WRITING UPDATE + SNIPPETS [JULY 19, 2017]

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UPDATE

It has been MUCH too long (five months, to be exact) since I’ve updated all of you lovelies on my writing and what I’m working on. Now as you may remember from my previous posts, I was struggling with my work in progress. Compared to my first novel (YA Speculative Fiction with elements of Science Fiction), it was difficult transitioning to my WIP (YA Historical Fiction with Fantasy).

This was hard for me, because no matter how hard I tried, the words wouldn’t come. The ones that did felt awkward and robotic. I was terrified I would never be able to write another book.

Looking back, I can say these blocks were a cause of both stress and unnecessary amounts of pressure. I wasn’t allowing myself the time to soak in this world, to truly understand my characters and their stories. I was trying to force myself to write, all while I was caught up in the issues of petty problems and people. I was forgetting how it felt to be alive. To believe in magic.

After going through a few personal problems (including dozens of rejections for my first book), I again realized how important my stories are to me. I thought of my characters, the stories I have and have not yet written. I wondered what they would do, how they would feel in my situation. And I knew they would try again, even if it meant getting hurt and rejected again and again.

Once July rolled in, words began pouring from my fingertips. My characters roamed my daydreams and nighttime thoughts. They became these living beings who I couldn’t get enough of, much like how I felt with my first book. I almost cried with joy when my word count swiftly kept spiking by the thousands.

I was back, and I now know that no matter what struggles I go through, I will always return to my true loves.

So now, as of July 19, I have written about 65k words for my WIP, putting about 1k towards it almost every day. I also edited my first novel, taking it down from 93k to 90k. I’m awaiting feedback from a friend, then I plan to query once again. I’ve been staying up until midnight or one, my eyes wide like a mad scientist. (No but really, I talk to myself in accents and dance to music and scribble random notes and I should maybe be concerned??? Nah.) I feel wild and happy and free.

I cannot even begin to describe what my work in progress has already taught me. It has flooded my heart with emotions both new and old. It has strengthened my soul and given me hope. I love diving into this world and watching these characters blossom. I look forward to completing their story and hopefully one day sharing it with the rest of you.

But in the meantime, I can share a few snippets. A couple of notes about my WIP: it takes place in 16th century Scotland, along with a magical island. Girls supports girls. There are wild children and a boy with very long lashes who will make you SWOON. (But also can be childish and selfish and stupid because #nobodyisperfectinmyworld.) There also might be dragons. *smirks evilly*

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SNIPPETS

#RELATIONSHIPGOALS

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AIM FOR THE NECK

 

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ASKING FOR CONSENT IS CUTE

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APPLAUSE

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FIGHT

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LET’S CHAT

That was quite a lengthy and somewhat emotional update, but I hope it inspired or influenced any of you fellow writers (or artists) out there who may be struggling. Just know that when you are passionate about something, it will always return to you, and you must believe that.

Also, please let me know what you thought of my snippets! I would love to hear your thoughts or feedback. And to all of you artists, I would love to hear what you’re working on and how it’s going. It’s important for us creative people to stay motivated and inspire one another. Don’t be afraid to share your successes and failures. It’s makes us stronger.

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THE CROWNS OF CROSWALD BY D.E. NIGHT

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SYNOPSIS

In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret…

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic—and her life—is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.

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REVIEW

If you love the magic of Harry Potter and whimsical charm of Cinderella, then you will love The Crowns of Croswald. Night creates such a fantastical setting with creatures like dragons, hairies (fairies), and shorehorses. And in the Halls of Ivy, all sorts of magic is taught. Instead of wands or wizarding hats, magic is found within ink and quills and stones and glanagerie bottles. I found this magic to be fun and creative, something I could easily picture in my head.

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We follow Ivy as she goes from a maid to a student at the Halls of Ivy. But something I would have actually liked to have seen more of was her time as a maid. I only glimpsed a peek into Ivy’s horrible life, then she was suddenly swept up into the Halls of Ivy. I think this would have allowed for a bit more depth in character and story, but this was nothing major.

I really enjoyed following Ivy throughout her story. I must admit, the beginning was a tad slow, but once I was about half through, they tale picked up. We get to see more of Ivy’s friends—Rebecca and Fyn—and her magical potential. (Also: her love interest’s name was Fyn which just made me think of Fin MacMillian which is ALWAYS a plus.)

You’re welcome in advance for blessing your life with the sight of this beautiful boy.

RIGHT BUT ANYWAYS, Fyn and Ivy’s friendship was very endearing and sweet. They were best friends, and I always find that to be the most charming. They would happily follow each other on their adventures, no matter how crazy they seem. Not to mention, Rebecca and Ivy’s friendship was also cute and funny.

I will have to be honest in saying I found the plot points of the The Crowns of Croswald to be predictable, but I believe this is because it is geared more towards middle-grade readers. But don’t get me wrong, I think readers at any age can enjoy this novel. It has that classic fairy tale feel full of magic and adventure.

If you’re in need of something fun and whimsical, you should definitely pick up The Crowns of Croswald! You’ll be sure to fall in love with this magical world.

Thank you so much to so much to Meg Bruce and D.E. Night for reaching out and sending me one of the most beautiful parcels I’ve ever received. I’m so thankful. 

The Crowns of Croswald will be released on July 21, 2017.

RATING: ★★

{GoodreadsAmazon}

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LET’S CHAT

What are some upcoming releases you lovelies are looking forward to? I’ve been saving loads of book from fall 2017 and 2018 to my want-to-read list and I’m SUPER excited. Which reminds me, don’t forget to follow my Goodreads if you haven’t already. *wink*

I hope you enjoyed this review and consider picking up The Crowns of Croswald when it releases in one week! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this whimsical fantasy.

P.S. You’re welcome for that Fin Macmillan GIF. It’s what I’m here for. *double wink*

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JUNE WRAP-UP [2017]

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THE MONTH OF JUNE

This is the part where I’m supposed to crack some jokes on the ups and downs of the adulthood and reading, followed by telling you what I’ve accomplished this month. But instead, I want to dedicate this section to something else. To someome else.

PEANUT

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On June 28, 2017, my dearest Peanut passed away. I knew he was getting old as he recently aged to seven, but I think we can all agree that when you’ve had someone in you life for so long, you don’t expect them to leave. Of course I know all things must come to an end, but Peanut seemed like my magical little partner who would never leave. But when I woke up one day to find him limping, I knew his days were coming to an end.

I can’t begin to describe how heartbroken I was to watch my little Peanut go from hopping to walking to crawling, until all he could do was lay down. Thankfully, he didn’t appear to be in any pain and went peacefully within his own home.

I felt empty. Lost. In a way, I still do. But I think Peanut passing gave me a lot of perspective on life, on appreciating what we have and the world around us. Peanut taught me a lot about life, believe it or not.

Peanut, I miss you so much. Even as I write this, tears fill my eyes. I hope you know how loved you were and will continue to be. You have filled so much joy and laughter. You were such a light in my life, and you will forever live on in my heart. And I swear, I get these signs that you’re here with me, as though you’ve never left.

And to everyone who sent me love through these last couple of weeks, who held me as I cried, thank you. Without your love and support, I don’t know where I would be. So thank you.

Now let’s move on to the books of this month before I continue with all of my sappiness.

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THE BOOKS OF JUNE

HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX (HARRY POTTER #5)

REVIEW:

I know, I know. I STILL haven’t finished the Harry Potter series. There’s no need to blame my TBR on this one. I simply keep postponing reading this series because it is GIANT and honestly, I often have trouble getting into each book in the beginning.

But after reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I had high hopes for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Unfortunately though, I found this segment in the series to be unnecessarily long and lackluster. There were many moments while I was reading that my mind would wander, thinking, why the bloody hell is this scene necessary?

I understand this novel is supposed to mainly provide character development and back story. I get that. But this was so, so very long. It dragged on for me. I don’t mean to sound negative because I did still enjoy this book and I know millions adore this series, but I really had trouble with this one.

Nonetheless, I look forward to completing the rest of the series in due time. (And yes, I said I was going to binge the rest of it, but I’m looking at those giant books on my shelves and NO THANK YOU. I’m leaving this one up to the TBR jar.)

RATING: ★★

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GRAY WOLF ISLAND

REVIEW:

Reminiscent of The Raven Boys and your classic treasure hunting story, Gray Wolf Island is a fantastic, eerie book that will keep you guessing. Much like The Raven Boys, these characters were strange, raw and touched with a little magic. Their interactions will leave you smiling, laughing and maybe even crying.

But that’s the thing: in a flash, alone becomes lonely. Maybe I’ve been waiting for someone to push me. That’s what these boys are doing, I think. They’re forcing their way under my skin.

The story is told from two perspectives, one being Ruby, who lost her twin sister after promising her to find the treasure of Gray Wolf Island, and then Cooper, a mysterious boy who has a strange tie to the treasure.

I adored Neithercott’s style, how she constructed and captured the setting of Gray Wolf Island with such precision. I felt like I was in the misty trees, smelling the flowers and damp soil. I felt completely and utterly transported into this book, feeling the pain and wonder the characters went through.

For my full review on this mysterious treasure hunting tale, click here.

Thank you to Random House for approving me to read an ARC of Gray Wolf Island. This ARC was received through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Gray Wolf Island is expected to be released October 10, 2017.

RATING: ★★

{GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository}

IN THE AFTER BY DEMITRIA LUNETTA

REVIEW:

In the After is a post-apocalyptic tale similar to The 5th Wave. (Except we don’t have too much teen angst or a love triangle, thankfully.) Our main character Amy is left alone at her home when the Florae (zombie-aliens) strike. She learns to survive alongside Baby, a toddler she found years ago.

The first part of the story was amazing. I loved the relationship between Amy and Baby, how they lived in this new world. I was in love with their story.

But then the second and third parts struck, and I’m afraid I started losing interest. The perspective went from first-person, to third and first person, the third person being told from the future. This shift in perspective, along with the environment, made the novel feel disjointed.

I still enjoyed the whole of the story, but not enough to reach for the second novel. Unfortunately, I won’t be continuing this series, but I did enjoy parts of this book, especially the first section.

RATING: ★★

{GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository}

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LET’S CHAT

I apologize for that sorrowful beginning of the wrap-up, but I wanted to be honest with all of you. I don’t want to be one of those bloggers who pretends their life is perfect, that nothing tragic ever happens. I typically make jokes about going through the minor blemishes in life, but I haven’t really expressed some bigger issues, so I wanted to be real. (Or, as the kids would say, I want to keep it 💯.)

But enough about me. How was your June? How many books did you read? Any new favorites? As always, be sure to let me know! I love getting recommendations and hearing about your reading endeavors.

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