The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 007 Out Now!

The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 007 | Do you prefer paperbacks, hardcovers, ebooks, or audiobooks? | Podcast | Creative Writing | Writing Podcast | RachelPoli.com

The Merry Writer Podcast

The Merry Writer started as a hashtag game on Twitter and Instagram. Hosted by Ari Meghlen and myself, The Merry Writer Podcast is a fun, friendly show about all things writing and bookish. Join us as we ask all the “write” questions.

Episode 007: Do you prefer hardbacks, paperbacks, ebooks, or audiobooks?

In this week’s episode, Ari and I are discussing the differences between hardcovers, paperbacks, ebooks, and audiobooks. Be sure to give it a listen through the YouTube video below or any of the links below.

New episodes are published every Wednesday at 10:00 am EST (2:00 pm BST). Please subscribe to the podcast so you can be notified when a new episode goes live. Also, give each episode a “like” wherever you enjoy tuning in. It’ll help the podcast grow and we’d really appreciate it!

Thanks for listening!

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How do you prefer to read your books? Let me know in the comments below so we can chat! Please feel free to share this post.

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Goals for April 2020

Well, here we are. It’s April 2020. It’s hard to believe we’re in a new decade, new year, new month. I’m late to the party, I know, but this is no April Fool’s joke – I’m back.

Goals for April 2020 | Creative Writing | Blogging | Reading | Self-Care | RachelPoli.com

Writing

Aside from freelance jobs and the occasional blog post or article here and there, I’ve barely written anything. When I say that I mean I haven’t written creatively in about a year. In 2019 I wrote during Camp NaNo and the regular session of NaNoWriMo in April, July, and November respectively, but that’s it. Even then, two of those months were spent working on Short Story Sunday for the blog. I didn’t work on novels at all.

I’m anxious to get back to my novels, especially my mystery series. It’s been on hold for far too long and I want to give it the attention and time it needs. I can’t wait to share it with the world. It deserves to be seen after being in my head for nine years.

It’s Camp NaNo this month and I’ll be working on George Florence and the Perfect Alibi. Again, I know. But hey, it’ll be the best it can be whenever it does see the light of day.

As for creative writing, that’s all I’m going to work on this month. I want to get back into things slowly and be sure I give all my attention to George and Lilah. I have big plans for them. I just need to implement them now.

Reading

In addition to being in a writing slump for the past year, I’ve barely read any books. I’ve been struggling with reading – mostly because I can’t focus on it. It’s not that I like or dislike a book, my mind just wasn’t motivated to sit for 10 minutes to read a chapter of something.

I’ve been slowly getting back into this. So, my goal for this month is to publish two book reviews for the month of April. It’d be great if I can start writing a review a week again, but I’m going to take it slow and enjoy the books I have at the moment.

Blogging

Things on this blog are going to change. I’m not going to go into too much detail about it – you’ll see should you stick around to read it.

There’s a lot happening on this blog and I’m working on so many projects. I primarily made this blog to be an author platform. So, I’d like to start discussing my books more. At the same time, I want to branch out and talk more about life and other things. There’s more than just reading and writing, did you know that?

There will still be writing prompts, book reviews, a weekly short story, and such. However, there will only be one or two times a week I’ll share an article that has to do with reading or writing. (This made better sense in my head – this is why I said I wasn’t going to go into too much detail about it.)

Most of my articles, however, will be on Medium. I’ve been using that platform a lot lately. So, if you want to keep up with more writerly articles and such, feel free to give me a follow over there. I love WordPress, of course, but Medium has been a nice change of scenery for me. It’s another great community as well.

I’ll be sharing a lot here but extra creative articles will be on Medium.

Thanks for sticking me through my hiatus and while I make slight changes to the blog here and there. I appreciate it.

Self-Care

One of the reasons I’m making changes on my blog is due to self-care. I’ll be still publishing daily, but most of it will be able to be written well in advance so I don’t need to stress over content too much – especially since I’m also on Medium. That’d be overkill.

Starting this month, I’ll be adding regular self-care into my routine. After a year of being on hiatus and stopping most of my creative work (I say most because I was still working on a few projects behind the scenes – The Merry Writer Podcast being a prime example), this is certainly needed for myself and honestly, I think all of us.

Mental Health Mondays will no longer be the first Monday of the month but every Monday of the month.

I haven’t fully figured this one out yet, but I’ll be adding a self-care routine to my life.

I think now is as good a time as any to do this. With everything happening in the world right now – the virus, the news, anything and everything in between – self-care should be at the top of everyone’s to-do list. I’ll explain more details about it on Monday.

With that said, I hope everyone is safe and healthy. We’re living in a weird time right now. It’s stressful and scary, but this is something we’ll overcome.

So, how have you guys been lately? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll catch up!

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I’m Halfway To My Goodreads Goal

For the past couple of years, I’ve pledged to read 52 books in one year – that’s one book a week. I usually go above and beyond, especially since I tend to read two books a week during the summer. This year was no exception to that goal, but… I’ve been in a reading slump for practically half of the year.

I'm Halfway To My Goodreads Goal | Book Reviews | Reading | Reading Goals | Goodreads | RachelPoli.com

I’ve gotten into reading slumps in the past but have always managed to reach my Goodreads goal. This is usually because I end up reading middle-grade level books or something of the kind. Not because they’re short and quick, but because I actually enjoy those kinds of books. It just helps out that they happen to be short and quick reads. But if they’re good and I enjoy them, then who cares how long they are and how long it takes me to read them?

I’ve always been the type of person to not rush through books. Reading one book a week is a good pace for me since I can typically read between 50 and 100 pages a day.

And yet, I’ve gone into a hardcore reading slump for the past few months. No matter what I try to do, I just don’t feel like reading. I’ve been going to the library and picking out textbooks for research on various topics so maybe I’ll review those books down the road. It’d be something different, at least. Still, I haven’t been reading the typical novel.

We’re now about a week into October which means there are only three months left in the year. My Goodreads goal still stands at 52 books and, according to my Goodreads, I’ve only read 14 books. This is because I haven’t been updating it at all and haven’t in a few months. Scrolling through the reviews I’ve posted on here this year, I have read and reviewed 26 books.

26 is half of 52, I know that math at least. I’m actually shocked that I reached at least half of my original goal.

Looking at the weeks ahead, I need to read about two books a week with two of those weeks reading three books if I were to reach 52 books this year.

I’m not saying I’m going to do this. I’ve been in a slump for so long that I really don’t want to try to bombard myself with books again all the sake of reaching a virtual goal.

But I’m also not saying this isn’t an impossible thing to do. I want to get back into the habit of reading again. Who knows, if I find a new spark with a certain book or two, I may actually just reach the 52-book goal.

Do you have a Goodreads goal? Have you met it yet? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!

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Goals [October 2019]

Goals October 2019 | Creative Writing | Blogging | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Reading

I haven’t read any books for a long time. I’ve been doing research on some things which are technically reading books, but I haven’t read any fiction or the like. It’d be great to get back into the swing of things this month, but I think my plan is to just start reading again. I may or may not have any book reviews for the month. I might start that up again in November. I’ll certainly be trying to read something though. Even if it’s just one or two books.

Writing

Writing too has fallen to the wayside. I’ve been making a list of what needs to be done for each of the novels I’m working on and started to break them up into months. I’m figuring out what I need to work on this month and beyond through 2020. I’m sure things will change, but as of right now, I have a tentative plan. Also, NaNoWriMo is next month so I think that will also help me get back into the swing of things.

Blogging

October may look a bit like Swiss cheese. My original plan was to start blogging daily again this month, but September was busier than anticipated and I got sick for the last week. Needless to say, October is not ready at all and it’s already the first of the month. So, I’m going to take this time to catch up on some things. I actually have some ideas for 2020 so I might start implementing those and really get back into the swing of things come January. But I’ll still be here posting when I can. I’m hoping I can start posting daily again in November, but we’ll see how things go.

Overall

2019 has been a crazy year. So much has happened in the past few months that it’s too much to explain and even though I’ve lived through it, I can’t wrap my head around most of what’s happened. There have been good things and bad things and my writing and blogging have taken a blow due to it all. I’m ready to get back into my routine and bring things back to “normal” and what they were before. I’m just going to take it slow.

What are your goals for this month? Do you have any big plans? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!

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Goals [August 2019]

Goals August 2019 | Creative Writing | Blogging | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Reading

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.

Writing

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.

Blogging

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.

Overall

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.

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July 2019 [Wrap Up]

Wrap Up July 2019 | Creative Writing | Reading | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Reading

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!

Writing

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.

Blogging

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!

Overall

It was a pretty productive month. Super busy, but it was great.

Posts To Remember

1. July & August 2019 Writing Submissions
2. Housesitting For A Week
3. Getting Out Of A Funk [Mental Health Mondays]

How did July treat you? What did you get done? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 By Lauren Tarshis [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission should you purchase anything from these links. It’s no extra cost to you and supports this blog. If you’d like to learn more about affiliate links on this website, please read my Privacy Policy. Thank you.
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

Book Review: I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 by Lauren Tarshis | Historical Fiction | Middle Grade | Book Blogger | Reading | RachelPoli.com

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?

First Thoughts

I’ve read the first couple of books in the series and I’m going down the line.

Book Cover

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.

Plot

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.

Characters

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.

Writing Style

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

Rating

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

This is another great, informative read. Even though it’s a big young, anyone can read it and get something out of it.

3.3

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I Survived The Bombing Of Pearl Harbor, 1941 By Lauren Tarshis [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission should you purchase anything from these links. It’s no extra cost to you and supports this blog. If you’d like to learn more about affiliate links on this website, please read my Privacy Policy. Thank you.
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

Book Review: I Survived The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 by Lauren Tarshis | Historical Fiction | Middle Grade | Book Blogger | Reading | RachelPoli.com

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?

First Thoughts

I’ve read the first couple of books in the series and decided to continue them.

Book Cover

The cover says a lot of what the book is about and set it right at the climax of the story.

Plot

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.

Characters

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.

Writing Style

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

Rating

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

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.

4.3

Favorite Quote

“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)

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When I First Fell In Love With Reading

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 First Fell In Love With Reading | Fall in love with reading | books | reading | book blogger | book reviews | RachelPoli.com

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.

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I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 By Lauren Tarshis [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission should you purchase anything from these links. It’s no extra cost to you and supports this blog. If you’d like to learn more about affiliate links on this website, please read my Privacy Policy. Thank you.
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

Book Review: I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 by Lauren Tarshis | Historical Fiction | Middle Grade | Book Blogger | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Title: I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

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?

First Thoughts

These are quick reads and I enjoy the historical tidbits. After reading the first two books in the series, I grabbed the next three.

Book Cover

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.

Plot

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.

Characters

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.

Writing Style

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

Rating

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

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.

4

Favorite Quote

“Out there in the flood, Barry had discovered some powers of his own.”

Lauren Tarshis, I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 (I Survived 3)

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