So I know I say all the time that it has been a crazy month. BUT GUYS. October was a CRAZY month. I was traveling for the first two weeks for the Texas vs OU football game, the Taylor Swift concert and a bachelorette party in Charleston. Then the second half of the month consisted of completing a major revision, throwing a halloween party and dog-sitting for my parents. I’ve been all over the place. But while it was a whirlwind, it was also fabulous, and I am extremely proud of how the month turned out.
But all that aside, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. I’ve got some good stuff for you guys today!
What I Read
GRAND TOTAL: 3
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton ★★☆☆☆
I have been obsessed with visiting Cuba for years, so when I saw this as a pick for Reese Witherspoon’s book club, I jumped on it. It’s a dual POV historical romance that follows a woman taking her grandmother’s ashes back to Cuba and said grandmother’s experience in the Cuban revolution that resulted in their family’s exile.
The details were so vivid and colorful, and I learned so much about Cuba that I didn’t know before about the struggle and beauty of Cuba. But the characters were very boring and underdeveloped which led to a lagging plot. Plus there was not just one but TWO cases of insta-love which drives me crazy.
Overall, the story of Cuba’s tragic past was extremely interesting, reading like a fictionalized history lesson. But if you are going to take a chance and pick it up, I wouldn’t go in expecting much more.
Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd ★★★☆☆
Animal-turned-human Anouk and her Beastie friends are under total control of the evil witch who enchanted. But when her mistress winds up dead, Anouk is blamed and it sets off a dangerous adventure through the streets of Paris.
What a unique concept, and Shepherd weaves original worldbuilding with little snippets of the best fairytales. She NAILED the setting, and her sensory descriptions were exquisite. I felt like I was there! The actions starts immediately and keeps up through the entirety of the novel, but – I can’t believe I am saying this – it almost felt too fast-paced at times. There were moments when I wished for a slower scene for a break.
I adored Anouk and her character arc from meek to badass. That being said, I didn’t care for her love interest at all. He was obnoxious and needy and there was no real chemistry between them. Honestly, the romance could’ve been left out.
I do also wish it was (and expected it to be) a little darker like her previous series, The Madman’s Daughter. But it was still an enchanting and lovely read.
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas ★★★★☆
Guys, I have been waiting for this book for years, following this series which quickly turned into one of my top favorites. And the final installment absolutely wrecked me in the best way.
There was no way it could’ve lived up to my expectations – they were just too high – BUT it got pretty damn close. I loved the emotional journeys of each character, cried at least eight times, and was so happy with the final pages and where they all ended up. Even the character deaths were poignant and powerful, made in sacrifice. And despite being almost 1000 pages, it was well-paced. I never really felt bored or like it was dragging.
I do have two problems though.
First, the entire final battle felt oddly familiar to me. And that’s cause it’s pretty much a carbon copy of The Battle of Helm’s Deep in LOTR. I am not going to go into every detail here – although this post is quite interesting – but that was really disappointing for me.
Also Aelin seemed to have lost some of her swagger. I get it, she’s been tortured. But I expected it come back at some point, and it never really did. My favorite parts of the series were when Aelin totally surprised everyone with some smart-as-shit scheme she’d been working on. And that didn’t really happen in this one either except for a pretty lame deus ex machina at the very end.
Overall, I think it was a great but bittersweet conclusion to the series, and a big thank you to SJM for sharing these wonderful characters with us. I will miss them!
What I Wrote
So while the first draft of The Blood Between Us is still resting, I was hard at work with a pretty huge revision of 700 Main. My agent had some great ideas to make the story even better, and I took them and ran with it!
It was hard work though. I ended up adding an entirely new subplot while still coming in more than 11K words lower than the previous draft. I am really proud of the end product, and now we’ll start with another round of submissions to publishers!
I am not doing NaNoWriMo this year. While I am really excited about diving back into the world of TBBU, I’m going to give myself a little bit of a writing break before diving back in. A couple weeks to relax, rejuvenate and READ!
That being said, here’s what’s on tap for November:
- Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams
- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
- The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
- A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
- Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Would love for you guys to join me in reading any of these (The Scorpio Races if the perfect November read), and let me know how you like them!
Next month we’ll be discussing end of year goals to make the most of the rest of 2018!