Tuesday, October 17, 2017

9 Books to Read If You Like "Supernatural"

October is upon us, and for me, that means a few things:

1. NaNoWriMo planning (*screams quietly while staring at a mess of a Word document filled with manic notes*)
2. Halloween costume planning (Wait until you see what I did this year)
3. A new season of "Supernatural!!!!!!!!"

I've already watched the first episode and WOW are we "Supernatural" fans in for a wild ride. But while we're bemoaning various cliffhangers and realizing we have to wait a week or longer for much needed answers, here are some books you can read with a touch of something "Supernatural" to it to tide you over.


Warning: Mild "Supernatural" spoilers ahead!

1. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

I'm only 25 pages in, but I know what the story is, and I can already tell it's going to be great. There's literally a character named Crowley. How much more do you need?


All right, but besides that, it's also super funny and deals with the apocalypse. What happens when the anti-christ named Adam . . .


. . . grows up with the wrong family and thus isn't properly prepared to bring about the end of the world?

2. Contaminated by Em Garner

Zombies! Family drama! The oh-so-complicated question of what to do when your family member has literally turned into a monster!


3. Misery by Stephen King

It'd be kind of impossible to leave a Stephen King novel off this list, so here we are. Annie is like the ultimate "Supernatural" big bad: off-putting, deceptive, and surprisingly strong. Imagine Lucifer torturing Sam in the cage. Now imagine Sam is a writer and Stephen King wrote the story.


4. The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Aliens aren't exactly on the same level as paranormal creatures, but they still make for an awesome story. Especially when possession is involved! (She said, with entirely too much glee.) I love the conflict that comes from various characters trying to figure out whether or not Wanda (the alien possessing Melanie) is a villain simply because she's an alien. Just like all those times in "Supernatural" when Sam and Dean argued over whether monsters are just monsters, period, or if some monsters can be good guys, too.


5. You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

In case any of you miss Charlie as much as I do.



6. The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Gotta love shapeshifters. And an addictive plot with plenty of twists and turns. I devoured the whole trilogy in less than a week, so this should definitely keep you busy until the next episode.


7. Fairest by Marissa Meyer

If there's one thing "Supernatural" does well (and they do so many things well), they know how to create fresh and interesting villains. Some villains are straight up evil (*cough* Metatron *cough*) and some are a little more complicated than that. Crowley, for instance, as even the Winchesters had to team up with him a few times. Fairest is able to show just how easily a good person can go down the wrong path.


8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Now there's nothing paranormal about this, but, it deals with someone who's lingering perilously between life and death and it's guaranteed to make you bawl like a baby. In other words, every season finale of "Supernatural" ever.


9. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Werewolves!


What book would you recommend to a "Supernatural" fan? Who's your favorite "Supernatural" villain? Leave a comment!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Untitled NaNoWriMo Novel of Paranormal Insanity

It's my favorite time of year: NaNoWriMo season! I've spent the past week creating my characters, outlining my novel, and wondering why in the world I can't find a title for it yet. Although most of my ideas are pretty vague, I have a good feeling about this one. On with the questions!

http://paperfury.com/beautiful-books-2017/

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
 

Last year's novel was a total disaster. Between a busy Thanksgiving with relatives, my first semester of studying for finals with my dual enrollment classes, and an overall unpreparedness on my part, I ended up with a flaming pile of 20,000-words worth of garbage. I swear, only 1,000 of those words were salvageable.

So I decided to take the best elements of last year's novel and mush them into this year's novel. I also have four protagonists instead of one, because I always prefer ensemble casts. It's much easier to hop around different chapters if you're feeling stuck with one character.

And the last bit of inspiration came from an overall frustration of the lack of LGBTQ+ teen representation in genre fiction. I love the contemporary books I've read lately with gay teens (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, History is All You Left Me, etc.), but I'd really love to see that but with more, you know, dragons and ghosts and stuff. So I'm fixing that.

2. Describe what your novel is about!
 

I wrote an extremely rough draft of a blurb. Extremely rough. You've been warned.

Wesley, Sonya, Ryan, and Eleanor are strangers to each other when they each acquire an ability they never asked for. Wesley relies on his precision for his dream of becoming a chef and suddenly gains superhuman strength that he can’t control. Sonya, an out-and-proud lesbian, is cursed with invisibility that acts at random, making her feel like she’s in the closet all over again. Ryan, already nervous about reconciling her stage fright with her passion to sing, obtains the power to see into the future, adding to her anxious mind. Eleanor is confused by her own feelings, but now has to sort through everyone else’s as well as her own when she becomes an emotional telepath.

The school musical is the only thing these four have in common when they’re thrown together. It’s not just the strange things happening in their lives they have to figure out; something weird is happening to the town, too. Houses appear overnight, birds grow second heads, graffiti turns into magic sigils, and the high school’s principal wanders the streets in the early morning. It’s up to four teens, who definitely did not sign up for this, to change things back to the way they were. Or maybe change things for the better.

3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!
 

I am oh-so-very proud of my Pinterest board this year, so you should definitely check that out! But I'll leave you a few pictures as a teaser.


4. Introduce us to each of your characters!
 


Meet Sonya: valedictorian, playing Cosette in the school's production of "Les Misérables," and a Yale-bound actress. She's also extremely superstitious, outgoing, and settled in her sexuality (she's been out as a lesbian all through high school), which is part of why it's so awful when she's cursed with invisibility that acts at random.


This is Eleanor. She's a science whiz with her heart set on becoming a neurosurgeon. Sometime after being cast as Eponine, she found herself falling for Cosette instead of Marius. But right when she started to ask herself what she really felt, she gained the unwanted gift of emotional telepathy, which added everyone else's feelings to the mix.


Wesley has big dreams of being a chef someday, so his house always smells like freshly-baked bread or spices or something unidentifiably delicious. When he's not watching a variety of cooking shows, he's helping out with light and sound for the school musical. Not only does he require precision to cook his masterpieces, but he's also quiet and empathetic, so his sudden superhuman strength is more of a hindrance than a help.


Ryan constantly has to deal with two contrasting parts of herself: she's shy and riddled with stage fright but she also wants to be a singer. Even though she's fully capable of being onstage with Eleanor and Sonya, Ryan stays behind the curtain where she can help with costuming. She can always sing in the safety of her room where her dog is her only audience. Now, though, her newfound ability of seeing the future (well, not the future, but every single possibility of how the future could turn out) only adds to her growing anxiety.


And this is Ryan's dog, Dodie. She's a Havanese and I am not one of those monsters who kills off the dog, so rest assured, Dodie is safe.

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
 

All of the above??? Part of my problem last year was I had no outline to follow, so when 15,000 words in I started losing direction, I lost so much direction. The book by the middle resembled nothing like the beginning. This time, I made sure I at least knew how the story started and ended. It may change, but at least now I have something to guide me. I'll probably spend the next month filling in details as I think of them.

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
 

The characters! I love them all so much. (Dodie is definitely my favorite, but shh, don't tell the others that.) I'm also looking forward to channeling my theatre obsession through Sonya and the school musical. My urban witches are also going to be pretty cool, too. They create magic sigils through graffiti.

7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
 

1. Not quite right
2. Ever changing
3. Definitely haunted

8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
 

Ha, I already answered this question in the character bios! Internal conflict is one of my favorite ways to handle my stories because I suck so hard at writing good, well-rounded villains, even though I love reading/watching them.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
 

Well that would ruin the whole surprise . . .

10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

My themes usually come through more during revisions. Unless you're a very special author who has this down to a science, I've found that when somebody sets out on a mission to carry a theme through a book, it comes across as heavy-handed. I do have a feeling that this novel is going to be breaking a lot of stereotypes, though.

What's your NaNoWriMo book about this year? What are you most excited for? Leave a comment!

Friday, October 6, 2017

In Case You Missed It . . .

Engie at "Musings From Neville's Navel" tagged me for the ICYMI tag! The rules are simple: Go through the past two years of your blog and pick the five posts you most want people to read. Then tag five blogs to do the same. This is perfect for new readers who have just discovered your blog or even old readers who might have overlooked a post or two.

And since we already know I have no respect for the rules when it comes to limiting myself to a certain number, I decided to share seven of my favorite blog posts from the past two years. Seven is the most magical number, after all.



Without further ado . . .

7 Awesome Blog Posts You Might Not Have Read:

1. "Dear OTP (TCWT Blog Chain)"

Ah, the days of "Teens Can Write Too," back when I was young and innocent and didn't torment my characters nearly as much as I do now . . .

I mean, my characters are definitely happy and have never known pain. What are you talking about?

Anyways, I wrote several letters to my favorite fictional ships and you should definitely read them if you haven't yet.

2. "The Importance of Fan-Fiction"

Even after years of fan-fiction gaining popularity on the internet, there are a still a few people who don't consider fan-fiction "real writing" or even valid as an art form. I wrote a post defending it, because clearly it's awesome.

3. "What Makes a Great Fictional Romance?"

If you haven't noticed, I talk a lot about shipping on my blog. It's so much fun! But what makes a ship so ship-able (an actual for real word I did not just make up nope no way)? You can find out by reading this handy dandy blog post.

4. "The Stages of Reading a Really Good Book"

If you're a bookworm like I am, chances are you can relate to this.


5. "Seven 'Facts' About YA Novels that are as Accurate as Ron Weasley's Divination Predictions"

If you want to see me use various Weasley-related gifs to take down flimsy arguments about why YA novels aren't that great, look no further.

6. "On Writing Endings"

It's hard to say goodbye, especially to a book you loved writing, but there's also something really satisfying about finishing a book, too. I tackle all the mixed feelings of typing "the end" in this post. Plus, you can learn about my descent into madness as I grew closer to the end.


7. "I Use Gifs to Describe My Writing Process (and to describe a lot of other things)"

Gifs, gifs galore! And more descents into madness! Everything you will ever need to know about me as a writer! I'm sure my fellow writers can relate to a lot of it, too.


I tag . . .

1. Lara Liz at "Another Teen Reader" 
2. Ivy at "Ivyclad Ideas" 
3. Sophy at "Lavender + Blue"
4. Amber at "The Mile Long Bookshelf"
5. Emma at "Kittens on Bookshelves"

Have fun!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

September Wrap-Up

This month was fantastic for awesome books, mostly thanks to all the free time I had during my family's annual beach vacation. Yay for YA!!! Maybe I'm finally out of my slump?

Books I Read

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

5/5

It's not quite Aristotle and Dante levels of wow, but WOW. This author's ability to keep my interest throughout an unusually long contemporary with little plot is largely due to how good he is at writing characters. I love his characters, every single one of them. The friendship, family dynamics, love of dogs (dogs who don't die, might I add!), and food (homemade tortillas . . . *drools*) made this story something I missed reading when I was doing something else. It was such a cozy book to curl up with before bed, even if it made me cry like twelve times.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

4/5

It was wacky, unique, and not at all what I expected, but I really enjoyed it! I liked Alex and Miles a lot, even though they semi-hated each other at first. And I loved Alex's younger sister, Charlie. She was adorable. I can't remember ever seeing schizophrenia portrayed in any YA novel I've read before, so that was fascinating (and anxiety-inducing). THAT PLOT TWIST, THOUGH. No spoilers, but if you've read the book, you know what I'm talking about.

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

5/5

September was the month of Francesca Zappia, and this book did not disappoint. I LOVED it. I especially identified with Eliza as an introverted fangirl who spends lots of time online and on my phone, but, like Eliza, I'm actually being very social online! Some of my best friends were made through fan-fiction and forums, and they live in other states and countries and time zones, but they're still great friendships. The romance was super cute and the story reminded me a lot of Fangirl if it were set in high school. I highly recommend this one.

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

4/5

I finally read an Adam Silvera book after much hype from the internet, so thank you, internet, for a great recommendation! These characters were all kinds of broken and full of bad decisions, but I couldn't blame them for most of them, because they're in a terrible situation. Don't expect a light and fluffy read when you pick this up. It's dark and sad and will break your heart, but you'll love it anyways. Other than a plot that was a little too slow for my liking, I enjoyed this one a lot.

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

3/5

I should have loved this, seeing as it's Jennifer Niven and I adored All the Bright Places, but I . . . did not. I liked it. I liked Jack, even if he did some crappy things sometimes. I felt bad for him. I felt bad for Libby, too, and even though she's not a bad character, I couldn't connect with her. Something about her didn't feel real to me. She was too perfect and a little self-righteous. I didn't believe the romance and there was definitely a big plot hole or two. However, yay for diversity! It dealt with some really tough issues and I liked how it was handled. Not a bad read, overall.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

5/5

So. Many. Plot twists. I really should've seen some of them coming, but I didn't, and that's largely due to the really freaking great use of four unreliable narrators. Seriously, they're written so well that you can't help but love them and simultaneously suspect they're murderers. I heard it's being developed into a TV show, too, which is an excellent choice, because I binged this book late into the night and enjoyed every second of it.

Crosstalk by Connie Willis

2/5

God, I was so. Bored. If I hadn't read it for a book club, I would have called it a DNF a hundred pages in. But no, I forced myself through 600 PAGES of nonsense. I didn't like the main character, couldn't stand most of the side characters, found the romance forced, and wondered how in the world an author managed to make telepathy a snooze-fest. The concept was really cool and should have worked, but thanks to a wandering plot and poor editing, it was so hard to keep my focus on the book.

Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, and Brooke A. Allen

5/5

This was adorable and I'm sad my library only has the one copy. Reading Lumberjanes was like reading a paranormal, outdoorsy version of my writer's camps. The quirky characters really made the story pop. Such a fun, cozy read.

Movies I Watched

No movies for me, just a bunch of really good books.


Quotes I Wrote

Didn't get to a whole lot of writing, either, but I did start planning my NaNoWriMo novel, which is turning into a much improved version of my novel from last year, which totally failed. But I'm okay with that, because this novel is shaping up to be much better.

Obsessions I Acquired

This cover of "Waving Through a Window" - aoisdjfoaiuweroajsdf Just when I thought I couldn't love Thomas Sanders and Dodie more than I already do, they do THIS. Petition for Thomas Sanders to play Evan Hansen on Broadway??? PLEASE?????? They're all so adorable.


Picture of the Month 

My friend Sam had a "Psycho" themed birthday party and the decorations were awesome. I didn't realize I was the only one in this picture making a normal face until afterwards.

Beach vacation!
Some books I was considering getting. I managed to pare down the possibilities eventually.
Scout tried on my brother's sunglasses.
Teaching my mom how to dab.
My dad and I spent an entire day making this Wonder Woman costume from scratch for Time Traveler's Day at the Renaissance Faire. It looked so cool once it was finished. I got a bunch of comments from the actors about the "woman of wonder" and several wide-eyed expressions from little girls. A cello player even started playing the Wonder Woman movie theme when I walked by.
We found the TARDIS!
 
 


How was your September?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

#IDareYou Book Tag

I stole this tag from Cait at "Paper Fury" (with her permission, of course). Feel free to take this for yourselves later, for your own blog or to do in the comments. Have fun!

1. What book has been on your shelves the longest?

If we're talking about a TBR shelf, probably something like Legend by Marie Lu. I bought it during my dystopian craze, but now that YA fiction is completely saturated with that genre, I'm waiting to read it until I gain interest again. I'm sure it's great, but I read so many dystopian books, I can't even think about reading another one right now.

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

Current read: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven (I like it okay so far, but All the Bright Places is so much better.)

Last read: History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (A little long, but oh-so-very good!)

Book I'll read next: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus (A "Breakfast Club"-esque murder mystery? Yes please!)

3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?

I won't say I hated these books, but I disliked them enough to either not finish or barely finish them: The Book Thief, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Catcher in the Rye, The Maze Runner, and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.


4. What book do you keep telling yourself you'll read, but you probably won't?

Demon Road by Derek Landy, but only because I CAN'T FIND IT ANYWHERE. Not a single bookstore nor library I've been to has carried it. Grrr.

5. Which book are you saving for retirement?

Why save any book for retirement when you can read it now?

6. Last page: Do you read it first or wait until the end?

What kind of monster reads the last page first???????????????

7. Acknowledgements: Are they a waste of paper and ink or interesting?

SO fascinating! I never used to read them, but I read them all the time now. I mostly scan them, but it's super fun seeing which authors are friends with each other, because it makes them seem like real people as opposed to a pair of disembodied hands at a keyboard. I also like to see which agent represents them if it's a book similar to one I'm shopping around, because I can query them.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

Um, none of them. All of my favorite characters either end up dead, watch their friends and family die, or have to save the world and that is wayyy too much pressure.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?

I have tons. I love how books evoke emotions so strong, I'm instantly able to recall where and when I read them and what was going on around me when I did. It's super fascinating.

I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone countless times on the stairs at night after my brother had gone to sleep. We used to share a room, so if I wanted light to read, I'd have to sneak out of my room and sit on the stairway. It was closed off from the downstairs, with a door leading to the living room, so sometimes I'd pause my reading and try to listen to what my parents were watching on TV.

Both Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli will always remind me of my birthday, because I read Simon on my sixteenth and Upside on my seventeenth.

Requiem by Lauren Oliver was read in the car on long rides to and from string orchestra when I was about eleven or twelve.

I read Starflight by Melissa Landers at a writer's camp. All of the kids there loved horror movies (I have no real interest in watching them), so at night when they camped out in somebody's room to watch, I'd hang out in my room and read until they were finished and we moved on to a different activity.

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum was the exact fluffy read I needed when I was lying on the couch, super tired and very sick.

Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz and When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon were books I read on the train to New York City to see Broadway shows.

Cress by Marissa Meyer and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart were the only books not packed away in boxes when my family moved, so when I was in an empty house with no internet, I didn't have a hard time finding things to do. Both books were excellent.

Books I vividly remember reading over the years during my family's annual beach vacation: Paper Towns by John Green, The Krillitane Storm by Christopher Cooper, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, Made You Up by Francesca Zappia, and Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia.

On the topic of beach vacations, we always made a trip to the indie bookstore on the boardwalk before leaving. I remember one year I bought a copy of Divergent by Veronica Roth and read at least half of it, if not more, on the car ride home. I was instantly sucked into that world and the trip flew by.

I read most of Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas when extended family came out to visit. It was a great way to snatch up a few minutes here and there of much-needed introverted recharging.

We Know It Was You by Maggie Thrash was read while the "Beauty and the Beast" soundtrack played in the background so I could memorize the songs for the show I was in.

I distinctly remember finishing The Catcher in the Rye one morning in bed, slamming the book shut with a groan, and tossing it across the room.

I read most of Passenger by Alexandra Bracken during slow shifts at work (I work at a movie theater and it is dead on school days).

My family went to Washington D.C. for the cherry blossom festival, and since there was so much traffic on the way home, I was able to read most of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

I read The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong in every spare moment during a homeschool group trip to Colonial Williamsburg.

This past Halloween, I went out on the front porch with a bowl of candy to hand out to the neighbor kids while I read Misery by Stephen King while the sun went down. It was an excellent way to spend the holiday.

My brother and I volunteered to help out at our local library's book sale, but it was so slow, I ended up spending most of my time reading Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.

10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

Nothing comes to mind right now. My books come in pretty usual ways: gifts, bookstores, giveaways/contests, etc.

11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?

I buy my friends books I think they'd like for most birthdays and Christmases.

12. Which book has been with you the most places?

Definitely any of my Harry Potter copies. I used to take paperbacks with me on every long road trip.

13. Any "required reading" you hated in high school that wasn't so bad two years later?

Since I'm still in high school, I can't answer this question yet. But I have a feeling some of the classics I felt pretty "meh" about I'll end up liking once I'm older.

14. Used or brand new?

Both! Brand new is nice and shiny, totally yours, and handy when you want to read a new book. Used copies are cheap and sometimes it's interesting wondering who underlined that quote or who wrote that message on the inside cover?

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

I'm reading The Da Vinci Code now.

16. Have you ever seen a movie that you liked more than the book?

If I have, I don't remember it. Most books are wayyy better.

17. A book that's made you hungry?

Anna and the French Kiss. I wanted so many crêpes! Also Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda for Oreos, The Upside of Unrequited for cookie dough (Becky Albertalli is on a mission to make me crave desserts), and The Inexplicable Logic of My Life for homemade tortillas.

18. Who is the person whose book advice you'll always take?

Cait, Lara Liz, and my mom.

19. Most read authors?

J.K. Rowling, Rainbow Rowell, Cassandra Clare, and A.S. King all come to mind.

20. Ship from two different books?

This is too hard to answer because most of my favorite characters who are extremely shippable I end up shipping with another character in the same book!

Tag, you're it! If you don't want to do the whole tag, you could always answer a couple questions I'm especially curious about in the comments: What are your answers for #9 and #20?

Friday, September 8, 2017

Bookish Bucket List

1. Meet J.K. Rowling

Ha. Ha ha.


2. Attend a book conference

YALLFest looks pretty darn amazing. And Rainbow Rowell attends a lot of these. I would LOVE to meet her!

3. Be an extra in a movie adaptation

I could be somebody walking in the background, or pretending to talk in a restaurant while the real action happens. Then there's the chance that I could meet the actors playing my favorite characters. Or maybe even meet the author. I just about died of envy when I heard about Margot Wood being an extra in the Simon movie.


4. Be followed on Twitter by one of my favorite authors

Then again, no matter how thrilled I'd be by this, a little part of me would panic every time I sent a tweet. "Oh god they're following me what did I say was that tweet spelled correctly I need to edit that WAIT I CAN'T EDIT TWEETS I'LL JUST DELETE IT AND START OVER."


5. Write a book blurb for a back cover

You know, those blurbs that only go to people like John Green and Stephen King? It would be awesome to write one of those. Especially since I'd probably write it for something I absolutely adore, so I'd get to help endorse the book and shove it into people's hands.

6. Work in a bookstore and/or library

Getting paid real money to be around books all day and recommend them to people??? This is basically a dream job.


7. Adapt a book for a movie, TV show, or Broadway musical

How. Cool. Would. This. Be.

8. Complete my TBR list so I can read books as they come out

Again . . . ha. Ha ha.


9. Stay up all night reading

This hasn't happened (yet), but I've come pretty close. I think I could do it if I had plenty of caffeine and the absolute perfect book at my disposal.

10. Read the whole Harry Potter series to my kids

Or read along to the audio. These are some of my favorite childhood memories, so I'd love to provide the same experience to my kids someday.


What's on your bookish bucket list? Leave a comment!

Monday, September 4, 2017

August Wrap-Up

Books I Read

Half Bad by Sally Green 

3/5

I was so excited to read this, because it looked like a super unique fantasy trilogy that everyone was in love with. It did have an interesting premise, a strong start, and a promising plot, but . . . the plot wandered, the last half dragged on, and it couldn't keep my attention because I was bored. I couldn't connect with the protagonist, either. I felt sorry for him at first, but I was so disinterested by the end, I didn't care all that much what happened. This book wasn't really for me. I probably won't continue.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

4/5

Wow, this was a fascinating read! I'll get my couple negatives out of the way, because it was a good book and that should be the focus. 1. The story jumped around in time a lot in what seemed mostly like a random order. Sometimes that works, but I didn't think it did with this book. 2. There was a lot told through narration, which made me wonder if a novel would've worked better than a graphic novel? I'm just more used to speech bubbles when I'm reading a graphic novel. But, it was a super interesting memoir about a dysfunctional family (with most of the dysfunction coming from the father). I loved all the connections Alison Bechdel made to literature, because there were a ton of parallels when it came to her life and literary stories.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

3/5

This was another one I'd heard nothing but good about and couldn't wait to read, but I was so disappointed. Very little kept me reading to the end, and that was because I'd 1. invested so much time already in this book and 2. was a little curious what happened because I did still like the characters. First of all, personal issue here, but I think using the third person for a YA contemporary romance is super odd. We hardly ever see anything but first person when reading YA contemporaries these days. Third person only works if you can still make me feel really connected to the characters, and I did not feel that way. Usually dialogue is able to make up for that, but the dialogue in this book was so unnatural. There were whole conversations that took place simply because it moved the plot forward, which is what dialogue is supposed to do, but it's also supposed to do that without the reader realizing it. Grr. I did love the diversity! It was really cool to read about Indian culture from two American-Indian teenagers with two very different perspectives! Buuuuut, it dealt with these issues in a really preachy, awkward way. I've talked with my teenage friends about social issues. We don't talk like that. The nerdiness was great and I loved the concept of a coding camp where everyone's in a competition to create an app, but for the whole six or so weeks they were at the camp they? Never?? Once??? Showed them???? In class????? Why. Why why why. That could've made things way more interesting and added a ton more tension (which was sorely lacking in the middle) rather than sending Dimple and Rishi to various restaurants for lunch every day. I love food, but food does not make up for a slow plot that wanders and repeats itself. One of the big saving graces to this book was that, however unrealistic several parts of it were, the romance was cute! Downright adorable! I totally shipped it. I mean, when a girl flings her iced coffee at a boy during their first meeting, it's all uphill from there. So, as you can see, I have a lot of feelings (mostly mixed) about this book, but it wasn't bad.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

4/5

Now this was a good book. It had a haunting plot, which was mostly creepy due to the fact that parts of it weren't far off from things that could happen today. It was gripping in a can't-take-your-eyes-away-from-this-trainwreck sort of sense. I loved the writing on a sentence level. Margaret Atwood had a beautiful descriptive style. The awkward and abrupt arrangement of scenes made it hard to reenter the book sometimes, but it's eventually explained why it's written that way. While it made sense, I can't decide if it made up for the fact that it wasn't enjoyable during the whole time I was trying to make sense of it. That, and the storyworld with a confusing hierarchy that's never quite explained. All in all, though, I'd definitely recommend reading it.

Movies I Watched

"Heathers"

3.5/5

I love "Heathers" the musical, so I was excited to watch the movie inspiration behind it, but, fitting in with the common theme of high expectations not being met, I was a little disappointed. It being billed as a dark comedy is a little misleading. The musical, definitely, is a dark comedy. The movie is mostly just dark. Everyone was cast really well and definitely fit their characters, but I didn't connect with them as well as I did in the musical. I also missed the friendship Veronica had with Martha. It wasn't really shown at all during the movie. The ending also fell flat for me. Maybe I would've liked it a lot better if I didn't have anything to compare it to, but while it was entertaining and still had that over-the-top premise that made it so unique, I didn't like it as much as I thought I would.

"Catch Me If You Can"

5/5

This was so fun!! And good!! I love heist films and sympathetic criminals and all that great gray area (or not-so-gray area) stuff. The fact that the whole story was based off of a true story made it that much better. What a crazy movie filled with tons of twists. I was hooked the entire time. Anything Tom Hanks is in is bound to be 1,000 times better than it would be if he wasn't in it. Definitely watch this movie if you haven't already.


Quotes I Wrote


            “The answer to all our problems!” Jezebelle gestured vaguely with her bottle. “We have got to visit the mermaids!”
            “Dear God, no, absolutely not.” Lincoln stood up, pulling Jezebelle off the table. “You can have a family reunion some other time, preferably when I’m far, far away.”
            “Oh, don’t be such greasy wig.” Rufus waved a hand in Lincoln’s direction. “I love your family, Jez. We ought to pay them a visit.”
            “We’ve got nowhere to be.” Zahira shrugged and leapt onto the table, taking Jezebelle’s place. “Why don’t we go to Starryedge?”
            Lincoln crossed his arms. “Because it’s filled with a bunch of superstitious fish people who try to tell me wearing black shortens my lifespan by ten years?”
            “They’ve got a point, mate. Black is not your color.” Rufus wiggled a finger at Lincoln’s current outfit: layers upon layers of dark clothing. “Makes you look pale.”

-Captain Zahira and Her Wayward Crew


Obsessions I Acquired

Brittain Ashford's voice - Not only is she fantastic in "Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812" as Sonya, but she also has a band, Prairie Empire! All of her music is so good. I love how unique her voice is. Two seconds into any song and you know immediately it's her singing. Here's her solo from the "Great Comet" that could totally stand on its own as a single from the musical.

 

Picture of the Month 

Charlie and Mikey came out to visit again and we had a blast, as always!
Scout: Why do we have to take a picture? Me:BECAUSEYOURESOFREAKINGCUTEYESYOUAREYESYOUAREWHOSAGOODGIRL
My dad took my brother and me to see "Great Comet" and it was SUCH A COOL EXPERIENCE.
With Balaga!
Brittain Ashford, who's just adorable.
Dave Malloy, who sounds exactly like he does when he's singing.
Dana and I went to Lititz and goofed off, as you can see.
How was your August?