Review: Paper Princess by Erin Watt

Paper Princess erin watt
paper princess the royals erin watt cover

Title: Paper Princess 
Author: Erin Watt 
Series: The Royals #1 
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, NA 
Publication date: April 4, 2016 
Rating: ★★★★ 

These Royals will ruin you… Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone. Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from. Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals. He might be right. Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.

Review: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

Title: The Night We Said Yes 
Author: Lauren Gibaldi 
Series: The Night We Said Yes #1 
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, YA 
Publication date: June 16, 2015 
Rating: ★★★ 

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life. But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan. And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of. Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

Review: The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

The Midnight Star Marie Lu
The Midnight Star Marie Lu cover the young elites

Title: The Midnight Star 
Author: Marie Lu 
Series: The Young Elites #3 
Genre: Fantasy, YA 
Publication date: October 11, 2016 
Rating: ★★★½ 

There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen. Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all that she’s achieved. Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

Upcoming Releases: November 2016

New month, new upcoming releases. I have a list of 13 anticipated books coming up. Stephenie Meyer rose from the dead, we can finally get rid of Claudia Gray (Sorry, just kidding. Perhaps you actually liked the Firebird series) and Cassandra Clare and J. Lynn both present their book of the month. Which of these books made it onto your TBR?

How To Survive NaNoWriMo '16

nanowrimo National Novel Writing Month
national novel writing month nanowrimo
Yesterday, while people were dressing up as witches, vampires and zombies for Halloween, I spent the evening grabbing pens, sharpies and notebooks together in an attempt at making sense of the demons in my head. Nerves, plot holes, bunnies, character descriptions, flashes of scenes that beg for attention, random dialogue lines... They are the worst kind of demons. They are the ones you need to conquer if you ever want to call yourself a winner.

NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. The program that convinces hundreds of thousands of lunatics all over the world that it is possible to write a novel in a month. The challenge is to write 50 000 words in 30 days. Piece of cake, right? No, honestly. It's one of my favourite things in the world. Mental breakdowns, crying, word counts that will eat you alive, constant self-doubt, back aches, CHOCOLATE you can't eat because it is not okay to eat chocolate all day, the irresistible temptation of procrastination, the guilt after procrastinating, rebellious characters and sweet, SWEET, SWEET VICTORY!  It's doable. I've done it. Three times. SEE, PROOF. If I can do it, basically anyone who is capable of voicing thoughts can do it. 

For four years now, november 1st has been marked with a large red circle on my calendar. Months in advance I would see this date creeping nearer. November can not come and go unnoticed. Not for me. I spent the last week taking care of tons of stuff I won't have the time for this month. That means watching every tv episode currently available, finishing the book I'm reading, cleaning my room, getting those long-overdue work assignments done, writing another chapter on my hp fanfic and most importantly breathe.

NaNoWriMo National Novel Writing MonthYes, sometimes I need to remind myself to breathe. I'm always excited for NaNoWriMo to start, but this year I was incredibly nervous. Anxious even. Why? I couldn't tell you if my life depended on it. I'm not more or less prepared than I was in previous editions. I had a 'WHAT AM I THINKING, I AM SHIT AT WRITING' episode, but then again I have those every other week. Still, as the countdown to midnight began and I opened a blank document, I got the feeling that somehow this year will be different. I can't shake it. But maybe it's a good thing (let me go with this for a minute), maybe it's my mind telling me that this year it's going to create a true masterpiece! I CAN TOTALLY DO THIS.   I'm so dead.

SO, LET'S MEET MY NOVEL! *squeal* It's not a new project. It's part three of the novel I started two years ago and that's growing a lot longer than I originally intended. But this year I'm hell-bent on finishing it! LOOK AT ME BEING ALL CONFIDENT, I SHOULD ENJOY THIS WHILE IT LASTS. 

What does it take to keep yourself from being owned? What is worth sacrificing to keep control over your own body? The answer is everything. Nothing is worth more. That’s what Sam keeps reminding herself of when she wakes up in one of Donald Dixon’s high-tech breeding facilities. Except she has tempted fate for far too long and now she is here, about to be forced into a program she’d sworn never to participate in. But no price is too high to keep the others alive. She will not sell their safety. The government places her inside a new community where they want her to adapt to her new life and despite her better judgement she gets sucked into the routine. But when the inevitable happens, when she gets to the point of no return, all she wants to do is throw herself off the nearest tower. She might still do it. Maybe these circumstances ask for drastic measures.

You know, the one thing no one ever tells you is that the hardest damn part of writing a novel is writing the synopsis. I always end up staring ages at that box of blank space on the NaNo website. 

We can all joke about how NaNoWriMo takes over your life, gives you mental breakdowns and will turn you into a cave person. But there is truth in it. You can't do NaNo halfheartedly. You have to go all in. Don't make the decision to participate lightly. You have to be willing to spend hours upon hours behind your computer, to temporarily forsake your social life, to smash your head against your keyboard in frustration, to both wake and go to sleep with your characters and to see plot twists at every turn you make. There are so many things you like doing that you won't be able to do this month. Only when you are willing to sacrifice certain parts of your life will you be able to pull this off. Write every day. A book is build word by word by word. There is no such thing as 'writers block', not for amateurs like us. There is only discipline and determination. Inspiration will come when you write, when you're actively exploring. When you skip a day, it will be twice as hard the day after. Create a routine, develop a 'flow' and who knows, maybe one day your novel will make it into a bookstore.

One of the things you read most when researching NaNoWriMo is that it's okay to dive in blind. To not have a plot or characters ready. To pants. I don't believe in it. Sure, a lot of these people will reach their 50k word goal by the end of november. But writing words is easy. I could write 50k words in one day if I put my mind to it. The challenge is in creating a story within those 50 000 words. Preferably one that makes sense. You cannot create a story with a logical build just like that. It needs thought and consideration. So think about what you are working towards and who/what you'll need to reach it. There is no need to plan everything out in minute detail, but you at least need a bit of an outline. Trust me, there will still be plenty of opportunity to go with your gut.

It's tempting, I know it is. Whenever you're losing your flow, the urge to go back and see what you've written so far grows stronger. Don't do it. Resist. Ignore your inner editor. One month, then you can be besties again. Trust me, it's better this way. Here's why. Reading back is tricky. Sometimes you will be amazed at what you've written. You'll feel proud and ready to take on the world. More often you'll look in disgust at the words on your sheet. Is this supposed to be a novel? A toddler would do a better job at writing a book. What was I thinking? Ugh, I suck. Why did I ever think I was talented enough to pull this off? I'm never going to achieve anything. Was this metaphor supposed to be clever? Jeez, instant bestseller - I might as well quit. I promise, these last thoughts will be the ones that stick. I went down this road. Self-doubt is the demon of every decent writer and while you're giving yourself hell, the motivation to go on sinks deep. So don't do it. Edit your first draft when you've completed it. When you know that even though there are terrible parts, there are also very good ones.

No one likes know-it-alls. No one likes people who are always trying too hard. But over-achieving in nano is actually a good thing. Try getting ahead of your required word count. Creating a bit of a buffer will spare you a lot of stress. If you can only stay a small 3000 words ahead, your nano experience will become entirely different. There is nothing wrong with writing just 1667 words every day, but there will come a day when you can't make it. When life interferes and there is no way of completing your daily goal. Imagine having a little extra to fall back on when that happens. It certainly beats the alternative. Being behind on your word count is a terrible feeling that comes with a lot of stress the next day when you have to make up for it.

NaNoWriMo will be hard and it will be very demanding, but try to enjoy the experience. You're writing a book! Maybe not a good one yet, but you are putting your thoughts on paper and creating stories. And at the end of the month you will feel proud of what you've achieved in only four weeks time. It is such a wonderful feeling to be able to say: "I did it. I wrote a f-ing book."

October Wrap Up

Wrap up october 2016
Can you believe another month has passed? Just like that Christmas is closer by than summer. Yikes. When did that happen? Somewhere in between reading Maybe Someday and The Midnight Star, I suppose. October wasn't the greatest reading month for me. I spend way too much time on watching tv shows. Fall season, who can blame me? I've finished only three books, but I am close to finishing the last part of the Young Elites series by Marie Lu. It isn't entirely living up to my expectations so far. It was bound to happen at some point, it just wasn't realistic for all of my favourite series to keep blowing me away.

My favourite read this month has to be Swear On This Life by Renee Carlino. It was a book I didn't expect anything from that ended up staying with me. You should really give this one a chance. Maybe Someday on the other hand wasn't exactly my cup of tea. Contrary to everyone else on this planet I didn't like main character Ridge and so the book and I didn't really get along. I also FINALLY finished The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller. YAY, victory! It took me ages to get through the book, I kept picking other stories first. I think I started reading it in may? Yep, it was that bad. The situation, not the book. Because in the end I liked the book a lot. My hesitation to keep reading it had more to do with me than with Achilles. Now I only need to finish The Midnight Star.  Have you read any of these? 

Click the cover to view the book on goodreads.

The Song Of Achilles Madeline Miller book cover Swear On This Life Renee Carlino book cover Maybe Someday Colleen Hoover book cover The Midnight Star Marie Lu The Young Elites book cover

october 2016 wrap upMy book buying ban is going... well, judge for yourself. Most of these books were pre-orders and the others I gifted myself for my birthday. Perhaps my ban is going to survive after all. (I really can't buy anything in november... :/ ) The picture doesn't include the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which believe me is worth crying over. So pretty!

I'm really excited to start reading The Illuminae Files. I've heard a lot of great things about it and I can't wait to fall in love with this series myself. Holding Up The Universe receives mixed critics, but I thought Jennifer Niven's first book was brilliant, so I hope she won't disappoint me with her second one. Fingers crossed!
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