I 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…)
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
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:
5 stars: Life changing. New Favorite Book of All Time.
4 stars: Really great, loved it, highly recommend.
3 stars: Liked it, but I wouldn’t necessarily read it again.
2 stars: Didn’t enjoy it, but it didn’t make me mad.
1 star: I have a personal vendetta out for this book now.
Northanger Abbey; 4 stars
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.
All I Know Now, Carrie Hope Fletcher; 4 stars
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.)
The Heir, Keira Cass; 4 stars
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.
A Writer’s Guide to Harry Potter; 4 stars
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.
An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir; 3 stars
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.
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.
*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…
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!