Book Review: The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld

A few nights after Jessica Day arrives in Bixby, Oklahoma, she wakes up at midnight to find the entire world frozen. For one secret hour each night, the town belongs to the dark creatures that haunt the shadows. And only a small group of people—Jessica included—is free to move about then. They are The Midnighters.
I believe this is the second time I’ve read this book. I believe the first time was in middle school. In turn, I was inspired and I wrote a book of my own. It was more so fan fiction, before fan fiction was fan fiction. Coincidentally, I left it on the table so I could finish it (I was possibly 15 chapters in) and my mother thought it was trash…I guess, and she threw it away.

 

the secret hour

Anecdote aside, I got the book in the mail this morning and just finished it moments ago. It’s definitely not a hard read. If you are looking for something fantasy for your young child or an easy Saturday read for you, pick this one up! I liked it more now than I did as a kid. Friendship, motivation, loneliness and a bit of romance mark the pages. I really like the concept of a hidden hour of freedom and danger. The importance of thirteen really makes me so happy and is amazingly ridiculous!

Concentration!
Extraordinary!
Contemplating!
Quadrilateral!

Yes!

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readance,
Jade

Link to Book

Writing on Holidays!

The great thing for people that don’t really celebrate holidays, so…me, is that we can do whatever we want.

Yes, this may often times be the same exact thing that we do on our normal days off and that’s ok. For me, holidays are days off work that I can enjoy not feeling guilty. I mean, I wouldn’t anyway but this is a special case. I stopped celebrating holidays when I stopped really having an excuse to do so. I had no one to share them with and I enjoyed that time and a half pay that you get. Fortunately, I have found a job that still pays us for gov’t holidays. So I can enjoy an extra day off with no stress. Therefore, I shouldn’t have any excuse as to why I can’t write, right?

Wrong.

white sweater

The reason why I started the DWC was because I knew that I could count on myself to procrastinate. No more. I have distractions on holidays. I live far away from my old family and I don’t have a ton of friends that could guilt trip me into doing things or getting out of the house. My one writing friend actually came over so that we could go to Starbucks and write together. It was great. The fantastic thing is that I showed up a little late, sat my butt in the chair and started a 30 minute word sprint right away. I knew what I wanted to write and a new chapter was a fantastic place to start.

1530 words later, about 4 pages, and my creative writing juices were flowing freely. I felt very excited. I like days that I don’t have to write. I like to be able to get my keyboard up and running and do it because my mind whispers ‘hey, you, it’s time to write’.

Anyway, so here I am, on the cusp of the new Bachelorette episode and I’m writing another blog post. Now, I told you that I am trying to write more posts, and not just book reviews, and I’m delivering on that.

*Finger wiggles*

Happy Writtance!
Jade

P.S. What do you like to do on holidays? Do you spend the time with family? If you are a writer, do you carve out time to write? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.

 

I believe that I read this book when I was a kid. I think it was apart of the required reading list but I’m not 100% sure. I remember hearing a lot about it. About censorship and how limiting our children can be bad for them. I wonder why that converse ever went out of style?

fahrenheit 451

I love this book with all of my heart. I decided to re-read it so that I could watch the movie, currently out with Michael B. Jordan, but I haven’t seen it yet. I didn’t remember much about the writing style so I went in pretty blind. I was not disappointed. I love the main character. His mind is all over the place and yet nowhere at all. The first time they mention him sitting there, in the dark all on his lonesome with that awkward evil grin I was taken away.

The characters come alive from the pages. You can hear the laughter in Clarisse’s voice, the odd monotony of Mildred and whispers of thought from Montag. My writing style is more conversational and so I really loved some of the choppy wording, the half sentences and the odd comma placements. I really enjoyed reading it again and even if I don’t see the movie any time soon, I will be happy.
If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

 

Good Readance,
Jade

Link to Book

What I REALLY Learned About Myself Last Semester

So…big surprise. Not really, you guys know I’m in school and I’m learning new things. I’ve always loved school. The only drawback to being in school, I thought as a kid, was that other people would be there. Sounds silly. I know. I was so shy and reserved that I never realized that it was other people that made it enjoyable. I loved to learn, loved to interact with my teachers and I loved to be in the school setting. I didn’t realize that it was the back and forth, the give and take, of the student to teacher relationship that drew me in. The constant feedback, the discussion over lecture. I just loved it.
(I’m in the year book as the teacher’s pet, by the way)

Anyway, I wasn’t one of those people who had a hurtful or sad school experience and I’m grateful. School was actually my escape. Being a foster kid, turned adopted kid living in a foster home, was pretty hard on me. I shoveled it inside and didn’t dare let anyone see my pain or what I felt on the inside. Leaving the house, and going to school, took me away from anything bad that could happen. At school, I could expand my mind, learn new things and be a different person. I wasn’t a victim at school. It was a safe haven. If only I could just learn more, I’d be free, I thought.
As I grew older, it became very apparent that I needed to bring that kind of positivity back into my life. Now, my current home life is amazing. Despite any sadness that I’ve have due to my losses, I am very happy. It wasn’t that I needed an escape. I’m in love with my soulmate and I live eighteen hours away from anything that has ever hurt me. In the grand scheme of things, I’m doing fucking fantastic! It was that I needed more. More for me. More from me. More expansion. I needed to prove to myself, not to anyone else, that I could achieve anything I set my mind to.

This last semester solidified who I am as a person…to me. It told me that when I want something, I go after it. It told me that when something is hard, like that third math exam that really kicked my ass, I flip things around. It taught me that I do have the ability to meet deadlines. It said ‘You are attentive. You are responsible. You can do this.’ Most people may think ‘Aww, you’re just now learning that?’ and to that I say YES!

I spent too much time as a kid listening to other people.  Older people. People who knew things. Whether it was my bio mom saying she didn’t want me and wished she didn’t have me. Or a sibling concocting a cockamamy story that I was so worthless that I’d actually been left in a dumpster before social services found me. Whether it was my first grade gym teacher saying that I was so angry, he wouldn’t be surprised if I became a serial killer or that one lady who said I could never be a model because I wouldn’t grow up pretty enough. Or even those who gave the statistics about kids in foster homes or the life expectancy of those coming out of ‘the system’. I spent entirely too much time thinking about how people saw me and I retreated further into my bubble.

I retreated so far into books and fiction that for a moment I forgot what was real. People asked, when I grew up, why I didn’t feel compelled or peer pressured by the stories I read. Asked why romance and passion didn’t turn me into a fairy tale loving, wide eyed, girl with too many wedding aspirations. I just didn’t believe in me or anyone wanting to be involved with me enough to think those things would ever be real. In a way, it shielded me from a life time of disappointment. Now that I know differently, I go unbiasedly into relationships, friendships and yes, heartache still.

Now, as an old soul in a twenty-five year old body (albeit creaking knees and popping elbows), I still had things to learn and discover about myself. I was terrified to start school again. I know what kind of person I was during University back at 18. I was free. I knew exactly what, and who, I wanted to be and yet I knew nothing at all. There are a ton of mistakes I made back then. I don’t regret them, because they brought me here, but I do acknowledge them. I was scared that who I was then is actually who I would be now, in school.

But I’m not.

I’m a ‘stay up late until I get the assignment done’ kind of girl. I’m a ‘create a homework planner so I always know what’s due’ kind of girl. I’m a ‘help other students with their homework and assignments because I know the material’ kind of girl. I’m a ‘stick it through even though I might fail’ kind of girl.

That is what I REALLY learned about me last semester.

I know who I am.
Do you?

Stay Safe,
Jade

DWC: Daily Writing Challenge

I am freaking excited!

I am ecstatic!

Alright, so I spent the majority of my life…procrastinating. I know it. I’ve always known it. I think it stems from when I was a child and I would read like crazy and I would put everything off. I didn’t mind not getting anything done. I just wanted to escape the woes of the world and read the rest of my life away. I believe that this greatly instilled in me an sense of timelessness. Around me, I built a wall of  ‘I can do it later, right now I’m reading‘ and no one corrected me.

Now, as an adult, I find that I can be productive and do this. I often times put off things that aren’t as important to do things that are. This is funny because recently I watched a TedTalk (I believe) that said productive procrastinators are a thing!

One thing that I’ve found I do is write very spontaneously. I get the urge to write and I can bang out 10,000 words in one sitting. Then, I wouldn’t write for days, sometimes even weeks. That’s just crazy to me.

This past year, I’ve made some connections that have really made me think about my goals as a writer. I knew that if I ever wanted to achieve my dreams, especially within my time line, I would have to start taking things seriously. I know that I want to pitch my current WIP during PitchWars this August. In order to do that, I need to make some changes over the next few months and also for the future. I came up with DWC, logically named, the Daily Writing Challenge. Heehee.

I planned to do it for 30 days, to start. I’m currently in day 17. I am not just counting words written for my current WIP, Phoenix, though. I am also counting things that I write that are not so creative. Speeches, reviews, reports for school, etc. If I am using my brain to write, at all, I am counting the words.

To me, this helps keep the momentum going, especially on days that I can’t write creatively. It’s worked beautifully. Using Google Sheets, I’ve created a worksheet grid that shows how much I am writing every day. I have it filtered to add the sum of words everyday and also the average. I have written 20,805 words (that I’ve logged) so far and I have an average of 1,300 words a day. I know that to a seasoned writer, this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal but to me it’s amazing. Without NaNoWriMo in November (wrote 50k+) and CampNaNo in April (Wrote 15k+), I don’t usually get in that many words in a month.

So yes, I plan to write every single day and let the majority of words be on my current WIP. I plan to update more, write reviews more and to also update you all on DWC!

Good Writtance,

Jade

Book Review: Dare to Run by Jen McLaughlin

Lucas Donahue is not ashamed of his criminal past, but after a brief stint in prison, he’s ready to go legit and live a normal life. The problem is, no one leaves the gang without permission—even if he is one of the boss’s top men. Plus someone’s placed a hit on him. And then there’s that feisty little bartender who’s going to cause him even more trouble.
 
Heidi Greene knows to keep her distance from a ladies’ man like Lucas—even if she can’t keep her eyes off him. When he rescues her from an attack in the alley outside her bar, she’s forced to stay by his side for safety. But the longer she spends time with him, the greater her chances are for getting hurt in more ways than one.

I listened to this book! Yes! I have been trying to utilize my Overdrive account more. I don’t know if you guys have heard of it but it’s absolutely amazing! It’s an app that allows you to connect to your local library system. All you need is a valid library card and you can read books, and listen to audio books, for free! Ya’ll know that I love a good deal! Free is the best deal ever! Anyway, so I have been trying to discover new gems and I have. In Jen McLaughlin.

dare to run comps_final.indd

I’ve very happy with the way this book turned out. I actually searched like crazy for info on the next book in the series because I really wanted to see where she was going to take the story line. Some crazy things happen and I wasn’t sure how she was going to turn it around. From my research, and no spoilers here, it works!!

So the thing that made me really love this book is that the main character male, Lucas, is a real badass. And I don’t mean just because he is tough, fierce and uses a gritty Boston accent. He is actually not a good guy. EEK!!

He’s on the bad side of the law, just recently released from jail after serving time doing as his family does. I love it. Usually you get this character who is the anti-hero with some saving attributes, and I guess he is to some extent, but there’s no real saving grace for this kid. He has killed, he deals with guns and he doesn’t take ish from anyone! The fact that Heidi, who has dealt with some evil characters in her own past, falls in love with this guy is amazing.

I’m definitely down happy that I listened to this one instead of reading it. I could really see the scenes in my head. So thanks, whoever told me that audio books are amazing, I’m sorry if i doubted you.

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readance,
Jade

 

Link to Book

 

 

Book Review: Dating the Undead by Juliet Lyon

V-Date.com. It’s the vampire dating site. And if you’re a mortal who’s getting a little too close to learning our secrets, I’m the guy who swoops in to make you forget. But don’t worry: I only bite sometimes.

I was great at my job until I met Silver—sarcastic, sexy, spunky Silver. I can’t bring myself to make her forget about our kind. About me. It’s all I can do not to throw her down on the kitchen counter and have my way with her, fangs and all.

She says she’s just looking for a good time, and I’m just the vampire to give it to her—over and over again. I went into this looking for a good tumble, but even I have to admit that things are changing between us. Good god, I want to hold her hand. In public.

So lately I’ve been getting more and more into audio books and I love it! Recently my sister and her friend went on a cruise. They flew down the day before they were supposed to leave and I drove down to meet them. The drive was almost five hours and I absolutely loved it. During this time I was still working at my old job and the long nights cleaning allowed me to plug into my head phones and listen for hours. This book was only about 9 hours of listening time.

dating the undead
I was pleasantly surprised that I loved this novel so much. There were two readers, which I didn’t know was a thing, and they both used accents that really fit their characters. I know I’m probably just behind on the times but I really enjoyed it.

The drama, the kissing, the tension. It was fantastic! I do think the synopsis is really weird. It’s not the one that I read when I first chose to read the book. It’s weird, right? Anyway, the book is based after vampires have integrated into society. Silver meets a hot vampire on New Years Eve and later decides to join a dating website that caters to the mix of the species. Love, murder and crazy dates fill the pages. I love it!

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readance,
Jade

 

Link to Book