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!

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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~

Holiday Reflection

The holiday season is full of love, celebration, and reflection.  I can’t help but realize just how blessed I am. I am surrounded by friends and family that support my writing career and mental health journey. If someone had told me six months ago that I would be in this amazing place in my life, I would have called them a liar.  I am honestly happy that I have let go of my toxic and negative past and have embraced the bright future in front of me. My best friend from childhood reconnected with me recently as well and for this first time in a long time I am actually happy with how my year has turned out.

So many wonderful things have happened over this past year including:

  1. I graduated college!
  2. I started medication that helped me manage my anxiety!
  3. I have written a good chunk of my pirate novel!
  4. I  started to take better care of myself!

It may not seem like a lot, but I feel like I have conquered so much this past year. If 2018 is anything like 2017 then I can honestly say I am ready for the new year. Sure, there were a lot of times where I honestly doubted myself. It can be hard to fight the feeling of doubt but I did and now I am ending this year on a positive note. When it comes to the holiday season, you can use this time to ignore your doubt and look around. You are surrounded by the people that love and care about you  and that can be the boost you need to break through that wall of doubt. If you are alone this holiday season just know that I am here for you. I am supportive of whatever your dreams and goals are and you are more than welcome to connect through comments below so we can have our own little literary tribe.

My Bookmas Tree
My Bookmas Tree

I am going to wrap this up now so I can get back to my little Christmas celebration! hope ya’ll have the happiest of holidays and keep an eye out for more posts in the future!

Enjoy this picture of my Bookmas Tree~

Have a wonderfully literary day!

~Caitlin

3 Nifty NaNoWriMo Prep Ideas

Hello World!

NaNoWriMo is almost here and I am excited because I am actually going to be ready for it this year! I have been prepping and working on my novel for the past few months and I am excited to smash my word count goals this year. For those of you that don’t know, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) occurs every November and serves as a way for writers to crank out 50,000 words in one month. You can participate in local write ins and other nifty events while trying to accomplish your goals and it is honestly a blast. If you want to learn more about this amazing event click here!

One of my favorite things to do for this epic event is prepping so that I can be ready to tackle the word count in November. There are several creative ways that you can approach this task and I am here to share 3 of my favorite prepping ideas!

  1. Create a Pinterest Board for your Novel ProjectCreating a Pinterest board allows all of your inspiration and reference photos to be in one place. You can even pin some interesting writing worksheets that can help you along your NaNoWriMo prep journey! If you want to see the Pinterest board I created for my NaNo project click here!
  2. Fill in a Workbook!I discovered a really nifty writing workbook last year that really helped me shape my literary world. The workbook was actually created by the team at NaNoWriMo and it is Ready, Set, Novel!: A Workbook ! This workbook helps you with shaping your ideas, fleshing out characters, and even developing your plot. This nifty workbook can be found on the NaNoWriMo website along with some of their other prepping books! You can also find this lovely book on Amazon!
  3. Create a Bullet Journal dedicated to NaNoWriMo!Bullet Journaling is a nifty way to keep all of your ideas and goals organized in one notebook. Starting a bullet journal can be intimidating but there are several bloggers that have created useful posts on starting  a NaNoWriMo journal. My personal favorite is the very informative guide written by Boho Berry! Click here if you want to go read through her post!

Those were 3 of my favorite prepping ideas for NaNoWriMo! Feel free to try any of these wonderfdul ideas and leave a comment below if you want to share some of your Preptober ideas!

Have a wonderfully literary day!

~Caitlin

Creativity is Calling

Hello World!

It has been a while since I posted on my lovely blog. Life has a crazy way of throwing curveballs at you sometimes. Don’t Worry! Everything is sorted out now and I have finally let go of the self-doubt and pain that had been holding me down. It is always hard to move on from a friendship, especially if the person was someone you were supposed to co-write an amazing story with. I know, I talk about this novel a lot on here, but until recently the story and the amazing world I co-created had been haunting me. A few weeks ago my creativity called out to me and I realized that there was a way I could write about my little world. I took a new approach and changed just about everything about the old project. Unwanted characters were taken out while others were remade, the plot was completely re-worked, and I molded the world into what I wanted it to be. The story finally became mine and I am in love with the revamped novel that I am now working on.

To be honest, I love this new world I made more than my old project. There is more magic and grit along with a complex cast that is fun to write. I guess I wrote this post to show y’all that I am still here and to share how much my creativity has been flowing lately.  It is possible to move on from a failed writing partnership, it may be extremely difficult and emotionally taxing but it is possible. There are absolutely no remnants of the old story in my new world and I am actually excited to be working on this lovely adventure along with my other writing projects!

That is it for my little life update for y’all today and I am happy to be writing and creating again! Look out for some awesome new content!

Have a wonderfully literary day!

~Caitlin~

NaNoWriMo Recap!

Hello There!

NaNoWriMo has officially ended and I am feeling torn. I feel accomplished for participating but at the same time I am a little upset I did not meet my word count! I had issues with my anxiety and it kept me away from the computer for a while but now I am back and more determined than ever to get some writing done! Another thing that has hindered my progress is a dream I had a few nights ago. This dream involved masks, pirates, magic, and a dance with a dangerous foe that could have easily been compared to a thrilling chess match. Ever since I had this dream I have been enthralled by it! I want to know more about these mysterious characters and their world. Every time I try to go write my main project I get swept away by the thought of the mysterious pirate that had a knack for fire magic and I am taking this a sign that I should put some work into fleshing them out before I make any major decisions. I have fallen in love with the idea of pirates before but due to certain complications that did not work out and I just recently moved on from having to give up that kickass idea only to have my heart stolen again by the idea of writing the pirates from my dream.  We shall see how this works out!

I wish you luck on your writing journey!

~Caitlin