#MakeMeRead It Read-a-Thon Poll | Vote!

I wasn’t sure I was going to participate in the Make Me Read It Read-a-Thon this year as I’ve typically used this read-a-thon as an opportunity to read popular YA titles that I’ve been meaning to get to but the right time had just never come to pick them up (a.k.a. procrastination). Since I’ve burned through almost all my YA titles, I wasn’t sure it’d even be worth putting out a poll on the random literary fiction books high on my personal TBR these days. But, I’ve since had the idea I may use this challenge to knock some classics off my TBR, and therein lies my theme for this read-a-thon!

Read-a-Thon Info

The Make Me Read It Read-a-Thon is hosted by the lovely Ely @ Tea and Titles and Val @ The Innocent Smiley. The way this read-a-thon works is you choose a selection of books that you are willing and able to read this year between August 6–13, 2017, make a poll, and ask for your followers to vote to decide which books you will tackle during the week-long reading event. The theme of this read-a-thon is to force yourself to read books you just haven’t gotten around to yet. Maybe they’re overhyped online or a book that you were supposed to read for that one class…

After you’ve shared your post with the poll, search the tag #MakeMeRead on Twitter & Instagram to find others who need people to vote on their polls!

The Poll

Since I still want to participate as I’ve done very few read-a-thons in the past few months and definitely need to participate in more to catch up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge, I decided to give myself more of a challenge by providing a collection of classics that are unofficially on my life bucket list TBR.  The thought of reading any of these books at the moment scares me, so it’s with a twisted sort of excitement that I look forward to seeing what books win!

Realistically speaking, I’ll likely only be able to read about two books during the read-a-thon, so make your vote count (And maybe only vote for about three books maximum)! Depending on how this experience goes, I may be turned  off of reading classics for at least another year 😉

End Note

I will announce the winners of this vote a day or two ahead of the read-a-thon’s start date in August with an official TBR. Meanwhile on this blog, you may soon find a TBR for the Summer Biannual Bibliothon, a read-a-thon which runs next week across BookTube, book blogs, and other bookish social media! I look forward to being more active on here and upping my reading game.

Thanks ahead of time for voting and please feel free to leave a link to your own poll if you’d like me to vote on it! I’m having fun blog hopping and voting wherever I can. 🙂

Thank you for reading!
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Writing Again // Introducing “The Log”

Sorry it has been a little while. Shortly after the excitement of the last post I had a crisis of self. Faced with so many things I wanted to do and needed to do, I wasn’t sure what to do and it was so easy to just do nothing. Does this happen to any of you?

Fortunately I’ve been taking care of myself and feel a bit more happy. I’ve been eating a plant-based diet and enjoying experimenting with new whole plant foods I can integrate into my daily diet. I’ve also made exercise a part of my daily routine that I enjoy and look forward to. These two lifestyle changes I credit for helping me feel more ambitious and motivated again to do even more with my day, including things that have always made me happy: reading and writing.

I decided to start this post because I wanted to announce my new writing project, but I figure I’ll also talk a bit about what I’ve read recently first.

Recently Read

So far this summer I’ve read four books. I reread A Court of Mist and Fury (★★★★★) and finally read A Court of Wings and Ruin (★★★★½), both by Sarah J. Maas. Love the final installment, although I can’t help but feel the ending was a bit rushed and too convenient. Then I decided to read something that was not fantasy, so I picked up The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (★★★★½) by Gabrielle Zevin, which was whimsical and easy to read. Then I decided to finally read Passenger (★★), which sounded really good. Unfortunately that book didn’t really click with me.

Currently Reading

I’m currently rereading The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope. I’ve owned thisbook since middle school and one I had begun to think about since reading Sarah J. Maas’ work because it also includes fairies, although a very different kind. It’s a nice reminder that you can be inspired by the old and make it into something new that is your own.

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I may talk about this book in more depth in the future as I think it may be lesser known YA classic and something that young readers today might truly enjoy. If you’ve read it before, please let me know in the comments!

I’m planning on participating in the BookTube-A-Thon next week in order to jump start some more reading so I’ll likely share my TBR for that soon.

What I’m Writing 

I’m writing a fantasy novel set in world kind of like ours in 1930s, but with magic and magical creatures. I think it could be considered somewhat steampunk as I want there to be a lot of alternative forms of technology. My protagonist is a young girl and…I don’t know how much more I want to say!

I’m in the beginning stages here and still need to do some major plotting before I properly get writing, but I have a beginning and end fairly well set in stone so I’m excited to see where this may go. If you’ve been following me for a while, you may know I have trouble finishing novel drafts. I’ve realized in addition to low confidence in my writing capabilities my biggest problem is probably getting lost by following plot bunnies.

I may soon try to set up a Pinterest mood board for the story and share if I do. From this point forward on my blog if I mention it, I’ll call this novel The Log.

End Note

That’s all I got for today. I don’t want to make any promises about what I’ll post next, but I’m feeling pretty confident right now that I’ll be doing more and thus have more to share that is hopefully of interest to you! Hope you’re doing well and see you soon!

Thank you for reading!
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Summer Goals ˁ̡̡̡∗★ ̫★ˀ̡̡̡

Hiya!

I didn’t mean to go another whole week without posting again, but it’s taken me a while to decide what I wanted to post next. I decided the most logical place to start is with a summer goals for myself and this blog. But before I get into it, I want to first thank you all for your best wishes on my job search. My interview this week went great, and I got some good feedback. Unfortunately I think the job went to someone who they knew.

I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to set summer goals for myself, but I feel like without a steady structure I won’t get as much done as I’d like. When I first started this post, I only envisioned stating my summer goals, but by the end I realized it might be a good time to think about what I want to accomplish long-term as well. So I’ve listed some of my wildest goals to achieve by the end of the year as well.

➴ Summer Goals

READING

This summer I want to read at least 20 books in order to be all caught up with my Goodreads Reading Challenge by September. On Thursday I’ll be posting my TBR and participation in the 20 Books of Summer challenge so stay tuned for that (& see the blog post from Rattle the Stars that inspired me ^_^)! My own post is already written, I just need to put on some finishing touches.

➴ BLOGGING

This may be ambitious, but I’m feeling really tempted to jump back into blogging in a major way by committing to posting at least every other day without fail as long as I have ideas. Right now I feel like I have a lot of ideas for things I’d both like to share and also think others would really benefit from. Some weeks I may be really busy or feel like I got nothing. I’m hoping to get through those weeks by planning ahead and actively updating a Google doc of ideas so I don’t forget them.

WRITING

I recently said that I’ve not been in the best of writing moods lately and while I still don’t want to commit to writing a novel this summer, I’m thinking about setting myself a more modest goal of writing an interactive short story. I have some past drafts of ideas that I may be interested in developing further, or I may start completely from scratch. We’ll see how that goes! I think it will also be fun to update you all on this process!

➴ Year End Goals

  1. Have a job I really like
  2. Have successfully completed NaNoWriMo for the first time since November 2014
  3. Have a modestly successful Etsy shop
  4. Have 500 blog followers between WordPress and Bloglovin’

End Note

I think it’s great to have goals for yourself throughout your life in order to continue to grow, even if you’re done with school and happy with your life. I encourage you to think of some seasonal goals and long-term goals in order to access how you might best go about achieving them. At the end of the summer/year I want to evaluate how successful I was at attaining these goals and decide what my next moves will be.

Do you enjoy setting goals? Why or why not?

What are your wildest of creative goals? How are you working on achieving them? 

Thank you for reading!
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I’m back! | 06.04.17

Hello, again!

It’s been about three weeks now since school ended and I moved back in with my parents. I had meant to try and come back with a bang on June 1st, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do quite yet. I still don’t, to be completely honest.

Just to get the ball rolling I wanted to update you on my life and some exciting things that have happened, as well as some things I still intend to do.

Life Updates

1. I started boxing.

Not gonna lie, I know boxing is kind of trendy at the moment and it’s the only reason I’ve felt like giving it a shot. And guess what? I don’t regret it, because I’m really enjoying it! My dad bought this dummy thing to box with a few years ago and it has been gathering dust in the garage. When I got here a few weeks ago I made some space to use it and it has honestly become my favorite form of exercise. I don’t even need music or distraction, I can do it and think about whatever’s on my mind and before I know it 30 minutes has gone by and I’m ready to conquer whatever else I need to do.

I’d love to start taking actual classes one day, but for my current fitness level I think I’m getting a good workout. Even if it’s just simple combinations. If it’s available to you and you’re able, I strongly recommend giving it a shot!

2. I cut my hair off!

Like, nearly all of it. My new hairdresser says it’s a pixie cut, but I think a pixie cut means its short all the way around. I have longer bits in front that feel like bangs. I’m not sure how good it looks on me, as I have very thick hair. But it doesn’t matter that much to me right now if it suits me. The good thing is it’s already growing, and, most importantly, IT FEELS SO GOOD. Texas summers are punishingly hot and I’m going to love not having to fuss over my hair much this summer. I get to have a completely fresh start, in more ways than one.

I’ll take a picture eventually to share my new look.

3. I started applying for jobs last Wednesday. 

I had a bunch to update on my resume after this past year, so it was actually kind of fun to update it and be reminded of what I’ve accomplished. Nevertheless, it’s not been entirely too fun to wait for calls or other responses to my applications, overthinking every last detail of everything out of my control at this point.

But on that note…

4. I have an interview!

This past Friday I was emailed to find that this upcoming Tuesday I have an interview for a technology-related job in the local public school district where I’m currently staying. I’m crossing my fingers I ace the interview and can conclude my job search with little time wasted! This job seems so ideal, and I’m fairly confident I’m more than qualified.

I’ve been very lucky to have been able to avoid applying for jobs until now, but I will also begin to apply for easier part-time jobs to help me start saving early as I will need to start paying off my student debt come August/September. I’m going to try my best to be responsible and on top of this.

Recently Watched

I don’t really want to get into the habit of talking about every show or movie I watch, but two are recent enough that they’re relevant to me and my life right now.

First, Girlboss from Netflix. I didn’t read the book (#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso) it was based on, but I remember seeing it years ago when it first came out and thinking it might be a good read. The main character in the show is incredibly insufferable but other characters are so much fun, but I like how the show portrays the rise of her online business from eBay to creating her own website after she is kicked off.

I’ve toyed with the idea starting a Etsy shop, but never really had the time or vision to invest in it, but this show made me want to figure out if the ideas I have are good enough. If only so I can become my own boss!

Second, and slightly less meaningful on a personal level: Twin Peaks: The Return!!!! I watched the two seasons from the original series on Netflix two years ago (right before starting grad school) when I learned that a reboot was in the works. It was a surprisingly intriguing show, which had me excited to see what the revival had in store. The first two new episodes were really wacky and nothing like I expected, but I think I like it. It’s hard to say. I have no idea where it’s going, but I think that’s part of the fun.

If you have thoughts on either of these shows, feel free to start a dialogue in the comments section! No one I know IRL is watching/has watched these shows!

Currently Reading 

I’m currently still rereading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. It’s been an enjoyable reread, but it’s been slow goings. I’m hoping to finish it pretty soon, though, so I can start A Court of Wings and Ruin! I’ve been avoiding everything that I worry might spoil me, and I hate living life that way.

After that book, I’m not sure what I’m going to read next. I just rearranged my bookshelves and there are so many books I haven’t read yet! Since I don’t know what kind of mood I’ll be in, I’m just going to wait and see what calls to me this month.

Blog Plans

Without the structure of school, I’m going to need to be self-disciplined in order to get things done. There’s so much I want to do, it’s hard to stick to just one thing and follow it through. Right now, I feel like looking for jobs is my #1 priority, but I think it’s also a good idea to choose something that I’m doing just for me and giving it my all.

For this reason, I think Betwined Reads will be a hodgepodge for the next couple of months. Some of the things I’m interested in doing (and subsequently blogging about) are:

  • The results from my YA book blogger survey. The paper is still a work in-progress and there was a little hiccup with the results, but I do look forward to sharing some of the more interesting findings this summer!
  • Books (obviously)! I want to get more into themed recommendations and reviews for the ones I do read.
  • Digital art. I have a Wacom tablet I want to start doing more with, possibly on my YouTube channel. I’d also like to teach myself some animation so I can do some more visual storytelling.
  • YouTube. I want to explore the audio-visual creation with my YouTube channel. I have a few ideas for what I’d like it to be, but I don’t really want to go into them quite yet until I actually have videos in the works.

I will keep my blog’s overall focus on books, but I also want to do some lifestyle and critical theory work on bookishness as a concept, which was actually one of my other final papers for my Social Technologies and Games class. That paper still needs some work, but I think I’d rather use my energy to turn it into a blog post or online article.

One thing you might be curious about is the absence of a writing goal. Last week I officially decided to take a break from novel writing. I am not loving any of my ideas at the moment and feel like there are so many other things I work on at the moment, so I’m content to wait until November, if that’s how long it’s going to take. I may still write a little here and there, particularly if I need something original for animation practice if that takes off. But I’m not going to set a goal that I don’t have my heart set on making right now.

End Note

Sorry this post is all over the place, but personally I love these kinds of posts best. It’s 9:43 p.m. on Sunday night as I finish up this post so I’m going to wrap this up as I’d like to snuggle up in bed and get closer to finishing up ACOMAF. I’ll be working on content for the blog this week. Most likely I’ll do some more casual posts this week related to my plans. Hopefully, they’ll be interesting and/or useful in you’re in a similar boat as me.

Hope you’ve been doing well! Let me know if there’s anything you want me to make sure to make time for if it doesn’t look like it’s currently on the agenda (e.g. writing).

Thank you for reading!
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May ’17 TBR // Agenda

Welcome back to Betwined Reads,

April was an incredibly busy month and, fortunately for me, things will be looking up very soon as the end of the semester is in clear sight. I will likely be unable to post anything new next week, but I wanted to make sure to do this post as I want it to become routine as these are my favorite blog posts to read!

The following includes an update on my Goodreads Reading Challenge, my May ’17 TBR, and my blog goals for the month.

Lori’s Goodreads Reading Challenge

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May ’17 TBR

In April I read a grand total of three books, which I briefly summarize in my April ’17 Wrap Up, and this month I hope not only to match that goal but exceed it to finally catch up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. However, realistically speaking I’m only certain at this point of four books that I definitely know I will aim to read this month. Two books will help me tie up loose ends from this semester, one is a reread, and one is a new May release.

Hobbies by Steven M. Gelber | I was required to read a PDF chapter from this book about constructing a collector’s market for my ATEC class and I was so fascinated by the professor’s elaboration upon Gelber’s work that I decided to actually buy the book! The first five chapters, including the introduction, seem like they will really well inform the critical theory research paper I am writing for this particular class so I will likely get into this book very quickly this weekend. However, I already know I will be excited to finish the rest once the semester is over so this may be one of the first books I complete this month.

Identity is the New Money by David Birch | This may be one of the last books I finish this month as the main reason I feel motivated to complete it is that it is so short and I want to relieve my buyer’s remorse. It’s not related to my research focus right now in the slightest, but I still see a value to reading it as I am getting more interested in issues surrounding immaterial labor.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas | I was able to pick up this book at the library on Wednesday! I have no business leisure reading until I finish all my papers, but since this is a book I’ve already read once before I’m hoping it doesn’t too badly distract me from my studies if I read a little here and there. I have no designs to try and finish it really quickly. I just know I want to be able to start the next book as soon as possible once the semester is complete!

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas | This is the last book I’m confident I want to complete this month. I’m not sure how long it will take me, since if memory serves correct it took me about two weeks last May to finish ACOMAF. Nevertheless, I’m pumped. This book will be my reward to myself after everything school-related is out of the way.

Blog Goals

It’s been a while since I tried to plan ahead for the blog, but I have a few blog posts that have been sitting on the back burner for over a month now and want to motivate myself to complete and finally share them with you, including a tag and writing update. Additionally, I’d like to write a few posts concerning my studies, including a post summarizing this semester, a post wrapping up my experience at UT Dallas as a whole, and a post about my plans for future studies.

End Note

This weekend I will begin moving out of my apartment and this coming Monday two of may final papers are due, so I will not likely be that active on the blog beyond responding to your lovely comments whenever I can. By next Saturday all my loose ends should be tied up nicely and I look forward to rededicating my efforts to reading, writing, and this blog.

In case you missed them, I had a few posts go up earlier this week, including:

April ’17 Wrap Up

A Very Fantastical Book Birthday to…

My YA Book Blogger Survey

Thank you for reading!
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My YA Book Blogger Survey | Research

Hello!

This semester for my Capstone project, I have been working on a survey to measure what reasons people have for reading YA and blogging about YA separately to see what correlations I can find to explain the prevalence of the activity in the digital age when we are faced with so many other forms of entertainment online.

To make sure I surveyed people who I know both reading YA and blog about YA, I’ve spent the past few weeks compiling a list of YA book bloggers for whom I can find an email address listed somewhere on their blog. My search was very haphazard and random, which I believed would benefit the generalizability of my results. I would often start at YA book blogs that I already followed and browsed the comments sections to pick up new leads and discover other bloggers.

In case you are wondering, the factors that I used to determine whether a YA book blogger could be compiled in my list include:

  1. If the blogger declared themselves in their sidebar bio, About page, or Review Policy page as a YA enthusiast.
  2. If the most recent books I saw reviewed on the blog largely included popular YA titles.
  3. If the blogger has posted recently.

It has been a really cool experience to sift through so many diverse blogs on personal level because I consider myself a part of this community as a lover and defender of YA literature and what it means for literacy. I’ve also discovered so many great blogs that have inspired me to be a better blogger and community member.

End Note

If you are reading this post because you followed the link provided in the email invitation to participate in my survey, thank you for your interest! I hope you will consider taking time to participate in my graduate research. If you are reading this blog post simply because you already follow my blog, I hope you found it interesting! If you’d like to hear more about my research journey I’d love to talk more on this topic, and possibly the findings, here over the summer.

If you consider yourself a YA book blogger and would like to take part in this research and be entered into a raffle for one of five $10 Amazon gift cards, please email me at my school email loricanales@utdallas.edu!

Thank you for reading!
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A Very Fantastical Book Birthday to…

Hiya!

Welcome back to the blog! I’m still busy at work on my end-of-the-semester projects, but I wanted to make sure to wish Sarah J. Maas and her latest book a happy book birthday! Today, May 2, 2017, the third installment in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series debuts. I was so excited to learn last week that Amazon would ship me this book on its release date, meaning I could get reading straight away!

However, I am hoping to hold out until this semester is officially over until I start reading this tome, primarily because it would prevent me from being productive. But also because it would mean I wouldn’t have a chance to reread A Court of Mist and Fury (#2) which I’d really like to do before I read this one.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Released: May 2, 2017
Pages:
696 pages (hardcover)
Genre(s):
New adult / Romance / Fantasy / Fairytale Retelling
Age Group:
 14+ (Likely to be graphic)

Summary

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

End Note

It’s very likely this will be one of the first books I read this month. I’m hoping to have the patience so I can indeed reread the ACOMAF first. Later this week, I plan to work on my May ’17 TBR so stay tuned for that. My summer begins in about two weeks and I’m so pumped to read more and have the free time to write and blog as well.

Thank you for reading!
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