Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine!

Maid of Secrets 
by Jennifer McGowan
Orphan Meg Fellowes makes her living picking pockets—until she steals from the wrong nobleman. Instead of rotting in prison like she expected, she’s whisked away to the court of Queen Elizabeth and pressed into royal service, where she joins four other remarkable girls in the Maids of Honor, the Queen’s secret society of protectors.

Meg’s natural abilities as a spy prove useful in this time of unrest. The Spanish Court is visiting, and with them come devious plots and hidden political motives. As threats to the kingdom begin to mount, Meg can’t deny her growing attraction to one of the dashing Spanish courtiers. But it’s hard to trust her heart in a place where royal formalities and masked balls hide the truth: Not everyone is who they appear to be. With danger lurking around every corner, can she stay alive—and protect the crown?

This book literally has every element that I love. Historical fiction with romance and spys and wonderful things!

What are you waiting on?

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Weekly Write [1]

Anyone else have multiple partially finished manuscripts just sitting there? You see them in your documents and they taunt you. You think, "I'll finish that soon" or "I will edit that later, just as soon as I find the time..."

In my experience, the time never finds you. It never presents itself, you have to go out and take it.

This is my way of going out and taking it.

I don't know if anyone is interested in doing this with me, but I am making a pledge, a pact, a promise or whatever you want to call it, to have something new written and revised every Monday.

I will be keeping up with my weekly updates here.

If you want to write, or have a project that needs working on let me know and I may consider making this a meme, but for now at least I will be doing it.

I would love to know what you guys think!

Week One: 

Last night I realized that I had a 110 paged draft, and a 56 page draft - both for two entirely different stories. Of course I knew I had them, but it wasn't something I actively think about.

Both of these stories I started enthusiastically. I was pumped and excited and I thought to myself, "Yes, I have finally found the one!" 

I have a curse - I get excited. An idea pops into my head and before I know it, I am ten pages in with nowhere to go.

It's moments like this that I realize I don't have the whole "writing process" thing down. I get lost somewhere in the middle and I take time to figure it out instead of just carrying on. That is probably the biggest thing I need to change.

It's just, my entire life I have wanted to write. In my head writing real books with real pages (Gatsby reference anyone?) is the ultimate dream. 

You hear all of this advice on writing and for me, I think while some of it is inspiring, some of it leaves me utterly confused. I'm always waiting for the right idea. I get what I think might be the right idea, just to get lost somewhere in between. It's a struggle, and it's real.

Both of these stories I started years ago, therefore I think editing needs to be done just to get me back where I need to be. My goal is to finish editing, and write enough to get me really going again this next week. 

Novel 1 Stats: (Contemporary)
32,341 words - Goal for next week - 40,000
110 pages
3 pages edited

Novel 2 Stats: (Fantasy)
19,976 words - Goal for next week - 30,000
56 pages
0 pages edited

I'm on summer break. It has to happen... right?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

In My Mailbox/Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews!

I am so used to doing this post on Sundays, and it appears that the rest of the blog world has grown accustomed to doing them on Saturday... taking a break from blogging makes for a struggle.

Anyway, the above books are the titles that I got in physical form this past week. They were all discounted so I think the most expensive one was Scarlett for... $7? Wonderful, wonderful deal.

From the Library: (Audiobooks)

The review for The Giver has already been posted. It can be found here.

What did you get this week?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Giver by Lois Lowry [Review]

Title: The Giver 
Author: Lois Lowry
Series? Yes, The Giver Quartet
Source: Library
Format: Audiobook
Goodreads: here

Jonas' world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

I have been wanting to read this book for years. I remember being a middle schooler, seeing this book on the shelf and almost reaching for it - every single time. Whatever stopped me I can not say, it probably had something to do with the stacks and stacks of horse books that littered my floor, but this book was always on my "Someday I will read this list."

That day was Wednesday. 

While I have heard it called the father book of dystopian, I did not think that it was all powerful. Is it the best depiction of a dystopian society I have ever read? No, but that doesn't seem to be the charm with this title.

The book was simple, but I don't mean that negatively in any way. The book represented life in their society which was a very simple one. Everyone knows their place, everyone knows where they belong... and on some level, isn't that what each of us want?

On the outside they are happy, and they are living in a type of utopia... but there are always secrets and things unseen.

I really enjoyed how Lowry expressed family life in this society, I felt that ultimately it was a tale about family and discovery - enlightenment even. Jonas has an awakening of sorts, and for good reason. The character of Jonas was clear, his need for discovery and understanding drew me into this world and this society with each turning page. 

The character of The Giver was one I wasn't expecting to enjoy, but the relationship between he and Jonas felt realistic, and the slow reveal of the "truth" kept me waiting eagerly to discover what was going to happen next.

If you're a fan of dystopian, or want to read a true children's classic, this is for you.

Don't wait as long as I did to discover The Giver.

** I'm reviewing the audio version of this book, and I felt it was fantastic. The voice and expressions heard felt realistic and not forced. It was incredibly easy to follow and was the perfect thing to listen to while studying for finals.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I'd Like in My Fictional Family

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

1. Jo March: Role-  Big sister

I'm still upset at her for not swiping up Laurie when she had the chance. Jo is a wonderful literary character that I have spent my entire life looking up to her. She is fearless, she goes against the crowd, she's not ashamed of who she is, and she had the courage to completely leave home to try to accomplish her dreams. Not many people can say that, especially a woman in the 1860's. 

2. Anne Shirley: Role - Little sister
She's so pure of heart that I just want to protect her, but she's so stubborn she won't let me. I talk her feelings out with her involving Gilbert and tell her she's stupid for not accepting him sooner, but since she's Anne of course, she has to figure it out in her own time. Anne is another person who you think is absolutely fearless, but in a different way. The way she views the world gives her courage and the life she has lived makes her grounded... with the best imagination I have ever seen.

3. Molly and Arthur Weasley: Role - Parents

They made it through seven kids and two wars. I want parents who are this bad a**. They're fantastic and throughout it all, you know that they just just really want to protect their kids.

4.Holly Golightly: Role - Crazy Aunt
Just look at that picture. Her couch is a bathtub. This is only one of the many reasons why I love Holly Golightly, but I think she would be my crazy Aunt that my parents always are concerned about. I would find her life fascinating and marvelous, and they would lock me in my room or something. The Truman Capote Holly is just a bit different than our movie heiress, but the main points are accurate. She's just looking for love while refusing to belong to anyone... and she wants money.

5. Sherlock and Watson: Role - Uncles

Now, I don't ship the Sherlock and Watson relationship, but you can take this however you want. I do think that you can't have one without the other, so they are my uncles. They can be married, I don't judge, or just brothers who have to coexist, however you see them, they are wonderful and amazing and constantly trying to get Holly in check.

That just about rounds out my fictional family! Who do you have in your family tree?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson [Cover Reveal!]

Revealed today was the cover of FireFight, the sequel of Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson! 

While it isn't being released from Random House until January of next year, for those in love with Steelheart, it can't come soon enough! 

Check it out here.

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Words of Radiance, coauthor of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, and creator of the internationally bestselling Mistborn Trilogy, Brandon Sanderson presents the second book in the Reckoners series: Firefight, the sequel to the #1 bestseller Steelheart.
    They told David it was impossible—that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart—invincible, immortal, unconquerable—is dead. And he died by David’s hand.
   Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And there’s no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs.
   Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David’s willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David’s heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic—Firefight. And he’s willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

That's the latest in kid lit! Anything else exciting happen today in the world of Kid/YA lit?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

In My Mailbox/ Stacking the Shelves...

 Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

This week I received this beauty in physical copy. I love, love Jennifer Echols. She is one of my favorite authors ever and how beautiful is it that this book happens to take place in my home state?!

Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…

On Ebook...

I don't normally do eBooks. It's just not my thing, but right now HarperTeen has a fantastic sale going on for various titles. Go check it out

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Belle in the Big Apple: A Novel With Recipes by Brooke Parkhurst [Review]

 Release Date: September 16, 2008
Publisher: Scribner/Simon and Schuster
Source: Bought
ISBN 0743296966

When Belle Lee, a vivacious, tart-tongued daughter of Mobile, Alabama, decides that the only way she'll ever make a name for herself as a journalist is to leave the family paper and head to New York,she soon realizes just how daunting life in the big city can be. An outsider desperate to carve a place for herself in the cutthroat world of New York journalism, Belle marches all over town in her kitten heels and her single Chloe suit to hand-deliver resumes and smiles, and to beg for a job from the indifferent or downright hostile office drones.She refuses to give up. With heroic persistence,a wicked sense of humor and a taste for the gourmet, Belle sees what it takes to become a New Yorker. She flirts with a gorgeous young man on the subway, only to learn later that he's stolen her purse; braves the judgmental stares of her neighbors; goes on a series of hilariously disastrous dates and then, finally, she catches her big break: a job as a production assistant at a conservative twenty-four-hour news network.

Belle throws herself into her work, sure that her talents will be noticed. All the while, she suffers the sexually suggestive commentary of one of the station's better-known male anchors, doggedly fetches scripts and pulls footage in the wee hours of the morning while working the midnight shift. Belle even maintains her Southern charm, baking cakes for her coworkers and befriending the office security guard.

Things start to look up when Paige Beaumont, the channel's star female news anchor, takes Belle under her wing. Paige shows Belle the ropes, dispenses career advice, includes her in the office gossip and also sets her up on dates at restaurants where, before, Belle had only dreamed of one day being inside. But when Belle uncovers the truth behind an illegal network deal that may jeopardize the election of female presidential candidate Jessica Clayton, she realizes that intelligent and ambitious women need to stick together -- and she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands.

With thirty recipes for everything from Bribe-Your-Coworkers Pound Cake to Single-Girl Sustenance and how to make the perfect Manhattan -- all told in the delightful and plucky voice of a determined and saucy young woman -- Belle in the Big Apple is about finding love in the most unlikely places, following your dreams and staying true to yourself.
I wanted to like this book . I really wanted to like this book. I picked it up on a whim because it was discounted at Books A Million and I just ran with it. I liked the premise, I myself am doing an internship at a news channel next semester, I've been really into coming of age story involving New York City recently, and I am an English major. The stars were in my favor to like this book. 

Now, lets talk about what happened. 

From page one it was clear that Belle was a person of privilege, heck in the description it tells you this, so no surprise there, but what I was not expecting was for Belle to be so freaking codependent. If you're moving to New York City but your grandfather is paying your rent - you're not really moving to New York City. There are situations where this can be appropriate, where it's just a few months  or it's until you get on your feet, but the entire point of Belle moving was to get away from her family... but she never does. 

She moves up to NYC with a truckload of her family's antiques and an apartment that her grandfather found for her, and her break is even given to her because of her grandfather. It's not realistic, and making it seem like it is that easy for everyone makes people hate you. 

Life is a struggle, and a story about a "struggle" that doesn't really seem like much of a struggle just is annoying. Moving to NYC is huge, it's a dream, and for most it includes being miserably poor for months or years, it's not as simple as telling your grandfather you're going to go and be a rich girl there instead. While this did not destroy my opinion of the book, it just got on my nerves. She spoke about things being hard and then on the next page called her grandfather who set up a meeting for her. Maybe there just wasn't enough characterization for me to feel for her, which I think is the heart of the problem.

Now, for the redeeming qualities...

The recipes were interesting, though I think there were only one or two I would make myself.  I'm from Tennessee, so I also found the references to the south interesting as well, though... it's not all Spanish moss and honey suckles... 

The south is always painted in a very interesting picture in novels, we're either Southern hicks or the home of hospitality and hoop skirts, and I felt the later in this novel. Yes, the South is wonderful, but we're not that cut away from the modern world as I feel was demonstrated in this novel. 

We have large cities, we have technology, and we also have some mountains and fields and family traditions, but we're not backward. That was kind of a strange thing for me, some aspects of her descriptions I liked and appreciated, while others I felt were not accurate at all. 


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Book Like Things

I'm a huge fan of literary things, all of them so this post I found to be very intriguing. Here are a few of my favorite bookish things! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and Bookish!

I am in love with this necklace and anything Tolkien-ish. I love everything Lord of the Rings and this necklace is pretty much perfect. You can find this beauty here.

Another necklace by Bookish Charm because I'm in love with her designs is this beauty from Pride and Prejudice. Don't we all want a little bit of Darcy? You can find it here.

I don't have a macbook... but if I did I would NEED this. I love Peter Pan and I know that technically most of the things are Disney inspired it is okay. I know how marvelous the text is and that is all that matters. You can find this here.


I find this neat. These are just stamped out bits of pages that you can do whatever you want with practically, and while I myself could never destroy Gone with the Wind because of my obsession, I could see these coming in handy for someone like myself who is obsessed with Mr. Rhett Butler. You can find this here.

While there are so many other things all over the internet that I would love to have, I will stop at just these four in fear that I may actually have to purchase the lot! We all know my wallet could not afford that...

What are some bookish things you guys love?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

In My Mailbox!

Well, I think...

With Kristi from The Story Siren announcing that she's leaving the blog world, I don't know what to call this anymore.

I know there is a Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews, but am I a Stacking the Shelves person? What happened to In My Mailbox during my break from blogging?

While I try to accept this change in my world, here is what I got In My Mailbox! Or... for my shelf! Or... whatever I'm going to call it!

This week I got a beautiful surprise package from HarperTeen!
Inside there was...

  • Royally Lost by Angie Stanton (review on this one this week, halfway through and in lurve with Nicolai!) 
All of these books look amazing and I'm super excited to tell all of you about my love for Royally Lost! Prince and Me fans are going to be happy...

What did you get in your mailbox? Or shelf... whatever. 

Now I'm on... Bloglovin!

So, I just found the wonderful world of Bloglovin.

While I get lost into the world of ALL OF THESE NEW BLOGS to follow, if anyone has any suggestions, I am more than willing to check them out!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

So, I'm off to discover things!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Most Unique Books You Have Ever Read

This is my first time doing a Top Ten Tuesday. I have seen them, and I know this is late but this is a topic that I wanted to be a part of.  It is hosted over at The Broke and Bookish!

What makes a book unique? It can be said that it is the plot, or the pacing, or the character development. Personally, just because a book is set on an imaginary planet and is told from the perspective of a foot stool, doesn't make it unique (the foot stool can have real and essential human emotions, okay?) If the foot stool falls for its long lost love, the kitchen cupboard, all we have now is two very unlikely characters playing out a very well known story in space. I'm having flash back to Jimmy Neutron...

Anyhow, so when thinking of my top ten most unique books, I was able to have some fun.

1.)This is All - The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn

Have you ever read this book? Probably not, but if you have, you know exactly what I'm talking about. On the outside it doesn't seem like it would be unique, but this is one huge book and when I was fifteen, it was pretty much the greatest thing I had ever had the pleasure of reading.

It's the story of Cordelia's life from the age of fifteen and on, it is heartbreaking, original and told through her own "pillow books" so you feel as if a part of you is her. Through one part of the novel I distinctly remember having to read only the front side for two hundred pages and then only the back side for the next two hundred, because that was how Cordelia's pillow book was. Wild and crazy, and out of place, but this book, as far as teenagers go, is as unique as it gets.

2.) American Gods

I know not everyone has a crazy obsession with Neil Gaiman like I do, but this book really cemented in my head how spectacular of a story teller he really is. I often times have called him an alien because he excells at children's books, graphic novels, and adult stories all of which are fantastic. He has so many different elements that he works with, it drives me crazy.

American Gods is unique because it was the first book that I'd ever read that literally took everything you knew about something, put it in a bowl and started to blend.

It took so many things from so many places and then tipped them all upside down until I was halfway through thinking to myself, "What... is this really... happening?"

In one word, fantastic.

3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone

This book is unique for me because it was the first book that made me love something, and it was the first book that I fell so in love with that I would rally behind it.

I grew up in the South and when Harry Potter was released there was a lot of controversy because it dealt with witchcraft, and people down here are afraid of everything.

So here I was, an eight year old reader clutching her Harry Potter and hearing numerous people tell me how wrong it was. This was the first time I ever knew anything about censorship and for Harry Potter, I stood against it.

4.) Breakfast at Tiffanys

Not the movie, the book. Though both are two of my favorites, the book is unique because it is such an unhappy story - but it is also not. Holly Golightly is an incredibly unique character. There is no one else like her on the planet and Truman Capote did a fantastic job of displaying that.

She's unique, she's messed up and everyone knows it. She lives her life however she feels like it knowing that she's probably just messing up all the way.

She's a character that is unforgiving. She loves you and she doesn't, she's intelligent and she's dumb, and she does all of these things together, simultaneously, so that at the end of the book you don't know what just happened for sure.

5.) Wuthering Heights

No book is as depressing as this one, but I mean that in the best way possible. I love this book, really and truly love it. I love how the worlds are so intertwined and how the choices of one person really changes the outcome of the next generations and so on. Maybe that isn't unique to most people, but to me this book has power. It's more than just your regular classic, it has feeling and depth and it is a gothic romance almost in reverse. It is incredible, it is spooky, and it is filled with so much character depth that I could spend hours discussing how much of a jerk Cathy is (but how she's really just misunderstood) read it if you haven't.

Everyone needs to.

I'm alas only doing four, but be sure to leave me with your books that you find unique!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Reasons Why Moving Sucks, the Writing Life and why college will steal your love.

I just moved, for the third time this semester.

This is not an exaggeration, and unfortunately moving has been my life these past four months, but the moving is over.

The only good thing about moving, and I mean the ONLY good thing about moving is it gives you the chance to sort through everything you have acquired over the years.

And I have acquired a lot...

I now know that I have acquired thirteen boxes of books, seven boxes of movies, and more second hand furniture than I ever thought possible, but I'm done. I have moved my last move for hopefully years and with this move I have had time to think and reflect.

I work in the food industry because I am a struggling college student, it's part of our thing, and because of this I feel I gave up on some things that I loved.

It is easy to be caught up and overwhelmed, especially when you're struggling to reach a goal. I am in my fourth year of college and for a while text books were all that I read.

I am an English major who loves the written word more than anything... but I spent years forgetting that. This happened oddly enough because I was working toward an actual degree in my field.

This post isn't important. I just want to remind everyone that even though you may have tons and tons to do, don't forget what is important. Do your school work, make good grades, but make sure you still have time to be you.

Make sure you don't forget why you're doing it.

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