May Week 1 TBR, Goals, and Doathon

After disappearing for a while there, I am hoping to pick up the pace around here. For May, week 1 (!!), I have a TBR, and a list of goals to share with you today.

Before I begin, I want to share the Do-A-Thon with you all. You can read the specific announcement here on Mollie’s Blog. But, basically, it’s about accomplishing things that were always on bucket lists. Intentional living! Living with purpose, and doing things that better your life and the lives of others. My attempt at joining the Do-A-Thon event is here.

It’s a bunch of humble goals, I admit.

To Be Read:

A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

and perhaps the following two:

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkowski

Raven King by Maggie Steifvater

Basically, I am hoping to finish up some series to start some more.

Moreover, Shakespeare calls my name, so I am hoping to read a play from the collection I have of his work.

Goals

I am attempting to follow the goals I always set for myself. If you’re new here, I suffer from an array of mental illnesses and I struggle to get things done often. For the Do-A-Thon, I am essentially trying to do the things I always wanted to start doing regularly. A brief list of the things I want to fully incorporate into my life: yoga, meditation, reading, and writing.

So, hopefully, I can be more active around the blogging sphere of things. And, of course, just trying to keep my head above water the whole time.

Have a wonderful week ahead!

Your Turn

What will you be reading this week? Do you have a huge list of books to read, or are you keeping it small this week? Let me know what you think of the books I picked, too! And, if you want, I would love to have you join us in the Do-A-Thon.

 

 

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T5W: Authors I Want to Read More From

T5W, or Top 5 Wednesday, is a meme that is run by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. The Goodreads Group is right here, for you to check out topics and participate with us. This week, my T5W is about authors I want to read more from. Some of these authors, I have not read anything from at all. Others are ones I have read a work or two by them, and I want to read more. But, over all, they are authors I would like to read more from regardless of how much I have read from them already.

Let the list of my top 5 authors I would like to read more from begin!

5. Rae Carson

I have read the first book of her Girl of Fire and Thorns. While her pacing is a little off in that book, I remain interested in her work because I am hoping to finish up that trilogy and read her new trilogy. She writes complex worlds and nuanced character development.

4. Cinda Williams Chima

Slowly, I have been gathering up her books. Now that I have read the first book of Mistborn, I want to explore high fantasy some more. While I am interested in reading more Sanderson, I want to also read fantasy from women’s own perspective.

3. Brandon Sanderson

Having said that, I really enjoyed most of the Final Empire and so I want to read more Sanderson. Over the past year, I have been collecting some of his work (a lot of his work, actually). Part of this interest stems from selfish reasons. Sanderson talks about how he is a slow and steady writer, and I am pretty slow when it comes to writing as well. And, I think he writes poignant relationships, vast worlds; how can I not be interested?

2. Neil Gaiman

Stardust is one of my most treasured movies, and I want to write fantastical and dreamlike narratives just like Gaiman. He seems to have a humble, yet strong sense of style and poise in his fiction. All I can think of is how great it would be to pick up some stylistic lessons from reading his work.

  1. Roshani Chokshi

Lush beautiful writing, based on what little I have read from her, and culturally rich stories. As a wanna-be author of color, I am inspired by other women of color who write stories where they are meshing their cultural influences with traditional mainstream stories. So, Hades/Persephone story infused with Indian mythology is what I have heard about her first book, which sounds brilliant to me.

 

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TTT: Book Turn Offs

For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (TTT), I will be discussing my book turn offs. In other words, they are elements/themes/techniques that annoy me and pull me out of the story. Actually, it is sometimes so bad that I put down the book and give up on it completely. Before I rant onward, let me explain what TTT is. Top Ten Tuesday is a feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. In it, book bloggers list their top tens based on topics suggested by the site.

Let’s begin with the turn offs.

 

10. Info-Dumps

Oh man, when books start to have massive paragraphs (or series of paragraphs) with unnecessary information in them, I get frustrated. World building and character descriptions tend to be the reasons behind this technique. It tends to happen a lot in fantasy novels.

 9. Unnecessary Flashbacks

This happens when authors are trying to explain the relationships between characters, or the reasons for their behaviors. But, I find it distracting to be suddenly reading about younger versions of the characters for no reason. This is not David Copperfield. 

8. Too Much Love Can Kill You

Characters who have lots of love interests are also frustrating. This is particularly annoying when the character is unsure of her choice (it’s always a girl).

Why is polyamory not an option, by the way?

7. Lack of Diversity

I am noticing this a lot in contemporary fiction. Why are there no queer characters in the cute contemporary stories? Where are the people of color in fantasy? How come nobody is disabled in any of the stories? It is never openly admitted, mostly suggested or implied.

Or, characters who fit into minority groups are given small roles in the stories.

6. Romanticized Mental Illness

All the books that simplify mental illness, and reduce it to one symptom, make me upset. The same narrow-minded approach to mental illness manifests in romanticized portrayal of it. The glorification of eating disorders, or self harm, or suicide, all of it just cause rage in me.

5.  Hyper-Sexual Presentation of Characters

I’m all for positive portrayals of sexuality in stories, but the problem is the overemphasized value of sex. Like, surely a character dealing with the apocalypse has more important things to do in her life than think about how hot the zombie is. Or, how about characters who make out every other page? I am not a fan.

4. Disabled Life < Able-Bodied Life

The assumption that a life with a disability is somehow less worthy is infuriating. Some authors like to show supernatural events as a way to “cure” someone’s disability. And that is so damaging. We don’t need to be fixed, thanks.

This leads me to the following narrative.

3. White Savior Narratives

No, it’s not some white person’s narrative to realize their full potential through the suffering of people of color. How about you give your people of color characters some agency and have them be their own heroes?

2. Morality Tales

Rather common in classics are the moralistic approaches to sharing narratives. In it, anyone who deviates from the norm is presented as evil or doomed. And, I am not all about that life. Stop shaming people for not conforming or settling for some old-school notion. But, I also think it could be tempting to present this type of tales in young adult literature as well.

 

  1. Time Travel

This is such a turn off for me. I like messy situations and having to cope with uncomfortable things to develop as a character. It’s not fun, and I know it’s much easier to turn back time to “fix” it. But, no. It’s not for me.

 

 

 

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Do-A-Thon TBR

The lovely Mollie from MollieReads created the #Do-A-Thon. It will be taking place during the first week of May. The event involves finding ways to live more mindfully, and to tackle the challenging things we never quite get to do often. So, here’s my Do-A-Thon “TBR.”

Do one thing that scares you or do something that challenges the story you tell yourself.

I have a very bad relationship with my body. Over the years, I have developed some disordered thinking and eating. So, I want to: be more mindful of what I eat, how much I eat. Facing my own body image issues by being more understanding of my eating habits will scare me, I know it. But, I think it’ll help me a lot by challenging my self narrative.

Rather than being a product of medications’ side effects, I get to be in control of my food intake and wellness.

  • Complete a project (creative or otherwise) that you’ve been putting off.

I need to sort through my closet and organize it better. In addition, I would like to revisit my poetry and wrap up some of the poems I did not finish. I have a lot of them jotted on my iPods.

  • Do something that involves someone else or do something for someone else.

This one makes me panic. I can try to comment on blogs more often during the week? And, I want to talk more on Goodreads and Twitter as well.

  • Learn something new.

I am going to try to do yoga every day of that week as well, to help foster a gentler approach to my relationship with my body. I would like to introduce physical flexibility again, because it used to bring me so much joy. While I used to practice yoga before getting too sick, I have gained so much weight, that it will be a whole new experience now.

Probably, I will aim for practicing through Yoga with Adrienne.

  • Do something to foster a calm or welcoming environment.

Read for an hour or two every day! I feel much better when I read. And, I want to live tweet or GR update my way through my reading experience.

 

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T5W: Top 5 Queer Reads

 

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday (T5W) is about our top 5 queer reads. As always, T5W was created by Lainey from Ginger Reads Lainey, and now it is run by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes.  Here’s a link to the group. I have a couple of books with my favorite queer relationships in them, or queer characters in general.

Let’s start.

5. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

I don’t remember the brother’s name in this book. But, you know, him. The loveliest surprise is when the magical prince falls for the queer boy. Beautiful story, and it is not about the sexual orientation. Like, no one gives these characters a hard time for being queer.

And that makes me so happy. I look forward to live in a world like that.

 

4. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Enemies to lovers time! I adore the tension between Simon and Baz. It gives me life. I am here for it. Baz, with his cynicism and Simon with his honest fury, are perfect together. Absolutely superb. This is the kind of stuff I wish happened in books often.

In its exploration of “evil,” this book continues to be on my mind. While, yes, great, opposites may attract, I also think of how Simon perceived Baz. It is very reminiscent of some Austen novel. Just the lack of communication, and the grandness of their relationship as it acts as a form of commentary on good, evil, and the chosen ones in stories..

3. Simon Against the Homo Sapiens’ Agenda by Becky Albertalli 

I will always hate Martin.

No, seriously, though, I think the whole blackmailing in this novel was heartbreaking. Still, the book has great representation and relationships. Also, Blue is the sweetest and Simon is hilarious. I’d befriend them.

 

2. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Mark Blackthorn is just so honest about himself. I think his relationships are complicated. I cannot wait to see what will happen with him in the future. He is definitely a fascinating character, as he adjusts to life in the Shadowhunter community after being with faeries.

 

  1. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater

I live for Ronan Lynch and Adam Parrish. Both of them led rough lives. While I have yet to start the final book, I am hoping that they can lead happy lives.

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TTT: Top Ten Things That Get Me Hooked On a Book

For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (TTT), the topic is the top ten things that get me hooked on a book. Top Ten Tuesday, or as I refer to it: TTT, is a feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week, I will share some of the catch phrases and topics that make me instantly want to read a story. Or, in other words, top things that are instant hooks for me with books.

It wouldn’t be a TTT without me breaking the rules a bit, so this TTT will include some examples. And, I like peppering in some images in my lists, so TTT will be a little weird (as usual).

10. People of Color As Main Characters

Some people assume including people of color is complicated. I just want a group of people from various backgrounds together on a quest. Interracial couples, bi-racial people, all are rare in fantasy, science fiction, and steampunk novels. More representation is something I look for these days.

Case in Point:  A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab

9. Out of the Closet Queer Characters

Another thing that would get me hooked is queer characters. In particular, asexual characters are somewhat rare, too. I have not encountered any aro ace people in fantasy stories. I want queer characters whose life is not centered around their queerness.

So: proud lesbian girls in love with trans girls while on a quest to eat the evil Nachos created by fogs from the misty magician. Things like that. I like fantasy.

For a case in point: Tithe by Holly Black.

8. Disabled  Characters

I can read only so much contemporary fiction about how sad life is for disabled kids. As a disabled person, I want to see happy examples. And, can we not be presented as reliant on the able-bodied people to save us?

Can’t I have a character with cyclothymia like me? Must all characters have one of the four or five commonly discussed mental illnesses?

Case in Point: Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

7. Snark and Humor

This is an important one because I am not snarky. My brains are not that sophisticated in the humor department. And, unfortunately, I like laughing.

As a case in point: The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare.

6. Fantasy

While I am trying to read more fancy-pants fantasy (high fantasy), I will always enjoy urban fantasy. I like seeing fantasy grounded in some reality. I admit that fancy pants fantasy has a flavor itself. And, I like it.

Some case in point:  Furthemore by Tahereh Mafi or Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.

5. Friendship Goals

Think of Lord of the Rings and how the Fellowship was a bunch of dude-bros who had a goal to accomplish. I want that. In addition, I want unlikely friendships and alliances.

The case in point for this element is: Paper Towns by John Green and Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.

4. Enemies to Lovers

My favorite jam of all the jams is the enemies to lovers trope. Oh my goodness, I love it so much. All the bickering, the snark, and annoyance. Then, stupidly falling in love.

Case in Point: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh.

3. Independent Female Characters

There is a lot of false representation of women in books. Basically, tons of bickering females, jealous girls, and so on. The problem is the prevalence of this depiction. I understand that some girls do get jealous and they do fight. But, not all girls are like that. So, I like seeing stories that give girls room to be powerful, strong, independent, quirky, and individual.

An example: The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

 

2. Complicating a Societal Norm (or two)

Fiction has the power of communicating new ideas in an indirect way sometimes. For example, look at Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings with its biblical themes. Same deal for Narnia books by C.S. Lewis.

But, I like books who can question certain elements in its society/setting, too.

Case in point: Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

 

  1. Fandom

I know, I know. Fandom should not dictate what I like, but I am a fan of having community around to discuss and fangirl with me. One of the crappiest feelings is to have no one to share a story with.

For instance: Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and Carry On. 

 

 

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April Weekly Wrap Up 3

Here we go with another April Weekly Wrap Up. This past week, I managed to read one 600 page book. Allow me to state how great of an accomplishment this is for me. But, really, it’s not that awesome, if we are being honest with each other.

I am trying to keep doing things, even though my mental health is somewhat turbulent. It’s something I have to be conscious of, more than before, since medications had to be tweaked. Hey, at least I sleep now. I’ll take it.

Books I Have Read

This week is part of Tome Topple. So, I am dedicating my time to read some of my longer books. I managed to finish book 1 of Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. While I did enjoy it a lot, I will say that some parts in the beginning dragged. And, in the ending, there was way too much happening. I am not even sure I comprehend everything that went down, because it was a series of punches in the stomach.

Nevertheless, I am starting the next one, since my Twitter poll results suggested I do so. (Actually, I just checked and it’s still split 50/50).

I may rely on family members to break the tie, then.

Media I Have Watched

This week, I have been watching a few movies. But, mostly Rogue One. I did not like this movie the first time I saw it because I found it very dark. However, after much thought, I ended up really invested in this story. I adore the cast, and the story just makes me think of bravery and its relationship with glory. (To be more precise, there is no correlation, to me).

Jams I Have Listened To 

My favorite discovery this week was “We Move Like The Ocean” by Bad Suns. Anything with Bad Suns and you’ll find me rather invested.

 

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T5W: Books that Could Be Fun Video Games

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday (T5W). Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group that I will link here. This week’s topic is the top 5 books that could be fun video games. I have not played video games in a very long time, so my knowledge of how they work is pretty flimsy. This is guess work. Hope it is interesting.

5. The Summoner by Taran Matharu

I don’t know too much about this book series; it’s on my TBR pile. But, it involves demon summoning (gasp! I am so excited to read this series). And that just sounds like a fun time.

4. A Darker Shade of Magic series by V.E. Schwab 

Clearly, I like this series passionately. I just think there’s so much that can be done as a game based on these books. Collecting messages from various Londons. Or, even tournament between various magic users like in A Gathering of Shadows. 

It could be a battle between Holland, Kel, Lila, and Alucard! So many options. Or, we could have the games from Lila’s perspective. Thieving, tricking, stabbing as she makes her way through Kel’s London.

3. Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

From what I have seen in the books, it seems like there is some mystery, code chatter, and tech communication. So, maybe it could be like a problem solving type of game. I hope that makes some semblance of sense.

2. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black 

Anything involving talking to Fairies could make a frustrating game. They are tricky. Also: there is music in this book. Perhaps music can be a part of the game.

  1. The Final Empire (Mistborn) by Brandon Sanderson

    Heist game fun time! I just adore this book so far. It’s a bit slow, but it is very unique. It could make such a fun game.  There is the matter of being a Mistborn as well. You can do the battle thing, but it could also be a quest.

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TTT: Top Ten Most Unique Books I Have On My Shelves

For Top Ten Tuesday, I am late to the scene, because of reasons. But, I have discovered that the topic is Top Ten Most Unique Books I Have On My Shelves. So I am joining the meme, albeit somewhat late, and sharing my top ten.

Let’s begin.

10. Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

Fantasy with historical fiction! I am ridiculously excited to read this series. I have the two books that are out already.

9. The Selection trilogy by Kiera Cass

I know you did not expect this one on here. But, truthfully, the genre bending/mashing in these books sounds so interesting.

8. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Drawings/doodles and writing. I have read her second book and thought it was charming and full of diverse characters. Who doesn’t like a love story with unlikely duos? I cannot wait to read this one.

7. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Violence leading to the creation of monsters. Enough said.

Actually, I want to also say that Schwab is the best when it comes to bending the expectations of gender and sexuality in her books. So, this one is going to be fascinating as it relates violence to humanity and monsters. Plus, there is some music connection in there as well.

6. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Baz is a dream character that I wish I’d written. And, the world building was strange and oddly familiar. I just love how Rowell writes. The story was haunting at times especially with Baz’s background story and the ending of Simon’s journey. And yet Rowell pulled off a light, sweet read as a whole in this book.

5. Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

From what I know, this book involves people hearing each other’s thoughts. WHICH IS SOMETHING I WANT TO WRITE ABOUT. But, I think the formatting is kind of strange and interesting.

4. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Receipts, lists, and playlists are all part of this book. It’s a nice story, and just fluffy and cute.

3. Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley 

It sounds like a wonderful magical realism fun time. Maybe it will be heartbreaking. I have a feeling it will be very unique, though.

2. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna Marie McLemore

A girl grows roses from her wrists. It’s like all the magic I wish I could summon into my writing is in McLemore’s books. Her work is so unique and haunting

 1. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater

A quest, and a group of incredibly unique characters. I am still not okay after reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue. And a book that can knock me out that much is from an amazing, unique series. Easily.

 

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BT: Bookshelf Scavenger Tag

 

 

It has been a while since I have done a tag. And, this one, the Bookshelf Scavenger Tag, is going to be great for us to get to know what books I have.

1. Find an author’s name or title with the letter Z in it 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

2. Find a classic

The Complete Pelican Shakespeare

3. Find a book with a key on the cover

BitterBlue by Kristin Cashore

4. Find something on your bookshelf that’s not a book
 I mostly have little trinkets. Little dolls that I adore. Some perfumes.
5. Find the oldest book on your shelf

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (1811).

6. Find a book with a girl on the cover 
Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger
7. Find a book with a boy on the cover

The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett

8. Find a book that has an animal in it 

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Angel). 

Got to show Church some love.

9. Find a book with a male protagonist

I haven’t read this one yet, but: The Knife of Never Letting Go 

10. Find a book with only words on it 

Will Grayson, Will Grayson 

11. Find a book with illustrations in it

The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home by Cathrynne M. Valente

12. Find a book with gold lettering

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

13. Find a diary (true or false)

Harry Potter and the  Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling is the only one that comes to mind.

14. Find a book written by someone with a common name (like Smith)

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

15. Find a book that has a close up of something on it

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

16. Find a book on your shelf that takes place in the earliest time period

Shakespeare again?

17. Find a hardcover book without a jacket

The Difference Between You and Me

18. Find a teal/turquoise colored book

Teal? Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

19. Find a book with stars on it

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

20. Find a non YA book

 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. This is such a different read for me, because I didn’t start out liking it in college. And, now, I am wondering if I will like it. Rather curious to see if it will offend me as a person with mental illness.

21. Find the longest book you own 

Aside from the Shakespeare collected works, I think A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (the final book in the Wheel of Time series). 900 pages.

22. Find the shortest book you own

Prince Caspian by CS Lewis, probably

23. Find a book with multiple PoVs

 

I suspect Falling Kingdoms series will be one of those.

24. Find a shiny book 

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

25. Find a book with flowers on it

And I Darken by Kiersten White

 

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