NaNoWriMo 2017 | Writing Shenanigans

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hello, everyone! It's your favorite inconsistent blogger with another (inconsistent) post! This time it's all about NaNoWriMo. What's NaNoWriMo, you ask? Well, you fool, it's an event that takes place every year on November in which a bunch of writers decide to push their limits and write a novel in a month! Ha, while yes, this sounds insane and it kind of is*.

So, this year as I have been for the past six years I've decided to subject myself to this insanity and will be attempting to write 50,000 words** in a month while navigating school and life and the such. Am I brave or stupid, you can decide for yourself. So, I want to talk about what keeps me going and gives me inspiration and how I approach NaNo.

*If this is your kind of insane you can go and register for the madness here! Come join us, we're over caffeinated and slightly crazy
**Although, this is a project I've sort of already started and some of these words have already been written, but shhh.

What Keeps Me Going

The thought of all the cuteness to come. I mean, man, my NaNo project is a contemporary about a girl trying to find what in the heck she wants to do with her life post-university* and there's friendship and falling in love and it all promises to be very cute.

That's not all that fuels me, but also the fact that I hate losing and that I am motivated just by the thought of winning. So, on days when it all feels like too much the thought of winning just puts me right back on track. I find that telling everyone you know about your insanity also is a driver because come December they'll ask what about your novel and you'll have to tell them you've brought dishonor on your cow.

*this work is only slightly biographic and as a matter of fact this is where the similarities end.

What Gives Me Inspiration

As I mentioned, there's tons of cuteness in my story and also tons of internal conflict and while that's all fine and good I'm really all about the cuteness. So, a big source of inspiration for me is Pinterest. I have boards for every single relevant character in this story. It's also great for procrastination in the sake of inspiration, if you get what I mean. 

Can you feel the cuteness? I mean, there's a dog and someone's a Slytherin and the other person likes books and says darlin'

Another unexpected source of inspiration for me is k-dramas. Now, hear me out. I have little to no cuteness going on in my life. I've got the existential dread, no idea where my life is going thing down to a T, but I have none of the cuteness in my life. So, when I need a good (sometimes cringe-worthy) ole' fashioned cute and butterfly inducing feelings I turn to k-dramas. It's also great for procrastination. WAIT! I think I'm detecting a theme here. Oops. Well, anyway, they help greatly and the drama cycle that just started is so good, it's as if the writing gods have willed it so. 

I also draw inspiration from my day to day. It sounds boring, but it's true. The whole idea for this story came to me when I was at a bridal shower for a friend* and I started thinking what if... Obviously, the story has evolved and the characters have evolved in my head since the original idea came to me in like, February or April of this year, but an event in my daily life was the spark. Also, sometimes I have great conversations and to not draw inspiration from them would be a disservice to my wit. 

*I was only twenty-one at the time and WAY TOO YOUNG TO HAVE SUCH ADULT FRIENDS OMG

My Approach

I approach NaNo with wariness and armed with snacks. Also, I have a vague outline about the events that should happen and just adventure it from there. Because, where's the fun in a perfectly mapped novel, right? Also, I just like to give my characters room to do whatever the heck they like because forcing them into stuff has never worked for me and they're stubborn people. 

So, listen to your characters would be my first tip. You might think it's your story, but really it's theirs and they give no flying cucumbers about what you want. So, I listen to my characters and hope for the best. That being said, there are moments when I'm outlining that they just spring to life and I have to outline whole conversations. It's quite a magical thing.

I'm outlining on paper, mainly because it allows me to outline during class when I'm bored and because there's just something about pen to paper that I love way more than I love about fingers to keys. BUT, I am writing the actual novel itself on a word processor. I use Scrivener usually, but I'm thinking of maybe taking it old school this year and write on Word (the last time I actually finished a project was in Word, so maybe it'll give me some divine inspiration or something). I'm still thinking about that.

Since I have uni and November is going to be hectic (I'm looking at you Art History paper and Final English Project) and just very busy, I'm going to try and write as much as I can every day. That means I'll try to soar above the 1,667 daily goal and push it as much as I can every day. Will it work? Maybe. Will it maybe kill me? Yes. Is it worth it? I'd say yes.

So, armed with my tools and enthusiasm I'll embark on this crazy crazy journey this November.

Are you participating in NaNo this year? If so, what's your novel about? How are you doing it because I could use all the tips.

OMG I'M ALIVE! WHAT A SHOCK, I KNOW | September 2017

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hello, friends. I'm alive. It's a shock, I know. You also probably missed me dearly. Do not despair, here I am. Beautiful as ever and ready to tell you all about my life and the wonderful books in it.

So, September was a month in which I didn't read as much as I would have liked to. Where's the surprise there, tho? It was also a month of getting back into the routine of university. IT IS MY LAST SEMESTER FOLKS AND I'M FREAKING THE FREAK OUT! What do you mean I have to BE AN ADULT AND GET AN ACTUAL JOB AND DO ADULT THINGS???? I REFUSE! However, let's dive into the juicy stuff.

Books read

This September I read a lot of classics and I blame school because otherwise I would never. Or at least not for another ten years or so.

On the blog

HA! As f I had posted anything on the blog this month. What a joke. I'm sorry.

In the life

Like I said, my dudes, I have been busy with school because OMG MY LAST SEMESTER OF UNI IS HERE AND I'M HYPERVENTILATING. Also, I've just been hanging out with my friends a bunch. September was party month. I kid you not, every single weekend I had something going on which is weird because I'm pro stay at your home and not go out. 

I watched IT, which was cool and super funny and not scary at all. I aspire to either a) have a child that's just like Richie or b) make such great jokes. In the kdrama department I'm currently obsessed with Temperature of Love and Age of Youth 2, ooh and While You Were Sleeping promises to be amazing. So, I'm excited for that.

 I also finished a journal, which is always a momentous occasion. I really don't have any excuses to not posting other than life got distracting and I felt like focusing on some other things. That and the fact that I didn't read a single YA book this month, which like WTH me??? just put me off blogging. I promise to be better.

5 Contemporaries That Deserve ALL Of The Love | Top Ten Tuesday

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

So, we all know of some big names in the contemporary sphere and year after year there's tons of buzz surrounding certain books. Which is well and everything, but now I want to talk about those books that don't get as much buzz and are universally less loved. I THINK ALL BOOKS DESERVE LOVE* AND TODAY WE'RE GIVING THESE BOOKS SOME LOVE.

*except maybe bad ones, and even then that might be someone's favorite book so...

1. North of Beautiful

If I don't scream at someone about the beauty of this book at least once a month I feel like I haven't done my job as its #1 fan right. This book came out a while ago* but it's such a good one. It's heartfelt and has original characters and great dialogue and features a Chinese American boy that's adopted and can't speak Chinese but whose very white Mom can and don't even get me started on Terra Cooper and Mrs. Cooper and how brave and beautiful they are. BECAUSE I LITERALLY WON'T SHUT UP!

*I'm not going to say how long ago because a lady has the right to her privacy

2. We All Looked Up 

Listen up, this book has one of the most original premises ever. An asteroid clashing into earth and a bunch of high schoolers are the main characters and I love them all very dearly. Their struggles and their experience while coming to terms WITH THE END OF THE FREAKING WORLD! This book is super honest and raw, but it's not cutesy. So, if you prefer your contemporary cutesy, this is not the book for you. Or it might be, who knows?

3. You Bring the Distant Near

I just wrote a review on this book in which I rave and rave and call it beautiful and complex and such an honest take on the immigrant experience and it is all that. Which is to say, this book is very good. Yet, I don't think this book has gotten the love it deserves* and it deserves ALL the love, for the reasons mentioned above. I could really go on and tell you all the reasons why it's so great, but why don't you go and find out for yourself?

*it has gotten it from me, but some people out there still have to love and appreciate it and I've barely seen any hype surrounding it

4. Wanderlost

This book is cutesy. It also features tons of traveling across Europe and cute phone conversations, all of which are, in my book, great things for a contemporary to have. If I were to compare the feel of this book to a movie I would compare it to Letters to Juliet. If that isn't enough to sell you, there's an adorable group of elderly citizens rooting for our main couple and there's tons of finding self and going out of your comfort zone shenanigans going on. 

5. Song of Summer

This is the only book I've read* that features a deaf main character. I KNOW! Not only that but it's also a cute read and it talks a bit about deaf culture and music. Not only that, but my linguist heart leaped for joy when the author made it a point to note that ASL is a diverse language and that it does change from place to place within the United States. THANK YOU FOR CORRECT LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION. But like I said, it's very cute and it's told in dual perspective, which means you get to see the world through Carter's eyes and that was very interesting. The cuteness also abounds.

*I'm not saying there isn't more out there, but I don't know of them

What are some books you think deserve all the love? Also, do you like your contemporaries cute or more end of the world as we know it like?

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins | ARC Review

Friday, August 25, 2017
Title: You Bring the Distant Near
Author: Mitali Perkins
Publisher: BYR
Publication Date: September 12th, 2017
Source: Netgalley
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
This elegant novel captures the immigrant experience for one Indian-American family with humor and heart. Told in alternating teen voices across three generations, You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture--for better or worse. From a grandmother worried that her children are losing their Indian identity to a daughter wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair to a granddaughter social-activist fighting to preserve Bengali tigers, Perkins weaves together the threads of a family growing into an American identity. Here is a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.

What I thought

I loved this book. I just wanted you guys to know that because it's probably going to be an epic gush session of just how darn beautiful this book is. As stated in the description for the book we follow three generations of Indian-American women in this novel and their journey is beautiful and real and very raw.

I want to start off talking about the characters. We have Ranee, matriarch of the family and a very conservative Indian. She was born in Bangladesh and throughout the book she holds on to her beliefs and yet manages to change. She is made of steel, yet allowed to grieve and make mistakes and it's a beautiful representation of what women are: imperfect, strong and complex. Then we have Sonia and Starry, who are her teenage daughters. They too brim with life and the desire to find themselves in the world and in the complicated realities of their new home. Throughout the book you fall in love with them and their dreams, their struggles. Last, we have Anna and Chantal (or Shinti as mostly everyone calls her), the daughters of both Starry and Sonia and man, do they struggle with their identity. For one, Shinti is mixed and finds that she isn't enough for both sides, while Anna is American in name but her heart is Bengali. The characters were all so beautifully complex and speak to different kinds of the immigrant experience so beautifully.

Next, I want to write about the writing because SWEET LORD WAS IT GORGEOUS. At times it felt like I was reading poetry or a song, but it was still very firmly prose. It was just so beautiful and deep and very distinct between characters, and yet overflowing with style. Not to mention it just sucked me in right off the bat. I started reading this book at around 10 and didn't go to sleep until I finished it at around 2:30 am. It was just that good.

So, really if you want to read a beautiful book about three different generations of women and their struggles and their experience you should definitely pick up this book. YOU KNOW WHAT? You should pick up this book anyway. Not only because YAY DIVERSITY and #ownvoices books but because it's just so darn beautiful.

Dusty Smelling Books You Will Love If You Love Libraries | Top Ten Tuesday

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Libraries are one of my favorite things in this world. I live for libraries. I breathe for libraries. Nothing like opening that door and inhaling all that dust. Just, delicious and aesthetic af. So, here's ten books you are guaranteed to love if you love libraries. And really why wouldn't you love libraries? Libraries are one of the things humans have done right and we should all appreciate them more.

1.  Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Book One in The Great Library* is fantastic. Not only because it tells us the alternate history of what could have happened if the GREATEST AND MOST MAGNIFICENT LIBRARY HADN'T BURNED DOWN** and it does it so beautifully. Also, it's full of intrigue and magic-y stuff and it has great characters and plot and worldbuilding and all the description about knowledge is just #magnificent.

*it has the word library right there!
**I have a lot of feels about The Great Library of Alexandria

2. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

This book features a library and it's gorgeous. ALL THOSE BOOKS AND SCHOLARLY PURSUITS AND LAZLO STRANGE COLLECTING KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE UNSEEN CITY! Just marvelous all around. However, once we're out of the library it still feels very library-ish just because once a librarian always a librarian and librarian brains are beautiful and magical and very whimsical. At least I imagine them to be so.

3. The Archived by Victoria Schwab

This book is literally about a library of dead people, which is,  swear it, way less creepy than it sounds. It still is kind of creepy, but not super creepy. Not man that follows you home creepy, but rather dead people telling their life stories creepy. Which is among the best kinds of creepy. However, it's also super atmospheric and ~library~ so be prepared to be wooed and lost in stories

4. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Safon

This book features a magic library of forgotten books and the book our young protagonist takes from the Graveyard of Forgotten books is central to the story, but much like Strange the Dreamer the book has a distinct library-like atmosphere and just features amazing prose all around. Great book. I don't know how good the translation is, but I've heard some good things. So, if you don't speak Spanish either go learn and then read or pick up the translation. Whichever suits your sensibilities.

5. Lirael by Garth Nix

I had to go look if this book did in fact feature a library and lo and behold, it does! So, rejoice, my dust smelling fiends. Lirael works at a library and I remember it being a safe place and second home to her, and if that doesn't describe my feelings towards libraries down to a T I don't know what will. I would really live at the school's library if it wasn't a) filled with sleep deprived and kind of loud students and b) closed at 1am. So, back to this book A+ library and dusty smells and all that.

What are some books you love that feature libraries and dusty smelling books? Do you prefer your books to smell dusty or new? 

I Did It For the Free Shipping! | Book Haul (#5)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What's the surest way to get a bookworm to buy books? Put the words sale, books and free shipping in a sentence and you've got yourself the perfect bookworm trap. It was that way, my friends, that I ended up buying some books even after I had already made a trip to the library and checked some out. I LIKE TO FEEL LIKE MY TBR IS DROWNING ME OKAY? So, you are here for the goodies. I can't blame you, they're very good looking goodies. Onwards!

1. The Beauty of Darkness by Mary. E Pearson

if you remember correctly I have yet to finish this series and many others but shh.

2. Walk on Earth a Stanger by Rae Carson

another series I'm starting because clearly I need more of those. Also gold and California. That's all I've got.

3. The Golem and the Jinni

I have nothing. Reagan of peruseproject hauled it once and Victoria Schwab did too and that's all I needed. Also I like the word Jinni

4. The Nest by Cynthia D'Aparix* Sweeny

complete and total cover buy

*ooh fancy

5. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I told myself I would start reading more classics. Here's my attempt.

6. Abhorsen by Garth Nix

yet another installment of a series I have to finish. So, it's a win-win all around

What are some book offers that have lured you in recently? If you've read any of these which one should I get to first after I finish reading all of my library books? 

Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally | Book Review

Friday, August 4, 2017
Title: Coming Up for Air
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: July 4th, 2017
Source: Netgalley
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat. All of Maggie’s focus and free time is spent swimming. She’s not only striving to earn scholarships—she’s training to qualify for the Olympics. It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team and cheers her on. But Levi’s already earned an Olympic try out, so she feels even more pressure to succeed. And it’s not until Maggie’s away on a college visit that she realizes how much of the “typical” high school experience she’s missed by being in the pool. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to squeeze the most out of her senior year. First up? Making out with a guy. And Levi could be the perfect candidate. After all, they already spend a lot of time together. But as Maggie slowly starts to uncover new feelings for Levi, how much is she willing to lose to win?

What I thought

  This book is supremely adorable. I mean it, it's very sweet and it features a best friends turned lovers (which I always show up for, as you all probably already know) and tons of swimming talk that I understood little of, but was a nice element to the story.

Maggie and Levi have a beautiful friendship and I loved that aspect of the story. They were friends first and foremost. The secondary characters also had a very nice relationship with the leads, although I wished these relationships could be explored a little more. All in all, a romance book that was big on the main relationship and didn't pay as much attention to the side relationships. I feel like I've abused the word relationship too much and it shall not be mentioned from this point onwards.

The writing was simple, but cute. Also, there were tons of references to YA books, which I loved. Levi is certifiably boyfriend material just because of what he likes to read. I legit want to ask him what he though of The Raven Boys. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't the stuff of beautiful elegant grandoise prose. It was cute and to the point.

I would recommend this book if you're looking for alight contemporary about two people falling in love, and just that.