Posted in Books, Mini Reviews, Movies

Back from the void! (Mini reviews of some books I read on my hiatus + general updates)

Hey bibliophiles! Thanksgiving break is here, and that means I’m back to posting semi-regularly!

You betcha - GIF on Imgur

Luckily, after the absolute dumpster fire that October was, November really picked up for me! I’ve started getting my grades up, Biden won the election (!!!!!), and my general mood and mental health have just gotten a lot better.

But before I begin, I’ll just start off with this: I’ll probably start being a little bit more fluid with my posting. I’ll still stick to weekly updates and reviews and such, but depending on how I am that week, I might not do Top 5 Saturdays as much. We’ll see how December goes, anyway. School’s 100% remote now, and everything’s starting to close down again here in Colorado, so I’m fairly certain of another lockdown.

And so this post is for all of the notable novels I read in hiatus, as well as some movies and TV I’ve been enjoying. (Of course, the time I take a break is when I get all the 5-star books…)

Let’s begin, shall we?

WHAT I ENJOYED WHILE I STEPPED INTO THE VOID FOR A FEW WEEKS

BOOKS

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything–Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Amazon.com: Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything  (9781534448636): Gilliland, Raquel Vasquez: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

It’s been three years since ICE raids and phone calls from Mexico and an ill-fated walk across the Sonoran. Three years since Sia Martinez’s mom disappeared. Sia wants to move on, but it’s hard in her tiny Arizona town where people refer to her mom’s deportation as “an unfortunate incident.”

Sia knows that her mom must be dead, but every new moon Sia drives into the desert and lights San Anthony and la Guadalupe candles to guide her mom home.

Then one night, under a million stars, Sia’s life and the world as we know it cracks wide open. Because a blue-lit spacecraft crashes in front of Sia’s car…and it’s carrying her mom, who’s very much alive.

As Sia races to save her mom from armed-quite-possibly-alien soldiers, she uncovers secrets as profound as they are dangerous in this stunning and inventive exploration of first love, family, immigration, and our vast, limitless universe.

WOW. I was excited to read this one, but I didn’t expect it to pack as much of a punch as it did. This is the prime example of a genre-bending novel–all of the sci-fi, contemporary, and magical realism elements blended seamlessly, and even if I separated the different parts, I enjoyed each little cog in the machine just as much as the other. I found myself rooting for Sia at every step of the way, and her journey and struggle were so heartfelt and painful. Add in some #ownvoices representation and no shortage of timely themes, and you get this novel–unexpected, seamless, and nothing short of a joy to read.

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph, Brandy Colbert

Amazon.com: The Revolution of Birdie Randolph (9780316448543): Colbert,  Brandy: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Dove “Birdie” Randolph works hard to be the perfect daughter and follow the path her parents have laid out for her: She quit playing her beloved soccer, she keeps her nose buried in textbooks, and she’s on track to finish high school at the top of her class. But then Birdie falls hard for Booker, a sweet boy with a troubled past…whom she knows her parents will never approve of.

When her estranged aunt Carlene returns to Chicago and moves into the family’s apartment above their hair salon, Birdie notices the tension building at home. Carlene is sweet, friendly, and open-minded–she’s also spent decades in and out of treatment facilities for addiction. As Birdie becomes closer to both Booker and Carlene, she yearns to spread her wings. But when long-buried secrets rise to the surface, everything she’s known to be true is turned upside down.

This one was on my TBR for almost two years, and I’m so glad I picked it up now! The Revolution of Birdie Randolph was one of those rare books that manages to discuss a myriad of issues, but in a way that doesn’t make any of them sound preachy. The struggles of all the characters felt refreshingly real and dealt with in a way that serves to raise conversations. Everything about this novel felt so authentic, which brought me immeasurable joy.

And at the same time, tackling all these issues, Colbert didn’t make it overly heavy–there’s certainly parts that are hard to read, but I didn’t leave it feeling sick to my stomach. At times, it even felt like a slice-of-life story, but I enjoyed that 100%. There’s POC and LGBTQ+ representation aplenty too! All in all, a beautiful and diverse piece of contemporary fiction.

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Are You Listening?, Tillie Walden

Amazon.com: Are You Listening? (9781250207562): Walden, Tillie, Walden,  Tillie: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Bea is on the run. And then, she runs into Lou.

This chance encounter sends them on a journey through West Texas, where strange things follow them wherever they go. The landscape morphs into an unsettling world, a mysterious cat joins them, and they are haunted by a group of threatening men. To stay safe, Bea and Lou must trust each other as they are driven to confront buried truths. The two women share their stories of loss and heartbreak—and a startling revelation about sexual assault—culminating in an exquisite example of human connection.

At this point, every time I read something by Tillie Walden, I’m guaranteed to rate it in the 4.5-5 star range, and Are You Listening? is no exception. A family friend recommended this one to me a few months back, and it wasn’t available at my library at the time, so I ended up reading On a Sunbeam and Spinning beforehand.

I ate this one up in the span of a few hours, and I enjoyed every panel of every page. It’s a story of bonding in the toughest of situations, of sticking together no matter what, of trust. Walden’s artwork is as stunning as ever, turning an unexpected road trip through rural Texas into a strange, desolate, and trippy landscape where nothing is as it seems. And we have two queer women at the wheel–what’s not to love? And a CAT! A CAT!

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Crownchasers, Rebecca Coffindaffer

Amazon.com: Crownchasers (9780062845160): Coffindaffer, Rebecca: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship?

But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne.

Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.

“Perfect for fans of Aurora Rising” [SLAMS THE WANT-TO-READ BUTTON]

This was one of my most anticipated reads for the second half of the year, and I was…a little bit disappointed, not gonna lie. It wasn’t bad, per se–I liked it, but it left me wanting a little more.

There’s no doubt that it was super fast paced and threw me right into the action–a blessing and a curse; a blessing because it kept me reading for a while, on the edge of my seat, and a curse because…we’re given very little information about the world(s) we’re in. I liked the banter between Alyssa, Hell Monkey, and the others, and they had decent chemistry. (Also, there’s quite a lot of LGBTQ+ characters, including Alyssa herself–I’m not sure if she’s bi, pan, or another identity, but she’s definitely shown to like several genders! Woohoo!)

The breakneck speed definitely had me forgetting where everybody was, why x and y was so important, etc. But for a debut novel, I’d say that this is a solid start on Coffindaffer’s part! Not my favorite, but I think I’ll tag along to see what book 2 holds.

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

MOVIES/TV:

Fargo: Year 4 (2020)

Fargo' Season 4 to premiere Sept. 27 on FX - UPI.com

Yep, it’s settled: Fargo is officially my favorite show. Noah Hawley is a true mastermind of storytelling, and every ounce of his creativity truly shines through in this season. I’ve always loved his characters, but this is the first season where I’ve really gotten attached to some of them (which, given the rate at which characters are killed off in this show, is…not good…). Episode 9 (East/West) is, hands down, my favorite of the season so far–the characterizations of Rabbi and Satchel, all the weird Wizard of Oz references…I haven’t been so invested in a show in such a long time. There’s only two episodes left in this season, so you can expect a review in a few weeks’ time…

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Alien: Covenant | 20th Century Studios

Nobody:

David: GUESS WHO’S BACK

[ahem] Anyway…

Prometheus is definitely one of my favorite movies now, but Covenant wasn’t quite as good. I still enjoyed it though, don’t get me wrong–I love some good, old fashioned sci-fi action, and the twists were so well-executed (though the big one was a tad predictable…I still loved it, though. No spoilers.). I didn’t get attached to any of the characters, but I still adored David, and the creepy little workshop he had going. Everything felt a little rushed, but with where the movie ended, I’m excited to see what else Ridley Scott’s going to pull out of his hat.

Blood Simple (1984)

Blood Simple (1984) - Watch on HBO MAX, HBO, Cinemax, and Streaming Online  | Reelgood

My family’s Fargo kick has made me put a whole bunch of Coen Brothers on my list. We watched this one last night, and…WHOA. I ASPIRE TO HAVE A DEBUT AS GOOD AS THIS. Sure, it took a while to pick up, but it had that signature tension that makes you get invested in so many of their films. Also, even though I’ve never been to Texas, it definitely captured that weird vibe you get when you’re in the South at night, and you’re super tired, and there’s all this humidity and weird ambience floating around…

Today’s song:

So that’s what I’ve been up to while I was gone. As always, thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: October 26-November 1, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles, happy November, and happy Día de los Muertos, if that’s your thing!

Whew, October’s definitely been a rough month for me, and this week wasn’t much of an exception. Junior year is weighing heavy on me, but through it all, at least I’ve had lots of good music and books to keep me going. Having a snow day on Monday was lovely, and now the weather’s nice and moderate. (Oh, and this fourth season of Fargo might just be my favorite, but I’m just hoping Rabbi Milligan survives for a few more episodes…) And Halloween season is always fun–we celebrated on Friday with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and we carved our pumpkins and watched The Nightmare Before Christmas and Beetlejuice on Saturday night. Here’s how my pumpkin turned out, I carved the logo from Fargo on it!

It was promptly eaten by a deer this morning, but hey, I was really proud of it while it lasted.

All things considered, I’ve had a good reading week. I had a couple of disappointments, but I finally got around to reading The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and really enjoyed it! (Expect a review next week!)

And…NaNoWriMo starts today, so there shall be writing aplenty tonight…

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Radio Silence–Alice Oseman (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

All the Stars and Teeth–Adalyn Grace (⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth Duology, 1)  (9781250307781): Grace, Adalyn: Books

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0)–Suzanne Collins (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes' by Suzanne Collins book review - The  Washington Post

The Athena Protocol–Shamim Sarif (⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Athena Protocol (9780062849601): Sarif, Shamim: Books

Tweet Cute–Emma Lord (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Tweet Cute: A Novel (9781250237323): Lord, Emma: Books

The Sleeper and the Spindle–Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell (illustrator) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Sleeper and the Spindle eBook: Gaiman, Neil, Riddell,  Chris: Kindle Store

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Six of Crows–Leigh Bardugo (re-read for book club)

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, 1): Amazon.co.uk: Bardugo, Leigh: Books

Today Tonight Tomorrow–Rachel Lynn Solomon

Amazon.com: Today Tonight Tomorrow (9781534440241): Solomon, Rachel Lynn:  Books

Black Moon (Zodiac, #3)–Romina Russell

Amazon.com: Black Moon (Zodiac) (9781595147462): Russell, Romina: Books

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves! Here’s to a much better November.

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: October 19-25, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

This week has been…well…slightly better than the last, at least? That really isn’t saying much, but it’s gotten the tiniest bit better. Definitely overwhelming and stressful school-wise (@ junior year please stop throwing me off a cliff), but I’m (mostly) over the hump now. I had quizzes in my two hardest classes, so that was no fun.

Stressed GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Other than that, it’s been alright. I’m slowly crawling out of the pit that was last week, but I’ve still been feeling a bit low. I read quite a lot of good books, though, so at least there’s that. I caught up on/rewatched the newest episode of Fargo (no spoilers, but…[AGONIZED SCREAMING]), got a bunch of new books at the library (finally have The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes on my hands!), watched the original Frankenstein again (gotta love how Henry just straight-up admits to grave robbing), and had some birthday festivities for my family. Halloween season always cheers me up, if nothing else, so through all this general bleh-ness, at least we have pumpkins all over the house, a bowl of candy corns, and crunchy leaves on the ground. (Well…crunchy leaves covered in snow, as of this morning.)

I’m…pretty much finished with my outline for NaNoWriMo? I’m itching to get writing again, so I only have one week left to wait…

And today (October 25) marks the beginning of Ace Week! So expect a compilation of books with characters on the asexual spectrum sometime this week.

Oh, and I just witnessed a squirrel on my balcony abscond with a stale bagel…

Ladies, gentlemen and others, welcome to Colorado.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Other Side of the Sky–Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Other Side of the Sky (9780062893338): Kaufman, Amie,  Spooner, Meagan: Books

Memento (The Illuminae Files, #0.5)–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Memento (The Illuminae Files, #0.5) by Amie Kaufman

The War of the Worlds–H.G. Wells (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The War of the Worlds (AmazonClassics Edition) eBook: Wells, H.  G.: Kindle Store

The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily–Laura Creedle (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by Laura Creedle

Bone Crier’s Moon (Bone Grace, #1)–Kathryn Purdie (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Bone Crier's Moon (9780062798770): Purdie, Kathryn: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Radio Silence–Alice Oseman

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes–Suzanne Collins

Amazon.com: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel)  eBook: Collins, Suzanne: Kindle Store

All the Stars and Teeth–Adalyn Grace

Amazon.com: All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth Duology, 1)  (9781250307781): Grace, Adalyn: Books

The Athena Protocol–Shamim Sarif

Amazon.com: The Athena Protocol eBook: Sarif, Shamim: Kindle Store

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: October 5-11, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you all well.

Now that all of the big tests and quizzes that I’ve been stressing out over are over with, I’m feeling a lot better. And now I have a long weekend to look forward to next week, which I’m ECSTATIC for! Just the break I needed.

I had another fairly lackluster reading week, but I enjoyed everything that I read. I only got around to reading two books (well, one, technically–I finished the first one on Sunday evening), and that’s all because of the sheer length of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. (Expect a review next week.) I also had my school’s book club meeting for Aurora Rising, and everybody seemed to love it, which filled my heart with immeasurable joy…🥺

Too Much Beauty GIF by Much - Find & Share on GIPHY
Is this gif about To Sleep in a Sea of Stars or my AP Bio quiz/Precalc test this week? You decide…

Other than that, I went back to the library and got a good haul, caught up on Fargo, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Raised by Wolves (nearly finished with the latter…), and I’ve finally gotten slightly back into the groove of outlining for NaNoWriMo. Oh, and The Other Side of the Sky and Skyhunter just came in the mail!

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Showers, Flowers, and Fangs–Aidan Wayne (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Showers, Flowers, and Fangs by Aidan Wayne

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars–Christopher Paolini (⭐️⭐️⭐️.25)

Amazon.com: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars eBook: Paolini, Christopher: Kindle  Store

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The Court of Miracles–Kester Grant

Amazon.com: The Court of Miracles (9781524772857): Grant, Kester: Books

The Bone Houses–Emily Lloyd Jones

Amazon.com: The Bone Houses eBook: Lloyd-Jones, Emily: Kindle Store

Chilling Effect–Valerie Valdes

Chilling Effect: Valdes, Valerie: 9780062877239: Amazon.com: Books

Dark and Deepest Red–Anna-Marie McLemore

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

A Touch of Gold–Annie Sullivan

A Touch of Gold (A Touch of Gold, #1) by Annie Sullivan

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: September 28-October 4, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles, and HAPPY SPOOKY SEASON!

This week was definitely…something. I had (and still have) a slew of exams and a project to do all week, so school-wise, very overwhelming. Not ideal. But October always makes me feel better, and spending the weekend in Vail among the changing leaves of the aspens definitely alleviated some of the stress from earlier in the week.

Somehow I managed to read…a bunch this week? I’m not sure why, but I managed to blow through most of my library haul AND an eARC in a week flat, and that’s definitely a…record of sorts for me. I mean, one of them was a short graphic novel, but still. I haven’t been able to outline as much this week, but it’s starting to have *some* semblance of structure.

Coraline GIFs | Tenor

And the first few episodes of season 4 of Fargo came out recently, and they were both SO GOOD! I also re-watched Coraline after not seeing it for…almost a decade? The first episode of Penny Dreadful too–SPOOKY SEASON!

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Struck–Jennifer Bosworth (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Struck (Struck, #1) by Jennifer Bosworth

Sea Sirens–Amy Chu and Janet K. Lee (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Comic books in 'Trot and Cap'n Bill Adventure'

Star Daughter–Shveta Thakrar (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®

The Assignment–Liza M. Wiemer (⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: The Assignment (9780593123164): Wiemer, Liza: Books

All These Warriors (Monsters, #2)–Amy Tintera (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: All These Warriors (All These Monsters) eBook: Tintera, Amy:  Kindle Store

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Showers, Flowers, and Fangs–Aidan Wayne

Showers, Flowers, and Fangs by Aidan Wayne

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars–Christopher Paolini

Amazon.com: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars eBook: Paolini, Christopher: Kindle  Store

Today’s song:

File this under: Apples in Stereo songs from my childhood that have inexplicably gotten stuck in my head this week

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Music, writing

Writing Soundtracks: Songs and albums I listen to while I write, and tips for making writing playlists

Ooh, would you look at that! A new header!

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

I got a notification this morning, and apparently I’ve had this blog running for…5 years? WHOAAAAA, OKAY, I FORGOT ABOUT THAT

I didn’t start semi-seriously book blogging until about a year ago, but thank you to everybody who has supported me along the way! (And for those of you who had to witness what this blog was like when I was in middle school…I’m terribly sorry for the horrors you experienced.)

ANYWAY, I figured I should start doing writing-related posts more frequently, so here’s my first(ish?) stab at it.

Many members of the writing community use music in a number of ways in the process of creating their WIP, be it picking specific songs or albums to listen to while writing, or creating book or character playlists. Music is an integral part of my life, and I’ve managed to weave it into my writing life as well. I always listen to music when I write, so I thought that I would first share some songs, albums, and scores that I like the most to get me writing my WIPs.

INSTRUMENTAL SCORES

I think there’s been several studies about how instrumental scores help with studying, but for a lot of people, music without lyrics is helpful to focus on their writing, and is less distracting than music with lyrics. I use a mix of music with and without lyrics in writing, but for those of you who are strictly instrumental, here are some of my favorite albums–mostly film scores, mind you–that I use when writing:

Danny Elfman - Hellboy 2 (OST) - Amazon.com Music

Hellboy II: The Golden Army original score–Danny Elfman

Yes, yes, I know I blab about this masterpiece quite a lot, but hey, it’s Danny Elfman doing the score–what’s not to like? The score ranges from whimsically spooky to action-packed to tear-jerking, so it’s perfect for writing scenes of all kinds.

Radiohead for Solo Piano | Josh Cohen

Radiohead for Solo Piano–Josh Cohen

Even if you aren’t familiar with Radiohead, this is a spectacular collection of their pieces adapted into instrumental, piano form. I particularly like “Motion Picture Soundtrack” and “Black Star.”

Trent Reznor / Atticus Ross: Watchmen (Music from the HBO Series ...

Watchmen original score–Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Much of this one is electronic, but with a wide range of moods; either way, it’s always catchy, and perfectly cinematic. Also, there’s a gorgeous instrumental cover of David Bowie’s “Life On Mars?”, so of course I’d recommend it.

Anything by Jeff Russo, really

Russo has such a wide range, composition-wise, and every single score I’ve come across by him is nothing short of stellar. Some of my favorites include his scores for Legion (FX), and The Umbrella Academy (Netflix), but he’s also scored everything from Cursed to Lucy in the Sky and Fargo (the TV show)

NON-INSTRUMENTAL SONGS AND ALBUMS

I cram loads of music onto my writing playlists, but there’s several particular songs and albums that get me more focused/motivated/immersed in my writing than others, so here goes nothing…

Kid A Cover - How Radiohead's Most Alienating Album Got Its Cover

Kid A–Radiohead

Besides the fact that one of my WIPs features a character who is obsessed with this album, the sheer range of emotion in this album is stunning. Though it’s chiefly electronic, I’ve used these songs from everything from battle scenes to a funeral scene.

Recommended tracks:

Mitski: Bury Me at Makeout Creek Album Review | Pitchfork

Bury Me at Makeout Creek–Mitski

Another very emotional album, this one’s always great for writing scenes associated with any form of love, whether it’s the promise of it, being in the throes of it, or being apart from it. Then again, you’re talking to somebody who has had zero (0) experience with any sort of relationships, so take this as you will.

Recommended tracks:

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot By Wilco Album Cover Location

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot–Wilco

Apparently they called this album “the American Kid A” when it came out, so…did I cheat and put Kid A on here twice? If so, I don’t regret it.

Ranging from punchy, classic rock songs and dreamlike, melancholic hazes of emotion, I highly recommend this album for scenes charged with emotion–doesn’t matter what emotion we’re talking about, because there’s easily a song or two on here for everything.

Recommended tracks:

Phoebe Bridgers: Stranger in the Alps Album Review | Pitchfork

Stranger in the Alps–Phoebe Bridgers

Though I don’t like every song on the album, I’d say about 3/4 of it is positively stellar. Definitely on the sadder side, but it’s perfect for channeling strong emotion in your writing.

Recommended tracks:

David Bowie - Hunky Dory - Amazon.com Music

Hunky Dory–David Bowie

Besides being, y’know, the pinnacle of music, this one is chock-full of tracks that not only help me bring emotion and heart into my writing, but with songs that motivate me to write.

Recommended tracks:

GENERAL WRITING PLAYLIST TIPS

I saw a piece of advice the other day about making two writing playlists: listen to one of them while writing it, and a different one when you’re editing or making the second draft, so that you’re put into a different mindset while re-reading it.

For making the playlists themselves, I usually just dump several songs I like, and go through songs as I write. If there’s a song that takes me out of the writing or has been in circulation for a few times too many, I take it off and replace it.

Just for fun, here are snippets of mine:

And yes, I did color-coordinate the album covers. It’s fun…

(Or, alternatively, “the one that I accidentally dumped all the Weezer on” and “the one without any Weezer at all”)

I also like to cobble together playlists for each of my WIPs: here, I include songs with lyrics that relate to the story, or that just have the general vibe of the WIP. For some of them, I also create character playlists going off of the same rule. For my sci-fi book, there are six different perspectives (or, I’m going to make it that way once I get around to editing it), so I have a playlist for each of them. For my current WIP, however, there’s only one perspective, so I just keep it at the protagonist.

What do you think? What are your musical techniques for writing? What’s your favorite music to write to?

Since there’s a boatload of music in this post, consider the entire thing “today’s song.”

That’s it for this writing post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: June 22-28, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope today finds you in good spirits and health.

Now that June has almost come to a close, I felt like it’s gone by strangely quickly. It feels like it should be the middle of the month, but here we are, and it’s almost July. But that isn’t to say that I haven’t enjoyed the month; despite the strangeness of the times, I’ve had a good start to my summer, even though I’ve spent the bulk of it inside.

For the most part, I’ve had a great week. We went hiking on Monday for a belated Father’s Day excursion, and also that day, I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF MY WIP! This is the first of my ideas that I haven’t abandoned midway and finished all the way, so I’ve given myself a pat on the back for managing that. I didn’t quite know what to do with myself, but I ultimately decided that for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ll work on a short story. Stephen King advised that you should wait a few months (at least) before getting to editing/second drafts after you finish, so I’ll work on said short story, and maybe get back to some of my other WIPs in the meantime.

Other than that, I made some progress on my Iron Giant puzzle, watched Memento, watched a few more episodes of Fargo (nearly done with season 3…)and went on my first excursion to my favorite bookstore since the pandemic started. I got a copy of The Sound of Stars and The Kingdom of Back (autographed copy!), and I’m so excited to read them both. I’ve had an…okayish reading week; I didn’t read as much because it took me longer to read Kingsbane at a whopping 608 pages. I’ve enjoyed everything that I read, but I didn’t read anything terribly memorable.

Oh, and the stickers that came with my preorder of Aurora Burning finally came in the mail, and I love them! Both my laptop case and my current sketchbook both look like the entire Aurora Cycle fandom vomited on them, and I have zero problem with that. (…no pun intended…)

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Kingsbane (Empirium, #2)–Claire Legrand (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Kingsbane (The Empirium Trilogy Book 2) eBook: Legrand ...

Dating Sarah Cooper–Siera Maley (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Dating Sarah Cooper - Kindle edition by Maley, Siera. Children ...

The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss–Amy Noelle Parks (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss (Hardcover) | ABRAMS

The Invisible Man–H. G. Wells (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Invisible Man: A Grotesque Romance (Bantam Classic) - Kindle ...

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The Kingdom of Back–Marie Lu

Amazon.com: The Kingdom of Back eBook: Lu, Marie: Kindle Store

The Sound of Stars–Alechia Dow

Book Review: The Sound of Stars be Alechia Dow | The Young Folks

The Writer’s Journey–Mythic Structure for Writers–Christopher Vogler

Amazon.com: The Writer's Journey - 3ª edición: Mythic Structure ...

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: April 27-May 3, 2020

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Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

It’s been like this for a while, but the feeling of all of the weeks blurring together has really started to set in. Things that feel miles away only happened a matter of weeks ago, and the few dates I’ve either dreaded or have been really excited for have really started to creep up. It’s a quarantine blessing and a curse, really.

That being said, other than the general monotony of online school, it’s been a good week. I listened to a lot of music (both actually new and new to me), read some good books, and reached–and surpassed–my Camp NaNo WriMo goal of 110,00 words! I also finished Fargo [incomprehensible screeching] and watched Rear Window, and the weather’s been wonderfully spring-y. Can’t complain. And there’s only TWO DAYS until Aurora Burning arrives! I preordered it a few months back, so hopefully I’ll get it in the mail sometime next week…

Soon GIFs | Tenor

Oh, and this happened…

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W H O A

 

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK: 

 

Kissing in America–Margo Rabb (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Kissing in America by Margo Rabb

 

Reverie–Ryan La Sala (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Reverie (0760789277535): La Sala, Ryan: Books

 

How to Hang a Witch–Adriana Mather (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: How to Hang a Witch (9780553539479): Mather, Adriana ...

 

The Black Witch–Laurie Forest (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25)

Novels – Laurie Forest

 

POSTS AND SUCH: 

 

SONGS: 

 

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK: 

The Bluest Eye–Toni Morrison (for school)

The Bluest Eye (Vintage International): Morrison, Toni ...

 

Pretty Monsters–Kelly Link

Amazon.com: Pretty Monsters (9780142416723): Link, Kelly: Books

 

Today’s song:

 

 

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (4/27/20)–Questions I Want to Ask You

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Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

I haven’t given realistic fiction/contemporary books as much love on my Goodreads Monday posts, so I figured this book would be a good shift to that dynamic. Plus, I’d forgotten that this novel existed for a little while…

Let’s begin, shall we?

 

GOODREADS MONDAY (4/27/20)–QUESTIONS I WANT TO ASK YOU by Michelle Falkoff

Questions I Want to Ask You by Michelle Falkoff

Blurb from Goodreads: 

Patrick “Pack” Walsh may not know exactly where he’s going in life, but he’s happy where he is. He’s got a girlfriend who gets him. His single dad is his best friend. After graduation, he has a desk job lined up at the local crossfit gym, maybe he’ll even work his way up to trainer. He can’t see himself ever leaving the small town of Brooksby, MA. And he’s fine with that.

Then, on his eighteenth birthday, a letter from Pack’s mother changes everything.

Pack hits the road, searching for a mother he’s never known and a family he had no idea existed until now. His journey unearths questions about both of his parents that he never saw coming. And by the end of the summer, Pack has a whole different understanding of his past—and most importantly, where he wants his future to lead.

 

So why do I want to read this? 

First of all, even though the book is written by a woman, it’s nice to get a male perspective in a subgenre of YA that usually features more female protagonists. It’s always good to get that perspective.

And speaking of different perspectives, this seems like a fascinating journey–not only on the road to discovering the long-kept secrets of Patrick’s long-lost mother, but a journey in a mind that is wildly different from mine. It should be interesting to see how this character deals with this trek of self-discovery–a common theme in YA literature, but one that looks like it’s going to be dealt with in an inventive way.

Plus, the color scheme of the cover is *incredibly* pleasing, I love that cover art…

Deceit, Disrepair and Death Inside a Southern California Rental Empire

 

Today’s song:

[ahem] So I just finished the first season of Fargo last night, and I’ve all but lost the ability to form anything close to a coherent thought…AAAAAAAAA

 

That’s it for this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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