Read-A-Thons

Booktube-A-Thon 2017 Wrap-Up

It’s official: the Booktube-A-Thon has come to a close! It’s time to tally up page counts, reading challenges, and books read in this wrap-up of the week. At the beginning of the read-a-thon I posted my Booktube-A-Thon TBR with my goals for this reading adventure. Let’s see how I did!!

Copy of June

George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl

This book checks off so many challenges! Not only does it have a person on the cover, but I also read it in one sitting outside. Roald Dahl has done it again with yet another book I wish I had read when I was younger. (Although I probably would have been scarred by the abrupt and surprisingly harsh ending!)

Echo by Nadette Rae Rodgers

Fun fact: I also finished this book outside in one day AND it has a person on the cover… SO MANY CHALLENGES COMPLETED. I suppose this could also count as a book about someone different from me because I certainly can’t control my dreams like the protagonist of this suspenseful, engaging novel. I already can’t wait to read the third installment in this trilogy. Stay tuned for a full review soon!

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit

When one of my close friends learned that I never read this book when I was younger she immediately said that I had to read it NOW. Needless to say, this children’s classic was pretty hyped. I ADORED this book– I definitely wish I had read it when I was younger! Winnie is such a great protagonist and my heart simultaneously leapt and broke when I read the very last page. (Also: JESSIE <3)

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

I FINALLY finished this tome! It was definitely worth all 635 pages. This is assigned reading for my upcoming term on Victorian literature and so far it’s one of my favorite novels on the reading list. I’m not sure if it actually completes any challenges– maybe the one about characters being different from me– but I’m still so happy that I finished it!

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This was my second time reading Wuthering Heights and I enjoyed it so much more than when I read it years ago. I’m glad this was on my assigned reading list for Oxford because I probably wouldn’t have reread it otherwise. Luckily, I can count this towards the challenge of reading a book I bought because of the cover– I ADORE Penguin English Library editions!! ❤

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Though I’m only half way through this tome, I’m still calling it a success! I managed to read over three hundred pages this week, which isn’t too shabby. I’m enjoying this novel so much more than I initially thought I would. Not only is it easier to read than I first expected, but I’m connecting with the characters much more than I did while reading Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. I can’t wait to see where the second half of this novel goes!

Copy of June

1 || Read a book with a person on the cover.
2 || Read a hyped book.
3 || Finish a book in one day.
4 || Read about a character that is very different from you.
5 || Finish a book completely outdoors.
6 || Read a book you bought because of the cover.
7 || Read seven books.

I’m honestly SHOCKED that I managed to complete so many challenges! I definitely didn’t expect to read seven books, but I also didn’t think I would complete more than three or four of the rest. I’m so pleased with these results!

Copy of June (1)

All in all, I feel as though I had an incredibly successful BookTubeAThon this year. I love this event because it’s easy to participate no matter how busy you are during that particular week. It pushed me to read some books that I’ve been meaning to get around to for a while, and it’s always fun seeing the community come together for a glorious week of reading. A huge thanks to Ariel Bissett for organizing yet another lovely BookTubeAThon!! ❤

 Did you participate in the Booktube-A-Thon? How did you do? What do you think of the books that I read? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Writing

Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 | Wrap-Up

Let's Go- CAMP NANOWRIMO

I did it. I actually, finally, miraculously did it.

I reached my Camp NaNoWriMo goal of 25,000 words!!

To be honest, I was doubtful that I would be able to reach this goal at all by the end of July due to my busy internship schedule, a family camping trip, and the BookTubeAThon in the latter half of the month. However, I completely surprised myself by surpassing this goal on July 15th, just about the halfway point of July!

This certainly isn’t a full draft of my novel, but it nevertheless feels amazing to have a solid foundation upon which I can build in the future. I’ve been working on various drafts of this one story for years, and I finally feel as though I have a version of it that I’m really pleased with. I’m so glad I decided to take on Camp NaNoWriMo this summer!

CNW_Winner_555-1One piece of advice that I found really helpful was to write every single day. Even if I didn’t feel like writing after getting home from work or if it was simply too hot to think, I made it a point to scribble down at least a few words or thoughts. Not only did writing every day keep my momentum going and my spirits up, but it also kept my story churning in my mind. I found myself thinking about it even when I wasn’t actually writing, which meant that I was much more prepared with ideas when I did sit down to write.

Goodbye for now, Camp NaNo! It’s been real.

Did you participate in Camp NaNoWriMo? How did you do? What tips and tricks did you find helpful? If not, have you been writing lately? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Monthly Wrap-Up

JULY 2016 | Wrap-Up

JUNE 2016-2

Oh, July. I always have mixed feelings about the seventh month (in fact, you can read all about them here). June is filled with the excitement of a new summer and August is brimming with the anticipation of a new school year, but July– it’s just kind of there. But this year I had such a busy and productive July that I hardly know how I fit everything in! Here’s what I was up to this month:
June

18405In July I read a total of 7 books:

  1. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  2. Animal Farm by George Orwell (Spanish translation)
  3. Illusion by Nadette Rae Rodgers
  4. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  5. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  6. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  7. Sphere by Michael Crichton

I read so many amazing books this month (I gave 6 five-star ratings!!!), which means that picking a favorite is incredibly difficult. However, I think I’m going to have to go with Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Not only is this an amazing work from a historical perspective (I love the Civil War and Reconstruction setting), but it’s also an incredible tale of romance, family, war, poverty, feminism, and challenging social norms. It took me a while to read, but it was worth every minute!

Full reviews of all of these books are in the works!

June (1)The bulk of my July consisted of continuing with my internship, spending time with family, and working on the various writing/reading projects I decided to tackle. The highlight of the month was definitely my family’s annual camping trip at White Lake State Park. This year was our fourteenth consecutive year camping there, and I never get tired of it!

Camping is just such a great way to unplug and take some time to simply relax. It’s a lot of work, to be sure– cooking and cleaning and setting up the site and unpacking– but it’s absolutely worth it in the end. There’s nothing better than lounging by the lake, roasting marshmallows over a campfire, and sleeping in a cozy tent at night. Plus, it provides some excellent reading time!

On a different note, I saw Finding Dory and LOVED it. ❤ I couldn’t resist mentioning it!

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June (2)

July was a month of productivity for me. Even with my busy schedule of interning, spending time with friends, and going camping, I still managed to write and read more than I ever expected I would.

CNW_Winner_555-1During the first half of the month I managed to reach my 25,000 word goal for Camp NaNoWriMo, a feat that I thought would take me the entire month at least. I was working on writing a second draft of a novel I finished during NaNoWriMo a few years ago, so I did have a bit to work with already. While this is by no means a complete draft, I’m nevertheless ecstatic to finally have a decent foundation to work off of in the future. Who knows, maybe a NaNoWriMo is in the cards for this November?

2016-07-16 09.53.32I also participated in the BookTubeAthon this month and I exceeded all of my expectations of how much I would be able to read. Because of my camping trip I was away for about half of the readathon, but I still managed to get a lot of reading done. I love participating in the BookTubeAThon, especially when the online bookish community is really excited about it, too. I already can’t wait for next year’s event!

Here are some notable posts from my blog this past month:

How was your July? What books did you read? What fun things did you do? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Read-A-Thons

BookTubeAThon 2016 Wrap-Up

A LITTLE STARSTRUCK-2

Alas! the 2016 BookTubeAThon has officially come to a close. As I mentioned in my TBR post, I was away on a camping trip with my family for about half of the week so I wasn’t sure how much reading I would be able to get done in actuality. However, I ended up surprising myself and had such a successful readathon!! Not only did I read a lot more than I was expecting, but I also read some amazing books. Without further ado, here’s how my week went!

Copy of June

1162506The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

{rated 5 out of 5 smileys}

I finished reading this play in one sitting on the first night of the BookTubeAThon and I absolutely adored it! It’s incredible how much humor, wit, and surprising twists Wilde was able to pack into this quick little work. Usually I’m not a huge fan of drama, but this is by far one of the best plays I’ve ever read!

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

IMG_9420{rated 5 out of 5 smileys}

I had one full day of nothing but reading during this readathon, and I seized advantage of all of that free time to tackle the last third of this impressive tome. To be honest, I was experiencing so many different emotions when I first finished this that I had to think about it for a day to let it all soak in. This is honestly a masterpiece of fiction and while the ending did throw me off a bit (SO. MUCH. HAPPENS.) I cannot say enough how much I loved this book! ❤

2016-07-16 10.10.22The Princess Bride by William Goldman

{rated 5 out of 5 smileys}

What a wild ride!! Although it was very different from the movie at certain parts, I really enjoyed the book nonetheless. To me, the book and the movie are almost two separate entities that don’t have to be in competition with one another; both are good in their own rights. I loved the way the narrator interrupted the story with his own commentary, as well as how there’s a whole history behind the story that the movie doesn’t even mention.

126078Sphere by Michael Crichton

{rated 5 out of 5 smileys}

I read the entirety of this book while camping and I literally could not put it down. I read it by the fire, by the beach, and even by the light of a flashlight in my tent at night before going to sleep. Not only is this book suspenseful, but it’s also fascinating, thought-provoking, and entirely unique. The story went in a direction I never thought it would, but that makes it all the more gripping and surprising. Jurassic Park will always have my heart, but this is a close second as far as Michael Crichton goes!

IMG_3368One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

I finished all of the other books by Saturday night, so I had a free Sunday to read a bit of whatever book I liked. My Spanish professor has been encouraging us to read this classic novel for ages and I decided I would finally give it a go. I only got about a hundred pages in, but I am already loving it. There are so many characters and so much has happened in a short span of time– it’s no wonder that people complain of its confusing complexity! If you really focus, though, it’s not so difficult to understand. I can’t wait to read more of it!

Over the course of the week I read a total of 1,356 pages, with an average of about 194 pages a day. A good reading day for me is usually around 100 pages, so I’m really happy with how much reading I was able to accomplish! I didn’t expect to get that much reading done, especially because I had quite a busy schedule last week.

While writing this post I just realized that I rated all of these books 5 out of 5!!! I haven’t given out many 5-star ratings yet this year, so to have them all read in a single week is such a wonderful coincidence! After reading a plethora of amazing books all in a row I feel energized and ready to read even more– let’s keep this ball rolling!

Copy of June

1/ Read a book with yellow on the cover. Fulfilled by The Princess Bride
2/ Read a book only after sunset. Fulfilled by The Importance of Being Earnest
3/ Read a book you discovered through book tube blogging. Fulfilled by Gone with the Wind
4/ Read a book by one of your favorite authors. Fulfilled by Sphere
5/ Read a book that is older than you. Fulfilled by The Importance of Being Earnest and Gone with the Wind
6/ Read and watch a book-to-movie adaptation. Fulfilled by The Princess Bride
7/ Read seven books. 

I completed all of the challenges!! (Well, except for the seventh one, but I knew going in that I had no hope of completing it.) I like the challenges not only because they help guide my TBR, but also because they add a little pressure to actually read what’s on my TBR. Mission accomplished!!

Copy of June (1)

All in all, I feel as though I had an incredibly successful BookTubeAThon this year. I love this event because it’s easy to participate no matter how busy you are during that particular week. It pushed me to read some books that I’ve been meaning to get around to for a while, and it’s always fun seeing the community come together for a glorious week of reading. A huge thanks to Ariel Bissett for organizing yet another lovely BookTubeAThon!! ❤

 Did you participate in the BookTubeAThon? How did you do? What do you think of the books that I read? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Monthly Wrap-Up

August 2015 Wrap-Up

August 2015 Wrap Up

I love August. I’ve come to the realization that besides November (my birthday month!) August might be my favorite month. The weather is cooler but still hot, without a lot of the humidity that sticks around in July. Changes are happening, both in regard to the new school year and the season itself, and the atmosphere is usually one of excitement at my house. I love everything about it, and this August has been no exception! Let’s see what I’ve been up to:
JuneIn August I read a total of 6 books!  I owe this success mainly to the BookTubeAThon, during which I read 5 books in rapid fire reading mode.

  1. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
  2. King Lear by William Shakespeare
  3. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  4. Our Town by Thornton Wilder
  5. The Martian by Andy Weir
  6. Harry Potter y la cámara secreta by J.K. Rowling

Our Town by Thornton WilderMy favorite book was Our Town by Thornton Wilder. It’s just such a simple, sweet, and stirring story that I couldn’t help but love it! Review to come!

I thought I would be able to read more this month, but I was honestly so busing working, interning, and preparing for college that I hardly had time to do anything else! Still, I’m really happy that I was able to read six books, since five seems to be my monthly average. June (1)August was such a busy and exciting month! Between having fun with friends and saying goodbye before move-in day, I experienced the full spectrum of emotions in just one month. By the time you read this I will have already moved into college and had my first full day of classes, but as I write this I am still sitting at my desk at home. It’s been a crazy month, to be sure, but definitely a memorable one!

This summer I had my last day of work, interned two days a week at an attorney’s office, spent a lot of time with my friends, and tried my best to appreciate my last days at home before college. I can’t even believe that it’s finally here!!

June (2)

Here are some notable posts from my blog this past month:

In case you missed it, I participated in the BookTubeAThon from August 3 to August 9, and I had such a blast!

I was also featured in Book and a Beverage over at the blog A Book Addict’s Guide, where I talk about my extreme affection for tea and Jane Eyre.

AND THEN I wrote a blog post for the official NaNoWriMo blog, which they posted this month! You can see it by clicking here. It’s about my experience participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this past July, as well as some writing advice. It was so fun to write and I’m so grateful I got the opportunity to be featured on their blog!

June (3)

Here is a sampling of posts from some lovely bloggers that I just NEED to share with you all!

  • Girl Offline: What A Week of Social Media Silence Taught Me @ Stay Bookish: I really admire the fact that Hazel willingly did this challenge, because it’s something that I’ve also been contemplating as well. Since the beginning of the summer I have felt myself gravitating more and more towards social media (probably because I have so much free time until school starts!). I think sometimes we all need a little break from internet world- kudos to Hazel for putting her thoughts into actions and making the change!
  • Young Adult Fiction for Fans of Doctor Who @ Wrapped Up in Books: I love Doctor Who, so when I stumbled upon this list I did a little happy dance in front of my computer! I really like how it’s separated into different aspects of Doctor Who, and I’ll probably check out some of the time travel ones. SO excited for the new season of Doctor Who- any Whovians out there reading this?
  • Review Writing: How to Stop Hating It @ Bookmark Lit: I enjoy writing reviews, but I know a lot of book bloggers think it’s tedious. My only problem with writing reviews is that I tend to not write them right after finishing the books, so I have to do a million all at once. Lauren shares some great tips for dealing with this problem!
  • 17 Amazing Things About Reading in the Fall @ 101 Books: It’s like this post knows me personally, I swear. Fall is my favorite season, and I always associate it with reading and writing. The reasons he lists in this post are perfect!

How was your August? What books did you read? What fun things did you do? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Read-A-Thons

BookTubeAThon 2015 Wrap-Up

A LITTLE STARSTRUCK-2

Alas! the BookTubeAThon 2015 has come to a close. What a week it has been! Between watching all of the update videos, participating in Twitter sprints, and reading my bookish behind off, it’s a wonder that I’ve had any time to blog at all! While I’m sure I didn’t read as much as many participants due to work, my current internship, and other obligations, I’m still really pleased with the reading I managed to accomplish.

booktubeathon 2015 logoThis is my second year participating in the BookTubeAThon, and I cannot wait to participate next year! I love this event because I feel as though it really brings together the bookish community here on the internet. It’s a time where we can all celebrate our passion for reading simultaneously, and it’s so cool to think that as you sit there reading people all over the world are joining in as well. Plus, it’s hosted by the marvelous Ariel Bissett, who I adore. She’s so full of energy and enthusiasm, and her videos always make me smile.

But that’s enough chatter for now! Onward, friends!

Copy of June

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

The Reader by William Shakespeare  ~  3 out of 5 smileys

King Lear by Shakespeare 2

 King Lear by William Shakespeare  ~  3 out of 5 smileys

Macbeth by Shakespeare

Macbeth by William Shakespeare  ~  4 out of 5 smileys

Our Town by Thornton Wilder

Our Town by Thornton Wilder  ~  4 out of 5 smileys

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian by Andy Weir  ~  4 out of 5 smileys

Reviews of all these books will be posted soon, but if you have any questions regarding my thoughts on them feel free to ask away in the comments section!

In total I read 1,108 pages, which is way more than I thought I would end up reading! I had quite a busy week with work and my internship and hanging out with friends, so I honestly didn’t expect to read much more than I normally do. Usually I read around 50 to 100 pages a day, but during the BookTubeAThon I read an average of 158 pages per day. Yay for exceeding expectations!

My favorite read of the week was Our Town, but The Martian is definitely an honorable mention. The down-to-earth message and simplicity of Thornton Wilder’s play just can’t be beat!

Copy of June

  1. Read a book with blue on the cover: King Lear by William Shakespeare
  2. Read a book by an author who shares the same first letter of your last name: The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
  3. Read someone else’s favorite book: NONE
  4. Read the last book you acquired: The Martian by Andy Weir – this is the last book I acquired from the library… that counts, right?
  5. Finish a book without letting go of it: Our Town by Thornton Wilder
  6. Read a book you really want to read: Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  7. Read seven books: NONE

I managed to complete five of the seven challenges, which totally surprised me! At the beginning of the week I was hoping to complete three of them, but I surpassed that goal within the first two days. I love when you do better than you think you will!

Copy of June (1)

This past week has been an awesome whirlwind of reading, reading, reading! I loved participating in Twitter sprints because they really motivated me to read, and it was great feeling part of the BookTubeAThon community. I ended up reading the number of books I usually read in a single month all in one week, which I think is a pretty good personal accomplishment! Overall, I call BookTubeAThon 2015 a success!

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 Did you participate in the BookTubeAThon? How did you do? What do you think of the books that I read? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Monthly Wrap-Up

May 2015 Wrap-Up

May 2015 Wrap Up

Bookish News

In May I read a total of 5 books, which seems to be my monthly average so far for this year. I’m really pleased with this number, especially since this month was so incredibly busy. 4 of the books I read were sent to me for review, and I’m really happy that I was able to get caught up with them. Thanks to all the publishers and authors who sent them to me!!

  1. Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading
  2. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  3. Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons
  4. Ugly People Beautiful Hearts by Marlen Komar
  5. Sapient by Jerry Kaczmarowski

My favorite book this month was definitely Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. I wanted to read it before the new movie Jurassic World comes out, but I never expected to love it as much as I did. A full list of why I love it so much  review will be posted soon!

Personal News

At the beginning of the month I survived my AP exams- it was rough, but I made it through! I had four exams this year: Calculus, English, Spanish, and US Government. The calculus one was terrible, but the others weren’t bad. These exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best) and I need at least a 4 in order to possibly get college credit. I didn’t take these classes with the sole intention of receiving college credit, but it would still be nice to get some basic classes out of the way.

My prom hair- how I wish it still looked like that!
My prom hair- how I wish it still looked like that!

I had so many fun senior events this month! Between prom, our senior class cruise, and preparation for graduation, I’ve had to get creative with squeezing in some time to read. Of course, it hasn’t all been fun and play- final exams are coming up!- but it’s been really nice to spend some quality time with my friends.

It still hasn’t really hit me that in just two weeks I’ll be graduating from high school. I’m incredibly excited to be heading off to college in the fall, but at the same time I know I’ll really miss my friends and the familiarity of high school life. And let’s not forget about the glorious summer ahead of me!

Blogging News

Notable posts from this month are:

I apologize that I haven’t been very timely with replying to comments and such- like I said, I’ve been really busy! I’m hoping that I’ll have a lot more time to blog in the coming weeks since school will be over soon. Stay tuned for lots of reviews, discussions, and more!

How was your month of May? What exciting things do you have planned for June, bookish or otherwise? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY