MAY WRAP-UP [2017]

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THE MONTH OF MAY

May was a wild month for me. I had some ups and downs this month, like some steep downs. But with those downs, I had immense growth within myself. I feel as though I finally started making an impact on some of my core goals, and I’m proud of myself for that.

So what have I done this month? Let me tell you.

MY PHOTOS WERE USED IN A FESTIVAL

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And it was honestly one of the most surreal moments of my life. To see my very own work billowing in the wind, displayed for everyone to see was unlike anything else. I hope this is the first of many.

I READ FIVE BOOKS

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Considering the mess of the month I had, I would say that’s not too bad. ESPECIALLY when I’ve been reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which is over 800 PAGES LONG. (tbh that length felt super unnecessary.)

I REACHED 40K IN MY HISTORICAL FICTION 

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Yes, I know I’ve been referring to my WIP as a fantasy, but the more it’s developed, the more I realize this is a historical fiction. It’s been such an incredible experience diving into Scottish history and using it within my own novel. I never thought I’d be able to write historical fiction, but here I am, reading the biographies of forgotten kings and queens to create a wild, magical twist on history.

This novel is becoming something very beautiful. Something I’m quickly becoming fond and proud of. I’ll be sharing more about it with all of you very soon, so keep your eyes open for that!

I GOT A RECORD PLAYER

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And as I expressed on Twitter, I love this record player more than myself and would take a bullet rather than see it scratched or mishandled. #truth

I CHANGED MY GOODREADS READING GOAL TO 50

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I know I was adamant to read 100 books this year—and I still may—but I was tired of stressing about it. With so many new things in my life, the added weight of this goal was unnecessary. So I reduced my goal to 50, bringing myself eleven goals ahead of schedule. *high fives self*

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THE BOOKS OF MAY

THE MARTIAN BY ANDY WEIR

REVIEW:

The Martian is a novel I have seen splattered through Bookstagram, adapted into the film that was praised by critics and readers alike. I’ve always found space and the galaxy extremely fascinating, so I was excited to pick this up.

I’m happy to say, even with all of the hype, The Martian did not disappoint. The characters, particularly our main character Mark, were incredibly witty and entertaining. I really felt invested with the plot, despite having a strong inkling with how it was all going to wrap-up. (P.S. I was right.)

I must admit, however, all of the technicalities of the machinery and the overall science of everything became a bit daunting at times. Although, I highly, highly admire the author for conducting such thorough research into his work. That is a quality I have to appreciate as a writer myself.

RATING: ★★

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THE DREAM THIEVES BY MAGGIE STIEFVATER (THE RAVEN CYCLE #2)

REVIEW:

The Dream Thieves, the sequel to one of my all-time favorite novels, The Raven Boys, was even better than I expected it to be. There was mystery and magic and so much sass, just like the first book.

“While I’m gone,” Gansey said, pausing, “dream me the world. Something new for every night.”

Without spoiling too much of the plot, being that this is a sequel, all I can say is that the story-line was just as intriguing as the first, featuring a few new characters (the Gray Man and Joseph Kavinsky) along with my favorite cast of characters, Blue, Adam, Ronan, Noah, and Gansey. Each character showed significant growth within this novel, particularly Ronan.

In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them. Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness. Her raven boys.

The Dream Thieves was quite centered on Ronan, and I was here for it. I learned so much about his past and gained more insight from his perspective. Ronan is easily one of my favorite characters from the series, so I loved watching him develop.

Also, to those who have read this series or at least, up until The Dream ThievesRONAN DIDN’T DENY WHAT KAVINSKY SAID TO HIM AT THE END OF THE BOOK AND I AM (as the kids would say) SHOOK. 

ALSO BLUE AND GANSEY I AM

RATING: ★★

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DREAM BOY BY MADELYN ROSENBERG AND MARY CROCKETT

REVIEW:

There was clearly an underlying theme of dreams this month, I suppose. However, I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy Dream Boy nearly as much I loved The Dream Thieves. (And honestly, who can compete with Richard Gansey II? Nobody, is the answer.)

Dream Boy was an interesting paranormal read. We follow Annabelle, a girl who has strange, vivid dreams. One day, the reoccurring boy in her dreams shows up at her school, and then things get crazy.

The plot seemed promising, but I’m afraid the premise was lost in the insta-love and the love triangle. I have found this to be a problem with many novels in the past, where the plot is incredibly fascinating, and yet it is erased with the over-the-top romance.

Now, the romance was not that bad. I actually found the love triangle weirdly intriguing, but it didn’t take long for me to cringe at the romance between Annabelle and her two love interests.

But that aside, this was a quick and interesting read with creepy paranormal aspects. I enjoyed the development of the plot and where it led our protagonist. Annabelle showed significant growth by the end of the novel, and I admire that. I just wish so much of her story wasn’t lost in these boys.

RATING: ★★

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THE ANATOMY OF CHEATING BY NESLY CLERGE

REVIEW:

I was given the wonderful opportunity to review The Anatomy of Cheating in exchange for an honest review. Thrillers are not something I often reach for, but I’ve been meaning to add more to my list.

The Anatomy of Cheating gave a good start. There were lies and mysteries and LOADS of drama. It was all quite interesting and entertaining up until the halfway point. Then the story began to feel a bit too much.

For my full review of this wild novel, click here.

RATING: ★★

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EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING BY NICOLA YOON

REVIEW:

With the upcoming release of the film Everything, Everythingit was perfect timing for my TBR jar to finally give me the novel that has been sitting on my kindle for months. Because as we know, the book is usually better and IT’S BASICALLY A SIN TO WATCH THE FILM FIRST. (But also, not really. I’ve done it and it’s totally okay.)

I flew through this book within twenty-four hours. I thought the plot was intriguing, and with the way it was told through journal entries, sketches, emails, and of course, regular first person narration, I couldn’t get enough.

“Love can’t kill me,” I say, parroting Carla’s words.

“That’s not true,” she says. “Whoever told you that?”

All right, so as we know, I’m quite iffy about romance in general. But the romance between Maddy and Olly? SO ADORABLE. Like, too adorable? Yeah, it wasn’t very realistic. It was borderline insta-lovey, but somehow Yoon didn’t make it too unbearable or cringey. Maybe it was because of all of the amazing quotes.

My heart is too bruised and I want to keep the pain as a reminder. I don’t want sunlight on it. I don’t want it to heal. Because if it does, I might be tempted to use it again.

But my issue with Everything, Everything is the way Maddy’s disorder was handled. I have no experience of anything like this—mast cell activation syndrome. (Although, I believe Yoon called it something else in the book?) I have read reviews from some people who do suffer from similar conditions, and this book didn’t give them the representation they deserved. At least, in my opinion, it didn’t.

RATING: ★★

{GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository}

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LET’S CHAT

I know this wrap-up is, once again, a bit late. But hey, what can a girl do? (Get it together, is what I can do.) But still, I hope you enjoyed reading about my month of May. I do love how this segment has sort of become a diary of mine, and hopefully you love it, too.

What books did you read in May? Anything you would like to share? Be sure to let me know! And feel free to leave any other thoughts or comments down below!

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APRIL WRAP-UP [2017]

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THE MONTH OF APRIL

April has been a whirlwind of a month, one full of adventures. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get much reading or writing done in April, being that there was so much going on. I had a multitude of events, work, and a couple of jobs along the side. It was a successful month, I would say, but for a variety of reasons. For example:

I EXPLORED THE DESERT

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And oh my, was it beautiful. I didn’t think the desert would be something I would enjoy before, but it was like exploring a painting. It was bold and colorful, overflowing with these textures and patterns. It was incredibly inspiring as both a writer and photographer.

I FOUND THIS DOG

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LOOK AT THOSE EYES.

THIS NEON SIGN

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Neon signs are my #aesthetic, so this was a very exciting moment for me.

I FELL EIGHT BOOKS BEHIND SCHEDULE

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This obviously isn’t an accomplishment. I thought I’d just let you all know how much I’m drowning in adulthood and unread books.

I ONLY READ FOUR BOOKS

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So you can see why I fell so very far behind on my reading schedule. BUT DO NOT FEAR, for I have been known to surpass my reading goals before, and I plan to do so again. Goodreads will not defeat me.

I DID A LOT OF OTHER LITTLE THINGS BUT I DON’T HAVE PICTURES OF IT

So, yeah. Let’s just move onto the books.

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THE BOOKS OF APRIL

ON THE EDGE OF GONE BY CORINNE DUYVIS

REVIEW:

On the Edge of Gone was a beautifully diverse book featuring an autistic, biracial girl named Iris and her sister Denise, who is transgender. These two powerful girls, along with several other diverse characters brought a lot of dimension to this in-depth dystopian world.

As we all know, post-apocalyptic novels tend to be quite redundant and predictable. But On the Edge of Gone kept me in wonder, continually trying to guess what was going to happen next.

I really enjoyed this novel, however, it did feel much too long and slow. By the end of the book, I felt as though not much had really befell throughout the entirety of the novel.

For my full review of this diverse dystopian, click here.

RATING: ★★

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SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA BY BECKY ALBERTALLI

REVIEW:

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda was such a fun, lighthearted read, while at the same time dealing with important topics. This novel discusses homosexuality, how people can feel like an outcast from it. But most importantly, I think this book discusses homosexuality with such ease and normality, because there is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay.

Simon was a wonderful protagonist. He was funny and caring with a deep love for Oreos and waffles, and honestly, I can relate.

I also loved the way Albertalli told about half of the story through Simon and Blue. (And no, unfortunately, we are not talking about Blue Sargent, but we WILL be later this month. *wink*)

If you’re in the mood for something soft and cute and diverse, I recommend giving this a go. I’m sure it will pull you right out of any slump or rough patch. And, next year, Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is coming to the big screen starring Nick Robinson as our beloved Simon and I’m SUPER excited.

RATING: ★★

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Salt by Nayyirah Waheed

REVIEW:

As I’ve said before, I’m trying to incorporate more poetry into my usual reading habits. In the late of night, I picked up Salt from my digital library against the wishes of my TBR jar. Why? I don’t remember. But I’m glad I did so.

Salt explores everything from racism to sexism to sexuality, and my goodness, was this a gorgeous piece of work. Waheed has this lyrical tone in her writing that is both pungent and fragile. In only a few sentences, I felt her pain and sorrow. All the emotions she has felt through the roller coaster of her life.

I read the entire thing in one sitting, staying up until midnight to finish. (Which, by the way, is late for me because I’m basically an old lady.) And it wasn’t until I reached the end of the book that I realized Nayyirah Waheed is the author of one of my favorite poems, “I am mine. Before I am ever anyone else’s.” The same poem I have tattooed on my arm. So this felt special reading further work of Waheed’s.

RATING: ★★★

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MY DIARY FROM THE EDGE OF THE WORLD BY JODI LYNN ANDERSON

REVIEW:

If you’re not already familiar, Jodi Lynn Anderson is one of my all-time favorite authors. She has made me smile and laugh and cry. (Mainly cry.) She is known to weave beautiful stories that are both beautiful and dark; characters that are honest and raw to the bone.

Despite not being a fan of middle-grade novels, I had a feeling My Diary to the Edge of the World would be one I would enjoy. And thankfully, I was right.

This novel took a fun, magical approach to the world while still keeping it realistic. Among that, the characters were complicated and intriguing. And to my surprise, the parents were alive and involved. How refreshing is that?

For my full review of this family oriented fantasy that left me in a pool of my own tears, click here.

RATING: ★★★

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LET’S CHAT

How many books did you read in the month of April? Any good books you would like to share? I’m always open to recommendations! Because I mean, it’s not like I have too many books to read or anything. Just 115 or so. NBD.

I also want to apologize for being so inactive lately. Photography has been taking over my life, and though I’m extremely thankful for that, I miss my blog and my writing. I’ve been stuck in the 30k range of my WIP for the last two months, and that’s upsetting. I’m really trying to manage my time now, because I refuse to let my other dreams fade in the background. This is all very important to me.

So I’m back with more bookish and writerly things coming your way!

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FEBRUARY WRAP-UP [2017]

Happy March, my lovelies!

The month of love is finally over and I’m quite glad of it. February was a roller-coaster for me. There were many ups and downs. Many emotions and feelings from a multitude of things. It was just A LOT, so I am happy to wave goodbye to the gloomy days February and welcome a March full of sunshine and spring blooms.

But I suppose February wasn’t all bad. I reached about 30k in my WIP (but I then hit a block for the first time in a long time, hence THE EMOTIONS) and I read five books, two of which I gave five stars, and that’s a BIG deal considering that I rarely give out five stars. So you see, February has not been a complete hell. To prove it, allow me to go over the books I have read this last month and gush about their amazingness. (Let’s just pretend that’s a word.)

(Just a quick side note, I’m being dramatic for the sake of being dramatic because #writerslife. My life is fine, and so is my WIP. I am going back through the 30k that I have whilst I sort out the rest of the story in my head. So all is well.)

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WRAP-UP

Paperweight by Meg Haston

Review:

Paperweight, despite it’s title, is not a light book. This novel discusses serious subject matter such as eating disorders and death.

We follow seventeen-year-old Stevie through her time at an eating disorder treatment center, all while she still mourns the death of her brother.

Stevie was a bit difficult to read about at first, being that she was quite cold and cruel. But as the her past unfolds, I began to understand her reservations about life. I understood her guilt and pain, and I felt for her.

Paperweight was an incredible novel that I believe handled these subject matters very well. For my full review on it, click here.

Rating: ★★★

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Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Review:

If you follow me on anything (if you’re not, by the way, be sure to fix that by clicking on any of the widgets to the side or down below), then you know I LOVED Queens of Geek.

I was lucky enough to receive a digital ARC of Queens of Geek the day before Valentine’s Day. So on the morning of the day of love, I cuddled up with these nerds and oh my did I LOVE them and their stories.

This novel explores everything from anxiety to sexuality to love to EVERYTHING nerdy. So basically, all of my favorite things to read about. AND one of the main characters was named Taylor and she was basically me? It’s no surprise why I love this book.

For my full review on this adorable novel, click here. But be warned, there is a LOT of fangirling. I mean, how could I not fangirl when Taylor and her love interest bond over Supernatural? There is no way.

Be sure to pre-order this beauty and get your own copy on March 14th, 2017.

Rating: ★★★★

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Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes

Review:

Blood of Wonderland is the sequel to the twisted tale, Queen of Hearts. As we all know, sequels can be a tricky thing. They are the bridge between the first and third book. They can either fall flat or give us the information we have been vying for.

Fortunately, Blood of Wonderland gave me the depth of both character development and world-building I was looking for in the first book. The pasts of several characters were revealed and mended the holes of Dinah’s backstory. I also enjoyed watching Dinah grow and develop closer to the wicked queen we have come to know.

Now, the beginning was a bit slow, but it picked up about of the quarter of the way in and left me reeling for more. Oakes is always leaving us on cliffhangers!

I look forward to continuing this series and seeing how it all concludes. I expect blood, gore, death, and madness—my favorite things. If you’re not familiar with this series, I recommend checking it out and maybe picking up a copy of your own, because LOOK at these covers. I WANT TO FRAME THEM.

Rating: ★★★

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The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher

Review:

Clearly, my TBR felt like giving me a lot of nerdiness and romance this month. (It knows me too well and it’s a bit scary tbh.) The plot is reminiscent of Queens of Geek, so I was hoping to love it just the same.

Sadly, that was not the case. I never grew fond of either Ana or Zak for several reasons. But before I continue, I just have to say,

OKAY, SO. Ana is the cliché bratty, yet intelligent girl who thinks nerds are lesser to her. This is not an issue because again, bad behavior typically stems from a tragedy and everyone is allowed to have their own opinion. (Even if it’s wrong because nerds are EQUAL to everyone else.) But what really bothered me is how cruel the author made Ana towards other girls for no particular reason. Sometimes it was (unnecessary) jealousy, while other times it was her just being a bully.

Not to mention, Zak would make jokes to Ana about seeing her in less clothing (keep in mind, they have really only known each other for a day) along with other crude remarks.

It’s things like these that need to be presented as a negative in literature, not a commonality of life. Of course, there are many girls who are catty towards one another without a reason and many guys who make sexual innuendos without even truly knowing the person. I do not have an issue with someone writing it, but I’m growing tired of it. I’m tired of girls hating on girls because that’s what society has tried to teach us. I’m tired of guys being allowed to say whatever gross thing they want because they’re guys.

On top of that, the hatred between Ana and Zak turned quickly into insta-love and there were several parts of the story that were just … odd. The ending, for example, was so ridiculous and random to me.

Overall, The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak was entertaining, but I was disappointed in the way the characters were written and the issues that were presented. It was an okay read, but it could have used more nerdiness and realness.

Rating: ★★

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Review:

I’ve been hearing about The Raven Boys ever since I first joined the book community. By the title (I’m obsessed with birds, especially ravens) and the synopsis, it sounded like I would love this book. But, I typically don’t love over-hyped books, so I was hesitant.

Luckily for me, I was wrong. I LOVED this book SO much. I loved the plot and the characters and Stiefvater’s writing style and GANSEYGANSEY IS MY EVERYTHING.

I know I said Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss was my book boyfriend, then I gave that title to Jamie from Queens of GeekBUT SORRY EVERYONE THAT TITLE NOW GOES TO GANSEY. (No joke, if I ever have a child, their name is going to be Gansey and my spouse better love it or he can just get out.)

Okay, but anyways, The Raven Boys was instantly such an intriguing read. Stiefvater had the whole of my attention from the prologue. I loved the concept, the setting, and again, the characters. They were layered little specimens with their own unique characteristics that made them feel so alive. The dynamic between the raven boys and Blue was utterly addicting. And the SASS. So much sass, guys. And I loved every bit of it. It’s not often that a book has me laughing out loud, but The Raven Boys did.

I had trouble putting this book down and tearing myself away from the rich town of Henrietta, the mystery of Glendower, the depth of the raven boys, and Blue’s inevitable future. After I flipped the final page of this book, I immediately ordered the rest of the series. And as much as I’m tempted to binge it, I do want to savor The Raven Cycle. (Even though I will probably re-read it a billion times because I can tell it is just going to be that kind of series for me.)

The Raven Boys has easily become one of my all-time favorite books. I simply cannot stop thinking about it. Not only that, but it was actually what inspired me to go back and edit the 30k of my WIP in hopes of giving it more depth and layers. So if you have not yet picked up The Raven BoysDO IT. LIKE RIGHT NOW PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

Rating: ★★★★

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LET’S CHAT

How many books did you read in the month of February? Did you discover any new favorites? If so, do let me know. I could always use more books to add to my list of 247 books I want to read and my TBR of 125 books. And as always, feel free to leave any other thoughts, comments, or questions down below.

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