Review: The Midnight Library

From Goodreads.com

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


One of the best books I’ve read this year. The whole concept of parallel universes absolutely fascinates me, so if you take that idea and shine it through a very philosophical lens, you get this wonderfully thought-provoking story that is also perfectly summarizes what it means to be alive: It means to love and be loved, but also to hurt and be hurt; it means success and failure; it means mundanity and turbulence–it means experiencing the entire spectrum of emotions. No matter what choices you make in life, you will feel it all, good and bad. This book is about all of that–about learning to accept and move past regrets, and about the road not travelled–and about, ultimately, how that untraveled road may not matter as much as the road we, ourselves, are actually on. A beautiful book that I couldn’t put down and that I don’t want to say any more about: You just have to visit the Midnight Library yourself.



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How’d the To-Do List Go?

It’s been a few days, and now that I’ve returned to work, I can look back and see how productive my time off really was.

And… not bad. I didn’t get everything done, but I definitely made headway. I didn’t get to the query letter revisions like I’d hoped, but I did: (1) Write 5,000 words, and (2) Write a script for my Word-Maleerie video and start filming it.

Plus, I worked on some personal goals—exercising and reading some books from my to-read pile. Self-care is important too. I can’t expect to write anything decent if my head is all stressed and befuddled.

I also took time to have some fun. I saw the newest Venom movie (which was an absolute blast!), and I went to Halloween Haunt at Kings Island.

And yes, I absolutely have pictures from the latter.

In all, my mini-vacation was equal parts productive, fun, and relaxing—and really, I can’t complain about that.

My Mini-Vacation To-Do List

You know how much I love checklists….

Alright, I’ve had my fun at the Comic Expo. I’ve taken some time to reorganize Word-Maleerie. Now, it’s time to get serious.

I’m taking a few days off from the library and using them to finish a few long-procrastinated projects. Many of them are related to writing; some are not. I won’t bore you with my household organizing or my to-read list (though now that I’ve added reviews to the blog, you may be seeing the fruits of that—if I get it conquered).

But I will share what I’m planning to accomplish as a writer. Here it goes:

  • Revise my query letters. (Shout-out to my library’s Write-Away Club who all gave me some great advice a couple meetings ago when I brought in what I’d been sending to agents and publishers.)
  • Finish “Part Two” of my current writing project.
  • Write a script for a video introducing myself which I plan to have on the homepage of Word-Maleerie. (Bonus points if I get it filmed and edited.)

Three items on the writing to-do list. Not many, but each task has quite a bit of work that goes into it.

I’m hoping that posting my goals on my blog will keep me accountable. I’ll write again in a week with an update on my progress—which will hopefully be straight-up success! (Fingers crossed!)

Wish me luck, all! *Cracks knuckles, pops neck* Let’s get down to business!

Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 6: Review

From Goodreads.com

Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 6 by Kiiro Yumi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Sweet and fun with lots of moments that make you smile. Plus, it’s a manga about why books shouldn’t be censored–which was particularly interesting in this installment since the story’s library actually decided to not include a magazine in their collection (one that specifically broke the law by printing the name of a minor serial killer). Yeah… talk about shades of gray and some interesting fodder for a debate/discussion. In short, this is a book that makes you think while also being a nice, sweet little rom-com. Not an easy balance to achieve, but it somehow manages it perfectly–which is saying something coming from someone who does not typically enjoy rom-coms.



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The Fade Out, Act Three: Review

From Goodreads.com

The Fade Out, Act Three by Ed Brubaker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*This is the final book in a three-part graphic novel series.*

A pretty solid read. If I’m being honest, it was more “mature” than I usually prefer, but the story was still engaging. I wanted to know what was going to happen next and how the mystery would be solved–and if justice would be served. I won’t answer that question because… spoilers… but I will say if you want a gritty tale of ’40s Hollywood that deals with everything from murder and conspiracy to PTSD and alcoholism… well, then this is a book that will give you that in a well-written–albeit at times uncomfortable–way.



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Being a Rebel….

By reading banned books!

I know what you’re thinking: What’s so rebellious about reading? Well, given how book banning is still alive and well today…. Pass me a leather jacket.

And what’s truly surprising is how many people don’t realize how prevalent banning still is. You don’t have to live in a 1984-esque state or a long ago, ultra-conservative society for censorship to be alive and well.

Last week was Banned Books Week, and our library was fortunate enough to receive a grant to celebrate it. (Shout-out to the Freedom to Read Foundation—THANK YOU!)

We had activities every day culminating in a Banned Books Discussion and Dinner and a drawing for five book-themed gift baskets. We also had displays and decorations—basically, we turned our library into Banned Books Central.

In the past, I’ve been lucky to get one person to attend a Banned Books event. But this year… I had people coming to each daily activity and a grand total of 9 patrons at the dinner. (I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but I live in a small, rural community, and there was also a cruise-in going on that day and the homecoming football game. Nine people is HUGE!)

And what’s even better is that everyone who came—including kids and teens—had honest, real conversations about censorship. Whether it was during the dinner or just a patron passing by, glancing at a display, we were constantly discussing book banning: Why are books banned? Should they be banned? Do we have any favorite books which also happen to be banned? How does all of that make us feel?

As both a writer and as a librarian, it was pretty magical. Banned Books Week is all about celebrating our right to read, and last week… we certainly did exactly that.

Another big thank you to the Freedom to Read Foundation and to my library for letting me embrace my inner rebel all last week!

Do you have a favorite banned book? Tell me about it in the comments! (Mine is a toss-up among Harry Potter, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Looking for Alaska.)

Ms. Marvel: Review

I’m planning on adding reviews to Word-Maleerie! I write them anyways–because when you read over 200 books a year (not as impressive as it sounds; a lot of them are graphic novels), you need SOMETHING to help keep the stories straight. And I figured… what better one to start with than my library’s most recent Comic Book Club read!

From Goodreads.com

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This was a re-read for my library’s Comic Book Club. And… yeah, I loved it just as much as I did the first time. Maybe even more, since it was really fun to go back to where these characters first began and compare them to who they are now. I love a good character evolution, and Ms. Marvel is full of that! Plus, lots of emphasis on family and community, while still being a story about finding your own identity and…. well, just a darn good superhero origin. Seriously, if you haven’t read Ms. Marvel, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
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I’ve been wanting to read Ms. Marvel for ages, and now I finally have. In short, I found the entire graphic novel… delightful. I LOVE KAMALA. She is nerdy and fun! I feel like she would be most readers if we lived in the Marvel Universe and got superpowers. (But not in a Mary Sue way. She is totally her own person and unique–which was kind of the whole theme of this particular volume–but just also very relatable.) I can’t wait to see what other adventures are waiting for Ms. Marvel!



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A bit of escapism, a bit of comradery… and a whole lot of fun!

I promise I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth. (Yet, at least… with how crazy the world has been the past couple of years, I wouldn’t be surprised if gravity spontaneously stopped.)

So why haven’t I been writing? Well, like I said previously, I’ve been working on some new ideas for how the blog will be organized. But mostly… the past few weeks were spent enjoying a little bit of escapism. (Because we all need some of that these days, right?)

Recently, I attended the Cincinnati Comic Expo. My husband and I have a tradition of going every year, and after having to skip 2020 (for obvious reasons)… boy, were we excited to go back!

But attending a comic convention isn’t as simple as just… you know, going to to the convention. Oh no. If you’re a comic collector, like me, and if you have a nice little room that you’ve dubbed “nerdvana” specifically for nerdy memorabilia… well, you have to plan.

So the week prior was spent analyzing my collection and pinpointing which classic comics would be a part of my search. (Which also involves checking various prices, because a FAIR comic and a FINE comic have very different values… and if you don’t want to overpay–because who does?–then you need to really know the cost spectrum.) Then there was figuring out which Funko Pops I would search for, if I wanted to look for any action figures… etc., etc.

If you didn’t believe I was a nerd before… well, there’s no going back now, is there?

After the con, there’s time spent re-organizing collections (and wishing you had more shelf space) and updating Excel spreadsheets (because I’m not just a nerd… I’m also a dork… AND PROUD!)

So, yes, while I’ve been working on my plan for Word-Maleerie, Phase 2… I’ve also just been… well, being wholly and unabashedly nerdy.

Which I would recommend. 5/5 stars.

If you’ve never wandered through a convention hall filled to bursting with all things comic, fantasy, sci-fi, and anime; if you’ve never wandered through crowds, elbow to elbow with fellow nerds dressed in quippy t-shirts or decked out as their favorite characters; if you’ve never sat in a hall as costumed fan after costumed fan strode onto the stage, with the audience cheering and applauding their skills; if you’ve never haggled over a comic right after a long conversation over DC and Marvel’s movies….

In short… if you’ve never let yourself just totally be among other people who are also just letting themselves be themselves… then please do. The first chance you get.

And it doesn’t have to be at a comic convention. It can be at a sporting event. Or in a gym. Or at a restaurant. Or in a theme park. People tend to think that nerds only exist “in a galaxy far, far away” or in Gotham City.

But we don’t. “Nerd” is really just a word that means passionate. I’ve met my fair share of sports nerds. Or roller coaster nerds. Or food nerds. They just tend to go by different titles: Jocks, or adrenaline junkies, or foodies.

But it all means the same thing: Loving what you love. Being who you are. And loving other people who are also just being who they are.

We need more of that. I’d say “especially these days,” but let’s be real: Humans have always had a tendency toward selfishness, or arrogance, or violence–or a million other pitfalls.

The good news is, we also have a tendency toward comradery and kindness.

And believe me: When you’re watching a costume contest, and every single person in the audience is showering the person on stage with love and with applause that says: “Wow, you made that yourself? You look incredible!”

That moment there is when a little bit of faith in humanity comes back.

So, yes, these past few weeks have been a time of escapism. But they’ve also been a time of so much more.

I’ll be writing more soon. I haven’t forgotten this blog or all of the wonderful people who read it. Truly from the bottom of my heart: Thank you.

But in the mean time… here are some Comic Expo pictures! (Specifically the costume contest because… yeah, that’s the most fun part. Also, please forgive if the photos are blurry…. You’d be surprised how fast people move on a stage!)

Updates!

As you can probably see…. Word-Maleerie is changing quite a bit. I’m working on getting everything a bit more organized and streamlined, and hopefully ending up with a “cleaner” look.

My main goal right now is trying to figure out if each post can have a “preview” rather than just the whole post itself. Right now, there’s A LOT of scrolling if, say, you want to staring reading Forthcoming from chapter one.

I’m also hoping to add a video to the homepage as a more proper introduction to the site. (And hopefully, as a way to introduce myself to publishers/agents beyond a query letter. Fingers crossed!)

Another feature I’m thinking about is linking my Goodreads to Word-Maleerie. I write quick little reviews of everything I read—mostly so I can keep track of what happens in each story (which is very helpful when you power through around 200 graphic novels a year….)—but I thought it might also be fun to add those reviews here.

At least, That all is the plan so far. It will take a lot of time… but anything is doable with a check list!

Wish me luck!