2017 - further up and further in

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Beautiful People: August Edition

Sunday, August 06, 2017 0
Beautiful People: August Edition
Greetings, writerlings! How in the world is it almost August? I swear, 2017 has flown past. Here we are with another Beautiful People for you! But first...

What is Beautiful People?
Beautiful People is a blog meme hosted by myself and the ever-awesome Cait @ Paper Fury. Every month, we post ten questions to help you get to know your characters better. They can be elusive and enigmatic, but we hope every question we post brings you closer to the answers about your wonderful beautiful people (your characters). 

How do I join?
Just jump in! Snag the questions, post them on your blog, and come back to add your link! I also recommend checking out the posts of the other participants. It's a great way to make new friends.

Please also give Cait and I a link back--whether through a regular link, or these shiny blog buttons:


Note: Photobucket changed their plan and made the previous version of the blog buttons broken, so you'll have to save and download them to your blog this time. Sorry for any inconvenience!

And now to the questions!
  1. What are they addicted to/can’t live without? 
  2. Name 3 positive and 3 negative qualities about your character.
  3. Are they holding onto something they should get rid of?
  4. If 10 is completely organized and 1 is completely messy, where do they fall on the scale?
  5. What most frustrates them about the world they live in?
  6. How would they dress for a night out? How would they dress for a night in?
  7. How many shoes do they own, and what kind?
  8. Do they have any pets? What pet do they WISH they had?
  9. Is there something or someone that they resent? Why and what happened?
  10. What’s usually in their fridge or pantry?

How's writing this month, everyone? How are your characters? How did Camp NaNo go? Sound off in the comments!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Fandom Friday: A Marvelous Monday

Monday, July 17, 2017 1
Fandom Friday: A Marvelous Monday
The Fangirl Initiative has started a new link-up titled Fandom Friday! Thanks to this link-up, we get an opportunity to gush about our fandoms every week. This week, we get to gush about our favorite fandoms!


I'm sure it's no secret: my favorite fandom--well, one of them--is Marvel. It's not perfect, but it's still my problematic fave. And hey, no matter how you slice it, I'm a huge fan of superheroes. Whether they're found in the pages of comics, discovered in a movie theater, or located on Netflix in the comfort of my own home, I love them all (well, most of them). 

Especially this guy.
If you asked me to pick a favorite, I'd say Tony Stark. He's been my favorite since I discovered the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2012. However, in the five years since then, I've discovered so many more. Comic Clint Barton and Kate Bishop. Kamala Khan. The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. characters. Steve and Bucky. Bruce Banner. T'Challa. Peter Parker. Natasha Romanoff. Jessica Jones and Matt Murdock. Sam Wilson. I could go on and on. Every single one of them is so dear to me, and I love them. I'm grateful that I've gotten the chance to know them through fiction. I don't think I'd be the same without each of them or the lessons they've taught me, specifically how to try to be like each of them in my own way. And in addition to that, they've provided me an escape when I've needed it, a reminder that not everything in the world is bad. I have so many thoughts and feelings, but suffice it to say: these heroes are the bomb. (A time bomb, that is. Ayyy. *finger guns*)


And now I'm curious, what's your favorite fandom? G'ahead, go link up with Fandom Friday! You know you want to...

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Beautiful People: July Edition (About the Author)

Thursday, July 06, 2017 0
Beautiful People: July Edition (About the Author)
Hello, writerlings! We're back with a new edition of Beautiful People! This time, in honor of Camp NaNo, we're doing a Beautiful People featuring YOU! We want to know all about you as a writer this month. You can introduce yourself to the world, and maybe you'll get to know yourself in the process! I can't wait to show off the shiny questions this month. But first...

What is Beautiful People?
Beautiful People is a blog meme hosted by myself and the ever-awesome Cait @ Paper Fury. Every month, we post ten questions to help you get to know your characters better. They can be elusive and enigmatic, but we hope every question we post brings you closer to the answers about your wonderful beautiful people (your characters). 

How do I join?
Just jump in! Snag the questions, post them on your blog, and come back to add your link! I also recommend checking out the posts of the other participants. It's a great way to make new friends.

Please also give Cait and I a link back--whether through a regular link, or these shiny blog buttons:


Note: Photobucket changed their plan and made the previous version of the blog buttons broken, so you'll have to save and download them to your blog this time. Sorry for any inconvenience!

And now to the questions!*

  1. How do you decide which project to work on?
  2. How long does it usually take you to finish a project?
  3. Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?
  4. What time of day do you write best?
  5. Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?
  6. Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?
  7. What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?
  8. Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?
  9. What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?
  10. Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!
* Thanks to Twitter for inspiring question #10!


How's writing going this month, my friends? Are you participating in Camp NaNo? Sound off in the comments!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Beautiful People: June Edition

Monday, June 05, 2017 0
Beautiful People: June Edition
Happy June, writerlings! We're back again with another Beautiful People. Instead of a themed version, we're going to just do a random batch of questions. I hope you enjoy them! But first...

What is Beautiful People?
Beautiful People is a blog meme hosted by myself and the ever-awesome Cait @ Paper Fury. Every month, we post ten questions to help you get to know your characters better. They can be elusive and enigmatic, but we hope every question we post brings you closer to the answers about your wonderful beautiful people (your characters). 

How do I join?
Just jump in! Snag the questions, post them on your blog, and come back to add your link! I also recommend checking out the posts of the other participants. It's a great way to make new friends.

Please also give Cait and I a link back--whether through a regular link, or these shiny blog buttons:





And now to the questions!

  1. What’s their favorite place they’ve ever visited?
  2. What’s one mistake they made that they learned from?
  3. What was their favorite subject in school? Or favorite thing to learn about?
  4. What’s their favorite flower/growing thing?
  5. Have they ever made someone cry? What happened?
  6. Would you consider them a reliable or unreliable narrator?
  7. What do they dream about at night?
  8. They’ve gone out for a “special meal.” What would they eat?
  9. Do they have any distinguishing or unique talents?
  10. What’s at least one thing they want to do before they die?



How's it going, everyone? What are you writing right now? What character are you hopelessly in love with (either your own or someone else's)? What are you most excited for this summer (or whichever season it is for you)?

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Beautiful People: Fiona + Her Parents

Saturday, May 27, 2017 2
Beautiful People: Fiona + Her Parents
Today I'm linking up with the Parental Edition of Beautiful People! I'm using one of my most beloved characters, Fiona Bartulli, protagonist of Because I'm Irish and its subsequent sequel(s). You'll also be getting to know her parents, Will and Chloe. So, without further ado, let's get started!
L-R: Will, Fiona, Chloe

1. Overall, how good is their relationship with their parents?
A bit strained, particularly with her mom. Chloe put a lot of huge expectations on Fiona, and her little shoulders couldn't carry them all. And because of that, Fiona got really mad at Chloe, blew up at her multiple times, and they haven't been the same since.

Fiona's relationship with her dad (who is for convenience purposes always named Will even though I know I could probably find something better) is a lot better, however. He's her mainstay, and she adores him. Her favorite memories involve driving down rural mountain-y roads while classic rock blared and the wind whipped her hair (her dad drove a red convertible and always had the top down).


2. Do they know both their biological parents? If not, how do they cope with this loss/absence, and how has it affected their life?
Fiona does know her biological parents.

3. How did their parents meet?
School, for lack of a better origin story. I've always really wanted to write Chloe and Will's story too, but it's never come to me. But they met in college--the University of Maine--where they bonded over majors that didn't quite fit and being forced to go to school. Here's what probably happened: Will sat behind Chloe, and he asked if he could borrow her pencil. He then laid on some thick, cheesy, awful pickup line. She rejected his advances for a bit but eventually she fell for him too, and the rest is history. Fiona's reluctant history that she's often annoyed by, of course. (And omg, I think I just came up with parts of Chloe/Will's story, you guys. That's huge.)

Will & Chloe--(source)

4. How would they feel if they were told “you’re turning out like your parent(s)”?
That greatly depends on if you mean her mom or her dad.

For her mom: Fiona would be extremely ticked off. You'd probably be losing a body part. My condolences to you.

But if you told her she's turning out like her dad, she'd secretly glow and never let on how much it meant to her (but if you knew her really well, you'd be able to tell).



5. What were your character’s parents doing when they were your character’s age?
Fiona is 19 at the start of Because I'm Irish, so Will and Chloe were probably in their sophomore year in college. They were probably a year into dating, and they probably were about to give birth to Fiona, honestly. She came along pretty quick.


6. Is there something they adamantly disagree on?
For Fiona and her mom: oh, yes. Everything. A more apt question would be what don't they disagree on?
For Fiona and her dad: Not much. Just that ketchup should absolutely not go on hot dogs. (Fiona is not a fan.)

7. What did the parent(s) find hardest about raising your character?
Again, unfortunately a more apt question is what they did not. Fiona came with a temper and a strong will and strong beliefs and no fear of voicing them. She gets angry and holds grudges, so obviously that wasn't easy. The toddler and teenage years were not easy. However, when Fiona was the ages of 6-9, she was an absolute sweetheart. So she has that going for her. (Honestly, I love her dearly. So do her parents. They really do. We really do.)

A young Fiona.--(source)

8. What’s their most vivid memory with their parental figure(s)?
The day they first went to New York City when Fiona was 11. It was to make up for a field trip that Fiona missed because she was sick. They spent the day as tourists--visiting the Statue of Liberty, seeing the Empire State Building, walking around the city. They finished off by eating pizza at a hole in the wall pizza place and being serenaded by a violinist. That marked two things: the moment Fiona fell in love with New York City, and the moment she fell in love with the violin. Those two things really rooted themselves in her heart and became her dreams. Not only that, but it was just a good memory with her family that she holds onto. She still has the tiny American flag her dad bought her on her dresser.

9. What was your character like as a baby/toddler?
As a baby, the best. They probably had no idea what was coming (bwaha-ha-ha, oh my gosh). Then, when Fiona turned two, of course, her will and defiance arrived and she threw tantrums like no other. That scene in Inside Out when Riley throws broccoli at her dad's face is all I can picture.


10. Why and how did the parents choose your character’s name?
Chloe picked it out because of her Irish heritage and her love for the Cliffs of Moher, which her dad took her to visit when she was sixteen. Fiona's middle name, Rose, is a family name carried down for four generations and Chloe's middle name as well.


And that's it! This post made me miss Fiona and her parents deeply. I think it's time to revisit their stories sometime soon if I can get up the courage to do so (and remember how to write). But I know someday they'll come back to me--the Bartullis always do. These characters in particular are like family, and writing them always feels like coming home.

Did you do Beautiful People?

Friday, May 5, 2017

Beautiful People: Parental Edition

Friday, May 05, 2017 0
Beautiful People: Parental Edition
Greetings, writerlings! Welcome back to the blog for another edition of Beautiful People! In honor of Mother's Day this month, we decided to theme our BP around parents. I'm excited to dig in to this post, and even more excited to participate later this month!

But first...

What is Beautiful People?
Beautiful People is a blog meme hosted by myself and the ever-awesome Cait @ Paper Fury. Every month, we post ten questions to help you get to know your characters better. They can be elusive and enigmatic, but we hope every question we post brings you closer to the answers about your wonderful beautiful people (your characters). 

How do I join?
Just jump in! Snag the questions, post them on your blog, and come back to add your link! I also recommend checking out the posts of the other participants. It's a great way to make new friends.

Please also give Cait and I a link back--whether through a regular link, or these shiny blog buttons:






Before we get to the questions, a quick note. For some, parental situations can be painful. As always, take care of yourself, friends. If you need to sit out this time, please feel free to do so. (We have a wealth of questions you could also use instead.) If you need to not do BP at all, please feel free. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. You come first.

Here are this month's questions!

  1. Overall, how good is their relationship with their parents?
  2. Do they know both their biological parents? If not, how do they cope with this loss/absence, and how has it affected their life?
  3. How did their parents meet?
  4. How would they feel if they were told “you’re turning out like your parent(s)”?
  5. What were your character’s parents doing when they were your character’s age?
  6. Is there something they adamantly disagree on?
  7. What did the parent(s) find hardest about raising your character?
  8. What’s their most vivid memory with their parental figure(s)?
  9. What was your character like as a baby/toddler?
  10. Why and how did the parents choose your character’s name?




So, let's talk! How was your Easter? What writing project are you working on right now? What are you excited for in summer?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I Can't Really Remember How to Write?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 5
I Can't Really Remember How to Write?

I haven't written since... November.

I mean, okay, that's not exactly true. I've written articles. I keep up, somehow, with The Fangirl Initiative, even though my health hasn't been kind lately. I try to write at Youer than You as well. But when it comes to fiction, the thing I thought I was destined to do? Yeah, no. That I haven't done since November, when I did the obligatory NaNo, closed my document, and haven't looked at it since.

Honestly, I think it's... okay. It's not actually okay in the truest sense because everything in me is screaming that it's not normal to not be writing. Writing is my thing. I've been doing it since I had access to a pen. But I think it's something that I have to walk through, for better or for worse. My mental health isn't great. My physical health isn't great. I can't write right now. And that, as much as it absolutely positively sucks, is okay. I've had to be able to admit that to myself. It's okay to not be able to write.

And that, besides the health problems, is why this blog has been so quiet lately. This blog is about writing. Except when I... can't write? I've had a bunch of drafts started. I tried to do Camp NaNo. I've started Pinterest boards, I've done Beautiful People questionaires... I've had a ton of false starts.

I've brainstormed, I've thought of characters, I've knocked on doors.

I just can't write right now.

And for now, that has to be okay.

***

S/O and many thanks to my sister: when I told her I hadn't written since November, she gasped and said, "That's not okay!" She then proceeded to throw out ideas at me all day. "You could write about this. You could write about that." Finally, one stuck. "You could write about aliens." One day, when the door is finally unlocked, I am going to write about aliens.

***

What do you do to get unstuck? Do you remember how to write? Have you ever been at a place in your mental health journey where you just couldn't write?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What’s Up? (The Sky ... Ha ... Ha)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 4
What’s Up? (The Sky ... Ha ... Ha)
Hey, everyone. I know it's been a while since you heard from me. I just wanted to write to you and explain why I've been so absent.

So, this year, my chronic pain has not been kind. There have been lots of ups and downs. I started a new headache medicine, but with that, there have been some side effects and adjustments. I've also been shifting some other medicine around, and because of that, my pain has worsened. My headaches have been lessened, but I've had a ton of overall body aches and I've just been feeling like crap, to put it oh-so-eloquently. Because of this, I've been mostly focusing on getting through each day and only doing what I absolutely have to.

This has all been in January and February (though probably all through the last few months of 2016 as well). So then, starting in March, I got a cold that lasted for a while, then went away for two days before I promptly got sick again. (Haha, that was nice.) That cold lasted for like, three weeks until my mom finally handed me a Claritin and said, "Here! Try this." So, I did. And it kind of helped, but I'm still dealing with some sickness, and I'm still dealing with the pain.

But, I missed blogging! So here I am. I'll be putting up at least one post in the next week or two, hopefully. I'll try to get back into the swing of things. Stay tuned. And keep your head up, lovelies. It's all going to be all right. ♥

How's life for you?


When I dressed up and took this photo and actually felt alive for the first time in weeks; I also did my best impression(s) of Ronald Weasley.

P. S. Don't hate me for the pun in the title. I kind of hate it a little bit too, but I had to.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Beautiful People: March Edition

Sunday, March 05, 2017 0
Beautiful People: March Edition
Hello, writerlings! Another month, another edition of Beautiful People! (Is it just me, or is it wild that we're in March already?!) Here we are with more questions to help you get to know your characters--and this time the batch is a random assortment!

But first...

What is Beautiful People?
Beautiful People is a blog meme hosted by myself and the ever-awesome Cait @ Paper Fury. Every month, we post ten questions to help you get to know your characters better. They can be elusive and enigmatic, but we hope every question we post brings you closer to the answers about your wonderful beautiful people (your characters). 

How do I join?
Just jump in! Snag the questions, post them on your blog, and come back to add your link! I also recommend checking out the posts of the other participants. It's a great way to make new friends.

Please also give Cait and I a link back--whether through a regular link, or these shiny blog buttons:





And now for the questions!

  1. What’s their favorite book/movie/play/etc.?
  2. Is there anything they regret doing?
  3. If they were sick or wounded, who would take care of them and how?
  4. Is there an object they can’t bear to part with and why?
  5. What are 5 ways to win their heart (or friendship)?
  6. Describe a typical outfit for them from top to bottom.
  7. What’s their favorite type of weather?
  8. What’s the worst fight they’ve ever been in?
  9. What names or nicknames have they been called throughout their life?
  10. What makes their heart feel alive?


How's your month going? How's your writing? Tell me all!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Beautiful People: Couples Edition

Sunday, February 05, 2017 0
Beautiful People: Couples Edition

Hello writerlings! Happy Valentine's Day! In honor of this holiday, we've whipped up a special edition of Beautiful People for you all that's focused on couples! Pick an OTP (one true pairing) from your WIP (work in progress) and you'll be good to go!


But first...

What is Beautiful People?
Beautiful People is a blog meme hosted by myself and the ever-awesome Cait @ Paper Fury. Every month, we post ten questions to help you get to know your characters better. They can be elusive and enigmatic, but we hope every question we post brings you closer to the answers about your wonderful beautiful people (your characters). 

How do I join?
Just jump in! Snag the questions, post them on your blog, and come back to add your link! I also recommend checking out the posts of the other participants. It's a great way to make new friends.

Please also give Cait and I a link back--whether through a regular link, or these shiny blog buttons:





And now for the questions!
  1. How and why did they meet?
  2. What were their first impressions of each other?
  3. How would they prove their love for each other?
  4. What would be an ideal date?
  5. Is there something they emphatically disagree on?
  6. List 5 “food quirks” they know about each other. (Ex: how they take their coffee, if they’re allergic to something, etc….and feel free to mention other non-food quirks!)
  7. What’s one thing they know about each other that no one else does?
  8. What’s one thing that they keep a secret from each other?
  9. How would their lives be different without each other?
  10. Where do they each see this relationship going?


So how's your 2017 going? How's your February? Your Valentine's Day? How are you in general? How is your heart (at risk of sounding totally cheesy)? Tell me all. ♥

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Magical Origins of Albion Academy by Elijah David

Wednesday, February 01, 2017 4
The Magical Origins of <i>Albion Academy</i> by Elijah David
Today I'm pleased to be hosting a guest post by my friend, author Elijah David. I think I've known Eli around six or seven years now, which is honestly so wild! He's one of my favorite people and I'm really honored to know him and host him on my blog. Today I've asked him to share a little bit about how he came up with the idea for his novel Albion Academy

Is a Djinni just a trickster? Can a wizard only learn magic? Must a Valkyrie always ferry the dead? For Mortimer, Merlin, and Bryn, it seems the fates have already written the ends of their stories. When Mortimer asks unorthodox questions, the Djinni Elders exile him to a human school of magic—Albion Academy. Merlin's friendship with a mortal only increases his mother's determination for him to live up to the heritage of his ancestors. And Bryn's prophetic sisters outright declare that her fate is tethered to Mortimer, Merlin, and the mysterious door in the school's basement. As the three of them struggle against the constraints of their families' expectations, they find themselves inexorably drawn into a conflict that encompasses rogue Faeries, dangerous mortals, and sorcerers hidden in Albion Academy itself. Defying their fates might be the only way they survive their first year at Albion Academy.

The Magical Origins of Albion Academy
By Elijah David

Sky asked me how I came up with the idea for Albion Academy, and although I have touched on this in some of the other posts on the tour, I thought I could lay out a more detailed view of the matter.

The initial idea for what became Albion Academy was the question "What would it look like if Merlin the wizard were a student in a modern high school?" I toyed with this idea for all of a week (if that) before deciding that, much as I love the old man, I didn't need to write this book about the original Merlin (called Merlin Ambrosius in the book). I would write about a new Merlin, a descendant of the first.

But where did this new Merlin come from? His origin and backstory were some of the first details I worked out. He was a descendant of both Merlin Ambrosius and King Arthur, the bloodlines having crossed somewhere along the way. Thus, Merlin Pendragon was born. He hasn't changed much from my initial understanding of him, except to grow more into himself.

The school setting changed several times over the course of novel's writing. Initially, I had decided on a strictly mortal school – no magic apart from Merlin's and maybe a few other students. Then I quickly shifted gears to make it an all-magical school, because the magic had already sneaked into the book and couldn't be pried out with a ten-foot crowbar. After fiddling with this in the early stages of the book, I finally landed on the final idea that the school would be mixed: a mortal school and a magical school sharing the same property. (At one point Albion was entirely hidden from mortal knowledge and had to be accessed via specific walls and passwords. That idea scrapped itself.)

Merlin's family, his Knower Harry, and most of the other cast members came almost without needing to be called. The scene in which Merlin chooses Harry as his Knower – that's the person entrusted with his True Name – is one of the earliest scenes I wrote, and has remained constant in each successive draft, although its place in the narrative has shifted a few times.

Once I'd established the setting, I started thinking of other mythologies that could blend into the world I was creating. I didn't want this to be purely an Arthurian story. There was too much myth in the world to have such a singular focus for this book. So Puck (aka Robin Goodfellow) bounced in very early on, followed quickly by the Djinn, the Valkyries, the Myr (mermaids), and others. Mortimer was an important character almost from the beginning (when he was still called Mortimer the Widower despite never having been married).

Mortimer wasn't the only character to get his name tweaked over the course of the book. Nina Smith was originally named Kayla, but I realized that this was too close to Merlin's sister Kaya and switched it to Nina. (She had the smaller role in the book, so hers had to be the one to change; she's much happier with the new name, anyway.) Speaking of name changes, there are two that were more drastic than the others. The first is Gabriel Faust, the mortal boy who causes trouble for Merlin throughout the book. He began his existence as a wizard classmate of Merlin's named – wait for it – Melman Goode. Yeah. Terrible name. That's why he's now Gabriel. His personality got a bit of a facelift as well, but deep down he's still the troublesome but all-too-human kid.

The other major name change was actually not a character's but the book's. For a long while, I simply called it "Merlin" or "the Merlin book". But I can't work on anything for long without giving it a title, even a temporary one (though my titles are rarely temporary). I settled on SOMEDAY, an acronym for (The) Schools of Magical Education: Dragons and Yali. The idea was that I would visit the other Schools in the rest of the books, and each would have a similar acronymic title. Unfortunately, the acronyms . . . were less than accommodating. Even when I could make one that worked, the beings and phrases included usually had nothing to do with the plot of the book (and quite often they were just plain terrible; for example WHERE was a nightmare).

After struggling with the acronyms for the rest of the series throughout the first draft of the book, I finally accepted the fact that the title had to go. I kept the subtitle (Dragons and Yali) as a chapter title, and went for the most obvious title: Albion Academy. I still wanted the connection between the titles in the series, so I racked my brain for appropriate words beginning with the letter A. I had the titles for the series in less than a day.

After the crisis of title, I faced the final major shift of the book. In the earliest fragments, I had attempted to tell the story from third person perspective, with an omniscient narrator overviewing the action. This was how I'd always written before, so it seemed natural to continue in this way. But every time I came to Merlin's portions of the story (which at this point were essentially all of them), I found myself slipping into first person. I'd only got a few chapters into the book when I realized I needed to write it in first person from Merlin's perspective.

Once the first full draft was complete, I read through it in preparation for revisions. While doing so, I came to a stunning conclusion: Merlin's story wasn't the only one that needed telling here.  By this point, Bryn had established herself as a main character, part of my trio at the heart of the series. So the book became a three-narrator novel, with Mortimer, Merlin, and Bryn each telling their portions of the story in first person. (I also included short interludes between chapters that narrate events centered on some of the important minor characters, but in third person.) This narrative overhaul led to some chapters being combined, others rewritten, and some sections being dropped altogether. It was a rough job, but the end result was a far stronger book than before.

So there you have it, the story of Albion Academy in a larger-than-average walnut shell.

Elijah David works as a copywriter and content editor at a Chattanooga advertising agency. He holds an MA in English (UTC) and is a member of the Chattanooga Writer's Guild. An avid reader of fantasy, he started writing Albion Academy when a trio of fictional characters grabbed his attention and wouldn't let go. He is currently working on the second of four planned books in the world of Albion Academy. In addition, he edits and contributes to the Tolkien journal Silver Leaves. As far as he knows, Elijah's only magical ability is putting pen to paper. His blog can be found at elijahdavidauthor.blogspot.com.

You can purchase Albion Academy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books a Million! Add it to your Goodreads shelves here, too. Thanks for sharing, Eli!

Monday, January 30, 2017

What I Read: December

Monday, January 30, 2017 3
What I Read: December
Ah, yes, here we are... January is almost done... and I'm just now getting this up. This is super late because I was gone for a week this month going across two time zones and spending a week in Pennsylvania with my friend Ashley (whom some of you may recognize from A Novel Idea and Youer than You)! Then January was a mess of chronic pain and absolute busyness. But now I'm back to recap the last month of 2016 and all the books I read, which are many. I made up for my complete lack of reading in November by reading a lot in December, and I am okay with that.

Stay tuned for my recap of my 2016 reading as well!


It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

This book. I guess I didn't quite expect it to be so heartrending. Colleen Hoover books are pretty simple, right? Get in, get out, nobody gets hurt?

Yeah, no, not really. It Ends with Us is probably one of my favorite CoHo books to date. It had important things to say. It was enthralling, it was emotional. It was happy at times, but then it was awful at times. It was a well-written, nuanced book, and I loved it.

Trigger warning, with a spoiler, highlight to read: This book focuses on an abusive relationship.

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

You know those books that, no matter what, they're doomed because you read them right after an amazing one? That was this book for me. I seriously enjoyed it, and there was nothing wrong with it, but it didn't live up to its predecessor. It was such a good read, though. The twist was heartbreaking. I'm glad I read it.

Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger

This book kept me enthralled, and I loved that the main character made some pretty dubious decisions (morally gray main characters can be so interesting). I also loved that the love interest was diverse! The point in this book when everything fell apart was super well-executed.

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

This one is another CoHo favorite, and I'm not just saying that because I share a name with the main character. This book was so much deeper than I was expecting, and it was honestly amazing. (Obviously I need to just become Colleen Hoover's fan club president right now because apparently I read and recommend everything she writes--and for very good reason.) But seriously, this one's worth reading.

Never Never Trilogy by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

This trilogy was super helpful because it helped me reach my reading goal of 80 books. They're 3 novellas of 90-ish pages each, so I blazed through each one. Did I get the answers I wanted? No. Was I satisfied by the end? Not at all. Do I regret reading them? Not really. Was it intriguing? Absolutely, yes.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

This book is a monster, but I am okay with that. I wouldn't have made it through it without my friend Ashley. We read it together, doing a certain number of chapters a day, and that made those 900-some pages blaze past like lightnight. And gosh, was this book amazing. I love Harry Potter.

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

This book took me so long to get through because it was very emotionally draining. I count that as a good sign, though. I felt the way Eden was feeling (which was awful), and that's a sign of good writing. Objectively, this book was really good. Emotionally, this book made me feel so sapped. But it's an important book with a very important message, and I don't regret reading it. (And that cover. ♥)

Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover

My only complaint about this book is that it was so short. This is good because, again, it helped me reach my goal of reading 80 books before the end of 2016, but oh my gosh, no. I need more, please. 

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry

This book was one I didn't feel super emotionally invested in, but it was a fast-paced, intriguing thriller, and it kept me turning the pages, so I count that a success.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

I liked the back story we got in this book on Tom Riddle and his family, and the extra Dumbledore was awesome. I also liked the added twist of who the Half-Blood Prince was. But at the time, I wasn't okay with the ending of this book at all. *Aaron Burr voice* No. NO WAY.

Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano

This book was unlike most of what I usually read, and I absolutely loved it. It actually did remind me a lot of a male-centric version of The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma in the best of ways.

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

This is another favorite of mine by Colleen Hoover. (Who here is surprised, really?) I loved the way both music and Ridge being deaf were highlighted and featured and woven effortlessly throughout the book. Another highlight of this was the CD that was created to go alongside the book. I still get the songs stuck in my head! I loved that aspect of it.

Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

I first heard of this book because it was targeted unfairly by trolls and given a bunch of one-star reviews on Goodreads before it was even out. I rated the book five stars, even though I hadn't read it, to help offset the negative reviews, and I then resolved to read the book as soon as I could get my hands on it. I found it on Netgalley and requested it and was really thrilled to receive it. I wasn't disappointed. This book was so great. The writing and prose were beautiful, and I could feel the beach and saltwater vibes. I also loved the diversity. I found this book a safe place, like a retreat, and I find myself thinking about it still, a month or so after finishing it. This is a fantastic debut, and I can't recommend it enough.

What was your favorite book you read in December?