NaNoWriMo 2019 Update #4

This is it.

We’re down to the wire.

It’s hard to believe that another NaNo is just about wrapping up. Today’s post isn’t going to be very long – and I’m going to be spending most of the day writing. I wasn’t able to get in as many words yesterday, with it being Thanksgiving and all, so I have a little bit of catching up to do. \. Nothing too major, just about 800 words – no biggie. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish this trash draft tomorrow.

That’s my goal. To get words on the page and just finish this draft.

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I’m sitting around 47000 words, so I’m really not hurting. I tried creating an outline for this story – really, I was procrastinating actually writing, and wanted to fill up some words. So, I created this rough outline, leaving a lot blank. I knew I wanted a cutesy hot tub scene between Cassie and Chase. A scene where they almost kiss, but not quite. I legit wrote that in my outline and then promptly went to write the scene.

And guess what I did.

Well, I should say, guess what the characters did, because I stopped controlling them a long time ago. They’re writing themselves at this point. I’ve been sidelined and I’m just watching.

Image result for kiss gifCassie and Chase kissed.

Sorry, spoiler. But they freaking kissed.

And not only did they kiss – they kissed twice. They weren’t supposed to kiss at all!

I give up lol.

I’ve been writing this book all sorts of out of order, making the draft an absolute mess, but I’ve been hitting writing strides and just going with them. I have to write it all wrong before I can write it right.

My characters are continuing to surprise me. Cassie is super bold now that she’s moving past her sadness and anger. Chase is still goofy, but completely in love with Cassie and it’s adorable. Ryan is actually an absolute ass (completely different than how I intended him to be) and he’s super hard to write. Layne – who I never wanted to like – is being nice to Cassie after making her life a living hell. Not pretend nice, but genuinely nice and friendly and I don’t know what’s happening.

Also, for these four characters being in a house full of people, you never see any of the other occupants – something I need to address and fix in draft 2.

I’m glad that this draft is a mess. I might complain about it and my characters, but I really do have a better sense of what the story is supposed to be, what needs to happen, what I want to happen and who the characters are. I had this pretty idyllic idea in my head of what this book was supposed to be – a cute fluffy romcom – and it still is, but it has some heavier undertones to it. While I like the heavier undertones, I kind of want to try and write it without them – though I have a feeling that doing that is going to be really hard…seeing as how Cassie nearly drowns.

Anyways, I’m going to end this here. I’m exhausted, full of amazing food and maybe a bit too much wine and I’m going to just relax and enjoy the evening. Maybe do a bit of shopping out and about with a friend, and then when I come home, eat some home made apple pie! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of good food and plenty of leftovers. And those of you who are still cracking away at NaNo, you go this, we got this. Today and Tomorrow. And then we can take a break! So good luck!

Book Review: The Chameleon with a Sword

the chameleon with a swordTitle: The Chameleon with a Sword

Author: B.L. Logan

Pub. Date: October 1, 2019

Rating: IDK


Duro.
Protectors of the Day. Life. Loyalists.
A word that slices fear through sixteen-year-old Leena Niran the way her sword does enemies. A people who decided her destiny, but don’t even know she exists.
Nox.
Protectors of the Night. Death. Traitors.
A word once signifying respect and honor in Prince Mordecai’s homeland. A people synonymous with betrayal because of him.
The Oculan.
The reason life exists peacefully. The sum of Day and Night—two ancient energy forces a king must keep in balance or risk blending life and death in a cataclysmic melee. A risk worth Leena’s life.
Suddenly, a nomadic fencer finds herself wanted. By a government, a king, and a vengeful exiled prince seeking salvation for the illness killing his people. A cure flowing through Leena’s veins.
Leena’s safety becomes the duty of another protector, but her fate is her own. With a bounty on her head, Leena must decide what she’s willing to sacrifice to protect herself, her dreams, her family, her world. The choice will be deadly either way.


This will be a spoiler free review. Quick shout out to Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is either a 2-star read or a 4-star read. I’m super conflicted about this book. It was long, dense and the ending kind of pissed me off. With that being said, I couldn’t put it down, and there were a couple of instances that shocked me – a couple of reveals I didn’t anticipate.

I honestly don’t know how I feel about this book. I don’t. It was confusing. So much happened in the ~560 pages this novel contained, and half of it I had to continuously reread over and over for it to make sense. Like I said, super dense, and for it not to even be resolved at the end…I feel like I wasted the 12 hours – TWELVE HOURS – it took me to read this.

Now, maybe you’re thinking that 12 hours really isn’t a long time. You’re right, it’s not, but I can tell you that at least a quarter of those were spent rereading scenes to try and figure out what was happening. I also needed a map for this world, because for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out the placement of the various places.

I also had no idea going into this book that it wasn’t a pure high fantasy – that modernish/futuristic tech existed. The world was weird, and maybe it was explained in the book – it was – but I still don’t really understand it.

I liked the characters, all imperfect, some were whinier than others, but all wonderfully human. I think that they were probably my favorite part of the book – at least Leena, Aiden, Suki and Zacharia – I found Mordecai and his crew to just be annoying and wanted to skip past his chapters. Leena, who is the main character, survives so much. From an abusive, toxic home life, to being thrust into a world and a journey she wants no part of, to feeling alone and sad and angry constantly and feeling like she can’t trust anyone. Her character arc isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty damn good and impressive. While she could be annoying at times, I did really enjoy her.

This book also seemed to jump around a lot. And maybe it only felt that way due to the kind of weird – but not unreadable – formatting of the eARC. It just felt like I would be reading one scene, and then suddenly there would be a passage of time(?) and we’d be onto another scene. Also, there were moments when I couldn’t figure out how certain characters were interacting in specific ways, because only moments ago they were like, across the room from each other.

Overall, I felt like I was given so much information and I don’t know if it all was relevant. Clearly, it’s been left open for a second book, but Goodreads has no listing for it, and I don’t know if I’m going to be invested enough to read a second book. Especially if it’s as long and dense as this one was. I do think that all this information was included in this book, in case there isn’t a second one, but for how open ended this one was left…I’m just not sure. I think this book could have done with some more editing, and could have been split into two long books, versus this apparent solitary novel.

  • I think having more time with these characters would have been seriously beneficial – and that could have happened with more than one book.
  • I think that with having two longer books, the world could have been expanded more, and maybe it wouldn’t be as densely packed with tons of information.

So much happened in this book, yet I feel like nothing did. Other than a few shocking moments, nothing really makes me want to tell you to go read this. Actually, even the shocking moments don’t make me want to tell you to go read this. It’s not a bad book, it’s just long, dense and so much. I think the author has promise, and the story they created is really cool. I just wish it had been a little bit of a lighter read, and things had been explained better, over a longer period of time. Because having an entire worlds worth of lore/history/rules shoved at me in ~560 pages, I retained none of it. The Chameleon with a Sword is out now, and if you do read this, let me know what you think.

Writing Update #10

It wasn’t my plan to post this today, but the book I’m currently reading is turning out to be a bit of a dense read and it’s taking me forever to get through it. So, sadly the book review I wanted to post is going to have to go up Thursday instead.

But I thought I’d share a snippet from my SF WIP – I think I mentioned last month that someone besides those who have known me for my whole life, has read it…well, half of it. That’s still surreal and I’m excited. It’s been a bummer that I haven’t really been able to work on it this month due to NaNoWriMo, but the urge is so strong I’m really looking forward to diving back into revisions in December. I might take a week off from writing in general after this past month. I’m not so much feeling burnout, but I do think I need a bit of a break.

While I haven’t really been able to work on my SF WIP due to my NaNo WIP I did manage to work on a small scene for my fantasy WIP (my 2018 NaNo Project). Technically I tacked it onto the end of my current NaNo WIP – word counts and all – but I was inspired, and I know better than to deliberately ignore inspiration when it hits. The only problem is, that I now also want to work on that WIP as well.

All the shiny ideas want written – and I can’t tackle them all at once. It’s a problem. But I guess it’s a goodish problem to have.

Anyways, here’s the first page of my SF WIP. I’ll leave you to speculate. Enjoy! I’m going to go run and hide now, because sharing my work is still insanely nerve wracking.

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Fall Bucket List Book Tag

img_7088Thanksgiving is 3 days away, so it seems like an appropriate time to do this Fall Bucket List Book Tag – seeing as after this week, it’s Christmas time. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. I love Fall, I love the leaves on the ground (as you can tell from my Instagram) but there’s this magic in the air when it shifts over to Winter, and here in Maryland that is happening very quickly! So as a final farewell to Fall – on this blog anyways – we’re closing out the season with this amazing tag created by Read By Tiffany, so thank you Tiffany for the tag and the wonderful graphics! I was tagged by Mari from Musings of a (Book) Girl to do this tag, so I also want to thank her, and you all should go check out her post as well!

The Rules:

  • Link back to the original creator in your post.
  • Feel free to use any of my graphics in your post, or create your own!
  • Tag 7 other people at the end of your post, and let them know you’ve tagged them.

Light a Scented Candle

flawedI’m going to go with the first book that pops into my head, which also happens to be one I’ve read fairly recently – Flawed by Becky Bird. This is a Pride and Prejudice retelling and it was such a fun, cute and quick read that kept me up until 4 AM. It just allows you to turn your brain off and just enjoy!

You can check out my spoiler free review for this book here.

 

Drink Pumpkin Spice Lattes

criers warThis is easy – since pretty much every book that has come out this fall is super hyped. I could say The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black, but since I haven’t read it yet, let’s go with Crier’s War by Nina Varela. This was a solid fantasy read, but for me, it didn’t live up to the hype unfortunately. I’m glad I read it and gave it a chance, and I might be inclined to pick up book 2 when it comes out next year.

You can check out my spoiler free review for this book here.

Go Apple Picking

sisters of shadow and lightOoo this one stumped me, but I know! Sister of Shadows and Light by Sara B. Larson! I kind of love Loukas’ and Zuhra’s budding friendship. He’s the kind of guy that can bring out the right emotions in people, but he does that by pushing all the right buttons. He’s kind of goofy and harmless but clearly loyal. Even though they’ve only just met, I think they’re going to be fast and fantastic friends.

You can check out my spoiler free review for this book here.

Wear a Cozy Sweater

letters to the lost.jpgEasy. Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer. I absolutely love this book and its characters. It’s one of my favorite books to reread and I fall in love with it over and over each time I read it. It’s so wonderful and so amazing and it just makes me happy to revisit the characters and the world.

You can check out my spoiler free review for this book here.

 

Bake cinnamon Rollss

acomaf.jpgHonestly, I have no idea. Like none. I can’t think of a single book that I’ve read where a character cooks/bakes. Have I read any? I have no idea. Is this that phenomenon that plagues readers where all the books they’ve ever read disappears from their minds? Possibly. Legit the only book that comes to mind when I read “A Character Who’s a Talented Chef” is when Feyre offers to make Rhys soup, or whatever in A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas.

So, note to self – I need more books with cooks/bakers in them. Because I don’t think cracking open a can of soup and heating it up counts as being a “talented chef” LOL.

jump into a pile of leaves

MTWCTA book that made me jump for joy? I’m going to interpret that as a book that I received that made me super happy, versus the contents of a book. Let me tell you, when I was able to trade for a UK ARC of More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer, I freaked out. Freaked. Out. I couldn’t believe it was in my hands.

You can read my spoiler free review for this book here.

 


I tag…

Sammy from Lady and Star 

Mo from MorrBooks

Allisa  from Allisa White’s Book Blog 

Sofi from A Book. A Thought.

Jordann from The Book Blog Life 

Scrill from Vicariously & Voraciously 

Christine from Purplemanatees

Please feel free to tag yourself if you want to do the Fall Bucket List Book Tag – it was so much fun and I would love to see your answers!

Book Signing: Holly Black

Last Friday I made the trip up to Philly for the third time to attend a book signing at Neshaminy Mall. Sammy and Emma from the blog Lady and Star accompanied me and we had a blast. The three-hour car ride passed relatively quickly, and we had a little issue with the GPS but managed to make it to the signing with time to spare!

img_7048After a three-hour car ride, where we all had venti coffees – the only downside was the line for the bathroom!

img_7069As I’m sure you’re all aware, this past week, The Queen of Nothing hit shelves – I still haven’t had a chance to read it, but I’m hoping to get to it this week. I fear that if I don’t get to it soon – I’m going to be inadvertently spoiled, and I’d really prefer not to be…as would most people. Holly was in conversation with Brigid Kemmerer, so they both talked about their books and how they created such kick ass female leads – Jude and Harper. They also talked about how they created their worlds. Holly mentioned that when she first started writing The Cruel Prince (you can read my reviews for TCP and TWK if you’re interested, I’ll eventually have one up for QoN) that it wasn’t going to be set in Faerie – that it was just going to be a high fantasy. When she realized that wasn’t working, she switched it, and now we have TCP as we know it.

img_7055The thing I resonated most with at the signing, was when Holly mentioned that she has to write it (the story) wrong, before she writes it right. Similarly, to me, she doesn’t really outline, and therefore the first draft becomes the outline. This is pretty much how I write. I have vague ideas, and work through them as I draft. Is this probably the harder way of doing things – Holly kind of thinks so, and she said she wants to get better at outlining.

Even though I know there are many different ways writers go about writing their stories, it’s really comforting knowing someone as successful as Holly Black, writes just like I do. It sort of fights that imposter syndrome that occasionally hits me.

img_7060I kind of feared that QoN might be spoiled or aspect might be spoiled at the signing, but I’m of the mindset that if I go to singings and I haven’t read the book yet, I can’t be too mad, since I’m aware that’s a possibility.

I really enjoyed the signing and oh my god, I was so happy as to how it was handled! Well, except for one thing – but I’ll get to that in a minute. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I’ve been to the Neshaminy Mall Barnes and Nobles for three separate signings – the first one being the Susan Dennard, Elise Kova and Brigid Kemmerer signing – you can really all about that one here. Long story short, in my opinion that on was handled wrong, and never should have taken that long. The second one was the Brigid Kemmerer and Anna Bright signing back in June – you can read about that one here – and it was so fun! Maybe it was because of the sheer number of people, but for this Holly Black singing (Brigid was also signing) the workers were efficient and limited the time at the table with the authors.

img_7070The one thing that kind of annoyed me was that, nowhere that I saw said that there was going to be a limit on the items that Holly would sign. I’d brought my OwlCrate The Cruel Prince, The Wicked King and The Queen of Nothing to be personalized and resigned on the inner title page (to be honest, I don’t really like tip-in pages, I appreciate them, but I like my books signed on the inner title page). I don’t have any other versions of these books, and yes, I’m aware they’re already signed, so it’s not a huge deal.

img_7050When it was time for the actual signing, we were informed that Holly was only singing & personalizing ONE book, and one of the books that you had to get signed was QoN. Like with every signing at this Barnes and Nobles you were required to buy a copy of the book there to get a wristband to get in the singing line. No biggie. I figured that I’d buy a copy and honestly, return it to my local Barnes and Nobles the next day. But I couldn’t get into the singing line without it. Anyways, it just would have been nice to know beforehand. Someone at my Barnes and Noble is going to get a nice little surprise when they buy the book. I ultimately didn’t get my copies resigned and took them with me for nothing, but it’s okay.

img_7053It was a fun evening; the drive back was long, and we didn’t get in until 12:20 AM. I was wired from the second venti coffee – that’s what happens when you drive 6 hours in the dark with only a little rest in between – it requires a lot of coffee. I kind of like the road trip these signings require, and they are definitely more fun with friends in the car!

Definitely keep your eyes out for my review of The Queen of Nothing – I’m hoping to read it this week, so it should be up next week by the latest! Also, I may have some fun news to drop in the nearish future! It’s something I’m super excited about and if it happens, it’ll be my first time doing something like this and I cannot wait!

NaNoWriMo 2019 Update #3

Wow, the third week is wrapping up, that’s really hard to believe honestly. I don’t think I’m going to be finishing before Thanksgiving like I have for the last few years. Inspiration is still kind of lacking, but somehow, I’m still cranking out words.

How good those words are…I’m not sure? I’m just going with it. It’s a first draft and it’s bound to be not that good.

A quick rundown of where I’m at.

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I’m currently sitting at roughly 35,100 words, so on track. I was kind of on track plot wise until my characters jumped ahead emotion wise and I’m kind of back to where I was in the beginning. My plot is a mess again. But OH WELL. At this point in the game, I’m just going with it.

Which, kind of leads me into a brief overview of my writing process – well, at least my most common process.

Let’s start with the fact that I don’t outline. At least for the majority of projects I don’t create an outline. I tend to get sucked into them and then I just start writing and going into way to much detail. You might think having a detailed outline is great, for me it makes me not want to write the story, because I feel like I’ve already written it.

So, I don’t outline. I don’t really plot either. I usually have an idea of the beginning, a few key scenes and maybe an ending. Then I just let the characters do whatever they want. This often results in a very mess plot, and a lot of reworking/revising/editing. I kind of have to discover the story, chipping away at it before it becomes clear.

It’s probably not the most convenient way to write, and it’s why it’s taken me years to write my SF WIP. I have so many drafts of my various stories. Never does the story just come to me – and I bet it doesn’t just “come” for other writers as well.

As I work on this NaNo WIP, more of the story becomes clearer the more I write. I get to know the characters this way and by the time I write a more complete and comprehensive draft, I know the story is where it’s supposed to be, and who the characters are supposed to be.

I’m just glad I’m currently on track, but as you’re reading this though, I probably won’t have started today’s writing. I’m going to try and get an early start, since I have a book event/signing I’m going to in the evening. I’m heading to Philly again, so another 3-hour drive! It should be fun, and I’m excited. I’m also excited to see how this WIP might end? My characters are constantly surprising me, and I’m thinking of maybe aging them up? I don’t know yet. But I have a couple key scenes I want to write – it’s how I’m kind of tackling this WIP with the lack of inspiration. I’m writing scenes out of order, which is something I rarely do while drafting. Anything to keep the words flowing. This is pretty much the final stretch of NaNoWriMo 2019 and I refuse to wreck my 8, soon to be 9 year streak. That alone is keeping me writing.

On a final note, good luck to everyone still participating and remember to be kind to yourself and be proud that you got your butt in a chair and wrote words! That’s what matters the most!

 

 

Book Review: Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements #3)

Every last breathTitle: Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements #3)

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Pub Date: July 28, 2015 (Republished March 26, 2019)

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5


BOOK THREE IN THE FANTASTICAL DARK ELEMENTS SERIES

EACH BREATH MAY BE THE LAST

Every choice has consequences and Layla Shaw faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness? Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust. What will she do with the new problem at hand? A Lilin, the deadliest of demons, has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on all around her. To keep her best friend from a fate worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city from destruction.

Torn between two worlds, Layla has no certainties, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side and fight like hell.


This will be a spoiler free review.

Honestly, I don’t remember tearing up the first time I read this, but there was definitely a moment this time around that I cried. Not full on break down, but more than one tear leaked out. I’m quite surprised that I cried during this book.

I did find myself forgetting that Layla is like sixteen or something in this series – still in high school. Maybe she’s not sixteen, but she’s young, whereas Roth – I was about to say he’s older, but I’m pretty sure he’s actually like 18.

I mean, I could be completely wrong in their ages – so maybe take my words with a grain of salt. Anyways, my point was supposed to be that they never acted like teenagers. Yes, I get that they’re dealing with the potential end of the world and demons have no/low morals and Roth’s mine perpetually exists in the gutter but damn.

To be honest, the majority of this book takes place in Roth’s bed. The worlds ending, and they’re just getting it on. As Roth would say, “it’s called multitasking.”

Ultimately, I really enjoyed this book and how it wraps up the series. I didn’t realize it back in 2015, but I can see now how it’s been left a little open-ended – Storm & Fury – and I kind of love it. 2015 me, probably would have genuinely freaked out if I’d known there was a potential for more books in this world, with these characters.

It’s funny – just like with Stone Cold Touch and even a little bit with White Hot Kiss, it kind of felt like I was reading these books for the first time. I remembered a few scenes, here and there, but the majority of the book was kind of a surprise. I guess with the amount I read yearly, and the fact that it’s been 4 years since this book’s release and my initial read, its plot got pushed out of my brain. I know we really can’t reread a book for the first time, but if we wait long enough, it’s kind of like we are. LOL

If you haven’t already (what’s wrong with you) you need to read this series and fall in love with sassy, antagonistic Roth, Crown Prince of Hell, and Layla, loyal badass with a hidden secret, and loving, stoic Zayne who can transform into a giant living stone gargoyle and follow their journey to stop the end of the world.