6 Goals I Have for 2019

Happy New Year!

Au revoir 2018 et Bienvenue 2019!

I’ve decided I don’t believe in New Years’ resolutions. They waste my time more than anything and are often forgotten completely. Instead, I’m setting myself goals in 2019 – how is that different from setting resolutions?

A resolution is decision to do, or not to do, something whereas a goal is an aim based on a person’s own effort.

To me, I’ve found resolutions often revolve around someone changing something about their appearance in a way that can seem unachievable. Which is understandable – who doesn’t want to go into the year with the idea that they’re going to come out of it better-looking based on society’s superficial standards? And of course, it’s not always exactly like that, but if you listen to the vagueness of a resolution, there is no structure or real drive and motivation behind it. (Hate to break it to you but once it hits 12:01am on January 1, you don’t get magically hit in the face by the Motivation Fairy.)

So, without further ado, here are my 5 goals for 2019 – things I wish to achieve, will actively plan to achieve but won’t stress myself out over if it doesn’t happen straight away for one reason or another.

1. Reading Goal

First and foremost, my reading goal for 2019 is starting at 100 books! I say starting because this year that’s where it started and I reached 231 books yesterday. The reason I’ve decided to keep my reading goal lower again for 2019 is mostly that I will be travelling a lot next year and I’m not sure if I will have as much time to read as I did this year. This travel also means that I want to read books from foreign authors and in other languages!

By the end of 2019, I want to have read 100 books with a few of them being in a different language – most likely in French!

What’s your reading goal for 2019?

2. Writing Goal

I’ve been writing on and off for the last two years – this one huge project which I am always super excited to keep building on but then never have the time to act on my motivation to write. At the moment, I stand at about 50,000 words over five drafted books and outlines – I told you, it’s a really big project – so my goal is to focus on one of the books from this series and write everything. As much as possible, without a thought about good grammar or plot holes, I just want to write and get this story out there.

The origin of this project began with its prequels – origin stories about a war which laid waste to a fantasy world where gods ruled from gilded thrones and monsters dwelled in the shadows. These books set the foundation for the main series, which is what I’m focusing on! Book one is called Blood of Sin (thought it’s a working title right now!) and it follows the grandchildren of the god, Hades, and their search for each other and the truth about their family. There’s epic love stories and dysfunctional relationships and I keep building the story plot so much that I’m sure there are more plotholes than plot points (my timeline is always all over the place!)

By the end of 2019, I want Blood of Sin to be done and ready for editing!

Do you have a creative hobby like writing or craft?

3. Language Goal

As I mentioned, I’ll be travelling quite a bit in 2019 (I’ll post a lot of travel photos on my personal Instagram if you’d like to keep up with that!) In February, I’m travelling to New Zealand for 2 and a half weeks with my brother and in June, I’ll be going to France for a month and a half for personal travel and a study tour. My aim is to get my French language skills back from high school – it’s been a few years and my skills have definitely regressed quite a bit, especially in the aural department. (Writing and reading is not as bad, I’ve retained a little bit – I think)

By the end of 2019, I want to be able to hold a conversation with my French sister* without returning to English!

Have you ever wanted to learn a language?

4. Health Goal

Sometime during this year, I told myself I would start eating healthy. I would eat larger lunches of healthier foods and cut out most sugars. I would try to meal plan so that I could offset my intake of carbs and healthy fats. I would confuse my metabolism into working for me.

Upon moving house and the holiday season, that kind of went out the window though so I really would like to get back into it. And I know this sounds like one of those superficial kinds of goals, but this is less about looking good and more about my health.

By the end of 2019, I want to be actively eating healthier and physically active. (The gym is not in my foreseeable future, but I’m thinking 30-day challenges which I can do in the comfort of my own home will be easier to handle.)

Do you have a health goal for next year?

5. Driving goal

I’m not the only one in this boat. I’m almost 21 years old and I’m still on my learner’s permit for driving – it’s kind of sad, but I live in a metro city where public transport is abundant, albeit a bit cumbersome sometimes. I’m used to getting everywhere early in case a train is cancelled or a bus delayed – I know I need to walk everywhere.

The laws here state that a learner driver must accumulate at least 120 hours of driving in different road conditions, with 20 of those hours being night driving. Once I reach 21 though, I am able to do the driver’s test for my probationary permit without having done all the required hours – we’ll see how it goes though.

By the end of 2019, I want to be on my probationary permit!

Do you prefer driving or public transport?

6. Blog goal

It’s not a secret. I haven’t been very active on my blog since starting it up last year but I really do want to build myself up on this platform. I want to write better reviews and share more content that’s related to the bookish community. I want to branch out into topics about travel and photography, and my creative journey. (Like, did you know I started up a RedBubble store?)

Leave a comment with your bookish blogs so I can follow you!

And that’s it, the list. My six goals for 2019 which I hope to achieve in some way or another. I won’t be disappointed in myself if I don’t achieve them all, I won’t agonise over every little detail. What are your goals for the New Year?

~

*I say sister, because that’s what my French exchange and I have called each other since 2015!

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The 6 reactions when you tell someone you love books

Hello and welcome to Running Rant Monday’s, a collection of rants I post on Monday about things that truly annoy me. If I have one thing to complain about every week, it’ll be a miracle so let’s start out small with a rant a month!

(Edit: okay it’s not always going to be on a Monday. Next Monday is New Years Eve anyway!)

Today’s topic: reactions to telling people that you are a lover of books.

So I don’t know about you, but as a self-proclaimed lover of books, any and every time I mention that to someone they’ll either blurt out something stupid, try to make conversation about their own favourite authors or try to show off that they know/enjoy books more than you.

And so here are my top 6 favourite responses to “I really enjoy reading books.”

1. They give you this look like “sure you are, sugar plum”

Then they’ll go on about the fact that not enough people read nowadays. But they themselves haven’t read a book in however long, yet they sit and judge you for your love of books.

Look, mate, I didn’t come here to be judged. We were having a nice conversation but now you’ve made me a lot more self-conscious than I already am and I would like to leave.

2. They smile and go, “Oh so you must love writing”

Okay, so I do love writing. I write when I have time and inspiration. It’s something I will continue to do. I apparently fall into that little cliche pocket because being a reader means that you must be reading to be a writer, according to a plethora of people.

I get annoyed regardless. Mostly because I know a lot of readers who don’t like writing at all. Not even emails! Which is perfectly fine, if not for these people who assume we can all pull a 100K word novel out of thin air because we read.

And no, just because I told you I actually do write doesn’t mean you can be one of the first to read my works. (Unless I’m close with you, but if I’m close with you, you would never have done anything on this list anyway!)

As you can see, I have thought a lot about this.

3. They smirk and go, “What, you read, like, Harry Potter?”

“What, you read, like, nothing?”

No, I’d never say that to someone’s face (oh god, I’d be mortified if I did) but honestly, just because bookworms often start reading young does not mean that Harry Potter was what started that craze. I know bookworms who have never ever read a Harry Potter book their entire life, or have only read it once! (I am one of the latter)

I am also one of the ones who took years to read that particular series. I tried reading the first book over four times before I could push myself through it and move to the next one, which wasn’t much better. I only started liking it when I hit the fourth book.

“Oh but you must have only started because of it.”

No, actually, my obsession with reading stemmed from the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer and the Tomorrow series by John Marsden. It flowed from my amazing grade five teacher (shout out to Ms Dandie for reading to us in class all the time!) and from my book-loving mother. But no one wants to hear a life story when you bring up books. More often than not, I find that the conversation shifts. Sometimes nicely, sometimes not so much.

4. They find a way to change the subject.

I like to think of a passion for reading as a net, always connected.

So having a passion for something then leads to having passion for another and so on. It could be through any form of association but it’s there.

(My love for the Netflix Original, Voltron, has stemmed from my love of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books simply because I found artists who loved to draw crossover AUs of the characters.)

5. “You must be an introvert”

This might be true for some bookworms – I know it is semi-true for me. But assumptions lead to everyone thinking that introverts are basically recluses who sit in a home library and don’t communicate with anyone. Which is funny to me, because we have a whole community online dedicated to communicating all the time.

6. “Oh, really? Me too!”

Ah, sweet relief. The words we all wish everyone would say, if not for them not assuming you’re anything mentioned above, but at least now you have someone you know what to talk about with. (Not that you couldn’t find something else to talk about, but now it’s comfortable.)

Really, it’s funny to me when people react to how much I read. I’ve had laughter, doubt, teasing, the works. It’s made me uncomfortable, but also really happy.

Have you had anyone react like I’ve described above, or maybe in a different way entirely? Tell me in the comments!

The Art of Belated Gift Giving

Merry Christmas (kinda…I’m a bit late!) What did you get for Christmas this year? Are you still waiting on some presents?

I don’t know about you, but I have become known for giving gifts which are belated. Be it birthdays or Christmas, if we’re friends who live in the same city or even in different countries, you’re likely to get your present well after the celebration has passed. Some of you reading this may know exactly what I mean – some of you may even be recipients of the belated gifts I send.

I’ll also be the first to admit that in my belated gift giving adventures, more often than not, I’ll just bypass sending them until the next celebration simply to save on shipping. It’s why both birthday and Christmas presents come bundled together, and often never anywhere near either celebration. But I always try to get them out in time, I really do – not that that always works, but when you’re sending Christmas presents for a family of four and an extra birthday present to France, the cost can skyrocket and as a student, budgets are everything.

If you want a tip on how to become a great belated gift giver, it’s pretty simple; just make sure you don’t completely forget! Nothing worse than realising you forgot to get one of your best friends their 18th birthday present (true story!)

The second tip; don’t do it on purpose. Only give late gifts if they are well and truly late, because you couldn’t get to the post office or neither of your schedules met up for a month. Go into the holiday season already planning what you’re getting everyone and even if they don’t get their present straight away, or in time, at least you don’t have to worry about it! Also, doing it on purpose just makes you lazy.

So my little Christmas rant is over – mostly because I am procrastinating going to the post office as I type this…sorry, but it seems all your presents won’t be getting to you till the New Year!

Speak soon!

(Flash post – a post which is short, sweet and very very random.)

Red Rising: a bloodyd*mn masterpiece [Spoiler-free]

Title

Red Rising

Author

Pierce Brown

Genre

Science-fiction

Synopsis

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilisation against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so. 

(All synopsises and blurbs are retrieved from Goodreads unless otherwise specified)

Ink Stains

LOIAWRATINGFIVE

(Ink Stains are an equivalent to stars in any other form of rating, ranging from the standard 1 to 5)

Review

Bloodydamn, how have I never picked up this book before? I’ve seen it on shelves, in bookstores, on other amazing Bookstagram accounts, and finally picked it up for Antisocial Book Club on Goodreads. Pierce Brown brings a dystopian science-fiction world to life that I never thought would be possible, with character arcs that I absolutely adored and plot twists I did not see coming.

I must admit, the first few chapters were a little bit difficult for me to grasp – I wasn’t used to the writing, the world or the way things worked, so anything that was apparently different to what I was used to was hard to swallow. Namely, I just couldn’t understand Darrow and his thought process at the beginning and I asked myself why he wasn’t as determined to do things like the underdog hero of all other dystopian novels. But that’s exactly why I loved it so much, Brown writes the unexpected and it just works so well.

Eo’s character was actually one of the ones that resonated with me throughout the entire book, which I was pleasantly surprised about even though she was only briefly mentioned later on.

I also fell in love with Sevro as soon as he appeared, and I couldn’t wait to see what happened with his character arc. I found his dynamic with his peers to be something of an art form – and the bond he creates with Darrow is a bromance I can get behind.

Another thing that Brown does superbly is no information dumping. Of course, in a new world, there needs to be some explanation to what everything is and why it is there but Brown doesn’t linger long on the details that are unnecessary. And also doesn’t linger on introductions for characters either – I loved that not all the characters were immediately introduced all at once, but rather gradually throughout the peaks of the stories.

I also enjoyed that a lot of things that usually would’ve been skirted over in other stories, like where you’d picture having a montage of growth from what the character was to what the character would become, well all those things were there. It wasn’t overwhelming in detail, and didn’t take up the amount of time that it could have within the story itself, but just enough time so that you knew what was going on – Brown has a great knack for not giving us too much, but also giving us everything and I loved that so much.

I loved this book so much, loved the series even more and cannot wait for Iron Gold to come out and for a chance to grab a copy of the prequel comics, Sons of Ares, and if you doubt my obsession, please take a gander at my Linktree and scroll till you find my Spotify playlist!

highly recommended this book and series.

Please see below to find the next books in this series below!

Helpful Information

Book 2 of this series is Golden Son (if you’re like me and love the hardback editions of books, you can find Golden Son in hardback too!)

Book 3 of this series is Morning Star (if you’re like me and love the hardback editions of books, you can find Morning Star in hardback too!)

Brown’s fourth instalment of the Red Rising saga continues January 2018 with Iron Gold, available now in hardback and paperback!

The fifth instalment of the Red Rising saga, Dark Age, is set for publication in July 2019 and can be pre-ordered in paperback and hardback now!

Buy Red Rising

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

[Booktopia has AfterPay available]

Commander in Briefs

Title

Commander in Briefs

Author

Kristy Marie

Genre

Romance

Synopsis

Fifteen years ago, I saw him.
Seven years ago, I begged him.
Locked in a twisted game of friends, I gave Theo Von Bremen everything.
We were reckless.
We were dangerous.
We were crazy in love.
Until he came along.
Cade breathed fire into my soul, forever changing my direction.
He was my salvation.
I was his redemption.
He became my mission.
I became his Commander.
But where does that leave Theo?
Exactly where I want him.
On his knees.

(All synopsises and blurbs are retrieved from Goodreads unless otherwise specified)

Ink Stains

 

LOIAWRATINGFIVE

(Ink Stains are an equivalent to stars in any other form of rating, ranging from the standard 1 to 5)

Review

How do I even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this book?

I picked it up without really knowing what to expect from it, at all, and it was one of the greatest adventures of the year. I did not want to put it down, and I didn’t. I devoured this book like it was about to run away from me, and I absolutely adored it!

I fell in love with Anniston pretty quick – she’s fierce, has a heart of gold and a confidence that is incredible, what’s not to love about a girl really?
Theo, I loved. Who couldn’t? An asshole hero, uh yes. I did think he was an idiot in the beginning (I repeat, what’s not to love about a girl, REALLY?) but I came to adore him so much later on, particularly around Cade. Holy shit the testosterone battles – wow *fans self* – and the banter.

I loved all the relationships in this books so much, so so much. Theo and Cade, I have no words to describe the cute feeling I felt every time they went at it and then got along. Theo and any of the boys really, not that they were as passive-aggressively marking their territory like Theo and Cade were, but I loved that Theo ended up helping Anniston (and Cade) with their veteran endeavours.

I found the writing to be some of the best I’ve read for adult fiction – and I admire any author who can so smoothly jump through different character points of views in first person without making them sound all like the same person. Marie’s talent for character development meant that I always felt that characters held their own ideals in the forefront of their minds and didn’t veer from them. It made them stronger and more realistic for me, which connected me with the characters a lot more too.

And the balance between the storyline and the sex was a lot more even than what I’ve read before – none of it was unnecessary, well, not to me (how could it be unnecessary? It’s with Theo!) But it was interesting to see, in comparison to some of the adult fiction I’ve read, how maturely the scenarios in this book were undertaken – it was adventurous and it was dignified.

Now, where’s Cade’s book? Not here yet? Wow, guess I’m gonna have to reread Commander in Briefs until we get it.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a fast-paced adult romance with a dash of drama and a whole lot of golden souls.

Helpful Information

This is Book 1 of the Commander in Briefs series.

Book 2 follows Cade and Breck’s story in Gorgeous.

Book 3, to be released in January 2019, follows Hayes and Bianca’s story, in Drifter.

Buy it

The Book Depository

I have included an online store which offers FREE worldwide shipping.

My First Book Box EVER

About two months ago, I was lucky enough to be a winner for a PageHabit giveaway and receive their monthly boxes! I’ve never been able to grab a book box from them, or other companies, before now so this is the highly anticipated review of the first box I ever received from them—this is for the Young Adult genre box, for the month of October!

A little bit about PageHabit:

PageHabit is a book subscription box that gives back to the literary community. Each box, themed around a specific genre, includes a new release novel (annotated by the author one post-it notes!), a letter from the author, two-three bookish goodies and a donation to support children’s literacy.

What’s even better about it is that you can get $10 off your first book box here!

October Young Adult Box

Book

Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster (published by Simon Pulse)

Short Story || a short story commissioned every month

Help Me Follow My Sister into the Land of the Dead by Carmen Maria Machado (published by Great Jones Press)

Bookmark

Albert Einstein quote

Literacy Foundation

Donations in October were made to supporting literacy in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Goodies

Jack-O-Lantern light-up keychain

Library Card pillowcase

Dinosaur tea infuser

Quill ballpoint pen

Extras || as part of the giveaway, these extra were included in my box!

The Last Mrs Parrish by Liv Constantine (published by 1817 Harper) || this book was the featured book for the Mystery PageHabit book box for October.

Price || AUD (excl. shipping)

$29.99

Price || AUD (incl. shippng)

$49.98

Review

Highlight

The main highlight for a PageHabit box, personally, is that with every box a donation is made to a literacy foundation on your behalf. I love the idea of sharing a love of reading with those who do not have the access to such resources.

With every box, a donation is made to a literacy foundation on your behalf.

Another highlight for me is that fact that I got to join the PageHabit community of 21,000+ bookworms and share our love of books from all over the world!

Quality || 8/10

The quality of the items included in this box was high – it was packaged well and there was no damage to any items. Bookish goodies were packaged separately and then put into the box itself and no item damaged another in transit.

Of course, it was not perfect, as I’m not sure I own loose leaf teas that won’t get through the tea strainer (I found the strainer part had quite large holes, but understand that the design had to be so due to the material of the strainer itself.)

Worth || 9/10

If I think about everything included in this box (excluding the bonus book, as that is not a usual addition to the box), I can do the quick maths in my head that the book included, plus the cost of the items put together well-exceed the total cost of the box (with and without the shipping).

Total cost of items well-exceed the total cost of the box.

As this was considered a bonus box, and I received a second book, the worth of the box increased – particularly as the second book was also a hardback novel.

Overall || 9/10

Though transit time is said to be up to 3 weeks to get to Australia, this box arrived in 2 weeks and I was very pleased by the efficiency of the couriers that PageHabit used for the delivery of this box. The tracking number provided also aided in me knowing exactly where my box was at what time – it was a small peace of mind that I very much appreciated.

This book box is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED based on it’s worth of products and the price you pay. Remember you can get $10 off your first box at PageHabit!

You can view a full unboxing on my Bookstgram here!

Your NaNoWriMo; how do you do you?

It’s Day 5 of National Novel Writing Month and it’s been an incredible week so far – mostly.

Before I start, here’s a little bit about NaNoWriMo if you don’t know about it.

What is it?

A delegate month where writers of all ages, backgrounds and influence spend their time aiming to write a total of 50,000 words!

What do you get out of it?

You get most of a novel out of it; 50,000 words worth of a novel, in fact. It may be a completed novel, or the first half of one.

You make new friends, create yourself a support system of give-and-take and it’s quite a spectacular event. In your own community region, you may even attend in-person write-ins or social drinks.

Do you have to do all that?

Not at all! You may not be able to make it to any of the in-person events of your region (or just don’t want to), you may just use NaNo to update your word count and nothing else. That’s the beauty about NaNo, you can do as much or as little as you want. At least, that is how I see it and I’ll explain why in a second.

What happens if you don’t make the goal?

No worries, you probably got quite a lot more writing done than you would have in the end so any end number is an amazing number of words for a novel! If it’s any indication for you, I have only ever “won” NaNo once in my life.

If your still a bit hesitant about it and 50K words seems a bit much, you can always participate in Camp NaNoWriMo in either April or June and you can choose your own goal for that month instead. (Note: this is a virtual camp, meaning you log into an account and are placed within a group forum with a few other accounts and you support each other for the month! There is no entry fee and it’s great fun!)

NaNoWriMo 2017

This year is the first year in a while that I have actually sat down for NaNoWriMo and I can’t wait to see where it gets me. I did Camp NaNoWriMo earlier this year and completed 30K words for a series – I have a bad habit of writing key scenes that are in the future of the books I’m writing, so the first book actually only had about 10-12K words but I was writing scenes in advance for sequels that I counted towards my goal.

That was fun, albeit not completely correct. But that’s the beauty of NaNo, you don’t have to adhere to strict rules and it is wonderful. Unfortunately, not everyone understands that concept (and here is where I explain why I see NaNo as something you can do as much or as little as you want.) My project for Camp NaNo wasn’t intended to be my actual NaNo project whatsoever but I’m indecisive and had a lot more motivation to write it than I did the original project I’d intended for this month.

However, I didn’t do a word count of the words I’d written in the time between the end of Camp and the start of November so whoops, I ended up starting with 21K words! Again, it wasn’t on purpose that by the end of the first day I’d written another 2000 words but that’s okay because I’d already decided to personally increase the total goal from 50K to 60-70K (I think I’d work better with a range anyway) and all was well.

Apparently not, according to the municipal liaison, who later messaged me on my NaNo account because he thought it was a typo on my end. I explained that, no, it wasn’t a typo and that I just did more prep than I originally thought I had but I wasn’t fussed about it because I was going to aim for about 50K words above my starting word count instead.

And the response was essentially saying that that’s not how NaNoWriMo works and you should only include the words written in November, nothing (not even plans) from beforehand.

Okay, first off, you need to understand that I know people who do no preparation for NaNo beforehand (affectionately known as a Pantser) and I know people who do as much preparation as possible (affectionately known as a Plotter) and both are incredible to have around. I know Plotters who write almost 10K words before November, and I know Plotters who write only 1K. I know that some put those prep words into their NaNo word count because those words are part of their story, I know some who may only put half (before only half is actually story, the rest are lists and plans) and I know some who just start with 0 and build from there.

Secondly, I’m quite content using my own personal goals to get my writing to where I want it to be. I’m somewhere between a Plotter and a Pantser, where I plan scenes in my head and basic character descriptions/inspiration but most of the time, I just let my writing take me where it may.

It’s the beauty of NaNo, I think, the flexibility to achieve that goal however you please, as long as you write.

How do you do NaNoWriMo? Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?

Add me as a writing buddy on NaNoWriMo! You can also read about this years project here!