What I’ve Read So Far

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At the beginning of the year, I had every intention to read a book a week which would equal 52 books by the end of the year. Let’s just say, I have absolutely not stuck to this plan, and am only 9mbooks into my goal, when I should have already been at 38. Oops. Not that it matters. I think we can all agree that with everything that has happened this year, we should cut ourselves some slack. Rather than focusing on meeting a goal, I have just been taking my time with reading and enjoying the process. Some books I read faster than others and some books I limit myself to one chapter a day because I don’t want the story to be over. And that’s completely okay! Go at your own pace and  try not to put yourself on a timeline because it will only cause unnecessary stress.

Anyway, let’s get into the books!

Gods of Jade and Shadow by  Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

 I have seen many mixed reviews on this book, but I personally loved it!  From the characters, to the world building, this book had me hooked from the very first page and I always recommend it to everyone I know. I am not saying much here because I plan on making a dedicated post later this month because the book is just that good.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Now this book is one that I had been waiting to read for a really long time, but  could never read because it was always checked out at my school’s library. So, I just forgot about it. However, earlier this year when I saw that this book was being made into a movie, I felt compelled to pick up a copy from the library and finally see why it was so popular. While I could not relate  to the characters much due to the age difference, it was still a beautiful read and I know younger me would have loved it. 

Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from Myths and Monsters by Nikita Gill

There is just something so powerful and uplifting about Nikita’s writing that makes it difficult for me to put any of her books down. I’m not really big on poetry, but I enjoy the things that she writes about. This one in particular was amazing, and if you’re not a poetry fanatic but crave something magical to read, Nikita Gill’s work is a great place to start.

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

Again, I am not a fan of poetry, but I became curious after this book was constantly on hold at the library. In between shifts, I managed to finish this in less than three hours and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. If you’re looking for a quick, but powerful read you should definitely check it out.

1984 by George Orwell

This book…. If you haven’t read it yet, just do it. I didn’t necessarily like the book but I think it’s important for everyone to read at least once in their life. This is one that I want to revisit in the future because there are so many layers and underlying themes that I want to try harder to understand. 

Leaving Wishville by Mel Torrefranca

I decided to give this book a chance after seeing so many great things about it. There were some problems that I wish would have been resolved and I would have really liked to have seen some character development, but other than that it was an interesting find and I can’t wait to see what the sequel (if there is one in the works of course) has in store for the characters!

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen

This one will always have a special place in my heart. I purchased this book back in 2017, got halfway through and never finished. I can’t remember why but I’m sure it had everything to do with me moving into my dorm freshman year of college and forgetting  all about it. I remember sitting at my parents house and noticing it on the living room bookshelf so I picked it back up and I stayed up until I finished. I love cats and I was sold from the concept of how one man was able to turn his entire life around just by a small orange tabby walking into his life. However, there are brief mentions of drug abuse and addiction to do keep that in mind. 

Woven in Moonlight  by Isabel Ibanez

As soon as I saw this book sitting in the catalog room, I immediately put myself on the hold list. Anything that has to do with magic, rain, or the moon, I am sold! This is also another one that I will be writing in a separate post so be on the lookout. 

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell

I have read and loved  Rainbow Rowell’s work in the past and I was really excited about finally starting this one. The story begins with Deja and Josie about to work their last ever shifts at the pumpkin patch. Knowing that they may never come back, and the fact that Josie never mustered up the courage to talk to his crush, Deja sets off on a mission to help Josie get the girl of his dreams and to try every snack at the pumpkin patch before saying goodbye. Their night is filled with countless redirections, hilarious encounters, and realizations that will leave you desperate for more. I loved this graphic novel and I will more than likely read it again this coming fall.

There you have it! These are all of the books I have read so far, and I can’t wait to share the books that I plan on reading this month. Please forgive me for the lack of detailed explanations for each book. I am very new to this and I am still trying to test out ways to review my favorite books without giving too much away. (Because apparently I tend to do just that). Thank you so much for reading, and feel free to leave any suggestions down below or through email because I am always looking to add more books to my reading list.

Also…..HAPPY FIRST DAY OF FALL! I am so excited for this season and I cannot wait to share what I have planned. 

How to Read More

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In case you didn’t already know, I love reading, especially anything with Fantasy written all over. However, I also really love a good tv show. Sometimes I find myself going a few days without reading because I am neck-deep in a new tv series and I put my reading list on the back burner. Reading wasn’t always my favorite past time, especially during my freshman year of college. I figured that since I had just graduated high school and that I was no longer being forced to read books I didn’t like for the sake of meeting my AR goal, I would never have to pick up another book.  It wasn’t until I applied for a summer job at the library that I discovered my love for reading again. When you are surrounded by books for four hours out of the day, every day for five days straight and have nothing to do, you kind of have no choice but to pick something up. I couldn’t remember the last time a book had made me laugh, cry, and feel so happy afterward. Ever since then I am always looking for new book recommendations to add to my TBR list.  If you are looking for a new hobby and struggle to read here are a few tips that could help.

Set aside time to read

In college, I would use the excuse of not having enough time to read because I had too much work to do. Well, all of those hours spent watching netflix and mindlessly scrolling through social media proved otherwise, so I slowly started working reading back into my schedule. Start off small. You can set your timer for 30, 20 or even 10 minutes and read until the timer goes off. This is a great way to incorporate reading into your daily routine, and I promise you that it won’t take away too much time from Gossip Girl.

Take advantage of your local library and the services they provide

Wherever it is that you live, check to see if you have a library in your area. More than likely as long as you live within the same zip code as the library, they will issue you a card for free. Also make sure to check to see if they offer online library card applications considering that we are in the middle of a pandemic. From here, check to see if your library uses libby. Libby is a great resource that you can download on any mobile device, laptop, desktop, etc, and gives you access to thousands of titles that the library offers in digital form.

Try Audiobooks

I understand more than anyone that books are expensive, so again, after you have gotten your library card check to see what audiobooks are available. Personally, I only listen to audiobooks whenever the physical copy of the book I want to read isn’t available, but I can see how they are helpful to people that are always on the go.

Research to see if your favorite movies or shows are based off of books

You would be surprised at how many of your favorite shows were books before they hit the big screen. Take The Handmaids Tale on hulu, for example. Not only does the show have you on the edge of your seat, but the book is even more exciting. It’s interesting to see the differences between books and their television adaptations and in most cases, the books can add more depth and understanding as to what is going on.

Take part in reading challenges

If you don’t already have a goodreads account, get one because its free. Goodreads gives you the option to set up a reading goal at the beginning of each year and you can update your reading as you go. Goodreads even has a catalogue of the best books from previous years, so if you are struggling to find your next read just refer to these lists!  (No, this is NOT a sponsored post, I just really enjoy using their services and highly recommend them for book lovers.)

Always keep a book with you

Now this one is a lot easier said than done. You don’t want to lug around a 900 page book everywhere, so just keep something small in your bag. If you know that you are going to be out for a while during the day and you think that you can squeeze in some reading time, take a small book that you can finish in under 2 hours. For example, any type of poetry book is great. I was able to read all of Nikita Gill’s Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from Myths and Monsters in between shifts at work so there’s an option for you. 

Do not continue reading a book that doesn’t interest you

I have struggled with this for the longest time! I don’t know why, but part of me always felt obligated to finish a book because maybe it would get better toward the end or I just need to give this book a chance. I can’t tell you how many times I have done this and then felt so unfulfilled afterwards that I would experience burnout and not pick up another book for months at a time. Bottom line, if you don’t resonate with a book don’t be afraid to put it down. In the end you will thank yourself. (Small Disclaimer: This is not to discredit any authors out there. Hence, why I didn’t include any examples. It’s just that sometimes certain styles of writing doesn’t interest me, and that’s okay.)

If you got this far firstly, thank you, and secondly I hope this helped! If you have any book recommendations, be sure to leave them in the comments or feel free to email me!

You Should Start a Commonplace Book

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If you are anything like me and have too many notebooks lying around your room, you should start a commonplace book.

So what exactly is a commonplace book?

A commonplace book is a book used to compile knowledge “usually by writing information into books” (Wikipedia). It isn’t like a journal or a diary, where you keep a recording of your daily life, but rather a place to write down those random ideas that you want to come back across in the future.

The pages of my commonplace book are filled mostly with quotes, life lessons, book ideas, quick sketches and for some odd reason a complete list of all of the presidents’ names. Yes, I know that technically most commonplace books do not have drawings in them, but I do it because I don’t have a sketchbook and I sometimes feel compelled to draw. It is a perfect way for me to keep everything that I find interesting in one place rather than having random scraps of paper and notes everywhere.

I even have one page dedicated to interesting words and their definitions that I may want use in one of my stories in the future. It’s perfect for me as a writer because I constantly have ideas and see things that inspire me so having my commonplace book on hand is really helpful.

Start yours today. Look around your room, on your desk, or in your office and find a blank notebook. It can be any kind of notebook, composition book or even a notepad. As you see in the picture, I just used one of my old moleskine journals that I bought years ago on a whim and never used. Do you use a commonplace book or something similar?

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A Mid-Year Update

I have to admit, I am not the best at keeping up with this blog. For a minute, I forgot that this space even existed. I meant to start updating this blog at the beginning of the year but with everything that has happened since then, I never knew when it would be the right time to come back.

So where is this blog headed?

For starters, this blog will soon have a different design. This layout has served its purpose these past two years, but its time for bigger and better things.

I have also been reading  lately, ALOT. Since we have all been confined to our homes, I decided to finish the books that I started but never finished. Reading has always been a comfort of mine, and I am thankful that I now have extra time to discover more titles. I have read so many interesting books, and I will more than likely share my take on them here.

As far as short stories, I will still post those but not as often as I did before. Especially if it is an idea that I plan on expanding. I will be posting one that I have been working on at the beginning of fall, so be on the lookout!

Also, I have been really adamant about self care these past few months. It is super hard and I have a long way to go but totally worth the time and effort.  There are a few products in particular that I have been loving as of lately, and I really do believe that they are worth checking out.

I could ramble on and on about the ideas that I have for this blog moving forward, but I think I will just keep it short and sweet.  Stay tuned :).

-J’Anne

 

 

Here’s to 21.

Hi there. 🙂 So in case it wasn’t obvious from the title, today is my 21st birthday. When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t sure how my day was going to turn out. The original plan was to just stay at home, eat lots of snacks and re-watch Grey’s Anatomy. [I know what you’re probably thinking; you just turned 21, why didn’t you go out? Well I’ll tell you why! It’s because I’m a student who has to be up at 6:00 the next morning so having a hangover really isn’t an option. ] Anyway, for the most part my day was just like any other day until a few hours ago. Out of the blue, one of my closest friends Raven Nicole { who by the way also has a blog where she shares poetry} called me to wish me a happy birthday. What meant to be a short and sweet message quickly turned into a 2 1/2 hour long phone call. Honestly, that conversation is exactly what I needed. We talked about everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. It was so healing to talk to someone and for the first time in a while I was actually able to sit back and breathe. I explained to her how for the past couple of weeks, I have been caught in a hard place and I really hadn’t talked to anyone about what I was going through. Getting to the root of what was actually going on reminded me that there is so much power in being vulnerable. I know vulnerability is daunting, trust me I struggle with this more than anyone, but if you set aside your pride for just a few minutes and talk to someone, everything becomes so much easier. Suddenly, you are able to laugh about the things that just the week before, brought you to your knees crying. You realize that nothing is as bad as it seems and you become grateful that you had the strength to make it through each day.

If you are currently going through hard times, I want to challenge you this week to reach out to a friend and talk things through. It doesn’t matter if you two haven’t seen or talked to each other in a while, I promise you that won’t matter. The people that continue to show up love you so much and only want the best for you so I think it’s about time for everyone, as well as myself, to start realizing that. As I get older, I realize that life is so short and time is relentless so there’s really no time to waste trying to do life alone. Please take care of yourselves, talk to someone, and try to be more mindful. If you have gotten to this point, thank you so much for your time, I will be back soon, and here’s to turning 21! 😀

-J’Anne ❤

Fall Inspiration

Hi there!

I just wanted to pop in and share a few of my favorite quotes out of the many that I am hoarding on a seasonal Pinterest board. Fall is easily my favorite time of year, and I am looking forward to wearing sweaters in 90 degree weather. (It tends to not get cold where I live so I like to pretend.) Anyway, here they are:

“The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go– Unknown

This quote is honestly so beautiful. I know so many people see spring as the season of new beginnings, but I also feel this way about fall. If you know the owner and/or author of this quote, please let me know!

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of first September was crisp and golden as an apple.” – J.K. Rowling

This beautiful quote was written by the one and only J.K. Rowling in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Not only is she one of my greatest inspirations, but I am also a dedicated potter head. I have read the entire Harry Potter series twice and I plan to read it again this fall if I have time. (Btw I am a proud member of the Hufflepuff community.)

“I’m so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers” -L.M. Montgomery

I particularly love this quote considering; Halloween! My sister’s and I are planning to host our 2nd annual Halloween party and I am beyond excited. Also, my birthday falls on Oct. 23rd, so of course October would be my favorite month. 🙂

“Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.” -Shira Tamir

While most people view leaves as an eyesore, I think they are beautiful. Especially watching them flow down a vacant street on a cool fall day.

“And the sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep and autumn was awakened.” – Raquel Franco

I apologize for the excessive use of the word leaves in this post, but this is my top favorite. Raquel Franco has so many beautiful writings, I highly recommend that you check out her work.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Q: What are some of your favorite quotes for fall? Feel free to share!

Feeling Uninspired? Me too

Hi there, it’s me again. If you have forgotten about me or this space by now, I understand. It’s been a little under six months since the last time I posted. I’ve been pondering on what I would say once I came back, or if I would even come back at all. I wish I had some exciting new pictures to share or stories from different places that I’ve been but that is so unrealistic.

Just as the title of this article states, I have been experiencing a serious writing/creative block these past couple of months. I guess that’s on me; I haven’t really done much other than work and prepare for this upcoming year. I’m already a junior, how did that happen? When I first started this blog, I was only a freshman in college, trying to make sense of everything around me as well as myself. While I am still figuring these things out day by day, a part of me wishes that I could go back to that small space in the corner of my dorm freshman year and start all over again.

I have since deleted almost all of my posts. Why is that? Honestly I’m not even so sure myself. I feel like a lot of it had to do with insecurity and fear that someone was going to not like my writing. If I’m being honest, none of that really matters to me now. It took me a while to realize that no matter what I do or say, I can’t control anyone’s attitude toward me. There are some posts that are so special to me, I wish I would have never gotten rid of them. Maybe I will bring some of these posts back to life from the archives, or maybe I won’t. Only time will tell.

On another note, I really want to get serious about posting monthly, if not weekly. I have a few ideas for the direction that I want to take this blog, and I am hoping that this season will allow more of my creative process to flow. Anyway, if you have read this far and you don’t mind me asking:

Q: What are some things that you do to find inspiration? ( Anything helps.)

p.s. It feels so good to be back 🙂

-J’Anne

If You are Feeling Overwhelmed

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Hello everyone and welcome back. This post is going to be a little different because I just wanted to sit down and ramble for a bit. There must have been a reason that you clicked on this , and whatever reason that may be just know you are not alone. Stress is normal around this time of year, especially with the plethora of things going on. Whether that be deadlines, studying, preparing for finals etc., I know because that is exactly what I am going through at the moment. So many things have been happening lately and with school on top of everything else, my life has been crazy.

I’m sorry, I am not trying to sit here and rant about how crappy my life is because that isn’t the case. My life isn’t perfect and I don’t claim for it to be, but the constant pressure from those around us to be perfect and only share the happy moments in our lives can really take a toll. I just feel that sharing my experiences will not only help myself but anyone else who is in my situation.

Anyway, to get back on topic, when things start happening and our workload  piles up, we tend to make our situations worse by worrying and playing the victim. ( I know I do, I am super dramatic) Just remember that YOU got this! You made it to the end of the semester and that is something to celebrate. Get out of your room and call up some friends for a study date. Make an A on that test. Treat yourself to some coffee because you deserve it, don’t let these things take your joy away! I know I am starting to sound a bit cliché and I’m not trying to tell you that these are some magical cures to all of your problems. I get it, life is hard. Some people may not be able to get out of bed or they may not feel motivated to do anything. If this is you, please hang in there. Everything happens on your own time. On the other hand, give yourself some credit. You made it another day and are doing everything that you can right now. Please don’t give up, no one has seen the best of you yet. Just give yourself time.

If you start to feel worthless because you feel like you aren’t living up to everyone else’s expectations, don’t. I struggle with this on the daily and I constantly compare myself to others about anything and everything. Just little things like this start to take a hold of me and I start to stray away from how I normally do things. I try to adopt other routines and guess what? They never work. Every time this happens I remind myself that it’s okay if I can’t do something like someone else, because I know that I can do it J’Anne’s way. Whenever I get into this mindset I realize that there is nothing wrong with doing things my way as long as I know that I tried.

It is just a slow process of getting to know yourself.  Through this you slowly start to love yourself and through loving yourself you begin to find true happiness. I am still on this journey but I can say that I have come a long way from where I was a year ago. I hope that everyone of you can learn to love yourself. We need to break the stigma of sadness during the holidays because I see so many amazing people struggle and I wish that I can help. Sadly, I know that this easier said than done, but I can still try my best to be there for those that need me.

Good luck to you all and please take care of yourselves for these next couple of weeks.  ❤

-J’Anne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kezee Street

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Lately I’ve been thinking about the house that my family used to live in on the corner of Kezee St. Eleven years ago to be exact. It was a large white, slightly slanted house with a torn down garage in the driveway. Our home was just down the road from my cousin’s house so we would stay gone for hours on end running around and exploring the neighborhood. I still remember the looks that we received because of how many of us there were. Sometimes there would be five  of us and other times whenever my family from across town would come visit there would be ten. I’m sure it looked funny; a herd of young Hispanic kids walking in the street. Me and my cousin, Titos, trailing along behind in the grass because we weren’t old enough to walk with the big kids.

I never would have guessed how much I would miss these moments, but here I am now sitting in my sister’s apartment, dog sitting and reminiscing back to my childhood. I’m 20 now, and sometimes it just feels so strange. I start to notice how everything around me is changing and time seems to continuously slip right through my fingers. Whenever I go back to my hometown during the holidays to visit my Aunt and walk the same paths that I would when I was younger, it feels almost like a movie. A distant memory that will forever be etched into the streets of my city.

I look over at the train tracks, then remember the countless nights sitting up in bed, not being able to sleep because of the thundering and shaking of the train as it rolled down the railway. I remember how, despite our mom’s stern insistence not to, we would put coins down to be smashed. We never knew what we would use them for, we just thought they looked neat, almost like those silver and gold talismans used in movies.

I remember the old, weather beaten shed in the back that my sister’s and I turned into a clubhouse. Friends would come and go, but all of our names painted in an old can of red spray paint would remain.

Then there was the cucumber plant that my dad planted and to this day I still have no idea if it bloomed. Maybe the person who had moved in after us or even the person after them would have found it. Either way, the mystery remains, because now the house is gone forever. It was sold to the city who would knock it down, taking all of our memories with it. Sold to someone who had no idea what it meant to the three girls who lived there eleven years earlier. The house in itself is now just a ghost.

Recently, when my sister and I drove to Kezee street during the holidays to look at the rubble, I realized that even though our memories were here, this was not our home. Our home was the feeling that would follow us to every house after that, because we were all together. This big, slightly slanted white house with the broken down garage in the driveway was home to one of the most beautiful moments in our lives and though it’s foundation has crumbled, our memories will not.


Thank you so much to whoever reads this. I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and I will be back hopefully sometime before the new year. xo

-J’Anne