Book Review: Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

Traitor Cover

Publisher: Viking

Date of Publication: March 7th, 2017

Description:

Gunslinger Amani al’Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a mythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she’s fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne.

When Amani finds herself thrust into the epicenter of the regime—the Sultan’s palace—she’s determined to bring the tyrant down. Desperate to uncover the Sultan’s secrets by spying on his court, she tries to forget that Jin disappeared just as she was getting closest to him, and that she’s a prisoner of the enemy. But the longer she remains, the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she’s been told he is, and who’s the real traitor to her sun-bleached, magic-filled homeland.

Forget everything you thought you knew about Miraji, about the rebellion, about Djinn and Jin and the Blue-Eyed Bandit. In Traitor to the Throne, the only certainty is that everything will change.

Buy It From: Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Note: I received an eARC of this book from Viking Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

It took me a while, but I finally managed to finish this book! While there were some elements of Rebel of the Sands that carried over to Traitor to the Throne, there appeared to be quite a few differences between the two, which did not sit well with me.

First of all, Jin was gone from the very beginning – it starts with Amani having negative feelings towards him, and it is not until a little later that we find out why. As far as I can remember, the reason happened off the page. And I must say, this reason for Jin disappearing was pretty ridiculous and overdramatic. When I read it I thought “Really? That’s the reason why you chose to make him leave?”. This tension between them seemed very forced, and had almost nothing to do with the actual story. With Jin gone, that same fun, playful banter that I got to know and love disappeared with him, which was disappointing.

Hamilton’s descriptions of the world were still engaging and fun to read, but I do, however, think that there was a lot of unnecessary rambling on Amani’s part, which made the book drag on.

Speaking of Amani, she appears to be an entirely different person in this book than she was in the first. I really liked Amani in the first book, but I didn’t have that same draw to her this time around. While I realize that there is such thing as character development, this seemed more like a complete character 180 happened between books. (TBH, I was more interested in learning more about the Sultan than Amani.)

As with many other fantasy sequels, this book was filled with lots of political intrigue, which isn’t really my jam, but I can understand why it was necessary. This is another reason why it appeared to drag, especially since there was a lot less action this time around, though don’t worry, action still exists in this book.

Again, there are way more characters – especially princes – than there probably needs to be, which can make keeping track of everything happening difficult, especially when a lot of people have powers.

On a positive note, this book had a lot of plot twists to keep me on my toes. Of course, the magic was still abundant and was a joy to read about – I enjoy seeing the clever ways that magical beings use their powers.

I am on the fence about whether or not I want to finish what I assume will be this trilogy. I will have to see how I feel when it comes out.

Overall: Though it had magic, tension, and hope, this sequel fell flat in comparison to the first book.

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Book Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

the-bone-witch

Publisher: Sourcefire Books

Date of Publication: March 7th, 2017

Description:

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.

Buy It From: Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Note: I received an advanced eARC from Sourcefire Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: ★★★★★

My actual rating is 4.5, because this book makes use of a lot of slow building, which may not be everyone’s cup of Tea *badum tssss*

With that in mind, I really, really liked this book. Yes, it was slow, but it was all worth it for the end, in my opinion. Tea grows so much from when we first meet her to when we leave her, and I love that she learns something new and important from almost every person she meets in between. Each character is important in some way, and they all have their own stories and personalities. There are definitely some side characters that could have their own spinoff book, if Chupeco were to considered writing one (0 pressure, though). Tea and Fox became my little babies right from the start, and I worried about them constantly throughout. I also decided that some of the other characters are my babies, and I am very concerned about their well-beings in the next book.

The world is large and interesting, with some political intrigue but mostly a great sense of magic and fantasy. Being able to learn more about this world and its magic along with Tea was exciting and mesmerizing, and it all made for an immersive reading experience. Chupeco’s writing is beautiful and lyrical, the words almost coming to life in my mind as easily as if they were in a movie. Especially the descriptions of the clothing and the food! This book made me want to dress really nicely and eat really good, complexly flavoured food. No doubt that I would watch a movie based on The Bone Witch.

I also like that we get to see glimpses into Tea’s life in the future, which gives away enough information to tease the reader, but keeps enough hidden to make them wonder what the heck happens in the next book to cause future Tea to be that way or have those things. That ending, though – great cliffhanger. Now I’m impatient to get my hands on the sequel.

Overall: A slow burn, but still a wonderful, engaging story of intrigue, darkness, and magic.

Sequels I Haven’t Yet Read (3/3)

Happy Friday, readers! Today I end my unread sequel series with series that I have read multiple books from, but have more to read – aka, series I’m seriously behind on.

1. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms

Falling Kingdoms became an instant favourite of mine when I first read it years ago. I was able to keep up with the books for a while, but at the moment I am one book behind, with the final book in the series releasing sometime next year. Here’s hoping that I will be able to get to Crystal Storm before 2018!

2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

throne-of-glass

Like a lot of other people, I was hooked on this series for a long time. More recently, however, I have fallen 2 books behind: still have yet to read Queen of Shadows and Empire of Storms. While I gave each book at least 4 stars, lately I haven’t felt like continuing on with the series. I am still not sure when I will get to the rest of these books, or if I ever will. I guess it will all depend on what I feel like reading.

3. The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection

The Selection has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, and I managed to get to the end of America’s storyline before I stopped reading the series. It wasn’t intentional – I bought Eadlyn’s books, as well, but I just haven’t gotten around to reading them. They’re not necessarily a priority of mine right now, so when I will actually get around to reading them is questionable. I definitely do want to continue on, though.

4. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter 1

I know, blasphemy. For some reason while all of my friends were off reading Harry Potter, I was reading Captain Underpants, Dear Dumb Diary, and A Wrinkle In Time. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that my grandmother bought me the entire series, and just last year I read the second book. There are still 5 other books left to read, but if I’m being honest I don’t feel like I need to read them. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled too much by social media over the years – I basically already know all the important plot points.  I don’t know, I don’t have the same connection to them that everyone else seems to have.

5. House of Night by P. C. Cast and Kristen Cast

House of Night 1.jpg

I don’t even know where to begin with these books. My cousin introduced me to them in my mid teens, and while they were kind of enjoyable when I first read them, they lost their spark as I got older and read other, better books. I think I got up the fourth or fifth book before I decided to donate all of the copies I owned to a charity book sale. I think it’s safe to say that I do not intend on finishing this series.


That’s it for me today. Thank you so much for reading, and I hope that you all have a lovely weekend!

~Becca

Writing Wednesday: On Getting Distracted and Getting to Work

Hello everyone, and happy Wednesday!

I just recently returned from a week-long vacation, but where I was staying had no internet access besides cellular data, so I fell behind on a lot of the bookish world. That being said, without social media and YouTube and Netflix to distract me, I managed to get through two and a half books and started outlining a novel.

Total 180 here: when I was in high school, I did a lot of writing. It’s true that I was in writing clubs and classes, so I had to write, but in my spare time I also wrote almost a whole trilogy between the ages of 14-17, including the millions of drafts and versions of the story that preceded the most recent one.

Unfortunately, when I started university I seem to have lost all the writing discipline I’d had before. When I’m not doing school work or other work, I find that I’m constantly refreshing my Twitter feed and YouTube subscription box, hoping to keep up with the latest buzz. I also just started the second season of Shadowhunters, when I totally did not need to! I often blame my lack of writing progress on my lack of creativity, because sometimes I’ll open a Word document but all I’ll do is stare at a blank page for ten minutes. But clearly my week without wi-fi was all I needed to get to work – the creativity is still there, but the discipline is not.

Now, it’s easy to say that all I need to do is delete my social media accounts, but that’s not very realistic for me. I am a social person, and I am really not down to disconnect from the world. There are, however, some tricks that I would like to try in order to get myself back on the writing track. Who knows, maybe someone reading this has the same problems, and could use some of these, too!

1. Decrease distractions.

While I am not okay with completely deleting myself off the internet, there are some methods of stopping myself from checking social media as obsessively as I do. On my phone I use the Forest app, which is a productivity app that grows a virtual tree for the time you tell it to, but if you ever leave the app then the tree dies. This is the kind of application that really hits my guilt strings, and it has worked wonders when I’m doing my school work.

I don’t have any applications on my laptop, but often when I’m doing school work I will sign out of Google/Youtube and Twitter, that way when I impulsively type their web addresses in the bar I won’t instantly have access to my feeds. Often seeing the sign-in page is enough of a reminder that I’m not supposed to be procrastinating, and that there is work to be done. I should probably do that with Netflix, too.

2. Track Progress.

A lot of authors have agendas or calendars that they use to not only schedule their lives, but also to track how much they’ve written. Some authors, like my friends Sarena and Sasha, write down the dates for when they hit certain word-count milestones, and when they finish. Others, like Victoria Schwab, use stickers to count how many words they wrote on a certain day. I think that if I adopt these methods of progress tracking, it will help keep me motivated to keep doing better than the day before, which will hopefully take me all the way to the end of a book, or at least a first draft.

3. Make a schedule, and stick to it.

I’ve always been a planner, but recently I’ve been trying to make a schedule for myself that incorporated many daily habits that I want to become routine, including working out, reading, and, of course, writing. Sticking to a schedule can be hard when spontaneous hangouts with friends happen, or you miss you bus. But I’ve realized that if writing is something I want to do, I can’t just do it whenever I please – I have to set aside time for it around my work and, in the Fall, my school. I’m hoping to be able to implement a schedule, now that my only constant obligation is work, and maybe I’ll be able to transition into a school-term schedule – but we’ll see about that!

4. Treat it like a job.

I’ve always been a hard worker when it comes to school and work – in fact, sometimes I wonder if I take them a little too seriously. I’ve noticed that I do not put the same intensity into my writing as I do with them, which may be why I do not prioritize writing. What I am coming to understand is that being a published author and having a book out in the world isn’t something that will just magically happen; it’s not just luck and good timing. I have to make the time, I have to put in the work, and I have to be committed to it. Dreams take work, and it’s about dang time I started putting that same work ethic I have for school and my job into my writing.

I’ve learned a lot about myself recently, about what I want in life and who I want to be. I’ve been making some lifestyle changes, and adding more writing to my life is one of them. The goal is to get my writing fire back, the same one I had as a teenager. It’s going to be a long, tough road, but if this is what I want, then I need to work for it.


Do you have trouble sitting down and writing? How do you deal with distractions or lost writing-sparks? Let’s chat about Writer’s Block down in the comments!

Thank you so much for reading this silly ramble, and I hope you have a fantastic day!

~Becca

Book Review: The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

The Gauntlet

Publisher: Salaam Reads / Simon Schuster

Date of Publication: March 28th, 2017

Description:

A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair.

When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked into a mechanical board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand—a puzzle game akin to a large Rubik’s cube—they know it’s up to them to defeat the game’s diabolical architect in order to save themselves and those who are trapped inside, including her baby brother Ahmed. But first they have to figure out how.

Under the tutelage of a lizard guide named Henrietta Peel and an aeronaut Vijay, the Farah and her friends battle camel spiders, red scorpions, grease monkeys, and sand cats as they prepare to face off with the maniacal Lord Amari, the man behind the machine. Can they defeat Amari at his own game…or will they, like the children who came before them, become cogs in the machine? 

Buy It From: Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

My Rating: ★★★★☆

I bought The Gauntlet for my younger cousin’s birthday, secretly hoping she would let me borrow it when she finished it. A ferocious reader herself, she finished it within a couple of days, and soon it was in my hands.

I basically read it in one sitting.

The Gauntlet is a fun, fast paced adventure set in a richly-described world trapped in a board game. The world within the board game has some great world building, and fantastical elements that really add something special to the story. Riazi’s descriptions of the setting are vibrant and help paint each scene perfectly, making you feel like you are actually there with Farah, Essie, and Alex. And the discussions about food will absolutely make your mouth water. There was plenty of action and unique events that kept the book interesting and kept me wanting to read more, to find out what would happen. There was even a moment where my heart stopped and my stomach dropped, a moment of oh no, which I wasn’t expecting but gladly welcomed.

Mini spoiler: there is no romantic-love subplot. Instead this book focusses on familial and platonic love, complete with complications. Its portrayal of family reminds me of my own, and I am such a huge sucker for family-driven books. It was interesting to read about Farah’s conflict within the game: does she go off to find her brother, or does she go on to the next challenge? Farah was well-balanced with her friends, and I really love that her brother had a hand in helping her out when she needed it the most. I know that some people do not understand the second-last challenge’s importance, but I liked it because it was a different kind of weakness that is not usually found in other books.

I did, however, find that sometimes it was hard to visualize and understand some of the actions, for example the first challenge. This may be because I am not familiar with the game, and that lack of knowledge likely made it harder to understand the challenge. In addition, sometimes the plot moved a little too fast for my liking, or I felt like the crew got through challenges a little too quickly. I definitely would have liked to see them spend more time on the challenges. I have not read a lot of MG for a while, though, so this may be my YA brain trying to shove more YA into MG.

Even with these minor setbacks, I thoroughly enjoyed this book for its creativity and focus on family.

Overall: The Gauntlet was an enjoyable read with loveable characters, lush descriptions, and interesting plot points and twists.

Sequels I Haven’t Yet Read (2/?)

Hello hello hello! Today’s unread sequel theme is “Series that I’m really far behind on”. By that, I mean I’ve only read the first book, and there are at least two others that I have yet to read.

1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

tatbilb

I’ve been meaning to get to the rest of this trilogy for a while, and I’ve even collected all of them, but I just have not gotten to them yet. I definitely want to finish this trilogy, and I’m hoping to do that by the end of this year! Lara Jean Song has a special place in my heart, mostly because, as I’ve said, I see a lot of myself in her.

2. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen

I read Red Queen for a readathon a few years ago and I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I have not been able to read the next 2 books since then. I’m honestly a little scared to start reading it again because it has been so long, and I’ve probably forgotten everything. I may just have to reread Red Queen before taking on Glass Sword and King’s Cage.

3. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

snow-like-ashes

SLA is another book that I read a while ago, but I feel like I remember a bit more than I do of Red Queen. Just watch, though, when I finally pick up Ice Like Fire I’ll be staring at the page blankly, wondering what the heck is going on and who all these people are.

4. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

ATPOY

I haven’t even gotten around to buying the last book yet, let alone actually reading the rest of the series. This book was pretty good, though it had some flaws. I am not necessarily deterred from reading the rest, but if I’m being honest the rest of the Firebird trilogy is not at the top of my TBR pile right now.

5. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

ACOTAR

What’s funny is that the sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury, arrived in my mail right around the same time that I finished this, so I really don’t have an excuse for having not read this second book. I’m going to be real for a second here: I don’t feel as attached to SJM’s books as I used to be, which is weird because I’ve given most, if not all, of them 4 stars and up. But that’s a tale for another time (another blog post?). And, no, I have not yet purchased A Court of Wings and Ruin.

6. Iron King by Julie Kagawa

irong-king

Okay there is a legitimate reason why I haven’t continued on with this series: I don’t like the main character. Meghan just drove me absolutely nuts, to the point where I had to stop reading the sequel, Iron Daughter, because I could not stand reading about her anymore. I had been buddy reading this book with someone, too, but I did not continue with it. I have the first 3 or 4 books (not quite sure how this series works) still, and I would still like to try reading it, but I may have just needed some time away from the character in order to continue on.


Have you experienced any of these feelings that I’ve described when reading or when in between books in a series? What series have you started but not finished?

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you have a great day!

~ Becca

2017: My year so far, and where I want to go from here

Hello lovely readers!

Today we’re going to take a short walk down memory lane and reflect on how my 2017 has been so far, in terms of reading, writing, and blogging.

My Reading So Far

I have read 6 books so far this year:

To Hear the Ocean Sigh by Bryant A. Loney – ★★★☆☆

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria – ★★★★★

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill – ★★★☆☆

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton – ★★★★☆

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate – ★★★★★

Monstress Volume 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Lui & Sana Takeda – ★★★★★

All in all, it’s been a pretty decent reading year in terms of my enjoyment of books. I’m averaging a book a month, and as all of you know that’s mostly due to my own poor time management skills. I did go through a slump recently, but for the most part the fault is all mine. Really, I didn’t know I was so bad at managing my time until recently/

My Reading Goals

While I’ve already surpassed my Goodreads goal, I still have a couple of ARCs that I would like to get to soon so that I can start tackling my own book collection again! Luckily, I’ll be going on a week-long vacation with no wifi, so hopefully I’ll be able to use that time to get through them. I read 3 books when I went on this trip last year, so my goal is to read the same amount again this year.

My Writing So Far

I fell off the writing train for a while, mostly because of my own lack of creativity. I have had a couple of ideas, but I just haven’t made the time to sit down and think through them. I’m not sure if others have this problem, but I often think of characters before I come up with actual plots for these characters to go through. It’s definitely a problem I’d like to work on over the next couple of months.

My Writing Goals

I definitely want to start making the time to write at least once a day, even if it’s only brainstorming for 30 minutes. If I want to be a serious writer/author, I need to make the time to practice the craft that I love the most. I’m considering starting a series on Wednesdays where I post writing exercises based on the prompts in 642 Things to Write About by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. What do you think about that? Good idea or bad idea?

My Blogging So Far

Fun fact: yesterday marked one year of me on WordPress! I am so grateful for everyone who has given my tiny, inconsistent blog a follow. I know blogging is starting to become a little passé to a lot of people, so the fact that some of you stick around with me is kind of mind-boggling, and super humbling. I haven’t been the best at it, but…

My Blogging Goals

… I’ve been doing some research, and my goal is to be a more consistent blogger, at least for the rest of the summer. I’m still finding my footing, but I also want to start working on an actual schedule, and incorporate blog post planning into my routine alongside reading and writing. Here’s hoping I can buckle down and actually get to work!


What about you guys? How has your reading, writing, and blogging been this 2017? What are your goals for the rest of the year? Let’s chat in the comments!

As always, I hope you all have a wonderful week, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

~ Becca

 

Sequels I Haven’t (Yet) Read (1/?)

Hello readers, and happy Friday to you all!

I feel like I am the absolute worst when it comes to reading sequels. I may absolutely love the first book, but there are so many other books to read that I end up forgetting to read the follow-ups, even though I buy them. Sequels often sit on my shelf, staring me down in shame while I sleep. Honestly, the fact that this is part 1 of who knows how many posts should tell you just how bad I am at continuing series.

Anyway, today we’re going to start with 3 series I have yet to continue. Today’s theme is going to be “Books I gave 5 stars but whose sequels I haven’t gotten to”

1. Reboot by Amy Tintera

reboot-cover

My boyfriend gifted me the Reboot duology for our first Christmas together, and I read this first book very soon after. I clearly loved it, giving it 5 stars on Goodreads, and yet I still haven’t read its sequel, Rebel. I really cannot tell you why I haven’t picked it up yet – is it because I fell behind on my ARCs? Is it because I’m worried it will not be able to live up to the expectations set by the first book? Am I just way too worried about the characters? The honest answer is all of the above, probably.

2. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project

After I read this book I gave it to my grandmother to read. She ended up loving it so much that she bought me the sequel, The Rosie Effect. I started reading it, but I found myself getting really antsy when things started going wrong for the main character, and I grew so uncomfortable with the situation that I had to stop reading it. I get too emotionally invested, and sometimes that investment gets in the way of my reading. I’m not sure when I’ll pick up The Rosie Effect, but I’m sure my guilt will eventually force me to pick it back up.

3. The Gypsy King by Maureen Fergus

The Gypsy King

Clearly, I enjoyed this book enough to give it a 5-star rating when I read it in 2013. Once again I picked up the sequel, A Fool’s Errand, prepared to plough through it, but my emotions got the best of me and I had to stop reading it. I just got way too invested in the characters and became too concerned about how things were going to work out. It sounds really weird when I type it out, but I also wonder if it is now something I’ve outgrown. Maybe if I try reading it now I’ll actually be able to get through it!

4. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched Queen

The honest reason why I have not read A Crown of Wishes is that I got so overwhelmed by all the other ARCs I had to read that I fell into a slump. I had an ARC of ACOW, but ended up pre-ordering a finished copy so I could get the novella Night and Death and because I needed to have both of these pretty books on my shelf. I am hoping to be able to finally read it within the next month, but who knows at this point.

5. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

crooked

I can’t even think of a reason for having not yet read Crooked Kingdom besides my endless TBR pile. I pre-ordered the SoC box set to get some pre-order swag, and I’ve taken plenty of photos of it on my bookstagram, but I never did when up reading it. I’ve managed to avoid most spoilers, thankfully, so hopefully it’ll still have the same force on me when I read it that Six of Crows had.


 

That’s about it for today, folks! Is anyone else as bad at reading sequels as I am, or am I alone in this?

Thank you so much for reading, and we’ll chat really soon!

~Becca

Writing Wednesday: What’s a Character Without a Plot?

Good morning, lovely blog viewers!

Today is the beginning of a new series that I hope will “WIP” (hehe get it?) my writing butt back into shape: Writing Wednesday! As you can see from my “My Writing History” page, I used to do a lot of writing a couple of years ago, but my time management has been lacklustre at best, and my writing has suffered because of it. By starting this series, which will range from discussions about the problems I have with writing to quickly-written prompts/writing exercises, I’m hoping to get my creative juices flowing and maybe solve some problems in the process, all the while hearing from you about your writing!

Today I’m going to discuss a problem I’ve always had, which is the habit of thinking up characters before I think of an actual story. Now, whenever I have thought of an actual plot before characters, the characters themselves have come to me pretty easily. The first trilogy I wrote was a plot first, but the characters came rushing out of my brain almost immediately.

Unfortunately, I have a bit of trouble when it goes the other way around.

That’s where I’m at right now with my soon-to-be WIP. There’s a character bouncing around my head, itching to be written on a page, but no story to put them in. I could tell you what they look like and what their personality is like, but right now they’re just floating in vast nothingness, waiting for gravity to pull them towards a purpose. I can’t even decide whether I want to put them in a contemporary or an action-adventure (possible sci-fi/fantasy). These are two very different genres, and my character could grow in two very different ways in both.

So, what’s a girl to do when she doesn’t have a story for a her character? Here’s my plan:

1. Think about the story you want to tell.

There’s likely a reason why I came up with this character, and so there must be a storyline that also fits this reason. What kind of message am I trying to get across with this character? What is this character supposed to represent? What kind of story will best showcase and develop the messages that I am trying to get across? This will probably take a lot of thinking and self-reflection, but if that’s what it takes to get me to the outlining stage, then so be it.

2. Be open to inspiration.

I should start reading more books and taking in more story-like content. I need to listen to more music and open my mind to the possibilities that lay ahead of me. You never know where inspiration may strike, but it may not have the opportunity to strike if I don’t expose myself to more creative works.

3. Write more.

On that creative note, maybe all I need is a good word-vomit, you know? Maybe if I can get my own creative juices flowing with short stories and ten-minute prompts, then more stories will spring forward and give me something to work with.

Whatever the solution, this is definitely a problem that is going to take some time and focus to fix. Luckily I’ll be going on a kind of retreat very soon, so hopefully inspiration will strike while I’m there!

Have you ever had this kind of character-without-plot writer’s block before? How did you solve it? If not, what kind of problems do you find you run into when writing? Let’s discuss them in the comments below!

Thank you so much for reading, and have a lovely day!

~Becca

Anticipated Releases: July to September

Good morning everyone, and happy Monday to you all! Today I continue my Most Anticipated series by discussing five books that are being released during the next three months: July, August, and September! Once again, these are in order of release date, and not preference.

1. The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana – July 18th, 2017

TLOF

Description:

No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?

I will admit that I fell really hard for this cover and title, but the story also kept me excited. It sounds like a wonderful, magical adventure, and I always need more of those in my life.

2. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo – August 29th, 2017

Warbringer

Description:

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

Heck yES give this to me immediately – please? Hot on the heels of the widely-acclaimed Wonder Woman movie, this book sounds like it brings a story that I would also love to see on the big screen. A descendent of Helen of Troy? Lots of lady power? Sign me up!

3. Warcross by Marie Lu – September 12th, 2017

Warcross

Description

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

I’ve been meaning to get into more science fiction, and this book sounds right up my alley. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was a wonderful introduction to videogame-based books, so naturally I’m stupidly excited to read another one. Maybe this will be another book I can share with my boyfriend, who also loved RPO!

4. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu – September 19th, 2017

Moxie

Description

MOXIE GIRLS FIGHT BACK!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with a school administration at her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Moxie is a book about high school life that will make you wanna riot!

I had seen this book here and there for a bit, but it was more recently that it made greater appearances on my timeline after a certain review site had some choice comments about it that many, many people did not agree with. Needless to say, I am now itching to get my hands on this book, and maybe pass it on to my younger cousin when I’m done so that we can bond over it.

5. Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman – September 26th, 2017

Starfish

Description:

Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

From debut author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a luminous, heartbreaking story of identity, family, and the beauty that emerges when we embrace our true selves.

It wasn’t until very recently that I heard about this book, but the cover and the description have me totally hooked. As a biracial person myself, any biracial rep makes me super excited, but I also feel like as soon as I read this book Kiko is going to become my little baby and I will want nothing but the best for her. I am ready for this book to pull my heartstrings.


 

What books are you excited for over the next 3 months? Which titles did I miss? Let me know in the comments!

As always, have a lovely day, and I’ll (hopefully) talk to you Wednesday! ❤

~ Becca