November 2016 Wrap Up

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a fast month! Seriously, in the blink of an eye we’ve already passed Thanksgiving (for us Americans), gone through the Presidential election (let’s not talk about it, okay?), a second wedding anniversary (yay!), and now it’s practically the holiday season! This year has flown by. I think my mind’s still back in March or April, so pardon the dust. But this month was a month of writing (and failing, and I’m fine with that), of reading fun and fantastic books, and just overall enjoyment.


Books I’ve Read

Click on the cover to be taken to its respective review!

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  • Illuminae by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman – Was a fantastic, unique, brilliant book! I laughed, I cried, I felt emotions for characters I didn’t expect to feel for, and it was amazing. 5/5 stars!
  • P.S. I Like You by Kasie West – This was so cute and I felt that it was really realistic to how a relationship could start in high school. 5/5 stars!
  • Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – What a great sequel! I loved the sci-fi elements, the story, and the new characters introduced. 4.5/5 stars!

Books I’ve Gotten

Click on the cover to be taken to each respective Goodreads page!

thugkitchen thefifthseason ifiwasyourgirl thesunisalsoastar heartless winter thecrownsdog underdifferentstars theisland thechasm

Other Blog Posts

Writing Related

Fun Things

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31/30. I surprisingly haven’t read any fantasy books this month, which is fine! I’ve still surpassed my goal, which I’m proud of. For those participating, tell me how you’ve been doing!

Instagram

So over on my Instagram I participated in four different challenges this month! It was crazy, but I did most of the days and combined two or more of the challenges in one pic, usually doing two a day. It was super fun and next month I’m participating in four again! Also: I love the bookstagram community. Like the rest of the book community, they’re all really sweet, talented people.

 Around the Internet

This is a feature I’ve seen in several other blogger’s wrap ups and I think it’s a fun way to show what else I’ve been reading/seeing around the internets!

  • Hazel of Stay Bookish talked about being a fat girl and how a book helped her stand up to body shaming.
  • Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything movie adaptation has a release date of August 18, 2017 (my birthday!).
  • #TheThanksUGive was a fun chat where a lot of the book community came together to talk about the thanks we give to others in the community, from bloggers to authors and more.
  • Maggie Stiefvater answered the important question: main character’s facial features of how they are in the books (The Raven Cycle).

Life Updates

  • My husband and mine’s second wedding anniversary happened and we spent the day in Boston, specifically Brookline because there’s an independent bookstore there that I love. We had a good time and enjoyed ourselves, which was great. We got series one Apple iWatches which are pretty cool. I keep forgetting to wear mine, though, because I’m still not used to wearing something on my wrist all the time. Whoops.
  • I saw Moana and it was glorious and I need to see it again. Like now. Right this second. The story was captivating and spoke to me so deeply to my core. The art was stunning and very well made. The representation of the Pacific Islander peoples was amazing to see! It was so fantastic and I highly recommend you check it out.
  • I also saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It was cute. Predictable, but cute. It was also kind of long and I couldn’t understand Newt a lot because his accent was so thick, but I loved the creatures and getting a little more backstory of the wizarding world.
  • I got Pokemon Sun and have been perpetually distracted by the game since getting it. My team consists of Primarina, Arcanine, Minikyu, Sylveon, Magneton, and Zygarde. I love my team to bits and struggle swapping any of them out for whatever reason. Are you playing one of the new Pokemon games? Tell me your team and which game you’re playing!

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo this month? How was your progress? What books did you read this month? Did you enjoy your reads? Tell me all the things!

November Uppercase Box Unboxing

Hey peeps, I’m here with another Uppercase Box unboxing for you! If you don’t know what Uppercase is, as it says on the website, it’s “a young adult book-of-the-month subscription box. Simply put: You sign up and receive a recently published YA book and awesome book-related items every month! Plus you’ll access exclusive book content and a one-of-a-kind reading experience to dive deeper into each story.”

I haven’t had a box the last two months what with moving and stuff, but I missed getting a box every month, so I picked it back up! Either way I’m excited for this month’s box (even though I bought the exact same book the exact same day before I got my box! so sad).

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What was included in this month’s box was:

  • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon – SIGNED
  • The Sun is Also a Star temporary tattoo
  • Harry Potter cookie cutters from Frosted Co.
  • Greeting card set from 9th Letter Press (Uppercase Exclusive)
  • Carve the Mark chapter sampler

These cards are adorable and I can’t WAIT to make fun cookies with the HP cookie cutters! Ahh! I’m also extremely excited to read the book because I really enjoyed her debut novel last year.

Here’s the synopsis:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Doesn’t it sound good? I can’t wait to read it.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

Have you read the book yet? What did you think? I’d share my HP shaped cookies with you all, but alas, they’d be in my belly before they could get to you. Do you believe in fate or are you more of a science and fact person like Natasha?

Hobby Corner: November MUSIC Edition

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Welcome to another edition of Hobby Corner, a monthly edition I introduced to talk about my hobbies and interests other than reading. It’s always important to not forget these things, so here I am to talk about some of mine.

This month’s topic: music!

Everyone listens to music in some form or another, so I think we can all relate to this one in some way. I’ve listened to all kinds of music and my tastes have changed over the years, but I’m always keen on listening to pop music of many kinds. But not only do I enjoy pop music, I also enjoy musicals, K-pop, J-pop, instrumental, electronic, dance. Pretty much anything with an uplifting or cool beat I like.

So today I’m going to talk about some of my favorite music! Each is in it’s own classification, so here we go:

Owl City

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Owl City has been my favorite artist for several years now. I love the albums he puts out and I find them to be so fun and easy to get into. My favorite album is Ocean Eyes as it has some of my favorite songs like Vanilla Twilight, Fireflies, and Tidal Wave. Really, the whole album is amazing, but those are a few of my favorites. I’d classify him as electronic pop and I really suggest giving a listen!

Hamilton

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Is anyone surprised this is here? Anyone? I didn’t think so. I am OBSESSED with this music and I really, REALLY want to see the musical. It’s amazing and I love how it tells some of the history behind America, of course with a little tweaks here and there. It’s crazy. I listen to this soundtrack on a weekly basis, if not daily, and I’ve memorized a lot of the words to most of the first act, and a few parts of songs in the second. It’s amazing and my top favorite song is My Shot, but I also love Right Hand Man, Satisfied, and Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down). Just watch this performance and tell me you don’t want to see it live:

Lindsey Stirling

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Lindsey’s been around for a while. She’s even performed on America’s Got Talent – and then they didn’t think she’d go far with her violin playing and dance moves after a while. Oh how wrong! Her music is uplifting, powerful, they tell a story, and they’re so fun. Shatter Me is probably my favorite album of hers that’s out and I love songs like Shatter Me, Roundtable Rival, and Heist. Definitely check her out because it’s so good!

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

Who are some of your favorite bands/artists? What genres do you listen to? Got any recommendations of your favorites? Let me know!

NaNoWriMo 2016 Week 1 – Embark on an Adventure

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This week started out really strong. Like really, really strong. You can see by my stats below that I was kicking some major butt the first day of NaNo. And then… it just kind of went down hill real fast, haha! The end of the week was a bit more difficult for me to concentrate on writing, so I wasn’t able to get much done at all. And that’s fine. I’m still writing and doing what I can and having a good time doing it. At least this time around my story is flowing a lot easier. I’ve got an outline I’m following and I find that it’s really helping me.

Goal

50,000 words total by the end of November 30th.

My average daily goal is to write 1,667 words.

Stats for Week 1

Day 1: 10,339 words
Day 2: 2,092 words
Day 3: 1,869 words
Day 4: 0 words
Day 5: 84 words

Total Words: 14,384 words

*I’m not including today, November 6th, as the day is not over yet. Today’s word count will be in next week’s recap.

This Week’s Advice: Embark On An Adventure

When you’re writing a story, you’re not just writing a bunch of words to get them down and out of your head; you’re embarking on a journey. It’s long and tedious and, quite frankly, exhausting, but it’s so much fun and so worth it when you see that end product on the horizon. Even if you don’t meet your goal, you still accomplished something just by starting because most people don’t even get that far.

Take the time to sit back and enjoy what you’re writing. The first week is probably the easiest week and it’s only going to get tougher from here. You’re going to want to quit, to change everything, to start a new story. I implore you to keep going! Don’t let that funk put you down and don’t let anything stand in your way. This is YOUR story. YOU are the only one who will be able to tell it.

I want you to try something this week: envision yourself as your character. I know you’re already going along for the ride with them as their creator, but just imagine yourself as them for a minute. Are they enjoying the journey? Can they see what’s coming next? Or is it a thrill to have a foot in the unknown? If you find that you are struggling, put yourself in your character’s shoes for a moment and make sure that what is going on is what THEY need out of the story. Not you.

Take this journey and embrace it. It’s a fun time, and though, yes, it will get rocky, that sight you see when you’ve reached your goal will be one of the best ever. So keep at it, and keep reaching toward that horizon.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

How has your first week gone so far? Have you achieved any personal milestones yet? Have you participated in any sprints? What is your main goal in the week to come? Tell me all the things!

NaNoWriMo 2016

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It is that time of year again, my peeps! I will be participating in National Novel Writing Month once again and I am SO excited for this year because I am so excited for the story I’m writing and the characters I get to learn about and so much more.

If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s a yearly, month long writing extravaganza where you have thirty days to write 50,000 words, which is the length of a short novel.

Now, 50,000 words might sound very intimidating – and it is! – but it’s a very fun month and there are a lot of people who participate, encourage others, and provide awesome support. There are even NaNoWordSprints that are hosted every day by individuals and the official Twitter account for said sprints and they really help to push individuals to reach goals.

I’m also very excited for this year because the awesome people in charge of NaNo created some new, helpful tools for writers this year which I am SO GLAD they finally implemented because we’ve only been waiting a million years for them. And that is they’ve introduced 1) a word sprint tool on the site, which is cool, and 2) they’re making it so we can add to our total word count by what we’ve typed, instead of trying to calculate the total on our own. So say you’re already at 5,678 words and you’ve written another 1,392 words. You don’t have to try to calculate that total, but rather there will be an option to add what you’ve typed (the 1,392) into the bar and it automatically calculates it. I love it.

SO, how about I actually talk about the novel I’m going to be writing this month? I mean, that is kind of the whole point of this post.

I’m not going to lie: I did start writing early. I COULDN’T HELP IT. I was too excited for my story, my characters, and everything that I just had to at least start it and see where it went from there.

I did talk a bit about my novel in this Beautiful Books post a few weeks ago, but I figured I’d talk about it a little more here and how I hope my month of November will go.

Here’s my working synopsis:

Nara is a thief of the Rising City, and she’s been one since she was a little girl, trained and abandoned by her father. Now, as a twenty year old, she is one of the most infamous thieves in all of the Rising City. But when one mistake almost costs her her life, she is thrown into a life debt by someone she never would have thought she’d ally herself with: a Magician.

Mikail is a Magician, a rare breed that is seldom seen in the world anymore, and he is still honing his skills. When his powers manifested at a young age, he didn’t expect to be in the eye of every powerful person in the Rising City – especially that of the Queen. But when one day his magic goes haywire and he saves a thief from most certain death, he thinks that maybe she is his ticket to freedom.

Though the two cross and their lives mix, neither one could be prepared for what happens to them – or their hearts.

I love these characters and I didn’t realize how much until I was writing my responses to the Beautiful Books post. I had started writing this story for Camp NaNoWriMo back in April of this year, but I just couldn’t write any good chapters. I was seriously getting so upset with how my writing was turning out that I tried writing at least two or three different kinds of stories before giving up. I would sit there and write a chapter, hate it because it didn’t feel or sound like who I envisioned the characters to be at all, and then rewrite the ENTIRE chapter the next morning, surpassing whatever I had written the previous time so I could up my goal.

It was horrible and I don’t want that to happen again.

As it turns out, when I started writing this story early, I tried a new method and I’ve found that it’s worked for me so far. Instead of writing in third person past tense, I’m writing in first person present tense, keeping the dual perspective, and I’ve found that I like it so much more for these characters.

To me, their voices are distinct, their mannerisms their own, and I just need to learn so much more about them through this story – their story – and I can’t wait to see where they take me.

As for the goals I hope to achieve this month, here are a few I definitely hope to achieve in my writing and overall:

Overall

  • Reach 50,000 words and surpass it by at least 2,000 words by November 30th.
  • Learn as much about my characters and world as possible.
  • Make new friends as a result of this year’s NaNo!
  • Enjoy myself and don’t stress too much over it. (I do work full time, even if I have this first week of the month off for vacation.)

Specific

  • Write at least the average goal of 1,667 words per day, but personal goal: write at least 2,500 words per day.
  • Let the characters tell the story, as usual, but don’t let the plot go wild.

That’s it! Oh man, guys, I am SO excited for this NaNoWriMo. I haven’t been this excited since last April 2015. I hope that this month proves itself successful because, damn, I miss writing. I want to make this my profession and I’ve pushed it away for long enough. Let’s get this party started!

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? What’s your novel about? Have you come up with an idea? Are you more of a planner or a pantser? Share all the things!