Big Bad Wolf Book Haul: In Which I Tried but Failed to Control Myself

So! Apparently it’s been more than a fortnight since I last posted anything on my blog. And no, I didn’t purposely wait for two weeks so I could use the word fortnight on my opening line. I was just… really lazy. And almost worryingly absentminded. I kept meaning to brainstorm a new blog post but whenever the thought occurred to me, I’d immediately get distracted with something else. And here I was congratulating myself last month for being really active on my book blog. Didn’t realize I’d slide back to my old habits immediately after.

That being said, last week I was able to at least come up with two blog post ideas that I’ve vaguely considered for a while now. One is a personal post – a homage, really – to my love for notebooks and journaling while the other is, as of writing this, a messy rant about a certain YA fantasy book that really disappointed me last year. I fully intended on just forgetting that book for the rest of my days but its absolutely absurd ending (and implications) kept hounding me. So naturally the only way to free myself from it is to pick it apart in a detailed blog post.

While I’ve already outlined both future posts – the book rant-y one even has a messy intro – I didn’t spend enough time and energy on actually writing them so I wasn’t able to finish them by the end of last week. Now I’ve had my heart set on posting something, anything, on my blog this week so I’ve resorted to writing something that I’m confident I can churn out without too much fuss: a book haul.

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Epistolary #5: Goodbye Book Ban | Hello New WIP | A Little Pupdate

I blinked and already it’s the middle of the year. I don’t know what I did for the past six months but I’m sure it was nothing worthwhile.

Anyway. It’s been about a month since I wrote an Epistolary post and although my life is still the same mind-numbing bore that it was in the 4th post, I suppose I can dredge up a couple of things to talk about here. Naturally, this post is going to talk about three things that I love: books, writing, and dogs.

So let’s just jump into it.

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Off Tangent Thoughts: On Organizing my Bookshelf

Hey y’all! I initially planned on posting a Book Talk regarding Three Dark Crowns this week but a couple of things got in the way. Mainly, my health. It’s nothing too serious, just a bit of a nuisance at this point, really.

I had like 30% of the first draft of my Book Talk all typed up but I knew that if I really pushed for publishing it this week, it’d be too sloppy and meandering (more than my Brand permits). So… Next week it is then. However, I didn’t want another week to pass without me posting anything on my blog so I was over the moon when Camillea @CamilleaReads posted this and introduced me to this lovely prompt/meme by Charvi @ItsNotJustFiction.

In Charvi’s own words, Off Tangent Thoughts is “a bi-monthly meme that has a basic list-based format wherein bloggers express their points in the form of a short or long list with the points under the list being merely a couple lines or even complete paragraphs.” As someone who is constantly struggling not to go off tangent whenever I write a post, this prompt is a great opportunity for me to just write whatever. Plus, this Saturday’s prompt is all about organizing books on your bookshelf and… well, let’s just say I have more than enough thoughts on that particular topic.

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2018 Reading Challenge Highlights

It’s a few days into 2019 and I’m still trying to cross out a few of my 2018 to-do’s because that’s just how I roll. Time management? Don’t know her.

Obviously, I meant to have this up before the new year but for reasons unbeknownst even to myself, I wasn’t able to start working on this post until the day after the first day of 2019. I had a rough outline scribbled somewhere in my little notebook about a week or so ago but I didn’t bother typing it down until much later. Oof.

Anyway. I read 100 books last year and, although there were a couple of bumps in the road, I mostly enjoyed the books listed in my Reading Challenge. Some I enjoyed better than others but, for the most part, 2018 was a good year of reading for me. I started reading a lot of series/trilogies, a couple of non-fiction books, and new titles from debut authors.

Interestingly enough, I hadn’t noticed how often I reached for fantasy and high fantasy books until I looked back into my reading list. To be honest, making this list was a bit tricky because my genres weren’t as varied as I’d like. I couldn’t really include that many categories because most of the time it would turn out that I hadn’t really read that many books in a certain genre for them to count as a category. In some genres like horror and thriller, I hadn’t even read more than three books of the genre. It’s strange because horror and thriller used to be my favorite genres when I was a kid. Now I’m more into magic and stuff.

So, yeah, the categories on this Reading Challenge highlights is going to be a little paltry but whatever.

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Epistolary #2: Closing In On 100 Books, Saying Goodbye to Coffee, and Killing My First Draft

I meant to write another Epistolary post – since I insisted that it’s a “series” I’m doing on my blog now – but I kept putting it off in favour of working on more interesting, more pressing posts. Honestly, last week was supposed to be that Ruthless Magic in-depth analysis that I’ve been vaguely working on for weeks but… apparently themes are much more difficult to sort out than I expected so that post will have to wait until next year. 

Anyway, ever since my first Epistolary, a lot of things have happened. Not all of them good but most of them aren’t nearly as bad as I thought it was. Though my paranoid pea-sized brain does tend to exaggerate every little inconvenience so that’s not really saying much.

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No Shelf-Control *emotional*

Nearly a decade ago, back when I was a teeny tiny highschooler with an insatiable desire to devour books, I never imagined little ol’ me of ever owning shelves and shelves and shelves of books. Back when all I could do was read the paltry collection of middle-grade books – and two Sweet Valley High contemporary editions for some reason – in my school’s pathetic excuse of a library, I never dreamed that I’d be the conflicted owner of hundreds of books across nearly all genres. I was a simple bookworm that was happy to hold any kind of fiction book back then, never assuming that one day I’d fill every shelf space of my own room. 

Yet here I am. 

Just so we’re clear, I’m not writing this post to flex or anything. In fact, a deep shame overcomes me whenever I take the time to assess the pandemonium that is my to-be-read (TBR) shelves. That’s why I haven’t been able to organize it as orderly as I’d prefer. Or so I tell myself.

How did it come to this? How did I lose track of how many books I own to a point where every available flat surface in my room has at least one stack of books on it? And why can’t I stop myself from buying more books? (No joke, the week before, I bought four secondhand books online and they arrived last Monday afternoon. I don’t know where to put them.)

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Spooktober Recs (Dark Tales, Black Comedy, and Good ol’ Murder)

It’s the middle of October and, yet again, I’ve almost forgotten all about this blog. And I was doing so well last month too. Four posts! I was on a roll! But then stuff happened, I got distracted, and kind of just… forgot. Almost.

Originally, I wanted my obligatory October spooky post to be about all the ghost/creepy experiences I’ve had in the past. But then I remembered that my life’s obscenely boring and I’ve yet to actually seen (or think I’ve seen) anything remotely paranormal. So even though it’s pretty derivative, I’m just gonna recommend some books, movies, and shows that are perfect for this spooky month. My tastes have always leaned more to the creepy and weird so this kind of post will suit me better, I think.

So if you’re like me and love the world of ghouls, creatures, fairies, and acceptably interesting murderers, keep on reading.

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What I Read in August

It’s the third day of September (at least I hope it still is by the time I get this done) and I’ve realized yet again that I’ve only published one blog post last month. Heck, besides just recently, I barely even opened my drafts folder to work on a post. It’s so annoying because I used to be able to blog so easily before. To be fair, I rarely put any thought or effort on my posts back when I was a wee “blogger.” My posts used to be just pure, unadulterated teenage drivel.

Now that I’m older I’m aiming for more, shall we say, substantial blog posts. Quality is what I’m going for on this blog, not quantity. I want to write blog posts that actually have some thought and meaning to them. Blog posts that I actually bothered to make an effort to be something worth reading. Blog posts that I can read back and not roll my eyes to oblivion for being so feckless and unnecessary.

Not this blog post though. This post is to just make sure that I don’t have two posts of the same subject (The Oremere Chronicles) published right next to each other. I don’t want people to think that I’ve done nothing since then.

So here are the books I read in August. It’s a mixed bag, this month’s reads. Graphic novels, a non-fiction account, two disappointing old timey books, and an absolutely magical magic book that I’m currently obsessed with.

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Year in Books so Far (32%)

In accordance to my New Year’s resolution to blog more (and blog better… if possible), I’m going to share my surprisingly uplifting progress for this year’s Goodreads’ Reading Challenge. Hardly an interesting topic but there really isn’t anything else going on in my life to talk about so this will have to do. Adulthood is simultaneously exhausting and disappointing and I’ve moaned about that one topic too many times already.

Anyway. Last year’s embarrassing failure still haunts me so I’ve been extra careful not to fall behind this time around. I can never forget that I once pledged a hundred books in 2017, thinking that I had all the time I’d ever need after I’d graduate university, only to chop my goal in half when I had four months left of the year and barely reached a quarter of my goal.

Yeah, I can be very extra when it comes to books.

On the first few months of 2017, I was busy stressing about graduation, chasing deadlines, fulfilling requirements that made absolutely no sense, and constantly disassociating whenever the situation called for my full attention. It was pure pandemonium and I had nobody to blame but my own stupid self. In fact, it got so bad that I was convinced that I developed hypertension because of all the headaches and bouts of nausea. Turns out that it was all just stress. My blood pressure’s fine, always has been; I just had a really unhealthy way of dealing with stress, thank god.

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Book Talk: Crafting a Magic/Power System and The Lunar Chronicles

I have a passionate love for books with magic or superpowered people and I’m currently in the processing of writing my own little fantasy tale and, let me tell you, as fun as imagining a make-believe world is, it’s insanely difficult to establish a coherent magic system. Depending on the kind of story you’re writing, a magic/power system can be as comprehensive or as mysterious as you want and oftentimes even just deciding which route to take can be difficult.

In my opinion, a story can have the most fascinating magic/power system ever but if that system doesn’t have consistent rules, if the system can’t even stand under basic scrutiny, then the whole story will flop. Willing suspension of disbelief can only go so far and when you’re dealing with magical folk you’re treading on thin ice to begin with. Now, from what I’ve gleaned from weeks of on-and-off research, making a rational magic/power system is attainable if you take three things into consideration: the verisimilitude of the system, the conflict/s that the system invokes, and the impact of the magic/power to users, non-users, and society as a whole.

As an example, let’s take a look at Marissa Meyer’s triumphant sci-fi adventure series, The Lunar Chronicles. Although the book series doesn’t have as extensive a magic/power system as in a Tolkien tale or any Tamora Pierce book, I believe The Lunar Chronicles is a great example of how a simple superhuman ability can shape a simple story into a complicated, riveting yarn.

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