Check the Shelf Book Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Publisher/Year: Doubleday | September 13, 2011

Pages: 387

Audiobook Publisher/Year: Random House Audio | September 13, 2011

Read By: Jim Dale

Time: 13 hours and 39 minutes

Series: Stand-Alone

Genre: Fantasy

Format: Audiobook

Source: Own through Audible 

Amazon | Goodreads


Shannan’s Summary


 Celia is dropped off on her dad’s doorstep after her mother dies.  Her father had no interest in children until he discovers his Daughter has the same magical abilities as he does.  And so he calls up an old colleague and proposes a wager that his daughter can beat any student of his.  And thus Celia is placed on a path of unknown certainty.  The testing place is eventually set to be a Circus, that is only open at night with it’s black and white tents and unique cast of characters, The Night Circus has magic far greater than any visitor can guess.

First Off…

I bought this way back when if first came out on Audible.  I think it was before they had an app, which made listening more complicated and I just never went through the effort to listen to it.  I was reminded of it while listening to the Book Riot podcasts because I think everyone went on a Night Circus kick for a while, so I downloaded it to my phone and finally listened.

The Story:

Magic at the Circus, what doesn’t sound awesome about that?  This story is just such a breath of fresh air.  It’s so different from other books I’ve been reading.  The best way to describe this book is it’s like the first time you get to go to Disney or the wizarding world and all you want to do is soak in the details of finally visiting the world you’ve only heard about.  This book lets’s you sit in all the fun details of a well-built world.  But even with all the details of the world, you’re still pulled along the story that Morgenstern has built.  Usually, I can’t stand books that have as much description as this one, but Morgenstern does a great job sucking you in.  I think the 2nd person interludes that she weaves in help with that.  You’re able to feel a part of the world as she’s describing it to you.

It’s a quirky band of characters that she parades before you with all of their stories. They are intricately tied together in a huge knot that you try to figure out before the ending.  The Twins are some of my favorite characters, especially with their tie to the circus.  But really, all the characters are great all you have are the feels for everything happening to them which makes you just want to skip to the end and cheat to find out.  I had a love-hate relationship with this book in a good way because I was so invested into what was happening.

I did like that there wasn’t any love triangle going on.  The romance that did exist, while necessary, didn’t seem over the top.  It had a depth to it that was more than surface level.  In other words, no insta-love.

The Writing

The world building is fantastic.  The black and white circus is balanced between intricate detail and vague mystery.  For example, she gives you every understanding of a clock that sits above the entrance. But yet, there is never a clear understanding of how many tents there are or how big the circus is. That leaves it feeling like the fluffy edges of a dream; you can remember the big pieces but aren’t sure where it begins, ends, or how pieces are even possible, you just accept it as truth.

This novel switches between 2nd and 3rd person POV.  It’s a great method that I don’t know if I’ve seen done in any other book, or at least not well enough for me to remember.  This technique helps Morgenstern build out her world in a way that isn’t repetitive to what the reader has already experienced, and also makes them feel involved first hand in what is happening.

The complexity of the story lines is something worth noting as well.  If you’re struggling with how to develop your story and characters, this is a great one to analyze.  Morgenstern develops a wide cast of characters and tangles their stories together in an elegant, if not sometimes frustrating, way.  It almost reads as though you’re a fly on the wall, watching one person and then following another out of the room to the other scene or leaving one conversation to find a better one.

And finally, the ending!  I won’t say any details because it would ruin the greatness of how she ends the book.  It’s my favorite way, and if you’ve read this book, please let me know of any other books out there with this style of ending.

The Voice:

Dale is, as always, a fantastic reader.  The fact he was the reader was the whole reason I got it from Audible.  While I love him reading this book, I think I would have rather read this book myself the first time through. He has a slower pacing and there were times I just wanted him to go faster so I could know what was happening.  The second time through the book I think I’ll be able to enjoy it more.  I’ll just get to enjoy the details of the story.  And, while it’s marketed as an adult book, it’s one that the whole family could easily listen to and all enjoy.

In the End

This is a great story and a well-performed Audiobook.  You really can’t go wrong, no matter which way you absorb it. 

10 Second Summary:

  1. Great world: So much imagery.  This would be a great circ-du-soleil show.
  2. Intricate Storyline: There is so much happening in this book, I don’t know how Morgenstern kept it all straight while she was writing.
  3. Great Characters: I would live at this circus if I could with all of the people.  You feel like friends by the end.

Check the Shelf Review

Hardback.  Can’t wait to add this gorgeous book, inside and out, to my shelf.

 

Building a Platform Without Losing Your Mind: Getting Started

building a platform- starting out

Let me say upfront, I’m not exactly an expert as far as Author platforms go. I’ve only had a few short stories published and am currently working on my first novel. But building a platform is daunting, especially if you’re only writing on the side. It feels that every minute you spend with your platform is one less that you could be working on your books. So I thought I’d share what I’m learning as I’m go because sometimes it’s hard to remember where you started by the time you get to the end.

The first thing you want to do is start now. Don’t wait until you’re ready to send out a book to work on your platform, because it doesn’t happen overnight. With that said, here are some other questions to answers before diving in.

  1. How much time do you have? Meaning what time can you give from your writing schedule to dedicate to your platform. I try to fit all my blogging in on Friday mornings. It’s what works for me. Maybe you like to do a little every night for half an hour. Figure this out then you can figure out where to build your brand.
  2. Blog or Site? You have two directions you can go for an author landing page, a blog or a website. If you don’t have a lot of time that you can give up, you’ll want to do a site. It’s a mostly static page with contact info. There are some ways to make this fresh, which we’ll talk about later. If you feel like you can write at least one quality post a week, go for a blog. That’s what I do, I post twice a week right now (Monday and Wednesday.)
  3. What’s your address? No matter what site you start on, you’ll want to pay for your own web address. While switching your address later is an option, why wouldn’t you just start off with your own. Web addresses are not that expensive (I think I pay about $15 a year for mine) and it makes your name the spotlight. If you have a common name you may have to add “writer” to the address or use initials or get more clever (you can try different combinations at godaddy.com,) but definitely buy your own address.
  4. Pay for a host: Buying an address and paying for a host are two different things. Paying for a hosting site will run you around $100 a year depending on if you do add-ons and what service you use. My site is a wordpress.org hosted through Bluehost. I’ve been super happy using them and haven’t had any problems. You can connect a wordpress.org account or a Weebly account easily through them. Since I’ve used WordPress for the most part, I’ll be talking a lot about them, but I’ve also heard a lot of good things about Squarespace, who does their own hosting. (I do know Squarespace has a built in store options, so if you’re going the indie route that might be the way to go.)
  5. Check out other Author sites:  Look at the sites for other authors in your nitch.  What do you like and not like about their site?  You start to see some things that are common among them, but don’t copy them exactly.  You’ll want your site to stand out, so also look at what they don’t have that you can bring to the table.

And here’s the ever lovely don’t list:

  1. Don’t try to monetize: you want to make money selling books, not by blogging. That was something I got a little sidetracked by when I first started this site. There is a lot of great information out there about blogging, but a lot of it is written by creatives that are trying to make money blogging and selling either classes, printables, or handmades. You are trying to sell a book, so you’re trying to build a place to connect with people and make your writing known.
  2. Don’t try to do everything: Less is more if all you have time to do is twitter, then only do twitter. Signing up for every social site out there then doing nothing with any of them because you get overwhelmed is worse than having only one.
  3. Don’t quit because you miss a week or two: The reason all my other blogs failed was because as soon as I missed a day I gave up. I thought myself a failure. Don’t do this. Just go back to your schedule. And you don’t need to apologize and bring it to light, just get back on the horse.

Check the Shelf Book Review: Silver in the Blood

Silver in the Blood (Silver in the Blood, #1)

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

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Publisher/Year: Bloomsbury | July 7, 2015

Pages: 358

Audiobook Publisher/Year: Recorded Books, Inc | July 22, 2015

Read By: Sandy Rustin

Time: 9 hours and 13 minutes

Series: Book 1 of ???

Genre: YA Fantasy, Supernatural

Format: Audiobook

Source: Publishers through LibaryThing (Thanks!)

Amazon | Goodreads


I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  That did not sway my opinion in the least.

Shannan’s Summary


Two cousins of New York high society go to visit their relatives in far off Romania.  What seemed like a typical trip soon becomes mysterious as everyone in Romania seems scared of their family, and their family won’t tell them anything.  It’s up to the cousins to discover on their own who their family is and decide what they will do when the find out.

First Off…

I heard mixed reviews, but when I saw it available on Libary Things I thought I’d give it a try.

The Story:

I wound up enjoying this story more than I thought I would.   The story is intermixed with diary entries, something I don’t typically like.  But with the audio version it made it less jarring to switch between the two styles.   I get why there were so many mixed reviews, as the beginning of the story was a slow start.  There were several times that I thought about just giving it up, but I have a little more tolerance for audiobooks.

There was a bit of mystery at the beginning concerning what was going on. For me, though, I felt like I knew what the secret was, I just wanted them to tell me I was right.  Once this happened, the story started to pick up.  I found myself sitting in my car a little longer to know what was happening.

The characters were interesting but slightly shallow.  Thinking back to the story, they each held to one character trait.  The main characters did have a slight arch, but for the most part, there were few complexities to the many characters that came through the story.

The Writing

There are two major parts of this writing, the diary aspect and the turn of the century “American Royalty.”  They intermix the narrative with the diary. This, in retrospect, seems an odd choice since the story is told in the first person by one of two main characters.  It would seem this technique would be a better addition to a third person telling. Though, this is probably why the change of medium wasn’t jarring.

The Voice

Sandy Rustin did a great job reading.  Honestly, I think it’s half the reason I kept with the book.  She helped keep me in the time period without pulling me out of the story.  She also gave a depth to the characters that I would have missed out on had I read the book myself.  I think I would strongly recommend listening to this book if you add it to the TBR.

In the End

I think a tween-age reader that is interested in history might enjoy the story and pace of the story.  Obviously, that isn’t me, so it wasn’t one of my favorite reads.

10 Second Summary:

  1. Mixed styles: Instead of being all diary, it mixes in pieces entries with the narrative. 
  2. Creative Storytelling: The combination of photographs and words in this story add a whole new depth to book that I haven’t experienced through other books.
  3. Slow Beginning: It takes a while to get into the story, but it’s worth it.

Check the Shelf Review

It’s a $5 book for me.  Something you might pick up for the right price, but not a must have.

 

Waiting on Wednesday: The Crown

 Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking the Spine

I wasn’t sure how I felt that Cass was adding onto the original trilogy.  I really loved The Selection and was hesitant of anything that might ruin that for me.  However, after reading The Heir, I couldn’t wait for The Crown to come out.  Not to mention how beautiful the set will be on my shelf (Yes, I’ve been waiting for the whole series so I can buy them together.)  Soon we’ll see how everything comes together (I have my guesses.)

 

The Crown (The Selection, #5)
 
 
 

The Crown by Kiera Cass
The Selection Series Book 5
Release Date: May 3, 2016


Summary from Goodreads

Twenty years have passed since the events of The One, and America and Maxon’s daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own. Princess Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected.

Check the Shelf Book Review: Spinster

Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own

Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick

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Publisher/Year: Crown | April 21, 2015

Pages: 308

Series: Stand-Alone

Genre: Non-Fiction

Format: Paperback

Source: From Publisher through Library Things (Thanks!)

Amazon | Goodreads


I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. That did not sway my opinion in the least.

Shannan’s Summary

Through personal story and the history of five women, Bolick goes on a journey of self-discovery.  While she often feels obligated to chase after marriage, Bolick is never quite convicted enough to actually get married.  By looking at marriage and Spinsters throughout history she looks at how the expectation of marriage was shaped through cultural necessity and how and why spinsters didn’t fit into the social norm.

First Off…

I saw this pop up a lot when it first came out and I was interested, if for no other reason than the title.  So when I saw it as an option to win on Library Things I had to try for it, and I won.

The Story:

What this book wound up being is not what I was expecting.  It was part Bolick’s memoir and part history of 5 women that influenced her life.  Bolick reflects on her time in and out of relationships, eventually coming to a personal realization that she is happier when she’s single.  She intermixes this time with a look at 5 women who have influenced her life as well as a historical look on marriage and societies view on “spinsters.”

Being a “spinster” I can relate to these mentalities and enjoyed looking at the different aspects of what societies view on the single women has been through the last century(+.) The five women she spoke about I had never consciously heard of, even though all of them were part of the writing world.  I completely get why Bolick would attach to these women who contributed to pushing the “spinster” envelope.  These five women, for better or worse, were counter-cultural in their lives.

One of my favorite parts of the book was toward the back, when Bolick is starting to come to a self-realization that she’s happier when alone.  She is taking in all the positives and negatives of being single and how something happens to people when they get married to make them forget the negatives.  Bolick says about a friend “Didn’t she remember that being single is more than just following your whims- that it also means having nobody to help you make difficult decisions, or comfort you at the end of a bad day?”  I think this was my favorite line and enjoyed just hearing the in’s and outs of someone else who enjoys being single.  While I don’t plan on being single forever.  I still hope God’s plans for my life lead to marriage one day, but I’m also not miserable living by myself.  I’m also in no hurry to put myself into a relationship for the sake of a relationship.  I’ve seen how that ends.

While Spinster is about singles and society the book isn’t trying to convince everyone to be single.  It’s trying to convince people not to let society define what happiness is for your life.   I would agree with this in as much as we  do allow social expectations to influence us, not always for the best.  However, coming from a biblical worldview, I can’t entirely agree with all the pieces she pulls together as options for happiness, since I think true happiness comes through relationship with Christ.

The Writing

I thought Bolick wrote in a connectable way. I’m not usually a history person, but the way she presented the details of the women and general facts I found interesting.  I thought she did a good job of weaving past, present, and facts so that you didn’t find yourself overwhelmed in any one category.  You could tell she had a journalist bent to her writing, but not so much that it felt dry or removed from the facts.  On the contrary, as a “Spinster” myself, I felt very connecting with some of the realities of singleness she was presenting.

In the End

I liked it.  I wouldn’t say it’s a must-read, but it is definitely interesting.  It introduced me to a lot of women I had never heard of and interesting information about how our culture has morphed into it’s current understanding of marriage. 

10 Second Summary:

  1. Great world: I’m all about a well-developed world that’s different than what’s out in the world.
  2. Creative Storytelling: The combination of photographs and words in this story add a whole new depth to book that I haven’t experienced through other books.
  3. Slow Beginning: It takes a while to get into the story, but it’s worth it.

Check the Shelf Review

Paperback.  I personally enjoyed it since I am single.  So if you’ve got that going for you, or are interested in the history of singles vs married, I think you would find it an interesting read.

 

Check the Shelf Book Review: Rejection Proof

Rejection Proof: 100 Days of Rejection, or How to Ask Anything of Anyone at Anytime

Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang

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Publisher/Year: Harmony | January 1, 2015

Pages: 240

Series: Stand-Alone

Genre: Non-Fiction Self-Help

Format: Hardback

Source: Own

Amazon | Goodreads


I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  That did not sway my opinion in the least.

Shannan’s Summary

Jiang was finally pushed by his wife to obtain his dream: becoming an entrepreneur.  But at the first sign of rejection, he wanted to quit.  That pushed him to force himself to get over his fear by going on a 100-day quest of failure.  For 100 days he would ask people questions that were sure to get rejected, only that’s not what happened.  Jiang started to examine all the pieces of rejection and how almost anyone can turn rejection into success.was finally pushed by his wife to obtain his dream: becoming an entrepreneur.  But at the first sign of rejection, he wanted to quit.  That pushed him to force himself to get over his fear by going on a 100-day quest of failure.  For 100 days he would ask people questions that were sure to get rejected, only that’s not what happened.  Jiang started to examine all the pieces that goes into an ask and how almost anyone can turn rejection into success.

First Off…

I thought the concept  of looking to be rejected in order to build your tolerance seemed intriguing so I requested the book.

The Story:

I was not expecting to enjoy this the book as much as I did.  I speed through this book quick, especially for it being non-fiction.

The beginning of the book tells Jiang’s story into the 100 days experience.  He had a dream to be an entrepreneur and at the first moment of rejection was ready to give up on his dream.  So he decided to get over this fear by forcing himself to face it.  The first couple times were met with no’s, but what soon started happening was he was getting some yeses.  The book then investigates what causes people to say yes or no.  Then, how to investigate the root of the no to come to either a yes or work together for a collaborative solution.

I really latched onto what Jiang was experiencing because my job gives many opportunities for rejection on many levels.  I’ve usually just given myself the suck-it-up-buttercup speech anticipating the failure and accepting it as part of the job.  But what Jiang made me start thinking about is what if I started using no’s as a conversation starter rather than an ender and really got to the heart of what the person is saying, thinking, or concerned with.  It’s getting past words to the unspoken conversation that makes rejection less likely. 

The Writing

Jiang has a great style that strings you along.  He brilliantly takes you from story, to research, to reflection, to life application without causing awkward breaks or removing the reader from the experience of reading.  This is a great book to read if you’re thinking of writing a memoir/life help book.  Or if you’re looking at turning your blog into a book.

In the End

This is a great book for anyone that struggles with rejection to read, which I think is everyone.  I’ll be rereading and underlining this one.

10 Second Summary:

  1. Great stories:  The stories of rejection were interesting and humorous and sometimes bazaar.  
  2. A new way to look at rejection: Rejection doesn’t have to kill a conversation, but it can start one you were planning on.  
  3. Good example of Turing a blog into a book: If you’re considering turning your blog into a book, this is a great example

Check the Shelf Review

Hardback level.  I’ll be encouraging a lot of people I work with to read this book.

 

Top of the TBR: January

New To Be Read

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)

Goodreads | Amazon

Goodreads Summery

Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn’t real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn’t bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin’s yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they’d imagined. Psychologically piercing and dazzlingly inventive, The Magicians, the prequel to the New York Times bestselling book The Magician King and the #1 bestseller The Magician’s Land, is an enthralling coming-of-age tale about magic practiced in the real world-where good and evil aren’t black and white, and power comes at a terrible price.

Where I found it

I’ve owned this on audible for-ev-er and just never listened to it.

Why I Added It

This has been popping up on a lot of podcasts I’ve listened too, and all the summaries have reminded me why I bought it in the first place.  It’s time to finally read listen to this one.

 

Oz: The Wonderful Wizare of Oz (Marvel’s Oz Comics Series #1) by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young

Oz: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Goodreads | Amazon 

Goodreads Summery

When Kansas farm girl Dorothy flies away to the magical Land of Oz, she fatally flattens a wicked witch, liberates a living scarecrow and is hailed by the Munchkin people as a great sorceress but all she really wants to know is: how does she get home?

Where I found it

It popped up on my Goodreads recommendations and I love classics turned comics, so I added it.

Why I Added It

I’ve started reading more graphic novels lately, but I like the non-traditional ones.  I really got into an series where they redid classics as anima comics so when I say Wizard of Oz retold in this way, I added it to my list.

Wildwood by Colin Meloy

Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles, #1)

Goodreads | Amazon

Goodreads Summery

The first book in the epic middle-grade fantasy series full of magic, wonder, and danger—nothing less than an American Narnia—from Colin Meloy, lead singer of the highly celebrated band the Decemberists, and Carson Ellis, the acclaimed illustrator of the New York Times bestselling The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Where I found it

I honestly dont’ remember.  It may have been a side bar on goodreads.

Why I Added It

If the book lives up to the description, how could I not read it.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (Origami Yoda, #1)

Goodreads | Amazon 

Goodreads Summery

Meet Dwight, a sixth-grade oddball. Dwight does a lot of weird things, like wearing the same T-shirt for a month or telling people to call him “Captain Dwight.” This is embarrassing, particularly for Tommy, who sits with him at lunch every day.

But Dwight does one cool thing. He makes origami. One day he makes an origami finger puppet of Yoda. And that’s when things get mysterious. Origami Yoda can predict the future and suggest the best way to deal with a tricky situation. His advice actually works, and soon most of the sixth grade is lining up with questions.

Tommy wants to know how Origami Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. Is Yoda tapping into the Force? It’s crucial that Tommy figure out the mystery before he takes Yoda’s advice about something VERY IMPORTANT that has to do with a girl.

This is Tommy’s case file of his investigation into “The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.”

Where I found it

The Get Booked BookRiot podcast had this on their children’s book recomendation.

Why I Added It

Because it sounds awesome.  Who wouldn’t want to read a book that has an Origami Yoda in it?

Seven Dead Pirates by Linda Bailey

Passenger (Passenger, #1)

Goodreads | Amazon

Goodreads Summery

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever

Where I found it

Several blogs have been talking about it.  Here’s a review from Perpetual Page Turner and an author review from Alexa Loves Books

Why I Added It

Time travel, mystery, danger and intruige.  What more do I need to say?

2015 Challenge Review

#bookishtalks

So This year I had a bunch of Challenges I signed up for.  It was my first full year of blogging and I went into it with pie in the sky dreams of what I would accomplish.  

Yep.  I Lost.  Almost all of them.

I’m not sure why I signed up for some.  Like I did a Debut Author, Series Finishers, and TBR Challenge, which none of those overlap and I didn’t finish any of them.  I didn’t even read a Debut Author this year.

The Alphabet Soup challenges were much more difficult than I thought they would be.  After I got half the letters filled in, everything I read was a repeat.  I am apparently prejudiced against half the alphabet.  

I finished the Audiobook and Fantasy Challenges with books to spare.  Granted, most those books were crossovers.  My two random challenges were fun.  It was a different way to look at books, but I still didn’t finish them.  

And my resolutions?  I only read 30 of the 60 book goal I had for the year.  I think I was a little more diverse in my books this year, but not a ton.  I started graphic novels and read one light horror book but mostly stuck to my fantasy genre.  

Overall, I liked the challenges because it gave me some goals to work toward, even if I didn’t make it.  I should have my challenges for 2016 up soon, so we’ll see how I do.

So how did you do with your 2015 goals?

Be Kind Please Rewind: 2015

2015

So I disappeared for a bit at the end of the year, and for good reason.  So much happened that you’ll probably see a lot of late posts finishing up 2015, but I thought I could start with a general recap of the last couple months of the year.

  1. Bought a house and moved- I don’t remember if I mentioned it before, but I bought a house and moved.  Packing and cleaning are my least favorite things in the world, and moving combines the two.  I’m finally getting a little settled, though, and when I get back from my conference I will start buying all the shelves!  I need so many shelves, and only half of them are for books.  But once that starts happening, I’ll start getting things more organized and it will start feeling more like home.   And once everything is organized then I can start painting, which I really love.
  2. Hosted Christmas- Since I moved into a house and my parents and sister each live in tiny apartments, I hosted Christmas this year.  There is something about this that makes you feel very grown-up and at the same time never want to do it again.  It’s kind of exhausting getting everything ready for family Christmas, even though a lot of what I did is what I would have done normally.  Maybe it’s the clean up piece or the fact my house still isn’t put together.  I had fun hosting, but will be glad it’s back at my parent’s house next year.
  3. New Years Eve- It was just me and my sister for New Year’s.  We went to the movies, made coconut curry and tiramisu from scratch, and went to the Festival of Lights at the Cinci Zoo.  And thanks to a random, but excellent Christmas present (an antenna) we were able to watch the ball drop on TV for the first time since living on our own.
  4. Got Sick-  Yep, since winter finally showed up, I got my typical season change sickness and spent most of the last week of 2015 on the couch sleeping when possible.  I was planning on catching up with all my writing the week after Christmas, but now I have to squish it into the beginning of the year.  I’m determined to build up my cushion again, hopefully before conference in a couple weeks.

 

Read Reviewed Rescued
Young and in Love

Lumberjanes

Nimona

Throne of Glass

School for Good and Evil

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Alienated

Silver in the Blood

Looking Glass Wars

Alienated

Ender’s Game

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Check the Shelf End of 2016
Writing Watched Listened
I obviously haven’t been writing much the last couple months.  Now that I have my desk and computer set up (the monitor died right before the move, so that was another thing in the way of writing) it’s a little easier to find moments here and there.  But I’m really hoping to get things in place over the next couple months, so that will slow things down.  We’ll see how I do with writing in 2016. It’s been a lot of stuff I’ve watched before so that I can read or sleep while it’s on.  I did go to see Star Wars with the fam after Christmas and loved that. I feel out of listening to anything for a while, just enjoyed the silence when I had it.  But I’m back to it, and obsessively catching up on all Book Riot’s podcasts, including “all the books,” which I struggled to find on stitcher for a while.

 

Recaped

Most Popular posts: Bookish Belongings: Posters |  Top Ten Tuesday: Quotes

Most Popular Review: Check the Shelf Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children  |  Check the Shelf Book Review: Looking Glass Wars

Check the Shelf Book Review: Alienated

Book Review: Alienated (Alienated, #1)

Alienated  by Melissa Landers | website | facebook | twitter | instagram |

Publisher/Year: Disney Hyperion | February 4, 2014

Pages: 344

Series: Alienated book 1 of 3

Genre: YA Sci-fi

Format: Hardback

Source: Own

Amazon | Goodreads


Shannan’s Summary

Cara is chosen to be a part of an intergalactic exchange program.

First Off…

I bought this book last year at the Books by the Bank convention and since Landers was coming back, I decided I needed to read it before the convention.

The Story:

So, I knew going into this story that it would be a “Romeo Juliet” story line.  But the concept behind it was intriguing enough for me to give it a go.  While I thought at moments it was a little predictable, the world building and tension was enough to keep me engaged.  I did like that it wasn’t insta-love.  I probably would have given up on the spot. But the characters have time to get to know each other, and it makes sense that they fall for each other semi-quickly because of what’s happening around them with less than friendly environment.  

One thing I really liked about this book was more the reality of it.  It plays into “history repeating itself” as it sets up a world where aliens are coming to earth, and how would humanity react.  I think what makes this book work better than just a typical romeo and juliet type story is the feeling that this all could really happen, because in a way, it’s what always happens.  There are much deeper tones and really the Romeo Juliet story is a minor piece of the bigger puzzle.  

The Writing

The writing was really well done.  It flowed so well, I stayed well saturated in the story.  The world building was well done, because while I didn’t know all the details of the alien race that we were meeting, I could tell the author did.  There was a complete culture that we got to find more about as we continued into the story.  I think this is one the big things that can make or break a sci-fi/fantasy world, how well the author has it developed.  It’s why rowling continues to release pieces of the Potter world, because even though we didn’t need these details for the story, she knew all the ends and outs of her world, which made it all the more believable.  And #### does that here.  We are given little snippets as we continue, and I’m sure we’ll get even more in the next book.  

In the End

It’s not the most complicated story line, but it’s a good book and read. It deals more with the “human condition” and prompts you to ask yourself, what would you do if this really happened.

10 Second Summary:

  1. Romeo and Juliet:  It’s a star crossed lovers story (literally). But no insta-love, and I have hopes the next book will get a little more complicated.
  2. Feels like it could really happen:
  3. Well developed world:  Landers does a great job of balancing your questions with answers, stringing you along at just the right pace. The characters also add a rich dimension to the story.

Check the Shelf Book Review

I’d put this at paperback level.  I enjoyed the story and if you like sci-fi coming into your normal world, this would be a good book to try.