Monday, February 12, 2018

Rip it or Ship it?

The "Rip it or Ship it?" book tag was created by emmmabooks, and since I was looking for a fun OTP-themed blog post for Valentine's Day, I couldn't pass this one up.

For those who aren't familiar with the tag, the concept of "Rip it or Ship it?" is to mix up a bunch of different names from book characters, randomly select two of them, and smush them together to create a couple. These characters can be (and should be, if you want to make it especially interesting) from different series/book worlds. If you think the two characters would work as a couple, you "ship it." If you think they'll go down in flames, you "rip it."***

***Please note that I don't condone ripping books in any way, shape, or form.

I've picked 10 different combinations of characters (some good, some bad, some so very bad that they're laughable), so . . .


1. Diana Prince from Wonder Woman: Warbringer and Linh Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles.

Amazon warrior + cyborg mechanic. Both of them are fiercely loyal to their friends, have a natural ability to lead, and strive to do what's right for the good of their people. Where Diana tends toward the more adventurous side of things, Cinder is generally more careful and calculated. Like with most of my favorite ships, these two are similar in lots of ways, but complement each other with their opposites. My conclusion:


2. Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter and Jace Wayland from The Mortal Instruments


The most despicable of evil and condescending teachers at Hogwarts + angsty, muscular, demon hunter . . .


3. Inej Ghafa from Six of Crows and Tris Prior from Divergent

I can definitely see Inej fitting in with the Dauntless crowd, seeing as she's pretty much the tiniest and most terrifying acrobat you're likely to meet. Also, Tris has a strong set of morals, just like Inej. As for the chemistry, well . . . I suppose it could work? Maybe??



4. Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter and Isabelle Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments

Isabelle would completely intimidate Neville for a long time. In fact, Izzy would probably be the one to make the first move. She seems harsh at first, but underneath that callused exterior, she's kind and protective. And, as evidenced by the rabid Simon/Isabelle shippers, she works well with the sweet and dorky underdogs. I think Neville would benefit from someone with so much confidence who could push him to stand up for himself and go after things in life.



5. Cath Avery from Fangirl and Simon Snow from Carry On


I swear I didn't plan this.

As perfect as it would be for Cath, the biggest Simon Snow fan in the universe, to end up with Simon Snow himself, I think even Cath would be opposed to the pairing, seeing as she's dedicated most of her life to the idea that Simon and Baz were somehow going to end up together. Sadly, I have to do this:



6. Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games and Nina Zenik from Six of Crows

Um, he makes delicious baked goods and she's obsessed with waffles and various tasty pastries. They could grow old together in a cozy little bakery, feasting on waffles and bread. It doesn't get much better than that.


7. Henry "Monty" Montague from The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue and Carswell Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles

I've been cracking up over my keyboard for the past few minutes imagining Monty and Thorne's inevitable meet-cute: they constantly try to one-up each other with their dashing good looks and charm with the ladies, but in their ridiculous competition end up falling for each other instead.


8. Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter and Reid from The Upside of Unrequited

This is a tricky one. On the one hand, Luna and Reid are both outcasts in their social circles, but for different reasons, so they'd probably find some common ground in that. On the other hand, while I find them both adorable, they're adorable in totally different ways. I'm not sure Luna's brand of weird and Reid's would necessarily mesh. So . . .


9. Augustus Waters from The Fault In Our Stars and AIDAN from The Illuminae Files

Nope. Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope.


10. Simon Spier from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Harry Potter from Harry Potter

Again . . . did not plan this.

I think I have to go with this one just so I can indulge Simon's Harry Potter fantasies.


Your turn to play! Pick two characters randomly (out of a hat, from a generator, or from the first two books you spot on your bookshelf) and tell me if you would "rip it" or "ship it." Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 2, 2018

January Wrap-Up

1st wrap-up post of the year! I'd love to feel more excited about it, but January was kind of a bummer month for reading. Movies were a little better, though, so that helped. I'm hoping this means I had to do a sort of reading detox or something and get all the bad ones out of my system so I can pick up better books next month. *crosses fingers*


Books I Read

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

2/5

Why, whyyy wasn't this better??? It had all the makings of a super good book, but somehow turned out to be a predictable, cliché, boring romance. It wasn't interesting, the stakes weren't high, and the hype that surrounded this book was largely because it handles Islamophobia, but it barely even touched the topic! This book could have been the next The Hate U Give, but it didn't even come close to being that good. The writing wasn't great and the dialogue was awkward. The whole thing just felt super surface level and too easy. If the author had dug a little deeper, it could've been a masterpiece, but it was just fluffy, and not everything in it was supposed to be fluffy. There was a really big focus on Indian culture, which I found to be refreshingly diverse and interesting. It made for great family dynamics and perspectives on how to straddle two cultures. But otherwise? Meh. Read my review HERE.


Everless by Sara Holland

3.5/5

Another hyped up book that fell flat! I had really bad luck in the ARC department, it seems. It had a very cool premise (you can turn your blood into currency and those coins can then be consumed to add years to your life) and I loved the creativity that went into the world building and legends. Ultimately, that's what made the story unique and worth reading, because otherwise it read like any other fantasy. The protagonist was bland and the romance was laughable. Instalove everywhere. The plot twists could have been great, but they were confusing and sloppy in execution. I probably won't read the sequels, but it was entertaining while it lasted and a fresh take on fantasy worlds. Read my review HERE.

How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

3.5/5

Yay for diversity! Yay for bisexual/lesbian rep and interracial couples! The romance in this was so sweet and innocent and addictive. I loved it. The focus on families and mother-daughter relationships was really nice, too, especially since there were so many different kinds of family relationships portrayed in the story. The author handled some tricky topics in the perfect way, which is not easy to do. The negatives for me were: 1. The ending was a little too neat and perfect for the situation the characters were in. It didn't strike me as realistic at all and some truly horrible behavior was excused as "just another mistake." 2. The writing was just okay and 3. The middle kind of dragged.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

3/5

I so, so wanted to like this more than I did, to the point where I found myself saying "this has to be better than I think it is." It seems like every single person on the planet loves this book and Victoria Schwab, but I was underwhelmed. The story started off with a bang, but it went downhill from there. I was under the impression that I was supposed to be rooting for Victor as an antihero, but then he became darker and more villainous. By the time I was around the 50% mark, the plot started dragging. Where before the dual timeline plots were cool and interesting, the flashbacks quickly became repetitive. Sydney and her dog were the only characters I could feel sympathetic toward, but something about the writing style made me very detached from everyone in the story. I loved the premise, but the beginning was way better than the end. At that point, I just wanted to finish reading so I could move on to something else. I also found it strange that this was categorized as adult. Other than the ages of the characters, everything about it read like a YA novel. Maybe I read the wrong Schwab book? Though the favorable Goodreads rating seems to indicate otherwise. Maybe it's just me.

Movies I Watched

"The Family Stone"

3.5/5

A funny story about a quirky family! A lot of the characters turned out to be kind of horrible people and some of the plot twists were predictable, but I enjoyed it otherwise.

"Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle"

3.5/5

I didn't expect much out of this movie, but because I had low expectations, it ended up being a lot more entertaining than I thought. I watched it mostly because the trailer was hilarious and the cast was great, but I also liked the nostalgia factor since "Jumanji" was my movie of choice when I was younger whenever I was sick and needed something to distract me. The remake keeps very little of the original "Jumanji" movie, though (basically just the fact that characters get sucked into a game, but also the iconic drumbeat). And, as with any action blockbuster, some things were undeniably cheesy and way too perfect. But hey, I had fun.

"Must Love Dogs"

2.5/5

EXCUSE ME, GOOD SIR, BUT WHERE WERE THE DOGS. They were there for mayyybe 0.8 seconds, but then they were gone. I literally chose this movie over another one because I thought I'd be getting a heck of a lot more dogs than I got. I feel so betrayed. False advertising! Horrible marketing!

(All right, the romance was kind of cute, but also suuuper cheesy. And I mean cheesy even for a rom-com.)

"The Post"

4/5

I felt pretty confused for a good chunk of the movie, but you catch on quickly after that. I don't think it's an accident that this movie is coming out now. The timing is excellent. Even though, historically, I knew what would happen, I still felt like I was on the edge of my seat. Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep were great, as always. Highly recommend.


"Lady Bird"

4/5

I would've given this 5/5 stars if I were just judging it by the first 3/4 of the movie. It has everything that's so wonderful about quirky Indie movies. Saorise Ronan is great at everything (and did a much better job of disguising her accent than she did way back during "The Host") and Laurie Metcalf made a great mean mother. It was really funny, too! However, the ending seemed to come out of nowhere and fell really flat for me. It left a sour taste in my mouth that didn't match the rest of the movie. I was expecting the story to go somewhere it didn't, and the direction it did go felt out of place.

"The Reader"

4/5


I wasn't sure what to think about this even hours after I had finished it. Ultimately, I think that was the point. The movie takes an almost dangerously neutral stance on every topic it covered, including some pretty heinous Nazi war crimes. But, as I said before, I think that was the point since it wasn't the kind of movie that told you what to think but instead displayed all the facts in an unbiased manner so the viewer could make up their own mind. The acting was incredible, so I can definitely see what Kate Winslet got an Oscar for her role. There were a lot of touching moments, as well as supremely uncomfortable ones and heartwrenching scenes. I'm not sure how else to describe it, but I would recommend it. It's heavy, though, so save it for a day that isn't already gloomy!

Quotes I Wrote

Me right now trying to pretend like I'm being super productive and enjoying every single minute of the rewriting process:



Sooooo . . . yeah, no quotes to report.

Obsessions I Acquired

"How to Get Away with Murder" - So I may or may not have binged every episode in, like, a week and a half. The details aren't important. What is important to note is that this show is completely and utterly addictive. I did like the first two seasons better than the later ones, but it's still a great show. Somehow I'm not bothered by the fact that almost every single character is unlikable in one way or another. Except for Oliver. Never change, Oliver.



Jesse the Reader's YouTube channel - I discovered Jesse kind of by accident, because I don't usually watch YouTubers, but I got distracted on Twitter by an EpicReads video about upcoming movie adaptations. Jesse was theYouTuber involved and 20 minutes later, I was still watching suggested videos in which he was featured. He's so funny! And his videos are a great reward for getting some homework done since they're usually around six or seven minutes. 

Pictures of the Month 

FINALLY GOT MY LICENSE!!! After one failed attempt, I passed with flying colors the second time. Take that, stupid parallel parking!

Max and I were both finalists in a poetry contest! I somehow ended up snagging the first place prize, which was a great surprise. Here are all the winners posing for a picture.

My family took TJ to see "Something Rotten" for his birthday and we all loved it!
Because every wrap-up post needs a picture of Scout in it.

How was your January?

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Character Karaoke - The Music that Inspired a Witchy Romance

I am oh-so-very late in accepting the Character Karaoke tag from Abigail at "Ups and Downs," but today is the perfect day to post this! I am deep into the throes of revisions for 'Til the Last Star Dies, which means I've had a carefully composed playlist on repeat for days on end in order to get me through it. Other than keeping some soothing tea and a gigantic bucket of chocolate on the desk next to you, music is the best thing to keep me focused and motivated. Because otherwise I'll be sitting at the computer looking like this:


Although, let's be real, I look like that anyway whenever I'm editing.

Onto the tag questions!

It's your OTP's wedding day. What song plays during their first dance?

We're off to a great start, because I'm going to go ahead and bend the rules on the questions already. I have loads of songs that describe Lila and Melody's relationship, but none of them are your typical "first dance" songs. My favorite OTP song for the two of them is "Favourite Colour" by Carly Rae Jepsen. It was one of the first songs I added to my playlist because the lyrics were too good to pass up. In my novel, witches have the ability to see people's auras. Every single one is unique to the person in that they're all different colors and have various "textures." Auras give clues as to what the person's mood is or if they're healthy or injured. Auras also take on a more vibrant quality whenever they're around someone they love. Therefor, "Favourite Colour" is perfect.



Any instrument players or characters with ties to music?

None of my characters play instruments, but Lila is a big fan of classic rock and dragging her friends out to sing karaoke. One of her go-to songs for this is "Pour Some Sugar on Me" by Def Leppard. She's forced her best friend Jordan to sing it with her many, many times.



What song(s) best describe your protagonist(s)?

For Lila, I picked "Black Sheep" by Gin Wigmore. It has a wild, dangerous feel to it and the chorus describes Lila exactly when it comes to the moments where her magic takes over and turns her into something unpredictable and animalistic:

I'm a ba-a-a-ad woman to keep
Make me ma-a-a-ad, I'm not here to please
Paint me in a corner but my color comes back
Once you go black, you never go back
I'm a black sheep
I'm a black sheep




"She Waits" by Louden Swain fits Melody really well because her father was killed in action as an agent for SMART, which is the Strategic Monster Removal Team. He was on a mission to kill a bunch of demons and died when she was eighteen, so a couple of SMART agents had to go to her house and deliver the news. Since Melody's mother left years ago, Melody practically became an orphan.

And meanwhile the house is empty
The floors lay, naked and weary
The walls, barely hanging on
Carry on
And she, waits for you
She can't hear anything they're saying
She can't believe what is true
It doesn't make sense what they're saying
She can't see anyone, but you


Go-to songs for battle, romance, or intense scenes?


My battle music probably isn't what you'd expect, but I prefer creepy, ominous music to heart-thumping, intense battle songs. Especially for the pre-apocalyptic world I built where all of Earth is basically waiting for the day when demons finally outnumber humans and take over. My two favorite songs for this are "Mars" by Sleeping At Last and "World on Fire" by Les Friction





As far as romance goes, I've got plenty of those, too. But I'll stick to my top favorites, which are"End of the World" by A Great Big World, "Electric Love" by BØRNS, and "I Will Follow You Into The Dark" by Death Cab for Cutie.

   

Let's talk music. What are your favorite songs to write to? Leave a comment!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Book Review: Double Edition (LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS and EVERLESS)


Expected publication: January 16th, 2018
Pages: 288

A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape--perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.

American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.

There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.


Goodreads

First book read in the New Year! But grrrr, I was hoping to like it more. I'll start with what I didn't like so I can at least end this review on a positive note.


-The romance was cliché, predictable, and not at all interesting. It was super obvious from very early on what was going to happen and there were so few obstacles standing in Maya's way.

-The Islamophobia and terrorist attack became background plot. I was expecting it to be a huge focus, but it wasn't, and I was super disappointed. This book could have been the next The Hate U Give, but I found the problems that came from the terrorist attack to be very easily taken care of when they should have been complicated.

-There also wasn't any focus on Muslim culture?????? Maya NEVER talks about what she thinks about her religion or anything, even though she clearly has different thoughts from her parents on everything.

-The writing wasn't great and the dialogue was awkward. I didn't like most of the characters because of this, even though I should have liked the characters otherwise.

-The whole thing just felt super surface level and too easy. If the author had dug a little deeper, it could've been a masterpiece, but it was just fluffy, and not everything in it was supposed to be fluffy.

-MAYA WAS SO UNFAIR TO HER PARENTS. Sometimes she had the right to be a little annoyed, but other times she acted exasperated by them when they were being totally reasonable. At one point, her mom offers to stay home with her because she's not feeling well and she's like, "Mom, I'm being smothered!" So rude.

Things I did like . . .



-There was a huge focus on Indian culture, which I found to be refreshingly diverse and interesting. It made for great family dynamics and perspectives on how to straddle two cultures (American and Indian).

-I liked that Maya wanted to be a documentarian! I've never seen that kind of art portrayed in a YA book and it was cool to see a unique side of movie-making.

-The book touched on a lot of different important issues Indian-American and Muslim-American families faced today, and while I wish those issues had been explored more, they were still brought up, and that's a step in the right direction.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed When Dimple Met Rishi, which I personally didn't like that much, but I know many people did. It read very similarly.


I rate it:





Published: January 2nd, 2018
Pages: 368

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.


Goodreads

This was a very cool premise (you can turn your blood into currency and those coins can then be consumed to add years to your life). I loved the creativity that went into the world building and legends. Ultimately, that's what made the story unique and worth reading, because otherwise it read like any other fantasy.


I wasn't a fan of Jules as a character. I didn't dislike her, and sometimes I felt sorry for her, but she was a little bland.

The romance was honestly laughable. I didn't buy it in the slightest. It was basically instalove, which I can't stand 95% of the time.


The plot twists could have been great, but I feel like they were confusing and sloppy in execution. They might have worked better had they been spread throughout the book more, but the first half of the book was a ton of setup, which made it kind of slow.


I probably won't read the sequels, but it was entertaining while it lasted and a fresh take on fantasy worlds. Fans of RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard might enjoy this one.

I rate it:


Actual rating: 3.5

Have you read Love, Hate & Other Filters or Everless? What did you think? What was the first book you read this year? Leave a comment!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

December Wrap-Up/End of the Year Wrap-Up

Books I Read

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee

5/5

I'd seen a little bit of chatter about this one around the blogging world, so when I saw it at the library, I picked it up on a whim, which I don't tend to do with bigger books since I usually have a gigantic stack at home waiting to be read already. But I'm so glad I did with this one! It didn't take long at all to get into and I loved the characters. Plus, it was funny. So full of snark. There was never a boring moment, despite it being 500+ pages. And I loved the romance and diverse representation. All in all, a very fun, exciting, entertaining read. Highly recommend.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

4/5

I opened the book expecting to read just the first chapter before bed, but I couldn't stop myself from reading a hundred pages in one sitting. The premise is super unique, creepy, and distressing, which made for a dark and honestly kind of depressing read. It was generally filled with enough hope, though, that I didn't feel awful while reading it. I really loved the focus on friendship in the book, which was such a strong theme, I wasn't sure I could even put it on the "romance" shelf on Goodreads. Mateo and Rufus were great characters and I loved watching them go through so much change in a 24-hour period. But speaking of a 24-hour period . . . there were some slow parts in the book because of it. It didn't happen a lot, but enough for me to drop the rating by a star. Overall, though, I really liked it (and it made me cry).

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel

3.5/5

After enjoying Fun Home, I figured I should pick this one up to complete the picture of what Alison's family was really like. I enjoyed this one less, only because it was much harder to pick up and dive back into. You have to give this book your undivided attention to take it all in. It was deep. Lots of the psychological analysis went right over my head, but the parts I did understand were fascinating. There were a lot of sections where Alison analyzed her dreams and it always astounded me how much she could connect them to her real life, down to the tiniest detail. I love reading about character relationships and family dynamics, so that aspect of the book was very enjoyable.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

3.5/5

I'm not sure what exactly possessed me to pick this one up long after the hype had died down, but I did, and I read it in a day. It was short and addictive and sometimes had page-long chapters, which I love. The premise of someone being allergic to basically everything fascinated me, but I don't feel like it was carried out as well as it could've been. It didn't feel very real since there were a lot of plot holes and unexplained actions (like one complaint I've seen from a lot of people who read the book: why did Maddy have to eat white food and be surrounded by white things? It's not like she was allergic to color.). I liked the friendship/romance between Maddy and Olly and the relationship Maddy had with her nurse, Carla. Buuuut . . . the characters were out of character a lot. That drives me crazy. The major plot twist made up for it, though. I mostly liked this one and I'll probably see the movie when it comes out.

Movies I Watched

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"

5/5

There have a lot of mixed reviews for this movie, but I completely loved it. There wasn't a single plot line that bored me, I love all of the new characters, there was enough humor in it that the darkness  of the plot wasn't overwhelming, and the special effects were amazing. It was epic in the true sense of the word. Honestly, I consider myself a casual Star Wars fan, but these new movies give me a new appreciation for the Star Wars universe.

"The Florida Project"

2.5/5 

Uh, talk about depressing. And boring. It was so long. It could've been at least a half hour shorter. And I'm all for simple plots, but this didn't even seem to have a real plot to it? The main little girl was a good actress and there were parts of it that I enjoyed, but overall it wasn't very good. I felt very "bleh" after leaving the theater.

"The Greatest Showman"

5/5 

This deserves five stars for the music alone (which I'm completely obsessed with now). Anything Pasek and Paul touch turns to gold, apparently. And I love Hugh Jackman! The whole movie was spellbinding and had a feel-good story, even if it was pretty predictable. The choreography was amazing, too, especially with two specific songs, but I won't give anything away for those planning to see it, which should be all of you reading this. 

"The Holiday"

3.5/5

This was super cute and fun! I loved Kate Winslet's storyline, but something about Cameron Diaz's character really bugged me. She seemed too . . . breathy? I don't know, but I just didn't like her as much, even though I liked her love interest. Despite some of the predictability that comes with the territory of the genre, it's still a really great rom-com with a lot of delightfully British flair. 

Quotes I Wrote

My current project is rewriting the entirety of 'Til the Last Star Dies in order to rework, well, just about everything. Two chapters down so far, but nothing quote-worthy.

Obsessions I Acquired

"The Greatest Showman" soundtrack - See above! It's almost impossible to pick favorite songs, but I'm really enjoying "Tightrope" and "A Million Dreams."



Picture of the Month 

TJ got me a Wonder Woman hat for Christmas and since we were all wearing hats, we couldn't resist a picture.

 
 
Yes, I know there are a lot of pictures of Scout this month, but I can't help it if my dog is a model.
This was the month of reading good books with cozy drinks.
After the movie!
How was your December?

End of the Year Wrap-Up

Goodbye 2017, and hello 2018! Before we move on to next year, I always like to look back on the past year.

Top 10 books

Do you realize how hard it is to choose just ten favorites from an entire year of reading??? Anyways, here they are (in no particular order):


New obsessions

1. The "We Rate Dogs" Twitter account.
2. "Dear Evan Hansen"
3. Acting
4. "Orphan Black"
5. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
6. Wonder Woman (the movie, the character, the actress behind her, etc.)
7. "Beauty and the Beast"
8. "Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812"
9. Dodie
10. "The Greatest Showman" soundtrack

Most played songs

-All things Broadway (especially "Dear Evan Hansen")
-Dodie's albums ("Intertwined" and "You")
-"Know Your Name," "When You Sleep," and "She Keeps Me Warm" by Mary Lambert
-"Girls Like Girls" by Hayley Kiyoko
-"Abigail's Song (Silence Is All You Know)" by Katherine Jenkins
-"The Greatest Showman" soundtrack



 

Five most popular blog posts

1. "Encyclopedia of Me - T"
2. "May Wrap-Up"
3. "February Wrap-Up"
4. "I'm Niiiiiiine!"
5. "Invisible"

Big things that happened in 2017

-I was in my first play and musical
-I briefly met the stars of "Supernatural" in a photo op with which a fellow fan surprised me
-I made the dean's list at my local community college (and got an A in one of my least favorite, and hardest, subjects to do it)
-I survived my first auditions (and even managed to not feel like passing out after the second one)
-I won 2 silver keys from Scholastic, one for science fiction & fantasy and one for poetry
-I visited several colleges and narrowed down my list of schools to apply to
-I decided to take a gap year to focus on writing, theatre, and traveling
-I saw several shows, including the the touring company of "Rent," Sara Bareilles in "Waitress," "Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812," "Fun Home," and "Kinky Boots"
-I went to three summer camps
-I got to see my out of state friends again
-My family went to a Gilmore Girls Fan Festival
-I finished editing Beneath the Moon and Stars and sent out a round of queries to agents
-I took the SATs (twice)

Image from this year

I think this one takes the cake (or maybe the pie?).
Book stats

I've always thought pie charts and graphs for bookish stats look super cool on other people's blogs, but I didn't know how to make them until today! Apparently Canva makes it super easy (thanks for the pro tip, Cait!). I thought I'd start doing this in place of "favorite quotes," because I'm terrible about keeping track of quotes.








2017 in one word

Theatrical.

Goals for 2018

Writing:

1. Finish the first draft for All the World's Afraid. I've got a vague outline for the revamped version of this and I really, really want to write it. If I get the bare bones down, I know I'll have something super fun to work with.

2. Finish rewriting 'Til the Last Star Dies. I am having a blast so far with this! I don't want to jinx anything, but I think I might be able to continue having fun with what could be awful edits. And since I'm sending my critique group a couple chapters every month, I have no choice but to stop procrastinating and edit the chapters before I send them.

3. Finish the first draft for Captain Zahira and her Wayward Crew. This is the story I keep abandoning, and I'm not sure why, because I love every single character and let my imagination run wild every time I go back to it. It should be pretty easy to finish if I work hard at it.

Reading:

1. Join a blog book bingo. I've never done this before, but I want to now! I think it'll feed my competitive side nicely. This year, I'm linking up with Ivy from "Ivyclad Ideas" for her original book bingo challenge. Go join the fun!

2. Read six classics of my choice. There are a lot of classics I really should have read by now (like The Great Gatsby and Lord of the Flies), so I'm going to do my best to fit them in with the rest of my reading. One every couple months should be manageable.

3. Finish a series I'm in the middle of. I have a bad habit of abandoning series after the first book, forgetting everything that happened, and losing interest a year or two later. This year, I'll pick a series (either the Illuminae Files, Throne of Glass, or Daughter of Smoke and Bone series) and do my best to read every sequel that's been published so far before the end of the year.

Other:

1. Go vegetarian for a month. This is an idea I've toyed with for a while now, but since I've gone whole days without eating meat and didn't even realize it, I don't think it'll be hard at all. Plus, I know that once the month is up, I can eat meat again, if I want to. I have a feeling I'll cut back significantly throughout the rest of the year anyways. I'm not sure what month I'll do this yet, but I'm excited.

2. Create healthier habits. I think I'm a relatively healthy person overall, but I could definitely be better. If I don't hold myself accountable, though, I'll never get anything done. I'm going to find an empty notebook and track my daily habits so I have something I could flip through and analyze throughout the year. If I see myself making progress, I think it'll motivate me to do even better. My idea so far is to track how much I exercise, how much sleep I got, what I ate, and what my mood is like when I wake up and when I go to bed.

3. Keep up on my Spanish. I'll do Duolingo every day, but in addition to that, I want to review my textbook from my Spanish class and look up some supplements for my studying online.

Goals for 2017 that I've accomplished

Writing:

1. Finish "Writer's Camp." Did this in January and loved the results!

2. Do more screenwriting. Done, and I loved every second of it. I wrote two spec scripts, one for "Castle" and one for "New Girl," as part of an application to a Warner Bros. internship experience. I knew there was like a 1% chance of me actually getting it, especially since it was geared for adults, but I still wanted to try. I did not get in, but writing the scripts was fun, and great practice!

3. Finish editing Beneath the Moon and Stars. I'm ridiculously proud of myself for this one. I started writing the book toward the end of 2013 and finished it up around May or June of 2017. Now I have to find an agent for it.

4. Finish Terrible Things. Yep! It's a novella-length fan-fiction piece, but it could work as an original work of fiction, too, if I ever decided to go back to it and change the characters.

5. Do the first round of edits for Ms. Holmes. I did veeeerrrry basic stuff for the first round of edits, but it's something, at least. I'll return to it eventually.

Reading:

1. Read more diversely. Yes, as you can see from the stats above! It's obviously not the overwhelming majority, but I did make an effort to pick books with diverse characters, and the YA book community was more than happy to deliver.

2. Stay current on 2017 releases. I did and I loved it! I got to convince my friends to read new releases, I joined in on the hype while people were still raving about the books, and I was able to be a more informed voter when it came to the Goodreads Choice Awards and the EpicReads Book Shimmy Awards.

Other:

1. Continue to journal about once a week. While I dropped off every now and then, I wrote a lot more entries than usual and loved being able to look back on it.


2. Watch less TV. I binged "Orphan Black" in a month because I couldn't resist, but otherwise, I did a lot more reading and spent a lot less time on Netflix, unless it was to watch something with my whole family. If I had free time, I found I went to more productive activities, in general. Although "Supernatural" was often on in the background, but that hardly counts, right?

3. Spend less time on social media. I was hardly on Twitter or Tumblr at all, which was really nice. Lately they've both been filled with a lot of negativity, and I much preferred doing something with a little more depth. I did visit Goodreads a lot, but it's not a time suck like other social media platforms are. And I did join Instagram, but that didn't take up much time except by motivating me to take more pictures.

4. Study for the SATs. Oh boy did I ever. And oh how I loathed it. Every damn second. But I improved my score by several points by doing so and got respectable results. There's no doubt I did as well I as could have, and I can't control anything beyond that.

Goals for 2017 that I didn't accomplish

Because it's good to recognize your failures, too. Although this year, I'm proud to report, I accomplished almost all of my goals!

Reading:

1. Don't buy any new books. Yeah, like any of us thought that was really going to happen. I blame my "stay current on 2017 releases" goal for conflicting with this one.

Other:

1. Maybe give writing classes. I really wanted to do it, but I was planning on doing it in the summer, and since my dad had to have emergency surgery right before summer hit, I didn't have time and had to let this one drop. Maybe next year.

Bye, 2017! Now for the next adventure.

What are your goals for 2018? Anything big happen in 2017? Leave a comment!