Places to Construe

A desideratum.

WHY I HAVEN'T JOINED ANY BOOK CHALLENGES YET

Every time I see a new book challenge I always think about how cool it would be to join fellow bibliophiles in challenging myself to read books I may have never thought of or wouldn't have read otherwise. I always think about the new books I'll come across. I think about the people I may interact with because of all the books we like or dislike. After all, discussions are important. Reading challenges appear to be fun. Someday I will join one, but not right now. 

Last year I was in a reading slump. I couldn't get into one book. I went most of the year without reading a single story. The one book that appealed to me got lost and I'm not sure how. In the past years, I have joined the Goodreads reading challenge. I'd put a large number because it never seemed to be a lot. Fifty books aren't much. They never were to me. I'd always say challenge accepted. Sometime in the past couple of years, I'd get an overwhelming feeling and drop the challenge altogether.

Lately, reading challenges have made me feel pressured to read faster and to read more. There are times I didn't really enjoy a book because I was racing to the finish line. Just like last year, I challenged myself to read one book this year. The point isn't to read one because I know I'll read more. The point is to enjoy every moment with every book. I want to absorb all that is happening. I want to find new ships and fall in love with new characters. I want to dive into worlds that I've yet to encounter. I want to do it all on my time.

As I said before, reading challenges are cool. One day I will join one. For now, I am working on getting my mojo back one book at a time. 

Have you joined any reading challenges yet? If so, how many? What do you like or dislike about reading challenges? 

A TRUTHWITCH UPDATE

Normally I would just write a review for a book that I'm enjoying, but I decided to spice things up a bit. I'm writing an update for myself and whoever would like to read it. This just may help me stick to my book resolutions this year. I've read every day since December 29th. I'd say so far so good. The more I read, the more I realize that I missed out on some adventures last year. That's okay. I'm back at it now.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard is a book that I'm reading spontaneously. I picked it off of my shelf and didn't bother to read the synopsis. I told myself that I'm just going to read and that's what I've been doing. At this moment I am one-third of the way through but I am hooked. It's all because of the different kind of witchery happening within the Witchlands and the drama that comes with it.

There are so many types of witches. There are Truthwitches, Bloodwitches, Threadwitches, Windwitches, Tidewitches, Earthwitches, etc. There's a type of witch for everything.  These witches control the elements that pertain to the type of which they are. Iseult is a Threadwitch. Safi is a Truthwitch. Those girls are courageous and their bond is unbreakable. I love how every time they are in danger their bond shines through. They are a team. They are each other's other half in a sense. They are Threadsisters after all.

The witchery in this story isn't the only thing that has me hooked. Truthwitch is a wonderfully written story. The feminism and girl power that is shown on almost every page of the book is absolutely delicious. I'm practically gobbling up the pages. These girls are complete badasses. The story begins with Safi and Iseult in a roadside scandal that may have caused damage to the renegotiation of peace between kingdoms. Highway robbery is a serious thing, especially when the almost victim is someone very important in the Witchlands.

Another element of the story that I am enjoying is the plot. The plot is slightly confusing and I think it's because I may have missed something while reading, but what I do know is that there is a war on its way. Something is brewing between the kingdoms. There's a Bloodwitch on the hunt for Iseult Safi. Iseult might be considered other while Safi has to slip into her Domna role for one night.

With every page I read, I find it harder to put the book down. I read on my way to places. I read in bed. I read when I eat. This book is so good so far. We've all been there. Have you ever loved a book so much you couldn't put it down? Have you ever read a book in one day? Truthwitch is definitely that kind of book. Stay tuned for more.


#TBR: 5 BOOKS I WISH TO READ IN 2020

As you may or may not know, I've been reading Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. As I continue to read and do my best to keep my new year's resolution, I find myself enjoying a world I had simply given mere glances to. Truthwitch is a book that I had bought, put on my shelf in hopes I'd get to it sooner rather than later, and then proceeded to forget I had it. Let's just say that I don't have any regrets picking up this book and 2020 is on the track to be successful.

Truthwitch is a spontaneous read. As I said before, I forgot about the book. I didn't read the synopsis when I picked it. I just took it and ran with it. Despite my first read of 2020 being spontaneous, there are books that I do plan on reading. Some books have been on my list for ages. Other books are fairly new to the list of books I wish to read. 

Here are five books that I wish to read:

  1. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - Once upon a time, I fell madly in love with the words of Sarah J. Maas when I read the first book to the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. I fell for Tamlin like everyone else but was soon siding with the mystery man of the Night Court,  Rhysand. Halfway through the book, I wanted more from Rhysand and was more than happy with the outcome of the first book of the series. It's been a while since I've picked up one of her books but I am really excited to get back to it.
  2. The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern - I've been excited to read this book for a while. When I read the synopsis, the part that intrigued me the most is where it read that only one can be left standing out of the two magicians. Not to mention there are some dark and mysterious things happening behind the curtains of a circus that only happens at night. 
  3. Find Me by AndrĂ© Aciman - If you read Call Me By Your Name, then you understand how vital it is to read the second book. I fell in love with Elio and Oliver in the first novel. Hell, I even watched the movie more times than I can remember. We all remember the famous speech Elio's dad gave him that moved us. Now, Elio's dad is being thrown into the novel. Sign me up for it all. Call Me By Your Name is a beautiful novel. I believe Find Me will be just as beautiful.
  4. Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling - No matter how many times I've attempted to read the Harry Potter series, I couldn't seem to finish a book. I did get to read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but that is not J.K. Rowling's doing. I fell in love with the wizarding world and know so much without reading a book. Every time I picked up a book, I would enjoy it and something happened that would hinder me from finishing it. I'm making it my mission to dive headfirst into the Harry Potter, Hogwarts, and the wizarding world. 
  5.  Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch - Two things that I love are Gelato and Italy. Sign me up every time. I have enjoyed stories where the plot goes deeper than that. There's isn't anything more perfect than a story that takes the reader through a roller coaster of romance, adventure, self-realization, and a beautiful country with charm. Lina, the main character, caught my attention before I had the chance to read the book. 
2020 is going to be a year of books and real-life adventures for me. As I said in my last post, I spent my entire 2019 in moments and not in fantasy land. I miss fantasy land. I love it as much as I love reality. I'm learning to balance both. I may not document every book I read because I read for the love it, but I will try. Good or bad. I'm excited about all of the books I read in 2020 and the adventures I'll bring them on. 

 MY HOPES FOR 2020

In 2019, I made a plan to take more time out of my day to set aside for reading. It worked out well in the beginning, but then it dwindle down to merely a glance. I wish I could say that 2019 was productive in the literary department, but I don't think I completed one book. I spent so much time buying new books. I was excited about these books. I couldn't wait to get home and turn to the first page, but nothing ever came of it. Instead, 2019 was productive in other ways. 

In 2019, I spent most of my time enjoying many first time experiences and traveling. I went back home to Puerto Rico for the first time since I was a baby. I had a some so epic I could write a novela for Telemundo. 2019 was a year of books. It wasn't a year that I had fallen in love with new characters or worlds. 2019 was the year I truly became the heroine in my own story. 2019 was an incredible year for me.

For 2020, I have new hopes. I want to continue to be the heroine in my own story that I'm writing. I want to continue to travel. I want to continue to enjoy many first time experiences. Most importantly, I want to go back to my one of my first loves: reading. Reading is something I realized that I've missed out on. Getting lost in worlds and becoming involved with characters had given me many first time experiences. Hell, it even made my imagination three times colorful.

My first book of 2020 will be Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. Lets hope that I continue on my path and bring these worlds with me on my own personal adventures. As I'm writing my story, I'm looking forward to read new stories and get lost in worlds I've yet to explore. Maybe I'll reread previous favorites while I'm at it. For now, I'll take baby steps. One book here and one book there until I'm reading so many books my brain will explode. 

I'm excited for 2020. I'm excited for what the year holds and I definitely can't wait to read more books. What makes you excited about the new year? What books are you looking forward to reading?
I started at one of the universities of my dreams as a transfer student. Yes, I've almost completed my bachelor's degree. Yes, I'm excited. When I was speaking with my advisor about my transition as a student in my current university, we spoke of things I'm doing differently, what has been working for me, and what I can do to improve.

Being at this school was an improvement in itself. I am being challenged. I am learning. I am enjoying myself and the environment is great. People are nice and welcoming. The professors know their s***. While in the midst of this discussion, I suddenly realized why I was succeeding at this school. It wasn't just the wonderful professors or the great atmosphere. It was me. I had changed my ways. So what did I do that worked out so well for me?

INVESTING MORE INTO MY EDUCATION

The first thing I did was invest in a laptop.I am know that everyone is not able to or saying that everyone should. For me, it was crucial. I needed to be able to work on the go and a laptop could provide that. Writing papers became easier because I had time to plan them out and sometimes procrastinate. I also had more time to sleep because I wasn't stuck on a university computer all night long. My laptop became a place where I did most of my readings. I had to read a lot of Dante and Thomas Aquinas last year for a final paper. Having all of my papers, projects, PDFs, and ebooks in one place was life changing and it made me super organized. I got a lot more done in a shorter amount of time.

I also used my laptop for note-taking. I swore I would never be that girl who uses her MacBook in class while the professor is going on and on about literature, but I have and it has changed my life. I don't actually have to rewrite my notes and this makes revising easier. Microsoft Notebook came in handy. I was able to break each notebook down by semester, class, homework and notes, and anything else that was important for me to remember. The app itself allowed me to highlight and mark important bits of information. The app has a key or legend where it breaks down each color highlighter and the functions of the symbols. This makes breaking down notes simple and effective. I kept on top of my schedule and deadlines. This app also syncs to all devices.

The next things are schedules and deadlines. iCalendar or the Calendar app works wonders because it syncs to my phone. Everything is color coordinated. I have everything on there from school related things like studying, homework and reading times, to events in and out of school, to my work schedule. I never have an excuse why I can't meet a deadline or why I missed an event I wanted or didn't want to attend because I basically copy and paste my syllabi and my entire life onto my calendar. 
Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. - Malcom x

MINIMALISM IS KEY

I didn't carry a lot of things with me. I carried my wallet, my phone, my laptop and kindle, a notebook, and some pens. I do not like carrying too many things.  I don't enjoy the stress of having too much weight on my shoulders. I don't like the way a bookbag takes up too much space in an overcrowded city. Have you tried getting on a train when your bookbag is overflowing and takes up the space of two or more people? It just makes everyone uncomfortable. I carry a tote with the bare necessities and I am good to go.

MAKING SURE PROFESSORS KNOW WHO I AM AND ASKING FOR HELP WHEN NECESSARY

I've never been a shy person. I like to raise my hand and interact in class. I sit in the front and sometimes I am that annoying know it all. Besides the introductions in class that we are forced to do at times, I like to go to office hours and have a small conversation with my professor. Most of the time they are more than happy to go more in depth about what they expect, what you can expect, and they will give you tips on how you can succeed in the class. One of my professors told me to work smart not hard. There's no point in exhausting yourself if things are getting done properly.

When I introduced myself, I found that the professors could see how dedicated I am after having one conversation. If I ran into trouble with something, they were more than happy to help. I almost missed a deadline because I was struggling with a paper. My professor was more than happy to give me a small extension on the condition that I meet with her to help smoothe the process of completing my paper.

SETTING MY ALARM A COUPLE HOURS EARLY

I've never been a morning person, but I really like mornings. I've never been someone who can just get out of bed and feel all of this energy. I am a very sleep gal and getting up in the morning feels like a process. So setting my alarm in a couple of hours earlier than necessary gives me time to wake up, take my time getting ready, have breakfast, go over notes, finish or work on readings and assignments, and to relax. There's nothing worse than having to rush out the door. I like my mornings peaceful. To me, a peaceful morning is a time to relax and breathe before I have to be a functioning adult. Peaceful mornings lead to having a good day. We all love good days.

REMINDING MYSELF TO BREATHE & HAVE FUN

I'd love to be able to do everything and give one hundred percent, but sometimes that's not realistic. By then it's two months into the semester and I'm exhausted. I may have skipped a meal because I forgot to eat. I'm hitting snooze when I should be getting ready to go. I'm making simple mistakes and getting frustrated. This is when I remind myself to breathe. I am only human. I am not perfect. Sometimes I'm just not up for it or I'm not feeling completely healthy. It's okay to take moments for myself. It's okay to take a step back to reevaluate or revisit the situation.

The best thing I did was meet people inside and outside of my major. Having friends from uni offered me the opportunity for study groups and someone to help me revise work that I've done. Friends from uni share the same stress. They need to let loose sometimes too. Going out to dinners, movies, or just hanging released a lot of stress. We had fun together and we stressed about school together. We reminded ourselves to breathe and took moments for ourselves and to reflect.

University can be one of the hardest, most stressful times in one's life, but it can also be a great experience. I'm trying to make my undergrad years a bunch of happy memories down the road. By changing the way I did things previously, I was able to grow and become a better student who had a little bit more time for herself.

What are some things you did differently last semester that worked for you?

DARIANNE 

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