ARC Review | Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Title: Mask of Shadows
Author: Linsey Miller
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 384
Release Date: August 29th, 2017

I successfully finished reading this before it’s release date, but I failed at posting this review before the release date. I’m a bad book blogger, I know. However, I’ve finally sat down at my computer so that we can talk about this interesting book that has gotten a lot of mixed reviews. Let’s get straight into it.


Synopsis: Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class and the nobles who destroyed their home. 

When Sal Leon steals a poster announcing open auditions for the Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen’s personal assassins named for the rings she wears — Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal — their world changes. They know it’s a chance for a new life.

Except the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. But Sal must survive to put their real reason for auditioning into play: revenge.


This was the first ARC I was approved for on NetGalley and I was excited to receive a free eARC in exchange for an honest review. What first intrigued me about this book was it’s gorgeous cover. As soon as I read that Sal was a thief, I knew I needed to read this, because I love books about thieves. I also was interested to read a book with a gender fluid MC.

As mixed reviews started flooding in on GoodReads, I was hesitant to pick it up. It seemed like a book that people either loved or hated. After reading it, I can say that I found myself somewhere in the middle. I enjoyed reading it, but I have a lot of mixed feelings on some aspects.

We’re going to start off with the things that I really enjoyed. One of the best things that this book has going for it was it’s action packed plot. There was so much action in here that it kept me engaged. Also, it completely delivers on the whole audition to be an assassin thing. While this plot line is nothing new, Miller does not hold back with the violence and brutality that comes with trying out to be an assassin. In a way it felt fresh, because when I usually read these types of books the violence can be romanticized. I liked how how harsh it was at times, because it showed how brutal of a world these characters were living in.

Speaking of the characters, there were a few that really stood out to me. Sal, our main character, was certainly one of them. Their revenge plot line was interesting and I enjoyed the character growth in this book. I thought Miller did an excellent job handling that. I also liked that Sal was not good at everything instantly and we saw them become more skilled over time. It felt more realistic and showed us Sal’s vulnerabilities.

Two other characters that I really loved were Maud and Ruby. I felt that they were both standouts and couldn’t help but get excited every time they appeared on the page. I especially loved Maud, she was probably my favorite character. She was an atypical strong female character, which I appreciated, and I really loved her backstory.

I also really appreciated the representation that was in this book. I’ve never read a book with a gender fluid character before, so this representation was new to me. However, I thought Miller did a great job at explaining Sal’s identity without making it a big plot point. I loved the fact that the book doesn’t focus on it and it’s just a part of who Sal is. It was so refreshing, because often times I feel like books that try to represent different kinds of people are about what makes them different. This was just about a character who auditioned to be an assassin and is trying to get revenge. If your curious to read a review from an own voices reviewer, check out this one. I should also mention that there is some bisexual rep in here as well!

While I really enjoyed all of these things, I did have some problems with this book. All of my problems really stem from one thing and that is the writing. There were many areas that the writing could have been stronger. In terms of the plot, I thought that it could have been paced better. The pacing honestly was just all over the place. Also, the way that Miller did the ending was just strange. It almost felt like the book had two endings, and because of that I thought that it was a little too long.

Even though I thought that it was too long, there was so much that I wish she had expanded on. Like the world that she created was interesting, but she developed it in such a funky way that it took me so long to figure out all of the political details and magical elements. I get that she was trying to tie all of this info in when it was relevant to the plot, but I could have used more exposition in the beginning. Also, Miller could have done a better job at handling her characters. She had a ginormous cast, but the only characters that I really felt like I knew were Sal, Maud, Elise, and the members of the Left Hand. I could differentiate between the more prominent auditioners, but I wish there were better descriptions of all the rest of the characters. They all sort of seemed to blur together.

Honestly, I just wish this book had been better executed. It had so much going for it, but the writing really effect the impact. I really did enjoy the plot and certain characters, but the writing held this back from being a 4 or 5 star book for me. That being said, I did enjoy reading it. The action packed plot really was fun to read. I have a feeling that the next book in this series will be even better, as this is Miller’s debut novel. Also with the way that it ended, there is just a lot of different ways Miller can go. There is a lot of potential there.

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Anyway, I would love to know what you thought of this book! Did you love it or did you hate it? I would love to know all of your thoughts! Also, I know that I received an uncorrected proof, so I’m sure some of the grammatical errors were fixed. However, I’m curious to see how much changed. So if you’ve read a completed copy, please let me know what you thought of the writing itself! 

 

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Top Ten Hidden Gems in Contemporary

Hey guys, it’s been a while. Sorry, I’ve been a little MIA. I just have been feeling kind of down and exhausted lately, and it put me in a blogging slump. I needed to take a break to rejuvenate and relax. Now that I’ve done some of that, I feel more motivated to keep up with this blog (and all of the other things I have going on).

Anyway, what better way to celebrate my return than with a Top Ten Tuesday. I’m so excited that The Broke and the Bookish are back with this meme, I certainly have missed it!

This week is all about finding the Hidden Gems in a genre of your choice. I picked YA Contemporary because it is the genre that I have read the most from. It’s a wide range of books and there are definitely a ton of throwbacks on here. Some of them may lean more on the “popular” side, but I put them on my list because I don’t see them talked about enough in the Book Community. Anyway, on with the list!


1. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila SalesThis Song will save your life

 

I randomly stumbled upon this book a few years ago. I was drawn in by the cover, the title, and the premise. As a music enthusiast, I’m sucker for books that involve music in their plot in any way. I ended up loving this book! Elise was such an awesome character and I really related to her (even though I’m not secretly a DJ, sorry guys). If you pick up any book from this list, I think it should be this one.

 

 

2. Sorta Like a Rockstar by Matthew Quick

Sorta Like a Rock Star

This was on my syllabus for a YA Literature class I took in college. I had never heard of it, but was really blown away. Amber, our main character, was one that leaped off the page and I loved her voice. I also really loved all the quirkiness that was in this book, but don’t let the quirkiness deceive you. This book pack’s a major punch. I need to reread it, because I remember loving it but it’s been a while. It was such a solid book though and an underrated one at that. Also, if this author sounds familiar it is because he wrote The Silver Linings Playbook.

 

3. How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standifordhow to say goodbye in robot

Okay, so this book is a hidden gem for a couple of reasons. One, you probably haven’t heard of it. I certainly hadn’t until my YA Literature class. This book was another great one on our syllabus (my professor picked some really awesome books). The second reason why this falls perfectly in the hidden gem category is because this book is not a romance. Yes, I repeat, THIS BOOK IS NOT A ROMANCE! I know, the pink cover is misleading, but this is really a story about the friendship between Bea and Jonah. It is so rare to see a book about a boy and a girl who don’t fall in love with each other. I’m also pretty sure that they’re both heterosexual (please correct me if I’m wrong), which makes it even rarer. I really enjoyed this, because it was quirky and hit me in the feels. It’s been a while since I read this, so it’s definitely due for a reread.

4. The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

The conspiracy of us

If you know me, then you know that I really enjoy reading unrealistic realistic fiction. Basically, books that are set in the real world, but the things that happen in them don’t necessarily happen in everyday life. This book definitely falls under that genre as it follows Avery West who gets caught up in this secret society called the Circle. Apparently, she is the key to some ancient prophecy, but this is the first time she’s hearing of all of this. While this book did take me a while to get into, once I did get into it I could not put it down. I needed to know what happened next, which of course, led to more questions. This definitely gave me a bit of National Treasure (yes, the Nicolas Cage film) vibes too, which I liked. It was such a fun read, and I definitely plan on continuing on with the series.

5. The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The fixer

Okay, so this is another great book that also falls under that category of unrealistic realistic fiction. On GoodReads, the synopsis claims that it is a mix of Scandal and Veronica Mars in YA Thriller form. That statement is so accurate and should make you want to pick up this book immediately. I have read another novel by Barnes and really enjoyed her writing style. This book is definitely my favorite by her, and it is not talked about enough! I don’t hear anyone talking about it and it makes me so sad! If you pick up a second book from this list (after This Song Will Save Your Life), it needs to be this one! There is also a sequel that I need to get my hands on asap.

6. Airhead by Meg Cabot

airhead

Airhead is another strange contemporary novel that is so good. Basically, our main character Em gets into a bizarre accident that changes her life completely. I won’t say exactly what happens to her, but you may be able to gather that information from the GoodReads synopsis. The concept of this book definitely scared me a little, but once you accept certain aspects it’s so good and addicting. Airhead is the first book in a trilogy, by the same name. I flew through all of the books, they were so good. Quirky and weird, but also fun and good.

 

7. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

a study in charlotte

I would describe this book as a YA Sherlock retelling with a female Sherlock. Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are descendants of the famous detective duo you’ve probably heard of. They first meet at Sherringford, a prep school in Connecticut. Things start to go awry when a student dies and they’re sort of being framed for the murder. There’s not enough love for this book. I’ve seen a few people talk about it here in the Book Community (especially since the sequel, The Last of August, came out in February). I really enjoyed reading this, and thought it was super unique. I mean how many YA Sherlock retellings do you come across?

8. Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian

megan meade's

You may be familiar with this author. She wrote the Private series and the Shadowlands Trilogy. This book was super popular when it came out back in the mid 2000s (this book was published 2006). It was the first book that I remember really falling in love with when I was a teenager. It holds a special place in my heart, and definitely is part of the reason I love YA contemporary romances so much. I included it on this list, because nobody talks about it anymore even though it was such a good book. If you’re looking for a great throwback, I think you should pick this one up. I hope to reread this one day, and see if I love it as much as I did then.

9. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

this lullaby

Okay, so you’ve probably also heard of this author. She just had a book come out and is considered a queen of YA contemporary romance. This is probably my favorite book that I’ve read by her and I’ve read most of them. Since it is an older book, it does not get talked about as much (hence why it is on this list). I think what stood out for me was the romance between Remy and Dexter. Also, Dexter is a guitar player and in a band, which makes him even more swoon worthy. As we have established previously, I’m such a sucker for books about music and this is another one of them.

 

10. The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak

The heartbreakers

Speaking of books that involve music and romance, this is another one I really loved. I’m a sucker guys, what can I say. I’m especially a sucker for the celebrity falls for a regular person trope. This book does that trope well, and satisfied all of my needs. It was just such an adorable romance and a perfect summer read. I believe this is the first book in a series. The other books revolve around the romances of the other members in the boy band that is featured. I definitely plan on continuing on and seeing how Novak handles that without writing the exact same story but with different characters.


Those are my favorite hidden gems in the YA Contemporary genre. As I was typing up this list, I realized that a good chunk of these books are in desperate need for a reread. If you see one of them pop up on a future TBR, you will know why.

Please let me know if you’ve read any of the books I’ve listed. We can gush about these awesome books in the comment section togehter  Also if you have a favorite YA Contemporary that is completely underrated and not on this list, let me know down in the comments. Always looking for more unknown books to read. 

Adaptation Spotlight|Netflix Buys Millarworld & New Hunger Games/Twilight?

Happy Friday everyone! You don’t understand how much I’ve been looking forward to this weekend. It’s been a rough week and I’m so looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.

If you’re new here, Adaptation Spotlight is a feature on Book to the Becky where I talk about recent adaptation news that I think is interesting.

The theme for this week is franchises. We got some pretty interesting news involving a few different franchises, and I’m really excited to talk to you guys about it. So we’re just gonna dive right in.

Netflix Acquires Millarworld

We’re going to start with news that may seem small now, but will have a big impact on a popular streaming service you may have heard of.

So, Netflix has just acquired Millarworld. What is Millarworld and why is it relevant? Basically, it is a comic-book publishing firm founded by Mark Millar. You’ve probably heard of two of their franchises, Kick-Ass and Kingsman: The Secret Service.

I have never read the comics, but I loved both of the film adaptations. The sequel to Kingsman: The Secret Service is actually coming out later this year and is one of my most anticipated films of the year. If you have not seen Kingsman or Kick-Ass you should go watch them, they are both excellent.

On the surface, this news does not seem like a big deal, but it is. Netflix is losing it’s contract to Disney, because Disney is creating their own streaming service. While it looks like Netflix might keep the rights to Marvel and Star Wars, it will take a hit and lose a ton of content. By acquiring Millarworld, Netflix will have a ton of material to work with and be able to create more of it’s own content.

This is the third time a comic book company has been purchased like this. Warner Bros. bought DC Comics and Disney bought Marvel. Those acquisitions worked out for both companies, and this could result in a huge payoff for Netflix.

I don’t know much about Millarworld’s comics. In fact, reading about this news definitely was the first time I realized it was a thing. I say again I loved Kick-Ass and Kingsman though, so I would love to see more adaptations from this company. I think Netflix could create some really awesome content and I’m interested to see what comes of this deal.

New Hunger Games and Twilight?

Alright, so this news came completely out of left field and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. Apparently, the CEO of Lionsgate, Jon Feltheimer, wants to add to both the Hunger Games and Twilight franchise! Excuse me–what?!

He does not want to remake either of these series, but rather add to the franchise with spin-offs and new installments to the story line. Personally, I’m glad to hear that they’re not planning on remaking these films, because I’m not a big fan of remakes and it’s too soon. I don’t really know if I’d want a film that directly follows the conclusion to either sereies.

It’s been so long since I read or watched anything in the Twilight series. I can’t be the only person who feels this way, so adding the next chapter of Bella and Edward’s life may be difficult to sell. As for the Hunger Games, I thought that the conclusion felt like a conclusion. Seeing what happens next to Katniss may tarnish the series.

However, I would totally be into some spin-offs. For example, I would love to see how the first Hunger Games came to be and what that entailed. It might be cool to see what happens to Panem following the events in Mockingjay, but I would like it to follow new characters. Some Twilight spin-offs would be interesting too. I don’t know what they would look like, but I’d be totally willing to hear some ideas.

It’s like Lionsgate is seeing all the success that came from Fantastic Beasts and is looking to hop on that band wagon. Apparently, they are waiting to get approval from Stephanie Meyer and Suzanne Collins before any next steps can be taken. I am extremely interested to see what comes from this. It could be good or it could be bad, we’ll just have to wait and see.


Some other small bits of news that you may be interested in. My man Nick Jonas was cast in Chaos Walking, which is the film adaptation of Patrick Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go set to be released in 2019. Also, Thirteen Reasons Why casted a bunch of new people for it’s second season. The TV adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Mr. Mercedes of the same title, premiered this past Wednesday on Audience Network. King is having good year in terms of adaptations. We’re getting so many film and tv adaptations of his work this year.

That’s all of the news I have for you this week. Let me know down below what you’re most excited for. How do you feel about having more films in the Hunger Games and Twilight Series? What would want you Lionsgate to make, if they actually make a new film in either one of these franchises? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Also, let me know if I missed anything this week. 

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson — Review

PaTitle: Mistborn: The Final Empire
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 659
Published: July 17th, 2006

I cannot believe that it has taken me this long to review this book, because I have been talking about it non-stop on this blog since finishing it. Well, almost two months later and here I am, sharing my thoughts with you.


In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more?

In Brandon Sanderson’s intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage — Allomancy, a magic of the metals.


This is the first book in Sanderson’s Mistborn Series. I actually learned of this series before I joined the book community through my cousin and a good friend. Both of them recommended this book to me, and I was definitely intrigued after learning that there would be heist elements. I tried not to get too excited about the heist elements, because I did that for Six of Crows and was let down (at least in the heist department). I was expecting to enjoy this book, but I was not expecting to be absolutely blown away by it.

Everyone raves about Sanderson’s writing and world building for a reason. This was my first experience reading an adult fantasy novel, and I was definitely intimidated. High fantasy is something I recently have gotten into, plus the book is huge (my copy was 659 pages)! I was worried I would be overwhelmed by everything and majorly struggle through it. However, Sanderson builds his world and magic system so well that at no point did I feel lost. Everything made sense and I could actually see this magic system being a real thing. It was so believable and cool. On top of that, he knows how to craft an intense plot and develop an awesome team of characters.

If you know me, you know that I’m a sucker for a good team and ensemble cast. This book gave me a team that I could root for and get behind. Sanderson has a lot of characters in this book, but he balances them extremely well. They are all well developed and distinct. Some of my favorite characters included Ham, Elend, and our course Vin. I really related to Vin, and seeing her learn allomancy and navigate the dark side of Luthadel was cool. The way she grows as a character in this book was well executed and a ton of fun to read.

Well developed characters don’t always equal a good plot and interesting plot in books. When we talk about them they’re either character driven or plot driven. That is not the case with this book! The plot is intricate and action packed. I had a hard time putting this book down when I was reading it, because things got so intense. I needed to know what was going to happen next and it kept me on the edge of my seat. There were also some really surprising twists, that I was not expecting at all! It’s hard to completely take me by surprise, but this book did that! My God, I’m still not over it. It was also really well paced, at no point did I think it dragged. Maybe the beginning, but I credit that more to getting used to the world.

I thought that the heist aspects of this novel were well executed. I’m a sucker for anything involving heists or thieves, it has made me a little critical when this premise is used. However, I thought Sanderson used these elements to his advantage. I really enjoyed how he used the heist structure to introduce his characters and shape the plot. I think the structure allowed for the twists to have a stronger impact. It worked for me and I think these elements definitely made me fall in love with the book even more.

Honestly, this book has become a new favorite. I loved everything about it. It made me laugh, cry, swoon, and even shout at it. It was just all around excellent, and had everything that I wanted in a book. I cannot wait to read the sequel. I’m waiting until I visit my friend who has completed this series to start it, so that I can talk to him about it. If you’re looking for a damn good story, I recommend picking this up. If you love fantasy and have not read this yet, what are you doing? Go read this now! If you’re not a big fantasy fan, I still think you will enjoy this!

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

If you’ve read this book, I would love to hear your opinions on it! Did you love it or hate it? Were the twists as shocking to you as they were to me? Please let me know down in the comment section below. 

Adaptation Spotlight|The Hate U Give & The Dark Tower

Hey guys! Welcome back to Adaptation Spotlight, where I tell you about some adaptation news that I think is interesting.

I don’t know about you, but I’m so happy that it’s Friday. This week has been brutal and I’m glad that the weekend is finally here. I’m also excited to talk about what’s going on this week in the world of adaptations. Let’s jump right into it.


 

The Hate U Give Casting

First things first, we’ve got to talk about casting news for The Hate U Give. If you are unaware, this YA novel about the Black Lives Matter movement is being made into a film. What’s crazy is that the film rights were acquired in 2016 by Fox 2000. Amandla Stenberg was also cast as Starr and George Tillman Jr. was slated to direct last year, way before THUG was released.

Why this is relevant now? This week we were blessed with some more casting news. Russell Hornsby was cast as Maverick, Regina Hall as Lisa, and Lamar Johnson as Seven! It’s really exciting to see that things are moving with this film adaptation. The book has made such an impact, and I think that the film will make one. Angie Thomas, the author, said that she has been involved in the process which is nice to hear. I think that to have an excellent adaptation, the author needs to be involved in some way.

Casting for Sekani, Starr’s younger brother, has not yet been revealed. I hope that he was not cut from the film, because I thought it was interesting to see him go through a loss of innocence in the book.  A release date has also not been announced yet. I’m hoping for sometime in 2018, because I need this film!

Maybe Skip The Dark Tower This Weekend?

the dark tower.jpg

The Dark Tower, the adaptation of Stephen King’s fantasy series of the same title, was released in theaters today. While the trailer was definitely confusing, I thought that Idris Elba looked cool. However, the critics hate it! It’s got a whopping 18% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is pretty bad. On top of that, I’ve heard that it’s not very true to the book. It seems that there was a lot of competing ideas in the production and post production of this film, and it suffered because of it.

I’m curious to see how it does at the box office, because a lot is riding on it’s success. Stephen King is already planning for a sequel, and has come out saying that he wants to bump the sequel up to an R rating. There is also talk of a prequel TV series in development through Media Rights Capital and Sony Pictures Television. Glenn Mazzara (The Walking Dead) has recently been announced to be the show-runner for the show. If the film tanks, these installments are definitely screwed.


That’s all of the news I have for you this week. I personally don’t think I am going to see The Dark Tower. It’s just not worth my money and I still need to see Dunkirk desperately!

As always I would love to hear your thoughts on these adaptations! What do you think of the casting for The Hate U Give? Are you planning on seeing The Dark Tower? Do you think the film looks good or just as bad as the critics are saying? Did I miss anything this week? Let me know down in the comment section below.

 

August TBR and Goals

Hey guys! I don’t know about you, but I way behind on my ARCs. This month, I’m hoping to catch up with them. Or at least try to. Thankfully, they are not too long, so there is hope for me. Let’s get into my reading plans.


August TBR

1. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo — This is the book that I’m currently reading. I only have about 40 pages to go, so it will get finished tomorrow. This book is about a girl who uses the K drama formula to find love. I will talk more about my thoughts when I finish this book. It’s cute though.

2. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (ACOTAR #3) — Bella over at Bella Blogs  Because Books is just about to finish her re-read of A Court of Mist and Fury, which means that it is finally time for our buddy read! I’m so excited to dive into this book, especially after loving the second book in this series so much. If you’re unaware, this is the third and (sort of) final book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. If you’re a fan of Maas, I would definitely recommend trying this series out. You might have to trudge through the first book, but the second makes it all worth it.

3. Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller — I was supposed to read this last month, but it got away from me. This is one of the ARCs I absolutely need to get to, as it comes out at the end of this month! I’m hoping I enjoy it, I mean our main character is a thief so I’m in. Also, this book features a gender fluid main character and I’m excited to see this representation. I’m hoping it’s good, I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews for it.

4. The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke — I was so excited to get approved for this book, because it features time travel! I am obsessed with books that involve this theme. I just think the idea of traveling back in time is so cool. This book follows a girl who accidentally time travels back to 1988 East Berlin by a red balloon. Yeah, you read that correctly, a red balloon. It’s sort of a mystery how she managed to do that. There are apparently elements of fantasy in this as well as time travel. I just can’t wait to get to this, it sounds so good and right up my ally. The book comes out September 1st, three days after Mask of Shadows.

5. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman — This is the final book on my official TBR for the month. It makes the cut because it is my book club’s Book of the Month. My friend Kim picked this, because she found a copy at a discount bookstore and thought it sounded good. I don’t know much about the book, except that the film adaptation was nominated for an Oscar in the foreign film category. Also, it’s giving me some Clint Eastwood vibes so we’ll see. Grumpy old men can be funny.

Writing Goals

Aside from my reading goals for the month, I thought I would also share with you my writing goals as well. Some of these writing goals are blog related and some of them concern my creative writing. I thought it would be fun to keep track of these things over the month and see what I can accomplish.

Blog Goals:

1. Post at least 1 review a week — I’ve been really shitty at posting reviews. It’s not that I don’t enjoy writing them, they just take me a little longer to write. Also, I sometimes struggle to remember what happened in the book since I’m so behind on reviews. I’m hoping by posting at least one a week, I will be able to catch up quicker. I’m planning on releasing these reviews on Sundays, just fyi.

2. Try and come up with discussion topics — Discussion posts are some of my favorite to read and I’ve wanted to write some of my own. The problem is I just don’t know where to start. I don’t want to copy some of the great discussion posts I’ve seen, I want to try and come up with my own. The only idea I have regards adaptations, because I’m into that and I know I have a very different opinion on the subject. However, beyond I have no idea what to write about. If there is anything you’d like me to discuss, please let me know down in the comment section below.

3. Post at least 3 to 4 times a week — Posting more frequently on Book to the Becky is something that I’ve been trying to be better about. Sometimes I struggle to come up with content and other times I’m just lazy. This month I’m going to try and stick to a schedule, and be more creative. Another feature I’ve thought about introducing is one where I talk generally about writing. I’m not an expert writer, so I’m not really sure how I will be able to pull that off, but it’s on the table. We’ll see what happens though.

Creative Writing Goals:

1. Finish a full chapter — When I say a full chapter, I mean one that I’ve started and finished in August. I’m a scene away from completing the chapter I’m currently working on. The next chapter is one I’ve been looking forward to writing and it’s going to be a long one. I want to have it completed by the end of this month, so that I only have one more chapter to write before I reevaluate things. I really want to just get to this point, that way I can go back and figure out some things. There are major issues I need to address, like figuring out the world my characters live in. My characters live in the real world and all go to college, but I need to flesh out the college dynamics more.

2. Come up with a sketch idea — I’m a very comedic writer, no matter what medium I am writing. Sketch writing is something that I got into a few years back, and would like to continue doing. Especially since I want to get more involved in the comedy scene in New York. I’m hoping to crank something out this month.


Those are my reading and writing goals for this month. Hopefully, I’ll be able to accomplish most of the things on this list, especially my TBR. The five books I listed are ones that I actually need to read, otherwise my book club, Bella, and the publishers who sent me ARCs are going to kill me. Wish me luck!

What is on your TBR for this month? Are you planning on reading any of the books I mentioned? If you have any writing goals, please feel free to share those as well. Let’s chat about all of the things in the comments.

July Wrap-Up

I was not expecting July to be as busy as it was. Every weekend I had something going on and I felt like I was running all over the place. I mean don’t get me wrong these were fun things. I went away two weekends, had two shows, and saw a concert. I just didn’t have a whole lot of time to do much else.

While my writing severely suffered from this, my reading wasn’t so bad. I ended up finishing 4 books, and one of them was a massive 725 pages! Sometimes big books can slow me down, but not this month.

Books

1. The Lighting Thief by Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) — I picked this book up because everyone talks about how great Rick Riordan’s writing is and I wanted to see what he’s all about. His writing is very funny, and I found myself laughing out loud multiple times. I personally enjoyed all of the early 2000 jokes. The characters were also great, along with the world. I found the plot to be extremely repetitive though. I thought some of the problems our heroes faced were unnecessary, and it felt like they were on a constant string of bad luck. That being said, I enjoyed it enough to want to continue on with the series. I even bought the next 3 books at my local bookstore for super cheap. This book was not mind-blowing in anyway, just fun. (Rating: 3.5/5 Stars)

2. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (Three Dark Crowns #1) — This book has been on my TBR since I heard that it featured a matriarchal society. I have never read a book like that before, plus it was fantasy which is what I’ve been devouring lately. I didn’t know what to expect going in, but HOLY CRAP! This was incredible. This book featured multiple POVs with an intricate and complex plot. The twists in this book were insane and I did not see some of them coming. There was also an ensemble cast which I was all about. It was just so good you guys, it’s been like a couple of weeks since I read it and I’m still not over it. I’m really glad I read it so close to the release of the second book, because I need it now. I would recommend checking this one out if you’re someone who likes morally grey characters, a cool plot, and fantasy elements. (Rating: 4.5/5 Stars)

3. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #1) — This was the Book of the Month for my Book Club. It was my pick, and I couldn’t help but pick this one. I feel like everyone in the book community has read it, and now I’m one of those people. I can see why everyone loves Schwab’s writing style, because it’s so good! I personally loved the way that this book is structured. The chapters are broken up into sub-chapters which was cool and made it a quicker read. The premise was as cool as promised by the description. My favorite part of the book was exploring all of the different Londons (and Rye). It only left me wanting more and I have so many questions that need answered. That being said, I am not as obsessed with it as a lot of people seem to be. It was good, but I was sort of expecting it to be better. I will be continuing on with the series though. I need more. (Rating: 4/5 Stars)

4. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #6) — It’s official, I’ve completed The Mortal Instruments series! I’ve been through some ups and downs while reading this series, but I’m happy to report that the conclusion was amazing and made it all worth it. I really loved this book, and it’s probably my favorite book in The Mortal Instruments series. It just gave me all of the feels, both good and bad. I thought the pacing was good and I loved reading all of the different storylines. I really liked how Clare introduced the main characters for The Dark Artifices series in this book, and made them a big part of the plot. It not only helped the pacing, but got me excited for Lady Midnight. There is not much I can really say without spoiling something. Let’s just say that I laughed, I cried, I was brought to the edge of my seat in suspense, and that there may have been some shouting. It was excellent. (Rating: 5/5 Stars)

Camp NaNoWriMo July Edition

This month I also participated in Camp NaNoWriMo and my god it was such a fail. I think I wrote like 2,000 words total this month. I did not officially total up my final word count, because I was just so embarrassed. My busy schedule and writing slump got the best of me. July just wasn’t the month for writing.

I’m trying not to beat myself up too much over it, because that will only set my writing back even more. All that I can do from this point is just to start writing again. I’m so close to my reevaluating point and I just need to get there as soon as possible. If it takes me another month or two, so be it. If you want to read more about some of my failures, click here.


Those are all of the things I’ve accomplished (or not in the case of Camp) this month. I also should mention that I’ve officially introduced a new feature on my blog called Adaptation Spotlight. Basically, I’ll be highlighting some interesting pieces of news regarding book-to-film and book-to-tv adaptations. If you’re into that sort of thing, check it out.

Even though I think I could have been more productive overall, I did whole lot and July was a good month. It’s looking like August could wind up being just as busy as July. We’ll see what happens though.

What books did you read this month? Did you read any of these? Was this month a good reading month for you or a sucky one? Let’s chat down in the comment section below.