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Monday, February 25, 2019

February Wrap-Up



February is over!! *happy dances* 

I don't know about you guys, but I am *so* ready for spring to be here. 

That being said--February was a pretty good month for me, writing-wise.


Writing


In my January Wrap-Up post (which you can find here) I mentioned that I started the fourth draft of my manuscript. So far, I've only been able to reuse three scenes--because I am a chronic perfectionist when it comes to writing, which is really not a good thing to be. Buuut, I just hit 40,000 words in my draft--the end is in my sights!! 


(I mean, I still have, like, 1/3 of the manuscript to write still--but we're not going to think about that.)


Reading 



I finished Heir of Fire, by Sarah J Maas, and although I used to really like her books, I'm not as into super high fantasy as I used to be--so I'm still debating as to whether I will finish the series or not. 

I also read The Summer I Turned Pretty, and It's Not Summer Without You, by Jenny Han. I still have yet to finish the third book in the trilogy; although, I have to admit that the plot isn't as gripping as I wished it would be, so I don't know if I will end up finishing it. >.<

For school, I read I Am Malala, an autobiography by Malala Yousafzai, which was sooo inspiring! Highly recommend!

If you follow my Instagram, then you know that I participated in my school library's Blind Date With a Book event. The book that I ended up getting was Zodiac, by Romina Russell. And, as I said earlier, I'm not as into high fantasy as I used to be, and this novel was *very* high science fiction. I found it hard to get into the book, and so I unfortunately did not finish it. 

Films/Television 



I obviously had to watch National Treasure 2--and I loved it! 

TV show wise, I finished up season three of Riverdale. I also rewatched some Psych episodes--because, I love Psych. Enough said. 



Also, I binged some episodes of That 70'S Show. I can't recommend this to everyone, as there is some language, and a lot of off-color humor. 



Listened To 



Music-wise, I've been listening to a lot of Imagine Dragons and OneRepublic while I write. Also, when I'm having writer's block, I've been trying to listen to video game music, because it's supposed to help you focus. And--it's helping?? My go-to is the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild soundtrack. 

And as for just-for-fun music, I've been listening to Rachel Platten's music. (I really like the song Grace, from her album Waves.)

I've been listening to some Podcasts too, and I've been loving it! The First Draft Podcast brings on a lot of authors as guests, and I love being able to listen to the tips and anecdotes from my favorite writers. I've also been listening to Pretty Basic, with Alisha Marie and Remi Cruz, which is a lifestyle Podcast that I'm really enjoying. 


Miscellaneous 



My mom--I've mentioned her in multiple blog posts before because she is *the best*--got me a bullet journal for Valentines Day. (She knows I like notebooks more than candy, haha.) I've been using it pretty consistently now, and it's so helpful to keep track of everything. And, it's, like, oddly therapeutic for me. Reading and writing and journaling have always been big stress reliefs for me, though, so it's not a huge surprise. 

I'm trying to create a theme for my Instagram--and so far so good. I'm having some trouble posting consistently though. (As you guys probably know--I have trouble updating consistently on here too. *hides in shame* I literally posted on here twice this month. Twice.)

Also I have just entered--MAJOR FREAK-OUT TIME. 



I knew that my blogoversary was sometime in March, but I thought that it was, like, later in the month. Well, turns out that my one year blogoversary is NEXT WEEK. *screams* *flails*

If you guys have any recommendations for how I should celebrate--leave them down in the comments! :)

All GIFS via Giphy
Anyway--I hope all of you had a wonderful February. Do you have any goals for March? If you do--tell me down in the comments! 

(Also, please help with my blogoversary freak-out, haha.)

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Gilded Wolves Review

Image result for gilded wolves
The Gilded Wolves, by Roshani Chokshi
Age Range: 12-18 years



It's 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history--but only if they can stay alive.





Guys, I love a good treasure hunt. And this book was a GOOD treasure hunt. (It was actually the thing that made me want to watch National Treasure.) And while I love the adventures and the prospect of treasure, I love the cast of characters even more.

I honestly tried to pick a favorite from the group, and couldn't. I love all of them for different reasons!

One of the things I love most about Séverin is that he is a man of action. He had so much unfairly taken from him, and I loved watching him risk everything to get it back. He is a natural born leader, and would rather die than let anything happen to any member of his group. And in addition to being a leader, trouble making comes pretty easily to Séverin as well.

via Giphy

Tristan, who Séverin vowed to protect when they were just mere children, is as kind as they come. He pours his heart into each of his creations in the garden of Séverin's hotel, and adores nature so much as to keep a pet tarantula named Goliath, much to Laila's chagrin.

Laila possesses a unique gift that allows her to read any object she touches--where it is from, who made it, etc--as long as it's not Forged. And while that gift may be useful for Séverin's treasure hunting purposes, she's not proud of how she came to possess that talent. A baker, dancer, and the only member of Séverin's group not bound by an oath, Laila is a woman of many talents, and a powerful asset to the team. But that doesn't mean she intends to stay with them. Laila's on her own treasure hunt, searching for the only thing that can save her life, before her time runs out.

In addition to all that, Laila is also a great friend. Especially to Zofia, a Polish girl exiled from her school after she was charged with arson. Zofia's mind rotates around numbers, and she's as intelligent as they come. For this, I absolutely adore Zofia. I can totally relate to her social ineptitude. XD (Although, I would never start a fire in a school, or like math.) And even though I love Zofia, not everyone does.

Enrique, the resident historian and complete nerd of the group won my heart over the minute he danced across the page. He's always striving to be the best, and cannot stand it when Zofia outshines him. (He also tends to be rather snarky, which I always enjoy.)

Roshani Chokshi did a fantastic job creating a diverse group of characters, and included people from all different religions and ethnicities--a detail I loved about her book.

I will admit, at some points of the book, I was only reading for the characters. Roshani's writing is pretty flowery, and with a plot as complicated as hers, there were points where I had absolutely no idea what was going on.

I generally lean towards books with more dialogue than description, and although this book did not meet that profile, at the end of the day, I still enjoyed it. That being said, the end of The Gilded Wolves is by-far better than the beginning. There are a lot of things that need to be foreshadowed and set up to play out later, and while this does kind of weigh down the pacing at the exposition, it is totally worth it in the end.

You can find Roshani's website here and you can read a free excerpt of The Gilded Wolves here


So, have you guys read any of Roshani's books? If you have, did you enjoy it? Why or why not?

Monday, February 4, 2019

January Wrap-Up



January! Is! Finally! Over!

I don't know why--but January always seems to pass so slowly for me. Probably because I no longer have Christmas to look forward to, and so the cold weather is much less bearable than it was in December.

Me, waiting for Spring to come around.

Writing


This January, I started the fourth draft of my manuscript, and I'm feeling really good about this draft!

I also had some new ideas, and while I want to focus on my manuscript, I may or may not have already made Pinterest boards for them . . .


Books Read


To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

The Gilded Wolves, by Roshani Chokshi (review coming soon)

Renegades, by Marissa Meyer

Archenemies, by Marissa Meyer

Cinder, by Marissa Meyer (you can find my review here)


Television/Films Watched


I watched National Treasure for the first time, and man, was I missing out! I am a sucker for a good treasure hunt.

And I've been rewatching some episodes of Psych and Gilmore Girls lately.

I've also been watching the new Riverdale episodes every week, along with pretty much every other girl in my high school, haha. I have mixed feelings about season three, though.

Things Done


Such a specific title, I know.

This January, I survived my midterms. There was lots of studying. And lots of stressing. Lots and lots of stressing.


On a much brighter note, I went to New York City last week, because my mom is literally the best.

I went up to attend the Rick Riordan Presents event at Symphony Space, where Roshani Chokshi, J.C. Cervantes, Yoon Ha Lee, Rick Riordan, and Carlos Hernandez talked about all things writerly and mythological.

The presentation was recorded to be shown in classrooms, and so we were treated as a live studio audience. They had to restart things a few times, and we were given cue cards for things like Gasp, Chatter, and Laugh.


All in all, it was super fun. (Save for the child who kicked the back of my seat for ten minutes straight.)

And after the presentation, we got to go to a signing for all of the authors, except for Rick. All four of them were super nice and personable, and it was a wonderful experience.

I also went to a Lindt store, (their strawberries and cream truffle was to die for) and to the top of the Empire State Building. It was cold and windy, but still something that I was happy to check off my bucket list. (Especially because of its role in the PJO series :P)

And in other news, taking the subway no longer scares me! I'm now completely cultured and never have to leave my room again.


All GIFs via Giphy

Anyway, how was your January? What were some of your top reads this month?

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