Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

Hello!

After doing the little free write story I did last month, I was really itching to do something different with my blog schedule for July. Thankfully, I saw this all over YouTube and I thought this was perfect for me!

If this is your first time on here and don’t know the reading challenge I am doing this year. I had made the decision at the beginning of the year to read 20 books for 2020! This was a big decision for me to make after only reading three times in 2019, none in 2018, and five books in 2017! I love to read but I have never had enough time in the day to pick up a book and read for more than an hour. However, while I made up my mind on the year challenge, I also made the decision to only blog two weeks each month so I could have a break of blogging but also have more than enough time to read all the books I wanted to! Spoiler alert: I’ll be back next week for a special occasion!

By the time this post is go up, I should be nearing the end of the challenge.

I have thought about upping the amount once I pass it but I’m stuck in between going to 40 as my dad suggested to me or the 50 that I have been thinking about making since the end of March. What do you think?

Anyways, let’s get into the tag now!


Even though everyone on BookTube has been doing this tag, I watched one of my favorites: Catriona of Little Owl Book and I just basically copied the questions she had listed in the description box below. She had included the two people who came up with the tag, and they are Chami and Ely, so please go check out their channels after finishing with this.

Best book you’ve read so far in 2020?

The best book I’ve read this year was Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone. In second and third are: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han and Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

There are two reasons why it’s the best in my opinion. The first is, I don’t normally like reading suspense/thriller books, but I am wanting anything that will not scare the living daylights out of me! Ever since mom told me I should watch the film, What Lies Beneath, it has changed me for the better I think. The other reason is because I enjoyed seeing the main character Jane’s mind work. I just love it! Everytime I have had a chance to recommend books to someone, including family members, this is the first book I mention to them.

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020?

I’ve read four sequels so far and that in general is crazy, but my favorite has been After You by JoJo Moyes. This was the first book to start up the challenge in January, and I still think about it every night.

As someone with a physical disability, I am still enjoying the series! Lou is such a great character and I love reading about her. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you really need to look into the series sometime. You’ll feel so many emotions, but I think end up loving it in the end too!

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

I rarely keep track of new book releases, especially since COVID-19 made its appearance earlier this year, but I have seen a few here and there. I would love to check out Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. The cover looks absolutely beautiful but I really think I’d love to get to know Noemi and the rest of characters in the story!

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Again, this is another one that I was a bit unsure on how to answer, but I have one book that I’ve seen all over the internet so I’ve been very curious about it, and it is Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles. According to some people it is “a combination of Moulin Rouge and The Phantom Of The Opera” and that was all I had to hear and I was sold to the concept.

Biggest disappointment

Honestly, I haven’t given any of the books I’ve read a “bad” rating or review, but there is one book that I was loving up until the last chapter and that was Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I basically became furious of the situation, but mostly felt it was just predictable and this really drove me crazy!

KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera

Biggest surprise

The biggest surprise of the challenge has been the fact that I actually hitting two goals this year. I have never finished a book series before in my life. As I’ve gotten older, I have always wanted to cross it off my bucket list but I have never really had a chance to do it.

I always thought the series I would finish first would be The Sinners On Tour series by Olivia Cunning. I started reading the first book Backstage Pass after I finished Fifty Shades Of Grey by E.L. James in 2012. I never loved Christian Grey so I gave up on the rest of the series. Fast forward, I am still on the “final” book by Olivia, but I haven’t read it since probably February.

Since 2014, I have always wanted to read Jenny Han’s series To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before but I never expected to enjoy it as much as I have and continue my journey to finish the books. I will probably be done with Always and Forever, Lara Jean and have scheduled the review to go up next week, but I think I will really be sad once I am finished reading Lara Jean’s story. However, I will feel really good for myself too, because I really didn’t think I’d even get here!

Favorite new author (Debut or new for you)

I started a lot of series this year. but there has been one that I found all on my own. Helen Susan Swift wrote a book about Women Of Scotland: A Journey Through History and the main reason why I decided to check it out is because we finally got the DNA results of my dad’s ancestry–we knew about the Welsh/Scottish but we didn’t know how much we were–and I thought this book would help me feel better about being descended through these incredible strong women!

By the way, if anyone knows of a similar book about Wales, let me know because that is also on my list!

Newest fictional crush

The two books that seem to flash at me are: Chaol from Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and Prince Maxon of Kiera Cass royal series The Selection. These characters are complete opposites but I have fallen in love with them for a reason. They both show in the later chapters that they care and are obviously protective of the main characters.

As much as I am still mad at myself for seeing King Joffrey from Game Of Thrones in my head for Chaol, I really enjoyed seeing the friendship between him and Celaena blossom as the story goes on. I actually approved of these two characters getting together instead of the prince and Celaena.

Newest favorite character

While I was reading P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han, I became really obsessed with Stormy. Everything about the character made me think of my own nana and I’s relationship. The only difference is that my nana doesn’t drink and has a thing for Adam Lambert…

Book that made you cry

I had five books that made me cry, but for most I knew it was going to happen! I made a point to read my disability related books at the start of the year so I could get the tears out of the way, but I didn’t plan the other two books to make me cry in the process!

Book that made you happy

The two books that made me really happy were I Am Malala by Malala Youszafai and Patricia McCormick and The Broken Circle by Enjeela Ahmadi-Miller. They are nonfiction and I really enjoyed getting to know these strong women.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year

While I was writing out the questions, the first and honestly answer that belongs here is Five Feet Apart by Rachel Lippincott. It’s odd that since the outbreak of COVID-19 and hearing everyone has to stand five feet apart at all times makes me instantly of the book and movie too! This is truly a beautiful book and yes, it works out for the two previous questions but it fits here better.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Well, it all depends on whether or not I continue doing a reading challenge once I finish the 20 books. I doubt I’ll gave myself a reading break because I do have other books on my tablet and in my bookshelf. I might get the chance to read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott but I really don’t know yet.

If you decide to do this tag on your blog or YouTube channel, please tag me so I can see your answers! Oh, and if you are not following me on Goodreads, you should come check out the other books I’ve read this year too. Click here to become a friend of mine on there.

What have you been reading this year? 

snowflake

Music Monday | Diddy

Hello!

We are in another month: June. Hope everyone has been enjoying your summer so far! If you have missed out on what the special meaning of this blog series, you can check it out here. Back in April, I started off with the big dogs: Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin. And then last month, I talked about the influence both Timbaland and Missy Elliott had on me in the late 90’s and early 00’s.

The last two months were kind of easy to sort out because I’ve known who I wanted to talk about, but once I started working on my June content, my mind went blank. I knew I wanted to discuss my love of Scott Storch, but I had no idea to pair him up with originally, until it hit me of another producer who was at the heart of my teenage years too.


Although my mom enjoys The Notorious B.I.G. now, I actually don’t remember anything by him or Diddy when I was child, so I’m basing this post on what I loved during my pre-teenage years.

In 2002, before MTV was probably in the early days of creating Jersey Shore, they still had music on their minds. TRL was still well and kicking – I even think both Carson Daly and Vanessa Lachey (nee Miliano) were still hosting the show too! The time was new for everybody, even the music competition shows. American Idol would have been on their second or third season around this time, and thanks to the success of AI, Diddy worked with MTV to create something similar, titling it “Making The Band”. Some of you might remember the show; I remember seeing the promos while TRL went on commercial breaks but I didn’t actually watch it until 2004.

I loved when Diddy decided on creating the ultimate all girl group for his label Bad Boy Records. I still remember (vaguely) of the first season and finding Aubrey O’Day and Aundrea Fimbres, but he wasn’t ready to build a group with the girls on that season, so they came back for a second shot and both Aubrey, Aundrea were joined with Shannon Bex, Dawn Richard, and D. Woods. By the time, they released their first album, I had never listened to a whole album all the way through before, so the fact I can do this for this and Welcome To The Dollhouse was an absolute shock but a very good sign or so I thought. I loved Danity Kane and still do, but my favorite was always Aundrea and since she really never came back to the group over the last few years, I haven’t been as excited as I was in the beginning.

While Diddy was seemingly busy creating one group, he actually went back to MTV with the intentions to make an all male group too! I did watch that season and the finale shocked me, because after the creation of what we know as Day26, absolutely nobody figured he would give Donnie Klang a solo contract! Unfortunately, neither Day26 or Donnie really broke out on their own like DK. I think they each had one decent album release and everything was over.

At the beginning of the year, I heard that the series was coming back but since the COVOID-19 mess, I hadn’t heard anything else about it. Honestly, the only thing I can say about it is, not everything should be rebooted. Back then, there were only two or three music shows whereas now, there are so many to literally drive a person go a bit nutty! I think one of the main differences it worked back then was because, if you wanted to watch something on TV, you had to watch it that night or else you were screwed unless they showed it over the weekend as an encore. Now, we rely on our DVRs and would rather wait until the season is over and binge a large collection at a time.

I really don’t think I’d watch the new reboot, that is, if it ever gets off the ground! I think I’d try it – watch the pilot and see if that magic is still there inside of me. Honestly, it will take a lot of twists and turns in just that hour premiere to capture my full attention to keep coming back for more each week.

Do you remember the ‘Making The Band’ show? What are your thoughts on the prospect of it coming back to TV? 

snowflake

 

Music Monday | Dr. Dre

Howdy!

Last month I announced that I was going to do another series on my blog. It would replace my normal summer Tune Tuesday posts since I am no longer publishing anything on those days, instead I would switch it to Monday.

The theme would be based off of what inspired to want to become a record producer after I graduated from high school ten years ago, but I would also include people who I look to nowadays. Every month, I will post a banner that will have two people I will focus my attention on, and hopefully that’ll keep you excited for the next one.


I have always had a love/hate relationship with hip hop music. There are words that I don’t really enjoy hearing all the time, such as “bitch,” and the “n” word that you will never find me using ever! I also don’t like the way women and the breed pit bulls are being laid out whether in a rhyme or the music video. They allow each part to be stereotyped, even themselves as musicians. Whenever people listen to rap music, the audience automatically assumes the person spitting a line, is a gangbanger, has abused women, over uses alochol and drugs, etc. Something about the world of music affected me in both a positive and negative way that I still wanted to be the disabled and female version of Dr. Dre.

Since I was born in the early 90’s, and my mom was both a lover of rap and rock music, there was a lot of sounds jamming in our household. My dad worked construction, so he was gone through most of the day and would get home late, so while we spent time with mom, she would play various cassettes and CDs of music. When we were home sick, I really relished in the environment. Since my sister and I were introduced to the genre at a fairly young age, we weren’t shown the violent side of the genre, I actually didn’t know anything about it until I was in my teens and then everything I heard as a child made more sense to me.

Although I don’t remember if my mom had any of Dr. Dre’s albums when we were kids, I still knew why he was so important to the music world. To be perfectly honest, I’ve always felt I don’t have to listen to older music if I highly respect and understand what each person did for their genre. Dr. Dre was no different. I knew he was at the heart of the rap world, but I didn’t really see it first hand until I hit my second phase of listening to that kind of music in 2003.

I don’t remember how I was introduced to 50 Cent’s music. I feel like Eminem had something to do with it, and at this time, Dr. Dre was producing music for Eminem and they were both working with 50 Cent to release him to the masses, so they were a formable force to be reckoned with, almost like a Holy Trinity, together they could release anything and everybody would love it.

The music video for 50 Cent’s hit “In Da Club” is showing you how they molded him into this person; they influeced him into this giant act to entertain people from around the world. It was incrediable! In a way, that is what a music producer is suppose to do, is make you into this beast, give you the confidence in yourself to be able to make greant music. I feel there’s a lot of trust going into this, because they direct you into the right lane, they become your mentor and inspire you to release your demons, passions, easily, and because of this everything you say can be taken in a certain way, whether that is a good or bad thing is debatable. They believe in you and see your true purpose and I think that’s what makes Dr. Dre a legend.

I use to have dreams and write songs throughout my time in school about the possibility of working with my favorite rappers of the time. Since I was highly obsessed with 50’s group G Unit as a teen, they appeared quite a bit but once I decided on what I’d like to study in college and after I was accepted into the school, sadly those dreams became less and less, and I wonder if I should have read into that change a little more. My ability to write songs officially vanished in 2008, which I find interesting because I always think that this was the last year rap music felt new and exciting. Of course, this is only my opinion and considering I made the choice to give the genre another try after a six year hiatus, I can’t say for sure it was a great idea on my part.

Which side of Dr. Dre do you like the best, his rap career (whether with N.W.A. or solo) or are you more interested who he works with and the beats he creates?

snowflake

Life Lately | Tulips, Royals, & Blog Schedule

Howdy!

It has been a LONG freaking time since I’ve done one of these blog posts. I always tell myself I need to do more of them or at least have mom buy a thick spine journal so I can get things out but it never happens!

Here’s the interesting part of this, I thought about writing this first than getting to work on Friday’s post, which will be a diary entry directed to my lovely papaw. For today, I am focusing on good things–not saying talking about/to my papaw isn’t good–and I am hoping to unleash a lot of things that have been roaming around in my mind lately! It will be separated by three sections so I hope everyone enjoys themselves and give me your thoughts at the end.

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Spring Is Coming!

I like winter, and always have, mostly because snow makes me happy although I never go out and play in it or run through with my wheelchair. This year, we haven’t had a lot of snow and like my mom mentioned to me the other day, she said since we didn’t have a bunch of snow like in previous years, the bugs will be awful because they didn’t necessarily die. I am okay with the occasional fly or in our case, ladybugs but yeah, I could do without the wasps! I’m not a fan of bees either, but we need them to survive apparently!

One thing that I definitely missed during the colder months is my mom buying flowers for our house. I guess we kind of got into a routine of having new flowers throughout every two weeks. I am actually fine with fake flowers, but having something like fresh flowers can really help your mood. At least, it has in my case when my mom bought me some very beautiful tulips one day.

I am not just obsessed with sunflowers, I like a variety of flowers like daisies, roses and tulips. I do talk about my love of sunflowers quite a bit and because of that nobody really knows about the others. So, after my mom found out that I adored tulips, she found these $12.99 tulips in a fairly large vase. My dad didn’t really like the price of them but since then we have all become a little obsessed with them. They change every day. They continue to flourish but we’ve been watching one of them because it’s been a little overzealous on how high he becomes that for a while he began to lean down and we have started to make jokes about it like “I’ve stood up all day. I need a break!” My mom and I can be a little weird sometimes

Since having the flowers in my room, I have been looking forward to spring. My room is located by all of our trees and I have really missed the greenery that surrounds me, but I have enjoyed seeing the moon through my window at night.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex

I know you’re probably tired of seeing everybody discuss the royals right now. If you want to ignore this section, you can. I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about the drama, but I do want to talk about my thoughts on it.

I have been following the British Royal Family since The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were married, so around 2011. My mom has been reading up about them since Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer. And yes, she absolutely hated Camila, The Duchess of Cornwell. I actually do not, mainly because I am a supporter of Anne Boleyn, as she was also a mistress to a senior royal.

For the case of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, I always felt they would be different. They would move into the modern world as royals, but I did not think this would happen at all! When The Queen gave Harry and Meghan the title of “Duke and Duchess of Sussex” was interesting because the last time a royal was given this peerage was Queen Victoria’s uncle Prince Augustus Frederick. Although he had the title of ‘Duke Sussex’ neither one of his wives were allowed to be called a duchess, but what is interesting is that they were not given permission of the crown which at the time of his first wife, George III was still alive. Prince Augustus and his first wife welcomed two children, but were not recognized so they were not awarded any titles as their many cousins.

Prince Harry asked the queen for permission to marry Meghan, but their son Archie does not carry the title of Viscount like say Harry’s uncle Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex’s son James, as he is known as a Viscount.  I understand their right to want to lead a more private life for Archie’s sake, but the separation of leaving as senior royals threw me for a loop! To me, I think this would have been easier on everyone if Harry declined the title of Duke when he and Meghan first married.

When Anne, The Princess Royal first married her first husband, he was offered a title but declined thus their children: Peter and Zara, along with their descendants do not have royal titles. A lot of people will say this happened because Anne is a woman, but at the time of the marriage, Charles was not married at all. She was the only child of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh to wed. Here we have Prince William as the oldest son of The Prince of Wales, married with three children. All three were present when Harry and Meghan married, so why didn’t he say no? A part of me wonders on the fact of possible backlash to the world if Meghan, a biracial woman, wasn’t allowed to be called a duchess. Shrugs.

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The Blog Schedule

After what happened while I was doing my A-Z Disability Challenge series, I honestly wanted to give myself a massive break. Since I can’t stop blogging, I figured I needed to find a solution to make it easier and also keep it fun for the both of us. Once January began, I took off for two weeks and do other things that were not related to blogging. It was relaxing, but I did not envision to keep this trend alive for as long as I thought I would. However, I have quite enjoyed myself in these breaks, mostly because I can focus my attention on reading my books in my off time.

The schedule (including a post for Mon, Tues, and Wed) will continue this way until I decide that I need another week for more posts. As of right now, two weeks is doing really good for me. I am still skeptical of this, but I am getting the hang out of it.

I think I am done writing this post now. I thought I would add a few more things about my life, but as I said above, I also have my papaw’s letter to do as well. I think I will include bits about my nephew Nolan in there because I know he’d enjoy it. Well, I hope you are having a great week!

snowflake

Book Review: “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio

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Howdy!

In February, I read only three books.

Ride Me Dirty by Vanessa ValeJane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone and Wonder by R.J. Palacio

My tastes in books at the moment has been very interesting, I’m not really sticking to one genre but then again if you know anything about me, you’ll know this is completely normal because I can be completely at peace when my music is on shuffle. I figure going this route will help me stay motivated to read more and maybe keep it entertaining and so far so good!

This book was my final “disability” read on my list and I’m glad I read it, but I am somewhat surprised by the fact that I gave it a four star rating on Goodreads. I enjoyed reading it. I thought it was really good, but I just didn’t think it deserved five stars.

Hmmm…


13510287“I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.

WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

taken from Goodreads.

The story of August “Auggie” Pullman was beautiful! I loved his attitude and surprisingly his hobbies like Star Wars. Although, I have to say, I don’t know anything about that fandom. Honestly, I am more into the “newer” Star Trek world of Captian Kirk and Spock. Anyways, I loved that there was still a silver of a young child in him, but as you continue reading the book, you also discover there’s a mature side wanting to come out too.

It was a bit difficult to see him as a middle schooler, because where I’m from, when you become a fifth grader, you’re still in elementary so I had to get it into my brain to not create this avatar character younger than he is in the book. Another part of this process was when the term “dating” come up and oh my gosh, I had so many flashbacks going on, it was nuts! I fully agreed with Summer’s mother, fifth graders are too young to start dating or anything else in that realm.

We talk about Auggie’s life in his perspective first, but then we come to a stop and there are a few parts for some of the close characters that August is surrounded by and I feel like these were my favorites because of course, everybody is going to have another perspective of a certain person, but you never get to really know what they are thinking about them in real life. So, the fact that we see Via, Jack Will, Justin’s telling us their thought process made it more interesting for me. It actually brought me back to the time when I first met my friend Haley in kindergarten, because for me this was the first time I was around a group of kids all day long, so they were allowed to get to know me but the only person I remember who had a good experience was Haley. She thought I was the coolest thing in the world and I still appreciate everything she ever did for me back then.

One of the other things that is discussed is these precepts in Mr. Browne’s English class. I thought it was only right to end this post with one of my own. Actually, this is a quote that I used for my senior year in high school to go underneath our pictures in the yearbook. It was:

Why be different when you can be so much more?

At this point in my life, I wasn’t comfortable with my body, disability at all. So, I still don’t fully understand why I would come up with such a thing. I came up with it on the spot too! It was crazy, but the real question is now that 10 years have passed, do I believe it? In a way, yes I do. I am different, but I am more than my disability. I am a woman, who thinks for herself and enjoys things like any other person. I am just me. I think Auggie could believe it too. He is more than what is going on with his face. He is more than what other people may think of him. He is just himself.

I think I might’ve figured out why I gave it four stars. At the end of the book, Auggie does understand that he is just an ordinary guy and is perfectly fine with it. He is also looked upon others as an inspiration. He did do an extraordinary thing and even though he was happy about it, as the reader I didn’t much care for the ending of the story. It was exactly like it was supposed to be, a happy ending with a greater reason behind it. I expected it to happen and I’m sure others did too, but because of that, I was immediately offended. So, I left out a star and I know, people will say something about it, but this is what I feel and what entered me emotionally while I was reading it.

How you read the book “Wonder” yet? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know below! 

snowflake