January Wrap-Up: A Rough Start on My Reading Goals, whoops + Beginning My Last Semester of College!!

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Despite doing a lot of reading for classes, I barely finished reading any books in January?? And yes, we’re half way through the month again and I’m only just now wrapping up the previous month. (Sorry not sorry)

January was a decent but a little bit of an overwhelming month. Winter break quickly finished up and I returned to college for my final semester (EEEK!). It was great to be reunited with my friends and housemates, but I didn’t quite feel the same with classes and homework. 😝 Thank goodness I’m taking a lighter load of 3 classes (as opposed to 4) but they’re all fairly reading-heavy so in actuality it doesn’t feel that much lighter. As a result tho, I quickly fell off my writing & reading goals (which I talked about in my 2020 Goals post–my first and favorite post of January!). But I’m hoping (well maybe…possibly??) I can get back in the swing of things and get on top of my life. Fingers crossed. 🤞


BOOKS READ:

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1. The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg

Rating: 3.5 stars

My first read of 2020! It was a fun, quick & light romantic fantasy and a great palette cleanser! You can read my full review here.

2. Telling Secrets by Frederick Buechner

Rating: 3 stars

I read this short memoir for my senior seminar. Buechner showcases a lot of great writing, ideas, and character development, but I really struggled with how often he wrote from inside his head (as opposed to relaying a specific memory/scene). For only 106 pages, it took me awhile to get through this book.


FEBRUARY TBR:

  • The Unspoken Name— Buddy read w/ Sammie @ The Writerly Way! (Okay, technically this buddy read kinda already started AND ended, but shhh, I’m leaving this on here).
  • Little Women– Another book I’m already currently reading, but planning on completing this month!

I wish I could add more to this list, but even with a lighter load of classes, I’m still pretty swamped with lots of other readings to do!


Random Life Updates:

  • I started my last semester of college! AHHHH, how am I graduating in May??
  • Trying to remember how to do school after Winter Break was hard. I am still procrastinating. 😅 Perhaps for my final semester I should actually learn to get my butt in gear and be on top of things?? Nahhh
  • I saw Melissa Albert on her The Night Country book tour! As always when getting my books signed, I was very awkward, but hey, at least I talked! I am so excited to pick up this sequel now!
  • Helped my mother take our cats to the vet and surprise surprise two of the 3 gained weight. My cat Lucky is now 17 pounds, eek! Also, we partly traumatized them in the process of trying to get all 3 of them to the vet (you get a discount if you bring all 3 in at once). It was a 3-person effort to get Lucky out from under my parents’ bed. 😅 I swear all my cats are okay now though! And despite the weight concern, everything else about them came back as healthy!
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This is my cat Gamer. He alternated between hiding under the bench in a corner and demanding to be petted.
  •  I feel like there should be more to this list? But I guess I really did just spend most of the month procrastinating on homework, doing homework, hanging out with friends, going out for food, and oh, sorta scrambling to apply for things to do after college! (I did actually hear back from one but I’ll talk more about that in my February wrap-up 😉 )

How was your January? Did you have a strong start to your goals or did ya fail like me? Do your animal companions also hate going to the vet? Have you read any of the books I mentioned?

2019 Wrap-Up and Reflection

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[Please appreciate all of my fun pie charts with inconsistent gaudy color combos]

In my newest tradition, this post is a bit over due, but hey, at least it’s still January? at least it’s still early February???

Compared with 2018, my reading year was about the same (I think I think read a few less in 2019, but it was pretty marginal: 74 books vs. 78 books). Writing-wise….2019 was a lot worse. The year started out strong and April & July were great due to Camp NaNo, but then the fall semester started and I completely fell off of writing. Lowkey still trying to find my way back to it.

Now, blog wise…2019 was mediocre? I posted less (68 posts compared with the 89 in 2018) and only marginally surpassed the number of total views I got in 2018. But the engagement on my blog improved! My average likes/comments per post shot up a bit, so I’m decently pleased with how the year went on my blog.

Overall, I would say that 2019 was decent? A lot of crappy things happened but also a lot of good things occurred. Even a month in, I still can’t believe it’s 2020.


Reading Stats:

GR year in books 2019

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As a surprise to no one: I read a lot of YA in 2019. I was a bit surprised though that I read almost an equal amount of adult books. Definitely hoping to have a greater balance this year, especially with MG.

meta-chart(4)Another no brainer: I read a hecka lot of fantasy! I definitely explored more genres in 2019, but I think I actually had a worse balance of genres than I had the previous year.

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Another not-so-surprise: I began a lot of series and only followed through on a minimal amount! I really need to start continuing on with series…

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Lots of physical books! I’m not big on e-books and I just started trying audiobooks last fall! And look at that chunk of graphic novels! I finally got into them in 2019!

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Wow, until I created this graph I didn’t realize I acquired books from so many different places! I definitely didn’t realize I depended on the library so much! Hopefully for 2020 this chart will have a big chunk dedicated to “Bought” (I’m really hoping to get through my owned TBR!)

Other Reading Stats:

Total Pages Read: 21,411 pages
Average Pages Per Book: 289 pages
(Accurate) Average Rating Per Book: 3.81 stars

Best Reading Months: November (11 books) & December (12 books)
Worst Reading Months: March (3 books) & April (2 books)


Book Haul Stats:

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Physical Books Acquired: 75 books (I read 29 in 2019!)

Ebooks Acquired: 22 books (I read 8 in 2019!)

Audiobooks Acquired: 3 books (I listened to 1 in 2019!)

Wow, that’s a perfect 100 total. Personally, I’m not too worried about acquiring audiobooks/ebooks since 99% of the time I get them free (Netgalley, Amazon First Reads, a free trial of Audible) and they’re obviously digital, but the all the physical books I acquired…yikes, just YIKES. I DEFINITELY want this number to go down in 2020. This is why as a part of my 2020 Goals I’m hoping to focus a lot on reading books I already own.

So yeah, please call me out if I mention buying books or do any book haul posts on here!


Now let’s see how I did on my 2019 Goals:

Reading Goals:

  • Read 50 books
    • Yes, I read 74 books total!
  • Reread at least 5 books
    • No…I only reread 2 books and it only coincidentally happened because I had to read them for class…
  • Read at least 20 books that I own (acquired before 2019 and not including rereads)
    • Eeek, I only read 7?!?
  • Read at least 10 books published in 2019
    • HA, yes! I read 20 books that were 2019 releases!

Writing Goals:

  • Write everyday–At least 100 words
    • Nope…according to my habit tracker, I wrote 169/365, so 46% of the days of 2019. Wawawawawaaaaa, this was a lot worse than 2018.
  • To coincide with this, my writing goal for this year to fully revise my WIP and have a complete 2nd draft.
    • HA, not even close…

Blogging Goals:

  • Blog at least once a week (But preferably every 3-5 days)
    • Hmm, I wasn’t consistent as I would have liked, but for the most part I managed this? April, October, November, and December were a bit rough because I was in school though…
  • Expand my blog (e.g. gain more followers, try some different types of posts/formatting)
    • I wasn’t as adventurous in my blogging as I would have liked, but my blog did grow (slowly, but ever surely!)

Vague life goals:

  • Sleep 8+ hours every night
    • HA, I’m so funny
  • Eat less sweets
    • HA, I’m so funny x2
  • Exercise/run more
    • HA, I was really kidding myself in all these hopes
  • Stop getting unnecessarily stressed over random crap (like the fact that I wanted this post to go up at midnight on Jan. 3rd)
    • Oooh yeah, this was probably my biggest fail….I def think my anxiety got worse.

Other 2019 Accomplishments:

  • I spent the spring semester in NYC and completed a publishing internship! It was an amazing experience and I’m so grateful I got to have it.
  • I got involved with a couple writing groups and was even the organizer for one of them for a brief period in the summer! I’m not currently involved in any at the moment, but I’m hoping I can join one soon!
  • I saw a couple Broadway shows while I was in NYC! I saw Anastasia and Beetlejuice.
  • I turned 21 years old! I can now go out to bars with college friends and it’s honestly so much fun (when people drink responsible that is! Getting blue barf on my foot that one night was not so fun).
  • I began my last year of college?!? HOLY CRAP I’M GRADUATING IN A FEW MONTHS!! Please send help…or preferably jobs 😁
  • In addition to my NYC internship, I also began another book-related internship at my college (and which I’m currently still working for)! I got sent free books to read for upcoming writers’ visits and then I got to meet the writers; it’s been amazing!
  • I started reading webcomics over the summer and now I’m completely obsessed. I’ve stayed up reading on SO MANY nights to binge-read new series.
  • My Two Year Blogiversary was in August!
  • I finally listened to my first audiobook: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt! It was good, but boy was it long.
  • I took a drawing class and improved a lot more than I thought I would? I am not and will never be great and I have a very limited set of subjects I can draw, but I did come out of the class with a couple of drawings I’m proud of.
  • I got sent my first physical ARC for review! It was The Will and the Wilds and you can see my review here.
  • Between both of my internships/being in NYC, I got to meet a handful of authors, including Roshani Chokshi, Holly Black, Tad Williams, and Julia Alvarez. Alas, I was not able to convince any of them to be my friend or send me free books 😉

And that was pretty much my 2019! If you read this entire post, thanks so much for sticking around! This post was so much fun to create (tho dang, it took me awhile).

How was your 2019? What are your bookish & nonbookish goals for 2020?
If you posted a 2019 wrap-up, feel free to link it in the comments below; I would love to read it!

Top Ten Tuesday: Predicted 5-Star Reads From My TBR

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This week’s TTT topic is “Books On My TBR I Predict Will Be 5-Star Reads”. I honestly love this idea! I’m super picky and rarely give out 5-star ratings, but I’m always on the look out for new favorites (hence why I’m always asking “Are you my book?” ha). So basically these are all the books I’m super hype for and have super high expectations for.

Wow, after composing this list, I didn’t realize I was excited for so many New Adult romances and adult fantasies books?!? Fingers crossed I didn’t jinx myself with these predictions!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.


1. House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

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I’ve adored all of SJM’s books (with the exception of that certain ACOTAR novella, but we’re not gonna talk about that) and I have full faith that her adult debut will be a fantastical, fun, and smutty read! I need to go make sure I remember to pre-order this book…

2. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

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Ever since I first heard of this book, I’ve been dying to get my hands on it! Witches, a hate-to-love romance, and YA that’s really NA? I’m gonna grab my wallet and run out to the bookstore now…

3. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

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Leigh Bardugo is another favorite author that I have full faith in. I’ve heard some mixed things on this novel, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

4. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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Yes, this book is still on my TBR. I seriously don’t understand why I keep waiting: I’ve heard nothing but incredible things about this book!

5. The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

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After reading Melanie @ Meltotheany‘s rave review about this book, I knew I had to read this amazing book…and I still need to read it (obviously). But I know it’ll be an astounding read!

6. Beach Read by Emily Henry

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This is one of my most anticipated releases for 2020 (why do I have to wait till May???) and just know it’ll be an easy 5-stars. A hate-to-love romance featuring writers? And a book writing competition? I could def commit a crime to get a hold of an ARC of this book.

7. Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

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Pop singers! College! New Adult! Romance! I’ve heard such good things about this book and I can’t wait to pick it up.

8. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

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Another bandwagon I still need to hop on! But with the fan base behind this book, I have no doubt it’ll be an easy 5 stars.

9. Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

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And another series and author I still need to read! My writing buddy has really been trying to get me to read this book/series, and I know it’ll be incredible…but there are just so many books, ya know? Some day soon, I promise.

10. Renegades by Marissa Meyer

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I am TRASH for superhero movies and stories, so there is no doubt it my mind that I’ll love this book. Honestly, I don’t know how so long has passed and I still haven’t read it? I feel like I turned around and suddenly the whole trilogy was out!


Have you read any of these books? Do you think these books will live up to my predictions? Which one should I pick up first?

If you participated in TTT this week, feel free to link up your post in the comments below–I would love to check them out!

BLOG TOUR STOP: What I Want You to See by Catherine Linka [Review + Giveaway!]

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Hi, welcome to my stop on the What I Want You to See blog tour (hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club)! I’m so psyched that I was approved to participate in this blog tour! Make sure to read the whole post if you want to learn more about this read & its author, hear my review, and enter the giveaway!


ABOUT THE BOOK

book coverWHAT I WANT YOU TO SEE

by Catherine Linka

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Release Date: February 4th, 2020

Genre: Contemporary

Age Category: Young Adult (tho technically New Adult)

Goodreads | Amazon |Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Books | iTunes

SYNOPSIS

Winning a scholarship to California’s most prestigious art school seems like a fairy tale ending to Sabine Reye’s awful senior year. After losing both her mother and her home, Sabine longs for a place where she belongs.

But the cutthroat world of visual arts is nothing like what Sabine had imagined. Colin Krell, the renowned faculty member whom she had hoped would mentor her, seems to take merciless delight in tearing down her best work—and warns her that she’ll lose the merit-based award if she doesn’t improve.

Desperate and humiliated, Sabine doesn’t know where to turn. Then she meets Adam, a grad student who understands better than anyone the pressures of art school. He even helps Sabine get insight on Krell by showing her the modern master’s work in progress, a portrait that’s sold for a million dollars sight unseen.

Sabine is enthralled by the portrait; within those swirling, colorful layers of paint is the key to winning her inscrutable teacher’s approval. Krell did advise her to improve her craft by copying a painting she connects with . . . but what would he think of Sabine secretly painting her own version of his masterpiece? And what should she do when she accidentally becomes party to a crime so well -plotted that no one knows about it but her?

Complex and utterly original, What I Want You to See is a gripping tale of deception, attraction, and moral ambiguity.


REVIEW

This book was the perfect fun read to compliment the “Intro to Art History” class I’m currently taking (and the drawing class I took last semester!). What I Want You to See was a captivating contemporary coming-of-age story mixed with romance, mystery, and of course, art.

One of my favorite elements about this novel was that it not only followed an aspiring artist, but that it followed a protagonist going to college, which technically makes it New Adult (even though it’s being marketed as Young Adult). As a creative writing major, I could definitely relate to the protagonist’s struggle with pushing herself creatively and doubting herself as an artist. And the friendships! Making friends in college can be so hard, so I liked seeing Sabine yearn for connection and friendship. Eventually Sabine gains a couple of quality friends, and I appreciated that they were a constant thread throughout the novel, and weren’t shoved aside in favor of romance like so many YA contemporaries have a bad habit of doing. Sabine’s constantly juggling work, homework, art, friends, romance, and stress, which is honestly so accurate to college.

An aspect that took me by surprise was how much I enjoyed reading about Sabine’s character. Initially, I was a bit skeptic, but as I continued to fly through chapters, I really started to admire her portrayal. Sabine is a girl with a lot on her plate, and I mean a lot. She’s constantly torn and unsure on how to approach things, her emotions consistently making her change her decisions, and I really liked the realism in this. Teens/young adults are constantly questioning and doubting themselves (or at least it feels like I am, lol).

There was one thing that didn’t quite work for me and that was the pacing. The novel is divided into weirdly short chapters, and while I liked the shortness at times, there were definitely multiple times where I questioned the choice of chapter breaks in specific scenes. Additionally, I felt the ending was a bit…anticlimactic? It felt oddly stretched out and the climax felt pushed up too close to the end. The ending felt a bit too convenient and definitely not explored enough. I really wanted more of an aftermath.

Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable read. It wasn’t astounding, but it had a unique premise and I really appreciated reading a contemporary set in college. I would love to read more books like this one!

Trigger Warnings: loss of a parent, homelessness, grief, stealing, lying, manipulation

Rating: 3.5 stars

“…so, are you my book?”

“I paint an intriguing picture, but I’m not quite a masterpiece.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Catherine Linka is the author of the young adult novel WHAT I WANT YOU TO SEE as well as the dystopian series A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS and A GIRL UNDONE. A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS was an ABA Indie Next Pick and won the Young Adult Novel Award 2014 from the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association. A frequent speaker at writing and teen conferences, Catherine received her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and worked as a young adult book buyer for an independent bookstore for seven years. Prior to pursuing a career in publishing, she studied international politics at Georgetown University followed by a master’s degree in business at the University of North Carolina. Catherine is married and lives with her husband in the San Gabriel foothills. Visit her at http://www.catherlinelinka.com.

Website| Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook


GIVEAWAY

Prize: Win a finished copy of WHAT I WANT YOU TO SEE by Catherine Linka (US Only)

Start Date: January 29th, 2020

End Date: February 12th, 2020

ENTER HERE


If you want to check out other stops on this blog tour, here’s a link to the schedule!

Have any of you already read What I Want You to See? What did you think? If not, is it on your TBR? Let me know down in the comments!