April 2018 Wrap Up

Wow, I barely remember April because it went by so fast…and that will be my excuse for why I didn’t read as many books as I had hoped. However, I did read a grand total of 4 books so here they are!

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

Image result for i have lost my way gayle forman

This was an unexpected read, because I just happened to be in San Diego during the time of Gayle Forman’s signing for this new release. Obviously I went and picked up the book, managing to read it in about two days. I Have Lost My Way follows three characters; Freya, Harun, and Nathaniel, all whom have lost their ways. One day in Central Park their paths connect, and suddenly each becomes an important part in each other’s worlds, and finding their ways once again. It is definitely a feel good book that I really enjoyed, and recommend! 3.5/5 stars

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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Okay, this book took me forever to get through, but once I was finally finished it, I felt incredibly accomplished. It is a big book, at just over 500 pages and also a historical fiction which are some of the reasons it took me a few weeks to get through. While I enjoyed the first 400 pages, it was really the last hundred that gripped me and had me obsessively flipping to the next page because they were amazing. If you didn’t know, this book is told from Death’s point of view, who follows a young girl named Liesel who is off to meet her new foster family. Along the way, her younger brother dies abruptly, and they have a quick funeral which is where she steals her first book, claiming her new title of the “Book Thief”. We follow her as she grows up as a young German girl when World War II begins, and how her relationships between her foster parents and new friends grow. 4.5/5 stars

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before + P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Obviously I adored these two books, considering it was my…fourth re read? Maybe even fifth! I just love these books so much because they are the books I go to when I want a smile and to feel all warm and mushy on the inside. The first book follows Lara Jean, a girl who after she is done loving a boy, writes them a letter and then seals it in a teal coloured hatbox her mother got her, the ready to move on with the rest of her life. But one day those letters mysteriously get sent out, and she finds herself digging a hole of lies to keep her true feelings for her sister’s recent ex-boyfriend, and the boy next door, a secret. If you haven’t read this book, read it, especially since the movie is coming onto Netflix on August 17th, which is a day after my birthday! Both: 5/5 stars

That is all for my April wrap up and I hope you all had a fantastic reading month as well! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post linked below, as well as follow my social media accounts so I can follow you back 🙂

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Reading + Writing Update!

Sorry for the late reading and writing update, but here is what I managed to get done reading and writing wise this past week!

I managed to complete two books this week, one that I started last week but the other I started about halfway through this week. Those books are, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han! I fly through these books so I wasn’t surprised I was able to finish them so quickly, and as always, I loved the re read. I am 100% going to be moving on to the third and final book, Always and Forever, Lara Jean, because I am not sure if I have ever re read that book…maybe once. Probably once, but once is not enough! I also want to dive into Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier because I really feel like re reading some of my old favourites. There are a lot of new releases I still need to get too though *cough* *cough* Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi, so we will see what I really get to!

As for writing, tomorrow is the VERY last day of Camp NaNoWriMo which is insane. This month has flown by and I am really proud of what I managed to get done. I will admit that this past week I haven’t been writing as much as I had previous weeks, but I will still finish tomorrow and reach my overall goal of 40,000 words. Anyways, here is a list of my daily word counts from that past week:

Sunday: 797

Monday: 185

Tuesday: 1097

Wednesday: 688

Thursday: 1,214

Friday: 897

Saturday: 1,022

That is it for this reading and writing update, and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post linked below, as well as follow me on my social medias!

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Tips on Productivity

This blog post isn’t just directed towards being more productive writing or reading wise, but how to be more productive in every aspect of your life. These tips can be applied to your personal or work life, and will help you achieve more each day!

Step 1: Planning

  • Brainstorm All Your To-Dos – Grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down everything you want to accomplish either today or this week. Don’t worry about the order of “most important to least important”, just get all your To-Dos on paper so you can see them.
  • Organize To-Dos Based on Feeling and Deadlines – Deadlines are important, but if you force yourself to complete tasks you really don’t want to do, your productivity levels will only go down. Of course, if it is something you have to get done, then do it, but if you can complete your to-dos based on what you feel like. You will be surprised how much you will accomplish.
  • Create Smaller Lists – Once you have organized your To-Dos based on feeling and deadline, separate these tasks into smaller lists for each day. If you look down and have a massive To-Do list for only one day, it will be daunting and might even make you anxious to begin. So, only tackle the things that are due that day or the next, meaning that each day will only consist of a few tasks.

Step 2: Tasking

  • Work Your Way Down Your List – Now it is a time to actually start being productive. Pick an item off the list that you feel like doing, or maybe really, really need to do, and do it. Don’t think about it because then you might end up talking yourself out of that task, or losing any trace of motivation you once had to do it.
  • Take Breaks – The last thing we need is to burnout after being super productive (or not), so it is important to take breaks. Maybe you work better in shorter sprints of work, and if so, think about taking a 5 minute break every 20 minutes. If you are like me and work better in the longer sessions, take a 10 minute break every 45 minutes to an hour. This will reduce the risk of burnout and you will be able to continue being productive!
  • Reward Yourself – If you had a lot of things on your To-Do list and you accomplished most of them, if not all, reward yourself! Some days it is hard to complete even one or two things on your list, so relish in the days that are a success. After a while this will train your mind to get excited, or at least motivated, to tackle your To-Do list with the idea that something will be waiting for you at the end. Some examples of rewards that I choose are:
    • 30-60 minutes of TV or reading time
    • A coffee or tea
    • A longer break of doing nothing

Those are my tips for being more productive, and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog posts and also follow me on social media so I can follow you back 🙂

Last Blog Post: May 2018 TBR

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May 2018 TBR!

Once again, it is that time of the month again where I make a list of all the books I want to read for the coming month, and then try to stick to it…usually failing but sometimes succeeding! Anyways, fingers crossed for an awesome reading month but for now, here are all the books I plan to read in May 2018:

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi 

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I was so disappointed in myself for not getting to this book in April, but I am determined to read it in May because this was a book I was so highly anticipating this whole year! This is the fourth book in the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi which follows a girl whose touch kills. If you haven’t picked up the first book, Shatter Me, I highly recommend it because it will not disappoint.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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This is a book that has been on my shelf for a while, so I think it is getting to the time where I finally pick it up. I really want to read this trilogy before jumping back into Six of Crows and the sequel, Crooked Kingdom, because I want to understand the Grisha world better. Other than that, I have no idea what happens in Shadow and Bone but I have heard nothing but great things so I am excited!

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

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Since I decided to pick up the first book and give it a re read, it wouldn’t be right not to just re read the entire trilogy. This is one of my favourite trilogies so I am dying to revisit the characters and the story line again! I always fly through these books so I wouldn’t be surprised if I finished the last book too this month.

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

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Again, I re read the first book back in April via audiobook and can’t just walk away now. This is also one of my favourite trilogies ever, and if you have’t read them…go to the library or the bookstore and make sure you do that! This trilogy is filled with time travel and romance and fun so make sure you get your hands on it.

Those are the four books I plan to read this month, but I hopefully I will get to more. Don’t forget to check out my last blog posts and my social medias because I am super active on them! 🙂

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Camp NaNoWriMo Week 4: Finding Value in Your Work

Week 4 is upon us, which for most of us means we have long lost that initial excitement of starting a new project. You may be feeling unmotivated whenever you think about sitting down to write, and may feel like the words that are coming out aren’t good. And you are probably right, they most likely aren’t good but that is the point of drafting! Here are a few tips to see the value in your work again, and gain back that motivation to power through the last seven days of Camp NaNoWriMo:

Image result for camp nanowrimo

  • Remind Yourself That This is Draft One – For most of us, this is draft one of our projects and because of that, the words are just there as a placeholder until you can think of better ones. The point of a first draft is to word vomit all your ideas and characters onto a document, and then later on you can come in with a broom and dustpan. But you can only do that if the words start out bad so get out those words!
  • Remember Every Writer Starts Out in the Same Boat – Even the most successful writers start with bad first drafts, it is just a given. Nobody has a clean first draft, unless you go back and edit everything you write but that would take forever so just keep going!
  • All Stories Matter – Don’t compare your story to someone else’s because all stories are valid and deserve to be told. Each story will be different and have a different effect on people, so don’t go comparing your story to Harry Potter just because it is a fantasy book that has magic in it! You will only end up feeling bad about your work and we don’t want that.
  • Enjoy the Process – When it comes to writing, you have to write with the present in mind, not the future. If you are writing to become a “New York Bestselling Author” then you are not writing for the right reasons, and will be most likely to only disappoint yourself. Enjoy the process of writing your own, original story, and fall in love with it!
  • Just Keep Writing – Don’t go back and edit anything, just keep writing. Keep the momentum flowing and when you finally write that last page your story, it will feel like a massive accomplishment, because it is! So work towards that rather than a fancy title like “NY Bestselling Author”. How many people can say they have finished an entire novel? Odds are not many so let that be your goal.

That is all for this Camp NaNoWriMo Week 4 post and I hope you enjoyed! I will have a week 5 one up next week so stayed tuned for that. Don’t forget to check out all the blog posts linked down below for more bookish-writing related content, and also follow me on social media!

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update!

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Reading + Writing Update!

This week was definitely a slower week, reading, writing, and really everything wise. It was a long and hard week and I can easily say I am happy it is over. However, I obviously got some reading and writing done so here is my quick update!

to-all-the-boys-ive-loved-before

Earlier this week I decided I needed a break from fantasy and was in desperate need of a fun, light hearted contemporary read. So, like always, I turned to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han! No surprise there. I am actually about 30 pages away from finishing so I might even be done by the time this goes up…if that is the case, I will probably pick up American Panda by Gloria Chao next because who actually sticks to their TBR? Not me, that’s for sure. Like I said, contemporaries just sound really appealing right now so why not?

As for writing, I am still ahead! Although, not as much. I am about a day or two ahead because I ended up taking another day off. Like I said, it was a hard week but I am hoping to get back into the swing of things this coming week. If all goes as plan, and if I manage to push through the current scene I am writing which is a) unplanned and b) difficult, I should reach my 40,000 word goal by Wednesday. But does the writing stop there? Of course not! That puts me at maybe halfway through draft one so there is still a long road ahead. Anyways, enough rambling! Here is my daily word counts from the past week:

Sunday: 1,551

Monday: 2,770

Tuesday: 1,732

Wednesday: 0

Thursday: 1,281

Friday: 0

Saturday: 2,490

Weekly Word Count: 7,642 words

That is all for this reading and writing update and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out the blog posts linked below, as well as my social media accounts. I have been super active on Instagram and Twitter so definitely follow those 🙂

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Popular Books I Haven’t Read

Up until this year I had been pretty caught up with all the hyped up new releases, but since the school year started I have fallen so far behind it may take YEARS for me to catch up which is why I am making this list to remind myself to actually pick these up eventually. If any of the books I list are amazing, let me know so I can get to them sooner!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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I cannot tell you how much I want to read this book, especially sine the movie will be out in the near future. This is book has seemed to be read by everyone and their sister, and has received amazing reviews so it only makes me want to read it more. Honestly, I have no good excuse to why I haven’t picked this book up, other than the fact that I have been trying to read the books on my shelf first!

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adyemi 

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This was a book that I had no idea about until about a month before its release date and I immediately became obsessed. I want to read it soooo badly and everyone seems to love it so I am hoping to get my hands on it soon! I do know that it is a massive, fantasy book though so maybe I will wait till the summer so I can devote a solid three days to reading it.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black 

Image result for the cruel prince

The Cruel Prince is actually a book I own, so I could read it whenever and knock it off the TBR. However, my current TBR is sky high and sadly The Cruel Prince is somewhere close to the bottom…that isn’t to say I don’t want to read, because I really do! I adore books about faeries and lots of people I know have loved this book, so I am looking forward to diving into it when I get the chance.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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Okay, technically I have read this book, but even after finishing it I could not remember a single thing I had just read. Why? I have no idea. The parts I very faintly remember, I do remember enjoying though. I really want to re read this book and then jump into the sequel, because I own both and also because I feel really bad saying this because I know it is a lot of people’s favourite book!

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher 

Image result for thirteen reasons why book

I really enjoyed the TV show adaptation of this book, but yes, I haven’t read the book yet. I know, I know, I am ashamed as well! However, there are quite a few mixed reviews on this book but since it does cover an important topic, I do hope that I will eventually get to it. Let me know if it is worth giving a read, or if I should just stick to the TV show!

Those are a few of the many popular books I haven’t read yet, and don’t forget to let me know which ones I need to read ASAP! Also, make sure you check out the blog posts linked below for more bookish/writing related content 🙂

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How To Become a Better Writer (Without Actually Writing)

Okay, obviously you need to actually WRITE to become a better WRITER, but it is also important to remember that there are other ways to become a better and stronger writer. I hope you apply some of these new ideas to your writing process, and I hope you enjoy!

  • Read – Yes, yes this is the obvious one but it had to be said in a blog post like this. You would be surprised how many people forget to crack open a book while writing their own story, or just writing anything in general. It is important to keep up a regular reading routine that goes along with your writing routine because continually reading will continue to inspire you and help you improve your craft as you go along. Even if you can only fit in 15 minutes a day for reading, every little bit helps.
  • New Experiences – Going for a walk around town or hopping on the bus and going for a cruise will open your eyes to the world around us. You will see people interacting and new landscapes which will benefit your writing. You will be able to paint scenery better because you actually saw it, and could pick up on some interesting dialogue as well. Make sure you leave your writing office every once and a while!
  • Learning – Even if you have long since graduated from school, there are so many opportunities for you to learn new things. Take online classes or classes at your local college on subjects that interest you (not just writing, but classes like history, art, languages, etc), check out books on different topics from the library, or use the internet! There are so many resources at your fingertips that I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to keep learning. Learning new things will widen your field of writing when it comes to blog posts and articles, because as they say, pick something (or several things), become an expert in it, and then write it.
  • Watch Movies/TV! – This might be your favourite one, because I know it is one of my favourite ways to become a better writer. Watching movies and TV’s triggers new ideas and allows you to admire the story line and then dissect it. You get to learn what makes an entertaining plot, and where it falls flat, and then apply it to your own writing.
  • Podcasts – Every writer should be subscribed to several different podcasts, whether they are writing related or something completely different. I am subscribed to many writing/creativity related podcasts, but also some on history and mythology ones as well. They are nice to listen to when you are walking around or driving, or even cleaning your room/house. If you have a busy life and don’t have much time to commit to the tips above, I definitely recommend checking out some podcasts because they allow you to listen to them while doing other tasks!

Okay, NOW is when writing comes in!

Those are my 5 tips on how to become a better writer apart from actually writing, and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out the blog posts below for more writing and reading related content 🙂

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Camp NaNoWriMo Week 3: Using Your Cabin

The great part about Camp NaNoWriMo is that you are placed in a cabin with a group of writers all going through the same struggles and hardships as you. If you don’t usually speak to people about your writing, whether that is because your town/city doesn’t offer many opportunities for that or because you are just shy, this is the perfect opportunity so take advantage of it.

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Tips for Making the Most of Your Cabin:

  • Introduce Yourself – This is obvious, but it is important to introduce yourself to your virtual cabin. Say your name and share a bit on what you are working on, and maybe throw in some struggles you usually have when it comes to your writing. You will be surprised by how many people will respond and begin introducing themselves as well!
  • Ask for Advice – A lot of your cabin members have most likely been writing for a long time, so ask for some advice! Maybe you need some help on flushing out your characters, or how to escape the cold, dead hands of writer’s block. Whatever you need there is a good chance someone in your cabin has an answer.
  • Motivate Each Other – There will definitely be days where you are not motivated to write, and just the thought of sitting down at your computer sounds draining. Guess what, you have about a dozen or so people at your fingertips if you are in need of some pep talks! And when someone else is in need of some motivation in your cabin, make sure you are there to offer some as well. I make sure I actively check out the chat room of my cabin because I want to be there for my cabin mates, and it is nice to always have the favour returned.

I know this blog post was a bit short, but I really wanted to emphasize on the importance of your cabin before Camp NaNoWriMo is over because boy, is it flying by. Now that you are done reading this, google “Camp NaNoWriMo”, log in and start up the chat in your cabin! Apply the 3 tips I gave above and make the most of your cabin while you have it. Also, don’t forget to check out the blog posts linked below, and I hope you enjoyed 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update

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Reading + Writing Update!

Another week gone so it is time for another update! I am happy with what I managed to get done this week because recently I got obsessed with The Greatest Showman because not only is the movie beautiful, but the music…I am obsessed. If you haven’t watched it then drop everything right now and go do that, it will change your life. I wish I could write to the soundtrack but I can’t help but sing along every time it comes on thus I would never get anything done.

I finished another book! Three already this month which is a record compared to the last few months, and I think I will reward myself for jumping into another book, which is The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, finally! I also plan on listening to the audiobook for Sapphire Blue by Kersin Gier, the second book in this time travelling trilogy. I really loved the audiobook for the first book, and am excited to revisit the books via audiobook. Other than that, I am hoping to finish The Girl of Fire and Thorns by the end of this coming week, because to stay on top of my reading goal I need to read three more books by the end of April. I can do that right? Even with Camp NaNoWriMo and homework and life? *nervous laughter*

As for writing, I am SUPER happy with my results. Most days I have been able to meet my goal…well actually not really but luckily the days I did pass my goal, I ended up writing 2-3000 words so I am still very ahead. Luckily I haven’t lost motivation for my WIP, but I do have a lot of ideas on what I will fix and change in the second draft because currently, I am just word vomiting whatever comes to mind onto this word doc. I also plan on writing a short story this weekend for the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Writing Contest because why not? It has a maximum word count of 300 words so it shouldn’t take too much time. Here are my word counts from last Sunday to this Saturday:

Sunday: 1524 words

Monday: 946 words

Tuesday: 2797 words

Wednesday: 3112 words

Thursday: 734 words

Friday: 1062 words

Saturday: 2136 words

Total: 22,373/40,000 words

That is all for this update and I hope you enjoyed. Good luck with your own reading and writing journeys, and don’t forget to check out the blog posts linked below! Also, I finally made writing accounts on Instagram and Tumblr so give me a follow so I can follow you back 🙂

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