June Wrap-Up!

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of MINI-REVIEW-8

Hello everyone!

How was your June? Mine was… erh, um, uh, let’s just say I SURVIVED!!!

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It was tough! I worked a lot and didn’t sleep enough! I struggled to keep up with reading and writing and blogging and exercise and………… I am SO glad that June is over! I’m ready to burrow somewhere and hibernate (or go on a loooooooong vacation.) #adulting

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On the plus side:

BulletΒ We got another dog!! (Maybe I’ll share more about this little guy at the end of this post if you all stick around πŸ˜‰ )

BulletΒ I kind of finished writing my first EVER complete novel outline, just in time for Camp Nano next month! Yay!!

Phew. So I did get a few things done πŸ™‚

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I read 5 books this month, which I am proud of because A) one of these is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which should really count as two books by my standard, and B) it was a super CRAZY month.

How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method goes in-depth about… well, how to use the Snowflake Method. I enjoyed reading about specific examples of how to complete each step in the snowflake. Also, this book is interestingly written in a novel format rather than a standard textbook format. (What!? I know, you’d have to read this book to get what I mean.) On the other hand, I feel that it is sufficient to just read the online article by Randy Ingermansen without reading this book. You can also read more about the Snowflake Method in my post here.

Truth be told, guys, (hides face from thrown tomatoes), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is my LEAST favourite of the series so far in my re-read. It is too long, and angsty, and nothing much really happens? Kind of like the middle-book syndrome? On the other hand, I did enjoy just being immersed in the world of Harry Potter. That, and Luna and Neville are super awesome.

Emmy & Oliver was such a refreshing read after the Order of the Phoenix! (Thank you Marie for this recommendation πŸ™‚ ) Loved reading about Emmy and her friends! Loved the childhood friend trope! Loved the chemistry between Emmy and Oliver!

I enjoyedΒ Room the movie. When I read the first page of the book, I knew I wanted to read the rest of the book right away. I loved the premise of the novel- the idea that a boy who spends his first five years living in a small room sees the outside world for the first time.

I read Strengthsfinder 2.0 for a book club at work. It made me think: Our modern society is highly focused on weaknesses. We’re all told to identify our weaknesses and improve on them. However, rather than working on being “passable” in our areas of weakness, why not focus on becoming even more awesome at our strengths? Strengthsfinder 2.0 includes access to an online quiz which helps you identify your top 5 strengths. The book goes more into detail about how to utilize each strength. This book helped me gain some insight into what I’m good at, not just in the workplace but in everyday life as well.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is such a fun read. (Thank you Beth for this recommendation!) I love that the main character Monty is far from perfect, but lovable all the same. I also love that this is a book about a road trip that makes me want to travel that much more! (I am still reading this book so not counting it in this month’s total)

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Here are some posts that I enjoyed πŸ™‚

You guys know the Myers-Briggs personality test, right? Well, Alex @ Scribbles and Stories just invented a MBTI-inspired test for writers!

Kelly @ Another Book in the Wall writes about why endings don’t always have to be happy. Pssst…. bittersweet endings are my favourite type of endings!

Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books tells us ALL about her trip to Berlin. Warning: beautiful pictures ahead that will make you wonder why you aren’t in Germany right now.

Beth @ Reading Every Night discusses why she loves movie adaptations… even the terrible ones!? You’ve convinced me, Beth!

Stefanie @ Stefanie Crafts with Wool and Paper shares a beautiful DIY zipper pouch project, complete with photos and step-by-step instructions!

Kat @ Life and Other Disasters celebrates her 5-year blogiversary! If that is not true dedication, I don’t know what is!

Last but not least, a big THANK YOU to everyone who left a comment this month. There’s no way I can mention all of you here but you know who you are. You guys kept me sane (you have no idea!)

And last but not least…. Here is the new member of our family:

IMG_5833Zander is a rescue from a local animal shelter. He is a Mini Pinscher and is tiny (8 lbs)! He is at least 10 years old, but I am surprised by how much energy he still has. He warmed up to us right away and even fell asleep on my lap on the car ride home from the shelter. He is getting along with our current dog (Charles the greyhound) though he is still a bit afraid of the big guy.

We are still working on house-training with Zander. We think that he is house-trained but he can’t hold his pee for that long so we are training him to use a pee pad when we are not home. We also need to work on his recall, since he doesn’t recognize his own name yet!

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How was your June? Any noteworthy reads? Do you have any pets? Feel free to share some stress-busting tips!

41 thoughts on “June Wrap-Up!

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hello Kelly πŸ™‚
      I loved your post so much! I think it is the first post that I’ve read about sad/bittersweet endings which makes it so awesome πŸ™‚ I am also glad to know that I’m not the only one who feels that way about Order of the Phoenix!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Sieran Lane says:

    Congratulations on the new dog! 😁

    LOL don’t worry, I won’t throw tomatoes (or rotten eggs) at you even though The Order of the Phoenix was probably my favorite book. πŸ˜‚ We all like different things, after all. My least favorite book was Chamber of Secrets, for some reason. And I got the impression that I liked the Prisoner of Azkaban more than you did, lol! Prisoner of Azkaban was also the first HP book I read, because I was drawn to the picture of Buckbeak, haha.

    Hey about the middle book problem, I realized another thing where I might have a minority reader reaction. I hear of authors talking about the sagging middle problem, and I just took this problem for granted for the longest time. It was later that I noticed that I sometimes enjoy the middle more than any other part in a book!! According to some writing craft guides, the middle is where you have increasing stakes and complications. I LOVE IT when things get more and more complicated and an increasing number of factors come into play. Sometimes, I enjoy the middle even more than I enjoy the climax, which surprised me.

    As a writer, I love writing the middle too…and probably take too long to complete it, lol. But I do see that as a reader, I’m engaged in the book as long as there’s still mystery, suspense, and a sense of unease in the story. Mystery and suspense will hook me every time, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hi Sieran πŸ™‚

      Glad that I am spared the tomatoes or eggs *phew* I do remember you mentioning that the Order of the Phoenix was one of your favourite HP books. I think there are parts of the book that I enjoyed. For example I liked reading about Dumbledore’s Army and I also liked learning more about Snape who becomes a more complex character. I am however frustrated by the ending because I think Sirius’s death could have easily been avoided.

      Interesting that you enjoy the middle parts of books and series. You are right that this is when the plot becomes complicated and the stakes increase. A book would be incomplete if we take out the middle, right? Usually I enjoy the beginning of a book the most, and the middle is when I am most likely to feel disengaged. I actually feel similarly when I write a novel. I am very excited to write the beginning and the ending but I sometimes get bored during the middle scenes.

      You bring up a good point about mystery, suspense and tension. There are books that keep me hooked from beginning to end because of how the middle section is handled. This means that how we write the middle section is essential to hooking our readers!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sieran Lane says:

        Oh man, I don’t remember much about Order of the Phoenix. XD I only remember how I felt about it, haha. It was partly because of Fawkes because I love him and I adore phoenixes. Also, Phoenix tears! πŸ˜„
        Definitely could have avoided Sirius’s death, though. 😦 He was one of my favorite characters.

        Now that you mention it, I think I am less excited than you would expect a writer to be when I’m writing the beginning. I still am excited, since it’s new, but I’m not emotionally invested in the characters yet, because they’re still strangers to me at that point. In the middle, I already got to know them more, and I become emotionally attached to them. XD. Climax scenes are very thrilling to write for sure! Endings are…well, they’re nice because then I can tell people that I finished writing a novel. XD But it’s also bittersweet because I miss my characters already and I may even feel depressed because I won’t be able to see them anymore, unless I write a sequel or something.

        Aside from mystery and suspense, I feel hooked as well when a new exciting point or plot development appears. For example, budding romantic tension gets me every time. XD Well, not literally every time, but I’m very relationship-oriented when it comes to stories. I love reading about complications arising in relationships, and not just the romantic ones! I also love complications (or plot twists!) happening in fantasy, sci-fi, or action-adventure plots.

        I try to make things (plot events, characters, etc.) unexpected whenever I can, but sometimes I fear that I’m too off the grid and readers will be unhappy!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sophie Li says:

        I only remember the Order of the Phoenix well because I just read it haha. Usually I forget books really quickly and I often end up just remembering how I feel about them (the most important part, right?) rather than every detail.

        That’s a good point. I like writing beginnings because it is a fresh slate and I love the feeling of starting something new. I know what you mean though in that I also don’t feel attached to my characters until some time later. I think I struggle with writing the middle part because I don’t know what will happen next. Also, it is the part where I have to handle plot holes! Because I am trying to figure out these things, my plot sometimes loses direction during the middle part which is frustrating for me (and my potential readers haha.) However I am hoping that a more structured approach will improve things this time around! I also have mixed emotions when I finish a novel. On one hand, I am excited that I am approaching the end and that everything is coming together. On the other hand, it is sad to have to say goodbye to the characters who have been in my mind for all this time.

        I love reading about relationships as well. As much as I love a good fantasy/sci-fi/mystery novel, I would be very bored if there is no romantic tension or even a good platonic relationship. I love good plot twists that I didn’t see coming πŸ™‚ I try to incorporate plot twists in my novels. I think having a bit of foreshadowing throughout the story can prevent plot twists from seeming too random, all though too much would take away the element of surprise!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sieran Lane says:

        I’ll have to reply to you more slowly, to get more writing time. XD More writing time for both my Camp Nanowrimo novel and for my blog, lol. I’ve been really into doing some exercises from Verbalize too, which helped me understand my characters even more than before.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Kat Impossible says:

    AAAH! ZANDER IS SO CUTE!!! I love dogs and love that you took in a shelter dog. I know it’s a lot of commitment in terms of time and energy and love, so you are the greatest for doing that. And I hope you have the best of time during Camp NaNo. I am happy to hear you got your outlining done before the end of the month πŸ˜€
    Thanks so much for sharing my post, Sophie!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hello Kat πŸ™‚
      Yes Zander is so adorable, isn’t he? He is so energetic and cuddly and we can’t imagine life without him now.
      The reason why we decided to adopt an adult dog is because we don’t have time to train a puppy, while Zander at the very least is already house-trained. He is so wonderful and I can’t imagine why he was abandoned by his owner!
      Thank you for your encouragement Kat ❀ Wishing you a wonderful July!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Alex Masegian says:

    Oh my goodness, Zander is adorable! I hope he continues to adjust well … you should definitely keep us posted with more cute pictures. πŸ™‚ Good luck with Camp NaNo this July — I can’t wait to see how your project goes!
    P.S. Thank you so much for sharing my post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 3C Style says:

    Zender is such a cutie. And this post is AWESOME. Thanks for your book suggestions. They all seems so interesting. Ooh no, my To-Read list was already long enough! I need a loooooong vacation too. πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marie says:

    I’m very happy to hear you got through June and hope that July will be a bit less stressful for you ❀ ❀ Still, you managed to read a lot of books and finish your book's outline, this is amazing, I'm so happy for you! I'm really glad you enjoyed Emmy & Oliver, I loved this book so much and it's a perfect summer read πŸ™‚
    ZANDER LOOKS ADORABLE AHHHH. Warms my heart to see this ❀ ❀ ❀
    I hope you'll have a fantastic July, Sophie! ❀ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Aww thank you for your encouraging words Marie! Honestly I don’t know how I made it through June haha. I am glad that I read Emmy & Oliver πŸ™‚
      Zander is such a sweetie and I already can’t imagine life without him πŸ™‚ Wishing you a wonderful July as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Norrie says:

    Aww, say hi to doggie from me! He’s adorable ❀

    I still need to read Gentleman's guide and Room. Have both of them, but not sure when i will actually take the plunge πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    Yay, new dog. Oh that pictures is adorable, and he’s so tiny! I’m glad he’s getting along well with Charles (and vise versa). I’d love another dog but Tommy doesn’t get on well with dogs, except greyhounds sometimes, so it’s better not to risk it. I hope you’ll be sharing more pictures of Zander (and Charles too).
    Also I’m so glad you’re enjoying (or enjoyed? I’m assuming you may have finished it since posting this) The Gentleman’s Guide. It’s amazing right? And yeah the road trip aspect made me want to travel as well.
    It seems like you had a great month Sophie, I hope you have a brilliant July as well and happy reading. πŸ™‚ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Haha yes Zander is tiny and adorable πŸ™‚ He is still a bit scared of Charles (which is funny because he is scared of nothing else, and Charles is scared of everything!) However Charles is curious about the little guy πŸ™‚
      I know what you mean because greyhounds have peculiar personalities, don’t they? And many of them don’t have much contact with other dogs. We took a chance with Zander. It was good because the shelter let us have a 2 week trial before we decide to adopt him for good (a few days in and we are certain that we will keep him!)
      Yes I am glad that I read the Gentleman’s Guide πŸ™‚ Looking forward to the sequel!
      Wishing you a brilliant July Beth ❀ πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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