A Little Over Halfway

Life has been very, VERY, VERY busy lately. This year’s Summer Reading program at the library has absolutely exploded! I feel very blessed to serve such a wonderful community with so many thoughtful and appreciative patrons.

And the signs of a happy Summer Reading program have been scattered throughout the last month–a bottle rocket graveyard on the library roof; hands stained with paint after a successful craft; a cluttered office after Library Comic Con; and many, many smiling faces.

So it is little wonder I haven’t had much time for my blog. But today has been a nice quiet respite, and I thought it might be fun to do a post.

We’re about halfway through the year, and even though life has been busy, I’ve still found time to read. So, I thought… why not post a list of my top 10 favorite books of the year so far?

Best Books of the Year (So Far)

10. Something is Killing the Children, Vol. 4 by James Tynion IV

9.  Teen Titans, Year One by Amy Wolfram

8. Daredevil: Back in Black, Vol 3: Dark Art by Charles Soule

7. Spider-Man: City at War by Dennis Hopeless

6. Library Wars 15 by Kiiro Yumi

5. Sentient by Jeff Lemire

4. Spy Family 7 by Tatsuya Endo

3. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

2. How to Take Over the World by Ryan North

1. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

What have been your favorite books this year? Has anyone else read any of these on my list? What did you think of them?

Picture: Spider-Man perler bead craft from one of our library activities.

Review: The Final Girls Support Group

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From Goodreads.com

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Not my usual style of book, but I enjoyed it. While this was a horror book, it wasn’t exactly a nail-biter. Instead, I’d call this more of an intriguing read with a solid concept and a healthy handful of creepy moments. (I mean… there was one moment that was legitimately unsettling to the highest degree, but I don’t want to spoil it.) This book had some shock value, but overall was more about dealing with trauma. There was also some interesting commentary on struggles that women face, especially in terms of being victims. And even a worthwhile dive into the psychology of horror movies, examining not only the psyches within the movies themselves, but also the mindsets of audiences who enjoy them, and what those movies mean to society at large. Like I said, this book was more intriguing than anything else. It took a while to get into, but once I did, it was a pretty quick read. I was chatting with a fellow librarian who also read it, and she and I pretty much agreed: It’s not a book that we’d recommend in a “you-have-to-read-this” way, but if we saw someone picking it up, we’d say it was a good book and we’d be curious what they think of it.



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Review: Quince

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From Goodreads.com

Quince by Sebastian Kadlecik

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Really cute and sweet and heartfelt. I loved the theme that being a superhero doesn’t mean that you need superpowers–sometimes, you just need to be there for someone. My favorite superhero is Superman for that very reason: At the core of those comics, he’s just a guy trying to help in the ways that he can. (The ways that he can just happen to be catching meteors and such, lol.) But sometimes the “ways that you can” mean volunteering, or being a friend, or just spreading a bit of happiness rather than hate. This book ends with the idea that sometimes the “cheesy” things can also be true–and I love this comic for saying that! Thank you for reminding us that our favorite characters are superHEROES. So yes, sometimes the cheesy things are true: That we can all put a little positive into the world. (Flying and bulletproof skin not necessary.)



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Review: Thornhill

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From goodreads.com

Thornhill by Pam Smy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A expected this to be a spooky story… but it was, in actuality, a very tragic one. The art-half the diary-half complemented each other perfectly. The end result meant that, while there was some creepy imagery, the story itself was a sad one about what happens when people are cruel to each other. I’d definitely recommend it; it’s a fast read, but it it packs a powerful punch.



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NaNoWriMo, Day 1

My family and I have a tradition of wishing each other a happy first of the month. I’m not entirely sure when or why it started, but I’ve always liked the sentiment of it: Happy First. We made it through one month. We have a brand new start ahead of us.

So, in that spirit: Happy Nov. 1, everyone!

What that also means for writers: Day one of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

If you’re not familiar with it, NaNo is when writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in one month (about the length of a short novel).

It’s definitely quite a feat, and not something I’ve ever technically accomplished. (Several years ago, I did manage to finish a novel, but it was short the 50k mark. What can I say…. The story was just finished.)

This year, though, I’m doing something a little bit different. The novel I started for NaNo last year is still unfinished. I’ve worked on it throughout the year, made some decent headway, hit a roadblock—lather, rinse, repeat.

So my goal for NaNo is not to hit that 50k. It’s just to finish this particular manuscript.

I’m hoping NaNo will give me a kick-in-the-pants and that blogging about my progress each day will keep me motivated and honest.

Because lately, I haven’t had much time to write. I’ve been focusing on other goals…. Namely, losing weight.

I feel like I kind of need to explain why this blog about writing has had fewer updates about me… you know… writing. All year, I’ve been exercising and adjusting my eating habits. And for the most part, I could still squeeze in time to write. But I kind of hit a point where I needed to kick my routine into high gear if I still wanted to see the scale decreasing.

So that has been priority one. I’m hoping with NaNo, though, I’ll be able to re-find that balance and make progress with both of my main goals: Writing and being healthy.

And, in case anyone is curious, I started the year at 162 pounds. (Not great for someone who isn’t even 5-foot.) My most recent lowest weight was 136.6. (Though trick-or-treat kinda got in the way…. Darn you, delicious Halloween candy!!!)

To sum up: NaNo = Finish last year’s project. Blog = Hold me accountable. Weight = Keep going down!

Wish me luck. With all those goals and only so many hours in a day (and a full-time job), I kind of feel like I’m going to need it.

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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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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Looking Back on Series that Shaped Me

I’ve had another week where there wasn’t much time for any sort of writing–even very short stories. So I thought I’d take another moment to write about some of stories that have most inspired me. This time: Favorite series. I’m only going to include series I’ve actually finished, so the list is pretty short.

My Favorite Book Series

(4) Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

(3) A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickett

(2) Wayward Pines by Blake Crouch

(1) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

(Wow… only four. I think I need to actually finish some of the series I’ve started. Other great ones that are still “in progress:” Across the Universe by Beth Revis, Discworld by Terry Pratchett, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer.)

What are your favorite series? I’d love to hear them!

Words of Advice

I’ve not had much time this week for writing, so instead of a story (even a short one), I thought I’d share some quotes on writing that either: (A) Inspired me to be a writer myself, or (B) Have helped me figure out what kind of writer I want to be.

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” — Stephen King


“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.” — Neil Gaiman


“Wasn’t writing a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination?” — Ian McEwan


“To hell with facts! We need stories!” — Ken Kesey


“Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.” — Mark Twain


“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” — Robert Frost


“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” — Ray Bradbury


“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” — Dr. Seuss


“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” — Jack London


“Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

What quotes inspire you? I’d love to hear them!