Hey everyone! I know this is a new concept here on the blog but since we’re heading towards the end of the year and the last almost two years have been so outside of normal, I felt like thinking about some last quarter goals wasn’t a bad thing.
I of course have my usual TBR books that I want to get through, but I would like to get caught up on past TBRs and make up some ground on review books that I still have. I hate to admit it but I have some back titles on Netgalley that I need to get taken care of.
I’d also like to go back to the goals I made at the beginning of the year and see what series I need to finish, I know Fruits Basket was on that list and I’m only halfway through the manga series. I would also like to finish Kamisama Kiss since I’m almost done with that one, I think I have 6 or 7 volumes left.
Then there’s my Nancy Drew re-read – I’m still doing it, but not at the rate I had originally planned. Honestly other things are the priority right now, so while I’ll still read them as I can, they are not at the top of the pile.
Finally, as I stated earlier I am planning on doing Nanowrimo again this year. I’m going to try and be laid back about it, do the bulk of my writing on the weekends, but I’m also not going to punish myself if it is slow going.
Let’s be honest, my mental health has been severely affected through the last almost two years, so if anything I need to be kind to myself, but I also want to get things done before the end of the year so I can start 2022 with a clean slate.
Anyone else setting goals for themselves for the last quarter of 2021?
Happy release day to 21 Questions by Alexandria Rizik! To celebrate its release I’m excited to bring you all a Q&A I was able to have with Alexandria about the book and her writing experience/process. If you haven’t already make sure you check out my review for 21 Questions. Also, huge thanks to Alexandria for answering my questions and thank you to Sparkpress for reaching out to me about reviewing this title!
Alexandria Rizik is an award-winning filmmaker and the author of two books, the poetry collection Words Written in the Dark and the children’s book Chocolate Milk. She was born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she was brought up by a large Armenian family. She received her bachelor of arts in English literature from Arizona State University. Alexandria’s love for writing began when she was a young child: her aunt bought her a journal and told her to write her a story, and the rest is history. Her favorite part about writing is being able to write the happily ever after that doesn’t always happen in real life. Besides writing, Alexandria loves yoga, wine, and family time. She lives in Scottsdale, AZ. Learn more at https://www.alexandriarizik.com.
Now, let’s get to the questions!
It says that this book is based on some of your own experiences, could you share a little bit about that?
Yes, this story was inspired by my first real relationship and breakup when I was seventeen. The only way I could get through it was by writing. It started as a screenplay that I wrote. I love film and cinema and was just getting into screenwriting when I was going through this breakup. But eventually I adapted it into a book. A lot of the scenes, like the haunted house scene, movie theater, the drive-in theater are based off of real events (obviously I exaggerated them to an extent). My ex-boyfriend’s family was kind of odd and being a writer with a very vivid imagination, I concocted this story that they were drug dealers and using him to deal to a high school clientele. Looking back, I sound crazy and they were probably just reserved, private people (as opposed to my crazy Armenian family). But that’s where the plot of the story stemmed from.
How long did the writing process for this book take?
So, I started writing the screenplay at seventeen. I even submitted it to a few contests. But, a few years later I adapted it into a novel. It’s evolved so much since the first draft. So overall, it’s been a ten year process from beginning to end.
What are your five must haves while writing?
My five must haves while writing are either coffee or wine, (depending on the time of day), a nice fall-scented candle, obviously my computer to write on, sometimes headphones to listen to music, and I also love using Pinterest. It draws inspiration.
Do you have any upcoming books in process?
Yes! I’m always writing something but what I’m focusing on mostly right now is the sequel to 21 Questions, titled 21 Confessions and also another book I’ve been working on for a while titled Mi Amor. I also just finished a screenplay titled, Cigarettes & Other Toxic Loves.
What is your dream project?
Oh my gosh, this is a hard one. My dream project would be adapting 21 Questions and its sequel into a Netflix series. It’s going to happen, I’m manifesting it.
What are your favorite writing tools?
My favorite writing tools are my iPad or computer (or my typewriter if I’m working on poetry) and my copy of The Emotion Thesaurus.
If you could describe Kendra and Brock in 5 words each, what would they be?
Five words to describe Kendra would be independent, determined, forgiving, awkward, and innocent. For Brock, I would say fearless, misunderstood, hot, charismatic, and infamous.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
I don’t really believe in writer’s block. I believe that whenever we struggle to write it’s due to our own inner self critic judging our words. To avoid “writer’s block,” it’s important to just keep writing, even if what you think you’re writing sucks, it can always be edited. But writing something is better than nothing.
Who would you recommend this book to?
I’d recommend this book to any girl who knows what it’s like to be in love for the first time and how your heart shatters when it ends because you never thought it would. And to any girl whose ever known what it’s like to try and fix a person they care about. Sometimes people don’t want to be fixed and sometimes it’s just the wrong timing.
Lastly, do you have anything you want to share with readers regarding this book?
21 Questions is a story of two teenagers with young hearts and old souls. They’re beautifully flawed and I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Hey everyone! I know a lot of people have recently been getting into watching Asian dramas as of late, especially Kdramas (Korean dramas), especially with the selection that Netflix has had and been adding. Here’s a little secret – though I’m not Korean or Asian, I have been watching them for years. Part of this is because my partner is Korean (and his mom likes to sometimes recommend some) and part of it is because I’ve always been interested in Asian cultures. Plus, Hulu used to have a massive catalog of Kdramas and was always spamming me with ads for Boys Over Flowers – so I fully fell down the rabbit hole. I have come nowhere near to watching a huge amount of dramas, but I like to think I’ve watched some really good ones. There are definitely some genres or types that I feel line up well with book tropes and book genres, so here are some fun recommendations that I have.
Do you love Paranormal books? Anything featuring monsters or ghosts? There are a lot of Korean movies or dramas that take on the zombie genre, but if you’re looking for something other than zombies I would recommend Goblin: The Great and Lonely God, Black or Scholar Who Walks the Night. If you want a paranormal drama with a comedy twist then go for any version of Oh My Ghostess. Another great one that is darker but definitely has a lot of comedy thrown in is The Master’s Sun.
Do you like books that have gaming or the gaming/tech industry in it? I have a couple Chinese dramas for you! They both have a lot of romantic comedy aspect to them, but Love O2O tackles other issues as well, such as how female gamers are viewed (especially if they excel at the game). Another great one is Go Go Squid! which had me laughing and crying at the same time way too many times!
Ok, so I know that contemporary romance, especially romantic comedy is a huge genre when it comes to books, so I would be remiss if I didn’t cover some dramas that were great romantic comedies to dive into. This one is going to require a list!
What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?
Cinderella and the Four Knights
Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon
I Hear You
1% of Something
I just know some people are waiting for me to get to historical fantasy shows and there are definitely some great ones. If you want a Korean fantasy that is reminiscent of Game of Thrones in it’s political scheming then check out Arthdal Chronicles – I haven’t finished this one yet, but what I’ve seen of it so far has me hooked. I would also recommend Gu Family Book (also known as Kangchi: The Beginning) and Eternal Love (also known as Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms).
There are tons more that I could talk about, but I think that’s all I’m going to include in today’s post. If you’re wondering where you can watch Asian dramas Netflix does have a great selection. Another option and where I watch a lot of the dramas I watch is Viki.com – they have a huge catalog of shows from multiple countries as well as movies and are constantly adding new content.
Let me know if you’d like to know about more Asian dramas in the future and thanks for letting me indulge in a fun post today. 🙂
I’m pretty sure we’ve all been guilty of starting series and then letting them sit on our shelves waiting for us to pick them up again. I decided to pick a few series that I will try to finish this year and we’ll just see how we go.
Locke and Key – I’ve heard the entire story through audiobook, but I would like to read it in its original format. This one I’m actually almost done with as I’m currently working on volume 5 – so I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to knock this one out.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians – This one I’m a little more behind on, I’ve read through book three. I know that outing myself as being way behind on such a popular series is dangerous, but it’s one of those series I have and I told myself I would always get around to – so now I’d really like to.
Fruits Basket – I’ve been collecting the collector’s editions of this manga and so far have read through volume four. This is another one that is going to be easy to complete, I just have to buckle down and do it. I really have no excuse since manga tend to be such a quick read.
The Kane Chronicles – This one is right up there with Percy Jackson, as in I should have read it by now, especially since it all ties into that universe. I’ve read the first book and have the audiobook of the second, so if I can just devote some time to it, then I shouldn’t have an issue.
So there you have it, those are the four series I’m setting a goal of finishing by the end of the year. Hopefully when I revisit this in a year I’ll be able to say that I completely most if not all of them and be able to pick another group to finish.
I don’t know about everyone else, but this week isn’t an optimal reading week for me. It’s a week of scrambling to get done, hoping that what I’ve done is enough and still dealing with the normal day to day. That being said, I just wanted to pop in quickly to say that I hope everyone is staying safe, and celebrating whatever holiday you celebrate in your own way. The end of 2020 is near, we just have to hold on for a little over a week.
Here’s hoping you get all the books you are wanting and have tons of time to read them in the coming year. Have a great day tomorrow!
I know I already posted about my overall goals for 2021 but I wanted to get a little more specific with my writing goals. These will of course be fluid since I’m not going to force myself to write if I’m not feeling it – that never ends up well. So here are just a few more specific goals.
Finish something – I have so many half finished stories, or even some that are near completion, but nothing really finished. This coming year I would really like to finish at least one of them and be able to put it to rest.
NaNoWriMo – This year was the first year I participated in the two Camp NaNoWriMo sessions in April and July and while I didn’t necessarily get a ton done, I enjoyed the process. I spent some time editing and proofing, but for me I came at it with a more relaxed approach. I would like to be able to participate in them again next year (and NaNo in November of course).
Start Something New – Now with so many unfinished things you may be asking why I would want to start something new – but hear me out. I would like to explore a genre that I don’t typically write in and see how it flows. A lot of my stuff is paranormal and fantasy based and I would really like to challenge myself to write outside of my comfort zone.
Let’s be honest, those in my life will typically ask me for a list because they don’t know what I have and don’t want to risk getting me something I already have, or something I have no interest in. I will usually give those who ask for it lists to work off of which contain the things that I really want, but I do always have a working wishlist of books that I want. Now, in writing this post I am not in any way asking people to buy me anything, I’m just sharing a few of the books that while not on my specific Christmas list, are still high up enough on the book wishlist that I may pick them up.
Vicious Spirits by Kat Cho – I won’t lie, I have Wicked Fox on my TBR still, but I have a feeling I would like to read both of them back to back, so I definitely want to pick up a copy of this one.
I’m not going to share a synopsis this one because I don’t want any spoilers, but it’s based on Korean mythology (or mythological creatures), and anyone who knows me knows that this is a buzzword for me. I will immediately want to read anything based in Asian folklore or mythology, especially Korean.
The World Between Blinks by Aime Kaufman & Ryan Graudin – As soon as I heard about this one I knew I wanted to pick it up, I even features it in a recent Can’t Wait Wednesday.
Whenever Jake and Marisol get together, adventure follows. They have their late Nana to thank for that. Her epic trips and treasure hunts were legendary.
With the whole family reuniting for one last summer vacation at Nana’s home, the cousins are prepared for an extraordinary trip of their own. Following a map Nana left behind, Jake and Marisol sneak out to a nearby lighthouse—then accidentally slip into another world!
The World Between Blinks is a magical place, where all sorts of lost things and people wind up. Everywhere they turn, the cousins find real mysteries from history and a few they thought were just myths, from pilot Amelia Earhart to the fabled city of Atlantis.
But the man who holds the key to Jake and Marisol’s journey home doesn’t want to be found . . . and if the cousins don’t catch him fast, they could end up lost in this world forever.
Simmer Down by Sarah Smith – This one just sounded like fun to me and I thought it would be a great break between other genres.
Nikki DiMarco knew life wouldn’t be all sunshine and coconuts when she quit her dream job to help her mom serve up mouthwatering Filipino dishes to hungry beach goers, but she didn’t expect the Maui food truck scene to be so eat-or-be-eaten—or the competition to be so smoking hot.
But Tiva’s Filipina Kusina has faced bigger road bumps than the arrival of Callum James. Nikki doesn’t care how delectable the British food truck owner is—he rudely set up shop next to her coveted beach parking spot. He’s stealing her customers and fanning the flames of a public feud that makes her see sparks.
The solution? Let the upcoming Maui Food Festival decide their fate. Winner keeps the spot. Loser pounds sand. But the longer their rivalry simmers, the more Nikki starts to see a different side of Callum…a sweet, protective side. Is she brave enough to call a truce? Or will trusting Callum with her heart mean jumping from the frying pan into the fire?
Well, I don’t know about all of you, but I am glad 2020 is going to be in the rear view soon (I’m sure most of you agree). I’m hoping that things will start improving soon as this year comes to a close and we hopefully have somewhat of a clean slate. Hey, I can hope, right?
So since we are at the end of the year I have started thinking of what goals I want to have in 2021 regarding my reading and writing.
Reading Amount – This year my reading goal was set at 200 books, though I was anticipating something similar to last year where I hit 301 books (I listen to a lot of audio books when I’m in the office). While I have hit (so far) 242 books and I’m super happy with that, my audiobook listening took a steep decline when I started working from home in April (please don’t take this as me complaining about this, I’m forever grateful to my employer that they have allowed me to WFH). I would definitely like to read at least 200 books in 2021 to keep the streak going and would like to get back to listening to more audiobooks.
Reading Content – Next year I do want to do even better at getting more to my backlist of physical books and hopefully the TBR game I made for myself will help with that. Except for a couple prompts regarding NetGalley or Kindle books everything on my board is geared towards reading backlist physical books.
Blogging – I’ve had a pretty good streak going of posting something every single day and I want to keep that going. It’s been a good benchmark to hit even if some days I had to work to think of what I would post. I would like to succeed in getting more things pre-scheduled though.
Writing – I again want to participate in NaNoWriMo as well as the two Camp sessions in April and July. I’m not going to set a hard goal for myself (other than the 50k words in November) and just want to enjoy writing more. Maybe I will actually wrap up a story and consider it complete? I don’t know, but I definitely want to write just as much or more.
So what are some of your goals for 2021? Are you just as happy that 2020 is finally drawing to a close? I feel like this year both took an eternity and went by fast, it’s a weird feeling.
Are you drawing a blank when trying to think of gifts or stocking stuffers for your favorite book lover? I decided I was going to dedicate some time today to some gifts that I think would be great this holiday season.
I’m not one who does a ton of annotating, but I do occasionally tab quotes or sections, so I like to have an array of flags and post its on hand. There are tons of possibilities that are great out there – here’s just a few of them.
If the book lover in your life enjoys bullet journaling, then getting them a new dot grid notebook might be a nice present. They can range from simple to decorated covers, so there’s really something out there for everyone.
Hey everyone! I hope you all are staying safe wherever you are. I know many people are not able to gather with friends or family this Thanksgiving and that’s definitely hard. Whatever you are able to do I hope that you stay safe and are able to at least connect with those you love.
Whatever you end up doing, please stay safe. I know 2020 has been a pretty bad year for most people, what with it never giving us a moment to breathe – but I am hopeful that 2021 will see things improving. I have some exciting plans coming up that I hope to share with you all soon.