June Wrap-up!

I wrote actual blog posts this month! And quite a few of them! Yay! Finishing up school definitely increased the amount of time I have to read and blog, and I’m happy that I’m able to do more here now because I love posting reviews and things and I missed doing this as much as I’d like.

Reads for June

Here’s all I read in June:

American Panda by Gloria Chao — 5 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig — 3 of 5 stars — review here!

Running With Lions by Julian Winters — 5 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

Final Draft by Riley Redgate (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars — review here!

A Quick & Easy Guide To They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson (ARC) — 5 of 5 stars — review here!

Clowders by Vanessa Morgan (ARC) — 2.5 of 5 stars — review here!

When the Beat Drops by Anna Hecker (ARC) — 5 of 5 stars — review here!

Manga Classics: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, et. al  (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars — review here!

Probable Claws (Mrs. Murphy #27) by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown (ARC) — 3 of 5 stars — review here!

The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) are Creating a Gender Revolution by Ann Travers (ARC) — 4.5 of 5 stars — review here!

Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

 

 

Reading stats:

  • Number of books read: 11
  • Number of nonfiction books: 2
  • Number of ARCs: 8
  • Number of books by marginalized authors: ~6
  • Number of library books: 0

Look at all of those links to reviews that I actually wrote this month instead of just slapping a “forthcoming” label on! And guess what? One of those three other “forthcoming” reviews is ALREADY WRITTEN! I’m getting so good at this! (Even though I still have a HELL of a backlog of reviews I still need to write sitting in my post drafts…)

I spent most of my reading time this month concentrating on my ARCs from NetGalley — I’d gotten quite a few of them that I hadn’t been able to give my full attention to because of school and they’d been published before I had a chance to read and review them, so I made an effort to read them and review them and get back to where the ARCs I have are for forthcoming releases rather than books that have already been published. I got to a good place, got my ratio back above 80% and only two books that have been published already sitting in my queue… And then I went on a requesting spree and got approved for 11 more books because I don’t ever learn and still underestimate how many publishers are willing to approve me to read their books. So I’ve got plenty of stuff to read now! It’s a good thing I have more time to read and stuff now, as I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do a better job of keeping up with reviewing ARCs before they release now.

On The Personal Side…

The biggest news of June — I have a Master of Library and Information Science degree now! What’s kind of funny is that the date my MLIS was awarded, according to my transcript, is six years to the day from the date I graduated from high school. It feels weird being done in more ways than one — it’s weird saying I have a master’s degree, sure, but it’s also weird that this break from school isn’t a short one and I DON’T have to just start classes again in a few weeks. I have been in some sort of school continuously for 20 academic years and I’m used to having to go back to class after a certain amount of break, but I’m no longer enrolled anywhere and don’t have to do that now… I don’t really understand this concept of NOT having to spend my non-work hours doing school-related things. I have free time, and I don’t comprehend it.

The second biggest news of June — I’m getting a car next week! I’m getting a really good deal from a family friend on a 2015 Hyundai Elantra that I just love, and I’m really excited about it even though I still don’t have my license. I may still be a gay who can’t drive, but at least now I’m a gay who can’t drive BUT WITH A CAR.

In terms of July projects, Camp NaNoWriMo is going to be here in 45 minutes for me and I’m really excited because that “free time” stuff means I can actually write this month! I can’t wait. I’ll be running sprints for a few shifts a week from the @NaNoWordSprints Twitter account along with some of my fellow MLs, so come write with us! Additionally, one of my fellow MLs, BookTuber Silly Little Ravenclaw, and I are doing a Pretty Little Liars readalong (#SummerOfPLL) and you should join us! My blog post about the readalong has some fancy calendars that I put together while using Canva for the first time, and it’ll be lots of fun!

What are you looking forward to in July?

ARC Review: Final Draft by Riley Redgate

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Title: Final Draft

Author: Riley Redgate

Category: YA Contemporary (LGBTQIAP+)

Publisher/Date: Amulet Books/12 June 2018

Edition: eARC

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35960813-final-draft

Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Final-Draft-Riley-Redgate-ebook/dp/B078W61YYV/

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/final-draft-riley-redgate/1126960304?ean=9781419728723

The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he’s suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.
 
At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval. Soon Laila is pushing herself far from her comfort zone, discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This book has content warnings for car accidents (off-page), hospitals, and death (off-page).

This book was really really good, but definitely not one of my favorites. I’m struggling to pinpoint what exactly it is that I didn’t like, though — I think it might have mostly been the writing not clicking for me, especially in relation to Laila’s interactions with her teachers. Something about those interactions felt off to me, and the pacing of the book felt incredibly slow through the middle of the book. Tighter writing would have made this a better read for me, overall.

I loved the characters themselves — Laila is a fat, bi-racial (Ecuadorian), pansexual teen with mental illnesses, and she was such a joy to spend time with. She is a writer and a nerd, and seeing her geek out over her favorite shows and books with her friends was so much fun. Her relationships with her friends were complicated; they loved each other, but they struggled to get everyone to get along all at the same time.

Laila’s frustration with the writing and editing process after getting a new teacher really hit me. Writing is something that can be incredibly enjoyable, but certain parts of the process can really suck the fun out of it even though it can make the writing itself a lot stronger. Watching her try to figure out where that line is for her felt very true to me; finding that line is not easy, and it can potentially ruin writing for some people. I also loved seeing how this affected not just herself but also her relationships with those around her.

Though this isn’t one of my favorite reads from this year, it had a great story with really solid characters. If you’re looking for stories about teenage nerds and writers, this is a good choice for you.

Final rating: 4 of 5 stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn’t Get To (and totallyyyy plan to get to in 2018!!)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is books I meant to read in 2017… and didn’t. This happened A LOT to me before my reading slump, but it’s also happening pretty frequently to me now because I’m just finding so many books that I want to read, and my piles are stacking up. Here are ten books I meant to read in 2017 and will hopefully read in 2018!

10.) I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Image of book cover from Goodreads

I borrowed this ebook from my library and have around 24 hours left to finish it or so! By the time you read this, I should have read it. Hopefully.

[Note from Future Benni: This review is already up! After I finished writing this post, I looked at my loans and realized that this book was actually due back in *3* hours and so it got moved to my Emergency TBR. Whoops.]

9.) This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Image of book cover from Goodreads

Ebook bought at the beginning of the year. You’re going to sense a theme here — I buy ebooks or borrow ebooks, and I forget about them. This is largely why I prefer hard copy over ebooks. I don’t mind reading ebooks, but if the book isn’t in sight then I’ll often forget about it!

8.) The Girl With The Red Balloon by Katherine Locke

Image of book cover from Goodreads

Another ebook purchase offense. I haven’t had this book for quite as long, so I don’t have to feel as guilty about it. Even if I should still feel guilty.

7.) Warcross by Marie Lu

Image of book cover from Goodreads

I got a post-publication ARC of this book from attending LibraryCon Live!, and because it’s already out into the world I’ve been focusing more energy on the ARCs I have that have yet to be published. Bad excuse.

6.) When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

wdmr

I waited for months on the waiting list to check out the ebook from my library, but I eventually bought a hardcover while they were pretty cheap on Amazon. I feel like I’ve been pushing this one off longer than I actually have in reality, but still. Guilt.

5.) On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

Image of book cover from Goodreads

Another beginning of the year ebook purchase! I have plans to read this book for a module of my YA resources class this term, so I will DEFINITELY be getting to this one this year.

4.) Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

Image of book cover from Goodreads

Another library ebook that I need to read! If you look at my OverDrive account right now, you’d think that I should feel less guilty about this one than I Believe in a Thing Called Love because it is not due nearly as soon. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong — this is my second time checking it out because I totally didn’t get to it the first time and now I should feel ALL THE GUILT!

3.) Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Image of book cover from Goodreads

I almost bought this book multiple times last year and just… Didn’t… Do it… But then I did! I’ve really been wanting to read this one, so why I’ve been putting it off is a mystery to me.

2.) How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Image of book cover from Goodreads

I won this book during the 24 in 48 Readathon this summer! And I still haven’t read it despite how amazing everyone says it is! I also have plans to read this book for my YA resources class, so I’ll be getting to it soon. I promise.

1.) The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Image of book cover from Goodreads

I bought this ebook in 2013, and I believe that is all the context you need here… Out of sight, out of mind, right?

 

What books have you been putting off reading? Have you been putting off any books for five years (or longer!) like I have? Let’s discuss this in the comments!