How I Pick My Novels

Hi everyone! I’m both glad (and not so glad) to be back home. I had spend this past weekend in New Jersey and New York. One of my college graduation presents was tickets to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway so I was beyond excited. I also got to visit Sleepy Hollow. Overall, it was a very exciting weekend. Now that I’m back, I decided to do a blog inspired by a author/Youtuber I follow, Jenna Moreci. Some of you may have heard of her as she has recently released her debut novel, The Savior’s Champion. She is very funny so I definitely recommend you look up her channel. She recently did a video called “How I Choose My Novels.” Naturally, I’m copying her. All credit goes to Jenna Moreci for this.

Genre: Like the rest of you, I have preferred genres. All of them fall under the fiction category. Within that, I like to see which genre I haven’t read recently so I can mix it up. I also like to see novels that break genre. I want to give myself a variety, as well as you who read my blogs.

Author: Normally, I don’t concern myself with authors too much but, obviously, I do gravitate towards my favorite author. I also like to know which authors are up-and-coming so I can hop on a bandwagon. I like being a part of fandom, as do a lot of you.

Reviews: There are many books I’ve picked up solely because I heard many people enjoyed it. Reviews really do have an impact on which books I choose. In fact, your reviews have helped me pick books. I prefer to read book by average readers rather than professional critics. I feel like professional critics can be “too” judgmental at times. I just want to know if a book was good or not. I don’t want an analysis.

Book Length: As much as I would love to read super long books, I don’t always have the time or the patience. I tend to have a short attention span so I’ll avoid thicker books. I would love to buckle down and read something like Les Miserables or War and Peace but, let’s be real, my last three brain cells wouldn’t be able to handle that.

The Blurb: Ah yes, the might blurb! I must read the blurb of every book in the store before I make a decision. A vague blurb isn’t going to interest me and a long blurb is going to lose my attention. I need a nice sized-blurb with just enough detail. The blurb is what’s going to sell your book.

The Cover: Unlike the popular phrase, I do judge books by their cover. I even did a post where I talked about book covers. A nice, eye-catching cover is the first thing that makes me pick up a book. I’m not going to gravitate toward something with a bland cover or a cover with too much happening. I will most definitely avoid a book with a movie poster as the cover. (I think it’s tacky but that’s just me.) We do judge books by their covers and we can all admit it.

 

How I Learned To Love My Writing (And You Can Learn Too)

Hi everyone! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted anything. I keep telling myself I’m going to finish my TBR pile soon but then I just want to watch Avengers: Infinity War on repeat until Loki is alive again (spoiler). Also, let’s face it, part of the writing process is just opening your Word document and then your just end up watching YouTube videos for five hours straight. Don’t act like you’re not guilty of doing that. Anyways, I wanted to talk to you about how I learned to eventually learned to love what I write. I made a previous post about my crappy writing habits and I mentioned how I don’t always like what I write. While that is true, I’ve learned more about how to appreciate what I write. I’ve decided to share with you all some of the things that keep me loving being a writer.

  • Accept that it’s not going to be perfect the first time around. We all wish that we could have a brilliant idea during the first draft. That, however, is not true. Chances are that you aren’t going to like how your plot sounds on paper. As someone who has studied editing and publishing, I can tell you that the process to “perfect” a book takes a very long time. The writing process itself may take along time and it may not be perfect even then. As long as you have the commitment and patience, you can accomplish it.
  • Don’t write hoping to impress others. In my sophomore year of college, I decided to start to pursue a minor in Writing. This made sense since I was (and still am) and English major. Once I got into the classes, however, I realized I was trying way too hard to impress my professors and classmates. It got to the point where I would spend way too long even thinking about the story then I would end up writing at the last minute. Most of those stories didn’t turn out great. Don’t forget that your writing is for yourself, first and foremost. Enjoy the solitude that comes with the writing process because plenty of people will come along to go over every detail of your work. Make yourself proud by just fulfilling your accomplishment.
  • Let your imagination run wild. It’s easy to get caught up in the genres. We all want to fit into one specific genre because we love certain authors so much. This, however, shouldn’t limit you. Your ideas are going to sound silly sometimes. Your worlds and characters are going to raise eyebrows but that’s perfectly fine. Get weird with it. Don’t settle for ordinary, regardless of your preferred genre. Let loose once in a while and that might be how you strike gold.
  • Tap into your emotional side. The best stories are the ones that move us emotionally. It’s hard to communicate your emotions. I still have a hard time with it. Don’t let this hold you back, though. Make your story sad. Make your story angry. Make your story joyful. Don’t be afraid to put a healthy dose of “the feels” into your writing. I’ve learned I feel more in tune with my emotions once I put them on paper.
  • Congratulate yourself every so often. If you’re a person with a day job, like me, then you can have a hard time finding time to sit down and just write. You might be too tired or just not in the mood. When you do find the time, make sure to give yourself a nice little pat on the back. It doesn’t matter if you get one page or ten pages done, you still made progress. So give yourself a round of applause for hitting your goals because you deserve it.

So those are the ways I have learned to love my writing. Let me know about how you learned to love your writing as well. I can’t wait to hear from you all.

The Best (and Worst) Books I Read in High School

Hello everyone! While I would prefer to have a book review by now, I feel like I just haven’t had the time or energy to continue reading. Closing shifts are the worst. Anyone who has worked retail can relate to how I feel. I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to do something like this. I thought about making this about my required reading in grade school but I really don’t remember much of what I read back then. I do, however, have very distinct memories of my Honors English classes in high school. I had some very interesting teachers who had some interesting teaching methods. I can get more into that in another post if you want. (Note: I’m also going to be including plays I read on this list).

The best books I read:

  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (Sophomore Year)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Junior Year)
  • Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (Sophomore Year)
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Junior Year)
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker (Senior Year)
  • The Color of Water by James McBride (Sophomore Year)
  • The Crucible by Arthur Miller (Freshman Year)
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding (Senior Year)
  • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (Freshman Year)
  • Fences by August Wilson (Junior Year)

The worst books I read (with explanations):

  • Anthem by Ayn Rand: I know a lot of people of Rand but I just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy her writing. This book, in particular, is very confusing as it is written without singular pronouns. That is an important aspect of the book as it is a dystopian novel but it doesn’t make it any less confusing.
  • Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom: I just found this book to be way too sappy for my tastes. I understand the sentiment behind the story but it was just too depressing, even for me.
  • Black Boy by Richard Wright: It always sounds bad when I tell people I didn’t like this book but it’s not because of the subject matter. This book is his autobiography and the first half of the book is incredibly interesting. The second half of the book, however, is all about Communism and it just gets super preachy. The end just felt like a let down.
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros: I’m not a huge fan of poetry but I can always appreciate. This book, however, was too abstract for my tastes. Again, I understand the subject matter but I just thought it was so vague.
  • Seven Events that Made America America by Larry Scheikwart: This book was so bad that my teacher decided to not have us even finish it. It’s written from a very Conservative standpoint and also the events weren’t even that important. The entire book is just this guy ranting about the “liberal media.” It was not something that I cared for in high school and not something I care for now.

Let me know if you read any of these books in high school or tell me your favorites or least favorites. I had some odd experiences in high school English so my experience is probably very different that yours. I’d love to hear about it though.

 

Books I Grew Up With

Hello everyone! I’m not going to begin this post with an apology about not having a book review. You’ll get that when you get that. Since I have moved back home, I have had to do some sorting in my room. My book obsession started early so I had to sort through the years of books I had accumulated. As I was going through all of them, I couldn’t help but reflect on how much some of these series or stand alone-novels piqued my interest in writing. I decided to create a list of some of the most important books that got me through the confusing and whimsical time of childhood. (Note: I am talking about the books I read up to eighth grade. I think I might make another post about the best and worst books I read in high school.)

  • Where would I be without the Harry Potter series? It was the first full length novel I ever read on my own. It was my first real “fandom.” It was the first book that showed me a character like myself. I was Hermione for more than one Halloween. I even had a Harry Potter quote on my graduation cap. To this day, my dedication to this series knows no bounds.
  • One thing a lot of people don’t know about me is that I am fascinated with the paranormal. My interest for this topic began when I started reading R.L. Stein’s Goosebumps series. I read so many of these books. I even wrote book reports about some of the novels. Along with this series, I also read the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series. I still remember being terrified and thrilled by both of these series and I still remember a good portion of what I read.
  • As I got older and entered middle school, the vampire craze swept the nation. I soon fell in love with the Twilight series and the Vampire Diaries series. As cheesy as these books are, I loved the romantic aspect of vampires. The books were more “grown up” than Goosebumps and really played into my romantic side. I give these books credit into easing me into more mature books that I read nowadays.
  • As a lot of you know, I’m a big fan of crime/mystery novels. Obviously, this had to come from somewhere and it came from the Nancy Drew series and A Series of Unfortunate Events. I used to love the Nancy Drew computer games. Much like with Hermione Granger, I saw similarities between myself and Nancy Drew. Lemony Snicket, on the other hand, offered such an interesting writing style full of cynicism, tragedy, and intelligence that most people don’t expect to see in a children’s book. I definitely connected with his writing style. (Note: I highly recommend the Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events.)
  • Another genre I do love is sci-fi. Scott Westerfield’s The Uglies series only fueled my fascination with the genre. In fact, I am excited to say that Westerfield is releasing another book in the series called Impostors. I am very excited to read it as it takes me way back. I was also a huge fan of James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series. I was incredibly dedicated to that series for a long time. I’m almost sad I lost track of that one. I still own a chunk of the series and have fond memories about them.
  • Going back to the fantasy genre, another book series that I loved (and still love) is the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. It was a natural progression from reading Harry Potter. I was always interested in mythology, particularly Greek mythology. I might even go so far as to say that Riordan might have inspired me to eventually study Latin. (In case you didn’t know, I actually took Latin classes in high school and have a minor in Latin.)
  • I’d be silly not to mention some early childhood staples, such as the Judy Moody series and the Junie B. Jones series. I feel like a good majority of girls latched onto those books in grade school. I was certainly no exception as I lived vicariously through these outspoken characters. Looking back, I might think of Junie and Judy as being kind of bratty but, I have to give them credit where credit is due. I was (and still am) way too nice to be as bold as either of them.
  • I distinctly remember reading the Wayside School series as a child. I feel like this series is somewhat obscure but it was essentially about this grade school that was built like a giant tower and all of the students and teachers would get into wacky adventures in the bizarre building that had no 13th floor. I really hope some of you remember this series because I loved how weird it was.

That is the end of my list. There were a bunch of books I didn’t mention, such as the Magic Treehouse series and A Wrinkle in Time. Let me know what kind of book you read as a kid. Maybe there were some I forgot or some I didn’t read fully. Either way, I’d love to know about your favorite childhood books.

The Princess, the Damsel, the Queen, and You: Reviewing The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace

Hello everyone! I know I had promised another book review to you earlier but (of course) I get sidetracked with other books because I have no self control. Back to the topic at hand, I am excited to talk to you about Amanda Lovelace’s first collection of poetry, the princess saves herself in this one. I may have mentioned that I’m really not a diehard poetry fan but that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to explore the territory. You can read my reviews on Rupi Kaur’s poetry collections. Before that, please read this review of the princess saves herself in this one. 

In her debut collection of poetry, Lovelace does not hold back from exploring the difficulties that she has faced in her life. Her whole narrative is beautifully tied together with her fairytale metaphors, that help the reader to better understand the situations she is describing. Personally, I felt a deep connection to Lovelace through her poems. She often describes herself as “bookmad” and I think that is a wonderful term. Though the book does cover very heavy topics, such as abuse, self-harm, death, and bullying among others, there is still a message of hope. Modern poets, such as Lovelace, are unafraid to express their fears and hopes, which makes such an impact on the reader. If you are a fan of Rupi Kaur, I highly recommend Amanda Lovelace to you.

Note: Lovelace recently released her second collection of poetry, the witch doesn’t burn in this one. Stay tuned for that review.

Current Favorites: Music Edition (aka What’s On My Writing Playlist?)

Hello everyone! I’m really glad a lot of you enjoyed my review of Children of Blood and Bone. I’m actually still in the process of finishing it and, once I’m done, I’m going to work on reading V.E. Schwab’s Vicious. In between all of that, I’m also working on my writing. I’ve finally settled on an idea and committed to it. I’m feeling pretty confident so I might give you all updated in the future. In the meanwhile, I decided to do another Current Favorites but about some of my favorite musical artists. My taste in music has a pretty large range but I do mostly stick to indie and alt-rock. I have to have music playing while I’m writing in order to focus. I’ll leave links to some of my favorite songs by these artists if you are interested.

I’m going to stop my list there before I just end up giving you all my entire Spotify playlist. I hope that you check out some of this music. I always appreciate when you all take an interest in my opinions. Feel free to leave me some suggestions in the comments.

 

I need advice from editors and publishers!

Hello everyone! In case you didn’t know, I recently graduated college with a BA in English. One of my main goals is to get into the editing and publishing business. Preferably, I would like to start with some freelance work. The problem is that I’m overwhelmed with all of the information online. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I do have a general idea of how the business works and I have had practice with editing.

The question I am posing to all of the freelance editors that are on this website is: how did you get started? Maybe you took some online classes. Maybe you found a website you use to get your business going. Either way, I would love to know what has worked for you. Feel free to leave any links in the comments below if you have any on hand. You can even advertise yourself on this post. I’m encouraging you this time.

I can’t wait to hear back from you all. I’ll also be happy to take some regular old advice.

So I’ve Graduated! Now What?

Hello everyone! I know its been taking me forever but I finally found time to write here. It’s been taking me forever to finish what I’m reading but I’ll get there soon enough. In the meantime, I wanted to reflect on college graduation and get the conversation going. I officially graduated from Kent State University on May 12th. It was a wonderful ceremony. Also, it was actually the first college graduation I’ve ever been to. The iconic Michael Keaton was our main speaker and he was hilarious and inspirational. The weather was nice except, because I’m so pasty, of course I left with a beet red face. Now, I have returned home with little to no idea of what the future holds. Because I like making lists, I’m going to do a pros and cons list of being an official graduate.

Pros:

  • Free from the general pressures that come with academia
  • Don’t have to deal with dorm living
  • Don’t have to deal with the hectic atmosphere of the college campus
  • Don’t have to pay for things like textbooks, parking, etc
  • Not having to go to any obligatory events like meetings in the dorms
  • Finally feeling like a truly independent adult (even though I still live at home)
  • Not having to travel back and forth two and half hours to get home
  • Being able to feel settled in my own space
  • Not having to go to lecture classes (I hated those especially)
  • Being able to partake in my own hobbies
  • Not being overwhelmed by classes
  • Finally having home cooked meals
  • Having a new found freedom

Cons:

  • Not having the convenience of a college campus
  • Not having my friends close by
  • Having to deal with “adult things”
  • Missing some of my favorite spots on campus
  • Not having my clubs
  • Not having a routine with classes
  • Not having my fun classes
  • Having roommates to talk to
  • Being able to go to events with free food
  • Free stuff, in general
  • Not feeling as productive as I used to be (working on changing that though)
  • Having a new found freedom

I’m sure I’m not alone in how I feel now. I certainly feel accomplished and I can’t wait to get my diploma in the mail. It is hard to not feel apprehensive but I know that I have a lot to look forward to. I’m excited for the future and I can’t wait to share what I experienced with all of you. While I’m at it, I’m going to post a picture of my Harry Potter-themed graduation cap below.

Just Some Updates

Hello everyone! It’s been a hot second since I have posted anything but I just wanted to do some life updates. If you don’t care, then I completely understand but I would appreciate if you stuck around to read this.

First thing I wanted to talk about was my lack of activity. I am about to graduate college the week after this (!!!) so I have obviously been super busy with that. The build has been chaotic but fun, nonetheless. I’m prepping for finals week so it hasn’t given me time to finish any books. I’m currently trying to finish book two of the Themis Files, Waking Gods and I know that the third book is going to be released tomorrow. I’m also reading Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone. That one is a bit longer but I’m very excited to share my thoughts on it. There are some new book releases I’m very excited for that I will be sure to share with you since I will have more time. In the meanwhile, please forgive my on-and-off social media presence. Speaking of that, I do have a twitter now so you can follow me @capt0bvious96 and I will follow you back, I promise.

Next thing I wanted to address was doing more requests. I really want to start engaging more with all of you and would love to start reviewing suggested books. I also really want to start doing movie reviews, if you are interested. I’m really glad you all like my Current Favorites articles so I will definitely do more. The next thing I want to talk about is my favorite tv shows. If you have any suggestions for me, though, feel free to leave them in my comments or now you can tweet at me if you so wish.

The last thing I will talk about is my writing. I’m starting to really get into the swing of this new story I’m writing. If you are at all interested, I would definitely like to do some writing challenges in order to keep myself on track. I’d like to know what writing challenges any of you have done in the past. I am trying to be more consistent with my writing schedules and I will have more time on my hands to do that.

Thanks for sticking around to read this whole thing. I truly appreciate. I know that realistically most of you aren’t too invested but, to those who are, I want to give you my biggest thanks ever. If you are reaching the end of your school year, then I wish you the best of luck on your finals.

 

Current Favorites: Movie Edition (Part 2)

Hi everyone! I’m getting close to publishing my review of Sleeping Giants but I wanted to do something else in the meanwhile. I mentioned before that I am a huge movie buff and I already posted a list of favorite movies. Most were pretty mainstream but I still felt they were somewhat under appreciated. I decided to do another one in the same vein. So here are some more movies that I love and recommend to you all.

pacific rim

Pacific Rim – directed by Guillermo Del Toro, 2013

I’m a huge fan of science fiction and Guillermo Del Toro so I couldn’t resist adding another of his movies to a list. I already talked about The Shape of Water but I wanted to talk about this particular movie. Pacific Rim delivers on amazing visuals and classic robot vs. monster action. It’s a delight to watch as it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a fun sci-fi romp. It also stars Idris Elba, who I have a massive crush on. It really is just a fun movie to watch. Sadly, I heard the sequel isn’t that great but at least the first one is good.

Cap_2_poster

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Directed by the Russo Brothers, 2014

I already mentioned one Marvel movie in my previous list and I didn’t think I would mention another one as most of you are more than aware of the MCU. I, however, cannot fail to mention how much I adored this movie and I will even go so far as to argue that it is one of the best Marvel movies or at least it is one of the best sequels. The action sequences in this movie are so well done and I loved the emotional stakes this movie brought. This movie also introduced two of the best MCU characters: Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier and Sam Wilson as the Falcon. This movie is just so wonderfully composed. It has a perfect balance between action and emotion. Also the cast is just wonderful. MCU is really great at casting in general. If you haven’t seen this one yet, I cannot stress enough how good this movie is.

heathers

Heathers – Directed by Michael Lehmann, 1988

Now, it’s time to take a sharp left turn from sci-fi/action to dark teen comedy. I have never been a fan of teen movies and that includes the slew of movies that the 1980s produced but Heathers changed my mind. Winona Ryder is probably more relatable in 2018 than she was in 1988. I enjoy the dark, twisted humor in the movie. It definitely bends the classic teen genre in more ways than one. I also enjoy the “girls with guns” trope in this movie. I don’t think it is for everyone but it is still a good movie for anyone with a sick sense of humor. It’s also incredibly quotable. (Note: I know that this isn’t the original poster for the movie but I liked it better. Also the musical adaptation is really great.)

call-me-by-your-name-movie-poster-15x21-in-2017-luca-guadagnino-armie-hammer

Call Me By Your Name – Directed by Luca Guadagnino, 2017

Let’s get into some romance, shall we? When the Oscar buzz was going around, I heard this movie come up a lot. I was very bored one Friday night and decided to see if I could find it. I was very glad that I was able to watch this sweet and unconventional romance. The movie has a very intimate vibe that fits the beautiful aesthetic of the Mediterranean. Timothee Chalamet deserves recognition for his wonderful performance. The relationship between the two main characters is touching and understanding. I know a lot of people have gripes about the age difference in the relationship but it is in no way portrayed in a creepy Lolita-type way. This is a wonderful story about two men uncovering the truths about themselves through each other. I should note that this is based on a novel that I would love to read one day.

the imitation game

The Imitation Game – Directed by Morten Tyldum, 2014

I still remember seeing this one in theaters because it was the only one available that particular night. The theatre was super busy so my mom, sister, and I decided we might as well see this one because we all love Benedict Cumberbatch. Anyways, I ended up becoming incredibly invested in this movie, which is about mathematical genius Alan Turing and his struggle to crack the German Enigma code in order to help the British forces during WWII. If you don’t know who Alan Turing is, he essentially paved the way for artificial intelligence. Sadly, his life was tormented as was on the autism spectrum and he was a gay man during a time when you could go to jail for that. This movie is more about humanity than it is machines, which makes it so enjoyable to watch. It is dramatic and heart-breaking. Cumberbatch and Knightley both give award worthy performances. I would recommend this movie to the history buffs out there.