August TBR List

Hello everyone!

Its been a very, very long time since I’ve posted anything on this blog. I’ve been incredibly busy this last year (writing two capstones in one semester, graduating college, moving back home, etc.), and I’ve been slacking on my writing/posting. So, in order to get back into the groove of posting on my blog, I’m going to be writing a bit about books and what ones I want to read in the upcoming month!

Since I was so busy for so long, I’ve been running behind on my reading this last year. Last year my Goodreads goal was to read 50 books, which I reached (but only barely). To make it a little easier on myself, I lowered my goal for 2019 to 30 books. It’s now almost August and I’ve read 24 books this year, most of them within this last month. I started my reading goal at 30 books for the year, but that was at the beginning of January when I knew I was going to be busy (it was, after all, my last semester as an undergrad). Now that it’s almost August and I’ve got tons of free time (I’m still looking for a job with my degree – right now I’m still waitressing), I’m thinking of changing my goal to 40 books.

Regardless of how many books I want to read by the end of the year, here are four books I want to read by the end of August:

1) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss 

A very good friend of mine (who used to write on my newspaper staff) recommended this book to me months ago. I went out and bought it a few days after he told me about it, but I still haven’t gotten around to reading it.

2) Nocturna by Maya Motayne

My roommate bought this book for me as a graduation present back in May. I’ve been meaning to start it for a while, and was even planning to read it during my vacation, but I ended up reading a few other books (They Both Die At The End, The Bear and the Nightingale, The Wicked King, and part of The Goldfinch) instead. I’m looking forward to this one because I haven’t been reading much YA lately, and I miss it!

3) The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

Like I mentioned before, I read The Bear and the Nightingale on my vacation about a month ago. The Girl in the Tower is the second book in the trilogy. I’m excited to dive back into this world because I absolutely loved the first book, and am a big fan of fairy tales and folklore – especially of the Russian variety.

4) Furyborn by Claire Legrand 

I think I asked for this book for Christmas and I still haven’t read it!! I started it a few months ago but only read about a chapter and got extremely sidetracked. My goal for the end of August is to finish this book, though!!

While I really want to read these four books by the end of the month, I’m very impulsive when it comes to buying books, so I might buy a few different ones throughout the month and read those if they interest me more at that moment. Either way, I want to finish four or five books before the month is out.

More Places to Get Published!

Here’s some more market research for my magazine class!

1) Brevity – I like this magazine, and it offers a challenge for me – they only take pieces less than 750 words, and I tend to write a lot, so submitting here will hopefully help me be more concise with my writing.

2) Awkward Mermaid – They focus on mental illness! They do creative nonfiction! They have an aesthetically pleasing website! What’s not to like?

3) Pamplemousse – They do a bunch of different genres, including creative nonfiction, interviews, and book reviews! I write a lot of those things, so I feel like I’d have luck submitting here. Also, Kara got published here once!

4) The Hellebore – Represents a lot of underrepresented communities, including the LGBTQIA+ community! Would be interesting to have something published here.

5) Peach Mag – I love the way this magazine is set up. It’s very aesthetically pleasing. They post something new every Tuesday and Friday, which is really neat! They do multiple genres, so I could do a few different things for them.

First Post for Magazine Class

This semester I’m taking a magazine class. In this class, we’ll be learning how to get our works published in literary magazines. This is my first post.

Things I know/love:

  • Books (mostly YA fantasy, but some memoirs)
  • Music (mostly indie, pop punk, and regular punk, but I dabble in just about any type of music except country)
  • Cacti/Succulents/Plants
  • Being funny (sometimes?)
  • Being a lady (sometimes)
  • Home
  • Family
  • A good home cooked meal
  • Naruto
  • There are a lot of other things that I can’t think of right now

10 magazines that would be good for my work:

1) Barrelhouse

Barrelhouse accepts a variety of different works, like poetry, essays, and reviews, all of which I write. Also, I think they mix the perfect amount of seriousness and humor, which I tend to do, too.

2) The Rumpus

I’d like to think that sometimes my writing is pretty funny, and The Rumpus has some hilarious content. Especially a lot of hilarious content written by women.

3) Janice

Another funny magazine. Also, Ali got accepted here. I love Ali.

4) Pendulum

Oddly enough, in the almost four years that I’ve gone to Pitt-Greensburg, I’ve never submitted to Pendulum. I would like to change that.

5) Feels Blind Literary

This is a magazine by women for women. I am a woman. They are looking for emerging and established writers. I am an emerging writer.

6) The Offbeat

Another magazine that highlights humor and, like the name suggests, the offbeat. I can get down with that.

7) Hippocampus Magazine

This magazine is based in my home, the ever-wonderful land of the Amish (aka Lancaster). I write a lot about family and home, so my pieces would probably find a good home here.

8) Third Point Press

Another magazine based in central Pennsylvania. Its goal is to publish writers from Lancaster, York, and Harrisburg. It seems like they mostly do fiction, which I don’t write that often, but I’d like to give it a try.

9) Narratively

This is a magazine that publishes a lot of stories about humans. Interestingly enough, I’m a human, and I love telling stories about my life.

10) Under the Sun

They’re a journal dedicated to creative nonfiction, which is my favorite thing to write.

Reading Habits Book Tag

I’ve been seeing this book tag around lately and wanted to take part in it too!

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

When I’m at college, I have a comfy chair in my dorm room (one of the perks of being a CA) and I like to sit there. When I’m at home, I like to sit on the couch in our living room because the TV is there and I like to have background noise when I read.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Random piece of paper! I’ve stopped buying bookmarks because I usually lose them or leave them in a book after I’ve finished it and always end up forgetting about it.

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?

I prefer stopping at the end of a chapter but if I have to stop reading wherever I’ll do it.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

Usually I have water or something when I read, but I try not to eat while I read because I don’t want to mess up the pages.

5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

TV sometimes, but quietly as just a background noise. Sometimes I listen to music, but if I find it too distracting, I turn it off. I just don’t necessarily like reading in absolute silence but I don’t want lots of noise either.

6. One book at a time or several at once?

Several at once, but usually that means one YA/fun/not class-related book, a book or two for class (right now I have a memoir class so I’ve been reading a lot of memoirs), and usually some graphic novels tossed in there.

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

Everywhere, all the time, constantly.

8. Reading out loud or silently in your head?

Silently in my head but sometimes if I’m in my room reading by myself I’ll say pieces of dialogue out loud because I like to hear how it sounds.

9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

No!! I don’t want to ruin it.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

Keeping it new.

11. Do you write in your books?

Depends on if I’m using them for class/research or not, but usually no. Sometimes, with really old copies of books that I love, I’ll highlight good quotes from them.

12. When do you find yourself reading? Morning, afternoon, evening, whenever you get the chance or all the time?

Whenever I get the chance. I read a lot mid-morning when I’m at work if they have nothing for me to do or I have no homework. I read during breaks, in between my classes. I usually read in the evening as well after dinner if I don’t have activities/events/anything else I need to do.

13. What is your best setting to read in?

Anywhere that has a comfy seat and minimal noise (only just a little noise for background music). I like to sit around people to read if they’re also reading and or being quiet.

14. What do you do first – Read or Watch?

Read always.

15. What form do you prefer? Audiobook, E-book or physical book?

Physical book! I like to carry them around with me, but I’m not opposed to E-book or Audiobook. They’ve just never really been what I’ve used to read.

16. Do you have a unique habit when you read?

I don’t think so?

17. Do book series have to match?

Yes, I can’t stand if they’re all different.

Thanks for reading! Look out for my next post.

Oops I’m bad at this

HELLO. It’s been so long since I’ve posted anything on this blog – not having a class that requires me to regularly update has really killed me this semester. I’ve been incredibly busy and haven’t had time to write many (or any, I suppose) posts. But I’m going to try and change that!

Every Tuesday, I’ll try and do the “Top Ten Tuesday” book prompt things. Hopefully it will help me stay on track and post at least once per week, so be on the lookout for more posts soon!


Book Review: Nora Sakavic’s “All For The Game” Series

Don’t look back, don’t slow down, and don’t trust anyone. Those are the words that Neil Josten lived his life by for so long.

That is, until he came to Palmetto State.

The “All For The Game” series consists of three books written by Nora Sakavic, all of which can be found online or can be purchased on Amazon. The first novel is “The Foxhole Court,” followed by “The Raven King,” and ending with “The King’s Men.”

Image result for all for the game

The novels follow the story of Neil, a runaway with a dark past who gets recruited to play for the Class-I Exy team at Palmetto State University. For everyone who hasn’t read the books, Exy is a made up sport that can be best described as lacrosse (and maybe even tennis) mixed with the violence of hockey. When the AFTG fandom makes graphics and pictures for the series, a lot of the time they put pictures of tennis courts, but I’m pretty sure the game actually has nothing to do with tennis. Really, it’s more like lacrosse than anything. 

At first Neil resists joining the team, but he eventually signs the contract that’s offered to him. When he gets to campus for summer training, he meets the four members of the team that are referred to as “The Monsters.” This group consists of Andrew Minyard, Aaron Minyard, Nicky Hemmick, and Kevin Day. You can probably tell from the fact that they’re referred to as “The Monsters,” but they’re really not a good group of guys. All the members of the group, except for Nicky, are generally cold and untrustworthy towards Neil as well as most of the other members of the team. There are a number of reasons for this, one of them being that they all had rough upbringings.

Later in the summer Neil meets the rest of the team, and he’s hesitant to get close to any of them because of his background. By the end of the third novel, Neil finally comes to see them all as his friends and even his family.

As the story progresses, you find out why Neil is running away, and the risk that he’s taking in signing the contract to play with the PSU Foxes. You also see him growing as a collegiate athlete, making friends, and coming to terms with his past.

Something you learn early on in the novels is that Neil’s father is a mob boss who’s looking for his wife and son after they stole a large sum of money and ran away from him because he was, well, god awful. Neil has spent the majority of his life on the run from his dead, constantly changing his name and appearance and never being able to interact with kids his own age. Eventually, the running gets the best of his mom and she dies. Neil, although a teenager who’s already pretty independent, has to learn to survive on his own. Before joining the team, he went to a high school in the middle of nowhere and played Exy to pass the time. He never thought anything would come of it and he would be able to just up and leave once he graduated. He never counted on the Foxes wanting to recruit him for the team. 

By joining the Foxes, he’s risking being caught by his father, but his love of Exy outweighs his fear of being caught by his father.

Honestly, I found the plot of the books to be a little weird and hard to believe in some parts. I’m not sure if some of it is supposed to be realistic, but some parts feel like they would never happen in real life.

For example, the coach of the Foxes, Wymack, only recruits players who come from troubled or criminal backgrounds. In real life, I doubt this would ever be able to happen. No college sports league would allow that kind of recruiting style. Not only that, but the amount of rules that Wymack allows the kids on the team to break is incredible. 

That being said, I think the characters and their dynamic makeup for the slightly lackluster plot. I enjoyed seeing Neil grow and bond with the people around him who he was so hesitant to trust in the beginning. 

The characters are really what saves the story for me. My favorite character in the whole series probably has to be Kevin Day. My boy Kevin has a whole backstory full of sadness and drama, so much like Neil, he’s really hesitant to get close to his teammates. He’s definitely the member of the Foxes that takes Exy seriously (although both Neil and Dan are probably a close second), which makes it interesting that he’s such good friends with Andrew, who doesn’t care for the sport (or much of anything) at all.

At times Kevin can seem standoff-ish or cold. That’s because he is, but I love him anyway. He’s dubbed “the son of Exy” because his mother, Kayleigh Day, was one of the two original creators of the sport, which kind of means Kevin’s also a big deal, since he grew up playing the sport and is the best player in the league. Also, before he joined the Foxes, he played for the most successful team in the league, The Ravens. But an accident that resulted in his dominant hand being broken lead him to lead the Ravens and join the Foxes. There’s a lot more story behind it, but that’s all I can say for now without spoiling one of the biggest secrets of the series. Regardless, all of this adds up to him taking Exy super seriously and being incredibly standoff-ish about it.

The coolest thing about this series is that the author keeps a blog and answered a lot of fan-asked questions about different characters and different scenes, so it gives even more background to the story than before. I have a bunch of them bookmarked on my computer just in case I ever want to go back and read more about certain characters. Since Kevin is my favorite, the ones that talk about him or give more backstory to him are the ones I like to read the most.

If you like made-up sports, romance, and incredibly self-destructive-but-lovable characters, the “All For The Game” series is the one for you. Sometimes it might be hard to get through, but the characters and their relationships really make it worth it in the end. 

Music Review: Remo Drive’s “Greatest Hits”

The album that I want to talk about in this post is Remo Drive’s “Greatest Hits,” which came out this year.

I only discovered this band a few months ago, but I’ve been in love with them ever since. I had the pleasure of seeing them in concert back in late November, when they came to Mr. Smalls in Pittsburgh with the band Hippo Campus.

You can read my review of all the songs on the album below.

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Book Review: Maggie Stiefvater’s “The Raven Cycle” Series

So, I’m going to preface this post by saying that I’m writing my capstone (basically my undergrad thesis) on this series, and it has a very special place in my heart. Basically, besides Harry Potter, it’s one of my favorite series of all time. There’s so much to love about it that I could honestly talk about it forever (which, technically, I kind of did. My capstone is 37 pages long and talks about the interactions between the characters based on their class and gender and how those interactions reinforce stereotypes. Yes, it’s a pretty riveting read.)

Image result for the raven cycle series

Today I’m here to talk about The Raven Cycle book series written by Maggie Stiefvater.

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