Don’t Read Bad Books in 2018

Imagine that feeling when you finish a book. You get to the last page, then the last paragraph, then the last sentence, and then the last word. You close the book. How do you feel? Satisfied and a little bit sad it’s over? Angry at the ending? Inspired?

Well for me, this year, I mostly felt a sense of relief.

That brings me to my biggest 2018 resolution: No more bad books!

In all of 2017, I only gave one fiction book on Goodreads 5 stars. I’m not saying I read all terrible books last year because I actually did read some pretty good ones. The thing is, I didn’t read any book that I absolutely loved. I can’t pick out a book I read last year and say “this book changed my life.”

Back in high school, I would read what I would call amazing books all the time. I was in high school from 2010 to 2014, and during this time many famous young adult books either just came out or were just being published. I read Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, James Dashner, Rainbow Rowell, Cassandra Clare, Scott Westerfeld, John Green and many other great authors that had a way of transporting me to amazing worlds with their words. Their books were what inspired me to want to write my own novels. The stories I read by these authors were something special.

When I became a senior in high school, life got busier and busier. In college, I began reading less for my own pleasure and more for class. Being an English major, many of my classes had a lot of required reading. Don’t get me wrong—I read some fantastic books in my literature courses and I discovered my interest in the nonfiction genre. From time to time I still managed to read for pleasure, but it just wasn’t at the same rate as in high school. Frankly, I wasn’t reading as good of books either. You could pin this on the fact that there just weren’t as many hit franchises at the peak of their popularity anymore, but I’m not so sure. I think there are always amazing books out there that still need to be read. I think why I wasn’t reading as many good books was simply because I wasn’t taking the time to be selective with what I read, and rather just picked up anything that sounded kind of interesting and was available at the library.

Most of the books I read last year were actually for school. In fact, throughout the entire fall semester, I wasn’t able to read one book for pleasure outside of the classroom due to how busy I was. I plan on changing that in 2018. Since it’s been nearly four years since I graduated high school, I think it’s about time to give some of my old favorites a reread. Even though I’m a senior in college going into my last semester, I’m excited to get back into reading some of my old favorites that I haven’t touched in a while like The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games. I think rereading these books will give me a renewed spark and help remind me why I love reading and writing in the first place.

I also plan on choosing the new books I do read more selectively. On Goodreads, I gave a lot of books I read this year 3 stars. I don’t want to waste any more time reading books that are mediocre. Rather, I want to go out of my way to read the type of books that got me to fall in love with reading in the first place. I want to read mindblowing books by debut authors, old classics I never got around to, and bestsellers. As long as it’s good, I want to read it.

Tell me some of your absolute favorite books in the comments so I’m never without something amazing to read this year!



New Year, Endless Opportunities

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
― Edith Lovejoy Pierce


2018 will be quite an exciting year for me.  I can say I am beginning an internship I’m passionate about, continuing to pursue freelance editing, and graduating from college. It’s thrilling and a little frightening not being sure where I will be one year from now. The possibilities are endless, and that can be both a comfort and also overwhelming at the same time. I can’t express how happy and blessed I feel about the education I am receiving and the opportunity to pursue the field I’ve always aspired to be a part of—publishing.

That being said, I thought I would share my career-related goals here! I always thought the first step in achieving something is writing it down, so here are my goals for 2018:

  1. Continue learning and growing as an editor — put at least 10 hours into freelancing each week
  2. Start my first post-graduation job using my degree
  3. Finish the first draft of a novel
  4. Read at least 7 publishing-related books
  5. Take an online course related to the field of publishing

Also, I am happy to say that I’m going to post regularly on this blog again! I have a lot of exciting ideas that I can’t wait to share. I will be posting my own short stories, lots of bookish talk, and a sprinkle of other topics I’m passionate about like travel, movie reviews, college survival tips, and more.

My question for everyone is this: what are some of your goals for the new year?


YA Contemporary 2018 Releases Most Anticipated – Top 10

Too many books and not enough time. Looking at all the new releases coming out in the new year is both exciting and overwhelming—I don’t think I can possibly read everything I want to. Thankfully, I came up with a list of my top 10 YA contemporary books hitting shelves in 2018 that we absolutely can’t miss out on. Let me know what new release you’re most excited about in the comments!

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Spoiler-free review: Starfall by Jessie Kwak


I received a review audiobook of Starfall: A Durga System Novella by Jessie Kwak in exchange for my honest opinion.


Starla Dusai is a 15-year-old girl who has been separated from her family after her home was destroyed by the Alliance, and now she’s being held prisoner on an unfamiliar planet. She is also deaf. Willem Jaantzen is a known criminal, who also happens to be her Godfather. He is determined to save her. This novella follows both characters’ stories in alternating chapters, which intertwine to form an exciting sci-fi story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novella. Kwak’s writing is fluid and filled with beautiful imagery. I loved how the ending of each chapter always left me wanting more. It was hard to stop listening!

I liked both the main characters of Starla and Jaantzen. It was refreshing to read a story about someone who is deaf. I’ve never come across a book with a deaf main character before, and now I hope to expand my horizons and read more in the future. Starla is a very likable character who has an interesting past, which I hope to hear more about in later installments. It was also fun to read about Jaantzen, a crime lord, who is also loyal to the people he cares about. I never felt like any of the characters were stereotypes or clichés; they were believable and had realistic dialogue, motivations, and personalities.

My only complaint is that as I was listening to the audiobook, it was hard to keep up with all of the characters. I’m more of a visual learner, so I think I would have better remembered who all the side characters were if I could have seen the names as opposed to just hearing them. That might have just been a personal issue though. The audiobook was narrated by Scott Dai who had a very easy voice to listen to.

I don’t often read sci-fi books, but I’m glad that I read this one! It was enjoyable and fast-paced, with a cast of characters I want to find out what happens to. I will definitely read future installments.

Don’t put off writing anymore


For a long time, I used to put off writing until I was inspired. This is pretty ridiculous considering although I love to write, I’m only ever “inspired” about 5% of the time. When you rely on inspiration alone to tell you when it’s time to start writing, you’re not going to finish your project any time soon.

It takes dedication to finish a novel, or short story, or poem, or any writing project. That means working on it even when you’re not inspired; when you’d rather be watching Netflix, browsing social media, or just anything else. Even If you’re passionate about writing, it’s frightening how easy it can be to just…not do it. This, of course, can be for many reasons.

Writing (and editing said writing) can come naturally some days, but many days it’s a very real struggle. You may be having issues with your plot, or trouble writing a character, or even just questioning your ability as a writer. When it gets tough like this, it’s easy to just put it off and say you’ll deal with it another day. I’m as guilty of this as anyone, trust me. However, it’s tough times like these that separate those who actually get things published from those who have a folder full of half-finished stories that will be perpetually finished “another day.”

There’s a quote by Jim Rohn I’ve seen before, but today it popped up on my radar and struck a chord with me enough for me to write it down and stick it above my desk. I’ll leave you to muse on it:

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse” –Jim Rohn

Please don’t put off your dreams and goals. Work hard every day, even if you can only get a little done at a time, so you can make whatever it is you want to do a reality. Progress is progress. Start making time for your passions now, even when it’s difficult. Especially when it’s difficult.



Quarter 3 Wrap up & Quarter 4 Goals

It’s October 15th. Exactly three months ago, I made a list of some of the goals I wanted to accomplish in the third quarter of 2016. Looking back, I actually accomplished quite a lot. A lot has changed in my life. I moved into an apartment, started at a new school and a new job. However, I did not meet as many writing goals as I would have liked to, so that’s something I’m really going to focus on in the next three months going forward! Here are the goals that I wrote down for myself for last quarter and whether I accomplished them or not:

  1. Have new draft of my current project finished and begin editing it- No. I unfortunately did not make much progress on this goal
  2. Go on an hour walk 4 days a week- Yes.  I pretty much walk everywhere now.
  3. Go to the gym at least 3 days a week- No. I got kind of lazy once I started at my new school, but in the last week of September I started going to the gym regularly once again. I’m counting this as a win.
  4. Put $50 towards travel fund every month- No. Haha, this didn’t happen. Living on your own costs a lot! I don’t have any extra money to do this right now.
  5. Write posts on this blog 1-2 times a week- No. I’m lucky if I’ve been able to make a post for this blog once a month.
  6. Begin plotting a new novel- Yes. I have a rough idea for a novel and I’m in the planning phase of this project
  7. Complete first draft of a short story for a literary magazine- No. Although I’ve been drafting a short story on and off, I have not submitted any stories to literary magazines.
  8. Join a club at school- Yes. I’ve joined my school’s literary magazine
  9. Clean out old clothes and donate them to charity- Yes. I did this!
  10. Research and come up with a list of publishing agencies I would be interested in interning at- Yes. I did indeed do this. I even contacted an editor at a local publishing company and interviewed her. It was for a school project, but I learned quite a bit and it was a great experience.
  11. Read at least 5 classic books- No. I did not meet this goal, unfortunately. The only classics I’ve read in the past three months include Jane Eyre, Beowulf and Hamlet

So, I completed 6/11 goals. I don’t think I did a bad job for my first time using this system of keeping track of my goals. Next quarter I hope to do even better, though! Here are my goals for the last quarter of 2016. I’m carrying over some of the goals that I did not complete from the previous quarter (with slight alterations) and I’m adding new ones as well.

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A bit of writing motivation for your evening

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” –Stephen King

Writing is not easy. There’s no getting around it. It’s even harder when you lack the motivation to pick up that pen or open up that blank word document and actually begin the process. The worst is when the lack of motivation is caused not by apathy, but by fear.

There are many doubts that go through writers of all skill levels minds’ after they’ve finished their outline and are ready to begin writing, myself included. Some of the questions I ask myself are these: are the themes that I want to write about too dark? If I’ve never gone through what one of my characters is going through, will I be able to portray it accurately? Is my story too boring? Are the motivations of my characters strong enough? Are the stakes high enough?

“If we wait until we are ready, we’ll be waiting the rest of our lives.” – Lemony Snicket

The doubts you may have as a writer are natural, but they shouldn’t keep you from taking the dive and start swimming. The only way to get past these fears and move on is to simply write. It can only get better from there. You’ll soon feel more comfortable with your own writing and before you know it, those fears you had in the beginning won’t seem as important anymore.

If you still have lingering doubts after writing your story, that’s okay too. Take a step back from you writing for a few weeks and come back to it with a different mindset. Revise you writing as much as you need to. The most important thing you need to do, though, is to keep writing no matter what. That’s the only way to grow and improve.

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” –Toni Morrison

Being worried about your writing can be a good thing. It means you truly care about your project and you want to be able to make it the best that it can possibly be. Hopefully it holds some place in your heart and you get excited about it when you think about telling the story. For me at least, that’s how I know a story idea is a keeper.


Writing Fictional Towns in the Real World: Pros and Cons

It’s hard to write about places you’ve never been. You can research all you want, explore it through Google Street View, talk to people from those places… but if you’ve never actually had a firsthand account of a location, it’s always going to be difficult to write about it. It’s doable, but takes a lot of time and effort. If you put in the effort, though, it will be worth it; just keep in mind the obstacles you will need to overcome if you choose this route.

So, you could do this…

Or you could make it up.

Yep. That’s what I’m doing. No, not making up details about places I’ve never been to. I’m making up a town.

In the current manuscript I’m working on, a big chunk of the setting takes place in a small town in Maine. Now, I’ve never even been to the northeast of the United States, let alone Maine. I had my heart set on the name of the town and the general layout, but as I got deeper into my story, I realized that the image of the own in my head is completely different from the actual town in real life. Somewhere along the way, I stopped basing the story off of a real place and started to construct one in my imagination. Now as I’m writing a new draft of the same story, I’ve decided it’s best to just create my own town for my characters to live in.

If you are going back on forth on whether you want to set a fictional town in the real world, here are some of the pros and cons to help you decide whether it’s the best option for your story:

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BOOK REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Spoilers will be discussed in the second part of the review. If you haven’t read The Cursed Child yet, don’t read beyond that section unless you want to read spoilers for the 8th Harry Potter story (I consider the plot of the play a spoiler because I think it’s best to go into it not knowing too much about it, so I won’t talk about it in the non-spoiler section).

RATING: 5/5 stars

First things first, I loved Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I didn’t go into this book (well, script, but I’m just going to call it a book) expecting much at all. I didn’t have the same high expectations as I did when I was starting a new Harry Potter book in the original 7. Because of that, I think I was a little more open to whatever The Cursed Child was going to throw at me. Therefore, when I was reading the book, I wasn’t constantly comparing it to the other books, I was just simply enjoying a story.

I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about the book. I think it’s because it doesn’t really read like every other Harry Potter book. It’s kind of like bare bones. It’s in script format and the reader has to do a little more imagining if you want it to feel more like you’re stepping back into the world of Harry Potter, rather than just imagining a play. If that makes any sense.

A lot of people also compared this book to fanfiction. Although I can understand why, I don’t think it’s really a BAD thing. The plot is a little bizarre, sure, but I believe it’s bizarre in a good way. The story took some twists that I really wasn’t expecting and kind of threw me for a loop. Even though some parts of it were predictable, I didn’t mind it because it was still engaging for me. The story had themes that was dipping its toes into dark waters, and I think that’s really what made me invest myself even more into this book.

I do have a couple of complaints though. Some of the side characters felt like they were a little out of character to me. Another thing is I wish we were introduced to some new spells and magicy stuff rather than just have a rehashing of the old magic we are all familiar with.

I felt like I learned more about the original Harry Potter characters and got to know some great new characters. About half of the characters had great arcs, but others fell flat for me. Some had arcs that weren’t just boring continuations of the original books, but rather fresh ones that made sense and were actually interesting. For the characters that did have arcs, it worked great. For others, it just felt like they were unnecessary characters that didn’t serve much of a purpose.

If you’re unsure bout reading The Cursed Child, I urge you to pick it up. Think of it less like an epilogue to the 7 books, but rather like an entirely separate story on its own set in the wizarding world with new characters.


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Quarterly Goals

Hey everyone, I’m making this post to share with all of you the quarterly goals I’ve set for myself for July 15th through October 15th. I know it’s an odd time to choose to start this, but I figured it’s better to begin now than to wait until August 1st! Anyway, I’m doing this because I follow a couple of different authors on YouTube who make quarterly goals for themselves and have been wanting to try it myself. Making quarterly goals is pretty much just creating a list of the things you realistically want to accomplish in the next three months and holding yourself accountable for them. You’re supposed to be able to look back at this list every couple of days to make sure you’re on track.

At the end of the three months, I’m going to look back at this list and tell you all what I accomplished or what I failed to accomplish.

  1. Have new draft of my current project finished and begin editing it
  2. Go on an hour walk 4 days a week
  3. Go to the gym at least 3 days a week
  4. Put $50 towards travel fund every month
  5. Write posts on this blog 1-2 times a week
  6. Begin plotting a new novel
  7. Complete first draft of a short story for a literary magazine
  8. Join a club at school
  9. Clean out old clothes and donate them to charity
  10. Research and come up with a list of publishing agencies I would be interested in interning at
  11. Read at least 5 classic books


Do any of you guys create quarterly goals? If so, what are they for this quarter?