Posted in Uncategorized, Whatcha Reading??

Reading Updates + Inside & Out Book Tag

Hey, there! So now that I’m back home and things have settled down a wee bit (for now anyway) I figured I’d post some quick reading updates, but then the lovely Irena (blogger behind Books & Hot Tea) tagged me for the Inside & Out Book Tag so I’ll just go ahead and blend the two things into one post! If you’ve yet to venture over to her blog I definitely recommend you grab yourself a nice cup of tea and head right on over. Don’t worry about bringing a book of your own though since she always has plenty of good ones to recommend. 😉

So, let’s talk a bit about the most recent book I finished reading:

While visiting, celebrating, and marching in the name of SCIENCE this weekend with BFF an fellow blogger Cupcakes and Machetes, I did manage to squeeze in the time to read next month’s assigned reading for the book club I’m in. C&M had already read it and still had her copy from the library so I just went ahead and gave it a go. The book’s called Finding Me- A Decade of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed – A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings, written by Michelle Knight with Michelle Burford.

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The book really pulls you in right from the beginning. I honestly feel like I could have read it in a single sitting if I’d just been at home when I’d dug into it. The things Michelle and her fellow survivors went through at the hands of their captor are unspeakable and yet somehow this woman bravely recounts the horrific events that unfolded over the course of the 11 years she spent trapped and tortured in a mad man’s hell house. Not to mention, the hard and tragic life she led up until that point as well. I was in awe of the strength she had, not only to survive through all of it and be able to share her experiences with the world, but also for the incredible level of compassion she had and still does have for others despite the things that people have done to her throughout her life. I would highly recommend this book. It won’t be a pleasurable reading experience because of the terrible things these girls had to go through, but it is definitely an eye-opening one. Cupcakes and Machetes did a review of this book as well if you’re interested in reading another person’s take on it as well.

Now, onto the book I’m currently reading:

The next book I’ve started is so much lighter than the last one it isn’t even funny. I know I am incredibly late to the party on this one, but I’ve finally started reading The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time.

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The decision came during Easter, a holiday that always makes me think of my late grandmother on my dad’s side. I spent a lot of Easters at her house, as well as plenty of other visits, and I always remember seeing this book series on her bookshelf. For whatever reason I never wound up actually reading it though. Well, I recently found her copies of the books in a box of old books my parents had and I’ve decided to give them a read. Call it being sentimental if you will. They’re short books, not very long at all, but I’ve just begun reading the first, The Magician’s Nephew. I’ll probably review the series as a whole once I’ve finished it. I’ve only just gotten into it, but I hope it is a series that an adult can fully enjoy even if they don’t have the nostalgia factor of having loved it as a child. I hear C.S. Lewis is good for that though, so I hope that turns out to be the case. I love fantasy and fairy tales, so the odds are probably in my favor for it. If you’ve read this series, I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Especially if you’ve read it as an adult. 🙂

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Oh, and here’s the reading challenge I’m going to try to take part in for the rest of the year:

So, I was reading The Happiest Pixel’s recent post about her newly made reading challenge and I’ve decided to join in on the fun. It starts in May and then carries on each month through the rest of the year with one challenge for each month.

MAY: a book by an author you already love

JUNE: a book someone has recommend to you

JULY: a book published in 2017

AUGUST: a book set in a country that you’ve never been

SEPTEMBER: a nonfiction book

OCTOBER: a book you chose for the cover

NOVEMBER: a graphic novel

DECEMBER: a book set around Christmas

I’ll post each month about the book I wind up reading for the challenge, so if you wish to join in with your own choice of a book that fits the challenge theme each month, the more the merrier! 😀 I think I even have my book for May already picked out. I love Leigh Bardugo, and I really enjoyed The Grisha Trilogy when I read it, so I’m finally going to venture into her latest duology set in the same world and read Six of Crows.

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So, those are my reading updates! What are you currently reading? What’s the latest book you finished? Do you ever do reading challenges? Lets talk books! And while we’re on the topic of books, here goes my stab at the Inside & Out Book Tag:

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1. Inside flap/Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough?

Hmm . . . well, it depends entirely on the book. It varies. I like when the summary gives me enough info to get me really excited to read it, but without spoiling anything for me in the process. Most books seem good about not doing that but I’ve seen a couple that do and it’s kind of a bummer when that happens. My biggest pet peeve is when there’s like no real information about the story on the inside flap or the back of the book. You gotta gimme something to work with here, people! lol

2. New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: Audiobook, E-Book, Paperback, or Hardcover?

I usually go for paperback, but as long as the story is good I don’t normally fuss too much about the type of book it is.

3. Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, taking notes, making comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean?

Ooh, this is a topic that can get pretty heated with readers. lol For me, it 100% depends on the TYPE of book it is. If it’s a fictional novel I never write in them. Ever. I keep it clean with those. However, and omg, I feel like people are going to come for me with pitchforks at the ready when I confess this, but some of my books I own are FILLED with notes as well as pages of highlighted and underlined text. Mostly my history books. Basically, if it is something I’m reading to learn about a certain topic, things are going to be highlighted and what were once clean, blank parts of the page will become littered with scribbled notes. Oddly enough, even in books I write in I still never dogear a single page. I might be reckless enough to write in them, but I am no monster.

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4. Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?

No way. Doesn’t matter at all to me. People don’t write their books with their genitals last I checked.

5. Ever read ahead? or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

Not really. Maybe if it winds up being a book I am condemning to the DNF list. Then I might, I suppose. But I love when a book surprises me too much to risk ruining it usually.

6. Organised bookshelves, or Outrageous bookshelves?

Kind of both? I always keep books that are part of a series together, sorted numerically, but my book shelves are not alphabetical or anything. I do tend to keep types of books together, though, so there’s that. (Like graphic novels and art books in one area, novels in another, history books in their own place, etc.)

7. Have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

I have a weakness for a damn good cover, but I still need to see what the book’s about before I give into it just based off of what it looks like.

8. Take it outside to read, or stay in?

I usually like to be cozy and inside when I’m reading, but I will read outside on occasion if it’s nice out.

Who do I tag to do this? Why, anybody and everybody who loves to read books, of course! 😀

So, that’s it for my book tag and reading updates! I’ve been trying to catch up here on reading everyone’s blog posts I’ve missed but it isn’t easy since I was out of town this weekend, so if you have a post I may have missed that you wanna bring to my attention please link me to it so I can be sure to check it out. I’d hate to miss anything of importance! Thanks! Hope you guys all had a great weekend! ❤ ❤ ❤

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing, Writing, Tra La La

Bring On the Writing Memes!

Today is another busy day, but I’m doing my best to squeeze in some writing where I can! As well as doing some shopping for a certain BFF of mine’s upcoming birthday. (Cupcakes and Machetes, you spoiled bitch, you!) 😛 ❤

I also wanted to squeeze in a quick blog post, so prepare yourselves, Memes Are Coming! Writing memes to be exact! 😉

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This is probably true.
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FACT: I am beyond guilty of this. My main character is still known as MC in my first draft at this point. But I can tell ya all about how she looks, her back story and family history, etc. lol  /FAIL.

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Also, if I were ever to be put on trial for murder, my google search history would probably condemn me to life in prison. Hey, man, writers gotta do their homework on grim topics sometimes. 😛
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Hmm . . . some of you may have not been alive long enough yet to get this meme.
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Truth! I’m a total plot hopper. I write around.

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This is so true. I have to prepare like I’m about to present a business project any time I am asked to explain what the hell I’m currently writing about.

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lol And this is why I’m so horrible at explaining what I’m writing about to people. It’s almost like it’s easier to write the whole damn book than to briefly explain it. 😛

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So, yeah, those are the writing memes I decided to share! 🙂 Do any of these memes strike true to you when you’re writing, too?

Maybe tomorrow I’ll post some writing inspirational quotes I like if I can squeeze it in. Happy writing/blogging, everyone!! ❤

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing, Writing, Tra La La

100 Follows and a Healthy Necro Rhino

Hey, guys!:D

Just popping in for a couple weekend updates.

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Update #1: Big thanks to all of you awesome people who have made this blogging experience such a joy. I’ve just reached 100+ followers and I’m really thankful for it and for all of the wonderful folks I’ve met here and had such great chats with. ❤ I think we have such a great community of bloggers here, and it’s been so much fun sharing thoughts and ideas with you guys. ❤ ❤ ❤

Thank_you!!!!

Update #2: The Necro Rhino Writing Challenge is getting pretty close to completion. By the end of March 30th I’m really hoping to have at least 50,000 words written for the rough draft of the story I’m working on. That was the goal I set, to complete 50,000 words in 30 days, and so far so good. 🙂 I just passed the 40,000 word mark this morning, so I’ve got 5 days to write the remaining 10,000. That means I need to write 2,000 words per day and I think that’s totally doable. 🙂 Keep it up, Necro Rhino! So many words to be written and brains to be eaten. It’s gonna be a busy 5 days.

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Thank goodness for caffeinated beverages!

Hope you guys are all having a great weekend. I’m off to work on what remains of my writing challenge. Anyone else got any exciting updates you’d like to share of your own? I’d love to read about them!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing, Writing, Tra La La

Writer’s Guilt

Oof! You know how sometimes you’re reading a book and you come across a point that makes you have to stop and process what you just read because it was like a punch to the heart?

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Well, this is where I must ask those of you who also write, do you ever feel like this after you’ve written a certain scene in your own story? Do you ever feel writer’s guilt or remorse for the things you put your characters through? I know they’re fictional, but it’s amazing how you can come to care for them, just like the characters you read about in other people’s books. Or am I just a weirdo? 😛

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Posted in Uncategorized, Writing, Writing, Tra La La

Necro Rhino Writing Update: Week One

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So, I’m a week into my “Necro Rhino” 30 day writing challenge and am still chugging along at a good pace. 🙂 I was hoping to finish today with at least 11,662 words and I am just 829 words shy at the moment, with hours to go until my day comes to an end.

I’ve really embraced the fact that first drafts are not meant to be perfect and it’s helping me gain the forward momentum in my writing that I had hoped for. I’d love to walk out of this writing challenge with my 50,000 words (or more if I’m lucky) and have something I can craft into an actual novel. Once I get to that point I will worry, fuss, and edit my little heart out, but for now I’m just writing and embracing the chaos!

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I’ll admit, the story is changing a lot from what I originally envisioned, but I’m excited about the direction it’s heading. It’s also getting easier to write as I embrace the changes instead of stubbornly trying to hold onto the original picture I had in mind. I’m looking forward to seeing where it finally winds up once I’ve finished.

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Posted in Uncategorized, Writing, Writing, Tra La La

Return of the Necro Rhino!!

*Cue spooky music*

 

Okay, I’ll admit, perhaps that wasn’t the spookiest choice of music. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. But why the spooky music in the first place, you ask?? Because, today marks what I’m morbidly dubbing: The Return of the Necro Rhino!! Aka: Me not waiting until November to try again at NaNoWriMo’s (National Novel Writing Month) goal of writing 50,000 words in the span of 30 days.

The whole Necro Rhino thing is a play on words because my boyfriend and I refer to NaNoWriMo as “Nano Rhino“, as in “a very tiny rhinoceros” after he misheard me when I first told him I was participating in last year’s NaNoWriMo challenge and thought I’d said “Nano Rhino challenge”. This also resulted in us going on a very last minute, but very determined, shopping adventure at our local mall to find a tiny rhinoceros figurine to be my little mascot. This was not as easy to find as one would think, but after four stores we found a toy kit of assorted African animals, and it thankfully had two very small rhinos in it. I keep one at my place, and the other at his. They serve as my writing mascots (and reminders) because I am ridiculous like that. No shame here, folks. Since I didn’t make my goal back in November, I consider this second attempt to be the resurrection of the Nano Rhino, hence why it is now a Necro Rhino. That and I’m a silly girl who likes horror too much.

Anyway, I keep a dry erase board mounted on the wall next to my desk and I always update it with my monthly goals I wish to accomplish. Today I drew a freshly resurrected zombie rhino rising from the grave to mark this return to the madness that is NaNoWriMo. On a side note I google’d “Beast Boy rhino” hoping for drawing inspiration since his rhino form is green like a zombie rhino would be. Seems innocent enough, right? Well, the internet being what it is, I proceeded to have to scrub my eyeballs with bleach due to some fan art someone posted of Starfire and Beast Boy (in his damn rhino form) participating in some seriously cringe-inducing activities with one another.

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So, now that I’ve no doubt seared that awful image into your brain, let’s continue, shall we? I know it’s not November, so it isn’t the official month or anything, but I’m using the next 30 days to try to attempt to write the 50,000 word goal just as I would if I waited for November to roll back around. That means I need to write at least 1,666 word each day. I’ll update my progress here throughout the month and still try to blog regular posts as much as I can, but please bare with me this month if my posts happen to be fewer and farther between. I really want to give this my all and make that 50,000 words happen this time!

This was all a very spur of the moment decision this morning when I was figuring out my writing goals for the month, but I hope to make the most of it!  🙂 Do you have any particular writing goals for yourself this month? Or do you prefer to wing it and let it happen as it happens? What is your biggest writing motivation? Best of luck to each of you with this months creative writing/blogging/reviews/etc. ❤

Posted in Uncategorized, Whatcha Reading??

The Nightingale- No Spoiler Book Review

As Book lovers, many of us are well acquainted with those nights when we know we should get to bed, but we just can’t put down the book we’re reading until we’ve finished it. This was me last night while reading the last quarter of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

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I don’t even know how to do this book justice in a review, but I’m going to try my best just the same. This novel is a great example of what historical fiction as a genre can accomplish. It takes what we know of history but gives us as readers the ability to step into the shoes of the characters who are living through the events that happened before many of us were even born. It shows us parts of day to day life that we might otherwise not consider while reading about the overall big picture presented in our history books.

The Nightingale follows the lives of two very different sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, as they do what they must to survive in France during WWII. Vianne is the older of the two, a wife whose husband is being held prisoner in a Nazi war camp, but also a mother who wants more than anything to keep her daughter as safe as she can while struggling just to keep them fed. Isabelle is the young and impulsive sister with a rebel’s spirit, a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. In German occupied France, these are dangerous times. Throughout the story the two sisters are forced to make choices time and time again that could be the difference between life and death, not only for themselves, but for those around them.

Several times while reading this I thought back to people I’ve met and cared for who were there in the thick of things during WWII. In previous jobs I’ve had I have taken care of people from different walks of life, born in different countries, but who all had lived during the same war. Soldiers, civilians, holocaust survivors. I’ve seen firsthand the numbers that were forcibly tattooed onto a person’s arm in their youth that they had to carry with them into their old age long after the war was over. I’ve seen how something seemingly as simple as helping someone to undress and take a shower even decades later can trigger a horrible flashback that mentally takes them right back to the horrors of life in a concentration camp. As I read The Nightingale I couldn’t help but be reminded of these people I once knew. I was moved to tears several times as I read this book.

There is a quote from the book that I think is very relevant now, much as it would have been back then. “What good is safety if she has to grow up in a world where people disappear without a trace because they pray to a different God?” Wars like WWII don’t happen overnight, and I think this book illustrates that very point. Hate, ignorance, and intolerance are all ugly things that can only build in momentum if we let them. This happened then, and one can’t help but feel it happening now. It makes another, older quote come to mind: Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. It is a disturbing thing to consider, but we as people have to learn from the mistakes of the past if there is ever to be any hope of us moving forward. As another quote from the book explains, “love has to be stronger than hate, or there is no future for us.”

The Nightingale shines a light on the ugliest parts of humanity as well as the beauty and compassion we are capable of if only we choose to do the right thing and be there for one another. It shows that love comes in many forms, not all of them perfect or easy.  This book gets a solid 5/5 stars from me.

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Happy 125th Birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien!

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An entire century (and a quarter of another) have now passed since the birth of this fantastic man, and his works are still spreading the love of fantasy to new readers, and inspiring writers, each and every year.

In his 81 years on this planet he accomplished a lot, and left an impact that still thrives even in his absence. Widely considered to be the “father” of modern fantasy literature, he left behind one hell of a legacy. So, Happy Birthday, Mr. Tolkien. You may not have surpassed the Old Took in age like Bilbo did, but your works continue to live on and bring joy to countless readers, so in that way, you truly are immortal.

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Posted in Uncategorized, Writing, Writing, Tra La La

Mix. It. UP!

I am a firm believer that variety is often the spice of life. This, too, applies to writing. Earlier this morning, I stumbled across this helpful little writing tip from Gary Provost and figured I’d share my find:

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Does it work for all writers? No. Of course not. Though it is something to think about, I suppose. 🙂

I love that writers have so many different voices with which to spout their tales, so of course what works for some will not work for others. And that’s okay! In my opinion, there are no true rules to art. And writing is indeed an art. So use your voice (whatever voice it may be) and get out there and get writing!!

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2017 Reading Plans

As is the case with many readers, I have this habit of obtaining more books to read while others continue to sit on the shelf yet to be read. I know, I know. First world problems, right?

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The struggle is real.

Well, it’s time to focus on some of the books I already own and  put a major  dent in those. (Disclaimer: I am going to indulge in other books too,  I am in a book club after all, and a girl can only resist new books so much.) 😉

These are maybe a third of my poor, neglected books that I’m going to try to make my reading priority in 2017:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo- Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Bardugo’s The Grisha Trilogy, I just could not resist buying this book when it first came out. Not to mention, this novel with black-edged pages is pretty damn gorgeous-looking. I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but I did. I judged it hard and took that baby home no questions asked. And yet for some reason, it remains unread (well, my bff happily read it, so at least there’s that.)

Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana Rowland- This is the second novel of the White Trash Zombie series. (Another series with eye-catching covers. Especially the first one, My Life as a White Trash Zombie.)

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest- Another book I pined for and obtained only for it to wind up unread for far too long. Like, criminally long. Steampunk + Zombies = Why in the hell haven’t I gotten around to reading this yet??

Fevre Dream by George RR Martin- this book will be my first adventure with GRRM outside the world he wove for A Song of Ice and Fire. It will be pretty interesting reading something completely different by him.

Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist- this is probably the book that has been on my shelf the longest among this list. Why? I can’t say. I really enjoyed the author’s other book, Let the Right One In. Hopefully I’ll like this one just as much.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs- Alas, a book I started and got sidetracked with. A crime all too common for me. Once I finish reading this one I’ll have to watch the movie to see how it holds up to the book.

Watership Down by Richard Adams- Another that I’ll have to watch the movie for after I read the book. I saw recently that both Pierce Brown and Joe Hill (2 authors that have both written books on this list) gave it 5/5 stars so that seems promising.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill- I’ve read Joe Hill’s graphic novels that make up the series Locke and Key, and I’ve seen the film adaptation of his book Horns, but this will be my first actual novel I’ve read by him and I’m excited for it.

Golden Son by Pierce Brown- this one is especially important to finish up soon as I am borrowing it from the lovely Cupcakes and Machetes and would like to get it back to her asap. ❤

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch- A book I started reading over a year ago and was impressed with right off the bat, but somehow never finished reading. The shame. >__<

What are some of your reading goals for the new year? How are you fairing against your own TBR shelves of books?