In the most recent months of 2018, I have been aiming to read beyond my comfort zone. and so DNFs are starting to happen more in my reading experiences. This August was tumultuous in terms of reading especially. Lots of hits and some misses along the way. However, I want to begin with a warning: I am not dismissing the skill of these authors nor am I saying that fans of these books are somehow not lesser than in any way. Simply put, I found their stories to be not something I enjoy or they conflict with some preferences and/or beliefs that I have.
Photography by Anton Repponen on resplashed.com
It is time for my first a month in a review that includes more multimedia variety. May 2018 was a busy month, full of reading young adult backlists and some newer releases. Some surprises (good and bad) came up as I read on.
The Month of May, Moods, and Productivity
It is a surprise to me that I am still shocked by my mood swings. I don’t know how things were ever more manageable but there is a lot of kicking myself for not having a better grip on the mood disorder/bipolar thing. I still get scared and hopeless because there seems to be no end to the back and forth extreme energy levels.
Anyway. I am saying this because I still cannot read like a normal person, or blog, or comment regularly enough. For example, I commented on perhaps three blogs last week. I have read the first three weeks of the month and then completely lost steam.
Because of this, I am going to try a different attitude: do what I can and accept where I am at. It probably doesn’t sound like rocket science; however, this is not something that comes naturally to me. I am a tough critic.
Express Yourself: Instagram for the Blog
In a particularly ambitious moment (probably slightly high on my manic energy), I decided to give Instagram another chance. My blog’s account is linked in the sidebar. And, here is the link, if you are curious.
Part of this attempt is that I want to practice posting whenever I want to share my passion for stories, hype up my posts, and learn to be okay with imperfection.
On my private Instagram, I am trying to post my personal journey’s snapshots. Again, this is all about accepting imperfection and inconsistencies.
For both accounts, I am trying to perform less (as in, post things that are genuine) and explore where I stand without worrying about future or past. It’s going to be an exercise in discomfort.
Book Surprises in May:
Vicious was so hyped that I was afraid to see for myself if it lives up to all the praise. It turned out to be a total hit. Morally grey characters and sisters with powers siding with former friends.
The other wonderful surprise was the very delightful A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
Disappointments include Strange Angels and Nightshade.
A Playlist for the Month
Throughout the month of May, I gathered some songs that sang to my heart. I will try to share the playlists that I create between months too. I am working on a couple of those already.
Enjoy the songs.
Hope your May was wonderful.
Even though I had a tumultuous January, I had a pleasant reading month. Part of that joy came from reading books I always wanted to read, despite bookish community’s frowning upon them. So, I ventured into the library to test some of these books. I’ll put a * next to the library books.
Here we go.
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
It was a fun read, and it made me smile a lot. As someone with very high anxiety, I enjoyed reading about a character who has anxiety, too. Plus, the way Molly and Reid bond was charming and sweet. Bonus points for Molly’s family being awesome.
A Madness so Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
A rough and uncomfortable read, this book delved into mental illness and sexual abuse. It was certainly all kinds of triggering for me, as a sexual abuse survivor. Nevertheless, it did wrap up in a shocking and rather delightful way.
Howl by Allen Ginsberg*
Yeah…maybe this generation of poets just isn’t my scene. I struggled to connect with Ginsberg’s collection of poems.
El Deafo by Cece Bell*
This is a graphic novel chronicling the early years of a young girl who happens to be deaf. Trials and tribulations along the way include coming to terms with deafness, friendships, and creating a superhero identity all in the same time.
The Rest of Us Still Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
I read this one with the lovely Ely from Tea and Titles, who is one of the sweetest friends I have ever had. Personally, I found the story at first slow building but absolutely gorgeously told. It’s definitely a favorite of mine. So good.
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
It was nice, but really slow for a good chunk of the novel. I know that it was setting up the characters and the battle to come. When the novel gained enough momentum, it was thrilling.
The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Helig
I read most of this book, I think, and I was not a fan of it. Gah. It makes me anxious just writing something that I know people will disagree with. But, for the most part, I was irritated by Nix’s dad and by the overall tone we get with Kashmire too. (Why do people insist on using terms of endearment to the point of exhaustion?)
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas*
Crown of Midnight*
Heir of Fire*
Queen of Shadows*
I am flying through these books. They are entertaining, but I have to say there’s something jarring about the word choices used (like the dialogue is odd. It flits between old fashioned fantasy tone and then it slips into modern slang). I get to fangirl with Lara, who is a new friend of mine. She’s been so nice to me through this Maas journey. Please show her love.
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Loved it so much. It is what Lara and I read together, too. It was such a fun and intense ride. I am ready for Obsidio.
Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi.
Pure love. Easily one of my favorites already.
Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood
Another huge hit for me. Really nice plot development and character exploration.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
I thought it was slow moving for a while there yet it still gripped me the whole way through.
What did you read in 2018? Any stand outs? Let me know in comments.
Have a wonderful day.
See you on the next post.
November has come to an end. Here is a wrap up of the month, in terms of reading, Netflix, and Spotify! If you’d like to bid November adieu with me, feel free to share your highlights of the month in the comments. I’ll go first.
Because I had spent less time online this month, I ended up reading a bit more than usual. So, this is a nice realization as it will help motivate me to get off the dang Internet more often. Here are the books that I have read.
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard (3 stars)
Fun, creepy, and a fast read, what more can I ask for! I absolutely adored this book. Intrigued to keep going, for sure, and I want to see more of Eleanor and her friends kicking butt and challenging the societal norms.
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
Nope, not my thing at all. I just did not like the way it was written. Characters were hard to connect to.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (5/5 stars)
Easily winning me over, this story has a duo searching for a lost billionaire. One of the twosome is dealing with OCD and depersonalization. In other words, nothing but pure love in my heart for this author, his stories, his characters. Bonus points for watching stars and eating at Applebee’s scenes. (Review post here. Spotify Playlist Project entry here).
The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore (4/5 stars)
Another author I truly adore, McLemore creates a Romeo and Juliet-esque story. Lace and Cluck are outcasts in their families. What happens when their paths cross? Bonus points for sweet mermaid shows, and performance pieces by those with feathers. Legacy, intrigue, and dramatic flare all wrapped into one beautiful story.
Guiding Strala by Tara Stiles (3/5 stars)
It’s mostly about teaching yoga to students. In turn, I am hoping to use it to teach myself once more. Tara Stiles is one of my favorite yogis of all time. I have all her stuff, because I look up to her. Naturally, this book made me smile, because it also featured advice on how to apply yoga to daily life.
How to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh (3 stars)
Funny, thoughtful, and colorful. I liked this book, and it definitely propelled me to follow Lilly once more. She actually posited some valid life lessons here. Thankfully, my brother bought me a copy, so I can revisit the advice and the charming humor whenever I want.
Every Body Yoga by Jessamyn Stanley (4 stars)
Jessamyn Stanley is a prominent figure in the body positive movement. I find this book to be an instrumental tool in my journey to establish a connection between my body and mind. If only there was a way to know who the models in the book were, because I’d like to follow them, too.
Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (4 stars)
There is a stylistic choice in here that I dislike. It comes up in A Conjuring of Light, too. Definitely not a flaw in the story, but I did grimace every time it was utilized. Still, the story is harrowing and full of scary relentless action. I highly recommend this duology.
(Review post here)
Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder (2 stars)
Yep, it is time for me to stop reading these books. I just got really irritated with Snyder’s writing. Plus, the pacing in this is so not my jam. Put the books away for donation.
Netflix chronicles and dvd watching
I also made it to the mid-way point of The 100, season 3. You can read my thoughts on it right here.
How was your month?
Welcome to another monthly wrap up. This monthly wrap up will be for August 2017. In August 2017, I had a horrid bout of depression. Thus, my reading will look kind of slim and sad. However, I still had an eventful month. Check out the monthly wrap up: August, 2017 edition.
Books I have read this month
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder [4.5/5]
I want to see if someone who is gender-queer or trans reviewed this book, because I’d like an #ownvoices take on it. Still, for me, I thought it was a good read. It certainly flew by really quickly. For me, I certainly identified with the sexual abuse and general abuse theme that Yelena deals with in this novel. As someone who has experienced sexual abuse and abuse as well, I felt like it was handled in a sensitive manner. Definitely glad that I have the next two books in the series!
Things I have watched
Jane the Virgin (Season 2) [5/5]
A lot happens in this season. It was an engaging and heartbreaking set of episodes, for sure. I’m excited to see how life will continue after such a tough ending. Poor Jane Gloriana Villanueva.
Speech and Debate (film) [3.5/5]
This film is all about growing up in a small conservative small town and being a different person. Sharing this experience, the film centers on three awkward teens who band together to form a Speech and Debate team. As someone who doesn’t like musical-type of films, I admit that I wasn’t a fan of the singing stuff in here. But, the cast was charming, and the story was intriguing.
The 100 (season 1) [5/5]
Oh, man. This show broke my heart often. Freaking Bellamy going from “Whatever the hell we want” to a more relatable person. Clarke and Raven being fantastic figures in this group. Octavia and her search for belonging is giving me life here. I have enjoyed season 1. Even if it gives me anxiety, I still find it a fascinating story.
Everything, Everything (film) [3/5]
In some ways, this film is a diverse supportive story about a woman of color, written by a woman of color. The love story is charming, and I really like this cast. However, there is a problematic handling of disability and illness in the movie, hence why I docked a few points from it. I still really enjoy it, but it’s important to be aware of the problematic nature of the things we love.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (film) [5/5]
Guardian family is back, and they are having some problems functioning. Peter and Rocket have a lot of tension as is Gamora and her sister Nebula. There are no easy fixes in this narrative, which is one of the reasons I respect it so much. Groot is adorable. But, I really fell in love with Yondu even more than with the first film. “He may have been your father. But, he wasn’t your daddy.” Also: Mantis and Drax were hilarious and sweet together. Beautiful film, for sure a favorite.
Atypical (series) [5/5]
Another beautiful show. I definitely gleaned a lot from it. Definitely will need to let it settle a bit on my mind. But, expect a review of it soon, because it certainly deserves love and praise.
How was your August, 2017? Any highlights for the month? Share your fun times in the comments.
This is another change I’m making to the blog: switching from weekly wrap ups to monthly ones. I have to say that I didn’t read as much as I would have wanted, but I am slowly integrating a scheduled reading time into my daily routine. It’ll take some getting used to.
Also, the first two books were library reads. I learned that library deadlines make me too anxious, so I’ll be reading from my own piles of books. Live and learn.
Books I Have Read This Month
Title by Author [rating/5]
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller [2/5]
I found the portrayal of women in this book off-putting (to put it gently). The main relationship was under developed. The characters were mostly unlikable.
Lumberjanes -volume 1 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Shannon Watters, [3.5/5]
Charming characters. Echoing a response to the boy adventure graphic novels out there. An interesting and inclusive work. I was glad to read it from the library.
The Falconer by Elizabeth May –[4/5]
I love this book so much. Memorable characters and a fascinating take on fae.
Uprooted by Naomi Novak [1.5/5]
Dear Asti, I love you. But, my goodness, this book was not my cup of tea at all. The Wood is an interesting “villain.” And, I actually like Kaisa and her development. It’s the pacing of the story that alienated me a bit. I was just bored the whole time. It took me so long to finish.
The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May –[4/5]
A moving portrayal of trauma and abuse depicted through the main character and Aithinne. Speaking of whom, I adore the new characters in this book as well as the now changed old characters. Really neat development of Kiaran’s backstory and his relationship with the Falconers. Some of it dragged a little bit. Still, it was a charming story, for sure. I await the opportunity to get my hands on the final book in the series.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness [5/5]
Such a beautiful and liberating story. It is a painful depiction of loss, and processing of said loss. Conor felt familiar enough, even though I tend to dislike early teens in literature. The monster is a larger than life character. Definitely recommend this tale. My hope is to pick up another Patrick Ness book very soon.
films i have seen
Power Rangers (2017)
To the Bone
Shows I have watched
Jane the Virgin (season 2)
tunes i have enjoyed
“Magnetic,” by Canopy Climbers
Tell me how July was for you! Share your thoughts in the comments.