January Wrap-Up 2017

In My Life

This month was hard. It started out great, with a trip with my grandparents and spending lots of time with my friends, but then school started. This semester is going fairly well, but it is still extremely stressful and tiring, and I still have college applications looming over me, even though I’ve turned them all in.

Trump’s inauguration made everything worse. I honestly have trouble believing what our country has come to in so short a span of time. I’m angry and terrified, and honestly, feeling hopeless. The stress of school, which I’ve barely learned how to manage, is now matched with the stress of wondering what horrific thing Trump will do next. Seeing the world come together at protests is incredible, but it’s not enough to snap me out of the constant funk of despair. Additionally, the violence that we’ve seen across the world has broken my heart.

But this month was not all bad. Here are some good things:

  1. My journalism class published another issue, and it looks incredible.
  2. I made a jar in ceramics with a lid that fits.
  3. I started a (low key) bullet journal for 2017.

On This Blog

I had nine posts this month. Not as many as I’d like (I’ve already broken my three posts per week goal…wow), but more than there could have been. I’m happy with the content I put out, so that’s what really matters.

Top Ten Tuesdays

Discussion Posts

In Reading and Reviewing

I read three books this month, and started four others. I know. It’s pretty bad. I am in the middle of two books for school—Twelfth Night and Dante’s Inferno—and I am enjoying both. I started two others, The Ghost Bride (which I might DNF because I have been reading it for a month) and Slasher Girls and Monster Boys (which I will finish, but it is a short story anthology and I am taking it slow).

Here are the books I actually read:

  • Black Powder War (Temeraire #3) by Naomi Novik — 3.5/5 stars (probably won’t be reviewed)
  • My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows — 5/5 stars (review)
  • Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn — 3.5/5 stars (review)

Long story short, there will be lots of reviews to come, as soon as I finish reading the ones I am in the middle of.

In Writing

This month was AWFUL for writing. I finished my WIP right at the end of 2016, and although I have lots of research, editing, and character development work I want to do…I just didn’t do it. I didn’t even really work on scholarships (although I did submit a few applications). I have big plans for productivity in February.


How was your January? Did you read any great books? What books do you plan to read February?

2016 Blogging Wrap-Up

Hi everyone! As 2016 (finally) ends, I wanted to look back at what I accomplished as a blogger and as a writer this year. To see my favorite books of 2016, you can see my reading recap from yesterday.

2016 was both a great year for blogging and a rough one. With second semester of junior year and first semester of senior year, it was easily the busiest year of my life so far. I blogged less in 2016 than I did in 2015, but I wrote more posts that I’m proud of. I think my book reviews are getting better, and I pushed myself to write more honest, emotional discussion posts.


Resolutions

Here are the goals I made for myself for 2016, as well as if I accomplished them.

1. Post three times a week. ~ about 50% successful

2. Read 75 books. ~ Loool, no. I only read 

3. Use better graphics consistently. ~ Yep.

4. More discussion posts. ~ Yeah, actually.

5. Write reviews directly after I finish a book. ~ Yes…ish.

6. Interact more with the blogging community. ~ Sure.

7. Start doing readathons. ~ Lol, no.

8. Get back into Weekend Words. ~ Not even a little.

9. Increase the writing focus of 52 Letters. ~ Nope.

10. Have fun. ~ Always.

All in all, about 6/10 is pretty good. 


Blogging, Writing, and Life News

1. In March, I redesigned 52 Letters. I am still using that design that I created and am still 110% in love with it.

2. In April, 52 Letters turned 2!

3. In May and June, I took part in two University of Iowa International Writing Program #Flashwrite Poetry MOOCs and discovered how much I love poetry.

4. I started a bookstagram account (@52lettersinthealphabet)! (And then senior year started and it died…whoops.)

5. In June, I decided to start over with my WIP. Over summer break, that draft went from zero words to nearly 62,000 words!

6. In November, I created a review directory for 52 Letters.

7. 52 Letters reached 600 followers! Thank you all SOOOO much!

8. In December, I finished my WIP! It took me just over six months and is 99,800 words. It is the fastest I have ever finished a draft of a novel, and (I think) the best thing I’ve ever written. It still needs a lot of work, but that’s 2017’s problem.

9. Today, I turn 18 and officially become an adult! I’m half excited, half terrified. 


Blogging Favorites

Discussion Posts

The Importance of Platonic Relationships

Which Blog Posts Do I Actually Read?

What It’s Like to Read YA as a Girl Who Cries…A Lot

What Looking for Myself in Books Taught Me About the Need for Diversity

Top Ten Tuesdays

Top Ten Books I Have Enjoyed With Less Than 2000 Goodreads Ratings

Top Ten Parts of High School I Wish YA Authors Talked About More

Top Ten Characters I Would Name a Cat After

Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me in a Haunted House


How was your blogging 2016? Which posts are you most proud of? What are your plans for 2017?

October Wrap-Up 2016

In My Life

October was…interesting, I guess. It feels like it took forever to go by, but I can’t really remember what I did. Mostly, I worked on college apps and was overwhelmed by homework.

There is some good news, though! My school paper (of which I am the EIC) published its second issue, which turned out AMAZING. In ceramics, we are starting to make bowls, which is fun and difficult at the same time. And AP Art History is a ton of work but SUPER interesting. We’re on our ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome unit right now. Loving it 🙂

On This Blog

I had 12 posts this month, exactly meeting my personal goal of three posts a week. This is the first time since school started that I’ve been so consistent in blogging, so I’m pretty proud of myself. *high fives self*

Top Ten Tuesdays

Book Tags

In Reading and Reviewing

I read five books this month. Considering how much schoolwork I had (and that one of those books was 700+ pages long), I’m pretty happy with myself.

Books Read

  • Empire of Storms (TOG #5) by Sarah J. Maas — 5/5 stars (review)
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares — 4/5 stars (review)
  • The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares — 3.5/5 stars
  • Drowning is Inevitable by Shalanda Stanley — 4/5 stars (review to come)
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley — 3.5/5 stars (review)

Other Reviews

  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys — 4/5 stars (review)
  • Nevernight by Jay Kristoff — 4/5 stars (review)
  • Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle #2) by Libba Bray — 4/5 stars (review)

In Writing

October was a great month for writing! I added 7,600 words to my novel, way more than anything I had added since school started. I wrote on six different days, and some of those days were…wait for it…school nights. OH MY GOD. I hope that I can continue this momentum going into November. It will be my version of NaNoWriMo.

On another note, I got a lot of college essay writing done. I have finally finalized my Common App essay (YES!!), as well as three colleges worth of supplements.


So that’s it for October! How was your Halloween? What books did you read last month and which ones are you planning to read next?

September Wrap-Up 2016

In My Life

Ugh, this month was rough. School has started to get real, hitting me with a lot of tests and larger assignments. College app deadlines are quickly approaching, meaning that I have to spend any extra time working on essays or supplements. Not exactly my definition of fun.

On This Blog

I had nine posts this month. I would have had more, but the entire last week of September was crazy and I didn’t have time to finish up and post anything. The good news is that I am actually proud of ever post I published, especially my discussion posts.

Book Tags:

Top Ten Tuesdays:

Discussion Posts:

In Reading and Reviewing

This was an okay reading month. I have started to slip back into my school-year reading habits, finally (sort of) finding time to read during the school week.

I read 5 books this month and published two book reviews this month. I am currently reading Empire of Storms (NO SPOILERS) and it is killing me.

  • A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle #1) by Libba Bray — 4/5 stars (caught up on this review)
  • Medea by Sophocles — 4/5 stars (review)
  • The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle #3) by Libba Bray — 5/5 stars (review to come)
  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys — 4/5 stars (review to come)
  • Nevernight by Jay Kristoff — 4/5 stars (review to come)
  • Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas  — 5/5 stars (review to come)

In Writing

Fiction writing did not happen in September. I barely wrote 2,000 words in the entire month! (*covers face in shame*) My goal for October is to figure out a way to work writing into my weekly homework schedule. I cannot stand letting my WIP sit untouched for so long.

That’s not to say that I didn’t write anything in September. I wrote SO MANY drafts of college essays. I am finally getting to a place where I don’t hate everything that I write about myself (yay for small victories) but I still have a long road paved with supplemental essays ahead of me.

Part of me is glad that the writing skills and habits that I developed this summer transferred over to college essay writing. And part of me is really pissed that essay writing has replaced fiction writing in my life.


How was your September? Did you read any good books? What are you planning to read next month?

August Wrap-Up 2016

In My Life

My senior year of high school started this month. It is going well, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t wish it was still summer. So far, I am enjoying all of my classes, especially AP Art History and ceramics.

On This Blog

I had eleven posts this month. I wish that I had more—honestly I had other post ideas, I just didn’t write them—but adjusting to school took most of my time.

Book Tags:

Top Ten Tuesdays:

In Reading and Reviewing

I have no time to read in class anymore! Last year, a lot of my classes focused on classwork, so I would finish early and have time to read, but that is not the case this year. While I am happy to have less boring classwork, this means that I only read three books this month.

I DNF-ed The Demon King halfway through because I just did not care about the story. Then I read Symptoms of Being Human and started rereading the Gemma Doyle trilogy. I also caught up on some book reviews this month.

  • Ruin and Rising (Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo — 4/5 stars (review)
  • The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson — 5/5 stars (review)
  • Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin — 3/5 stars (review)
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle #1) by Libba Bray — 4/5 stars (review to come)
  • Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle #2) by Libba Bray — 4/5 stars (review to come)

In Writing

This was a conflicted month for writing. In the week I had before school started, I wrote 10,000 words, bringing my total for my current draft (and my total for how many words I wrote this summer) to 62,000 words. Unfortunately, school started and I literally have not touched my WIP since them. I did publish a poem—Page One—at least.

Right now, all of my writing energy is going toward trying to get my Common Application essay done for college apps. I have written a ton of drafts, none that I like very much, but hopefully everything will come together in September. (And then I get to work on supplemental essays…yay.)


How was your August? If you’re a student, have you gone back to school yet? What are you planning on reading in September?

June Wrap-Up 2016

In My Life

June 1st was my last day of school! YAYAYAYAY!! Being on summer break has been amazingly relaxing, though I can’t believe a month of it is gone already! I haven’t really been productive yet. Whoops…

I took another online poetry workshop with the University of Iowa (more on that later) and I started a photography class. I’ve been hanging out with friends and generally relaxing, reveling in the glory of not having any responsibilities

The one sad part is that my sister left for a five week summer program at the Savannah College of Art and Design. FIVE WEEKS! We’re twins, and we’ve never been apart for more than a night, so being twin-less for over a month is very weird, but we’re surviving. She’s doing amazing stuff and we’re actually managing to keep in touch, despite being on other sides of the country (oh, the wonder of technology).

On This Blog

I had 14 posts this month! After two months of barely posting anything, I think I’m finally getting back into the habit of blogging.

I took part in three Top Ten Tuesdays:

I also did the 3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge (day 1, day 2, and day 3) and joined the Make Me Read It Readathon, which will happen in July. You can still vote for which books I should read!

If you guys don’t know, I started a bookstagram account (@52lettersinthealphabet) last month. This month I took part in my first bookstagram challenge and it was really fun! I’m really glad that I expanded this blog into that social media space and that I’ve gotten to connect with so many amazing bookstagramers and bloggers!

In Reading and Reviewing

I set myself the goal of reading 20 books this summer and I’m doing pretty well. I read 8 books this month and they were all amazing. If I reviewed them, they will have a rating and you can follow the link to my review.

  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater — 5/5 stars
  • The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater — 5/5 stars
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  • Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson — 3.5/5 stars
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACO #1) by Sarah J. Maas
  • A Court of Mist and Fury (ACO #2) by Sarah J. Maas
  • The King of Attolia (Queen’s Thief #3) by Megan Whalen Turner
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

ACOMAF was definitely my favorite book of the month (of 2016 really)! I will have a very fangirlly review coming soon, once I can get my emotions in order.

The only books that I read for the first time this month were TRK, SCS, and ACOMAF. The rest I reread either to continue series or because I needed to heal emotionally after a heart-wrenching book. Not all of the rereads will get formal reviews, but I have some discussion posts planned that tie into them.

I also caught up on some reviews for books that I read in May…and then fell behind again (as you can see).

  • The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater — 5/5 stars
  • The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater — 5/5 stars
  • Their Fractured Light (Starbound #3) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner — 5/5 stars

In Writing

Though I didn’t post any poetry on this blog, I was actually working on it. I took another Flashwrite poetry workshop from the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program and loved it again. This one was more focused on peer workshops and it was really helpful.

I started a third draft of my WIP! I had an idea that fixed a lot of plot problems and made the story more exciting, but that forced me to rewrite most of what I’d already written. Luckily, I’ve actually gotten into a habit of writing (nearly) daily, and I’ve already written 18,000 words!


How was your June? Did you read any great books?

May Wrap-Up 2016

In My Life

May is over—and with it, the school year! Today is my last day of school and I am soooo excited for summer. I’ve survived junior year and that is giving me so much joy right now.

Honestly, not much happened this month. I took my AP exams, which went pretty well, and then school calmed down to the point where it feels like summer has kind of already started.

On This Blog

I had eight blog posts this month, which kind of sucks. I was finally starting to get back into the rhythm of blogging near the end of the month, but the beginning of this month was rough. I can’t tell you how glad I am that AP exams are over and that my life can go back to normal.

I only had one Top Ten Tuesday this month: Top Ten Books I Feel Differently About Now That Time Has Passed. One more thing I’m trying to get back into the habit of doing.

In Reading and Reviewing

I read seven (ish) books this month (ish because I started the month by finishing one and ended it by almost finishing another), and reviewed four of them. After AP exams ended, my classes calmed down a ton and I was able to read a lot. YAY!

Reviews are linked to in book titles (if they exist)

  • Out of Darkness by Ashely Hope Perez — 4.5/5 stars
  • These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner  — 4/5 stars
  • This Shattered World (Starbound #2) Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner — 4/5 stars
  • Their Fractured Light (Starbound #3) Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik  — 5/5 stars
  • The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

In Writing

Yeah…you know what didn’t happen this month? Yep, you guessed it—writing. I published one poem (You Came Back) and did no other writing. I’m hoping that summer will be better for this.


How was you May? For people who took AP exams, how did they go? What are your summer plans?