January was one of the best months I’ve had in a while!
I think it was because I finally finished all of my college applications, which was a huge relief after I spent pretty much the entire last half of 2018 worrying about them.* I do still have a few additional forms and financial aid applications to submit, but they’re all fairly simple and shouldn’t be too stressful to handle.
Besides that, the transition into the new year has me feeling unusually refreshed. This may sound corny, but I’ve started to invest more of my time and energy into pursuing my passions, which means that I’ve been doing a lot more of the things that make me happy: blogging, reading, writing, you name it. I still have a long way to go before I achieve the balance I’m looking for — I don’t spend nearly enough time reading, for example — but overall, I’m really happy with how January went!
As a quick note, this is my first official monthly recap,** and I’m still trying to figure out how exactly I want to format these posts. If you have any feedback as to what you find interesting in a post like this, feel free to leave a comment below! And be prepared to see me tweak the formatting a bit over the next couple of months — there might be sections that appear or disappear, graphics that change, etc. I’m playing things by ear for now. 😀
*Now I get to spend the next two months worrying about my decisions. Isn’t that fabulous?
**I tried to write one last February, to be fair, but I’m refusing to acknowledge it as official given my less-than-stellar blogging record throughout all of 2018.
So… remember when I said that I don’t spend nearly enough time reading? Yeah, this section is where you’re going to see evidence of that. January was a dismal reading month for me, and it really shouldn’t have been, considering that I had the entire first week off from school for Winter Break. I’m not too surprised, though. I may be done with my college applications, but between balancing work, school, and the extra classes I’m taking, it’s been difficult for me to find enough time to sleep, let alone read.
But enough excuses: the truth is, I only managed to read 1 book this month, and it was technically a re-read, so I’m not even sure if it counts. It was, however, my first five-star review, so at least I spent my limited reading time on a book that I loved!
I’ve spent the last few weeks gushing about this book to anyone and everyone who will listen, and I’m not about to stop now! Syzygy is some of the most fascinating sci-fi I’ve read in a long time — the worldbuilding, characters, and overall concept are all incredible. I’d read it over and over again if I could.*
Check out my full review here: The Book That Made Me Think “This is What Sci-Fi is Supposed to Be”
*Unfortunately, my TBR is approximately ten miles long and only growing bigger by the day, so I miiiiight have to wait a bit before I can do any more re-reads 😦 but hey, a girl can dream.
Most Disappointing Book
The whole only-read-one-book thing makes it slightly difficult to fill this section out, so I’m just going to leave it blank this time around. But stay tuned for my February recap — I have some choice thoughts about the book I’m currently reading for my English class that I can’t wait to share!
I went to Barnes & Noble a record number of times this month, but I was too focused on shopping for my friends’ birthdays to buy anything for myself. I did, however, receive a few books as gifts for my own birthday: my sister got me Rosemarked and Umbertouched, while my friends got me After the Fire and Uprooted. I’m most excited to check out the Rosemarked series — I’ve been on a sci-fi kick for a bit, but I’m trying to get back into fantasy, and the unique magic system described in Rosemarked’s blurb definitely caught my interest.
*I already posted about them on my bookstagram, as a matter of fact, which you should follow if you want to stay up-to-date on my book hauls as they happen! 😀
January was a huge month for me when it comes to blogging. Not only did I relaunch my site after my impromptu, lengthy hiatus, but I also completely redesigned my theme, graphics, and all of my blog-related social media accounts. And although I haven’t quite settled into a regular blogging routine yet (as my sporadic posting schedule demonstrates), I’ve been having a blast reconnecting with other book bloggers. Everyone in the WordPress community is incredibly kind and supportive, and I’m glad to be a part of it.
Because I didn’t actually start posting until the end of January, my monthly stats aren’t the greatest. I only made two posts, and while they both did fairly well, I wish I had started earlier in the month so I could have gotten more content out. When it comes down to it, though, I’m not too disappointed in myself — I’m mostly just excited to finally be blogging again, and I’m looking forward to posting much more often in the next few months!
New Year, New… Blog? How 2018 Kicked My Butt and What I’m Doing To Make 2019 Better! | Published January 25, 2019.
I was a bit worried about how this post would be received when I first published it; after all, it had been several months since I last posted, and I didn’t know if anyone would even remember who I was. Luckily, my worries were completely unfounded, and I received a ton of love in the comments from the blogging community. Thanks, guys. 🙂
The Book That Made Me Think “This is What Sci-Fi is Supposed to Be”: Syzygy by J.K. Ullrich | Published January 29, 2019.
I’ve already spent a good portion of this wrap-up gushing about how much I love Syzygy, so I won’t repeat myself here, but I do highly recommend that you check out my review if you’re in need of new reading material!
From the Blogosphere
I’m always in awe of the creative ideas that my fellow book bloggers come up with for their posts. Here are a few of my favorites from last month:
- Krysta @ Pages Unbound talked about where public libraries get their funding from, and why it’s important that we keep a close eye on what’s happening to libraries in our own towns.
- May @ Forever and Everly put an incredible amount of effort into surveying bloggers and non-bloggers alike to explore the lack of blogger appreciation that exists on and outside of WordPress!
- Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books wrote about the pros and cons of having a reading schedule, and why she refrains from creating monthly TBRs.
- Shri @ Sun and Chai talked about the importance of balancing book blogging with mental health (along with any other hobbies that you might have) through accounts of her personal experiences.
- Chiante explained why she uses a corkboard to keep track of her writing-related failures, and how it has helped her build confidence as a writer.
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, January was pretty hectic. I had a lot of different things going on both inside and outside of school, and by the end of the month, it was starting to get difficult to balance them all. There were definitely a few highlights, though:
January 9: I got to skip a day of school and fly to Seattle for the 233rd Meeting of the American Astronomical Society, where I presented my summer research on a rare population of stars in the Andromeda Galaxy. It was an incredible experience, and I really wish I had been able to attend for more than one day.
January 22: I celebrated my 18th birthday and officially became a legal adult!
January 29: I re-launched my blog with an all new design after taking an impromptu, seven-month hiatus, recommitting myself to being a full-time (well, as full-time as I can be) book blogger in the process.
- Somehow, I was able to carve out enough free time in my schedule to start blogging again, which is, quite frankly, pretty shocking! My senior year has been far from relaxing, so it was nice to be able to take some time off for a bit and work on my own personal projects instead of just doing schoolwork 24/7.
- I started taking multivariable calculus at a local community college, and got assigned 80 homework problems on the very first night of class (yayyy). The material seems interesting so far, and I’ve really missed taking calc, but I could do without the crushing workload.
- In some cosmic twist of fate, most of my friends have January birthdays: my friend Christel and I were both born on the 22nd, while my friend Lexi was born on the 24th. This resulted in a) a lot of present-buying stress and b) a lot of celebration!
- I had two college interviews, both of which were for schools that I would sell my entire personal library to get into. I feel like they went well, so hopefully that’s reflected in the college decisions I’ll be receiving in March.
Article of the Month
I read a lot of interesting articles in January, but my favorite by far was one that described a new advancement in astrophysics called dark fluid theory. If correct, this theory could bring us one step closer to understanding the mysterious nature of the dark matter and dark energy that dominate our universe!
Find the article here: https://newatlas.com/dark-fluid-theory-matter-energy/57540/.
January Goals Recap
Since this is my first monthly recap, I don’t have any official January goals to review, but I can talk about the goals that I set for myself going into 2019:
- Start making time to read again. ❌ Yeah… this didn’t go exactly as planned. I poured all of my free time into my blog redesign and social media, which didn’t leave much left over for reading.
- Write at least one short story. ❌ Turns out when you can’t make time for reading, you can’t make time for writing, either.
- Officially re-launch Scribbles & Stories! ✔️ As I mentioned, I spent most of the month working on this, and I’m really happy with how the new design turned out! I regret not taking before-and-after pictures, but you can trust me when I say the space theme is miles better than what I had going on before.
I haven’t had the chance to read any of these books yet, but I’ve been hearing great things about them around the blogosphere, so I’m really excited they’re coming out this month! Last of Her Name particularly intrigues me because of the beautiful cover and the space-themed premise… hopefully it (and the others) will live up to the hype.
February 18 – 22: I have yet another week off from school for what everyone calls “Ski Week,” and I have big plans: writing as many blog posts as I can, starting a new writing project, and sleeping in as much as possible.
February ???: I might get promoted sometime this month! My manager has been talking about moving me up into a shift lead position, but nothing’s been finalized yet, so fingers crossed.
- Read at least 5 books. Ideally, I’d like to read even more than that, but given how last month went, it’s probably a good idea to set the bar somewhat low.
- Choose a writing project to pursue for the year and get a big chunk of planning done. Ever since I re-launched my blog, I’ve been itching to start writing again, but I haven’t been able to find the time. This month, I’m determined to start making the time.
- Write at least one short story. This is part of my larger goal of writing at least one short story a month in 2019, which I originally outlined in my yearly recap/comeback post. Short fiction has always been challenging for me, so I’m hoping to get better at it this year!
- Catch up on blog posts. I haven’t been sticking to my posting schedule, so I’m going to temporarily abandon it for February and focus on posting as much as I can to get myself back on track.
- Finish learning Python. A little over a year ago, I started an online Python course that I never ended up finishing. Although I’ve progressed pretty far in the language on my own time, I want to go back and finish the course just to make sure that I have all the fundamentals down.
- Get more sleep (at least 6 hours a night). My sleep schedule has been all sorts of messed up lately, and it’s having a significant impact on my productivity… so, if I want any chance of achieving my other goals, I’ll have to achieve this one first!