May Goals + TBR

Like last month, I felt motivated to set myself some personal goals for Betwined Reads and think ahead about what I might like to prioritize reading this month. For a summary of my progress last month, see my April Notes, which went up yesterday!

I expect May will be a lot like April for me. My biggest priorities right now are still reading, writing reviews, and finishing up my first draft of my current W.I.P. Nevertheless, I’m still hoping to share a lot more this month in terms of different kinds of blogs posts.

Goals

1. Build a backlog of book reviews

I’m comfortable saying I’ve fallen in love with creating book reviews again. They are still evolving with each one I write, but I think I’m getting closer and closer to the magic formula that works for me. However, not every book I read is one I can (or am willing to) review, so I have found myself wanting to start building a backlog of reviews that I can publish weeks I don’t have a new one to share. Last year I read a handful of great books on which I’d like to shine a spot-light, so I have an idea of which ones I may revisit soon for this endeavor.

2. Finish my first draft of my W.I.P.

As I mentioned in last month’s writing update, in March I decided to complete the first draft of my current W.I.P. by the end of May, so it’s really time for me to hustle! I’m not shooting for a specific word goal, as I’m writing with care but I imagine I will need to write around 20k words. I’m just shooting for major scenes at the beginning, middle, and end. I’m trying this new drafting technique of starting small with the first draft so that in future drafts I’m adding value rather than subtracting fluff.

3. Post three times a week

Last month I failed majorly at starting up my new features (tech reviews and weekly wrap ups), so these are the kinds of posts I’d like to focus on this month as I’d really like to post more than just book reviews. However, I don’t want to commit to anything specific on a weekly basis. I want to be able to experiment each week and see what else I enjoy posting and what my readers respond to. (With that in mind, if you have requests or suggestions, feel free to share them below!)

TBR

Like last month, I’m playing it safe by only selecting three books that I will try to read this month. I expect I’ll read more outside of the books on this list (e.g. HP books 5–7), which is why you may want to follow/friend me on Goodreads to stay up-to-date with my reading!

 

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

It completely slipped my mind that the final installment of the Illuminae Files trilogy was coming out last month, and I’ve been eager to catch up! First I’d like to try to reread ILLUMINAE and GEMINA, but I make no promises to you or myself. As much as I’d really like to reread the previous books, I know I should be reading books that more directly relate to my life and my work. (To me, this series is blockbuster fare, plain and simple.)

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

In order to continue making progress on reading books that have long been on my TBR, I’m resolved to read this book this month. It sounds like it will be dark but beautiful. It’s also short, which hopefully means I can read and review it quickly! I’m entering it with absolutely no expectations.

The Democratic Surround by Fred Turner

Like last month, I want to encourage myself to read another academic book. In one of my final grad classes last spring, we were assigned to read the introduction and, I think, one chapter from this book. They were among some of the most fascinating reads of the semester (of which there were several). This one was about how the arts in the U.S. were state-funded to combat communism and, amongst other things, treat servicemen who had come back from the war. I’m really looking forward to reading the entire book and finding a way to share some of the things I learn in some way on this blog!

End Note

Next up on Betwined Reads will be my review of the children’s classic A RING OF ENDLESS LIGHT by Madeleine L’Engle. Then I hope to come out with something else this weekend, although just what I do not yet know. If you have an suggestions or requests for anything you want to see, please don’t be shy!

In case you missed them, this week I’ve also posted “Here We Go Again | #AmWriting” and “April Notes.”

What are your blog goals this month?

Have you read any of the books on my TBR?

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

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April Goals + TBR

HAPPY EASTER (AND APRIL)!

For the first time in a long time, I’ve been excited to sit down and plan out future blog posts. This March after I announced my hesitant return to blogging, I tested the waters with two blog posts: a book review and a winter reading wrap up. Now I feel like I can begin to plan for a future in which this blog is indisputable part of my daily life.

On that note, I wanted to share my goals and TBR for the month of April related to Betwined Reads. I love the direction I’ve decided to take this blog and want to let you all know what you can expect to see this month in my little corner of the internet.

Goals

1. Publish at Least two blog posts per week: one book review and one technology review

I feel that at the rate I’m going with my reading at the moment, I can realistically expect to write one book review per week this month. I’ve definitely been bitten by the reading bug and have begun to better know what I’m looking for at this time in my life. For a list of the books you can most likely expect to see reviewed this month, see my TBR a little further below.

I also would like to find and write reviews of cool technologies that I think could be useful to bloggers, students, and digital media enthusiasts. For this month, I’ve tentatively planned to write reviews of new websites and applications that I’ve be learning this month: Unsplash, Trello, Skillshare, and Duolingo.

2. Share a writing update

I’ve been working on my novel these past couple of months and I’ve been itching to share my progress and some of things I’ve found useful. I even started a post last month that is practically all ready to go, I just didn’t want it to come out of nowhere! So most likely I want to write a blog post updating you all on my writing, my personal deadlines, and also explaining what direction I’d like to take with my writing-related posts this year.

3. Find and shout out blogs that I’m loving

One of the things I used to really love doing on my original blog Books o’ the Wisp was shout-out the blogs and blog posts that I was loving each week. But, as I briefly hit on in The Return, I realized that I am not aware of many blogs that actively fulfill me and consistently share content I would love to see. To be honest, though, I’ve not done a lot of searching.

Since it has always been a goal of mine when I started Betwined Reads to connect my readers not just with awesome books but also with awesome bloggers that I’m loving who are doing cool and innovative stuff, I feel like there’s no time like the present to start.

I’ve decided to make it a goal for this month to start searching and start sharing here in some kind of weekly format. I think this feature (which will hopefully have a name soon) will go up on Sundays, as I think that is a nice cosy time for most people with busy lives to unwind and catch up—at least Sundays have always that way for me.

TBR

I’m not overly confident in my ability to stick to a strict TBR so I don’t find it realistic to look at my bookshelves right now and pretend that the books that appeal to me in this moment will be the books I still want to read at the end of April. Especially as I’m rediscovering my love of reading at the moment. That being said, I have three books I know I will try to get to early this month.

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

I first learned of AKATA WITCH from Leigh Bardugo. Bardugo is one of my favorite authors writing today and so I had been looking for books she had recommended for people who love her work and AKATA WITCH was one of them. Upon reading the premise (Goodreads), I decided this book was worth checking out for myself, not just as a reader but a writer.

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

I’m still attempting to prioritize reading books that have been on my TBR for a longer amount of time, so SOPHIE’S WORLD (Goodreads) would help me check another off that list. This is actually a book that I might’ve bought in high school; it’s been that long since I acquired it that I can’t exactly remember. I know I’ve attempted reading this book before and found it boring, so I’m not entering it with high expectations. I just want to know if it’s worth unhauling it.

Spreadable Media by Henry Jenkins et al.

I started reading SPREADABLE MEDIA (Goodreads) at the beginning of the year. I actually read the entire Introduction, or that thing that comes before an Introduction—it’s been a while since I’ve picked it up again! I really do want to read it, though! I may just have to commit a few days to it and only it so that I can check it off my TBR.

End Note

Coming up next this week on Betwined Reads will be my first technology review of Unsplash, a free stock photo service I’ve discovered, which has some awesome photo collections any fellow blogger might find useful. I’m currently using a photo I found on Unsplash for my blog site icon and header image (cited on my About page). You can look forward to this review on Monday. And Thursday you can expect my review of BURIAL RITES, which I finished this weekend! It was gorgeous and heart-rending.

Have you read any of the books on my TBR?

What do you hope to accomplish this April?

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

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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!
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.

 

Welcome to Betwined Reads!

Greetings!

As I’m just about finished tinkering with the template and layout of this blog for now, I’ve decided to make my first official post of this new blog. In case you didn’t follow me from my old self-hosted blog Book & Pixels, formerly Ink Keys & Other Things, I thought I’d give you a brief introduction to me.

I start book blogging in January 2015 in my final year at Iowa State University where I was working on my B.A. in English lit. That blog was on WordPress.com Books o’ the Wisp, and I had a grand ole time blogging there, but once I started my Master’s at UT Dallas, I realized I wanted something different where I could talk more about my studies and life in general and also wanted to have a bit more control over customization. So I created a new blog with BlueHost and Wordpress.org.

As I anticipate taking a year off before my PhD, I’ve decided to start a new book blog focused more exclusively on books and have it hosted on WordPress.com again, because I think it’s just easier to connect with other bloggers here and I’ve realized I don’t need the extra frills of a self-hosted blog. I’m currently a Master’s student and TA at UT Dallas. This is my final semester here and has turned out to be my busiest yet, so please hang with me as I sort out my life and this blog. 🙂

To get a sense of the types of content I’ll be posting here, see my Features page with a list of the post ideas I have in mind. I can’t commit to schedule just yet, but I’d like to eventually be posting one of each type every month in addition to the random reading wrap ups, TBRs, etc. that I feel like doing on the spot on any given day. Also feel free to check out my other blog pages to find if you’d to get a better sense of me and if you’d like to follow my blog.

Before I go, I also thought I’d give a reading update. I’m currently reading The Fate of the Tearling, the final book in The Queen of the Tearling trilogy by Erika Johansen. I’m loving it so much. I’ve been waiting for this book for almost two years since I discovered the first two and I’m so excited to find out how the story wraps up. I’m hoping I’ll finish this book by next weekend and be able to post my first book review on here sometime soon.

If you want to find me on my other social media places, I’m posting some links below. Some of them still need to be updated to reflect my new blog, but feel free to give them a follow if you’re interested. I’ll be updating them very soon.

 

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