A Look Back at This Year and This Blog

Hey guys! It’s my birthday (I’m 16)!

Also, it’s the last day of the year, so I think it’s time for the obligatory Wrap Up This Year post.

I started blogging in April of 2014! I don’t think I ever expected my blog to gain so much of an audience, or to enjoy blogging this much. I stumbled upon the idea, but it is possibly the best thing I decided to do in 2014. I love the community of bloggers I’ve joined, and getting to gush about the books I read with like-minded people. I talked about my goals for this blog next year here.

I read 95 books this year! I’m halfway through two more so I might round up to 96 😉 Most of these have reviews which can be found here.

On this blog, I wrote poetry and short stories. I talked about random things and I had two rants. I’ll keep that tradition going with another rant every 50 posts. (#150 is coming up!)

Thank you for such a great year and see you in 2015!

Top Ten Goals and Resolutions for 2015 (for reading, writing, blogging, and life)

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week, they post a new Top Ten topic and other bloggers respond with their own lists. I take part in this meme when I have something to say for the topic and I have time to write up a post for the day.

Hey guys! The year is almost over! I’m going to have another post tomorrow wrapping up this year of blogging, but for today I’m going to share with you my Top Ten Goals/Resolutions for 2015–whether they be about this blog, reading, writing, or just my personal life.


1. Keep reading

So far, I’ve been able to balance high school and reading pretty well. This blog has definitely helped with that by giving me an incentive to finish books quickly. Next year will probably be more intense high school-wise, but I plan to keep reading at a steady pace.

2. Read new things

As you can tell from reading this blog, I read mostly YA. I have tried to keep what I read within that age range diverse. Next year, I’d like to read some older titles, possibly some nonfiction and classics (gasp!). Of course, the majority of what I read will be YA, because I love it.

3. Get a second draft of Devil May Care done

I’ve been plotting DMC (my current novel project) for a while now, but I need to sit down and write. Recently, I’ve gotten back into writing (yay!!) but I need to keep that going during the school year.

4. Write!

I don’t just want to focus on my novel. I’d like to keep writing poetry, which I got into this year, as well as short stories. Anything to keep me in the writing mindset and that I can share with you guys.

5. Keep blogging

I started blogging this year and I realized that I really enjoy it. I’m definitely planning to keep this blog going, and I’d like to keep up my November resolution of 3 posts a week (though that fell apart this month). I should return to some of the unique features of this blog, like Thoughts On… and the Hell and Styx stories.

6. Blog better

I want this blog to be more unique, more “me.” I’m not quite sure what this will entail, but next year should see more original content, better quality posts, and small things that make 52 Letters more special.

I love graphic design and I want to incorporate that into this blog more often. It probably won’t be anything more than cool images for my features/memes, but at least it will keep me working with my software and sharing the results with you guys.

7. Connect with my readers

Here’s a long overdue shout out to my amazing followers! Thank you for reading what I have to say and for all the likes/comments. Next year, I want my blog to be more connected to its readers. I’m going to comment more on other blogs and have some more interactive posts. And I’m thinking of getting more publicity for the blog by dabbling in social media (though there is a very large chance that that does not happen because social media is a beast I haven’t even conquered with my personal life).

8. Read books for review

So far, I’ve only reviewed books that I personally bought. I’d like to get some review copies, because it sounds fun, will make this blog a bit more “official,” and it will save me some money (books are expensive!). I have not yet decided how to get these review copies (mainly because I don’t read ebooks), and if any of you have suggestions–please help!

9. Stay positive about school

Lately, school has become something to survive, not enjoy. The stress and the workload have been keeping me from enjoying it, as well as my hobbies. When school comes back from winter break, I am going to try to stress myself out less and remember what I enjoy about the classes I’m taking and the people I’m taking them with.

10. Enjoy myself

Recently, I feel like I’ve shoved my personal life into the corner while I focus on school. This blog is one of the only things I’ve kept doing during the school year. I want to write more, and focus on my other hobbies, like drawing and graphic design. I want to spend more time with friends and family. Basically, I want to enjoy myself.

Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

This was my first time rereading Throne of Glass. I enjoyed it, but I’m hoping that the next books in the series (the ones I haven’t read) are better.

4/5 stars

Series: Throne of Glass book 1

Amazon description of Throne of Glass:

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

First off–Can we talk about the cover? The first time I read the book, I read it on my Kindle (which I never use anymore) and it had the cover that’s on the right. It doesn’t fit the book in any particular way, but I’ve come to expect ambiguous picture-of-random-girl covers from YA books. I actually kind of like the first cover. However, the new cover (the one I have in paperback) really annoys me. It completely contradicts the mood/tone of the book and makes the novel seem sci-fi instead of fantasy.

Ok–rant over. Back to the actual review. (By the way, I’m trying out a new way of reviewing. I tried it with Jackaby and liked it, so I’m going to see if it works with other books.)

Protagoninst: Celaena

I liked her. She’s strong and sassy. Her self-confidence and accompanying self-doubt felt relatable and real. I liked the way her past influenced her character (though it is clear there is a lot we still don’t know about her backstory). I felt connected her emotions (especially when she saw the king–that was so powerful). All in all, Celaena was a very successful protagonist who drew me into the story.

Love Interests and the Romance

I liked both of the love interests in this book, and the love triangle didn’t bother me (as some do). Crown Prince Dorian is flirty, a fun character to read. I actually liked his reputation as a player. It added another layer to what threatens to be a stereotypical character, and kept him from being overly likable to the reader. His serious moments worked with his character, and the depth of his feelings for Celaena came across well. He really reminded me of Prince Max from The Selection; I actually found myself confusing the two books a little (mixing up scenes I remembered from one book with the other).

I liked Chaol more. His dynamic with Celaena was complicated in a good way. Their interactions were less flirty but felt more real, and the progression of their relationship was paced well (her relationship with the Crown Prince seemed a bit all-of-the-sudden). His friendship with the Crown Prince was extremely interesting and added complexity to the love triangle. Chaol’s character also came across very real, but I hope his character gets fleshed out more in later books.

Other Characters

The king wasn’t exactly a character, but his presence dramatically influenced the book. I loved Celaena’s reaction to him; it helped show off her inner fears and strength at the same time. Dorian’s reaction to his father was less specific, and I hope it is explained more thoroughly in later books.

I liked Princess Nehemia. She added complexity to the book and drew the rebel angle into the main plot. Her friendship with Celaena was good. However, the fantasy elements surrounding Nehemia felt a little off.

Fantasy elements

The fantasy elements of this book felt a little unfinished, like the author couldn’t quite decide what she wanted to do with them. In the beginning of the book, it seemed as if the fantasy elements were going to be very slight, but by the end, they were extremely important. Not that this kind of change is always bad, but the transition felt a little unfocused. Another thing that will hopefully get clearer in the rest of the series.

Plot (the competition)

I liked the competition. It showed off Celaena’s abilities and moved other subplots along. The other competitors were rather flat characters, but Celaena’s relationship with Cain definitely affected the book in a positive way.

The writing

The writing in Throne of Glass is good. I started forgetting that it was written in third person–Celaena’s voice was so well written, it felt like first person. I liked how the story subtly shifted what perspective it was told from. Getting parts of the story told from Chaol’s and Dorian’s perspectives definitely helped the reader understand and care about their character.

Book Review: Jackaby by William Ritter

I cannot decide what I think of this book. The cover and the premise caught my attention. The writing (especially in the beginning) was bad, but the story kept me interested, and I did finish the book, even though I thought I probably wouldn’t from the first chapters.

I’m going with 2.5/5 stars, because the story was entertaining enough, even though the writing got on my nerves.

cover jackabyAmazon description:

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job,Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in a debut novel, the first in a series, brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

I seriously cannot decide what I think about this book so I’m going to break it into little pieces and talk about each individually.

Abigail (the protagonist):

I didn’t like her that much. She felt naive and young, which was fine in the beginning, but she never really grew up over the course of the book. Even at the end she was doing things that rang of childishness.

Jackaby:

I liked him–strangely. He was weird in what felt like an unoriginal way. The book is marketed as a mix between Sherlock (the new BBC version) and Doctor Who–and Jackaby felt exactly like a mix of Sherlock and the tenth Doctor (with a bit of Eleven before he went dark thrown in). He was a fun character, but like everything in the book, I was left wondering if he was actually an original character or the byproduct of binge-watching TV and then deciding to write a book.

The fantasy elements:

Again, likable but unoriginal. Everything had new names and all the creatures were “original inventions”; however, they felt like new combinations of old traits. Rearranging fantasy troops into new forms isn’t exactly the type of originality I look for in books.

The romance:

It was lame as heck. Seriously not even worthy of a curse word. The love interest, Charlie, was boring and flat. Their relationship was nothing more than a crush–and not even a crush based on cute banter or sweet moments. It was a crush between a girl who blushed around any attractive male (of which he was the only one) and a young man out-of-his-depth who liked the weird detective and his young, blushing assistant. This was endearing at first but it never progressed to anything–so I basically stopped caring.

The plot:

The plot was interesting enough. I saw the murderer coming from a mile away, but I still read it, just to see if the author was tricking me. (She wasn’t.)

The writing:

The writing was bad. It felt like a debut author who needed to just write more before getting published. The story could have been infinitely better if the author wrote it better–the ideas behind it were solid, they just required better execution.

Comments with spoilers:

I liked the banshee. I liked how Ritter didn’t try to create a creature that was-a-banshee-but-wasn’t. The banshee added a level of complexity to the story, especially when she died.

I also liked Jenny (the ghost). She was an interesting character, but I wish Ritter had done more with her. She didn’t change or affect the story much and that was a shame.

The book took forever to end. The obvious climax happened an then the book dragged on for thirty more pages. The letter attached at the end basically ruined the book for me–and any chance that I would read a sequel–for the main reason of I had stopped caring and the book was still talking.

Update–I’m Back

Hey guys! I haven’t posted in a while. I had finals week (that went really well but was super stressful) and then I spent the week between school getting out and Christmas sick (that was less great). I’m better now, and Christmas was amazing. I will have a Book Haul post coming up, but it will have to wait a week because my birthday is also coming up (Dec. 31!) and I want to put all the books together in one massive post.

Since I last posted I have only read two books: Jackaby by William Ritter and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I finished Jackaby a while ago but got writers block on the review–I really can’t decide what I thought of the book. Throne of Glass was a reread (either the first or the second, my brain is spazzing and I can’t remember). The rest of my family has read the rest of the series and they have been bugging me to catch up. I’ll start Crown of Midnight soon and review the other two books.

Big news! I actually started writing the second draft of Devil May Care (my novel). I have 4013 words so far, which isn’t amazing or anything, but it is a solid start–and I actually kind of like what I’m writing. Yay me.

I’m hoping to post a lot in the next week, but then I’ll be gone for another week. I’m going on a trip to Death Valley and won’t have internet access. Hopefully I’ll get a lot of reading done and will have lots to post about when I get back.

Hope you all had a good holiday season and got lots of new books to read and enjoy!

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


These books are in no particular order. I only posted one book per author to avoid being repetitive, so there are some books that would be on this list but aren’t.

1. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn #3)

book 3
book 3

I loved the entire Mistborn trilogy, but I have to hand it to the last book for tying everything together and finishing the series on an incredibly high note.

2. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

cover code name verity

This book redefined historical fiction for me. I literally cannot describe a moment in my life when I have gone from zero-to-sobbing to quickly as when I read this book (if you’ve read it, you know what scene I’m taking about).

3. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (Raven Cycle #3)

cover blue lily lily blue

I love the Raven Cycle so much, and this book just added to the series’ amazingness. Stiefvater’s command of character portrayal is ridiculous.

4. Unbound by Victoria Schwab (The Archived #2)

This book managed to take my least favorite plot tropes (protagonist going insane, Big Bad coming back from “dead,” and protagonist being charged w/ murder) and make them into a book I loved. Major props to Schwab.

4. Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

cover ten things we did

I always love books that renew my faith in the Chicklit genre. This book blew my (low) expectations to smithereens, delivering an emotionally-raw story of teenage mistakes.

5. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

cover the other boleyn girl

I have no idea what I was getting into when my mom suggested I read this book, but it was incredible. Mary’s story was emotionally powerful in a way I never used to think historical fiction could be. Also, now that I’m taking AP European History, I really know a specific part of Henry VIII’s life–so that’s a bonus.

6. The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich (I can’t choose a specific book)

cover one for the money

These books are addictive. I love Stephanie and her messed up life. The series is hilarious and thought-provoking in equal measures. The romance is dramatic and ever-changing without being annoying.

7. More Than This by Patrick Ness

cover more than this

Though this book is slow throughout, I could never put it down. Looking back on it, it is one of the most though-provoking and lasting books I read this year. Ness’s subtle writing created a plainspoken book that challenges some of society’s fundamental beliefs.

8. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (book 1)

book 1
book 1

I loved this entire series. It is adorable Chicklit done with incredible skill. If you need a cute romance story in your life, read these books.

9. Grave Mercy by Robin Lafevers (His Fair Assassin #1)

cover grave mercy

Romance? Check. Awesome assassin heroines? Check. Me in love? Check.

10. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

cover rebel belle

I’m a huge Rachel Hawkins fan. Everything about this book worked for me, playing off my love for slightly ridiculous plots and awkwardly cute romance.

Book (Play) Review: Macbeth by Shakespeare

This is definitely my favorite book I’ve read for school this year, and my favorite Shakespeare I’ve read (though I only have Romeo and Juliet to compare it to). I loved the psychological aspects of the play, and of course, Shakespeare’s command of the English language is breathtaking.

4.5/5 stars

*There will be spoilers in this review. I’m assuming most people have read it or at least have a familiarity with the plot. If not, go read it, and then come back 😉

cover macbeth

To be honest, most of the “classics” I read for English class leave me with a “meh” opinion of them. Macbeth, however, grabbed me from the beginning and kept me in suspense. I loved the plot, the subtle way that everything builds until Macbeth is full-out insane. Shakespeare’s message of violence-begets-violence comes across powerfully without feeling forced. The plot was focused and fast-paced, throwing the reader through countless horrors in a built up to the climax.

I’m getting better at reading Shakespearean English. I love the way Shakespeare manages to chose seemingly random words and ends up describing things perfectly. I want to be able to do that. It’s incredible and inspiring. (It’s also creeping into my own writing style; I wrote some poetry for school and my sister agreed it had an undeniably Old English feel.)

Lady Macbeth is a fascinating character, bringing up a conversation about gender roles one wouldn’t expect from a work written so long ago. The running question of what it means to be a man pushes my feminist button, but in a good way–this is a play, that if read correctly, could start an important conversation. I honestly can’t decide whether I think Lady Macbeth is flat out evil or kinda badass. She is the driving force of the book, and though it ends up ruining (and ending) her life, I appreciated the way she helped move the plot along.

The witches were highly entertaining. Their scenes were some of the most readable, and I loved the supernatural element they brought into the story. I’m a sucker for a good prophecy, and the way they played Macbeth was amazing.

What really strikes me about this book is how powerfully I felt Macbeth’s mental unraveling. Today, I feel like if this story were to be told (as a novel), it would be in first person, to highlight the insanity creeping into Macbeth’s mind. However, even with the barriers of Elizabethan English and the third person format of a play, I got caught up in Macbeth’s insanity. I actually probably enjoyed the transition from sane to crazy more than I would have if I were trapped in his mind in a first person version (unstable narrators aren’t my favorite thing to read, to be honest).