NaNoWriMo

I’ve decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month in November. Or as much as teaching will allow me. Some nights I just have to come home and shut off my brain. I’ve already entered in the NaNoWriMo website and created a page for the novel I will be working on. Maybe we should call it a short story. My goal is to actually be able to finish this story out. I’ve started lots of stories. I started a YA story two years ago, this one a couple of months ago, and a children’s book in my college creative writing class. But I have never actually finished any of them.

This one started out as fanfiction based off the TV show Reign but recently I went back and changed quite a bit of it. It’s kind of taken on it’s own life now. I didn’t get a whole lot written today but I did get some. I’ve ben trying to get a head start since I know there will be some nights in November I am too tired after work to write. And because we will be going to the East Coast at some point next month to visit my husbands family so I will probably be busy then too.

But I thought I would try out the beginning of my story on here to see if I get any feedback. And let me tell you, it truly is a rough draft. Like I haven’t poured hours editing it or letting anyone read it yet because up until this point it’s just been for fun.

NaNoWriMo Story

Thomasina focused on her foot steps. Each step drowning out the uproar of the crowd that had gathered around the palace, each breath more labored than the last, and each step from the carriage pulling her further from the life she knew. She was not weak. Though she could not look up, not from the gut-wrenching fear she felt. But from the sorrow of leaving her past behind her.

“Be brave”, Millie, her nursemaid had whispered to her as she closed the carriage door. Millie had been her only support since her mother had died from an unknown illness 3 years ago. Mina was a grown woman in her own right, 16 but had learned to be brave, and independent at age 13 when her mother left her. Her father had always been a cruel and indifferent man. Her mother told her he had not always been that way, that it had been gradual.

Be brave, those words resonated within her over and over from the carriage ride, to the ship sailing roughly overseas to here… the Malendaez Palace.

This foreign land should feel like home away from home. She had spent many a summer here as a child with her mother. Malendaez had always been a refuge for her and Queen Tessa, far away from her father. Instead it felt like a frozen prison in a faraway land. The friends she thought she would find in this distant place would no longer be here. Many of the young girls she played with as a child were visitors to Malendaez in the summer months as well or they had already been married off to neighboring lords and dukes. Only ghosts. Ghosts of childhood, memory, and maybe a few ghosts of a happier time lingered here.

Father had not even fought for her. Had not even tried to keep her at Smithehaven. He had merely signed the agreement document his chancellor had laid before him, not a trace of grief on his face. Not an ounce of remorse for shipping off his one and only child, his daughter,  to her future husband that she had not seen since she was nine years old. Eight years without communication is a long time. A person can change, life can change.

Chancellor Damon had always disliked Mina. He attended to the king as an errand boy when he was young and worked his way up the ladder over the years. In more ways than one, he was more of a child to King Laraby than Mina. He had spent almost every waking moment with the King since he was a child. So of course Damon jumped at the opportunity to get rid of his opponent without a second thought. Mina would officially be out of sight, out of mind now.

To say Mina was apprehensive about this marriage alliance would be no understatement. No she had nothing against the prince but you cannot love something you do not know. The two had grown up together merely because of chance and their mothers friendship. Not out of choice. From what Mina remembered, Castian had been a silent child. Afraid even of merchants in town to look his direction, lest he be forced into a situation where he had to speak to someone or make eye contact. This was not a characteristic King Albert envisioned for his. In the kings mind, a prince, or king to be should be proud and charismatic.

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Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #5)

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Goodreads Blurb

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

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Review

If you have not started this series yet, go buy it now! It is my very favorite fantasy series out. It’s probably my favorite series ever right after Harry Potter. I have loved Aelin since she was Celaena and since she was merely an assassin and not a queen. Actually I love all of the characters in this whole series. Some of their personalities drive me crazy but I love them all and how different they are. My favorite in order:

Manon Blackbeak (or should I say Crochan?) The most badass of the badass. Freaking love her and her “flower smelling wyrven”.

Elide Lochan, basically a mini-badass that has some traits from Manon and some from Aelin. She’s grown so much since we first met her.

Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, because duh.

Rowan Whitethorn and Dorian Havilliard are pretty tied. I can’t decide which hunk I love more. They’re so different but they’re both awesome. I may have more appreciation for Dorian after following his storyline for longer and seeing all of the crap EVERYONE has put him through.

Lysandra and Ansel of Briarcliff. Okay it’s probably strange to some people that Ansel is one of my faves but I’ve liked her since The Assassin’s Blade novel when we first met her. She’s so much like Celaena but a little off her rocker at the same time. It makes her character intriguing. And Lysandra is one tough cookie. She literally bid her time and did not back down without a fight. I love how tough she is and how her and Aelin have become so close after they hated each other in the beginning.

I cannot think of one thing I disliked about this book. I loved everything about it. I just wish the next novel was coming out soon. Maas threw me for a loop in this one. Sometimes twists are predictable but this one was a doozy. I can’t believe how Aelin was captured in the end. She went gallantly but the other armies/armadas showed up like A SECOND after Maeve ran off with her. Literally right after. It was heartbreaking. It’s like when you’re watching a movie you’ve seen a hundred and one times and you know something disastrous is going to happen but you scream at the TV screen anyway like the main character can hear you and will heed your warning this 102nd time you are watching this show… yeah. Like that! URRRRRGGGGGG! Poor Aelin. And poor Rowan! It was heart wrenching when he called her his wife to Lorcan.

All of the characters have been through so much crap. I just want everything to work out for everyone! But I’m terrified Maas is going to pull a Libba Bray in The Gemma Doyle series and kill off one of the main characters to prove the point of “Not every story has a happy ending”. I bawled for days. Not just cried, but sobbed. I made the mistake of finishing that book in my history class in high school. I was holding it in my lap under my desk when I was supposed to be taking notes over a lecture and I started ugly crying in the middle of class. The coach told me to go walk it off outside. How embarrassing is that? Ugh but I don’t want Maas to kill any of the main characters off! But if you think about it no one has really died since Nehemia… So I feel like in the land of fiction we’re due for another one and I bet it will be heartbreaking. Let’s pray that I’m wrong.

There was so much action in this book. I enjoyed watching all of their paths finally converge in this one. I had been waiting for it throughout the other books but they all finally intertwined in this one. But that ending though… they’re going to have to fight to find each other again. Aelin has always been the HBIC, and had to be fifteen steps ahead of everyone, now it’s their turn to help a sister out. I think Elide is going to play a big part in her rescue in the next book. She is slowly becoming a force to be reckoned with, and I think that force is going to be witchy.

This book received 5/5 from me. It could not have been more perfect.

Austin Trip & Texas Teen Book Festival 2016

We attend the Texas Teen Book Festival every year in Austin. Funny enough, we did not start going until after we had moved to Dallas from Austin. This was our third year attending, but it was the 8th annual festival.

Even though we have only attended the last 3 years, the festival has grown by leaps and bounds since then. Our first year everything was still a hot mess. They had one tent and the lines were a hot mess and we had to stand out in the heat for two hours. The next year they had more tents for the book signings and they had moved the book sales to inside a gymnasium at St. Edward’s University. And the second year we went they added a bunch of bookish vendors. They had some Etsy shop owners who made cute book buttons and journals. And there were a few independently published authors who were trying to advertise their new books.

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Schedule and panel listing are taken straight from the website.

This year Owlcrate was there! I’ve never ordered a subscription box from Owlcrate but they look super cool. I live watching the unboxing videos on Instagram stories and Snapchat. They always have one YA book with some bookish swag. Each month has a different theme. This months theme is Once Upon a Dream. If you are interested in Owlcrate here is a link. They run at $29.99 a month. Everyone in attendance got to spin their wheel of goodies. Some of the prizes included a bookish TBR list, book pins, shirts, and past Owlcrate boxes.

The Alamo Drafthouse movie theatre was up there hosting giveaways too. They had held a viewing of The Outsider’s the night before for the book festival. Several of the author’s attended and were hosting a panel there. We signed up for their raffle and were given a free movie ticket for following them on all 4 of their social media.

After viewing the vendors we headed straight to book sales. We arrived a little late this year because we were both a little under the weather this trip so we missed Mindy Kaling’s speech :/ Here are all of the books I purchased this year at the festival. 5 of them are mine and I got 2 for a friend who lives in San Diego who usually goes with me but she was not in town that weekend.

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She wanted The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh and Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley.

I bought The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake,  and Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel.

I’m super excited about all of these novels because I haven’t read any of them. One of the only books I have read that was at the festival was The Wrath & The Dawn. I own the new one The Rose & The Dagger but have not read it yet.

After buying our stack of books Ricardo and I killed some time hanging out at the campus coffee shop Jo’s. I caught up on reading Empire of Storms Sarah J. Maas and Ricardo was on Reddit on his computer. After we finished up our cafe au laits we walked over to the signing tent and stood in line early to beat the crowd. I made Ricardo stand in Kendare Blake’s line and I was the second person in line for Kenneth Oppel. I’m most excited about reading Every Hidden Thing because I love all things paleontology!

Kenneth Oppel seemed nice but kind of shy, and Kendare Blake was super nice and down to earth! She took the time to talk to me a little bit and that was really nice. We talked about how I was visiting from Dallas but used to attend college near Austin, and how I’m a reading teacher now. I loved her! I love when the authors seem like genuinely nice people who want to know their readers.

After we finished getting those two books signed we went over to the first panel and listened to Renee Ahdieh and Sabaa Tahir and other author’s speak about folklore and setting your story during an older era and retelling fairytales. I love Renee Ahdieh even more than before because her favorite fairy tale/Disney move is Mulan and that’s my favorite! We also heard her and Laini Taylor speak on how they enjoy fairy tales like Mulan better because the heroine in it saves herself. THEY DON’T NEED NO MAN!

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We left after the panel because we had tickets to go see Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children at The Alamo Drafthouse off of Lamar. I wish we would have gotten them for the evening because all of the author’s went to see it that night :/ Oh well.  A review of the movie will be coming later. Overall I enjoyed the movie but I think people who haven’t read the books will enjoy it more than those who have just because it wasn’t true to the novel… at all.

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The rest of our time in Austin we just visited our old haunts and we found a cool coffee house we had never been to before. It was close to Mount Bonnell, right on the river, called Mozart’s Bakery and Coffeehouse. The weather was perfect so we sat in their outdoor area. They have picnic tables lined up on a deck with Christmas lights in all the trees. It was great! I think if we ever move back to Austin we want to look for an apartment or house in that area. It’s so beautiful. In college, we lived near downtown.

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs Film Adaption Review

***SPOILERS: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T READ OR SEEN THE MOVIE***

I have so many mixed feelings about this movie. If I look at it without comparing it to the book I enjoy it more. But if I look at it from a book lovers point of view, I’m disappointed. This is one of those book to film adaptions where they just made stuff up. Kind of like the Game of Thrones TV show. To it’s credit, is still awesome but can be a hard pill to swallow for those of us who want to stick with the real plot line from the novels.

Release date: September 30, 2016

I’ll start with the things I disagreed with from a reader’s perspective:

  1. Why did they make the movie so goofy? The book is serious all the way through! Make it humorous took away from the creepy tone of the story. That was probably the biggest qualm I had with the film. It changed the whole atmosphere! And it made the story awkward when they tried to be serious. The beginning felt like they were going for the tone of the book but once they introduced Barron’s character it was all downhill from there.
  2. The ending was completely made-up. Not even in the same ballpark as the actual ending. The carnival was cool in a way but why? I would have enjoyed the actual ending better. And the way they took down the Hollows felt silly, and campy. In my opinion, it took away from the story and the creepiness of the Hollows.
  3. A weird mixture of campy humor and morbid- Okay. The Hollows eating eyeballs in the movie was totally gross and morbid. Which is what I was expecting since it was directed by Tim Burton but the humor was over the top and dumb.
  4. Grandfather lives!- No he doesn’t! Not in the book! That ruins the entire point of Jake growing into the person he becomes. I think in a perfect world that would be wonderful if his grandfather could somehow be alive but that takes away from Jake’s personal growth. Too far fetched. How will Jake decide to join the children in the loop if his grandfather is still alive and well?
  5. Character switch-ups – They changed soooooooo many characters. Be it ages, abilities, or plain ol’ added some in for funsies. The twins aren’t really in the book. They’re mentioned but you don’t really meet any twins they stay around until the second book, and it’s not that set. Emma. She is the pyromaniac in the book, not floater girl. That should be Olive. And Enoch and Olive having a relationship was kind of strange seeing as the two of them are actually supposed to be little kids in the book. I really enjoyed Fiona’s character but her and Hugh were supposed to be older and have a thing for each other. The invalidity of that bothered me. I guess they just decided to switch it around. And don’t get me started on Dr. Golan. She was definitely supposed to be a man.
  6. Where is the museum curator and the Old Man??? I love anything that has to do with history or paleontology so I thought those two aspects of the book were the most interesting. Where did they go? And why? I hate that they left the two of them out. The curator was a major character.

Things I loved about the movie:

  1. I loved several of the characters. I thought they were spot on from the book. Those being: Miss Peregrine, Jake, Emma (even if they changed her ability), and Jake’s grandfather. I thought he was perfect!
  2. The setting – I loved the island and the town. It was exactly how I pictured in the book. It was beautiful and I want to go there!
  3. Overall aesthetically pleasing – The entire film was beautifully made. From the costumes, to the setting, to the colors. Everything! Tim Burton is just awesome. I love him. I think he was the perfect person to direct the film.

I can’t tell if they are going to make a second film or not. I think they left a few loose ends in case they make enough money but I think they also wrapped most of the conflict up in case they don’t get the chance. I would probably go see the second movie because I love the books and Tim Burton. But I have to go into it as just a movie goer and not a person who has read and loves the books.