Behind the Blog

Every year around August, I get this intense need for structure and organization. Last summer, it happened in July and thus, started my bullet journaling adventure. It only lasted for the summer, and was only brought back in time for finals when I desperately needed organization. This year, I started my bullet journal up again at the start of this month after having three weeks off from school.

I’ve come the conclusion that these bursts of productivity are directly related to having three months off from school. Personally, it’s too much time, and it’s part of the reason why I even started blogging. This blogs provides that structure and organization to my week.

Another reason is because I need an outlet to write consistently. Journaling, if I could bring myself to do it everyday, probably wouldn’t be sufficient because it’s personal and also lacks structure. It’s unchallenging for me as a writer. Plus, in my most recent journalism course, I was introduced to blog writing and fell in love with it. Not only has organization and structure been added to my daily routine, but also to my blog posts as well.

Finally, when I started this blog a month ago, I had no idea what I wanted my content to be. Hence, why my blog is titled after my name. I knew I wanted to mention books in some capacity, but I never thought about turning it into a book blog. (Technically, I still haven’t but I’m getting the hang of it.) At the heart of it all, books and organization are kind of my thing.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this getting to know me in this celebration post of the one month anniversary of my blog and because I fell behind in my reading this month. When and why did you start your own blog? How many times did I write organization and/or structure in this post? (Answer: too many).

Stream of Consciousness

In addition to all things books, another favorite of mine is organization (or the illusion of organization). Whether it’s making to-do lists or re-organizing my shelves, I am all about it. Lately, I’ve been bullet journaling again.

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I started my first journal last summer, and then stopped until exam time in December when I needed some structure on how to study. Generally, I use mine to keep track of assignments and habits, creating a day’s to do list and my expenses. However, I have found that it’s also important to include something that makes you want to come back to your journal. One thing that’s proving to be a success this time around is stream of consciousness pages and even though I’m only two days into it, I’m enjoying far more than I expected. (That might be because my mind is constantly buzzing with thoughts).

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It was when I started writing this post that I realized I’ve been spelling “consciousness” wrong. 

Today, I’ve compiled a list to help you get started.

#1. Designate time in your day to write 

You don’t want to feel rushed as your writing, so set at least fifteen minutes when you wake up, after work or whenever works best for you.

#2. Limit your distractions 

Put your phone away, turn the TV off and get away from any external noise.

#3. Start anywhere 

Don’t worry about not having anything to write. It doesn’t have to be the most philosophical thing you’ve ever written, it can literally be “um..ah..it’s Wednesday blah blah blah…”

#4. Forget about grammar and punctuation 

No internet troll is going to come up as your writing and be like “um, actually it’s you’re* writing. You ARE writing, you’re means you are.” Forget them. Also, sentences don’t need periods or structure how great you don’t even need to capitalize i if you don’t want to

Do you bullet journal or are interested in bullet journaling? If not, how do you stay organized?

Since I Graduated High School

When you’re a freshman in high school, the four years left of mandatory schooling seem to be the longest thing you will ever do. This past weekend, my cousin graduated from high school and it got me thinking about two things. First, I am so relieved that that part of my life has been over for three years (the only reason why I know it’s three years is because I did a simple calculation beforehand). I’m also thinking about everything I have, or haven’t, accomplished in that time.

Number One. I moved out of the house and out of state. I moved to California to live with my grandma and attend the community college there because I thought I needed a fresh start in a new place. I would come to realize in the following months, that I had no idea what I was doing and moved back home.

Number Two. It’s okay to not know. (I made that vague on purpose). For me, it was figuring out what I wanted to study and later, do with my life. Initially, I thought it was journalism and now it’s journalism, again,  but I took a detour and thought I might want to study computer science. I think I needed that hesitation and doubt in order to be completely sure of my decision going forward.

Number Three. I know myself super well now. Without all the external factors that come along with high school, I’ve spent so much time with myself that I don’t feel guilty about being reserved. I can also recognize a situation that might make me anxious and know how to deal with it.

Number Four. I have achieved 63 credits and will be attending a four-year university this fall. Yay!

Number Five. I’m okay with labels now. Society likes to organize people into boxes and have everything all neat and tidy, and I used to run from it. Particularly, I would get so worked up when people called me shy because it felt like I had to appeal to their expectations of me. I still don’t like labeling myself, but I don’t switch off now when it does occur. It comes with getting to know yourself and your values, I guess.

Number Six. Having confidence in my name makes people less likely to butcher it. Growing up, I’ve heard every variation possible from “Amelia” to “Ah-mah-leia.” Even at graduation it was mispronounced as “Uh-male-ee-uh.” I think after so many years of mispronunciations, I didn’t even know what the correct way was anymore so I didn’t bother correcting anyone. However, in the past three years, I have grown into my name and its pronunciation.

Overall, I’m a much happier person now than I was and I’ve grown so much in the past three years. How have your plans changed since graduating high school? Or if you’re still in high school, what are are you looking forward to once you graduate?

 

DNF: Love & Gelato

I made it to Chapter 10 of Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch before I had to put it away because I wasn’t enjoying it. The writing was poor and the characters were bland. Here, I’ve compiled a list of lines in this book that either made me laugh or just left me completely confused, sometimes both.

-He sounded American, but he looked about as Italian as a plate of meatballs. (59) 

-“Okay. I can pick you up on my scooter. Around eight?” (78) 

  • This really is only funny because in my mind, I was picturing Ren picking up Lina in one of these.

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-…excitement started building up in me like steam in a pressure cooker. (80) 

-So…apparently my father spoke Italian. Fluently. (83) 

  • Well, he has been living in Italy for 16+ years.

-He honestly had a dreamy look in his eyes. Did my more-than-a-friend love for food come from him? (84) 

-My cheeks were boiling like a pot of marinara sauce. (87) 

  • Now I’m just hungry.

-He met my eyes, and suddenly I wished with all my heart that I could evaporate, like the steam still curling off my pizza. (90) 

  • If giving inanimate objects feelings is personification, what is called when you reduce a person to an object…and can we not do that.

– A straight-up monsoon was happening in the general vicinity of my face, and the words kept running together in a big, blurry mess. (96) 

  • She was crying. Just say you’re crying.

-“Isn’t it like two a.m. there? (102) 

  • So you knew this, yet you still thought Addie would answer your call?

-“Elena told me there are rooms that she’s never even set foot in, and she and her mom sometimes go days without even seeing each other.”  (114) 

  • This is concerning and definitely should not happen, no matter how big your house is.

-They started raining questions. (117) 

“Ragazzi, dai. My mom will freak out if she finds out you are up here. I had a forty-five minute lecture after the last party. Some idiota left a piece of pizza on the two-hundred-year-old credenza. Come downstairs, per favore!” (124) 

  • Because we’re in Italy. With Italians. In case you forgot.

-“Ren, come on. We’re an hour late. What’s he going to do?” (131) 

  • Lina does what she wants and has no regard for authority.

Check out my full review on Goodreads. Are you confused by any of these lines or is there some philosophical reasoning behind these quotes that is beyond my comprehension?

Book Haul: June 2017

Even though I have yet to read the books on my current TBR list, I thought it would be a good idea to purchase some new books online to maybe, in the future read. They just came in and now I thought I’d share them with you.

The four new books I have added to my collection are:

#1. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer 

I feel like I have walked passed these books on bookstore shelves numerous times and still never bought them. That ends now.

Goodreads summary: Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on.
Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an “honor” that no one has survived.
But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.

#2. Geekerella by Ashley Poston 

I’ve seen the cover circle its way around Instagram recently, and decided to give it a shot.

Goodreads summary: Anything can happen once upon a con…

When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.

Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

#3. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Browsing the sale section on the Barnes & Noble website often leads to impulse decisions.

Goodreads summary: “I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

#4. A Court of Thrones and Roses by Sarah J. Maas 

Everyone and their mother is currently into this series. Better late than never, right?

Goodreads summary: Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …


Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Are you familiar with any of these titles? If so, what did you think?

Review: Eliza and Her Monsters

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Publication: May 30, 2017

Pages: 383

Rating: 100/5

Goodreads summary: Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart. With pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimonaand Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl

The summary doesn’t do this book justice. I received this book in my Owlcrate subscription box, so even though I was interested, I wasn’t too excited about it. Now that I have read it, it’s probably one of my favorite books… ever.

The concept of the book reminds me of both Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl (which I liked) and Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds (which I loved). Half of the book takes place as if it were online, with parts of the dialogue written in text speak and profile pages, representing the good, bad, and ugly of fandom culture. Pages from Eliza’s webcomic are also integrated throughout this novel. On the outside, this book seems trivial at best, and it had me laughing out loud for more than half of the book.

BUT, HOLY SH*T, THIS BOOK IS SO MUCH DEEPER THAN IT APPEARS TO BE. There’s a twist, and it comes out of nowhere. Then, when Eliza’s identity is revealed, important and darker topics are introduced and explored further. We learn about her anxiety after she suffers a panic attack at school, and the healthy ways to live with it. There’s also a brief mention of suicidal thoughts better explained than Thirteen Reasons Why (the show)*. I did not expect to sob over this book, but here we are.

Another reason why I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy this book is because it includes a romance between Eliza and the most popular fanfiction writer, Wallace Warland. I admire that this romance didn’t feel forced. They got together just like your favorite strangers-to-lovers au. After they paired up, they didn’t fight like crazy either, and Zappia portrays a healthy relationship with communication and trust. (Okay, so she lied about LadyConstellation but she had her reasons, also, she was kind of dealing with the whole anxiety thing- it wasn’t right, but it’s forgivable). At the end of the day, this book promotes good friend, familial, and romantic relationships, in addition to taking care of yourself. 

To see what I’m reading next, add me on Goodreads. Also, what kind of reader are you, fast and excited like Eliza or slow and methodical like Wallace?

*To be clear, I’m not hating on the show at all. I think it’s well executed from the script to the actors, but it focuses much more on the external factors of Hannah’s suicide than internal. It spreads the message “be kind to everyone” and “you never know what someone else is going through,” which are good, but is a little harder to relate to (at least personally).

ATTN: SPOILERS, PLEASE READ THE BOOK BEFORE YOU READ THIS  Continue reading

May Wrap Up

This month was all about studying for final exams and applying to university, so unfortunately, I didn’t have a whole lot of time for books. I did manage to read 2 books towards the latter half of this month, and luckily, enjoyed both of them.

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#1. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

I received this book in my Owlcrate subscription box last month, and just got around to reading it. It is a teen romance novel, but not overwhelming so, as Molly goes back and forth throughout the novel weighing the importance and value of her relationship with her crush and her twin sister. For me, it was really easy to start this book although some parts in the middle dragged on.

Amalia’s official rating: 3.7/5

Goodreads summary: Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back. 

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

#2. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown 

I picked this one up because I read her other work The Light of Paris first, and in reviews of that one, everyone was saying they preferred this work. I won’t bore you with a synopsis again, but in case you missed my last post, this book is about the strained relationships between three sisters who have a really hard time communicating with one another (seriously, the first time one of the sisters emptied their baggage to the other was at least two-thirds of the way in). Regardless, I really enjoyed this novel because I love dysfunction and extremely flawed characters in my books and it was resolved nicely by the end.

Amalia’s official rating: 4/5

What did you read this month? And if you want to keep up with what I’m reading, you can add me on Goodreads.