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!
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August ’17 Wrap Up

I cannot believe how much I accomplished this month, especially as August is typically such a blah month. This month I was able to almost catch up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge by reading a grand total of EIGHT books! I’m not sure the last time I’ve read so much, but I’m still two books behind schedule. I’m less stressed out about it and am confident I’ll be completely caught up by the end of September.

I think I have definitely gotten my reading mojo back. I did a lot of rereading this August, but I think it’s good to reread. You pick up more than you might’ve upon the first read a book, and I think each time I return to an old favorite I’m a slightly different person. So even if I know what’s going to happen in a book, I am thinking about how my thoughts have changed between readings. Fortunately, there hasn’t been any drastic ones this time around!

What I Read

  1. Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen (★★★½)
  2. Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi (★★★)
  3. Maus I by Art Spiegelman (★★★½)
  4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (reread) (★★★★)
  5. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (★★★★★)
  6. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (reread) (★★★★★)
  7. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (reread)(★★★★★)
  8. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter (★★★★★)

It’s hard to choose a favorite book that I’ve read this month, as I read somewhat diversely and was more than pleasantly surprised at quite a few of my reads this month. I already knew I loved We Were Liars, and that did not change; I was as supremely moved as I was the first time I read it. I think I have to go with Vassa in the Night. I haven’t had a chance to put my thoughts into words, but it was so strange and so beautiful. I really loved the updating of a Russian fairytale to urban Brooklyn and all the diverse characters. I plan to write a book review of this book as soon as possible.

This month I also acquired a lot of books! You can see a full list on my post A Book Haul of eBooks and Fairytales, which went up earlier this week. Vassa in the Night was one of my new purchases, and some of my upcoming reads will no doubt be pulled from this list.

End Note

In the past, my monthly wrap ups included a bit more on my writing and the things I’ve watched, but I chose to keep it simple because I want to focus more on the gorgeous books I’ve read. I have a September TBR in the works that you will hopefully see tomorrow night. It will include a short list of goals I have for the month of September as well with regards to my writing habits and possibly creative projects.

Thank you for reading!
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Beginning Again, Goals, and Re-Introducing My WIP | Novel Progress #1

Yes, I am back! I will resume blogging about writing here on Betwined Reads. I feel like I’m finally in a good place where I can talk about my novel writing progress as I have both the time and the excitement to do so. To show that I am serious about it (or rather super excited about it), I’ve created a new page in my navigation bar where you can easily access all the Novel Progress posts I create on my writing journey.

In this introductory post, I will talk about what you can expect from these new weekly Wednesday posts, my current writing goals, and hear more about the novel I’m currently writing.

The Format

In each post, I generally start out with a general update about how my novel is progressing. I will likely try to highlight the most noteworthy things I’ve realized or accomplished. Then I will share some tips or advice I have found that related to whatever I’m currently working on, including links to resources I’ve found valuable. And finally I will end with some self-prescribed “homework” goals I hope to complete by the next time I write.

These posts will go up every Wednesday, unless there is an unforeseen circumstance. In October, I think I will try to organize more formal posts related to NaNoWriMo preparation, which will hopefully be useful to anyone who has not participated in the month-long writing event before or who needs the extra push to join in the frenzy!

Writing Goals

As I stated in By the first day of fall…, I hope to be already writing by September 22, 2017. This goal still stands, but I do not intend for this to mean that I’m writing everyday. Rather, I’d like to be writing specific scenes every now and then so that I may hone the craft, if you will. It’s been so long since I dedicated time to actually writing and I want to be practicing regularly each week on any scene that I feel inspired to write at the time.

If I’m doing that regularly, I think I will be in a good place to participate confidently in NaNoWriMo in November. I want to the most prepared I’ve ever been before by the start of November 1st so that 50,000 words is a breeze and I’m happy with the quality of my words.

My WIP

I’m currently writing a novel I’m calling The Log when I talk about it online. It’s not about a log, although, each time I think about it I feel like I should find a way to include one…It’s a YA novel with a young (~15 y/o) female protagonist set in a fantasy world which is like a steam punk version of the early 20th century. I’m not heavily basing her world on any one country, but in my head I am kind of referencing early U.S. history of the founding and expansion as I world-build. There’s magical creatures, adventure, mysteries, secrets, all that fun stuff!

End Note

I hope you’re as excited about these posts as I am! I think that many book bloggers out there are also aspiring authors or even just writing enthusiasts, so hopefully there’s a little something for everyone in these upcoming posts. I love reading and hearing about people’s writing progress as they tend to inspire me when I’m feeling low and also make me feel less crazy about pursuing this crazy project.

Thank you for reading!
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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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Summer Biannual Bibliothon 2017 TBR

I’m excited to announce that I’ve decided to participate in next week’s Summer Biannual Bibliothon 2017, which runs from Sunday, July 23 to Saturday, July 29, 2017.

Reading Challenges

1. Read the group book

This is The Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. I am not usually swayed by group reads in read-a-thons, but I just happened to activate my free 30-day trial of Audible, which grants you two free audiobooks so I’ve decided to use my second freebie on this one!

2. Read from the host’s favorite genre (Options: Kassie – Magical Realism, Caz -Historical Fiction, Brittni – High/Epic Fantasy, Emma – Diverse Books, Kelly – Dystopian/SciFi, Red – Paranormal, Momo – Urban fantasy)

For this selection, I’ve decided to read The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, which I gather is some combination of magical realism and/or high/epic fantasy.

3. Read a book that has been or still is banned

I’m a big fan right now of reading classic YA literature and have decided to reread The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger for this challenge. It’s been a good many years since I’ve read it and it’s one that really resonated with me in high school that I look forward to experiencing again.

4. Throwback challenge

For this challenge you can look back at past read-a-thon challenges and choose whichever suits your fancy. I’ve decided to go with “A book you’ve been putting off picking up.” One of my biggest personal pet peeves is putting books down that I haven’t formed a strong opinion about one way or another. I don’t like to dump books until I’ve decided I 100% do not want to ever continue reading it.

I started The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman a couple of years ago now and figure now is as good a time as any to revisit it as the read-a-thon environment will encourage me to read rapidly and just get through it.

5. Book to movie adaptation – read & watch

For this challenge I’ve decided to have another reread, this time of Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. The movie adaption came out when I was in high school and I’d love to rewatch it for this challenge.

6. Read a book you’ve seen somewhere other than BookTube

I’m doubling up this challenge with challenge no. 1: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. I’ve not seen anyone I follow on BookTube ever talk about this book, probably because it isn’t YA.

7. LGBTQIA+ 

For this challenge I decided to utilize my free 30-day trial of Audible to listen to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, which features a gay (or bisexual) male protagonist. I recently discovered it from one of my favorite BookTuber’s recent read-a-thon vlogs and sounds like it will be a fun listen. Also, I’m really intrigued to give this a listen as I recognize the name of the narrator as the voice of the original Tom Riddle actor, Christian Coulson!

End Note

If you would like to participate in this read-a-thon, it is not too late. You may also be interested to know that there are also challenges on BookTube and #bookstagram if you find that appealing! I meant to film a video with all this information but it’s a little late to do now. Maybe tomorrow! I plan to participate in the blog challenges as much as possible too so look forward to me posting a bit more than normal this week ^_^

Thank you for reading!
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