TomeTopple TBR | Round 7

Hi Booklovers,

Another round of my favorite read-a-thon is upon us! I’m so excited! I can’t believe it’s already up to Round 7!

I’m sure most of you already know what Tome Topple is but if you don’t, it’s a two-week-long read-a-thon where the focus is on reading books over 500 pages. It was created by Sam from ThoughtsonTomes.

This round is scheduled to take place beginning at midnight on November 16th until 11:59pm on November 29th, 2018 (times are based on your timezone)

There are challenges you can do for this read-a-thon. They include:

  1. Read more than 1 tome
  2. Read a graphic novel (must be over 500 pages–can include bindups)
  3. Read a tome that’s part of a series
  4. Buddy read a tome
  5. Read an adult novel

I will link  Sam’s Official Announcement Video for anyone interested in learning more about them.

I usually try to keep my limit at 2 books, but this time I’ve decided on 3 books that I really want to read. It’s should be interesting, but I have a feeling I’m ready to up my goal this round!


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling  I read Order of the Phoenix last round and I thought now would be the perfect time to continue with my reread of the series!

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr This was on my very first TomeTopple TBR but I never got around to picking it up. It’s been sitting on my shelf unread for the longest time. But I’ve been in the mood to read it lately and this seems like the perfect opportunity to do that 🙂 .

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi I had put this on my TBR for last round but never got to pick it up. Though I’m very excited to read this as I will be buddy reading it 🙂 ! It will be my very first time doing a buddy read during this read-a-thon and I can’t wait!

**If you’re interested to know what challenges my TBR fills, the only challenge that I will NOT be doing is reading a graphic novel.**

So that’s all I have for this post! Anyone else planning on participating? What are you going to read?

Thanks for reading!

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Review | Changing Tides

1976506Author: Catherine Hapka

Publisher: Disney Press

Publication Date: November 6th, 2007

Series: A Gates Family Mystery #1

Source: Library Copy

Read: October 14, 2018–October 29th, 2018

Goodreads Summary: Samuel Gates has always been drawn to tale of brave explorers and far off lands. But stories are not enough to live on when, in 1612, the Gates family loses everything. To help restore their reputation and seek a new fortune, Samuel, along with his brother William, must leave the familiar streets of London for an uncertain world – the Americas.

As he crosses the Atlantic, Samuel meets a man who speaks of a hidden treasure somewhere in the Jamestown colony. However, before Samuel can decipher his garbled message, the man mysteriously dies. Now, with only a letter and a few cryptic clues to go on, Samuel finds himself caught up in a hunt that goes back to the very beginnings of the New World – to Roanoke and a vanished colony. (Goodreads Page)


I didn’t even know these books existed until recently. I’m a big fan of the National Treasure movies so when I discovered them, I knew I had to read them. This series is basically the origin story of the Gates family in the United States starting in 1612, when the ancestor’s of Benjamin Franklin Gates (the main character in the movies) first came to America.

I really enjoyed this first installment. This is a children’s series, but while reading it, I frequently forgot that I was, in fact reading, a children’s book. The character’s were great, though sometimes I found them a little annoying, especially Elizabeth and her interactions with her brother. But the main character Samuel, was really fleshed out.

I definitely felt like this was more of a plot-driven story but that didn’t bother me, although there were some characters I would have liked to get to know more about. However, there were multiple times in the story where I wished the author had slowed down a little and explored a bit more. (These books are all under 300 pages so I think this is definitely going to be something that’s going to continue to come up as I read the rest of the series 😆 ) .

The historical aspects of this book were really good. I enjoyed reading about the history of the colony and getting to see certain characters appear in a way other then how they’re depicted in other Disney movies.

All in all, I enjoyed this and can’t wait to finish the rest of the series! (I’m currently reading the second book and I’m already liking it more then the first 🙂 ).

Thanks for reading!

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Writer’s Break Friday | NANOWRIMO 2018 TAG

Hi Booklovers!

I’m back today with another Writer’s Break Friday! Today’s post is a little different then my normal Writer’s Break Friday (where I talk about how much writing I did throughout the week) because I’m doing a tag instead.

I wasn’t tagged by anyone to do this, but since I haven’t posted anything in a while and NANOWRIMO is less then a week away, I figured this would be the perfect post to get back into blogging. And talk a little bit about my NANOWRIMO project.

This tag was created by Natalia Leigh. I will link to her original video here.


1. How many times have you participated in NaNoWriMo? How many times have you won?

This will be my 2nd year participating in actual NANOWRIMO, though I’ve done multiple rounds of Camp. I have yet to win any attempts at NANO whether it be November or Camp, but I’m determined to win this time!

2. Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I’d say I’m a little bit of both. I have a general outline to start, and I’m trying something new this year where I outline 3 chapters at a time in a bit more detail but not so much that I have everything figured out before I start drafting. That way I don’t have a full outline to follow/fix if something changes while drafting.

3. What are the titles of the projects that you have attempted/completed for past NaNos?

None of my NANO projects have official titles. I find it hard to give them titles before I write the book. And since I have yet to finish any of the projects I started, they remain untitled.

4. What are you working on for NaNo this year?

I’m working on an Adult Historical Fiction/Romance/Adventure novel. That’s all I can really tell you right now 🙂 .

5. What is one tip that you’d give to someone else that is participating in NaNo?

Try not to stress about completing the perfect outline before you start writing. It will only put added pressure on yourself and by the time NANO starts you won’t want to write the book anymore (or at least that’s what happens to me 😆 ) . And chances are once you start writing, you’re going to realize that things in your outline need to change/no longer fit with your story.

6. What was the inspiration for this novel? Do you remember when the inspiration hit you?

My inspiration comes from a few different things. It might be a book I’m reading or a movie I watch. In this case, inspiration came from re-watching National Treasure (2004) a few times in September. I don’t remember where I was when the inspiration hit for this novel, but the idea just kept popping into my head randomly for a while before I sat down to finally start outlining.

7. Read us the first sentence from your NaNo novel last year?

I’m not going to do this one as I don’t really like the opening line of my last project.

8. What do you plan to do with your manuscript after NaNo?

I plan on putting it away for the month of December and then starting the revising process in January, then maybe look into publishing it somewhere down the line.

9. Are you prepared for NaNo? Are you nervous?

I think I’m prepared. I already have a schedule (with days off as I won’t draft on the days I outline) and my own daily word count to follow. Hopefully it will help me win this time! Though I am nervous as I have never won before.

That’s all I have for this post!

Are you participating this year? Trying anything new to help you reach your goal for the month? Let me know in the comments below. I’m not going to tag anyone, unless you want to do this yourself, consider yourself tagged!

Thanks for reading!

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Top 5 Wednesday | Books You’ve Removed From Your TBR

Hi Booklovers!

Today I’m doing another T5W post! “Top 5 Wednesday” is hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes.  If you are interested in participating, you can find a full list of topics here.

This week’s topic is: books you’ve removed from your TBR. I usually have trouble coming up with five books for each topic (which is why I don’t participate on a regular basis 😆 ) but I had absolutely no issues for this one 🙂 !

Most of the books on this list is here simply because I lost interest, but some are here for a specific reason.

Anyway, onto the books:

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth When this was first coming out, I was really looking forward to reading this. I enjoyed the Divergent series (except Allegiant) and wanted to see what she did next. But then the book was released and there was this big controversy surrounding it, specifically with how it dealt with chronic pain. As I personally deal with chronic pain, I decided that I didn’t want to read it.

The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia This one was never really one that had me anxiously wanting to read it. I have never read anything by Kami Garcia before, but I went to one of her Author Talks because Sam from ThoughtsonTomes was moderating it. And it’s common courtesy to buy an author’s work if you go to one of their events, so I did. Don’t get me wrong, I was interested in it after hearing her talk about it, but I didn’t read it as soon as I got it home. So the longer it sat on my shelf, the less I wanted to read it

Dark Water by Tricia Rayburn I’m actually very disappointed that this is on this list. This is the third book in a trilogy and I absolutely loved the first one. I couldn’t get my hands on the other books fast enough…But then I read the second book and I felt like nothing happened. Like there was no need for it to even exist, and by the time I finished it, I just didn’t have the energy to read this one anymore 😦

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner I read The Maze Runner, the first book in this series on audio. I enjoyed it but felt as though the writing style didn’t quite meet the age of the characters portrayed in the movies. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it and everything I just think that this is a series that I prefer in movie form than book form.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber This one I might actually read one day, but since I didn’t read it as soon as it was released, I just don’t reach for it right now as I have so many other books ahead of it on my TBR.

So that’s all I have for this post! What are some books that you have taken off of your TBR pile?

Thanks for reading!

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TomeTopple Round 6 Wrap Up

Hi Booklovers!

I recently participated in TomeTopple, a readathon created by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes, where the focus is on reading books over 500 pages.

I originally planned on putting this in with my monthly wrap up but I’ve been in such a reading mood lately that I want to do a separate wrap up so that I can spend a little bit longer talking about the books I read during the readathon!

My TBR for this round:


(If you want to read more about why I chose the books I did, you can read my TBR             post here)

I had a pretty successful round this time, though I did only manage to complete one full tome this time.

June 29th through July 8th

I started out reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I had originally thought that this would be a quick read for me as I’ve read it numerous times, but it ended up taking me longer than I thought to finish it. I’m not complaining though as it’s my favorite one of the series.

I did manage to listen to about 40 pages of Drums of Autumn during this time as well. I was hoping to switch between these two, but I just couldn’t seem to put Harry Potter down!

July 9th through July 12th

I finished Harry Potter around 11:30pm on the 8th and immediately went to sleep 😆 . But I wasted no time picking up my next read The Tiger’s DaughterBut I only made it to the 70 page mark before I decided to put it down. I really wanted to like this, but I just couldn’t get into it. Not much was happening. The writing style was unique as it was written in letter format. The letters talk about the main character’s past and the beginning of the friendship with the one who is writing the letters, but I just felt like it was dragging. I felt lost at times. I might try and pick it up again in the future, it just wasn’t a good fit for the readathon.

Then, I decided to pick up Drums of Autumn again and focus the time remaining on finishing that as it was my priority for this round. I didn’t manage to finish it before time ran out but I made a pretty good dent in it 🙂 and finished it a couple days later! I love the Outlander series and I can’t wait to continue (though not for a while as the books are massive). I’m curious to see where the story goes next!

Sadly, I didn’t get to Children of Blood and Bone, but I still really want to read it and I’m hoping to get to it before the month is over!

Overall, I managed to read 1,335 pages over the two-week span, which I’m thrilled about! I’d say that I averaged a little under 100 pages a day (I’m a slow reader 😆 ) but I love this readathon and I can’t wait for the next round! (I may or may not have my TBR for round 7 already picked out 😆 )

That’s all I have for now! Did you participate in TomeTopple? How did you do?

Thanks for reading!

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Review | An Ember in the Ashes

20560137Author: Sabaa Tahir

Publisher: Razorbill

Publication Date: April 28, 2015

Series: Ember in the Ashes #1

Source: Library Copy

Read: June 27, 2018 – June 29, 2018

Goodreads Summary: Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself. (Goodreads Page)


This is actually a reread for me, but I realized that I never wrote a review of it the first time 😆 And I have to say I loved it even more the second time, whether or not the audiobook had something to do with that I have no idea (though I have to say the audiobook was AMAZING!)

I’m just going to jump right in and discuss what I loved about this book first 🙂 Laia and Elias were both fantastic characters. I usually struggle with multiple POVs in a single novel as I can find it challenging to distinguish the character voices in my head, but I’m happy to say that that wasn’t the case for this book (yes, I used the audiobook this time which had two readers, but I didn’t have it the first time). Both characters were really brought to life equally. Neither of them seemed to be fleshed out more than the other. I really understood what motivated them and why they felt the way they did in each of their situations.

Now, let’s talk setting. I loved it. It was dark, but still felt real. It was interesting to read something inspired by Roman history, as I’ve never read anything of the sort before.

Tahir’s writing style was also great…I never felt as though the story dragged. And her descriptions were well-written, the story seemed to fly of the page and play like a movie in my head!

The plot was fast-paced and I felt as though I couldn’t turn the page fast enough. It left me with some unanswered questions, but as it’s the first in a series I’m sure I’ll get answers soon.

All in all, I can’t seem to think of anything I didn’t like (though that isn’t to say this was perfect, no book is, just that as I’m writing this nothing comes to mind!) I can’t wait to pick up the next book! Have any of you read this? What are your thoughts? (No spoilers please!)

Thanks for reading!

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Writer’s Break Friday | CampNaNoWriMo Week 1 & 2

Hi Booklovers!

Today I’m doing another Writer’s Break Friday! I haven’t done one in a while so I’m excited to get back into it. For those that don’t know Writer’s Break Friday is something I do on my blog where I talk about my writing progress for the week. I started it as a way to keep myself accountable for writing, but I had fallen into a pretty big reading slump over the last few months (maybe closer to a year) and when a reading slump hits, I usually lose all motivation to write 😦 But I’m happy to say that I think I’ve finally beaten the dreadful slump so this should be up on the blog pretty regularly now 🙂 !

Since it’s July and that means CampNaNoWriMo, I thought I’d update you on what I’ve been doing, writing wise, over the last couple weeks.

July 1st through July 6th

So I didn’t actually do any writing this week. I focused mainly on figuring out what my goals were going to be this month and trying a new outlining method.

So what are my goals for the month? Well, I had originally put my goal to write 20,000 words. But not actually writing the first week really put me behind. I then switched my goal to measure in hours, where I decided that I wanted to do 30 hours. But I wasn’t always doing a full hour at a time, so whenever I tried updating my progress, my half hours weren’t being counted so then I switched it to minutes. I knew I still wanted my official goal to be 30 hours so I set my goal as 1,800 minutes.

How did I outline? I’m still working on “Project Y” this month (not the official title). I started it during April’s Camp but what I had written didn’t feel right for the story so I scrapped it and decided to start over. (It’s a YA contemporary inspired by the gun-control debate in the US). I had an outline, but I decided to change it a little, but I’m more of a visual person so the bullet point outline I had wasn’t really working for me.

So I decided to try the cork-board method. I found a great article on Writer’s Edit that explained the three-act structure using Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games as an example, which really helped guide my outline.

My first step was to get all the supplies I would need:


Then I created a key for myself so I knew what each color represented:IMG_1308

Then I started outlining Act 1, with each card headed with the purpose of the chapter (found in article linked above):IMG_1306

I’m outlining each act as I go. So I have an outline for Act 1 completed, now I’m in the process of writing it, then I will outline Act 2 and then write that and so on. Doing it this way is actually helping me to not get overwhelmed. I do have a full story outline written, but that’s just a broad overview of what needs to happen over the course of the book. The cork board lets me go into more detail of what needs to happen in each chapter (though still vague as I’m on the first draft and I like writing whatever comes to me).

I do plan on getting more detailed with the cork board and using the different colored cards once I get to the second draft.

July 7th through July 13th

This week I’ve actually been sitting down to write! I can’t do a daily breakdown of how many words I’ve written each day because I forgot to record it 😦 . But I promise next week I will have a daily breakdown.

I’ve written everyday since Saturday (though Tuesday was spent writing for my Writing Group, not on “Project Y”), which is pretty big for me as I don’t typically get to write on the weekends. I’ve been writing even if I don’t want to because I know that if I miss a day, it will usually be a month before I write again 😆

Doing that has already helped to make a daily routine, because I already start to feel guilty if I haven’t written anything by dinnertime. I’m still trying for the 20,000 words this month, but I’m not forcing myself to get a specific word count each time I write. Instead I aim for 25 minutes of uninterrupted writing a couple times a day. Doing it this way I usually get about 500 words a day (though I do want to increase the time spent writing a day gradually).


Days Writing: 7

Average Time Spent A Day: TBD

Total Minutes on “Project Y”: 605 (since July 1st)

Average Words Written Per Day: TBD

Manuscript Total Count: 2,400

That’s all I have for this post! Do you write/participate in NaNoWriMo? What do you aim for when writing? A certain amount of time or words written?

Thanks for reading!

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