September Wrap-Up!

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Happy Friday!

How is your week going? Goodwill (a donation centre and thrift store) had a sale today, so of course I went and scooped up some goods. I absolutely love thrifting! It is like a treasure hunt, or a box of chocolates – you never know what you will find! Here is (part of) my haul:

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Yes! Those are the first 12 volumes of Sailor Moon, which was my favourite cartoon growing up. Seeing these on the shelves (in PRISTINE CONDITION), I couldn’t help but pick them up :’)

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Anyway, can you guys believe that it’s almost October?! I feel like I just did my August wrap-up post :’)

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I read 6 books this month – 5 audiobooks and 1 book in print – despite work, writing, pole dance classes, blogging, and everything in between. Sooooo I am quite proud of myself :’)

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (Audio) ★★★★/5

Griffin still loves Theo, even though he is bitter that Theo ditched him for his new boyfriend Jackson. When Theo dies in a drowning accident, Griffin realizes that Jackson is the only person who can understand what he is going through. I loved this book, which broke my heart in all the right ways. Check out my review here.

They Both Died at the End by Adam Silvera (Audio) ★★★/5

Death Cast informs Mateo and Rufus that they have 24 hours left to live. When the two boys meet using the Last Friend app, they make a pact to live their life to the fullest on their last day together. This was the book that I was eagerly waiting to be released. Although I liked the book, it was kind of… depressing. Click here for my review.

Will Grayson Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green (Audio) ★★/5

What is it like to meet another person who shares the same name as you (both first name and last name)? It must be a trippy experience. And that’s exactly what this book is. Super trippy :’) The writing is whimsical and laugh-out-loud hilarious, but I didn’t find the characters interesting or relatable.

Looking for Alaska by John Green (Audio) ★★★★/5

Miles “Pudge” Halter lives a pretty boring life… until he moves to a new school and meets Alaska Young, who is beautiful, unpredictable, and anything but boring. I absolutely loved the writing in this book, which made me laugh and brought me close to tears :’)

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks (Print) ★★★/5

Russell Green is living the perfect life as a loving husband, father, and executive in a successful advertising company. Then, everything crashes down when he loses his job and his wife. And of course, in true Nicholas Sparks fashion, another woman who comes to the rescue :’) Although this is an adult romance, it is surprisingly very, very clean (even compared to most Young Adult romances I’ve read this year.) I have a few qualms about some of the characters and the ending of the book, but I really enjoyed reading it.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (Audio) ★★★★★/5

This is the memoir of Dr. Paul Kalanithi, an accomplished neurosurgery resident with a love for literature. He spent his life in pursuit of one question: What makes life meaningful? He found himself confronted by this question when he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. This was an incredible book with absolutely superb writing, that made me think about how to live life to the fullest. One of the best books I’ve read all year :’)

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Kudos to these awesome bloggers and blog posts for either putting a smile on my lips, or giving me food for thought (or both!) 🙂

Mikaela @ The Well-Thumbed Reader gives tips about how to grow your blog. This is a must-read for newbie bloggers (such as myself)! And even if you have been blogging for a while now, maybe there are some tips that you will find useful here as well!

Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books talks about how to buddy read and how to write the best comments in the universe. These are only a few of the amazing posts on her blog 🙂

Dani @ Perspective of a Writer explains why we should all read subtitles! As a Chinese immigrant who had to learn English as a second language, subtitles have been a big, big part of my life, and even now I prefer to read subtitles rather than, well, listen to people talk on TV 🙂 How do you guys feel about subtitles?

Darren @ The Arty Plantsman is a botanical illustrator who also writes little tidbits about life, including a social experiment about making sure no one will sit beside you on the bus (it is hilarious). Check out this other post about how to help a friend or loved one who have depression.

Ryan @ A Writer’s Path gives advice to writers about how to put yourself out there. A must-read for all those who want to make it as a writer!

Michael @ Ex Libris discusses The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larrson and It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis on his Youtube channel! Kudos to Michael for making his first videos in English. Definitely check these out and show your support 🙂

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How was September for you? Do you love thrift stores? Are you a fan of Sailor Moon? What were your favourite cartoons or books growing up? Do you like fall? How do you feel about subtitles? Any favourite books this month? 🙂

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August Wrap-Up

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Hello everyone,

WOW, where did August go!? Can you believe that summer is over!? *Cries*

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The plus side: I am AMAZED by how much I accomplished this month: 35,000+ words on my manuscript, and I read/listened to seven books this month! (Not counting the book that I DNF’d, or the book that I am 90% done listening to as of today!) It’s a personal record that I am super, duper proud of 🙂

And psst……….. Did you guys notice the shiny new graphics?!

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The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (Audio) ★★★★/5

This is a heartwarming story about Molly who has had 26 crushes, but never actually dated. I love that this features a MC who is fat and takes medications for anxiety, and none of these traits had to be “fixed” by the end of the novel. I also love the amount of diversity in this book (lesbian parents, twin sister with a pansexual love interest, and YES, sperm donor babies)!!! Check out my review here.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandya Menon (Audio) ★★★/5

This was a super cute novel featuring who Indian characters, Dimple and Rishi, who have different takes on their traditional Indian upbringing. I love the diversity in this novel, but ohh… the cheese. Check out my review here.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Print) ★★★★★/5

This book tells the story of a girl, Melinda, who loses her voice after being sexually abused by a high school senior. With time, we watch as her wounds heal and she rediscovers herself and her own voice. Despite the subject matter, Melinda has a witty and dry sense of humour that makes me laugh. I absolutely loved this book and would read it again in a heartbeat!

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (Print) ★★★★/5

Holden Caulfield is expelled for the fourth time from his school. Instead of going home to face his family, he spends four days wandering New York city. During this time, we read about Holden’s thoughts, memories and experiences, as if he is confessing to us as a friend. I love that this book leaves us with something to think about, but it is a depressing, depressing book that was difficult to get through at times.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (Print) ★★★.5/5

An 83-year-old man named Eddie is the maintenance guy for an amusement park. One day, he saves a girl from a falling cart in exchange for his own life. On his way to heaven, he meets 5 people whose lives have intersected with his. I love how the author uses simple language to convey strong emotions, though I am not used to the use of the omnipresent narrator. (How do you guys feel about omnipresent narrators?!)

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (Audio) ★★★★/5

After losing his wife, Ove becomes a bitter man who lives a solitary life. Things begin to change when a cheerful couple moves in next door, as Ove rediscovers the kindness in his heart and comes to terms with his loss. This is a heart-wrenching book about grief and about healing. Ove is a complex character, and throughout the book, we learn about his past and how they shaped who he is as a person. Love this book, but warning: It is a sloooow book.

Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy (Audio) 4/5 stars

Jamie and Ryan were best friends as children, but things got weird during their last night as roommates at hockey camp. Now, as adults, they are in two different cities and drift out of touch. One day, the two meet again, and they have a chance to rekindle their friendship and maybe even let it become something more. This is a sizzling LGBT romance that got me hooked since day one. Absolutely loved it!!

The House of God by Samuel Shem (Audio) DNF

This book tells the story of medical interns and their lives. I liked House and Grey’s Anatomy, so I thought that this would be in the same flavour. I hated it. It is the first book that I’ve DNF’d since I’ve started blogging. The writing isn’t bad, and usually I don’t mind sex scenes that are well-written, but this book contains some of the worst, most distasteful and disturbing sex scenes I have ever read. 

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Here are some blog posts that inspired me this month that I want to share with you guys 🙂

  • Why I Read YA by The Orang-Utan Librarian: As a twenty-something who still read YA, I can absolutely relate to EVERYTHING in this blog post!!
  • Are Bookworms Too Materialistic? by Mikaela @ The Well-Thumbed Reader: Mikaela writes so many honest and thoughtful discussion posts. You should definitely check her blog out if you haven’t already!
  • Annie’s Approach to Writer’s Block by Annie Earnshaw @ Annie Likes Words: As a writer, it is important to take care of our minds! I love the tips that Annie shares in this post 🙂
  • How To Make Aesthetics 101 by Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff: Have you always wondered how to make aesthetics for your favourite book characters or characters in your own book?! Well… wonder no further and check out this awesome post!! Michelle makes it look SO easy and they turn out great!
  • Emotional Responses: Crying by Melanie @ MNBernard Books: Ever thought about what makes you cry when you read a book or watch a movie? Melanie comes up with amazing discussion topics and this is one of my favourites this month!

How was the month of August for you? What were your favourite books? If you have any posts that you are proud of, please paste your link below and I will take a look! 🙂

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July Wrap-Up and August TBR

Hello everyone!

WOW, is it me or did July just fly by!? This has been a whirlwind of a month for me: I read some books and wrote some words, this blog reached 100 followers (yay!!), Camp Nano happened, and then there is the rest of life.

Books read: 5

Eliza and Her Monsters tells the story of Eliza, the artist of a famous webcomic who struggles with making friends in real life. This was a super fast read for me, and I loved the dialogue, the illustrations, and the focus on mental illness, though I was not too thrilled about the last 1/3 of the book. My review is here.

In Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda (Audiobook), all is going well for Simon, who is still not-so-openly gay, until he is blackmailed into being Martin’s wingman. This was such a fun and fast read, that I could NOT put down until the very end. Becky Albertalli is an AMAZING writer. I loved reading her dialogues and I loved that this book left me with something to chew on.

All the Bright Places (Audiobook) is another book that touches on mental health. It tells the story of Finch and Violet, two high school seniors who meet on the bell tower and become inseparable. I liked the story, but felt that the pacing dragged. I did not like the performance in the audiobook.

The Hate U Give (Audiobook) tells the story of Starr, who witnesses the shooting of her best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. I loved that this book discusses the sensitive topic of police brutality and I believe that this is an empowering book for anyone who has experienced discrimination.

The Bad Doctor: The Troubled Life and Times of Dr. Iwan James (Graphic Novel) is a gem that I found in the hospital library (aka. my workplace). This book immerses us in the life of Dr. Iwan James, a family doctor who tries his best to care for his patients every day, many of whom have mental health issues. The thing is, Dr. James struggles with a mental illness himself. I loved that this book shows us that doctors are humans too, and that, for better or for worse, they are affected by the patients they see.

Books reviewed: 4

As you can tell, I am a bit behind on my reviews. It is hard to keep up, since I read faster than I review! Here they are in descending order: (Click on the name to read the review)

Words written: 51480

Happy end of Camp Nano everyone!

Good news: I’ve written 51480 words, which surpasses my goal of 50000.

Bad news: I am nowhere near done my novel. The thing is, I have about the attention span of a goldfish, so when I am 3-4 weeks into a draft, I am ready to cram everything into the back of my drawer and work on something else. The problem is, I am only 50% through.

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So… I guess I gotta keep on plugging on into August. Anyone else feeling like this? How do you stay motivated through that middle-of-the-novel slump?

By the way, for those who are new to my novel: Together We Will Live Forever (tentative titled) tells the story of Olivia, a neuroscience grad student and an aspiring artist, and Matt, who works at the art gallery and lives with his daughter, Zelda.

Some snippets from this month:

Thoughts exchanged: 2

This month, I discovered the magic of discussion posts! They are LOTS of fun for me to write and I love reading and responding to everyone’s comments! These are the two discussion posts this month: (More to come!)

Around the blogosphere:

DNFing, by Melanie @ MNBernard Books. I absolutely LOVE this discussion topic which addresses questions that have been bouncing around in my head: When is it acceptable to DNF? Should we review books that we have DNFed? There are no right answers, of course, but it is super interesting to read other bloggers’ thoughts on this topic.

How To: Write a Great Blog Post, by Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books. This is another AMAZING post about book blogging by Marie. It is definitely a must-read for any newbies out there (like myself), or anyone who is looking for ideas to write better blog posts!

August TBR:

Guys, look what I got:

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Yes, it’s an actual, physical TBR. Since our discussion about eBooks vs Actual Books, I’ve decided to (gasp) go and peruse a book store and AwesomeBooks (an online store for used books). Of course, I couldn’t leave empty handed.

Some of y’all are super speedy readers, but I can only read 5-6 books per month. Here are my top priorities for August:

(I am listening to the audiobook version of When Dimple Met Rishi, which is why it is not in the picture above. And yes, Our Dark Duet has been on my TBR for a while, but I will read it this month, promise.)

How is the month of July for you? What are your favourite reads? What is on your TBR? For the writers out there: how do you deal with that mid-novel slump?

June Wrap-Up and July TBR

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Hello everyone!

For the proud Canadians out there, happy Canada day! For me, the month of June was busy. It is also the first full month that I’ve been blogging. Today I want to tell you guys about what I’ve been up to this month, blog-wise and (if you stick around) life-wise.

Books read in June:

  • Want by Cindy Pon (Audiobook) is my greatest anticipation and biggest disappointment this month.
  • It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini (Kindle) is a heartwarming story about a boy’s struggle with depression. Loved it.
  • Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon (Kindle) is a page-turning rollercoaster of a teen romance novel. I was hooked by page one. Check out my review here.
  • My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga (Audiobook) is my favourite book this month. If you have a heart, you will love this.
  • Legend by Marie Lu (Kindle) is a typical YA dystopian romance/sci fi novel. I didn’t love it or hate it. Check out my review here.
  • The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (Kindle) is the second book in the Kingkiller Chronicle series (after The Name of the Wind). I liked it, though it is slower than expected. Review is here.

Novel progress:

My current project is a new-adult contemporary novella titled Together We Will Live Forever (tentative.) It tells the story of Olivia, a neuroscience grad student and an aspiring artist, and Matt, a single father who works at the art gallery.

This week, I began outlining the fourth draft of the novel. Afterwards, I will be recruiting beta readers. If you are interested, keep your eyes peeled 🙂

Want to read some snippets?

Favourite book quotes (Thoughtful Thursdays):

“If you want to know the truth of who you are, walk until not a person knows your name. Travel is the great leveller, the great teacher, bitter as medicine, crueler than mirror-glass. A long stretch of road will teach you more about yourself than a hundred years of quiet introspection.”

– The Wise Men’s Fear, Patrick Rothfuss

“So yes. It had flaws, but what does that matter when it comes to matters of the heart? We love what we love. Reason does not enter into it. In many ways, unwise love is the truest love. Anyone can love a thing because. That’s as easy as putting a penny in your pocket. But to love something despite. To know the flaws and love them too. That is rare and perfect.”

– The Wise Man’s Fear, Patrick Rothfuss

You don’t think in depression that you’ve put on a gray veil and are seeing the world through the haze of a bad mood. You think that the veil has been taken away, the veil of happiness, and that now you’re seeing truly.

– The Noonday Demon, Andrew Solomon

“Maybe growing up means disappointing the people we love.”

― Everything, Everything, Nicola Yoon

“I wonder if that’s how darkness wins, by convincing us to trap it inside ourselves, instead of emptying it out. I don’t want it to win.”

— My Heart and Other Black Holes, Jasmine Warga

Other notable posts:

July TBR:

Sophie’s life:

Carl and I drove across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver. We stopped by the beautiful Lake Louise, where he knelt down to propose. Yes, we are now engaged.

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How is the month of June for you? What are your favourite books this months? Do you have any goals for July (reading, writing, or otherwise)? What’s on your TBR?

Cheers,

Sophie