Literary Musings

Ten Things About Me

I’m kind of blanking on blog post ideas right now. I haven’t read any books that I feel particularly compelled to review lately and I’m in the middle of about four fanfictions but don’t feel ready to post any previews so we’re going to get a little personal instead. Feel free to ignore this post if you’re primarily reading for my bookish opinions or writerly experiences but if you’d like to get to know some personal, possibly even embarrassing things about me (that may or may not be book/writing related) then read ahead.

  1. I have no less than five copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. My original paperback which has been read so many times that it is literally falling apart but I refuse to toss out, the hardcover I got to replace it, the illustrated edition, the special Ravenclaw edition, and the Kindle version of all of the Harry Potter books which I got when I decided to reread the series and discovered that it’s hard to reread a giant book when you’re puppy wants to lay on your lap. (In that case, Kindles are a little easier to manage.)
  2. I’m an English major and I love reading and writing but grammar eludes me. Diagramming a sentence with the parts of speech? Nope, can’t do it. Mad Libs are hard for me because I have to look up what the difference is between an adjective and an adverb every time.
  3. The movie that always makes me cry? Armageddon. I also have a tendency to cry during movies when they reach that point where all hope is lost and someone rides in to save the day like when Gandalf suddenly appears on the horizon with reinforcements.
  4. I have eleven piercings. One is a bellybutton ring, all of the others are in my ears.
  5. I have nine tattoos. Four of them are related to books and writing.
  6. I have OCD. I was diagnosed when I was younger and was even medicated for it for awhile though sometimes I think I probably should be put back on the medication again. I’ll be fine for awhile and then something sets me off (now it’s usually related to the dog) and I get physically sick to my stomach until whatever is dirty is cleaned or whatever the issue is.
  7. I love buying shoes and I try to wear cute ones all the time (I’m known for wearing heels at ridiculous times) but I’d generally rather just be barefoot.
  8. My favorite type of fancier restaurant is Italian but if I want fast food I usually crave Taco Bell. I also love Pizza Hut breadsticks…not the ones with special cheese, just the regular ones.
  9. My pizza toppings of choice: cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, and green olives but I’ll settle for black olives if I have to.
  10. My favorite color is purple but turquoise is a close second. Though my wardrobe really doesn’t reflect that. I mostly wear black, gray, and various shades of blue. *Shrug*
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To Read or Not to Read?

Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson

I’ve read a lot of the “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi” associated novels in the last year or so, most of which solidly fell into the Young Adult section of the library. Now I generally love the YA section and think the books I find there can often be deemed of better quality than in the adult section but the recent Star Wars ones? Not so great quality. They just took old characters I loved and turned them into flighty teens or created new characters that I just didn’t care for. I thought maybe this would be different since it’s an adult book about a character that we don’t really know much about, Captain Phasma.

Now Phasma wasn’t horrible. I’d give it a solid 3 out of 5 stars. But there were some issues, partially in the writing itself and partially in the story.

Phasma starts out with Vi, a member of the Resistance, getting pulled onto the First Order’s Battlecruiser where she is met by a stormtrooper in red armor. This stormtrooper is Cardinal who ends up being very interested in the fact that Vi’s ship shows that she’s recently been to Parnassos, the home planet to none other than Captain Phasma. Now Cardinal, who kind of resents Phasma because she’s taking over more and more of his responsibilities, wants to know what Vi knows about the mysterious woman in the chrome armor.

So we start going back and forth between Cardinal’s interrogation of Vi and Vi telling secondhand stories of Phasma’s life on the planet. And that’s where it gets a little messy. Vi is telling Cardinal a story that she heard from someone else and instead of the scenes in the past being directly from the original storytellers point of view, Vi kind of inserts herself into the story too by adding little, unnecessary comments. I think the stories would have been stronger if Vi hadn’t done that.

Also, while the scenes from the past started out interestingly enough the journey just kind of seemed like it was dragging on and on.

All in all I thought none of the revelations about Phasma were all that surprising in the scheme of things. She fought and killed a bunch of people and betrayed a lot of them! No one else in the Empire or the First Order have ever done that! (Gasp!)

So a 3.5 because I didn’t spent the whole time thinking people were written out of character like I have in other “Journey to…” books but it lost some points for being awkward and stilted and the fact that I just didn’t really end up caring too much.

To Read or Not to Read?

Unqualified by Anna Faris

I don’t know why I keep buying celebrity memoirs/autobiographies instead of just borrowing them from the library because I never seem to really like them all that much. I mean, there were some very interesting tidbits and heartwarming stories but a lot of time it’s like celebrities are like “hey look, I have awkward life experiences just like you!” but then they also go on to mention a day in their life which is nothing like what I’ve experienced.

It was also a little awkward because it’s very much a book about Anna Faris’s relationships and advice and there are lots of mentions of Chris Pratt who was her husband while she wrote most of the book. Quite a few of the passages were about them still being together but then she’d throw in a sentence or two there that were clearly added after the split so it kind of made me a little uncomfortable. I mean, I understand that life happens but it was kind of weird to read.

Also, I think I would have liked it a lot more if I’d have listened to her podcast that is more or less on the same subjects as the book because she referenced it a lot and a lot of the sections were kind of re-enactments of segments she said she’d done on the podcast, only with her as the one being interviewed instead of doing the interviewing.

But I will say it was one of the better written celebrity memoirs I’ve read so that’s something.

To Read or Not to Read?

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Note: I received a free ARC of To Kill a Kingdom from NetGalley a very long time ago and finally got around to reading it.

I was drawn to this novel for multiple reasons. First of all, I requested it from NetGalley not too long after having read another interesting YA book about sirens so I was kind of on a siren themed roll. Plus, the description sounded interesting. A siren Princess named Lira, the killer of many princes, gets turned into a human and is told to make sure she kills Prince Elian, one of the few humans known to have killed multiple sirens? Sign me up! And, third of all, it was being marketed as a standalone! It’s not too often that I come across fantasy standalones! (Because sometimes I just get so annoyed when I come across the first book in a who knows how long it will be series that sounds interesting because it could take years for it to come to its conclusion.)

Now I was a little worried because I had a feeling that, of course, this book was going to turn into a romance and I expected it to feel forced or the insta-love type of deal. That’s not exactly the case. Lira and Elian are surprisingly deep and their relationship has a very natural progression as the book goes on. I also like how they were both very gray characters. Lira does kill princes and she seems to enjoy it when she’s doing it but she spends a lot of time wondering what life would be like if her mother wasn’t commanding the sirens to take hearts. Elian feels obligated to rid the world of sirens and yet he doesn’t exactly enjoy it. It makes them very interesting and well rounded characters.

I also liked most of the side characters as well which is always a plus.

The main issue I have is that most of the booked was slower paced (but not in a bad way…in a way that was perfect for character growth and development) but then the end was maybe just a little bit rushed.

But overall I really, really liked To Kill a Kingdom.

Literary Musings

Camp NaNoWriMo: April 2018, Post 2

We’re a third of the way through this April’s Camp NaNoWriMo session and I am certainly nowhere near the word count that I have assigned for myself for the month. (20,000 words in case anyone is interested.)

It has, however, gotten very interesting.

As I said in my previous Camp NaNo related blog post, I use the open ended format to basically just increase my overall writing stats instead of just focusing on a particular novel though I did decide to start writing a creepy, thriller style Young Adult novel this month. I created an outline and I even hand wrote about eight hundred or so odd words.

And then I came up with an idea for yet another novel, this time a superhero inspired one. That one now has an outline that is longer than the outline and the words I’ve written for the thriller I started just last week. Oh, and I also decided it was a good time to be inspired to write another fanfiction.

So what does this mean? That I’ve got bits and pieces of so many things started that I’m probably either going to A.) totally meet my word count goal and maybe even exceed it or B.) have so much going on that I lose interest in it all. Right now I honestly don’t know which option is more likely but given that I’ve been blanking on writing inspiration lately I’ll take the overabundance of ideas. At least for now. Unless it drives me crazy.

To Read or Not to Read?

People Like Us by Dana Mele

Note: I received a free copy of People Like Us by Dana Mele from NetGalley a very long time ago and then forgot that they’d sent me a free copy until I checked it out from the library. At that point I decided to bring it up on my Kindle as well and I realized that it’s a good thing I hadn’t intended on reading the NetGalley version because it was formatted horribly and was basically unreadable. (Though I’m sure they would have happily replaced it if I had noticed it before and requested a new copy.)

So People Like Us is set in a boarding school where, in the first chapter, a bunch of mean girls, one of which is the protagonist Kay Donovan, find the dead body of a classmate floating in the school lake. Not too long after the discovery of the body Kay finds an email, from the dead girl, leading her on a computer-coded scavenger hunt, targeting a handful of girls that treated the dead girl like crap and may have had a part in her death. These girls are Kay’s friends and she starts to worry because it seems like she’s more connected to the dead girl than she thought, connected enough that she looks very, very suspicious.

People Like Us was a fun romp of mean girl cattiness and twists and turns. There’s friendships that turn into more, there’s jealousy, and bitchiness and self discovery. No character was really black or white, they all had reasons and excuses and history that made what they’d done understandable though not right.

And it was also a book where I wasn’t entirely sure how reliable the narrator was considering the things she hid from herself and how and when her secrets were revealed. (Unreliable narrators can just be so fun!)

All in all it was a little cheesy but I actually liked it.

Literary Musings

Camp NaNoWriMo: April 2018, Post 1

It’s that time of year again when it’s Spring but you live in Ohio so you’re still getting freezing temperatures and snow. Oh, except for the days when it’s actually warm enough to wear flats with no socks and a light jacket and not freeze to death.

And it’s also time for Camp NaNoWriMo which, if you’ve read any of my previous posts, stands for National Novel Writing Month. Only with camp, the rules are less strict. So, instead of needing to write at least 50,000 words of a single novel like you’re supposed to do during the official NaNoWriMo sessions in November, you get to pretty much count any type of writing and even choose your own personalized word count goal.

So my original goal was to just make sure I write a lot more because I haven’t completed the last couple of novels I’ve started, I haven’t been keeping up to date with this blog as much as I’d like, and I haven’t finished and posted a fanfiction in a very, very long time.

But then on my way to work yesterday morning I got it into my head that I wanted to try to start another novel. And so, during my dinner break, where I sat at a local coffee shop and ate a delicious grilled cheese sandwich while sipping a chai tea latte, I created a list of characters and a few plot points for yet another novel. It’s probably a bad idea considering the fact that my last three or four (maybe even five or six…I lost count) novel ideas have lasted me a good 15,000 words (maybe) before they fizzled out. However, inspiration has struck and I’m going to run with it.

Besides, I’ll eventually get back to those abandoned writing projects and turn them into something awesome.

Right, guys?