Friday, June 29, 2018

Recap of my Week, and Can Not Writing Be Good?

(I made this on Adobe Spark, and am actually really happy with it.)

Hello Blogosphere!

It feels good to be back.

Back? You weren't even gone?

Technically, yes. But my last two blog posts were actually scheduled ahead of time because I was on a family vacation in Sea Isle City, NJ. I had planned on treating that vacation as a Writing Retreat, to get some serious progress made because I was really struggling with editing my manuscript. I had been opting out of working on it, and instead was writing the first draft of another project. (Not the best way to do things--I know.) I could tell that something was wrong with the plot--I just couldn't figure out what it was--let alone how to fix it. I was expecting the change of scenery to be refreshing, and to be able to make good progress in my WIP.

That . . . did not happen.

I tried to type and do some revision work the best I could, but I was still getting minimal progress done. After a few days I stopped typing completely.

Instead, I visited the boardwalk, caught hermit crabs on the beach, and read two books that had been on my TBR shelf for months. (The Distance Between Us, by Kasie West, and Tell Me Three Things, by Julie Buxbaum. I'm planning on doing reviews for both in the future.)

When I left the beach house this morning, I was kind of disappointed in myself. I had been away for a n entire week and I barely had anymore progress in my story than when I had left.

Talk about a letdown.

But when I came home and opened my Word document--the words just came to me, (that sounds cheesy--I know) and I managed to work out some major kinks in my WIP. Which makes me think that perhaps getting away from my laptop for a few days was actually a good thing.

I couldn't work out this particular scene because I was putting too much pressure on it to be good, and because of that, my writing style came across as tight and stilted. I reread some of my work that I got done after coming home, and am happier with it than I have been with any of my other writing in a while.

Which leads me to believe that perhaps taking a small break from writing can really help in the long run.

I know that there are plenty of people who could disagree with me on this, saying that writing should be done every day, or that taking a break causes people to fall behind on deadlines. And this is 100% true. For them. For me, I think that taking a day or two away from writing--and enjoying the outdoors, and my family--helps my creativity level, and the quality of my writing.

What about you? Are there any tricks that you use to help your writing?

Monday, June 25, 2018


Image result for twilight book
Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer

About three things I was absolutely positive.

First, Edward was a vampire.

Second, there was a part of him--
and I didn't know how dominant that part might be--
that thirsted for my blood. 

And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably
in love with him.

I knew when I started my blog that Twilight was a popular book, and after a few weeks of posting, I finally got down to reading it. 

And I liked it--overall, I give it four out of five stars. (I bought the rest of the saga as well.)

I will confess, I had a hard time getting into the book at first, but I found myself enjoying it more and more as I dove further into the novel, and by the end the story was moving at such a fast pace that I could barely put it down.

My favorite characters were honestly Mike and Eric. A bit of an odd choice, I know. But I liked the fact that they acted as loyal friends to Bella throughout most of the novel, and I couldn't help but sympathize with them as they tried (and failed) to break out of the friend-zone. 

I thought that the plot was well put together, and enjoyed following Bella around her adventures with her sparkly new love-interest. I also liked the addition of Bella being a clumsy person, because as my friends and family know very well, I can be a complete and total klutz. 

That being said, Bella's coordination, or lack thereof, was probably the only thing that I could find myself relating to. Of course, I knew that I was going to be reading a romance when I picked up the book, but I was hoping that Bella would be more independent. This girl is made out to be a hero--and in more than a few ways she absolutely is--I just wish that there had been more moments where she could show that off, instead of pining over Edward. I also felt that over the course of the book--after moving, making friends, falling in love with a vampire, and almost dying--Bella should have had more character development than the did.

All of that out of the way, Twilight was an original love tale between two species, and I can honestly say that I've never read another book like it.

You can find Stephanie Meyer's website HERE and you can read a free excerpt of Twilight HERE 

Have a marvelous Monday!

Monday, June 18, 2018

MMGM--Lord of the Flies

Gah--I'm so sorry this is posted late! I didn't have my computer with me to check my page this morning, and I could have sworn that I scheduled this post. I guess not.

On with the review!

Image result for lord of flies
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding  

At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on and uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate. This far from civilization, they can do anything they want. Anything. 

But as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far removed from reality as the hope of being rescued . . . 

So, here's the thing. My last few reviews have consisted mainly of me raving about how much I loved the books that I've been MMGMing.

That's not the case here.

It's not the fact that this isn't fantasy--like the other books I've reviewed. I've read historical fiction and loved every word of it. This book simply didn't appeal to me.

I understand why this book is so popular--it gives a raw and honest representation of human behavior. But, I'm just not a fan of Golding's writing style.

This book is very heavy on description, and while some people might enjoy that kind of writing, I prefer books that have more dialogue and action. Golding spent about an entire page describing what a fire looked like. Don't get me wrong--I think it's important to give good descriptions to readers--but I found the Entire-Page-Fire-Description a bit unnecessary.

There was also a large cast of characters in this book, and normally, I love the diversity that having so many different personalities brings, but I felt like Golding didn't get a chance to fully develop the characters, and because of this, I found it hard to connect with them. If one of them had been killed half way through the novel, I probably wouldn't have been too hung-up on it.

Also--there are characters--boys who landed on the island--who don't have names. They're simply referred to as "the hunters." It was hard to keep track of who was who. In one of the later chapters Golding wrote about a child named Stanley sitting on a log, and the only thought I had was, "Who the heck is Stanley?"

Even though I didn't personally enjoy this novel, maybe this book appeals to you, or perhaps you want to set out and prove me wrong--either way, you can read an excerpt of Lord of the Flies HERE an can find William Golding's website HERE

Have a fantastic week!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Guess what today is?

The first day of summer vacation! 


I am so pumped for this summer, because now I can spend more time focusing on my writing, instead of on my schoolwork. 

I actually finished writing my novel last week, and am going to begin making edits this week. Yay!

I'm sure that I'll be less excited in a few days when I'm in the midst of revisions, but for now, I will remain elated. 

Have an amazing start to your summer!

Monday, June 11, 2018

MMGM--Story Thieves

Image result for story thieves
Story Thieves, by James Riley

This week, I have another fantasy novel, (I'm sure everyone's *super* surprised) Story Thieves, by James Riley.

Here's the synopsis:

Life is boring when you live in the real world instead of starring in your own book series. Owen knows that better than anyone, what with the real world's homework and chores.

But everything changes the day Owen sees the impossible happen--his classmate Bethany climbing out of a book in the library. It turns out Bethany's half fictional and has been searching every book she could find for her missing father, a fictional character.

Bethany can't let anyone else learn her secret, so Owen makes her a deal: all she has to do is take him into a book in Owen's favorite Kiel Gnomenfoot series and he'll never say a word. Besides, visiting the book might help Bethany find her father . . . 

Or it might just destroy the Kiel Gnomenfoot series, reveal Bethany's secret to the entire world, and force Owen to live out Kiel Gnomenfoot's final (very final) adventure.

In this novel, James Riley perfectly weaves together reality and fantasy into a fast-paced, laugh-inducing tale that I could barely put down.

I also adore the entire cast of characters in this novel, but I must admit that I am particularly partial to Kiel Gnomenfoot, who is always armed with both his wand knives, and a full arsenal of  hilariously snarky comments.

I also love this book because I can relate to Owen. He spends his days a lot like I spend mine--wishing school wasn't quite so boring, and hoping that someday, maybe someone will whisk me away to a world where magic and dragons and fictional boys are real. Luckily enough, Owen gets his wish. (I'm still waiting on my fictional chauffeur, by the way.)

Owen gets to go on an adventure that I long to go on, and by reading about his journey, a feel a little bit like I've gone along with him.

Not to mention the fact that Bethany is half fictional! 

Bethany has the power to jump in and out of books at her liking, which is, for lack of a better term, totally awesome!

Story Thieves shows a new light onto the world of literature--that we're living in the non-fictional world, and there's a whole different dimension--the fictional world--out there where my favorite book characters are running wild, I wholeheartedly love this concept.

All in all, James Riley has pretty much written the book of my dreams,

You can find James Riley's website HERE and can read a free excerpt of Story Thieves HERE

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

This prompt is a bit more morbid than what I usually post, but my friend (yes, the one who dumped Froot Loops on me. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you can find that post HERE) requested this as this week's writing prompt, because it's a running inside joke between us.

Happy writing!

Monday, June 4, 2018

MMGM--Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell

Image result for land of stories by chris colfer

Okay, I know that I've gushed over the covers of both the other two books I've MMGMed (that's totally a word--right?)(You can find those other reviews HERE, and HERE) but seriously--look at the pretty!

*stares at beautiful cover*

One of the things that I like best about the cover is that it actually resembles that of an actual  storybook--which fits the story perfectly.

Unless you've heard of this book before--you probably won't know why a fairy tale would play such an integral part of the story--so perhaps the publisher's description will clear a bit of this up for you:

Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change. 

When the twins' grandmother gives them a treasured fairy-tale book, they have no idea they're about to enter a land beyond all imagining: The Land of Stories, where fairy tales are real.

But as Alex and Conner soon discover, the stories they know so well haven't ended in this magical land--Goldilocks is now a wanted fugitive, Red Riding Hood has her own kingdom, and Cinderella is about to become a mother!

The twins know they must get home somehow. But with the legendary Evil Queen hot on their trail, will they ever find the way?

This is the second book that I've reviewed regarding fairy tales--can you sense that pattern too? What can I say? I like fantasy.

Anyway--this book is written by the fabulous Chris Colfer, and if his name sounds familiar, it's probably because Colfer is a man of many talents. He's an actor, and some of his more well known acting jobs include an American comedy TV show, called Glee, and a movie, Struck by Lightning, which Colfer both starred in and directed. He's actually directing a Land of Stories movie--so if you read and enjoy the book--make sure to keep your eyes peeled for that.

Sorry for all the rambling, but I couldn't resist.

Anyway, chapter one opens up in Mrs. Peter's sixth grade classroom, and readers can tell that stories and fairy tales will play a huge part in the novel from the get-go.

Another thing that I like about this book is that the characters start off as average people with a grandmother who has a knack for telling fairy tales. I think that this gives readers something to relate to when they read the books, because Alex and Conner aren't that different from any other middle-school kid.

Alex and Conner are two characters that I absolutely adore. Using twins as the main characters was a brilliant choice on Colfer's part because while the Baileys might look alike--their personalities are polar opposite. Throughout the novel, Alex acts as the voice of reason, always seeming to whip up a logical solution for any problem. Conner on the other hand, tends to act as a comic relief and he tends to fly by the seat of his pants when a problem arises. The personalities play off of each other perfectly, with Alex keeping Conner from getting into too big of trouble, while Conner tries to get Alex to loosen up, and live life a bit more spontaneously.

The world building in this story is remarkable--Colfer has managed to take something that so many other people have already explored, and make it new and different and completely his own.

This post is starting to get fairly lengthy--so I think I'll wrap it up here.

You can find The Land of Stories website HERE

Happy Reading! 

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Fault in Our Stars

Here's the synopsis:

Despite the tumor-shrinking miracle medicine that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist name Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.  

I started this book on Sunday night, because I felt the need to escape reality for a little while, and promptly finished it the nest morning. The Big Bad Thing that happened to one character had been spoiled for me about a year in advance (that's why I don't like to look at book stuff on social media--too many spoilers) so I knew what to expect. But I didn't want to except it. Throughout the entire book, I was pretty much thinking "well maybe my copy is special and this thing won't happen." That unfortunately wasn't the case.

Anyway, onto what didn't break my heart into a million pieces.

I'm not sure that I have the words to describe how much I love this book--but I will try.

I had pretty much fallen in love with Augustus Waters the moment that he started staring at Hazel. Augustus and Hazel's love story was one of the most honest and realistic that I had read about since Anna and the French Kiss, and I could barely manage to put the book down. 

John Green has seriously outdone himself with this novel--I can't remember the last time that I laughed and cried so much over a book.

Every character is has their own struggles and problems--from life-threatening cancer to a star-crossed love story, and John Green masterfully narrates every moment.

You can read an excerpt of The Fault in Our Stars HERE, and you can find John Green's website HERE.

This book is definitely one that should be on everybody's must-read list.

So go read it! Okay? Okay.

Review of The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, by Jenn Bennett

Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she's spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci's...