Camp NaNoWriMo – April 2017

It’s that time of year again, Camp NaNoWriMo, where beginners and experts set their own personal writing goals for their various projects. I will be participating again this year (my 3rd year)! I completed my goal last year of 10,000 words in the July ’16 Camp NaNo. I’m looking to achieve my goal again this year as well. You can learn all about Camp NaNoWriMo here.

Counting the Hours

This year I am shaking it up with an hour count instead of word count. I have set my goal to 30 hours, 1 hour each day, to write. This is one of several new features for Camp NaNo. I want to use Camp NaNo not only as a fun, creative outlet, but to aid in creating a practice of writing every day.

Short n’ Sweet

What will I be writing? Short stories! This is a new writing adventure for me, but one I’m excited to tackle! I’ve selected to do three short stories all in horror/supernatural genre. They are as follows:

  1. Sadie, an amateur nature photographer, becomes intertwined with two monster hunters, but they soon find themselves the hunted prey.
  2. Annalise moved into her first apartment! She has the cutest decor, furniture and knick knacks. However, an interesting, exotic plant catches her eye that she MUST have! Annalise is no green thumb, but are plants supposed to consume raw meat?
  3. Khellan has lived his life by the way of The Stones. It is how all the people of the Elbert community live their lives. However, when an elder does not report for The Winnowing, the community begins to unravel.

Goals

  • To write one hour every day for 30 days.
  • Start (and complete) three short stories.

 

Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo? What are you goal(s)? Taking on a new project or old? Any tips or tricks? Share in the comments down below as I would love to read them!

Until next post,
Pilar

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare | Book Review

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Synopsis
After the passing of her grandfather, Katherine “Kit” Tyler sails away from her home of Barbados to Connecticut where her aunt, Rachel Wood and only remaining family member, resides. Kit’s comfortable upbringing in the sunny Barbados makes her an instant outsider in the small community of Wethersfield as well as in the Wood household. However, Kit finds solace and friendship with an elderly woman by the name of  Hannah Tupper, a Quaker. Unfortunately, due to the the community’s intolerance, Hannah is viewed as a witch and soon Kit’s new friendship endangers those she loves dearly as well as her own life.

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Review *SPOILERS*
As a whole I found this to be a cute story that provided insight into the Puritan way of life. However, it did take over half of the book to build up to the climax of the story. While the build up was enjoyable it was always in the back of my head that we had yet to hit the plot of the story and once it was revealed the story wrapped up rather quickly. Perhaps I simply did not want this story to end, but I would have liked to have had a scene where Kit visited Hannah when she was residing with Nat’s Grandmother in Saybrook and maybe even the marriages of Kit’s cousin, Judith Wood and Mercy Wood as well as Kit herself. Another aspect I enjoyed was the historical story line intertwined within this work of fiction. Kit arrives in Wethersfield when there is debate a over giving the Connecticut Royal Charter of 1662 back to King James II which had been given to the settlers of Connecticut by James’ father and the former king, King Charles. The charter had granted the settlers autonomy in 1662. However, King James II wished to revoke this autonomy and appointed Sir Edmond Andros as Govenor-General of the colonies. Andros argued his appointment overrode the charters and went to each of the colonies to collect them. However, many of the residents of Connecticut did not agree. As not to spoil too much of the story, I will end it there. Also, while most of the characters are fictitious, Andros and a few others in the author’s story were real people involved at the time. If you are interested in this bit of history you may Google “Charter Oak” for more information. According to the author, Elizabeth George Speare, Charter Oak is a well known tale by all Connecticut children.

Final Thoughts
I enjoyed this children’s book. It was a nice change from many of the classics I have been reading lately. While the book was rushed at the end, I found myself wrapped up in the lives of Kit and the Wood family. I think it is a great palette cleanser if anyone is looking to shake things up in their reading list.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Share your comments down below!

Until next post,
Pilar

2017 Goals | New Year, New Reads!

2017 is finally here and with it are my reading goals for the year! Feel free to check out how I fared in my 2016 goals here!


Read one book for fun each month

My reading for pleasure will be taking a dive this year as I am *finally* beginning my graduate career. However, to offset the stress/boredom of required reading and to make sure I do not quit reading for fun for three whole years, I will be doing my best to read one book a month.

Post on this blog once a week

I had this goal last year, but I posted roughly twice a month in 2016. I am proud that I continued to post for the full year of 2016 and that I did not quit this blog. As I have already proven that I am committed to this blog, then it is time to push it further by posting once a week!

Post a book review once a month

This was the initial premise of this blog, but I only posted one book review for 2016. With my goal of reading 1 book a month this should aid in completing this task. It also helps my goal of posting once a week with at least one guaranteed post a month!

Participate in a virtual book club for at least one month

I originally wanted to participate for a full year, but as my time will be limited due to schooling I thought it best to try a book club (I’m thinking Banging Book Club or Our Shared Shelf) for one month out of the year. I may even try both!

Goodreads Book Challenge (25 books)

Again, my time will be limited this year, so I set the goal of 25 books read for 2017. I do not know if I will include my graduate reading (I think that may be cheating). Clearly this would require me reading over one book a month, but who knows I may surprise myself!

 

What reading resolutions have you set for yourself in 2017? What are you most looking forward to this year? Share in the comments down below!

Until next post,
Pilar

2016 In Review

It has been one year since I started this blog. Along with it I gave myself goals to accomplish in the year of 2016. Today I will be looking back at these goals! Be sure to check out my 2017 New Year, New Reads goals!

Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge: 50 books

If you have a Goodreads account, then I encourage you to try this challenge! It’s a simple challenge where you set your own goal for how many books you want to read for the year. You can join at ANY time, so do not feel as if you have to wait until the next year to participate. In 2015, I decided to join the challenge in June, or the first time I had logged on GR since I set up the account back in 2012, and set quite the goal of 100 books. In the remaining seven months, I read 14 books, or two books for each of the seven months! I am very proud of myself and the challenge was a great motivator. This year, I set the goal at 50 books which is roughly 4 – 5 books to read each month. Quite a task! I am going to do my best to reach the goal, but it is more of a motivation tool and a way to better my reading skills. Anyone wishing to hone their reading skills or love challenges, sign on up!

Final result: 31/50 books read for 2016. No, I did not acheive my goal of 50, but I cannot recall the last time I read 31 books in 1 year. I am very proud of myself! Plus a bonus of enjoying some great books with a handful being classics. *High fives self*

Read War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy

I cannot recall why I Googled Leo Tolstoy, but as I clicked away I end up on a Wikipedia page for the author which led me to a page for his work War & Peace. I had heard about this book for years, but always with the context that it was a daunting read that could never be finished. Having read up on the work, I discovered it is an epic historical novel. It follows five aristocratic families during the years of the Napoleonic Wars. I’m partial to historic novels, so I have decided to take on Tolstoy’s War & Peace. I will be reading the Aylmer and Louise Maude translation, however, it is the Oxford World’s Classics newest edition which has fixed all the “errors” of the Maude version such as the Anglicized name changes (original names restored) and translation of the French to English (footnotes with the English translation added). I will be reviewing each book, the Oxford edition has it broken into 5 parts, as well.

I did not read War & Peace. Heck, I didn’t even purchase or check out a copy. I did spend a fair amount of time researching which edition/translation I should get. I narrowed it down to The Maudes (Louise and Alymer) and Garnett (Constance). I’m pretty knowledgeable on the various translations and edition of Tolstoy’ War & Peace which is something. I also learned War & Peace is shorter than GRRM series Fire & Ice, so it will be a walk in the park (ha!).

Post on Quibs Full of Nargles Once a Week

While this goal is more about writing than reading, I wanted to add it to my list as to make sure this blogging experiment is successful. My intention for starting this blog was a way to grow my reading skills with the added benefit of improving my writing skills. Obviously, each weekly post will not be a book review as I am simply not that fast of a reader nor have I the luxury to sit about all day to read (a girl can dream though!). My life is pretty busy with my job, social life, raising a kitten, and simply doing my best to stay afloat with this whole adulting business. I do plan to keep my posts book related for the most part, however, I am always open to trying new things once in a blue moon. Most importantly though, I will pushing quality content over quantity. The latter is neither beneficial to myself or you the reader. Once a week is the minimum, so some weeks may have more posts which will be a special treat for all, right!?

I did my best. Out of the total of 25 posts to this blog, 22 were in 2016. Roughly, twice a month. Yes, not exactly close, but I am proud in that I kept publishing here for a full year. I thought of quitting or creating a new blog and starting over, but I didn’t. I wasn’t that great of posting book reviews, yet I still found the will to put up post for a whole year. Don’t worry, I look forward to pushing myself more this year, but I see this as growth for me.

Monthly Booktube Video

As I mentioned in my very first post briefly, I created a YouTube channel and tried my hand at booktubing, or video blogging about books. A quick Google search or YouTube search will yield results of popular Booktubers for reference, but as I am currently editing this post the idea to use this topic as a later post has popped into my head: Booktubing 101! Back to my story, I did my best to post a video a week, but have a VERY out dated editing program and it all simply took too much time which lead to the hobby not being fun anymore. I very much want to revive my channel as I enjoyed connecting with fellow book lovers and readers as I am sure I will do on this blog as well. The plan is do to condensed versions of my blog book reviews for my Booktube channel, however, there are several fun videos such as Top 5 Wednesdays and Tags that may pop up from time to time to bust up the flow. Any book reviews I record for my channel will also have an accompanying blog post here. The best of both worlds!

I did not complete this goal. I honestly go back and forth on whether to post videos or not. I do want to give posting videos another shot, but I am going to keep my channel as a creative outlet space. It would be “undefined” in a sense. I’m not interested in making money (I have a great job) nor fame (talking to strangers in real life and on the interwebz still gives me anxiety). We’ll see in 2017.

Join in 5 Readathons

I participated in Booktube-a-thon 2015 in August as well as the holiday version in December and had a blast! There are many read-a-thons in the booktube community as well as in the blog and social media realms. Each read-a-thon has their own set of rules, such as, read a book with blue on the cover, read a book that has an author that shares the first initial of your last name, and others dictating specific requirements for book selection. Read-a-thons are a great way to connect with other people over social media as well as the benefits of improving your reading skills and mind. I will post any read-a-thons I plan to participate in this year in case others wish to join! As it stands right now, I will be participating in Booktube-a-thon 2016 as well as the holiday version. Two down three to go!

I joined one readathons this year: Booktube-a-thon 2016 and I did okay. Honestly, I cannot recall it very much. I was more focused on trying to hit my 4 – 5 books a month and realizing how reading was becoming a chore due to that. However, the time I did spend participating and engaging on Twitter was fun.

Complete all 10 Books on my Currently Reading List on Goodreads

I have a bad reading habit or a unique reading style, whichever way you look at it my habit/style has led to a problem. I have a tendency to read several books at once. I have read/heard this style of reading referred to as chaotic reading. I get very excited about new books I have bought, been given as a gift, lent or somehow end up in my possession. So much so, I end up placing the current book I am reading down, read the new one, then switch back to the previous book, perhaps switch to another book as I am not in the mood for the new or old book, and just it continues until I am drowning in half finished books. I do my best to keep it in check, read-a-thons and goals really help me with that task, but I have let it run wild leading to having 10 books I am “currently” reading. So before I can move on to any other books, including War & Peace, I must knock out these 10 reads, for my sanity and to be capable of reaching any of the above goals! Edit: I began reading a new book, Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. Help! I’m unstoppable!

I kept poor tabs on the 10 books I am referring to in this goal. I do believe I completed it as there were only one or two books I DNF, but it was later in the year. Yay! One goal TRULY completed!

While I did not complete all but one of my goals, it was year a growth for me on this blog. There are also 20+ of y’all reading my posts which is amazing to me! I appreciate your support in 2016 and am excited to move forward with y’all in 2017! What goals did you have for 2016? Any goals for the new year?

Thank you & until next post,
Pilar

Things I’m Bad at As an Adult

This post was inspired by JennaMarbles video Things I'm Bad At As An Adult

This is a list of things I am bad at, at the age of 26. I would have thought adulthood/age/time would have had me grown out of these essentially bad habits, but here we are. As Jenna states in her video that putting her thoughts/rants/complaints/etc. into the world seems to have her benefit from them by improving herself or other good karma, I thought I would give this a try in hopes I might quit some of these not very adult habits.

 

I’m terrible at loading/unloading the dishwasher. My sink is always a mountain of smelly dishes and I use my dishwasher as cabinet for clean dishes.

I’m horrid at cleaning in general. Sure, I sweep/mop/vacuum my floors once a week, but anything additional (cleaning the kitchen, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, etc.) gets left until something is growing, attracts vermin or I have a guest coming over.

I’m slowly becoming awful at managing my money. Seriously, my account held $0.63 last week. NO. *hand clap emoji* GURL. *hand clap emoji* STOP. *hand clap emoji*poorI get into bed at 10:00pm like a responsible “I have to be at work before 8:00am adult,” but I do not go to sleep until midnight giving 6 hours of sleep which is not enough for me, so I end up crashing once or twice a week after work, take 4 – 6hr naps and continue the cycle of madness. *cries*

I make plans to workout, may even do so for at most 3 days, then give in to my lazy tendencies, beat myself up about not working out and start the whole process over again after several months. I’m not looking to be a model. Just want a healthy body with less back pain.

My procrastination is out of control.

I’ve become a lazy pet owner. I feed her and meet her needs. I could simply be better is all. For example, more playtime, walks, getting flea treatment not at the last minute *see procrastination*.

I am blessed with excellent insurance at such a young age. I should put it to use someday by scheduling appointments with a doctor and dentist.

I am terrible at speaking on the phone and in real life. I’ve held a customer service type job going on three years, help me!

I  have commitment issues in terms of projects/hobbies/etc.

Well this was cathartic. What things are you bad at as an adult? Share in the comments down below!

Until next post,
Pilar

Books You Want to Finally Read in 2017 12.07.16 | T5W

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by gingerreadslainey and hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. There is a new topic every Wednesday where bloggers/booktubers/etc. create their top five list. Join the group today!

Books I meant to read many moons ago!

1. A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution by Samar Yazbek
*On my TBR list since Jan. 2013

2. The Secret History of Nursery Rhymes by Linda Alchin
*On my TBR list since Mar. 2013

3. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
*On my TBR list since Nov. 2014

4. Winter by Marissa Meyer
*On my TBR list since May 2016

5. 1984  by George Orwell
*On my bookshelf since Aug. 2016

What books are you looking to read in the new year that have been on your shelf or TBR list for ages? Share down in the comments below!

Until next post,
Pilar

Books I Want to Re-Read 11.23.16 | T5W

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by gingerreadslainey and hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. There is a new topic every Wednesday where bloggers/booktubers/etc. create their top five list. Join the group today!

Taking a moment this week to reflect on books that I would like to re-read.

1. Haunting of Alaizabel Cray
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I first read this book way back (roughly 11 years ago) in my early high school years. I instantly fell in love with it to the point it inspired me to try and write a similar creepy story (it has since been lost as it was written on an old dinosaur of a computer). As it has been over a decade, I vaguely remember what the book was about. The story is set in Victorian England with a teen boy, a teen girl with special powers and a murderous carriage driver (Jack the Ripper comes to mind when I think about the villain). While I did love this story, time has stolen most of my memory of it. However, Goodreads provides a much better synopsis for those interested. It was about a year ago I remembered this book and by remember I mean the poor synopsis I gave above. I DIDN’T EVEN REMEMBER THE TITLE OR AUTHOR! To be fair, I knew it was The Haunting, but after that my mind went blank. I believe I searched for this book on and off for over a year. Typing in variations of “victorian era books fiction”, “victorian era books, jack the ripper, fiction”, “victorian fiction, England, haunted girl” and etc. into Google. I was quite close to using a service to aid in my search for this book when one day, I was successful in my endeavors. I am excited to re-read this book from my teen years, but I am slightly apprehensive as my tastes may have changed (or improved) since then. Even if I find I do not like the book, I do hope it does not ruin how much I loved it back then.

2. Blood & Chocolate
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Now this is a book I would never pick up in the present day. However, after having searched a year for The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, I was thrown back down the memory lane of books I had read during that time (early teens). Blood and Chocolate was one of them. I remember being so proud of myself for finishing this book in two days (a record that I have still yet to beat after all this time). My whole world belonged to this book for two whole days. I couldn’t fathom doing or thinking about anything else other than simply finishing the story. I truly believe I would have finished this book in one day, if my Mom hadn’t asked me to do chores, eat, or basically function like a normal human being. I also recall being excited about the movie and being utterly upset at how they ruined it. (I’m forever bitter about it). I hated the way the book ended initially, but came to terms with it. Unlike the movie which gave me the ending I had initially wanted. (Bitter. Forever.). Blood and Chocolate was one of my top favorite books and it even traveled with me to college where I then sold it at a Half Price Books with a few other books for a mere $5.00. I was low on cash and wanted to go to a party out of town with some friends that weekend. (Not my proudest moment). I’m excited to read this, but will probably think it all silly compared to my initial thoughts of it when reading it at the age of 15.

3. Harry Potter series
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The last time I re-read the series was my Senior year and last semester of college. I had broken off a year long, nasty and extremely toxic relationship a couple of months prior and was still dealing with all the fall out. Oddly, the Harry Potter series helped me heal. I know, it sounds so cliche, but it kept me sane. While HP was a great read while growing up, that was all it ever was to me. Now, I’ve joined the club of people who say, “HP was XYZ for me.” It’s been a few years and I am itching to do a re-read.  The releases of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Fantasical Beasts and Where to Find Them have given birth to the urge to relive the wonder of Hogwarts and the Wizarding World.

4. To Kill A Mockingbird
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This was a standard high school read and we even watched the movie. I know I did not appreciate the book as I should have at the wonderful age of 15. I want to re-read this classic, as I am sure there was plenty that sailed over my head.

 

 

 

5. The House on Mango Street
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I first read this book in college for a modern English class. I loved it, I still love it and I simply want to re-read it again just for fun. I also plan to read other works by Cisneros.

 

 

 

What books would you like to re-read? Do you have any favorites that you re-read often? Have your thoughts and opinions changed due to re-reading a book? Share your answers in the comments down below!

Until next post,
Pilar