What Motivates Me

What Motivates Me

So, as part of the Liebster Awards, one of the stipulations is writing a short post about what motivates me.

I think it first makes sense to talk about why I started this blog in the first place. I initially got into bookstagram and book reviewing simply because it was a space I really enjoyed. Reviewing books has really helped me with my own writing, because analyzing other writing has helped me see both the flaws and strong points in my own style.

Long term, what motivates me to get up and do things are my strong beliefs, which are grounded in tikkun olam. This basically means “to repair the world.” In Judaism, there’s this idea of having a moral obligation to repair things about the world, by performing acts of kindness, or mitzvahs. My social activism and volunteer work I do isn’t because I think there’s an after-life, necessarily.

Not to get super heavy, I’m just saying it’s because I think the world is harsh and there’s a lot of issues happening, and everyone has a responsibility to try to do something. That could be anything, even something as seemingly minor as starting with helping themselves be the best they can be so they can be a positive influence on their friends and family.

Short term, I’m motivated by my ambitions, to be someone, to make a difference, and to be a unique voice. I don’t know exactly what all that means just yet, but I’m starting to figure it out.

Liebster Award Nomination

Liebster Award Nomination

I was nominated by Naomi, at Naomi’s Reading Corner. Thank you so much, Naomi. Her blog is really great, I love how she incorporates not just reviews, but also elements like posts about Reading Apps, and popular reading memes. She’s a really sweet person and I look forward to her posts and seeing her on my Twitter feed as well.

Rules

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and put a link to their blog on your blog. 

2. Answer the 5 creative and unique questions given to you.

3. Write a small post about what motivates you in life (not just in blogging).

4. Nominate 2 – 6 blogs that you feel would enjoy blogging about this award the award.

5. Create 5 creative and unique questions for your nominees.

6. List these rules in your post.

Post about What Motivates Me

My Answers

Naomi had some interesting questions for me! I hope I did them justice.

  1. You can take one book with you to a Desert Island, which books would you take and why? That is an impossible question, like asking me to pick a favorite dog or cat. I’d have to go with a comfort read. I’m really torn between Inkheart by Cornelia Funke and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. I really can’t pick, so it’s a tie.
  2. You can only eat one food for the rest of your life. What food do you pick? If I say pineapple on pizza, I think a lot of you might block me out of spite. Just kidding. Although I do like pineapple on pizza. That’s such a hard question. I’d pick poke. For those who haven’t had it, it’s a Hawaiian dish of diced raw fish that’s served on rice. I like ahi tuna poke best. I might get mercury poisoning if I only ate that for the rest of my life, but we’re not taking that into consideration, right?
  3. You can only keep one item (books are not an option), what one item could you not live without? Something I can use to write and draw with. Being able to write and express myself is something I need, not constantly, but not being able to have it when I need it would be really detrimental to me.
  4. If aliens landed on the planet and you were the first person they met. What advice would you give them? I’d tell them to turn around, because our planet is on fire, we have war, hunger, and all kinds of terrible things–and also, do they have room on their space craft for me and my boyfriend and maybe some other earth people who want to get the heck off this planet?
  5.  When you were little, what was your career choice? This may seem cliched for someone who keeps a blog and talks about writing a novel, but I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to live out Inkheart (where the characters could bring stories to life by reading them aloud). I brought books to dinner, did NaNoWriMo before I got my license, and I went to writing workshop after writing workshop, because I was convinced that I would be the next Great American Author. I was obsessed with writing the Perfect Book, until I realized there was no perfect book, and only good books. Hence, now I’m finally working on a novel I really am proud of and love, and I guess you could say my dream of being a writer is kind of true, although I’m not at the point where it’s a full-time thing.

My Nominations

Please go and visit these awesome blogs!

Melanie and Mireille @ TBR and Beyond

Sarah @ Bookish Rantings

Lana @ Bibliomedico

Lauren @ Northern Plunder

My Questions

  1. If you could be any character, from any book, what character would you be and what parts of the plot in that book would you change?
  2. If you could visit space, but it meant you could never return to Earth, would you do so, and why or why not?
  3. If you could write a letter to anyone in history, who would it be?
  4. What place in the world do you most want to live?
  5. Would you rather live forever, or have any super power of your choosing and live out your normal life span?
Review: Fugly (The Worst Book I’ve Read This Year)

Review: Fugly (The Worst Book I’ve Read This Year)

I received this book as an e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I rarely dislike a book so much I consider not finishing it. But this was that book. I did finish it, mostly because I wanted to see if it had any redeeming qualities.

The answer? Not really, and certainly not enough to account for its shortcomings. It might be the right book for some people, but I can’t get past the triggering content in this book that had no warnings.

Some people like anti-hero protagonists. But Beth goes beyond an anti-hero into just being a villain. I don’t mind reading about villainous characters, when they’re written well, or have a redeeming factor, or have some interesting aspects. Beth was none of those things. Beth is not someone I wanted to root for, and she’s also not written very well.

The book, in general, is a mess. The ending is sloppy and unrealistic. It’s something out of a soap opera. I don’t want to spoil it entirely, but it’s an attempt at a redemption arc, but it’s not truly earned, so it doesn’t make sense.

The book needed trigger warnings. I’m an advocate for trigger warnings, which I know is controversial, some people think books don’t need them. This book is marketed to young adults. It had descriptions of self-harm, eating disorders, sexual assault, fatphobia… need I go on? It needed trigger warnings. It did not have any.

Let’s talk about the fatphobia. The author addresses it a bit with “discussion questions” at the very end. But that doesn’t make up for the intense fatphobia throughout. The main character is fat, so on some level, her encountering a bit of fatphobia from the outside world, or some internalized fatphobia, that could be expected. Not fine, but expected. But this level was horrible. It wasn’t necessary to the plot, and removing it would have, in my opinion, really strengthened the book.

It was clear that Beth had major issues, and she was at points delusional about how the outside world saw her, and used that as an excuse to enact revenge for feeling unseen.

One final note–making the two not-straight characters (it’s unclear what sexuality they are, but they’re not heterosexual) the villains is a homophobic trope that needs to die.

Review: Study with Me

Review: Study with Me

⭐⭐⭐⭐

I received this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was as advertised, and I mean that in a good way. It was easy to follow, a breeze to read, and fun. I love how it’s broken down into different subject matters.

Even though I’m not currently a student, I still found the foreign language part helpful, because I’m trying to learn other languages. Whenever I see beautiful bullet journals on Instagram, I’m mystified as to how people even start, because there are so many different techniques, ideas, and ways. But it’s broken down very simply in this book, and while it uses mainly the classic bullet journal techniques, a point was made about making it unique to the user.

I honestly sped through this book and finished it in one sitting, which was partially because it had illustrations, but also because the flow of the book was great. The only thing I’d say is I’d even want a longer book, with more examples and drawings, but that could be a personal thing. I think this is probably plenty of content for most people. I’m really into journalling and looking at journals. It’s a great book, and I love how it brought a behind-the-scenes look at how the #studygram influencers work their magic.

Review: Gone Is Gone

Review: Gone Is Gone

⭐⭐

This is a lot younger of an audience than I normally review for, but the topic is really close to my heart and I really wanted to read it and see how it would be handled for a younger group.

I would not recommend it to friends with kids of this age. I know it has to be somewhat simplified for this age group. But the “reuse plastic” line, while important and obviously needs to be in there, should be accompanied by, “and lobby companies to reduce their plastic waste” because corporations and government are a huge culprit in plastic pollution.

The pictures were a bit much, I don’t want to see dead animals so I’m not sure if that’s something you want to expose a kid to or not. I think the story speaks for itself and is disturbing enough, I don’t think the images of, say, a dead owl on the side of the road, need to accompany it.

The book dragged on, and I think it had way too many examples. It needed more of a storyline and to be less preachy. I was annoyed throughout it. I think there are better ways to get the point across than the way this book did.

Also, I’ve never heard of Cinco de Rhino, but the author mentions it and doesn’t say anything critical about it, but it certainly doesn’t sound like a great title for a holiday. It sounds offensive.

I really felt like the author didn’t know where the book was headed, it went in a lot of directions. It was boring, and honestly easily forgettable.

Review: The Library of Lost Things

Review: The Library of Lost Things

⭐⭐⭐

I received this book as an e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Any quotes are from the ARC.

I initially really enjoyed this book. It had some really amazing moments and quotes. The Library of Lost Things is a book about a girl struggling to deal with her a mother who has a hoarding problem, who spends her days largely hiding in books.

I want to start with what I loved. I loved Marisol, who is the character’s best friend and is a half-Cuban and half-Mexican fashion savant. At times, I wanted the story to be about Marisol, because Darcy was a character that I had difficulty relating to at times.

One thing I wanted to point out is at one particular point, Marisol had a very real reason to be angry at Darcy, but it seemed like she wasn’t allowed to be mad for very long, and it was mainly for plot reasons. This, in my opinion, made her seem like she fell into the person of color side-kick trope, which is obviously not a good thing. In general, she was a very developed character. But in that one instance I questioned whether that’s how she really would have reacted, if it hadn’t been convenient for the plot.

Darcy is obviously dealing with a lot, with her mother being a hoarder, juggling her job, school, and her MIA dad. But I just can’t find myself rooting for her 100% of the time, despite how terrible that sounds.

It’s hard to write this book review spoil-free. But I had a hard time rooting for a character who not only wanted someone who was dating someone else, but kept putting herself in situations where she would be alone with him. Granted, he should absolutely not have been putting himself in those situations either, and most of the blame is on him. But there were dateable boys that were single, and she fixated on this one boy who was unattainable.

I get that people aren’t perfect, but I didn’t feel like she felt very guilty about what she was doing–it seemed like she justified it, or the narrator did, by disparaging the other girl. If she had seemed more guilty about it, I think that would have changed how I felt about her as a character.

The middle part of the book dragged along, and I didn’t like the ending, I felt like it ended too neatly and unrealistically, especially considering what else had happened in the book with her mom.

One of the characters had a disorder that caused anger and lashing out. I felt overall that was depicted well. However, I think it needed to be more spelled out that just because that’s part of that character’s disorder, that it is not an excuse for being emotionally abusive (I’m not saying that character is, I’m just saying it felt a bit excused and made me uncomfortable how it was written).

Now, am I being too picky? Am I expecting too much because of how much I liked the beginning, and because I felt let down by the end and middle of the book? Perhaps. But I have to judge the book as a whole. I’d give this book 3.5 stars, if I could give half stars.

My Top Horror Movie Recommendations for Halloween

My Top Horror Movie Recommendations for Halloween

I’ve been dying to write this blog for quite a while. It’s a mix of older and newer movies and my taste is all over the map. I’ve bolded ones I really loved. In no particular order and in loose categories:

Final Girls

  • Ready Or Not (2019)
  • The Final Girls (2015)
  • Crawl (2019)
  • Scream (1996)
  • Tragedy Girls (2017)
  • Cam (2018)

Trapped in the Woods

  • Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2011)
  • The Ritual (2017)

Truly Scary

  • Us (2019)
  • Hush (2016)

Creepy

  • Birdbox (2018)
  • Annihilation (2018)