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Monday, April 15, 2019

Book Review: Ten, by Gretchen McNeil



Shhhh!

Don't spread the word!

Three-day weekend. House party. 

White Rock House on Henry Island. 

You do NOT want to miss it. 


It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives--three days on Henry Island at an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, which involve their school's most eligible bachelor, T.J. Fletcher, and look forward to three glorious days of boys, bonding, and fun-filled luxury. 

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly, people are dying, and with a storm raging outside, the teens are cut off from the rest of the world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn't scheduled to return for three days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on one another, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?



Image result for ten book








Age range: 13+

Pages: 304

Genre: Young Adult Horror










I typically don't read too many horror books, but I really enjoyed some of this author's other works. That being said, I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

To explain it the best I can, this book is what would happen if a chick flick and a murder mystery had a book baby. Tons of romance, and also tons of gore. And while I totally shipped the romance that was going on, it seemed a little misplaced to me. Like, there's a manic running around and killing your friends off one by one, but sure, kiss in the rain. Not like there's more important things to be doing . . .

But, I totally loved the main character, Meg. She's awkward, and sweet and antisocial, and a writer. So, basically me. I gave this book to my mom to read after I finished it, and when she read then line: "Party equals fun. Woo hoo. Yay. Party," she went "Kara, this is totally you." What can I say? I'm a happy introvert.

via Giphy

All of the characters had their own voice in the story. There wasn't much room for any character development with them though, because, well, a lot of them were dead before the end of the book. Most of the character dialogue was okay, but some of the cheesier lovey-dovey lines were just that: cheesy. Like, aged-blue-cheese-crumble cheesy.

What I really liked about this novel was how every scene accomplished something. Whether it was building Meg's character arc, or sprinkling in a clue to the culprit, all of the chapters were essential to the plot. Tying in with her scenes, I thought she did a great job with her pacing. Although the story only took place over three days, the plot didn't seem rushed. The emotional journeys that Meg went through throughout the book made it seem that the story was longer than just one weekend.

The killings were all very strategic, and I appreciated the unpredictability of the plot-line. The only thing about the plot that I really disliked was the final reveal at the end of the book. Had this been the first Gretchen McNeil book that I'd ever read, I probably would have liked it. Buuut, this is the second book that I've read of hers, and the reveal at the end was completely the same as the one in #murdertrending.

If you think you'd enjoy Ten, you can read a free preview here, and you can find Gretchen McNeil's website here.

Happy reading!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Top Five Fictional Pranksters (aka The Fictional Loves of My Life)

Happy April Fools day! Although I'm not really doing anything this year, my brother and I used to be adamant about torturing our parents on this day. One of my proudest moments as a kid was when I filled balloons with water and stuck them in my parents' sinks so they'd have to pop them to get them out. (Watch out guys, I'm a rebel ðŸ˜Ž)

It's safe to say that I will never fit the mold of a prankster or a rebel. But oddly enough, they tend to be my favorite characters. So--without further ado, here are some of the top fictional pranksters. 





5. Fred and George Weasley

Okay--so, minor confession: I never finished the Harry Potter series.


I know, I know--you can yell at me now. I started them back in 7th grade, and read up until the 3rd book. And then I just . . . stopped. *hides from angry mob* Although, I've read enough to know that Fred and George are some of the ultimate pranksters.


4. Josh Wasserstein 

Image result for anna and the french kissImage result for isla and the happily ever after
"The head called me into her office, because she wanted to make sure that we 'get off to the right start' this year. But she didn't give me detention. Not yet."

Josh appears in both Anna and the French Kiss, and Isla and the Happily Ever After, and he's kind of super awesome. I love all of Stephanie Perkins' love interests in her books and Josh is no exception. An uber-talented artist, and a frequenter of detention, Josh Wasserstein has captured the hearts of many a reader with his mischief making. (Even if it irritates his father, and every professor to ever teach him.)


3. Leo Valdez

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"I try not to think. It interferes with being nuts." 

A regular presence in Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus and Trials of Apollo series, Leo Valdez is a fan favorite. He's the son of Hephaestus, and regularly uses his mechanic skills to pull the ultimate pranks.


2. Clara Shin

Image result for the way you make me feel book
"Aren't you sick of detention by now?"

"Nope, I never get enough." 

Gotta love my girl Clara! She practically lives for her pranks, and works to make each one more elaborate than the last, even going as far as to douse herself in fake blood after being voted prom queen. (And then sets the stage on fire accidentally. But we won't talk about that. 😂)


1. Keefe Sencen

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"So is it strange coming here and not being the one on trial? . . . Because I'd be happy to help you break a few laws if you're feeling left out."

Are you really surprised? Probably not. Keefe Sencen is my favorite prankster, and one of my favorite characters in general. Now, if I could just find out what happened during his legendary prank, The Great Gulon Indecent. ðŸ˜‚


So, how do you celebrate April Fools (if at all)?

Monday, March 25, 2019

March 2019 Wrap-Up//OMG IT'S SPRING



It's finally Spring!!


Because what would a monthly wrap-up post on my blog be if it didn't start with a dancing GIF?

But seriously, I am so pumped for warm weather!


Books Read


Umm . . . none?



I'm almost done with two, though. And I just started The Book Thief for school. (Which I was super happy about, because they've actually picked a book that doesn't make me want to gauge my eyes out for once. :P)


Films/Television


Now, these I have seen a lot of.

-How To Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World

It wasn't as action-packed as the other movies, but I still really enjoyed it! (Even though I cried. A lot XD)

-Monk

I love detective shows, and Monk is no exception!

-The Umbrella Academy

I love superhero-inspired books and movies, so this TV show was right up my alley. The pacing was veeeery slow, but I loved the characters. Ben and Klaus are my faves. XD



Life-y Things


My family and I tried our first escape room, and it was so fun! We finished with five minutes to spare.

My school had color wars!  My school makes it a week long thing, where on Monday you dress in sports jerseys, and Tuesday you dress in Hawaiian shirts, etc etc. And then on Friday you dress in your class color and the grades compete against each other in a bunch of mini-games. (My grade lost miserably, but . . . ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)  For Character Day, my friends and I did a Spongebob-themed group costume. I was Squidward. XD

I kept my hair in a super-tight bun all day, (because Squidward is bald. My friend told me I should have worn a bald cap, but I said no to that. XD) and when I took my hair out it felt like: 



I also attended my school's musical production of Shrek. (Fun-fact--I have never seen the movie.) I did interviews with the cast members, and wrote an article about it for my school newspaper. (Although, I'm still waiting for it to be published, because the girl who I co-wrote it with still has to get her section finished and approved.)

Anyway, despite losing Color Wars by a wide margin, March was still a relatively good month for me. How was yours?

Monday, March 11, 2019

Fantasy Favorites Tag




Quick confession before I begin the tag: I stole this tag from Nicole. (Although, she *did* encourage it, so . . .) Also--it is no longer fantasy month. I am about 11 days past the due date. :P Buuuut, I needed a post for this week, and this tag sounded really fun. So we're doing it!

Rules

-Thank the blogger who tagged you. Thanks Nicole, even though I stole it XD

-Answer the questions

-Include the graphic somewhere in the post

-Tag a few blogger friends, and let them know they've been tagged



What is Your Favorite Fantasy Book?

Image result for keeper of the lost citiesRelated image

Keeper of the Lost Cities!! If you've been around my blog for a while, then chances are, you've heard my ramblings about why you should read this book. (Which you totally should!) Shannon Messenger writes some of the funniest plot twistiest books ever. And her characters have *the best* dialogue. Basically, they're perfect. 


What is Your Favorite Fantasy Movie/TV Show?

Movie-wise, definitely the How To Train Your Dragon movies! I just saw the third one last weekend, and, guys, there were many tears shed.  



Also, I remember really liking the Alice and Wonderland movies. (The 2010 + 2016 ones)



Who is Your Favorite Hero/Heroine?

Gah--this is so hard to choose!

Well, to name a few (because I couldn't possibly choose one :P) Percy Jackson, Sophie Foster, and Nova Artino, from the Percy Jackson books, Keeper of the Lost Cities, and Renegades, respectively. I also couldn't help but mention Katniss Everdeen, even though Hunger Games is *technically* dystopian.  




Who is Your Favorite Fantasy Sidekick?

Okay, once again, super hard question! But, I will play by the rules this time, and pick one. 

Mini, from Aru Shah and the End of Time is such a nerdy, adorable sidekick, I can't help but love her. 

Image result for mini aru shah
image via Read Riordan

Who is Your Favorite Fantasy Villain? Who do You Love To Hate?

I really love the villains from The Gilded Wolves, by Roshani Chokshi. (I won't name anyone specifically because some of them aren't revealed until later, and this is a NO SPOILER ZONE.) But I love how ingeniously their plans unfurled. 


What is Your Favorite Fantasy Subgenre? 

I *love* contemporary fantasy! Contemporary fantasy is where the story takes place in a real-world setting, but still includes many fantastical elements. Sometimes it's hard for me to get into super high fantasy because I have a hard time picturing the setting, so it's a lot easier for me when the story's set in a world I'm already familiar with. 


What is Your Favorite Thing About Fantasy?

Fantasy books are, in many ways, an escape from reality. Whenever I'm particularly nervous about something, I'll read fantasy because it helps take my mind off things. I also love being able to imagine that awesome things like dragons and fae and elves are real. 




What is Your Favorite Fantasy Realm?

It was super hard to pick one, (yes, I know I already said that twice. But come on, there are just so many good books!) but I'm going to have to say the realm from Story Thieves by James Riley. One of the characters, Bethany, is half-fictional, and has the power to jump in and out of any book she wants--which, is like, the coolest thing ever!

Bethany, jumping into every book in sight ^^


What is Your Favorite Magic System?

It's been a while since my last reread, but I remember really liking the magic system from the Septimus Heap series. I absolutely loved reading about Septimus' adventures as apprentice to the ExtraOrdinary wizard. And of course, I loved Spit Fyre, and Ullr because, who could not? (Even though I still don't really know how to pronounce Ullr. :P)


Sell me a fantasy book! Have you written a fantasy book? Give me your best pitch for it! Have you read an exceptionally great fantasy book recently? Convince me to make it my next read!

One of my latest fantasy reads was The Gilded Wolves, by Roshani Chokshi! But, I already wrote a full review of that, so if you want to check it out, you can read it here

I know that this is kind of cheating--but so is posting a tag a month late. :P


Tagging

I'm not going to tag anyone specific (shocking--I almost never do XD) because this tag is already tremendously late. But don't let that stop you! If you really want to do this--like I did--go ahead and steal it! Do it! Have fun with it!

Alright--that's about it for this post. Let me know if you decide to do this post--I'd love to see your answers. :)

Peace out. 
All GIFs via Giphy

Monday, March 4, 2019

Dos and Don'ts For Your First Year of Blogging

This Thursday, March Seventh, marks the one year anniversary for Scribbles of an Aspiring Author!


In the one year that I've been on the blogosphere, I've done a lot of things wrong, but I've also learned a lot--hence this blog post's title.



First thing you should do--always make a graphic, like this one, with the title of your blog post and your URL. You can then post the graphic on social media, like Pinterest and/or Instagram to get more traffic on your blog. I make my graphics on Adobe Spark, and they have an awesome resizing feature that lets you take your header and convert it into the ideal size for any social media, with one click.

(This is the size that I'll post to Pinterest.)


Second Tip--make your titles interesting. Don't clickbait (because no one likes clickbait) but make sure that your blog post is both specific enough to what your content is, and makes people want to read your post. If you have trouble with coming up with a blog title, there are plenty of suggestion pages/titling cheat sheets on Pinterest. 


Here's an example of when I didn't do this. The title of this post is simply "The Fault in Our Stars," which might be the most vague thing ever. What is the post about? Is it a review? (Yes it was.) Am I yelling into the internet about how this book broke my heart? Maybe. But you would have no idea what this post was about because I never specified. 

(Also--I don't think that I even specified what it was about in the post. As you can see, at the bottom of the screen-cap, I just jumped straight into "Here's the synopsis. *facepalm*)

Better titles for this post include: Why Everyone Needs to Read the Fault in Our Stars, or The Story of How John Green Shattered my Heart, or even The Fault in Our Stars Book Review. Those titles took me about three seconds to come up with off the top of my head, and although they could obviously use some work, all three of them are infinitely better than just saying the title of a book with no context around it. 

And a few tips for if you want to start book reviewing regularly--number one, find a platform that will post your links. I usually do my book reviews through MMGM, over on Always in the Middle. (It was originally started by Shannon Messenger, but she passed hosting duties for MMGM over to Greg Pattridge last year.) This is a great way for people to find your blog. 

Tip number two--always include an age rating with the book. I didn't use to do this, but I found that it's nice for people reading your blog to know what kind of content they're getting into when they add a new book to their TBR pile. 

And lastly--if you ever feel like your review seems a little weak, or you want it to be longer, talk about your favorite characters, and why you love them. I don't know about you, but my favorite parts of books are characters, and I will be 99.9999 percent more likely to pick up a book if I know the characters are compelling, than if someone tells me it has a good plot. A plot is nothing without well-developed characters to carry it out, IMHO.

But no matter how good your posts are--you have to be consistent. 

^^Literally everyone's face while reading this because I cannot be consistent for the life of me.

Do as I say, not as I do. You should pick one day, or two, where you update every week. During the school year my posting schedule usually gets pushed back to a post every other week, but I'm trying to work on getting a one-post-per-week thing going on again. 

And lastly, read and comment on other bloggers' posts. I know that I haven't been that good at doing that this year, but I'm hoping to be more active after school calms down. Bloggers really are the nicest humans!

The only blatant "don't" I can really think of for blogging is--don't be unkind to anyone. It's that simple.

Anyway, I could go on forever (I made a lot of mistakes, guys) but I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have been reading this blog since my posts mainly consisted of writing prompts, and, to say welcome to any new readers. *waves*

Choosing to start this blog was arguably one of the best decisions I've ever made. Here's to hoping this year is just as awesome. 

Monday, February 25, 2019

February Wrap-Up



February is over!! *happy dances* 

I don't know about you guys, but I am *so* ready for spring to be here. 

That being said--February was a pretty good month for me, writing-wise.


Writing


In my January Wrap-Up post (which you can find here) I mentioned that I started the fourth draft of my manuscript. So far, I've only been able to reuse three scenes--because I am a chronic perfectionist when it comes to writing, which is really not a good thing to be. Buuut, I just hit 40,000 words in my draft--the end is in my sights!! 


(I mean, I still have, like, 1/3 of the manuscript to write still--but we're not going to think about that.)


Reading 



I finished Heir of Fire, by Sarah J Maas, and although I used to really like her books, I'm not as into super high fantasy as I used to be--so I'm still debating as to whether I will finish the series or not. 

I also read The Summer I Turned Pretty, and It's Not Summer Without You, by Jenny Han. I still have yet to finish the third book in the trilogy; although, I have to admit that the plot isn't as gripping as I wished it would be, so I don't know if I will end up finishing it. >.<

For school, I read I Am Malala, an autobiography by Malala Yousafzai, which was sooo inspiring! Highly recommend!

If you follow my Instagram, then you know that I participated in my school library's Blind Date With a Book event. The book that I ended up getting was Zodiac, by Romina Russell. And, as I said earlier, I'm not as into high fantasy as I used to be, and this novel was *very* high science fiction. I found it hard to get into the book, and so I unfortunately did not finish it. 

Films/Television 



I obviously had to watch National Treasure 2--and I loved it! 

TV show wise, I finished up season three of Riverdale. I also rewatched some Psych episodes--because, I love Psych. Enough said. 



Also, I binged some episodes of That 70'S Show. I can't recommend this to everyone, as there is some language, and a lot of off-color humor. 



Listened To 



Music-wise, I've been listening to a lot of Imagine Dragons and OneRepublic while I write. Also, when I'm having writer's block, I've been trying to listen to video game music, because it's supposed to help you focus. And--it's helping?? My go-to is the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild soundtrack. 

And as for just-for-fun music, I've been listening to Rachel Platten's music. (I really like the song Grace, from her album Waves.)

I've been listening to some Podcasts too, and I've been loving it! The First Draft Podcast brings on a lot of authors as guests, and I love being able to listen to the tips and anecdotes from my favorite writers. I've also been listening to Pretty Basic, with Alisha Marie and Remi Cruz, which is a lifestyle Podcast that I'm really enjoying. 


Miscellaneous 



My mom--I've mentioned her in multiple blog posts before because she is *the best*--got me a bullet journal for Valentines Day. (She knows I like notebooks more than candy, haha.) I've been using it pretty consistently now, and it's so helpful to keep track of everything. And, it's, like, oddly therapeutic for me. Reading and writing and journaling have always been big stress reliefs for me, though, so it's not a huge surprise. 

I'm trying to create a theme for my Instagram--and so far so good. I'm having some trouble posting consistently though. (As you guys probably know--I have trouble updating consistently on here too. *hides in shame* I literally posted on here twice this month. Twice.)

Also I have just entered--MAJOR FREAK-OUT TIME. 



I knew that my blogoversary was sometime in March, but I thought that it was, like, later in the month. Well, turns out that my one year blogoversary is NEXT WEEK. *screams* *flails*

If you guys have any recommendations for how I should celebrate--leave them down in the comments! :)

All GIFS via Giphy
Anyway--I hope all of you had a wonderful February. Do you have any goals for March? If you do--tell me down in the comments! 

(Also, please help with my blogoversary freak-out, haha.)

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Gilded Wolves Review

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The Gilded Wolves, by Roshani Chokshi
Age Range: 12-18 years



It's 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history--but only if they can stay alive.





Guys, I love a good treasure hunt. And this book was a GOOD treasure hunt. (It was actually the thing that made me want to watch National Treasure.) And while I love the adventures and the prospect of treasure, I love the cast of characters even more.

I honestly tried to pick a favorite from the group, and couldn't. I love all of them for different reasons!

One of the things I love most about Séverin is that he is a man of action. He had so much unfairly taken from him, and I loved watching him risk everything to get it back. He is a natural born leader, and would rather die than let anything happen to any member of his group. And in addition to being a leader, trouble making comes pretty easily to Séverin as well.

via Giphy

Tristan, who Séverin vowed to protect when they were just mere children, is as kind as they come. He pours his heart into each of his creations in the garden of Séverin's hotel, and adores nature so much as to keep a pet tarantula named Goliath, much to Laila's chagrin.

Laila possesses a unique gift that allows her to read any object she touches--where it is from, who made it, etc--as long as it's not Forged. And while that gift may be useful for Séverin's treasure hunting purposes, she's not proud of how she came to possess that talent. A baker, dancer, and the only member of Séverin's group not bound by an oath, Laila is a woman of many talents, and a powerful asset to the team. But that doesn't mean she intends to stay with them. Laila's on her own treasure hunt, searching for the only thing that can save her life, before her time runs out.

In addition to all that, Laila is also a great friend. Especially to Zofia, a Polish girl exiled from her school after she was charged with arson. Zofia's mind rotates around numbers, and she's as intelligent as they come. For this, I absolutely adore Zofia. I can totally relate to her social ineptitude. XD (Although, I would never start a fire in a school, or like math.) And even though I love Zofia, not everyone does.

Enrique, the resident historian and complete nerd of the group won my heart over the minute he danced across the page. He's always striving to be the best, and cannot stand it when Zofia outshines him. (He also tends to be rather snarky, which I always enjoy.)

Roshani Chokshi did a fantastic job creating a diverse group of characters, and included people from all different religions and ethnicities--a detail I loved about her book.

I will admit, at some points of the book, I was only reading for the characters. Roshani's writing is pretty flowery, and with a plot as complicated as hers, there were points where I had absolutely no idea what was going on.

I generally lean towards books with more dialogue than description, and although this book did not meet that profile, at the end of the day, I still enjoyed it. That being said, the end of The Gilded Wolves is by-far better than the beginning. There are a lot of things that need to be foreshadowed and set up to play out later, and while this does kind of weigh down the pacing at the exposition, it is totally worth it in the end.

You can find Roshani's website here and you can read a free excerpt of The Gilded Wolves here


So, have you guys read any of Roshani's books? If you have, did you enjoy it? Why or why not?

Book Review: Ten, by Gretchen McNeil

Shhhh! Don't spread the word! Three-day weekend. House party.  White Rock House on Henry Island.  You do NOT want t...