Readathons Are My Jam

Bookwyrm TBR

This week I’m participating in the Bookwyrm Readathon. As of yesterday, I’ve finished The Goldfinch (which I’d already been reading for several days) and I’m about 150 pages into Big Breasts & Wide Hips. For a week-long readathon, my TBR pile is ambitious, but you see…

I did another readathon at the beginning of the month, where I picked out these two books–

Goatathon TBR

–read one, DNF’d the other, and went on to read four (!) romances in an effort to clean out my Kindle a little.

So this time, I wanted to have more on my plate than I honestly thought I could finish.

I’d never participated in a readathon, never even heard of a readathon until I joined the booklr community on Tumblr, and now, they’re my favorite event, whether they’re a week or more, several days, or even just a weekend.

I love the idea that a whole bunch of book nerds like me are devoting as much time as possible to reading in that span. I love the idea that the friends I’ve made online could be reading at the exact moment I am. (Which I’m sure they often are, but the readathon makes it more likely, you know?)

I love everyone showing off their planned reads, and even more than that I love talking to people about them, when I see someone’s going to read a book I love. And by happy coincidence this time around, one of my mutuals is also reading The Goldfinch this week!

Reading slumps don’t hit me often, but in the past I’ve found readathons to be a great way to get excited about and motivated to read again. Something I need right now, as a lot of my recent reads have been lackluster.

If you’ve never done a readathon before, and this frenzy of reading camaraderie sounds good to you, take a look around your social media and see what your fellow book nerd friends are doing. And if nobody’s running one, you could host one yourself! They don’t have to be elaborately themed (though I admit the current one I’m doing is)–just an agreement to read as much as possible in a specific time frame, and talk to each other about it. Make new friends! Get tons of book recs! Find new authors to try!

And most of all, have fun!

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Let Me Tell You a Story #28: Writing is Like Making Horcruxes

Someone I know, who hasn’t read any of my work, asked me something rather rude a while back when they found out I wrote romance novels, and it’s been on my mind ever since. “So which one of your characters is you?”

Plenty of authors (especially of the Old White Male variety and/or in so-called “classics”) write themselves into their novels blatantly. Hence the joke, What do you call a male Mary Sue? The protagonist.

But this question, in the particular tone of voice it was delivered in, was a piercing arrow that I had to pretend didn’t hurt me. The assumption that, because I am a woman writing romance, my heroines were all somehow “me” struck me as crass. It’s not an uncommon attitude towards writers in the genre–that we’re all lonely single women or unfulfilled housewives who write escapist fantasy lives for themselves.

Here’s the thing I wish I could explain to these critics and naysayers: All of my characters are, at least a little bit, me.

I give one character my hair color, and a different one my eyes. Another gets my need to hug something (a person or a pillow or a stuffed animal) when I’m really upset. Someone else gets my sarcasm, yet another character gets my tendency to stammer when I’m flustered.

One character likes yoga, another likes running, quite a few like to sing in the shower. One wishes she had enough time to really, really devote herself to improving her art instead of dabbling.

They’re all me.

At the same time, they’re all someone else, too, because the best way to avoid the dreaded self-insert character is to mix up your own traits, those feelings and drives you know so well as a part of you, with observations and knowledge taken from other people in your life. A close friend, who has read my work, said she can see where I stitched together myself with other people in Paul, the hero of my What We Need series. But he’s only a little bit me. (Which is good, because there’s no way anyone would mistake me for a six-four man who can play piano. I am none of those things.)

Fortunately, splitting up pieces of your soul for writing doesn’t involve painful and horrific sacrifices–the Horcrux metaphor doesn’t hold up that far–but with conscious effort (in rewrites, when necessary!) any character that you find is too “you” can be dialed back, and any character that feels flat can be fleshed out with a little piece of your soul, to give them authenticity they may be lacking.

This Week, I Read… (2018 #23)

82 - Impulse

#82 – Impulse, by Moira Rogers

Part of my frustration may be that I’m binging this series, and part may be that Cipher is a tough act to follow. This felt repetitive.

Oh, look, another impromptu road trip that ends up in true love. Where have I seen that before? The setting is getting stale.

But there were still aspects I enjoyed. Even if Sera’s constant internal hangups about being a coyote in a wolf society were tiring, it was a new dimension to explore, because the last time we saw a non-wolf shifter in love was back in book 1, but Mackenzie wasn’t in love with another shifter, so the power dynamic was different.

And while this was definitely still about power dynamics, Julio was a much more laid-back dominant type than we’ve seen in this series, and in my personal experience across most of the romances I’ve read. I liked him, in terms of both personality and character development, much more than I liked Sera. They did have great banter together, which was a light and breezy change from the previous book’s angst.

It wasn’t a bad read for me, but the formula is showing through the story at this point.

83 - Enigma

#83 – Enigma, by Moira Rogers

This was a struggle. Anna and Patrick are two minor characters from earlier in the series who get their own love story to cap it off, and I don’t think it’s a good choice. My emotional investment in them at the start was near zero, and by the end, it hadn’t deepened much. The entire book was like a competition between the two of them to see which was more emotionally and physically broken, and who was the bigger martyr, with some occasional motel-room-destroying sex thrown in.

On top of my disappointment with the featured romance, this felt inadequate at ending the series as well, in terms of the overarching story of the paranormal world. The “mystery” is a bunch of mystic mumbo jumbo about a murdered guy that’s supposed to be a big deal because he’s the son of someone powerful, but the stakes just aren’t high, and the threat Mr. Powerful posed the New Orleans crew who we’ve come to know and love simply wasn’t compelling. It was an excuse to put our two badass bounty hunters through their paces and let them fall in love, but it didn’t matter beyond that.

At the epilogue, it fell into place for me, the reason I was so annoyed by this. Patrick finding his long-lost brother and witnessing that happy endings are possible after all–this wasn’t the huge climax of the story (the way Beyond Surrender is for the authors’ later series) but a drawn-out denouement, where we’re supposed to be satisfied that everyone’s gotten their happy endings, so wrap it up, let’s move along.

But if that’s the point, why save the weakest romance plot of the whole series for the final book?

84 - The Death of Vishnu

#84 – The Death of Vishnu, by Manil Suri

Vibrant characters, no plot worth mentioning–a definite case of style over substance.

The ultimate point I took away from this is that people get wrapped up in their lives to the point where they ignore incredibly obvious things, like a dead man on stairwell landing in their apartment building.

But in making that point, the actual plot events became incidental. Though most of the petty squabbles and problems between the various families and individuals affect each other–like Salim and Kavita running off to elope and throwing the building into turmoil–in the end, very little of it actually matters, because we don’t find out what has happened to anyone; and the petty squabbles could have been literally anything that didn’t involve Vishnu and his death.

I’m unsatisfied by the ending as well. Mrs. Jalal lies near death after being beaten, Salim is still missing while Kavita has returned, is Mr. Taneja going to starve himself to death or decide to end things more quickly…? For such weighty matters to be left hanging after Vishnu’s spirit vanishes means the story just ends with no resolution to anything.

At first the vignettes about each person, each family, intrigued me, but by the halfway point, I began to feel like a voyeur, like a creepy white person indulging in Orientalism, peeking into the inconsequential daily lives of a culture not my own. The more that I sensed the actual plot didn’t matter, the more I felt like these lives were being held up for display, look how different they are, isn’t it fascinating? I was an ogre who had ripped off the roof of the side of their building, like a dollhouse, making them into something I could observe. It was an intensely uncomfortable feeling, and one I hope the author didn’t intend, but rather one that came from the deficiencies of the structure.

85 - Certain Women

#85 – Certain Women, by Madeleine L’Engle

DNF after Chapter 1 – Norma. And why is it named for Norma, anyway? She has a few minutes of conversation and then leaves the boat. She doesn’t seem important at all compared to the over-abundance of other characters.

That excess of characters is exactly why I gave up so early. In one 24-page chapter, the reader is given the names of 22 separate characters. Only a handful of them are physically present, but most of the chapter is David monologuing his past, the many wives and yet more children. (Though I still don’t know ALL their names, because I only counted seven of the nine wives promised in the blurb, and seven of the eleven kids.)

On top of that, there are 16 mentions of King David–as opposed to Actor David, the main character’s monologuing father–plus several mentions of six other Biblical figures related to King David’s story.

On top of that, there are ten fictional characters (mostly from Shakespearean plays) mentioned a total of 26 times.

And that’s not including all the times the ACTUAL characters who are PHYSICALLY PRESENT IN THE STORY use EACH OTHER’S NAMES IN CONVERSATION.

By the time I was done with those first 24 pages, I felt like a good 10% of the word count is just NAMES. Oh, because when I was tallying the fictional character mentions? I didn’t even include that the name of the boat they’re all on is Portia.

So I am quite simply DONE. In order to write this annoyed, spiteful review, I had to take a pen to the first chapter, skimming it several times to circle and number all the names, and even after going through it that often and taking notes, I STILL couldn’t tell you accurately who is who beyond the four major characters who do most of the actual talking. Is Myrlo David’s third wife or his fourth? Did he actually marry Harriet, does she count? It’s not clear from what he said.

I was so confused, it was beyond frustrating, and at the end of it all, I honestly don’t understand why I’m supposed to care.

Let’s Talk About Tropes #9: Exercise

muscle-2459720_1280

It’s no secret that in addition to writing romance, I read a lot of it. I’ve seen so many different types of heroes–white or black or brown skin, every hair color, every eye color, tall or not-so-tall. But do you know what they all seem to have in common?

Muscles.

Even when the book cover doesn’t look something like the guy in the picture above, he’s described as well-muscled. Sometimes lean but still defined; sometimes outright bulky; always noticeable.

I’m even sort of guilty of it in the What We Need series! Paul’s no gym rat, even before his life went haywire, but with the drastically reduced quality of his diet, I expected most of his body fat would be gone, revealing the lean muscle underneath. I never describe him as bulky–in fact, I have other characters call him things like beanpole and skyscraper and scarecrow, so you know he’s rail-thin, but I still let Nina admire his muscles.

Because who’s a man without visible musculature?

Well…a lot of guys, actually! I’ve been attracted to plenty of men IRL who don’t spend hours at the gym, who don’t have the ridiculous V leading to their groin, who can’t bench press a city bus.

I know the romance genre, the authors are often going for more-attractive-than-real, for the kind of swelteringly hot dudes we see in movies, for the guy you think maybe you could never get yourself, but at least you get to read about him. And I don’t want you to think I’m trashing books with those heroes, or the authors who write them.

But I don’t actually see most of those heroes doing anything to account for their crazy-hot bodies. Sometimes, sure, there’s a passing reference to him hitting the gym or going for a run. Or he’s got a job that does it for him, like construction workers. Or he’s a sports star, and the training’s built into the story. Which is fine.

Everyone else, though?

So let’s make this general, now. If you’re going to write yourself a super-fit character, male, female, or NB, make sure there’s a good reason they are that way!

  1. Why does this person exercise enough to have a hot bod? Healthy and unhealthy attitudes toward hardcore fitness abound, from things as simple as “I like working out and feeling good about my body” to “I have acute insecurity about other aspects of my life and work to perfect my body as compensation or control.”
  2. What do they actually do for those muscles? Weight training is obvious but not the only answer, not if you don’t make the person super-swole. Swimming is a fantastic whole-body exercise. Dedicated martial artists can get pretty buff. Or maybe it’s less traditional, like rock climbing. The gym is not the only place to get fit.
  3. What would someone dedicated to the activity you choose actually look like? Distance runners might have defined legs but less going on up top, if they don’t supplement running with something else. Yoga practitioners could be quite sculpted, but not necessarily huge and buff. Honest-to-god gym rats might be huge, but move differently due to less flexibility.
  4. When does this rigorous exercise fit into their day? What else aren’t they doing because of it?
  5. Does this exercise come along with a specific diet plan? Can this person eat a whole pizza by themselves reasonably, and would they want to? Or is their kitchen full of protein powder bottles and pre-chopped fruit for smoothies?
  6. Is this person a fitness-conversion fanatic, constantly trying to get the people around them to work out with them, or just in general? Do they offer advice? Do they offer unsolicited advice? Some gym rats are toxic and obnoxious about it–plenty aren’t. Which one is your character?
  7. How is this person’s mood affected when they miss a workout? Do they have to skip more than one before it hits, or is it more immediate? How does that manifest in their behavior?

Not every character (not every romance hero!) has to be a fitness guru, but if they are, that lifestyle should be on display in the story beyond someone else admiring their physique. I hope these questions help you think about how to make fitness a more integral part of the characters who require it!

Down the TBR Hole #7

Down the TBR Hole is a (very) bookish meme, originally created by Lia @ Lost In A Story. She has since combed through all of her TBR (very impressive) and diminished it by quite a bit, but the meme is still open to others! How to participate:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
  • Order by Ascending Date Added
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or let it go?

On the chopping block this month:

#1 – The Unconsoled, by Kazuo Ishiguro

1034389From the universally acclaimed author of The Remains of the Day comes a mesmerizing novel of completely unexpected mood and matter–a seamless, fictional universe, both wholly unrecognizable and familiar. When the public, day-to-day reality of a renowned pianist takes on a life of its own, he finds himself traversing landscapes that are by turns eerie, comical, and strangely malleable.

The blurb is pretty vague, am I right? I picked this up in one of my first used-book-buying sprees because I had heard of the author, but not the book. (I later found a copy of the more famous The Remains of the Day as well–I have yet to read either.)

In this situation I would usually turn to some reviews for guidance, but a quick glance shows a lot of spoiler warnings, and I prefer to remain unspoiled. I do already own this, so it stays, but it’s not a top priority at the moment.

#2 – Pivot Point, by Kasie West

11988046Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier…

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through… and who she can’t live without.

This hit my radar when a fellow author-blogger reviewed it as five-star worthy. The criminally under-appreciated rom-com movie Sliding Doors gets mentioned in a lot of its reviews on Goodreads–which is a movie I adored. Will it live up to the hype? Who knows? But I intend to find out–it stays.

#3 – The Devil Wears Kilts, by Suzanne Enoch

17566621On a mission to rescue his runaway sister from the lure of flowery compliments and a useless lot of satin-clad scalawags disguised by their snooty titles, Ranulf MacLawry, Marquis of Glengask, has roared into British society like a storm across the Highlands. But he’s about to find out that satin has its appeal, especially when it covers the curves of Miss Lady Charlotte Hanover—whose tongue is as sharp as her skin is soft…

Lady Charlotte Hanover has had her fill of hot-headed men, having lost her fiancé in an utterly unnecessary duel. When did brawn ever triumph over brains? And yet there is something solid and appealing about the brash Highlander who’s as dangerous in the ballroom as in battle. Sometimes bigger really is better…

I have no clear memory of adding this to my TBR, so I’m guessing I grabbed it off a recommendation list. Maybe something to do with “If you liked Outlander…” to appeal to fans of the books/television series.

Well, since then I’m not an Outlander fan anymore, as the books exceeded my patience and I haven’t seen the show. And while I am a romance fan, I’m not so much into the historical subgenre. This one can safely go.

#4 – 5 to 1, by Holly Bodger

18588998In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Sudasa doesn’t want to be a wife, and Contestant Five, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. Sudasa’s family wants nothing more than for their daughter to do the right thing and pick a husband who will keep her comfortable—and caged. Five’s family wants him to escape by failing the tests. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Five thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.

Told from alternating points of view—Sudasa’s in verse and Contestant Five’s in prose—allowing readers to experience both characters’ pain and their brave struggle for hope.

Mixed feelings. On the one hand, artificially constructed dystopias aimed at teens? In general, those are overdone. However, this is set in India (almost all dystopian settings I’ve seen/read have been American, British, or made-up but still heavily coded as Western) and focuses specifically on feminism, on an aspect of altering or overthrowing a patriarchal tradition.

I think this has enough potential strong points to offset my genre fatigue. It can stay.

#5 – For the Record, by Charlotte Huang

21424692Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like… until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything

Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen heartthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.

Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule… Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?

I’m an absolute sucker for rock-star romances–I do have a first draft of one sitting in my story trunk–and even though reviews for this seemed to be mixed, I’m intrigued. Especially since one review said this was heavy on logistics–which practically makes it research, right? I’m not expecting it to be my new favorite book, but I’m interested enough to give it a try. It stays.


As always, if you’ve read anything on these lists and want to share your opinion, talk me into or out of reading one of them, leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you.

This Week, I Read… (2018 #22)

76 - Medieval Lives

#76 – Medieval Lives, by Terry Jones & Alan Ereira

My maiden name is English, and the earliest variant spellings arise on documents from the 12th century. I have no idea what my actual family was doing then–when my brother investigated years ago, he managed to get our genealogy back to the 19th century along a few branches, but no farther. But without knowing more, this book seemed like a good choice for the task.

Too bad I was disappointed.

Stylistically inconsistent. I was drawn in by the first half, which debunked a lot of myths and tropes about the lives of commoners in the Middle Ages, but from the “Philosopher” chapter onwards, I felt like I was reading a different book. It became scattered in topic and tone, reeling from one historical figure to the next with little context given, a string of anecdotes about famous names instead of a systematic investigation of how modern thought is wrong about medieval times and why. I honestly struggled to finish, as the whole book assumed a familiarity with minute details of England’s history (which I, as an American who never had to study the subject for school, lack) that only worsened in the later chapters. The small moments of wry humor throughout were a nice touch, but they were few and far between.

77 - Baudolino

#77 – Baudolino, by Umberto Eco

DNF around page 50. I don’t say this often, but this book is too highbrow for me.

I don’t speak enough languages–a good portion of the dialogue is in Latin (and not always summarized or contextualized) while a fair bit of Baudolino-the-character’s “writing” is in German. Neither of which I have ever studied.

I don’t have enough historical knowledge of the era to juggle all the different race, ethnicity, or place names. I’m all for historical accuracy; if what I understand to be the Germans of the time were referred to as Alamanns, by all means, use that term. But that was basically the only one I could figure out in those first fifty pages. At least a dozen other designations were used for who-knows-what, because I certainly don’t, and those I couldn’t figure out.

I don’t want to have to read the rest of this with a tab open for Wikipedia, so I’m not going to. This book clearly isn’t a good match with me.

78 - Crux
#78 – Crux, by Moira Rogers

Not as impressed with this as I am with this writing duo’s later series, Beyond.

The paranormal world-building came fast and slapdash, though I will say it’s cohesive for what we get. The pace is fast, too, filled with action and danger. The characters fell in lust immediately and love far too quickly thereafter–thank you “mating urge.” But they were likable enough, and points for not having the heroine wait around for rescue but take an earlier opportunity to save herself.

I have the entire series, thanks to picking it up as two $0.99 trilogy sets, and I enjoyed it enough to keep going.

79 - Crossroads

#79 – Crossroads, by Moira Rogers

Seeing two “alpha” personalities have at each other was fun for a few minutes, but it got old fast. And most of this book wasn’t even about Nicole and Derek? Her twin sister Michelle is arguably the central character of the book, and her pregnancy the prominent conflict that throws everyone’s lives into turmoil. In terms of the world-building, it makes sense (once it’s explained, at least) but it really draws so much of the story away from the romance.

Which is of the “finally it’s happening” type. Apparently Derek and Nicole have had the hots for each other for a good long while–this was something they were both teased about in the first book–but now, for some reason, it’s time to get down to business. Because the best time is during a crisis, right? It fueled the fast pace and the action, but left me unsatisfied about the couple.

80 - Deadlock

#80 – Deadlock, by Moira Rogers

I came to this series after reading the much more polished (and later-written-and-published) Beyond series by the same authors under a different name. I can’t help comparing the two, because I loved Beyond so much and wouldn’t be reading this otherwise.

One thing Southern Arcana is doing better than Beyond ever did is integrating the character set up for later romances into the earlier books. Alec has been a major character from the beginning and now it’s time for him to find love, while Carmen is an entirely new character, but introducing her politically-involved family at this point in the overall arc works well, and sets up Alec’s major non-romantic conflict for the book.

(Also I see that the next book is about Kat and Andrew, and their crazy-epic love-avoidance relationship has been set up through three books, now.)

Too bad for me, and my enjoyment of this book, that all I could see Alec as was a proto-Dallas. Gee, look, an self-proclaimed “alpha bastard” who doesn’t really want to be involved in society and politics, but ends up having to, because otherwise the world’s going to hell in a handbasket.

I shouldn’t hold it against Alec that I read the other series first, but I’ve definitely seen this reluctant-leader type before. And he never gets much personality past that. He’s the definition of a hardass with a heart of gold, and Carmen lets him express that, but it doesn’t go much farther.

Good thing Carmen is pretty interesting, then, and we get to see a lot of her, not just as a love interest for Alec, but also as a sister to both of her brothers (who become one major and one minor character, judging by the blurbs for the later books) and a daughter deeply conflicted by her upbringing and what being with Alec-the-politician would mean for her future. She’s the best part of the book.

81 - Cipher

#81 – Cipher, by Moira Rogers

Finally, real emotion! Real personal conflict! Endlessly satisfying psychic angst!

Kat and Andrew are by far my favorite couple so far from this series, and I can’t help but feel it’s because their backstory has been woven into the first three books. We’ve gotten to see Kat’s growing up process from a precociously gifted young woman to a flawed but deeply caring adult who’s finally unafraid of her own power. We’ve gotten to see Andrew go from a regular human life as a construction firm partner to a bad-ass werewolf utterly committed to doing the right thing, even when it causes him personal pain or leaves him out in the cold.

We get to see the two of them grapple with their issues, their history, their tangled feelings for each other. I hate angst as a trope for its own sake, or wielded to make a love story seem edgy, but this is the real thing. These two lovers could hardly have more obstacles between them, and more than half of their own making, as they grew apart before being forced back together by outside (and of course DANGEROUS) circumstances.

This is paranormal romance gold, right here.

One gripe that doesn’t affect my rating, though–I know the covers have been updated since I got these, but this particular set of graphics are practically indistinguishable from each other, style-wise. It didn’t bother me before because the men’s faces at least mostly lined up with their physical descriptions, but I was thrown on this one because I thought Andrew was a redhead? At least auburn, and definitely with green eyes. This guy (though handsome and fine with my personal taste) doesn’t look anything like him.

End of the Month Wrap-Up: May 2018!

running-shoes-1428048_1280

I will admit this right up front: not only did I not finish my first draft from Camp NaNo in April, I’ve hardly written at all this month.

I’ve seen so many articles and bits of advice and think pieces about how the human brain can only form so many habits at a time. I decided May was the “exercise habit” month.

I did my yoga nearly every day–I think I took one day off early on for a rest day, and then another for my birthday because I was out of the house most of the day, so that’s a lot, right? Also I walked and ran a combined total of over 25 miles. I took care of myself while also pushing as hard as I could without hurting myself.

Writing had to take a backseat to my health.

I meant to get back into this month, but we’re already a week in, and still no writing. This time it’s because of illness–nothing major, I’m already feeling better, but it was enough to keep me off work and doing little but sleeping and reading. Hence, why this post is so late/posted in the afternoon/posted on an off day.

Better late than never is an actual truth, in this case. I’m getting it done.

As for what I did accomplish in May, I read 14 books. I bought 32.

BOOK BAN OVER!

Though I’d actually broken it early, as I’ve already admitted, I did splurge on Thriftbooks for my birthday as planned, plus a few trips to the library book sale room, and a few more acquired from my local thrift store. Book haul pictures soon!

Now I’m going on a book diet, as opposed to a ban. I can’t get more books in 2018 than I read, or I’ll never catch up on my TBR–in both 2016 and 2017, I out-bought my reading, thanks to getting books for mere pennies at sales. This year, no more of that! (I’ve currently acquired 55 books total this year, while I’ve read just over 80. I can hold myself to this, I’m pretty sure.)

My plans for the remainder of June:

  1. Attempt to finish the Camp NaNo draft.
  2. If I can’t manage that, at least reestablish good writing habits so I can work toward it.
  3. Contact more potential reviewers through The Book Robin Hoods and follow up with any whose reviews are past due.
  4. Post the rest of my blog posts on time.
  5. Maintain my new exercise schedule while doing all of this!