August TBR 2020

Welcome to another TBR post! This month, just like last month, my TBR is going to be quite short. That is for a couple of reasons. First, I plan on reading some of my longer books this month, which means that I won’t be able to read as many books. Second, I want to slow down my reading a bit to focus on some other things, especially since I’m going back to school in a month. I’ve already read around 80 books this year, which is really great, but there’s no need for me to read so fast, so I want to take it slow for now!

Anyway, let’s just get into the books!

Just Friends by Dyan Sheldon

This is my e-book pick from my TBR jar for the month! I honestly don’t know what to expect from it, and I have no idea what it’s about, but it’s been on my TBR for a long time now. I’m looking forward to finally knocking it off of my list.

If I’m being real truthful, though, I don’t really have too much interest in reading this one, and I have a feeling I won’t like it. I want to at least give it a try, though.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

I got this book on libby finally- which means I absolutely must read it this month! It’ll probably be one of the first books I read, actually. I’m really excited about it, and I’ve heard some great things.

I’ve really missed reading about Nikolai, even though I didn’t really love him as much as everyone else seems to. Maybe this book will make me care for him a bit more?? I don’t know, we’ll see!

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Yes, I’ve decided to make this month the one that I conquer this book. I realized that I’m going back to school in September, and I don’t want to read this book there, surrounded by my housemates, because they’ll then witness me sobbing for hours straight (which I’m expecting to do from this book). So, to avoid that, I figured I should probably get to it now!

That way, I can cry from the comfort of my own home. I am worried about this book because of it’s size, too. It’s so long and intimidating, but apparently I’m forcing myself to get over that fear this month.

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Everyone has been yelling at me to read this book and finish the trilogy! I hear ya, and I’m going to do just that!! I was able to get the audiobook of this one, which means it should hopefully be a decently fast read. I honestly can’t remember how the last book ended, so I’m going to have to read an online recap before then, but I really have loved the first two books. Maybe this one will be my favorite!

What books are on your TBR for the month? Have you read any of the ones I’m planning to? Tell me all of your thoughts in the comments, I want to know!

The Black Madonna of Derby Review // Blog Tour

Hello and welcome to my surprise bonus post for the week! Today I am so excited to be doing a blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources for The Black Madonna of Derby by Joanna Czechowska*. Thank you so much to Rachel for having me on :)

*All opinions are my own!

Synopsis:

During and after the Second World War, 200,000 Poles were given leave to remain in the UK as thanks for their help during the conflict-this book is a fictional account of just one of those families.Set during the 1960s and1970s,The Black Madonna of Derby traces the story of the Baran family living in a provincial town in England. Their seemingly ordinary existence hides secrets of past betrayal, madness, and tragedy.

The story focuses on three generations: the elderly grandmother whose proud Polish patriotism hides dark events from the past that affect the present, the mother whose tries to meld her past life in war-torn Poland and Germany with her new life in England and the granddaughter who lives a double life culturally and linguistically-Polish at home and English outside.

The swinging sixties in London is vividly recreated, as is the hardship of life under communism in thePoland of that time. This book is unique in that there are no other novels dealing with the story of second generation Poles in the UK. It is a story that deserves to be told, a story of a group of people who have had little attention in the literature. Listen to what they have to say.

Review:

I don’t usually gravitate toward historical works, but when I saw that this one was about a Polish family, I knew I had to check it out! As someone whose entire family was born in Poland, and who attended Polish school for 12 or so years, I definitely wanted to read about that perspective because I actually haven’t read any fiction books with Polish main characters (that I know of).

Immediately, there was so much that I recognized. From the food, to the Polish words, to the kids attending Polish school, among other things! I also loved that it was a multigenerational story, and so we got to see a bit of everyone’s history. It was so fascinating to learn!

One fault that I had with the book was that it took me a little while to get into. There were a lot of characters to keep track of, and I was getting a bit confused here and there. However, about an hour into the audiobook, I finally felt comfortable with everyone, and could differentiate the storylines.

Once I was fully immersed in this story, I did not want to put it down. I related to each of the characters in different ways, and it almost felt like I was a part of their family myself. This book was filled with tons of twists and turns- there were a lot of things that I didn’t see coming. This story was so layered and filled with history and pain and hurt.

It was honestly one of the most emotional reads of the year for me, and I will be thinking about it for a really long time, I can already tell!

My only other issue was with the narrator- I felt like she didn’t really do the book justice, as it felt a little too bland at times that should have been read with more enthusiasm. Also, some of her pronunciation of the Polish words or names wasn’t too great, so I wish that a Polish narrator had been chosen.

Final Thoughts:

This book truly deserves a piece of my heart and will be living in my mind rent free. I loved it.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

If you want to purchase the book for yourself, you can do so here!

What is your nationality or ethnicity? Have you ever read any books with characters with the same background as you?

A Surprisingly Good Reading Month? // July Wrap-Up 2020

Hello everyone! If you recall my July TBR, I created a super short list of books for myself to read because I didn’t think I was going to get a lot of reading done this month. Somehow, I ended up reading 10 books, though!

5 stars

  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison: This was my first read of the month, and I definitely started off on a good note! Toni Morrison just has such an incredible writing style. It’s unlike anything I’ve read before, and I definitely want to read more of her work.
  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid: I picked this up because I was seeing it all over bookstagram, and when I read the synopsis, it seemed so intriguing. The synopsis just doesn’t fully cover what this book is about. I was not prepared for the rollercoaster that it was, and it blew my expectations out of the water. It was such a great read. Also, I know there were some issues with the Reading Rush and them dismissing this book (which was their book club pick), so I want to really stress how great this book is, and please, pick it up if you haven’t already!
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: I finally read this book! I also watched the movie this month, and let me tell you- both were so incredible. I understand all of the hype for the movie now, and I think I might watch it again soon!

4 stars

  • The King of Crows by Libba Bray: I’ve talked about the Diviners series quite a lot recently, as I finally read it this year. I’m so sad that I’m done with the whole series now. This final book was not my favorite of the four, but I think it was a good ending to this world. If you haven’t yet read The Diviners, and it’s been on your TBR as long as it had been on mine, I definitely say you should pick it up ASAP. It was such a magical and fun story, and I didn’t want it to end.

3 stars

  • The Great Gatsby Graphic Novel Adaptation illustrated by K. Woodman-Maynard: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, so thank you! Unfortunately, I was expecting a little more from it, though. It’s hard for me to judge it because I don’t have a huge knowledge of graphic novels, but I think if you hadn’t ever read The Great Gatsby novel, this version of the story would be very confusing. It was just missing some plot points in between to make the story flow better. I did love the illustrations, though!
  • Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: I’ve talked about this book and my feelings a lot already, so all I’ll say is this did not live up to the hype for me. I was expecting to be blown away…and I just wasn’t. It wasn’t a bad book, but it just wasn’t really for me.
  • 1984 by George Orwell: I finally read this classic that has been on my TBR for AGES!! It was a good read. I definitely think it covers so many important topics, and it left me thinking about the current state of the world. It was good, just not a new favorite!
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney: This book has been talked about a LOT all over booktube, Instagram, and Twitter, especially with the show coming out. I have to say, I didn’t think it was that incredible. But, I’m watching the show right now, and I think I actually like it more than the book (which is hard to believe, ahahaha).

2 stars

  • The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman: This book has really high ratings on Goodreads, and I was really excited to pick this up. Unfortunately, I just had a lot of issues with the way it was handled. Overall, the racism was just never really resolved, and the main character was very selfish in terms of how things played out. I just didn’t feel great about it. But I really liked the love interest and wanted to hear more from his perspective, which I think would have improved this story for me.

1 star

Tell me about your reading month! How many books did you read? Did you find any favorites? I’d love to know!

And let me know if you’ve read any of the ones I did, and what your thoughts were on them!

The Highest Rated Books I’ve Read (According to Goodreads) & My Thoughts

Hello!

For today’s post, I thought it would be fun to take a look at my Goodreads shelves to see what the highest rated books are that I’ve read. I want to compare those ratings to my own ratings, and see if they match up!

I went to my read shelf on Goodreads and ordered it by average rating, starting with the highest! I took the first ten, and now I’m going to see how they compare!

I want to preface this by saying I skipped over the poetry collections (mainly because they were like the first 5 books or so), and I’m not including books by JKR (I no longer want to support her on this platform, not that I ever really have, but still).

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo- 4.60

My rating- 5 stars

I think it makes a lot of sense for this book to be at the top because it’s the second in a duology. People who read Crooked Kingdom are mostly people who read and enjoyed Six of Crows, so it makes sense for it to have a higher rating.

I definitely enjoyed Crooked Kingdom a lot more than Six of Crows. I think this deserves its place at the top!

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody- 4.55

My rating- 5 stars

I recently read this book and I talked about it in a wrap-up already, but I really did love this book. It helped me out with the structure of my outline, and it completely changed the way I view stories now, in the best way possible.

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon- 4.55

My rating- 5 stars

So far, all of these ratings match up with my own opinions really well. As many of you know, I read and LOVED this book, which actually comes out today, the day this post is up! If you haven’t already, check out my review because I share all of my feelings there. I really did love this book, though!

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi- 4.54

My rating- 4 stars

This was a really great non-fiction that recounts the history of racism and slavery in the United States. It was a super valuable read for me, and I gave it a high rating! The reason it wasn’t a 5 for me was because I felt like there were some parts that were a little too info-dumpy, and could have been condensed a bit.

Becoming by Michelle Obama- 4.54

My rating- 5 stars

Michelle Obama is one of my favorite people on this planet, and I feel like the majority of the world agrees that she’s incredible. Her memoir is definitely one of my favorites, and I highly recommend picking it up! Her having a high rating is very well-deserved.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas- 4.52

My rating- 5 stars

Angie Thomas is obviously up on this list, and rightfully so. There was no possible way I could give The Hate U Give anything less than 5 stars, and I’m honestly surprised this one isn’t at the top of this list. Either way, it is a phenomenal piece of art, and if you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for?

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta- 4.51

My rating- 4 stars

This is a novel told in verse and it was so so beautiful. I read it in one day, I believe, because I couldn’t stop listening to it. If you are looking to get more into novels in verse, I suggest picking it up. I gave it 4 stars because I felt like there were some scenes that could have been expanded on a bit more, but overall it was a fantastic read.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens- 4.48

My rating- 3 stars

We finally have one slightly controversial opinion. I just read Where the Crawdads Sing, and if I’m being completely honest, I did not enjoy it all too much. I found it to be quite boring and not as exciting as everyone made it seem to be.

Don’t get me wrong, the writing was really great, but I just didn’t care for the plot or the characters at all. I personally do not understand why so many people hype it up.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo- 4.45

My rating- 4 stars

I already talked about this earlier with Crooked Kingdom, but I definitely preferred the second book over Six of Crows. I enjoyed SoC, but for the majority of the book, I was sort of confused by it. I kept getting lost by which character was who, and I honestly didn’t know what was happening until the end of the book.

However, I enjoyed Crooked Kingdom a lot more because I was familiar with the cast and I could actually follow along with the story from the beginning!

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson- 4.45

My rating- 5 stars

We are ending with yet again, a great book. This is a memoir, and I listened to the audiobook, which really brought this story to life for me. I absolutely adored it, and I am hoping to buy a copy for my collection as soon as possible!

If I’m being completely honest, I thought this post would be more interesting because I thought my opinions would be more controversial. However, it seems like my opinions of the books matches the general readerships opinions. These are some well-deserved highly rated books!

Tell me, what did you think of some of these? Are there any that you think shouldn’t have such a high rating?

The Stuck at Home Book Tag

It’s been… a long time since I’ve done any sort of official tag post (aside from the Mid Year Freakout). I love doing tags, though, I really do. They are so much fun and I get to talk about things that I normally don’t talk about!

Today, I wanted to do the stuck at home book tag, even though I’m a little late (BUT it’s the perfect opportunity to remind you to please continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands, etc.! This virus isn’t over yet!) because I was tagged to do it by Juli from Kozy Words! I am so excited— and thank you Juli!!

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Answer all the questions down below
  • Link back to the creator: Ellyn @ Allonsythornraxx
  • Nominate 5+ bloggers you’d like to know more about, to do this tag

The Questions

What are you currently reading?

This is definitely not going to be accurate by the time this post goes up, but I’m currently reading The King of Crows by Libba Bray—meaning I’m FINALLY finishing The Diviners series!! I’m not very far into it as of now, but I am really excited to see how this story ends. I have been waiting months for my hold to come in from Libby, and now that I have it, I am going to devour it!

What’s your favorite “can’t leave the house” activity?

At the beginning of self-isolation, my favorite activity was hiking and baking. I was going on hikes pretty much daily. My dad, sister, and I would explore all of the parks and trails near us that we’ve never been to (we just moved here a little less than a year ago), and it was such a great experience. I was getting more fresh air than ever before, and I was feeling my best. Unfortunately, it is now usually too hot to go during the day, and no one in my family would wake up early enough to go with me in the mornings. So, now I mainly go on runs around my neighborhood or at the nearest track by me.

I also love baking, but that’s something that I’ve been doing less of once again. I think I just got bored of it after a while (oops 🙈) because I was making the same few recipes. I have to try out something new soon. Speaking of baking, I did a whole post where I tried different recipes from books, so check it out!

A book you’ve been meaning to read forever?

Umm… my entire TBR. There are honestly too many to name, so I’m not even going to try.

An intimidating book on your TBR?

Right now, I’m most intimidated by A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. I want to finish this series before the summer ends, but I keep putting it off. The book is just so long. Plus, I read the first two as audiobooks, so having to read the final one physically is worrying me a little bit.

I also have an entire post that just went up on Tuesday about books that I am intimidated by, so check that out, too!

Top 3 priority books on your TBR?

  • The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  • A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti

Recommend a short book!

I can’t recommend just one because I’ve read quite a few that I LOVED recently, so here’s another list:

  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
  • Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Recommend a long book!

This book isn’t really that long (498 pages), but I don’t read a lot of tomes. I’m going to recommend The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern because it’s one of my favorite (if not #1 favorite) books of all time.

Something you’d love to do while stuck at home?

I would love to start working more on my undergraduate honors thesis for school. I want to start the planning, researching, and early development of it because it would get me ahead once classes start in the Fall! I’ve already done a bit of outlining and research, but my goal for August is to do even more.

What do you plan on reading next?

Next on my TBR as of now is Sociable by Rebecca Harrington!

The Tags

I don’t like tagging people anymore but if you want to do this post, consider yourself tagged!

Are any of these answers the same as yours? Let me know! And tell me how you feel about any of the books I mentioned :)

Books that Disappointed Me

We all get SUPER excited about a book- whether it’s by an author we love, a hyped book by everyone, or just one that sounds like it would be perfect for us. But, you end up being really let down by it because it just didn’t live up to your expectations.

Recently, I’ve been feeling a little underwhelmed by quite a few books, which is why I thought I would share what they were! I decided to pick a few books that fall under these three categories and explain why I felt disappointed by them!

HYPE

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: This is one that quite literally EVERYONE loves. I have seen it hyped constantly, and when I posted on Instagram that I had started reading it, everyone told me how much they had loved it. I went into it expecting it to be a life-changing book, but I was a little underwhelmed by it. I kept waiting for something more from it, and that just never came. It wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t as good to me as everyone made it seem.

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles: This book doesn’t come out until next month, and I’m actually going to have a whole review up for it (stay tuned), but I have seen all of the early reviews BUZZING about this book. The cover drew me in initially, and then I heard it was about magicians so I was completely sold. Unfortunately, I found the writing to be a little…off. It felt like pieces of the story were missing, and I was quite lost for a lot of it. I will say, the ~vibe~ of it was so fun, but the actual story wasn’t great, in my opinion.

AUTHOR

Finale by Stephanie Garber: This is one that I was disappointed by because I really enjoyed the first two books in the trilogy. I was SO excited to see how this story would end. Unfortunately, the dual POV in this story just didn’t work for me. I appreciated what Stephanie was trying to do, but it fell really flat.

Save the Date by Morgan Matson: This is one that I know a lot of people will agree on with me- I’ve only read one other Morgan Matson book (The Unexpected Everything), but I loved it. A lot. When I saw a copy of her latest book—SIGNED, too—at Bookcon, I purchased it immediately. But…it was bad, in my opinion. I didn’t feel the same attachment for the characters, and I didn’t care about the story at all. It was all super exaggerated, to the point where I couldn’t enjoy the story.

SYNOPSIS

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman: This book sounded like it would be perfect for me. It was described as a romance about a bookworm, and I really thought I would relate to the character and fall in love with the story. Unfortunately, like the other books in this post, it was not for me. It was not very well developed or structured for me, and there was absolutely no chemistry between the main character and the love interest. I did like Nina’s character, though, I just wish the story dived deeper into different parts than it did.

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin: I don’t read quite as many mystery/thrillers as I would like to, but so far I’d say I’ve been pretty lucky in that most of the ones I have read were really good. That wasn’t the case with this one. I love escape rooms (even though I’ve never done one- the idea just sounds so cool, ok?), so I thought the concept for this book was great. The execution? Not so great. It was just boring, which is quite sad.

Obviously, these are only a handful of books that have disappointed me, so I am curious to know what some of yours were! Do they fall into one of these three categories? Or is there a different one?

Leave a comment letting me know!

Books That Intimidate Me

I have a bookish fear, and that is a fear of long books. I don’t know why, but just seeing them on my shelves stresses me out, and I tend to put them off for a really long time.

Today I thought I would share a list of some of the books on my TBR that are really intimidating to me. If you’ve read and enjoyed them, please let me know! I need all of th encouragement I can get to finally pick these up.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life

I just purchased this book recently, and I knew it was going to be a long one. But now that it’s actually in my hands, I am terrified of it. I feel like it will take me a really long time to read, and that is stressing me out.

Luckily, this is one I know that almost everybody loves (despite it being a really sad read), so that is giving me some hope hahaha!

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina

Just hearing the name of this book truly gives me nightmares. Not only is it nearly 1000 pages, but it’s also one of those classics that everyone loves. Do you know how intimidating that is?? I feel like the English minor in me HAS to read and love this one.

I mean, the Goodreads synopsis calls it “the world’s greatest novel.” That is a lot of pressure for me. But, in all seriousness, I do think I will enjoy this one!

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

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I’ve recently been seeing many people talk about this book, though it has been popular for quite some time now. I’m mostly just intimidated by this one because of its size, but also because of the fact that it is classified as a horror novel.

I’m not one to be spooked too easily by scary books or movies (in fact horror is one of my favorite movie genres), but I do know that quite a few people have said this one has kept them up at night!

Dig. by A.S. King

Dig AS King

A.S. King is one of those authors whose work I know I will love, I just haven’t picked up  yet. I think the reason this one intimidates me is because a lot of bookish people I look up to give this one super high praise.

To most people, this would sound like a good thing, but I am afraid that I won’t love it as much as they do. Which would make me question my entire existence (not to be dramatic or anything).

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House

This book has been on my TBR since before it was released last year. I’ve owned it since pretty much the first month it came out, but I haven’t yet picked it up because of the mixed reviews it has received.

Some people love it, while others completely hate it. I obviously want to be one of the people who loves it, but that is never guaranteed. It sounds like a book I would really enjoy, but who knows?

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

A Conjuring of Light

Finally, the last book on this list is here because not only is it the last book in a trilogy, but it is also the longest one. Reading the last book of a series you’re enjoying is always a little worrying because it can either make or break the entire series for you.

I thought the first two books were great, but what if I hate this one? Then this will be my last impression of the whole thing!! I’ll feel like I wasted my time if I am not satisfied by the ending. But, if I love it, it will make the entire read worth it!

let's chat

What are some books that intimidate you and why? Please let me know in the comments!

Jessica

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon // ARC Review

Rachel Lynn Solomon’s book ‘Our Year of Maybe’ has popped up frequently on my Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Goodreads, and it’s been on my TBR for so long because of that. I had never actually read one of her books, though. Until last month.

And now I need to read the rest of her books immediately!

Today Tonight Tomorrow was a PHENOMENAL book. I ate up the story in a matter of two days because it was just so engaging and f u n.

Ok, before I gush about this book even more, let me tell you what it’s about…

Goodreads Synopsis:

Today, she hates him.

It’s the last day of senior year. Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been bitter rivals for all of high school, clashing on test scores, student council elections, and even gym class pull-up contests. While Rowan, who secretly wants to write romance novels, is anxious about the future, she’d love to beat her infuriating nemesis one last time.

Tonight, she puts up with him.

When Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan has only one chance at victory: Howl, a senior class game that takes them all over Seattle, a farewell tour of the city she loves. But after learning a group of seniors is out to get them, she and Neil reluctantly decide to team up until they’re the last players left—and then they’ll destroy each other.

As Rowan spends more time with Neil, she realizes he’s much more than the awkward linguistics nerd she’s sparred with for the past four years. And, perhaps, this boy she claims to despise might actually be the boy of her dreams.

Tomorrow…maybe she’s already fallen for him.

Review:

First, let’s talk characters- Rowan Roth is smart, loves to read and write, and has a bit of a self-sabotaging personality trait. She was so relatable to me as someone with very similar interests and school habits to her. Sometimes her thoughts were so frustrating because you wanted to just shake her and tell her its okay to honest with yourself. But I definitely enjoyed her character arc. She made mistakes but she learned from them and actively worked to fix them in the end.

Neil McNair was equally as entertaining. He had his own unique quirks (like wearing suits to school everyday) which I really enjoyed reading about. More importantly, we learn so much about him and his personal life. Throughout the book, we get to uncover so many different layers of him, and it made me want to give him the biggest hug.

Overall, I think the characters were done really well.

As far as plot, I thought it was so much fun. Basically, the book takes place over the span of 24 hours, so it is very fast-paced. I was flying through it, as I mentioned earlier. Basically, we follow Rowan and Neil as they team up to win a game of senior scavenger hunt. I think the timeline aspect of this was really well-done. It didn’t feel like it was being dragged on just to fill up space. Each page had a purpose and it moved the story along. I will say, some parts of it were a little predictable, but that’s something I don’t mind (unless I’m reading a mystery/thriller).

The book tackles topics such as antisemitism, violence and a parent in jail, poverty, sex-positivity, and so much more. I am in awe at how much depth and rawness there is in this story. Rachel was able to convey so much in such a short period of time. In addition to those topics, the story also captures my feelings of leaving high school so well- it’s scary, it’s hard, it’s sad. But it also means you are moving onto something new.

I also really enjoyed the setting of Seattle, too. Though I have never been to Washington, it has always been a bucket list trip for me. This book shows us so many different parts of the city in great detail— it almost felt like I had been there myself.

There was also mixed media scattered throughout the story- a checklist, text messages, emails, flyers, etc. This added a little something to the story, and it made me love it even more.

If you couldn’t tell already, I gave this book a 5/5 stars!

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop gushing about this story. Please, please, please pick it up– it comes out one week from today!

If you have read it, please tell me what your thoughts were!

July TBR 2020 + Camp NaNo Plans

Hello everyone! If you missed my last post, I talked about how June was my best reading month ever in terms of quantity. I read 19 whole books!! So, for July, I decided to slow things down and take my time with reading!

I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month, and I really want to focus my time on writing. So, that means I will most likely be doing much less reading. But I’m okay with that! I also want to allow room for picking up whatever I want, instead of limiting myself to the TBR I pick. Also, I am planning on participating in The Reading Rush, though I’m going to make my TBR up as I go, so no official one this year!

So, I have chosen three books (though I’ll probably read more), which makes this probably my shortest TBR ever on this blog. One is a TBR jar pick, one is a libby loan, and the last one is an ARC.

So, without further ado, let’s get into it!

The Great Gatsby Graphic Novel illustrated by K. Woodman-Maynard

I got approved for this ARC very recently and I requested it on a whim- I have been wanting to dive into the world of graphic novels, but I didn’t know where to start. I figured going with a book that I already love would help ease me into them.

I definitely want to pick up more, though (Heartstopper is on my list for sure), so please recommend me some of your favorites- contemporary preferred.

Sociable by Rebecca Harrington

This was my TBR jar pick for the month, and in all honesty, I have no clue what it’s about. I’m assuming it’s about social media in some way, but aside from that, I do not know too much. I did take a quick glance at the reviews for this one, and they weren’t too great, so I am worried about reading it. Hopefully it will be something I at least somewhat enjoy, though!

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Finally, we have a book that I am BEYOND EXCITED to read! I have the audiobook on Libby, and I have been waiting for July to start so I could read it! I read and loved Beloved by Toni Morrison last year, and it completely blew me away. I have heard even more amazing things about this one, so my expectations are very high. I love Morrison’s writing, so I am sure I will love it!

Camp NaNo Plans

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month! Last month, I hosted a writing challenge where I set a goal to write for one hour every single day. I got to about the 50% mark of my novel, which is so incredible to me!! This is probably the most I’ve ever written for any novel I started.

For July’s camp, my goal is only set to 15k words, mainly because I know that I won’t write every single day the way I did in June. But, my more ‘lowkey goal’ is to finish the first draft of the book. That would be an amazing achievement on my part, though I do not know if I will be able to do it!

Anyway, if you want to add me on the NaNo website, my username is @jessicacwrites :)

My novel is a YA contemporary about an overachieving girl who wants to go to Columbia University. When she gets differed, she has to find a way to make her application stand out more- so she joins the track and field team!

That is a very basic summary, but it also involves some (mild) hate to love, a ballerina best friend, and MI representation!

Here’s an aesthetic board I created:

If you want to see more updates from me about it, I will be posting on Instagram and Twitter, so be sure to follow me there, too!

What are your plans for July? Are you going to do a lot of reading? Or maybe you’re participating in Camp NaNo, too? Let me know in the comments :)

My Biggest Wrap Up EVER! // June 2020

On average, I’d say I read between 8-10 books. During quarantine, this has gone up quite a bit, and I’ve been able to read around 12 books per month. I don’t know what happened in June, but I read NINETEEN books (and had one DNF). That is more than I have ever read in a single month before.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about all of these, but here they are!

Currently Reading

  • Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles: Okay, as you all know, most of my wrap-up’s include the book I’m currently reading when I have plans to finish it before the month ends (I still have one day left to finish it, and I think I will!!). I will update you all on my rating after I read it, but I will also have a review up for it in August :)

5 Stars

  • Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody: I read the majority of this in May, so I don’t know if it reallyyyy counts, but I’m counting it anyway. This was really good for helping me with the structure of my novel, and I highly recommend it for all writers!!
  • Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson: Jacqueline Woodson is one of those authors you absolutely need to read. This was a short book, but it contained so much inside of it. We get to see the lives of different family members through short vignettes, and I really enjoyed it.
  • Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo: Elizabeth Acevedo is forever going to be a favorite author of mine, so there should be no surprise that I gave this one 5 stars!
  • Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane: I have been loving adult contemporary novels recently, and this one was no exception. If you like books that focus on families and characters (rather than plot), you will most likely enjoy this!
  • Beach Read by Emily Henry: I know that this has been getting a lot of hype (and some mixed reviews), but I personally loved it. I thought it was so fun and light-hearted. Plus, I could relate to the characters in terms of having an interest in writing!
  • Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo: I knew I would give this one five stars after really enjoying Six of Crows! I personally loved this one even more because I was much more familiar with the characters and the story.
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson: I picked this one up on a whim after seeing so much hype for it. It was a beautiful memoir, and I can not wait to buy a copy for myself.
  • You Should See Me in A Crown by Leah Johnson: This is quite possibly one of my new favorite books of all time. It was such a great book, and I don’t even know how to describe it in words. Please check it out!
  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: I really adored this story. I love Celeste Ng and she is now a new favorite author of mine! I probably liked Little Fires Everywhere a little bit more, but both were equally incredible!
  • Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon: This book was SO MUCH FUN. I loved everything about it, and I will talk even more about it in a blog post next week, so stay tuned for that 👀

4 Stars

  • The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta: This was another very beautiful book. It is the story of a boy figuring out his identity and sexuality- I listened to the audiobook and highly recommend it. The cover is also one of the most gorgeous ones I’ve seen.
  • Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi: This is a non-fiction book about the history of racism in America. There was so much that it taught me, which I never would have learned otherwise. It is such an important read, and I think everyone should pick up.
  • King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender: I don’t read a lot of middle grade, but whenever I do, it always blows me away by how good it is! This one was no exception. It explores grief, racism, and sexuality.
  • Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams: This was such an incredible read. It’s very different from other books I’ve read, in that the voice of the main character is so unique and fresh. She’s not afraid to say what’s on her mind, but she’s also self-destructive and hits some low points. I will be thinking about this one for a long time.

3 Stars

  • Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson: This was a solid story, but not my favorite of the three Jacqueline Woodson books I’ve read. It was a good read, and I enjoyed it!
  • Letters to the Lost by McKayla Debonis: McKayla is coming out with a new poetry collection, and you all need to read it! Her collections are always so personal and raw, but I love them all because of this! You can really relate to her words.

2 Stars

  • You Are Not Your Thoughts by Frances Trussell: This was a nonfiction guide to mindfulness and meditation, but it just felt way too basic for me. The first few pages were really good, but then the rest kept repeating itself and it felt more like the author was spouting cliche philosophy. I wanted more from it.
  • The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abi Waxman: I was SO excited about this book. It’s about a girl who works in a bookstore, loves to-do lists and routines, and loves to read. Hello- that’s basically me. Unfortunately, there were just too many flaws with the structure of this book. It’s pitched as a romance, but the romance was so cringeworthy- there was absolutely no chemistry between the characters. I would have preferred to learn more about the newly discovered family of Nina, but that fell short, too. Just not for me, unfortunately.

DNF

  • Cursed by Thomas Wheeler: I started the audiobook for this and I was so lost the entire time. I got up to 30%, but I honestly couldn’t get into it at all.

How was your reading in June? Did you read any new favorites? Let me know in the comments :)