Top 5 Books to Distract You

Sometimes we just need to escape the world and dive into a good book that makes us forget about everything around us. Recently I have been needing books like this a lot, which means I have been looking back at my shelf trying to find the right books to do so. So here is a list of my top 5 books I turn to when I need a distraction, and hopefully they will work for you too!

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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This book is inspired by the Arabian story One Thousand and One Nights where every night the king of this land takes in a new wife and when the sun comes up the next day they are dead. After our main character’s best friend becomes the next victim of this king, our main character, Shahrzad, volunteers to become the king’s new wife in hopes of killing him. However, she manages to survive through the night and then the night after that, and realizes the king may not be the monster she thought him to be.

I had high hopes when I first read this book because of all the great hype it has surrounding it, but I was not expecting to be as captivated by it as I was. The writing is beautiful and rich, and the setting is so vivid that I felt as if I was actually there. From page one I was in love, and it only took me a day or two to finish so if you are looking for a good book to distract you, this is definitely the one!

Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout

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Obsidian is a genre blend (in my opinion) of contemporary and sci-fi, following a girl named Katy who has just moved to this tiny town in Virginia with her mother after the death of her father. They move next door to two, strange twins, Dee and Damon, and after Katy becomes close with both of them, she realizes they are harboring a dark secret and suddenly is pulled into their crazy world.

This might be one of my favourite feel-good books because it is just a fun and easy read. I always fly through it super fast and I get lost in the thrilling lives of these characters. Of course I have some problems with it, but it never fails to take me into its world with open arms which is what I turn to it for!

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

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Me Before You is an adult contemporary following Lou, a young , twenty-something year old woman who has recently been let go from her job and ends up becoming the caretaker for a man with quadriplegic. He is cold and rude at first, but they soon warm up to each other as the book continues and their friendship blossoms to something more.

This book has all the feels and I read it in one night! I remember finishing it and finally coming up for air, not even realizing it was already the next day. The great thing about this book too is that there is a movie as well that you can watch right after you finish the book. It is really good and stars Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin so yes, pick it up!

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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Another contemporary recommendation, but this one is a young adult contemporary which is told from two perspectives: Dimple, who is into the sciences and is a practical girl, and Rishi who is a hopeless romantic. When Dimple’s parents let her go to summer program for web programming, she is ecstatic, but what she doesn’t realize is that it is a ploy for her to meet Rishi in their hopes of him being her “ideal Indian husband”.

Since summer is approaching it is the perfect time to pick this book up and give it a read. It is hilarious and adorable, filled with quirky characters and quirky scenes that you can’t help but love. I found this book really realistic in terms of teenage relationships and appreciated it a lot more because of that!

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

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Lucky for you, this book is part of a six book series! It takes place in a world where three different types of vampires exist: strigoi, the evil vampires, dhampirs, the half-human and half-vampire protectors, and the moroi, the peaceful and mortal vampires. Our main character Rose is a dhampir, born to protect her best friend Lisa who is a moroi. Exactly one year after the two of them escaped their school, they are found and brought back, forced to always be watching their backs because they don’t know who they can trust anymore at a school where they are supposed to be safe.

These books are filled with action, adventure, and romance and I promise you will have a blast marathoning this series. I remember reading these books a few years back and being totally consumed by the world and characters for a good week or two. This one also has a movie for the first book, and while it isn’t the best book-to-movie adaptation, it is still a lot of fun!

Those are 5 books to distract you whether you just need a break from the world, or are in search of a good book. I hope you enjoyed and don’t forget to check out my last blog post from Monday and my social media accounts, which is all linked below 🙂

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Camp NaNoWriMo: Guide to a Productive Month

I cannot believe the next session of Camp NaNoWriMo is right around the corner which means it is time to prep! Here is a quick guide to how to have the best Camp NaNoWriMo possible, and how to get the most out of it.

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Prep Your Writing for Each Week

At the end of each week, sit down and plan out what you are going to write for the next week. It can be a detailed or loose outline, but this is just a way for you to be more productive during the week. Knowing where you need to get to, and the steps you need to take to get there will make it a lot easier to write all the words. If you just wing it each day, you might get some writing done, but definitely not as much as you would if you know how to approach each day.

Focus on Maximizing Time Spent Writing Rather than Your Word Count

This is something I have recently realized and I am so, so glad I did. All these years I have been focused on getting the most words down possible each day, which meant some days I would only write anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour. I should have focused more on the amount of time I spend writing each day and you should too! Now instead of going into each day aiming for 2,000 words (which most days I don’t even hit), I focus more on trying to write for one whole hour each day, even if I somehow surpass 2,000 words. When I do this, I get a lot more writing done, and it takes more of the pressure off each day!

Develop Writing Triggers

It is the perfect time to start developing writing triggers to help you get into the mood for writing since Camp NaNoWriMo is still 12 days away. If you aren’t sure about what writing triggers are exactly, then here are some examples!

  • Drinks – Make a certain type of drink that you don’t have any other time except when you are writing…whether that is a different type of  flavored coffee, fruit infused water, or whatever you want but ONLY have it when it is writing time.
  • Candles – Find a scent that reminds you of your story and light it whenever you are writing. Maybe for a fantasy story you have a candle that smells like the forest, or for a contemporary you have one that smells sweet. Whatever reminds you of your story the most, use that!
  • Music – Making a writing playlist is a lot of fun (but don’t spend the time you should be writing making it), or a lot of authors have their playlists linked on their websites so you can check those out as well. Personally, I listen to the Hamilton Mixtape because it even has a song called “Wrote My Way Out” which always makes me want to write.

Let Yourself Take Days Off

It is really important to make sure you don’t burn yourself out so I recommend taking one entire day off each week. For me, I like to take Sundays off to spend those days relaxing and taking care of myself and you should too! It doesn’t have to be Sunday, choose whatever day works best for you, and spend the day replenishing your creativity and resting your mind. Here are some ideas of what you can do on your days off writing:

  • Reading
  • Self-care day
  • Watching movies
  • Working out
  • Journalling
  • Cleaning your work space

Find a New Work Space Each Week

Switch up the places you write each week to keep things fresh and inspiring. It can be a different place in your house or it can be somewhere outside of your house like the library, a coffee shop, or somewhere outside like a park. I don’t like writing in the same spot each writing session, and am always moving into different spots because it definitely stumps my creativity.

Those are five ways to have the most productive Camp NaNoWriMo, and I hope you enjoyed and found them helpful! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, and social media accounts which are all linked down below.

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Reading + Writing Update!

I was debating whether to post a reading and writing update today because it was a pretty unproductive week, well reading and writing wise. I did finish reading The Elite by Kiera Cass, the second book in The Selection series, on Monday. I ended up listening to it on audiobook and flew through it since it was a lot of fun to listen to, and was also a short book. The other book I was reading at the time was Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier, and I am still reading it. Honestly, I haven’t made much more progress in it but I’m hoping I will be able to get a decent chunk read tonight!

As for writing, I actually have a bit to update on. This past week I have been rewriting and editing writing pieces for my final English project, but I have also been working on an film related article. I finished the first draft of it earlier this week and have been taking my time trying to make it good. I plan on posting it on my blog sometime in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for it! Hopefully after this coming week I will be diving back into the first draft of my WIP because I am so, so close to being done. It is absolutely terrible, but I just want to finish putting the words on the page so I can go back in a few weeks and clean it up!

That is all for my reading and writing update, and I guess I had more to update you all on then I thought! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, and all of my social media accounts which are all linked below 🙂

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Writing Contests to Enter (No Entry Fees!) Pt. 2

It has been a while since I made a list of writing contests so I decided it was about time to make another. I put these lists together to hopefully inspire and motivate you to enter them, and make it easy to do so by having a bunch of their links at your fingertips! Anyways, here are a couple writing contests you should enter with NO entry fee.

Writers of the FutureAn international contest seeking sci-fi and fantasy submissions of no more than 17,000 words during their four quarters: October 1, January 1, April 1, and July 1

Scholastic Art & Writing AwardsWriting awards in various genres for American and Canadian students in grades 7-12. Deadlines vary depending on genre of award.

Bennington College Young Writers AwardSeeks both poetry, non-fiction, and fiction from grades 10-12 students from around the world. Contest is open from September 1 to November 1 every year. Poetry limit: 3 poems. Non-Fiction/Fiction limit: 1500 words.

Crucible: Poetry and Fiction CompetitionInternational writing competition seeking both poetry and fiction that is accepts submissions until May 1 of each year. Fiction limit: 8000 words. Poetry limit: 5 poems.

Polarexpressions: Summer Poetry and Short Story ContestAccepts fiction and poetry submissions from Canadians of all ages up until July 31 of each year. Poetry limit: 48 lines or less. Fiction limit: 750 words.

Micro Sweek Flash Fiction ContestInternational flash fiction contest that occurs every month, accepting flash pieces up to 250 words.

Those are a couple of varied writing contests for you to enter, and I really hope you all consider submitting to at least a few! It is important to get your name out there and test the waters. A lot of the time contests you submit to will give you feedback on your story even if you didn’t win, which is very, very valuable. Use these contests to motivate you to write because then that inspiration will stay with you!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts where I post more fun bookish/writing related content!

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5 Goals Every Writer Should Set for Themselves

Even if you write for fun and that is all, it is still important (and fun) to set goals for yourself and motivate yourself to keep going. I love making goals for myself and here are 5 goals that I think every writer should have!

 

  1. To Finish That Story! – Whether it is a book or a short story you are trying to tackle, don’t procrastinate it, just finish the story! Remind yourself that the words don’t have to be good, just get them done and on the page. You don’t want to be a writer who starts things and then never finishes, because that is only setting yourself up for bad writing habits.
  2. To Write Every Week – I wanted to put to “Write Everyday” but I know for most of us (myself included) that is a struggle. However, still try to aim to write everyday if you can! Writing every week is a manageable goal and is really important because you want to keep that brain full of creativity. Whether you write 50 words or 6000 a week, some words are better than absolutely no words!
  3. To Read… A Lot! – Again, reading every day can be hard, but try to read as much as you can each month. Even if it is only one book a month that is still progress! You are still exercising your writing muscles by reading anything as little as one page of a book. Just keep finding books and stories you enjoy and keep reading. Here are some craft AND fiction books I recommend:
    • Stephen King: On Writing by Stephen King
    • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
    • Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
    • Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
  4. To Connect With Other Writers – This is a goal I always set for myself each week, because I always want to be connecting and interacting with other writers. It helps make you feel not so alone in your passion, and can also be a way to gain valuable information from those on different walks of the writing path from you. I highly recommend jumping on social media to find writers like you, or finding a local writing group that you can join! This will make the world of a difference and even if it might be out of your comfort zone, will be worth it in the end. Here are some places where you can find some writing friends online:
    • Twitter
    • NaNoWriMo/Camp NaNoWriMo
    • Instagram
    • YouTube
  5. To Search for Your Voice and Style – This is a really important one because without your own unique voice and style, you won’t be able to reach your full potential as a writer. When you are first starting out it is natural to mimic a favourite author of yours until you find your own voice and style, but as you write more and more your voice and style will start to filter through. It is essential for you to harness all that and dive deeper into it so that you understand how you write because then your readers will too!

Those are my 5 goals that I think every writer should make for themselves and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post and also my social media links below 🙂

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Netflix Book Tag!

I was in the mood to do a fun tag, and I love Netflix so this was the perfect one. The original video is here, and if you want to do it too then I tag you!

1. Recently Watched:The last book you finished reading.

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The last book I finished was The Selection by Kiera Cass which happened to be a re-read for the millionth time. It is a dystopian that is basically The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games, but not as vicious or bloody. Just as dramatic though! There is a lot of mixed reviews because people either love it or hate it, and while I do have problems with it, I can’t help but adore it!

2. Top Picks: A book/books that have been recommended to you based on book you have previously read.

Ruby Red

A few years ago I watched Sasha Alsberg’s video where she recommends books based on other more popular books, and one was if you liked City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (which I love!) then you should check out Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier. I ended up falling in LOVE with Ruby Red and the other two books in the series, and will forever be in debt for this amazing recommendation.

3. Recently Added: The last book you bought

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Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier! The third and final book in her Precious Stones trilogy which I just raved about. It is amazing and I am currently re-reading it for the third or fourth time!

4. Popular on Netflix: Books that everyone knows about. (2 you’ve read and 2 you haven’t read or have no interest in reading)

Two that I have read are City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, this is a very popular book that I am sure about 85% of YA lovers have read, and then an obvious choice would be Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling. Two that I haven’t read or have no interest in would be A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas and Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I have a MASSIVE interest in reading both though so hopefully they won’t be on my TBR for much longer!

5. Comedies: A funny book

It is really hard for me to remember what books made me laugh the most because honestly, I don’t think I laugh much while reading…or at least catch myself laughing and remember what exactly I found so funny. So I don’t think I have an answer for this one!

6. Dramas: A character who is a drama queen/king.

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Princess Eadlyn Schreave from The Selection series (books #4 + 5). She is so snobby and annoying and because she is a princess, believes she is much higher than everyone else. I almost had to put the book down because she overreacted about every little thing.

7. Animated: A book with cartoons on the cover

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The closest I have to this would be my copy of Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Titan’s Curse graphic novel. I still have yet to read it, but I am looking forward to it!

8. Watch it again: A book/book series that you want to re-read

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The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer because it has been forever since I last read them. The last time I picked them up was three years ago when the final book, Winter, came out…which is absolutely insane. I really need to try and give them a re-read this summer because I remember little to nothing!

9. Documentries: A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone

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Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. I am not even American but found the parts I have read so far of this book fascinating. I would also recommend listening to the musical soundtrack in order as you continue on with the book for the ultimate experience! You will take away so much information within the first few pages and it isn’t dull at all.

10. Action and Adventure: An action packed book

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Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare…this book was just a rollercoaster of emotions considering each scene was pack filled with so much action and drama. It is safe to say I was emotionally exhausted by the end of it but it was so, so worth it!

11. New Releases: A book that just came out or will be coming out soon that you can’t wait to read.

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi! This is a massive fantasy book inspired by West African mythology that came out a few months ago, and I am so excited to (hopefully) get to it this summer. I have only heard fantastic things and ugh, I wish I had my hands on it right now.

Those are all of my answers to the Netflix book tag and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post and social media accounts, all linked below for you!

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Reading + Writing Update!

Happy Sunday! Here I am, back with another reading and writing update so let’s just get into this 🙂

I have been lacking motivation to do really anything lately, even reading. I did manage finish reading The Selection by Kiera Cass and am already about 100 pages into Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier. This weekend I spent a lot of time driving in the car and doing homework, so I downloaded the audiobook version of The Elite by Kiera Cass, the second book in the Selection series. I listened to a bit of The Selection audiobook back in January and really enjoyed it! The narrator was good and didn’t sound like a boring drone, so I am just blowing through The Elite audiobook. Out of the seven hours I am already four hours in, and have no doubt that I will finish it in the next day or two. It has been a while since I have listened to an audiobook, but I really would love to get back into them because they are huge timesavers! Despite flying through The Elite, I know it will take me a bit longer to get through Emerald Green because I am a) reading the physical book and b) it is pretty thick. Of course I am loving it though, and am really sad it is the last book in this amazing trilogy!

As for writing…again, not as good as I hoped but I did manage to squeeze about a thousand words in. It isn’t that I haven’t had time. I have been busy but of course there were moments I could have taken advantage to get some writing done, but my mind has been so burnt out lately I figured I shouldn’t push it. This coming week my goals will be realistic to my current schedule, so I am only hoping to get one or two thousand words down. I will be studying like crazy for my exams which are next week, but then after that hopefully I will be able to find excitement and motivation to write and all will be well in the world!

Anyways, that is all for this reading and writing update, and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post and social medias accounts linked below!

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10 Questions Every Writer Should Ask Themselves

Every writer is different. There is no secret formula that defines all of us as one, so it is important for you to establish what type of writer you are, and all the little habits you have that make you the most efficient writer you can be. Here are a few questions to help you grasp it!

1. Why Do You Want to Write?

2. What Books Inspire You and Why?

3. What Are Your Ultimate Writing Goals?

4. Are They Achievable?

5. What Genre(s) Interest You Most?

6. What Are Your Strengths and Weakness?

7. Are You More Productive During Short or Long Sessions?

8. Where Are You Most Productive?

9. How Will You Keep Yourself Motivated to Write?

10. Are You a Morning or Evening Writer?

These are all essential questions you must ask yourself in order to understand what kind of writer you are so you can be the best writer you can be. I hope these questions were eye opening and will help you on your writing journey on discovering yourself as a writer. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post and social media accounts as well, all linked below 🙂

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Reading + Writing Update

Originally my plan was to start Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier, the third and final book in the Precious Stones trilogy, and also Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. However, that did not happen. I didn’t pick up Emerald Green this week because I had ordered it online (for some reason I only owned the first two) and it won’t arrive until tomorrow, aka Monday. I was then going to dive into Shadow and Bone, but I realized I wasn’t much in the mood for it so I decided to pick up yes, another re-read. I ended up picking up The Selection by Kiera Cass because during these stressful last few weeks of school, I need something fun and light to distract me. I actually finished it earlier today, and I am not a hundred percent sure if I am going to read the second and third book as well, or not. I guess we will see! However, I am a hundred percent ready to read Emerald Green when it comes!

As for writing, well I had big plans this week. I was hoping to finish my first draft by the end of today, or at least get a good chunk of writing done, however neither of those things happened. Overall, I think I wrote about 2,000 words because things just got so crazy and distracting that yesterday I realized the week was already almost over, and yet I still got almost nothing done! I do plan to keep writing though and keep working towards finishing my first draft, and if that takes me deeper into June than so be it! I do also plan on writing a few short stories, one for my English class and a few others just for submitting. Lately I have been terrible at managing my time and getting stuff done, whether it is related to my passions or school. I have been wasting my time and I don’t want to do that anymore, so this week I am really going to focus on getting myself motivated and using my time wisely this coming week.

That is all for this reading and writing update, and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out the blog post linked below, and also follow me on social media for more writing and book related fun!

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May 2018 Wrap Up

When I looked back at what books I read in May, I was pleasantly surprised because I had read a lot more than I thought. I read a grand total of four books in the month of May, and while I am still four books behind on my reading goal, I still managed to get a good chunk read this month. Anyways, here are the books I managed to read!

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

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During April I had jumped back into To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, the first book in the trilogy, and afterwards I just had to continue on. Always and Forever, Lara Jean is the third and final book in this trilogy which follows Lara Jean, a teenage girl who writes love letters to all the boys she has loved before as a way to say goodbye, right before sealing them away in a teal hatbox forever. One day these letters get mysteriously sent out, and Lara Jean’s worst nightmares suddenly come true. I LOVE these books, and the first book is actually a movie which is being released on August 17 so yay! 4.5/5 stars

 

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

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I had to read this play for English class and well, it’s Shakespeare, which is all I really have to say. Without a doubt I can see the genius behind it and how it acts as a template for hundreds upon hundreds of books and plays and TV shows that we see now. However, it wasn’t something that really gripped my attention and I probably wouldn’t have read it if I wasn’t forced to. 2.5/5 stars

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi

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My initial plan was to read this book when it first came out back in March, but not only is this book pretty big, but I was also terrified that I wouldn’t love this book as much as the first three in the series. Spoiler alert: I did. This book was everything and more, and I was so happy to not only get to read from Juliette’s point of view, but Warner’s as well. Anyways 10/10 recommend and I cannot wait for the next book! 4.5/5 stars

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

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Ugh I love all the books in the series so much that all I want to do is read them over and over again, and it has been a long time since I found a book series like this. Sapphire Blue is the second book in the Precious Stones trilogy by Kerstin Gier, which follows Gwenyth, a teenage girl who comes from a family of time travelers. Everyone believes it is her cousin Charlotte who inherited the gene, but when Gwen is thrust back in time secrets unravel about herself that she didn’t even know. This book was originally in German, and there is even a movie (in German but with good English subtitles) which is a lot of fun, just like the book! 4.5/5 stars

Those are all the books I managed to read and I am happy to say that I adored 3/4 of them which means it was a very successful month! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post and social media accounts, all which are linked below 🙂

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