January 2017 - further up and further in

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?

Friday, January 6, 2017

Beautiful Books #3 + 2017 Writing Goals

Friday, January 06, 2017 2
Beautiful Books #3 + 2017 Writing Goals
Hello writerlings!

Sorry for the lack of Beautiful Books this December. Cait and I got extraordinarily busy, and we blame it entirely on the holidays. All of us need a break every now and then, so we decided to take ours unexpectedly--we apologize for our lack of warning on that!

We're back now with the final installment in this year's Beautiful Books! However, we usually do a New Year's themed Beautiful People in January, so this month we're combining the two. So, we present our hybrid of editing + writing goals! Enjoy.

But, naturally, you may have some questions about this.

Do I have to be doing NaNo to participate? Absolutely not! While the general format is suited well to writers doing NaNo, we want this blog link-up to be for everyone! Just pick a work-in-progress and you'll be good to go. Come one, come all!

How does it work? The format is really similar to Beautiful People. Each month, we'll be posting 10 questions, except this time for you to answer about your WIP (or yourself!). You'll take our 10 questions and answer them on your blog, then come back and link up here! And don't forget to go around and read the posts of the other participants--it could be a great way to make friends!

What about Beautiful People? Beautiful People will be back! But for now, show your WIP some love! There’s always the archive if you get the itch to do BP as well.

So... what do I do? Sit tight and read the questions Cait and I will post, then use them to help you think through one of your novels! Then link back, and overall be your awesome self! Also, if you want to share this with your friends, we aren't at all opposed! Making this one big party would be really cool.

Don't forget to link back, either via a text link or this fancy blog button.

This month's questions:

  1. What were your writing achievements last year?
  2. What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?
  3. Tell us about your top-priority writing projects for this year!
  4. How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?
  5. Describe your general editing process.
  6. On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out?
  7. What aspect of your draft needs the most work?
  8. What do you like the most about your draft?
  9. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?
  10. What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?

How were your holidays? How are you? Any cool presents for Christmas? What are you writing? Sound off in the comments!