The Wanderlust Tag | Blog Tag

This week I was tagged by Sara @ The Bibliophagist for The Wanderlust Tag! Since I’ve been working on new kinds of blog content this month, I was delighted to be tagged and have another reason for a more relaxed and casual blog post that allows new followers to learn a little more about me and my interest. While this blog tag is specific to books, but I think that book recommendations reveal a lot about a person who put the list together. So hopefully it’s a fun read for anyone who has decided to follow this blog!

I’m also using this post as an opportunity for an informal catch-up. I’ve been so busy this week with helping to get the house ready for the flyer pictures. Now I won’t know with much warning when I’ll be expected to pick up and leave for house viewings. I also met with my Red Cross supervisor this week to find out what is expected of me. I’m going to start preparing social media content for our region at the start of April, so I’ll be figuring out just how long it takes me to do that next week!

Thank you so much for your support this month with all my posts and blog changes! I’m so happy with everything and can’t wait to see what April brings. I plan to publish Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this week, so I’ll be working on these posts this weekend. Hopefully they don’t take too long, because this week I need to set up my April bujo spread!

What Is The Wanderlust Tag?

❝ If you have been following my little blog, you’ll also know that I’m all about the world building. I love how a good setting works to elevate the overall mood and tension. Nothing beats the draw of an eerie moorland, murky rivers, a wind-swept coastal town or even a ruthless, Tolkien-like fantasy world. [This blog tag is] a celebration of immersive settings that transport us to alternative realities  – Alexandra @ Reading by Starlight

The Rules

  • Mention the creator of the tag and link back to original post
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you
  • Answer the 10 questions below using any genre
  • Tag 5+ friends

If you find any of the books listed below fascinating I’ve included links to them on both Goodreads and Amazon. Just so you know, I am now an Amazon affiliate. If you do end up making a qualifying purchase through my one of my links I may make a small commission at no extra expense to you. ^_^

SECRETS AND LIES | A BOOK SET IN A SLEEPY SMALL TOWN

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Pages: Paperback, 288 pages
Published: August 31, 2010 by Vintage Books
Genres: New Adult / Speculative
Goodreads | Amazon

From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, comes an unforgettable edge-of-your-seat mystery that is at once heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous about what it means to be human.

Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.

Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.

Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date.

Never Let Me Go was one of my first forays into literary fiction as a high schooler. The movie came out around my junior year of high school, which is why this book was on my radar. It’s a beautifully sad tale about what it means to be human. I still remember by frustration and confusion about why they don’t make a run for it and why they aren’t more frustrated with their fates. They were so resigned to it.

SALT AND SAND | A BOOK WITH A BEACHSIDE COMMUNITY

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Pages: Paperback, 227 pages
Published: May 13, 2014 by Hot Key Books
Genres: Young Adult / Family Drama
Goodreads | Amazon

We are the Liars.

We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury.

We are cracked and broken.

A story of love and romance.

A tale of tragedy.

Which are lies?

Which is truth?

You decide.

This young adult novel is one of my inexplicable favorites. It gets me every time. I feel like it’s best to go into this book somewhat blind, so all I’ll say is it’s a great summertime read. The characters have summer vacations a dreamy private island and occasionally visit the nearby beachside town. In my head I picture where the cast of Gossip Girl go at the start of…Season 2 or 3?

HERE THERE BE DRAGONS | A BOOK WITH A VOYAGE ON THE HIGH SEAS

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Pages: Hardcover, 462 pages
Published: September 29, 2015 by Henry Holt and Company
Genres: New Adult / Fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

This book is just…everything. I don’t have time to get into it! I’ll just say that a lot of important moments happen at sea and around docks. The gang travels by sea to get to their heist and then need to return the same way.

TREAD LIGHTLY | A BOOK SET DOWN A MURKY RIVER OR A JUNGLE

City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende
Pages: Paperback, 408 pages
Published: April 27, 2004 by Rayo
Genres: Young Adult / Contemporary
Goodreads | Amazon

Fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold is about to join his fearless grandmother on the trip of a lifetime. An International Geographic expedition is headed to the dangerous, remote wilds of South America, on a mission to document the legendary Yeti of the Amazon known as the Beast.

But there are many secrets hidden in the unexplored wilderness, as Alex and his new friend Nadia soon discover. Drawing on the strength of their spirit guides, both young people are led on a thrilling and unforgettable journey to the ultimate discovery. . .

I reread this book for the first time since I was a teen last year (and reviewed it) and I did not remember how violent and dark this story was, considering its targeted towards young people. It’s very descriptive of the Amazon and the dangers it holds, so it’s a great read for anyone who enjoys high-stakes adventures.

FROZEN WASTES | A BOOK WITH A FROSTBITTEN ATMOSPHERE

Troubling a Star by Madeleine L’Engle
Pages: Paperback, 336 pages
Published: September 2, 2008 by Square Fish
Genres: Young Adult / Contemporary
Goodreads | Amazon

The Austins have settled back into their beloved home in the country after more than a year away. Though they had all missed the predictability and security of life in Thornhill, Vicky Austin is discovering that slipping back into her old life isn’t easy. She’s been changed by life in New York City and her travels around the country while her old friends seem to have stayed the same. So Vicky finds herself spending time with a new friend, Serena Eddington—the great-aunt of a boy Vicky met over the summer.

Aunt Serena gives Vicky an incredible birthday gift—a month-long trip to Antarctica. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. But Vicky is nervous. She’s never been away from her family before. Once she sets off though, she finds that’s the least of her worries. She receives threatening letters. She’s surrounded by suspicious characters. Vicky no longer knows who to trust. And she may not make it home alive.

This prompt was a little hard for me. I almost went with The Golden Compass, but then I remembered this childhood classic. It’s another that I reread last summer and it’s a highly underrated book from the author of A Wrinkle in Time and A Ring of Endless. It’s got a very strong message about environmental conservation woven into this tale of a girl who gets to go visit Antarctica on an educational trip and inadvertently gets mixed up in political intrigue and dangerous plots.

THE BOONIES | A BOOK WITH ROUGH OR ISOLATED TERRAIN

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Pages: Paperback, 380 pages
Published: May 2004 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young Adult / Speculative 
Goodreads | Amazon

With undertones of vampires, Frankenstein, dragons’ hoards, and killing fields, Matt’s story turns out to be an inspiring tale of friendship, survival, hope, and transcendence. A must-read for teenage fantasy fans.

At his coming-of-age party, Matteo Alacrán asks El Patrón’s bodyguard, “How old am I?…I know I don’t have a birthday like humans, but I was born.”

“You were harvested,” Tam Lin reminds him. “You were grown in that poor cow for nine months and then you were cut out of her.”

To most people around him, Matt is not a boy, but a beast. A room full of chicken litter with roaches for friends and old chicken bones for toys is considered good enough for him. But for El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium—a strip of poppy fields lying between the U.S. and what was once called Mexico—Matt is a guarantee of eternal life. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself for Matt is himself. They share identical DNA.

Another really dark read for children, The House of the Scorpion becomes an thrilling adventure story about halfway through the book. The protagonist is treated horribly and unlike the characters of Never Let Me Go, does eventually make a run for it. There are dangerous characters to fend off and the terrain he must trek is not much friendlier.

HINTERLANDS AND COWBOYS | A BOOK WITH A WESTERN-ESQUE SETTING

 Holes by Louis Sachar
Pages: Paperback, 233 pages
Published: September 2, 2000 by Scholastic 
Genres: Young Adult / Folk Tales
Goodreads | Amazon

Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten- pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys “build character” by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.

I’ve not read any westerns beyond one that was a little overrated (highly promoted) a few years ago now. I forget what it was called. Anyway, Holes eventually came to mind. The movie came out the year before I started middle school, so I remember that more clearly than I do the book, but this book involves history of the west where the story’s setting is located. There are a collection of interwoven tales that link the protagonist, antagonists, and Camp Green Lake to the past during the time of trains and robbers.

LOOK LIVELY | A BOOK ACROSS SWEEPING DESERT SANDS

Cress by Marissa Meyer
Pages: Paperback, 550 pages
Published: January 27, 2015 by Square Fish
Genres: Young Adult / Science Fiction / Fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

Cress is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles and probably my favorite. I love Cress best of all and her story is the saddest and loneliest. To travel with her on her adventures once she escapes her prison is so much fun. A lot of this book is set in the desert where she and Captain Thorne crash land on Earth.

WILD AND UNTAMED | A BOOK SET IN THE HEART OF THE WOODS

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Pages: Paperback, 438 pages
Published:  March 1, 2016 by Del Rey 
Genres: New Adult / Fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

This book feels like its a few different books all cut and pasted together to make one. It’s a really beautiful and pretty fun read that ends up in a place I really didn’t expect it to go. The corrupt Wood is one of the scariest settings/entities that I’ve ever read. I had some nightmares after reading this book, which I’ve never really had happen with a book before.

WILDEST DREAMS | A WHIMSICAL BOOK SHROUDED IN MAGIC

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
Pages: Paperback, 349 pages
Published: July 11, 2017 by Speak
Genres: Young Adult / Fantasy 
Goodreads | Amazon

Sunny Nwazue lives in Nigeria, but she was born in New York City. Her features are West African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. And she has a lot of catching up to do.

Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But just as she’s finding her footing, Sunny and her friends are asked by the magical authorities to help track down a career criminal who knows magic, too. Will their training be enough to help them against a threat whose powers greatly outnumber theirs?

I’ve never read another book that makes me feel the way I did when I first read Harry Potter. That desire to enter the world and experience its magic personally. I know a lot of authors have attempted it, but it’s never really been the same. I love the worldbuilding in Akata Witch so much because it feels so much more real than Harry Potter. It’s set in Africa, which read a lot to me like places from my actual childhood in the more rural hispanic parts of the US. It feels less like of an ivory tower than Hogwarts, more attainable.

I Tag…

Eline | Czai | Charleigh | Olivia | Angelica | Sam

I’ve seen this tag making the rounds, so I don’t remember who all has already done it! I’m just tagging the people I’ve most recently tagged who I think might enjoy it if they haven’t already. Of course, if this sounds like something you’d like to and you haven’t been tagged yet then consider yourself personally tagged by me ^_^

Recent Posts

Well this post took the better part of my Saturday morning and afternoon, with breaks of course! I’m about to call it a day and go start Part 2 of The OA on Netflix! I’ve been anticipating it all month and then I go and forget about it this week as soon as it debuts. Typical.

The last week of March will be dedicated to bullet journal content as I move into my new bullet journal and set it up for April. On that note, some of you may have gotten a sneak preview this week of the post that will go up on Monday! Sorry about that! It was not quite finished, and I forgot to move it after failing to complete it last weekend. There’s a lot more I want to add to it, so that it is as amazing and helpful as possible for newbies to journaling.

Thank you for reading!
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Mystery Blogger Award | Blog Tag

This week I was nominated by Siobhan @ Novelties for the Mystery Blogger Award! Since I’ve been working on new kinds of blog content this month, I was delighted to be tagged and have a reason for a more relaxed blog post that would allow new followers to get to know more about me.

On an unrelated note, I decided to start going by my real name again on this blog and my other socials because I want to be able to share stuff I write on here with future employers and don’t want there to be any confusion. Sorry for any confusion I’ve caused for you guys!

What Is the Mystery Blogger Award?

It’s an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion. – Okoto Enigma

The Rules

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

Three Facts about Me

  1. Purple used to be my favorite color and now I can’t stand the thought of wearing it. It brings back negative memories of 8th/9th grade.
  2. I used to be able to tan really dark, but now I just freckle permanently if I don’t wear sunscreen. It’s really annoying.
  3. I’m in the currently in process of moving, so life is a little all over the place at the moment! More info about this move to come…

Siobhan’s Questions

1. Which character would you name your child (human, furbrat, or other) after?

By saying these names, I feel like I’m giving them away! But so be it, there’s plenty of names out there. For a daughter, I really love the name Ruth after the character from the film Fried Green Tomatoes (1991). For a son, I like Remus after Remus Lupin from Harry Potter. For dogs I like Gordo (Lizzie Maguire), Randall (This is Us), and Bosley (Bill Murray in Charlie’s Angels).

2. If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?

I would become a business woman with enough capital and connections to make stuff happen.

3. What is your new favorite book or TV show?

New as in discovered within the last year? I’ve recently been thinking about Sharp Objects, which is a mini-series starring Amy Adams that came out last summer. It was amazing. The female characters were so compelling and the music so evocative. I feel like I might start it up again. I can’t think of a new favorite book beyond The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson, which was a satisfying follow-up to Truly Devious.

4. What is the latest accomplishment you’re proud of?

What a lovely question. I’m really pleased about my new position as a Red Cross digital volunteer! I had to interview for it, and it was a win I needed right now to be honest. It’ll be doing work that I’m proud of and that will give me great experience for the kind of thing I want to do professionally.

5. What book are you looking forward to reading?

Right now, I really want to get to King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo! I’ve been trying to finish up Disrupt You by Jay Samit first so I could mark it off my TBR.

Bonus: If you could be transported into any TV show, what would it be?

I would love to be transported into the 1950s New York City of which The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel paints such a rosy picture. (I think I’ve answered this question before and had the same exact answer!)

My Questions

  1. Do you share your blog with people you know in your real life?
  2. What are your ultimate blog goals?
  3. Do you see yourself blogging when you’re 50?
  4. Who is your role model, fictional or otherwise?
  5. What are some books do you think are underrated?
  6. Bonus: You find out the world ends tomorrow; what do you do?

I Nominate…

Sara| Dani | Eline | Larissa | Czai | CharleighSamanthaMarie | Olivia | Angelica

Recent Posts

I hope you enjoy this light post! I’ve been super busy this week between producing the posts I did, planning future content, and working on job-related stuff. I’ve come to the realization that I really need to scale back on the blog stuff at the moment, so I’m probably going to aim for something of a blog schedule (M/W/F) for the next few weeks so that I can get on top of other responsibilities. I’ll try to use Twitter and Instagram for more personal updates, so check those out if you’d like!

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

Thoughts on The Man in the High Castle

I finished The Man in the High Castle in January. I discovered the show in November or December of 2017 and binged the first two seasons over the course of a single weekend, if I remember correctly. The show was just so beautiful, with the scenery of the reimagined U.S. under Japanese and German control. I loved the fashion. It was all just so beautiful, even while the world created depicted what would have been the world could have been like if ruled by fascism.

There is not a whole lot to spoil in the book. This is the kind of book that left me with more questions than answers, so I didn’t see any point to omitting anything. If you have been keeping up with the show, there is not anything I discuss that would spoil anything in the show.

I actually hoped I would find a hint of how the show would end by reading this book, but I was sorely mistaken. The show takes and adapts a lot from this book, but it is not a beat-for-beat adaptation. It’s actually a really wonderful adaptation that, I think, would be a really satisfying companion to the book for old fans. It takes philosophical ideas from the book further and develops a more compelling storyline.

• ⟡ • The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick  • ⟡ •

I was left a little disappointed by the book overall, but that is mainly because the main draws of the show, in my opinion, are absent from the book.

Julianna Crane, the star of the show, is a mere shadow of herself in the book. The mystery that drives the show, the mystery of the films and where they come from are not in the book at all! There is no growing resistance in the book for which we can root, as there is in the show. Instead of a twisting plot, the book is heavy in philosophical quandaries and big ideas.

Instead of the films, the emergence of a banned book threatens the Nazi powers that be. We see from the perspectives of several different characters how this book, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, has affected the status quo. What has made this book so controversial? Well, it describes an alternative history in which the Allies and not the Axis powers won WWII. It shows what the world could be like, which would be a preferable reality to Americans and others under Nazi dominion.

The book goes into much greater detail than the show about what happened in other parts of the world, like South America and Africa. It also goes into greater detail of the warring Nazi factions. Cut out of the show was the space colonization project of the Nazi, which is slightly comical. It’s one of the many details that reminds you that this book was written before the first human walked on the moon in 1969.

What stuck out most to me is that the alternative history presented in the fictional book was not ours, but one in which the U.S. and Great Britain become the major world powers.

The alternatives presented in this book, one by the controversial book and one by the extremely unpleasant Joe Cinnadella, made me wonder which the author Philip K. Dick might have actually have been predicting would be the way our world could actually end up. While the U.S. did become a major world power post-WWII, the relative peace and freedom which Americans enjoy today was not a reality in the 1950s or 60s. It took a lot of work to get where we are today, and there’s still a lot to be done.

Did Dick think the U.S. was heading towards its own demise when he wrote the book? I ask this question because I also wonder in what ways the U.S. might still be hurdling towards this destruction today. We have a lot of social safe-guards at the moment, protecting our most vulnerable people and keeping us all safe as result. But the Republican party at large seems intent on taking these things away. Are we becoming a plutocracy? Will that mean the end of our world as we know it?

…Even if all life on our planet is destroyed, there must be other life somewhere which we know nothing of. It is impossible that ours is the only world; there must be world after world unseen by us, in some region or dimension that we simply do not perceive…

I think this idea of alternative universes must have been on many people’s minds during the Cold War, not least because I’ve encountered children’s literature that ponders the same the questions. I’m not really sure what to make of it, as I didn’t have time to look into it. If I had to guess, I assume it has something to do with the fear in the back of many people’s minds that the world could end at any moment. Maybe thinking that there were other worlds out there provided some peace of mind?

We do not have the ideal world, such as we would like, where morality is easy because cognition is easy. Where one can do right with no effort because he can detect the obvious.

I actually finished this book as the third season of The Good Place was wrapping up, so it was oddly gratifying to see the familiar theme emerge that highlights how difficult it is to tell right from wrong in modern society. The choices you make and the kind of life you choose to live all depend on where you live, the power and economic structures in place, and the laws of the land. It is easy to look at different people and cultures and say that they have it all wrong. But it’s important to remember how many constraints we all live under.

He told us about our own world, she thought as she unlocked the door to her motel room. This, what’s around us now. In the room, she again switched on the radio. He wants us to see it for what it is. And I do, and more so each moment.

I am sure many things went over my head in this book. I admit I am not sure I was able to follow Julianna’s logic when it came to understanding why Abendsen wrote the book or what its purpose was. I’m not sure if I was supposed to or really needed to. The book was successful for me in that it was thought-provoking. It’s one I could see myself reading periodically throughout my life and picking up new meaning each time.

☙ ❧ End Note ❧ ☙

If you’re wondering if this is a worth-while read, I recommend picking it up if you are intrigued by any of the thoughts I shared above. It’s the kind of book you want to read and have a conversation about, so a book club or group reading might be the best situations in which to experience this book and its ideas.

It took me a little while to finish this post, so I have since read The Vanishing Stair, the sequel to one of my favorite reads last year, Truly Devious! You can expect a review of that one very soon.

Thank you for reading!
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Thoughts on Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Not going to lie, I’m finding it incredible that I am already right on track with my new year’s resolution to read one fiction and one non-fiction book per month. It was difficult for me to read in Fall 2018. I feel like there was so much I wanted to read, but at the same time I was shifting my reading priorities. I completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge a few months early last year, so I didn’t know what was motivating to me to read or what to prioritize.

I guess I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I am a mood reader.

This year I want to really enjoy reading, so I’ve decided to take a break from Goodreads. I used to love tracking my reading progress and using the mobile app as a bookmark. But I ultimately have begun to feel like sharing my reading progress is giving me undue stress to read more quickly. I also feel the review system is a little broken. My feed is always cluttered by the same people and updates.

I do not I feel like I’m benefiting from a community either. I don’t engage in any conversations on Goodreads. In fact my only joy from the app has been when complete strangers find my old reviews and interact with them! That’s the only thing I’ll miss, beyond the ability to organize books by shelves.

All that said, I plan to continue these “Thoughts on…” posts throughout the year to talk about what I’ve been reading. Breakfast at Tiffany’s was my first full read of the year, but in this post I also want to talk about what I’ve been reading since my last blog post (see: Thoughts on AART + Heist Society).

CURRENTLY READING

I started two books in December that I did not finish, but I still consider myself to be “currently reading.” They are Disrupt You by Jay Samit and Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas. My reasons for putting both these books down are different. Disrupt You was not turning out the way I hoped it would. It’s turned out to be very anecdotal and argumentative in ways I do not want or need.

I put down Kingdom of Ash because I realized I wanted to take a step back to 1) start the blog post for the review because I was afraid I might forget the beginning, and 2) refresh myself on character names and relationship dynamics so I could fully appreciate the story without feeling like I’m missing why certain things are significant.

At the beginning of January I felt like picking up The Democratic Surround by Fred Turner. I’m about two chapters in and really like it, but I’ve had to set it aside while getting back into the swing of things at work. I wanted to read something fictional, so I picked up The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick.

Over the holidays I finally got around to watching the third season of the Amazon Prime original show. While I wasn’t as captivated by it as much as I was the first two seasons, I am still eager to find how the story will wrap up. Since it took two years for the third season to arrive, I’m not holding my breath for the fourth and have decided it’s a great time to read the book the show was based on! About thirty pages in, I’m already surprised by some of the character differences. I don’t know what to expect now!

• ⟡ • Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote  • ⟡ •

I finally decided to pick up this novella after starting to read The Democratic Surround, just because the time period in which the novella is set is the same more or less as the time period discussed in the academic text. I felt these texts would compliment each other, and I do think fiction is a great way to become immersed in places and times long past.

I really love Truman Capote’s writing style. It’s so clear and concise, yet still so evocative in its simple descriptions of place and people. There’s also a fair amount of humor subtly weaved into the story from dialogue to situations. It’s not at all surprising so much of the dialogue from the movie starring Audrey Hepburn was directly lifted from the book.

On the topic of the movie, after having now read the book, I think the movie is an excellent adaptation. It keeps Holly Golightly’s spirit alive. While the movie does paint her a little bit nicer and give her a more hopeful ending, I think the more important aspects of her character and strife are preserved. She is often manipulative and just plain mean, but there’s something I really respect about her self-awareness and how she lives her life by her own moral code.

I feel like this novella is absolutely a must-read for anyone who loves the movie beyond its superficial façade. You get to see how truly clever and bold Holly is. Additionally, the novella really helps to illuminate certain parts of the story and lines from the movie that have long stuck with me, including how she can still be so fond of the man who she married as a child (although, I’m still horrified) and how she justifies her scandalous lifestyle.

…good things only happen to you if you’re good. Good? Honest is more what I mean. Not law-type honest…but unto-thyself-type honest. Be anything but a coward, a pretender, an emotional crook, a whore: I’d rather have cancer than a dishonest heart…

One thing I found myself thinking about after finishing the novella is how much Holly Golightly reminds me of Jay Gatsby. They are both models of self-improvement and ambition. Both characters are extremely charming despite humble (and mysterious) backstories. They both work hard to advance in life, but ultimately fail to live their lives to their fullest because they are haunted by great loves they are unable to leave in the past.

I’m not sure what I can take away with me from this book. I’m no Holly Golightly, nor do I wish to be. For me Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a love letter to people who refuse to accept the lot they are given in life and are shameless enough to strive for more. They’re dreamers who actually do something to pursue their dreams, which is more than can be said for a lot of people (myself included). I think that is why I was first so moved by the movie and now by the novella.

☙ ❧ End Note ❧ ☙

I was feeling really optimistic with my reading at the beginning of the month but it has since dissipated a bit. I don’t really mind, though! I’m glad I’m reading at all. I hope to finish The Man in the High Castle this weekend as I have three days off. I would also like to reread Truly Devious immediately after as the sequel, The Vanishing Stair, is coming out soon! Ideally I would like to read both that and King of Scars. I’ve pre-ordered both and can’t wait to finally hold them in my hands.

Thank you for reading!
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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!
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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!
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A Quick Blog Update | Weekend Reads

Happy Friday! Every Friday on Weekend Reads I like to kick off the weekend off talking about what I read the week previous and what I hope to read over the weekend. My reading has not been going swimmingly, however, so I just wanted to put up this post and be honest about what’s been going on this week.

I loved being so active in the blogosphere last week, and while I wouldn’t say that I got burnt out, I did feel like taking some time for myself this week to breathe. I’ve been getting settled in a new routine where writing, working out, and the job search are at the forefront.

On the reading front, I’ve yet to finish Howl’s Moving Castle. But I like to think it’s because I’ve been writing more than reading this week, which, honestly, is not a bad trade-off! But after I finish Howl’s, I intend to get on with the books I talked about last Friday (see: Heist Society Read-A-Thon).

 ☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

This weekend I will be back to posting as normal! Saturday I will be sharing my TBR Book Tag and Sunday I will be sharing what I’ve been up to this week beyond the blog in my Week in Review. Other than that, I just want to prepare for next week so there’s more up on the blog. September has been a fantastic month and I want to end it on a high note. ^_^

What are you reading this weekend?

Thank you for reading!
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Heist Society Read-A-Thon | Weekend Reads

Happy Friday! Every Friday on Weekend Reads I like to kick off the weekend off talking about what I read the week previous and what I hope to read over the weekend. Last week I mentioned I would be observing my reading habits closely over the weekend. I ended up carrying my “experiment” over the week.

As ambitious my reading plans, I’ve realized a few things about myself as a reader. First, I’d say I treat each book I’m reading like a little project. I find I focus a lot of my mental energy on it, so much so that I don’t really find it that easy to tear my attention away and direct it towards other things. So even if the two books are completely different, I prefer not to read them at the same time.

Also, reading is not always the most attractive option to me when I have only a couple of hours to spare. I find reading works best for me when I have a longer stretch of time. So first thing in the morning if I woke up early and night-time after I’ve gotten ready for bed seemed to work best during the week. But I don’t like to read lying down much anymore, so I do find myself trying to sit up against my wall or in my comfy chair.

So I’m not most voracious reader anymore, but I don’t mind. I still love buying new books on special occasions and spending time regularly each month on a new read, but I’m not numbers motivated anymore. I’m not even really motivated to write reviews anymore, except when I’m sharing a book I think is really special.

I will continue to consider myself first and foremost a book blogger, but I’ll take pleasure in representing the more chill side of the bookish community. ^_^

 ●  ● Books Read ●  ●  

Last weekend I only started one book, Howl’s Moving Castle, and I’ve been reading it slowly all week. This book is a reread, so there’s no inherent urgency to devour the story. I’m just reading it for pure pleasure, as it’s been a few years since I last picked it up. I am really enjoying it and think I will finish it today (Friday) after work.

 ●  ● Books To Read ●  ●  

Finally! The title gets explained! Yes, I’m planning on having myself a little Heist Society read-a-thon this weekend. It’s not a part of a specific event. It’s just something I thought might be fun to do. I’ve been wanting to read these books since I bought them earlier this year and it finally feels like a great time to pick them up.

I’m hoping it will be a similar experience to last year when I read The Curse Workers trilogy. I don’t think I ever ended up talking much about those books, but I adored them. I was able to breeze through that series and really enjoy the ride.

Right now, I really just want to read fun books. I’ve completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge and there’s nothing stopping me!

 ☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

Next week I will participating in Top Ten Tuesday again! The theme is your fall TBR, and since I’m not really doing TBRs at the start of each month anymore, I figured it’s a great opportunity to share some books I could see myself reading this season. But before that I have three blog posts planned for this weekend, so you’ll be hearing a lot more from me very soon! ^_^

What are you reading this weekend?

Have you read the Heist Society books? If so, what did you think?!

Thank you for reading!
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The Weekend Experiment | Weekend Reads

Happy Friday! And yes, I recycled last week’s Week in Review featured image, opting to turn it into the image for the new Weekend Reads weekly series. Every Friday I want to start the weekend by talking about what I read the week previous and what I hope to read over the weekend. I think it will ultimately take the place of my monthly reading wrap ups and take some of the pressure off of writing reviews.

This week did not look very different from past ones, but I’m hoping this weekend I’ll be able to turn things around on the reading front this September! I’ll be mood reading (i.e. not setting a TBR) for much of the month towards that goal.

 ●  ● Books Read ●  ●  

 Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes | Yes, I’m still stuck on this book. Despite how I said I was finally getting into this book last week, I’ve kind of lost that motivation after the few chapters I read Wednesday morning. It should be pretty easy to finish if I put in the time, that’s why I’ve been reluctant to DNF it.

However, as I write this post, I’m realizing there is no point to continuing with Rebel Spring if I’m not feeling it. I never intended to review it. I guess the main motivation has been the fact that I bought the book a few years ago and I hate the thought of wasting my money on books I never end up reading.

I guess I’m DNF-ing it . . .

 ●  ● Books To Read ●  ●  

 Disrupt You! by Jay Samit | I mentioned this book in one of my last TBRs, but never got to it because I’ve spent the past month and a half on the Falling Kingdoms series that I ultimately decided to DNF (like 5 minutes ago). So I’m excited to finally get to this book! I bought it this year in a birthday book haul, and I’m hoping it’ll give me some ideas for how to make positive changes in my creative life.

 Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones | This book will be my third or fourth reread of this much beloved classic. Last time I read it was either 2014 or 2015 and I’ve been eager to revisit it since it is so different from the movie, which is much more clear in my head. I’d also love the opportunity to review it on this blog!

 ☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

I’m always in awe of bloggers who manage to read so many books each week. I feel like I’m pretty slow because I find it necessary to take so many breaks in between pages. I’d like to change up my reading routine and make my reading a bigger focus of my weekend routine, so this weekend will be a fun experiment. In next week’s Weekend Reads, I will be sure to share my results and anything else I may learn about myself and my reading habits.

Thank you for reading!
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New Month, (Slightly) New Blog | Week in Review

Happy September! Welcome to my Week in Review, formerly called Weekly Review. Since the blog is currently undergoing some subtle changes, I decided I wanted to rename this weekly feature this month to more accurately reflect what they have become: a summary of my week. Let’s get started.

The last week of August was terrific, until I got a sinus infection.

I started my new part-time job on Tuesday. I’m a part of an eight-person team that manages the after school program hosted at a local elementary school. I was very nervous at first, but the kids have been great for the most part and I feel like I’ve been welcomed with open arms. I will be working from 2:30–6:30 on school days, so I have weekends and my mornings off. That may change, but for now it’s working out really well.

Friday I developed a nasty sinus infection, which has made my weekend slightly miserable. I hope to have surgery this year to open up my nasal passages. It’s a surgery both my parents have had done to help with their breathing, and thus far I’ve tried to manage it on my own. However, I keep getting sinus infections (literally the only reason I get sick) and think it’s finally time to get it over with.

This Week’s Blog Posts

Once again, I only posted once this week. This time it was a brand-spanking-new Novel Progress installment (A New WIP | Novel Progress). I truly missed writing these and was really happy to be able to announce my new novel project. Although I’ve been very slowly working on a version of Come, Beasties since 2017, I really felt that I might lose passion for the project if I didn’t set it aside for a little bit.

 What I Read

I’m still reading Rebel Spring! I truly think I would have been able to finish this book this weekend if my sinuses weren’t so aggravated. I find myself wanting to read it to find out what is going to happen next. And I am excited to finish up the book and finally move on to something else.

I’m planning on moving my “What I Read” updates to a separate weekly blog post as early as next Friday. I’ll be including more than just details about what I read but also my weekend TBRs, short reviews for my immediate reads, and maybe some blog posts/articles I found particularly noteworthy. I’m still trying to figure out the format, but I think it will be a fun post that will free up some space in my Week in Review posts.

 Blog Housekeeping

I was hoping to get a lot done this week. But in between my new job and my latest bout of sinus trouble, I didn’t get much more done beyond some errands, much needed room cleaning, and my workouts. Honestly, I don’t even feel all that bad about it.

I’m playing around with a new blog schedule for this fall that’d encourage me to experiment a bit more on the blog and post a little more regularly. It looks like a lot, but I expect that I won’t post every single day each week. Some weeks there may just be the minimal Week in Review, Novel Progress, and Weekend Reads posts.

Blog Schedule for Fall 2018

 Novel Progress

This Wednesday I finally posted a new writing update (A New WIP | Novel Progress) in which I talked about how I started a new project called Troubling a Star, for which I hope to complete the first draft by November 1, 2018, so I can participate in NaNoWriMo with an entirely new project. It’s ambitious, but I know it’s possible if I remain motivated!

Right now I’ve been plotting Troubling a Star. I decided what kind of story I wanted it to be, so from there I’ve been meticulous about cause-and-effect, because my favorite books are really well plotted in the sense that the characters are actively making decisions and having to react to the consequences of their actions. My tendency when I pants a novel is to write really passive protagonists, so my novel planning also consists of a lot of plot-work.

❧ ☙ END NOTE ☙ ❧

As it is the start of a new month, you may be wondering where my monthly Notes and Goals + TBR are. I’ve been debating whether or not I want to continue these features, specifically the Goals + TBR. I love setting goals, but I feel like they become a constraint when things in my life change rapidly. As I am still looking for a full-time job while working part-time, I feel like I need to keep things simple.

So I’ll be looking for different ways to blog about the things that matter to me in a way that fits best into my changing daily routine. I’ll share more on this soon!

Thank you for reading!
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