A Book Haul of eBooks and Fairytales

A few weeks ago after I learned my free time would be severely limited as result of my new job, I decided to treat myself to some new books. As I was browsing for the books I would purchase, I realized one of the books of an author I was looking into was free in its Kindle edition for Amazon Prime members, so I downloaded some others I found that interested me as well.

In general, I’m fairly restrained when it comes to buying books, so I rarely get the chance to do a haul. Therefore, I decided to seize the day do one today (at long last)!

This book haul comes at a time when I’m kicking my writing into full gear, which is why I want to get my hands on everything that looks like it might inspire my own novel. Therefore, you’ll find that many of these books are in the genre(s) in which I want to write: fantasy.

Amazon Prime Free eBooks

 

Heist Society by Ally Carter. This book is the reason I began searching for what other eBooks were conveniently available for free download on Amazon Prime. I saw an interview where Leigh Bardugo recommended Carter’s work for anyone interested in heist books like Six of Crows. I’m skeptical (based on its cringe-y cover), but I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised!

The Spy with No Name by Jeff Maysh. This book and author I’ve never heard of, but I like a good mystery and the intrigue of spies. Not sure when I’ll read this book, though, as there are so many amazing books I want to read right now. This one smells to me like one buffer book when I need something random to fill my time when I don’t feel like jumping into something super thought provoking.

Air Awakens by Elise Kova. The is the first book in a series I’ve seen talked about a lot in the book blogging community! I’ve intentionally kept myself in the dark as to what this book is about, but I’m happy to have the opportunity to finally see if this book, and series, is for me.

Fallout (Lois Lane) by Gwenda Bond. This book I’ve already DNF-ed. I didn’t have the highest of expectations for this book, but I did have an open mind as I’ve been eagerly anticipating Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman. This book very quickly lost me. I compared it to fan fiction on Goodreads, but honestly that’s unfair to fan fiction as I’ve read far better written fan-written stories with realistic, nuanced characters.

Thieving Forest by Martha Conway. This book, like most of the others on this list, is one that I know next to nothing about. I haven’t even reread the summary to remind myself why I decided to download it. I just saw the medal on it and decided to trust that distinction. Like The Spy with No Name, this is one I’ll probably save for when I’m between books and don’t know quite what I’m in the mood for.

Fairytale-Inspired Books

 

Uprooted by Naomi Novik. This is a book that has been on my radar for a long-time and the main reason I’ve put it off is I’m not a fan of the U.S. edition cover and the price of the hardback was too high for me. I was able to order it at a reasonable price in paperback and I feel like this book is coming to me at the perfect time as I just feel like this book will inspire my own writing.

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter. This book was recommended by Leigh Bardugo in an interview I watched on YouTube in which she was asked what she recommended (redundant…leaving it anyway). I loved the summary so I decided to put it on my wishlist for a time like this when I wanted to treat myself.

What’s Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi. Because I’ve just been reading Mr. Fox, I’ve been reminded what a beautiful writer Oyeyemi is and I decided to finally spring for this anthology. I had put it off for the same reasons that I put off Uprooted for so long, but I’m excited to finally be able to read these short stories and, hopefully, have her magic rub off on me!

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. This book is not technically out yet, but it is a vanity purchase I made earlier this month. Many of the stories in this anthology are already available for free online, but I wanted to be able to put the pretty book to put on my shelves. I love Leigh Bardugo’s books and she is on my short list of authors whose books I will instantly purchase, which brings me to the final book in my haul…

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo! Ok, so this is not technically a fairytale, but the argument could be made that it is a similar kind of genre! Not that I’m a genre expert… I am not a big fan of Wonder Woman, as I did not grow up with any of her shows and have never been too impressed by “strong women” dressed in leotards. I’m not really a DC Comics fan either (based on my experience with their lame movies), but a lot of feminists I respect LOVE the character of Wonder Woman and I’m hoping this book will make me love her too! ^_^

End Note

I hope you enjoyed this post! I am not in the habit of doing a lot of book hauls, as I rarely buy/acquire enough books to warrant one. Another book that didn’t make this list because I won’t have it for a few more days is Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas, her latest Throne of Glass installment. It comes out early next month, so I’m excited even though it’s centered on Chaol, a character I’ve never really liked.

Today I’ve been working on my blog in between chores. You can expect to see a few more posts later this week as we head into September. Until then, let me know if you’ve read any of these books in the comments down below.

Thank you for reading!
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What I’ve Been Up to During Hurricane Harvey…

Hi! 

I had two posts I wanted to go up at the end of last week, but then my job and general procrastination prevented me from finishing them. Then there was the anxiety of preparing for Hurricane Harvey. Where I live was not in Harvey’s direct path, but we’ve since been continuously pelted hard with heavy rain and it’s been hard to predict when it might stop. Meanwhile I’ve been getting constant tornado and flash flood alerts on my iPhone over the past couple of days.

One good thing that has come from this bout of horrible weather is that I didn’t have to go to work yesterday and, thus, I’ve had three days off essentially to relax after all the chaos of last week as people rushed to my workplace to stock up for hurricane essentials: water, bread, and batteries. Therefore, I’ve had time to catch up on my reading!

Last Thursday I picked off a four books from my shelves that I decided I wouldn’t mind reading this weekend and I’m happy to say I’ve made my way through three of them. The fourth, which technically would be considered a reread, I’ve decided I would like to take my time with and, therefore, I’m putting off until I’m more on track with my Goodreads Reading Challenge.

Recent Reads

Maus I by Art Spiegelman | I honestly can’t remember if I finished this one the first time I read it. I can see myself having faked it, as I picked it up for a group assignment in which we came up with a thematic unit plan. I’m happy I decided to give it another chance, even if it was only because it was a graphic novel I knew I could zoom through. It was a pleasant read, despite the horrors depicted. It shows the complexity of human nature during dangerous times. 3.5 stars.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle | I don’t remember the last time I read this one, but I still remember reading it in 5th grade vividly as it was probably the first book that made a big impression on me. It was also one that I remember made me want to become a writer. Reading it as a adult, I find myself still very attached to the characters. The main thing that surprised me is the rather simple plot. 4.5 stars.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling | I bought this book two years ago when it came out and I’m happy I waited this long to finally read it. It’s one of those that seems to have come to me at the perfect time. I don’t entirely relate to Mindy in interests or personality, but I admire by her work and work ethic. This book’s final chapter blew me away and has made me excited to give everything I do my all. 4.5 stars.

My Immediate TBR

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit | I’ve read this book a few times over the past few years since I first read it when I was…maybe eleven or twelve years old. It’s a great one to revisit every now and then and it stands the test of time in my opinion. It also helps that this is one of those classic books that I think has inspired my own writing.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart | This is a reread that I feel strangely apt to read right now as summer nears its end. It’s not one I would have thought to pick up except that I know it can be a quick read. It’s another that I can see being of value as I begin to write and I’m also interested in seeing how the experience is changed knowing as I do the ending, which caught me completely off guard before.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones | I want to end my journey through rereads with this one as Howl’s Moving Castle is a book that I consider a major source of writing inspiration. I think I’ve read this book a couple of times in the past as a young adult and I think it’s one that I will continue to reread throughout my life and leave with new insights.

Writing Update

I think I’m really close to nailing done my plot. Last week before I had to leave for a work shift,  I got about 3/4 through my plot by just summarizing. I realized that morning that I could waste no more time just hoping I’d work it out by thinking about it. I needed to write something down. Anything. Because I can’t make something of nothing. I’m so glad I did this because when I got home later that evening I was happy with most of what I got and could identify things that I did not like. Three such problem areas I found could be fixed by just moving plot points around!

The main thing I’m struggling with now is just the conclusion. I feel like I have a few ideas for things I know I want to happen with the protagonist but I need to figure out what would best and most satisfyingly challenge her to become who she needs to be.

I’m hoping to end the month of August with a conclusion I’m happy with. I’m also eager to share in more detail how I’ve been able to plot my story this month in case you might be able to benefit. In my last post, I said I wanted to be writing by September 22, the first day of fall. That’s still the goal, but I don’t think I’ll have a set word count for each day. I also have a feeling I may also be writing this book for NaNoWriMo, but more on this later…

End Note

I’m excited to finish my rereads so I can begin to read some of my new books! I may still do the book haul post I was planning, but if I don’t, you can probably expect to hear about my latest acquisitions in a September TBR. Not sure what my next post will be, but it will almost certainly come this week as there’s loads to share! I just need to make the time to write the posts in between my reading!

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By the first day of fall…

Hi!

I started this post shortly after writing my last post and discovered that the first official day of fall in the northern hemisphere is September 22, 2017. I don’t know how much the seasons mean to the average person, but throughout the year I like to observe when a new season officially begins because I like to think of each new season as an opportunity to turn a new page on life.

Because it is about a month away, I feel like there is sufficient time to get some stuff done by the start of fall and, therefore, have decided to list and share my three main goals that I would like to achieve by the first day of fall.

First, I want to be caught up with my Goodreads Reading Challenge. At the time of this writing, I’m seven books behind schedule. That means I need to read about 11-13 books by September 22, in order to be caught up. I’ll probably try to pick up short books or books that I’ve already read and, therefore, can speed read.

Second, I want to be writing my first draft of The Log. (See the post where I first introduced my current novel project.) My development of this story has become stalled while I began my job orientation, but I plan to pick it back up again this afternoon once I’m done with today’s shift. I still need to work on plot, character development, and world-building.

I expect to be working on this project for the rest of the year so I have no idea how NaNoWriMo will fit into it, but I do know I want to be writing before then so I may be participating to a less than official degree.

Third, I want to be happy with the direction I’ve taken this blog Betwined Reads. It’s not been easy getting back into blogging when I’ve been plagued with insecurity about the quality of my words or value of my thoughts, but I know I want to record this time in my life so I can look back when and hopefully see how far I’ve come. I feel like blogging helps me stay motivated to create and be productive.

End Note

I encourage you to think of what you might hope to achieve in the next couple of weeks if you’ve felt stuck the way I have, and feel free to share below in the comments if you like. I’ve got to head off to work soon so I best wrap this up right now. In my next post I will be sharing a book haul as I recently acquired a bunch of new books in celebration of my new job! I’m also hoping to have a book review up this week. See you then!

Thank you for reading!
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#MakeMeRead Wrap Up, Reading Update, & Blog Plans

Hey! 

About two days ago I finally finished reading Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen, the only book I managed to pick up during the #MakeMeRead It Read-a-thon last week on account of completely forgetting what week it started on. I still completely plan to read Persuasion by Jane Austen, the second highest book on my poll, in the near future. I just didn’t feel a rush to jump into it right after Sense & Sensibility, as unlike that book or Pride & Prejudice, I have not seen a movie adaptation of this one and I worry if that’ll make it more challenging a read.

Currently Reading

I instead decided to reach for another book that has been on my TBR for over a year now, Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi. I read Boy, Snow, Bird and The Icarus Girl by the same author in 2015 and was enthralled by them, particularly the former. So I’m leisurely trying to make my way through Oyeyemi’s colorful collection of works. Of Mr. Fox, I will say that it hasn’t been exactly what I was expecting, but I’m fully on board now, although it was intitially disorienting.

What I read next this month is still uncertain. I’m currently mood reading right now, with a mind still on catching up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I’m perpetually about 6–7 books behind.

I have secured a part-time job finally and while it’s nothing too exciting, I suspect it will mean I’m reading a bit more on my iPhone, whether on breaks or in bed when I’m too tired after shifts to hold up a book. Earlier this year I decided to purchase Amazon Prime for the first time with my student discount and I just learned that with the membership you can access certain eBooks for free! I’ve downloaded five and I’m eager to get to them.

Blog Plans

I want to start posting more on here, but I’ve also realized I’m no good at scheduling blog posts. I’ve found that it doesn’t allow me flexibility to do what I want to do when I want to do it, and all too often I’ve forgotten when I haven’t put finishing touches on a post before it goes up.

As I mentioned above, I just got a part-time job. At the moment I’m not sure what my schedule will look like other than I will be working around 30 hours a week. Also, it is my hope that I can find a full-time job by the end of the year that better suits me and my life goals.

With these realizations in mind, a blog schedule will most likely not suit me at this time. However, I do want to continue to work on this blog by recording my reading and writing journey as well as my other creative pursuits as they come and go.

In the next couple of weeks I know I want to work on my graphic design skills, update all my pages, and start doing more formal book reviews, so you can expect all that right now at the very least!

Writing Update

I don’t have much to share on the writing front, but in case you were wondering or find these updates useful (maybe for commiserating in failure?) I thought I’d share instead of just neglecting my problems. I’m still in the outlining phase of this book. I have no trouble envisioning any number of novel beginnings, but it’s the middles and ends I struggle with. I think right now, my problem is I don’t know what my character wants and I don’t know if that’s a problem of not fully knowing her or not knowing the world. Maybe it’s both.

I had hoped I’d be writing by this time this month, but I’m not sure when anymore. Part of me is like “I need to start this NOW” and the other is like “I should just shoot to be ready by NaNoWriMo.”

I could wax on about this a while longer, but better I get going so I can work on this problem tonight. I don’t know what life after tomorrow is going to look like.

End Note

Thanks for sticking with me and this blog! On my very first blog Books o’ the Wisp, I used to do this feature called Letter from the Blogger. I did it at the beginning of each season to talk about myself and my plans for the coming months. I may try to do one of these again soon, as in this weekend. Amongst the other things you might be able to expect soon, I’ve got a book haul to share and I want to do a book review of Mr. Fox because it’s a lesser known book and I think I want to dedicate do more to shine a light on the under-hyped books on my blog.

Thank you for reading!
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In Which I Did Not Forget This Week Was #MakeMeRead | TBR

Oops!

In my head, for some reason, the #MakeMeRead It Read-a-thon started next Sunday and not this past one! Luckily I think I should be able to make it through my top two reads voted for last month: Sense & Sensibility and Persuasion, both by Jane Austen.

I own both of these books in an large leather-bound anthology of Jane Austen’s work so that’s going to be interesting to read from again. I first read Pride & Prejudice from that tome, so I’m wondering if it will bring back any sense memories. At any rate, I look forward to finding movie adaptations to watch after I finish these books to see how they compare.

I’m just excited to beat this reading slump I accidentally fell into when I started The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. I’m about halfway through it, but I moved it to the put-down-for-now shelf on Goodreads as I’m rarely in the mood in sit down and listen to it. I hope to one day find it in a physical format, as it was getting really exciting the last time I listened to it. My life at the moment just does not suit audiobooks.

Writing Update

I thought I’d sneak in a cheeky writing update to fill you all in on what I’ve been doing aside from reading (and to buff up this post since I don’t really like doing the odd short posts). Around last week I decided to commit myself to writing again as I missed it and have felt more motivated. I’ve been watching a lot of writing videos on YouTube ranging from author interviews to creative writing students sharing their writing journeys. It’s been really inspiring.

I’m currently in the planning phase of my novel. I’m using Scrivener to organize all my notes and the story has already changed a lot from its original inception. I feel like I’m in a visual headspace right now with envisioning settings, but per usual I’m stuck on what needs to happen in the story. In the past, I would probably just started writing and figure it out as I go. But I can’t shake the fact that the story will be much stronger if I know where I need to end up.

I have a list of things I was planning to work on today before I realized #MakeMeRead was this week, but an idea I had as I was preparing lunch was that maybe writing is the most important thing to do right now. I want to work on my craft without procrastinating because I don’t have a plot, so I’m thinking I might start writing a well-known story. Then I can begin practicing writing and take my time on my own novel…

I don’t know! I’ll fill you in on what happens later. I’m thinking about how I can bring back writing updates without killing my motivation to actually write. That reminds me, I still want to do a post about why I stopped blogging about writing…

End Note

I will definitely be back this weekend with a wrap up for this read-a-thon. I’m thinking it will be possible to read more than two books this week, but I don’t think I’m willing to read the rest of the options I presented in the poll. I might instead pick up some other books I’ve been wanting to read/reread.

It’s not fall yet, but it’s been rainy where I live and I’ve had fun pretending it is fall as it’s the time of year I feel most inspired. I’ve also been re-watching American Horror Story season one about the murder house and it’s reminding me of my first semester of college because my roommate and I would rush home every week to catch it when it aired. It was the best.

Thank you for reading!
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Writing YA: My Response to Slate

I’ve been thinking a lot about why people read and write YA. I’m re-blogging because I’ve been working on my own novel and wanted to share something that is still relevant six years later. WOW!

The most recent YA dustup revolves around author Katie Crouch’s take on “Writing YA Fiction” for Slate. It’s a cringe-inducing and infuriating read, not only because it is almost aggressively unprofessional (YA readers don’t care about good writing! Writing sex scenes makes us squirmy!), but also because it smacks of minstrelsy: “Hey, world. I don’t take myself seriously, so feel free not to take me seriously either.” Crouch doesn’t seem to have read widely in the genre. She’s a litfic author, and though she claims “there’s no shame in Y.A. these days” (was there ever?), she seems almost giddily desperate to let us know that, for her, writing YA is just a lark.

Poor Crouch has already been taken to task (most brilliantly by Courtney Summers), so I’m going to leave off beating her about the head and shoulders. But I’m often asked about the appeal of writing…

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Summer Biannual Bibliothon Wrap Up!

Hi!

It’s Saturday evening and I’ve made peace with the fact I’m not going to get much more reading done tonight before bed so I want to share my wrap up for the week of reading. In case you want to see the lofty goals I had for myself this time last week, here’s my TBR.

I started off really strong on Sunday and managed to finish two books this read-a-thon in a relatively quick amount of time. I started with The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, as it was my least anticipated read on my TBR. I had tried to read it a few years ago and was not able to get into so I gave up. Little did I know this book takes the protagonist Bod all the way to young adulthood, so I was happy to find it wasn’t just a children’s book.

I loved the hauntingly beautiful atmosphere of the book and the episodic way in which the novel was written. Now I see what the hype is all about and would love to recommend this as a bedtime read for any parents out there who read to their youngsters. It’s so good.

The next book I picked up was The Catcher in the Rye. I really enjoyed rereading it for the first time since high school. I still remembered a lot of the stuff we talked about in high school and felt a little nostalgic about it for some reason. I was a little scared going into this book again that I would not like it as much as I did before, but my worry was needless as I find myself as compelled by Holden’s story as much as I was 17.

I didn’t read at all between Wednesday and Friday, despite listing Never Let Me Go as my next read. I had to do some work on my research paper that was time-sensitive and am happy to report I finally finished it today! The literature review anyway. I mean, I know it could still use some work, but I decided to push my luck and see how little I can get away with right now. I’ve had a motivational problem lately about my research, related to issues I’m not quite ready to talk about.

Last night I started the audiobook for The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I’m somewhat liking it, but think I would enjoy it more if I was able to read it and see the words on the page. For one thing, I could go faster if I just had the physical book, but also because my favorite thing about the book so far is the witty banter and I wish I could linger on some passages longer.

End Note

The main thing I’m happy about having accomplished is ending my reading slump and getting a bit closer caught up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I have a feeling I’ll be all caught up by the end of August with the #MakeMeRead It read-a-thon running August 6–13 (please vote, if you haven’t already).

I’ve been getting into bullet journaling a little bit, which I’ve found is inspiring me to be more productive so hopefully I’ll be a little more active on this blog soon. I also want to work on my blog design next month, so that’ll be fun!

Thank you for reading!
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