Tag Archives: reading

Book Unhaul #1

After several years, I’ve finally done my first book “unhaul”. This isn’t a traditional unhaul, where I’ve donated these books or given them to family and friends. I’m actually keeping most of them in case I ever want to reread them or use them as a reference for anything. However, these books are leaving the bookshelf to be hidden somewhere out of view.

There’s currently three bookshelves in our apartment. One is in the bedroom, where I keep most of my books. The second is also in the bedroom, but we use that one for comic books and other knickknacks. The third one is the living room, and we keep our boxset books and other special book series on the shelves in there. But this third bookshelf also has a lower cabinet beneath it, where I can hide anything unsightly I don’t want to see anymore. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, all of these books are being “unhauled” from the good bookshelf to the bad one.

Please remember, if these are any of your personal favorite books, then that’s okay! We all have different opinions and tastes, and what doesn’t work for me, might work for you!


Books I May Reread in the Future

Keeper by Kim Chance
The Other Child by Lucy Atkins
Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson
Little Sister by Isabel Ashdown

Books I Liked, But Not Enough

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
The Third Twin by Ken Follet
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Divergent by Veronica Roth

Books I’ll Probably Never Reread

The Bargaining by Carly Anne West
The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mathers
Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mathers
Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline
My Sweet Audrina/Whitefern by V.C. Andrews

Books I Just Didn’t Care For

The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy by Jenny Han
Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy
Eve the Awakening by Jenna Moreci
Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart
The Window by Amelia Brunskill

Books I Really Didn’t Like

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
The Alpha Drive by Kristen Martin
Shadow Crown by Kristen Martin
A Line in the Dark by Malinda Cho
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry
The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green
Chain Letter by Christopher Pike
They All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Claire
People Like Us by Dana Mele

Books I DNF’ed

Cradle and All by James Patterson
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
Enter the Dark House/Return to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Books I Gave Away

The Cabin by Natasha Preston
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
The Bones of You by Debbie Howells

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I decided to give away the last three books for a few reasons. The Cabin by Natasha Preston was a complete disaster for me, so I knew with 100% certainty that I had no interest in hanging onto it. The Bones of You I read several years ago during a vacation, and while I remember thinking it was okay, it just wasn’t memorable enough for me to want to hold onto it. The same thing goes for Pretty Girls. I decided to put these into the Little Free Library in our town, so I hope someone can appreciate and find more enjoyment in them than I did.

 


What books did you unhaul recently? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO – Devon

July Recap 2019

July has been a hard month. A lot has been going on in my personal life, and I’m finding myself both emotionally and creatively drained. On a high note, I began revising my adult fantasy romance WIP, Forbidden, and finished round one of revisions, which is amazing! But on the bad side of things, my mom had a mini-stroke and I had to take her to the hospital. She’s recovered well and luckily nothing too serious happened, but there’s still the worry of another stroke possibly happening again. On top of that, I started a new job! I’ll be working weekends, and still get several days during the week to dedicate to writing! But just between all the travel, the hospital visits, and the stress of the new job, I’m worn out. But I’m hoping I can bounce back soon!

What I Wrote:

Like I mentioned above, I finished round one of revising Forbidden. The previous draft was sitting at 128k, and I managed to cut it down to 117k! I’d still like to cut those extra 2,000 words, but I’ve made a plan on how to tackle the next few rounds of revisions. Otherwise, I really haven’t dedicated time to any of my other projects. All of my focus has been going towards these revisions instead, but I did get an idea for a new WIP that I’m very excited begin plotting.

What I Read:

Total: 8

My Sweet Audrina/Whitefern by V.C. Andrews ★☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

My Sweet Audrina ★☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Whitefern ★☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

If I could say two words to describe these books, it would be: just don’t.

Seriously.

I saw this two-in-one book on the shelf at Walmart one day and thought it sounded intriguing, so I decided to pick it up, thinking it would be right up my alley. Unfortunately, I bit off more than I could chew, and found myself spiraling into a book series I wish I’d never discovered.

The story follows seven-year-old Audrina, who after her older sister – also named Audrina – was brutally murdered, struggles to become “The First and Best Audrina” instead of “The Second and Worst Audrina”. As Audrina grows and lives her life, she uncovers the dark secrets that her family has been keeping from her. Whitefern, the sequel, follows Audrina as an adult, as she struggles to come to terms with the secrets she’s learned.

The premise itself is very interesting – but the problem is everything inside the book. It’s chock-full of melodrama, long, drawn-out scenes, and abusive themes and messages such as:

Trigger Warning:

*Hints of pedophilia
*Spousal Abuse
*Verbal and Physical Abuse
*Child Abuse
*Rape/Sexual Assault
*Misandry
*Misogyny
*Disability Abuse
*Substance Abuse
*And much more

The worst part about reading these two books is that they’ve put me in a very negative headspace, and many of the negative messages inside have burrowed their way into my brain. I definitely did not feel good or excited while reading these, and I wouldn’t recommend these books to anyone.

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The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins ★★★★☆

The Hunger Games ★★★★★
Catching Fire ★★★★☆
Mockingjay ★★★★☆

Okay, I have a dirty little secret: I’ve never read The Hunger Games. Until now. The books came out when I was in high school I think, but for some reason, I just never picked them up. Even though I’ve seen the movies and knew the plot o each book, when my boyfriend asked me to read them (since he has the box set) I said sure!

Even though I knew what was going to happen with every scene, I still found myself completely enthralled in the world of Panem. I loved the writing, the story, and found myself constantly on the edge of my seat in anticipation. I really don’t have anything negative to say about the series – except when it comes to the final book, Mockingjay. I did find Mockingjay, at times, to be rather confusing to read when it came down to the war and battle scenes, but other than that, the series was a very satisfying and fulfilling read.

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To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo ★★★☆☆

I was really loving this book, until about halfway through. Something shifted in the middle of this book. Everything about the tone, the pacing, the characters – things took a very drastic turn that I just couldn’t get behind, and I found myself growing bored as I got closer to the end. By the time I did reach the final fifty pages or so, I was skimming just to get this book over with. Unfortunately, the plot became very unrealistic and cliché towards the end, and it wasn’t my cup of tea.

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks ★★★☆☆

I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t love it either. The writing was compelling, and I was really interested in the story. Even the twists and turns I didn’t expect! But as I was drawing closer to the end, I kept thinking there was going to be some big, mind-blowing twist, but there really wasn’t. While the story hooked me and kept me reading, I just wasn’t satisfied with the ending.

Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym M. Martineau ★★★★☆

This was one of my anticipated releases for this year, and it was definitely worth the hype! I loved the characters and the world, particularly the magic system – it was all so unique and interesting to read! I don’t have really any complaints about this book, other than I felt like the ending was just a tad rushed, but other than that, this was an enjoyable read! If you love fantasy romance, you should definitely pick this one up!

Heartwood Box by Ann Aguirre ★★☆☆☆

I wanted to love this book, I really did. Everything about this premise sounded right up my alley. While the writing is nice and the story is fast-paced and an easy read, it felt like the author had multiple ideas that she wanted to write about, and decided to mesh them all together in this one book. Unfortunately, the difference in the ideas just didn’t work well together for me. There’s so much going on in this book, and not nearly enough time is spent developing each plot point. The ending wasn’t fulfilling, and there were multiple plot holes and subplots that felt neglected. Despite my complaints, I didn’t hate this book, but I feel like it was wildly miss-marketed. This is a really close three stars, but in the end, I just wasn’t happy with this one.

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What I’m Watching:

I finally finished The Fosters, which I was very sad to see end! My boyfriend and I also watched Netflix’s Castlevania series, which was actually pretty good, and I’m very excited for Season 3! We also finished The Tudors, which was very good, and I definitely recommend watching it. We’ve started rewatching Dragon Ball Super in preparation for the last two volumes to be released on DVD, and as always, DBZ Super is a fun time, and an amazing show.

Currently Reading:

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How I Did: July Goals

Back in July, I gave myself several goals:

• Revise adult fantasy WIP
• Finish writing YA Thief Idea
• Send adult fantasy WIP back out to readers
• Make a final decision about going back to school
• Create my blog schedule for August and September

Unfortunately, I only managed to complete one of these, which was revising my adult fantasy WIP! Since I still have a few more rounds of revision I want to complete, it probably won’t go back out to beta’s until August! I also didn’t finish writing my YA thief idea since I was so preoccupied with these revisions. I did create my August blog post schedule, but not my September one, so I guess I completed half the goal.

And then there’s the school thing. Ugh. Ever since I started posting monthly recaps, I’ve been talking about wanting to go back to school – and I did. But at this point in time, I have no debt, and I’m scared of getting into a ton of debt. Have any of you gone back to school later in life? How did that turn out?

August Goals:

• Finish revising adult fantasy WIP
• Finish writing YA Thief Idea
• Send adult fantasy back out to beta readers
• Create blog schedule for September and October
• Start writing YA Foreign Princess Idea
• Start plotting new adult fantasy romance idea
• Research literary agents
• Revise query letter for adult fantasy WIP


How was everyone’s July? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO – Devon

Birthday Book Haul

With my birthday come and gone, I’m sure you can imagine there’s something I asked for: books!

Lots and lots of books. With so many new titles releasing, I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on them! Luckily, my friends and family were gracious enough to buy me several books or give me gift cards to buy the books myself! So, I thought I’d share with you all the books I’ve received for my birthday!

(Books in no particular order!)

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I also have to give a huge thank you and shout out to my friend and CP, Tauri Cox, for gifting me Kingdom of Exiles, You Are a Badass, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo!

Are there any books here that you’ve read? Or any you want me to read first and give my review? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO – Devon

The 10 Best Gifts for Writers (Birthday Edition)

With another birthday come and gone, it got me thinking: what are some of the perfect gifts for writers? If you’re a writer looking for ideas for yourself, or you have writer friends with a birthday coming up and aren’t sure what to get them, then here’s a list that’ll hopefully spark the perfect gift idea!

1.) Gift Cards

You can’t go wrong with a gift card! They’re simple, yet so effective. Gift cards to places like Barnes & Nobles, Amazon, or Target are the perfect place to stock up on more books or favorite writing supplies.

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2.) Books

Or, if you know exactly what your friend likes to read, then get them a book! Books make the perfect gift; just make sure you know exactly what your friend wants, or you could end up accidentally getting them duplicates of books they already own!

Another great book gift is to get them a special edition of a book they already love, or even a box set of their favorite series.

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3.) Journals

What writer doesn’t love a journal? Whether they like to use it for, you know – actually journaling – or writing down plot ideas, blogging schedules, or writing routines, you can’t go wrong with a journal!

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4.) Writerly Mugs

Whatever their favorite drink, a mug is always fun. Writing quotes, grammar rules, Shakespeare insults, you name it – there’s bound to be a writerly themed mug for it!

Cafépress.com has some of the best mugs available!

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5.) Bookends

Writers are known for having lots of book, and book ends are perfect. Not only will they spice up a bookshelf, but they’re pretty cool to look at, and they’re the perfect writer themed decoration to liven up any room.

(I personally have my eye on the Game of Thrones Dragon Eggs Bookends)

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6.) Writer Coloring Books

Forget about the stigma of adults coloring! Coloring is one of the most relaxing and stress-releasing activities there is. In the past couple of years, some awesome YA themed coloring books have been released, and they’re an amazing gift!

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7.) Wick and Fables Candles

I haven’t personally used these, but I’ve heard they’re amazing! Candles inspired by your favorite books and favorite characters is sure to brighten any writer’s day! Not only can you shop for individual candles, but you can also subscribe to their monthly boxes!

Seriously, who doesn’t love a good candle?

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8.) Owl Crate Subscription

For just $29.99 USD, you can buy your friend a subscription to Owl Crate! They also offer three and six month prepay, if you’re feeling generous. Owl Crate is the leading young adult subscription box on the market. They gift you every month with a new YA release, bookish keepsakes, exclusive items from authors and publishers, and so much more They also offer Owl Crate Jr. for the Middle Grade readers out there.

I haven’t personally used Owl Crate, but I’ve heard nothing but good things, and even I’m tempted to sign up!

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9.) Masterclass Subscription

With a payment of $180 for an all-access pass, or $90 for a single Masterclass, you can gift your writer friend with this amazing opportunity. Detailed classes taught by Dan Brown, R.L. Stine, Judy Blume, James Patterson, and so many other successful writers have available classes on the Masterclass website. Not only is the price point affordable for such a class, but you get life-time access that never expires.

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10.) Workshop

Writing Workshops can range from $100 – $800 or more, and cover a myriad of topics like: Writing Women’s Fiction, 12 Weeks to a First Draft, Advanced Novel Writing, Focus on the Short Story, and so much more. There’s bound to be a topic your writing friend is interested in, whether they’re looking to get a certification, or level up their writing craft.
While Workshops are on the more expensive side, they’re definitely a more personalized and special gift. You can look more into workshops with resources like:

Catapult Classes
24PearlStreet
Writer’s Digest University
Gotham Writers Workshop

I personally asked for a specific workshop as a birthday gift, and I’ve really been enjoying it!

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Whatever your budget, or your writing friend is interested in, I hope this list gives you a better idea of finding the perfect gift for all your writer friends out there!


Have you personally bought any items on these list or taken a Masterclass? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO – Devon

Interview with a Writer: Kelsey Atkins

Are you interested in getting to know more of the writers who are part of our amazing community? As part of my blog series, I’ve interviewed some of the writers in an effort to get to know them better, as well as share their stories!

Today, I’m introducing Kelsey Atkins onto the blog! Kelsey is one of my CP’s, and her feedback on my work has been so helpful! I’m excited to share Kelsey’s story!


#1. What got you into writing? How and when did you first start?

I started to enjoy writing at a very young age. I’ve always kept a journal and even wrote a few short stories when I was in middle school, but I didn’t start seriously writing until I was out of college. Writing was never something I thought about doing until I had a story to write. As soon as that first story planted itself in my brain and demanded to be written, I began my official writing journey and have been at it ever since.

#2: Where do you usually get your ideas?

As cliché as it sounds, I get my best ideas from dreams. Occasionally an idea will randomly pop into my head or develop from something I saw or heard, but the best ideas come from my subconscious.

#3: What current project are you working on right now? What was the inspiration for this project?

My current project is a dystopian novel set in a fantasy world. This is my first dystopian, but I stayed near my comfort zone by adding a fantasy element. I can’t remember where the idea originally came from, but I do remember it started out more as a feeling than an overall idea. I tried to write a different story before I chose to work on this one, but it kept tugging at the back of my mind, begging to be written, so that’s where my focus currently lies.

#4: Traditional, Self-Publish, Small Press? What path to publishing are you pursuing/have pursued and why?

My first book was traditionally published and I will continue to seek that route for my future novels. This is such a personal choice for each writer and for me it came down to needing to have someone in the industry believe in my work. I also wanted the support a traditional publisher provides as well as help navigating my way through marketing and book signings. The financial support is a huge bonus too!

#5: What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever received?

“There are no rules for writing. Find what works for you and stick with it!”

I really struggled to complete my first book because I thought I had to write it linearly from beginning to end. I thought I had to have an outline and do my best to stick to it. When I finally let go of all that, writing came so much easier. It took me five years to write my first book, but after I developed a process that worked for me, it only took me four months to write my second novel and eight weeks to write my third (thanks to Camp Nano and awesome cabin mates).

#6: When are you most creative?

My creativity hits whenever it’s inconvenient such as in the shower or while I’m driving. One of these days I’ll need to invest in a voice recorder and waterproof notepad, but until then I’ll continue jumping out of the shower with soapy hair, pulling over on the side of the road, or trying to convince myself I can remember whatever great idea popped into my mind.

#7: What authors inspire you the most?

Honestly, the authors who inspire me the most are those in the writing community who have yet to be published or have just started their publishing journey. The journey is LONG and hard and exhausting. It would be so much easier to give up after the first ten rejection letters and even easier to give up after the next twenty, thirty, or however many may come. It is so inspiring to see the writers who believe in themselves and their work keep fighting every day to make their dreams a reality. Persevering through the criticism and the let downs is so hard and takes an immeasurable amount of strength. Those who fight the good fight every day inspire me the most!

#8: What’s your most anticipated read in the next few months?

I don’t often read new releases so I couldn’t even tell you what’s coming out in the next few months, but I can tell you I am really looking forward to Sarah J. Maas’s new book!

#9: What are you currently reading?

Right now I’m working my way through several beta reads but am also reading Tower of Dawn which is taking me much longer to get through than the other books in the series.

#10: What’s your favorite book or book series?

This question is almost impossible. One of my all-time favorite series is The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, but there are several close seconds including A Court of Thorns and Roses, The Tiger’s Curse, and of course Harry Potter!

#11: Favorite childhood book?

The first book I remember really enjoying growing up was The Golden Compass by Philip Paullman. In high school, my favorite series was Harry Potter!

#12: Biggest book pet peeve?

Love triangles are geometric romances from hell! I never have and never will enjoy them. Reading one is the equivalent to nails on a chalkboard for me which is funny because several of my favorite books have at least one written into the story somewhere.

#13: What book has made you cry?

I know there are plenty that have made me cry, but the only ones I can think of off the top of my head are The Shack and Where the Red Fern Grows. I try to stay away from books that will make me cry, but it doesn’t take much to elicit an emotion response from me, so I tend to cry at some point in most of the stories I read.

#14: Favorite writing snack or drink?

I’m not a huge snack eater when I’m writing because I don’t like to stop writing to take bites. I do enjoy having coffee or iced tea while writing and I usually reward myself with chocolate or a milkshake after a good writing spree.

#15: What’s your biggest fear? Writing related or otherwise – or both!

My biggest fear has always been drowning! I don’t have a lot of fears associated with writing because it’s something I truly love and enjoy doing, but I do get nervous when I share my work with others.

#16: What other hobbies do you have outside of writing?

Most of my time is taken up by a rambunctious five-year-old, but when I have some free time to myself, I like to read, listen to music, color, crochet, and play Final Fantasy (my guilty pleasure).

#17: Biggest real-life pet peeve?

Mean people! I can’t stand it when people treat others with anything other than kindness. We all have bad days and rough lives; it doesn’t give anyone the excuse to take it out on someone else. Mean people are especially frustrating in the writing world. I’ve seen far too many unfair negative reviews of books simply because someone was upset about something that had nothing to do with the story.

#18: Any final words to aspiring writers out there?

Keep doing what you love and never give up! The best part about writing your own story is that it can be anything you want it to be. Take the critiques, listen to advice from those you trust, but never compromise who you are or the heart of your story!


All About Kelsey

WSYOawJN.jpgKelsey Atkins is an elementary and middle school teacher who loves to write. Her work with young adults in the classroom inspired her to write the Finding the Light series. Kelsey grew up in a small town in Idaho where she grew to love the outdoors. She currently lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, son, and fluffy Samoyed. When she isn’t teaching or writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, hiking, and volunteering at church.

Follow Kelsey!

Twitter: @AtkinsAuthor

 

 

6 Tips to Help You Read More This Summer

I love the summertime. In fact, summer is my favorite season! There’s nothing better than sitting out in the sun with a good book and enjoying the breeze. I love wearing my summer clothes, and being outside during this time of year. Where I live, most of the year it’s freezing or just too cold to go outside, so I try and enjoy the summer for as long as I can!

Summer is the perfect time for barbecues, water parks, campfires, family vacations, and so much more! But during the summer, it can be difficult to remember to read! There are so many other fun activities that occupy our time, and sometimes reading can slip our minds! If you’re looking to read more this summer, look no further! And if you’re hoping to make a reading a habit, check out my blog post all about how!


#1.) Bring a Book Everywhere

No matter where you go, carry a book with you! Or if you have a kindle, that works too! There are so many moments in our day where we can slip in a little bit of reading time, even if it’s just a paragraph or a page.

Whether you’ll be a passenger in a long car ride, traveling on a plane to your perfect vacation destination, or camping out, steal those moments to read instead of checking your phone. Oh – and you might want to bring more than one book!

#2.) Don’t Be Afraid to DNF

There is not enough time in our lives to force ourselves to read books we don’t like. Our time is so precious, and we need to enjoy every moment of it. If you’re just not enjoying a book for one reason or another, don’t be afraid to put it down. Find a different book you know you’ll enjoy. The summertime should be all about relaxing, not stressing!

#3.) Listen to Audiobooks

Audiobooks are a form of reading, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! They’re perfect for long car rides, or whatever travel plans you may have. And if you don’t – turn your audiobooks on at home!

I would listen to more audiobooks if I could – but the CD players in my car no longer works!

#4.) Read Lightly

Believe me, I’m a lover of huge, 800 – 1,000 page books. They’re fun to read, and they have their place. But even for a fast reader, a hefty book with such a large page count can still take some time to read.

Try limiting yourself to smaller books in the 250 – 400 page range. Not only will you read more, but if you’re traveling, you can take more books! The bigger the book, the less room you have!

#5.) Do a Summer Reading Challenge

Some people are very goal oriented, so have a reading challenge is a perfect way to keep them on track. Not only that, but they’re fun, too!

The PopSugar Reading Challenge, 2018 Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge, and NY Public Library Challenge, are all great examples you can try. Or if you want, make your own!

#6.) Ignore the Hype

There are tons of book that come out every month. Tons. Every month, I hear about the hottest new releases, and can’t help but want to buy and add them to my TBR list. But the hype only deviates me from reading what I already have on my shelf.

Instead of reading books that are (and have) been waiting for me to read for months, I buy the newest books and devour them first. Not only does this keep me from reading what should have been read months ago, but it also makes me feel stressed about missing out.

Instead, try and ignore the hype. Take the summertime to read what you already have, or catch up on some old favorites. Even if the hype for a new book dies down, don’t worry – the book will still be there.


Do you find these tips helpful? What do you do to read more in the summer? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO – Devon

June Recap 2019

Today’s my birthday! I officially turn twenty-five today, and that means I’m five years away from being thirty. Wow. It’s so hard to wrap my head around. I feel like when you’re a teenager, thinking about your twenties seem so far away, but every year just goes by faster and faster. June went by in a blur, but I’m still feeling pretty down about certain things in my life. I’m hoping July is a better month!

What I Wrote:

Back in May, I finished outlining three new projects. My original plan was to bounce between all three and work on them all simultaneously, but after more thought, I decided against doing so. I had a feeling that pushing myself to write three different stories would only both confuse me, and mess with my writing.

However, I did start writing my YA Thief idea, and it’s currently sitting at 42,000 words! I feel strongly that I’m going to hit my 80k word count goal, and while this project has been pretty hard to write, I’m falling more in love with it every day.

What I Read:

Total: 3

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon ★★★★☆

I’ve really been in the mood for a ghost story, so when I googled “ghost stories” and saw this new release on Goodreads, I just had to pick it up. The story follows Helen and Nate, a couple who are building their dream house – but little do they realize that the land they’ve bought may be haunted.

While I did really enjoy this book, I had two gripes with it: one was that it just didn’t feel spooky enough. I was hoping for a little more fright and chills, but I unfortunately didn’t get any of that. My second gripe is that it took me forever to finish this book; I normally finish a book within three-to-four days, but this took me over a week to read. I’m not sure if it was the pacing, or the fact that words were rather small and the pages really long, so my brain was tricked into believing there were more words than there actually were.

All in all, I did really enjoy the mystery and the characters within this book. If you’re looking for a ghost story that’s not too scary, then this might be the perfect book for you!

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson ★★★★☆

This is the first novel I’ve read by Margaret Rogerson, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The world and characters were rich and complex, and I love the magic system. I also loved that this was a standalone fantasy, which I don’t feel like there are enough of. My only major issues with the book (besides a few nitpicky personal things) were that the pacing felt off, and there was quite a bit of purple prose.

By the last hundred pages of this book, I kept wondering when it was going to end. While the story was amazing, I definitely felt it dragged on just a tad too long. There were also many instances of far too heavy-handed description, which would pull me out of the story. However, the ending made up for a lot of the issues I had, and this was still a really beautiful story.

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman ★★★★☆

Reading Ms. Herman’s debut novel has really made me miss contemporary fantasy in the same vein of Beautiful Creatures. The writing was simplistic, yet beautiful, and I did enjoy the story and characters within the novel. There’s not much more I can say, other than that while reading this book, I felt transported back in time to my high school days, and I really miss contemporary and paranormal fantasy being on the shelves.

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What I’m Watching:

I’m halfway through the final season of The Fosters, and will be sad to finish the series. Once I do, I’m not sure what I do watch next. Let me know if you have any recommendations!

Otherwise, the boyfriend and I are on the final season of The Tudors, and I’ve been really enjoying it.

Currently Reading:

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How I Did: June Goals

Back in June, I gave myself several goals:

• Create my July blogging schedule
• Finally apply to school
• Begin writing YA Fantasy Thief Idea
• Begin writing Secret Project Idea
• Begin writing Sci-Fi Idea

I’m happy to see that I completed two of these. As I mentioned before, I decided not to write all three WIP’s at once, so I haven’t got around to writing the Secret Project idea or the Sci-Fi idea. I also created my July blogging schedule; unfortunately, I still have not applied for school. I really feel like I need to go and get a degree, but I’m so worried about the cost of going back.

Have any of you gone back to school later in life? How did that go for you, and do you regret it? Let me know in the comments!

July Goals:

I’m very excited to say that all of my beta readers finally got back to me, and I’ve analyzed all of their feedback and read through my adult fantasy WIP once again with a fresh pair of eyes. I’m ready to dive into revisions, and that’s definitely one of my new goals this month:

• Revise adult fantasy WIP
• Finish writing YA Thief Idea
• Send adult fantasy WIP back out to readers
• Make a final decision about going back to school
• Create my blog schedule for August and September

Coming Up:

Since I’m about to start revisions, and I have three projects I want to work on, I’m going to be taking a step back from the blog. I have several posts scheduled to upload for the rest of July, but I’ll be taking most of August off to really focus on my writing. I still plan on uploading at least two blog posts, but I hope to be back in full swing in September!


How’d everyone’s June go? Are you excited for the summer?

Let me know!

XOXO – Devon