Status Update (+ A Court of Frost and Starlight Mini-Review)

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It’s been a busy couple of months for me, so I figured it’s time for a May update! I’m way behind on my reading goal and have a lot of ARCs to catch up on, but I’ve managed to at least make a dent in my TBR.

Mini-Review:

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A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

Rating:★★

It’s not that I didn’t like this addition to the ACOTAR books, it’s just that I didn’t think it was really…necessary?

I love Rhysand and Feyre, but I think we can officially say that their story has come to a close. I don’t feel as excited reading about them anymore, though I’m glad they’re getting their happy ending. This novella succeeded in getting me excited to read the next few books, which I predict will be about Cassian/Nesta (confirmed), Azriel/Elain (I need this), and the Lucien/Jurian/Vassa friendship trio.

I really feel the need to express my opinion about the confirmed next book in the series, which may be an unpopular one: I hate Nesta. She doesn’t come across as a strong and interesting character to me. She’s just horrible. I’ve never wanted to reach inside a book and strangle a character more. She’s selfish, mean, and self-pitying, for literally no reason. How could she do a complete 180 with Cassian and treat him the way she does? It doesn’t make sense. She also blames Rhys, Feyre, and the inner circle for becoming Fae, but like…bitch please. Enough.

Now that I have that off my chest, I’ll mention another thing that bothered me about this book: it was kind of boring. There was a lot of exposition (especially at the beginning) which was just tedious to slog through. I kept waiting for there to be at least some form of plot, but there never really ended up being one. The novella is entirely character-driven, which is totally fine, except I don’t feel like it added anything to this series. Nesta is still a bitch, Rhysand is still sexy, Cassian is still funny, Azriel is still my precious muffin, Elain is still kind of pointless, and Lucien is still kind of absent.

I’m glad that Feyre and Rhys’s story was wrapped up nicely, but now I’m ready to read about other characters in this world.

Currently Reading:

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Circe by Madeline Miller
Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

I started Circe, then went on vacation, then came home and got distracted by shiny new books, but as soon as I finish Sky in the Deep I’ll be going back to it!

ARCs to Read and Review:

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On Hold (For Now):

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Mystery & Thriller Week

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It’s Mystery & Thriller Week on Goodreads, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about some books that I have read and plan on reading!

Recently Reviewed:

Reviews:

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser
Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Currently Reading:

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I received an ARC of Our House by Louise Candlish from NetGalley.

Synopsis:

When Fiona Lawson comes home to find strangers moving into her house, she’s sure there’s been a mistake. She and her estranged husband, Bram, have a modern co-parenting arrangement: bird’s nest custody, where each parent spends a few nights a week with their two sons at the prized family home to maintain stability for their children. But the system built to protect their family ends up putting them in terrible jeopardy. In a domino effect of crimes and misdemeanors, the nest comes tumbling down.

Now Bram has disappeared and so have Fiona’s children. As events spiral well beyond her control, Fiona will discover just how many lies her husband was weaving and how little they truly knew each other. But Bram’s not the only one with things to hide, and some secrets are best kept to oneself, safe as houses.

To Be Read:

  1. Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

    This is (one of) my Book of the Month picks for the month of April, along with Circe by Madeline Miller. The synopsis sounds so creepy and weird… I can’t wait to read it!

  2. Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker

    My first K.A. Tucker book was Ten Tiny Breaths, which is one of my favorite books. I’ve read several other spin-off books in this series, but I haven’t touched one of her books in awhile. I’m especially excited to read a thriller book from her, since many of her books are romance.

  3. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

    I’ve had Bird Box on my TBR for over two years. I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet, but something about this book has kept it near the top of my list. It sounds right up my alley. Also, apparently it’s getting made into a movie?! Starring Sandra Bullock?! So now I have no choice but to read it as soon as possible.

March Wrap-Up

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I’ve been pretty busy, so it’s been a pretty slow month for reading overall. Still, I’ve managed to review a couple books and read some others that have been on my TBR. I just came back from a trip to Miami and I have another trip coming up in April, but my goal is to read at least ten books in the coming month (don’t hold me to it).

Books I’ve Reviewed:

  1. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
  2. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
  3. Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser
  4. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

 

Other Books I’ve Read:

 

  1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

    This book was so fun! I didn’t know how much I wanted to read a romantic comedy until I had it in my hands. I fully intended on saving this for the beach on my trip, but I couldn’t help but finish it in one day. It was funny, sexy, and very enjoyable. Why can’t I have a Joshua Templeman in my office? Life isn’t fair.

  2. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

    I’ve wanted to read another Neil Gaiman novel after reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and I’m so glad I finally did. This book was dark and fantastical and mysterious. Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar were probably the cruelest/funniest/most endearing villains I’ve ever encountered, and I grew to adore all the characters. The last 100 pages or so had me on the edge of my seat, and I love how everything unfolded.

 

Currently Reading:

I told myself I was only gonna read one book at a time, but here I am, starting two new books. To be fair, I picked up Sometimes I Lie from the airport and started it mid-flight. I’ll probably finish that one, then move on to finishing the The Snow Child.

 

Next to be Read (For Now):

The Best Books to Bring to the Beach

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In honor of my upcoming trip out of the frozen New England tundra and onto the warm, sunny Miami Beach, I decided to list some of my favorite beach reads! I always wait until the last minute to pack, so I’ll most likely end up overpacking (per usual). Don’t pull a Becca, and plan ahead for your beach necessities!

When I think beach reads, I mostly think of romance or contemporary fiction. I need something light that doesn’t require too much attention or effort, but still keeps me hooked.
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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

A murder mystery that takes place in a beach town. I actually did read this on the beach, and would recommend this to anyone in the mood for something highly addictive.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

A fast-paced mystery/thriller with an unreliable narrator. This was much better than I expected. It’s easy to read, and will keep you guessing!

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

A romance with an unexpected twist that completely shattered me.

All the Missing Girls by Jessica Strawser

A mystery/suspense novel about a young woman who returns to the town she grew up in to face a crime committed in her past. This one isn’t exactly a light read. Since it’s written in reverse, it’s a little bit more of a challenge to know what’s going on. Still, it was highly entertaining!

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

A short, atmospheric book that is both magical and frightening.

What I’m Bringing:

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

I’m so excited to read this! It’s not new, but for some reason I’ve been hearing a lot about this book lately. I’m definitely in the mood to read a workplace hate-to-love rom-com, so this is what I plan on bringing along on my trip.

Anticipated May Releases

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This month, my life was way too busy to keep up on my reading. I have several April releases in my possession that I haven’t even touched, and yet I’m already looking forward to the upcoming May releases. What can I say, I’m a magpie when it comes to new books!

April Releases Still on my TBR:

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May Releases:

Vicious by V.E. Schwab (New Edition)
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Vicious is one of my favorite books ever, and I’m so excited for this new cover to be released in May! It matches the cover of Vengeful, which will be released in September.

Legendary by Stephanie Garber
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Caraval blew my mind! I can’t wait to read the continuation of this story from the perspective of Tella, and to finally discover the identity of Legend. I’m super jealous of all the reviewers who received an ARC of this!

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
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I enjoyed Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood, and the synopsis for this one sounds so mysterious and creepy.

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
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I’ll never not read an ACOTAR book.

Book Haul – End of February

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I spoiled myself a little bit this month, so I wanted to share my recent purchases! I’m a lot more motivated to read when I actually own the books instead of having pretty little pictures on my Goodreads TBR list.

Pre-Order (Hardcover):

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I’m so so excited to read these! I recently featured To Kill a Kingdom on a recent Waiting on a Wednesday post. They both come out on March 6th (along with Children of Blood and Bone, another book I want to read!) and they’re guaranteed to arrive at my doorstep on the day of release. This is actually the first time I’ve ever pre-ordered a book, if that’s any indication of how much I want to read these ones.

The only question is, which one will I read first?!

Paperback:

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I’ve wanted to read The Goldfinch ever since I finished The Secret History. I feel like it might take me awhile to get to The Goldfinch, since its almost double (!) the length of The Secret History (which was a very long book) and I don’t have that kind of time commitment right now.

I’ve only ever read one other Neil Gaiman book (The Ocean at the End of the Lane) so I wanted to read more! Neverwhere seems like a good place to start. Eventually, I’d like to get to all of his books.

eBook (Kindle):

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Circe by Madeline Miller is one of my most anticipated releases of the year, so I wanted to start with The Song of Achilles! I love books that are based on Greek mythology, and I’ve only heard good things about this book.

I’m kind of nervous to read another Maggie Stiefvater book. Her writing is very pretty, but I find her books to be too slow and introspective for my liking. From what I’ve heard, The Raven Boys is very character driven, which is usually a big draw for me. People rave about this series, so I wanted to give it a chance!

 

If I ever finish Strange the Dreamer and The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, I might even be able to crack into these before the weekend!

Finding Motivation to Write

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Writing is hard.

It comes more naturally for some than others, but everyone has struggled with their own writing problems at one point or another. Perfectionism and self-doubt are the biggest obstacles for me; I struggle with them every single time I sit in front of my laptop, staring at a blank page.

I hit 45,000 words on my current project and I’m now closing in on 50,000. While I feel like this should be something to celebrate, I can’t help but feel like I should have more words written. I come down hard on myself for not spending enough time on actual writing, and instead spending time on editing what I’ve already written. I think this is where my perfectionism comes into play: I love editing (an unpopular opinion, I know). It makes me feel good to find the flaws in my writing and polish it into something I myself would want to read. There’s nothing wrong with editing while you write, but I find that this habit has slowed me down significantly. While it will save me from having to do more work later on, I would much prefer to look at the first draft as a whole. Still, I find it hard to continue on when I’m unsatisfied with the words I’ve already written. There’s been times when I’ve edited the same paragraph over and over again, only to look at the clock and see that an hour has gone by… an hour that could have been spent on moving further along with the project. I keep reminding myself to just write for now and worry about the editing part later. I think this is the best way to go, for my own sanity and productivity.

Self-doubt also creeps in while I’m writing. I can’t help but think to myself, would anyone want to read this? Would I even want to read this? The second question is by far the more important one. If you’re not writing for yourself, who are you writing for? You could write something that other people would love, but isn’t it more fulfilling to satisfy yourself? To have a finished product that you could be proud of? Sometimes I reread something and want to rip it to shreds. Other times, I reread something and can’t believe I was the one who wrote it. I try to hold on to these moments of confidence so that I may be motivated to continue.

Lately, I’ve found that if I seclude myself in a space that is not my apartment, I can get a lot more done. I can sit in a cozy cafe or a quiet public library and type for hours without even noticing the time go by. Now, I just need to find a routine. I want to be able to set goals for myself, to keep myself on a schedule. I find this to be another challenge to overcome, with my life being as hectic and unpredictable as it is. Still, this may just be another one of the many excuses I give myself. This whole process is a learning experience, and I’m taking it step-by-step while trying not to be too hard on myself along the way.

I will finish this project, even if it never sees the light of day, and I know that it will be an accomplishment that I will feel immensely proud of. Until then, I can only spend each day battling perfectionism and self-doubt with each word I type on the page.

Books I Loved in High School

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The other day I was looking at a collection of my old books, most of which I completely forgot that I owned or had ever even read. It got me thinking about all the books I loved in middle school and high school, and how I would feel about them now.

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Okay, I loved this book when I first read it back in high school. I wasn’t blind to all the problematic tendencies of the male MC, the bad writing, the corny scenes, and the flat characters, but I was willing to let it all slide because OMG sWoOnS. Of course, the reader that I am now wouldn’t even get past the fifth chapter. Seriously, this book is bad. Every single other character except Abby and Travis only exist to talk about Abby and Travis and how much the two of them should be together. There is literally nothing keeping these two apart except for their own stupidity. Travis is extremely immature and borderline abusive, and yet literally everyone thinks he’s a god. He does corny things like dancing on lunch room tables and singing to Abby while everyone else claps along, and we as readers are expected to think it’s endearing instead of horrendously cringe-worthy. There is no plot whatsoever. The sex scenes are atrocious. I’m getting mad just thinking about how much my teenage self liked this book.

Evermore/Shiver/Halo/Fallen/Hush, Hush/etc.

AKA, every paranormal romance Twilight rip-off that I was unable to keep my hands off from. Many of these were filled with characters that were either boring or abhorrent with derivative plots that didn’t make sense. They usually revolved around cheesy cardboard insta-love romances with hot brooding alpha males. While they were entertaining at the time, I would probably find many aspects eye-roll inducing now.

This leads me to the next obvious choice:

The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer

You were either obsessed with these books, or you’re lying. The Twilight Saga completely took over my life during my freshman year of high school. There isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said about this questionable series, but while there are many things I find mockable/humorous/disturbing now, I think these books were exactly what I needed at the time.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

This was a trilogy, but I’m sad to admit that I never read the last two books. Someone spoiled the ending for me, and it’s hard to finish a series knowing that it may not end the way you want it to. I really enjoyed this first book, though. It focused pretty heavily on a love triangle, which is usually a deal-breaker for me, but the two male leads were both endearing in their own way. I’m sure I could find something to pick apart if I read this book at this point in my life, but I remember loving it for the coming-of-age contemporary YA beach-read romance that it was.

The Vampire Academy Series by Rachelle Mead

Okay, if I reread these books now, I would probably still love them. What can I say, I’m a sucker for vampires (pun intended). Rachelle Mead is a talented author, and the way she writes is incredibly compelling. I was completely sucked into this world (I’m done now, I promise) and became invested in every one of the characters.

Honorable Mentions:

Anything Meg Cabot, Sarah Dessen, or Nicholas Sparks. My middle school/high school self definitely had more of a taste for humorous books and contemporary romances.

Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. I went through a huge phase of loving all things British.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. Because who doesn’t want to share a pair of pants among your friends for years without ever washing it?

The Giver, The Outsiders, and The Great Gatsby. Three of my most enjoyed assigned reads.