Category: reasons I’m not writing

Sundays are for Writing #20

So…I didn’t do any actual (fiction) writing this week. The story I was working on, well, I still have no idea where that is going, so working on that is accomplishing nothing. Meanwhile, my re-telling of Camelot has been niggling at the back of my mind.

It’s been over two years since I came up with that idea for the capstone class for my undergraduate degree, but I kept thinking about it over the past month or so, and when I realized how dissatisfied I was with my current project, well, the switch seemed natural.

So, this week I pulled everything I had on the Camelot story and read through it. Some of my ideas came back to me. I did character sketches of the main five characters and outlined the first five scenes. I also came up with a working version of the Sentence—Holly Lisle’s one-sentence story outline technique—to keep me on-track. I’ll start actually writing this week.

I’m excited!

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The Best Books I Read in April (2019)

I read 18 books in April, and DNF two more, but a handful of books I really enjoyed. One is historical fiction/fantasy, the other are mainstream/women’s fiction with a little romance.

rosie's traveling tea shop

Rosie’s Traveling Tea Shop, by Rebecca Raisin. This was probably my favorite read, and I binge-read all of it last Sunday. Straight through. (Yes, that was exactly as wonderful as it sounds.) The idea of traveling all the time—but with a book shop, not a cooking shop (except the tea idea is tempting)—is strangely alluring for me, and I wish I could work out a way to make that happen.  #thevanlife

Romanov

Romanov, by Nadine Brandes. This is a fantasy version of historical fiction. Well, there are spells and spellmasters in it, so I assume it’s fantasy. But, it’s the story of the Romanov family and their time in exile, and what happens to their daughter, Anastasia. (It’s definitely not the Disney version.)

one summer in paris

One Summer in Paris, by Sarah Morgan. Apparently in April I had a thing for books about women reinventing themselves and starting new lives in foreign places…One Summer in Paris is about two women spending the summer in Paris alone—one because her husband of 25 years decides he wants a divorce, so she goes on the trip without him, and one who’s keeping secrets about her mother as she tries to figure out life on her own—who meet and become friends.

All three of these are excellent reads.

The Best Books I read in March (2019)

I read 18 books in March, bringing my total for the year to 50. Only 125 more to go to reach my Goodreads goal of 175! (Honestly…I’m “secretly” hoping to hit 200, but finishing grad school is taking up a lot of time, so it may not happen.)

The best books I read in March include a historical, biblical fiction, and one book I’m really mad I didn’t read when it first caught my eye months ago!

the things we cannot say

The Things We Cannot Say, by Kelly Rimmer.  I’m just going to say it:  this book made me ugly cry. This story is set in 2019—when Alice is overwhelmed with caring for her autistic son while her grandmother is dying—and 1942 Poland, where Alina gets engaged to Tomasz just before the war comes to Poland. This is a powerful, emotional story.

of fire and lions

Of Fire and Lions, by Mesu Andrews.  This is the tale of Daniel—as in Daniel and the lions’ den—and the Israelites’ 70 years in exile from the Promised Land. It’s also the tale of Belili, another of the Jewish captives and her life in Babylon. This book, while fiction, brought so much to life for me from the biblical stories, and I was absolutely captivated! I can’t wait to read more of Mesu Andrews’ books.

where the crawdads sing

Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens. This book…I heard about it for months before I finally read it—and I cannot believe I waited! Locals call Kya the “March Girl,” but she’s so much more than that. Abandoned as a child, she’s grown up alone in the North Carolina marsh, surrounded by the wildlife she loves. When town golden boy Chase Andrews is found dead, everyone says the Marsh Girl did it, but is sensitive Kya really capable of such violence—no matter what the town thinks? The ending to this book blew me away.

What I Read in March (2019)

Books Read in March: 18

Books Read for the Year: 50/175

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books:

Party of One:  Truth, Longing, and the Subtle Art of Singleness, by Joy Beth Smith (spiritual). This book is like talking to your best girlfriends about really deep, personal topics.

A Million Little Ways:  Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live, by Emily P. Freeman (nonfiction). I love this integration of faith and what art is…and how to live an art-fulled life.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, by Lisa See (cultural). This is an-depth exploration of minority life in China…and also made me want more tea!

Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens (TBR). I kept hearing about this book for months, and kept putting off reading it, and now I’m mad, because this was a wonderful book!

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neal Hurston (classic). Why have I not read this before? Excellent read, and I loved the journey this book took me on.

For Review:

the quiet you carry

The Quiet You Carry, by Nikki Barthelmess. Victoria Parker lost her mother, and since then she’s tried to take care of her dad, like her mom asked. Until the night her dad locks her out of the house and calls the cops. Now she’s in foster care and won’t tell anyone what really happened that night. Until it becomes a choice between keeping her secrets and keeping her stepsister safe. A wonderful, but very difficult and emotional read.

manix pixie

The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project, by Lenore Appelhans. An ironic tale of Riley, a Manic Pixie Dream Boy and the rest of his trope, who fight to keep from being eliminated as they seek to sort out who they really are.

of fire and lions

Of Fire and Lions, by Mesu Andrews. A tale of the biblical Hebrew exile to Babylon, Daniel and the lions’ den, and the fiery furnace. A wonderful, engrossing book that I loved so much!

woman 99

Woman 99, by Greer Macallister. Charlotte’s sister was put in an asylum, and Charlotte decides to disguise herself as a patient and get her out. While inside, she learns things are not always what they seem. This was a wonderful historical with a touch of romance, and I really enjoyed it.

american princess

American Princess, by Stephanie Thornton. I knew next to nothing about the Roosevelts, but this novel was all about Teddy’s daughter, Alice, and her long life in politics. I enjoyed the read–and the history lesson.

beautiful bad

Beautiful Bad, by Annie Ward.  I didn’t really care for this tale of a marriage gone wrong. The main character is an unreliable narrator at best, and I lost sympathy for her only a few chapters in, so I’m not even sure why I finished reading this.

glory road

Glory Road, by Lauren K. Denton.  I loved this Southern fiction tale of Jessie, living back in her hometown, and the two men who enter her life one summer filled with change. And the cover is beautiful!

the things we cannot say

The Things We Cannot Say, by Kelly Rimmer.  This book was an incredible read! Part of it is set in the Holocaust, part of it in the present, and all of it is compelling.

in another life

In Another Life, by C.C. Hunter.  What would you do if you found out your whole life was a lie? Chloe was adopted at age 3, but had a happy childhood, until her parents divorced. Now she’s living in a small Texas town when she meets Cash, who is convinced she’s the abducted daughter of his foster parents.

the library of lost and found

The Library of Lost and Found, by Phaedra Patrick.  This quirky tale had me drawn in from the beginning. Small-town happening and family drama, along with a mystery, fill the pages.

between the lies

Between the Lies, by Michelle Adams. Chloe wakes up in the hospital with no memory of who she is, or the people who claim to be her family. From there, the mysteries only deepen. This one was just kind of “meh” for me. I didn’t really care for any of the characters, and Chloe’s father was horrible.

 

the cliff house

The Cliff House, by RaeAnne Thayne.  The story of two sisters, raised by their aunt, who are all afraid to admit the truth about themselves and their desires. I enjoyed this sweet read.

lovestruck

Lovestruck, by Kate Watson (review forthcoming). Kali is a cupid-in-training who is convinced everything is controlled by the Fates—so what’s the point of even trying? When she ends up sticking herself with one of her enchanted arrows, she finds herself falling for her target…and she’s in big trouble. This was a fun read!

 

 

Sundays are for Writing #12

Confession time:  I think I only wrote about 600 words this week. Yep. Two 10-minute sessions and that’s it.

But…at least it’s writing. And I did do academic writing. Like…two decently long discussion board posts, and a 5-page paper that kind of made me want to bang my head on my desk. And three book reviews. So, at least there was writing.

Here’s to a better week.

Anyone else getting any writing done?

The Best Books I Read in February (2019)

I read 14 books in February, four less than in January. My top three picks for the month include one book for review, one for pleasure, and one nonfiction.

wow

Warrior of the Wild, by Tricia Levenseller.  I really enjoyed this book. It has a sort-of-Viking culture, and a heroine who was raised as a warrior. When she’s betrayed and fails her challenge, she’s banished to live in the deadly wilds until she kills the god her village pays tribute to every year. She’s a strong character, but she’s haunted by fear of failure and betrayal. I enjoyed this so much!

I’d Rather be Reading, by Anne Bogel. Anne writes the wonderful Modern Mrs. Darcy blog.  I love reading all her posts, although I haven’t ventured into the world of podcasts yet. And Book Club is amazing, too. A book about reading? I’m so there!

Cast in Oblivion, by Michelle Sagara. I really love this series, and have read all of them. And loved them. Kaylin is a great character:  flawed but so loyal and brave. Awesome world-building as well.

Sundays are for Writing #8

I didn’t get a lot of writing done this week. Basically only Thursday, and somewhere a bit less than a thousand words. But still:  words.

Discovered something unexpected about my MC’s father.

I also didn’t get any work done on my HTWAN lessons. I’ve got to get that going again.

Sundays are for Writing #7

This week wasn’t a good writing week. I did get some writing done twice…but probably only about 500 words total. Stress seems to make writing nearly impossible for me, so I’m floundering. I’ll try to gain some focus next week.

The good news is my characters are talking to me, so yay!

Sundays are for Writing #5

This writing update won’t be quite so upbeat as the last four…

I did get my 750 words in on Tuesday. Everything flowed, and I enjoyed the process.

Thursday…my hard drive died. All my school stuff, personal stuff, and story draft just gone. Thursday was not a good day.

But…at least I only have to re-do 8,000 words. And it’s still fresh in my mind. So, starting that is on the agenda, but not until next weekend, as this will be a crazy week.

Book Review: Unmarriageable, by Soniah Kamal

unmarriageable
Image belongs to Random House Publishing Group.

Title:  Unmarriageable
Author:  Soniah Kamal
Genre:   Fiction
Rating:   4.5 out of 5

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a girl can go from pauper to princess or princess to pauper in the mere seconds it takes for her to accept a proposal.”

This is the belief that Alys Binat, second of five daughters and a literature teacher, faces in her students, girls who will likely marry instead of finishing school. That’s just how things are in Pakistan in the early 2000s, but Alys hopes to influence some of her students, nonetheless. Then her family is invited to the society wedding of the year, and her mother sees it as the perfect opportunity to showcase her five daughters.

The eldest, sweet Jena, catches the eye of “Bungles” Bingla, a wealthy entrepreneur, and Mrs. Binat is convinced a proposal is imminent. Alys and her best friend, Sherry, who is determined to marry so she can escape her home life, watch in amusement—and horror—as Aly’s mom and other three sisters—uber-religious Mari, flighty Lady, and artistic Qitty—make a less than stellar impression on Bungles’ sisters and very rich Valentine Darsee, his best friend. Alys hears Darsee’s scathing remarks about her and writes him off as a jerk.

But fate—and Jena and Bungles’ romance—keep throwing Alys and Darsee back into proximity, and Alys discovers the haughty man might not be quite as horrible as she thought. When Lady’s antics destroy the Binat family’s chances of ever holding their heads up in public, no one can save them. Except, maybe, Mr. Darsee.

Fact:  I love Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen had a phenomenal insight into people and portrayed them very well. Fact:  I know basically nothing about Pakistani culture.

Unmarriageable is a close re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, but it’s still its own story. The characters’ names made me laugh—Bungles—but there’s enough of the original in them to make them feel like old friends. I found Mr. Binat much more ineffectual than Mr. Bennet, but everyone else I enjoyed. Even Lady, annoyingly oblivious as she was. Alys was much more of a feminist than Elizabeth Bennet, but I love how her mind worked, and how quick she was to grasp her own mistakes. I highly recommend this!

Soniah Kamal was born in Pakistan, but grew up in England and Saudi Arabia and now lives in the U.S. She is an award-winning author and a creative-writing teacher. Unmarriageable is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by Random House Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.)