Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Get in Trouble by Kelly Link

A beautifully crafted collection of short stories, Get in Trouble contained some of the weirdest stories I’ve ever read. Each one had a gorgeously portrayed mood that made them come to life one by one. The writing was unique, unlike anything I’ve read before. Though short (hence the short story part) each tale was magically woven as if Link herself lived in each one of the worlds she created.

The writing was the shinning star of this book. Although it was sometimes hard to get used to, once I got into it, I realized how natural it sounded. Most of the stories were written in a stream-of-conscious sort of writing, making it sound disjointed at times. However, I found that that kind of writing made it easier to connect with the characters, as it felt like I was in each one’s head.

The plots were sometimes straightforward, and sometimes subtle, all leading to one main point. It was the simplicity of the plots that allowed Link to go crazy with the world-building and setting. Each one sounded almost like it could be a part of the others, yet they also sounded entirely different. You dive right into the strange worlds without any kind of warning or explanations. They feel natural and real, despite the way they warped reality. Most of the stories were magical realism or sci-fi, but sometimes it was hard to separate the two. I think that’s an amazing thing for an author to be able to do, combine genres in a way that makes it stand out into its own genre.

With beautiful descriptions, the settings brought out such strange and wonderful tones to each story. They were heavy and solid, each one overwhelming the story. Some of them were creepy and haunting, while others were raw and emotional. Each one made me feel something, regardless of how much I enjoyed. Naturally, I liked some more than others, but none of these stories can I give a rating under four stars.

There was something about the mix of characters and the meanings of the stories, that truly shows how talented Kelly Link is. She could grasp things and put them into writing that most of us overlook. There is a strange kind of wisdom to this weird and beautiful book. It holds an endless amount of inspiration for me, and I wholeheartedly enjoyed and recommend it.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Weekly Reads and Writing #10

Wow, already up to 10 weeks of these post! I have to say, I love doing them! It's nice to be able to look back into what I've accomplished each week. This past week was quite busy, which is why I didn't have this post up over the weekend!

This week I finished a total of three books! Great job, me, lol! I finally finished Get in Trouble, which was amazing and I gave five stars. My review is up on Goodreads, but for some reason, I forgot to post it on here, so look out for it later, tomorrow probably! Such a great collection of short stories!

I also finished City of Glass, the third book in the Mortal Instruments series, by Cassandra Clare. Another great continuation of this series, though not as good as City of Ashes. My review can be found here.

The third book I finished during the Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon! What a fun, crazy reading day! You can check out the posts I made during the day, if you haven't already, right here. The book I read was The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury! It was a really good sci-fi classic, which I gave 4 stars. My review is already up for that, too!

I did start another book during the week, and then one during the end of the read-a-thon. Both are really good so far, and I hope to finish them by the end of the week!

amazing cover!

Writing wise, I also did really well this week! With Camp NaNo closing in on us, I made sure to get up to where I need to be!

Writing Stats

Words This Week: 11,532
Total Word Count: 47,294

I wrote so much this week! I'm nearly at 50,000! Ah! Each day this week varied. Some days I wrote over 3,000 words, and some I wrote barely 1,000. Saturday I didn't write at all because of the read-a-thon. However, because I kicked up my writing, I've been ENJOYING writing so often! My main character is just about the visit the alien world! How freaking exciting! So much has been going on, from near death experiences to alien contact.

I can honestly say, I'm really excited for this book, hehe! Even with all my doubts, I love some of the scenes so much, and I know that I'll be able to fix it up in my edit/re-write.

This week is already going strong in the writing department. Reading is slow, but I did go to a book sale and buy a shitload of books today. X3 I hope you all have a lovely week!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury


Quite literally the chronicles of Martians, this work of fiction creates a lovely and creepy futuristic history of life on Mars. It jumps between different points and places in time, from 1999 to 2026, documenting man’s journey to living on Mars.

Written in the 1940’s, it is always strange to read a futuristic novel that takes place during the present time. Going along with similar themes of Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury paints a strange and scary sci-fi filled future. Progressing through time, from man’s first mission to Mars, to its final, what is discovered is bleak and stunning.

Bradbury’s writing is gorgeous. His descriptions are beautiful and dialogue realistic. Despite the lack of main characters, his writing allows emotion to form around humanity as a whole. The twists throughout the book were shocking and unexpected, with a surprising, though necessary, amount of violence.

This was such a pure sci-fi read. It felt like it could happen in some parallel universe somewhere. Although several aspects of it date it to the 40’s, this classic is one that will stand the test of time. With its perfect, symbolic ending, finishing this book was like traveling to the future and back.

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-aThon April 2015 Recap!

Sadly, the 24 hour read-a-thon is over! It went by wayyy too fast.

1.Which hour was most daunting for you? 
The ones where I was sleeping instead of reading lol, whoops

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Well, I only read 1 book this time, but I highly suggest it! The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury! A great sci-fi read.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Hmm...maybe have an hour with no challenges or anything, so we can all focus solely on reading in the middle of the chaos.

4.What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

Everything! The interactiveness of it was so much fun and amazing!

5. How many books did you read?
Just one, and like 25 pages of another. :/

6.What were the names of the books you read?
The Martian Chronicles

7.Which book did you enjoy most?
Well, since I only read one book...the one book I read.

8.Which did you enjoy least?

The one I did read was very good, so I can't pick it for this one too, lol

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
I wasn't a cheerleader, but I'm thinking about being one next time. They were really helpful, although the few I had only wrote later in the day. Some beginning cheering would be super helpful!

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I definitely will participate again! I'd love to host a mini-challenge! They were so much fun! 

I loved this read-a-thon so much! The only thing I didn't like was that it only lasted a day! Although I only got through one book, the blogging and tweeting was really great. I ended up doing just two of the mini-challenges, but considering I didn't plan on blogging, I had an amazing time making these two posts. I also made an intro post and mid-event post! You can check them out here:

I plan on making a video of my experience, which I'll have up on my Youtube channel early this week! I'm also going to write a review for the book I read. It'll be up on the blog soon!

Overall, I had a wonderful, though somewhat stressful time. I sort of failed at reading much, but I think it was more about the interactions and blogging and reading, so I did okay with all that.  I can't wait to participate again. I hope everything did well!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon: Mid-Event Survey!

Halfway there already?? This day has flown by so far!

1. What are you reading right now?
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

 2. How many books have you read so far?
 Still on my first...but I'm nearly done!

 3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
 Alienated by Melissa Landers! I can't wait to get to it soon!

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
 Oh yes, many. I woke up late, so I started late. Then I was so tired I had to take a mini-nap while I was reading. Then I went out for ice cream with my family, hehe. It was nice. I'm not being so hard on myself for those things because I've been spending a lot more time reading since I got back. I also plan on trying to stay up all night to get a bunch more reading done!

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
How long it takes to blog and tweet and look at all the great posts and mini-challenges. And there's so much fun stuff going on that it's hard to get back to reading, hehe. But I love all that stuff because it makes reading interactive!

 Good luck and happy reading on the second half of the read-a-thon, friends!

Read-a-Thon Mini Challenge: Plan a Bookish Party

Hour 10's mini challenge is hosted by Christina at Christina Writes! For this challenge, you have to plan a bookish party!

This is something I really wish I could do irl, but I don't have enough book loving friends. Still, I love love love the idea, so here is my entry!

What book is your party themed around?
The Spiderwick Chronicles Series by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
What food will you serve?
Hm..food made with stuff from nature! So I'd use onion grass, maybe try to find a way to cook acorns. I'd gather up herbs and flowers and make a salad with my gathered materials. Maybe even cook a caught fish! 
Or, you know, burgers and chips would be good too. I feel like the Grace kids would rather eat that, hehe.
Oh! And I'd make brownies 'cause you know, Brownies are a magical creature. X3

What’s your signature drink?
Something fun like fresh squeezed lemonade!  

What games will you play?
Lacrosse! No I'd have a scavenger hunt in the woods, or go looking for faeries! 

What party favors will you send home with your guests?
Flowers and gems and stones that we collected. Also little homemade faerie houses for them to put in their yards! And nature journals for recording their magical findings!

That sounds so fun, ah! I want to do it, hehe.

Read-a-Thon Mini Challenge: 4 Seasons 4 Books

Hour 3's mini-challenge is hosted by Darren at Bart's Bookshelf and it looks too fun not to participate. For this challenge you have to put together 4 books, each representing a different season. Here is mine!

So for Winter, we have Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. I chose this one not only for it's obvious title, but for the gorgeous wintery cover! For Spring I have Moonheart by Charles de Lint. With its lush forest on the cover, I couldn't help but think of Spring when looking at it! For Summer I have The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway. The title is spring/summery, but this cover just reminds me of Summer, eating icepops and hanging in the sun. So summery, sigh. And finally for Autumn, I have Twigs by Allison Ashley Foremento. The cover and title together feel like Autumn to me, since all the trees lose their leaves and look like twigs, hehe.

Hope you enjoyed my picks! Of course, my cat Gypsy, came and sat next to the books was I was setting them up, so I snapped a few picks of her!

Cheerleader Cat, encouraging you to keep reading! Speaking of, I need to get back to it!

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon Intro!

Hey friends! So the read-a-thon is officially on! Actually, it's nearly 3 hours into it. But....I woke up late. XP So I started reading around 9am, and I'm gonna keep going after this blog post!

So I saw this intro meme on the read-a-thon's blog, and I thought I'd do it, so you can learn a bit about me and my reading during this read-a-thon!

Let's go!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Upstate New York, more specifically, in my house, lol

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Probs Alienated by Melissa Landers!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Not really a snack person, but I do have some Easter candy left that I'll munch on later, hehe.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I have the cutest little cat who is acting as my personal cheerleader. She's my soul-cat, honestly, and I love her!
sleepy baby!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
First time participating! I joined the Bout of Books 10.0 read-a-thon last year, but this is my first Dewey's read-a-thon! I'm looking forward to the interactiveness of it all. I love the support and community aspect to this read-a-thon!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon April 2015!

Hello friends! I would just like to let you all know that I'll be participating in the Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon on Saturday! I'm so pumped for it, so I made a video talking about my preparation and TBR!

That tells you most of what you need to know about my participation, but I just thought I'd make a blog post as well, in case you don't watch my videos! I have a list of five books in my TBR pile, though I'm sure I'll only read about 1 or 2, maybe 3. Throughout the day, I'll be posting on the Twitter, and then I'll have another video and blog post at the end of it!

Let me know if you're participating! I'm so excited for this read-a-thon!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

I love how this series has progressed so far. The change of setting in this third book was really nice. So much happens, secrets are revealed and relationships changed. Though not as action packed at the second book, there is a good amount of action and adventure in this one.

I love how the relationships between different characters evolved and grew. While the first half of the book was slow going, and dragged a bit, the second half was spectacular. Betrayals, plot twists and secrets abound. The characters continue to be a driving force to the stories. The humor is really great and realistic. The emotion is so raw at points.

Had the first half gone by quicker, I would give this book a higher rating, but both halves kind of equal each other out. I feel like this could have been the last book in the series, as it ends very nicely. However, I’m glad it’s not because I want to keep reading about these awesome characters.

Writing Anxieties

Coming toward the major events of my novel, I've been dealing with some writing anxieties. CampNaNoWriMo aside, I really want to get my book written in a timely manner. I don't want to drag it out into the course of the year; I want to be able to have the first draft written within a few more months. However, I've hit a bit of a rough time. It's not so much writer's block, as it is writing anxiety. I wrote about some of the issues I've been having last night, and now I want to talk about them with you.

Time spent not writing gives me anxiety that the book isn't going to be good if I don't write it right away. I'm afraid I'm going to lose my train of thought and not be able to get it back again. Especially at night, when I'm contemplating what I've written and what's to come, I fear that any good ideas I have are going to get lost in the abyss of my brain. This is something I've always struggled with, feeling bad if I'm not being productive. Sometimes, I even feel bad for reading instead of writing, which is kind of ridiculous.

I also fear that the book I'm writing is not even good to begin with, that everything I've written sucks and that I need to start over or work on a new idea because this one sucks so much. I hate this feeling because it puts doubt into my head, something that I definitely don't need anymore of. While I feel connected to the main character, there is something off about it, like I just can't get a good sense of her personality, even though I know her personality traits. Today, I've been working through that problem, by telling a bit of back story, and letting her emotions come through. I think with time and the progression of the plot, I'll be able to overcome these awful ideas that my book sucks.

There are too many 'hads' and 'have beens', which I'm afraid makes the narration sound more passive. I learned in school that a passive voice is not very good, and an active one is always better. While I always have that in mind, I find myself writing in the passive voice often just because it seems to fit. I'm hoping I'll fix this in the editing process, but it really bugs me that I feel like I'm writing wrong.

This is the second farthest I've ever gotten in writing a book, so the pressure is on. Still, I want it to be fun and exciting for me, which it is some of the time. I have to keep in mind my main goal of writing this book, I suppose, and working on the other stuff during the editing process.

I'm not sure if this is something all writers go through, or just newbie ones. Just wanted to share some of my writing thoughts with you. I'd love to hear if anyone's had an similar writing anxieties and how you overcame them. 

I'm still plugging away on my novel, so don't think these anxieties are going to stop me!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekly Reads and Writing #9

As it's turning out, I seem to have a steady average going on how many books I can read a week. For the third week in a row, I've read one entire book, and some other stuff along the way. Though I am hoping to pick up my pace, knowing I can read an entire book, without trying too much, is pretty nice.
The book I finished this week was A Magic Dark and Bright by Jenny Adams Perinovic. Just based on the lovely cover and premise, I was very excited to get approved for an ARC of this book for review via NetGalley! I have my review for it up here.

That ending, though! Holy cow, if you've read this, you know what I mean. This book hasn't even come out yet, and I already want a sequel!

I have also been working on City of Glass, and Get in Trouble! I'm about halfway through the former, and I have only about 3 stories left in the latter! I will most definitely have both done by the end of the week, as I plan to start a bunch of new stuff on Saturday, which is Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon!

 Writing this week started off really slow. While I managed to get some words in most of the days, they never reached 1,000. However, yesterday I had an amazing writing day, managing to get in over 2,000 words in one sitting.

So as far as my Camp NaNo goals, I am pretty far behind, only 13,455 words so far.

Writing Stats

Words This Week: 4,419
Total Word Count: 34,514 

I am pretty excited for this upcoming week. As I mentioned, Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon is happening on Saturday, so I'm pumped for that. It's my first 24 hour Read-a-Thon. I will definitely have a post about it up early this week, to let you know what I'm gonna be reading, and what my plans are for the read-a-thon!

Because I'll be spending all of Saturday reading, I'm gonna push with my novel this week. I really need to catch up if I want to hit my 30,000 words by the end of the month! Also, I'm secretly plotting to out-write my fellow campers on Camp NaNo's site. Shh, don't tell them, lol.

I also have so many blog posts and Booktube videos I'm planning to make at some point this spring!

It's going to be an exciting reading and writing week! I hope everyone has a lovely week, as well.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Camp NaNoWriMo Halfway Update!

We are just over halfway through the month of April, which means Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 is halfway over! And I have been doing....not so well! Up until this week, I was keeping on track, but I've slacked a lot this week. My word count is just over 10,000 words, when it should be closer to 15,000 if I want to reach my goal by the end of the month.

Fortunately, it has been reading which has been getting in the way, so I don't feel particularly bad about it. I've also been making videos for my Youtube channel, writing reviews, making blog posts, and editing my blog! (Check out my new 'Reviews' page at the top of my blog which links every one of my reviews in alphabetical order!)

Still, none of those are excuses for not writing. I simply have been putting it off because of boring bits. I've been itching to get to the alien parts, but I still need to get some other stuff in first. Thus, I'm going to spice things up by throwing in a fight to give the story some action! I'm also pushing some alien encounters up a bit, so they become more a part of the story.

While writing, I also realized that this story is going to be a lot longer than expected, lol. I'm sure I'll end up editing stuff away in the end, but still, it's a lot to write.

So over the second half of this month, I'm gonna focus a lot more on writing writing writing this story. I really want to reach my 30,000 word goal by the end of it. So I'm gonna participate in more writing sprints on Twitter, and really try to get in my words each day. The 25th, however, I will be reading all day because of Dewey's 24 hour Read-a-thon. I'll have a post up about that soon!

I hope you all are doing better than I am with your writing! I'll keep you informed in my Weekly Reads and Writing posts at the end of each week!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

2015 Spring TBR!

Though Spring has already started in March, I feel like it is now only just beginning. The chill of Winter has subsided, and the warmth of a spring breeze has come to take its place. For some reason, Spring is a very inspiring season for me in terms of reading. The prospect of going outside gets me excited to read some fantasy books, as well as others.

Thus, I thought to show you my Spring TBR pile! Keep in mind that this list is subject to change, as are almost all of my TBR piles. I may or may not read the books listed right away, but I am looking forward to all of them.

The first major books I want to get read are The Mortal Instruments Series, and The Infernal Devices Trilogy. I have already read City of Bones and City of Ashes. I'm currently working on City of Glass. I also have the entire Infernal Devices trilogy coming in the mail, so I'm gonna read those and then continue with the 4th books in TMI series. Please enjoy this collage I made.

I'm also looking forward to reading these books:

There are so many other books I want to read that I simply can't list them all here. These are just some major ones I look forward to reading this spring!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Magic Dark and Bright by Jenny Adams Perinovic

*Thank you NetGalley for providing me a digital copy of this book to review!*

Labeled as a ‘YA Gothic Romance’, this book had such a beautiful blend of horror, romance and history. It was enchanting and mysterious, with a lovely, homey feel to it. Though the overall premise of it wasn’t particularly original, it had so many little, unique aspects to it, that set it apart from other books.

With alluring descriptions and a natural feel to the writing, A Magic Dark and Bright read with such ease. It brought to life the details of the settings and made the main character, Amelia, feel very real. As I first started to read this book, I thought it was in the horror genre because of the great creepiness it had. As the romance and paranormal aspects of this book took over, the creepy undertone never faltered, which I absolutely loved. The combination of the town’s history, with the world’s history allowed you to get a good sense of the ghosts and witches in this story. Along with the history, Amelia’s dreams also gave the main ghost in the story a personality and past.

Amelia was a strong main character, though she did have some flaws. After the death of her brother, she is very unsure about dating and relationships. Unfortunately, as she forms a relationship throughout the book, her insecurities do not seem to go away. Aside from that, she has a strong drive and is a great hero, without actually being the one to discover powers, which I found refreshing.

Her best friend, Leah, was kind of annoying, the stereotypical outgoing friend, always pushing the other to do things. While I wasn’t a huge fan of that, Leah does prove to be a good character throughout the book, and isn’t just cast aside as some lame side character. Charlie, Amelia’s love interest, was also a bit of a stereotypical ‘good boy’ character, but he was very pleasant and enjoyable to read about.

The emotion in this book was so powerful. The relationship was adorable and sweet, and even though I’m not a huge fan of romance, I couldn’t help but love this one. It seemed very genuine and came about at a perfect pace. Along with the love, the negative emotions the character’s felt were also very real. I felt so much anger toward Ben every time the characters encountered him.

There were parts of this book that were quite predictable, like being introduced to the next character that was going to die only pages before their death. Same with the growing suspicion of who the bad guy is. But luckily, there were also some nicely original twists and discoveries that made up for those predictable parts.

Almost everything got explained in the end, but there were some things left completely open. I’m hoping the mystery of Amelia’s brother’s death will be explained in the next book, in relation to the paranormal aspects. Although it didn’t seem like a particularly special book at first, it was a very fun, mysterious read. The ending was stunning and shocking, a complete cliffhanger that MUST be solved in the next book. I can honestly say that I threw my Kindle from the shock of that ending. I cannot wait to see where this story goes.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Weekly Reads and Writing #8

Hey friends! I hope you all had a better reading/writing week than me, haha. While it wasn't a bad week, I didn't get a whole lot done. My writing definitely trumped my reading this week, though. So here is the breakdown.

I only finished one book this past week, which was Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. It was a stunning book, and I gave it five stars. You can check out my review for it here.

I did not read any of Get in Trouble by Kelly Link, unfortunately. I'm gonna pick it up again this week, rest assured. I started reading City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare, but didn't get far at all. I then started reading A Magic Dark and Bright by Jenny Adams Perinovic, on my Kindle. I'm about halfway through that, which I'm sure I'll be able to finish this week.

My writing this week was pretty decent. I didn't write a ton, but I kept up with my NaNo goal. That is, until this weekend, when I didn't write anything.

Writing Stats

Words This Week: 6,167
Total Word Count: 30,095

I reached 30,000 words, woohoo! Which means my Camp NaNoWriMo count is just shy of 10,000. That's pretty good, I think. But since the month is almost half over, I have to make sure I reach my 30,000 word goal! I'll be able to do it, I just need to kick it up a notch.

At the end of every week, I always say I'm gonna push myself more with reading and writing in the upcoming week. This week is the same. I always think I can get myself to read more. Spend less time on the internet and more time doing those two things, which are my favorite things to do.

I also have some more blog posts and videos planned, which is super exciting!