Monday, June 29, 2015

RSW Check-in: June 29, 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at with our writing projects—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing.  This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin FunkElodie Nowodazkij, and Katy Upperman. We check in every Monday and conclude on August 31.

My goals for the summer:

  1. WRITE ALL THE WORDS!
    Finish my current WIP, which is Beauty and the Beast meets Edgar Allen Poe. Set in 1800's Savannah, Ga.
  2. READ ALL THE WORDS! I currently have several books on hold at the library as e-books. Should I get to the top of the list for all of them this summer, I'd like to finish them. These include Code Name Verity, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, P.S. I Still Love You, Between Shades of Gray, The Wrath and the Dawn, Things We Know By Heart, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, and Saint Anything.
  3. DO ALL THE MOVES!
    Now that I'm in a much less stressful work environment, I'm finally making time for me again. By the end of the summer I'd like to be up to 4 days of working out each week!


How I did on last week’s goals:
Read: I finished both The Wrath and the Dawn and The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Write: I met last week’s goal on day one, so bumped up to 5,000. Despite some unexpected life happenings, I managed to meet this goal at 5,161 words plus added chapter titles.
Move: I only managed two days of exercise due to unplanned traveling from Thursday - Sunday

My goal(s) for this week:
Read: I’ve got Saint Anything on the list this week!
Write: I’m going to start with 3,000 and see how far I get
Move: Same--4 days.

A favorite line from my story:
Father glanced over the parishioners and shook his head sadly. “Death comes for us all eventually.”
Norabel wondered if someday it would return for her, and if this time she’d be strong enough to face it.

The biggest challenge I faced this week:
Grief. My grandmother passed away on Tuesday night. Wednesday was a blur preparing to fly out to be with my dad. I was able to read on the plane but couldn’t get any words out. The flight back was still hard, but I managed to write.

Something I love about my WIP:
The darkness. I really like the darkness.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Badass Books: The Wrath and The Dawn

I took a break from contemporaries this past week because the next book on my library hold list was this story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights. Meet, The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.



Why I read it: This book was showing up on Twitter a lot in May, with a lot of the readers/writers that I love posting about it. Obviously I had to add it to my hold list at the library.

ZOMG Yes! You guys, I really loved this book. The love story not only moved me and forced me to keep reading, keep reading, keep reading, it also inspired me in my own writing. Any book that can do that almost always get five stars from me when it comes to a five star rating system.

I think one of my favorite things about this story is that the love story felt real. It made sense. I, too, fell in love with Khalid. At first I was a little nervous it was going to feel a little Stockholm Syndrome-esque, but not at all. The love story makes sense.

Aside from the love story, I really got into Shazi and Khalid's characters--as well as the side characters. I loved Jalal and Despina. I loved how snarky and sarcastic everyone was while all still feeling very stand alone in their personalities.

kthxbai Warning: This is a two-part series. I did not know before getting into it that there was a second book. I sort of wish that I did, because I would've liked to read them back-to-back rather than being stuck here worrying about these characters I've come to love. Still, I highly recommend this book!

All the chiweenies to Renee Ahdieh!


Monday, June 22, 2015

RSW Check-in: June 21, 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at with our writing projects—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing.  This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin FunkElodie Nowodazkij, and Katy Upperman. We check in every Monday and conclude on August 31.

My goals for the summer:

  1. WRITE ALL THE WORDS!
    Finish my current WIP, which is Beauty and the Beast meets Edgar Allen Poe. Set in 1800's Savannah, Ga.
  2. READ ALL THE WORDS! I currently have several books on hold at the library as e-books. Should I get to the top of the list for all of them this summer, I'd like to finish them. These include Code Name Verity, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, P.S. I Still Love You, Between Shades of Gray, The Wrath and the Dawn, Things We Know By Heart, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, and Saint Anything.
  3. DO ALL THE MOVES!
    Now that I'm in a much less stressful work environment, I'm finally making time for me again. By the end of the summer I'd like to be up to 4 days of working out each week!

How I did on last week’s goals
Read: I'm 75% through The Wrath and the Dawn. Success!
Write: I managed just shy of 2,500--which is 1000 less than what I wanted. But I found this exciting new plot twist, so success! Update--I finished this goal Monday night. So I'm now shooting for 5k for the week, because why the hell not double the fun?
Move: Only two days of yoga, but one was a 90 minute class. So I'm still pleased with this.

My goal(s) for this week.
ReadFinish The Wrath and The Dawn and start The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. 
WriteDidn't quite hit 3,500 last week, so let's go for 3,000 this week.
Move: 4 days of yoga.

A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised
The place that had saved her seemed to want her dead. She shuddered at the thought.

The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write).
It's been really hot and really humid, which saps my energy and motivation.

Something I love about my WiP.
New plot twist! When you ask yourself, what's the worst thing that could happen and you realize it HAS TO HAPPEN.

Monday, June 15, 2015

RSW Check-in: June 15, 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at with our writing projects—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing.  This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin FunkElodie Nowodazkij, and Katy Upperman. We check in every Monday and conclude on August 31.

My goals for the summer:


  1. WRITE ALL THE WORDS!
    Finish my current WIP, which is Beauty and the Beast meets Edgar Allen Poe. Set in 1800's Savannah, Ga.
  2. READ ALL THE WORDS! I currently have several books on hold at the library as e-books. Should I get to the top of the list for all of them this summer, I'd like to finish them. These include Code Name Verity, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, P.S. I Still Love You, Between Shades of Gray, The Wrath and the Dawn, Things We Know By Heart, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, and Saint Anything.
  3. DO ALL THE MOVES!
    Now that I'm in a much less stressful work environment, I'm finally making time for me again. By the end of the summer I'd like to be up to 2 days of yoga and 2 days of cardio per week!




How I did on last week’s goals
Read: I did better than I'd hoped. I finished both Things We Know By Heart and To All the Boys I've Loved Before, and posted reviews for both.
Write: So I forgot to keep track a couple of days, but the best I can guess is I came in right around 3,000--beating my goal for 2,500.
Move: I managed 2 days of hot yoga and two days of cardio--goal achieved!

My goal(s) for this week.
Read: I've got The Wrath and the Dawn on my Kindle from the library. I'd like to read at least 75% of it this week.
Write: We didn't paint. That will be in a couple of weeks. So I'd like to go for 3,500 this week.
Move: Same as last week. 2 days of yoga & 2 days of cardio.

A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised
I can't really give any background on this one without spoiling some things, but I really liked this sentence:
Once you'd cried out to the wrong spirits, the right ones stopped listening.

The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write).
Staying focused while writing.

Something I love about my WiP.
One of my minor characters forced her way into, "I'm way more important than you realized." So I'm pretty excited about it.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Badass Books: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Last week on Twitter, I said this was going to be the summer of reading. For the past six years of my life, I've had an incredibly stressful job. I would make time to read, force myself to write, plan my husband into my life. Now that I'm working somewhere else, everything has changed. I have time for the things I like. I have energy for them. So of course reading is back in my life in full force.

Summary (from Goodreads):

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all. 



Why I read it: A lot of my friends have been reading the sequel, P.S. I Still Love You. I don't read a lot of contemporary YA, so I figured, why the hell not. Of course, I needed to read this one before I could read the sequel. So I did. You guys, I fell in love with this book.

ZOMG Yes! At first, I wasn't sure. I didn't know where it was going, but I knew I loved books about sisters. So I kept with it. And then I devoured it.

I loved Lara Jean. She was so honest and shy and unsure and sure of herself at the same time. Her character was just perfect to me. And then when the love letters happened, and the romance started to unfold, I couldn't put the damn book down.

I have to say that I'm really happy with how this romance played out. The whole time I was cheering against the boy she didn't choose because I didn't think he deserved her. And of course, I was falling in love with the same boy she was falling in love with.

Kthxbai I'm number 8 out of 14 for the hold list for the sequel, so I won't be getting to it until probably the end of the summer. I'm a little upset about it, because I would happily pick it up and go, go, go. But I think this is good for me. It will let the first book sink in and force me to do some other things until I'm ready to part with this story and pick up the next one on my list.

I strongly, highly, very much so recommend this book!


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Badass Books: Things We Know By Heart

This summer I have a lot of contemporary YA books on my reading list--in part because I usually read fantasy and need a break and in part because so many of my writer friends have recommended these contemporaries, and they know what's up!

So for the first contemporary of the summer, we have Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby.



Summary (from Goodreads):

When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all. 

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn't want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they're connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

Why I Read It: See above. Also because it's summer and this book is a perfect summer read.

ZOMG Yes! This story--while a bit cliche in content--was so beautifully executed that it didn't feel cliche at all reading it. I loved the characters in this story. They were real, honest, and aching. The perfect combination for a good love story.

And of course I loved the big sister. As a big sister myself, I'm a sucker for stories with sisters. Ryan was awesome. So was Gran--but I'm not a grandma and can't relate as much.

Beyond the characters, I loved the descriptions of the setting. Jessi really nailed bringing me into the ocean scenes. I especially enjoyed the cave and the kayaking under the fireworks. Simply beautiful--the descriptions and the emotions.

kthxbai If you're looking for a quick, summer read for the beach or the pool or the airplane, pick this one up. It's great!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Ready. Set. Write! 2015 | My Goals

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at with our writing projects—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing.  This year, your RSW hosts are Alison Miller, Jaime Morrow, Erin Funk, Elodie Nowodazkij, and Katy Upperman. We check in every Monday and conclude on August 31.



I'm so excited these lovely ladies have brought back RSW for 2015! Last year I managed to write basically a full book. Said book is currently on the shelf as revisions got a little too close to home for me, but it was still awesome!

So this year, here are my goals:

  1. WRITE ALL THE WORDS!
    Finish my current WIP, which is Beauty and the Beast meets Edgar Allen Poe. Set in 1800's Savannah, Ga.
  2. READ ALL THE WORDS! I currently have several books on hold at the library as e-books. Should I get to the top of the list for all of them this summer, I'd like to finish them. These include Code Name Verity, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, P.S. I Still Love You, Between Shades of Gray, The Wrath and the Dawn, Things We Know By Heart, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, and Saint Anything.
  3. DO ALL THE MOVES!
    Now that I'm in a much less stressful work environment, I'm finally making time for me again. By the end of the summer I'd like to be up to 2 days of yoga and 2 days of cardio per week!
For this week:
  1. We're painting a room this week, so I'm going to have a lot of my free time going toward that. Still, I'd like to get 2,500 words in this week. More if I can.
  2. Finish Things We Know By Heart and start To All the Boys I've Loved Before
  3. Cardio Monday (done!) & Wednesday. Yoga Tuesday & Thursday.