April 2016 Wrap-up and Announcement

April was an insanely busy month for me. While I did not accomplish much in the way of blogging I did manage to read six books and two novellas. Before I begin I’d like to mention the two books I … Continue reading

February 2016 Wrap-Up

book signing books

Books I got signed at the book signing I went to this month. Note: the ARC in the image was acquired indirectly from someone who had received it from BEA, but gifted it to me when she learned about the signing. 

I read significantly less in February than I have in the last few months, but I’m okay with that. February was a much busier month for me, and I still managed to read some great books. I also managed to go to a book signing where I met Melissa Landers, Carey Corp, and Lorie Langdon. I rarely get a chance to go to book signings, so that was exciting.

Reading

25551332Short Synopsis: An anthology of short stories set in the Unwind universe.

Thoughts: Some of these stories were really good, but others I didn’t really care for. For this reason, I’m not going to give it a rating, but left me wanting more books set in this world.

 

 

 

 

 

18966806Short Synopsis: Final book in the red rising trilogy.

Thoughts: Of the books I read in February this was my favorite. See my full review here.

Rating: five blue jays

15704486Short Synopsis: Final book in Brandon Sanderson’s YA trilogy about superheros.

Thoughts: This was the series that introduced me to Brandon Sanderson’s work, and I am very grateful for that. All the same, I think the second book in this series was the best. The pacing at the end of this book felt very rushed though as a whole this was still a good, fun read.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

20764879Short Synopsis: Second book in a series about traveling between parallel world versions of London.

Thoughts: This was quite addictive, and I read it in an extremely short period of time. The character development was also great.

That said, I felt like the plot didn’t develop much in this book. I was hoping to learn a lot more about a certain parallel world than I got to. Hopefully more will be explained in the sequel.

Rating: 4 blue jays

7932356Short Synopsis: A group of rabbits struggle to survive surrounded by enemies who take the form of everything from foxes, to humans, to rabbits themselves.

Thoughts: Listened to this one in audio book format. My favorite part was the world building surrounding the rabbit’s culture, but I also felt like the world building sometimes went to far and took away from the story. This book probably could have been much shorter, but it was still very interesting to read from rabbits’ point of views.

Rating: 4 blue jays

Blogging

I didn’t blog much in February as what little free time I had went to reading new releases, but I did post two reviews.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 4.5 Stars

Morning Star by Pierce Brown 5 Stars

Writing

I finally started writing again in February. It went pretty slowly, but I did manage to make it past the 25,000 word mark in the story I’m rewriting. This month I’m participating in the twitter challenge #MarWritingChallenge. The official website for which is writingchallenge.org. The goal of which is to write at least 500 words every day in March. I apologize to my twitter followers about the sudden increase in writing tweets, but it’s been really motivating.

January 2016 Wrap-up

I read eleven books and a novella in January. I’ve been keeping track of how many books I read each month since January of last year. This is the largest number I have on record.

Air Awakens (Air Awakens, #1)Fire Falling (Air Awakens, #2)

Short Synopsis: A teenage girl might be the only one who can determine the end of a war.

Thoughts: These books are very fast paced and addicting. This would be a good read for people who either haven’t read a lot of fantasy, or are looking for a fast paced fantasy novel. I’ve read a lot of YA fantasy, and these novels contained several common tropes that kept me from loving the story entirely.

Rating: 3.5 blue jays

25403108Short Synopsis: Alcatraz discovers most of the world is secretly ruled by a cult of evil librarians. He must stop them by going on a quest to rescue a bag of sand believed to have the potential to allow the librarians to complete their quest for domination.

Thoughts: This book left me conflicted. On one hand, it had me frequently laughing out loud, the way it purposefully broke the “rules” of narration sometimes left me staring in awe, and the concept of a world ruled by librarians was interesting to consider.

On the other hand, the “rules” of narration are “rules” for a reason, and I sometimes found myself annoyed. This is also far from my favorite work by this author, and I’m interested to see what he would have come up with had this book been written more recently.

I listened to this one in audiobook format, and the reader did an excellent job. I looked at the text and saw parenthesis everywhere. I am not a fan of parenthesis, though I know they were used on purpose in this case.

Rating: 4 blue jays

17910048Short Synopsis: An 18-year-old, half-goblin, half-elvish young man who has lived his life in exile inherits an elvish kingdom.

Thoughts: Normally, books that don’t build to a dramatic climax are a pet peeve of mine, but this one just works somehow. I think I just found the court intrigue so interesting that the lack of frequent action and a climax didn’t bother me much.

Rating: 4 blue jays

The Lost Heir (Wings of Fire, #2)16100976The Dark Secret (Wings of Fire, #4)18527497

Short Synopsis: Books 2 through 5 of a series that follows five young dragons who are prophesied to end a war.

Thoughts: I continue to enjoy that this story is told from the perspective of dragons rather than humans, though parts of it were a little formulatic. It started to break the formula a little towards the end which I appreciated.

The end of book five feels like a complete story arc, and I’m not sure whether I will continue. However, the narrator of the next book is of particular interest to me so there is a high possibility of it.

Rating: 4 blue jays

Invaded (Alienated, #2)

Short Synopsis: Human and space alien exchange program gone wrong. The second book in a trilogy.

Thoughts: The first time I tried to read this book I started reading Mistborn: The Final Empire not long after. Those who frequent this blog are probably familiar with how much I enjoy Brandon Sanderson’s works, and will not be surprised when I say that this book didn’t stand a chance of being finished then.

In January I ended up trying again with this book from the beginning after I learning I would have the opportunity to attend the author’s book signing. I enjoyed this book much more the second time around and am looking forward to reading the author’s newest release.

4 blue jays

Legion (Legion, #1)

Short Synopsis: A man uses hallucinations to solve crimes.

Thoughts: This novella was a lot of fun, and very creative. The Emperor’s Soul remains my favorite of Sanderson’s novellas, but I’m interested to see what direction the sequel takes.

Rating: 4 blue jays

Carry OnShort Synopsis: Magicians try to save the world from the magic depleting creature known as the Insidious Humdrum and solve the mystery behind a murder while sorting out their complicated love life.

Thoughts: There were some aspects of this book that I really liked, and others that I didn’t like so much. The pacing was too slow at the beginning and too fast at the end. Some of the point of views seemed unnecessary. There was also the use of parenthesis, which I actually thought were used exceptionally well in this book, but were still often unnecessary. I think I’ve already mentioned my feelings on parenthesis in fiction earlier in this post.

At the same time, the characters were well developed and really liked the magic system and the concept of the Humdrum.

Rating: 4 blue jays

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn, #6)Short Synopsis: Book six in the Mistborn series.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. The characters’ had great synergy, and there were several twists that I didn’t see coming. This is my first five star read of 2016.

Rating: five blue jays

Writing

I didn’t accomplish much in the way of writing last month. Hence the large number of books I had time to read, but I’d like to change that in February. I haven’t written much since the end of November, and the long break has given me a better appreciation of how much I enjoy writing.

This month I plan to either begin rewriting part two of my high fantasy work in progress, or start on the first draft of one of the many ideas I’ve been longing to write.

Pastry Book Tag

I’d like to thank Windie @ Geek Apprentice for tagging me! This tag was created by @Writing on a Vintage Typewriter.

CROISSANT: Name a popular book or series that everyone (including you) loves.

The Lunar Chronicles

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I don’t love this one as much as I used too, and I wouldn’t say that everyone loves it. However a lot of people do.

Macarons: Name a book that was hard to get through but worth it in the end.

Carry On

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I had a little trouble getting into this book as the beginning was so slow, but I ended up reading it very quickly as it picks up after that.

VOL-AU-VENT: Name a book that you thought would be amazing but fell flat.

The Maze Runner

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I had really high expectations for this book, but I just felt too distant from the characters to connect to the story properly.

PAIN-AU-CHOCOLAT: Name a book that you though would be one thing but turned out to be something else.

The Name of the Wind

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I wasn’t expecting this book’s plot to go the way it did. Probably going to get some hate for this, but the whole book I felt like I was waiting for a climax that never really came. So in that way the story was not what I expected.

PROFITEROLE: Name a book or series that doesn’t get enough attention.

Unwind

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I have to agree with the one who tagged me on this one. The Unwind series does not get enough love.

CROQUEMBOUCHE: Name a book or series that’s completely complex.

The Stormlight Archive

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The fictional world where this series is set is one of the most — if not the most– complex I have ever read about.

NAPOLEON: Name a movie or TV show based off a book that you liked better than the book itself.

The Maze Runner

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Didn’t really like the second movie, but I enjoyed the first one more than I did the book which, as I’ve mentioned, did not live up to my expectations.

EMPANADA: Name a book that was bittersweet.

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3)

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That ending . . . This is all I can say without spoilers. Anyone who has read this book will know what I mean.

KOLOMPEH: Name a book or series that takes place somewhere other than your own country.

The House of the Scorpion

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This book takes place in a combination of a fictional country located on what is now the border between the US and Mexico and a somewhat futuristic version of Mexico though it is called something else in the book.

PATE-A-CHOUX: Name a food from a book or series that you would like to try.

The Stormlight Archive

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I would like to try some of the foods Lift from the Stormlight Archives steals from the tables of the wealthy.

Spread The Love (of Food)

I tag Kat @book box by Kat and Chelsie @Chelsie’s Book Addiction.

10 Most Anticipated 2016 Book Releases

I’m anticipating far more books than will make it on this list, but these are the ten I am most looking forward to. This list is in order of my very most anticipated of the ten to least anticipated of the ten. Though if the book has made this list at all it still means that I really want to read it.

Before I begin I would like to give an honorable mention to book three in the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. If this book is somehow released this year than it is absolutely my most anticipated.

Morning Star (Red Rising Trilogy, #3)

1. Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown

Release Date: Febuary 9, 2016

After the end of the second book, Golden Son, I am eagerly awaiting the third book in the Red Rising trilogy.

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn, #6)

2. The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6/Alloy Era #3) by Brandon Sanderson

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Few who follow this blog are likely to be surprised in my choice of a Brandon Sanderson novel. Even if Stormlight #3 does not release this year I’ll still be satisfied by a combination of this book and Calamity.

Flamecaster (Shattered Realms, #1)

3. Flamecaster (Shattered Realms #1)

Release Date: April 5, 2016

This is the spin-off series of Seven Realms taking place a number of years later. I really enjoyed the world of Seven Realms, and the way the series ended left a few left ends in terms of this fictional world as a whole so I am curious to see what has changed in the time between the two series.

4. The Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: September 22, 2016

I really enjoyed the first book in Six of Crows, and I’m curious about the direction the second book will take.

A Gathering of Shadows  (A Darker Shade of Magic, #2)

5. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Release Date: February 23, 2016

The first book was addictive and fun. I’m curious to see which direction the second book takes.

6. Gemina (Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Release Date: Fall 2016

I really enjoyed the first book, and hope that it means more YA novels set in space will gain popularity in the future as I would like to read more of them. I’m also very curious to see the direction the second book takes.

Beyond the Red

7. Beyond The Red by Ava Jae

Release Date: March 1, 2016

I follow this author’s blog, and find the writing advice she gives to be very useful. The setting of an alien planet in a YA novel also interests me greatly.

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

Not the final cover.

8. Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Release Date: September 27, 2016

I really enjoy this author’s writing style, and suspect that this will have continued to grow in her newest series. This book sounds like it has the potential to be very good.

The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1)

9. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Release Date: February 16, 2016

The summary of this book sounds very interesting to me. Time travel interests me, and I figured this list needed more novels from debut authors.

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1)

10. The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan

Release Date: May 3, 2016

Rick Riordan’s books always have a tendency to put me in a very good mood. It was hard to choose the final book in this list, but in the end I chose this one for that reason.

2015 Reading Statistics

2015 was a really good reading year for me. In 2014 I didn’t feel entirely satisfied with the books I was reading, and struggled to chose favorites. In 2015 I tried to focus more on trying to love everything I read, and in this I was very successful. It’s the cause of my average rating of books I read in 2015 is 4.3 as opposed to the 3.99 average I had before the year started bring my overall rating to 4.04 on goodreads.

For this list I’m going to try to focus on statistics not already covered in goodreads gorgeous “my 2015 in books feature.”

Pages Read in 2015 Vs. 2014

2015 Statistics Pages

In spite of the fact that I read fewer books in total in 2015 than I did the previous year (73 as opposed to 77) I read slightly more pages in 2015, so I consider the amount read to be a success.

Age Groups

2015 Statistics Age Groups

These statistics surprised me a little, I’d thought I’d read more middle grade books. Next year I’d like to read more of those, but since most of the eight middle grade books I read were completed towards the end of the year I suspect this goal will be easily achieved.

This year I read far more adult fiction than I have in previous years though I do not have statistics to confirm this. I was always scared off by all of the content I was told there was in adult books. While most of the adult books I read this year were probably on the tamer side of the genre, I’m glad I decided to read more adult books as some of them are new favorites.

I’d like to see the division between intended audience look more evenly divided into thirds.

Genre

2015 Statistics Genres

This graph is a little disappointing, but not all that surprising. This year I discovered my love for epic fantasy novels, particularly those written by a certain author. Hence, the fantasy section being so large. I also decided to focus more on trying to read what I enjoy in 2015, and this graph reflects that. I think I’ll continue with this goal for next year and see how my preferences towards genres change naturally.

Where Books Took Place

2015 Statistics Locations

I made this chart because I was curious about where the books I was reading took place. I was expecting more books to take place in space, fictional locations, and North America. I was expecting fewer to take place in all of the slices not previously mentioned.

All but one of the books taking place in North America took place in the US or alternative worlds/future equivalents thereof. I considered Mexico/alternative future equivalents thereof as part of North America as that is where the book that did not take place in the US counted in that segment took place. A significant number of the books taking place in the section labeled “Europe/UK” took place in London.

It is interesting to note that I read more books that took place off of Earth than on it.

The reason the books do not add to the total number I read this year is because several books had significant portions taking place in more than one location.

Most Read Author

Brandon Sanderson: 12 Books

I’m actually surprised this number is this low. As many of the Sanderson books I read were over 600 pages, it feels like I read more than 12 of them in 2015.

Favorite Books of 2015

I was planning to make a top ten list, but was having too much trouble narrowing it down in a way that didn’t make just about every book fall into a particular category written by a particular author. Instead I will be listing my favorite in each category.

Note that this is a list of favorite books I read in 2015. Not all were published in 2015.

Young Adult Fantasy

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Picking a book for this category was hard. It was a close call between this book and several others especially the Seven Realms series and later too books in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series.

In the end I chose Six of Crows because it has so many different elements that were well executed as discussed in my review.

Adult Fantasy

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Words of Radiance is the second book in Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series which is part of the Cosmere, which is the larger fictional universe in which Sanderson’s adult fantasy novels take place.

I read just about all of Sanderson’s currently published Cosmere works this year, and I am now a huge fan. It was hard to chose only one, but this is my favorite Cosmere book so far.

I would not, however, recommend readers start with Words of Radiance, not just because its the second book in a series, but also because it’s hard to get through books in the Stormlight Archive for readers not used to long books. Starting with Mistborn: The Final Empire or Warbreaker might make Sanderson’s work easier to get into.

I have not yet reviewed Words of Radiance, but I have reviewed the first book, The Way of Kings.

Middle Grade Fantasy

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I have always loved books about dragons, and look for novels with nonhuman narrators. For these reasons, this book written from the perspective of a young dragon was almost exactly what I was looking for.

If I had read this book while I was part of the intended age group it would probably have become one of my favorite books ever. As it was, I still enjoyed it enough to make it my favorite for this category, and I plan to continue with this series.

Young Adult Sci-Fi

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Choosing a favorite for this category was hard. In the end I chose Illuminae in spite of the fact that I had a little trouble getting used to the formatting at the beginning because the second half makes up for the first. I have not yet written a review, but hope to soon.

Adult Sci-Fi

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Really enjoyed this book. Have read it around three times now. Golden Son is the second book in the Red Rising Trilogy. I have reviewed both Golden Son and Red Rising in which I express my enjoyment.

Middle Grade Sci-Fi

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This book is in the hazy area between YA and MG, but for the purpose of this list I will consider it middle grade. This book was very thought provoking, and I think it would be a great novel for discussion in a book club or classroom. It’s also the only book I’ve read set in Mexico, even if it is called something else in this novel.

Contemporary

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This book is unlike anything else I’ve read. So different that I haven’t been able to compose my thoughts into a review. It’s hard to adjust to the disjointed way the story is told at first, but once I adjusted this book was heartbreaking and thought provoking.

Classic

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I’ll admit that I don’t enjoy classics as much as some people seem to, but I really enjoyed reading and learning about the symbolism involved in this one. The fact that a large canvas painting/picture of myself I’d forgotten about arrived soon after I’d finished was a coincidence that finalized making this one of my favorite classics.

Non-Fiction

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This book was shocking for me because I had no idea any of what it discussed was taking place in the medical community. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks explores the ethical questions of who owns body parts after they have been removed for medical reasons though the true story of Henrietta Lacks and her decedents.

October 2015 Wrap-Up

Reading

In October I didn’t have much time to read, so I only read four books. Two were middle grade, one was either middle grade or young adult depending on how you define the audiences, and one was adult. Of those three were fantasy and one was science fiction.

Short Synopsis: Book two in the Magistarium series. To learn more read my review of book one here.

Thoughts: For some reason the plot twist this series centers around is one I can’t seem to get enough of. This book was a lot of fun.

Rating:

 4 blue jays

Short Synopsis: When her underground home is destroyed Eva Nine finds herself surrounded by creatures she hadn’t even known existed.

Thoughts: Read this book thinking it would make a nice comparison title for the writing project I’m working on this November. I was right. The artwork is also stunning.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

Short Synopsis: Fifth book in the Mistborn series, and second book in the Alloy Era of Mistborn. Read my review of the first book of the original trilogy, Mistborn: The Final Empire, here to learn more about Mistborn.

Thoughts: I liked Alloy of Law, but not nearly as much as the original trilogy. I think part of that had to do with the stakes being so much lower. In this book the stakes were raised, and I was much more invested in the story from the beginning onward.

Rating: 

five blue jays

Short Synopsis: When Magnus Chase dies on his sixteenth birthday he discovers his life is far from over.

Thoughts: This book was a lot of fun, but I wasn’t completely blown away.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

Writing

I’m now finished with my rewrite of the first third of my high fantasy work in progress. Part one ended up being exactly 21,461 words long. My target for part one was 20,000 words, and I almost never go over my target length even though I often want to so this is great.

I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month for November and (as it is November while I am writing this post) am working on a middle grade sci-fi project about a twelve-year-old girl who thinks she is a robot.

Blogging

Yes, I am well aware that I am still terribly behind on my tags. I really do appreciate it when people tag me, it’s just hard to find the motivation to write up tag posts sometimes. I’m also terribly behind on my reviews as well. Hopefully I’ll get around to posting more in the next few months.

Book Pumpkins

For Halloween I carved pumpkins based on the Mockingjay symbol from The Hunger Games by Suzane Collins, the wolf from Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan, and the symbol for pewter from Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series. … Continue reading

September 2015 Wrap-Up

Reading

In September I read six books and a novella. Of those one was adult, three were YA, two were arguably either YA or middle grade, and one was definitely middle grade. All but two were fantasy with one being magical realism and the other being sci-fi/dystopian.

Short Synopsis: “The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.”–A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness

Thoughts: If I had known this book was from the perspective of a boy whose mother is dying of cancer I wouldn’t have read it, but even though as a general rule I don’t read books featuring cancer, I’ll admit that this is a well written, amazing quick read. I highly recommend it to people looking for a book along those lines, but do be aware that this book is a very emotional read.

Rating:

five blue jays

Short Synopsis: A thief is offered her freedom in exchange for forging an emperor a new soul.

 Thoughts: I had no idea a novella could be this good. Then again, it was written by Brandon Sanderson, so I’m not all that surprised.

Rating: 

five blue jays

Short Synopsis: Matt must figure out why he is the only intelligent clone in a society where clone’s brains are permanently damaged at birth.

Thoughts: A thought provoking read that deals with many real world issues. It may also be the only book I’ve ever read set in Mexico. I think this would be a great book to read in a book club or classroom setting.

Rating: 

4.5 blue jays

Short Synopsis: Child genius, Sophie, discovers she is an elf.

Thoughts: I think twelve-year-old me would have loved this book, and I’ve already recommended it to an eleven-year-old. As of when I read this, however, I found the first half of the book read a little too much like info-dumping and almost stopped reading, but enjoyed the mystery element of the second half much better.

Rating: 

3.5 blue jays

Short Synopsis: When rithmatist students start disappearing from an elitist school Joel, the non-rithmatist son of a cleaning lady, is determined to learn who is responsible.

Thoughts: Really enjoyed this, though not as much as some of Sanderson’s other works. Part of that is the concept of rithmatists, magicians whose chalk drawings come to life, seems a little ridiculous though Sanderson did a great job developing it. The other reason is it takes a while to get to the action. I would be upset that the sequel won’t be out until 2017, but I want Sanderson’s other books just as much if not more.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

Short Synopsis: The fourth book in the Throne of Glass series.

Thoughts: Definitely enjoyed this one, but I’m having a hard time putting my feelings about it into words.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

Short Synopsis: When Alina discovers she has magical abilities her life changes forever.

Thoughts: Flew through this book, and some of the characters were really well developed. However, there were times when I felt that although I was still very engaged not a lot was happening.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

Writing

I’m still working on revising my high-fantasy work in progress. My goal for October is to have finished with part one, but I’m in college and have midterms in October, so I’m not sure how practical that is.

I’ve decided that I am probably going to participate in NaNoWriMo again this November. There is a new idea I’ve been longing to write so I’ll be taking a break from my revising for the month. The first draft is unlikely to make it to 50K because I’ll be writing a middle grade novel and tend to underwrite. For this reason, my current goal for November is to finish the entire first draft in a month as opposed to the usual 50,000 words/month.

In other news, I’ve printed out about the first fourth of my YA sci-fi work in progress and plan to print out the rest soon. This is the first time I’ve seen any of my novel length works in physical form so I’m ridiculously excited about this. Once I get the whole manuscript printed I’ll probably be carrying it around everywhere with a huge grin on my face like I do when I get my most anticipated book releases of the year.

Blog

This past month I’ve come to have over 50 followers, and this will be my 49th blog post. Thanks everyone who subscribed/ reads my posts!

I know I’m extremely behind on my tags, but I still have every intention of doing the ones I’ve been tagged for.