Books & Blogging in May (a wild wrap up appears)

maywrapupI made a wild claim in yesterday’s post that I wasn’t going to do a wrap up for this month, but I’m feeling slightly better today, slightly more collected, slightly more in control of emotions. (The black cloud of grief is steadily clearing above my head, but man, it’s been a sucky few days.) Ergo, with June just on the horizon (how? and more importantly, why??) I bring you my Wrap Up for the month of May!

I’m linking up with Sunday Post for this, though it’s more of a monthly recap than just what’s happened in this last week. (I’ve never met a rule or clearly defined set of instructions I couldn’t weasel my way around…)

whatiblogged

I had a good blogging month, lots of memes/tags and Tuesday Top Tens, and lots of lovely comments from all of you!! Here’s a quick list of what I posted over the last month:

1. First Draft Fatigue? How To Stay Motivated When Your Story Has Lost Its Steam
2. Weekend Writing Warriors
3. Problems Every Reader Can Relate To
4. Beautiful People, May Edition
5. The Moments I Look Forward To Whenever I Reread Harry Potter
6. Ten Authors I Would Never Ever Be Able to Meet
7. Sickles and Sixpence: Deciding Your Fantasy World’s Currency
8. Ten Books That Made Me A Better Writer
9. The Tom Hanks Book Tag
10. Ten Books That Would Genuinely Help If You’re Stranded on a Deserted Island
11. The Endless Possibilities Readathon!
12. The passing of my cat, Dylan

whatiread

I read 5 books this month (I finished three of them before May 5th, and spent the next several weeks in a slumpity slump I never thought I’d break out of. I finished two books in the last couple days, though, so I AM bouncing back!) Here are some quick mini-reviews:

my rating system:

5stars5 stars: Life changing. New Favorite Book of All Time.
4stars4 stars: Really great, loved it, highly recommend.
3stars3 stars: Liked it, but I wouldn’t necessarily read it again.
2stars2 stars: Didn’t enjoy it, but it didn’t make me mad.
1stars1 star: I have a personal vendetta out for this book now.

nha1Northanger Abbey; 4 stars4stars
In the beginning, I genuinely thought this was going to become my favorite Austen book. For some reason, I was just hooked. But the ending fizzled a little for me — I know this was her first novel and I don’t think it was published for a very long time (maybe even after Austen’s death?) and the story just didn’t feel complete. I wasn’t as interested in the Abbey itself, and I didn’t really care for the romance. (I sincerely thought Catherine was going to end up with the guy’s DAD at the beginning, and that that was going to be an ~exciting twist. Instead, it was kinda bland.) EVEN SO, the writing was beautiful and I gobbled the book up in just a few days, so it’s still a solid 4/5 stars from me.

alliknowAll I Know Now, Carrie Hope Fletcher; 4 stars 4stars
I was definitely older than the intended age for this book, which is an adaptation of Carrie‘s blog, All I Know Now, but I still really loved what she had to say about being positive, and kind, and always using your words to communicate honestly with people. Carrie is such a bundle of perfume-y flowers and warm comforting sunshine, I just want to reach across the Atlantic ocean and hug her until rainbows squirt out. (it got weird real fast, guys.)

theheirThe Heir, Keira Cass; 4 stars 4stars
I don’t even know. I’m trash. I love this series. It’s such candy. No sustenance. No substance. Just  a glob of sugar and coloring and glitter that probably shouldn’t even be edible. I read this book in probably one day? Maybe two? I know a lot of people had problems with the time jump, the bratty main character, the shadily vague ~there’s a rebellion let’s host a reality show to distract people~ plot line — I DON’T KNOW, I REALLY DIDN’T MIND? I wasn’t expecting anything more that sweet, delicious junk food, and that’s exactly what I got. Loved it, a fun time had by all, she should end up with Erik, I’m trash, a walking human garbage can, yes, I know this, don’t look at me.

downloadA Writer’s Guide to Harry Potter; 4 stars 4stars
I referenced a Harry Potter panel in my Ten Books That Made Me A Better Writer post that led me to purchasing this book — it’s a compilation of the lessons and workshops the author has done at various conventions and writer’s panels. I love it. I love Harry Potter, I love reading meta and theories and breakdowns about Harry Potter — there’s nothing that stimulates my creativity more than a whopping dose of Harry, and a critical look at the tactics JKR used to plot her stories and develop her characters is just — perfect to me. Heaven on paper.

emberAn Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir; 3 stars 3stars
This is the book that led to my huge month-long reading slump. I started it, got far enough in that I didn’t want to give it up, and then … just … slogged my way through the quagmire, so to speak.

I can say this book is a solid, middle-of-the-line 3 stars for me. I was interested enough in the story to read through to the end, but I can’t say I loved it. It never made me laugh or cry, no sentence or scene stood out as particularly amazing or meaningful. First person present tense is very difficult for me to get into, as is chapter-by-chapter alternating points-of-view, and I had a hard time connecting with the main characters. The romance is all tell; the characters either knew each other for years before the story starts and we’re merely told about the love and trust that exists between them, or they meet each other and fall into immediate, all-consuming lust.

Plus, there’s a lot of casual sexual violence in this book. Rape is treated as a constant threat, a grim reality, just something all the women and slaves have to deal with and … I don’t know. I dislike rape being used lately as a way to show how ~gritty and dark~ a fantasy world is. Sexual violence against women isn’t a subject I would ever include in my writing, and it’s really not something I want to read about. Couple that with clunky writing and emotionally passive, detached characters, and I can’t say I’m a huge fan.

whatiwrote

maywrite1

It doesn’t seem like I’ve written very much this month, but I think I actually have gotten a lot done. I’ve been working on books 5 and 6 of my WIP series (I’m operating under this idea what once I know exactly how everything needs to end, I’ll be able to revise and sculpt Book 1 into precisely what the story needs it to be.) This month has involved sporadic bits of writing. I had one 10k day, which was nice, but otherwise I’ve been doing a lot of revising and reorganizing (and rereading when I needed to be revising and reorganizing…) I think I’ve got the events of Book 5 just where I want them, though, so once I actually get my head out of the clouds (the stormy, crappy, gray and laden grief clouds) I should be in for a fun, productive June.

whatsnext

maywrite2*points to the instagram* That’s my motto for June. Write something even if it sucks. And also, read more! I’m participating in the Endless Possibilities Readathon, which will hopefully kickstart my June reading nicely. And I’m flirting with the idea of joining JuNoWriMo — at the very least, I’ll participate in their word sprints!

I also just noticed I only read ONE of the books from my May TBR — so, I should probably rectify that… 

PINK line

What about all of you guys? Link me to your monthly wrap ups! Did you read ANYTHING off your June TBR list, or go flying off in a completely different direction (or get stuck in a muddy sloppy slump as I did??) Leave a comment — let’s talk!

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9 thoughts on “Books & Blogging in May (a wild wrap up appears)

  1. I liked your desert island post- Mysterious Island reminded me of that old (silly) movie of the same name. I’ve never read the book, but I LOVED that movie as a kid. Maybe I should go track down one of those new translations.

    Have a great week. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Mysterious Island was on that list I haven’t read, but it sounds like I’d enjoy it. I’ll need to add it to my ever-expanding TBR.

      I hope you have a great week too!

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  2. Thanks for that review of An Ember in Ashes – I’ve seen a few reviews but wasn’t aware it had content in it referencing rape. I’ve been tempted to pick it up just because of how much I’ve seen it around but I’ll probably think twice now with content like that. What were the reasons you didn’t DNF it? I’m still really curious about it. I’m glad you are pulling out of a slump though, those can be rough.

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    1. I almost DNF’ed it multiple times, but by that point I was 200 pages in and it was an easy, quick enough read to push through to the end. I can see why people like it, there was lots of action and romance, and three-dimensional female characters all over the place. But there’s a lot of horrific violence discussed casually, and the rape content — it’s everywhere. Just an accepted thing every slave has to endure, a threat used against all of the female characters, and it’s heavily implied it’s the reason the main female villain is as cruel and cold to her son as she is. Just — I’m not that comfortable with even seeing the word “rape” in fiction, kinda kills the escapism aspect for me, and this book is just saturated with it. Like I said, it *was* an easy read, and I had this “I’m sure I’ll get into it eventually” mindset as I was pushing through, but … I dunno. Not a hit for me. You might disagree and find that you like it, though! Lots and lots of people have raved about it, so it’s clearly striking a chord with people.

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  3. All of those books sound amazing! And I agree with you whole-heartedly on The Heir – on the whole The Selection series, in fact! They can sometimes be cliche. And yes, the fourth book wasn’t necessary to the series, but I just can’t stay away! It’s a problem. Ask my therapist. (Aka Mittens, my loving, lazy cat who has read many books with me.) 😉
    And there’s a Tom Hanks book tag?!? I’m off to check that out! Great blog, Christina!

    Like

    1. IKR? The Selection series is just … like fun TV or something. You know it’s rotting your brain, but you’re too entertained to care. Apparently I would really enjoying watching The Bachelor or Bachelorette if I gave it a chance, because I’m so into the entire process of the Selection. Especially how The Heir turned it around on the guys. I’m rooting for SO MANY OF THEM TO WIN. I need the next book pronto.

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