It’s happening, y’all. We’re winding down on what seemed to be the longest freaking year ever. I mean, Black Panther came out THIS year! I don’t know about y’all, but it feels like it was… More
So, here’s the thing. I’ve tried to do Nanowrimo a few times in the past. I think it was two years ago that I spent all of October outlining in the hopes of hitting that golden 50,000 word count goal. However, this hasn’t happened yet. I know, I know. It should be about starting your novel, and any word count greater than zero is amazing.
But, I want that 50k.
November is a tricky month for me. For one thing, I am currently enrolled as a full-time student at University. November is this time when midterms are over, and everyone is stressed about final papers and exams. (I’m an English Literature major, so I have more papers than actual exams) So, I need to make sure that I’m focused on doing well in my classes and completing any larger assignments.
I also work at the University 20 hours a week. I love that I’m able to do this, and the fact that my classes and workplace are so close together is incredibly convenient.
Thirdly, in America, November has a couple of holidays that throw schedules out of whack, the largest of which being Thanksgiving. Now, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Time off from school and work to indulge in delicious food with family? Yes, please!
I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining here. I am incredibly grateful for how privileged I am to go to school and work and spend time with family. This just takes up a significant part of my time. All of those important aspects combined with this blog (and reading!) leaves little to no time for writing.
But, I want to write. It’s my respite. It’s what I’m working toward. It’s my life. I love everything about writing to the last little detail. So, it sucks when I don’t get to devote as much time to it as I’d like to. Cut to Halloween of this year.
That night, I was talking with one of my friends and my sister about NaNoWriMo. They’re incredibly encouraging and supportive and told me to go ahead and “finish your damn novel, so I can read it” (Thank you, Brian). So, on November 1st, I opened up the document and began to write.
For the last two weeks or so, I’ve had an amazing time writing. I feel like I’m really getting to know my characters. And, putting their story down on paper (or . . . on the screen, rather) is immensely gratifying. I’m nowhere near where I need to be in terms of word count, but I’m writing more and more at my own pace. I didn’t want to be overwhelmed this year and abandon my studies. I did that last year, and it resulted in some of the worst anxiety attacks I’ve ever had. I decided to go into NaNoWriMo this year with a much more casual attitude than in Novembers past. I told myself that any word count was better than nothing, and if I hit that 50k, that was just gravy. Giving myself a little bit of leeway helped me not be so hard on myself and still spend time working on my classes.
Here’s where I am now. It’s just about the middle of the month (and holy cow, did it come quick), and I am currently sitting on 7,026 words. I’m happy with that. If you want that converted into pages, that’s about 27 pages. Considering where I was that Halloween night, that’s pretty great. I definitely feel motivated to continue my draft after the November 30th deadline.
Here’s hoping to (at least?) another 7k words by December 1st. I’ll be sure to provide another writing update.
Until then, happy writing,
With the release of the final installment in Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series, it’s only appropriate that I dedicate an entire post to is what sure to be a classic YA Fantasy series.
My first disclaimer: I have only read the first two books, Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. However, I do own books 3-6 and will be picking up the 7th very soon. You may be thinking, “You haven’t read the entire series yet?! And you’re going to write a post on the whole series?” Well, hold on a second there.
I will only be writing about my experiences regarding the first two books. As I continue the series, I’ll add additional posts.
Way back when (2012, to be precise), I was working as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble. Yes, this seems like a dream job for a book-lover, and perhaps I’ll discuss my time spent there at another date. I remember when Throne of Glass was released. It was placed on an endcap with the older, first-released cover. I was intrigued by the cover and title, and one day, when I had some free time, I grabbed a copy and read the inside flap. Immediately, this sounded like something I’d be into. A badass assassin that’s fighting for her eventual freedom? I was sold. However, as with all book lovers, it takes forever to reach a certain book in the massive TBR pile. So, it took a while before I eventually began reading it.
In 2015, after the newer covers came out, I was in a small reading funk and saw the first book on Amazon. Feeling like I would enjoy it, I went ahead and bought both the first and second in the series. It finally arrived (I swear, bookmail always seems like it takes forever to get here), and I cracked that sucker open. It was in the Summer, so whenever I had to do yardwork, I would listen to the audiobook. More thoughts on that later. I liked it enough. I didn’t immediately fall in love with it like I thought I would. The characters, including Celaena were interesting enough to keep me engaged, but not enough to cause met to fly through the pages at top speed. When I finished the book about a week later, I picked up another book instead of diving into Crown of Midnight. And another. And another.
In April of 2018, I had a little extra money from work and decided to splurge on the entire series (so far) in hardcover. (Thank you, Book Outlet!) I read some of her other works, including the A Court of Thorns and Roses series (which will DEFINITELY be getting an entire post in the future!). Flash-forward to June 2018. I was in the best reading mood ever. I wanted to keep the momentum going, so why not finally pick up Crown of Midnight? It took me several weeks, but I finally finished it. Now, you might be thinking, “With that ending, you didn’t immediately read Heir of Fire? That’s blasphemy!”
Well, no. Let me back up a bit. See, I already knew all of the spoilers going into Crown of Midnight. In fact, it was kind of why I picked the series back up in the first place. I loved the idea of a hidden identity and this weird, but wonderful relationship that Celaena would eventually have with Rowan. There are so many new characters that are introduced in the third book that the rest of the series feels like a completely new world. It does not match the feel of the first one. The real reason I haven’t picked up the rest of the series may throw you for a doozy or confuse you entirely.
You see, I’m a little superstitious.
When I read those first two books, I experienced bad luck. Especially with Crown of Midnight. It seemed like nothing good happened whilst I was reading that book. As soon as I stopped, my luck changed. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I can’t help it. The superstition around it has grown so much that I almost dread even talking about the books for fear of something bad happening. This is why I’m writing this post. Not to capitalize on the Kingdom of Ash release hype, but to finally put my anxiety around these books to bed. I want so much to read and love these books and take part in the fandom, so I am writing this post to help me get over it. (If any of you have experienced anything like this, please let me know–It would be nice to know I’m not alone).
So, I am going to be picking up Heir of Fire and reading it. I’m a full-time college student, so this time of year is a bit (read: VERY) busy for me, so I’ve decided to start the series back up after final exams over my winter break. I’ll have several weeks to completely get lost in the world that Sarah J. Maas spent years creating, and I’ll document that process here.
Click-bait title aside, I didn’t want to write this post. I hate anything to do with “drama”, but I feel this needs to be addressed within the book community. Not that I’m some kind of authority on the matter, but I’m going to explode if I don’t get it out somehow.
Throughout the last six to eight months, I’ve noticed several controversies (if you want to call it that) in the bookish community, specifically booktube. I’m going to try to keep my thoughts somewhat coherent and linear, but if I go off on a tangent, forgive me.
First, I want to talk about booktube specifically. Throughout the last seven years, I’ve had two different booktube channels. Once, in 2011, when the community wasn’t as big it is now, and again earlier this year. Let me just say before I get into everything that I love booktube. For the most part, it’s a lovely and welcoming community. However, there are a few outlying issues that can sour one’s experience in it. These issues are also found in other issues on youtube, so don’t think I’m only knocking booktube.
Let’s get into the argument for and against the negative reviews. Here’s my stance: negative reviews are a good thing! Not every book warrants a stellar, raving review. Sometimes, a book just won’t do it for you. And talking about it is okay. You didn’t like the main character? Pacing a little slow? Guess what? You can and should be able to talk about that in your review. However, tagging an author on social media just to say “your writing sucks!1!!!1!” is not conducive to an open and welcoming book community. There’s no constructive criticism in that statement. It’s also not even a review.
What seems to confuse people is trying to separate the two. A person who writes a negative review on a book and posts it online is not a bad person nor are they seeking attention. Just because someone doesn’t love your favorite author doesn’t mean they are attacking that person. Their works are simply not their cup of tea. Simple as that. There is no need for this outrage culture that insists on tearing down another book blogger for not loving Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass nor is there a need for attacking Cassandra Clare on twitter because of her views on the “Shadowhunters” television show on freeform, which brings me to my next point, ownership of fictional characters.
Part of me wants to sit down and write a full, separate, dissertation on this topic (There actually is a dissertation about fandom culture here, if you’re interested!), but I’m already a full-time college student and time is precious. So, I’ll just get down to the nitty gritty. When an author creates a fictional world filled with fictional characters, those belong to the author. Sure, it’s wonderful that people write fan-fiction (I did too, once upon a time!), but it’s important to realize the true ownership that exists. I’ve witnessed countless people on social media try to dictate what should happen in a fictional universe. Y’all, it’s fictional. Yes, it’s wonderful and offers us a much-needed escape, and books are the best things since . . . ever, but ultimately, it doesn’t totally belong to you. I know, it’s heartbreaking. (I’m not being sarcastic or trying to be condescending here. It really sucks). But, that’s why we have things like fan-fiction. You get to change things up, and that’s freaking awesome. However, the canon is still canon. At the end of the day, it still belongs to the author. As I mentioned earlier, you can disagree with the author, but don’t attack them because of that disagreement.
It’s not just in books. Look at the Star Wars community after episodes 7 and 8 came out. Right now, people are actively trying to remake the movies. Guess what, buddy? If you don’t enjoy something fully, that truly sucks. But, instead of using all that energy to take down something, use it to consume something else you might enjoy. Maybe I’m being a little preachy here, but life is too short and too long to spend that much time angry and hating something.
I feel like I’m starting to ramble, and class is about to start. Perhaps, I’ll revisit this post in the future, but for now, I’m going to let it be.
Let me preface this by saying that I hadn’t read any of Holly Black’s work before. I’d heard of many who praise her books, but I simply hadn’t got around to reading any of them. Of course, when The Cruel Prince was released earlier this year, I was so intrigued by the premise that it immediately went in my TBR. I bought the book sometime in the summer, but like most of the books piled at the foot of my bed, it went unread. UNTIL, this past week.
You see, I felt myself falling into another reading slump. I mean, after the wonderful month that was June (I will forever be going back to that month as my most successful month ever), I felt spent emotionally and mentally. Reading takes a toll, people! Combine that with the book hangover from the three Shadowhunter books I read back to back, it was inevitable. However, I felt myself itching to read something, and The Cruel Prince was first on my list. Firstly, because it was by an author I had not read before. Secondly, it had one of my favorite tropes of all time: Hate to Love. And by golly, this book did not disappoint.
The Cruel Prince is the first in a trilogy(!), and it is set in a mythical world of faerie. Even if you’re not a fantasy/faerie person, do not rule this book out! It centers around Jude and her two sisters who are taken away from the mortal world and into the faerie world by a man who has murdered their parents. And that’s just the prologue! The story follows Jude and her desire to become a knight whilst at the same time avoiding Prince Cardan, a faerie prince who is equal parts brooding and a prick. But the banter between these two is GOLD.
What is so great about this relationship is that it isn’t insta-love. Barely anything happens until the end of the book, but it is the journey there that makes your fingers clench the page and your heart go pitter-patter. This is a Hate to Love that seems to be done right. (at least so far, since there ARE two more books!) If you read this book and love their dynamic, follow the incorrect Cruel Prince quotes account on twitter. That stuff makes me legitimately laugh out loud.
Jude’s character was one I couldn’t pin down in the beginning. In the first few chapters, I kept thinking I had her personality pegged, but Black kept surprising me. While Jude might have made a decision or two that I wouldn’t have thought of, she became such a great character that I would love seeing more characters like her. Ambition for power in a main character, especially a female one, isn’t featured in many YA novels. Normally, it’s the opposite. The main character doesn’t want power and wants to stop the antagonist because THEY desire power. I loved the switch and want to know if Jude’s ambition grows or withers with the next two books.
If you’re a sucker for beautiful world-building and an intricate writing style, this is the book for you. Black makes sure to introduce the reader to the world with just enough information that you can fill in the rest of the blanks yourself. I’ll be honest; the first few chapters dump a bit of faerie politics on you, but once you get that straight, it’s smooth sailing from there. *Without getting into too many spoilers, this information is vital to fully understand the ending.
Speaking of the ending, Black employs the use of surprises to her advantage and genuinely sets up enough interest to continue the rest of the series. The plot and subplots are engaging, and I can imagine the fury with which fanfiction writers will imagine the rest of the series. I haven’t checked out fanfiction sites in a while, but with the anticipation between now and January 8th, I might have to.
The second book, The Wicked King, comes out January 8, 2019. You can preorder it here. The third and final book, Queen of Nothing, does not have a release date as of writing this review.
The Lost Sisters, an e-novella told from Taryn’s point of view, comes out October 2nd! It’s available here.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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Hello! So, this Summer was very weird in terms of reading. Let me regale you with a (somewhat short) tale of my adventures in reading. Let’s start with May. I read maybe 3 books that month. I considered this successful since in April, I read nothing. June. LET ME TELL YOU. June was my best month, probably ever? I read 9 BOOKS. NINE! Not just little bitty things either. 3 of those were Cassandra Clare novels, and y’all know how big those things can get! July and August followed dismally. Perhaps, I got too cocky with my reading in June.
Anyway, now that classes are back in session (Thank ya jesus!), the inspiration to read is coming back. While I normally jump wildly into the first YA Fantasy I can find, I figured a nice New Adult Contemporary would be great to ease me back into reading. So, I picked up (the?) Good Luck Charm by Helen Hunting.
The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting
Published/Sold By: Forever & Hachette Book Group
Date of Publication: August 7, 2018
Excerpt taken from Goodreads.com: Lilah isn’t sure what hurt worse: the day Ethan left her to focus on his hockey career, or the day he came back eight years later. He might think they can pick up just where they left off, but she’s no longer that same girl and never wants to be again.
Ethan Kane wants his glory days back. And that includes having Lilah by his side. With her, he was magic. They were magic. All he has to do is make her see that.
This won’t be an entire review. I want to do a mid-book update because I have some things to say about this book. According to my kindle, I am 66% through the book.
The first half was interesting. It definitely had some breakup angst that I was totally loving (sounds morbid, but whatevs). It seemed like it was going to be a great emotional read. BUT. It. Just. Stopped. All of that wonderful tension was . . poof! Gone, as we get into the second half of the book.
The middle has this weird rushing of time that left me, as a reader, discombobulated. It skipped like six months! Including fall and winter, which are the best holidays, don’t @ me. I digress. So many of the important characters in the first half are just glossed over. Maybe this is the author’s intention, and we’ll get these revelations at the end of the story.
As of right now, it feels like two completely different books smushed together. Again, maybe the ending will pull it together, but I’m not holding my breath. I had such high hopes after reading the beginning. I was totally hooked then. Now, not so much. The book now feels clunky. I’m pretty sure this is my first time reading a sports-themed romance. I normally stay away from those, but I wanted to give this one a go. I’m very hesitant about finishing this one, however.
Now, to get into the REAL reason why you want to know about this book → all the lovey dovey stuff.
In terms of the more romantic scenes, the first one or two were written well. Like, really well. I was rooting for Lilah and Ethan. The ones after that were eye roll-inducing and incredibly rushed! I don’t know what happened in the middle of this book, but I find myself struggling to care. A few things seem problematic, but I’m gonna wait until the end to see if anything gets truly resolved.
Again, I need to reiterate that this is ONLY an update. This isn’t a full-length review! My thoughts can always change. 🙂
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Director : Marc Forster
Release Date : August 3, 2018
Cast : Haley Atwell, Ewan McGregor, Jim Cummings
Director : Tim Burton
Release Date : March 2019
Cast : Eva Green, Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny Devito