Feeling Proud

I haven’t felt this way in a very long time towards myself. But, I feel proud. I’ve been posting daily and I have a better way of going about it so that I still get a lot of time to be in my own head and do things I’m happy to do.

I have goals that I’m working on getting to accomplish. I have a much more peaceful time at work and I enjoy my coworkers. I feel at peace with my situation and am dedicated to my own happiness. When this goes up I will be at six flags with my family after not having gone for a few years and I know I’m going to really enjoy being there.

I also make sure to put myself first more often. To let others help me when they offer to. To truly be present in the moments I have. I’m proud. Proud because there was a time not so long ago that I didn’t go very long without crying. Proud because I give myself the proper space and time when I do want to cry. Proud because I am valuing myself and valuing how I feel. Proud because I’m honoring my feelings while maintaining that the next moment will be a brighter one.

I feel I can say now that I am happy. That I’ve grown emotionally and mentally in ways I never expected. I’m proud because I’m expecting a brighter future. I’m expecting good in my life and a whole lot of good has already come. I have people in my life that I care about. Not just my family, but friends too old and new. People who genuinely care about me as well.

I have people I’ve met on here that I love speaking with whenever I get the chance, people who have been of great support to me and who have raised me up.

I normally don’t mention religion in my posts, but I feel closer to God as well. I feel his guidance when I need it and with each step forward I feel his encouragement and I am grateful for it.

I feel good. Really really good. I feel like that’s something worth talking about and celebrating.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below. You are all amazing and beautiful people. Thank you for being a part of my blogging journey! Without all of you, I’d be in a much different place in life.

-Till next time!

Hello everyone! I wanted to share a guest post I did with one of my all-time favorite people Andrew @GroovyGlasses. He asked me some questions about my mental health experience. Check it out!

Hey guys, welcome back to “Groovy Glasses”! I could not be more excited about today, because today I have a very special post, with a very special guest. (Although to be perfectly honest, I feel like the guest here!) As you all know, the mental illness community is something I actively work to contribute to. […]

via Fireside Talks #1 Interviewing Tiana, The Book Raven — Groovy Glasses

My New Goals: Forget New Years Resolutions!

I always find myself at a loss with my New Years resolutions, they never work out and honestly I think as the year goes on your wants change anyways so of course your goals do as well! I think every day is a chance to improve and here are some of the things I’m going to do to slowly achieve some of my biggest goals for myself.

In writing:

I want to finish a book in the next few months no matter what. I think I procrastinate way too much with writing and I make things out to be much harder then they are. I’m going to be joining Camp Nanowrimo in April. I’m going to be writing a Dragon story that I feel I need to prove to myself that I can actually write.

I hope to complete 25,000 words in April which comes out to 833 Words per day. What I am going to do to keep up with writing is wake up earlier in the morning and immediately write for at least 15 minutes. Then later in the day write again for at least 15 minutes. I hope that this way I make writing my priority and no matter what words will be poured into paper.

In blogging:

As some of you may know, I am severely behind in my reviews… especially my Netgalley reviews. I currently have 33 Netgalley books to read and quite a few I have already read but have yet to review. However posting a review every single day is NOT going to happen. It makes me unhappy with blogging and I end up just not wanting to blog very often. So I hope to post a review every other day or so and post other kinds of posts I want to write in between.

Another aspect is that I want to start blogging daily again. I miss the feeling of being excited to get up a post everyday and I think I’m getting a feel for how best to do so.

The last thing in blogging is my engagement in other bloggers websites. I find I don’t read others blog posts enough and to fix that I want to start commenting on at least 10 posts every single day. I want to make time to read others posts as others have made the time to read my own.

In fluency:

I want to learn how to speak Spanish fluently. This is something I have wanted for a long time, but never really took seriously. Honestly I could do a whole post on what I am currently doing now because it is a lot. I probably spend two to three hours a day doing different tasks towards learning Spanish. Weather it’s reading listening to music or contacting a native speaker. I am going to continue that dedication every single day until I feel confident and comfortable using and thinking in Spanish.. it could take years, but I think so far I’ve gone leaps and bounds beyond what I knew before.

In flexibility and fitness:

I need exercise. I want to feel strong and flexible and I want to feel good in the clothes I ware. I want to exercise at least once or twice a week and to do flexibility exercises every single day. This also comes down to waking up earlier and making time to work out for an hour and still have time to do everything else I want to during the day.

All in all my goals require this:

1. For me to wake up early (which really means for me to wake up the first time I open my eyes and not at the 3rd or 4th time)

2. For me to not get distracted by YouTube, video games on my phone, or social media

3. For me to not procrastinate and do all the tasks I wish to complete diligently and without excuse

4. For me to change my outlook on life.. these things are all good for me. They all help me grow as a person. Giving time to meet my goals is important and I owe it to myself to make all my dreams come true

There are little things here and there that are also goals I have, but for now these are the main ones. Of course with all this I will ALWAYS make reading time and for now I’m setting it at 1 hour per day.

Thanks for reading! What are your goals?

-Till next time!

My Year in Books: 2017

Every year Goodreads keeps track of your reading progress and creates a beautiful display of all the books you’ve read at the End of the year. This is long overdue, but none-the-less here is my 2017 year in books!

Well it seems that I read quite a bit in 2017. Far more then in 2016 that’s for sure and with 22 books read so far this year already I think I’m on my way to making this following year even better!

Thanks for reading! What was one of your favorite reads from 2017?

-Till next time!

My Hiatus and What I’ve Learned

Some of you may have noticed that I have not posted anything since the beginning of this month. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t continue on with any of my previous commitments. After, so many times of self-reflection I just decided that I needed to stop.

I had been incredibly unhappy with what my blog had turned into recently and to be completely honest with a ton of other areas in my life as well. I was loosing sight of what was important to me and I was stretching myself so thin that every single day I went to bed completely exhausted.

The first reason for this unrest was my Read a book a day for the rest of the year challenge. The challenge itself was not the real problem, but it was a cause of another: my sudden lack of control in requesting Netgalley e-arcs. I requested books every single day. I was thinking that because I was reading so much and so quickly that I could easily keep up with all the reviews that I needed to get done because of this. Before this time I only allowed myself to have about 4 netgalley books pending at a time. Now, I have 42 e-arcs waiting to be reviewed.

The problem wasn’t just that. At first I was keeping up with all my requests with ease, but what really got to me was that because I was reviewing a book everyday I was rarely writing any other kind of post. Plus, this didn’t give me any room to breath so that I could read any other books that I had on my shelves.

On top of that this meant that my blog got really predictable. Where as before, I posted whatever I felt like posting for that day while enjoying trying to come up with something unique to write about that I enjoyed. I am at my happiest when I have variety in my life. I need unpredictability in order to feel good. I’m not even talking about anything major, but just something different to spice things up and surprise me.

The worse part of this time for me was the fact that no matter how much I talked about trying to find a balance it was not working because of work. Monday-Friday I have a ton of my time blocked out due to work. It would be fine if it was in the morning, but I start work later in the day and leave at night. Which means my mornings are booked with preparing for work and after work I’m too tired to really want to do anything else, but relax and sleep.

On top of all this I lost something else that is really important to me: writing. My dream is to be a writer and write novels that would inspire others just like the novels I have read have inspired me. With reading, working, and blogging writing my own stories was put to the wayside and that was something that became heartbreaking for me.

One of the best parts of my hiatus has been getting back into writing again little by little. Due to this hiatus my ideas have been sparking again and I have found three new story ideas and have furthered several of my older ones.

Now that this hiatus is officially over I am going to do a few things:

1. I am going to finish all the Netgalley books I have been approved for and I am NOT going to request any more until I have completed all of them.

2. My only true commitment each day is going to be to write for 30 mins. To 1 hour or more each day towards my own books.

3. If I can continue the book a day challenge I will, but I am no longer just going to read books for review.

4. As soon as I finish all my Netgalley reads I am going to get back into writing posts that are not just review posts.

5. If I am feeling too stretched for time I am not going to let it stress me out anymore. I am going to go through with my commitments one slow step at a time.

6. As far as Netgalley goes I am only going to request to where there are only 2-3 books pending to be read on my shelf at any time. (In reality one at a time would be ideal, but for now I am on a Netgalley ban for a long time anyway)

7. I am not going to go on a hiatus like this without mentioning it first again. I feel like I disappeared for too long and there are a lot of things that I’ve missed.

8. I am going to read way more of my own books. I have so many I haven’t read yet and I’m angry with myself with getting caught up with all the arcs instead of just reading the things I purchased because I thought I would love it.

Things will probably be wonky for a while. For now reviews will continue to be my main content, but if I can find a way to do all I wish to do then I will do my best. I might not post every day during the next few weeks and months, but I will finally find my balance.

Thanks so much for reading! Let me know your thoughts and any tips down in the comments below. I’m terribly sorry for being gone for so long. It’s been a bumpy road, but I think I’m finding my way back to a happier place.

-Till next time!

Beyond The Surface Book Club: Little And Lion Author Interview

For the November book of the month our pick was Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert. Today I am super excited to share with you all an interview I got with the lovely Brandy Colbert. Which is also awesome because it is the first interview I have ever got to host with an author!

About Little and Lion:

A stunning novel on love, identity, loss, and redemption.

When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she’s isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (as well as her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse.

About Brandy Colbert:

(From The authors about page)

Brandy Colbert was born and raised in the Ozarks—more specifically, Springfield, Missouri—and earned a bachelors degree in journalism from Missouri State University. Her debut novel, Pointe (Putnam, 2014), won the 2014 Cybils Award for young adult fiction and was named a best book of 2014 by Publishers Weekly, BuzzFeed, Book Riot, the Chicago Public Library, and the Los Angeles Public Library. She was also chosen as a Publishers Weekly Flying Start for spring 2014.

Brandy’s second novel, Little & Lion (Little, Brown, 2017), was named a Book of the Month Club selection and a Junior Library Guild selection. Her work can also be seen in the anthologies Feral Youth; Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World; Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories; and the upcoming collections Three Sides of a Heart: Stories About Love Triangles; Our Stories, Our Voices; and Toil & Trouble.

Her third novel, Finding Yvonne, will be available on August 7, 2018, from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Brandy lives in Los Angeles where she works as a copy editor for magazines and books. Her writing is represented by Tina Wexler at ICM Partners.

Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. First and foremost, what inspired you to become a writer?

I started writing stories when I was seven years old. I’ve also always been a big reader, and great storytelling (books, TV, film) inspires me to get my own stories on the page.

2. Why is mental health important to you?

I think mental health is still largely considered a taboo subject, which is unfortunate. There’s nothing shameful about taking care of our brains, and mental health should be monitored and maintained, same as one’s physical health.

3. Why is discussing mental illnesses important both in writing and in everyday conversation?

I believe that the more we talk, write, and read about mental illness, the less stigmatized it will become. It helps people realize they’re not the only person going through something, and also hopefully helps them realize that they don’t need to be embarrassed to get help if they want it, whether that’s through therapy or medication or both.

4. What did it mean for you to have Lionel be diagnosed with bipolar disorder?

I haven’t had a lot of exposure to bipolar disorder, so writing a character with it was an excuse for me to really dig into the topic. I did a lot of research to better understand and try to create a well-rounded character who, yes, has bipolar disorder and is learning how to live with it, but isn’t defined by it.

5. What was the most difficult part of the writing process for you?

Incorporating all the research into a book that (hopefully) is authentic. I wrote outside of my experience with both the bipolar disorder and bisexuality, and it was very important for me to get this representation right. I put a lot more pressure on myself than if I had been writing from first-hand experience.

6. How long did it take you to write Little & Lion, how was it different from writing your first book Pointe?

I started writing Little & Lion in the fall of 2013, and it’s been through many versions since then, though the brother/sister relationship was always the focal point. Second books are always more difficult because there are expectations and reviews that weren’t there when you were writing the first one. Plus, I sold Little & Lion on proposal, which means I had only written around 50 pages and a loose outline, and I was working with a new editor and publishing house. It was an all-around different experience, but I’m learning that the writing process of each book is generally different.

7. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write what you want to read! Trends come and go, and they’re so unpredictable that it’s not advisable to write to them. Also, once you do get that beloved project to the point where it’s ready to go out to agents, there will likely be several rounds of revisions with your agent and then editor, so it’s important to love what you’re working on. You’re going to be with those characters and their story for quite a while—including once it’s published and you’re promoting it at festivals, conferences, and in interviews. You have to love the story before anyone else can.

8. What novel genre would you like to write in that you haven’t yet tried?

I’d love to dip my toe into magic realism and verse novels. They are two of my favorite genres, though both are intimidating!

I wanna take this time to thank Brandy for taking the time to answer my questions. She is such a sweet human being and I am so happy to have had the chance to read Little & Lion and become inspired by her and her story.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below. Have you read any of Brady Colbert’s works? If so, what did you think?

Also, What novel genre would you like to write that you’ve never tried?

I know that magical realism would have been my choice as well… but I would also like to try my hand at some speculative fiction…. whelp I just gotta finish writing the story ideas I have for now first.

-Till next time!

Huge Life Update: Blogging, Writing, and All the Things!

Ever since I got a job a couple months back things have been changing and I am still trying to balance everything that I want to do in my life on a daily bases.

First and foremost, the blog:

I have been reading a ton lately because I have been keeping up with my challenge to read a book a day and as proud as I am my. Blog has become a swamp of review after review and as much as I love writing reviews that is not what this blog is all about and I am going to make sure things start going back to where I want them to be. Plus, I have not been remotely as envolver in the blogging community as I want to be and I am going to work on changing that as well.

So my new proposed blogging schedule is this:

In the morning: Reviews (Whatever I read the day before gets reviewed the next day in the morning)

At Night: Random posts that could be anything: writing, discussions, poetry, top ten posts, inspirational posts, Interviews, tags and anything that I feel like posting about at the time. These are the kinds of posts that were at the heart of my blog The Book Raven not too long ago and I miss the spontaneity of it.

Any time I can: checking out other bloggers posts, commenting, and generally supporting the community that I love. I don’t do nearly enough of this and I miss it dearly.

Health wise:

I am just starting to exercise again and I want to make it a morning habit. If I can commit to even 3 times a week I will be happier for it. I have been starting to gain a little weight and i want to feel healthier and stronger then ever before.

Language learning:

I want to do my best to devote some time everyday to learning a language other then my own. I hate only knowing English fluently and I want to expand my knowledge. First and foremost I wish to become fluent in Spanish (which I should already be fluent in already) and I also want to have at least a working understanding of Japanese (I watch enough anime that the culture is utterly fascinating to me and I really want to travel there someday)

And most importantly, Writing:

My dream for myself is to become and author and write books that I can be proud of. I want to write something inspiring and full of hope and everything that I am. I want to write many books and I dream of being a published author. However, I do not write nearly as much as I should be (most of the time, other then blog posts, not at all) but I am slowly starting to change that. I have a book idea for something that I can’t wait to flesh out (which sits right now at about 4,000 words) and recently the ideas for it have been soaring and it has started to become something I would be dying to read if I saw it on my shelves.

So in order to motivate myself (and make it so that my time is stretched towards some sort of robotic efficiency) I am joining in on Nanowrimo this year. That’s right, the thing that I’ve tried and failed in Camp and the real deal probably over ten times now. I’m going for it one more time. Every time I say I am going to win this time I believe I will (something I say every time I try this but I digress). The book I will be writing is a Sci-fi novel I have talked about before on the blog, but since the ideas inception I have chosen a completely new direction for the novel and I gotta say I am really proud of it already. I am going to try not to talk about it too much till it is complete, but I know that drafting it is going to be a huge mess, but a ton of fun. (Plus the truth is I am terrified of writing it, but now that I’ve been plotting it and getting ideas for it for the past two months or so, I feel like it’s time to really put words on the page).

Anyway, my biggest challenge for all my goals in managing my time and writing 2,000 words, reading a book a day, writing blog posts, exercising, working, and learning Spanish and Japanese on a daily bases sounds almost impossible, but a majority of these things I’ve already been managing from day to day, so I wanna see if I can make all these this a reality for a better me, mentally, physically, and in a lot of ways spiritually.

Thanks for reading! What are your goals and aspirations? Is there something you want to do daily for a better you?

-Till next time!

Changing Schedule

I have been a little infrequent with my posting recently and I have finally realized that my usual posting routine is starting to affect my health because I always end up writing posts way too late. 

So I’m going to end up uploading and writing posts in the morning instead of at night as much as possible so that I can get back into the swing on things. I will also try to get back to doing my dayly posts because I have been posting every other day for a few days now and I really don’t like it. 

I have so much in store for August and I can’t wait to rest up and get back into the swing of things!

Thanks for reading this short update. Let me know what you think of the switch in schedule. 

-Till next time!

#MakeMeReadIt Read-A-Thon

I’m so excited to announce that I am going to be participating in The Make Me Read It marothon that begins next month! The whole interaction of having everyone pick what I’m going to be reading for a week via a poll sounds so cool to me. I have a feeling that this read-a-thon is going to be a fun one!

This readathon is hosted by @theinnocentsmiley and @teaandtitles 

And this is what it is all about: 

Look at the books you own, either physical, e-book or ones you’ve borrowed from the library and pick out a few you really want to read, or feel like you should read. It’s up to you how many you pick, personally I’d pick a few more than you expect to be able to read in a week. Example: if you think you’ll only read two, pick out five books or if you think you can read seven, pick out ten.
Make a list of these books on your blog, or make a video, or a Goodreads shelf or post a picture on Instagram—whatever is easiest for you. Then get friends, other bloggers/booktubers/bookstagrammers etc. to vote on which books you HAVE to read.
When the readathon comes along, you read the books in the order of most votes. For example, if one book gets 10 votes—you read that first, then the one that got 7 and so on. If there’s a tie, then it’s your preference. The goal is to read as many as possible.

The timing information: 

The Make Me Read It Readathon will start at August 6th and end at August 13th. You can start once it hits 12am in your time zone. The readathon itself lasts for a week!

Since this is an interactive readathon, there is about a month to get some kind of initial post/photo/video/etc. where your readers can vote for which book you read! You can either have a poll, or just rely on the comments, have votes count more than once, honestly this is all up to you! If you plan to participate, make sure you have all your books ready for August 6th!

I have picked over 20 books for you all to pick from since I feel like it isn’t truly your choice unless there are way too many books for me to possibly read in the week (plus some choices I’m kind of afraid of that I have put off for ages…) 

Choose my fate in the Goodreads poll HERE!

If you can’t participate in the poll for any reason just leave what your vote would be down in the comments! I will add it to the final results the day before the start of the read-a-thon. 

Here is a mini-graph of the books I have choosen:

Thank you all for reading! Let me know what book you voted for in the Goodreads poll! Or if you couldn’t vote what book you would have chosen. I’m certain you won’t stear me into the wrong path. 

-Till next time!

P.s. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t post anything in several months because I was terribly sick. I’m simply grateful that it was some sort of 24 hour virus because the pain and fever I was feeling was making me delirious. I had managed to write posts previously while I was sick but this time I just couldn’t manage it.

A Book A Day for the Rest of the Year?

This may be one of the best ideas I’ve ever had… or one of the worst ideas I have ever had, but I’m going to try it anyway. 

So here’s the plan, it’s pretty simple. All I have to do is finish a book every single day for the rest of the year. Sounds pretty straightforward right? Well… not with the way I read. I tend to read a bunch of novels at one time. Which makes it so that I finish books sporodically and go at a relatively slow pace. I never read one book all the way through… well most of the time (cough cough Song of the Current cough cough) 

I want to see what would happen if I really dedicated my time differently and read one book as a whole in a day. I’m not sure if this is sustainable or not. I’m not really sure how I’m going to pull this off. I’m probably going to find a way to read more then one book at a time anyway, but I just want to dip my toes in and let my bookworm heart devour some amazing novels! I have a physical tbr of 58 books, but new with new books coming into my life so steadily.. and with Netgalley books catching my heart left and right, I think I’ll be able to sustain this the rest of this year. 

Weather stupid or not, no matter how tired I am, I will get through this. There are too many amazing stories in this world to read and I want to enjoy as many as I can. In a way I just want to see if I am capable of it or not. We shall see. 

Thanks for reading! If you have any tips or suggestions let me know in the comments! I’m honestly really scared now, but I’m inspired so let’s do this! 

-Till next time!