Monday, May 25, 2015

Weekly Reads and Writing #14

I'm not going to deny it- I've been starting too many books without finishing them. Although I'm working my way through each, I definitely need to just finish some of them, and cut back down to reading 1 or 2 books at a time.

This week I finished just 1 book, but that's my average, so I'm very happy about that. I read a book so good that I haven't even been able to form words to write my review yet. I apologize for that. However! I did make a whole video about the book, with both a spoiler-free, and spoiler section. That book is Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.

I got an e-copy of this book from NetGalley, which unfortunately doesn't come out till fall. A solid five star book, it was emotional and powerful and fun. Sooo good!
You can watch my video review for it here:

I've continued reading Prozac Nation, which is really good. I haven't been in the mood to read Dust in a while, though.

But I also picked up a new book to reward myself for getting a job! Because of all the good things I've heard about it, I started Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. It's really good so far. I love the writing!
being immature, as per usual

My writing has been pretty non-existent. Lots of stuff has been going on, with a job interview and family stuff. But overall, I just haven't put the time in to get my writing done. I know, it's awful. I will pick it back up, but I'm not making any promises for this upcoming week.

Writing Stats

Words This Week: 307
Total Words Written: 52,516

I literally just wrote a couple paragraphs one night, and that's it.

Who knows what this week will bring. I'll definitely finish Throne of Glass 'cause it's so good, and hopefully Prozac Nation, but it's hard to tell. I hope you all had a great week!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Despite the heavy topic, this was a fun read. The story follows Clay on a night-long adventure as he uncovers why Hannah killed herself, via the tapes she left behind. Right from the beginning, this was a unique and original idea, which made a really nice story. I love the simple message of this book, and how easily it can be understood by reading it.

Switching between Hannah’s narrative and Clay’s responses to them, the writing was a bit jumpy, but rightfully so. The storytelling was done so well in this book. From beginning to end, everything tied in to create Hannah’s story. The way all the characters related, their lives interwoven, was really nice to read.

I found Clay to be a bit bland as a character. Not much was explained about him; he was simply the “good guy” stereotype. This could be both a good and bad thing. On the plus side, it is easy to slip into his shoes. However, that also made him a somewhat disposable character. I can see why he was chosen to tell the story, because he is an unbiased “good guy”, that would allow Hannah’s story to be told without much interruption. While that was nice, and I enjoyed how Hannah’s story really shined through, just imagine how much more amazing this book would have been if it was told through one of the other characters that Hannah mentions in the tapes. It would give the book so much more emotion, I feel, than Clay’s character was able to.

As I said, Hannah, and her story, really was the focal point of this story, and I absolutely loved it. I loved her way of speaking, I loved her as a person. Her character was portrayed really well, making me want to befriend her. Because of this, I felt a stronger connection to her, and really felt for her when the bad things in her life started happening. I sympathized with her a lot, and even though I knew what the ending would be, I still didn’t want it to happen. While their personalities were clear, there was barely any back story to either of the characters. I would have liked to learn more about Hannah’s past, before things got bad. That would have only added to the story and the emotion.

I loved how the two plots conformed to one, as Clay is listening to the tapes at night, following Hannah’s life as he lives his own. Hannah’s story was much stronger, but there were some really sweet little pieces of Clay’s life that peaked through. I really loved the tiny incorporation of The Cather in the Rye into the story. Just prior to its addition, I thought about how Clay and the plot reminded me of it (in the best way, of course). Minus Holden’s bull-headedness, Clay was quite similar to him. Also, I’m a sucker for plots that take place in just a single night.

I have mixed feelings about the ending. One part of me really appreciates how Clay took Hannah’s suicide, and decided to make the best of it, by changing his ways. While another part of me kind of cringes at the fact that Clay now thinks he can save girls’ lives with his “good guy”-ness. Yes, he has the ability to help, but depression is something much more serious than it is portrayed in Clay’s eyes. And I hope that those who read this book will recognize that.

Despite its flaws, I really enjoyed reading this book. It is definitely one I will reread in the future, and I recommend, especially to the young people that this book is written for. It’s really important for kids, and everyone, to realize that how you treat others truly can affect them.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Weekly Reads and Writing #13

This past week was the Mental Health Awareness Week Readthon! So I actually read 2 whole books. Amazing, right? (no, not really)

As I said, I read two books this week, both about mental health. My TBR for the readathon was five books, and I read 2 and a half, which is decent, I think. The first was Skinny by Ibi Kaslik, about a girl with an eating disorder. It was really lovely and emotional. I gave Skinny four stars. I have my review for that one here.

I then read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, which I've been wanting to pick up again since high school. I never finished it the first time, but now that I have, I'm really glad to have. It was a really enjoyable book, which I ended up also giving four stars. I'm currently writing a review for it, so that should be up tomorrow!

Right now, I'm reading three books, which is a lot for me. I didn't pick up Dust at all last week, because of the readathon. I also started Prozac Nation toward the end of the readathon, and I plan to finish that this week, hopefully. Just today I started Everything, Everything, which I'm flying through, and loving. Hoping to finish at least two of those this week!

Writing is still going slow. I barely wrote anything last week. I feel like this post doesn't even deserve a Writing Stats. Boo. But still, I'm going to include one, so I can keep track of my writing.

Writing Stats

Words this Week: 330
Total Words Written: 52,209

My worse week yet. But hey, it was a readathon week, so that's my excuse, lol.

I am going to start writing more again. I'm planning to write a lot this week. I'm even thinking of making writing vlogs for my Youtube channel. We'll see how that goes. I need to write this book, so Imma do it. Next week's Writing Stats should be much better than this!

Overall, this week I'm gonna get back on track with stuff. I've been reading more, and I'm gonna write more. I have to stay focused!

I'm also very excited that I have signed up for my first ever book blog tour! That'll be happening in June, for a book I still need to read, hehe. I am super excited for it, though. The book sounds great, and I can't wait to be a part of a blog tour! :)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Skinny by Ibi Kaslik

This was a heavy book, the kind that digs its way under your skin and sticks there long after you’ve finished it, leaving you feeling lead-limbed and melancholy. With its gorgeous writing and complex characters, Skinny was far more than I expected it to be.

Based on its simple, Summery cover, and straightforward title, I assumed this book would be a short and sweet story about eating disorder recovery, as told by a teenage girl. Instead, it was the story of two sisters, one about fourteen and the other about twenty-two, both of them having to deal with their confusing lives while Giselle, the older sister, has anorexia.

The way both point of views wove together was beautiful. The writing was poetic and at points jumbled, but I think that was a good way of showing everything that was going on in the girls’ minds. The past mixed with the present, to unravel Giselle’s struggles with her dad and younger sister, Holly. While at the same time, Holly was trying to piece together her own existence. I loved the two sides to this story, and the relationship between the two sisters.

This book held an eerily lovely mood, which reminded me of Francesca Lia Block’s works. The plot was slow going, but in an enjoyable way that allowed me to truly get to know the characters. It was a coming of age story at the same time that it was a book about young adult life. The way Giselle described her eating disorder was very clear and informative.

Although the ending confused me a bit, overall I loved this book, and will definitely pick it up in the future.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mental Health Awareness Week Readathon | May 2015

This week starts the Mental Health Awareness Week Readathon, which runs from May 11-17. This readathon takes place on Mental Health Awareness Week, and was created by Emma Petfield, in order to spread awareness of mental health through reading. Those participating are using the hashtag #MindfulReads, and Emma created a Goodreads group for this event, as well.

I decided to take part in this readathon because mental health is a big aspect of my life. I have both depression and anxiety, and I know a lot of people that also have various mental health disorders. Spreading awareness of these topics is so crucial because too many people believe that mental disorders aren't even real.

I also think that making a readathon out of this week is a brilliant idea, because often when we don't understand things, we read books to help us understand them. The same can be said about mental health. Reading is so important because it helps us become aware!

I made a whole video about it, including my TBR.


 If you don't want to watch my video, here is my TBR for the week.

memoir about depression
deals with eating disorders

main character has OCD
deals with suicide and bullying
deals with suicide

I'll have a wrap-up post at the end of the week, but if you want to follow along with my progress, you can follow my Twitter, Youtube channel, and Goodreads, all of which have links on the left side of my blog page!

I hope you'll join in on this readathon. I'm so excited. I'm about halfway through Skinny already, and I'm loving it!

Weekly Reads and Writing #12

Another mediocre week for me on the writing and reading front... But hey, at least I finished a book.

This past week I read the entirety of Easy by Tammara Webber. It is a New Adult book, something very different from what I've been reading. However, I ended up giving this baby five stars! It was seriously so good- not just enjoyable, but so well done. Check out my review for it here, and then go read the book if you haven't already!

ILY, Easy!
I've decided to put aside Afterworlds and Alienated for now, because I was getting into a slump with them. I'm still making my way through Dust, just slowly.

It's a pretty good book.
Admittedly, writing has been really slow going for me last week. I had a few good moments, but other than that, I haven't been on top of it. Unfortunately, this week I'm participating in a read-a-thon, so I probably won't write much this week either.

Writing Stats

Words This Week: 1,761
Total Words Written:  51,879

Really slacking since the end of Camp NaNo. I will probably pick up the pace the week after this one, once I'm done with the read-a-thon!

So that's where I'm at with things right now. I'm trying to read a lot more, but I know I need to make time for writing, too. Hopefully I can improve on both this week, but I will be doing more reading since I'm doing a read-a-thon!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Easy by Tammara Webber

With a beautiful romance and addictive plot, this book was so easy to get into and fall in love with. Despite my awful pun, it truly was a great New Adult novel that is definitely going on my list of favorite books. It contained a few minor flaws, but not enough for me to give it any less than five stars.

I have been hesitant to get into the New Adult genre because of the drama based plots and lots sex scenes that I try to avoid. But on a whim, I decided to pick up Easy, knowing it would contain both of these things. However, I was relieved and ecstatic to discover that if not overdone, both these things can be enjoyable and really bring a lot to the story. That is what I found to be true while reading Easy.

One of my favorite things about this book was the fact that it was so much fun to read, while still including a very serious topic. It had a combination of friendship, romance, and real life issues perfectly incorporated into the fast-moving, fun plot. Although the writing was simple, this story had a very strong plot and set of characters. Using a college campus setting, Webber took realistic views of sexual assault, and used them to create an amazing progression of the story. Each character dealt with the situation differently, as people do in real life. Also, let me just say the girl power in this book was so good! Despite the potentially dark topic, this wasn’t a dark book. With parties, friendship, boy drama, and the main character Jacqueline's spicy relationship, it was such a fun read.

Luckily for me, it didn’t have the crazy sex scenes I dislike. However, it did have a lot of hot and heavy make out sessions and foreplay scenes. But I thought they were written so well that I actually really enjoyed reading them. The intimacy between Jacqueline and Lucas was so vital to the story, and it progressed well as the story went on.

Jacqueline’s character growth throughout this book was amazing. It was subtle for most of the book, but by the end I was actually proud of her for fighting back against her abuser. She did things she was afraid to do, in order to help herself and another girl. She overcame her past relationship, and she allowed herself to open up to not only Lucas, but her best friend Erin. She was such a strong and enjoyable character to read about.

The two main side characters were also very well done. Erin, Jacqueline’s best friend and roommate, was strong from the beginning, always knowing what she wants. Their relationship was typical, the secondary character being outgoing and insistent to the quieter main character. While that bugged me at first, Erin was really a great friend. She was funny at times, and comforting to Jacqueline when she needed to be. I could tell that their friendship was genuine.

Lucas’s character seemed less developed at first. For a lot of the book, Jacqueline doesn’t know a lot about him. Yet as she learns about him, his true self starts to come through. By the end of the book, he opens himself up completely and I was left both proud of him, and wanting to hear more of his side of the story.

There were only a few incomplete things I would have liked more of. Jacqueline’s gay classmate, Benji, was nice, not a stereotypical gay character. I would have loved to have him incorporated just a bit more, instead of just being an accessory to the storyline. It also would have been more realistic if Jacqueline’s parents had been incorporated more. But at this point, I’m really just nit-picking, because this book was so well done.

I flew through this book, and I fully enjoyed it. It was both serious and fun, a fantastic read. The plot twists were heart-stopping and effective. I’m so happy with how the story ended. After reading just one of her books, I can say that I am easily becoming a fan of Webber’s work. I can’t wait to pick up the next book in this series (told in Lucas’s point of view!)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Weekly Reads and Writing #11

You would think after 10 weeks of doing these posts, I wouldn't forget to make one. But...I nearly did. Luckily, however, it's only Monday, so I'm not too late. This past week was slow for me, I must admit.

In the book department, I ended up finishing nothing, HAHA. No really though, I didn't finish a single book last week. I'm sort of working on three at the moment, which I started last week, but I might stop two of them, to focus on the one. While Afterwords and Alienated are both really good so far, I can feel myself falling into a reading slump with them, and I'm trying desperately to rescue myself.

I'm about 100 pages into Dust by Charlies Pellegrino, which is quite different from my usual reads. I'm liking it, though, and I'm hoping somehow I'll finish it by the end of the week. Maybe. IDK. Either way, I'm hoping it'll keep me out of a reading slump.

Since the end of Camp NaNoWriMo, I've severely been neglecting writing. I did write a bit last week, though, and I won Camp NaNo!

Writing Stats

Words This Week: 4,270
Total Words Written: 50,118

So I got some writing in, but not much. I need to get back into it, and not just stop 'cause of NaNoWriMo being over.

I'm hoping to do a lot better with both of these this week. I'm slightly busy, though, so I can't make any promises. Either way, I'm still looking forward to whatever I do get done this week.
Hope your week was better than mine! 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 Conclusion!

Yesterday was the last of the month, and thus the end of Camp NaNoWriMo 2015! As you can see by the banner above, I won! Whoo hoo! I reached my goal of writing 30,000 words!

Writing Stats:

Words Written: 30,002
Total Words: 50,002

I started writing my book on March 3rd, and over the course of the two months, I wrote 50,000 words! Considering I didn't need to push myself too hard, I think I did really well! I'm quite proud. Of course, 50,000 words isn't a complete novel, and I am just about halfway, so I still have a lot to write. I'm going to keep on writing, and I'm hoping to have my first draft done within this month or the next. It's really exciting to be nearing the end of writing my first real novel!

I hope everyone else reached their goals this month, and keep on working on writing/editing/whatever you spent the month doing. I've never been so excited about writing, and NaNoWriMo has really encouraged me to keep at it!