#i don't actually read ya contemporary but
YA contemporary be like a quirky girl named ari (short for arithmetic) and her boyfriend peter (short for jupiter) have to help save their best friend abby (short for cabbage). They never swear but there will be one (1) HEAVILY implied sex scene and a single background character named Perso Nofcolor. It will sell 12 million copies.
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I just read a very funny fic (really it's hilarious even if I do disagree with a few characterizations) and the concept is *chef's kiss* but god it's Painfully American™ and ruins the vibe
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Let’s Be Suns Tonight - WIP Intro
[Image Description: A silhouette of two boys walking on the road projected against a car's beam at night. The path is aligned by lights on both sides. In the center, in a creme and white serif font reads let's be suns tonight and ann lilly jose./ End ID]
Hey y'all! I have a new book. I know I have way too many WIPs but, I can't help it. So basically, here's what happened:
I was doing camp nanowrimo for dairy whiskey, my liftic novella
I wrote 1.2k of it in a day and realized that literally everything was going wrong (pov, tense, story opening, etc.)
I put off writing for two whole weeks and kept telling myself I'll write dairy whiskey when I feel like it (was still pretty sure I'd somehow win camp with my 10k goal, like no honey you need to stop being stupid)
Random thought at 2 am: Noah Anderson deserves a better story
Levi Shires. Girl. He needs a story of his own.
You're gay. Write gay.
Tries to put the project off for later and not write gay
Writes gay anyway
Let's talk about the specifics before rambling about the process. I promise, there's a lot (a LOT by my standards) of it.
Disclaimer: This is my original work. Please do not plagiarize in any way.
Genre: YA Contemporary
Setting: Not really sure, but it's an average small town
POV and Tense: First person present tense, dual POV. Possible ghost narratives.
Playlist: Let's Be Suns Tonight (Updating)
Logline: Two boys who want to live life differently meet at a cafe and end up discovering secrets about each other, and about themselves too. (I'm pantsing this so things can change. I have no idea what's in store for the boys)
Is questioning his sexuality
His full name is Levi John Antonio Shires
Is a pop singer
Just came home from his first ever world tour
Struggling with everything
Feels like something is wrong with him but doesn't know what
Face Claim: Troye Sivan
Aesthetics: music, guitars, posters, live shows, interviews, journalling at 3 am, obsessing over poetry even when you don't understand a thing except that it's beautiful, crying about being a crybaby, late night walks, questioning sexuality
Bisexual in denial
Had tons of friends but is scared of it now
Wants to buy shirts with flower patterns but doesn't
Obsessed with Levi's music
Aesthetics: house parties, plaid shirts, trying to cry but cannot, laying on the floor, listening to the same song on repeat for hours, late night drives, night clubs
If you didn't already know who Noah and Levi are, here's the story. Noah is a character I created when I was in ninth grade (so that's like over three years back what) during a very angsty conversation with @jenetmoses. I drafted around 16k of his story in tenth grade and it was so much fun, but I never completed it. I then tried to fit him into so many stories but none seemed to work. Finally I decided to put him in Intersecting Parallels (another one of my WIPs I'm not sure if I'll ever even start writing) as a side character. Levi Shires is a character I created for the same project. But I fell in love with him instantly and now he's one of my favourite characters. It's almost like his existence gave Noah a story that he deserved.
A few days back I felt like I should write a story for my darlings and now here we are. This is officially Ann stepping into gay waters (I'm biro ace btw) with her stories and honestly, this is so much fun. It took me a few days to actually make an intro post because I was scared that maybe this, like many of my other projects, will have a WIP intro and no updates because I. Just. Don't. Write. Anything. So I waited until I had sufficient content to share and had a feeling that this thing can work. Well, guess what. It definitely can and it definitely will.
I'm currently at about 1.2k words and writing this has been such a delight? I hope it stays the same for a long time because I haven't felt like this in over two years and now it feels heavenly. I had to go to a relative's house last week and I wrote a vignette before going. All the time I was there, I just wanted to get home and edit it (I edit as I write because it works best for me). When I came home, I spent an hour and a half editing it and it was for the first time in so long that I was longing to work on a project? Allow me to be emotional over this please thank you.
I have completed three vignettes now. None of them have titles yet, and I'm not sure if I'll title them. I know there'll be so many and I'm not sure if it's possible to come up with titles for so many vignettes, so for now it's just vignette 1, vignette 2, and vignette 3 (not fun at all i know). I'm also so happy that I can share a lot of stuff here because this, my loves, is a practice project. So here we go!
Vignette 01, Noah
I sit at a table for two, alone, raindrops bokehing the window I lean my head on. Outside the filmed glass, a litter of dogs fight for leftover meat from a barbecue joint across the street, a street light flickering above them until it dies out. The interior is all about pretence - Pinterest art printed on a large canvas hung up on the creme walls, plastic flowers hanging from fancy plastic pots, baristas speaking in an accent too thick for their age. LED bulbs coated in lime-tinted glass paper light up the cafe. They almost look like incandescent bulbs. Almost.
So, that's the opening. Not much to say about it, but I really wanted to set this story's beginning in a cafe so there it is.
Here's another excerpt from the same vignette. Noah being 1) attached to his father and 2) extremely angsty and pretentious.
The barista slides a ceramic cup towards me, smiling faintly with the corners of his eyes. The kohl on his lower waterline has smudged and darkened his under eyes. My latte stirs itself, the marbling on the froth a bit distorted now, the cream heart melting away, burnt and sacred. Papa told me that the heart is where life is. One evening after our family prayers, he pointed at a portrait of Jesus and said, "It is where love begins, and that's why love is what makes life worthwhile. Do all things with love, Noah."
Tonight, I want to feel capable of having a heart.
Tonight, I shall drink from the grail of life.
I'm sitting here like, boy, it's not that deep. It's just a latte. But then again, is coffee ever just coffee?
Well, let's not get into that because it deserves a whole post for itself. Moving to the next vignette now!
Vignette 02, Levi
Tonight’s weather slips chills into my faux leather jacket, yet my insides burn, like a star at the verge of dying out. That’s what they call me - a star, pop sensation, a child prodigy. Another lucky teenager whose YouTube covers blew up, landing them a record deal with a big label. Another wannabe Gen-Z musician, a clueless kid whose success in the industry is solely because of his social media following. Another wave that will die down faster than it rose, a whirlpool sucking in teenagers from across the world, just another boy who has girls swooning over him for his jawline, his height, his lips. But for my fans - Leviathans - my music is everything. That's what they say when I meet them before shows. That's what they post on their social media. That's what the tell newspapers and magazines and TV shows when they're asked about me.
What is everything? I don't know.
He's just so confused? So affected by what others say about him? Conflicted by varying opinions of media? Also let's ignore the fact that I named his fandom Leviathans. I have no braincells for more. Please leave me alone. Okay? Deal? Great!
And then this is how the vignette ends.
This is my hometown, so nobody squeals. Nobody points their fingers at me. Nobody hides behind trash cans to click my pictures. Because before I went on a hundred day tour, before open stages and live shows and official merch, before albums and debut single and record deal with Quercitron Labels, before YouTube fame and my cover of The Night We Met by Lord Huron, I was just another boy.
Some days, I want to be him.
Yep, so that's what's up with Levi. He craves for some normalcy in his life. I feel so bad for him.
Vignette 03, Noah
This is quite short, so I think I'll add the whole thing here.
A group of teenagers - two boys and three girls, all about sixteen years old - walk into the cafe. The taller boy has a dense voice. He's still going through puberty. He shaves his face every morning hoping he'll grow a beard by the end of term. He wears tight-fitted shirts to school, leaving the top two buttons undone, a silver chain dainty between his collarbones. He wears a cross on it, or an angel. Or maybe just the wings. The short boy is dating the black-haired girl. They're new at it, and it'll last a few months. But before it ends, they'll go on drives around the city wearing matching outfits they'd picked at the mall. She will sneak out with him in the middle of the night to drink wine in the front seat of his car. She'll take her first puff from his lit cigarette and will hate how it chokes her. She'll have a lot more firsts with him. They'll bunk classes and go for movies and neither will remember what happened on screen. They'll wish to dance in the rain and kiss in the pub, but they won't. Instead, they'll fight on sidewalks about college and long-distance and other friends. Eventually, they'll both acknowledge that they aren't working. The girl wearing dramatic makeup has a crush on him. She'll never confess, but the first girl will notice. Eventually. That'll spoil their friendship. The last girl is the third in the trio - the one that tags along, goes unnoticed because she takes up so little space and never talks. She wishes she were home. She's the kind that drinks black coffee and embroiders pillow cases at two a.m. so that she doesn't eat herself up.
They're a group of friends, the kind that thinks they'll last forever, but won't.
Four years back, I was the second boy. I hope four years later, he doesn't become me.
So, that's it for this intro. It's the longest post I've ever made (so far). Wow! I'm clearly so so so excited about this and I'll hopefully be able to share more stuff soon. Huge thanks to @showgirlcurio for pumping me up with this one! Tons of love <3
Thanks for reading so far. Please take care of yourself!
General Taglist (ask to be +/-)
@maxgraybooks @shaonharryandpannisim @heartfullkings @bookdragonfanish @vnsmiles @dallonswords @wannabeauthorzofija @sienna-writes @violetpeso @flip-phones @avakrahn @ambidextrousarcher @showgirlcurio @jenetmoses @17nim
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Hey storm! I hope your day is going great.
Actually you have written in your bio that you are an avid reader and nowadays I am trying my best to become one hehe because I remember being one back in elementary/middle school and then high school happened and I had no time to read anything which was not curriculum books so i stopped reading altogether and after graduating from highschool in 2020 yes the covid batch :( I started reading again and fell in love all over again with it so I was wondering what kind of books do you read I am more into books which are motivational, inspiring and insightful ones and a huge fan of elif shafak, Stephen Covey and Jeff keller. Who your favourite write?
Also sorry this is not related to jikook I just read you are an avid reader and wrote this. Feel free to not answer or maybe late answer
Hello! I don't mind questions about things that aren't Jikook related at all 😊
So after looking into the authors you said you liked, I do think we have fairly different reading tastes. But I absolutely loved Born a Crime by Trevor Noah which fits the type of book you are looking for I think, if you haven't read this one yet. Another in this same vein would be #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women. These are 2 that I've read this year and loved both of them.
If you want to try branching out into other types of genres, more fiction and fantasy type reads, I could give you a billion recommendations. But books that are fiction that I found motivational, inspiring and insightful would be some of these that I have read and loved:
All For The Game Series by Nora Sakavic. PLEASE look up and read trigger warnings or DM me though for those trigger warnings before reading this trilogy. There is ALOT of potential triggering things that happen in this book that can be hard to read. It's very character driven, it deals with a lot of mental health issues and has an incredible found family trope going on that I love. It is also mlm with the romance (which doesn't really happen until book 3 anyway). It's a contemporary sports/mafia wars fiction novel. It's a mess and I loved every second of it. Lol
Another one that I'll recommend is Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, who is probably my ultimate favorite author. Mistborn was the first book I read by him. It's a heist crew type of novel, with found family, overthrowing the hierarchy kind of book, but with magic. Really cool and unique magic too. Metal magic would be the simplest way to describe it without spoilers. Sanderson wrote this book based off the idea "What if the dark lord won?" And the events that would have transpired after that. It is incredible, in my opinion. And full of incredibly inspiring moments and tidbits of motivation.
Thought provoking takes on where our society is headed while still being fun and incredibly well written and easy to read would be the YA post-dystopian trilogy Scythe by Neil Shusterman. Really just a fascinating and entertaining read.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, if you haven't read that one. Motivational, inspirational, incredibly emotional. Highly highly recommend.
So that is 6 book recs to start out with from me! Definitely check these out and see if any catch your interest! Feel free to reach out if you ever want to have a conversation about it! Good luck with your reading journey 💜💜
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Hey, so random question, is it okay to have like 1200 word chapters? Bc most of my chapters are around that, but all the guides I see everywhere say that chapters should be 2000~3000 words. I can’t usually get more out without getting redundant or just running out of ideas.
Gosh I've been terrible at answering lately
I'm of two minds here. On one side, I don't think the length of chapters really matters that much. While there are some standards in the publishing industry for total word count based on genre and audience (like adult fiction is typically longer than YA, or fantasy is usually longer than contemporary) chapter length isn't so important. I've seen books that have had chapters a lot shorter than I expected and some with chapters a lot longer than I expected. I think the guidelines might be based on the typical length which is what readers expect. I've mostly heard that a chapter should be as long as it needs to be.
On the other hand, it could be that you need to add some detail to the chapters or that you are splitting the chapters too much. I want to be clear that I obviously haven't ever seen or read your work (I think...anon) so I can't say for sure if there is a problem at all, these just could be potential issues. Just like how some people might stuff too much into one chapter that could have easily been better organized as three, you could be splitting content that could be one chapter into two. It might help to look at what the difference is between a scene and a chapter because that could be tripping you up. There may be multiple scenes in one chapter or just one. I think there may also be times where a chapter cuts off at a dramatic moment for the cliffhanger, but it if it's too often or not set up well it ends up feeling like it was just cut off in the middle of the chapter. AS for detail, again, I have no idea if this is actually a problem, but it could be that adding more character development, world building, theme, etc. may make the chapters and overall storytelling better. If this is the problem you might have a low word count in general though.
I know this is not a definitive answer and I hope that it doesn't freak you out. Please know that like many things in writing these guidelines are just that: guidelines based on general expectations, not rules. Your chapters could be perfect, these are just some considerations to think about. I hope this helps.
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FORCE MAJEURE: NOVEL INTRO
[this is my original work, do not use / repurpose / plagiarise in any form]
GENRE: literary fiction.
SETTING: south india, early 2010s.
POV & TENSE: dual pov; present tense + third person limited.
STAGE: prepping for camp nano [my current goal for camp is 10k!]
THEMES + AESTHETICS: fatalism, chance and luck, the duality of everything, corruption, chaos vs order, manipulation, power, sacrifice, loneliness, free will, love vs obsession. the sound of waves crashing against rocks, sitting in an empty house and watching a watery dawn, saltwater seeping into your pores as you swim deeper and deeper underwater; driving through neon cities under a full moon, laughter mixing with the bright sounds of people, the buzz of contact in a room full of strangers.
CONTENT WARNINGS: cults and religious trauma, implications + discussions of emotional abuse, terrible parents, manipulation, gaslighting. [note: this wip is very new so more content warnings may be added as i go]
when twins ananya and naveen get separated while escaping their home, they find themselves in completely different places—one stumbling onto a hidden commune by the beach, the other pulled into a group of thieves in the city. this story is a dark coming-of-age where the twins must confront their obsessions with things they can’t control and what they’re willing to do to belong.
aka “i know everything happens for a reason but what the fuck”
omg my children <3 [all picrew credits to @/sagravi’s picrew!]
ANANYA [pronounced as: uh-nun-yah]
she/they [she’s very non-binary but doesn't have the term for it in the book? so in my head she uses she/they but in the book uses she/her]
looks like she can kill you, will instead make you fall in love and slowly [and unknowingly] break your heart <3
“have you ever seen a woman so beautiful you started crying?”
unintentionally funny. says something mean and people will laugh not realising she actually meant it
carries around a lot of anger about the multiple ways in which people have wronged her and now and then just goes feral [as she should, really]
aroace and has a very longterm, very on screen crisis about it. what i learnt from this is that i cannot write an uplifting aroace story and tbh i don't know what that says about me as someone who’s also aroace.
very emotionally attached to her parents :) very emotionally detached from people in general :) suffering™
does not have a good time
NAVEEN [pronounced as: nuh-veen]
he/him [also very non-binary]
looks baby, is actually very sad
“i do not have a fake social media personality. i am genuinely this mentally ill in real life”
unintentionally unfunny. he cries himself to sleep at night because his puns weren’t well received [me too honestly]
very queer!! he’s mspec but doesn’t label himself, and honestly king <3 he also gets caught in a bisexual love triangle. the way i was anti-love triangles until this guy appeared🧍
was always the twin who was idolised and seen as the family’s future which not only put a lot of pressure on him but also strained his relationship with ananya in unexpected ways which is just :(
does not have a good time
literally i fell in love with the twins so quickly; they are so cool and are most definitely my genvy. their relationship is very central to the story despite them being separated for the most of it [if the story plays out that way]. i’m excited to actually start drafting to learn more about them + their dynamic!!
SO HOW’D THIS HAPPEN?
so a few days ago my brain said “new fun ya contemporary concept about queer twins in high school” and then within five minutes of its existence my brain also said “contemporary ya my ass it’s now adult litfic deal with it” and at this point i’m just like. okay.
this book is my second novel and also my *bangs posts and pans* camp nano wip! [please as if i haven't mentioned this seventy times already] coincidentally my academic year + finals also end on the first of april so this is such a perfect time to start a new project!!
ALSO i’m jumping on the trend of making a temporary taglist for weekly updates like all the cool, sexy writeblrs who are doing it [read as: atlas fam] so!! let me know [dm/ask/reply/mention in reblog] if you want to be added to the camp nano taglist!! if you want to keep up with the wip after camp, you can ask to be added to my general taglist. heads up that i won't be tagging my general taglist for the weekly updates!!
everything about this project is tagged as force majeure and the writing updates as force majeure update. also here’s the link to the very very in-progress playlist. you can send me an ask / message me if you’d like to be added to my taglist or have any questions about the project. and that’s about it for now!!
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people love to pull the “aLiNA iS 17!!!” card when talking about the Darkling, it’s just ridiculous to me because Alina and Mal are also first army members and no one cries “child soldiers!!” Applying modern concepts regarding age to fantasy or history stories will always irritate me.
But, I also don’t really get why YA authors are obsessed with giving their characters these ages, looking at Nikolai and Kaz’s life too, it makes almost no sense how much they were able to accomplish by 20 and 17 years old. It’s not as if we’re supposed to treat these characters as children.
It's pretty much a staple of the genre that you have to have protagonists within a particular age range (typically 14-18) and if it's not contemporary YA (which is a lot less popular than YA Fantasy) it's also very common for these technically-not-yet-adult characters to be acting in an adult capacity. For example, a lot of them will conveniently be orphans or will be spending a huge chunk of the story away from their parents or authority figures so they can have the space to make their own decisions without asking for permission from an adult supervisor that could hinder the adventure and pacing.
For the Grisha trilogy, I always read Alina and Mal as adults. They've served in the military for over a year, they don't require permission from previous authority figures (like Ana Kuya, for example) to make their own decisions, and like adults, they are free to make their own mistakes and face the consequences without having some parent or guardian swoop in and "fix" the problem for them. They are certainly immature and still learning how to take responsibility, but that's also a staple of the coming-of-age novel and watching that journey of self-actualization is what makes the genre so compelling to me. They are even considered mature enough to get married at the end of the trilogy. Six of Crows takes this up to eleven with all the major players being either orphans, estranged from their parents, or miles away from their parents. They grapple with a lot of issues that certainly would not be out of place in your typical adult crime novel.
There are a lot of YA books like this that would have worked better as adult fiction but perhaps the writer (or publisher) decided to change the genre to make it more marketable. The inconsistencies in the passage of time in the first book does give the impression that perhaps Alina and Mal were originally written to be older but then it was changed in later drafts. And considering about nearly half of YA readers are adults themselves, it doesn't surprise me that there's a lot of readers who outright ignore the ridiculous canon ages of the characters, myself included. Or that there is a push for more "mature" YA books that's given rise to genres like "New Adult" or whatever.
Personally, I think the reason so many adults read YA is because it's much more accessible and typically more fast-paced than adult novels. There's also more emphasis on character-driven stories and themes of personal identity and a narrative style that is more breezy and easy to digest in a few hours. It also helps that these books usually come with a built-in fandom to gush about whereas adult novels don't nearly have as much engagement from their readers or online communities devoted to analyzing every minor detail, unless you're one of the few popular fandoms like ASOIAF.
For the Netflix adaption, they have upped the ages and Alina is 25, which I thought was very interesting. I'm not sure what the official reason was for this---perhaps the book character was too insecure and inexperienced to be likable to a TV audience or maybe the show writers thought a cast of soldiers that are free to drink, fight, and sleep with whomever they want most obviously translated to adult characters as well.
Anyway, I also find it very interesting that certain parts of the fandom like to pick and choose between the two mediums (i.e. the books in which Alina is a 17 year old white girl vs the show in which Alina is a 25 year old half-Asian woman) to infantalize the character as much as possible.
Edit: Apparently Alina on the show is 21 and it's Jessie who is 25 🙈
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I just want to say how much I love your work. Thank you so much for sharing it! I noticed that your story Leading Suspect, my favourite which made me laugh out loud by the way, was inspired by Jed Had to Die by Tara Sivec so I read that too and enjoyed it so much. I would love to see it as a movie. I was wondering if you could recommend any other stories or authors that have inspired your love of writing? I'm always on the lookout for literary recommendations to consume.
Thanks for your patience waiting for me to answer this. Combination of life being... well, life, and the utter panic I feel whenever I get asks like this kept me from answering sooner. "What if they don't like anything I recommend?!?!?!" Welp, that's just life too. My likes may not be your likes at all, especially since you've picked Leading Suspects as your favorite of my fics. That's really the only fic of mine where I can draw a direct line from book as inspiration to fanfic (other than the actual Hunger Games series lol), and I always feel the need to disclaim that particular fic as not being mine at all since I did lean so heavily on the book in order to write it quickly. If you've read the book, then you know just how closely they parallel in a lot of ways. Yes, I made changes, but I've never believed myself capable of that level of humor on my own... which will become readily apparent when I start listing some of my own personal faves/inspirations. I've even read some of Tara Sivec's other books and none of them stuck with me quite the way Jed Had to Die did. There was a cute little series that started with one called The Stockings Were Hung, and I read through those three books, but by the end I was kind of... tired? of the over the top shenanigans. I'd become numb to the humor lol, but you might enjoy those from her. There's also the problem that I tend to prefer historical romances over contemporary ones, although that is not always the case.
Anyways, now that I've disclaimered the crap out of my answer, here's a few books & writers that I've read voraciously, reread some of them quite often, and a few that give me writer's envy. A lot of these are romance books and some of them earn me side eyes and people yelling at me or never asking me for book recommendations ever again. I'll leave anything that's considered a "classic" that might be featured in a lit class somewhere off this list. If you really want those, just ask. Also I'm assuming you want adult titles but a few of these are YA. Also also, a lot of these books on the list are things that I've read or re-read recently, within the past two years, although not all of them are.
Tessa Dare. Start with Goddess of the Hunt it is my absolute favorite of hers, and you will actually see one or two scenes that were reborn in my fic Unmasked. Just a few. If I could've figured out how to work in her losing her earring in hot chocolate while she's trying to flirt and failing miserably, I would have. Now, I am aware that Dare's books are not always historically accurate, in terms of feminist ideas they can be a little too heavy handed and progressive for the time they are set in, (and yet they also have some elements that make me want to throw something at the hero's heads and one of my least favorite tropes in historicals of the heroine striking the hero, although Dare doesn't use that one as often as some writers). Don't expect literary virtuosity out of her, but several of her books are in my pile of comfort reads. Also one of my absolute favorite things about her books is that, usually, there are rich female friendships for the heroine. It's not something I really noticed until I read a bunch that I didn't like then came back to reread Dare's work and realized that I love the scenes with just two women being friends as much as I do the romances...
Rebellion by Nora Roberts. Okay so I am not a big Nora Roberts fan... I've read all of the MacGregor books she wrote for which Rebellion is technically a prequel. Like two centuries prior to the series prequel, and I didn't really care that much for them, and I haven't been able to get into any of her other extremely numerous novels, but Rebellion was one of the earliest bosom heaving bodice ripping romance novels I read at like fifteen years old whilst hiding under the covers of my bed and hoping my dad wouldn't snore loud enough to wake himself up and find me up reading past midnight again... so yeah, it owns part of my heart still to this day. Anyhow. I'm usually not a big enemies to lovers fan either, but this one is *chef's kiss* in my humble opinion. Fair warning, the opening scene is extremely unsettling (i.e. Serena basically witnesses her mother being raped unsettling), although it's not shown graphically, it's really easy to figure out what happened.
Julie Garwood... I don't like everything she's written. I tend towards the historical romances from her, but a few that rank in my faves are: Honor's Splendour, Ransom, The Bride, Guardian Angel, and For the Roses.
The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams. This one is far from perfect. Personally, I felt like the guy carried more of the burden of their relationship than the lady did, and I really had my hopes up once I realized this wasn't just intended to be a book about a guy groveling to get his wife back, although there is some grovelling...just a bit... and also I still have yet to read the third book in the series, but the first two have both made me laugh out loud and feel things so I'm looking forward to the next two books.
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa. Recommended for the laughter and second hand embarrassment.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. I actually only recently read this one and it took me something like five tries to get into it, but that was the Bipolar causing problems, not the book, because once I got into it, I felt like literary potato afterwards and now I've got the rest of his books in the queue to read one of these days. Funny enough, this was actually recommended to me by a friend lol.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I read this on a road trip and we had to stop to get more tissues... Read it, I beg of you.
Jennifer Weiner. I am way way waaaaaay behind on reading her stuff, but the ones that I have read, I devoured. Good in Bed and In Her Shoes. That's all I'm gonna say about that.
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire. Everyone always goes for Wicked out of his, and while I absolutely loved Wicked (other than what I felt was a rushed and unexplained ending then again I haven't yet read the rest of the quartet...), for some reason, Stepsister is the one that still kinda haunts me.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. It'll make you cringe, a lot, but I couldn't put it down.
The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci. This one is actually a graphic novel but it is choice.
We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist. Much crying and laughing simultaneously.
The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell. I have no excuses for this one except you asked for things that inspired my love of writing and when I read this, I hadn't read anything quite as brutal as it before, especially not something written by a woman. And I freaking loved it, as twisted as it is. It's been ages though and I haven't reread it because I'm concerned it won't hold up to my expectations...
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. Just to give you some whiplash from the last recommendation bwahahahaha.
Isabel Allende. Although just like Jennifer Weiner, I am way way waaaaaay behind on reading her newer releases.
Feeding the Ghosts by Fred D'Aguiar. Not a happy read at all, but holy damn wow.
Normal People by Sally Rooney. Read it because of the TV show, never got around to watching the show... yet. But this was the first of Rooney's books I read and I really liked it, although the ending made me want to throw things. In a good way... And I've got more of her works in my list to read.
Educated by Tara Westover. It's nonfiction but it read like a novel. I've also heard from library patrons that the audio book is very well done if that's your jam.
And for fun, here are the last two things I read and gave high star ratings to:
Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
The New Kid by Jerry Craft
Currently reading: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga and not too certain how I feel about it yet... and I'm halfway through. Anyone got thoughts on this one?
Now for the real question, Anon... do you have any recommendations for me to read???? ;) I too am always looking to make my To Be Read list just that much longer.
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You know, people assume that because I read YA fantasy, I haven't cracked open a Real Book since high school.
And it would be very easy to whip out my Goodreads account and hit em with the classical lit in the western canon that they'd approve of (not just the stuff from required reading in high school!) and the more contemporary literary fiction, too. The Joseph Campbell and Jung and Tolkien's essays and Atwood and Vonnegut and genre fiction from reputable authors like Heinlein and Asimov and say, see? I'm reading the things you think well-read people should be reading!
But lets be real honest with ourselves. Y'all don't care if someone reads the sort of things you think smart people ought to be reading. It genuinely wouldn't matter to you if I had gotten my master's in library science the way I'd planned before financial reality hit me.
The condemnation of people reading fanfiction and young adult novels doesn't come from a place of concern that they're not reading other things (approved by people like you) to balance it out. You see someone who loves reading YA, who has 20 AO3 tabs open, and it doesn't matter to you if they've written a thesis on the works of Dostoyevsky. I've watched this site shit on actual academics studying literature. I've watched as people dress up their anti-intellectualism as intellectualism so they can feel superior while they mock people for the crime of being scholars. You will sneer at folks for discussing and analyzing We Hunt The Flame or The Cruel Prince or The Raven Cycle, then make posts about how people who read YA don't engage critically with the text. How they're only there to consume tropes, as if reading a book and talking about it online and creating fan works is equivalent to putting on Sharknado with some popcorn for a quick distraction.
And for the record? It doesn't fucking matter. It really does not matter if someone only ever reads young adult fantasy romance because they like to imagine discovering they're secretly a princess with magical powers whose love is enough to turn a bad man back towards kindness. It straight up does not matter.
I feel like I'm watching a bunch of amateur meteorologists claim that people are stupid for enjoying a sunny day, or finding clouds shaped like bunnies.
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girl what did you read and was it good?
Hi!! Okay so i don't know what this is referencing because I've been reading quite a lot this past week and a half so i'll just link all of it
Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean:
Any trigger warnings: slight xenophobia, at one point it seems like a sexual assault is gonna happen but it doesn't (just wanna say it for those that find even the possibility triggering)
It's basically The Princess Diaries meets What A Girl Wants (ya know, that Amanda Bynes movie?) but with a Japanese-American girl. I really really liked it! Did a good job on the romance (although not as great as Destiel but that's understandable cuz no one can come close to a 12 year epic love arc) and the overall story and incorporated elements of Japan and the Imperial House of Japan (of which I knew absolutely nothing) were very well done.
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron:
Any trigger warnings: slight homophobia, sexual assault, misogyny, violence
It's a twist on the well-loved fairytale Cinderella and takes place 200 years after Prince Charming and Cinderella had their "happy ever after". The lead character is a brown lesbian girl who lives in the kingdom and, as tradition says, needs to attend the annual ball to find a suitor but she doesn't want to cuz she's in love with a girl. However, women basically are in the service of men so don't have anything to say until ... I do have to say that if you're looking for a character that really reflects on experiences as a brown girl, that wasn't as present here (it did have some moments but I have read books where it was more present) (but i'm also saying that as a white person so just wanna lay it all out there). Overall it talks a lot about abhorrent behavior of men towards women: from the "small" jokes to actual physical violence and sexual assault. I don't get triggered by those topics so for me i just found it very interesting how it perfectly mirrored our society in present tense in a way but if those topics trigger you, then maybe this isn't for you. It also has sapphic love (although i do have to say i didn't find it as perfectly written unfortunately which is a critique i've seen others give as well on the reviews of it) But overall the some what lackluster romance didn't really bother me because the setting and story is just very contemporary and compelling.
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes:
Any trigger warnings: violence, some misogyny (but overall nothing tbh)
A teenage girl is trying to scrape by when all of a sudden she's been named as the heiress of a multi-billion dollar estate by one of the richest men in Texas. But in order for her to inherit his billions, she needs to live in the Hawthorne estate for a whole year together with the family of the Hawthorne billionair. It doesn't take long before they go on the hunt to uncover secrets etc. I lovedddd this book. Very clever clues and tricks (or maybe i'm just really stupid so they seem really smart to me (could also be a possibility) but i really enjoyed it. If you're looking for a bad boy/charismatic male character to kinda fall in love with: look no further cuz he's in here (i mean at least for me)
The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes:
Any trigger warnings: violence, some misogyny (but overall again nothing tbh for me at least or that i can come up with rigth now)
Book two of The Inheritance Games (the series): I can't really delve in to what happens in this cuz spoilers and all but I read the first book (the one above this one) and then immediately read the second one which resulted in me staying up until 6 am or so because i just wanted to finish it so (oooooh it's that post you're referring to????!!! oh well anon instead you get a whole wall of me explaining some books lol)
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn:
Any trigger warnings: I haven't read enough to know
I just started reading this book, I haven't even finished chapter two because I'm so tired I couldn't actually focus on the train to read it. It's about a black or brown girl who goes to college and after an incident starts to discover she's got powers while some Arthurian descendants are also mixed into it (i'm kinda forgetting the plot but it sounded so cool to me and I love the Arthurian legens so sign me up!!)
I also read a couple of chapters of Aristotle's Politics Book III, IV, VI for school: I don't really recommend it. Like it was interesting but i severely missed some criticims, some HEAVY criticism in these texts from the translators because it talks constantly about justice and injustice, equality and inequality, what is just and unjust etc. but Aristotle only means free men: YOU CANNOT TALK ABOUT A JUST AND EQUAL SYSTEM IF IT HAS SLAVES AND WOMEN AND CHILDREN HAVE NO VOICE!!!!!!!! BUT NO ONE BATS AN EYE AT IT??????? my professor just kinda mentioned it in passing in 1 sentence like yeah slavery was there and women and strangers didn't have any say and the system wasn't for them. And then a sentence later he says that there is discusison if it was an equal system in Athens and i'm like????? HOW CAN IT BE EQUAL IF SLAVES, WOMEN AND STRANGERS LITERALLY DID NOT HAVE A VOICE??????? WHAT DISCUSSION IS THERE TO BE HAD?????
Conclusion: I reallyyyyyyyyyyyy loved every book i've read so far, and am intrigued by the 1 chapter and a half i've read from Legendborn (lol) so I highly recommend all of them (alsooooo i discovered this site that has free downloads of more than 8 million books in various formats (epub, pdf, etc) but use a vpn if you download stuff cuz it may not be totally legal in certain parts of the world hihihihi
Speaking of books: I use storygraph, which is like goodreads except not run by amazon (an awful company that i never ever wanna support (to be clear: i understand wholeheartedly why some have to use it but i am very fortunate to live in a country where there are other services available besides amazon so i really try to not use anything that even remotely has to do with them) and storygraph was founded by a black woman. It does extremely well with its recommendations and if you wanna haul over your to read pile or read pile from goodreads, storygraph has a button for that. I really recommend it
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Hii Yokannn! Do you have Goodreads or something? Or can you share the books that you've read so far? I've tried reading the Camelot book you're reading and I was hooked. And now I need to read more books but I don't know what book to read. Please please share the good books you've read 😁😁😁
Hi, nonnie!! 👋
I do have a goodreads, but I'm not sure it would help you much cause all my reviews are in Portuguese. 🤣🤣 BUT! If you enjoyed the Camelot book (so glad you did!! I loved that one, but the second book in the trilogy is not as good 🤣🤣 Have to be honest), I can rec you a few things!
The Conqueror's Saga by the same author of the Camelot Rising trilogy, Kiersten White! The first book is called And I Darken, the second is Now We Rise, the third is Bright We Burn. It is one of my all time favorite YA series. So unique! It's got a fantasy aspect to it, but it's actually historical lit. It's a retelling of the real story of Vlad the Impaler, the historical figure that inspired Count Dracula's tale. Except in this version, Vlad is a girl, Lada. The story follows her, her brother, Radu the Handsome (also a real figure) and the future emperor of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed. Lada is nothing like you'd expect a princess to be, and it's absolutely fantastic. I love it with all my heart, seriously.
Another of my all time favorite YA series is Wolf by Wolf (and its sequel, Blood for Blood), by Ryan Graudin. Another historical fiction, except this one is a dystopian historical fiction, set in a 1956 world where the nazis won the war. It's so stunning and heart-breaking as you'd expect a story like that to be, but it's also beautiful. The main character is a Jewish girl who managed to escape a concentration camp where she was subjected to all manner of tests by the nazi scientists. It ended up giving her an ability, which she now uses as a part of the resistance.
Victoria Schwab (or V.E. Schwab) is my favorite contemporary author and I could rec everything she's ever written. Even the stuff I don't necessarily like is still great and gripping, like the Darker Shade of Magic trilogy. But my absolute favorite work by her is Vicious, which is not an YA book and it doesn't really have any romance, but it's so, so good! It's a kind of X-men-ish story, with people who develop super powers. And it's a story that pits two best friends with different world views against each other, and the really incredible part of the story is that there are no heroes here. They're both very much villains, or villanesque. The moral questions of the story are so great. And there is a sequel called Vengeful, also incredible. I also love, love, love Our Dark Duet. It's so unique! Ugh! Her books are great.
A book that seems to be really popular right now and I read a few years ago is The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Nonnie, it is PERFECTION. Seriously. I love it so, so, so much! It's a retelling of the Iliad and Achilles' saga, except it's told through Patroclus' POV. My heart. The writing is stunning and the story is just so, so good. Kinda heartbreaking if you know how it goes, but still amazing. Can't rec it more. And Circe, by the same author, is also fantastic!
I am currently making my way through a book called Blood and Honey, the second book of a series that started with Serpent and Dove. I LOVED the first, am not crazy about the second so far tho. But the first book is really great. There's magic and witches and witch hunters. And the main romance is to diiiie for! Slow burn, enemies to lovers! Ugh. Delicious.
These are some recs, anon! If you do pick any of these up, let me know how you like them! :) I love talking books! If you ever need more recs, let me know. 🤣🤣
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Weekly Update 22/08
Absent That Night (tagged: WIP: ATN)
wordcount this week: 18,633
(11,821 excluding the out-of-chronology climactic scene I wrote)
total wordcount: 36,965
finally wrote the Nightingale Scene (which was next chronologically and which I'd been putting off) and oml Cassie is a dramatic bench I kinda wanna give her a bigger role in the actual story
Petersen (Latrell's boss) has developed very interestingly as I've been writing. She started off definitively antagonistic, but that didn't feel right in her latest scene, so I've changed up her attitude a bit. She's ended up closer to 'ally who is constrained by bureaucracy and being a woman in a boy's club atmosphere'.
for those following along at home, I actually wrote the climax scene this week! :D Was a ton of fun and I enjoyed it immensely. Definitely helped me figure out a couple things I've gotta thread through a little better, so hopefully that'll help with the middle, too!
plans for this week is primarily to develop Albie, who's been sadly mostly ignored up til now and I think that's the reason I'm putting off writing the next scene chronologically, because it's a scene between her and Latrell. (Note: in between writing this point this morning and posting this update, I actually wrote this scene without doing any of the character work. Still gonna do it, but take that as you will.) She's a great character in my head but I still need to pin down her personality a little more
hopefully after that I can smash it out and get to the "break into two". Which, just now, as I'm typing this, has become my unofficial goal for this week. To the point I'm now making a new dot point:
This week's goal: reach the "break into two" (~five scenes)
Putting everything else under a cut cuz these seem to be getting longer, not shorter. 😅
Survive the Night by Riley Sager
been a bit slow getting into this but I'm blaming work throwing off my routine more than anything else
I have a weird relationship with Sager's books. I just keep reading them, even though a lot of the time I am woefully underwhelmed by the final twist
I'm not sure whether he attempts to go too big and hard or whether it's just that they don't seem all that well set up. I think it depends on each book
however they're great punchy quick-to-read thrillers and so I generally enjoy reading them even if I come away disappointed nearly... no I think actually every time so far
we will see how this one holds up!
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, book four of the Raven Cycle
yes, okay, great, get it, understand why people are obsessed with these books
maybe just... a teeny bit disappointed by the ending? Done very well and beautifully, but perhaps felt a bit rushed? All wrapped up and over too quickly? Not sure
overall A++, do recommend as YA contemporary fantasy
first shift at the New Job went well! So well, in fact, that I've since worked 5/6 days following it. Ooops.
wouldn't be such a big deal except it's fucking with my sleeping patterns which is Not Fun. But I need the money, so. Co-worker informed me last night that you're limited to ten shifts in a fortnight, so upside is there's a limit to the amount I can do next week and I don't even have to say no!
health stuff is still going good-ish, eating probably too much 'snack' stuff but I'll get that back under control. I've also well fucked my shoulder, so that's been a pain to deal with
had an unbelievably bad doctor's appointment last week, to the point that I had to reschedule one for this week in order to actually address the issue, so that's tons of fun. 🙄 Fortunately this place bulk bills so I'm not paying for it, but ffs, the inconvenience. (And the condescension, and the outright refusal to do what I asked, and the completely and utterly ignoring me when I tried to explain what was going on. Like, I'm seriously considering issuing an official complaint about this doctor, she was that fucking bad)
During Nox and Latrell's second face-to-face meeting:
"We figured out you also stole the Monet," Latrell said slowly. "And why is that, exactly?"
Nox shrugged, hands in his pockets. "The idea was that they'd come home, head up to the library and discover the missing books. Then they'd frantically tear apart the rest of the house looking for anything else that was missing. When--"
"Wait," Latrell interrupted. "You knew they'd go straight to the library when they got home?"
Nox's smile was sharp as broken glass. "Yes."
Latrell waited. Nox didn't seem inclined to elaborate.
After twenty-one seconds, he took another few steps, prowling around to Latrell's other side, never looking away from his face. "This is something you do, right? To get suspects to talk? Wait until they have to break the silence themselves?"
"It's effective," Latrell said drily.
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9, 13, 27, 32, 33, 36, 45 for the book asks? I hope you're having a good day!!
9: YA, NA or Adult? Why?
[I think that most NA can just be called adult, like, adult isn't a bad thing, NA books should just be called / are adult, so I'm just treating them as one thing here] I generally read more YA, but also most of my favourite books these days are adult!! Then again I'm also a lot more picky with the adult books I choose to read (aka only ones I'm pretty sure I'll love), which is why I still read a lot of YA (some of them are also absolute favourites)
13: Name a book with a really bad movie/tv adaption
uhh I don't generally watch them / try to block them out but - actually oh wait I just remembered chaos walking. that sure was terrible, huh,
27: If you could change one thing about mainstream literature what would you change? (i.e. more diversity, better writing, better plot etc.)
I mean I don't know if this is sidestepping the question or the point of it but I wish, from the publishing industry side of things, that marginalised authors and unique stories were given equal chances and promotion because they really aren't, aside from a select few!!
Also, do you ever think about the fact that most books (outside of middle grade or certain genres like horror or mystery) have a romantic subplot and how fucked up that is. Like it is so hard to find things within YA, within fantasy/sci-fi/adventure or fun contemporary novels, that gives the same amount of care and plot to friendships and platonic relationships without also having romantic relationships on the side, & also having queer characters (or at least not having no indication they're anything other than straight/cis)
32: Who’s your favorite fantasy author? / 33: Who’s your favorite Sci-Fi author?
you know I don't really know how to answer these because most of my favourite books in the last few years are by debut authors, or I've only read one of their books - which is not really enough to call them a favourite author more than 20 others I like equally lmao. But here's a few off the top of my head that I have read more than one book of (answering genres together because half the time it's a mix):
melissa bashardoust, nicole kornher-stace, p. djeli clark, rivers solomon, a.r. capetta, rin chupeco, lauren james,
36: Name a book you consider to be terribly overrated
I mean. I could go on for hours because I'm opinionated and irritated by the way large fandoms tend to be 😂 but the r*ven cycle, gr*sha/soc, r/wrb, I liked tcp initially but the fandom kinda made me hate it. c*ptive prince (in this year, 2021, cmon guys) so many books by white authors who are hailed as being like the peak of "diversity" by people who don't read books by people of colour ever
oh also g*deon the ninth I dont Hate but I think it's overrated
(not to mention authors like. sjm, jkr, jay kr*stoff, etc, whose existences I would prefer to never have to be reminded about ever)
45: What is your favorite thing to eat when you read?
You know this is not something I think about at all, I'll read when I'm eating breakfast or dinner or if I'm hungry but the type of food has no correlation to the fact that I'm reading!
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REVIEW; THE GRAVITY OF US - PHIL STAMPER
⚠ Trigger Warning : Just kidding. It's actually my first book review w/o a trigger warning. There are, however, some spoilers. Enjoy !
Genre: YA, Contemporary, realistic fiction, LGBT, MLM
As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.
Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.
Okay guys. Let's be brutally honest. For all that matter, I was really looking forward to reading this book. Like really, really. And I was right about the hype it gave me. Once you begin this book, you really don't want to stop. Like I could have ditched work and all the rest to finish it ASAP kind of read. (Spoiler alert, I didn't) The Gravity of Us is a very cute read, like a fan-person level of cute read, and I definitely enjoyed it a lot. Mixing science and LGBT rep is definitely an awesome idea, I'd say, but it's my personal opinion based on things I love and believe.
What led me to read The Gravity of Us in the first place was reading As Far As You'll Take Me (and not finishing it, oops) while searching for Phil Stamper's bookography. This book was fascinating and I didn't even have it in my hands yet – general nerdiness around space travel and the race to colonise Mars is one of the major things I like to brag about IRL and I'm a queer review blog, so (okay no, really I did enjoy MLM story too); Once the book was in my hands, I could even wait to start reading it.
That is, the concept of ‘The Gravity of Us’ had me from the first line of the book. It was unique writing, and that's what got me hooked. And not so the love story inside it, which is too close for comfort, I must say. I crave for relationship that are build up through the book then become a thing. I did fell in love with this book, from the cover to the inside to the story, which uncover the struggles that the families of the astronauts face. It was also interesting when Cal started interviewing people and we got real information about spacey stuff (congrats on Phil for the research, I mean, wow. Kinda impressed here, it's not all writers that goes deep into their stuff). And am already hoping for a sequel. (Because i'm crazy like that yeah I guess, but you could also say Cal and Leon are actually my confort characters and I did want to know what happen between the time their parents are up in space)
As far as I am craving a complicated and intriguing borderline angsty love story (*cought* *cought*), Cal and Leon got me HOOKED. I feel like they both draw you in so easily into their story in its purest form. Was it fast? YES, definitely, but it's the kind of fast that is going somewhere instead of just crashing into pieces. If that does make sense, yeah, I would have loved to see some more tensions, more debate about whether or not they should get together and yada yada, but I think it's what makes it a perfect soft read at the beach or some sort of quiet retreat.
** spoiler ahead*
With them being famous and constantly under the spotlight of their astronaut parents, they kind of found each other despite all this mess, and that's what we call perfect unity.
Among all the different themes Stamper weaves into TGoU, by far my least favourite, is a debate about meaningful content versus reality TV. The media circus circling the crew and the mission is not focused on the science behind the mission; it’s focused on the personal lives of the astronauts. Cal, upon arriving in Clear Lake, takes it upon himself to show the world and his followers all of the real behind the scenes, being all "hired" subtly by NASA by proxy (spoiler sorry). I mean, picture this. A teenager from NY both got his dad into a national astronaut program (SPOILER: because you know, some folks at NASA saw his fizzle mizzle, I forgot the name, account and instantly knew it was a genius idea to bring him there, and not because his father was good for the job, soon to be astronaut duh) AND saved that program from shutting down when things went awry. It's literary fiction, and it's kind of okay, I guess, since it's a fiction book, but it bugs me. That's why I gave my review 4 stars.
“If you want to kiss me, kiss me because you like me. Not because you think it will make you happy. You can't just kiss away all the bad feelings I have. You can't kiss me and make me better.”
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boarding school story ??? | update #1
made this blog to think through things about My Stories (tm) since i think about My Stories (tm) so rarely (read: every june/july when I don't have anything going on) that nobody in real life knows or cares about them, really, but it's helpful to talk about them to Generate Plot Material. because setting and character are always THERE and there's always a DIRECTION but what street are we on?? in what city?? mystery. enigma. VERY rambly train of thought on a newish project under the cut.
yesterday i found an oooolldddd screenplay that i wrote back when i sat down with a vibe and banged out just complete garbage and never thought about it again. it was set at a boarding school and there were uniforms and cool old buildings and some of the dialogue holds up (shocking tbh) but the inciting incident is soooo bad! just so bad. you can tell i was like hmm something needs to happen and i want it to include wizards with staffs and wildflowers and that was literally it. and i really like the characters and they feel pretty solid to me and i can write new-england-catholic-boarding-school-that's really-just-oxford-if-american-teens-lived-there no problem because i lived in alone in a gothic tower for a year and that grants you certain Arcane Knowledges. and i want to write it as a novel so it can actually exist but i don't know what happens and i'm trying to figure out it. today i was literally like what if the villain is dracula? honestly i'm not sure the villian isn't dracula.
i guess i need to ask myself: what do i find fun about this story. and it's the character relationships (and romanceee). so i could just write a YA contemporary (or, given that i'll stop thinking about it in two months, the first 5k of a YA contemporary), but i don't like YA contemporary because i'm not into romance where the stakes of the story in general are low (i.e. 'realistic'). also i don't want adults to be there or have any real agency bc i want the students to be the heroes. and i want things to be uuhhjustalittle spooky.
the first scene has always been viola laying down in the middle of the street because all the adults have disappeared. maybe i should start there. why are there no adults?? maybe: dracula has kidnapped all the adults. dracula is doing his vampire magicks and the kids need to solve his vampire puzzle. but why does dracula want this. (boy i'm really taking this dracula thing seriously.) maybe--and this is an extraordinarily bad-2010s-romance-presmise--he needs a spouse for his vampire child?? so that they can rule his vampire dimension upon his death????? vampire monarchy??? but viola already has two human boys to choose between and i don't want either of them to be vampires bc their relationships to her are fun bc of their pasts together and the vampires need to be a surprise. maybe dracula needs someone--oh this is something--maybe dracula needs someone to train to be the next dracula and he's testing the kids to see if maybe one of them are capable of rising to the Dracula Double Dare Challenge ?? that could be very fun. of course it would be a reveal that that's what he's doing and nobody would know that in trying to save the world they were actually proving their worth to the infamous vampire dracula. but what's the ending there? probably setting up a sequel where, like, now we have access to a vampire boarding school in the woods and the adults are back but we're going to do what we're going to do.
OOOOOOHHHHH WAIT: dracula is the headmaster of vampire boarding school in the woods and he wants to choose his successor but the homegrown vampires aren't cutting it so he's gotta outsource. yes dracula lives in massachusetts. he disappears all the adults to just see if anyone figures out what's going on and viola and sam and a reluctant ben and a reluctant penny (and maybe 5th character?? for flavor????) do figure it out but also we have to navigate a teenage society which will be fun. and then they meet dracula and are like uhhh wtf and he's like velcome to fangs prep or whatever--you're the next dracula, viola, and she's like uhhhhh ok? and then the book's over. NOT THAT I WILL EVER GET PAST THE MOST SHALLOW RISING ACTION ON THIS.
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“This isn’t a ghost story,” I told him. “It’s a love story with a ghost in it.”
rating : 3.5/5
I've read so many books about grief trying to understand it in the form f YA contemporary that I feel like I'm a pretty good judge on what makes a book about grief. This book unfortunately didn't do that to me. I really went in expected it to be the same type of book as The Sky Is Everywhere where the main character is finding love in the midst of grieving. But it wasn't, I guess it tried to go for the same concept but I felt like it was much more shallower. it didn't explore the theme of letting go enough. it fell flat with its attempt on balancing romance with loss.
I know it may seem like I hated the book after reading the first paragraph but I really didn't. I actually enjoyed it a lot. It was an easy read that you can breeze through without any problems. I absolutely loved Robyn Schneider writing. It was simple yet there are always beautiful beautiful lines that surprised me when I wasn't expecting one. I really did love all the metaphors and analogies the author used.
The main protagonist Rose is the same old female character you see in every YA contemporary romance mostly unpopular, self-depreciating, unconfident, whiny at times but with those qualities toned down to a point where I didn't find her annoying but rather relatable. Those quiet doubts you have for yourself at certain moments/circumstances reminded me of myself in this scary thing call highschool the male protagonist Jaime was likeable enough though not someone entirely creative. He is sweet, caring, good-looking,someone you will never meet irl but quite boring cuz that's all we see in YA. The same cutout dream boy with the underdog girl friend. *sighs*
The book would have been better if it was a romance only because it is definitely a cute read that will make you swoon and feel butterflies but it just didn't hit the theme loss loss hard enough. I would recommend this for a light fluffy read but if you're looking for an emotional gut-punch sadly it wasn't. I didn't even cry when I did so for these two romancesI Believe in a Thing Called Love & The Way You Make Me Feel
There were some really pretty quotes. don't let my review discourage if you've already decided to try it out. Who knows maybe you'll like it more than I did.
“Sometimes you look around at your life and you see a ghost of a different one. It watches from the wings like an understudy that knows it won't go on. The play unfolds, and eventually, when you glance backstage, that life you knew is gone, and no one watching ever knew it was there at all.”
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Seeing the recent posts re: Shatter me , I wanted to ask you if you have actually any good books in mind following the enemies to lovers trope ( actually, well, something with Darklina vibes. y'know :D ) . I would prefer not YA stuff, but tbh if the prose /plot is decent, I don't mind. Thanks!!
Hotshot Doc by R.S. Grey (I actually LOVE this one it's soooo cute! It would work perfectly as a modern au with darkles as a notoriously mean surgeon and alina as his assistant)
Vicious by L.J. Shen (this dude is the kind of chaotic asshole you can't look away from, heroine is a bit too quirky for my taste, but it did keep me entertained)
Young Adult / New Adult Fantasy
The Folk of the Air Trilogy (the OG of enemies to lovers; one of my favourite heroines!)
Kingdom of the Wicked (not strictly enemies to lovers per se but a girl has to make a deal with a demon prince so what's not to love?)
The Shadows Between Us (a *very* trashy read, but the male lead has shadow powers so there's some obvious darklina parallels there)
A Court of Thorns & Roses (the Rhysand/Feyre dynamic is the one that reminds me of Darklina more than Tamlin/Feyre even though that's also got an enemies to lovers thing going on. Though full disclosure, I gave up on the second book because it was so fucking long and insufferable...)
From Blood & Ash (more of a bodyguard romance but its very deceptive with how it pulls you in!)
Movies/ TV Shows
North & South (2004 Miniseries) - aahsdjkh I love this one! It's probably my fave out of the gothic romances
Jane Eyre (2006 Miniseries) - I mean, sure, you could read the book, but this is a perfectly moody adaptation
Phantom of the Opera (Royal Albert Hall 2011) - this is a filmed version of the stage production and Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom is 🔥🔥🔥👀👀!!! Sorry, but Gerard Butler and his garbage voice could never!!!!
I think you'll find similiar Darklina dynamics if you follow the Beauty & the Beast tropes. There are a lot of YA retellings but I've yet to find one that I really liked. The closest was maybe "A Curse So Dark and Lonely" but I ended up shipping the cursed prince with the captain of his guard so......👀
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For the book asks- 8, 18, & then one of your choice! (:
8- a book you finished in one sitting
i was originally going to rec nothing (like not NOTHING the book nothing lmao) for this even though i honestly still don't know how to feel about it, but then i remembered i read felix ever after (the bestie!) in one sitting so absolutely that. i was forced to read the help for school at the time and you would not BELIEVE how good of a break this book was from that. it made me believe contemporary ya could be good again i absolutely adore that book with my entire being. the story, the characters, the only well executed love triangle i have ever read in my life, the love confession at the end, the cover, it all went unbelievably hard
18- your least favorite book ever
ooh this is a good one i am a bitch who cannot dnf books to save his life so i have a few solid contenders. what comes to mind as a book i could rant about for ages is 11/22/64 by stephen king. i will admit choosing a gargatuan nonhorror as my first introduction to his work was a not a good move on my part but! it was so fucking bad my dude!! the first 150ish pages were super good and i was genuinely invested and then the entire plot and pacing screeched to a halt so the mc could become an english teacher (cough cough a TOTAL JOHN KEATING RIPOFF) and be boring and fuck his zero dimensional 1960s wife who he literally meets by 'falling into' her boobs. what the fuck stephen! you aren't writing a harem anime!! and then she has a whole thing where she's like ~oh i'm a virgin i'm so inexperienced~ and the protag is like uwu don't worry i'll teach you and it's sooo uncomfortable. and then (spoilers) she gets fucking fridged for his manpain!!!! and i skimmed the ending but the whole plot was pointless because he succeeded and then came back to the present and nazis one or something. very stupid and a waste of my time. stephen king be normal about women challenge.
and for 66-a book that fucked you up i will choose nothing by janne teller, actually. because what the FUCK was that
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Fic ask game #6 and #15 (and #8 - there, someone asked you 😉 lol )
Thank you for the ask, @edwardsmate4ever! I know you can appreciate the need for a "oooh finished editing THAT thing, now I get to have some fun!" break. I have finished editing one thing (of 3, FML)
From The Fic Ask
I'm actually going to hold off on #8 if you don't mind because I actually have a long rant I want to go on. The tl;dr is that I think the use of OCs in a spot where it's very hard to write a good OC (as the love interest of a canon main character who usually has another love interest in canon) leads to a dislike of OCs more generally and a distrust on the part of the reader. But very often a character who is outside of canon can make the story a lot richer. It relies a LOT on the author's ability to characterize, though.
6: What are some topics you will never write about?
There aren't any. I write about things when I get interested in them and then I use that motivation to go as deep as I can in understanding the character motivations and the world around them so that I can do that idea justice. One of my favorite types of reviews to get is one where someone says "Oooh, I can tell you have personal experience with [thing]!" and I chuckle to myself because I don't have personal experience with [thing], but I've learned over the years the kinds of questions to answer and the sources to consult so that I can write as though I do.
That said, some things that would give me pause to write about without having a personal source I could run my fic by would be anything involving serious representation of Quileute culture, any fic diving deep into disability, and anything dealing with gender fluidity. That last one actually might not even be that far out, though, because as I have more and more close relationships with friends who are nonbinary and trans I feel more confident that I could a) render a character with complexity and empathy and also b) have someone look over it who I know would feel comfortable gently smacking me if I didn't do it well.
Ooh but here's the thing you will never see from me, but it's not a topic. I will never write an all-human fic in a supernatural fandom. I read and write fic because I enjoy the source. All human fics take all the joy out of it for me as a writer and most of the time as a reader. Plus, I have plenty of characters of my own if I want to just up and write a book about them. One of my closest friends was shocked to find out that my non-derivative fiction is contemporary YA--she assumed I must write fiction with supernatural elements since I enjoy fanfic so much. Nope. So if I'm going to bust my butt writing a well-constructed novel with all human characters, it's going to be about Isaac or Shane or Cleighten or Juliana or any of the other characters who live in my head. It's not going to be a human version of Carlisle unless it takes place before 1667.
15: Which fic that you’ve written relates to you and your personal life the most?
Disappointing answer here--none of them. And also all of them? I draw on different things at different times but I'm never writing anything that is "oooh I would love x to happen" or "this is the kind of thing I think is good/bad." I'm always starting from my characters, and my characters are usually very different people than me.
One Day the Sun Will Rise is set at my alma mater, which I did because the rest of the fic is so hard to write. And Bella's boyfriend's family in that fic is very loosely modeled after my childhood best friend's family, although I have changed a bunch of aspects of it to create a more interesting narrative. For example, in real life, both of us have parents who've been married for over 50 years; it's a lot more useful to the story in One Day for Nabil's mom to be divorced. Having the setting be a real setting I know well gives me easy access to details without having to research every last little thing, since there's already so many other things I'm researching for that fic. But again, it's just a place--Bella is a very different person than I am and while I would love to write her as being as gung-ho about my school as I am, in reality I am the kind of uber-fan that she would (and does, in the story) find perplexing.
Character and narrative always comes first. If I can then use my personal experience to make aspects of the writing easier or richer, all the better, but that's never the goal.
Ask me writing things, I'm stuck at my computer today
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//JUNE 2021 //
Sometimes I feel like I'm talking into a void. That's what Tumblr essentially is. A void to push all your niche interests and weird thoughts that nobody ever tries to decode. Even if everything is permanent on the Internet, some things never leave Tumblr.
June was a month where a lot of things happened and yet I feel like nothing happened at the same time. I've pushed myself to finish a fanfic for a fandom and then dropped out because I wasn't happy with my progress. When your day job is writing, you don't feel like picking up a pen for the second time in a day.
Maybe I'm just jaded again. I'm lucky to be doing a low-stressed job that's actually tied to my interests and yet... first world problems, I guess.
When it comes to books, I wasn't particularly trying to find a theme. I just picked up anything that struck my fancy at the time. I finished three books. Three vastly different books that perfectly summarise my bookish interests. Which is to say I don't know what I like. I just pick up books that sound interesting.
Sometimes those are mysteries, sometimes a contemporary YA, and then I do a U-turn and read a Greek retelling.
Whatever. Here's what I read in June:
1. Solitaire by Alice Oseman (★★★★)
When it comes to her books, I never know if I'm going to like them or not. So far I read three and they were all basically with the same characters and setting, but I've had vastly different experiences with them. I loved Loveless, I hated Radio Silence and Solitaire left me feeling a bit indifferent. I kind of enjoyed Tori's cynicism and her relationship with Michael, but all in all it just left me feeling sad. I should've guessed it was heavily inspired by Catcher in the Rye (which I hate with every fibre of my being) but it didn't actually hit me unitl the final reveal in the book. I was sort of numb by the end. But I still think it was a solid book.
2. Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji (★★★★★)
Japanese mystery writers are slowly becoming my new favorite thing. The amount of thought that goes into crafting their mysteries is astounding and I give up on trying to connect all the pieces because I know I'll be dead wrong and blown away by the final reveal. The only thing I thought was missing was a bigger connection to the characters in the Decagon House. We had few pages to learn their names and suddenly they were all dropping like flies. It would make a more impactful book, but it was fine as a murder mystery. GIVE ME MORE.
3. Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks (★★★★)
This collection of short stories has the same vibe that Tom Hanks exudes on the screen. Whatever you think that man is like - smart, funny, charming, down-to-earth. He brings that in these stories. Obviously I liked some better than others, and I liked the typewriter as a common theme between them all. It brings nostalgia without being too sentimental and corny. And he brought out the best of American life and spirit, which I really appreciated. If he made me like American life, then he did something good. Books by celebrities often fail but I never doubted that Tom Hanks writes as well as he acts.
SO, that's it. I don't know what the next month will bring but I'm sure it'll surprise us both.
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