Saturday, January 26, 2019

#AMCURRENTLY // january 2019


Welcome to the second installment of my #AmCurrently monthly wrap-up series! It's crazy to think that January will be over in just a few days.

Soon February will be upon us, with all its romantic pinkness. O_o
This month I've been working on improving my quality of day-to-day life by trying to get enough sleep at night. It's hard to turn out the lights, especially if it's late and I've been so busy all day that I haven't had a chance to read in my book or do much of ANYTHING except work on school and maybe go for a freezing-cold walk. (*shivers*) Oh, and procrastinate. There's always time to procastinate. -_- If there's one thing I hate, it's not being able to make at least a little bit of progress on my current read every day.

But what I've realized is that energy is one of the most important things for productivity. Sleep depravity = fatigue during the day = less energy to get things done in a timely manner. Staying up late may mean I get in a few extra minutes of reading or journaling. BUT, when I look at the big picture and factor in all the minutes of tiredly fighting to finish what I have to do (instead of energetically knocking it off the to-do list), staying up later than even 10:00 PM might actually take away from the overall progress I'm making on my hobbies.

It's not easy to make myself do it - I keep compromising - but yeah... I'm fighting to get more sleep. :)

It didn't take me long to read Lost Girl by Chanda Hahn. I'm still so so excited that a CLEAN Young Adult Peter Pan retelling has finally been discovered. 4 out of 5 stars for this gem! <3

Now I'm reading The Warden and the Wolf King by Andrew Peterson, the final book in the Wingfeather Saga. Yes, yes, I know - my heart probably has no idea of the pain that's coming for it. XD

Almost on a whim, I started reading The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan the other day as well. Re-reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians feels sooooo beautifully nostalgic, you wouldn't BELIEVE. <333 Even if I'm only one chapter in so far.

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Squeezing writing into my busy schedule is proving even harder than squeezing in fun-reading. The exciting news is, I think I've found a way to fit in both editing Dusted Red and writing Blue Like Sapphires ON THE SAME DAY, no intimidation required. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? :D

Here's what I'm trying to do (emphasis on "trying," lol): 15-minute writing sprint of Blue Like Sapphires; 15-minute Dusted Red editing session. When I first tried this the other day, it worked SUPER well. Committing myself to relatively short but ultra-focused writing sessions helps a lot, I think. And since it adds up to only 30 minutes of work, it doesn't intimidate me. Instead, it motivates me. Not to mention that what I'm able to accomplish in a 30-minute, focused, daily session (which is quite a bit) is going to add up fast!

Also, I updated the previously-named "My WIP" page in the bar at the top of the blog to "My Writings" and added a few aesthetics and tiny blurb thingies here and there. Just in case you were interested in taking a peek.

~tiny snippet~

"My heart was settled right here, and oh how my heart hated to be disturbed."
Blue Like Sapphires by Lila Kims


I'm currently into relaxing, soothing music without words - and sometimes with nature sounds - from YouTube. My favorite is this one:


And I more recently found this one, also amazing:


YouTube has SO many of these types of relaxing videos that it's almost stressful. XD
An interesting thought the other day kind of took me aback. It was one of those "I know this, but do I really know it??" moments.

I'm very aware of the phrase "fight the good fight," but when I'm troubled or in difficulty, it's SO easy for me to become discouraged and heavy in heart. To hate the fact that life has to be hard.

Here's the thing, though. The very word "fight" implies an effort, a struggle, tears and sweat and pain. (And also a thrill.) I think I'm learning what "fight the good fight" means in a new and deeper way. 

I need to fight the good fight in my heart.

~

My Blog Posts:






Favorite Blog Posts of the Month:

3rd Place - Snapper is One // Traditional Q&A Post // Part Two // Danielle @ Snapper

2nd Place - This is Why You Fight // Hosanna Emily @ Having A Heart Like His

1st Place - Why Write? // Stephanie Morrill @ Go Teen Writers


Favorite Video of the Month:

Abuse in Books Ain't Cute, Ya Crazies // Caleb @ InsaneReader

He talks a lot about the Grisha Trilogy, but I haven't read that series (or anything by Bardugo) and I still think this video is PRICELESS.

~

January has been exciting because I keep getting ideas for a bunch of ways to do things differently but BETTER. Actually turning those ideas into reality is challenging and sometimes stressful and I couldn't be further from a pro - at anything, really. (I mean, here I am talking about trying to go to bed at 10 and it's later than 10 as I write this...) But it's also fun and purposeful.

There's a thrill to the fight.


The Lord's Truly,

How has January been treating you? Let's chat in the comments! Timothy 6:12 - "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses."

Saturday, January 19, 2019

INTRODUCING MY NEW WIP // aesthetics, playlist, & the rising author tag


As you may notice, I've changed my font. I was getting pretty annoyed with Lato, the font I've been using for post text, so I finally caved and switched to my ALL-TIME FAVORITE AND MOST RELIABLE FONT OF EVER, Crimson Text.

Here's what I mean by reliable: Some time after I started my complete rewrite of Dusted Red with Georgia font (I'd used Crimson Text before but was testing a change of scenery), I got into a bit of writing rut. Then I switched back to Crimson Text, and the words started flowing again.

I get tired of Times New Roman. I get tired of Georgia. But very rarely do I get tired of Crimson Text.

I love Crimson Text because, apparently, it loves me.

Now that we're done with the irrelevant intro, it's time to introduce my new WIP: the sequel to Dusted Red.

*screams long and loud*

With the start of 2019 comes the start of a new adventure - new characters, new aesthetics, new playlist, new feels, new WORDS. Since I was a pantser for Dusted Red and developed the plot and characters as I went, it's a different feeling to know my characters so well beforehand this time. To know what's going to happen next.

It's also an AWESOME feeling.

As mentioned in a recent post, I made several unsuccessful attempts at plotting this before settling on a method that worked, a method that produced a storyline that excites me. Even if it's an incomplete storyline. *glares at currently nonexistent climax/ending I've been unable to figure out for the life of me* (<< Yes, I realize it's dangerous to go into a story without knowing the climax, seeing as the climax is what you build toward from the very beginning, but I can be a hybrid, can't I??)

About 8,000 words of this new WIP have been written, so there isn't much story yet, but today I'm here to share some WIP aesthetics, some songs that I'm always playing while I write it, and a writer-ly tag to top it all off!

You may find this strange, but I'm not going to share a blurb or anything about the new characters introduced in this book (not even names... especially not names), mainly because sharing anything about ANY of that would ruin a little surprise at the end of Dusted Red that I would rather keep a surprise. I don't know if Dusted Red will ever be published, but I'm hoping to possibly be ready for alpha readers by 2020 (POSSIBLY. NOTHING IS SET IN STONE). And I don't know, I guess with this particular story I just feel more comfortable keeping practically everything hidden for the time being.


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via WordPress.com

Now, I do have a couple writer acquaintances who know QUITE a bit about the sequel, or at least a few of the details. And they're probably reading this. You know who you are, Privileged Ones, and you have hereby been sworn to secrecy. Lips = zipped. ;)

What I do want to share is the WIP banner + working title. Emphasis on working, haha.


I'm keeping this title right now because it's aesthetic and holds to the color scheme. Dusted Red and Blue Like Sapphires. Oh, believe me, I'm 100% certain there's a better title lurking SOMEWHERE in my mind, but ehhhhh I'll sniff it out later. Blue Like Sapphires for now. XD

Also, I'm not totally sure yet about the WIP banner. (In case you didn't know, a WIP banner is like a mock cover, but not a mock cover. Because making mock covers intimidates me, whereas making a horizontal "banner" with the Blog Banner template in Canva feels much safer and more familiar. Does that make sense? Probably not. :P) The image fits with at least one significant scene in the book and with the "blue" in the title, but... hmmmm. *strokes chin* If I find an even better image and redo the banner, I'll be sure to share.

Now for the collage!

Disclaimer: Pics are taken from Pinterest. All credit goes to their original creators.


You don't want to know how long it took me to tweak this collage to my satisfaction. Or maybe, if you've made collages before, you feel my pain lol. It's super fun, but that doesn't make it any less of a challenge. XD


~WIP SONGS~


future signs // fleurie

"Like creatures coming out of hiding for the first time,
'Til the stars fade, we are wildly alive"


lost boy // ruth b.

"Neverland is home to lost boys like me,
And lost boys like me are free


say something // jasmine thompson

"I am feeling so small,
It was over my head; I know nothing at all"


my blood // twenty one pilots

"Surrounded and up against the wall
I'll shred 'em all, and go with you


Aaaaaaand the entire Finding Nemo movie soundtrack. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is the soundtrack for Dusted Red, but Finding Nemo is where it's at with Blue Like Sapphires. XD

Hold Her by For King and Country, All We Have Is Love by Sabrina Carpenter, Ride by Twenty One Pilots, Bittersweet by Matthew Parker, and Plant Life by Owl City are a few other songs. They fit so well and in so many different ways that it hurts. <3


~THE RISING AUTHOR TAG~


I was tagged for The Rising Author Tag by MK literally a year ago. January 2018. Yeah, I'm a LITTLE late. But better later than never, or so they say. Even though I've taken this long to do it, I've been reallllly wanting to! It's an epic tag. And this post seemed as good a time as any to tackle the questions, so HERE WE GO.

1. What is the weirdest thing someone has ever said to you about your writing?

Oh geez. Stuck at the first question. That doesn't bode well for the rest of them...

I can't find anything in my brain. It must be mush. Either that, or my writing just isn't weird enough.

2. What is the worst thing you ever wrote?

Prooooobably the romance story I tried to write one time. I must have been twelve or thirteen, so as you can imagine, that went REAL well. (I mean, if I tried to write a full-on romance like that now, it would still be terrible.)

I haven't burned that unfinished story yet, but I need to. 


3. What is the most awkward scene you've ever written?

It was a scene in Dusted Red draft 1. It involved Peter Pan, the MC Delmy, my lost boy figures, and a kiss.


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via Tenor

I'm going to die from embarrassment just thinking about it. YIKES.

Thank goodness I had the sense to scrap it later.

4. One a scale from 1 to 10, how often do you end up writing more than 3 chapters of the stories you start?

I'd say 9, at least. Good to know I'm usually committed enough to get past chapter 3. :P

5. What is the hardest thing for you to write?

Romance. (It's a lot of fun, though. *evil laugh*)
Fight scenes. (I always feel so uneducated when I try to write these. I don't physically fight people irl, so my experience is zilch. XD)
Climaxes. (They're a challenge. Especially when I can't even figure out what in Neverland they ARE.)

6. When you look back at your early writing pieces, what's one thing you can see you've improved in?

Everything, really. From humor to romance to overall style, I see much, much improvement.

7. How do you name characters?

Honestly, most of the time I just sit there and let names pop into my head of their own free will, running through them until I settle on one I like. I've also taken names directly from the fairy tales I retell, and I've done focused searches on Google a few times - like "German boy names."

8. If you had to pick one genre to write in forever, what would it be?

FANTASY.

FANTASY.

FANTASY.

(Yes, I had to scream it three times. To ensure perfect clarity.)

9. Which of your characters do you feel most guilty about?

Oh my goodness, I couldn't possibly choose. I torture all of my characters in various ways, with few exceptions.

Me trying to warn my charries right before I ruin their lives:
Related image
via Giphy


10. Which of your characters deserves everything you've given them?

Peter Pan, maybe? He's amazing, so I gave him an island.

But then again, it wasn't exactly a gift. The island didn't come without a cost.

~~~

And with that happy thought, we end this tag. Thank you for tuning in to Cryptic Remarks With Lila. :)

I'll see you next week.


The Lord's Truly,

So, now you've all been introduced to my newborn novel. <3 Comment below about any new projects you've started, writing or otherwise! And I unofficially tag all of you for The Rising Author Tag. ;D Let us rise together on the wings of fairy dust and fly away to Neverland, where dreams are born and time is never planned...

Friday, January 11, 2019

DREAMS COME TRUE // i'm a published authoress! + my story is ONLY FREE for today



A dream of mine has come true today.


It's kind of hard to wrap my head around.


I considered whether I'm being too dramatic about this...


I mean, I haven't seen many authors announce simple publications, such as online publications, with "MY DREAM HAS COME TRUE." They're more like... "I've been published! How exciting! Don't forget to read it!" And that's all.


Which is TOTALLY FINE AND I LOVE THAT.


But this publication is a first and a huge deal to me.


It's a milestone, to be honest.


It IS a dream come true.

~

So, since it's a dream come true, I'm not going to let that stop me from calling it as such simply because of a silly worry that it'll look dramatic. Or childish. Or unprofessional.


Any other writers reading this can probably relate to publication being the dream.


Short story, novella, full-length novel...


Online publication, self-publication, traditional publication...


It's not just exciting, it's what we've been working towards for a LONG TIME.


Over the years, I have seen so many stories published in online magazines, print magazines, anthologies, etc., etc.


THAT HAPPENING TO ME HAS BEEN SUCH AN ENORMOUS DREAM OF MINE.


An enormous dream that felt so out of reach.


Submissions went out, and hope swelled within me. My dream becoming reality danced just out of reach...


Then the rejections hit my inbox, and the dream felt like a fantasy again. 


As impossible as stepping through a closet into Narnia.


As likely as physically stepping through the pages of LotR into Middle Earth.


No more real than a magical sea serpent.


Well, I'm living proof today that dreams DO come true.

~

If I could, I'd send a letter back in time to my younger self, telling her that her dream is not an impossible fantasy.


Her attempts - her fight - to make that dream come true will be worth it.


They are leading to something...


Not failure, but victory.


And that's what I'm telling you today:


Dreams come true, okay??? Including YOURS.


If you keep fighting, keep trying, keep building your craft and growing your abilities and knowledge towards that dream...


... that dream is much closer to coming true than you may think.


And above all, remember that God is behind it.


Keep praying, and keep knowing in your heart that He knows where every step leads.


He's the one who brings you your victories, and He knows exactly where He's hidden those victories along your path.


Whatever your dream is, whenever your first or next victory comes, and whatever you do...


Don't. Lose. Hope. 

~



Hey, friends! (What do think of the format of my message above? It came to me on a last-minute whim... XD) As has been made abundantly clear already, today is a very exciting day.

My story The Elusive Serpent, a pirate fantasy flash fiction, has been published on Havok! And it's only free for today, January 11! So if you're interested, be sure to check it out at gohavok.com. If you're interested and reading this post after January 11, never fear! Their membership is very reasonably, affordably priced. Plus, with a membership you can vote for stories to be included in Havok's anthology coming out in July. EPICNESSSS.

Comment below about dreams coming true, and you don't need a membership to comment on Havok, so if you read my story and want to comment there, you can!


Dream big. Work hard. Trust God.
And wreak havoc.
<3



The Lord's Truly,

Saturday, January 5, 2019

A WINTER GRIM AND LONELY // nicki chapelway cover reveal


Perhaps some of you, O readers, are having a wintry day. Perhaps some of you are having a grim and lonely day - though I certainly hope not. Either way, it's a wintry day here on the blog, because with a burst of icy cold I bring to you the cover reveal of A Winter Grim and Lonely by Nicki Chapelway!


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via Giphy

From the author of A Week of Werewolves, Faeries, and Fancy Dresses, Winter Cursed, and A Certain Sort of Madness comes a Winter Cursed prequel novella!

And it's got a gorgeous cover.

So...

GET READY TO SCROLL. Because we all love scrolling, especially when gifs are involved. ;D

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Add it on Goodreads!


~SYNOPSIS~


Mirror… Mirror…. 

Ismena is the queen of Alain and considered by all to be the fairest maiden in the land. She happily looks forward to the day when she will marry the love of her life and unite two of the three kingdoms that make up Illesya. That all changes when King Stephan, her fiance, falls in love with an ice nymph considered more fair than she.

In My Hand… 

Scorned by the man she once loved, Ismena is driven by her need for vengeance. She makes a dangerous bargain with King Morren the dark lord who sits on the throne of the third kingdom Mooraven. With his help, she will bring Stephan down. She does not care who she has to double cross in the process, nor how many enemies she will have to make. But her plan for revenge crumbles around her when she finds that she cannot kill a young princess with Stephan’s eyes.

Who is the Fairest… 

An eternal winter, a chance at a happy life, and a beautiful stepdaughter. The fate of three kingdoms will be decided.

In the Land? 

This is the tale of how an ordinary girl became the wicked queen



~~~

Feeling chilled to the bone yet? XD



The Lord's Truly,

Aren't Nicki Chapelway's covers always so beautiful??? Have you read any of her books yet? (They're pretty darn fantastic, just fyi.) And this novella sounds SO GOOD. What do you think? Comment below, frens! And have a wonderful weekend. <3

Friday, January 4, 2019

TOP 12 FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2018 // including my 2019 bookish schemes mwahaha


It's 2019. O_o

An unoriginal way to start my first post of the year, I know, but it's just sooooo mind-befuddling. Another year gone, a brand-new one shoving in.

Today I'm going to say one more goodbye to the past year by talking about my top favorite books read in 2018. What I've done is reviewed every month and found the top read from the (relatively short) list of books I read that month. Looking back, I definitely encountered some SUPER special stories last year, and I'm confident of finding even more fantastic ones this year!

Let's recap the bookish dimension of 2018.


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~JANUARY~

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The Royal Ranger by John Flanagan

I honestly don't remember all of this book. I do remember how it blew my expectations, which weren't low to begin with, out of the water. It broke me to see Will in the state he was in, and I LOVED the introduction of Maddie into the Ranger world. She fit right in, the little firecracker. Also the character development was A+++.

And I definitely remember screaming about this book, especially the ending, in my Goodreads review. XD

Runner-up: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan



~FEBRUARY~

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Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Gaaaaah, thinking about this novel makes me want to drop everything and read it again! Jodi Lynn Anderson is one of my favorite authors (except for Tiger Lily and Peaches - let's not talk about those), and one reason is because her style is so quietly powerful... It's amazing. The characters in Midnight at the Electric were amazing too, and the way she wove several generations together was GENIUS.


~MARCH~

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Messenger by Lois Lowry

My relationship with The Giver quartet went from casual appreciation mixed with light disappointment to ENORMOUS LOVE MIXED WITH UTTER HEART-SHATTEREDNESS. And Messenger is where the utter heart-shatteredness began. This book packs a BIG punch into a fairly short book. <3

Runner-up: Son by Lois Lowry (The Giver Quartet #4) XD


~APRIL~

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Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

I hadn't even heard of the Leviathan trilogy before stumbling across the audio for book 1 on my Libby app. By the time I finished this last installment (not on audio, though), I was a puddle of feels. Alek and Deryn stole my heart, and the setting was FASCINATING. Scott Westerfeld is a new favorite!


~MAY~

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Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain

Mark Twain is one of my favorite classic authors, all thanks to this epic masterpiece of a novel. It's a historical fiction he spent YEARS researching before putting pen to paper, which speaks to the great respect he had for historical accuracy. And it paid off, because this is... IT'S JUST AMAZING, OKAY?? Twain's style is breathtaking, and I was blown away by his representation of Joan of Arc. The whole story is just so perfect. <3

Runner-up: Dagger's Sleep by Tricia Mingerink


~JUNE~

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The Blood Race by K.A. Emmons

Excuse me while I go and scream for love of this book. Every single storytelling aspect was executed SO WELL, I almost can't handle it. The character development butchered my feels like they were a hunk of helpless meat, and so did a certain... erm... I don't want to risk spoiling even a small thing. But yeah, this book was nothing short of INCREDIBLE. Lived up to the hype 1000%!

Runner-up: In 27 Days by Alison Gervais


~JULY~

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On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson

My expectations were high as a kite, and they were exceeded. I still can't get over how relateable Janner Igiby is! He's literally THE most relateable character I have ever encountered in a book. To me, at least. :) Also, the twists had me squealing.


~AUGUST~

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A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens is another HUGE favorite classic author. He and Twain and Victor Hugo are probably my top three...? But then again, I don't really want to say that, because there's also Jane Austen to consider. And Emmuska Orczy.

But I digress. A Tale of Two Cities is a MASTERPIECE. Sydney Carton did major, major things to my heart. <3333


~SEPTEMBER~

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A Certain Sort of Madness by Nicki Chapelway

Would you look at that - an indie book made it to my top 12! And it deserves it, because the ragtag group of charries featured in this amazing fantasy novel are the most fun, most heart-rending collection of darlings you'll ever meet. <3 Following their crazy adventure was epic.

And I kind of want to marry Dante, not gonna lie. XD


~OCTOBER~

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Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz

My favorite Alex Rider book (so far, that is - I have two left to go) is Scorpia, which I read in the summer. October was a bit of a slack reading month, I think. I read two 4-star Alex Rider books and one 3-star graphic novel, and that's it. :P

Reading the (majority of) the Alex Rider series in 2018 has been a wild ride. Alex has gone through so much, and I feel like I've gone through it with him. Sort of. Obviously, I don't actually feel like I've almost died countless times or work for MI6 or anything...

Snakehead was a great book, as all of them are. What makes it stand out is Ash - an interesting and complex "guest star" character!


~NOVEMBER~

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Entwined by Heather Dixon

I'm just going to post my brief Goodreads review here, because it wraps up my feelings for this YA Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling really well.

You know that moment when you finish a book, a huge smile on your face, and think, "This is the most perfect story ever"?
This delicious tale - full of strong sisterly bonds and magic tea sets and very creepy villains and silver handkerchiefs and dancing - made me feel the warm flickery bit inside. <3

Runner-up: North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson


~DECEMBER~

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The Monster in the Hollows by Andrew Peterson

The fact that the Wingfeather Saga has made THREE appearances in this post is saying something about how fantastic this series is - and I haven't even read The Warden and the Wolf King yet. If On the Edge of the Dark Sea of the Darkness was amazing, The Monster in the Hollows goes ABOVE AND BEYOND AMAZING.

I have no words. NO WORDS. Only a ruthlessly battered heart.

~

So those are my top twelve 2018 reads! Now for some bonus reading stats, and then some of my reading plans for this year.


~LEAST FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR~

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The Boy Knight by G.A. Henty - my review

The Sound of Life and Everything by Krista Van Dolzer - my review


Both are 2-star reads (I gave The Sound of Life and Everything 3 stars on GR, but honestly it should only be 2). I didn't rate anything 1 star last year! #blessed


~MOST NOTABLE DNF~

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Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson - my review


Books: 80

Pages: 24,297

Longest book: The House of Hades by Rick Riordan (597 pages)

Shortest book: Shower Thoughts by Gray Marie Cox (3 pages)

Average book length: 303 pages


~2019 BOOKISH SCHEMES~


I've only thought of a few bookish plans, and they're weird ones. Because weird is fun. :D


- Read a book from my Peter Pan retelling TBR every month until I run out -

So far I only have three books on said TBR that I have access to: Lost Girl by Chanda Hahn, Tigerheart by Peter David, and Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell. To be honest, I don't expect to add anymore any time soon. XP They're just SO HARD to find, you know??

I'm excited to be reading these ones, though! I don't know a whole lot about the latter two, but they call to me, so I'm going to try them out. I've heard plenty of amazing things about Lost Girl (shout-out to Ivie for letting me know it was free on Kindle!), so I'm especially excited for that one.


- Read a book from my Kindle library every month - 

I'll start this when I've finished my Peter Pan plan (#alliteration). I've got QUITE a few books, mainly indie ones, sitting on my Kindle app, and I'm tired of keeping them waiting. ;)


~


To another amazing reading year! *clinks tea cup*


The Lord's Truly,
What are some of your favorite books of 2018? What about your most notable DNF? Or maybe a weird reading plan you have for 2019?? Whatever you wanna talk about, I'm ready to chat with you! Comment below, bookdragon friends!