September ’17 Wrap Up

I’m in a bit of a hurry as I write this post, but I wanted to make sure I start it before I go to work for the day so it’s not hard to finish up tonight! I must say, I’m really proud of myself as I read a lot this month and have finally caught up with my Goodreads Reading Challenge! I’ve now read 26 of the 36 book challenge I set for myself at the beginning of the year. Now I just need to keep it up!

I’m also really excited to wrap up this past month because it’s one of the first times that I ever stuck entirely to the TBR list I set for the month! I read four of the five books I listed in my September ’17 TBR + Goals post.

  1. Maus II by Art Spiegelman (★★★)
  2. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (★★★) – Reviewed!
  3. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (★★★★★)
  4. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas (★★★)

My favorite read this month was without a doubt The House of the Scorpion. I first read this book in middle school, probably in 6th or 7th grade, which was a while ago for me. I remembered it being one of the most powerful books I ever read at the time and I was happy to find that it holds up; it’s fantastic. It was also great that I didn’t remember much beyond the premise, so I was at the edge of my seat (metaphorically speaking) for most of the book. I highly recommend this book to anyone no matter your age. It gives you a lot to think about.

My least favorite read was definitely Tower of Dawn. I didn’t enter this book expecting too much and moderately enjoyed it. I had never much liked Chaol, or Nesryn for that matter who always seemed like such a “filler” character. And despite all the reviews I’ve read saying this book ruined Chaol for readers who had loved him, it is pretty much still the same guy in opinion. I’ve already found him broody and stupidly loyal without anything driving him to make him interesting.

Despite my dislike of Chaol and Nesryn going into this book, it wasn’t a horrible read. Nesryn’s storyline was actually pretty cool and I would’ve loved a lot more of her adventure and less of Chaol’s healing drama. The book just went on too long and had very little pay off by the end for me. There are a few reveals that make this book worth reading if you plan to finish off the Throne of Glass series as I do, but I think it’d be sufficient to just spoil yourself if you don’t want to waste time reading this installment.

If I have the time and energy later this week, I might do a spoilers post for anyone who’s interested (and for myself so I remember everything by time the last book rolls out)!

End Note

Tomorrow I hope to have my TBR + Goals for the month of October, but we’ll see. I don’t want my emphasis to be on reading this month, so I’ll likely not push myself to read much more than the three books I need to stay on track with my 2017 goal. Other than that, I’m not sure what else you can expect. My next full day off is Wednesday so I’m looking forward to getting a lot more done then.

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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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.

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 9.20.00 PM

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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Blogger Recognition Award

Hello, friends.

I was tagged by the lovely Mel from The Bookish Wanderer for the Blogger Recognition Award.

Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

How My Blog Started

I’ve first started book blogging on WordPress.com in January 2015 as a New Year’s resolution. That blog was called Books o’ the Wisp and it was a place for me to record my reading progress and rediscover my love of reading. Those first few months were the happiest and the most exciting time of my life, so this year I’m trying to reclaim that joy and passion by starting from scratch with this new book blog Betwined Reads.

Two Pieces of Advice

  1. Be inspired by others, but don’t copy them outright. There are so many book or writing blogs out there and the thing the thing that will set you apart is what you do differently. If a blog uses a lot of GIFs, don’t feel like you need to or no one will like or read your blog. If you see a lot of other blogs writing about a book you have no interest in, don’t feel like you need to read it if it takes time away from the books you truly want to read. People will follow you blog if they like what you write and can see a glimpse of your personality shine through.
  2. Be a good blogger and a good commenter. If you want people to read and comment on your blog you should read and comment on others’ too. You should also try to respond to those who are kind enough to comment on your blog, especially when it’s a new blog and you’re just starting out. Also try to find your fellow new bloggers who you can grow with. These are the people most likely to become your closest blogging friends.

I Tag…

I can’t be bothered to check if any of these blogs have done this tag or how old it is, but I figure it’s the thought that counts! If you’ve already done it but it’s been a while, maybe it’d be nice to do it again.

  • Blaise @ The Book Boulevard
  • Elle @ The Nishume Chronicles

Well, that’s all I’ve got for today! Hope you have a good day and see you Friday! Don’t forget to follow if you haven’t, I post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday :p Until then,

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