You may have noticed the absence of a wrap up last week. I am, as I have been trying to communicate, going through a tough time. It’s hard in an era of oversharing to not overindulge myself in sympathy. It is something I am quite used to. But, I preface this wrap up of weeks 2 and 3 of July 2018, with a reminder to be gentle with yourself.
Image courtesy of username 1103489 on Pixabay.
In my first week of July, I have started participating in Tome Topple. Eager to explore fantasy staple novels, I took on two installments in two very different yet related series.
It is all kinds of fun to read a book series that inspired one of our most influential fantasy novels up to date. So, when I finally started reading Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, it was exciting to see how it inspired Brandon Sanderson as a writer.
Goodbye June, you were a rough month. Growing up is hard work, but I am grateful for all the lessons I am learning now. I look forward to improving. Talking about these things in detail gives me intense, gut-churning anxiety. Let’s move on.
Okay, so June, I only read a few books. Some of them were huge. All of them were awesome.
Week 3 of June included a loss of my blog’s purpose. In a sense, I have started searching for ways to broaden my focus. Blogging for a Dummy would have been an excellent book for me to read. I am being honest about my struggle to find my place within the blogging community, as a whole umbrella term. So, yes, this post is a wrap-up but also an exploration of what it is like to be blogging as a dummy and reading young adult books (slowly). You’ll see why in a minute.
Blogging for a dummy: Woes
I have been struggling to find interesting topics to discuss on my blog. It’ll take me a bit to find my footing. While I don’t want this place to be a corner of whining, I do want to bring up discussions. I say the term “dummy” as an honest humbling frankness. It’s more of me just being transparent.
Besides, I am not sure my reading is fast enough. Here are things I am working through:
- Incorporating my own self-discovery within my book reviews
- Interactive posts
- Creating graphics that are more interesting
So, that’s me for now.
Reading Young Adult (Slowly)
I have been slowly making my way through three books this week. Only two of them are done.
- Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead
- The dark horse in all of Mead’s young adult stories
- woman of color kicking butt
- Earns her own money
- Embraces her sexuality
- Does not take anyone’s bull crap
- Probably my favorite of the trio in this series
- A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
- Probably one of my favorite stories
- Slow burn
- I don’t hate Tamlin.
- I still think the cursing and sex in these books are wildly out of place.
- Teens are not a monolith structure, sure. But, I am in my thirties and I still skipped all the sex stuff.
- These scenes did nothing to the plot.
- Teens are not a monolith structure, sure. But, I am in my thirties and I still skipped all the sex stuff.
- I still think the cursing and sex in these books are wildly out of place.
Bits and Pieces
- I have been thinking a lot about friendship and how or why my own relationships have been suffering.
- First, I recognized that I place my value in the hands of others, which is a no-no.
- Then, I started toying with the idea of releasing my self-judgment for not successfully remaining close with old friends.
- Now, I am working on improving my dialogue with others (even in blogging, yes)
Being a dummy is not just part of my blogging experience. I am trying to find my place in relation to what I watch, what I listen to, and, yes, what I read.
Listen: Queer Eye is back for season 2. I am so ready for the sweet, uplifting, and lovely stories.
While we’re on the topic of sweetness, I did pick up my copy of the Love, Simon DVD. It was beautiful. I am thinking of writing a little more on that later.
I also watched the latest Thor film, a funny story but almost a self-deprecating one as well. I could not tell if it was that way on purpose or not.
What are projects you are working on these days? It could be a personal development project or a professional one. Are there any skills you want to master this summer?
For week 1 of June 2018, I was able to tackle two series: Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses and Jessica Cluess’ Kingdom Fire trilogy. Aside from epic reading adventures, I have been trying to dig my way out of the tunnel of sluggishness.
Books: Sarah J. Maas and Jessica Cluess’ Stories: Lights in Literary Form
While I am reading other books at the moment, my experience with Jessica Cluess and Sarah J. Maas’ stories was such a fun one. I hope to read more of their books in the years to come.
Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses
Feyre is the main protagonist in Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses. When her father loses all of his wealth, Feyre is pushed to provide for her family (two sisters and their dad). Unlike Celaena, Feyre has a timid air to her personality, which is something I enjoyed.
Upon shooting a faerie disguised as a wolf, Feyre is whisked into faery town (not what it’s called in the book). There, she encounters Lucien, Tamlin, Alis, and a mysterious ominous figure with power Feyre could never imagine.
My favorite part of this book was Lucien, Alis, and Feyre. I am going to write more about the characters once I finish the story arc. Lucien was a good friend who had experienced excruciating loss.
The way Sarah J. Maas set up the faerie realm was creative and original. She unpacks Feyre’s humanity as a catalyst for change in that realm. I keep hoping for more of her sisters. Nesta’s character took on a completely different role towards the end of the book.
A Little Humor:
I have not found enough fan videos for this series. But, I do like many a Tumblr post on it. Perhaps I’ll link to those posts later on. For now, I want to share this video of Whitney over at Witty Novels, where she is testing her knowledge of Sarah J. Maas’ character names. If you’re up for a laugh, give the video a try.
A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess
The biggest surprise is how there is no fandom for these books. Come on, fellow nerds, do not fail me! Henrietta Howel is a fierce force to behold. She and Rook have such a neat relationship where they orbit one another, often reflecting hidden aspects of their opposite counterpart (each other!). I am here for Blackwell and Eliza, Dee and Lily, and even Maria is fascinating.
Nerds, get on this fandom!
On the Way:
I am also reading a couple of other books. First, A Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman is taking me a while to get into. My main issue was that the characters are numerous and it’s hard to keep track of who is who. But, perhaps this will resolve once I read enough of the story.
In addition, I am tackling Richelle Mead’s Midnight Jewel. This one is a lot of fun. I am enjoying the main character so much. More geekery to come.
Other Great Things
I am obviously going to tell you about Dancing Hermione, who has iconic dance moves. This video below is my favorite.
Week 4 of May is ending and I have so much to tell you in this wrap-up. Grab a cup of tea, get ready for some fan-girl action.
First off, I devoured Michael Grant’s second book in the Gone series, which was called Hunger.
Even though I have read these books ages ago, I still found myself annoyed with the Human Crew or whatever the heck they called themselves. Duck, as a character, was so intriguing. I want more of the Breeze, Dekka, and all of Sam’s team. I remember snippets of what will come next, so I am going to take a break from reading the series.
Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
Reading this book was a strange experience because it was a fast read but it was also not fulfilling. There was vagueness when it came to any fight scenes, mythology or lore of the supernatural elements of the story, and even in the main characters’ history. I gave it two stars.
A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
This book was such a surprise. Not only did I fly through it, but I also enjoyed Henrietta and her journey to find her place within a rather male-dominated society. She and Rook literally find their power and strength. I may write a whole review for this book because it truly impressed me.
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Easily one of my favorite 2018 reads, this book took me a single day to read and finish. Eli and Victor have this cat-and-mouse chase throughout the story and, man, I was living for their tension. Again, I may write more about this book because I loved it so much.
The Office is still what I watch daily. I am nearing season 4. By the way, I dislike Andy so much more than Michael, which is saying a lot. There are moments when I feel sad for Dwight, who is so loyal that it breaks my heart. Also: I am not a fan of Roy.
I have essentially been watching so many videos of Sarah J. Maas, who is just pure delight to listen to. Videos of her give me the courage to openly like things that are often criticized. My favorite video of her is this one, where she talks about how much fun she had while writing Manon.
All her video with YouTubers are great, too, but my favorite panel of hers is the one she had with Alexandra Bracken, Susan Dennard, and Victoria Aveyard. It made me so happy to see a group of talented women fangirling with not a hint of sarcasm.
John Green’s video called The Liger Delusion was also a hit for me this week. It got me thinking quite a bit. Cynicism and conspiratorial thinking, jumping to conclusions, these are things I feel I should be more aware of because they don’t create healthy dialogue.
Elsewhere on the Internet
I also published another hub on my Hubpages account. The hub was one where I discussed Jane the Virgin and telenovelas. You can read it here.
May Week 3’s wrap up is coming with a heavy dose of angst. I am annoyed with myself for not having a steady work schedule. Lovely people have commented sweet things on Twitter. But, I think I may have to revise my attitude toward blogging and writing in general. Let’s move on from this depressing topic. Here is May Week 3’s summary.
First, I want to share the book that broke me this week. Freaking Nightshade by Andrea Cremer upset me so much. I had only made it to the 20% mark before realizing it was fueling this rage. Then, I had put it down.
But then, I was torn. Twilight has some unhealthy depictions of relationships, and I like that series. Why can’t I like this one? The truth is that werewolf lore in the story is very reliant on aggression. I kept thinking of Leah from Twilight and how she challenged this violence so clearly, even if it was a minor part of the narrative.
So, I picked it up again. I made it to the 60 something percent mark before I just decided it was not for me.
I could vent a lot about the way Calla’s virginity and Ren’s hyper-sexuality kept getting enforced, with no challenge. Oh, and the whole “growling” thing. I get it. They’re werewolves. But, they’re human, too. I just don’t see the supposed romance behind aggression like that.
Then, I start Michael Grant’s Hunger. Right now, I am at the 54% mark. I should be able to finish it up within the weekend. It’s such a fast read.
In addition, I am at the 30% mark of Lili St. Crow’s Strange Angels, which is another intriguing read.
I got my copy of Kings of Summer a few weeks ago and I finally watched it this week. It was hilarious. I think there’s a lot to be said about how masculinity is shown in the film. Maybe I’ll need to rewatch it a couple of times to come to a better understanding of the film’s message regarding maturity and masculinity.
I have officially made into season 2 of The Office. Even though my progress is somewhat slow, the show does make me laugh. Again, still fascinated by Dwight and Jim’s arguments. Mostly, I am impressed by Jim and Pam budding romance while they cause trouble around the office. So cute.
How was your week? Are you enjoying the month of May? What are some highlights you await over the next couple of weeks?
See you in the comments.
May 2018 is proving to be tumultuous in terms of reviews. Week 2 of May had intense highs and lows when it comes to reading, in particular. Here are some reflections on stories I have experienced this week.
Books: The Good, the Lovely, the Ugly
I started out my week with Dark Days Club taking some time to wrap up. Upon completing that book, I jumped straight into Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins.
Miss Mayhem was a fun ride albeit sometimes heartbreaking. It had a powerful conflict between David and Harper, Bee and Ryan too. A lot of people say it was not a memorable read; however, I would say that it was a central development of David’s character as an Oracle and Harper’s test of her Paladin status. The refreshing tone of the story coupled with the reality of the setting pushed the story to be amusing and intensely stressful.
I have not settled on a fair rating of this story yet.
Poison Princess by Kresley Cole was the next book I attempted to read. It was definitely not what I expected. The characters were crude and unlikable. The book made me uncomfortable. DNF-ed it.
Spunk & Bite is a writing manual mixed with a writing advice collection. I read Strunk & White in grad school because my style was blander than tofu. Needless to say, my writing needs fine-tuning (a lot) more.
Finally, I wrapped up my reading week by tackling the steampunk novel The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin. It was an alright read. While its tone was quite grim, I do enjoy the pacing. A 3-star rating for this one.
Jane the Virgin, season 4 is up on Netflix, and you know what that means. I started watching it. What a ride has it been! So good. Anzeika and Petra are currently giving me all the feels right now. Jane, my brave and strong soul sister, is such an incredible lead character. This show is fantastic.
I also watch Lady Bird on DVD. It was not what I expected and I want to write more on it, but I am in need of processing it a little longer.
Finally, I did watch Almost Friends, which was a mellow film with an occasional spike in intensity. It did have my favorite kind of humor in there, so I can’t really fault it for not following the typical indie-film sequence of events.
“Happy With Me” by HOLYCHILD has been my go-to cheery song. I leave you with this bite-sized sunshine and joy in song form.
CREDIT: Photo by Philipp Cordts on Unsplash
This week, my immune system hollered a “peace out!” claim and this rude cold (or flu, who knows) barged in. I did not agree with this kind of behavior, body, but I suppose no one asked for my opinion anyway. Nevertheless, I magically wrapped up reading three books. Two were novels and the third was a cookbook. (Make of that what you will. It’s basically required for me to stare at the ingredients, look at the pictures, drool, and repeat the process with all recipes).
Book 1 Wrap Up: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
I have finally stumbled on another favorite for 2018. The silly thing here is that I was afraid of Laini Taylor’s writing because everyone said it was flowery and slow-paced. Instead, I spent my time staring at the vivacious setting, characters bursting with realness, and a plot that is relentless. I love it. Perhaps I will share more details next week in a post dedicated to this book.
Book 2 Wrap Up: Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
`The adventures of Lady Helen, the protagonist, had the pacing of a sloth but then Goodman managed the plot more efficiently. I enjoyed the story, however, I have luckily read books that balance polite Victorian settings with some sort of action better. I do own the sequel, so I intend to keep on reading about Lady Helen.
I watched Candy Jar this week and I have started working on an article for my Hubpages. I am thinking of doing something fun as a tribute to the film. Hopefully, I can manage to pull it off and post it on here.
I published a new hub over on my Hubpages account. It is about Rogue One and how it caters to a modern audience, one that is starkly different than previous generations. You can check it out here.
Ah, April is flying by, and so it is time for another weekly wrap-up. For week 3 of this month, I did have a hard time being productive because of some medical issues. Nevertheless, I did manage to finish a few things this week.
wrap up of Books I have Read
As I am working on this post, I am done with two books: Gone by Michael Grant is the first one. This series is one of my favorites, even though the author says things I do not agree with. Still, the characters are fun and the story is really fast-paced without feeling rushed.
It’s a 4.5-star rating for me.
Next, I am also done with The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. It was a difficult read because it did have really unchallenged problematic ideas on mental illness and recovery from traumatic experiences. But, besides that, there’s something uncomfortable about this reading experience. I have read thrillers before, but this book doesn’t provide any answers (even though I am nearing the 3/4 of the way through mark). I give it a 2-star rating. (I am sorry, fans of the books, but I am unhauling the two books I have from this trilogy. Just not for me).
wrap Up of Movies/ Series I Have Seen
I have gone through some intense times this week and relied on films to cope with things. So, I watched some of my owned films.
Love, Rosie is one of my favorites as it shows a love story between best friends who keep missing opportunities to confess their feelings for each other. Lily Collins makes me happy, and Sam Claflin is endearing.
Me, and Earl, and the Dying Girl is up there in terms of stories that I adore. The book was gross but kind of funny and yet the film is way funnier and heartwarming. If anything, you should watch it for the drugs scene.
Netflix show I have been watching is Parks and Rec . I am now on season 3! In fact, I find myself looking forward to watching the show, which is an accomplishment. Besides, it is nice to see a character close to my nervous and ambitious self (Leslie Knope).
I also watched the very strange Dude movie on Netflix, and it made me confused yet touched? I like the actors and there were moments of brilliance and wisdom in there. (Oh, and I did watch it on 4/20).
That’s my week in a nutshell. How was your week?