Curious Reads for February

February has arrived and I am determined to make a dent in my book mountain that has taken over my office. I have decided to also create a unique reading challenge as well so, you can say I have some ambitious reading goals! As I conquer my list I will be posting all of the book reviews on my lovely little blog so y’all can follow me while I embark on this literary journey! With that out of the way lets see my Curious Reads for February!

I just started a nifty reading challenge that is mentioned a lot in this post! Click here to learn more!

This post contains affiliate links. My full disclosure statement can be read here.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

The first book on my list is for the challenge I am beginning! I plan on conquering this world book challenge where you read books set in various countries. This first country on this list is Afghanistan and the book I have chosen to read is A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini!

I read his other book, The Kite Runner, a few years back and really enjoyed it so I decided to pick this lovely novel up!

Here is a blurb from its Goodreads page:A_Thousand_Splendid_Suns

 Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them—in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul—they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation.

If you are also interested in picking this novel up, here is its Amazon page 

Misery by Stephen King

The next book on my list is one that I started to read at the end of January but I hope to finish it during February and it is Misery by Stephen King.

I became obsessed with this author after reading The Shining and IT so it is no surprise that I want to scare myself and read Misery. Fun Fact: I have never seen the movie! I can’t wait to finish reading this book and see how everything unfolds!

Here is a blurb from its Goodreads page:misery

Paul Sheldon. He’s a bestselling novelist who has finally met his biggest fan. Her name is Annie Wilkes and she is more than a rabid reader – she is Paul’s nurse, tending his shattered body after an automobile accident. But she is also his captor, keeping him prisoner in her isolated house.

If you are also interested in picking this novel up, here is its Amazon page

Dubliners by James Joyce

The third book I plan on reading this month is Dubliners by James Joyce. This book is not counting towards my  Adventurous Reading challenge. I wanted to read this novel before I head to Ireland next month.

James Joyce is a well-known Irish writer and I heard this book is a must read before you visit Dublin! It is a compilation of short stories and will be a quick read.

Here is its Goodreads blurb:Dubliners

 This work of art reflects life in Ireland at the turn of the last century, and by rejecting euphemism, reveals to the Irish their unromantic reality. Each of the 15 stories offers glimpses into the lives of ordinary Dubliners, and collectively they paint a portrait of a nation.

If you are also interested in picking this novel up, here is its Amazon page

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Another book I plan on reading, or in this case listening , is The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. I knew I had to read this book the moment I heard about it. The whole novel sounds like a realistic magical journey that will probably make me cry by the end. I chose this book as my monthly selection on Audible so I can wait to binge listen to this novel. For some reason I find listening to audio books to be extremely relaxing. I can honestly say that I accomplish more while I am listening to some awesome audio books.

Here’s its Goodreads blurb:The Immortalists

It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

If you are also interested in picking this novel up, here is its Amazon page

A Company of Liars by Karen Maitland

A Company of Liars by Karen Maitland. I am reading this lovely book in eBook format because I bought it on sale via iBooks. This book has a similar plot format as The Canterbury Tales, nine strangers have been brought together and they each have their own unique tale to share during the age of the plague. I have been wanting to read this book for a while and I can’t wait to finally get to it!

Here is its Goodreads Blurb:Company-of-Liars-cover-large

The year is 1348. The Black Plague grips the country. In a world ruled by faith and fear, nine desperate strangers, brought together by chance, attempt to outrun the certain death that is running inexorably toward them.
Each member of this motley company has a story to tell. From Camelot, the relic-seller who will become the group’s leader, to Cygnus, the one-armed storyteller . . . from the strange, silent child called Narigorm to a painter and his pregnant wife, each has a secret. None is what they seem. And one among them conceals the darkest secret of all–propelling these liars to a destiny they never saw coming.

If you are also interested in picking this novel up, here is  its Amazon page

 The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Adren

This is another book that is from my Adventurous Reading Challenge! I am happy that more books focused on Russian folklore are being published and I have been dying to read The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden.

Here is its Goodreads blurb:Bear

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind–she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed–this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

If you are also interested in picking this novel up, here is  its Amazon page

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Sample

A hermit that disappears and travels to Antarctica? That sounds like an interesting tale to me! Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Sample is also on the reading challenge’s list, that means that I am already crossing off three books from my adventurous reading challenge this month!

Here is its Goodreads blurb:Bern

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle – and people in general – has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence – creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.

If you are also interested in picking this novel up, here is  its Amazon page

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire is the fourth book I plan on reading for my adventurous challenge is set in Holland/ the Netherlands! This dark Cinderella tale is one that I have heard about from one of my friends and I have been wanting to pick it up! Now that I have a copy, I can finally read this book and cross another country off my challenge’s list!

Here is its Goodreads Burb:Stepsister

We have all heard the story of Cinderella, the beautiful child cast out to slave among the ashes. But what of her stepsisters, the homely pair exiled into ignominy by the fame of their lovely sibling? What fate befell those untouched by beauty … and what curses accompanied Cinderella’s looks?

Set against the backdrop of seventeenth-century Holland, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister tells the story of Iris, an unlikely heroine who finds herself swept from the lowly streets of Haarlem to a strange world of wealth, artifice, and ambition. Iris’s path quickly becomes intertwined with that of Clara, the mysterious and unnaturally beautiful girl destined to become her sister. While Clara retreats to the cinders of the family hearth, Iris seeks out the shadowy secrets of her new household — and the treacherous truth of her former life.

If you are also interested in picking this novel up, here is  its Amazon page

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

The final book I chose for my Curious Reads for February is The Wonder by Emma Donoghue! This book is set in Ireland and is also listed in my reading challenge! I have been curious about this book for a while and I have finally decided to pick this little gem up and read it!

Here is its Goodreads blurb:thewonder

In the latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months-soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.

Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, THE WONDER works beautifully on many levels–a tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.

If you are also interested in picking this novel up, here is  its Amazon page

That concludes my list of Curious Reads for the month of February! As always, there will be books that will be read along with the ones present on this list. I will keep you updated with reviews throughout the month as well, so keep an eye out for that! If you are interested in my little Adventurous Reading Challenge click here!

I hope y’all have a wonderfully literary day,

~Caitlin

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Resolutions, Goals, and Dreaming of 2018

The end of 2017 is approaching and now is the time to set resolutions and goals for the upcoming year. Surprisingly, 2017 has been incredible to me. I have written more than ever and I have completely turned my mental and physical health around. I am determined to continue making progress in 2018 and I hope that all of you do the same! I discuss my 2017 more in my post here~

2017

Now that my year in review is out of the way it is now time to plan for 2018. I am an optimist so I can’t help but have a ton of resolutions, goals, and dreams for the upcoming year. Setting resolutions is one thing but keeping up with them is a battle and I determined to actually stick to them while crushing my goals for 2018! I am not to going to lie, picking  resolutions for the next year was actually kind of difficult. I had to sit down and really think about what I planned to accomplish next year and how these resolutions will help me meet my goals and hopefully achieve my dreams.

2018 REsolutions

My 2018 Resolutions help make me continue my journey to becoming healthier and also try to keep me from becoming a hermit. I also decided to actually try to go on more adventures and make some amazing memories in 2018. I am positive that I can stick to my resolutions and crush my goals!

2018 Goals

Goals, goals, goals! I can’t wait to crush my goals and achieve my dreams. I decided to buckle down and work hard to achieve my dreams of publishing, traveling, and living a more creative life.

2018 Goals-3

Dreams are a lot harder to reach but I am determined to achieve at least one of my dreams in 2018!

Publishing a novel has been my dream for as long as I can remember. After crushing my 2017 word count goals, I am more determined than ever to publish one if not both of my novels by the end of 2018. It is quite the mouthful but I can handle it and I can’t wait to finally share my literary worlds with everyone.
Ireland is one of the places that I have always wanted to visit. My family’s ancestors are from there and I am in love with the mythology and fairy tales that are woven into the rich history of the country. I want to visit Ireland so I can appreciate where I came from and also visit one of the towns that I am writing about in my novel.
I have been wanting to see the Grand Canyon and since I live in Texas, the drive would be excruciatingly long. Going on an epic road trip has always been on my bucket list so I want to finally cross it off by going on a journey to the Grand Canyon.

I hope ya’ll enjoyed learning more about me and that you also decide to make 2018 your year. Chase those dreams, make those important lifestyle changes, and crush all of the obstacles that stand in your way. 2018 is the year for the dreamers and I can’t wait to see what the year has in store.

Have a wonderfully literary day and I will see all of you in the new year!

~Caitlin~

3 Ways to Stay Motivated After NaNoWriMo

Hello World!

The month of November flew by! Now that NaNoWriMo is over I finally have the time to sit down and update my lovely blog. This year was the first year I was actually able to conquer my writing goals for NaNoWriMo and I have to admit, it feels amazing! It took three whole years but I am happy to announce that I am actually a winner this year and I am getting closer to finishing the first draft of my novel.

I have been working hard to find different ways to stay motivated now that the pressure of writing so much during NaNoWriMo has been lifted off me. Life has a way of interfering with progress sometimes and staying motivated can be a bit tricky but it is crucial that this first draft is completed before the end of the year! If you are in the same boat then have no fear! I have managed to discover 3 tips that can help you stay motivated and crush your writing goals!

Let’s dive in!

  1. Set Weekly Goals!

Setting up mini goals for the week can be extremely helpful! Sometimes having one giant goal can be daunting and stop your creative flow in its tracks. By breaking your giant goal into smaller goals that you can accomplish every week, you are keeping yourself from becoming overwhelmed while writing your novel!

Some examples of these mini goals are:

  • Write for 30 minutes every day.
  • Plot and write a whole chapter in a week. (You can do more than one if you want to!)
  • Flesh out your main characters.

2. Reward Yourself!

Rewards are a nice way to treat yourself as you meet your writing goals. Setting up a way to reward yourself for every writing milestone is a good way to help you stay excited and hopefully avoid the severe writer’s block that can hit after meeting a major word count goal!

  • A Good example of this is what I did for NaNoWriMo! I saved up throughout the month so that once I met my goals I was able to buy a beautiful owl purse that I had been wanting for awhile!

3.Take a Break!

This tip may sound a little odd! Trust me, taking a moment to breathe is absolutely crucial to staying motivated. Pushing yourself too hard can lead you to being burnt out and you can unfortunately lose the motivation to write. Taking a short break allows you to clear your mind and have a mini vacation from your novel. You can revisit your work after your break and be able to crush that word count goal!

I hope y’all enjoyed my post and I also hope that these tips help you along your writing journey!

I hope y’all have a wonderfully literary day!

~Caitlin

An Epic Literary Journey

Hello World!

I am excited to announce that I am going to participate in the Reading Quest read-a-thon! I just heard about this cool event a few days ago and knew that I had to join!

The Reading Quest is hosted by Read at Midnight and it has a unique way of helping you take a good chunk out of your tbr pile. You choose one of the four different character classes and then read the books that fit the  themes on the game board that are associated with your character!

The Four different classes are:

~Knight~
~Bard~
~Mage~
~Rogue~

The board also displays interesting side quest themes you can  choose from and if you really want a challenge you can try and read all the book themes on the board! Read at Midnight and Read, Think, Ponder did an amazing job creating this challenge and all of the beautiful artwork and I am excited to embark on this  journey. If you are curious about this challenge, click the picture of the game board below and it will take you to the challenge’s page!

The Class I chose was Mage! I also decided to find all of the books for my challenge at the local library!

Let’s dive in and see what I will be reading during this read-a-thon! If you are interested in learning about any of the books just click the cover and it will take you to their pages on Goodreads!

The first piece on the mage’s path is: A Book With a One Word Title


I chose Epic by Conor Kostick! I haven’t read this book since high school so it will be interesting to pick it up again for this challenge! The book follows a young man as he tries to earn money and justice for his family by competing in the virtual reality that has dictated the social life of New Earth. The only catch is if you lose in the game you will lose everything you have earned in reality as well.

The next theme on the board is: A Book that Contains Magic


I took a different approach to this theme by picking Lincoln in The Bardo by George Saunders. The way that Saunders approaches the death of young Willie Lincoln is enchanting. The young boy’s soul travels through  purgatory while encountering other spirits during the height of the Civil War. To me, this book sounds magical and I can’t wait to read it!

The third theme for the mage to read is:  A Book Based on Mythology


When I walked into the library, I saw For The Most Beautiful by Emily Hauser sitting in the middle of a book display. When I picked it up and saw that is focuses on two of the women that were ensnared in the battle of Troy in Homer’s The Iliad. I have an intense love for mythology so when I learned that I could follow the epic battle through the eyes of Krisayis and Briseis I snatched that book off the display and added it to my tbr for this challenge!

The fourth theme I must complete is: A Book Set In A Different World


The world created by Gordon Dahlquist in The Glass Books of The Dream Eaters sounds mysterious and magical. The journey of a woman trying to solve the mystery of her fiancée’s disappearance will also lead into a dark and mysterious world filled with magical mazes and a poetic assassin . I can’t wait to see what is in store when I open this intriguing book.

The final theme that lies in my path is: The First Book of a Series

The book I chose for this theme is I one that I have been wanting to read for quotes some time now! I am excited to dive into the magical world of  The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. This book is the beginning of a series that follows a spy organization that is trying to save literary works from different realities. This books sounds like it will be one epic journey and I can’t wait to embark on it!
That is it for my tbr! I can’t wait to start this quest in three days! If y’all decide to also participate, share what class you chose down below!

Have a Wonderfully Literary Day!
~Caitlin~

Ideas

Hello World!

Today I am going to talk to you about book ideas! Recently, I have been in somewhat of a writing slump. But today I woke up full to the brim with ideas and inspiration. Ideas can be powerful when it comes to writing. They are elusive but when they manage to peek out from their hiding spot, they can really rock your world. I honestly felt lost  without my writing inspiration. After spending the last few days reading, sewing, and doing other creative activities it finally hit me! My creativity and beautiful bookish ideas have returned and I feel elated. The best feeling you can have is the feeling of being inspired, it breathes life into you and can honestly make you feel like a superhero. When inspiration strikes and an idea appears you need to grab it and run! Pull out your notebook and write as much as you can down so you can explore it more and possibly develop it into a fantastic novel!

Here are some helpful tips when it comes to ideas:

  1. Carry around a little notebook to contain all of your idea acorns! You bust this little notebook out once an idea appears and scribble it down so it doesn’t float away~
  2. You don’t have to use all of your idea acorns at once! It is perfectly fine to put some ideas on the back burner for future projects if you want to focus on one idea in particular ~
  3. Keep a dream journal! I have had some pretty interesting dreams that could become potential books. Keeping your dreams written down helps you remember them so you can possibly turn them into novels (and  laugh at how strange  dreams can be)~
  4. Be ready to go with the idea flow.  Once an idea demands your attention you should ride it out to see where that little acorn takes you~
  5. Be curious! The world can be quite the mystical place sometimes. Inspiration can be found in nature, history, mythology, and so much more~
  6.  Exploring can do so much for your idea acorns! Just a simple walk in the park can make some interesting ideas  flourish~

Book ideas can be somewhat intense, they will linger in your mind and beg for you to become curious and explore the world that is blossoming in your head. Never fear! You can handle these amazing ideas and hopefully one day you will publish a book full of your wonderful ideas and inspire other future writers~
That is all for today’s post! I hope this  helps you with your ideas  a little bit! 

Happy Writing and Have a Wonderfully Literary Day! 

~Caitlin~

Progress

Hello World! 

It is hard to believe that it has been almost six whole months since I swallowed my pride and accepted the fact that I needed help for my anxiety. So much has changed in the last six months and I am so proud of myself for the insane amount of progress I have made. I feel like I can finally live again and not be controlled by constant worry, paranoia, or the  defensiveness that accompany anxiety. The people that I surround myself with now are positive and loving and that has made my journey a lot easier for me. Looking back at how certain events and friendships played out I feel like if I had figured out the anxiety situation sooner, then some of those events would have ended differently. That is life for you though! Can’t change the past but you can take control of your future! 

I guess I wanted to share this because I want y’all to know that it is ok to accept that you need help. Trust me, I was horrified at the thought of taking medication because I was afraid that I would lose my creativity. I know that is a silly fear but for me writing is everything, so the thought of losing the ability to create my literary worlds was terrifying. I realized after taking my medication that it does the opposite. By correcting the imbalance that caused my anxiety, I have been able to create, write, and adventure more because I am not shackled by my constant fear. All this progress would not have been possible if I did not decide that it was time to go see a doctor.

Six months and one medicine adjustment later and I can tell you that I defeated my anxiety dragon! Anxiety will always be a part of my life but I will no longer let it define me!
I hope y’all enjoyed my little update and I hope y’all have a wonderfully literary day!

~Caitlin~

Jumping Into the Unknown

Hello World!

I graduated from Texas A&M Commerce last Saturday (the 13th) and I just wanted share what I was feeling with y’all. I transferred there three years ago and  the Hall of Languages quickly became a second home to me. Dr. Adkins, Dr. Jacobs, and Dr. Roggenkamp helped me improve my writing while also causing my love of literature to evolve. It was a magical and important time in my life and I am sad that it is now over, but now it is time for me to make them proud. I am taking this year to finish my book and return  the Fall of 2018 for the Graduate Program. If I am ever feeling  lost while taking this daring adventure, I know that I can visit Texas A&M Commerce  and know that my old professors will gladly welcome me home.

 

I also need to give a shout out to my mentor from Eastfield, Professor Buck! Without her guidance, I wouldn’t have built up the courage to really chase my love of literature~

 

I can’t wait to share  the world I created with everyone and I am excited to post on here again!

~Caitlin

Camp NaNoWriMo Plans!

Hello World!

I am officially announcing that I will be participating in this year’s Camp NaNoWriMo that starts in 10 days! Camp NaNoWrimo is hosted by the same team that hosts the National Novel Writing Month every November, the only difference is that Camp NaNoWriMo is hosted in April! The goal of participating in these fun events is to write as much as you can and hopefully finish your book!  I plan on finishing up Worlds Apart during this session and I am extremely excited!

Prep done so far:

  • Created a cool motivational playlist!
  • Updated my world bible
  • Bought a giant notebook so I can have something to write in when I am away from my computer

I really haven’t had to do much prep since Worlds Apart is something that I am currently working on. I am excited to conquer this draft so I can start editing this beautiful novel. If you are interested in learning more about this fun event then you can click here!

 

 

Well  I must end this post here because I am writing it in between classes on campus! I will probably post some more posts on here once I get home.

Happy Reading!

~Caitlin

A Writing Update

Hello World!

I am happy to be back! I thought I would share a little update on my two writing projects that I had been working on before I went on my little hiatus in December.

Worlds Apart: I actually finished a good portion of this novel! I also entered the first nine pages into a manuscript excerpt contest. If I win, then I get to take my  manuscript to a literary agent so they can talk about it with me. This novel is on its way to being finished and my little magical world is thriving.

Lady of The Dawn: This project was picked back up after I reconciled with my close friend/ writing partner on this one. It felt so good to start working on this project again and I can’t  wait to work on it more and share more about it with y’all!

Well, I know this post was rather short but I just wanted to share the progress made on my little writing projects! I will share more about these two projects as I continue to work on them~

 

Happy Reading,

~Caitlin

A Few Things for World Building

Hello There!

Creating a world for your novel can seem like quite the daunting task. A world has so many different parts that need to work together in order to help breathe life into the novel. I am going to list certain things you need to keep in mind when it comes to world building and these are all things that I used when creating the world used in Worlds Apart. I will also being thinking about these important items while creating a world for this pirate idea that is currently stuck in my head. I hope this post will be helpful to you as you create that brilliant literary world of yours! 

Important things to remember while world building:

  • Don’t over complicate things! It is important that your world is not too complicated because it could confuse the readers. Plus, too many rules and tiny complications can really mess your continuity up in the long run. Some things could accidentally be forgotten and that could lead to some plot holes that could have been avoided. 
  • Religion! This is probably one of my favorite items to work on. Gods, Godesses, magic, and powerful figures that characters worship are an important part of the world itself. Creating these different belief systems can really give depth to your world and help differentiate the characters by their belief or lack of beliefs.
  • Maps! Creating a map should probably be one of the first things you do when you begin to build your world. It helps you visualize your world and map out your hero’s journey through out the novel or series. 
  • Politics! Politics are very important, especially if your are writing a dystopian or fantasy novel. Evil monarchs and  corrupt governments need to be explained in your world bible so you can understand just how much turmoil is present in the novel.  Be careful not too over complicate things in this area because when all the action is unfolding you don’t want it to get too confusing.
  • Magic! Magic is something you need to think long and hard about when you are building. How it is used, who uses it, can objects contain it, and the presence of magical creatures should be addressed when it comes to magic in your world! This can also work really well with religious beliefs as well.

Those are the main things that I think about when I am world building and I hope that you found this post helpful!

I wish you luck on your literary journey!

~Caitlin