Fangirling Friday: Details, details, details

I recently got my hands on a copy of Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince. While this is a book that I added to my TBR list before there was even a cover, it ended up being a complete cover buy. But not because of the dust jacket. Because of what lay hidden beneath and in between the pages:

Completely stunning. This is one of the best designs I’ve ever seen. It’s so intricate and I love how the black makes the gold shine so brightly. I also really like the pairing of a white dust jacket with the black hardcover.

Books with maps. I probably will have a separate fangirling post about maps in books because I love them so much. I get so excited when I see that there’s a map in a book! It makes the world so much more detailed.

The dandelion seeds are darling. I love how the illustration frames the bottom of the poem.

These reasons. These beautiful, beautiful reasons.

I will be the first to admit that I am very extremely taken in by books with beautiful covers. I really love when you take off the dust jacket and there’s details underneath that are unexpected.

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Wednesdays are for Writing: The Fear

To say that I’ve been unproductive is an understatement.

Where has February gone? I’m looking at the end of February barreling down toward me and I’m realizing that I have gotten almost nothing done. Sure, I’ve read a few books, written a few posts, but my novel has languished on my computer and in my brain. My stellar plan of writing every day went away with complications of work, getting a cold, and fear.

Fear of failure and not being successful. Fear of my book not being interesting enough or being too much of something done before. Fear that it will never get done, so for some reason my brain has decided to…not do it at all?

Confused Jane The Virgin GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

It makes absolutely no sense. I understand that, but that is also exactly the reason why I haven’t gotten back to it after working on it during the first few days of February. If I don’t start it, I can’t fail. It’s a sort of backwards thought process that makes my procrastination okay. But it’s not. I’ve allowed the fear to creep into every aspect of my writing life, choking off any potential creative growth.

I need to shake off the fear and procrastination, but now I’m at that point where I’m afraid to go back to it because I haven’t written in a while. There’s this cycle that my brain gets into that I can’t escape. I haven’t written for a while, so anything I write won’t be good. And anything I write will be cut out anyway, so I should wait until I feel confident to write…and I hardly ever do. With Nanowrimo, I was forced to write every day. There was a community––both online and in person––and a low-key competition that motivated me to write. Even when I didn’t feel confident, I had to write. If I didn’t, I’d fall behind––and catching up on Nanowrimo missed days on top of work is not an easy thing to do.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Relationships in Young Adult Novels

Although the prompt for this week is romance, I wanted to focus on other relationships instead. Relationships often drive the story of young adult novels, whether it’s a contemporary romance or a subplot in a fantasy. There’s nearly always a relationship. Romantic relationships fill readers’ hearts with joy, anger, and hope as they read about their journeys and wonder if they’ll ultimately end up together. But love comes in many forms. To say that friendships are any less important than romantic relationships means that you’re missing out on a lot of vibrant relationships and books.

So for today’s Top Ten Tuesday, I wanted to focus on different types of relationships in young adult novels. So without further ado, the relationship post!

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Best Female Friends

In young adult, there’s a ton of times that women are often super catty toward each other. It’s a common trope, especially in contemporaries set in high schools. Everyone isn’t going to be friends, but I really don’t like when women shame other women. A little bit is realistic, because to pretend it doesn’t happen is naïve, but when it becomes the focus of the novel it’s a little uncomfortable for me. To use the quote from Mean Girls: “You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores.” That quote has really stuck with me. So here’s some novels I’ve loved where friendships between women are displayed.

There’s a little bit of the aforementioned woman on woman hate in this book, but I like how the friendships evolve. This is also a historical fiction fantasy novel, which is one of my favorite combinations.

While I didn’t love this book entirely, I did love the friendship between Hermione and Polly. In Exit, Hermione is date raped. Exit deals with the aftermath of that and Polly is constantly there for Hermione even when she has her own struggles. I loved reading their friendship.

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Best Friend Groups

Sometimes it’s impossible to chose between only one best friend. I love books where friends explore and discover together. Sometimes you love them in ways that are created when you are crushed into the same space, experiencing the same things and bonding over them. Other times you just stumble upon them and a light of connection flares up inside of your chest. I really enjoy the dynamic of a group of friends. Where there used to be one character, suddenly there’s more. These are my favorites.

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[Tash Hearts Tolstoy] Kathryn Ormsbee

Tash hearts Tolstoy. Like, a lot. So much so that she’s created a web series about Anna Karenina called Unhappy Families with her friend Jack. They’ve been filming for awhile and have a few loyal followers, but nothing too big. They’re both happy that they’re getting the experience for future projects and for college–which is looming on the horizon. Toying with the idea of fame is fun, of course, but they know that it will never happen…until it does.  When they’re thrust into the internet limelight, Tash and her friends are suddenly dealing with followers in the tens of thousands. No longer an obscure web series, dealing with their sudden fame is both exhilarating and terrifying. Being famous isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and Tash and Jack need to find a way to deal with both the good and the bad if they’re going to make it through.

Tash Hearts Tolstoy was a cute contemporary read. I loved that it was about producing a web series and what happens when your dreams are realized. Ormsbee did a good job about giving filming details without allowing the book to be bogged down with too many; it allows us to be in the world of web series but not be bored by it. I wish that Unhappy Families existed outside the book! It sounded really interesting. While the focus is on how the web series becomes famous, the book is about so much more.  At its core is a coming of age story. I liked that Tash’s “coming of age” wasn’t about one specific thing. They’re all struggling to find their place in the world and learning how to navigate the messy reality of friendships and family where lines sometimes cross.

Because the book focuses on Tash and Unhappy Families, there’s a lot of focus on her friendship with Jack and her brother, Paul. These are two people who have been in Tash’s life for a long time and who know her in a certain way. I appreciated how Ormsbee explored their friendship and the expectations they’d placed on one another. Friendships change as you get older and as you’re moving to a different part of your life,  and I liked how that was shown against this backdrop of blossoming and distracting fame.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Wait, so you’re *supposed* to finish your TBR list in your lifetime?

Every bookworm can relate to this problem.

The problem where you have a list of books that you know you need to get to, but then––Ooo, look! So pretty!––and on to your TBR list it goes. Mine has grown considerably since joining the book communities on instagram and on goodreads. I’ve added many a book thanks to these book communities. When I lived back in my home country, I’d visit bookstores roughly every two weeks or so in order to check out what was new or popular. Naturally, that included buying some of the books. Now that I don’t have that luxury, my TBR list has continued to grow but I haven’t read as much as I would like.

Today I’m going to talk about only ten–some are in order of when I added them and others are ones that I am really eager to read–but just know there are 878 books on my list. I really need to start chipping away at it.

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Me in real life. 

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 The Mind Thieves by Lori Brighton, added 2014

This is the second book in a series I started years ago. It also happens to be the first book that I added to my goodreads list of books to read! My tastes have changed a lot. I did really like the first book when I read it, but I have to wonder if I’d like the first book as much if I reread it now. It’s probably on my kindle somewhere. Anyway, this is an example of a book that I don’t know if I’ll ever get to. There’s a lot of those on my TBR. It’s a real problem I have, where I read the first book in a series and then promptly forget about it.  This book is a young adult paranormal romance where the main character has mind reading powers.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman, added 2014

This is a contemporary that has first loves, travel, and Shakespeare, which is probably why I added it. I’ve recently started liking contemporaries more (besides anything by Deb Caletti who wrote probably my favorite contemporary, The Nature of Jade), so I may check this one out. It’s also part of a series. I prefer stand-alone contemporaries, but it looks like there’s only two in this one.

The Selection by Kiera Cass, added 2014

I’ve heard conflicting things about this. Despite it being a dystopian YA novel, I’m not sure it’s going to mesh with what I like to read in the genre now. It seems weirdly dated, but I can’t really put my finger on why I feel that way about it. I’ll probably read it one day when I can read all five in one go. The covers are beautiful, which is always a plus.


Being Henry David by Cal Armistead, added 2014

I loved Walden. So when I saw that this book was about a teenager who has no memory of who he is but he does have a copy of Walden, I was intrigued. He decides to travel to Walden Pond and along the way he tries to figure out who he is. I love when books have connections to other books and this one also has a mystery!

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Me when I realized how difficult it is to narrow down my books. 

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Fangirling Friday: Charmed and Reboots

Image found here.

Fun fact: I finished a Fangirling Friday post for today, but then discovered that Charmed, one of my favorite TV shows, is getting a reboot.  So what was a book post turned into a TV post––although there are Charmed graphic novels so technically it’s related to books. That’s what I’m going with at least.

Image found here.

My first thoughts when I read about this reboot was tentative excitement because CHARMED and badass witches fighting evil while also trying to live their lives and establish careers. With every rewatch, I relate to them more and more––minus demons, of course––because figuring out who you are and what you want while you have responsibilities is really stressful and difficult. Prue, Piper, Phoebe, and Paige were women that were so focused on finding strength in themselves and in each other. They didn’t allow anyone to tell them what to do and constantly pushed against backwards expectations. There was a power in them and this female driven show that I hadn’t seen before. The fact that one of my favorite shows is being rebooted is really cool. But at the same time…

One of my favorite shows is being rebooted.

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Wednesdays are for Writing: Draft two of my WIP

Today marks the first day that I’m working on draft two of my work in progress novel!

Me trying to figure out my current emotions. 

It’s both exhilarating and terrifying. It’s going to be a young adult fantasy that I hope will be a duology, because I think it’s a bit too much for only one. While that may change, I’m writing it with that in mind.

There’s a rebellion, a princess, and a fairy tale element. There’s some standards of the genre contained within, but I also think that it’s a little different than fantasy young adult novels I’ve seen in my reading. That’s what I’m planning to do but…

Beginnings are hard.

I wrote and rewrote my first paragraph before it felt mostly right, but even now I’m not sure if it’s perfect. A beginning sets the tone of your book and I want to represent the story I hope to tell in a way that grabs readers, makes them wonder What if? I want them to be intrigued enough to continue, to love it enough tell everyone about it. Thinking that way has put a lot of pressure on myself as a writer. That pressure for perfection, for every word and every image to be in its right place has put a bit of a block on the words.

Reminder: Not everything has to be perfect in the second draft. In the third. The fourth. Eventually it will all fall into place.

I love this story so much and I’m so excited to see where it takes me. Because although I’ve rewritten an outline for it, I’m sure that my characters will decide that they want to take some detours. I’m going to shoot for 500 words a day minimum, but will keep writing until the words stop for the day. While my Wednesdays are for Writing segment was created for my work in progress, I may write about other writing things instead. If I do that, I’ll still update on my WIP!

If anyone else is currently on a writing journey, let’s cheer each other on!