Thursday, July 13, 2017

SWITCHING TO WORDPRESS!

     Hey everyone!! Hope you're having a great day!
     I thought I would just announce on here that I will be switching to WordPress! Well, I've actually already made the switch as of today! This blogpost account will still be up, as well as all my posts and everything, but every post I've ever made is now on WordPress, where the rest of my posts will be from now on, and I've also revamped my style ;) I would very much appreciate it if you followed me over there and checked it out, maybe leave a couple comments.
     My WordPress: https://taylorisreading.wordpress.com/
     I've had a great run with Blogger, and as of today I have over 3500 views from all around the globe ad it's so sad making this switch, but I just feel that it'll be easier in the long run to follow and connect with you guys!
     Who knows, maybe if I don't like it as much, I'll switch back! My next few posts will still make it over here, I think, I'm not sure because I haven't decided if I'll do that or not.
     So, with that, thank you all very much! My first blog post on here was July 16, 2015 and it's a little bittersweet that my 2 year blogiversary won't be on here *cries* but I hope to catch up with you all on WordPress! Thank you all so much for the support you've given me these past two years and for welcoming me into the bookish community, it's really been amazing ❤❤ Love you all ❤❤
       -Taylor

The Looking Glass Wars || Review

Pages: 358
Book type: Paperback
Author: Frank Beddor
Publisher: Speak
Release Date: September 26, 2006
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5


~ Goodreads Synopsis ~

When Alyss Heart, newly orphaned heir to the Wonderland throne, flees through the Pool of Tears to escape her murderous Aunt Redd, she finds herself lost and alone in Victorian London. Befriended by an aspiring author named Lewis Carrol, Alyss tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Alyss trusts this author to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere will find her and bring her home. But he gets the story all wrong. He even spells her name incorrectly!

Fortunately, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan knows all too well the awful truth of Alyss' story - and he's searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland, to battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

The Looking Glass Wars unabashedly challenges our Wonderland assumptions of mad tea parties, grinning Cheshire cats, and a curious little blond girl to reveal an epic battle in the endless war for Imagination.

~ ~ ~ ~

     To be honest, I really only bought this book because I like Alice in Wonderland and it was only ten US dollars.*By no means do you have to read the original stories first, although it is a great story.* The premise sounded interesting, but I didn't have very high expectations and I put off reading it for sooo long.
     This book, on all occasions, exceeded any of the slightest expectations I might have had. I sped through it in two days and couldn't put it down.
     The story started really strong and with action in the first couple chapters, which are, in general, very short, which also speeds along the story. Somewhere in the middle, though, it got pretty slow, but the late middle and end really picked up. In the beginning, Alyss is a child, which is really sweet in a way, but it also gets a little dull after so long since she is only seven, but a little after halfway she becomes an adult. At that point things get really interesting.
     As the first book of the trilogy, there is still plenty of room for the characters to develop, and I really hope Alyss comes into herself a little more if I continue on with the series. Although she inevitably finished her task at hand and ended strong, she still felt a little dry as an adult. I honestly kind of preferred her more as a child for some parts since she lacks a little meaningful spirit at twenty-one. I understand why her time on Earth changed her in the ways that it did, but I really wish she would've fell back into herself upon her return to Wonderland a little better.
     Hatter Madigan, although I loved his character in the story, bugged me a little just because I was thinking he'd be a little more whimsical than a cut and dry military man. His relation to Alyss as her kind of "guard" is cute at times, but I really wish there was more of a fathery or uncle kind of presence in him. BUT he's totally badass. Apparently he has his whole own side series of his travels trying to find Alyss and they sound pretty intriguing as I want to dig deeper into his personal life.
     As for romance, there really isn't much, which was kind of disappointing due to the budding childish romance she has as a child that I LOVED. I feel like it will definitely grow back in the next two books once the two reconnect a little more upon her return.
     As for the retelling side of the story, it was really different, but in a good way. I liked the different take on the world and it really felt like its own. I didn't like how Lewis Carroll was blatantly bashed because Alice in Wonderland is such a beautiful classic, although it's understandable in the story as to why he is bashed by Alyss. I do wish some things were more like the original so that it was a better connection, but it was just so good as it was. Besides, Rick Riordan liked it, so it has to be good.

     The story has a few shortcomings that I hope are resolved throughout the other two books, but in all, I feel like the story was pretty satisfying and could even kind of be a stand alone. I would recommend this book if you're looking for a darker whimsical tale, or just like Alice in Wonderland. If you've read it, tell me what you think of it!
     Thanks for reading!
                   -Taylor

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

July TBR


     It's already July!! 2017 is going by so quickly! All the school supplies is already out in all the stores, which of course isn't a problem because cute discounted stationary is always a good thing. With this being my last full month of summer before I go off to my freshman year of college in August, I hope to get a LOT of reading and writing done. With that, here's my June TBR:

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
     This book I have already started, and probably finished by the time this post goes up since I'm on page 239 out of 358 and it's Friday th 7th lol. I've had this book for soo long and I'm so glad I'm finally getting to it. After reading Mark of Athena, I was in the mood for some really whimsical stuff so I thought this book would be perfect, and it really is. It's written beautifully, with a voice much like the original Alice In Wonderland, but I love the twists to the story that you'll have to read to see. Honestly, I love the violence in it too, it makes a lot more realistic in a sense and also adds a lot of intensity.










King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard
     I started this book sometime last month before I picked up Mark of Athena, but it put me in such a reading slump to be honest. There just wasn't enough meaningful action in the beginning to keep my interest, so I picked up a different book to come out of the slump and now I think I can get back into it since I hopefully got through the more quiet parts.
     The other two books in the series I absolutely loved, so I have really high expectations for this book, especially with the ending of the Glass Sword, oh my goodness. Also, without having any spoilers, I really hated the new evil person at first because I just couldn't see him as evil, but... I still hate him as evil. Like he's too much of a baby, why is he the position that he is? What?








The Novice by Taran Matharu
     Another book I've had on my shelf for quite a while that I've been silently dying to read. It's about more olden, fictional times (which I love) and I believe demon hunting of some sort (which I also love) and I think the main character is going to be pretty hot and if he's not, I'm still going to picture him as this hot blacksmith apprentice with dark shaggy hair. From the cover, I have no idea why, but he kind of reminds me of Chaol, like does anyone else get that vibe? Chaol is my favorite so this is ok.
     ALSO, LOOK AT THIS COVER.












Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
     Ah! The series everyone has raged about and I really want to get in the hype before it's completely gone! I really didn't get into the first book, Shadow and Bone, until the middle-ish but really more toward the end, but when I got into it, I. got. into. it.
     I really hope this sequel starts off with some action because where the story left of... we need some action. I read a couple lines a few pages in (oops) and it sounds like it's going to be crazy exciting, so I'm crazy excited.













Cress by Marissa Meyer
     I don't know if I'll be able to get this book by th end of July, but I really hope so. If not, it'll probably be the first book I read in August.
     Scarlet, to me, was even better than Cinder. It was so action-packed and had so many twists to the story, and I really hope this third installment lives up to the hype I've built up for it. Plus, I LOVE Rapunzel, so that just makes this book a winner by default.











      So that is my July TBR! It looks like a pretty busy, but awesome, reading month, and I'm so ready for it! Comment down below any books you're really looking forward to in July!
     Thanks for reading!
                       -Taylor

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Mark of Athena || Review

Pages: 574
Book Type: Paperback
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: October 2, 2012
~ Goodreads Synopsis ~
In The Son of Neptune, Percy, Hazel, and Frank met in Camp Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Camp Half-blood, and traveled to the land beyond the gods to complete a dangerous quest. The third book in the Heroes of Olympus series will unite them with Jason, Piper, and Leo. But they number only six—who will complete the Prophecy of Seven?

The Greek and Roman demigods will have to cooperate in order to defeat the giants released by the Earth Mother, Gaea. Then they will have to sail together to the ancient land—Greece itself—to find the Doors of Death. What exactly are the Doors of Death? Much of the prophecy remains a mystery...

With old friends and new friends joining forces, a marvelous ship, fearsome foes, and an exotic setting, The Mark of Athena promises to be another unforgettable adventure by master storyteller Rick Riordan.

~       ~      ~

     I didn't realize how badly I missed this series until I started reading it. I had finished the initial Percy Jackson series in sixth grade and read The Lost Hero when it came out, then finally picked up The Son of Neptune sometime in freshman or sophomore year. Now, as a high school graduate, I'm finally continuing the series.
     After so much time between books, it was a little hard to remember everything from the previous novels, but as soon as I started reading it all just came rushing back to me- especially the book from the first series that had the all the dam jokes when they went to the Hoover Dam, I don't know why. This is probably the easiest series to get sucked into just because it feels so real and magical, and even now I still wish that all of this existed, or at least that I was part of it.
     Even at eighteen, I still really appreciate Riordan's writing because he makes so many comments that in any other book (The Young World) would sound like an adult trying to relate to a young audience, but he does it so flawlessly and in a way brings the story to life. Like in this novel he talks about how Leo redesigns a trireme to be flown by using a Wii controller. If I read that in any other book I'd be holding down vomit, to be honest, but I love it in this series. Because of all the modern references, it feels like all of this could actually be happening around the world today (seriously, I wish it was).
     SPEAKING OF LEO. I love him, I really do. *heart eyes*
     He developed so well in this book. In the past two, I remember not really liking him as much as the others, which now I feel bad for, but in this book I feel like he really comes into himself. At first he started out with his usual goofy yet lovable personality and causes a little mayhem like always, but he comes to realize his part in the prophecy and the group of seven. Honestly, I think he played the biggest part in the quest, behind Annabeth of course.
     Behind Percy and Annabeth who will always be my otp, I think Leo is actually my next favorite character in here now.

     Other than Leo, all the characters developed really well, except Coach Hedge who even eventually started to grow on me. I really like how the characters are noticeably growing and becoming more mature while staying youthful, like the scenes of Piper and Jason discussing her jealousy and figuring out how to grow through it. Percy and Annabeth have grown into each other so well, by the end of the novel, when Annabeth comes out of the hole and Percy goes to her and tells her "it's ok, we're together," I was ready to burst.

     Also, in this book, I truly realized Riordan's knowledge of Greek mythology. He connected each god to one another and included so many tales and myths, it's like getting a Greek lesson in the most entertaining way possible because you do really learn so much. How he keeps all theses facts straight and adds his own twist to each god is amazing! He adds so much depth to the series with all the history he includes. I've grown a love for Greek mythology because of this series.
     I didn't want this book to end. I really wish I had gotten the fourth and fifth books when I got this one because I'm so sad to be coming back out of this series to read a different book. I would HIGHLY recommend this series to anyone who hasn't read it, and let me know down below what you've thought of it if you have read it.
     The next book I will be reading, and probably reviewing, is The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor, so stay tuned!
     Thanks for reading!
                       -Taylor

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

My Short Story Writing Technique

     Hello everyone!
     In the past I've done a couple posts abot how I write for novels, but I decided since I've been writing a lot of short stories for scholarship and magazine submissions that I'd share with you all how I write all my short stories. To let you know, it is an extremely different process.

Here are the posts I've done so far about my novel-writing adventure:
     Re-Reading My Work
     Making Your Writing Worth Reading
     The First Ten Chapters
     How I Character Plot
     Things I've Learned So Far

     So, I haven't been published in anything yet for a short story, but this last school year, my senior year, I won a scholarship for a short story I wrote to my region's branch of the National League of American Pen Women. That was amazing for me, but I had to read the story at a brunch so that was a little nerve wrecking, although it was a great experience.
     A little bit of advice on this subject: please don't be afraid to submit work to any scholarship, contest, or what not. Yeah, it's completely embarrassing for a lot of people to share their personal work, including me, like my parents and grandma were the only ones that have read some of my work until then. However, it is totally worth it in the end, so if you're waiting for the right time to submit something, take this as your push to do it, whether it's a scholarship or a magazine submission or even a whole manuscript to a publisher. Just do it. The possibility out weighs any rejection.
     Also, the only other thing I've submitted was a short story to a literary magazine for teens earlier this month and I'm still waiting for a reply. *fingers crossed*
    
     Without boring you with any more personal information, here's how I write my short stories:

     Just write.

     Bye.


     Ok, so that's not entirely all there is to it, but that's the gist. Really all it is picking up a pencil or putting your hands on a keyboard.
     I do not outline short stories. This really different to how I do novels because for those I have the entire story mapped out, like I'll literally draw a map. For short stories, I'll just start writing, find the flow of the story, and give myself a rough estimate as to how I would like the story to end, but nothing more.
     For my work in progress, a piece I plan to submit to this huge, nation-wide writing contest for sci-fi and fantasy (I'm a little terrified, even if I win because I may have to give a speech in front of a HUGE audience) I know nothing. This story is one I completely pulled out of nowhere, and I have two different directions I would want to take the story in, so I'm not sure exactly what's going to happen.
     Why? Because It's so much fun. I love being surprised where my characters are going to take me and what is going to happen every time I sit down to write. I feel like it adds a little more to the story because it's so action packed and something different is always happened, though in a logical pattern. I find this best for short stories as you only have so many words to tell the story in and it needs to be concise, but still have depth and dimension.
     I also think that this path for writing keeps me far more interested and invested in the story, especially while writing because there's so much anticipation as to what's coming next. It's almost like reading a book for the first time that you knew nothing about, but it's yours. I love it.
     The story I am writing right now cannot be any longer than 17,000 words and has to be sci-fi or fantasy. I went down the sci-fi route this time to shake things up as I rely more on fantasy. It involves war and aliens and made up planets and I'm really loving it. For the contest, the authors retain all publication rights, so I may fix it up even more, lengthen it, and attempt to find a publisher... I'm not entirely sure. There were two different characters with different backgrounds in completely different tellings of the main story that I wanted to write, so I might just combine them both in the future now that I think about it.
     So my main piece of advice, just sit down, write the dang story, and send it off somewhere, anywhere. Why not, right?
    
     Let me know down below any techniques you have, or just anything about anything, I love to hear from you guys! Thanks for reading!
                         -Taylor