WRAP-UP // JULY 2017

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THE MONTH OF JULY

I DECOUPAGED MY BOOKSHELVES

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Some of you may remember my Peter Pan bookshelf, which was really a cubby below my bed where I pasted pages out of—you guessed it—Peter and Wendy. There, I kept my collection of various editions of Peter Pan. But after a little furry monster *side-eyes Maisie* chewed those pages, I decided my books needed a new home. Besides, it was difficult to see them in their full glory when they were below my bed.

So after decoupaging one shelf and moving Peter Pan to his new home, I fell in love with the look of it. I then decided to decoupage the rest of the shelves, which ended up turning into this beauty. I used a variety of old books, including Grimm’s FairytalesThe Wizard of OzThe Little White Horse, among many others. I couldn’t be happier with the result, and I look forward to decoupaging my stand-alone bookshelf.

(I have yet to take a picture of the whole bookshelf, so apologies about that.)

I REACHED 70k IN MY WIP

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As I previously discussed in my latest writing update, I’ve become obsessed with my work in project, to the point where on the days I do write, I’m putting about 1k words towards my WIP. As of now, it sits at 77k, and I estimate the final word count will be near 100k, if not more. Keep in mind, there are scenes that I already know will need to be cut or shortened, but still, this will be a lofty, fantastical book.

I HAVE NEW HAIR

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After keeping my brown hair for about a year (okay yes, various shades of brunette), I decided it was time for a change. Ever since I was a tween, I have loved dyeing my hair and giving it a whole new look.

I had my hair dyed at the salon for the first time, and though they weren’t able to bleach most of my hair because they wanted to avoid damaging it too much, I’m so thrilled with the outcome. I think it has this edgy, I-bleached-my-hair-but the-roots-grew-in-and-I-don’t-even-care kind of look. If that is a look. (It is now.)

I READ EIGHT BOOKS

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Thank the universe, for I have finally gone back to my old ways of reading close to ten books a month. I don’t know what it was, but I was simply devouring novels this month. Perhaps it was because I enjoyed most of the books I’ve read, or I’ve been managing my time better. Either way, I’m progressing towards my reading goal of 70 books and I only hope to continue this reading streak.

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THE BOOKS OF JULY

THE FALLEN KINGDOM (THE FALCONER #3) BY ELIZABETH MAY

REVIEW:

The Fallen Kingdom is the third and final book in The Falconer trilogy. This series takes place in Scotland during the 1840’s. We follow eighteen-year-old Aileana who is an aristocratic lady by day and a hunter of the fae by night. She’s also a falconer, a female warrior with the ability to hunt and kill the fae.

I can’t say much in this review without spoiling the entire series, but I will tell you that the development of this series left me an awe. May did an incredible job of building up this plot into something I wasn’t even anticipating, along with giving each character a significant arc. The character development in this series was phenomenal, and this final was easily the best of the trilogy, in my opinion.

“Revenge makes us all monsters in themed. Remember that.”

I urge you to give this series a read if you haven’t already. The first book isn’t the absolute best (I still loved it, though), but the second and third books are incredible. Full of fantastical elements, thrilling action, strong female characters who support each other, and sassy dialogue, you will be sure to love this book.

RATING: ★★

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THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST BY EMILY M. DANFORTH

REVIEW:

The Miseducation of Cameron Post was a perfect for read for Pride Month, being that this novel is all about a teenage girl called Cameron who is gay. But living in a small, religious town in Virginia in the 80’s, this obviously doesn’t bode well for her.

I really enjoyed reading Cameron’s story, beginning from early childhood to her teenage years. Danforth has this way of making her book and characters feel real by including this tiny details most people wouldn’t think twice about. But it’s those teeny things that make characters feel more alive.

Maybe I still haven’t become me. I don’t know how you tell for sure when you finally have.

As much as I loved the writing style and gaining more insight and perspective on such an important topic, I unfortunately found myself dragging on throughout this book. This novel was almost 500 pages, which is A LOT for a contemporary.

Still, it was great novel and I look forward to seeing The Miseducation of Cameron Post as a film starring one of my favorites, Chloe Grace Moretz.

RATING: ★★

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GOTHAM ACADEMY (VOL. 1) BY BRENDAN FLETCHER

REVIEW:

A reading goal of mine this year is to read more graphic novels, so when I came across Gotham Academy, I knew I had to have it.

This sort of reminded me of a smaller version of Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, and I loved that. The illustrations were gorgeous and colorful, telling a clear story within a few panels.

I loved the characters, the plot, and the setting. This was easily one of my favorite graphic novel I’ve read yet, and I look forward to continuing the series.

RATING: ★★

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THE CROWNS OF CROSWALD BY D.E. NIGHT

REVIEW:

If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, you are sure to enjoy The Crowns of Croswald. In this fantastical world, our protagonist Ivy is taken away to the Halls of Ivy. In this mystical school, her powers are awakened and she finds that she has deeper roots with the magical world than she realized.

This was such a fun, light read. I really liked Ivy and her friends, especially Fin. He was such a darling, and the romantic tension between he and Ivy was adorable.

For my full review of this magical middle grade, click here.

RATING: ★★

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PETER PAN BY AGNESE BARUZZI

REVIEW:

There isn’t much to say about this one. It’s a short retelling of Peter Pan, but the whole reason I bought it was because A) it was on sale B) it’s Peter Pan and I collect Peter Pan C) the illustrations are gorgeous and some of them even pop out D) it’s Peter Pan. It was a lovely thing to flip through.

RATING: ★★

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SOME KIND OF HAPPINESS BY CLAIRE LEGRAND

REVIEW:

I can say with confidence that Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand is easily one of my favorite books of the year, if not of all-time. Despite this being a middle-grade, which I typically don’t reach for, I wanted to give this a try because I had read work from Legrand before and loved her writing style.

From the first page, I was in love Some Kind of Happiness, and I don’t say that about many books. Following eleven-year-old Finley, who is being sent away until her parents work things out, we are taken into the depths of the Everwood—the Hart house. In this house, everyone is perfect (if there was such a thing), but Finley is not. She has blue days and Dark Ones on her back.

This novel discusses such important topics like anxiety and depression, and I cannot recommend this book enough. To read my full review on this mystical masterpiece, click here.

RATING: ★★

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TO ALL THE BOY I LOVED BEFORE BY JENNY HAN

REVIEW:

I’ve heard nothing but good things about To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and when it was announced it was going to be adapted into film, my TBR jar realized it was time to finally give it a read.

I wonder what it’s like to have that much power over a boy. I don’t think I’d want it; it’s a lot of responsibility to hold a person’s heart in your hands.

In my opinion. I think this book certainly lived up to the hype. I love the way Han weaves in these tiny details and stories. It made it feel as though I was reading the diary of a real person. And if you know me well, you know I’m all about realistic characters.

I want to say yes, but I don’t want to be with a boy whose heart belongs to somebody else. Just once, I want to be somebody’s first choice.

At times, I did find Lara Jean to be a tad childish and her love interests a wee over the top, but something many of us (including myself) fail to understand is that we humans are unpredictable little specimens. We may act in ways others may not understand or agree with, and that’s okay.

To All the Boys I Loved Before was darling, filled with love and family and food. I look forward to continuing this series and seeing the film adaption.

RATING: ★★

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SHADOW (WENDY DARLING #3) BY COLLEEN OAKES

REVIEW:

In July, another series of mine has come to a close. Wendy Darling is a retelling of the classic Peter and Wendy. But in this retelling, Wendy isn’t the innocent, weak girl and Peter is not the hero. (Not that he ever really was because let’s be real, he’s pretty awful even in the original story.)

This is a wonderfully dark retelling, and I thoroughly enjoyed my journey through this version of Neverland. Again, I can’t say much without spoiling the series, but I love the way Oakes concluded these tales. It left my eyes misty and my heart at war with the outcome, which I love.

If you’re in the mood for a twisted retelling of Peter and Wendy, you should definitely reach for the Wendy Darling series.

RATING: ★★

{GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository}

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LET’S CHAT

Well, that was a long wrap-up, but it feels good to be getting back to my old reading habits where I would finish between seven to ten novels a month, sometimes more. I’m hoping to keep that streak going by reading even more this month.

And do tell, how many books did you read in July? Any other accomplishments? How many books are you planning to read in August? I’d love to hear your statistics and thoughts!

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WRAP-UP // JUNE 2017

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THE MONTH OF JUNE

This is the part where I’m supposed to crack some jokes on the ups and downs of the adulthood and reading, followed by telling you what I’ve accomplished this month. But instead, I want to dedicate this section to something else. To someome else.

PEANUT

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On June 28, 2017, my dearest Peanut passed away. I knew he was getting old as he recently aged to seven, but I think we can all agree that when you’ve had someone in you life for so long, you don’t expect them to leave. Of course I know all things must come to an end, but Peanut seemed like my magical little partner who would never leave. But when I woke up one day to find him limping, I knew his days were coming to an end.

I can’t begin to describe how heartbroken I was to watch my little Peanut go from hopping to walking to crawling, until all he could do was lay down. Thankfully, he didn’t appear to be in any pain and went peacefully within his own home.

I felt empty. Lost. In a way, I still do. But I think Peanut passing gave me a lot of perspective on life, on appreciating what we have and the world around us. Peanut taught me a lot about life, believe it or not.

Peanut, I miss you so much. Even as I write this, tears fill my eyes. I hope you know how loved you were and will continue to be. You have filled so much joy and laughter. You were such a light in my life, and you will forever live on in my heart. And I swear, I get these signs that you’re here with me, as though you’ve never left.

And to everyone who sent me love through these last couple of weeks, who held me as I cried, thank you. Without your love and support, I don’t know where I would be. So thank you.

Now let’s move on to the books of this month before I continue with all of my sappiness.

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THE BOOKS OF JUNE

HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX (HARRY POTTER #5)

REVIEW:

I know, I know. I STILL haven’t finished the Harry Potter series. There’s no need to blame my TBR on this one. I simply keep postponing reading this series because it is GIANT and honestly, I often have trouble getting into each book in the beginning.

But after reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I had high hopes for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Unfortunately though, I found this segment in the series to be unnecessarily long and lackluster. There were many moments while I was reading that my mind would wander, thinking, why the bloody hell is this scene necessary?

I understand this novel is supposed to mainly provide character development and back story. I get that. But this was so, so very long. It dragged on for me. I don’t mean to sound negative because I did still enjoy this book and I know millions adore this series, but I really had trouble with this one.

Nonetheless, I look forward to completing the rest of the series in due time. (And yes, I said I was going to binge the rest of it, but I’m looking at those giant books on my shelves and NO THANK YOU. I’m leaving this one up to the TBR jar.)

RATING: ★★

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GRAY WOLF ISLAND

REVIEW:

Reminiscent of The Raven Boys and your classic treasure hunting story, Gray Wolf Island is a fantastic, eerie book that will keep you guessing. Much like The Raven Boys, these characters were strange, raw and touched with a little magic. Their interactions will leave you smiling, laughing and maybe even crying.

But that’s the thing: in a flash, alone becomes lonely. Maybe I’ve been waiting for someone to push me. That’s what these boys are doing, I think. They’re forcing their way under my skin.

The story is told from two perspectives, one being Ruby, who lost her twin sister after promising her to find the treasure of Gray Wolf Island, and then Cooper, a mysterious boy who has a strange tie to the treasure.

I adored Neithercott’s style, how she constructed and captured the setting of Gray Wolf Island with such precision. I felt like I was in the misty trees, smelling the flowers and damp soil. I felt completely and utterly transported into this book, feeling the pain and wonder the characters went through.

For my full review on this mysterious treasure hunting tale, click here.

Thank you to Random House for approving me to read an ARC of Gray Wolf Island. This ARC was received through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Gray Wolf Island is expected to be released October 10, 2017.

RATING: ★★

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IN THE AFTER BY DEMITRIA LUNETTA

REVIEW:

In the After is a post-apocalyptic tale similar to The 5th Wave. (Except we don’t have too much teen angst or a love triangle, thankfully.) Our main character Amy is left alone at her home when the Florae (zombie-aliens) strike. She learns to survive alongside Baby, a toddler she found years ago.

The first part of the story was amazing. I loved the relationship between Amy and Baby, how they lived in this new world. I was in love with their story.

But then the second and third parts struck, and I’m afraid I started losing interest. The perspective went from first-person, to third and first person, the third person being told from the future. This shift in perspective, along with the environment, made the novel feel disjointed.

I still enjoyed the whole of the story, but not enough to reach for the second novel. Unfortunately, I won’t be continuing this series, but I did enjoy parts of this book, especially the first section.

RATING: ★★

{GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository}

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LET’S CHAT

I apologize for that sorrowful beginning of the wrap-up, but I wanted to be honest with all of you. I don’t want to be one of those bloggers who pretends their life is perfect, that nothing tragic ever happens. I typically make jokes about going through the minor blemishes in life, but I haven’t really expressed some bigger issues, so I wanted to be real. (Or, as the kids would say, I want to keep it 💯.)

But enough about me. How was your June? How many books did you read? Any new favorites? As always, be sure to let me know! I love getting recommendations and hearing about your reading endeavors.

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GOODREADS 2017 READING CHALLENGE [UPDATE #2]

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UPDATE

We have reached the sixth month of 2017, which means it’s time to take another look at my Goodreads 2017 reading challenge and see where I stand. Now, if you keep up with me on social media, you may already be aware that I switched my Goodreads reading goal from 100 to 50, then finally to 80. (I swear, I will not alter it any longer.) If you didn’t know this, then yeah. I changed my reading goal from 100 to 80.

(BUT, before you read this, be sure to read my first update here.)

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I know, I know. I was adamant to read 100 books this year, but I’m sure as most of you can understand, life can become chaotic and destructive, ruining the plans we’ve worked so hard to cultivate. Between work and writing, along with other dilemmas I’ve experienced this last year, I finally decided to reduce my goal.

Believe me, I’d love to spend more hours of the day devouring books, but as of now, I simply can’t do that. (Well, not all the time.) So since my goal was 60 last year, I figured 70 was a good step up. And as of know, I’ve read 34 books, keeping right on track with my goal.

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Since March, I have only added one more shelf—magical-realism. For some reason, I had yet to make a magical realism shelf, but after reading The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, I realized I need to make a shelf for magical realism. (By the way, if you haven’t read The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, you should give it a go.)

Other than that, my shelves are the same, beautifully organized masterpiece. (Not to pat myself on the back or anything. *pats self on the back*) Now since I haven’t read that much since March, there isn’t a huge difference here. I’ve only read a couple more fantasy (who’s surprised?), sci-fi, and contemporary novels, along with some poetry. I’m hoping to add more diversity to my shelves as I continue knocking down my TBR. (But let’s be real: most of it is fantasy.)

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WELL WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT, I WAS WRONG. I suppose fantasy is not the majority of my TBR considering my stats show otherwise. If we discount young-adult and adult, my most read genre this year (so far) is contemporary. Contemporary. And these are my stats. I’m sorry, but who have I turned into?

As someone who rarely reaches for contemporary, I’m shocked. But also, I’m proud for reading new things and expanding my shelves. On top of that, I’ve also read several great books since March, many of which are four stars. (Five stars is like I would die for this book, so four is pretty generous.)

Oh yeah, and I also finally finished reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. And yes, I will finish the series hopefully soon! Those books are just massive and intimidating and honestly *whispers* I have trouble getting into them. (Please don’t hate me.)

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LET’S CHAT

So tell me, what have you been reading this year? What are your favorites so far? What is your goal and how many have you read as of today? I want to know all of the bookish details of your life!

I know I’ve said this many times before, but I’ll say it again: please remember that reading should be fun. If having a hefty goal isn’t for you, then don’t. Read as many or as little books as you want. It isn’t meant to be a competition. Enjoy every bit of your literary life, and don’t rush it.

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