Thursday, March 31, 2016

Weekly Short Stories Contest and Company | Online Magazine

Hello to all of my wonderful reader friends! It's been a while since I've done anything other than book reviews or discussion posts, but today I just wanted to share some exciting information with you guys.

As many of you probably know, I am a writer. Recently I've become more dedicated to improving my craft and creating fun stories and poetry. One of the things that has helped me with that is the goodreads group Weekly Short Stories Contest and Company (known as WSS to its wonderful members). This group is all about writing short stories and poetry, so if you're interested in doing either, you should check it out. I've met some amazing people through this group and it's improved my writing habits tremendously.

What I really wanted to share with you is the new WSS online magazine. This blog features winning stories and poems from the weekly contests as well as a monthly feature. My story High Heel Murder was recently featured as a weekly winner (for week 300, the first one included on the blog), so please check it out and tell me what you think! You can find the magazine at

I've also recently started a writing blog (which I hope to get more involved with in the coming weeks). So please check that out as well if you're interested in following my writing journey. You can find that blog at

Thanks for your support!

Let me know in the comments what exciting things have happened with you recently.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Dragon Reborn~Robert Jordan | Review

Title: The Dragon Reborn (The Wheel of Time #3)
Author: Robert Jordan
Length: 699 Pages (Paperback)
Genre: High Fantasy
Release: 1991
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Where to start in this review...Well, first of all, there were some aspects of this novel that I preferred to the two previous installments in the series. Overall, though, this has been my least favorite of the three. 

So, for the things I liked more. It opens with Perrin, which was an immediate bonus. Of the Two Rivers group, Perrin is definitely my favorite. And Perrin remained one of the main perspectives throughout the book. Definitely a good thing. 

Another good thing is that there wasn't too much time spent with Rand. I know he's supposed to be the main character, but I really hope we never get too overloaded with him. I just don't like him as much as I like so many of the other characters. When we were with him it was nice to see how unstable he's becoming. It was a different touch to the story. 

There were some characters introduced, and old ones coming back, that I really appreciated. Faile was a nice addition to the story and I found myself enjoying her throughout. She still has some of the same tendencies as the other women characters that bug me, but it wasn't as overly done with her. Thom was also back for a portion of the book, which I enjoyed. I'm looking forward to where his character will go in the future. 

Egwene and Nynaeve were extremely annoying in this one and too much time was spent with them. I normally enjoy Nynaeve fairly well, but she was constantly tugging her braid and being tiresome. And Egwene, I really don't want to start on Egwene. She was very childish throughout the entire book and I just could not like her. Not sure that will ever change. 

Not a whole lot seemed to happen as far as the overall progression of the story. Some questions were answered, in some ways, but so much is still open. For a fourteen book series that makes sense, I'm just not sure this series warranted that many books. I hear that the fourth book is better, so I am looking forward to reading it. 

And you know something weird about this series, even though I haven't loved any of the books I feel compelled to immediately pick up the next installment. Weird. So I may be getting to it before April, we shall see. Overall this wasn't a terrible book, just not a lot happened. I did enjoy it and look forward to continuing the series. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday Talks | Browsing Vs Knowing

To find out more about Tuesday Talks, visit the goodreads group. It was created by Janie and Janelle to create bookish discussions for booktubers and bloggers.

Do You Browse or Know What You'll Buy?
A little bit of both, really. There's a bookstore near where I work and sometimes I stop in there just to see what they have on sale. Otherwise I usually go looking for something specific and browse as I go. You miss out on a lot if you don't browse. There are so many books that you may never hear of otherwise. 

This is different for online shopping. I rarely browse book seller sites online. When I'm ordering a book it's one I already know I want to read. Sometimes I find books through goodreads that I'm interested in, but I don't always go and buy them.

This topic really applies to libraries too. I love browsing the shelves of a library because you can find such a wide range of things. I have found some of my favorite books just by walking through a library and pulling random things from shelves. 

Do you browse or always know what you want when you go the library/bookstore?

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Paper Doorway~Dean Koontz | Review

Title: The Paper Doorway: Funny Verse and Nothing Worse
Author: Dean Koontz
Length: 160 Pages Hardback
Genre: Children's Poetry
Release: September 2001
My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Many people reading my reviews probably know that I am a huge Dean Koontz fan. I had heard of this collection of poetry, but never gotten my hands on a copy. So naturally when I saw it in the book store I had to grab it. And I'm so glad I did!

First of all, this collection is intended for children, a much younger audience than his novels are usually geared for. But don't be fooled; this still has the signature Koontz creepy darkness, just in a milder form. It also has his trademark humor that I love so much. 

I don't really want to give too much away about the poems, because they really need to be experienced to appreciate them. This collection would appeal to a wide variety of readers. Koontz fans, children of Koontz fans, it doesn't matter. Even my sister wants a copy! (And she refuses to read any Koontz novels.) One of my favorites is the poem that gives the book its title The Paper Doorway, it has a great appeal for any reader who just likes to get lost in the world of their book. 

Phil Parks, the illustrator, did a marvelous job. I loved every single illustration. And if you search, you'll be able to find a mouse in every single picture. No joke. It's awesome. 

So if you like poetry and you like Koontz, go pick this up. Or, if you don't like poetry and you don't like Koontz, pick this up anyway. I really don't think you'll regret it.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tuesday Talks | Reading Series That Didn't Impress You at the Start

Tuesday Talks is a goodreads group that was created by booktubers Janie (from Bookworm's Buddy) and Janelle (from MrsJRodsReads) to foster regular bookish discussions. If you want to participate or find out about all of the topics and who all is involved, just visit the goodreads group.

Thoughts on Continuing a Series if I don't like the First Book
This week we're discussing what we do when we don't enjoy the first book in a series. Do you continue, hoping it gets better? Put it aside and try something else? As always, there is no right or wrong answer. And my answer is this: it depends on the series and how much I didn't enjoy that first book. 

It really does depend on the book. Sometimes I might read a first book and not enjoy it much, but pick up the next book in the series to give it a chance. Particularly if I've heard that they get better, or it's the authors first book, or something along those lines. I don't want to write the author or series off immediately. 

In some cases though, I won't pick up the next book. If I give a book a 1 or 2 star rating, I'm probably not going to go for its sequel. There are just so many books that I'm interested in reading that spending time on something I already haven't enjoyed doesn't make sense. It also sometimes depends on what about the first book bothered me. There are certain things I just don't want to read about again, while others might be going in a new direction I'm more interested in. 

So really, it depends on the book and why I didn't like it to begin with. What determines if you continue a series after a not so great start? Discuss it with me in the comments!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Ink and Bone~Rachel Caine | Review

Title: Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1)
Author: Rachel Caine
Length: 407 Pages (Paperback)
Genre: Fantasy
Release: July 2015
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

The prologue to this book had me really worried. I honestly wasn't sure if I wanted to continue the book. I don't know exactly what it was, but I was not a fan of the first thirty pages of this book. It was different than what I was expecting, and not in a good way at first. After those thirty pages, however, I really enjoyed the story. 

The overall concept of the novel was very intriguing. Basically the Library of Alexandria controls all knowledge that the world has access to. People aren't allowed to own original copies of books, no matter who wrote them. But our main character Jess comes from a family of black market book sellers. When he's sixteen, he heads off to become a librarian. Obviously a lot of crazy stuff is going to happen. 

There were some things throughout this book that I didn't particularly enjoy, but it was more nit-picky stuff than anything else. If you've heard that this series is very similar to Harry Potter and other books, you've heard right. At times this was a bit frustrating, but the book and story stand so well on their own that it never really bothered me too badly. 

Jess is an interesting main character. He's always had to pretend and hide certain aspects of himself from those around him. I loved when he made friends with Thomas and the other students. His relationship with Dario, his frenemy was also great. 

The students are taught by Wolfe, who's basically this worlds version of Severus Snape. Different in many ways, but I saw so many similarities between these two. One of the things that I did love about this book were the letters and things inserted between chapters, because it made it sort of like a mystery that you had to piece together as it went. Nothing was ever quite what you thought. 

There is a touch of romance in this novel, with definite hints for later developments. It was cute and really not overdone, which I appreciated. A little insta lovey, but not so much that this was a major drawback. The characters were fun, the magic intriguing, the world dark, and plenty of questions that make me want to pick up the next book as soon as it's out. 

If you enjoy Harry Potter, magic school settings, and that sort of thing, then this is probably a book for you. Just be prepared to spot a lot of similarities and don't let that disappoint you. It really is worth it.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tuesday Talks | Make Your Own Soundtrack

It's time for another Tuesday Talks. This is a discussion group created by Janie and Janelle which was designed to create bookish discussions between booktubers and bloggers. You can visit the goodreads group to find out what the topics are each week and participate.

Make Your Own Soundtrack
This week we're creating a soundtrack for our favorite books. This could be for the book, if the book was turned into a movie, really any way you want to interpret it. I started thinking of some songs for my favorite novel The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, but have not finished that one. So, here are some songs I paired with Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. 

Flight by Lifehouse
I've lost my balance
I fell from the trapeze
This act isn't easy

Tightrope by Kelly Clarkson
And maybe you and I will fall in time, eventually
Maybe we'll both die trying, but I can't bring myself to leave
'Cause I've looked
And I ain't seen nothing like you
The way you light up every room tonight
So easily

The Last Time by Taylor Swift and Gary Golightly
This is the last time I'm asking you this
Put my name at the top of your list
This is the last time I'm asking you why
You break my heart in the blink of an eye, eye, eye

Call Me by Shinedown
I'll always keep you inside
You healed my heart and my life
You know I've tried

Let Me Fall for You by David Cook
I was wrong, I was wrong
Thinking my heart could be my own
I was strong, I was strong
When I had a reason to hold on 
Let me fall, let me fall for you 
Let me fall for you

So here are some of the songs I think would be a great soundtrack for Six of Crows. I highly recommend them all. And this book. It's a great book. 
What song would you pick for the soundtrack of one of your favorite books?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Monthly Recommendations | Standalones

Monthly Recommendations is a goodreads group that was created by booktubers Kayla Rayne and Trina (from Between Chapters). Each month there is a new topic and we recommend books based on that topic. You can check out the group if you want to participate and to find some great new reads.

This is one of my favorite books. It's middle grade, short, and just so much fun. It's a retelling of Cinderella with new magical elements and cool curses. I've read this book several times and really want to read it again. It's just so fun! 

This was my first Dean Koontz novel and it got me hooked. I read about 20 of his books in three months after picking this up. And he is still one of my two favorite authors. If you enjoy suspense mixed with a little horror and lots of humor, pick this up. It made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions. 

This list wouldn't really be complete without some Eoin Colfer. Really I've loved every book of his I've read. It's been a while since I've read this one, but if you enjoy Middle Grade adventure you'll probably like this. It has cool characters, an interesting story, and brilliant writing. 

I can't remember why I first picked this book up. I think it was a random selection in the library. And honestly, I'm really glad I did. It has time travel, which makes it really cool. And there are interwoven time periods that keep you guessing. And I loved the characters. Finn in particular. Just adored him. If you like YA novels that involve time travel and a little bit of complicated romance, pick this up. I really want to reread it now. 

This was the first Sarah Dessen novel that I've read and it continues to be my favorite. All of her books kind of punch me right in the chest, but this one was just great. It deals with very complicated family issues, drugs, abuse, and learning to love and grow. A very nicely constructed story. 

I loved this book. In the beginning I really wasn't sure about Emily, but as the story progressed her character really grew. There's a list that Emily gets from her best friend (who has disappeared) and she starts completing it in hopes that it'll bring them back together. But she grows up along the way, makes new friends, makes mistakes, and it's just all around fun. I highly recommend this book. 

What are some standalone books that you've enjoyed? I would love to have some recommendations from you!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Tuesday Talks | Meeting My Favorite Author

Tuesday Talks is a goodreads group that was created by Janie and Janelle to foster weekly bookish discussions. Check out the group to find out the topics and to see who else is participating.

The Time I Met Brandon Sanderson
Anyone who has been around me over the past few years knows that Brandon Sanderson is my favorite author. He writes excellent high fantasy stories that I absolutely love. This past year I was shocked to see his name among those coming to Yallfest in Charleston, South Carolina. I was already going to be there, this just made it that much more worth while. 

This was the first time (of three) that I met him over those two days. And yes, if you look closely you'll see that he's signing my favorite book The Way of Kings right here. Let's just say this is a very memorable experience. And one that I hope to repeat.

As far as changing the way that I think about his books, I'm not sure that it did. There is always a concern when meeting these people in real life, that you're going to be disappointed by what you get and won't appreciate their work as much. In my experience, it's been more the opposite. And Sanderson was no exception. He was talkative, friendly, and knew what he was doing. He wasn't overbearing or rude, but he made the part of the festival that included him run much more smoothly than it probably would have otherwise.

This just gets me so excited, reliving these memories.

I've also met some of my other favorite (mostly YA) authors and have really loved meeting them as well. Some of these include: Marie Lu, Margaret Stohl, Kami Garcia, and Leigh Bardugo. It's just so cool to meet the people behind the books.

Have you ever met your favorite author? If so, what was your experience like? 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Fablehaven~Brandon Mull | Review

Title: Fablehaven (Fablehaven #1)
Author: Brandon Mull
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Length: 351 Pages
Release: July 2006
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Fablehaven sat on my shelf for months (maybe even a year) before I finally picked it up and read it. I've heard many great things about this series and after meeting Brandon Mull at Yallfest in November 2015, I was super excited to get into them. He was such a fun guy to talk to. And so, I finally read this book. 

The thing I liked most about this book was the world building. Brandon Mull is a master at that, it seems. The story follows Kendra and Seth, who are sent to stay with their grandparents for two weeks over the summer. What they don't realize is that their grandparents are the keepers of a haven for supernatural creatures and breaking the rules will have dire consequences. 

And that is where the world building comes in. All of the creatures and situations in Fablehaven were brilliantly described. There was mystery surrounding a lot of aspects, and questions that had to be answered. One of the easy ways to go wrong in world building is consistency. It's so easy to get lost in the world and have inconsistencies littered throughout. Here though, that didn't happen. Every time there was a new creature introduced I was fascinated. 

The characters were not brilliant, but still felt real. Kendra and Seth were both young and at times acted very silly (like any 11 and 13 year olds would). They fought like most siblings do and that part was very relatable. What I liked most about them was the fact that we weren't just following one sibling, but both. Different chapters would focus on each of them. So you go to see some of their thoughts about their situation and each other. 

The writing was far from my favorite. At times I found it rather cumbersome. As the story progressed I got more used to the style and it didn't bother me so much, but it didn't read as smoothly as I would have liked. This was one of Mull's earlier books, so I'm sure his writing has improved over the years. And it wasn't bad, it just wasn't great. 

Overall this was a fun read and I will definitely be picking up the rest of the series in the coming months. And that cover. I really love the cover. I noticed something new every time I looked at it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Tuesday Talks | Movies over Books

If you want to find out about Tuesday Talks, visit the goodreads group to get the topics and information. It was created by Janie and Janelle, a couple of booktubers who wanted to have fun discussions each week with fellow book lovers.

Do You Ever Prefer an Adaptation to the Book?
This week we're talking about movies (or tv shows) that we've enjoyed more than the book. And yes, that does happen, so don't feel bad if it's happened to you. Sometimes, the movies just do it right. I'm also including TV shows in this, since there are a lot of those out there these days as well. So let's get to it.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I'm not entirely sure that I liked the movie more than the book in this case, but I liked it at least just as much. I thought they were both beautifully done. I haven't been a huge of any of John Green's other books, but I really enjoyed this one. And the film version was so nicely put together. 

Holes by Louis Sachar. Again, this isn't one that I can definitely say the movie is better, but I loved them both. I haven't read or seen this in years, but it is one of my absolute favorites. So much fun. And it's middle grade and short, so I should really read it again. And then watch the movie. Or watch the movie and then read it. Either way. 

Stardust by Neigh Gaiman. This is a definite, movie takes it all. I didn't even finish the book. I don't know what it was, exactly, but the book just completely turned me off. The movie is one of my favorites ever though. It was just so much fun. And what made me love it even more is the fact that I didn't expect much from it. I thought it would be silly and annoying, but I loved it! Watch the movie, skip the book. 

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks. I'm not a huge fan ot Nicholas Sparks, in fact, A Walk to Remember is the only book I've ever read of his. But I do love this movie. The book was ok, but his writing style just isn't something I enjoy. Some of his other movies have been good, but this one remains my favorite.

I know I said I was going to mention TV, but then I realized that I don't watch any of the TV shows I was going to mention anymore, so it wouldn't have made sense. Anyway, these are the ones I could think of. What have been your favorite adaptations?