I’ll be reading and reviewing nine books this month. I have a list of books I want to read – whether I’ll stick with it or not, I don’t know. Though I’ve been utilizing my local library more often lately and my to-be-read pile keeps on growing.
I’ll be working on a couple of different projects this month, as usual. I’m going to do some final edits for Crossroads so that I can publish it on Wattpad in September. In addition, I’m working on the next Sunday Morning collection as well as the first book in my mystery series.
I made a list the other day of all the books I want to work on. The list is growing and I’m trying to give each and every one the attention and time it deserves without working on so much at once. I’ll probably write a different blog post about that soon enough though.
I’m still making some changes to the blog, such as updating the pages and post templates. In addition, I’m trying to get this month’s blog posts done as well as some other posts done for the future months.
August is going to be a busy month. I have a lot of work to do outside of writing and blogging, so I’m definitely going to need to find a new balance for the month. I’m going to try to come up with some sort of schedule to keep up with this work, around all the other work I need to do. New month, new goals.
What are your goals for the month? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.
I read a good amount this month. They were mostly books that were on the shorter side, but I think that’s just what I needed in order to get me back into a reading groove. I read a lot of good books and all the reviews were posted on schedule – eight of them, which is great!
My writing was pretty good this month thanks to the 85K90 challenge and Camp NaNoWriMo. I made excellent progress on my next Wattpad story, Crossroads. I’m looking forward to finishing that up and diving straight into the edits within the next couple of days.
Thanks to my vacation, I got super ahead with my blog posts. So July was all set for the rest of the month plus a little bit of August!
It was a pretty productive month. Super busy, but it was great.
I borrowed a paperback copy of this book from my library. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Book Review: I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 By Lauren Tarshis
Title: I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 Author: Lauren Tarshis Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade
Series: I Survived, 5 Publisher: Scholastic Publication Date: March 1, 2012
Summary – I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906
Ten-year-old Leo loves being a newsboy in San Francisco — not only does he get to make some money to help his family, he’s free to explore the amazing, hilly city as it changes and grows with the new century. Horse-drawn carriages share the streets with shiny new automobiles, new businesses and families move in every day from everywhere, and anything seems possible.
But early one spring morning, everything changes. Leo’s world is shaken — literally — and he finds himself stranded in the middle of San Francisco as it crumbles and burns to the ground. Does Leo have what it takes to survive this devastating disaster?
I’ve read the first couple of books in the series and I’m going down the line.
The cover is “realistic” enough in the sense that shows the heart of what the story is about – right in the middle of the natural disaster.
Leo goes about his normal life, selling newspapers and occasionally getting beaten up by some local bullies. He treasures his father’s piece of real gold that was passed down from his father’s father.
Then the earthquake happens and the fire spreads. Leo and his friend stick together in order to survive and possibly get out of the city – but there’s really nowhere to go. The journey they go on for those few hours is a great one of determination and survival that no one should ever have to go through. It was an interesting read.
Leo and his friend Morris were great characters to read about through this tragedy. They even help the two bullies out when they were in trouble and even become friends with one of them. It was great character development for all of them throughout.
As always, this book was a quick and easy read. There was just enough information about the natural disaster, but it wasn’t thrown into your face.
I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 by Lauren Tarshis
This is another great, informative read. Even though it’s a big young, anyone can read it and get something out of it.
I borrowed a paperback copy of this book from my library. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Book Review: I Survived The Bombing Of Pearl Harbor, 1941 By Lauren Tarshis
Title: I Survived The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 Author: Lauren Tarshis Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade
Series: I Survived, 4 Publisher: Scholastic Publication Date: October 1, 2011
Summary – I Survived The Bombing Of Pearl Harbor, 1941
History’s most terrifying moments are brought vividly to life in the action-packed fictional I SURVIVED series! Do you have what it takes to survive … the bombing of Pearl Harbor?
Eleven-year-old Danny Crane is alone on his favorite beach in Hawaii when the world is torn apart and World War II officially hits the United States. Does he have what it takes to find his way home in the midst of the bombs, the smoke, and the destruction of the day that will live in infamy?
I’ve read the first couple of books in the series and decided to continue them.
The cover says a lot of what the book is about and set it right at the climax of the story.
Danny and his mother move to Pearl City, Hawaii from New York City. She’s a nurse on the island and Danny isn’t too thrilled to be there. When she leaves for work, he’s torn with the idea of running away back to New York, but he doesn’t want to hurt his mother. Then the attacks happen.
Like the other books in this series, the plot is well-executed and the fictional character is always set up to be brave and help out in any way during the disaster. It was certainly an interesting read.
I liked all the characters in this one. Danny was a great protagonist and he was great with all the other characters. The supporting characters such as Mack and Mrs. Sudo were helpful and had a purpose throughout the story as well.
Like the rest of the series, this is a quick and easy read. There’s a lot of information about the bombing of Pearl Harbor in this one, including facts, resources, and other information in the back of the book. It’s certainly a good read.
I Survived The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 by Lauren Tarshis
This was a great read and, in my opinion, the best so far in this series. It’s worth a read to learn more about this tragic event.
“You’d have to be crazy not to be scared, with what was happening in the world, with America at war with both Japan and Germany now.”
Lauren Tarshis, I Survived The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 (I Survived 4)
I didn’t always enjoy reading. In fact, I thought it was stupid. To me, it was just homework from teachers. All the books were always picked out for me and I never cared for any of them. In the middle of all that, I did fall in love with reading.
When I Was 11
I was in the sixth grade and Erin Hunter, a group of authors under a penname, came out with a book titled Warriors. You’ve all heard me talk about this series now and again. I’m still reading the books and catching up with the series. There are a ton of books, 37 in the main series with number 38 coming out in October 2019. The very first one that started it all came out when I was 11-years-old.
It was my sister’s book. I don’t remember how she got it. I can’t remember if it was a gift from someone knowing she enjoyed reading and animals or if she had come across it at Barnes & Noble and bought it herself. Either way, she read it and enjoyed it. When I found out it was about cats, I wanted to borrow it.
She let me and I brought it to school. I remember her telling me, “Keep it nice. Don’t dogear the pages. Don’t lose it.” There was a list. She was very particular about keeping her books nice, which is fair. So, what did I do? I stepped out of the car one morning when my Mom dropped me off at school and immediately the book slipped out of my hand and fell into the snow. Of course, my sister didn’t actually care about that. We still look back on that and laugh.
“Don’t ruin it.” (Immediately drops it in the snow.)
It Didn’t Last Long
I remember reading the first couple of books and then stopped for a long time. The books assigned to me in school throughout middle school and high school pushed me away from reading. I had too many things to read for school that if I had any downtime to read whatever I wanted, I just didn’t feel like it. I was totally turned off from reading even though I enjoyed the Warriors series so much.
There were other series I enjoyed as well – Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and I enjoyed my mysteries by Joan Lowry Nixon and Caroline B. Cooney. I was just never too into reading on my own. It reminded me too much of homework.
Then, when I was in high school I rediscovered the Warriors books again. I tried my best to read them in my spare time. I got really into them again. In fact, I read one of the super edition books for a book report in my freshman year.
But again, school got in the way. The book report was an easy assignment for me since we got to pick out whatever we wanted to read. The book was about 500 pages long and when I got my grade, there was a note on it from my teacher.
“Next time, maybe pick a more age-appropriate book.”
I still got a good grade and she didn’t take any points off for me reading a book that was supposed “too young” for me, but the comment still rubbed me the wrong way. I was 14 and the book is targeted at a middle-grade level. Close enough, right? I mean, I was in middle grade less than a year before that book report was assigned anyway. I enjoyed it, that’s what I loved to read, so I didn’t see what the big deal was.
I don’t even think my teacher knew what it was. All she got out of it was that it was about cats. Therefore, animal books are too young for high schoolers. (I mean, really, I’m almost 26-years-old and I already pre-ordered the next book that comes out in three months.)
College & Blogging
This was the time in my life when I really got into reading. I graduated high school in June 2011. At that point, I already had a year of college under my belt. Sure, I had to read books for college but they actually weren’t bad books. I enjoyed them. Not to mention, later down the road, I was assigned to read The Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter for one of my classes. Yes, please.
Then I started this blog in May 2012. I didn’t start reviewing books until 2015, but I still talked about them on the blog. I still read and, in a way, the blog held me accountable for reading. I met so many wonderful writers and authors through my blog while in college that I had a better appreciation for reading – despite wanting to be a writer myself.
That’s when I really started reading. Four years ago was when I started reviewing books and really getting into a reading routine while it wasn’t until 2011/2012 that I grew an appreciation and love for reading.
If You Want To Write, Read
This is a piece of advice that I had always gotten when I told people I wanted to be a writer. I think, to a certain extent, reading does help writers. However, I don’t think it’s a huge necessity. I made t this far, haven’t I? I’ve only been actively reading books for less than ten years and voila! Here I am.
When did you first fall in love with reading? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.
I borrowed a paperback copy of this book from my library. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Book Review: I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 By Lauren Tarshis
Series: I Survived, 3 Publisher: Scholastic Publication Date: March 2011
Summary – I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005
His whole world is underwater…
Barry’s family tries to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina hits their home in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. But when Barry’s little sister gets terribly sick, they’re forced to stay home and wait out the storm.
At first, Katrina doesn’t seem to be as severe a storm as forecasters predicted. But overnight the levees break, and Barry’s world is literally torn apart. He’s swept away by the floodwaters, away from his family. Can he survive the storm of the century – alone?
These are quick reads and I enjoy the historical tidbits. After reading the first two books in the series, I grabbed the next three.
The cover shows Barry and a dog he rescued in the middle of Hurricane Katrina trying to find their way to safety. As always, it shows a lot about the plot and the design is well done.
Life is normal for 11-year-old Barry until the forecasters urge everyone to evacuate for the upcoming storm. Everyone is worried, though Barry doesn’t fully understand why until the storm is directly on top of them.
The plot was well executed with enough information about the historical tragedy without laying it on thick.
Barry was a good protagonist to follow along with such a story. He was strong and brave throughout the whole event. He followed his parents’ lead and overcame the storm. It was interesting to see the events through his eyes, even though he’s fictional.
This is a super quick and easy read. I learned more about Hurricane Katrina than I thought I knew. The information is easy to comprehend and it’s quick enough to read in one sitting.
I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 by Lauren Tarshis
This is another great addition to the I Survived series. If you’re looking for something quick with a little history boost, this is the one for you.
“Out there in the flood, Barry had discovered some powers of his own.”
Lauren Tarshis, I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 (I Survived 3)
I bought a paperback copy of this book at my local Barnes & Noble. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Book Review: Death By Eggnog By Alex Erickson
Title: Death By Eggnog Author: Alex Erickson Genre: Cozy Mystery, Fiction
Krissy Hancock is staying in her adopted hometown of Pine Hills, Ohio, for Christmas this year–and she even has a whole week off from her combination bookstore-cafe. But a killer is about to dampen her spirits . . .
Unfortunately, Krissy’s been roped into filling in for a sick elf in the local holiday musical extravaganza. With a demanding director, backstage gossip, and two men in fierce competition for the starring role, it isn’t all sweetness and Christmas lights. Then a murder puts a stop to the production, and Krissy is faced with a pageant of suspects.
Could her ex-boyfriend, a fellow elf, really be the culprit as the police are claiming? Or will the actor playing Santa be trading his red suit for an orange jumpsuit? When her behind-the-scenes investigation starts getting dangerous, the only thing Krissy really wants is to make it to Christmas dinner alive. But first she’ll have to finish wrapping up this case . . .
I’ve read the first four books in the series and enjoyed them. Besides, who doesn’t want a Christmas murder story in July?
I always enjoy the book covers in this series that slightly hints at the mystery but showcasing the cat.
Krissy is thrown into helping the local community theatre with their play when one of the elves gets sick. Not too long after she joins, the man who plays Santa in the play is murdered. Her ex, Robert, is the accused and Krissy is sure he’s not the real killer.
I thought this plot was well done with an interesting group of people. I enjoyed the theatre setting as well as the wintery themes. I had my guess of who the real killer was and then it turned out I was wrong. Which has a nice twist, but the twist seemed anticlimactic to me.
We spent so much time with so many different suspects – even having conversations with characters that didn’t really matter – that when the real killer was revealed, it seemed out of left field. Plus, I didn’t care too much for the motive. That also felt out of left field. Other than that, I did enjoy the overall plot.
There were a lot of characters in this one to the point that we don’t see Paul, Rita, Will, or Vicki that often. In fact, we didn’t see Death By Coffee, their bookstore cafe, much at all. Krissy was on a winter break from work, but still. I missed that setting as well as her co-workers, Lena and Jeff.
The theatre group was cool though. I enjoyed all the new characters that were introduced for the purpose of the plot. However, I still missed the older characters.
This is an easy book to read, quick at 285 pages, and an easy cozy mystery to follow along with. My personal list of suspects changed and the ending was a surprise, even if I didn’t care too much for it.
Death By Eggnog By Alex Erickson
Death By Eggnog is a good read. I think it’s a great addition to the Bookstore Cafe series and I’m looking forward to the next book.
“I took back every nice thing I ever said about him, limited as they may be.”
Alex Erickson, Death By Eggnog (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 5)
Book Review: The Shark Attacks Of 1916 By Lauren Tarshis
Title: The Shark Attacks of 1916 Author: Lauren Tarshis Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade
Series: I Survived (Book 2) Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks Publication Date: September 1, 2010
Summary – The Shark Attacks of 1916
It’s the summer of 1916 and the Jersey shore is being terrorized by a Great White shark. Can 10-year-old Chet and his friends survive a swim in the local creek?
Chet Roscow is finally feeling at home in Elm Hills, New Jersey. He has a job with his uncle Jerry at the local diner, three great friends, and the perfect summertime destination: cool, refreshing Matawan Creek.
But Chet’s summer is interrupted by shocking news. A great white shark has been attacking swimmers along the Jersey shore, not far from Elm Hills. Everyone in town is talking about it. So when Chet sees something in the creek, he’s sure it’s his imagination. . . until he comes face-to-face with a bloodthirsty shark!
I read the first book of this series and enjoyed it so I wanted to continue the series. Plus, they’re quick, informative reads.
The book cover is nice and showcases what the book is about. The shark is creepy looking and fairly realistic which is a nice touch.
The plot of this story is, of course, the shark attacks of 1916. Back then, no one knew much about sharks and it was believed that sharks wouldn’t attack willy-nilly. They were proven wrong when a few shark attacks occurred unprovoked.
This story follows a 10-year-old boy named Chet. He and his friends hear stories about the sharks but don’t believe them. His pranks prank him making him believe there’s a shark in the water. Chet gets them back so when the real shark appears, no one believes him.
I found the plot of this story to be better executed than The Sinking of The Titanic, which is the first book in the I Survived series. I enjoyed the characters a bit more and the plot didn’t seem to go as fast. Yet, all the information was there and well done.
Chet is a regular ten-year-old boy living with his Uncle when his parents were traveling for his father’s work. Chet isn’t sure he belongs there and is happy to have made some friends. That is, until they prank each other and get into a fight.
Chet redeems himself though as do his friends. His uncle was a great character as well. I enjoyed reading this bit of history with these fictional characters telling the story.
Being under 100 pages, this story was well told with all the facts present. There was no filler yet there was just enough character background and development for the fictional characters who encountered a real-to-life problem. The quick read was worth it.
The Shark Attacks of 1916 By Lauren Tarshis
This quick read is worth it. The characters are likeable, the history is easy to learn, and the facts are laid out. This is a good one if you’re looking to learn a bit more about the shark attacks of 1916.
“And then he saw it – a large gray fin, slicing through the water like a knife.”
Lauren Tarshis, The Shark Attacks of 1916 (I Survived, Book 2)
Book Review: The Sinking Of The Titanic By Lauren Tarshis
Title: The Sinking Of The Titanic, 1912 Author: Lauren Tarshis Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade
Series: I Survived (Book 1) Publisher: Scholastic Press Publication Date: June 1, 2010
Summary – The Sinking Of The Titanic
The most terrifying events in history are brought vividly to life in this new fictional series! In book 1, ten-year-old George is trapped on the Titanic — how will he survive?
Ten-year-old George Calder can’t believe his luck — he and his little sister, Phoebe, are on the famous Titanic, crossing the ocean with their Aunt Daisy. The ship is full of exciting places to explore, but when George ventures into the first class storage cabin, a terrible boom shakes the entire boat. Suddenly, water is everywhere, and George’s life changes forever.
This series has always been in the back of my mind. The 9-year-old I babysit for mentioned these books to me and I decided to try to read some of his favorite books over the summer before I see him again in the fall.
The book cover is nice. It shows all the elements of the book and the title is big and easy to read.
This book tells the story of the Titanic through the eyes of a young boy boarded on the ship. His name is George and he’s on the Titanic with his Aunt Daisy and younger sister Penelope. They’re on their way back home to their father. When there are about three days left of their trip, the Titanic hits an iceberg and begins to sink.
The plot is well executed and tells the story of the Titanic well. It’s a quick read and for such a subject, no information is lost or left out.
The characters in the story are fictional though they are based off real people who had survived the Titanic. George and his family meet a young boy and his father. Aunt Daisy takes the young boy since only woman and children are allowed to evacuate first.
George accidentally gets left behind. He and the boy’s father work together. I enjoyed how this played out since it really showed development in all the characters but also genuine human kindness in such a dire situation. The fictional characters are well played.
The writing of this book is perfect for the target age group. All the information about this historical event is there. It’s not thrown in your face or too graphic.
This book is under 100 pages. You learn a lot in a short amount of time. Reading it through a 10-year-old boy’s eyes really makes it easy to read and understand despite the subject matter.
The Sinking Of The Titanic, 1912 By Lauren Tarshis
The plot was well done as we were the characters though it did go a bit fast. However, it’s age-appropriate and there’s no info-dumping. This is worth a read and I look forward to the other books in the series.
“A bellowing sound, like a giant beast was dying a terrible death.”
Lauren Tarshis, The Sinking of The Titanic (I Survived, Book 1)
Buy The Sinking Of The Titanic, 1912 (I Survived, 1)
So, this was certainly a weird couple of months, huh? I didn’t expect to take such a long hiatus – or even a hiatus at all. Mental health is a funny thing and it’s odd to me how I can feel restricted and depressed about some things I love to do such as blogging and writing. I can’t explain why it happened or why it took so long for me to get out of my funk, but I guess that doesn’t matter now. I’m back with my July 2019 goals.
I got myself through this funk and I’m ready to be back. This blog will resume the daily posts among other things and that’s the way I like it. I did think about cutting back, but I enjoy the daily posts and I even came up with more content ideas while I wasn’t blogging. That said, I’ve come up with a plan to cut back temporarily should this ever happen again.
Some things will be a bit different on this blog. I’ve updated a lot of things. (Seriously, go look at the different pages. I added some things, took away others, and updated and improved them all. I’m proud of how they turned out.) The content here won’t be 100% writing/reading. I know I’ve been talking more about my mental health recently but there may be even more than that. Plus, I want to add a lot of bits from life. You know, sort of bring this blog back to its roots. It’ll still be a platform for writers and readers though and the prompts, short stories, book reviews, etc. will all remain the same.
Thanks for your patience with me as I tried to figure myself out. I’ve missed you guys and I’m ready to get back to work. I appreciate all the comments and messages while I was away as well. I want to say though that I won’t be replying to any comments. I’ve gotten so behind on checking them that I’ve just decided to not… I think that would be more work than worth. I do my best to reply to them all, but I’m just going to start fresh with that starting with this post. So, I apologize for not responding to past comments, but I appreciate all them nonetheless.
It’s summer which means I’m going to be posting two book reviews a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays. I’ve gotten so behind on my reading goals and there are so many books I want to read that I’m excited to drown myself in stories again. I actually got a couple of books on the shorter side just so that I could get myself back into the habit of reading again that I read during the last two weeks of June. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!
That and I’ve discovered that my local library has an app so I’ve been putting books on hold like crazy.
At the end of 2018, I sat down and created a schedule and deadlines for myself for my novels for 2019. I’ve sort of hopped off that schedule the past month or two but, surprisingly enough, I’ve stuck with it for the most part. I decided the other day to recreate it for the rest of 2019. I went a bit over my head and created a tentative schedule and deadlines through 2020 and into the beginning of 2021. I’m sure it will change throughout because things will happen but at least I have a good idea of where I want my stories to go. At this point in time, I have two books scheduled for self-publication in 2020, which I’m excited about. But again, that’s if everything goes according to plan because it’s not just me working on these books.
The hunt for an editor and a cover artist will begin soon for my mystery series, so if anyone has any recommendations, feel free to let me know in the comments. I’ll be shopping around for a bit. Thank you!
July is another Camp NaNoWriMo session. I wrote a novella for Wattpad during April’s session but never got the chance to edit it and actually publish it in June like I originally intended. So, I’ll be using July’s Camp session to edit it as well as August so I can publish it in September.
I’m also working on the second installment of Sunday Morning as well as the first in my mystery series. I’ve updated the My Books page and you find more information on all my Wattpad stories, Sunday Morning (paperback is on the way finally!) and everything I’m working on in the Coming Soon section.
As I said at the beginning of this post, the majority of the posts are going to remain the same and I’ll be back to publishing daily content. However, some themes may change slightly as I make them a bit more personal and the like.
That said, I’ll be sharing blog space with my Patreon page. Every other Thursday is going to be a patron-only post which means you can only view the post if you’re a patron of mine and logged into Patreon at the time of viewing the post. I’m doing this because I want to integrate my blog with my Patreon page since they go hand in hand anyway.
The patron-only posts will be an exclusive short story and sneak peeks of my books. Pledging just $1 each month will give you access to an extra short story from me each month plus more information on my upcoming books such as excerpts, fun facts, early cover reveals, and more.
Of course, there’s no obligation to become a patron. Two posts a month will be locked but the rest of the blog is wide open and free regardless if you’re a patron or not. However, if you enjoy my work and love reading this blog, then consider becoming a patron because you’ll get more than just those two exclusive posts.
Becoming a patron helps me out in more ways than one, but financially it makes it easier for me to save up for an editor and cover artist. If you want to learn more, check out my Patreon page here or click the button below.
As you can see, I’m ready to be back and I’m happy to be back. I’m eager to get started on my goals again and continue making this blog the best it can be and keep on writing. Happy July and happy summer, everyone! Let me know what you’ve been up to lately. It’s been quite a while.
What are your July 2019 goals? Also, tell me how you’ve been lately. It’s good to be back! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.