Discussion: What It’s Like to be a Mood Reader

Mood ReadingBasically this is me complaining about my reading habits as of the last three weeks. Because I can, and because I’m grumpy (not really – I’ve just got a horrid headache that won’t go away!) Hence, the subtitle in my banner.

First of all, what is a mood reader? Easy answer: schedules don’t mean anything to you. Have an ARC that needs reading by a certain date? Well you better hope your picky little noggin is in the mood, or it’s going to be like slogging through mud uphill to finish the darn thing.

If I look at my Goodreads “read” shelf, I can track my moods from the beginning of January. It’s very simple, and there’s three phases I can see.

Phase One: Space Opera/Sci-Fi

There’s a few fantasy interspersed in this period, but it all started when I got These Broken Stars for Christmas. And I was sunk after that! This was the time of Avalon, Ignite Me, Alienated, Control and Scarlet, among others. Give me techy lingo, laser guns, spaceships, genetic manipulation – I couldn’t get enough of it! That was a two month spurt, lasting from January all the way to the first few days of March.

Phase Two: Mixed Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Contemporary

The ardor for space petered out eventually, and I had a relatively well balanced diet of all the genres. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, Fangirl, all three Throne of Glass books, Far From You, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and the entire Divergent series are the notable reads from this period. This time of easygoing reading, where I could pick any book off my shelf and be happy about it, only lasted one month, barely making it to the last days of March. And then…

Phase Three: CONTEMPORARY NOMNOMNOM

After reading Allegiant, I hit a book slump like I haven’t seen in ages. I mean, I had to force myself to even open a book, much less read 200-300 words a night like I usually do. Talk about a major book hangover! So I decided to distance myself from anything relating to the genre, and so turned to my pitiful little contemporary shelf. And now, in 20 days, I’ve read 9 contemporary books, the only deviation being a small fantasy novella, and Cress. And there is no stopping. Although there probably will be sometime soon, because I’m running out of contemporary books to read! But I’ve read some fabulous books: Open Road Summer, The Museum of Intangible Things, 13 Reasons Why, If I Stay… all so fantastic <3

So that’s where I’m at. I’m in a Katie McGarry reread extravaganza to prepare for Take Me On’s release in May, and I plan on reading Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone when it’s released May 6!

Ultimately this is a really whiny post, I realize. BUT YOU ALL MUST UNDERSTAND ON SOME LEVEL?? I can’t be the only one struggling with this. It’s horrible to look at the shelf full of books I’ve bought to read, and can’t even stomach the thought of opening them!

How do you deal with mood reading? Do you humor your whims, or do you force yourself to read by a schedule?

 

Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Title: Open Road Summer
Author: Emery Lord
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Publisher/Publication Date: Walker Childrens/April 15th, 2014
How Did I Get It? Bought it!
Format? Hardback

Synopsis from Goodreads: After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

Amazon | Barnes and NobleBook DepositoryGoodreads

The Yacht

This is it. This is the story I’ve been looking for in the last two weeks of binging on contemporary reads. This is the book I’ve been dreaming of since finishing Lola and the Boy Next Door last December. This. Is. It. Open Road Summer is friendship and romance and sunshine and happiness all stuffed into a little over 300 pages. It actually made me wish that California was over this crapy overcast weather, and springtime will finally settle in to stay.

I honestly don’t even know how to write this review. Basically:

With a little bit of

And a lot of

And a dash of

Okay, I’ll stop with the gifs now. But ORS deserves every ounce of attention that it’s getting – and more. Okay, and maybe there are some clichés, maybe a few tropes, but it works, and it’s damn good on top of that. Because those tropes are balanced out with a stunning lyrical writing style, a cast of characters that you can’t help but love, and an ultimate story about best friends and the strength you lend to your non-romantic soul mate.

Reagan has a rough exterior that’s grating at points, but she has a depth to her that once you see past all the gruffness, she’s a really great main character. She’s sensitive, driven, and intelligent, and likes who she’s becoming. Also: I just have to mention here, I love how Emery wrote the different “new Reagan” and “old Reagan.” I don’t want to get into any spoilers here, but the way Reagan dealt with the messes she created before the summer tour was incredibly mature, and honestly I think it’s a fantastic, subtle message that’s really important.

Dee had the potential to be a cheap Taylor Swift knockoff, but she wasn’t, at all. She was sweet, and optimistic, but there’s a bubbling sort of fiery heart brimming just below the surface and she will take you down if you screw with her or Reagan and push her to the breaking point. Her character wasn’t spent lamenting her past relationship, or the negativity of the press – it was about her looking forward, and dreaming of the future.

Matt Finch, of course, deserves a gif:

I am a Finchette. Officially.

He’s that boy-next-door sort of sweet musician (any one else reminded of Nick Jonas, with the whole “youngest in a boy band” thing? Speaking of, have you seen a pic of Nick lately? Like holy schnikies I’m freaking old and he’s freaking hot) with manners and an arrogant sort of swag that hides his tender little heart and ohmygod I want to hold him and maybe do other things with him but most of all I want to hug him and send him off into his bright future. Because despite my wanting to claim him for myself, I ship him and Reagan so hard it’s not even funny. I also dearly loved the fact that Emery made me fall in love with Matt before the romance really bubbled – he didn’t exist solely for the romance slot. His own past and his own pain was very real, and created the depth that I really needed to fully invest myself into the story.

There are so many quotes I’d love to put in here, but I can’t because SPOILERS. Anyway, there were a million parts in the story where I literally had to stop reading, squeal (much to the confusion of my sister), wipe away happy tears, take a deep breath, and then dive back in. Another note: I absolutely hate original songs in books. Why? I don’t know. But what I do know is that in ORS, they worked. I loved the songs, and the book would have been much less without them. They were perfectly placed in the exact right moment for the plot, and I just… <3

I’m really sorry heck no I’m not sorry about all the fangirling in this review, but I haven’t had this amount of love for a book since… I don’t even know when. Maybe Ignite Me? It’s oh so special and will join the ranks among the most special of my contemporary books – right next to Katie McGarry, Morgan Matson, and Stephanie Perkins. And if I had a bottomless wallet, I’d buy everyone a copy so that this magnificence could be spread through the world. But I’m not fabulously rich, so instead I’ll settle on book pushing until I’m blacklisted from the blogging community.

My Final Rating:

Anchors Aweigh

Top Ten Characters Who Influence Me

TTT BannerTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their amazing blog here!

Today’s TTT topic is: Top Ten Characters Who X (you fill in the blank — examples: piss me off, are the popular kids, are bookish, would be my bff, that stole my heart, etc. etc.). I’ve chosen “Top Ten Characters Who Influence Me.” A lot of my role models actually come from literature – whether it’s their morals or personality, or anything else. I would probably not be able to handle a lot of the stuff going on in my life if I hadn’t read so many books and learned so much from these characters!

Note: some of these characters I don’t admire totally, but there are certain aspects that I love and try to embody in my life. So if there’s a character that’s like, “wait, HER/HIM??”, then that’s why.

1. Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games. I know he’s always on my lists… but he’s just so good. He sees the brighter side of things, finds the good in incorrigible people, and always perseveres.

2. June Iparis from The Legend Series (mainly Champion). Because she’s both intelligent and a fantastic soldier – brains and brawn. Not to mention that she’s a strong female role model, and forces people to take her seriously despite her gender and age. 

3. Juliette Ferrars from The Shatter Me trilogy (99% Ignite Me). Because she FINALLY discovers who she is, and doesn’t bend for the sake of others. She doesn’t choose her final match because of convenience, she chooses him because it’s her choice, and no one else’s.

4. Cath from Fangirl. It’s very, very, very scary how similar I am to Cath. Just ask Veronica (who happens to be my personal Reagan) – she’ll back me up all the way! Cath’s journey to recovery from her anxiety was perhaps the most inspiring thing I’ve ever read, and it really struck a chord with me personally. Also, she helped me realize that I was dating an Abel.

5. Tris from The Divergent trilogy (mainly Allegiant). The entire series, really, completely changed my perspective on courage and bravery and selflessness. Honestly, I’d like to reread Allegiant soon, if I can handle the feels.

Not Tris, but I just love Shailene <3

6. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. I’ve saved the best for last! Hermione has been a huge part of my life, for even longer than I originally counted (apparently I’ve been reading HP since I was about 7, not 10 or 11 like I had thought!). She’s shamelessly intelligent, and won’t apologize about enjoying school or reading, and yet at the same time she freaking helped save the entire wizarding world! So “nerd” became something that was okay, and not something to be ashamed of.

Books that have influenced me

Because there’s whole books that have either changed me, or just stuck with me for whatever reason (sometimes not even profoundly – they’re just special!)

7. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. This is one of those special books. I can’t really pinpoint why, but it squirreled into my heart and settled there as one of my favorite books. Maybe because Amy has to deal with loss of her dad, and I can really relate to that.

8. Me Since You by Laura Wiess. Another book that deals with losing your dad. I’m starting to see a pattern here… Anyway, this book took my heart and ripped it all open, forced me to face all the issues I had buried away, and then stitched me back together to be more whole than ever before. (I still want a physical copy… I can’t find it at Barnes and Noble D: )

9. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. This was the only book I read for pleasure while I was in college, and I think I read it about five times in those two years. I connected with Ender so well, and the writing style and complexity was something I’d never seen before. It really changed how I look at my own writing!

10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling. Really, there are no words for how much this series, and this book in particular, has influenced my life. SO. SPECIAL.

That’s my list for this week – link me yours below!

The Writing Life: Camp NaNoWriMo Week Three

NaNo Week 3Welcome to my weekly feature, wherein I discuss writing style of authors, elements of books that are particularly interesting to me, and at times my own writing escapades as I venture into the writing process of my fourth novel. And, as a researching and always-learning aspiring author, I want to hear your opinions on these bits and pieces that make up our beloved paperbacks.

Camp NaNoWriMo: Week Two

For the next four weeks, I’ll be recapping my escapades as I attempt to write 10K words in the month of April. I know it’s a small goal, compared to the usual 50K, but it’s what I can do. And I’ve been keeping up the pace, so I’m quite proud of myself!

Right now my word count is: 8585. I wrote one chapter, but it was actually pretty big! And it was a pivotal one for me as a writer, since I was introducing a new character that’s the catalyst for the entire plot. She’s so dimensional in my head that I wanted to make sure I did her justice in my writing!

Here’s my favorite bit from this week:

“What about you?” I ask in return. “What’s your resolution?”
Elva hauls herself to a sitting position with a heavy sigh. That’s never a good sign — Elva doesn’t sigh unless something’s really bothering her. Usually it’s me or Hunter. This time, I think it’s directed at herself. And that scares me. Elva is the secure one. The pillar when I am crumbling down and can’t find the shards of my identity.
“Elva?” I ask again, sitting up to join her and staring at her profile. It’s drawn and pinched and so un-Elva that I reach out a hand and place it on her shoulder. She sighs again, deeply, like she’s trying to fill the bottom of her lungs with air so she can breathe again.
“Someday…” Her voice is withdrawn; she’s pulling at the strings in her vocal chords and forcing them to say the words her tongue is trying to deny. “I hope to be brave enough to be myself.”
“What does that mean?” Elva is the most individualistic person I know. She says what she thinks, wears what she wants to wear, and doesn’t live by anyone’s rules.
“Every day, I put on a costume, because it’s what people expect. Crazy Elva, ESP. I’ve been fulfilling their need for a pariah, the weird girl in the spotlight they all wish they had the balls to be.”
“But…isn’t that what you wanted to be?” I’ve never seen Elva this vulnerable, this angry at herself.
“At first, maybe,” she laughs humorlessly. “But then it wasn’t my choice — it was an expectation. I love dressing up, I really do! But when it takes two freaking hours to put together an outfit and my makeup every morning, it gets old. I wish I had the guts to just put on a shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes and just walk out of the house for once.
“So…yeah. I want to be brave enough to not hide behind a costume.”
“Then start today,” I say firmly, surprising myself with my conviction. “Take out the piercings, the feathers, and the heels. Buy a pair of flats, wear a shirt without sequins, and skip the blue eyeliner. Simple as that.”
“But people are going to stare. Or, worse, they won’t notice me at all,” her voice takes on that desperate tone of a child afraid their parent will leave them for hours.
“Then that would be like enjoying an actress for the role they play, and not the overall work they do.” I’m staring at the sky when I say this, but I tilt my head back down and glance over at her. She’s looking back with an expression I can’t even begin to capture with words, but it’s the same look she gave Hunter when he bought a dozen sunflowers for her high school graduation party when every other girl was getting roses.

Why is it my favorite? Well, Elva is the character that is supposed to be the one that has it all together, wears weird clothes, and stands out. But I really wanted to make her human, and not a MPDG, so I gave her some depth in this scene.  Thoughts? Comments? I love feedback!

And since this is my blog, and shameless self promotion is an advantage I’m willing to take, you can click THIS LINK (like the all caps? Shameless) to go to my wattpad account and read the prologue and first three chapters of my WIP, Take Me to the Sea!

What about you? How is your NaNo experience going so far? What’s your favorite line/scene that you’ve written?