Monday, December 30, 2019

My Blogoversary + End of the Year Recap

Happy Lisa Kudrow GIF by Friends
Credit: Giphy

Well, this is a surprise. Apparently my blog is 5 years old 🤭. Unfortunately this sometimes feels too real when blogger behaves like a fussy toddler with all of its rules... jk I love my blog, I really do.

But for real, these past few years with my blog have been so fun, and I'm sure next year will be even better! Today's post is all about my blogging resolutions for next year and a recap of what I've been up to this year.

  • I had a total of 30 posts this year. Not too bad, but I definitely want to post more next year!
  • I read... but I didn't really keep track of how many titles 😅. My goal for next year is to either use Goodreads or keep track of the books I enjoy in some way.
  • I attended an author event + acquired a signed copy of Capturing the Devil! (In case you missed the post, you can read more here.)
  • I started participating in Top Ten Tuesday, and it's been so fun connecting with other bloggers!
  • I got a bookstagram and embedded my feed on the bottom of my blog's homepage. I'm majorly proud! 🦚
  • I created a formula to validate how real your excuses are, and talked about quantum mechanics.
  • I watched Sherlock (all four seasons within 3 weeks :)).
  • I watched Friends (why Netflix is removing the best show in the world is beyond me). There will definitely be more Friends GIFs on this blog as I grieve.
  • I added some elements to my blog. You can now follow me on bloglovin, for example. I changed the theme to blue and started designing graphics for each post. I transferred old pages to the sidebar and added a better contact form for an overall more concise look :).
  • Blog more. My goal is to post once a week, every Tuesday, in 2020 (I made today's post on a Monday to align with my blogoversary :P).
  • Use Goodreads more. I have a lot of books marked to-read, and I have updated some of my reviews, but I want to be more consistent on that platform.
  • Use spreadsheet software to track what I read. If I made a list of everything I was obsessed with, Friends, spreadsheets, and Emma Watson would be tied. I'd love to be able to create a post with charts and graphs of what I read, so I'll use a spreadsheet next year and play around with it all I want 😌.
  • Engage with other bloggers more. Since I started participating in TTT, I've seen other bloggers' perspectives, and I'd like to do so more in 2020.
  • Use bookstagram more (at least once for every blog post). Once it literally took me 10 minutes to find the "share" button, though, so I'm still learning, but I find it really fun!
How was your year? Any resolutions for 2020? Let me know below!

Also, please follow my blog on bloglovin for quality content ;).

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope Santa Brings Me!

A Bookish Meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl
Christmas is scary because it means that the year is ending and I haven't gotten to half of my TBR, but it's also great because I can buy whatever books I'd like without feeling guilty (Santa would have wanted it that way ;) ). Here are 18 books on my TBR that I hope I'll get for Christmas!

1. The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling
2. A Million Junes
3. A Kind of Paradise
4. A Match Made in Mehendi

5. A Thousand Beginnings and Endings
6. When Dimple Met Rishi

7. Again, but Better
8. Unscripted
9. If I'm Being Honest
10. Fake It Till You Break It

11. Other Words For Home
12. Fountains of Silence
13. The Lady Rouge
14. Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance

15. Descendant of the Crane
16. The Light Between Us
17. The Weight of Our Sky

18. This Time Will Be Different
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What are you wishing for this year? Have you read any of the above books? Let me know your thoughts!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Review: Caraval
Goodreads Synopsis: Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic.

My Review: Considering this was a debut novel, it was not at all bad, but there were definitely parts the author could have written better. For example, in the beginning the writing is not descriptive enough; while I was reading it felt like I was skimming the book simply because there weren't enough details to understand Scarlett and the world she was living in. Also, Scarlett's problems are solved very soon; for example, she dreams a certain person might be Legend, and instead of waiting and acting suspicious around them, she just confronts him right away. Scenes like so could have been written with more detail to add more depth to the characters and enhance the plot.
     I also wasn't a fan of Scarlett or Julian; both seemed very one-dimensional and hypocritical at times. Tella was more of an interesting character, but as she was kidnapped, I didn't see too much of her.
      The mystery was alright, but I don't see how other characters would have found the answers to clues like Scarlett did (since she found most clues pretty randomly and half of the time she just guessed that found a a clue even if she wasn't sure she had). Although, after reading the ending, I suppose the clues were designed for Scarlett anyway. Still, they were too random to be realistic (ex she asks a man to read her fortune and he gives her a clue, but what if she had never gone to see him?).
     I was also confused on how the magic worked; sometimes Julian explained that performers were behind everything, and then he'd say the island had its own magic. 

Wow, the story really was true to the fact that everything is a performance. I didn't really understand the point of what Tella did (I think she mentions that she never meant for their dad to find out, which doesn't make much sense because I thought she wanted Scarlett to leave their dad and never go back?), but perhaps I need to reread the ending. 

Overall, I give the story 3 stars. Though the magic and carnival were interesting, the story didn't blow me away.

Have you read Caraval or any fantasy-slash-mystery novels recently? What are your thoughts? Tell me below!
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