September the beginning of Fall (sort of) and the start of my busy season. I was desperate to get a few different things done before my crazy schedule got even crazier, and I am happy to report I did it.
I also got to take a trip to two new states! I visited Seattle, Washington to explore and be a tourist and then Boise, Idaho to visit my wonderful critique partner, Kelsey Atkins. It was such a cool blessing to get to finally meet someone I’ve been working with for the better part of a year, and while flying to a strange city to meet a practical strange was a little nerve-wracking, we had a blast!
What I Read
GRAND TOTAL: 4
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao ★★★★☆
A retelling/origin story of the Evil Queen from Snow White, set in an East Asian fantasy world? Yes please!
So I pretty much loved everything about this book – even our slightly evil anti-heroine Xifeng. There’s just enough romance to satisfy me, but not enough to bog down the overarching plot. And I love to see a character choosing ambition over a hot guy. What a breath of fresh air! All of the characters were nuanced and complex, and the world itself was lush and unique. There is some darkness to the story – okay a lot – which made me love it even more.
The only issue I had was that the ending felt very abrupt. It’s obviously not the end of the story, and the very last chapter had me feeling unsatisfied. Luckily, the sequel (narrated by this world’s Snow White) comes out in November!
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern ★★★☆☆
This book has been on my TBR list for ages, and I finally made the time to read. The concept of two magicians engaging in a competition and falling in love drew me in immediately. But in the end, I was a little disappointed and extremely conflicted.
Let’s start with the good. The prose in this novel is absolutely breathtaking. The descriptions and imagery pull you into the incredible world of Le Cirque des Rêves – a mysterious circus only open at night. I thought the two timelines were well balanced, and the author wove the many plot intricacies together perfectly.
Unfortunately, the pacing moved veryyyy slowly for the first two thirds of the novel. It eventually picked up but I almost didn’t make it to that point. Furthermore, the romance was total insta-love which I despise.
This was a hard one for me to rank because the first chunk would’ve been one or two stars (almost a DNF) but then I enjoyed the last 150 pages. So while I liked the story and appreciated the writing itself, it wasn’t a favorite of mine.
The Towering Sky by Katherine McGee ★★★☆☆
I’ve been anxiously awaiting the conclusion of this series since I fell in love with the futuristic, Gossip Girl-esque drama. And the setting of a skyscraper city in New York is genius.
Everything I enjoyed about the first two novels was still there, but this novel didn’t really add anything new to the story. Our characters are in the same issues all over again – Rylin’s love triangle, Leda’s drug problem, Watt’s illegal robot and Avery’s forbidden romance – so it felt extremely repetitive. Even Calliope who was such a breath of fresh air wasn’t developed as much as I wished.
I did love the ending though and enjoyed the overall fun, escapist vibe of the story.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman ★★★★★
I’ve mentioned it before, but my mom and I typically don’t have the same taste in books. But there is one exception that we both adored.
Eleanor Oliphant is one of the strangest characters let alone protagonists that I’ve ever encountered. She follows a routine of going to work, talking to her Mummy on Wednesday evenings, eats pizza every Friday and consumes liters of vodka each weekend. She’s awkward and blunt and has the best vocabulary ever.
And I loved her. I also loved her sweet romance with Raymond which was developed so realistically as well as her relationship with her colleagues and therapist. But what really hooked me was the mystery about her past, her mother and the events she seems to have blocked out. This book touches on some dark subject matter and sometimes hit too close to home which just leant itself even more to its resonance. I thoroughly enjoyed this emotionally profound rollercoaster to watch until Eleanor can truthfully say she is indeed “fine.”
What I Wrote
I am extremely proud to report that I finished first draft of The Blood Between Us – ten chapters (25,388 words) in twelve days!!! It was a stretch, and I had a hard time pushing through but I did it by the skin of my teeth. It’s way too long and a total mess, but I am really happy with what I have so far.
I was also able to get back on track with the blog and publish one new post per week. Check them out and let me know what you’d like to see next!
- How to use Pinterest to inspire, outline and write your novel
- 14 cozy and creepy books to get you in the mood for Fall
- The Good, The Bad & The Overdone: Tropes in fiction (and how to use them effectively)
October is going to be absolutely insane for me from a travel and work perspective, and – with the first draft of TBBU completed – it’s the perfect time to take a break! I highly encourage all writers to do so between drafts so that they can come back with fresh eyes and minds. I will also be shifting back to start revisions on a previous novel which take up the bulk of my free writing time.
As far as reading goes, I don’t think I will have much time, but there are a few books I’ve been waiting to read that I am super excited about!
- Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
- Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
- Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd
Are you excited to kick off Fall! What are your goals for the rest of the year? Let me know!