’s uplifting and terrifying at the same time.

• ⟡ • Heist Society • ⟡ •

I took a bit of break from reading after AART as I worked on my novel leading up to November. I was also busy with other projects and life this fall. My next read, had it been immediately gripping, would have actually been Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas, the finale to the epic Throne of Glass series. But I was not able to become invested quickly enough in that 900-plus-page tome, so one day mid-November I decided to pick up something that would be a considerably easier read.

I read Heist Society by Ally Carter mostly over Thanksgiving Break. It wasn’t a high priority read, so I took my time with it. In fact, I picked it up because I realized I was in a bit of reading slump and I find YA contemporaries perfect for reviving interest in reading, because they are 1) generally easy to read and 2) seem to be written with the aim of being captivating.

I also almost picked up White Cat by Holly Black but I read it last year (around this time!) and couldn’t find it (which reminds me I need to look for it).

I was not as impressed by Heist Society as I was hoping to be. It’s not the book or author’s fault (it was published in 2010), but at this point I’m a bit exasperated by books where teens are these unbelievable super geniuses who are more qualified and capable than adults with experience to save the day. I don’t mind their age specifically, but when books seem so intent on emphasizing the mental prowess of teens in contrast with bumbling adults, it is just so overdone at this point. And unrealistic.

I don’t think that teens can’t or shouldn’t be able to accomplish amazing things. But I don’t need them all to be highly enlightened or brilliant minds. It’s not even that it’s just realistic but more importantly it’s not all that relatable.

Other than that major critique, which may or may not have been better explored elsewhere, I found the plot a little predictable at some point. Also, the heist was pretty clever, but since there’s no proof of how brilliant these cast of characters are beforehand (beyond them all being super confident and constantly alluding to past jobs) it didn’t feel too authentic. But I liked the characters and their interactions with one another. I also appreciated the fast pace of the story, which was filled with appropriately high stakes.

 ☙ ❧ End Note ❧ ☙

If you were interested in these books, I hope I was able to give you a good idea of what you might be able to expect along with my personal thoughts on them. In the future I may go into spoiler territory, but I think that will mostly be whenever I feel very strongly about what happened and need to vent (à la Tower of Dawn). Maybe my book talk on Kingdom of Ash will be such a post, whenever I get back to it!

I must say, however, that I prefer writing spoiler-free reviews. Particularly if I know I would like to read the book again. It’s nice to let yourself forget some of the details of a book you love so you can still enjoy it the next time as if it’s the first time.

Right now I leaning towards starting Heist Society‘s immediate sequel Uncommon Criminals. But I can’t say for certain, as I’ve not actually started it yet. Maybe I’ll jump back into another book I’ve wanted to read all autumn. Who’s to say at this moment?!

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

Kingdom of Ash | Weekend Reads

Happy Friday! I’m back again this Friday with my weekend reading plans. It’s taken me all month, but I finally finished An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. It started off a little rocky for me, but I was blown away by the ending and now can’t stop thinking about it. It even made me tear up a little. (I’m hoping to write a proper review soon!)

Last Wednesday I had my endoscopic surgery on my nose. Everything went fine, but it was miserable constantly needing to clean my nose and change my gauze. I’m not sure I would ever go through this surgery again if I needed it. Hopefully I’ll never have to deal with a broken nose!

I thought I’d be able to get a lot done, but my recovery was mostly spent sleeping whenever I could and doing stuff that I could do with my head up. So I watched a lot of T.V.! I did have days where I managed a bit of reading, but it was hard to do consistently when I wasn’t even eating or sleeping consistently.

koaRight now I feel like reading ALL THE THINGS, so it was a little hard to decide what my next read would, especially since I’m reading like one book per month at the moment. Then I started seeing Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas, the long-awaited finale to the epic Throne of Glass series, pop up in my social media feeds and realized that it’d be the perfect thing to read right now.

I’ve always bought the books in the Throne of Glass series in their digital form via Amazon Kindle (the first books were amazing $2/$3 deals). Right now, I figured an eBook might find it easier for me to read from my phone/iPad than a physical book that I would need to hold up and possibly drop on my face. I’ve dropped my phone on my face in the past as well. Nevertheless, it’s lighter than a book!

 ☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

Now that I’m starting to feel better, I’m hoping I’ll be able to end the month strong. I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog where I want to take it. I love switching things up and following my whims when it comes to this blog. Hopefully there will always be something for everyone, especially the people who originally followed.

As much as I hate to admit it, I feel like I got caught up in the blog growth game again and need to hit the restart button. I need to feel the freedom of being able to blog whenever I feel like it and not just because people are expecting something specific from me. I’ll elaborate on this some more soon.

What are you reading this weekend?

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing | Weekend Reads

Happy Friday! Every Friday on Weekend Reads I try to kick off the weekend off talking about what I read the week previous and what I hope to read over the weekend. I’ve not been doing much reading lately, but I do hope to turn that around this month.

I’ve been watching a lot of television once I get home from work in the evening and by that time I’m usually already very tired. I wake up early so I can be productive in the morning, but I’ve also had a lot of errands to run related to my job, my mom’s post-op appointments, and my upcoming nasal surgery (10/17). But I’ve also been hard at work on my novel!

Nevertheless, I really want to read some more. As I’m writing, I keep thinking about my writing style and which authors I would like to emulate. Reading similar works while writing my novel helps a lot, so I want to try to finish up my current read so I can pick up some fantasy again!

anabsolutelyI started An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green after I finished Howl’s Moving Castle the weekend after its debut. It took me a little while to get accustomed to the narrator’s voice, but I’m very much invested now in the mystery of the story. The only thing I’m struggling with is that the protagonist is clearly making dumb decisions but unwilling to stop it. It’s one of my pet peeves in books. I often just can’t relate.

But I do think there’s a lot of fascinating details about the nature and navigation of internet fame. The book goes into detail about how agents and other behind-the-scenes managers help entertainers cash in on their notoriety. It’s super icky but also understandable why people want to take advantage of opportunities that they may never see again.

 ☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

This weekend I hope to post my next installment of NaNoWriMo Prep, the first of which went up this past Wednesday (OctoWriMo | NaNoWriMo Prep). I’m sorry I’ve not been too active in the blogosphere, but I hope to make up for it now that I have a better handle on all the stuff I’m up to.

I’ll have about a week off after my surgery next Wednesday, and it sounds like I won’t be able to do much else but read, write, and blog. So that should be fun!

What are you reading this weekend?

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

The Liebster Award | Blog Tag

Last week I was tagged by Gerry @ The Book Nook UK for The Liebster Award. This award makes me feel really nostalgic, because it was one of the first I ever got nominated for back on my first blog in 2015. I’m amazed that it continues to circulate online and I’m thrilled to be considered for it again after so many years.

These were some pretty interesting questions to think about! I hope my answers were satisfactory, Gerry!


If you opened up a bookshop – what would it be called?

Interlude in Feathers

You’re writing a novel – what are your two main characters names and what kind of novel is it?

I’m not going to share actual names I’ve been using my novels! But here’s two I really love and just thought of, Amelia and Bo. It would be a family drama.

You wake up from a night of heavy drinking to find that you have a tattoo of a fictional character’s name tattooed on your bum. Whose name is it?

I do not drink heavily, but one answer that comes to mind is Woodstock. ^_^

You’re a wizard Harry book blogger. What familiar do you choose?

One of those bear-sized raccoons that wanders around in packs at night

You’re hosting dinner, which four guests (friends, family, famous or fictional) do you invite?

Howell Jenkins, Ginny Weasley, Nikolai Lantsov, and Kaz Brekker

What are you cooking them? Is this your signature dish?

I would cook them beef stir fry with mixed veggies and pineapple served over white rice. It is not a signature dish of mine, but it is something I used to order at a restaurant that discontinued it as a menu item years ago. Not sure why it came to mind just now…

There’s an orchard at the end of the road, one night you hear sobbing from it. Do you go and investigate? If you investigate, who’s there?

I go investigate if it’s not night-time yet and I have my phone handy and someone on call. I assume it’s a woman. Maybe someone who just escaped a potential kidnapping. I call 911 and stay nearby in case anyone else shows up.

Magic has happened and now you’re in the last movie that you watched. What movie is it and how do you fare in this new universe?

I just watched The Shape of Water (2017)! It’s a beautiful movie and world. I think I’d be fine. I could start a new life fairly easily in Baltimore of the 1950s. I feel it was a lot easier back then to make up new identities. I also think American industry was stronger back then, so it’d be easy to find work.

Alien abduction, werewolf bite, vampire attack. One is going to happen to you but lucky for you, you get to pick which one! Go for it and tell me which.

Vampire attack. I think it would hurt the least and be the least lonely. I also think it would be a lot easier to control vampiric urges than those of a werewolf. Alien abduction would be the worst for me. Mars Attacks! (1996) is hands down one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. I don’t want to be an alien’s science experiment!

Tell me what your perfect Sunday looks like.

Waking up by natural light before anyone else. Having my favorite breakfast tacos from a Mexican restaurant called Jalisco. It’s raining but bright outside. I’d participate in #WritersPatch at 10 a.m. CST and then work on my novel for a few hours, taking breaks for snacks, but otherwise doing exactly as I please ^_^

What plot of a book resembles your life or is most closest to your life?

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

End Note

Thanks for the tag, Gerry! As my mind has been so preoccupied lately, I didn’t feel that I could adequately come up with a list of questions to rival Gerry’s, so I’ve also opted not to tag anyone this weekend. If you would like to answer these fun questions yourself, feel free to do so and link back to Gerry and me so we can see your answers! ^_^

Let me know what you think in the comment section!

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.