Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn't Fly


Friends, writing book reviews is hard. In case you haven't heard, there's been a lot of drama with book reviews on blogs and authors and it's a whole big mess. I don't know a whole lot about it, so I can't comment. However, I will say that knowing I had to write a book review this week I wasn't very excited. Especially since it wasn't going to be a very good one.

I seem to have a knack for picking books with truly awesome ideas, or at least intriguing. Then, the actual book itself doesn't live up to the promising premise. It's disappointing and difficult. As a result, I end up reading a book I don't want to read and writing a negative review I don't want to write. 

Needless to say - a career in book reviewing isn't in my future. 

Because of this, I want to back away from reviewing books. I won't completely cut it out, in fact I have one coming up soon that I actually think will be good. Beyond that though, I'm going to cut back. I'll only review books I REALLY want to read. There have been some I've been asked to read, and I'll do a few of those as well. But other than that, I only want to talk about books I enjoy and want to read. Reading shouldn't be a chore- it should be fun. Life is too short to read books you don't like. Right? Right.

This is the latest book I've read for review:


Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn't Fly
PT Jones
CHI Teen
Release Date: October 21, 2014 (TODAY!)

I ended up giving it 2 stars on Goodreads. The idea was cute. A girl discovers a guy who can float and as a result her entire town (particularly the children) begin to float too. Which of course leads to many crazy events. Cute, right? In my opinion, it fell short. Everything was shallow and could have been so much more in depth. 

If you would like to know more about my opinion, feel free to contact me and I can go further into detail.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Gypsy Life

It's not really a secret I love Lady Gaga. It's one of those things where I used to be embarssed about it, but I just can't be. I love Lady Gaga. There are some songs I could take or leave, but there are some songs of hers I just LOVE LOVE LOVE. Whether it's a fun dance song I can jam out to in my car or some of her more personal and powerful songs.

Okay yeah... she has some issues. I won't deny it.

But she posts more photos of her dog on Instagram than I do and you gotta love a girl who loves her dog, right? Right.

I do truly love how she stands for being an individual and letting your inner weirdness (or "monster") shine. Is it just an act or simply the "brand" she's given herself? Maybe. But it's one I can stand behind so I'm okay with it.

Naturally... I wanted to learn a Lady Gaga song on my ukulele. That's pretty much where all of my music inspiration has been coming from lately. I decide I want to learn to play a song and then I basically just live and breath that song until I have it down.

The song I chose was "Gypsy" which I feel like is the best song on "Artpop." It's a love story about people who have wanderlust and leaving everything behind but still wanting someone to love.


What music have you been getting inspiration from lately?





I'm also linking up with Mingle Monday!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

NaNoWriMo Prep: I Have No Plot!

In only 15 days NaNoWriMo will be upon us. Thousands of people around the world will be typing away to create 50,000 word novels by the end of the month. Usually, this is one of my favorite times of the year. I love checking out the forums, brainstorming ideas, and writing in my little notebook all of the plans I have for my upcoming novel.



This year, I'm already stuck. It's only half way through October and I feel like I'm at a dead end. While, I know overall this isn't really a problem. A ton of people go into NaNoWriMo not having planned a single thing. In fact, I love the process of writing and seeing where my story goes and how it changes as I write. However, I like to at least have a rough outline and know generally where I'm going. As of right now, I feel like I don't have a plot. There are a few scenes in my head, but nothing which comes together to create a storyline.

Surely, I can't be the only one in this situation. Other people must be having issues with brainstorming their stories, right? So... Here is advice I give to you... And myself.

1) Find Brainstorming and Writing Buddies

This is always one of my biggest pieces of advice for those doing NaNoWriMo. The beauty of this month is that you have a built in writing community where everyone is in the same boat and know what you're going through. I'm so excited I live in a city because I'll have a lot of opportunities for write ins. (Declare a home region on the NaNoWriMo website and you can go to some in your area!) Or you can go to the forums and get ideas and buddies there.

You can also go to your "real life" friends. I was able to vent some of my frustrations to a close friend over the weekend, and while she's not a writer she helped ease my mind. I them texted a writing friend and we are going to hang out next week to brainstorm story ideas.

Other people are a valuable asset to your writing!

2) Develop Your Characters

Nearly every year during NaNoWriMo I have some sort of plot issue which is solved by developing my characters or switching one detail about them. The dynamics and the chemistry between the characters personalities can help drive your plot. I can't tell you how many times I've been on a long drive in October or November and start having "conversations" with my characters (I know I sound crazy right now) and suddenly new plot points and twists come to my head.

In fact, I wrote up a character development worksheet on Google Docs for you all to help you out. It gets pretty detailed and you can use what sections are most helpful to you, but I know sometimes thinking through those details can really help me flesh out my characters.


3) Get Some Visuals

I've learned to LOVE Pinterest and Google Images for helping me do my novel planning. I don't know about you, but it helps me to have images of people I think would look like my characters, pictures of what I think would be in their apartment or where they live, etc. I have secret boards for my NaNoWriMo novels, and I started a public board for writing tips. You can find it by clicking here.

What other advice would you give people (aka: ME!) when they feel like they are stuck in their novel planning?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Are You My Mummy

I feel as though everyday I get more and more into the "fall" spirit. This weekend there was perfect fall weather with the sun shining but a slight chill in the air, the NaNoWriMo site is officially up and running for this year, and yesterday I spent all day with some friends at Six Flags for Fright Fest. (I only got scared by one of the actors once!)

I can't even remember the last time I've been to Fright Fest. I think it was in high school. It's so much fun though. I love watching all of the actors in costume walking around scaring people and the ridiculous/corny/slightly creepy decorations the park has up everywhere. My favorite costumes I'm pretty sure were the old time soldiers with gas masks It was very Doctor Who. I tried to take a picture to post with #areyoumymummy but they were walking too quickly. :-(


But there is also this amazingly cheesy show called Love at First Fright and it was my favorite part of the day. They sang all of these songs and threw in as many pop culture jokes as possible and it made my heart happy. So, now I have "Time Warp" stuck in my head. Which... isn't too bad. I love "Time Warp" and it's a perfect Halloween type song. 






Friday, October 10, 2014

The Tone Poet Book Reivew



Basic Summary Without Spoilers

Cameron Blake is a famous and gifted composer who writes music for TV shows. After some of his great works he has been considered one of the most talented musicians of his generation. Then, one day, a mysterious man named Bloom from Tennessee arrives and tells him he knows about Cameron's talents and would like for Cameron to come to Tennessee to write for his orchestra. Bloom tells Cameron about "tone poets", aka, people who can write the music of God and Bloom claims Cameron has this ability. Cameron goes to Tennessee and soon finds out all is not as it seems.


The Tone Poet
Author: Mark Rickert
Publisher: BQB Publishing
Release Date: October 29, 2014

My Thoughts

The Premise

The idea of The Tone Poet intrigued me. It's a horror novel about music and dealing with God and demons. For some reason novels about music have been interesting to me lately so I was excited to read this one. In this story, people who have had near-death experiences sometimes hear the music of God and could spend their whole life trying to compose it. The conductor, Bloom, has an orchestra who can play this music, strange instruments which were created for this music, and claims to be able to draw it out of the tone poets. It was a very interesting and creative premise.

However, the tie-ins with religion were all off. While, as a novel I never expect for it to align with my own personal theology. However, you can still research and put effort into it. A good example would be the TV show Supernatural which deals with demons and angels. I don't agree with the "theology" and their portrayal of God and the like. However, it is apparent they at least put effort into making it plausible and a good story. The Tone Poet? Not so much. 

The Characters

They were... okay. Cameron was the most complicated of them all, followed by his friend Hobb. However, they all seemed to fall short. Cameron was a likable guy, but I never completely bought his motivations for his choices. I didn't believe in his relationship with the love interest, he kept running away from Bloom just to be dragged back in without much of a reason, and seemed to get bravery out of nowhere. 

Reverend Kalek was very much a stereotypical novel version of a pastor. Someone who really isn't very intelligent and blindly follows anything which could slightly resemble something which could possibly be from God. While, I understand where this stereotype comes from and why authors use it, I found it slightly offensive in this novel. Some of the most intelligent people I know are pastors and the author, Rickert, didn't put much effort into fleshing out Kalek.

When it came to characters, Rickert used many horror story stereotypes. There was even a deformed man who was hidden away in the orchestra's theatre and turned out to be evil and deranged. One, it was a little too Phantom of the Opera ,which is a musical I love but we've already seen this story and at least in the musical you learn to sympathize with him. Two, it's also very offensive to make the person who is disfigured one of the obvious bad guys. Three, it's a little too obvious. Even Disney has gone away from the idea "Ugly=bad." It's 2014, let's move on from these stereotypes. 

Hobb was my favorite character. He was a friend Cameron made in Tennessee and I loved his back story and he was the only one who seemed to be a decent person.

I can't even get into the female characters because they were practically non-existent. Again... it's 2014. Let's have female characters who aren't just there for the main male character to fall in love with and then later be victimized.

Overall

I was very disappointed. There were some scenes which were creepy, which is awesome since it's a horror story. The idea was creative and interesting. I had such high hopes for The Tone Poet. However, there were too many character (and some plot) stereotypes for me to buy into them, the love story wasn't believable, and the tie in with theology was badly done. 


I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads, although I would say it's more like 2 1/2 because I did like it better than You're Not Much Use to Anyone.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Yes, I Am Alive

What? What is this place? My blog?

::blows dust off of the keyboard::

::blinks into the light of the screen::

The only excuse I can think of is that I'm still recovering from a sever case of sister's wedding hangover. (Not a REAL hangover - you know what I mean. Besides, having a real hangover for a week and a half would be the worst thing ever.) I also have been pretty busy. So... today I'm just going to give you a quick update about my life and what I've been into and thinking about lately. Don't worry- a for real post will be coming up soon. I promise.

Work

Life at the preschool continues to be ridiculous, crazy, full of screaming children, but also still adorable. We have a couple of new two year olds this year who are adorable and have become my buddies. They're sweet but also a handful.

I also have been working at the extended care at an elementary school which is too is crazy, ridiculous, full of screaming children, and a few adorable moments. Especially when they are super bummed that it's my sister who got married and not me.

But beyond those two jobs (they're only part time and I got bills to pay yo!) I decided to try my hand at freelancing. I've only gotten a couple of small jobs so far which kind of make me feel like a sell out- but it's pretty awesome to know people are actually willing to pay me for writing. I'm hoping it can only go up from here.

Books

Naturally - there is a lot of reading going on in my life. I recently finished an eARC book called The Tone Poet whose review will be up soon!

I've been into the Maze Runner series lately as well. It's not the greatest series ever, but I'm invested now and I HAVE TO HAVE THE ANSWERS TO ALL OF THE QUESTIONS.

My newest favorite book series though is The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. While I know they aren't really new, but they're new to me and WOW I can't believe I haven't discovered these books before now. I love how they take place in Chicago, Dresden is HILARIOUS, and it moves fast. It's really fun.

What's really exciting about my reading life right now though is my new book club on Facebook called The Book Worms. We just completed our first month and read Firestarter by Stephen King. For October we're reading Warm Bodies by Issac Marion and AH! it's so much fun! If you want to join the club click here.

The Internet

So... I have finally discovered Tyler Oakley. I've heard about him all over the Internet. But then - BUT THEN a friend of mine posted this video of him interviewing Darren Criss. TYLER OAKLEY IS MY SPIRIT ANIMAL. I've become obsessed and trying to watch his videos and he has a new podcast called Psychobabble which I listen to every single week on the way to work. It's the best thing ever and all of you need to watch/listen so I can have people to talk to about them. Awesome. I'm glad we had this talk.

I also have been loving Carrie Hope Fletcher. She really is one of my favorite YouTubers. She's so sweet, has a fantastic voice, loves Disney, is playing Epoinine in London, and is the one who inspired me to play the ukulele.

As for blogs I've been loving lately...

http://www.princessburlap.com/

http://www.mrthomasandme.com/

http://eastandblog.com/

http://www.embergrey.com/

http://www.sailorjulyxo.com/

http://www.melbourneonmymind.com/

http://www.storiessongsandpraise.com/

http://www.thegirlwholovedtowrite.com/

TV and Movies

Like the rest of the world - I went and saw Gone Girl this weekend. It was good! It was a good adaptation of the novel. But that's not why I was excited to see it. I was excited because it was filmed WHERE I LIVED IN MISSOURI. That whole opening scene? Yeah, I walked those streets ALL THE FREAKING TIME. I even saw a couple of actors who played extras. It was pretty awesome.

For TV I'm catching up on The Originals and The Vampire Diaries  and Supernatural. But I love the new shows A to Z, Selfie, and Forever. 

Things I've Been Thinking About

It's October which means ... NaNoWriMo starts next month! This week I got many of my characters named and it's pretty exciting. Stay tuned for some NaNoWriMo prep posts coming up in the next few weeks. Now if only the official website would get it together and launch for the year...



One of my favorite bloggers, Love Addict NYC, a couple of months ago started a daily email. It's just a few paragraphs to help and encourage her readers and it's the best thing ever. I look forward to reading it every single day and I'm always thinking "I could totally do that." Then I remembered - I kind of tried to already. I have a box on the right side of my blog where you can sign up for an email - but I have never sent one out. Ever. How awful is that?

So... I've been wondering. Is that a thing you all would be interested in?



Already know you want to be on the email list? Sign up here!

   
   
   
   
   

Monday, October 6, 2014

Music for Leaves, Hot Chocolate, and Sweater Weather

I think we can officially say fall has arrived. This weekend was the first time I had to bundle up with both a sweater and a jacket and I've been rocking my scarves and boots like hipsters in July.

When it comes to autumn, I can never think of a single song which makes me get in the mood for the season. (Unless it's Halloween songs!) However, I do love exploring 8tracks.com for playlists for each season. Here are a few of my favorites to help you get in the mood too.






What are your favorite songs for autumn?


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Two Ideas

There were two stories in my mind. When I sat down to think about them, neither worked. I couldn't see how to flesh them out and make them full out novels. So I put them on the back burner. I focused on other ones which I fell in love with.

Every once in awhile they would pop up in my mind but I never gave them much thought. There were other things to think about and worry about.

Then, one day, I saw they could go together. I have no idea how I came up with it because individually it would seem, they would never fit and the story would be all over the place. But somehow I really think it'll work.

I'm so excited about this story and it'll be my NaNoWriMo project for 2014. Which is awesome because until I figured this out I had no clue what I would be writing about in November. With October coming this week I can't wait to dive into my NaNoWriMo planning and plotting. One of my favorite parts of NaNoWriMo is being able to dedicate so much to just plotting, planning, character development, research and world build building.

But I'm also nervous about this project. It'll be one of the most personal stories I've written and I've only told one person my ideas. So, no, I'm not telling the rest of you either. At least not yet. (Yes, that includes you mom!) But, the author Neil Gaiman says if you don't feel like you're standing in the street naked you aren't doing it right. So... This is a good thing then according to that.


But when you have a story to tell, you have to let it out, the world needs your story. 

Linking up with Sarah Anne Hayes: http://sarahannehayes.com/blog/the-story-you-need-to-share/