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 ūüôā

Last Blog Post: How To: Read More

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How To: Read More

Lately I have been covering a lot of writing related topics, like how to write everyday and how to develop healthy writing habits, but it has been a while since I did a sort of “reading tips” post so here I am! I thought it would be helpful to give my personal reading tips on how to read more and quicker too and I hope they help.

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  • Audiobooks, Audiobooks, Audiobooks – Honestly, audiobooks are the best things ever, and while I realize they aren’t for everyone, I do recommend listening to them especially when you are falling behind in your reading. Lately I have only been listening to them when I walk to school and back, or just walking somewhere in general, but even those few minutes each day helps a LOT. I just started my re-read for Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier two days ago and am already about 120ish pages in (which is pretty good for me during the school week). I recommend listening to audiobooks you have physically read before if you have a hard time paying attention to them in general.
  • Read In Short Sprints – Like writing, reading in short sprints throughout the day will amount to more than you think. Maybe you are really busy during the day so try reading for a few minutes when you wake up, on your lunch break or any other break, and then another few minutes in the evening. Even if it isn’t a lot, it will be more than if you didn’t read at all.
  • DNF That Book You Can’t Seem to Finish – Maybe the reason you aren’t reading a lot is because you are reading a book that is just dragging you down and wasting your precious reading minutes. You don’t have to love every book, and don’t force to read something you don’t want to read.
  • Read Multiple Books At Once – Like the audiobook one, this one might not be your cup of tea. However, reading multiple books at once is a lot less daunting than it seems. I tend to read two or sometimes even more books at once (usually not planned) and I make sure I devote time to each time. Sometimes I will read one book in the morning and work through the other one later that day. Sometimes I will even devote entire days to different books. Try it out and if it doesn’t work, oh well!

Those are a few of my personal tips on how you can read more and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out the links below to more of my blog posts! Thanks ūüôā

Last Blog Post: How To: Develop Healthy Writing Habits

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How To: Develop Healthy Writing Habits

When writing, it is important to develop habits that benefit you physically and mentally. Sometimes we get in the habit of developing unhealthy habits though, which is why you should probably sit down, read this blog post, and figure out how to apply these tips to your life. I really hope this will help and I hope you enjoy!

What Are Some Unhealthy Writing Habits?

  • Staying Up Too Late or Too Early Every Day Writing
  • Beating Yourself Up For Not Meeting Your Daily Word Goal
  • Setting¬†Writing Goals That Are¬†Way¬†Out of Reach
  • Not Taking Breaks

What Are Some Healthy Writing Habits?

  • Writing During Your Prime Time, But Also Getting 7-8 Hours of Sleep
  • Setting Realistic Daily Word Counts and Overall Writing Goals
  • Taking Breaks Every 25-60 minutes for 5-10 minutes
  • Allowing Yourself to Take a Day Off If Your Mind and Body Needs It!

How Can YOU Develop These Healthy Writing Habits?

  • Set Up a Writing Schedule That Works Around Your Sleep Schedule – Sleep is so important because if you don’t get enough it will be really hard to function the next day. Find out what times work best for you and your creative flow, but make sure it works out that you are still getting a decent sleep.
  • Create SMART Goals – SMART (Specific – Measurable – Agreed upon – Realistic – Time Based) goals are what format you should be looking to whenever you make goals. These are the most productive goals because you should develop an action plan to tackle these realistic goals, and make those steps towards that goal SMART goals as well. For example, if your goal is to write 30,000 words by the end of the month you have already created half of a SMART goal. You have your pretty realistic goal and a deadline. Now you just need to figure out how many words per day you need to write, and I also recommend having a little reward for you at the end if you accomplish it.
  • Take Breaks – I recommend timing your writing sessions in what feels best for you. For example, maybe you work better in shorter sprints so set timers for every 20-30 minutes and then take a 5 minute break at the end of each short sprint and repeat that until you are done for the day. If you like writing for longer sprints, maybe one hour at a time, then take about 10 minute breaks. You don’t want to burn out and your fingers and brain¬†do¬†need a short break every so often.
  • If You Write Every Day, Take A Day Off Every Once and a While – I don’t usually write everyday (except I try during Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo) because I am also a full time student, but when I do, I find myself really needing a day off every once and a while. Sometimes I will take every second Sunday off, which is a day I reserve for doing school work and blogging and other projects other than whatever I am currently working on. If that sounds appealing to you, try it and don’t feel guilty about taking that much needed day off!

Now, to develop these habits I recommend applying them to your everyday life for at least a week straight because if you do it only every once and a while, you will not develop these habits. It may be a hard week, but it will be worth it once these habits become part of your writing routine!

Those are some ways to develop healthy writing habits and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out the blog posts linked below, and don’t forget to keep writing ūüôā

Last Blog Post: Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2: Catching Up

Other Writing Blog Posts: Things All Aspiring Writers Should  Do, Balancing Multiple Writing Projects 

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Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2: Catching Up

Welcome to week 2 of Camp NaNoWriMo, the week where most writers lose the initial excitement of their project and struggle to put words on the page! Or were you already there? Personally, I haven’t struggled with this as much as I usually would, but I do know a lot of people who have so this blog post is for you! I wanted to give a few of my tips for what I do when I need to catch up on my words, and hopefully any of you in need of this will find it help ūüôā

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  • Stretch Your Daily Word Count A Bit – By this, I do not mean add like 1000 words to your daily word count, but maybe a few hundred. Adding two or even three hundred a day will make a massive difference in the end, and might even allow you to fully catch up within a week or two. Try this if the next tip sounds a little daunting to you, because I can wholeheartedly confirm that this will help.
  • Writing Marathon!!! – So if you have a day where you a lot of free time, I recommend trying to write as much as you can. Make sure you give yourself a few breaks here and there, but if you have the time, spend a couple hours just writing. You will be amazed by how much you can get done, and it might be enough to fully catch up and even get a bit ahead. All depending on how far behind you are of course!
  • Remember, Do Not Stress About It! – Camp NaNoWriMo is supposed to be a fun, personal challenge to see how much you can get done. I mean, that is why you set your own goal! If you are falling behind, and don’t know if you will catch up, don’t stress about that number at the bottom of your WIP because you are getting a lot more done than you would if you weren’t participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. Whether you get some words on the page each day or not, it isn’t the end of the world.
  • Freewrite It – Maybe the reason you are behind might not be because you skipped a few days, but because the words just aren’t coming. If this is the case, maybe try and loosen your grip on your outline and just go with the flow. Write what feels right, even if it doesn’t make sense next to your outline or your original outcome of your story. It will get your creativity flowing, and remember, the first draft is just you word vomiting anyways, so it doesn’t have to make sense!

Those are a few tips on how to catch up if you have fallen behind in Camp NaNoWriMo, and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out the blog posts linked before for more writing and reading related content ūüôā

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update!

Camp NaNoWriMo Week 1: My Writing Survival Kit

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Reading + Writing Update!

This week has been incredibly productive reading and writing wise so I am especially excited to share my progress with you all today!

It is currently April 8th and I have already finished two books already this month! For me, that is crazy because for the last month or two, two books is all I have managed to get done. It also means I am only reading one book instead of four, which is also a relief. Last night I finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and overall I enjoyed it, but I absolutely flew through those last one hundred pages because it was so good! Highly recommend. Now I will be finishing off Labyrinth Lost which I have about one hundred pages left of, and then diving head first into The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, a book that has been on my TBR since what feels like the beginning of time.

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I cannot believe the first week of Camp NaNoWriMo is done. It went by so fast and I am incredibly proud of how much I managed to get done, all on top of also writing a short story for a literary magazine. My daily word goal to achieve 40,000 words by the end of the month is 1,334 words, and the days I did write, I easily achieved that. My average was actually about 2,000 words a day which was great, because the words just kept flowing! However, I wrote absolutely nothing on Thursday and Friday because a friend from out of town came, but I managed to catch up on Saturday! I will leave my daily word counts below though just to see how well I did. Since I took two whole days off I am going to try and not do that again because catching up was a little stressful, especially this specific weekend when I have to study for a chemistry midterm and have about a billion assignments due…but it was nice to see I could actually do it.

Day 1: 2,086 words

Day 2: 2,216 words

Day 3: 1,344 words

Day 4: 2,000 words

Day 5: 0 words

Day 6: 0 words

Day 7: 2,389 words

Weekly Total: 10,035 words

That is all for my reading and writing update and I hope you enjoyed! What books did you just finish? How is your Camp NaNoWriMo going? Let me know in the comments below! Also, don’t forget to check out my last blog post and my Camp NaNoWriMo ones linked down below.

Last Blog Post: Things All Aspiring Writers Should Do

Camp NaNoWriMo 2018: Week 1: My Writing Survival Kit

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Things All Aspiring Writers Should Do

The title says it all. Yesterday I was reading some craft books and I came across some really good tips for aspiring writers. I wanted to share them on my blog to help other aspiring writers as well, so that they can be their best writerly self!

  • Don’t Worry Too Much About Building Your Platform – Yes, having a presence on social media is important, but first you need to finish whatever project you are working on. You don’t want to spend valuable writing time working on posting pictures to your Instagram (unless you did all your writing for the day!) when you could be taking steps closer to finishing your manuscript. Besides, you have so much time after you finish your manuscript to take on social media.
  • Attend Writer’s Conference/Writing Groups – It is so important to reach out to other writers not just over social media, but in person. Going to writer’s conference lets you do that, and you can also make valuable contacts from established writers, editors, publishers, agents, etc. They are also a lot of fun to attend! Writer’s groups are equally important, and most places have one so do some research and make some writing friends! Those people might become your critique group which will be an incredibly important asset to your writing journey.
  • Reflect on Your Writing Process in a Journal – I express this a lot, and that is to write in a journal! It is a great writing exercise to just allow yourself to free write about really anything, but it is also a good way to remind yourself how far you have come and where you are at. Write down what you have accomplished in this past month, or even year. Just seeing in words what you have done will make you feel better about your writing.
  • Set Goals and Stay Accountable – When it comes to goals, set big ones but not entirely out of reach. You can even write these goals down in your journal and make sure you tell yourself why you want to achieve them and how you are going to do that. Another tip when it comes to setting goals is to create a deadline for these goals. If that deadline is too long sometimes you won’t start thinking about that goal until it is almost to late. Personally, I make overall, big annual goals that I set out to achieve each year, but I also create bimonthly goals (two months) that are stepping stones to these big goals.
  • Always Ask These Three Questions About Your Story – Whether you are outlining or sitting down to write, always ask yourself these three questions about your story: Who is my story about? What is their goal? What will keep them from that goal? It will remind you what path you need to take in your writing, and fuel new ideas!

Those are several tips I managed to collect from some craft books and I hope you enjoyed! Since this post was based off of craft books, I left a short list below of some of my favourites that I think both aspiring and established writers would benefit from. Also, don’t forget to check out my last blog post also linked below.

Last Blog Post: April 2018 TBR

Craft Book Recommendations:

Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market

Novel & Short Stories Market

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April 2018 TBR

2018 is just flying by and I cannot believe we are already into March. I started off the year with an amazing reading month, but that number has been faltering as the months pass by so fingers crossed I can actually read a decent amount of books this month!

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

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This was an unexpected read because I wasn’t planning on reading it so soon. I ended up picking up a copy when I saw the author was signing at a bookstore near where I was staying so I thought¬†why not? Currently I am already about 100 pages into it and enjoying it so I am looking forward to finishing it this month! This story follows three points of views: Freya, Harun and Nathaniel who somehow meet one day in Central Park after Freya falls off a bridge and lands on Nathaniel. They think they have nothing in common, but as the story goes on they realize they have more in common than they thought.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

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This was another book I started in March but then just never got around to finishing it…how? I don’t know because this book is only 300ish pages long! I mean, the pacing did slow down so I found it a little harder to read, but I still am looking forward to finishing it and seeing how everything gets wrapped up. This book follows a girl named Alex who is a bruja, a Spanish witch, and on her Death Day she tries to give her magic away. However, the spell backfires and it banishes Alex’s family to Los Lagos. Now Alex along with the help of a strange boy named Nova have to venture to Los Lagos and save her family. As a person of Spanish heritage, I am really loving the representation in this book and fingers crossed I love it as much as I hope!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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I have also been reading this for what seems like forever, but I only have 100 pages left so I definitely will be able to finish it in April. I also kind of have to because I am reading it for my English class so I have no choice really but to finish it really, really soon. I am enjoying it, but sadly I think I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t reading it for class. If you didn’t know what this book is about, it takes place a few years before and during World War II. It is narrated by Death but follows a girl named Liesel who is brought to a foster family after her mother is unable to take care of her. We follow her life with this new family, and also as she begins stealing books and learning to read, all while the tragedy of World War II come into play.

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi

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My copy finally came in the mail of Restore Me and I am so, so excited to dive into this world after recently re-reading the first three books and loving them! The first book, Shatter Me, follows a girl named Juliette whose touch kills, and because of that she has been locked away in an insane asylum for the safety of others. All until one day a mysterious boy becomes her roommate and together they break out of the asylum all because of Juliette. Because she is desired by the leader’s son as a weapon. This series is so good and everyone must read it!

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

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I keep putting this book on my TBR and NOT reading it, but I am determined to actually give it a try this month. I believe this book follows a girl who has to marry an older king because of a prophecy…I could be wrong but I know when I read it I was really intrigued! Again, hopefully I will get to it because it is a library book and does have to be returned soon.

Those are all the books I plan to finish in the month of April and yes, this TBR is slightly ambitious compared to what I have actually been getting done lately, but these are all books I really want to read so I am hoping I will get it all done. Don’t forget to comment below your April TBR and also check out some of my previous posts linked below:

Last Blog Post: Camp NaNoWriMo Week 1: My Writing Survival Kit

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Camp NaNoWriMo Week 1: My Writing Survival Kit

Welcome to week 1 of Camp NaNoWriMo! It is day 2 and hopefully you have begun writing and are hitting your daily goals. If not, that’s okay too because it’s the thought that counts, right? Today I wanted to share with you my Camp NaNo survival kit, a kit of all the things I personally need to have with me when I sit down to write. Don’t forget to comment below what your survival kit has in it because I would love to know!

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Green Tea

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I drink green tea religiously so it is a necessity to have next to me when I am writing. It keeps me awake and energized and it gets me into the mindset that it is writing time! Having a designated drink or snack will really help develop a writing routine, or even just drinking or eating something you love will get you excited to sit down and write.

My Outline

This is something that everyone needs next to them. Whether it is in a notebook or on your laptop make sure your outline is accessible in case you need to refer back to something while writing. Having it next to you means it will take less time out of your writing session to remember that character’s cat’s name or what day of the week it is in your story. Personally my outline is very research heavy and the research includes a lot of complicated, weird names so I find myself referring to my notebook a lot.

NaNoWriMo Word Sprint

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I only use these during Camp NaNo, but I find it really helpful and wish they did writing sprints throughout the year. These sprints are found on the NaNoWriMo Word Sprints Twitter page here  and are a fun way to do anywhere from 5-60 minute word sprints and get all the words down! It is also fun to connect with other writers and go over what our word counts were and what we are writing.

My Favourite Book

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Having a book I admire so much next to me just motivates me to keep writing and going. Currently that book is Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare (or really any book by Cassandra Clare) because it has been my favourite book since it came out, as the first book, Lady Midnight, had been before. Try this out and you will be surprised by how motivated you feel whenever you get stumped on a scene or lose momentum but then  look at that favourite book of  yours and suddenly you are ready to go.

Those are the items in my Camp NaNo survival kit and I hope you enjoyed! Let me know how your Camp NaNo journey is going if you are participating, and if you aren’t then what are you working on? Don’t forget to check out the links to some blog posts below!

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update

Camp NaNo Prep Posts: Outlining Tips, Creating Characters, Research

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Reading + Writing Update!

This is my second time writing this because airport wifi is terrible and didn’t want to save anything I had written.

Anyways, I wanted to say sorry for falling off the face of the blogging world for the past week. I was on vacation and while I originally planned to upload during my time away (I even pre-wrote a few for the first few days I was on vacation in California), I ended up not writing anymore and not having any inspiration either for posts either. However, it was a nice creative break especially since April is going to be a month filled to the brim with writing and reading related things! So since I am on my way home and will be back tonight which is Saturday although when you see this it will be Sunday…anyways expect a normal upload schedule for next week!

I didn’t get as much reading done as I originally hoped, but I did manage to get some done while traveling. Going into this vacation, my original plans were to finish Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova and read about 100 pages of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I did not accomplish any of that. I did get to about 150-something in Labyrinth Lost which means I am halfway through the book and still got a good chunk to go. The book started off really strong and I was interested and excited, but towards the middle things became a little confusing for me and the pace kind of just lulled. I do plan on finishing it though and I am really hoping it will pull through for the last half! As for The Book Thief, I think I only read about 50 pages meaning I still have 150 pages left to go, and all of that has to be read by Wednesday! Anyways, I also started reading an unexpected book that I picked up because I happened to be in the right city when a certain author was having a book signing for her new book…and that book is I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman! I just happened to be in San Diego the right day, and I was so excited to see her in person and listen to her not only talk about her new book, but also the writing struggles she had gone through in her career. I have read a few of Gayle Forman’s other books, such as If I Stay, Where She Went, One Day, and One Year, so I was really happy to meet an author that I thought so highly of. It was a lot of fun and was actually my first book signing! I would definitely recommend keeping an eye open at your local bookstores for events like these because it was worth it.

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Wow, that was a long reading update so get ready for a probably lengthy writing update too! As this post is coming out, it is Sunday, April 1st, AKA Camp NaNoWriMo day 1! I have been viciously planning and researching and tying up all the loose ends of my outline this past week, and only just now am I (kind of) ready to write. I have left my outline loose on purpose because I have realized over the years I work better with less structure so I don’t lose inspiration and momentum throughout writing. If you too are just finishing your outline, or looking for some inspiration to give you that final push then check out my Camp NaNo prep posts which will be linked down below. Overall I was really proud with all the work I got done on my outline during my vacation, and it just proves to myself how passionate I really am about this project and now I just cannot wait to dive into this new world! Another writing project I want to start on is this really short story idea I have that was inspired by a literary magazine’s current submission prompt, so fingers crossed I can quickly pump out that story for April 6th which is the deadline! Hopefully I am not putting too much on my plate but I am sure I can get most of it done…right?

Anyways, that was my really long reading and writing update and I hope you enjoyed! Keep an eye out for my upcoming blog posts this Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday because I will be returning to my regular posting after my unexpected hiatus. Don’t forget to check out the blog posts linked below for some more writing and book related content!

Last Blog Post: April Anticipations

Camp NaNo Prep: Outlining Tips, Creating Characters, Research

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April Anticipations!

I love gushing over all of the book and movies releases and I am back with another!

Books

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

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This is a spinoff of Becky’s other book, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens (which is now a fantastic movie that you NEED to go watch!) but follows Simon’s best friend, Leah who is struggling with her sexuality and who she is. I am so excited to get my hands on this book because I really loved Leah and thought she was such a realistic character. I cannot wait to see the world through her eyes and read whatever story Becky has in store for us next month!¬†April 24th 2018

The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth

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The Fates Divide is the second book in Veronica Roth’s new sci-fi series, which starts off with Carve the Mark. I have not read the first book but I have heard good things so maybe I will get to it sometime soon! From what I know, it follows two different characters that somehow get thrown into each other’s world…that’s about all I know but it sounds good enough to me.¬†April 10th 2018

Love & War by Melissa de la Cruz

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I read the first book in this series, Alex & Eliza, which follows one of the founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, and his wife, Elizabeth Schuyler and their journey to meeting each other. I liked the first book but wasn’t blown away by it, however I am still excited to follow their life after their marriage in the next book! While I am not American, I have always been fascinated by American history and now all these books and musicals are coming out in regards to it and I am just having the best time.¬†April 17th 2018

Movies

Avengers: Infinity War

I didn’t know I wanted to watch this movie until I watched the trailer and realized literally EVERY superhero to ever walk on the screen is in it. Not only do I think it will be epic to see all my favourite superheroes work together, but I think it will be interesting to see how having so many main characters on screen at once. I do think it will be hilarious and action packed and I am itching to watch it.¬†April 27th 2018

I Feel Pretty

This is an Amy Schumer movie that follows a woman who has never felt confident about her body, but when she hits her head one day she wakes up and starts viewing herself as this “perfect” and pretty person, even though she hasn’t really changed her appearance. Not only does this look hilarious, but it also has a really good message that you should love yourself for who you are, and not compare yourself to others.¬†April 27th 2018

Those are some of the books and movies I am looking forward to in the month of April and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Balancing Multiple Writing Projects

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