2020 RECAP | Trial & Error

Hello!

2020 has been a very complexed year. For a lot of people, it’s been one of the worst ones whereas I think it’s been a very successful year. I have had bad days and unsavory moments happen within the year but overall it’s been pretty good. It isn’t what anyone expected but I think how you look at it as a whole can make or break your perspective. I will say it wasn’t perfect all throughout these 12 months, something has happened to possibly crush everything you love and worked on, but you’re still here, so that should count for something, right?

In this post, I will be discussing three different sections that I thought were important to highlight that defined 2020 for me and this blog as a whole.

Three Good Things

At the start of the year, I decided I needed to share a ritual I have been doing off and on since 2014 and that is choosing three things (or more if you had a great day!) and talking about them to my followers on my social medias. Unfortunately, it never took off on Twitter but I’m hoping I can do better in 2021 so more people who want to look past any unsettling mishaps and focus all of their attention on the good instead. I feel this was the reason why I think back on the year with a smile on my face.

I just want to point out that despite the fact I want to spread positivity to everyone, I need to say you will have bad days here and there. You’re never going to have perfect days or moments endlessly, but that’s not being realistic. I wish I had said something about this in the beginning because I think it would have helped me get over the really bad days after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. I tried to keep a brave face but honestly I wasn’t feeling as confident as I usually am, so that’s why I took that long break over the summer to think about things that were going on around me. After some time I came back, although I wasn’t 100%, I still thought I needed to do something so I asked my followers to share their good things and reading their responses did give me a boost to join them again the next evening.

Once 2021 begins, I will be posting them every other day, because it was just easier to get things done because I found out through posting them every single day, that I am vert much a perfectionist! I was wondering when it was going to rear its ugly head back to me. I’m just thankful it didn’t stay around when I was working on my Christmas Tree projects like I thought. Anyways, I am already doing this schedule and have been for a while now, but I really enjoy it again so I think I will keep it going for as long as I want to, until I feel ready to switch back to the regular format.

I wrote this post three days before it was scheduled published and I knew the background I used for the first day was yellow, but I guess it didn’t register well enough when I made last night’s list. I was only going base off of what I used the day before–which was black, because I wanted a little black and gold theme for the final few days but again, I just forgot all about this until I went to update it (and man, wasn’t that an adventure!) anyways, do you remember what your first top three good things for 2020 was? What did you list for the last day of the year too?

Trial and Error

The reason why I am calling this post “Trial & Error” is because of what I put on my “Three Good Things” on the first of January 2020. The first one says “I chopped and peeled a potato without hurting myself.” Although I wish I could forget the events before this happened, I remember saying to my mom afterwards, “oh, it’s okay. Trial and error I guess.” And yes, I can recall what I said word-for-word because this would become the year’s motto. It was also a stab at my perfectionist side always attempting to break through on a daily basis! At the time, I didn’t think it would mean much but then I would catch myself saying it to anything that I did on my own that I normally wouldn’t do, so over time it started to mean something important to me.

I did a lot of things that I figured would never happen again, like completing my Goodreads Reading Challenge for the year and bring back painting pumpkins. Everything that happened that I haven’t done for a long time kind of scared me at first because I didn’t know if I should enjoy it and fear it would disappear for an even longer time, so I had to battle it out my emotions a bit, but now that I’ve done them, I fee like I can do them again and be better at them the second time around and I am overjoyed at it in the future!

Two Week Blogging Schedule

After 11 years of trying to work out a schedule that would not only work as far as publishing new content during the week, but inspiring myself to keep writing during a full month was really my biggest issue. I could work great for three months and lose all my love for blogging for like four months at a time and I would just feel absolutely defeated, so I knew I had to do something big or else I would have to stop blogging altogether and I don’t have any other backups or outlets that can compete to blogging so I was very determined to fix this problem once and for all.

When I decided that I was going to attempt reading ’20 books for 2020′ I knew I was going to make room to read, but what I didn’t exact was how comfortable I would be taking two weeks off a new month to devote myself to reading and then if I had time during my monthly vacation to do some work for the first full week back that was awesome too!

I really didn’t think I could last no more than a month using this new method but I did it for the entire year without feeling like I was going to experience a burnout like I would normally feel after a couple months so I knew I was doing something right here! There were times I would need an extra week because I was asked to review an artist’s music and I had established that Monday were the days I would talk about music, Wednesday would be about books; especially the reviews of the newly finished novels I was able to read in the weeks before, and Friday would be for anything else I wanted to talk about, but if I didn’t have anything special going on, I would post another review on that day. Everything seemed to work out perfectly and even this week, I kept the same layout I adapted towards the beginning of 2020 and was still exercising that format to the final week and was still enjoying it, seems incredible to me.

Well, I think I have officially run out of what I wanted to say in this post. I hope you have enjoyed all three posts in their rightful days. As of now, I should be back on the 18th of January, with all new content for you to consume and if you’re lucky, you might even get a book review on the 20th too, since I am right in the middle of A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St Clair. I am whizzing on through it as we speak so I hope you had a lovely and better 2021.

Bye.

snowflake

2020 RECAP | Top 5 Books!

Hello!

I have been so excited to write this post since August when I completed my 2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge! I still can’t believe I read 20+ books, and I absolutely loved it! I think my inner seven year old self was in disbelief the whole time. She would have definitely been hiding in a corner, shielding herself like it’s something poisonous or something.

After I finished with the first 20 books, I thought I had a clear-cut top five lineup but as more time went on, I was still analyzing everything that went on with two separate books and just couldn’t get them out of my head, so I took this as a sign that they should have the top spot together. This also meant I needed another book for the last bit of the countdown and thankfully, I kind of knew which one I wanted to put into the group and so, now I have SIX books in this post instead of the normal five but I’m okay with that and I have a feeling you are perfectly fine about this too!

1. Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone & The German Midwife by Mandy Robotham

This book was almost knocked off the top spot because I was really tempted to give it to another book, but Jane still has a strong hold over me, and it’s been 11 months since I finished it and I am still recommending it to random people on Twitter! Everytime I see anyone asking for books, it is the first thing to pop in my head and I certainly don’t regret it.

I think the main reason why this is my favorite book of the year is because it’s not something that I would normally read in the first place. I have never been interested in suspense thrillers, but in 2018, I watched the film What Lies Beneath for the first time and I just fell in love with it and I just wanted more of that genre and somehow it managed to spill over into what kind of books I read and from the moment I saw it on Prime Reading, I started dancing in my seat because it has been on my TBR list for little over a year and I just got this vibe that I would enjoy it, and I thoroughly happy with myself for taking the chance on it and it’s just an amazing book!

The only thing that really sucked was later in the year, I had a chance to read the sequel to it called, “Problem Child” and even though everything that I loved about Jane was still there, I just didn’t connect with it as much as the first so this really messed with me for a while, but it happens though! If Victoria is writing a third book in the series, I definitely want to read it and see if it is the same or has a completely different vibe going on, so we’ll just have to see what happens in the new year or maybe early 2022.

The German Midwife was the last book I read to finish out my reading challenge and it was the best thing I could have done, but also made me want anything–and I’m not kidding!–about World War II and the Holocaust. I have a bad weakness to women’s stories; I’m not picky whether it is fiction or nonfiction as we’ve seen with all of the books I read this year! I still think about this story, I was very upset about these women who were pregnant while being in the concertation camps, and knowing how little food they were given on a daily basis, and then if you are a history nut like I am, you could say it was like mediaeval times and childbirth was just as deadly in the late 1930’s into the 40’s.

While Jane was about seeking revenge and basically seeing how her mind worked in every scene, Anke was full of compassion and love, and she knew what was happening to these Jewish babies after she helped their mother give birth to them but still helped every pregnant woman in her care anyways. These are two different women and I just fell in love with both of them.

3. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

One thing that I didn’t expect to happen in general was I actually finished a book series this year!

I thought it would happen to another series I’ve read but I lost interest in it just before I started the challenge and I still find it sort of odd that it was this series because I celebrated 10 years of being a high school graduate in 2020 and while I was reading these books, I felt like I was being transported back to my high school days and dealing with my crushes. I wasn’t as lucky as Lara Jean but I definitely wouldn’t have it any other way.

I loved this book for many reasons, the one that comes to mind is Lara Jean’s friendship with Stormy. She learned and grew a lot by hanging out with Stormy. I have my nana and we have a great relationship, but I wouldn’t compare her to Stormy because she’s not as rowdy and loves her cocktails like Stormy, but she loves to chat about her past and we can get into trouble sometimes. I feel after Lara Jean’s sister Margot went overseas, having someone like Stormy became her lifeline and she was allowed to flourish into this beautiful young woman. I think back at it now, this book was more about her as an individual–away from her family and the boys, she grew a lot and I certainly did too, because I started to realize that I have changed a lot since I’d been in school and I didn’t even know about it until several weeks ago!

3. Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippinscott

This was the most anticipated stories on my list at the beginning of the year, and for good reason too, because it was so lovely! On that list, I had three books that I knew would talk about disability in some form and I figured it would be smarter on my part to get through those first before heading into the others. I knew they would make me cry so I just wanted to save myself part of the misery that comes with reading these types of books!

What I still find kind of eerie in a way is that I read and watched the film version two months before COVID came around, so I remember learning the importance of each of the main characters standing six feet apart from each other at all times, but it didn’t necessarily hit me how much I would hear this statement until the guidelines were plastered everywhere! I will say, I understand why Stella was so on it with her medicine and wanting to create an app to help other people with Cystic Fibrosis. And I also understood the bitterness Will carried as well, so their stories kind of carried over into what 2020 became and as strange as that sounds, this was a really good book!

4. City Of Bones by Cassandra Clare

By the time I had found this book listed on Kindle Unlimited, I had almost given up hope for it.

I mentioned in the review that I was a big fan of the film that came out in 2013, but at that time I never wanted to really read the book because I figured I would do what I did trying to read the Harry Potter books, and compare every little scene but once I saw it online, I just couldn’t take it anymore and read the whole thing in like two weeks I think .I have seen how thick these books are on YouTube, so I was a little imitated by the sheer size of it but I was so proud that I read it after I have been waiting like four years to actually get my toes on it. I was very happy that I didn’t compare the two a lot but in my defense though, it’s been a long time since I’ve watched the film so I knew it wouldn’t be too bad.

One of my favorite things about it was how detailed the author made every scene, and I guess I never paid attention to the amount of material an author goes to making every scene stand out, and I’m glad I was able to read not just one fantasy novel this year but two others that I still think brought out everything for the readers, and it was deeply appreciated too!

5. After You by JoJo Moyes

I find it kind of odd that I have both the first and last books of the challenge included in this list. There are some similarities between Lou and Anke, such as how they treat everyone around them. They both want the best out of their situations and second guess everything and neither one has the power to do things differently that could maybe better their outcomes.

When I read the first book, I was only doing it so I wouldn’t be wondering what happens in the book, so I just made it easier on myself and it was the best decision I made because I was introduced to this lovely person: Louisa. She had no experience at caring for someone with a serve physical disability and had to figure out how to cope with his wish to die. When I got this book, I was thinking we were going to see her in Paris and having the time of her year, but we didn’t. We were introduced to Lou as she was losing all of her confidence and hope for the future. However, an opportunity popped up out of the blue and directed her back to who she was after meeting and falling in love with Will.

Honestly every book I read this year was amazing in their own way. I know I probably sound like figuring out the best books was easy but it really wasn’t. It’s hard to pick out each one because they were all different and I had a personal journey with all of them. For the most part, all but maybe one or two books actually received five or four stars on Goodreads because I thought they really deserved that type of rating.

I ended out the year reading 25 books, which was more than I ever expected to and it makes so damn proud because not only did I complete my original goal but I finished a whole series too! I think this is utterly amazing and I know I have a lot of family members and school teachers who have told me that they’re proud of my accomplishments, but I have felt like my heart could burst with excitement over this feat. I still remember my childhood days of hating to read both out loud and in general. I never found it to be fun until I was practically forced into it my freshman year of high school!

By the end of January when I come back to blogging after having a couple weeks off, I will be telling more about my next books and of course, announcing what I decided on how many I choose to read in 2021. Hope you to see again for that post.

Were you able to read any books this year? Did you give yourself a goal? If so, how many did you want to complete? After reading this post, do you want to set a reading goal for the new year too?

snowflake

Blogmas | 12 Days Of Christmas Book Tag

Hello!

So, apparently I did not have a post ready for today when we started the week. Luckily for you, I have been sort of hoarding a few different tags in the past few months and thought I would give the only Christmas tag a go!

This tag was created by Lizzie Loves Books on her YouTube channel a few years ago. She didn’t have any rules that I thought I would share with you, so looks like we can just move on to the questions because personally, I don’t like tagging others, especially in the middle of the month where a good chunk of bloggers have probably finished their blogmas posts. If you do want to do the challenge, please link me to your post because I do like to read everybody’s answers.

A Partridge In A Pear Tree | What is your favorite stand-alone book?

It was really hard to chose my favorite; mainly because I don’t want to pick just one, but I did it anyways.

One of the first books I read after I graduated from high school ten years ago, was The Secret Diary of A Princess by Melanie Clegg. The reason why I brought up school is, I used to read so many historical fiction books in my teens. This one is about Marie Antoinette while she is making her way to France from her homeland Austria. It is very interesting to think about how these people were thinking at the time, and I tend to be drawn to them because I like thinking some parts could be exactly what they were doing while they were alive. This was my first book about Marie Antoinette and I was purely inspired by the film that came out in 2006, it is definitely one of my favorites ever, so this just added fuel to the fire basically.

Two Turtle Doves | Who is your favorite book ship?

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, boy!

This one was kind of easy, although I had the same issue with the previous on which one to choose, so I just ended up picking both of them because I loved both of them.

Okay, the first couple that came to me was Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinisky. I’m still not happy about how the third book went but that’s just my opinion. Anyways, they were the perfect couple set in high school. I think the real reason why I was so for them is because I still love the notion of high school sweethearts and the fact it is basically out of style now really hurts me internally.

The other bookship is a little awkward because in the review for it, I wasn’t for it in the beginning but now I can’t stop thinking about it. The book is The German Midwife by Mandy Robotham. It is set during the mist of WWII and the main character Anke is a midwife who is helping all women bring their babies into the world, this means Jewish and the offspring of Adolf Hitler. I’m just going to leave that there for now.


Three French Hens | What about your favorite trilogy?

Well, since I’ve only finished one so far, it would have to be All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. There is one other series that I am loving but I’m not done with it yet. I’m hoping in the new year, I can add the final book to my reading challenge. The series is Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. It has really surprised how much I am loving these books but honestly I am such a fan of Louisa though and I think I’m just plain nosey to find out what happens next to her story!


Four Calling Birds | What is your favorite beast and/or creature?

I still think reading Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets was the worst idea ever, because like Ron, I am also scared of spiders and was a nice warning to what you would experience in the next book, dealing with the Dementors. The thing is, my favorite creature(s) were featured in Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.


Five Golden Rings | Show us five golden books!

From left to right: The German Midwife by Mandy Robotham, Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone, After You by JoJo Moyes, To All Of The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han & Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


Six Geese a Laying | What is your least favorite book?

The only book that comes to mind for this question is, The Ring and The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz. It was just pure awful! Too many characters for me to follow at one time.


Seven Swans a Swimming | Show us a book with water on the cover

This is sort of embarrassing but you asked…

766020
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister


Eight Maids a Milking | What fictional food do you wish you could taste?

Okay, for me, it is unlikely I would ever get to travel to Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida, especially if this COVID mess continues but I would love to try butterbeer and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. Despite the fear of getting a jelly bean flavored as tripe sounds disgusting, I’d still like to get one to snack on and the other to basically sit as a souvenir.


Nine Ladies Dancing | What is your favorite dancing couples?

I feel like the only book I’ve ever read that has dancing mentioned was the Stefan’s Diaries series. Since the first book takes place before he and Damon are turned into a vampire by Katherine, and is set in the 1800’s, I do believe there is some form of dancing involved in it.


Ten Lords a Leaping | What is your favorite book-to-movie adaption?

If you haven’t been following me for very long, this might shock you, because my favorite is Me Before You. I thought it was as close as you can get to mentioning everything that happens in the book. I still laughed and cried in the same places and I just felt they were one. While I read the second book in January, I still kept having the image of Emilia Clark as Louisa, Jenna Coleman as her sister Trina and Janet McTeer as Will’s mother,


Eleven Pipers Piping | What about your favorite book-to-film soundtrack too?

I know this might be a little bias but the soundtrack I made for Alias: Sister Spy by Laura Peyton Roberts is my favorite, and before anybody asks, no, you can’t hear it because I made it for a final in my freshman English class in 2007. It’s bad enough I still remember when my teacher played it in class.

I had a software for our computer that allowed me to create beats with pre-recorded sounds of various instruments for Christmas the year before. At the time, we couldn’t afford internet so I had found the app as we would call them now, as my lifeline that whole summer going into my high school years. I want to say I did a 20 song collection that was inspired by the book too, and what is really interesting is that, I wasn’t into rock music during this time but I had strong rock and heavy metal sounds within the score.

Twelve Drummers Drumming | What was your favorite ending?

Out of all the questions, this was the one I’ve been thinking about the most and I don’t know the answer…

The safest one would have to be Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han. It’s the final book of the series and I really felt it when I read it, and I totally wanted to cry because I just thought it was the most perfect end to this story.

Before I leave, I have to say, I really tried to pick books that I hadn’t read this year but I couldn’t help it. These are the books that still live on in my brain at the moment, so trying to push them out of the way seemed like a bad idea but I was proud of myself for going back to see all of the 100+ books I’ve read since 2006! Of course, there are a few missing but that’s still a HUGE number for one person I think!

If you would like to follow my journey next year, click here to be directed to my Goodreads account.

snowflake

Music Monday | Linda Perry

Hello!

This series is suppose to be about my favorite music producers, people who basically inspired me to study become one in college ten years ago. What I didn’t plan on was second guessing myself on whether or not Linda Perry is a producer. I knew she was a songwriter and musician in her own right, but I wasn’t so sure about the other part. Just before I started writing this post, I finally broke down and checked online to see if she is and everything says she is in face a producer.

Although I wanted everyone to be an established producer in these posts, I felt that in the end, it really didn’t matter if she was or wasn’t. I mostly knew her as a songwriter to artists such as P!nk and Christina Aguilera.

I didn’t write my first song until probably fifth grade, I didn’t even keep it because the words just kind of came at me all of a sudden and I wrote them on a small piece of paper. Some people would think they were poems, but I always found myself correcting everyone that they were songs, but then they would come back and ask if I had any music with it, and I’d say no. As most songwriters, they like to come up with the melody and music before figuring out the lyrics. I was the total opposite, but only by default, I can’t play any instruments and never really wanted to, so maybe they are poems after all!

For most of my middle school years, I was writing songs about what was feeling and going through during my preteen years. I still have folders upon folders of songs I wrote in classes and even at home too. I hardly ever look through them even though I want to keep them safe for later. I don’t quite know what or why I would want to do that because I was more abstract in my words back then; I hardly ever made a song specifically for one person and I definitely never put the person’s name I had in my mind while coming up with the lyrics. I was smart that way I guess!

I remember the first time I ever listened to “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera. I always wished I could be that brave to release all of my emotions into creating something as wonderful as that song. I watched a documentary where Linda was discussing when she worked with her on second album “Stripped” back in 2002, and how she was teaching her how to let go and give herself up to the world and exposing feelings that we all feel at one point or another, and that obviously meant a lot to me in my teen years, leading up to high school. By the time, I became a freshman, I think I stopped writing them, and turned my attention to books. The last one I ever wrote was published on my old blog at the end of 2009 I think.

I do tend to like a person’s music better if they are the lead songwriter. I generally love what Linda has created for other artists, especially female singers. I have a slight obsession with singer-songwriters like Natasha Bedingfield, Halsey, Banks, Phoebe Ryan, Alessia Cara, Charlie Puth and Julia Michaels because I know they all have written songs. I hope one day I can help make my nephew understand why it’s important to start writing in a different platform; whether it’s blogging, bullet journaling, poetry, or songwriting. It’s a important habit to keep.

Have you ever written a song before? If you have, do you remember any specifics about the first one you wrote? Did you keep it? 

snowflake

 

Book Review: “Explicit” by Roxy Sloane

Howdy!

I am a little behind on publishing my book reviews. For some odd reason, I forgot all about my April Playlist going up in the final week of the month and I had already scheduled a post to go up the same day (Wednesday) so I had to switch things around sort of last minute. Who knew I’d exchange my music day for a book?! This fact still puzzles me. Everything is good now and I can get back to my regular writing routine again!

Before we get into this review, I have to mention to you (and everyone else!) that this book is meant for mature audiences. It talks a lot about grown up stuff aka sexual intercourse, so you’ve been warned now to continue at your own risk.

Let’s start this with the burb of the story. I got the information off of Goodreads.


eb97f8cc45826ffd4ca7110707f79744

“I’ve told you I’ve fantasized about you. So, tell me the truth. Do you fantasize about me?”

Bestselling novelist Jackson Ford is arrogant, exacting, and relentless on the page and off. His irresistible new editor, Ellie Parker is smart, headstrong, and not intimidated by Jackson’s attitude – or the way he turns every exchange into a filthy seduction.

There isn’t a thing these two can agree on, except their intense attraction. But with Jackson’s deadline looming, can they stop fighting long enough for him to deliver the hit she needs?

The relationship between editor and author has never been so intimate or so explicit..


Apparently it had been a while since I’ve read one of Roxy’s books because this was utterly amazing! I’ve been trying to push my love of erotica back a bit to be able to enjoy other subjects but once I saw this listed as “free” on Amazon, I was like Yes! You need this now Meghan! And that was pretty much it for me!

Of course at first, I just wanted a sexy–possibly dirty–couple doing the nasty with full on describiation. Don’t you dare come after me! Like I said, I have been doing pretty good staying away so I thought of it as my little treat to myself. Anyways, my favorite parts of it wasn’t the sex scenes but you got to see it in a place where I feel like if the author expressed his explicit feelings for his new editor, it wouldn’t really end well for either side, but that’s just me! One thing I’ve learned while reading Roxy’s books, is that she has a knack for not only putting the main characters in sticky situations that us as the readers might be a little in over our heads too.

I think there is a thing with erotica authors that people tend to forget because they’re only there to read the story because of the amount of filthy sex and I’m not one to judge because that was the main reason why I got it, but I have noticed how descriptive every chapter was, from the differences to Ellie and Jackson’s houses to the naughty emails and chats on the phone–some of you might be rethinking of doing that in the office by the time you end this book. I could picture everything that was going on and I found it a little odd that it’s just now taken me this long to figure it out.

Oh, for those of you who have read this, who was your imaginary Jackson Ford? I’m honestly a little depressed to say this but I had the guy from the Trivago commercials, because of the salt and pepper hair and he just looks like a cocky-ish type of guy off camera, you know? Am I wrong with sensing this? I never really chose anyone else for the other characters, mostly because I was afraid of who I would pick out next.

If you do get it, and enjoy it, she has added her novella story “The Seduction” at the end so you basically get two books in one. For those of you, who have read it, what were your favorite thing(s) about it? What would you have rated it too?

snowflake