Books · Life · Television

The latest in nerdy COVID fashion

In my last couple of posts I mentioned some of the things I’ve been doing to help pass the time during quarantine. Since then I have found another new hobby: making masks. It’s practically impossible to find disposable masks anywhere unless you’re a healthcare or food service worker so I made a couple of my own for those times where I am forced to be in public. Luckily I already had lots of fun fabrics on hand for this project!

Check out my Avengers and Explodng TARDIS masks!

In addition to creating masks, I’ve been working my way through a couple of books. I just finished Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows last week. (Yes, I read it again. Stop judging me!) This week I’m reading Empire of Sand, which has been fantastic so far.

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I also finished binge-watching Marvel’s Runaways. Even though the last season wasn’t quite as good as the first two, I still really enjoyed this show. I wish it hadn’t been cancelled already. I guess I’ll have to go re-read some of the comics to hold me over.

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Did you watch Runaways yet (It’s available on Disney +)? Let me know what you thought!

 

Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites

Book Review: Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

When Jack left Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children she was carrying the body of her deliciously deranged sister–whom she had recently murdered in a fit of righteous justice–back to their home on the Moors.

But death in their adopted world isn’t always as permanent as it is here, and when Jack is herself carried back into the school, it becomes clear that something has happened to her. Something terrible. Something of which only the maddest of scientists could conceive. Something only her friends are equipped to help her overcome.

Eleanor West’s “No Quests” rule is about to be broken. Again.

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I was pretty excited when I heard this book was coming out and that we would be returning to the Moors – the setting we had been first introduced to in Down Among Sticks and BonesWhile I have immensely enjoyed all of the books in the Wayward Children series, I felt like the Moors was the one world that was still shrouded in the most mystery. Getting to go back and discover a little more of it was an absolute treat.

The tables have turned and Jack is no longer trying to save her sister, Jill. The complicated and strained relationship they already share is further explored in this book in a way that will make you question who you’re supposed to be rooting for. In addition to Jack, some familiar faces from Miss West’s school make a reappearance. Christopher, Sumi, Cora, and Kade once again jump into the role of playing the fearless heroes, even though it’s not their own worlds they are trying to save.

As always, McGuire does a spectacular job at immersing the reader in a world that is both beautiful and terrible. The concept of death is fleeting. Love knows no boundaries. And there is nothing that a little bit of lightening can’t fix. By the end, you’ll wonder if everything you thought you knew about “monsters” has been wrong.

 

 

Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Fiction

Favorite Books of 2019

Hello, friends! I hope you’re all surviving this holiday season. I know I’ve been on the quiet side lately, in terms of blogging, but I hope to get back in the swing of it next year. I guess I just haven’t had much to talk about lately. This time of year usually stresses me out quite a bit, so I tend to be a little more reserved. I don’t even have any new book reviews to share at the moment, as I’ve been rereading a few of the Harry Potter books in preparation for my upcoming trip to Wizarding World. (Omg, I can’t wait!)

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Since we’re about to start a new year, how about a little recap of my favorite books from 2019? As of right now, I’ve read 53 books out of my Goodreads  goal of 47 books. I’m hoping to finish up Half Blood Prince over the next couple of days and bring that number up to 54.

I read some fun books this year, but not too many of them blew me away. (Was I just being picky or did I just miss out on some good ones? I’m not sure.) In no particular order, here were a few at the top of the list:

 

What were your top books in 2019? Anything great that I missed out on and need to check out next year?

 

Books · Fantasy · Fiction · Young Adult

Book Review: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

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My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

More of a clash of Faerie and the mortal world in this book

After devouring the first two Folk of the Air books last year, I was dying to get my hands on the third and final installment. While I enjoyed reading this one, I have to admit that it did not suck me in the way the first two did.

The plot of The Queen of Nothing started off solid, but everything moved along too quickly and the pacing felt off. I suppose that this was due to the shorter length of this book. I did like the fact that the story intertwined the faerie world with the mortal world more than the first two books. I also liked that Jude’s sister, Vivian, became a more prominent character this time around. Sadly, despite being Jude’s twin, I always find Taryn a bit lackluster. Vivian is far more interesting and engaging than Taryn. (Sorry, Taryn.)

It was fun to experience Jude’s character development from book one to book three. I was surprised at how much less dark her personality was this time around, especially considering the events that happened at the end of book two. I felt like the author did a great job at weaving both Jude and Cardan’s personalities together into a very convincing, albeit bizarre, relationship.

The familiar plot twists and character betrayals that we’ve all come to know and love from Black’s books were present in The Queen of Nothing. I just wished there had been a little more meat the the story and a little more time to devote to some of the other characters.

Books · Writing

NaNoWriMo: We Did It!

As we’ve reached the final day of November, it’s time to say goodbye to another year of NaNoWriMo. How did everyone do this year? Did you meet your goals? Fall in love with your new project? I’d love to hear more about what some of you have achieved this month, whether it was what you initially intended or not.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was doing NaNoWriMo this year, but not in the most traditional sense. While lots of other people use NaNo as a motivator to rack up their word count, I used it as an excuse to push myself harder and to get more work done than I normally would. I didn’t count words or start a whole new project, but I did make further progress on my second book, started/finished some short stories, and read/edited book one in its entirety for the third time. Considering how long it took me to do the last two rounds of rereading, the fact that I did it again in about two weeks feels like a major victory for me.

So what’s next?

Obviously, I will continue to work on book two and my short stories. (Thank you to those of you who left comments on the teaser story I posted last week. Don’t worry, more will be coming soon. 😉 ) Now that I am done editing book one again, I feel like it’s time to get some more eyes on it – maybe some beta readers and, hopefully, a developmental editor. Then it’s time to potentially start pitching the book to some smaller publishing companies and see if anyone is interested. It still feels like I have a ton of work to do before this series is ever ready to be seen by the public, but I’m still pushing along.

Cheers to everyone who participated in NaNo this month. Whether you wrote 5,000 or 50,000 words, you should be proud of yourself for participating.

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Books · Writing

What’s Next

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Greetings, fellow book lovers, bloggers, and writers! It’s been a long and productive weekend. Since finishing my post about NaNoWriMo I’ve been plugging away at the keys and hitting my research hard. There’s so much to learn about the writing process and, even more so, the business of publishing. While I embark on my journey of trying to get my novel published, I figured I’d start sharing tidbits of it with my readers. I know that several of you are also writers, so I thought you might like to chat with me about this big, scary notion of putting your book out there for others to read. At the very least, we can all support each other and navigate this bumpy road together.

I’ve also decided that I need to start sharing my writing with more people. People like you. Up until this point only a small handful of people have read my book (I’ll be asking for more beta readers very soon). Even if my novel is not ready for the entire world to see yet, I’ve been working on some short stories, set in the world of my book, that I would like to share. So, stay tuned for some more posts on writing, the book industry, and short stories! Plus, new book reviews. It’s been far too long since I’ve done a book review, hasn’t it?

 

Books · Writing

Redefining NaNoWriMo

As book lovers, writers, and bloggers, I am sure that most of you have heard of NaNoWriMo by now. (For the noobs: NaNoWriMo stands for “National Novel Writing Month.”) The last few years I toyed with the idea of jumping on the NaNo bandwagon, but always dismissed it as not being my thing. As November approached this year and NaNo fervor began popping up all over the blogisphere, I began asking myself “Why isn’t it your thing?” I’m a writer. I wrote an entire novel last year and am currently working on the second one. How is a month celebrating book writing not my thing?

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This year I decided to give it a shot. I know for some the premise is to start a new project, but considering that I’m still in the early stages of book two, I figured just focusing on that would be enough. Well…as of today we’re halfway through November and I feel like an update is necessary.

NaNoWriMo: The Bad

By the beginning of week two I started remembering all the things that turned me off from NaNo in the past. Blogs, podcasts, and Twitter are rampant with talk of progress – specifically fixating on word count. According to the NaNo gods, everyone participating should be aiming to write at least 50,000 words (basically the entire draft of a novel) in one month. That’s 1,500- 2,000 words a day. No excuses. It doesn’t matter the quality or how good it is, you just put the words down anyway. You can delete it all later and start over if you have to. Just get the words down so you can brag about how many you wrote.

Obviously I’m exaggerating a teeny bit, but this is honestly what in hear when I listen to a lot of people talk about NaNo. It feels like the focus is on the word count, not the content itself or the process of writing a novel. Personally, I find it hard to wrap my head around this one. If I’m going to invest a good chunk of my time working on something, I want to put out something with a little more thought and quality. I know myself well enough to know that if I squeeze 50,000 words out in a month, most of it is going to be dribble. Maybe some people can use that dribble later and turn it into something fabulous, but for me it almost feels like I am just pushing myself to reach an arbitrary number. I like to take my time to do things that are important to me. I like to think, then overthink, then plan, then overthink again, then carefully pen things out. That’s just how the process works for me.

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Another thing that irks me about NaNo is the fact that you’re expected to have enough time to pump out an entire draft in a month. Now, I don’t know about you guys, but having a full-time job (that isn’t writing) takes up the majority of my day. Then there are those other pesky things that get in the way: cooking, cleaning, taking care of kids/animals, reading/other hobbies, exercise, personal hygiene, sleep, etc. Some days it seems virtually impossible to sit down and squeeze out more than a few hundred words, if any. I suppose if your lifestyle gives you more free time this might not be a problem, but for me time is the biggest limiting factor when it comes to writing.

NaNoWriMo: The Good

I’m sure it seems like I’m bashing NaNoWriMo, but I promise you I’m not. I love the concept of writers all over the world supporting each other and mutually making an effort to write new novels. It’s a terrific thing. The gripes I have lie mostly within the pressure surrounding word count and the notion that you’ve basically “failed” if you didn’t write an entire draft. After a week of pushing myself and realizing that NaNo just isn’t my style I decided that I wasn’t going to completely abandon ship. Instead, I’ve been using NaNo as an excuse to push myself a little harder than I normally would. Some evenings that means writing for 30 minutes when I would normally say “eh, I’m too tired.” It might mean writing some lines or ideas down on my lunch break when I’d normally be reading or messing around on my phone. It might mean forcing myself to edit something I’ve been putting off or writing a short story set in the world of my novel. At the end of the month, I most certainly won’t have finished my second book but I will have done a lot more work than I normally would have, which is awesome.

To those of you doing NaNoWriMo and are diving hardcore into it: Great! Good for you! I hope something comes from all your endeavors, even if it’s only personal satisfaction.

To those who think they’re failing at NaNo or were too intimidated to even try: YOU CAN DO IT. Don’t let others’ goals, accomplishments, or word counts deter you. Get whatever you can out of it, regardless of what it looks like. YOU GOT THIS.

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What are your thoughts on NaNoWriMo? Are you participating this year?