ABC Challenge (C)

Time for another trip through my bookshelf. I found a number of titles that stood out with a C. I also realized there is a handful of books I can put in a giveaway pile when I move.

I saw this challenge over on A Book. A Thought

I saw this challenge over on A Book. A Thought

Memorable Titles that started with C:

A Conjuring of Light – V.E. Schwab – This was a great end to this series. I felt like it wrapped things up well. It also brought new light to certain characters. I am excited for this universe to continue

Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell – I remember this book was super interesting but also hard to figure out how it all came together. I like the ethereal feeling it gave me.

Clockwork Princess – Cassandra Clare – This was probably the best of the Mortal Instrument series. I enjoyed it and I like how the “love triangle” made sense and actually worked.

Cinder – Marissa Meyer – This was a great start to a fun series

Circe – Madeline Miller – This gave a whole new perspective to a myth I barely knew before. I am excited to read Song of Achilles soon.

Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo – Another great end to a exciting series. 

Books starting with C on my TBR Shelf:

Discover the Destroyer – K.A. Applegate – Mini-Review

We jumped back into David’s perspective again in this installment in the Everworld series. While we were in the other’s POV’s I was having issues with David. I was falling into this way of seeing him as love struck and wannabe hero. I was having trouble remembering who he truly was.

This book reminded me who this character actually is. David is a kid who is desperate to get back control of his life. He has not felt like he is strong or worthy since his childhood. What happened to him as a child has broken him and he is starting to see the real damage done at that camp.

I find it really interesting how this storyline is being handled. While nothing is blatantly stated or shown you get a good idea of what happened to David. It’s even more interesting because as a teenager I never caught on to what happened. Or if I did it didn’t stay with me. 

Now this storyline I can see and I can understand the true impact it is having on David as a full character. He is very self aware. He is trying hard to not show the rest of his friends what happened to him. He can’t watch as his worst fears about himself are being proved true. We hear how he knows he is weak around Senna but not willing to walk away from her. This push and pull makes their relationship more than just a normal crush relationship.

I remembered this part of the main plot well too. This is the point where our group starts having a lasting impact on the world around them. They are introducing aspects of the real world to this new world. I did have a little trouble believing they could do all the work they needed to do in such a short amount of time. But Jalil is smart so I am letting that slide.

I know the next book is one that I struggled with when I first read the series. I remember it being about fighting and tactic heavy and less about the characters. I am interested to see how I feel about it now. 


NaNoWriMo Wrap Up

So November was National Novel Writing Month and I knew that it was going to be a tough one. I debated not taking part at all but I also knew I had to give it a shot. 

I enjoy NaNoWriMo because of the challenge is provides. I like the idea of trying to get to this final goal along with so many other people. I also really like watching my number climb higher and closer to my goal. I have since found that it is something I can do on Scrivener which is nice to know.

I also knew though that this NaNo was not going to be super successful for me. I think one of the main things I found out throughout November was that I don’t have to write 1,000 words every day to make progress on a project. I can write 100 or 500 and still be moving forward with a story. You don’t have to be writing day in and day out to be a writer and you don’t have to force something just to get words on a page. (At least for me as a writer with a  full time job).

I also learned how to manage my time better over this challenge. I can come home from work and get some words down before dinner. It will be even better when I move this month and have an actual room for my office. I am very excited to have a space dedicated to my writing and my writing only. 

In the end I only ended writing 17,859 words. I didn’t even crack the 25,000 goal I had set for myself, but I did find passion and drive for this story. I am excited for it. I am intrigued where it can go. I wrote it in pieces and at this point I am just going to continue to let it tell itself and then take those pieces and see what I can make of it. 

I don’t know when the novel will be done or where it will go but the NaNoWriMo gave me a push and ultimately that is all I needed. 

How did your NaNo month go?

November Wrap-Up

November was a super busy month for me. It was my birthday month and I turned 30! We had one of our biggest events at work, a Poetry SLAM for 350 of our kids. I also began finalizing all the paperwork for my house. And then it was Thanksgiving and NaNoWriMo.  Needless to say life was busy and thus I did not have much time to read or write blog posts.

I read 3 books this month, though technically I read 2 and finished 1. I am at 50 books for the year, which is 10 books over my goal which is great. I am hoping to get at least 3 more books read before the end of the year!

I also only was able to get 5 blog posts out this month. Now December is going to be pretty busy as well, with actually moving and getting what I need for the house so I wouldn’t expect my post schedule to go back to its normal rate until January. 

As for NaNoWriMo, I only got abbot 14,000 words written. Though I do love what I wrote. I am eager to continue with the story. I will go into more detail about NaNo in a future post.

Books I read:
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy – Mackenzie Lee – This was a fun sequel to the last book. While the plot itself isn’t super exciting the characters are great. I would love more from this world.

Lethal White – Robert Galbraith – I really enjoyed the development of Strike and Robin’s characters in this book. The mystery was hard to follow at times but still enjoyable.

Discover the Destroyer – K.A. Applegate – This re-read is still going well. I am starting to see the true nature of David’s character. 

Blog Posts:
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy – K.A. Applegate- Review
Down the TBR Hole #11
NaNoWriMo Update 
The Crimes of Grindelwald (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them #2) – Movie Review
Lethal White – Robert Galbraith – Review

Movies Watched:

Crimes of Gindelwald – I enjoyed this movie but I do see the issues with it. I liked all the backstory because I am a Harry Potter nerd. I do think though it isn’t a movie that those who don’t know much about Harry Potter. I am eager to see the other movies though and see how this whole story progresses.

Princess Switch  – I saw this on Netflix and I will say it was pretty cliche. It wasn’t anything super exciting or different. It was alright but not one I will rewatch anytime soon. 

How was your month? Which books did you read? Did you see any good movies? What are your favorite holiday movies?

 

Lethal White – Robert Galbraith – Review


Robin walks down the aisle and marries Matthew, but no one could call it a happy marriage. Strike is riding high after his last case that put him in the spotlight and finally gave him the chance to create a successful business. Though he isn’t exactly happy with his own personal life.

Billy, a mentally ill man, walks in and throws the pair of them into a mystery that wraps up an entire family. Affairs, unwanted children, possible murders and much more take theses two through a mystery that makes them not only question who is truthful in the case but in their own lives.


I don’t read this series for the mystery and detective elements. I read it for the personal stories of Strike and Robin. These two characters keep me coming back to these books. J.K. Rowling or Robert Gailbraith has a way of creating characters that are alive and familiar. We feel connected to them because they go through many of these same things we go through as readers.

The end of the last book was a bit of a cliffhanger. We wondered how Robin’s life would play out and what Strike would do. The prologue in this book answered those questions in a very realistic way. There is no dramatic runaway bride or abrupt change of heart. Instead the way things resolve is a slow burn. It plays out as I think it would in real life.

I thought it was interesting in this book how Strike and Matthew’s characters were played against each other. This what set the stage for the majority of the conflict in this book. When we met Matthew in the first book we thought him the perfect fit for Robin. He seemed loving and their story was fairytale-esque. Then, as happens when you truly get to know someone, we realized that he is not the perfect man for Robin. He is far from the right person.

Strike at first seemed gruff and uncaring. He was about himself and wanting to make his way in the world. He didn’t care about anyone really but we see again that first impressions don’t tell us anything about anyone.

Robin wants to be taken seriously, she doesn’t want to be told what to do and when to do it. She is afraid of being vulnerable. There is some great commentary about the way a woman can’t show her pain and anguish like a man because then she will be sidelined. 

While Matthew tries to push Robin into a safe space, which would change her whole world; Strike does the opposite. He acknowledges her issues, makes her confront them and yet lets her still do what she wants to do. He doesn’t force her to a desk, he let her continue working.

But he also makes sure she knows that she has to deal with her issues. He won’t let her ignore them. He shares his own struggles and makes sure she understands that he is on her side. He cares about her and wants her to heal but he also knows putting her in a box won’t do anything to help her.

I didn’t think I wanted Robin and Strike together after the other books but after this one I think they would work perfectly together. There is understanding and truth there that will make a good relationship. 

The mystery element and major plot of the book was as well done as the other books. I have mentioned it in previous reviews but the way the details are given is thorough. There is no sensational elements only there to make the pages turn. It gives what would happen in the timeline it would happen.



While I enjoy the details of the case, the length of the book was a bit much. I felt like the middle dragged. It is a hefty book and I think that some of the details of going back and forth and who was riding what train were not needed. We would have cut some of that and some of the retelling of the details in order to move the pace up a bit.

What I wished was different:
I had a little bit of trouble keeping all the characters straight in the story. There were a lot of names and different players. I think it was good for the mystery element, more people to suspect, but I found myself wondering who was who. 

I had to remind myself every time I picked up the book who was the main characters, who were the side ones and what plots mattered. I wished I had an easier time keeping everyone straight.

I gave this book three stars. I liked the mystery and I loved the development of the characters I just thought it a little too long. 

The Crimes of Grindelwald (Fantastic Beasts and Where to the Find them #2) Movie – Review

I really enjoyed the first movie in the new Fantastic Beasts series. I didn’t know how it was going to tell a over-arching story but when I found out it was going to be about the rise and fall of Grindelwald I was excited. I thought this was a perfect piece of lore that we needed.

This second movie does a good job at providing a lot of back story and details that I am sure we are going to need in the later movies. Though I will say that I felt like not much happened in this movie. I felt like our character ran around looking for things and getting backstories as they went. For a book this usually works well, because you get wrapped up in the stories but for a movie I can see it boring some people. Especially those that don’t know the Potter universe a much as some of us super fans do.

I found myself enthralled because I loved hearing all these backstory pieces I did feel like I had to really concentrate in order to figure out who was who and what their story was. When we headed home we had to rehash parts to remember who was who. I think there are quite a few new names and branches to their stories which can be hard to follow. I may have to buy the screenplay just to be able to make note of what character is part of what story.

I really liked that this story told us more about Leta Lestrange. I am finding her fascinating. I am not sure quite why. I think it is because I know of her family in the present and they are evil. She is not bad, jus someone who doesn’t let anyone treat her badly. But she has a good heart and I am very curious how her bloodline twists throughout the story.

I also found it really interesting the way the character of Grindelwald was presented.This movie does a good job of showing how a dictator comes into power. You have these people who have been put down and stomped on and he is presenting them with possibilities no one else will provide. The way they show how a good speech and well said words can twist even the best person is interesting. You see that someone doesn’t have to be the most powerful they just need to know what words to use.

I also thought it was interesting the way Grindelwald was able to manipulate the situations around him. It all showed how things played into his hands and what he wants. We got a great sense of who this man was.

I love this movies too because there are a good number of easter eggs for those of us who know the books backwards and forwards. Certain surnames are mentioned and I grin. I love that aspect.

Spoilers below this line for those who have not seen the movie. I have to discuss this piece but seriously if you have not seen the movie don’t read. Big Plot Spoiler!!

My one big issue with this movie was that ending. In the end Grindelwald tells Credence that he is Dumbledore’s brother. I feel very confused about this plot point. I know these books. I know all the extras about this world.

The seventh book gives us a good history of Dumbledore and his family. Yet nowhere is it mentioned that he has any other siblings than Aberforth and Ariana. I feel like if he was going to have another sibling there would have been some indication of that fact in the books.

J.K. Rowling does such a good job at keeping her books in order and feeding the stories into each other. (Let’s just pretend Cursed Child doesn’t exist). I feel like throwing in another sibling here will throw a wrench into what we know about the books. 

I know that this is all being said by Grindelwald which doesn’t mean much because he is the bad guy. He could easily be lying which he has done. He manipulates everything so this could all be a ruse. But I feel like throwing out that name is a big thing to do. 

I know that there are three more movies so this could all flow into more twists which I hope they do. I want these movies to enhance the books, make me feel more connected to them. I want to be able to read the books after and not have to dismiss aspects to make things make sense. I trust J.K. Rowling and her storytelling genius but this revelation did make me a bit nervous.  Though I am willing to see how it all plays out.

Have you seen the movie? What do you think? Where do you think this whole series is going? What are the next twist we will learn?

NaNoWriMo Update

I thought it was time to give a quick update on how my NaNoWriMo attempt is going.  I said in my original post that I didn’t think I was going to get very far and that I would be surprised at anything I wrote. I also said it was more about getting something down on paper.

Well I will have to say that is very much still true. I think I am at about 8,000 words, which is not good for the challenge on Day 17. I started out the first week strong. I wrote every day going beyond the necessary word count.

Then life crept up and I lost control of it. My big work event happened on the 15th which went well but took a ton of my energy throughout the week or so leading up to it. Then I found a house that I am super excited to buy but that is a long and tedious process. Much of my free time as been dedicated to finding the right papers, making appointments to sign papers and setting up inspections.

I actually thought this weekend that I was going to do a lot of catching up but I work up Friday feeling like I am getting sick. This morning it was worse. I do plan on spending much of my time on my couch this weekend so we will see if I feel well enough to dive into the story. 

That being said I am excited about the progress  I have made on this story. I did something very different than I normally do when writing. Instead of trying to write the story in linear fashion I have been writing the scenes that keep coming to me. I have been getting a lot of the scenes that would end up in the middle of the book and instead of just making notes about them and waiting until I get to those points I have been writing those scenes. I have a feeling this book may end up like a jigsaw puzzle that needs to be put in order but that doesn’t sound too bad. Actually sounds a bit of fun.

I will be writing a wrap up post near the end of the month on this saga. I hope to get at least 25,000 words done by the end of the month, which may be possible now that work has slowed down and I am at the waiting point for the loan on the house.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? How are you doing? Any surprises that you are particularly pleased about?


Down the TBR Hole #11

Life is a bit insane right now, so posts are going to be infrequent for a minute. I thought it was time for another trip through my TBR shelf. Should be interesting this time because my birthday is in a week, so I am going to be taking notes for my usual bookshop buying trip!

This was originally created by Lost in a Story and seems like a good way to go through some of my TBR on Goodreads and see what is there and what I can get rid of or push me to start reading. 
Links will be  on the titles for the books Goodreads page. (I am going to do ten for this round of this tag).

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 or 15 or 20, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next time!

TBR Total – 247

Attrition of the Gods – P.G. Burns – Vague but still interesting. I like the idea of a force influencing all major things throughout time.
Decision:Keep

The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh – I have this book on my physical shelf. I want to read it because it sound interesting but I also am trying to not get into series at the moment. I am one of those people who has to finish a series once I start and I haven’t wanted to dedicate the time to a whole series yet.
Decision: Keep

The Achieved (The Archived #1) – Victoria Schwab – Another one I really want to read but again don’t have the time to get into a whole series but I do think I am going to read this one soon.
Decision: Keep

Broken Fate (Threads of the Moirae, #1) – Teenage Fates from mythology, I love the idea.
Decision: Keep

The Night Watch (Watch #1) – Sergei Lukyanenko – Sounds alright but generic, nothing is standing out as unique.
Decision: Remove


The King Must Die (Theseus #1) – Mary Renault – Sounds alright but hard to discern if it is supposed to be factual or fiction.
Decision: Remove

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops – Jen Campbell – This sounds fun.
Decision: Keep

Forget Tomorrow (Forget Tomorrow #1) – Pintip Dunn – Sounds like a YA version of Minority Report. I loved that movie so I am curious how this will be.
Decision: Keep

The Thirteenth Tale– Diane Setterfield  – I got this book at a bookshop. I will pick it up someday soon.
Decision: Keep

How They Met, and Other Stories – David Levithan – I really like his storytelling and I like the idea of a various types of love stories in this collection.
Decision: Keep

Keep: 8
Remove:2
Total TBR – 245

Didn’t do the greatest at removing this time but there are quite a few on this list I really want to get to soon.

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy – Mackenzi Lee – Review

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Felicity wants nothing else in life other than to be a doctor; but she is a woman in a time that scoffs at the idea of educated women. She needs to find a way around the restrictions placed on her. She teams up  with a mysterious stranger, not knowing what Sim’s ulterior motives are. She meets an old friend and the three of them embark on a journey to save a secret and a legacy.

 

 

What I Loved_-4
In the first book, A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, I didn’t care much for Felicity. To me she was nothing more than just the big sister character. She was there to tell Monty when he was wrong and to foil his plans. To me she didn’t hold any real personality of her own.

This book changed my opinion of her all together. We learn that Felicity is a woman stuck in a time that is not for her. She wants to be a doctor. She wants to be independent but she lives in a time where she is told that she is supposed to get married, have kids and take care of her husband. I liked watching Felicity come to terms with who she was and the world she lived in.

She had a fighting spirit that she kept throughout the story. I found it interesting that throughout the story she wasn’t told right out that she was some hero or someone who was going to change the world. She learned that she had to find a way to balance all aspects of her life. It was okay for her to be who she was and she learned that throughout the story. She was able to see that she didn’t have to resign her life to fit what she is told she has to be.

I also liked the three female characters and how they balanced each other throughout this story. Sim was a tough woman, she wanted to be recognized and trusted. She was adventurous and she didn’t back down. But she was also soft as well. She had a softer side which she showed to Felicity.

Johanna was interesting because she was someone who enjoyed dressing up, she wanted to be married and go to parties but she also wanted to study nature and make a name for herself. She liked being taken care of but she also could take care of herself when necessary. I think she played against Felicity’s character well.

The two of them together showed that there is no one way to be a woman. You don’t have to be all girly and poised or defiant and tough. You can be a mix and that is okay. That commentary on not belittling other women for who they are was poignant and important.

What I was just okay with
I wasn’t thrilled with the end of this story. I felt a lot was leading up to a very epic end but we got a quick handful of pages. Things were taken care of quite quickly and easily. Our main villain was taken out pretty fast.

I understood why things ended as they did, and it made sense. I just wish there had been more. I felt like it ended and we got to that last point and were just like, “okay, that’s all.” I wanted a bit more to make me feel tense and feel like we truly accomplished something.
What I was just okay with
I read this book quite quickly. I didn’t get hung up on any details. I do think the main premise was a bit of a stretch. I kind of wished the creature they were after was easier to identify. I know it had to be something we have in our world today but I had trouble making a connection.

I think it would have made more of an impact if I knew what they were talking about. In that day and age it was common to mistake certain animals for mythical creatures. They gave these grand ideas and names to these creatures because they didn’t know better. I wanted to be able to say, “Oh, okay, I can see how they saw that as this.”
Four Star
I have this book four stars on Goodreads. I think if there had been a stronger end I would have given it a full five stars.

Copy of What I was just okay with

“I want to understand things. I want to answer every question ever posed me. I want to leave no room for anyone to doubt me.” (pg. 48)

“….it’s hard to be raised in a world where you’re taught to always believe what men say without doubting yourself at every step.” (pg. 69)

“But one can only spend so long booklets in the company of another human before one feels compelled to make conversation.” (pg. 210)

“You refused to let me – or anyone! – like books and silks. Outdoors and cosmetics. You stopped taking me seriously when I stopped being the kind of woman you thought I had to be to be considered intelligent and strong.” (pg. 246)

“So if you can’t win the game, you have to cheat.” (pg. 297)

October Wrap-Up

October was a steady month for me. There hasn’t been a ton going on. The colder weather has created a great reading atmosphere. I do know that my posting schedule has slipped a little. I didn’t post nearly as much as I would have liked but that will be a trend until after November I am sure.

I am up to 47 books read for the year, that is a record number for me. I love to read but I can’t always find the time. This month I read four books and all of them were great. I read a few that I have been dying to read all year and nothing disappointed me. I am hoping to keep up this trend throughout the coming months!


Books I read:
Vengeful – V.E. Schwab – This was a great sequel to the first book. I love these books because you fall for characters who are not good people. They are not supposed to be either. I find it fascinating how Schwab is able to make you feel sympathy for “villains.”

Realm of the Reaper – K.A. Applegate – I am still loving my reread of this series.

The Hate You Give – Angie Thomas – This is one of those books that everyone needs to read. The insights it gives to our current time is invaluable.

What If It’s Us – Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera – I have been anxiously waiting for this book for months. It was exactly what I wanted, a sweet and adorable love story.

Posts:
The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley – Shaun David Hutchinson- Review
Book Tag: It’s Finally Fall 
Down the TBR Hole #10
Vengeful – V.E. Schwab – Review
Realm of the Reaper – Everworld #4- K.A. Applegate – Review
The ABC Challenge (B)
The Hate You Give – Angie Thomas – Review
The Spooky Would Your Rather Book Tag 
NaNoWriMo Attempt
What If It’s Us – Adam Silvera & Becky Albertalli – Review

Tv Shows:
I haven’t watched too much TV this month but I have been wanting to watch the new “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” show. I have heard mixed things about it. Has anyone watched it? What do you think?

New Hobby:
I enjoy certain type of puzzles. There are ones that I love called Conceptis Puzzles. They are slightly like Sudoku but involve filling in blocks to make a picture. I have found a new type that are sticker puzzles. You take the stickers and they go in certain places to make a picture. I love them! I love doing these things because they are logic puzzles but are also entertains to do.
Do you have favorite logic puzzles you like to do?

How was your October? Productive? My November is going to be insane so that wrap-up post should be fascinating!

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