October Wrap Up + November TBR

It’s a little late but I still wanted to do my October Wrap Up and November TBR, both of which I decided to combine because I didn’t feel I really had enough content for two separate posts. I didn’t read much in October and I don’t expect November to be much better because of NaNoWriMo.

I’m pretty happy at this point that I’m right on track with my Goodreads Reading Challenge, even if it’s only because I lucked out in starting a new trilogy with such short books that I could burn through them really quickly.

October ’17 Wrap Up

  1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik – Reviewed!
  2. White Cat by Holly Black
  3. Red Glove by Holly Black (didn’t finish until November 6th)

I loved what I read in October! I had suspected I would really like Uprooted, but it was still a lovely surprise of a read. It was nothing like I had expected and a refreshing standalone fantasy novel. There were some cliches that irked me, but overall I think the author managed to challenge them enough to satisfy me. The main thing I appreciate from a writer’s standpoint is how a book with magic can still have beautiful moments that illuminate human nature. I really hope to do that will the stories I write.

White Cat I started because I watched an interview with Leigh Bardugo and at 46:20 she recommends reading the Curse Workers trilogy by Holly Black if you’re a fan of Six of Crows. I was going to write a book review for it, but I started the sequel Red Glove immediately and then NaNoWriMo started and it just didn’t happen, which I’m super bummed about. I may read them again and try to do a series review or something because I think these books are a little underhyped.

I’ve never read anything by Holly Black before (other than her co-written middle grade fantasy The Iron Trial, which I felt was really derivative of Harry Potter). I feel like the Curse Workers trilogy is something I would’ve really loved in middle school when I was an avid reader. But I still enjoyed them a lot reading them now.

The books are set in an alternative universe U.S. on the east coast where the magical mafia is a thing! Workers are people who are born with one of seven abilities: physical, memories, luck, emotions, dreams, death, and transformation. People wear gloves because everyone fears being worked upon. In the backdrop of the stories, the government is trying to pass legislation that makes testing mandatory so that workers are identified.

I love the protagonist Cassel. He’s adorable and reading from his perspective is refreshing for me personally for two reasons. One, because I feel like I’ve been reading a lot of novels with female protagonists. I hadn’t noticed until I read this book and am hearing him talk about his girlfriends and realize just how subtly different it is to be a boy than a girl. The second reason is just because I don’t read a lot of books set during high school anymore, so the background concerns about staying out of trouble in school and worrying about homework and grades took me back.

November ’17 TBR

As I’ve mentioned loads in the past week, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo so I don’t think I’ll be reading too much, but given that it is the end of the year already somehow I want to stay on track! So I’m still planning on reading at least three books: one novel, an anthology, and a non-fiction book.

Books I Want to Read

  1. Black Heart by Holly Black
  2. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
  3. A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-1889 by Frederic Morton

I’ve already read Black Heart, because I totally procrastinated on this post. It was a satisfying conclusion to a too short series. I’m honestly distraught that I won’t have these books to look forward to at night and when I want to procrastinate on writing.

Next up is The Language of Thorns, which I pre-ordered ahead of its September release this year. I think an anthology is a smart choice for NaNoWriMo, because I won’t need to binge it all in one go; I can read a story here and there and not feel like I’m spending too much time away from my own story.

I may also be able to read A Nervous Splendor at the same time. This novel is one I bought for my German Lit. class last fall and it’s somewhat inspiring the world and some events in my novel so I figure it’s a good time to finally read it and hope it positively influencing my worldbuilding.

End Note

Sorry this post is coming so late, but writing and reading have taken up a majority of time of late. I’ve also been working on job application and will soon start grad school application. I plan to release a NaNoWriMo writing update very soon (maybe even tonight), so stay tuned for that! I don’t have many words yet but I have gotten a lot done.

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

Advertisements

October ’17 TBR + Goals

I was hesitant to make this post, especially considering how busy I’ve been and how I’d like to use as much as possible of my time working on writing this month. Nevertheless, October is my favorite month, and there are a bunch of books that I think would be perfect reads for this time of year!

For this month’s TBR I have a list of books from which I will most likely pull my reads, but I by no means hope to attempt to read all of them! That would be madness, and highly unadvisable if I want to get anything else done this month. I’m hoping to read at least three

 

[In no particular order]

  1. It by Stephen King
  2. The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales & Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo
  3. White Cat by Holly Black
  4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  5. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
  6. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Goals

#1 Prioritize the blog each week. Last month I let the blog slide as I got busier with work and wanted to spend more time reading to finally catch up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge, which I did manage to finally do after months of being behind!

#2 Get my grad school application materials organized. Last month I decided I definitely still wanted to return to grad school for my doctorate. I want to be prepared well in advance of my deadlines so that I’m not in a panic when everything’s due (likely around December). This will entail asking for my letters of recommendation, tidying up writing samples, and likely writing some personal statements.

#3 Be ready to kick NaNoWriMo 2017’s butt. It’s been three years since I won, and I want this year to end my losing streak!

End Note

I’m hoping to have a writing-related post up this week on Wednesday. I Skyped with my writing buddy last night and her excitement for her story revived my own so I’d like to start dedicated more time to it after work. Fortunately my next full day off work is Wednesday so I’m hoping to get a lot done then, including some blog posts. So hopefully I will see you then with my next post!

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

September ’17 TBR + Goals

sept17tbr

If August was the month of rereads, September is going to be the month of new releases, or new purchases! At least for the most part. I do not expect that I will want to burn through all my new books super quickly, especially as I want to get back into the process of spending time recording my thoughts on the books I read. So I will try to intersperse older books that I should have read a long time ago too.

I also want to make sure I’m doing other things this month too, so I’ve spent some time thinking about other goals I have that like to get done this month beyond reading so that I can share them with you, for accountability purposes. ^_^

TBR

I’d be happy if I read just six books this month, especially if the rest of my free time is spent writing and blogging. But today I want to share the books that are at the top of my TBR for this month.

 

  1. Persuasion by Jane Austen (which I wanted to read for #MakeMeRead in August)
  2. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (which is a new release by my fav author)
  3. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas (which is the latest installment in the Throne of Glass series)
  4. The House of the Scorpions by Nancy Farmer (which is technically a reread but it’s been over 10 years since I read it)
  5. Maus II by Art Spiegelman (which is one of my latest purchases that I ended up deciding I wanted to have after reading Maus I last month)

Yes, I’m only listing five books above. But that’s because I want to keep my TBR open for whatever books I may not know I will want to read this month. I have a few other books that have been on my mind for a few months now, but they’re ones I want to save for the right time. Ya know?

Goals

Last month in By the first day of fall… I shared three goals that I wanted to accomplish by September 22nd, the first day of fall. Those goals still stand, and I believe I’m currently making good progress on all of them. But I have some other things I want to do this month that I also thought I’d include here.

#1 Publish one book review per week. I’ve long wished to make Thursday a day reserved for book reviews. I’m really going to start prioritizing these posts after this weekend so that they begin rolling out each Thursday. The reviews will include a summary, notes on the format, my thoughts on the story, a list of similar or somehow related books, and my recommendations for who I think would enjoy reading it. I will include what I gained from a writer’s perspective, as I read because I want to write.

My promise to you and, more importantly, to myself is that I will only review books I think are worthy of the time I will put into them and that I think should be shared. So I hope you will enjoy these posts! I know book reviews are not the most popular posts so I hope that anyone who by chance clicks upon one of them will be enchanted by my spin on them.

#2 Write at least 2k words every day I do not have work. I get about 2-3 days off each week, though, they are not the same days each week. In an effort to begin giving myself some structure, I want to start mandating a word count goal that will whip me into shape for NaNoWriMo. I’ve begun to slack on writing with my efforts to catch up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge, and while that’s been valuable, it’s time to switch gears and gain more balance. So hopefully 2k words is a challenge that is achievable. I want to write these words even if I feel like they’re crap and will never be included in the first draft. It’s just exercise.

#3 Research doctorate programs in which I am interested. I’ve been debating my original idea to apply to doctorate programs for the next academic year. I still would love for that to be my next big move, but I want to make sure I’m choosing the right program that will get me where I want to end up. So I want to investigate my options, even the most wild ones. That way I will have plenty of time to work on my application by December, which I think is the time most schools open for submission.

#4 Apply for five jobs. Yes, I have a job. But it’s not one that was ever meant to be long-term. It’s nice to have so that I’m not doing nothing and have a little money coming in, but it’s not going to help me get rid of my debt. It’s a job that will help me survive, but not thrive. So I want to apply for at least five jobs more befitting my academic background and skill set. I’m not in the biggest hurry to leave my parents house, but if I can get a good job that isn’t here, I’m prepared to take it. I feel like I’m in limbo right now.

#5 Finalize a theme for Betwined Reads. Last week I created a fun collage to use as my blog logo, but I still want to create something completely of my own mind and creativity. I love playing around with the design and theme of the blog, but I’m hoping by the end of September I will have something set to use for the rest of fall all the very least.

End Note

All right! I’m feeling pumped for the month. How about you?! The next posts you can expect to see here are my next installment of my revived writing feature Novel Progress (see first post here) on Wednesday & a book review for Vassa in the Night on Thursday. From then on, we will see!

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

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

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 12.24.06 AM.png

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

April ’17 TBR // Agenda

I’ve been in somewhat of a reading slump regarding recreational reading. This semester has been my busiest of grad school yet and it’s shown in my progress on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I’m determined to turned things around in April, starting with a TBR.

There are four books I need to read in April for my own classes and the classes I assist with, and for the most part I’m excited about all of them! I want to end the semester strong by completing all of these books so I can fully enjoy the class discussion about them. I also have some other things on my agenda for this month…

Lori’s Goodreads Reading Challenge

Currently Reading

Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner | I tried to start this book during spring break and it’s been slow goings due to all the other stuff I’ve had to do. I do want to finish it this month!

Identity is the New Money by David Birch | I started this short book last week for one of the classes I TA for. It’s a very easy read, I just need to put my mind to finishing it.

TBR

Feed by M.T. Anderson

I Hate the Internet: A Useful Novel Against Men, Money, and the Filth of Instagram by Jarett Kobek

My Life as a Night Elf Priest: And Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft by Bonnie A. Nardi

Against the Romance of Community by Miranda Joseph

Agenda

Final Papers. I have three final papers to complete this month because they are due at the beginning of May. All of them involve the YA book blogging community in some way, so you may find me talking about some of them on my blog this month *hint hint* *wink wink* ^_^

Camp NaNoWriMo. If you saw my last post this week, you’ll know I’m planning on participating in Camp NaNoWriMo! I’m writing 20K words of my new novel, so I’m excited squeeze in some on the weekends.

Duolingo. At the beginning of March I started using Duolingo to learn German. I took four years of French in high school and Spanish may have been more practical since I live in the U.S., but I’ve found myself encountering more German writers and thinkers in the past year than I have in the past so I want to have at least a cursory understanding of German. I stopped using it after spring break, so my goal for April is to start using it again more regularly. It only requires like 20 minutes per day and I can do it very easily from bed when I’m browsing Instagram so hopefully this isn’t too hard to accomplish!

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