Week In Review | Papers, Killing Adonis, & Avenue Q


I’m back again this week with another Week In Review, a feature in which I talk about my week, what I read, what posts went up, and what posts you can expect in the upcoming week. And at the end I also share something cool online that I’ve really liked this week in the spotlight section.

This last week was pretty busy as it was the last week of class before Thanksgiving Break. I finally had my German lit. presentation on Monday. Wednesday I turned in eight more article summaries which I will include in my lit. review for final my research proposal. And Thursday I got some feedback on my final research paper I’m writing in film studies so I feel like I’m in a really good place with all the papers I’ll need to write in the next couple of weeks.

Even though I was busy, I managed to reward myself with something really fun this week. Thursday night after I was through with all my classes I went to a free showing of Avenue Q on campus! The theater is right next to the building where I have my film studies class so I managed to see the advertisement flyers and realized I should really take advantage of the opportunity. I’ve never seen the show before and I felt like this is great time in my life to watch it.

What I Read

Killing Adonis by J.M. Donellan | I started reading this eBook on my iPhone the previous weekend while I was house-sitting. I figured it would be a relatively quick read as long as I kept up with it. I had very little knowledge of what the story would be about going into it and it was one of those pleasant surprises that knock you off your feet. I really enjoyed the time reading it and dreaded reaching the end. If you’re in the mood for something random, perhaps a book to end a reading slump, I highly recommend this little mystery. It’s set in the modern day, but it also feels like a Victorian novel which I think is really cool.


The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen | I am currently one chapter into this book that I’ve decided to reread as I finish NaNoWriMo because this is absolutely the kind of book I’d like to write. Even though I know what’s going to happen I’m able to enjoy the story and the characters and really can’t wait to get to The Invasion of the Tearling, because I’ve only read that one in digital ARC format so there may be some surprises there. Also the third and final book comes out at the end of the month so I’m eager to pick it up as soon as possible in December.

Research Articles

This week the majority of the articles I read were concerning identification of audiences with media characters. I’m interested in this concept because of how it relates to the theory of uses and gratifications which might explain what audiences stand to gain by increasing their exposure to their favorite media personalities.

Last Week’s Posts

Illuminae | Book Talk | Monday uploaded a quick post on my thoughts about Illuminae. I loved this book and I loved writing this post so it’s promising for the future of book talks I think! Hopefully it helps spread the word about this book because I think it’s a great entry book into science fiction.

Week Two Update | NaNoWriMo 2016 | Thursday I uploaded my progress update post about how spectacularly I’m failing at NaNoWriMo at the moment. It’s never fun to admit, but I do think there’s something to learn from failure so I’m happy to share my failure if it means someone will learn from my mistakes!

Thanksgiving Week Goals + TBR | Saturday morning I sat down and thought about all the things I want to make sure to do this upcoming week and I made it into a post. It includes an ambitious list of writing, homework, and reading goals, including my TBR for the week which I’ve just realized is missing a book that will arrive in the post tomorrow…

Upcoming Posts

5 Standalone Novels | Lori Recommends | Since the holiday season is approaching I’m interested in trying a new style of post in which I recommend five books similar in some way (this time in that they are standalone novels) that might make good gifts to loved ones or to yourself if you’re interested in learning about some new books. All these books are pretty cosy reads and perfect for this time of year.

Week Three Update | NaNoWriMo 2016 | Wednesday I want to upload my next NaNoWriMo progress update. If you recall from this past week’s, I’ve been in a bit of rut. So I’m hoping this week I’ll become a comeback kid and make a miraculous recovery in word count!

Bookshelf Tour 2016 | I’ve never done a bookshelf tour before so I want to one while I have access to all my shelves this week! I think this will be a really fun post which will allow to me to show off the books I own, and also incentivize me to do some cleaning/organizing this week. So I hope you’re excited because I know I am! I’ve only seen videos of these, so it’ll be interesting to figure out how to do this as a blog post.


On Wednesday I made a semi-impulsive Amazon purchase including Illuminae (which I read last week and loved enough to purchase), Gemina (sequel to Illuminae which debuted this year), and a Wacom Intuos art pen and tablet (link here). Why such a random purchase you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you. I used to love drawing and I want to learn how to make cool art online that I can share. Which leads me to the cool link I want to share this week: Charlie Bowater’s website!


She is a professional illustrator who makes beautiful fan art for Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series. I love the idea of trying to bring the world and characters of my story to life, which is a big reason why I wanted to buy the tablet. But I can see myself using it for many other things in the future as well. So I’m hoping it becomes a good investment.

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

Continue Reading

Thanksgiving Week Goals + TBR

I had planned to write this post before I left for Houston, but it turned out to be a busier week than I thought it would be. So now I’m writing it on a Saturday morning at the breakfast table with a mug of chai latte dispensed from a K-cup. A cold front came in last night and it’s mild, but it’s very welcome because it’s definitely starting to feel like the holiday season now.

Since I’ll be here for about nine days I wanted to make a list of all the things I hope to get done this break, so that I’m productive. And since I’m blogger I’m posting this list here on my blog! (I have other less important goals not listed on this post, but which you may see me talk about next week!)

➴ Win NaNoWriMo 2016

This is priority numero uno. I am at 14,554 words and today’s graph shows that I should be at 31,667 words. So I have a lot of catching up to do in addition to getting ahead on where I want to be with my story. Since I do not want to be a hermit this week, I’m just going to have to allocate bursts of time where I can sit down and write. But since I’m losing motivation, I’m also prioritizing reading that inspires ideas for my own writing.

➴ Write research proposal outline

This assignment is due Wednesday, November 13, meaning it is inflexible; I have to do this. But it should set me up to do the final proposal well so I want to spend time carefully preparing the outline. The hardest thing about it will be organizing my literature review because I have to summarize and explain how upwards of 15 articles have contributed to the formulation of the research study I am to propose.

➴ Write film studies research paper

Of the three papers I will need to turn in during December, this is the only paper I figure I should be able to write a full draft of while on vacation because I will have all the works I will want to cite, one book and the rest digital, with me.  This is also the paper I’m most nervous about because of the instructor who will be grading it, who is one tough cookie.

➴ Rewrite first two film studies papers

This I have decided to do very reluctantly. I completely blew off the first two papers I wrote for film studies and it showed in their grades. Since she gave me feedback on how to revise them I figure I may be able to do this relatively quickly and without too much pain. It’s just a matter of committing.

➴ Read, Read, READ!

There are so many books I would like to read over Thanksgiving Break but I know I will only have time for a few. So I’ve had to be very pragmatic about what I need to read, which primarily consists of library books which I will not be able to have over winter break. But there are some other books which I have started and want to finish to wipe my slate clean for new books.

  1. Killing Adonis by J.M. Donellan. I started reading this eBook on my iPhone last weekend and was able to read a bit more yesterday while I waited for my brother to get ready. I still don’t know what’s going to happen or what kind of story it’ll turn out to be, but it’s still holding my interest so I’ll probably marathon it soon and tick one more book off my TBR.
  2. Stars by Richard Dyer. This book I will be using in my research paper that I speak about above. It is short enough that I should be able to finish it in its entirety, which is why I want to read it and be able to count it towards my Goodreads TBR.
  3. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. After the high I felt after returning to and finishing Illuminae, I want to return to the other book I did not finish this spring which I was really liking but just didn’t feel the urge to continue at the time.
  4. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. I’ve already begun rereading this book earlier this week because I was facing a little writing crisis and needed inspiration. So I hope to finish it soon so I can also read its sequel The Invasion of the Tearling this week, as I do not want to bring them back to Dallas with me because I will only be there two more weeks after the next.
  5. Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann. Almost forgot this one! I need to try and finish it before my last German lit. class after the break. Hoping it’s not too much of a bore once I get further into it. I could probably get away with not finishing it, but I’ve already started it and it bothers me to quit things I start.

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

Continue Reading

Week Two Update | NaNoWriMo 2016


Sorry it’s a day late, but we are now well into two weeks of NaNoWriMo 2016 and it is time for another progress report. Before I get any further, I’m going to start by saying this past week was a complete and utter failure. I never quite made the comeback that I was hoping for after an abysmal weekend of writing. So this week is not going to have much progress reporting but more tips I’m hoping will help me get my groove back.

Progress Thus Far

What I’ve Written

I started week two of NaNoWriMo with my protagonist arriving in a new place where she would undergo transformation in the story. So I was able to write the scenes where she is introduced to the location and the new characters already there, which was fun but I required I tread carefully. So realizing I could not just word sprint my way through this part, I became intimidated by the document and threw myself into reading and research this past week. Here’s my embarrassing progress graph.


But I haven’t lost hope that I can still turn this around. This weekend is the beginning of Thanksgiving Break so I am going to start treating writing like my job. I’m going to try to write at least 1,667 words every morning and beyond until I’m all caught up. In fact, I’m hoping to reach 50,000 words before break is over so I’m planning to do a lot of writing.

I’m at the beginning of Act II in my story, so exciting things are going to begin happening. I already have the next four chapters loosely outlined so I literally just need to sit my butt down and write them. I think the hardest bit is facing the unknown and needing to make important story choices. So what I’ve learned this week really speak to the problems I’ve been facing.

What I’ve Learned

As this past week was a struggle for me, these tips are ones I aim to follow the rest of the month and probably beyond as I attempt to finish this novel by the end of the year.

  1. Even on days I’ve overwhelmed with school or work, I need make sure to spend at least 10–30 minutes looking at my story and adding words wherever I can or notes. Even if it’s not specifically writing words that contribute to the manuscript, it’s valuable to spend time looking at your draft every day and thinking about your story so that you keep your interest piqued so that you’re ecstatic when you finally have a bunch of time to write.
  2. Keep a list of scenes I can use for word sprints, and alternatively for those I might want to go back after word sprints to add in more carefully later. I’ve been word sprinting with my writing buddy Sara at least twice a week this November and the past two times we’ve talked I’ve not been able to throw myself into sprinting as well because I wasn’t at parts of the story where I felt comfortable writing just anything. So I want to get better at saving scenes specifically for frenzied writing.

Next on the Blog

On Friday morning I leave for Thanksgiving Break, so I will be home with my parents for nine days! Once vacation is over there will only be three days left of NaNoWriMo, so naturally I’m hoping to reach 50K words next week. I’m not sure how that’s going to happen with so many other things I want to do next week, but I’m dedicated so that’s got to mean something. You can expect a new post tomorrow and then this week’s Week In Review on Sunday.

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

Continue Reading

Illuminae | Book Review



Illuminae is the first book in a YA science fiction trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff that is told through a “dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more.” The files will often have notes attached at the top by the person who accumulated the documents who represents The Illuminae Group, an intelligence gathering agency. We do not find out until the very end who has asked for the files or why, which makes this book a fascinating mystery.

The book is a whopping 599 pages, but it’s a very fast-paced and addictive read, especially once you are about 25% into the book and have gotten used to the format. You wouldn’t think that a book made of documents could have so much humor and action, but it is handled in a really clever way and one of my favorite characters became the person who summarized surveillance footage: Analyst ID 7213-0089-DN. We don’t know anything about him (or her), but their personality shines through as they describe what they see Kady or Ezra do in the camera footage hilariously to the point I can’t help but wonder how they got their job. I hope we get to meet them in Gemina!

Because I don’t want to spoil anything, I may cut my thoughts short here. I will say if you like sassy characters, high-stakes action, and human stories with a lot of heart, you will be satisfied with this book. There’s also a little bit of romance, but not a whole lot as the characters most definitely have other, more important things on their minds (like survival). The authors strike a really careful and satisfying balance between the light-hearted humor of characters just trying to survive and the dark moments of horror and loss. This is the kind of book that can may you laugh and cry (which is to say the best kind of book).

End Note

If you liked this kind of post, let me know in the comments. I tried to tailor my thoughts toward people who have not yet read the book, so if you want to fangirl in the comments about what happens I’m totally down that; just please keep it spoiler-free or put a spoiler warning at the top of your comment! I cannot wait to get my hands on Gemina. I may be treating myself to it this weekend.

Next up on the blog is my week two update on NaNoWriMo, which I’m officially failing at miserably; so it’ll probably be a fun read! If you want to see what else you can expect on the blog this week, check out my first Books & Pixels’ Week In Review which will be going up every Sunday from here on out!

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

Continue Reading

Week In Review | House-Sitting, Illuminae, & Research


A million years ago on a book blog called Books o’ the Wisp, I used to do a weekly feature called Week in Review in which I talked about the posts that went up the previous week, upcoming posts, and anything else I thought cool or exciting. I’ve decided to try and bring it back in the hopes it will motivate me to do more each week and plan ahead!

This was pretty eventful week…to say the least. Monday right before I needed to leave for class the sky started to fall and I, my book bag, and my notebooks were drenched.moby

I believe it foreshadowed the rest of the week for on Tuesday night it became clear that Donald Trump would become the U.S. President-elect because of our founding fathers who thought that the electoral college would protect the people from themselves (contrary to popular belief, we do not get to vote directly for who will become president). And on Thursday I got in a car wreck (don’t worry, no one got hurt; just my car and my ego).

But the strangest thing that has affected my life personally is that I house-sat for my instructor who conveniently left the country right after the election (for a pre-scheduled conference, hehe). But the job was more to dog-sit than house-sit. Here’s a picture of my young charge this weekend, Moby!

What I Read

Man Outside by Wolfgang Borchert | Technically I read this last weekend, but since it’s not a book I’m unable to claim it toward my Goodreads Challenge so I want to talk about it somewhere! It is a short play written by a young WWII veteran who died shortly after it debuted on the stage in 1946. He posthumously became a member of Group 47 which was comprised of the writers who came out of Germany post-WWII. The play is about the plight of the German solider who returned to Germany to nothing but closed doors.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | This tome I started at the beginning of the year and set aside because I just wasn’t in the mood for it. I can’t really explain why I wanted to pick it up this week beyond the fact that I just wanted to read something for fun after the stress and mental/emotional exhaustion of the week. I marathoned it on Friday and immediately wished I could read Gemina. I’m probably going to buy it, and this book, so that I can enjoy them over the holiday.


Killing Adonis by J.M. Donellan | I was still in the desperate mood to read this weekend after Gemina so I contented myself with a book I bought via the Kindle app last year. I don’t remember exactly what it was that attracted me to buying this book, but I’m in it now and think it should be a relatively swift read as I find it so much easier to binge-read from my iPhone. Not sure I’m going to get anything out of this read, but it has my interest right now at least.

Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann | This is the book I should have been reading this weekend, but I’ve not been impressed with the first 33 pages I’ve read so I’ve been reluctant to pick it up. Especially as the instructor didn’t tell us we had to finish it by Monday, just to “get as far as we can.” Therefore, since my presentation is due Monday night, that might take priority over the actual book.

Research Articles

After quite a few weeks of not keeping up with the articles related to my individual research, I started back up again with a class deadline to have 10 article summaries completed by this Wednesday. I don’t see a value to talking about every single article, but I will say they’ve been about parasocial interaction which can be described as a relationship on the part of the viewer of friendship or intimacy with a remote media persona. Past research has been in relation to newscasters and soap opera characters; I’m interested how it can be translated to YouTubers.

Last Week’s Posts

Introducing Books and Pixels! | It’s weird, but I almost forgot that I renamed my blog just this past Tuesday! I’m really happy with my choice and this post really well lines out what I want to do going forward.

Thoughts on #Election2016 | Wednesday I think I and much of the country was in a bit of shock over the election results so I found it hard to think about much else other than processing everything that was swirling around in my head regarding the state of our country right now. So I wrote that post organizing my thoughts. I can already look back on it in amazement and know it’s going to be something I want to look back on in years to come.

Week One Update | NaNoWriMo 2016 | Also on Wednesday, I uploaded the only post I had scheduled for this week on how I’d been doing on my first week of NaNoWriMo 2016. I talk about what I’ve written and what I learned.

Upcoming Posts

Illuminae | Book Talk | Monday I’m going to upload a quick post on my thoughts about Illuminae. On my very first book blog I used to do book reviews all the time and 2016 I’ve struggled with whether I like them and feel they’re worth it or not. I loved this book and how different it is that I do want to make sure to write some loose thoughts on it without putting too much pressure on myself.

Week Two Update | NaNoWriMo 2016 | Wednesday I want to upload my second progress report on NaNoWriMo. I love doing these and I myself can’t wait to see what I write because I’ve not written much since I’ve been house-sitting so I’m hoping I can catch up by Wednesday!

Thanksgiving Goals | Friday I will be hitting the road and I want to leave knowing exactly what I plan to do for the next week. So I’m going to make a list of things I want to do and hopefully I’ll get to them all. There’s little more satisfying than making a to-do list and being able to check things off the list.


This weekend I fell back in love with CutiePieMarzia‘s YouTube channel. She’s been doing daily vlogs while she and her boyfriend Felix (of PewDiePie fame) are in Los Angeles for work things since around Halloween. I wish she daily vlogged all the time because I love her vlogging style and I find her a bit of a creative inspiration. She also has a WordPress-powered blog so check her out.

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

Continue Reading

Week One Update | NaNoWriMo 2016


Hello and welcome back to my blog to my blog for another NaNoWriMo update! It’s now been a week since NaNoWriMo started on November 1st (see my What I’m Writing), so I have lots to share. I added bits and insights to this post throughout the weeks as they came to me so I’ve had to shave this post down into something coherent! I hope you enjoy ^_^

Progress Thus Far

What I’ve Written

As I mentioned in my post last week, I started writing my story from the very beginning. Strangely enough, I’ve managed to stick to writing chronologically and have just started Act II (new world, fun & games) part of my novel, if you’re familiar with the Three Act Structure. At the time of drafting this post (Wednesday ~1 p.m.) I have not yet started writing for the day and I’m at 13,362 words! I’ve managed to keep up with where I should be each day, with the exception of day 7 and it will haunt my dreams forever.


I had hoped to get a much bigger head start on my word count over the first week of NaNoWriMo, but it’s been all I can do to keep myself writing a little bit each day so as not to fall behind. School has not actually been too stressful, but I’ve struggled at times with the scope and direction of my story. I started with a very loose major outline but I’m not certain how closely I’ll stick with it by the end. I feel like each day the world become bigger and new characters come in who threaten to topple everything. It’s fun, but I’ve been trying to write carefully so that I hit the major beats and make notes of the little things that could become important later.

What I’ve Learned

I had a few major revelations very quickly at the start of the month about how I write.

  1. I need writing sprints. I feel like all year I’ve procrastinated on writing because I wanted to be so prepared that I’d write a near perfect first draft. I’ve since realized it’s just not possible. There’s too much to juggle in a good story to keep track of everything that I want my story to have. So I’ve truly embraced the writing sprints to help me get the words I can out and have been making notes along the way of the things I’ll want to fix in future editing sweeps.
  2. My pacing is terrible. I don’t remember ever thinking this about my writing before but it was made immediately clear to me in the first 5,000 words I wrote this month. I’m not too worried about it right now, because I know it’s more important to have the important things written down than to have them well laid out. But it’s one of those funny things I’ve become aware of this quickly and is something I look legitimately forward to working on in my revisions.

I’m having a great time writing right now and I honestly can’t remember the last time I enjoyed it. I’ve not had any self-doubts or undue self-pressure yet, so I’ve felt secure to write and know that everything will most likely turn out okay in the end and it will be fun to see these words evolve as I continue to work on this story. I’m hoping to keep this outlook for the rest of the month and beyond!

Next on the Blog

I feel like the NaNoWriMo honeymoon period is over, but I’m still motivated and having fun with my story every day. In case you missed it and are interested, I wrote a blog post about my thoughts on the outcome of the U.S. Presidential Election 2016 today. I also had a big blog name change,  you may have noticed or seen in that announcement post yesterday. I’m hoping to have another post up this weekend, but I’m not sure what just yet so I’ll keep you on your toes.

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

Continue Reading

Thoughts on #Election2016

Today is a historic day in U.S. and probably the world. I do not really ever feel the need to blog about politics; I don’t really even like to talk about politics in person, yet alone online. But I feel like this is the first election I’ve been eligible to vote in (and there’s only been two) where I actually feel like a part of the minority, even though the country is apparently about 50/50 split between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the popular vote (which arguably is the one that should matter, right?).

Since many of my blog followers are not American, I thought I might share one American’s viewpoint that may not be as heavily represented in the news or even on social media which is by and large heavily polarized conservative or liberal.

I am a woman. On my birth certificate under race/ethnicity, I am categorized Mexican-American. So I am a minority, despite having lived a very privileged life. I’m very light-skinned. My parents were responsible and waited to have children until they’d made sure they could provide for (and afford) me and my brother. I have the privilege of both my parents still being married to one another. I was born with no disabilities and, though I feel cocky saying it, I’ve got a brain. I’m pretty smart. I’ve had almost every advantage possible for a hispanic girl who was not born into money or with connections. And I feel like the country I have lived in for all my 23 years has allowed me to be where I am now and strive to go even further.

One more thing about me personally, I identify as an Independent.

I’ve voted Democratic in each election I’ve been eligible, but I’ve lived in Texas for most of my life. I know what it is like to live in a place that is dominated by an invisible majority. And I say invisible because I do not see Trump supporters when I walk down the street, go to class, or out to eat. Maybe because I don’t venture into rural areas, but also because I think there are more people that do not fit the stereotype some would have us believe that all Trump supporters are uneducated, poor, white, and male. I think the exit polls have proven that it’s not the case. I think Trump supporters are also a silent majority who have not publicized their support for him either because they are ashamed (and secretly prejudiced) or just afraid of liberal backlash.

One thing I’ve learned this year is that liberalism is associated with elitism. I don’t have the most complete understanding of why this is or the literature to back up my claims, but it might be because intellectuals are more likely to be liberal (Democrats) and intellectuals are people who have the had the privilege of more education than the average joe who maybe couldn’t afford college or couldn’t see the long-term value of investing time and money into it.

Elites are not the majority. And I think similar to Brexit earlier this year, we are seeing that the people who constitute this majority, who are motivated by fear, and who have the least to lose by throwing our country into chaos have risen en mass to make their voices heard.

While I’m sad that Trump will be our next president (unless a miracle happens) and even angry because like others I can’t help but feel personally victimized by Trump’s very existence (and his victory’s affirmation of bullies), I’ve been coping for the past 12 or so hours by reminding myself that no matter what happens we have to live with each other. We just have to. Even if Hillary Clinton had won, we could not just forget how many people Trump energized and made feel like they’ve finally been heard. It’s a truly sad country we’re living in that we’ve been able to ignore these problems for so long.

For us liberal, educated people, I think that the main thing we need to do is put aside our pride and ego and be gracious. This election is not the end of the world. I think the DNC knows it fucked up by thinking that Democrats wanted Hillary when it was Bernie Sanders who was energizing and exciting people the way Trump managed to do with the Republicans this year and Obama four and eight years ago for the Democrats. This is what I’m personally most angry about and almost feel a tinge of satisfaction about Trump’s victory, because I voted reluctantly for Hillary only because I knew she was our best chance for defeating the orange buffoon (sorry, tried to stay neutral but I can’t).

In spite of the outcome, I’m just happy this horrible election is finally over. I’m worried for the country and the calls to action that I may feel compelled to answer. But I’m also selfishly worried about my own future and whether I’ll be able to afford to spend more time and money on my PhD. And I’m worried what the world is going to look like when I’m truly out on my own.

This concludes my obligatory blog post on how I feel about the election. Thank you if you have read the whole thing. If you’re still feeling really sick or upset about the outcome, remember you are not alone and that all is not lost. The election is one battle. Real change happens at the grass roots level.

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

Continue Reading

Introducing Books and Pixels!


Hi friends!

I’m writing to announce, if you haven’t noticed already, that I have finally changed my domain name for my book blog! Ink Keys & Other Things is now Books and Pixels, which I think is name that much better suits what I blog about here on this website: books, writing, and my studies of all things digital (i.e. stuff made of pixels).

This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but my old domain name expiring this month really put the pressure on to finally address this issue today. Also, I’ve wanted to make sure to end 2016 with a bang and for me that meant revamping my blog, so I’m also on the lookout for a new blog theme.

Nothing else will really be changing here, except that hopefully I will become a bit more active with posting and interacting online. The semester is almost over and I will have all of December to plan and create and hopefully I will be able to share new things that you find exciting and useful. So that this happens, I’ll probably be creating a poll this weekend I can insert here on the blog so that you can vote for what you most want to see more of on this blog.

Blog Giveaway

In celebration of my blog rejuvenation, I want to host my first blog giveaway at the end of the month as a way to say thanks! I also hope it will get word of my blog out there and help new followers who might like my the content of my blog find it.

I never thought I would do a giveaway, because they always seem so insincere and purely motivated by the desire to hype a so-so book or the so-so blog that hosts it. So I want to really make this giveaway personal to me, the books I like, and the kinds of people who I think will really like my blog. Therefore, I think I’m going to personally select the books that will be in the giveaway and select entry methods that make sure the winner is someone who will hopefully truly appreciate the grand prize.

Expect more on this giveaway at the end of the month probably around Thanksgiving Break. There is one specific book I already know I’d like to be in the giveaway that debuts at the end of the month (hint, hint) and I really hope the winner of the giveaway is as big a fan of this book’s series as I am!

End Note

I hope you’re as excited as I am about the future of this blog. I will have another post out tomorrow about how I’ve been doing on the first week of NaNoWriMo. If you’re participating, I hope you’re managing to stay afloat and take of yourself. If you like my blog or the direction it’s been going, please feel free to leave a comment down below or share my blog. (If you do share my blog on your own, let me know in the comments because I don’t get notifications when my blog URL is posted somewhere and I’d really like to go show your blog some love as well! <3)

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

Continue Reading

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys | Book Notes


I was hoping to make my first book talk video about Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon. But I still wanted to share some notes on this anthology in case you’re like me and bought it on a whim but have been waiting for the perfect time or motivation to finally pick it up.

I decided to read it over the weekend before Halloween, because I hadn’t done much yet to get in the festive spirit. I don’t read a lot of horror on a regular basis, nor do I really enjoy horror films (because so few satisfy my questions at the end). So this turned out to be a excellent random read to pull me out of the slump I fell into after Crooked Kingdom.

Below you can see a list of the authors and their story titles along with my personal rating per story, purely based on my enjoyment. I obviously cannot talk about all these stories (maybe next Halloween if I reread), but I do want to offer a few spoiler-free teasers about my two absolute favorites which were “Emmeline” and “Stitches,” both of which I’d love to see turned into full books. Even these two don’t seem all that interesting to you, rest assured that all of these stories were vastly different from one another that I have no doubt there’s probably something interesting in it for you.

“Emmeline” by Cat Winters is set in WWII France with a girl who is discovered upstairs in her family home by an American soldier. After a little romance, she tries to convince him to stay with her. The setting is fantastic and this story is so atmospheric.

“Stitches” by A.G. Howard is kind of reminiscent for me of a Tim Burton movie. It is about a girl who must amputate her father’s limbs and other appendages and replace them with another’s to make him into a better man. Sounds like a nightmare right? But she does it with his consent and this just a piece of a larger story that we get at the end.

The best thing about reading this anthology was becoming exposed to authors I had not read before. After many of the these stories, not content to let go just yet, I found myself searching Goodreads for the authors and seeing what else they wrote. I hope to find some of these authors’ books in the library as soon as I have more time to read next year.

My Ratings

Nova Ren Suma’s “The Birds of Azalea Street” 3 stars
Carrie Ryan’s “In the Forest Dark and Deep” 4 stars
Cat Winters’ “Emmeline” 5 stars
Leigh Bardugo’s “Verse Chorus Verse” 3.5 stars
Megan Shepherd’s “Hide and Seek” 3 stars
Danielle Paige’s “The Dark, Scary Parts and All” 2.5 stars
April Genevieve Tucholke’s “The Flicker, the Fingers, the Beat, the Sigh” 3.5 stars
Jonathan Maberry’s “Fat Girl with a Knife” 3 stars
Jay Kristoff’s “Sleepless” 4 stars
Stefan Bachman’s “M” 4 stars
Marie Lu’s “The Girl Without a Face” 3 stars
McCormick Templeman’s “A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow” 3.5 stars
A.G. Howard’s “Stitches” 5 stars
Kendare Blake’s “On the I-5” 3 stars

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

Continue Reading

What I’m Writing for NaNoWriMo ’16


Happy November!

We are now in the midst of NaNoWriMo writing season and since it’s been a while since I updated you on my story, I thought I’d do that now at the beginning of the month as opposed to at the end. As you may recall, I outlined my novel in September, but I remember even then doubting the ending I’d devised and knew I’d have to change it if I wanted to stick to my outline this November. That did end up happening and I started NaNoWriMo with a loose outline.

My Novel

I am writing the YA fantasy/steampunk set in an 1920s-esque alternative universe; it’s basically novel that you may have heard me talk about all year if you’ve been following me on this blog since January. My story has been inspired by many of my favorite fantasy novels and movies. I’ve also taken much inspiration from my German literature & ideas class which is centered on German literature and culture from 1890–1950 (roughly), which you may be aware was fairly tumultuous period of world history.

I don’t think the final first draft will be completed in 50,000 words so I’m hoping I’ll be able to finish it over Thanksgiving Break which this year is November 19th–27th. Although in my wildest dreams I imagine this novel being the first of a prospective series, I’ve decided to start treating it like a standalone novel. So I’m going to spend the rest of the year after NaNoWriMo polishing it up, then hopefully I’ll be able to find some beta readers to tell me what they think so I can edit a bit more before I decide if I really want to query it at all or maybe even turn it into an interactive narrative…

Progress Thus Far

I think that if I succeed at NaNoWriMo this year, it will be completed owed to strong start so I decided to prioritize writing this first week of November before I get insanely busy with end of the semester assignments. I technically started writing on Halloween, just because I figured it was close enough and I also figured I may not write much this weekend because my parents come up for my mom’s birthday. So I woke up November 1st with 1,043 words in my pocket! And I set off with a goal to write 5,000 words every day from Tuesday–Friday.

On Halloween I got so much done, including my major assignments for this week! So the only things I need to do this week are to attend class Wednesday and a TA workshop on Friday. So if I don’t take advantage of this beginning of the month momentum, I would be terribly silly!

So if all goes to according to plan, I will be at 20,000 words by November 5th! I’m so excited to make this a reality.

Yesterday I decided to sit down before I started writing and make an outline for the parts of my story that I wanted to write that day. It worked splendidly and have decided to do the same every day and each time I sit down to write. I feel so much more happy with what I write when I have a direction and know that it’s all leading up to something important to the story as as whole.

I hadn’t really expected this, but I’ve actually been writing my story chronologically for the most part, meaning I started at the beginning. I hadn’t been too excited by former beginnings of this novel, so I was surprised I felt drawn to this part of the story right off the bat. So it will be interesting to see in a week’s time in my next NaNoWriMo progress post if I’m still writing in chronological order.

 On the Blog

I do not want my blog writing to interfere with my novel writing this month, so I’m going to be trying to restrain myself to weekly update posts. I also hope to be able to read and get other things done this month so I may also be blogging about things not related to writing, but hopefully not to the extent that it becomes a distraction from writing! I am also planning to relaunch my BookTube channel (you may have seen a post that wasn’t ready to go up this past weekend *facepalm*), so I may also have writing videos up on YouTube.

Next on the blog, you will hopefully be able to see my thoughts on Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, the short story anthology I read two weekends ago. I haven’t dedicated a blog post to a single book in a long time so I’m excited to give it another shot soon. Until then…

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

Continue Reading