Tag Archives: personal

Favorite Childhood Reads

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Isis:

I never read much as a child. I do remember reading Clifford obsessively and these Maisy books because they had little pop ups. They were my favorites as a kid.

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Nicole:

I read a lot more than Isis. Not like now, but I’ve read a lot of different books. I remember rereading a lot of the same book over and over again. Unlike now when I rarely ever reread books.

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I’m pretty sure that I read all the Dr. Seuss books, and a lot of The Berenstain Bears seriesI would finish one book in one sitting and start on the next one right away.

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I was obsessed with Winnie-the-Pooh when I was little. I vaguely remember the book, but I watched the movies over and over again. My room for years only had Winnie-the-Pooh decorations.

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I had a lot of these Little Golden Books. I read a lot of them but Aladdin and 101 Dalmatians were a couple of my favorites. I would read these and then watch the movie and then read these again.

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My kindergarten teacher used to read to us everyday. I don’t remember any of the books she read except with the Junie B. Jones series. I loved these. I loved Junie, and all of her mishaps. I found this through my teacher, but I loved it so much that I would go to the library to get the ones she didn’t read.

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I remember always picking this series up though I don’t remember what actually happened during it. I do want to find these in thrift shops or the library and reread them when I can. 

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I’m so glad I decided to do this post, because I’ve been trying to figure out the name of this book for ages and I could never find it. I tried one more time so I could add it to this list, and I finally figured it out. In elementary school sometimes if you got there early they would take you to the library and the librarian would read to everyone until it was time to go to class. This was one of the books she read though I never got the full story since sometimes I would miss school or come later so then I missed out on parts of the story. But I always wondered what happened at the end. Now that I remember the title, I’m going to look it up and read it again.

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We had to read these books in fifth grade, but I never minded the work involved because I loved these stories. With Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry especially. I went to the library and got all the other books in the series. When I finished them all, I was so upset that it ended that I wrote my own fanfiction of it. Not that I knew the term then.

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These aren’t so much children’s books, but I felt the need to add them here. I didn’t read as much as I got to middle school, but these books were my everything. I would get in trouble all the time for reading the Maximum Ride series in class. I never liked getting in trouble, but I just had to know what was going to happen. Though by the time I think the third or the fourth book came out I was over them. I think I read all the books that Lois Duncan had out. I would read them in one or two sittings because I was so captivated, and then I would immediately go to the library to get another one. This was also the time I picked up Harry Potter, and became obsessed with that. Then, for years Harry Potter books or fanfiction was the only thing I read.

T.V. Show Spotlight: 3%

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Name: 3%

Seasons: 1

What It’s About: It’s a dystopian thriller, and Netflix’s first original Brazilian production. It’s set in a future  where people generally live in bad conditions. However, there’s a paradise called the Offshore, but in order to be able to get there they have to pass a series of tests. You can only have one chance at it in your life, and only 3% pass it. It follows multiple people over the eight episode season.

My Thoughts: I had no idea what to expect from this, but I loved it so much more than I thought I would. With every episode there was a twist I wasn’t expecting. I grew fond of all the characters, and enjoyed watching their journey. There was one episode I didn’t like as much, it was bit slower though it was important overall, but I liked all the others. Though the audio took a bit to get used to. Since it’s from Brazil, the original is in Portuguese, so when I switched it to English studio it’s slightly off. But it isn’t a big deal. Also, trigger warning for suicide and some torture in the later episodes. It just got renewed, so I can’t wait for the second season.

Rating: 8 out of 10

 

Writing With a Ten-Year-Old

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Summer’s here, schools out, and with that I am back to watching my boyfriend’s nephew during the day. He’s ten, turning eleven in July. He can be what you would call a reluctant reader. Video gaming is his preferred activity, and he always puts up a fight when I make him read a little bit everyday.

Last year I actually managed to conjoule him write a “book” with me. It takes a little bit of time, but once we start writing or we start talking ideas he does enjoy it. I promise I’m not torturing him. Anyway, it was five pages typed about this duo who has a lot of powers and like to solve crimes. The plot is all over the place, there’s virtually no description, and he’s convinced he writes better than J.K. Rowling.

Yesterday we started on book two. We managed to plan a plot line from the first book to continue on with, have a nice little mystery we will solve, and planned out two more books in the process. In terms of actual writing, we only got around two hundred words, or one page, down before he was tired and wanted to play Call of Duty. I call it a success. It took a bit more than an hour or so, and most of that was deciding on a font and switching the color to the perfect shade of blue.

I’ve written before about my troubles with self doubt when writing. I tried to do Camp NaNoWriMo this year, and failed epically. I didn’t even do the final update. Since then I haven’t written on that project at all. I’ve thought about it a lot, but that doesn’t equal words on the page which in turn doesn’t give me progress. I only write with Isis on the project we do together. I still haven’t finished those backstories I talked about. I’m basically where I was when I wrote that first post almost a year ago.

Writing with this ten-year-old, I couldn’t help but think that I could really learn from him. He doesn’t ever think about writing anything that other people would enjoy. He wrote it, so obviously it’s amazing, and other people will love it too. Whenever I try to describe the setting or the weather or a character’s description or action during dialogue he always asks, “Nicole, why are you writing that?”

He’s very simple and to the point. If the characters are searching a house for information, they go into the drawer and find it. They don’t search the whole house first. They simply know where to go, and they go do it. There’s no character development here. They need to go to the police as the ending? You write, “They went to the police and told them all they needed to know. Then they went home. The End.” I’m sure he would make that even simpler. There’s no editing. You never second your first thought, and the scene will simply change as you get tired of it or get a new idea.

And you know what? It’s the best time I’ve spent writing in a long while. When I’m writing, I usually have a ball of anxiety nearly suffocating me. I have so many worries and concerns. I agonize over every sentence. It takes me hours to write a three sentence paragraph. On a good day I might be able to write five hundred words. And I never leave my document satisfied. I’m never proud of what I write.

When writing with him, there’s never doubt. After every sentence there’s a compliment of how good it is. Every new idea is met with a high five or a hug. There’s a lot of jokes and laughter, and at the end there’s no doubt that what we wrote is the best thing ever.

It’s very freeing, and something I really want to take into writing my own novels. At least in the first draft. Seeing as I never get to a second draft with my own books, this could only help me out. I’m forever seeing authors advise people to first write for yourself, but I always find it hard to take their advice. There’s always a voice in the back of my head saying, “Yes. That’s good advice for real writers,  but you aren’t a real writer.” There’s no doubt in this ten-year-old’s head that he’s a real writer and will be a best seller and he hates the idea of books and writing every other day.

Of course I don’t expect to write this, and have all my problems solved. But I do think I should think of this, and try to channel it more. It can’t hurt at least.

 

 

 

 

 

Books We Want to Read This Summer

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Isis:

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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This is one of my most anticipated summer releases. It looks like a sweet romantic comedy full of culture and awesome characters. I can’t wait for this to come out so I can get to it. 

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

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I picked this up on a whim a few weeks ago, and I’m eager to read it. Nicole hyped it up for me. I love lighthearted reads so I’m hoping this is one of those for me. And it has the word “summer” in it so it’s perfect. 

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

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This one also feels very summery, though I don’t think it’s as lighthearted. I’m still looking forward to reading this story. I’ve heard it deals with twins in different time periods, which reminds me of a book I didn’t finish for school called “The God of Small Things.” I’m hoping this one isn’t as emotionally draining. 

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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I’m so behind on Morgan Matson books, but I enjoyed Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, so I’m excited to finally get to this book. Every summer since I got this I’ve been meaning to read it, but it hasn’t happened yet. Hoping this is the year. I know this one is about a close friendship, and I’m fully on board. 

Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky

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I’m also hoping this one is lighthearted. The title alone hooked me from the start. When I think of summer, I think of kidnapping members of a boy band. Not really! But I’m interested to see how this plot is handled in this book. 

 

Nicole:

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

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I’m currently on The Titan’s Curse in the original Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I’m hoping to finish the series and start on The Heroes of Olympians series this summer. My goal is to finish these series and the Apollo series by the time the third Magnus Chase book comes out. It’s a pretty ambitious goal,  but I don’t want to read The Ship of the Dead until I read Riordan’s other books. Simply because I’ve heard from other people who’ve read all of them that they think it’ll all intertwine. I don’t want to be confused or spoiled so this is my big goal.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

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I got this from NetGalley, started it, and then never finished. I’m still really interested in it, though I’ve found that I have trouble concentrating when reading on my phone. I have a few others from NetGalley I really need to get to and review soon, but this one is my most anticipated.

Saga Comics by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

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I’ve read the first three of these comics forever ago it seems like. I never continued on since the wait was too much, and I would forget what happened. But Isis has been bugging me ever since to get caught up so she can talk about it with someone. Since she’s planning on reading Magnus Chase, I guess it’s finally time to catch up on this series for her.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

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I’ve wanted to read from N.K. Jemisin for a while now, and I’m hoping to get to this this summer. I don’t particularly know what this book is about, but I’ve heard nothing but good things. I’ve also really been into fantasy, so that’s all I need to know.

The Diviners by Libba Bray

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This book includes the occult, a supernatural power, and a murder case with a serial killer. It’s right up my alley right now. It’s been a year since I’ve gotten this book, and I think it’s high time for me to read it.

 

10 Tropes We Love

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About three months ago we did a post about tropes we hate. Today we are gonna do the opposite, and talk about tropes we love.

1. Childhood Friend Romance – I love it when two characters are friends since childhood, grow up together, and eventually realize they belong together. It’s a combination of the “Friends to Lovers” trope, so I’m including that in here too. I love the way these two people know each other so well by the time a romantic relationship is built. It’s sweet. My favorite is the one in Point Pleasant by Jen Archer Wood, between Ben and Nic, who knew each other from birth, seriously.

2. Blond Evil Guys – I’m not sure if this counts, but I’ve seen plenty of these characters in so many books. And I love every single one of them. From Draco Malfoy to Warner to Laurent, there’s so much to love. I love dark characters, and I love that they happen to be blond, and I love that they all have a sad story to explain why they’re so bad. Sometimes it’s super problematic, but it’s a guilty pleasure.

3. The Philosopher – I love a character who can bring philosophical concepts into a novel. They always look for the meaning behind every action and try to see the world in a different light. This can get pretty pretentious if it’s done wrong, which has happened many times *cough, cough–John Green–cough cough* but I think it can also be really great. My favorite example is Aristotle from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. 

4. Good Parents – I seriously appreciate good parents, especially in YA. There are countless stories where the parents never appear, are dead, abusive, negligent, close-minded, cruel, and so on and so forth. I’m so tired of reading all of these tropes. We need more books with good, supportive, amazing parents that are there for their children, even when their children are older. Again in Aristotle and Dante, both Ari and Dante had wonderful parents. 

5. There’s No Place Like Home – I’m a sucker for characters that go on a journey away from home, only to discover that they didn’t have to run away from home to be happy because the home left behind is where they felt truly happy. It sounds cheesy, and it probably is, but I never get tired of seeing this.

6. Hidden Heart of Gold- This character is usually sarcastic, cold, and a jerk to mostly everyone. That doesn’t make them the villain though. They have good intentions, but a bad attitude. Or, they are afraid of getting hurt or even being seen as nice so they hide. Whatever their reasons, I usually love this trope if it’s done well. By that I mean I don’t like when they cross over into being abusive, and I don’t like when other characters forgive them automatically. If they are in need of redemption, it needs to be done well.

7. Magnetic Hero- The hero needs to go on an epic quest, but in order to do that they need some help. A lot of times they have friends, and it’s a no brainer that they will join. It’s when the hero needs someone who is reluctant that this becomes interesting. Usually the hero is simply earnest and being themselves and not even trying that hard to convince them to change their minds. It can be because of the hero’s personality, a hidden connection the person has with the hero, or a connection with the actual quest that they choose to change their minds. It may seem too easy to some, but I typically love when this happens.

8. Fire-Forged Friends- These characters do not like each other. However, they have the same goal. For whatever reason, they have to work together to get that goal. There is usually a lot of banter and fighting and soft nice moments, and I love all of it. Typically, there’s scenes when they fight against the common enemy together, where one of them is determined not to leave the other behind even if they 100% have the choice to do so, and a conversation where they admit that each other isn’t all that bad. And I love all of it. It’s so good.

9. The Unintentional Badass- These characters usually don’t even want to be the hero. Saving the day isn’t on their to-do list, and they complain about it a lot. So, when they do something badass, it’s either a surprise or done in a way that’s not typically considered badass. They can do that by using their previous knowledge that you wouldn’t think would help, or solve the problem in any way that is not with violence.

10. Unlikely Friendships- One is a pessimist while one is the optimist. One is practical while the other is a free spirit. One is creative while one is scientific. One is old and the other young. Whatever opposites they are, if they still love and support each other, I will love their friendship.

My “There Will be Other Summers” Predictions

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Last year, I made a post briefly discussing the news that Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is getting a sequel entitled, There Will be Other Summers.

Now that I’ve let my excitement simmer for a while, I have more coherent predictions for the upcoming sequel. First of all, can we talk about how wonderful Benjamin Alire Saenz was in letting us know he’s close to finishing writing the book? I love when authors update their readers on their writing progress.

There’s no release date for TWBOS yet, but I’m hoping it’ll come out in late 2018, hopefully, maybe. I have been waiting for this book pretty much since Saenz first talked about it on his twitter.

I’ve had the privilege of meeting Saenz twice, and I’ve heard him talk about a few things regarding the sequel. So I have come up with a list of things I really want to read in this highly anticipated book. (Spoilers for Ari & Dante ahead).

  • Dante’s new sibling! I want to see Dante interacting with the baby. (I hope he’s a boy and they name him Diego). DANTE AND ARI BABYSITTING! Yes, please.
  • Ari and Dante hanging out with Gina and Susie — maybe double dating? I would love for Gina and Susie to be a couple honestly. They would be so great together.
  • Somehow, Dante convinces everyone to go dancing together and Gina and Susie are on board with the idea, but Ari needs more convincing. Eventually, they go and Ari ends up being an amazing dancer. Hidden talent, obviously. Dante loves it when Ari dips him.
  • Prom? — Saenz mentioned during NTTBF this year that he was writing a sex scene between Ari and Dante. So, if we wanna get super cliche, I think Dante would suggest to Ari to go to prom and have after-prom-sex. I don’t think Ari would have a lot of arguments because he would just be freaking out about Dante just casually tossing around the idea of sex.
  • High school graduation. I would love to see the different graduations, and the boys having to dress up for both, in case they’re on different dates. After graduation, Ari, Dante, Gina, and Susie would all go out to the desert to drink under the stars. They would lose track of time, listening to the radio in Ari’s truck, and they would make it home after sunrise, all full of soft smiles.
  • College life. Where will Ari and Dante go to college? Will they go to separate colleges, and if so, how separate? Will they both attend college? I have no idea. I honestly think Ari would be set on going right away, but Dante would want to take some time to just do art, and both of those options are great.
  • I know this is me hoping for too much, but a road trip would be incredible. Maybe a small one where Ari and Dante take a trip to the beach? They take the truck and Dante begs to drive it sometimes even though he doesn’t have a driver’s license yet, but he swears he’s a great driver. Then Dante wants to swim in the ocean and Ari doesn’t know if he likes sand, but Dante talks him into it because what can’t Dante talk him into? They chase ghost crabs at night and pick up a bunch of seashells and Ari actually gets a tan and Dante loves it.
  • Ari’s brother. Will he eventually get out of prison or will Ari go visit him? Will there be a relationship built between them again? I can see Ari going to see him, but not really knowing how to act around him. Will his brother be involved at all, in any way?
  • Death? I don’t wanna be grim, but Saenz is known for writing tragedy into his stories (I’ve read plenty of them). I know he is wonderful and would not kill off Ari or Dante, but I’m not sure anyone else is safe. I would be so hurt if either one of Ari’s or Dante’s parents die. I love them all so much. But this is me just being super negative ’cause maybe nobody will die and everything will be full of happy moments. (RIGHT?)
  • Will this book take place over two years like the first one, or will it be longer, or shorter? The title alone implies more summers, so I’m thinking it will be set in more than a one-year time period.
  • Again with the title. It sounds sort of depressing. Will Ari and Dante be together throughout the length of the book, or will they break up? If they do break up, I hope it doesn’t last long. I get that they’re young and this is both of their first relationship, which realistically makes it highly unlikely they will last, but this is fiction and maybe we get more privileges here. I would honestly not be surprised if they do break up for a short while. But only to help them realize they don’t want to be apart.
  • I’m certain Ari and Dante will be public in their relationship, but I still wonder if they will be out only to their family and close friends, or to everyone. I think Dante would be on board with being public to everyone, even after what happened to him, but maybe out of their own safety, Ari would want to keep it hidden. Or he would just be ready to fight anyone who tries to hurt him or Dante. Let’s be honest, Ari could take down anyone.
  • I know that this book will be set right around the AIDS crisis, but I want to remain hopeful that that won’t play a role in this story. Saenz wrote Carry Me Like Water, which I believe follows a gay character suffering from AIDS. I haven’t read it yet because the premise is too sad for me to bear, so I really hope neither Ari or Dante get affected by it. I don’t like sad gays, but the good thing is that Saenz doesn’t either.
  • To end on a hopeful note, I think this book will have so many touching moments between Ari and Dante. Think of it this way: we get to see what happens after the night when Ari accepted his feelings for Dante, and he felt no shame for them. That’s such an incredible moment, and I can’t believe we get to see more! Ari and Dante are both amazing characters, and they won’t disappoint.
  • We get to see them as a couple now. And they get to do on a first date, and then many others. We get to see them around their families again, and LEGS. There are endless possibilities for happy moments, and I can’t wait.

Do you guys have any predictions for this sequel?