Spring Wrap Up

Hey everyone! How’s it going? This year I decided I’m only posting quarterly on here. I just launched two other websites (one for photography and one for lifestyle and books) and I don’t have the time to post on here as much. I love using my blog as a sort of digital diary or keepsake.

Books I Read

Completed

  • The Paris Apartment by Lucey Foley
  • The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
  • Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire
  • Gallant by V.E. Schwab
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
  • The Comfort Book by Matthew Haig
  • Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
  • Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
  • The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Incomplete

  • Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
  • Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

Gideon the Ninth was a reread so I wasn’t in a rush to finish it. I did finish Part 2 of 6 of EOTV, but I’m struggling with Part 3 because it’s kind of dragging. Jay did introduce someone I think will become one of my favorite characters though. Hopefully, she will keep me interested enough to get over the middle slump!

Other Media I Consumed

TV Shows 

  • Gossip Girl (the reboot)
  • The Flight Attendant (S1 & S2)
  • This Is Us
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife

Films

  • The Batman – ★★★★★
  • Arrival – (I’m not going to rate this one because I don’t even remember this movie)
  • The Last Duel – ★★½
  • Black Widow – ★★★½
  • Spectre – ★
  • KIMI – ★★★
  • Oblivion – ★★★
  • Tenet – ★★★½
  • John Wick (rewatch)
  • The Hating Game – ★★★
  • Promising Young Woman – ★★★★
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – ★★★★½

I don’t normally go into details but the reason I can’t give the Doctor Strange sequel all my love is because it felt like a Wanda Vision movie. I loved, loved, loved that she was the villain but I almost wish she had her own movie? Still, this movie was unlike any MCU movie I’ve ever seen. The creative direction was so unique. There was horror. There was comedy. There was thrill. There were twists and turns. Since Doctor Strange is a well established character, he doesn’t really need a sequel that solely focuses on him. I did mislead myself into thinking that the sequel was about what happened in the last Spider-Man movie. Oops.

Personal Life

I finished my second first draft of my novel. The first first draft was a product of Nanowrimo in 2017 and I’ve been rewriting it ever since. I honestly think the second one is much worse than the first because my end goal was just to finish something. I’m not sure if this novel will ever see the light of day, but it will need considerable rewrites if it does. I’m finally venturing into a new book project but I’m starting off by writing a sort of prequel of short stories within that universe. I’m just not a rigid outliner. I have to jump straight into a story to really immerse myself.

I’ve been enjoying a few mini adventures all summer. Everything from donuts in the mountains to cupcakes in Washington DC. It was my birthday in May, so let’s just say I used every excuse I could to celebrate (and eat). My mom was sweet and actually gifted me a book, a gratitude journal, and some money. One of my good friends also sent me a gift. It was really nice to be thought of 🙂 I’m trying to stay positive because I traveled all the way to DC for a concert and ended up crying the entire time (it’s a long story). This is why I hate my birthday.

Looking forward to…

I’m actually really excited about my summer. I’ll be in Austin, TX for a photography workshop at the end of the month and I’ll be at a PUBLISHING institute online. I just got my pre-assignments and I only have a few weeks to finish them. I can’t wait to share more soon. I’m super nervous because if the past two years have taught me anything it’s that there’s no guarantee that my hopes and dreams will work out.

I’m also in the planning stages of trying to travel to Thailand or Indonesia next year. My loose budget is $2,500 including airfare. Any more frugal and I could probably go as low as $2,000 buuuuut I’ll likely have to save $3,000 in case of emergencies as well as shopping for things I’ll need.

Summer Anticipated Book Releases 

  • What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher – July 12, 2022
  • Upgrade by Blake Crouch – July 12, 2022
  • The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – July 19, 2022
  • Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey – July 19, 2022
  • Babel by R.F. Kuang – August 23, 2022

Summer Entertainment Line Up

Novel Writing Diaries: Vol 2: Issue 1

A month ago, I finally completed the second first draft of my novel. I say second first draft because the initial conception came out of Nanowrimo back in 2017. Maybe it was 2018? I’m writing a boarding school mystery that involves a ghost and I won’t say anything else because well, that would be giving it away. I’m still nailing down the overarching theme. I can’t decide what direction I actually want the story to go. I haven’t decided what undertones I want my WIP to have. Dark academia existentialism? A gut wrenching mystery. An angsty romance? Magical and lyrical? Or do I want to write something literary, something quieter and poignant? My past drafts were me experimenting but mostly trying to just finish the dang thing.

I swear I did not intend this to be dark academia, but an angsty paranormal sort of romance story… I was writing this before DA popped off.  YET it’s literally set in a boarding school. Not to mention, the plot revolves around a murder, and there’s a secret society but it’s not at the forefront of the plot. I guess I have the makings of a dark academia, which was completely unintentional. Now I’m wondering if I should lean into that component a little more. It will probably take several more rewrites before I figure something out. 

Until next time, 

V

Top 4 Books That Were Spoiled For Me (I’m Still Salty)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single book worm in possession of a backlist book must be spoiled before they can read it. 

Disclaimer: I do not go into details about any of the spoilers except for the Harry Potter series.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

The scene where Dumbledore dies. Thanks little bro for looking up the spoilers on the internet and blurting it out to me without warning. I will never forgive this one. But I somehow forgot that Sirius Black dies in Goblet of Fire so when I saw the movie for the first time I bawled my eyes out. However, I’m still salty that my sibling literally ruined a childhood moment for me.

Nevernight Chronicles: Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

The cliffhanger on the very last page was spoiled for me by someone on Twitter. They posted it out of context but by the time I began reading the sequel, I had figured it out. I was so invested in that plot line/character that I know my life would have changed forever had I not known what was going to happen. I guess in the end, it didn’t matter because of how that plot line/character unsatisfyingly plays out at the end of the series. Regardless, still not cool.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo 

It’s no secret that LB’s adult debut is not for the faint of heart. She tweeted multiple times on Twitter warning readers that the content was mature and not for teens. That didn’t stop one reader from using screenshots of one of the chapters (out of context, I might add) on her account. For someone so concerned about the content, she didn’t even bother to post trigger warnings herself. Between the spoilers and Book Twitter’s attempt to cancel LB, I never bothered to read the book because the controversy left a bad taste in my mouth.

House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas

Luckily, I wasn’t planning to read the sequel but even hours before the official publication date, people were posting screenshots of certain scenes right on Twitter without any spoiler warning.s.To be honest, I kind of thought the spoiler was funny and it actually made me a little curious. I thought, “If Sarah J. Maas throws that in, I wonder what other shenanigans she’s going to include.” At first I thought the spoiler happens halfway in, but it’s literally the very last page. I kind of wish I didn’t see the spoilers because maybe  I would have cracked and read the book anyway.

What books were spoiled for you that you’re still mad about?

Winter Wrap Up 

Books I Read

I decided not to rate most of the books I read this year. I miss when reading books was as simple as “I liked it” or “I didn’t like it.” That’s why I’m waiting until the end of the year to rate them. For now, I’ll share a quick summary of my experience.

**Note: This is still no longer my primary blog but I really like doing wrap ups so I have something to look back at. I’m only posting three more seasonal wrap-ups but I’m hoping  to recycle this as a novel writing blog soon.

Completed

The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik – I have mixed feelings. I was not impressed with this books predecessor, Deadly Education. It doesn’t help that I don’t think this series is adult (and not because it has a female lead). I will say I thought the sequel was hilarious AF. I swear, this a comedy. I’m so serious. I mean, El and Orion are trying to date and hook up in the middle of a murder school. It’s just funny at this point.

The Whisper Man by Alex North – I actually really enjoyed this and think it’s underrated. It reminded me of Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky.  I thought the mystery, the father-son relationship, and the characters were written cohesively.

Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber –  Sigggggh. I had no idea this was set in the same world as Caraval. This was not only boring, but annoying. The characters were all one-dimensional and every female character ended up having ulterior motives toward Evangeline while almost all the male characters acted as the love interest. Sorry, but no more Stephanie Garber for me. Suffice to say, this was was a disappointing read.

Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare – This was one of my absolute favorite reads of the season. I’m not that huge a fan of this author’s other series in the Shadowhunter world but I’m totally obsessed with the characters and time period of the The Last Hours. Also, that cliffhanger. O_O

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizbeth Russell – I really enjoyed this one. It was giving me dark academia meets Lolita. This book made me feel dead on the inside, tbh. It follows an abusive relationship between a high school teacher and his student. The chapters switch back and forth between past and present. Firstly, I did not expect there to be explicit depictions of her assault. There was no fade to black. That being said, the writing was phenomenal. This is a fiction book but it felt like I was reading someone’s memoir. I highly recommend.

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson – This is a YA fairytale I only read because I picked up the author’s later two books and I wanted to read them in order of publication. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t amazing either. The story didn’t pretend to be something it wasn’t or take itself too seriously. It was a nice, light-hearted read that introduced me to the author’s writing.

Chatter by Ethan Kross – This is a book about theories as to why we have an “inner voice” and how to harness the negative chatter inside our heads. It was interesting and I learned something new, but it wasn’t particularly groundbreaking. I thought the author was insightful and he organized the information well.

Comfort Me with Apples by Catherynne M. Valente – I had no intention of reading this one but saw it was available as an audiobook at the library. Wow. This novella surprised me. It was creepy, it was unique, it was weird AF. The *twist* didn’t really do it for me because I think that theme is a little over done BUT I think the author pulled it off well. It had such autumnal vibes that I might reread it again in September.

DNF

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby – So this was actually well-written and this author is so talented, but I seriously disliked the plot. Two homophobic men come to terms with their prejudices only until their sons are murdered. I couldn’t handle hearing them hash out the whole “maybe we were wrong after all” BS. Gah. It’s supposed to be a thriller, which it is, but it’s more character-driven than I’d like.

Other Media I Consumed

TV Shows 

  • teen wolf – okay, okay. allow me to explain. i was just really curious about this show. i watched two seasons, which weren’t all that bad. i got to season 3 and everything went down hill.
  • the superbowl LVI – this is the first time i’ve ever watched the superbowl from beginning to end. also, the halftime show made my 90s baby self so happy.

Films

I’m surprised that I had a fairly decent movie experience because last year I watched so many flops.

  • Encanto – ★★★★
  • The Secret Garden (2020) – ★★★
  • All My Life – ★★★
  • Gravity – ★★★
  • John Wick 3 – ★★★★★
  • Birds of Prey – ★★★★★
  • Water for Elephants – ★★★

I did watch The Batman, which was released in March, but I felt I had to mention it here because OMG. I loved it so much!

Personal Life 

  • I completed my editing certificate! Yes, I’m now a certified editor, my dudes (please ignore all spelling and grammar mistakes on this blog). I’m currently in the process of drafting a welcome packet for future clients. I’m so excited.
  • …and that’s generally it. I was in school for the past month so I don’t have very many updates beyond that.

Looking forward to…

I’m hoping to plan at least one trip somewhere new this year. I’ve considered Hawaii, Thailand, Indonesia, or somewhere in Europe. I’ve been itching for an adventure for years now. I’m thirty and I just feel like I’m watching my whole life flash before my eyes. I’m really scared I’m running out of time for doing the things I’ve always dreamed of.

I’m also hoping to finish drafting my current WIP as well as begin outlining a new project. I’ve been so distracted with adulting lately: bills, student debt, pet stuff, house chores, etc. Then on of that I have to make time for exercise and self-care and therapy. That’s why I’m excited that I planned a DIY writing retreat in May but also not excited because now I wish I saved the money for travel (I didn’t know what the world would look like until now).

Spring Book Releases

 Spring Movie Releases