Looking Forward, Looking Back (2016/2015)

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I love the change of the year and have been doing many of my favorite New Years things like starting new journals. A fresh year is waiting, like a blank page to be written on, and the old year is gone, with all its good times and, yes, failures. It’s time to start fresh.

Danny Gokey says it beautifully in his song Tell Your Heart to Beat Again: “Yesterday’s a closing door — you don’t live there anymore.” Give the song a listen! (I heard it on the radio this week, fell in love, and have listened to it ten billion times since and am listening to it on repeat as I write this post). It’s beautiful and feels just right for the New Year.

Here are some of my excitements for the new year of 2016, as well as a brief look back at my 2015. And — yes! — lists!

2016

My word for 2016

Joy is my word this year. I want to find joy in everything if I can. It’s going to be hard, since I struggle with a tendency to be stressed and down on myself. But I’m tired of feeling crushed beneath expectations, beneath things I feel are obligations which ought to be enjoyable but have become chores. This includes — yes — writing, reading, emailing… even the things that I usually love, sometimes can become a burden because I’m a chronic procrastinator and a perfectionist. I’m hoping to approach everything, the fun and the not, with Joy. To rediscover my Joy in writing and life and find a freedom I’ve been looking for . . . that is my wish for the new year.

JOY! πŸ™‚

I’M EXCITED FOR THIS YEAR:

aspysdevotionThese books coming out:

Yorien’s Hand // The Goblin’s Puzzle // A Spy’s Devotion // Fridays with the Wizards // Rebel of the Sands // Songkeeper // The Story of Kullervo // King’s Folly // The Beautiful Pretender // Five Magic Spindles // Defying Shadows // Stolen Crowns #1 // The Bone Queen // Crooked Kingdom

(I did a post about this if you want pics/links to Goodreads, but I’ve since added Songkeeper by Gillian Bronte Adams — sequel to Orphan’s Song — and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, both of which are sequels that I need this instant. *flail*)

These movies releasing:

  • The Abominable Bride (Sherlock special which I’m hopefully going to see on Wednesday… YAY!)
  • Captain America: The Civil War (YESSSS!! As I may have mentioned, I’m kind of looking forward to this a lot, primarily because BUCKY and HAWKEYE!)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Because Star Wars…)

(Also, perhaps someday I’ll see Kung Fu Panda 3, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Batman Vs. Superman, which are releasing this year, but I’m not in a super hurry as they also sound weird…)

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I’d also like to see:

  • Pan (missed that when it came out last year)
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy (somehow still haven’t seen this)
  • Thor 2: The Dark World (which I technically saw once but need to rewatch since I have no memory of it which is slightly terrifying since I think I liked it a lot?!)

My 2015 at a Glance

READING

66 Books

2015books

I read many lovely books, notably many retellings and much Diana Wynne Jones; and discovered steampunk and heist books. (Yay!) And I just posted my top 15 favorites of the year.

Goodreads has a lovely new “Year in Books Feature” which I love! (Mine is here.)

WATCHING

Shows I saw:

  • Leverage (seasons 1-5) — everyone knows how much I love this… *cough*
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (BBC Miniseries) — interesting to see on screen
  • Star Wars: Rebels (Season 1) — I ADORED THIS! Sooo much fun. ❀

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I don’t go to the theater often, but this year I saw:

  • starwars7posterStar Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens — AS;LDKJFLSK FEELS. WHAT. Still haven’t decided what I think of it except that I know I had a blast and then felt extremely sad near the end… I think overall I loved it? But I’m not sure yet! *flail* One thing’s for sure: ALL OF THE FEELS. And I adore the new characters, particularly Poe, and want to see the movie again.
  • Cinderella — Gorgeous.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron — Hawkeye!!
  • Mockingjay Part 2 — Um.
  • Beyond the Mask — EPIC!!! ❀

beyondthemaskDVDshelf

BLOGGING

87 Posts

I really discovered my love of blogging this last year, and started my Ishness posts, and just had a fun time.

My top viewed posts were:

ccakeFrom which I discern that people are unprepared for NaNo (always), and love movies (or characters), bookshelves, Christmas, and cupcakes (or possibly denial). Basically you, my blog readers, have your priorities in order. *thumbs up*

WordPress has a handy blog report showcase for the year which is fun. Take a look at my blog stats if you enjoy numbers like I do. XD

It says my top commenters were Sarah, Tracey, Christine, C.B., and Abi — thank you guys! And to every single person who reads this blog and who has commented (even just once) a heartfelt thank you. ❀ You make my day every time. ^_^

WRITING

Over 100,000 Words

DRcoverishR&RI wrote an entire novella and two whole short stories (and a couple fanfictions) — namely:

KW2coverPSilverForestCoverFinalAnd worked on several other books:

  • 2. The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (mostly this one)
  • The Silver Forest (and this one)
  • 0.5. Child of Kedran’s Wood
  • 2.5 Mixup at Kedran’s Wood
  • 3 The Shadow of Kedran’s Wood
  • 4 The Writer of Kedran’s Wood
  • Heartseeker
  • The Other Half of Everything (snippets)

S&Scover4

OHEcoverI was attacked by several new plotbunnies that I adore and can’t wait to write, most notably:

  • The Other Half of Everything
  • The Siren and the Skyship

My Kedran’s Wood series exploded into several different books/novellas/short stories.

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My epic fantasy series the Starrellian Saga is taking shape in a new and exciting way as I reimagine all of the threads into a different sort of book structure.

A few other exciting things:

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***

PonyFrom the start of the year when I was followed by a pony from the post office, through seeing my first stage play, spontaneously going on a few roadtrips, being a NaNo Municipal Liaison for the third time, all the way to spending my last days of the year frantically editing a novella under a deadline for the first time . . . it’s been a very interesting year!

With my new word (Joy) in hand, I look forward to what 2016 holds!

I haven’t made specific writing/reading goals yet. I’m on a semi-hiatus from writing for a bit, so we’ll see what happens after that… I’m currently leaving my options open. πŸ™‚

How was your 2015? I wish you all a truly fantastic 2016!

Top 15 Favorite Reads of 2015

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As is traditional (last year’s is here) it’s time for a list of the best books I read in 2015! YAY! Because lists and books and favorites are all the best things ever. ❀

I read some gems this year, and though it was super painful trying to pick favorites, these (especially the ones near the top) make my heart explode in happiness just from looking at the titles, so I think they’re some good ones! My list is roughly in order of amount of loving them, and doesn’t include rereads. So here we go! (Prepare for much squealing…)

My top 15 reads of 2015

1. Broken Glass – Emma Clifton (in Five Glass Slippers)

brokenglasscoverSo… I spontaneously reviewed this awhile back. And it’s made it to the very top of my list this year. IT’S JUST SO PERFECT AND MY FIRST STEAMPUNK FANTASY AND ALL THE CHARACTERRRRRRRRRRRS!!!! Ahem. I just really really love this story! I want to read it again (and I’ve already read it twice). It’s just perfection and bursting with humor and snark and great dialog and plots and sooo many characters I love, especially Marius and Darcy and Henry, and it’s FUN but then it gets epic at the end and it’s so British AND I JUST LOVE IIIIIIIT! ❀ It makes me grin and keep grinning and unable to STOP grinning, whenever I think of it. GAAAHH! *tackle-hugs story* ALL OF THE LOVE! *gives Darcy and Marius an extra hug*

2. Archer’s Goon – Diana Wynne Jones

HOW. DO. I. DESCRIBE. THIS. BOOK. Ummm… I can’t! *flails around* It was Diana Wynne Jones which means it was pure distilled BRILLIANCE mixed up with total uniqueness, absolutely FANTASTIC humor, and just ALL OF THE PLOT TWISTS. Mind. Blown. I can’t get over it and it’s amazing and I think I need to read it again right now. I still love Howl’s Moving Castle the best of Diana Wynne Jones’ books (I mean… it’s my favorite book EVER besides The Lord of the Rings) BUT I THINK ARCHER’S GOON MIGHT BE SECOND. Maybe. Ahem. All of the characters are fantastic and the dialog and the humor and it’s timey-wimey and sci-fi and fantasy and modern and super confusing and I just love it a lot. Ack. ❀

3. The Ordinary Princess – M. M. Kaye

This was, in a word, PERFECT. ^_^ It just makes me so happy. I can’t. *beams and huggles book* It’s a sort of original fairytale type of thing, feeling like it has some hints of Sleeping Beauty and maybe a couple others, but mostly its own thing. It was just a quick read that was ADORABLE and sweet and perfect, and I loved the illustrations, and the character of the Ordinary Princess herself was awesome, and Peregrine who I loved a ton, and they were so cute together and just alskdjljlsjk it makes me happy and is a perfect little book. ^_^ ❀

4. Illusionarium – Heather Dixon

I’ve been dying to read this ever since reading Entwined. Needless to say, I pounced on it. The internet is probably still reeling with the incoherent fangirling babbles I shared on this blog about Illusionarium… Ahem. So suffice it to say, despite the creepiness, that I LOVED THIS BOOK AND THE DIALOG AND HUMOR AND EPIC STEAMPUNKNESS AND ESPECIALLY LOCKWOOD. LOCKWOOOOD!!!!! *flails around forever and a day* Basically, Lockwood. ❀ I just can’t get over that indescribable airguardsman snarky fiery epic trigger-happy roguish awesome Lieutenant Lockwood. (And he and Jonathan are a great pair. XD I love themmm.) (BUT LOCKWOOD. SO MUCH. ❀ ❀ ❀ )

5. The Pinhoe Egg – Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones books are always wonderful, but this one’s one of my top, like… four? of hers? (Howl’s Moving Castle, Archer’s Goon, The Crown of Dalemark, and this, are my favorites.) This was the conclusion to the Chrestomanci series, which I started late in 2014, and read most of this year. AAAHHH I LOVED THIS BOOK. It returned to the hero of the first book, Cat (who is great), and there were shenanigans and it had sooo much more of Chrestomanci himself than a lot of the others (which is pretty much my one complaint usually, since he usually only shows up a little in the midst of other people’s adventures). THERE WAS ALSO A GRIFFIN. AND CHRESTOMANCI AND AND AND ASLKDJFLK I just really really really love Chrestomanci and I need some fancy dressing gowns to wear around the house like he does. Except he has a castle… BASICALLY I WANT TO LIVE AT CHRESTOMANCI CASTLE AND READ ABOUT CHRESTOMANCI FOREVER. Because CHRESTOMANCI!!!!! ❀ ❀ Ahem.

6. Frederica – Georgette Heyer

After reading and loving The Grand Sophy in 2014, I wanted to try another Georgette Heyer, so this happened. I LOVED IT. The characters, just… aaagh! I loved them. LORD ALVERSTOKE. He’s one of those kind of awful fellows who’s sort of vain/spoiled, a lot like Howl actually, and yet he ends up being all noble too and just alskdjflklaskdj I love Alverstoke, he’s wonderful. And his relationship with the heroine and with her younger brothers — just YES! I don’t actually read a lot of regency historical romance sorts of things but this one was great. There’s also an airballoon and a crash and all of the DIALOG, my goodness it’s wonderful.

7. The Penderwicks in Spring – Jeanne Birdsall

AAAAHHHHH. I’ve been waiting for this ever since I read the first three Penderwick books (I even reread them this year!) and it was amazing. I was actually surprised because in a way it was so SAD but also the usual hilarious and just… I love the Penderwicks, okay. I LOVE THEMMMM. This family. Just. THEY ARE PRECIOUS. *gathers them in a hug* It was a little strange because it’s years after the previous ones and the three older girls are like TEENS and Batty’s 11 and… yes. o.o And I should have been upset, especially with all the sad, but I just LOVED. IT. SO. MUCH. Also there were like ten billion characters and the author juggled them all SO well and the writing is golden and ALL OF THE FEELS. I wish I could write like that. Basically I waited a long time for it and it did NOT disappoint. ❀

8. Conrad’s Fate – Diana Wynne Jones

This was a sort of Chrestomanci prequel because it involves him (Christopher) when he was a teen. LET ME FLAIL. Like Illusionarium, it was a great buddy-movie story (as I call them; even when they’re not movies… *cough*) and… Chrestomanci and the hero are so much fun together and I DON’T EVEN KNOW. But it was Diana Wynne Jones and I remember having so much fun and just really ENJOYING this! *flail* Chrestomanci as a youngster is just fabulous to read about, so sneaky but refined but clever and just brilliant and the dialog and I just loved it. ❀

9. Power of Three – Diana Wynne Jones

How. I. What. It. SOMETHING! *flailing* This was totally not what I was expecting and it was so DIFFERENT (something Diana Wynne Jones excels at) and PLOT TWIST! Wow. Also I loved all of the characters, especially the two who were like the hero (you’ll understand if you’ve read it), and it just had a lot of brilliance going on! It was epic. It felt rather different than her other stuff–a bit more like the Dalemark books than her “fun” ones… But I still adored it. Plus, the flashback where the fellows were drunk and met Titch was sheer gold. *dies of laughter*

10. Plenilune – Jennifer Freitag

This is here basically because DAMMERUNG!!!!! It was EXHAUSTING to read and took me from Christmas till August to read… like really heavy chocolate cake. Or the ocean. It was a little much, kind of too rich if you know what I mean, but it was totally worth it for Dammerung. He’s, like, possibly my favorite character this year. Possibly one of my top favorite characters of EVER. Like… HE’S UP THERE WITH HOWL, OKAY? Dammerung is just AMAZING and this monster of a 600+ page book of exhaustingly gorgeous poetical prose is totally worth it just for him. (And Rupert was amazing too. I have very complex feels about Rupert. Which makes me super glad that Dammerung is there to cancel those out because he just blows everything away with his amazingness). Like… he’s funny and powerful and heroic and epic and just… HE’S LIKE THE COOLEST EVER. Dammerung has a very special place in my heart. ^____^ ❀ ❀ ❀

11. The Skin Map – Stephen R. Lawhead

This was an AMAZING book. Contemporary/time-travel/fantasy/sci-fi-ish/historical… it has a little bit of everything. The writing and setting and just the entire thing is STUNNINGLY well done, not to mention the cast of characters, each of whom I love to bits! Arthur, Cosimo, Kit, Etzel, Wilhemina! (I even love the heroine!) Just. Gaaahh. It was a fantastic book, and would have been much higher up the list if it weren’t for something that happened in the last twenty pages… *cough cough* But I’ve actually gotten over that (mostly) and all I can think of is how amazing this book was and how much I want to read the sequels! *huggles all the characters* It was just a DELIGHT to read!

stonecurse12. Stone Curse – Jenelle Schmidt (in Five Enchanted Roses)

I reviewed this one on the blog and just YES. Beauty and the Beast retelling, which I ALWAYS love… And RITTER! ❀ Ritter and his heroicness and humor and just aaaahh I love him so much! And the setting and the fairytale feel and BAREND the Beast, down to loving the heroine, Karyna, a ton as well. I just… Gaaah. ^_^ *huggles all of them* The whole cast of characters and their relationships… just fantastic. SUCH A GREAT READ! ❀

13. Corroded Thorns – Emma Clifton

Aaand I also reviewed this one (more Beauty and the Beast, yay!) and it’s the sequel to my top favorite of the year, Broken Glass, and I sort of consider them one book because it’s so interconnected, sooo I couldn’t resist putting this on the list too! DARCY!!! Eeep. I just looooved this story and the characters AND THE ENDING WAS PERFECTION OH MY GOODNESS SO MUCH LOVE FOR THAT. ❀

14. Tahn – L. A. Kelly

This was the VERY first book I read in 2015, so it’s possibly a little hazy in my memory… But I know it was an exciting adventuresome read, with some good stuff, and was a little grittier than I usually like but still fabulous. And, like with Plenilune, it’s mostly here for one of my favorite characters of the year, namely the title character himself, Tahn. Tahn is the absolute epitome of my favorite archetype of characters, what I call the “dark guy”. (I’ve heard “anti-hero” used as well.) But I really really love him and his story and it was awesome.

15. The Book of Sight – Deborah Dunlevy

This book… I don’t know. It just made me happy. It was one of my first “random” ebooks I tried, since it was free on Kindle at the time and sounded interesting. I got so addicted that I’ve since bought all three of the sequels which are currently out (looking forward to reading The Poisoned Cure soon!) and already hoping the fifth/final book will come out soon! It’s a modern fantasy story, and it just… somehow kind of reminds me of the sort of stories I’m writing with my Kedran’s Wood series. I just enjoy it and it’s about these kids, a group of friends, in a little modern town, and their dealings with fantastical stuff that they start running into. Also, I really love Dominic. But it’s just a fun read, so… yes. It makes me think of sunshine. πŸ™‚

***

You mayyy notice a trend*, which is that books are much likelier to be extremely loved/high on my list when there’s a particular character I really like in the story… What can I say. I’m evidently extremely attached to fictional people. But I’d say that Dammerung, Lockwood, and Chrestomanci are my favorite characters this year. THEY’RE THE BESSST!

(*Whaaat, you thought I was going to say that the trend was Howl? HAHAHA. Fooled you. XD Ahem. Sorry. Howl does whatever he likes, and apparently that includes stealing the show in a blogpost that doesn’t even involve him… *cough*)

So there’s my list! Have you read any of these? (You totally should!) Do you have any favorite reads of 2015? TELL ALL IN THE COMMENTS! ^_^

Hopefully this next year of 2016 will hold some wonderful reads in it for all of us! ❀

Happy New Year, everyone!

Ishness of July: Otters, Hummingbirds, Retellings and Skyships

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It’s AUGUST! Guys. Guys. Did I hear myself correctly? August. AUGUST?

Sorry, I tend to repeat myself when I get confused.

Half of me is freaking out that we’re so far into the year (wasn’t it April yesterday??), and yet the other half is staring at the new calendar page in a sort of delight of new-month-itis, which is what makes me really happy when I get to write “August 1” in flowy script in my writing journal and reading log, ready for a fresh start. It feels nice, I tell ya.

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Yes, I’m a confused being.

(Plus, I always get June and July mixed up and tend toΒ  think of them as vaguely one really long month, so it’s nice to be back to a month I can actually keep straight. Maybe that’s just me.)

But look: July is over! I don’t have the tiniest inkling of how THAT happened, since last I knew it was the Fourth of July and I still had big plans for the month… *cough* Yeah. That clearly didn’t happen. I think this last month was gone in record time, which is freaking me out.

But! You’re obviously not here to watch me freak out (or ARE you…? *wriggles eyebrows*) but to see what ishness I’ve been up to this past month! So let’s see…

July Things

I’ve been up to summery things like:

  • Celebrating Independence Day
  • Swimming
  • Going to the zoo (OTTERS. OTTERS ARE THE BEST THING EVER. OTTERRRRRRRS! ❀ That is all.)

(from pinterest)

And let’s not forget the most important one:

  • Dying of the heat because SUMMER

Seriously. It is so so hot. *steals Alaska to wrap round self like the opposite of a coat* (Because coats are for keeping you warm…? Okay, that analogy ran away from me.)

Oh! And I finally got to see the movie Epic! Oh my goodness, it was so adorable and fun and pretty! I kind of loved it to bits — aaahhh! And Ronin is so so fabulous (and I want his accent. And his awesomeness. And his hummingbird. Basically I want to be Ronin). AND THE HUMMINGBIRDS. HUMMINGBIIIIIIIIIIIRDS. I wanna ride a hummingbird so much. ❀

(from pinterest)

Writing

I wrote a pitiful 3000 words in July… Half of that was for my Kedran’s Wood short story Return to McAllistair Mansion… AND I FINISHED IT. I’m very proud of me. I finished a short story! Yayyy!

scrnshotrmm

(Okay, so it’s technically not too short-story-ish, in that it doesn’t have a plot but is just three related scenes about Tare between books 1 and 2, and also featuring a character I’d never written before, which meant I spent most of it trying to figure out what said character was like. BUT STILL.)

The other half of theΒ  3000 words was miscellaneous snatches of five other stories. Yup. Scattered, this month.

But this was, primarily, the month of brainstorming. All of my stories exploded in my head, which caused a mess but was fairly awesome. (Okay, that may be exaggerating. Maybe not ALL of them. But several.)

  • I’ve been doing a ton of brainstorming for The Silver Forest, my upcoming Twelve Dancing Princesses NaNo… I still need a more concrete plot, but I have ideas, which is a start, and I got around to naming the oodles of characters I now have. It’s going to be awesome.
  • rrpinterest

    (from pinterest)

    Also, my old idea for a Sleeping Beauty retelling, called The Rose and the Raven, finally clicked, so it has a plot now, which excites me a ton and makes me want to write it. Seriously, some delicious plot twists. Bwahaha! I kind of adore it a lot. ❀ [PINTEREST BOARD]

  • I also had breakthroughs on The Invisible Mask and Heartseeker! So, yay! That’s kind of exciting. My problem childs these days. (Hush, childs is totally a word.)
  • I also had an idea for a new story. Yay. (No, I don’t actually know if that was sarcasm or not.) It’s a modern Cinderella story about a writer, set during NaNo. I’m kind of super excited about this one too. But it will probably not see the light of day for a few more years, especially since I’m still half pretending it doesn’t exist… (I HAVE TOO MANY STORY IDEAS OKAY.)
  • And miscellaneous stuff on some other stories.
sspinterest

(from Pinterest)

But mostly, my new idea for a Steampunk retelling of The Little Mermaid exploded in my face.

This thing is so big and epic now that I may have a panic attack from all the awesome. *SQUEEEEEEEEEEE* I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I almost considered switching to writing it for this NaNo instead of The Silver Forest, but I decided ultimately against it because I’m going to want to take my time with The Siren and the Skyship (which is its title) and just have wayyyyy too much fun with it.

The Siren and the Skyship is kind of my favorite thing ever right now. I’M JUST RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED AND LOVE IT SO MUCH AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH.

(from Pinterest)

[Pinterest Board for The Siren and the Skyship]

So, yeah. Not much actual writing but SO much awesomeness in the brainstorming department. I think it was more of a brainhurricane.

Reading

july2015read

Yeahhh, that was a fairly slow month of reading for this year. I was mostly reading things for review.

  • I obviously reviewed Chasing Shadows and Corroded Thorns on the bloggy.
  • Castle in the Air was a reread, sequel to Howl’s Moving Castle. HMC is my second-favorite book ever (after The Lord of the Rings), and Castle in the Air is also a delight — aaahh! ❀ So much hilariousness! It was awesome getting to read it again now that I know all the plot twists and secrets. >:D
  • I also read all of Five Glass Slippers, which I’m proud of me for accomplishing. I just reviewed it on Goodreads in case you’re curious what I thought of it; Broken Glass is still my favorite, followed by The Moon Master’s Ball! (Scatter the white mouse. SCATTER THE WHITE MOUSE. I LOVED HIM SO MUUUUUUUCH. *incoherent squeeing fangirl noises mixed with sobbing*)
  • And it doesn’t count because I haven’t finished reading Five Enchanted Roses but I DID read one novella from there to review it, namely Stone Curse.

So I kind of read 7 novellas and 2 novels this month. *nod nod* That doesn’t sound quite so bad, I guess… πŸ˜‰

August Nightstand Books

I know, I know, I’m early on this again. But I can’t help it! You can join in on the Nightstand Books blog meme the first Wednesday of every month along with Jenelle and D.J. πŸ™‚

Here’s mine:

AugNightstand2015

You may recognize a pattern by now…

  • I’m going to finish Plenilune this month if it KILLS me. (Look for a figurative obituary soon starring yours truly… *cough*) BUT I’M GOING TO. I WILL I WILL.
  • Yes, I’m still in Veiled Rose too–I’m determined to finish it as well!
  • House of Many Ways I’m going to get to reread, so I’m excited for that!
  • And I still need to finish The Scarlet Pimpernel, but I like the three chapters I’ve read so far… XD

And we’ll just ignore the five ebooks I want to read or finish as well. *shifty eyes* Yeah. They’re not on my nightstand so they don’t count. πŸ˜‰

(And we’ll also ignore how busy I’m going to be and the fact I might have even less time for reading than last month… *cough*)

August plans?

I don’t even know… I feel like I really have to get EVERYTHING done this next month because September and October look to be insanely busy and we’re not even going to SPEAK of November… So if I don’t catch up on certain things I’m going to be behind the rest of the year. Heh. Wish me luck! XD

So! There’s a (very long) update on my life!

(Basically, I want a hummingbird to ride and an otter for a pet and an intelligent loyal white mouse for a friend.)

How was your July? Any plans for August?

Did you do Camp NaNo? How did it go?

Junishness

Happy July, everyone! I’m just sitting here trying to comprehend how the year can be
half over… Can anyone tell me what happened?? O_O

For me, at least, June kind of vanished in the blink of an eye — summer is flying, peoples! But here’s an update on some of my doings…

I can’t think of a single non-writerly/non-readerly thing of interest, besides doing a phenomenal amount of blogging in June including catching up on all my tags. Which I am extremely proud of myself for. Basically I’m an ecstatic blogger at this moment. But! Writing and books! And lists. Let’s have some lists because lists are awesome.

Writing

I did wriiiting! I’m so excited. Most of this year has been a slow arena in the writing world. I say arena because I halfheartedly wrestle my stories and they easily best me and then go sit in the shade and sulk without me. Which makes for a lonely writer… But! That changed in June because I was super inspired and ended up working on five different stories and pounding out 11k words! That may be small potatoes to some of the big writer folks out there, but for this little weakling, I find myself quite unusually proud of me.

  • 5k of that was working on a couple of lesser stories in the Kedran’s Wood series, messing with Tare backstory which is fun (Son of Kedran’s Wood [0.5], and Return to McAllistair Mansion [1.5, short story]). Like 500 words of KW2, The Secret of Kedran’s Wood… yes, that’s slow right now. But happening! Which is still good!
  • And between a random snippet and that writing dare I posted that I’m leaning toward fitting into The Other Half of Everything somehow… that’s about 1500 words on that story. It’s still in the snippet stage, but hey, I won’t complain if it gets some of itself written already. πŸ˜‰
  • And most of all, I’m very excited about getting about 3.5k words of my short story Darkling Reflections written! I diiid hope to finish it in June but at least I wrote the middle part and now just have the final third to do. So. That’s kind of awesome.

Um… and such nitty-gritty details of what-I-wrote-and-words is probably is of no interest to anyone but me. Ahem. But ANYWAYS. I basically wrote 11,000 words of awesome in June and feel extremely happy and inspired. I also had a couple of epic ideas for fairytale retellings I plan to write and got some plotting notes down. So THAT’S always fabulous. πŸ˜€

I will totally have to post some snippets because AAALL THE WRITING.

Reading

jun2015books

I wanted to read way more than that, but apparently I got a goodly amount of reading done all the same… Huh.

  • The Hobbit is a reread, naturally… and just as awesome as always.
  • Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (finally), as well as Stargirl and Love, Stargirl (totally random), were all small and rather mixed-feelings books that kind of left me a bit torn going “meh”, though they did have their merits I suppose.
  • Perfect Scoundrels — I finally read the last Heist Society book! Which as always was awesome. Cleverness and Hale. Yes. The author totally must write more…
  • Wildwood Dancing and Illusionarium — I had complaints for both, but were generally amazing. Another Twelve Dancing Princesses book (still working on those!). And my first steampunk, so yay! …I feel like all I’ve been doing on my blog lately is talk about Illusionarium (without even talking about it really or reviewing it or anything. O_O). I will stop, I promise! Ahem…

Anyways, that’s the reading I got done. A fairly good month, I guess?

July Nightstand Books

Aaand it being the first Wednesday of the month, not to mention first DAY of the month, I can’t resist posting the stuff I hope to read in July — so here I am, linking up with the Nightstand Books meme as started by Jenelle and D.J. It’s usually the first Wednesday of the month, I thiiink…

Here’s what I want to read… though I have no illusions (arium or otherwise har har) about actually getting them all read this month. BUT I CAN TRY.

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AREN’T THEY SO PRETTY.

  • I’m STILL in Veiled Rose… I can’t believe it. But I’m trying to finish that soon. Poor Leo. *pets him*
  • Plenilune… Erm… Yes, I started it on Christmas, so I’ve officially been in this book for half a year now. IT’S. SO. BIG. I’m only 137 pages in, out of 659… I may cry. Ahem. However, it’s kind of delightful so far in its way, just verrry slow to wade through. *puffs and pants and puts on little-engine-that-could mentality* I think I can, I think I can!
  • And yes, I’m finally going to read The Scarlet Pimpernel. Because my bookclub is reading it. Every single person I know seems to have read and loved it and I’m always being told to read it. So I finally am going to, yay! I love stuff like that so I hope it will be awesome.
  • I don’t know if I’ll get to Out of Darkness Rising and Mist of Midnight, but I’ve been dying to read both of them for so long that hopefully I will… They just look so delicious.

Aaaand also some ebooks.

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See, that’s the problem with ebooks, they don’t fit beautifully on stacks on nightstands… *cough* BUT THESE ARE AWESOME ANYWAY, SO.

  • Yes, I’m ashamed to say I’m STILL in Chasing Shadows, which I do need to finish and review, but despite my slowness it’s kind of awesome anyways (WILL IS FABULOUS) and I’m working through it but it’s super long and I’m a very slow PDF reader, I fear…
  • Same with Five Enchanted Roses, which I’m SUUUPER excited and grateful to get to be an influence reader for Jenelle Schmidt’s entry, Stone Curse! *flaiiiil* Lookit that gorgeous. I can’t WAIT to dive into this. I’m very very excited. Expect a review on that sometime later this month too, hopefully!
  • And then of course there’s still that Twelve Dancing Princesses Collection I’m working through. So many! They are mostly super dark, whodathunk. XD

Random Bookish News

I just need to flail a bit about this: there is an official cover for Jill Williamson’s next fantasy book, King’s Folly!Β Read the post. It’s the first book in the Kinsman Chronicles, which are kinda-sorta prequels to the Blood of Kings Trilogy (which I love. A lot).

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She’s been writing sci-fi and dystopian and contemporary spy stuff for awhile now, which are great but not FANTASY if you know what I mean… So the fact that there’s another Jill Williamson fantasy book coming out (albeit adult instead of YA) just kind of excites me. Now I just have to wait till next spring. Whyyy. The life of a bookworm is tough, you guys, let me tell you. *falls dramatically across couch*

Anyways enough of my babbling — Coverrrr!! ❀ (Books just become REAL when they have covers, you know what I mean?)

***

Basically this whole post was about booooks. With a small side of writing. But what can I say. I’m very bookwormy these days. IT’S SUMMER AND SUMMER IS FOR READING RIGHT. I think I’m also now addicted to blogging. This may be a problem…

So that’s what’s up with me!

How about you?

Did you have a good June? Have plans for July?

Are you doing Camp NaNo??

(I’m not. *hides shamefully behind a tapestry*)

Also. IT’S ONLY FOUR MONTHS TILL NANOWRIMO. *drops bombshell and calmly walks away as if nothing happened*

Nightstand Books – May Edition

Nightstand Books is a monthly blog meme Jenelle Schmidt and DJ Edwardson started… the idea being that we take a look at our nightstand of books we’re reading/looking forward to reading that month.

I think it’s a fun idea and since I have a large stack currently (and forgot to mention anything about them in my last Ishness post…) I thought sharing them with y’all might push me to actually finishing some!

Since I’m in the middle of 7 books (yes. Seven. *cringe*) and have another half-dozen I’m dying to get to…

So, without further ado, behold!

NightstandBooksMay
Plenilune by Jennifer Freitag — Planetary Fantasy. I started this on Christmas, got a hundred pages in by sometime in January, and didn’t pick it up again until a couple days ago. It’s so rich that it’s very slow to read, which coupled with its ginormous length makes it daunting as Mount Everest. But I’m making the climb! If I can manage to read a chapter a day, I hope to finish it this month…

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine — Snow White retelling, set in the same world as Ella Enchanted. I read this once, forever ago, and remember practically nothing about it. So I’m re-reading it this month with my bookclub. Fun!

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien — Needs no introduction. πŸ˜‰ Another re-read… I started this on Tolkien’s birthday (Jan. 3rd) and… have been a few chapters in ever since. I just haven’t felt like re-reads lately, but I want to finish that up this month as well! So I can start on re-reading The Lord of the Rings for the umpteenth time… Mwahaha.

Veiled Rose by Anne Elisabeth Stengl — Goldstone Wood, book 2… I’m a bit of a ways into this and loving it to death. 11-year-old Leo and Rose Red are ADORABLE and Stengl’s writing is both gorgeous and funny. I have no idea what took me so long to get to it after reading Heartless eons ago…

Moonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl — Goldstone Wood, book 3… So I’m not to this one yet, obviously, as I’m still in Veiled Rose… But the Goodreads group for Goldstone Wood is having a group read-through for Moonblood, starting May 1st and running till near the end of June. Hence my hastily trying to finish reading Veiled Rose so I can join in the fun! It’s going to be AWESOME.

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman — Contemporary Fantasy with the premise that magical fairytale items are lent out like library books. Cool idea, much?? I have been dying to read this ever since I found it at a used bookshop several months ago and it has been sitting on the top of my “read-right-now!” pile for a very long time. Somehow I just haven’t started it yet. But as soon as I finish some of the ones I’m reading right now, I’m going to devour it.

Out of Darkness Rising by Gillian Bronte Adams — Christian allegory fantasy novella. Similarly, I’ve been wanting to read this ever since I got it. I can’t wait!

Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd — I won this Christian/romance/historical/gothic book in a giveaway and it looks super intriguing. Different from my normal reads but I’m looking forward to trying it out and seeing how it turns out.

But wait! I’m also in some ebooks!

Silly ebooks, not physical enough to put on a nightstand for a picture… *shakes head*

Here are my current-and-soon ebooks:

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Galdoni by Cheree Alsop — Kind of futuristic/modern-ish about some experiments who are basically humans with wings. This was one of those random-free-ebooks things that I downloaded–no idea why–and I accidentally started reading it and got hooked. It’s totally not my genre or my type of thing, and I’m not even sure what I think about it yet, but I’m really curious to find out what happens anyway.

Twelve Dancing Princesses Tales From Around the World edited by Heidi Anne Heiner — EEE!! So I’m super excited to devour all these versions of my favorite fairytale, collected from around the world… I also get to call it “research” for my upcoming NaNo novel this year, so that’s fun. πŸ˜‰ But there’s, like… 50 in this thing. (So some of them are only vaguely related to the Twelve Dancing Princesses type stories. But still.) All the deliciousness! I’m having so much fun.

The Valley Stories Omnibus by Sarah Scheele — I’ve read the first two in the collection (Alyce, and Consuela) which I adored, and can’t wait to read Victoria, which I hear is a Snow White/Twelve Dancing Princesses story! (Lots of that going around this month…) I just KNOW it’s going be be awesome. πŸ™‚ (Also, the author is giving away free ebooks of this collection to anyone who signs up for her newsletter on her website!)

Chasing Shadows by Ashley Townsend — Time travel and a masked man? Yes please! I’m reading this for reviewing and am super intrigued so far… So I just need to finish it and then y’all should be watching for a review on it! πŸ™‚

Heidel by Anita Valle — After getting hooked on Maelyn and Coralina, I can’t wait to read this third “Nine Princesses” novella! This one’s about the cooking princess, so that should be interesting…

***

So there are the books I’m reading right now and want-to-read-right-this-instant-but-will-try-to-wait-till-I-finish-some-of-the-ones-I’m-already-in. Yes, that’s 13, and it’s unlikely I’ll get to all of them this month. But I just had to share! πŸ™‚

Have you read any of these? Are they good?

Are any on your to-read list?

And what are your May Nightstand books?

Feel free to join the meme if you like, and check out Jenelle and DJ‘s posts (link to them if you do it)! πŸ™‚