"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~Toni Morrison

Thursday, January 29, 2015

2015 What I'm Reading #3

Every Wednesday of ROW80 I will write an update of my reading goals and each Sunday will be an update of my writing goals.  I am also tweeting daily updates of my writing goals. 
2015 Reading Goal:  30 books                                  
Current Progress:  6 books

The list so far:

  1. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
  2. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
  3. The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa de la Cruz
  4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schaffer
  5. Blue Bloods: The Keys to the Repository by Melissa de la Cruz
  6. A Million Little Things by James Frey
I just finished reading A Million Little Things.  Wow!  I could not put it down.  

So far I feel like I am sticking to my goal!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows

image source:  Amazon.com

What it's about:
"“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever." - Amazon.com

My Thoughts:
Ummmm, I kinda want to start writing letters to everyone I know, maybe even people I don't know.  I really like books that are written in a series of letters*.  This one was no exception.  You get to know the characters in such a different way, little by little and through the eyes of someone else.  Also you only know as much as each individual letter-writer, so there is always a suspense, an incomplete picture of the story.

This book also makes me want to start a quirky book club.  I'm not sure that I have any idea how to go about doing that and I may already have too much going on this year but I loved reading about the meetings of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.  

Finally, this book has inspired me to finally read Wuthering Heights.  This will be the year that I finally read it.  I know I have a copy on my bookshelf upstairs, yet I have resisted reading it for years.  The time has finally come.

I love the story of how Annie Barrows helped Mary Ann Schaffer to complete the book when she could no longer write.  It somehow felt right that this book required a group effort.  

What an inspiring book.  I highly recommend it and am already planning to purchase a copy as a gift for a fellow lover of books and letters.

*I am pretty sure that the only other book I have read that was written in a series of letters was Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster.  I still stand by my former statement :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

What it's about:
"When the beautiful and precocious sisters Sally and Gillian Owens are orphaned at a young age, they are taken to a small Massachusetts town to be raised by their eccentric aunts, who happen to dwell in the darkest, eeriest house in town. As they become more aware of their aunts' mysterious and sometimes frightening powers -- and as their own powers begin to surface -- the sisters grow determined to escape their strange upbringing by blending into "normal" society.

But both find that they cannot elude their magic-filled past. And when trouble strikes -- in the form of a menacing backyard ghost -- the sisters must not only reunite three generations of Owens women but embrace their magic as a gift -- and their key to a future of love and passion. Funny, haunting, and shamelessly romantic, Practical Magic is bewitching entertainment -- Alice Hoffman at her spectacular best."  from GoodReads.com

My journal page

My Thoughts:

I have always loved the movie Practical Magic, and when I discovered that it was based on a book, I had to find it.  Luckily the book was available through my e-library, and I immediately put it on hold.

I really enjoyed the book even though it was very different from the movie.  I feel like the book emphasized the magical part less than the movie did.  I really liked Alice Hoffman's writing style, how she flowed from character to character, story to story.  It seemed so effortless.  I am excited to read more of her work.

I was disappointed that my favorite scene from the movie was not a part of the book.  I have always loved the scene at the end of the movie where a group of ordinary women come together to work magic and stop a possession.  As I was reading the book, I was waiting and waiting for Gillian to get possessed and for the women to come together and save her..... but it never happened.  I felt a little let down and I wish I had read the book before seeing the movie.

That being said, I would absolutely recommend this book.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2015 What I'm Reading #2

Every Wednesday of ROW80 I will write an update of my reading goals and each Sunday will be an update of my writing goals.  I am also tweeting daily updates of my writing goals. 
2015 Reading Goal:  30 books                                  
Current Progress:  3 books

The list so far:

  1. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
  2. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
  3. The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa de la Cruz
This morning I started reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and I am very excited to see how it goes.  I have heard a lot of good things about the book and can't wait to find out if I agree :)

Here are the next two books on my list:
Have you read any of these books?  What did you think?
Are you reading anything interesting this week?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Writing Update 1-11-15

2015 Goal: 250 words per day/1750 words per week
Weekly Progress:  679 new words written/1425 old words typed

Every Wednesday of ROW80 I will write an update of my reading goals and each Sunday will be an update of my writing goals.  I am also tweeting daily updates of my writing goals. 

Well, this was my first week getting back to my writing.  I started out strong with two days in a row of writing using the book 1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts by Ryan Andrew Kinder.

1-5-15 I wrote 271 words using this prompt:

1/6/15 I wrote 408 words using this prompt:
and the best part is that the character I met while writing this prompt has me very inspired.  I want to write her whole story, but I already have two manuscripts that I need to complete.  Her story will have to wait.

Speaking of which, now that I am back to my writing, I have started to reacquaint myself with those incomplete manuscripts so I can complete them.  The first step is to finish typing up all the handwritten words I have from earlier last year.  On 1/9/15 I typed up 1425 of those handwritten words.  

I am not really sure if I met my goal of not this week.  The majority of my writing was not new words, but it is necessary for me to reacquaint myself with my manuscript if I really intend to complete it.  Also I did not write every day.

Here are my update tweets for the week:
Did you meet your writing goals this week?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What I'm Reading (1/7/15)

 2015 Reading Goal:  30 books                                  Current Progress:  1 book

Every Wednesday of ROW80 I will write an update of my reading goals and each Sunday will be an update of my writing goals.  I am also tweeting daily updates of my writing goals.

Here is my digital bookshelf through my e-library.  I have read Julie Kagawa's Immortal Rules and I am currently about 3/4 of the way through Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.

I am really looking forward to reading the next installment in the Blue Bloods series, The Van Alen Legacy, and I have heard so many good things about the last book on my shelf, The Guernsey Lierary and Potato Peel Pie Society, that I had to check it out.

So far I feel like I am making good progress on my goal.
Did you make a reading goal?  How is it going?

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year's Resolutions 2015

I am joining the first round of ROW 80 for the year.  If you don't know what ROW 80 is, you can find more information here.  ROW 80 is an 80 day writing challenge where you decide how many words you will write.  You make the goals and track your progress weekly.

Here are my reading and writing goals for 2015:
   1.  Write 250 words each day(1750 total words per week)
I am already off to a great start on this goal.  
 1/2/15: 274 words

 1/3/15:  334 words

I figure if I can write a little more than 250 words each day, then I will give myself a day off on Sunday as a reward.
   2. Complete the first draft of my novels (ZF and DOVH) and begin the next.
   3.  Read at least 30 books.
I am also off to a great start on this.  I am currently reading my second book of the year and have already blogged about the first.
   4.  Post on this blog at least twice a week.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Book Description from Amazon:
"To Survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness… 
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies…and becomes one of the monsters. Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what—and who—is worth dying for…again. 
Enter Julie Kagawa's dark and twisted world as an unforgettable journey begins.

My thoughts:
I discovered this book while browsing my online library for something new to read.  I love a good vampire story, so I decided to try it.  I borrowed and read the book on my Kindle and did not find out until after I had completed the book that it is part of a trilogy, The Blood of Eden series.   

I love the premise of this book; the idea that vampires would keep humans as blood cattle makes a lot of sense.  A lot of books recently have romanticized vampirism, making it a desirable life.  Although Allie works very hard to remain human, we see the monster within her try to overpower her, sometimes successfully.  There were so many times that I wanted to yell at Allie, tell her to get away from certain people or situations, call her a stupid-head.  I obviously felt a connection to her as a character.

I was fascinated by the Vampire City where Allie lives at the beginning of the story.  I really wanted the book to spend more time there, but the author only gave glimpses of what the inner city was like.  Maybe that will come in one of the later books in the series.

Overall the book was an easy, yet engaging, read.  I was definitely entertained and felt a connection to the main characters.  I am already wondering what will happen next and I will be reading the next book in the series.

Have you read The Immortal Rules?  What did you think?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Books I Read in 2014

My reading goal for 2014 was to read 35 books.  Unfortunately, I only read 27.

Here's the list:
  1. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  2. The Mist-Torn Witches by Barb Hendee
  3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
1. The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
  1. The Messenger by Lois Lowry
  2. The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
  3. The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault
  1. Doodle Revolution by Sunni Brown
  2. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
1. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
1. Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
  1. La ciudad de las bestias by Isabel Allende
  2. El reino del dragón de oro by Isabel Allende
  1. El bosque de los pigmeos by Isabel Allende
  2. Murder Your Darlings by JJ Murphy
  3. The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
  4. Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie
  1. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
  2. Endless Night by Agatha Christie
  3. The Line by JD Horn
  4. The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie
  5. The Big Four by Agatha Christie
  6. Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz
  7. Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz
  8. THe Academy by Bentley Little
  9. Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz
  10. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I read some really great books this year and look forward to a whole new year of great reads.  Did you have a reading goal for 2014?  Did you meet it?