Happy 3rd Anniversary! (2019)

Three years ago on January 27, 2016 I registered my blog on WordPress. I was working from home, and had the time to consider a non-work activity, I believe they are called ‘hobbies.’ The more I thought about it, I kept returning to reading. Being in college studies (Bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate) for so long restricted the reading I could do for pleasure. Perhaps I could use a blog to hold me accountable for reading more, for making reading for pleasure a part of my life again.

I took a trip back to find my first post. I posted only this once in February 2016, and once in March 2016. I began to make an effort to post once a week in May 2016, and by the end of the year I was posting 1-2 times a week on a regular basis and had read enough to make my first Angel Picks: Best of List.

My first review was actually a movie review!

My first book review was for The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee.

If you’d like to see some of my first posts please visit my Goodreads page and sort my Read shelf by Year Read, or you can use the calendar on the right side of the website to click back in time. Reading some of those first reviews really showed me how far I’ve come, not only with my writing style but with my goals for this site as a whole. As we head into year 4, I want to thank all of you for reading and supporting me. You are my online family and I am so grateful. Happy Anniversary!

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Goodreads Challenges

Since learning about Goodreads and beginning to use it to track my reading and post my reviews, I have participated in the Goodreads Challenge. You choose an amount of books you would like to read within the year, and then log them as you go. I set a goal of 100 books each year, just to see if I can make it.

Last year I did pretty well considering everything that happened. I made it to within 13 books of my goal and read a ton of really excellent work.

2017 Goodreads Challenge

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Angel Picks: Best of 2017 (Read my favorites list from last year!)

This year I saw a dip in my reading due to my multiple changes in jobs and how difficult the jobs I took were. Despite this I feel like I put on a good show.

2018 Goodreads Challenge

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I might read a few more before the end of the year but honestly I’m knackered and just want to sleep the rest of 2018 away. I’ll set my 2019 goal back at 100 books and see if I can reach the bar next year. 🙂

My Angel Picks: Best of 2018 will be up tomorrow! Have a great day!

Sharp and Sweet

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of the top books lists and seeing a lot of Kirkus Reviews stars, and I got to thinking that I needed a rating system of my own so you could know when a book really knocked my socks off. Two thumbs up is taken, 5 star systems are overused and not clear, and of course stars in general are used across different platforms.

This May I shared an embarrassing story involving my misunderstanding of how pineapples grow. I got to thinking that the pineapple is a perfect representation of me: spines, round in the middle, and relatively sweetish-sour on the inside, and so it might be a great symbol to use for my reviews as well.

pineapple

In the new year, I will be applying a “pineapple” to any book that is fucking spectacular. Books that made me feel something, whether it be sweet or sharp, that I devoured because they were delicious. Pineapple reviews will be filed under favorites and can be accessed anytime by clicking on that tab in the menu.

If you see any books being released in 2019 that you would like me to test out first, please feel free to email me the title at angryangelbooks [at] gmail [dot] com or connect with me on Twitter. I can’t wait to read with you into the new year!

Thankful Reading

A couple of weeks ago I posted a list of books that I had put on hold at the library as a result of looking at some of the best of 2018 lists.

I’ve already finished Elevation by Stephen King. Waiting at the library for me are The Incendiaries and The Great Believers, as well as Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. She also wrote Uprooted and His Majesty’s Dragon, and Spinning Silver has begun popping up on many of the best fantasy book lists for 2018.

While I’ve been on Thanksgiving break and waiting for these books to come in I’ve been reading the second book in Stephanie Garber’s Caraval series, Legendary. Caraval (#1) was dark, mysterious, and beautiful and so I wanted to see what book 2 had to offer. I’m also a sucker for books who show us women who escape convention to shape their own destinies. Waiting for me in my newly organized office is the SFF epic Dune, but I have to admit that my brain seems to be avoiding it as much as it avoided Stephen King’s The Stand for the same reasons – it’s a book I should  read but it’s fucking HUGE and right now I just want to read 300-400 page books about cool stuff.

Our Thanksgiving was pretty good. Photos of my food efforts can be found on my Twitter timeline if you’re interested. If you haven’t clicked a follow there yet please do. I’m not an influencer or anything, it’s just that sometimes I post things there that don’t get a full post here and if you’re interested in me you might be interested in that too.

I am thankful for you. Thank you for being here.

Most Wonderful Time

October, November, and December make up my favorite quarter of the year for a multitude of reasons, one of which is that it is “best of” list season. This weekend I’ve been googling different Best of 2018 book lists and scanning through them for any I might have missed and confirming that I have read some that are being celebrated.

I have had my library holds list under control for the last couple of months but now it’s got some new additions.

Elevation

 

Stephen King got me earlier this year with The Outsider and when I saw that he had a second new release this year I decided to trust in my newfound fandom of his work and request it in at the library.

Synopsis

I’m always ready for a trip back to Castle Rock, let’s gooooo!

 

The Incendiaries

 

The Incendiaries is a book that kept popping up all year in my literary circles, and when I saw it on the lists I said “fine, I’ll try it.”

Synopsis

I am intrigued by the love story wrapped up in grief wrapped up in fundamentalist religion bullshit, I’m just hoping it doesn’t make me cringe too much. It’s difficult to read stories about people making bad emotional decisions and avoid armchair quarterbacking out of context.

 

The House of Impossible Beauties

 

Set in the drag scene of 1980s New York, this is a book that kept peeking at me on Twitter all year and with week long school breaks just around the corner, I decided I could finally give it the time it deserves.

Synopsis

I find drag fascinating and I still have so much to learn about it. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

 

 

The Great Believers
A 2018 National Book Award finalist, The Great Believers wasn’t on my radar until this morning. It has been on every list I’ve looked at in addition to this award nomination so it must be one I need to see.

Synopsis

Here we’re in 1980s Chicago (not sure why there’s a 1980s trend in literature…) and the story is woven in with the AIDS crisis. It is a much more serious book than I usually read, but if it’s as good as they say, I want to experience it.

 

There There

This is another book that has been screaming at me since the beginning of this year. I knew There There was out there but I just never picked it up. It is time.

Synopsis

This novel explores a variety of Native American experiences in urban settings. To be honest I wish there was more fiction that centered around these experiences. I feel like America forgets about its first peoples more than they should. Every time I read someone’s view of this book they are shouting that people should read it, that it really is as good as everyone says, and that it should be required reading for all Americans. Well, I’m on it.

What are some books you are excited about this holiday season? Are there any you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t yet? Do you have any suggestions for me? Let me know in the comments!

Angry Angel Novel: 48 Days

The book project I started this summer has been coming alone nicely. There have been days where I haven’t written and days when I’ve written my ass off, but for the most part I’ve been trying to write about 1,000 words every day. Thanks to the #1000wordsofsummer event on Twitter I discovered that this was a habit I could keep up with, and it yielded fast results.

The event that got me thinking that I had a novel series in me, National Novel Writing Month, holds a summer event in July called Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s mostly for people to make progress on a manuscript or some work that is unfinished, as opposed to literally writing an entire novel in one month’s time. I put in what I had written so far in June as my starting point, made 75,000 words my goal for the end of July, and then I was off to the races. Their website keeps track of my progress and gave me these stats as of my writing today.

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I am aiming for 100K words total on my first draft, but if I keep writing like I have been (and not the 2250 words per day as suggested by NaNoWriMo), I’ll be sitting at between 65K and 70K (at least!) by the time I go back to school on August 6th for teacher planning week.

Guys, I am really proud of myself. I am enjoying writing this story and I hope that someday people will enjoy reading it. I have never written this much in this short of a time span, even when I was writing parts of my dissertation during my doctoral work. My manuscript is sitting at 93 Microsoft Word pages, and I make that distinction because I have learned that Microsoft Word pages and book pages aren’t the same thing (e.g. 100K words = 400 book pages). The point I am making here though, is over the past 48 days I have written 93 pages of something. NINETY-THREE.

I can’t wait to finish this draft and then go to Staples to have them print and spiral-bind it so I can start revising and re-writing. I want to read about outlining and editing and take time to read books I think would be comparable titles to get inspiration. I’ve already started rereading Six of Crows because I couldn’t wait. I’ve ordered some writing how-to books that will help me strengthen my characters and enhance my storytelling. I’m so excited that I’m already thinking about the next step. I’m acting like this first draft is already finished, because I know that it will be, because I will finish it.

I hope you are enjoying seeing these updates. I am excited to share just a little of my progress with you, my readers, because without you I wouldn’t have this blog, and without this blog I wouldn’t be reading nearly as much as I do, and without all this reading I may never have become inspired to write my own book. Thank you for being here. Thank you for supporting me. Have a great weekend.

Angry Angel Novel Update

Oh angels, it is summer and I am living it up – if living it up is sitting for long periods of time, playing too many hours of video games, and still going to bed at 8:30pm because you can’t be hungry if you’re sleeping. Oh, and also going to the gym because I WILL GET MICHELLE OBAMA-LEVEL ARMS. Please clap.

The husband was in Utah from June 2nd through June 10th grading AP World History exam essays, so I had a whole week to just do whatever I wanted, so I met Joe Biden.

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But that was only Monday night from 7:30-9:30 so I had another 6 days to fill. Some of that time was spent writing THE BOOK.

Things I have discovered writing THE BOOK.

  1. I write about 1300-1700 words each time I sit down to write. I could do more.
  2. I can see this story beginning to end and that makes it easier to write. It’s like I’m watching the characters do stuff and I’m just describing what I see to you via THE BOOK.
  3. I skipped some days last week and so I feel a little behind now.

Things I want to try to do now that I’ve eased into summer:

  1. Write twice a day. Once in the morning and once some other time in the day. I’d like to up that word count and stick to it.
  2. Write more about the world/setting and not be afraid to describe things more. Since I am so often putting books down because I get bored with them, I am afraid of having that affect on readers myself.
  3. Think more about the magic system. Every fantasy book has a pretty clear idea about how magic works (although if we’re being honest “I was born with it so just hand me a wand” was kind of vague in HP but I still love it so much) so I want to be sure to give clear information about how magic works in this world.

As of today I have 10,000 words into this novel. It’s the 12th of June so mathematically that averages out to less than 1,000 words a day, which isn’t what I was aiming for, but it’s more than I was doing. This weekend I am leaving the husband at home and taking a few nights in a hotel just for me. I’m planning to sleep a lot since I won’t have to worry about taking the dogs out, reading, and writing, hopefully enough to catch up to where I would be by the 17th (about 25,000 words) since I won’t have anything to distract me except myself and the entire internet. What could go wrong?

This book is happening. I’m really excited and proud about it. Thank you all for supporting this effort. New book review is up tomorrow. See you then!