Blogging

Winter Break

I submitted my final packet of the semester last night and all I need to do is hear back from my mentor and I’ll be good to go.

It’s been a rough semester. Right around the start of October, I went into a deep, downward spiral and my depression just wouldn’t let up. It was a very rough few months. Then I caught some sort of sick about a month ago that hasn’t let up either so things were just not looking great.

But I made it through somehow and here I am on the other side, sniffling and still a little congested, but I’m here.

I’ve sort of come to kind of hate the project I was working on this semester. I know how I tend to write and forcing myself to work on a project I didn’t care for or I knew needed some time on the shelf just sort of made me hate everything I wrote.

My next semester is going to be my editing semester, where I get to work with an editor in the publishing industry who isn’t one of the professors, so I’m a little nervous. I hope that the list of editors is sent out soon and that there’s a dedicated portion for the Writing for Children and Young Adults students.

But, for now, and until residency starts, I’m going to go play some video games, plan my next D&D session, and let myself relax for a little bit. Maybe I’ll get around to my TBR pile…

TBR

December TBR

December

I’ve got some ambitious reads for this month! But it’s almost the end of the semester so it frees up some time for me.

Plus I’m going on vacation over Christmas so I can spend a lot of that time reading. What are some of the books you’re looking forward to over this holiday season?

Blogging

Hello Again!

Oh, hi there!

I seem to have fallen off this blog for a little bit, again. It’s been a rough few months.

I sort of stopped being able to handle blogging and writing and reading all at once at the end of September and it was just not a fun time for a while. A lot of things sort of came up at once and I was in a very bad mental health state through most of October. I took a vacation with my significant other in early November and that seemed to help clear my head a bit.

I’m back, though, and I’ve got a few reviews waiting in the wings to come up and strut their stuff. (Or lack thereof, if the book wasn’t necessarily that good…)

But I’m also still podcasting over at Booked All Night so you can keep up with some of my things over in that neck of the woods.

It’s almost the end of the year and I’m getting into crunch time in the last few weeks of the semester, so let’s hope this plague I’ve seemed to have caught at work doesn’t last for too long…

See ya around, lovelies!

Blogging

September Writing Goals

It’s been a hard month of writing, y’all.

Even with my semester being back in full swing, I’m barely scraping by.

I had planned on finishing my YA Suburban Fantasy by August (then by mid-August, then by the end of August…) and that hasn’t happened yet. I’ve been dealing with constant Depression Sessions and it’s just making me tired and unable to do much. It’s not even that I’ve hit a wall with my writing; I know exactly what’s going to happen and I know how the story is going to end.

I feel like I’ve lost a spark of excitement for the story. I’m always coming back to my YA Fantasy and I’ve even been toying with a YA Heist Fantasy and a YA Urban Fantasy about a queer necromancer, but not this story.

When I was at residency, my mentor and Slytherin extraordinaire Pablo Cartaya talked about finding the heart of the story during his workshop, about finding out what made the story shine and where that heart was during all the revisions and drafts.

I feel like this story is lacking a heart, or at least I can’t see it, and I’m not in love with this story. And I’m not sure if it’s because I feel like I’m missing the passion I need to complete the draft or if I’m too lost in the fog of a Depression Session to see it.

Writing and struggling through a mental illness isn’t easy, but I’m trying. I’m trying, y’all.

I just hope it’s enough.

So, here’s hoping to finish some revisions by the end of the month, just in time to submit my next packet, and maybe getting enough of a fire under my ass to break 40k and maybe enter the home stretch for this draft.

Book Reviews · Reviews

Starfish ★★★★☆

29456598It’s always rare for me to pick up a contemporary book and love it. The last one that did that was They Both Die at the End earlier this month and that one made me sob. Starfish was emotional for different reasons.

Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

From debut author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a luminous, heartbreaking story of identity, family, and the beauty that emerges when we embrace our true selves.

A little slow to start, Starfish took my own self-confidence and rattled it around. Kiko has confidence issues and social anxiety that stem from a past trauma and an unloving, racist mother. So when she distances herself from her toxic home, she starts to find parts of herself in California, with the help of her childhood friend Jamie.

The romance subplot didn’t draw me in (though usually I’m a sucker for friends to lovers romances) and any time there was romantic screen time, I felt like I just wanted to get a move on. I was mostly interested in Kiko’s growth into a braver, more confident person.

The portrayal of anxiety was the best I’ve ever seen. I don’t suffer from as intense social anxiety as Kiko, though I do have some milder form of social anxiety, but I know people whose anxiety is as bad as Kiko’s. Bowman knew her stuff when she was portraying Kiko’s anxiety and how people around her reacted to it, especially if those people didn’t have anxiety themselves.

I loved watching Kiko grow as the story went on, and I resonated with a lot of her insecurities about beauty. I may never full understand how societal beauty standards affect girls of color, but as a fat girl myself, I’ve felt that pressure to look a certain way just to be seen as beautiful in a parent’s eye. I’ve felt that hopelessness when I knew it wasn’t something I could control and how my simply existing was a disappointment to some people.

I cried as Kiko made the realizations about herself and beauty and as she became this braver person because of her experiences. I couldn’t put Starfish down and it changed my view on life.

Starfish publishes September 26th, 2017.

Book Reviews · Reviews

They Both Die at the End ★★★★★

33385229Holy mother of feels, y’all. I was warned this one had a lot of heart-smashing, toe-curling feels to dish out, and even thought I knew what was going to happen (because, regardless of how hard you hope, the title tells you everything you need to know about the ending) I still cried like a baby.

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

I really really really wanted this title to be a lie. I wanted to have Mateo and Rufus survive and be happy and together forever and the entire time I had hope that the title was wrong and that I wouldn’t cry forever.

I’m not a fan of contemporary. I don’t hide that fact. But this was just enough fantasy to pique my interest and I was hooked. The ways the characters and the story intersected was amazing. I loved the little details that tied it all together.

Though the closer I got to the ending, the more I despaired. I was sure the ending was going to happen a certain way and then it didn’t, and Mateo’s and Rufus’s actual deaths were fitting and just so goddamn painful to experience. I was barely able to read with all that rain coming out of my eyes.

I did have a lot of unanswered questions about Death-Cast and how that came to be and how it all worked. I wanted more out of the story in a world building way that I didn’t quite get.

So, in summary: feels on feels on feels on feels.