BOOKS ACQUIRED IN 2017

Saturday, January 13, 2018
Starting posts are one of the hardest thing for me. Is anyone else this way? I stare at the blank webpage forever, until I start blabbering about how hard it is to start a post, and then lamely transition into my post topic. (Have I been blogging for three years? Yes. But apparently some things never change. *headdesk*)

2017 feels like yesterday (probably because it was only thirteen days ago...), so I'm still in the "let's take a look back at last year!" kind of mood. I've noticed some bloggers do fun little monthly "book hauls," and decided to join in the fun. Except I'm going to showcase all of books I acquired in 2017 (because my monthly hauls would be puny and boring). And I'm going to do it in a vlog format, because it's been awhile since I've done one of those. :D


THE VLOG!

(be right back because I'm cringing at how many times I say "um" and "so" in this video. Further proof that I'm a writer and not an eloquent speaker. *sigh* :P)

If you have absolutely no interest in watching a video, I complied a list of the books below so you don't have to suffer through my rambles. (but it's not that long and there's an awkward blooper reel at the end... (yay?)) Most of the books have a star rating next to them -- others might not because I haven't read them yet, it's been too long to remember how I liked them, or I've read a beta copy but not the published version.

Behold, the list!



1. HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL USING THE SNOWFLAKE METHOD [5/5]
Randy Ingermanson 

2. PEP TALKS FOR WRITERS
various authors

3. MAYDAY [3.5/5]
Jonathon Friesen

4. THE CHOOSING [4/5]
Rachelle Dekker

5. PURPLE MOON
Tessa Emily Hall

6. THE COLOR PROJECT
Sierra Abrams
(two copies of this one since there was a printing error with the arcs!)

7. PRINCESS ACADEMY [5/5]
Shannon Hale

8. MARTIN HOSPITALITY
Abigayle Claire

9. SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS: THE BAD BEGINNING [4/5]

10. THE LOST GIRL OF ASTOR STREET [4/5]
Stephanie Morrill

11. THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE: THE SHADOWS [4/5]
Jaqueline West

12. ANGEL EYES [5/5]
Shannon Dittemore

13. BROKEN WINGS [3/5]
Shannon Dittemore

14. UNSANCTIONED EYES [3.5/5]
Brianna Merritt

15. HERE LIES DANIEL TATE [3.5/5]

16. THE EVAPORATION OF SOFI SNOW [3/5]
Mary Weber

17. CRESS [5/5]
Marissa Meyer

18. RENEGADES [2/5]
Marissa Meyer

19. HEARTLESS [5/5]
Marissa Meyer

20. GREGOR AND THE CODE OF CLAW
21. GREGOR AND THE MARKS OF SECRET
Suzanne Collins

22. CHOSEN
23. INFIDEL
24. RENEGADE
Ted Dekker



Now I'm a confused human because in the vlog I said that I acquired twenty-six books, but I only managed to come up with twenty-five in this post. There must be a mystery book on my shelf somewhere. :P

Looking ahead at this year, I only have a couple on my must-buy list, so I wouldn't be surprised if I buy less. (which is a good thing and yet also a sad thing) I'm excited to flail over future stories with you!

<3,
katie grace

what books are you looking forward to buying in 2018?
(i can think of a couple off the top of my head - fawkes, thunderhead, a thousand perfect notes... any others i should be aware of??)

2018 GOALS

Saturday, January 6, 2018
We're a week into 2018. (well, not quite... BUT CLOSE ENOUGH. :P) How is everyone feeling about this year so far? After taking two months off of editing, I've gotten into the swing again and am having fun with this story. Hopefully that excitement won't wear off. :P

Here's my annual "goals for the year" post! But before I move into the 2018 goals, let's take a quick look back at how my 2017 ambitions went.

[ 2 0 1 7   G O A L S + how they went ]

1. take more pictures.

I'd say this was a success? I posted more on my Instagram and have really enjoyed figuring out how to take and edit pictures so they're pleasing to the eye. (though let's be honest -- I'm still figuring it all that out)

2. write two books.

I ACCOMPLISHED THIS ONE! When I made this goal, I really didn't think I'd be able to make it, but it happened and I couldn't be more excited. *flails*

3. send the sand dragon's song to beta readers.

HAHAH. Ha. Nope. After lots of editing and thought, I decided to put aside my desert duology for now in order to work on other stories. So I'm okay with not meeting this goal.

4. see the epic movies that are coming out.

I'll just leave my favorite movie of the year here... SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING. <3

5. focus on God.

In the beginning of 2017, I planned on memorizing fifty-two verses. Ahem, that failed a couple of weeks into the year. But I did read through the New Testament and do some faith journaling! So overall a half-success. I'm still fully deciding on what to do this year for Bible reading... but I might go through the Old Testament next. We'll see.

6. read 100 books.

This was an epic, giant #FAIL. I only read 60 books, and even that was a challenge. :P

7. find a new show to watch.

In the beginning of the year I finished watching Sherlock Holmes, and later watched Stranger Things with Gabriela! I also started watching Psych with my sister, but the library kept demanding that we return it so we never got very far. :P

8. film more vlogs.

HA! Nope. I only filmed one. :P
[ 2 0 1 8    G O A L S ]
1. track the books i read.
Yes, I realize Goodreads exists (and love using it), but I want to create a separate document with a giant overview -- the genre, a one or two sentence review,  and in general an easier organization method to quickly glance over the stories I devoured of 2018.

2. send where shadows lie to beta readers.
*mumbled screaming* ?!?!!?!?!?

This is a bit of a terrifying concept, but I think I'll be ready by springtime -- probably around April -- to send it to betas. (that's assuming everything goes well and I don't have a sudden plot crisis. :P) As scary as it is (yikesyikesyikes), I'm so pumped because I've never been this passionate about a story before? *shrug* It's a cool feeling.

3. graduate high school!
I have a little less than two months of school before I graduate. *more mumbled screaming* (I feel like I'll be internally screaming my way through 2018. xD) School and I have never been best of friends, so I'm excited to finally part ways. :P

4. find a full time job.
Instead of going the college route like most people, I'm hoping to find a full time job that I enjoy and can get settled in until I'm called elsewhere. I'm unusually excited (and nervous) about the prospect of working.

Right now I only work part time at Starbucks, but there's rarely a day that I dread going to my job?? I'm getting paid to make coffee and talk to people while working with coworkers I enjoy -- how can it become better than that? So I'm praying that I can find a full time job that makes me feel the same way. <3

5. buy a car.
And since I'll (hopefully) be working full time, it won't work for me to use my parent's car any longer. So I'll need to actually buy one! :P There are a lot of big adulting steps I need to take in 2018. (including actually becoming an adult - YIKES.)

6. win nanowrimo.
Do I even have a hint of a story idea I could write? No. Will I have enough time? Probably not. But do I want to keep up my winning streak no matter what? YUP.

So it'll be an interesting NaNoWriMo, but I'm ready for the challenge. xD (thankfully it's ten months away so I have a good amount of time to prepare. phew.)

7. keep up with journaling.
With all of the crazy things happening this year, journaling is a great way for me to unwind and write down what's on my heart. The problem is, is that I have so many different notebooks to keep up with. I consistently use four journals every night. And four others that I use several times a month. #writerproblems

(Yes, I could cut down on journals, but WHERE'S THE FUN IN THAT?)

8. scream over infinity wars !!!!!!!
Words cannot explain how. excited. I. am. for. Infinity. Wars. Every time it crosses my mind I start squealing with anticipation. For preparation of the film, my family and I have been watching all of the Marvel movies in chronological order. I'm writing mini-reviews on Twitter as we watch them!


Boom, eight goals for 2018. I feel like that number is fitting, yeah?

Here's to conquering the next twelve months together! *hands out pizza for motivation* WE CAN DO THIS.

<3,
katie grace
what are some of your goals for 2018?

END OF THE YEAR WRAP UP POST // 2017

Saturday, December 30, 2017
IT'S THE END OF 2017. AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

There. I think I screamed enough for everyone reading this post. If not, feel free to scream with me in the comments. I'm happy with how 2017 went. Obviously it had it's ups and downs... but that's just life for ya. Overall it was an improvement from 2016, and I'm feeling good about where I am in life. So, success! :P

And before we enter the craziness of 2018... here's one last look back at this year. :D
WRITING:
pictures in this post are an assortment from 2017
Ahh, writing. Writing this year has been a journey. A roller coaster type journey, with all of it's ups and downs and twisty loop-de-loops. I shifted my focus from my desert fantasy duology, to my heart's novel, Where Shadows Lie. It's always sad to shelve a project... but I'm confident I made the right decision and I'm ridiculously excited about moving forward.

I wrote two books this year -- my superhero novel, and the prequel to Where Shadows Lie. *celebrates* Both of them were for NaNo events (because NaNo + I = best friends), and after I wrote the first drafts, I made them into real-life copies! (except I'm still waiting for my superhero book to arrive. I ordered it a month ago... so I think it went missing in the mail. Or fell into a portal and land in the fires of Mt. Doom. Either or. (UPDATE: now as I'm editing this post, the book has arrived! so it made it out of Mt. Doom. Huzzah!))

After adding up the ending word counts of those two books + flash fiction + rewrites, the total words written this year came to 200,000. A little less than normal, as you can see below, but I'm happy with the outcome. :D
2014: 123,000
2015: 240,000
2016: 222,000
2017: 200,000
total: 785,000.
That means I'm 215,000 words away from writing one million words. UM. WHAT. (poor noodle fingers) I know I spend a lot of time writing, but... it's weird to actually think about how much energy and thought and emotion I've poured into my novels over the years. *mind explodes*

Oh and hey -- speaking of writing and stories, I posted two flash fictions on the blog this year! I read over them again before putting the links in this post, and I'm really happy with how they turned out. I wrote a sci-fi retelling of the pied piper, and then a tale about the dreaded "NaNoWriMo Beast." (the last one is more comical than serious. xD)

When I wasn't writing, I was editing! (and plotting... and procrastinating... but mostly editing.) In the beginning of the year I worked hard on my desert fantasy duology, but once I shelved that for the time being, I spent the rest of the time editing Where Shadows Lie. I CANNOT WAIT FOR JANUARY TO COME SO I CAN START EDITING AGAIN. << That's a big statement coming from the person who would usually choose to watch paint dry rather than edit. But I'm really pumped to dive into the third draft of this story!

BOOKISH
 
I'm hoping to end this year with a total of 60 books. (I'm at 58... ALMOST THERE!) It's slightly disappointing since my original goal was one hundred. I DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. Last year I whizzed through 120 books, and it was hard for me to even hit half of that this year. *sniff* Oh well. 

Below are my five star reads of 2017! There are only five... but that's because I've grown strict about how I rate books. I used to give out five stars to most of the books I read, but then that "high rating" becomes rather meaningless.

The majority of the books I read were fantasy, which came as no surprise to me. But I did read about equal amounts of sci-fi and contemporary? I'm starting to really like contemporary novels, because they're able to take the perspective of a beautiful story from the ordinary world.

There weren't a huge amount of bookish posts that appeared on the blog this year, but the one I did write turned out to be one of my most popular ones: Why I Would Be A Horrible Book Character. (I'm tempted to do a part two eventually, because it's just so easy to come up with reasons why I would never survive in fantasy novels. For example: the obvious lack of pizza. xD)

And now comes the big question: how many books do I shoot for in my 2018 Goodreads challenge? To which I immediately answer: I DON'T KNOWWW! But after a bit of thinking, I might need to set it for under sixty books. *cue the tears* I'm thinking about fifty-two, because that would equal to a book a week! We'll see -- I'll update you as I ponder on that a bit more. :P

BLOGGING: 
YAY FOR BLOGGING. It's a huge part of my life, and I'm so thankful for it. Sure, it's hard and sometimes I run out of inspiration for posts and I stare at that screen, the clock ticking past midnight. I don't like the hard parts of blogging but yet I do, because blogging has taught me so much. It's taught me how to work toward a deadline and how to continually find ways to grow in my craft.

Aside from the work, blogging has brought me immense amounts of joy. ALL THE BLOGGING BUDDIES. Dude, that's what is so fun about the blogosphere. I get so happy interacting with people who can relate to me that are halfway around the world. Ugh, I wish there was a way to teleport to meet you all for Christmas because THAT WOULD BE THE BEST THING EVER.

For the majority of the year I kept up fairly well with visiting blogs and commenting and all that fun stuff... but I have failed miserably with that since NaNoWriMo began. *cringe* Like, I have close to a hundred unread posts kind of miserably. So I'll have to catch up on all of your lovely blogs in the new year. :D

I'm excited to see where blogging takes me in 2018, and the new people I'll meet through it. <3

Some of my most popular posts: editing encouragementfive reasons to participate in camp nanowrimo

LIFE:

Last year, 2016, was a year of change, and 2018 will be the same way. So 2017 was a nice "break" in between all the new things thrown at me. It was a year of enjoying where I am in life and trying to look forward at what's to come.

I posted about my "new findings of 2017," which captures some of the random fun of this year. And did anyone else enjoy Spotify's end of the year stats? (no big surprise seeing that Twenty One Pilots is my top artist. I don't that'll change anytime soon. xD)


Instead of boring you all with endless paragraphs, I'll list the top couple highlights of each month. Just to keep it short and simple. :P

JANUARY || bullet journaling, trying to stay steady with my new resolutions
FEBRUARY || twenty one pilots concert (AHHH), southwest vacation, Goodreads released their reread option!
MARCH || turned seventeen
APRIL || failed camp nano, went through a major writing burnout, but also had an awesome writing retreat
MAY || break from writing, finished eleventh grade
JUNE || started my senior year of school in order to graduate early, MYWW conference, finished my Camp NaNo novel
JULY || spider-man homecoming, began edits for Where Shadows Lie, got the idea for my superhero novel, finally finding the joy in writing again
AUGUST: lots of rewriting (on paper), three year blog anniversarydear senior year
SEPTEMBER || lots more editing, lovely, relaxing vacation
OCTOBER || halfway done with school, #nanoprep, about my superhero novel
NOVEMBER || nanowrimo (duh), painted my room, infinity wars trailer
DECEMBER || break from writing, christmas craziness, began watching the Marvel movies chronologically



Thank you for being with me on this journey. I can't wait to see what 2018 brings for all of us. <3

<3,
katie grace

what were your top three highlights of 2017?