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.

Updates, updates, updates!

First update: Yes, I am still here. I haven’t been abducted by aliens, or swallowed by giant sandworms, or blinked into an alternate dimension. It’s been a while since I’ve posted mostly because I wanted to make sure I had enough to say, and now… I finally do.

I don’t want to build these updates up too much, of course. It’s not like I’ve landed an agent (wouldn’t that be nice), but I do have more to say than: My brother is still beta-reading for me; I’ll do edits once he’s done.

So here’s the second update: I need to make some MAJOR REVISIONS. My brother, whose help is indispensable, called me up last week and was like, “You definitely want me to be honest, right?”

That’s a “yikes” moment–but one that I would much rather have coming from him rather than in countless rejection letters.

The long and short of it is that I’ve made my characters so unlikable that he didn’t want to finish reading the story. He had to force himself to finish Part One. Ouch, right? Well, yes, but also not surprising. I started planning this story in 2019 and then dove into the biggest part of writing it during COVID. And, like a lot of people, my faith in the human race was at an all-time low during the pandemic.

And it shows. At the time, writing that way was cathartic. But the end result was just way more nihilistic than I really intended for it to be.

And that’s not what I want to put into the world. I’m all for holding up a mirror to society and showing both the good and the bad of what makes us human–but in the midst of COVID-19, I seem to have forgotten the “good” parts.

Now, however, I’m approaching the book a little bit differently. (Because who wants to read a story that’s nothing but complaining about the worst of humanity?) Instead, I’m going to focus this story more on being a love letter to all that I love. When writing, I think it’s important to hold that aforementioned mirror up to society, yes, but I also want the story to be about some of the other things that make me happy. If I work all of those various ideas into the book, I should end up with more relatable characters who will have the reader eagerly turning the pages because they care about what happens to them.

That’s the goal at least. It’s a big edit, but, as the old adage goes: “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.”

Other updates: My brother pointed out some other inconsistencies and areas that need improvement. One involved doing some research on blood. (You should have seen the look on my fellow librarians’ faces when all of these blood-related books started coming in for me. I think they’re all convinced I’m a vampire.)

Summer Reading is also coming up, which is a busy time at the library, but I’m hoping with enough planning ahead and to-do lists, those programs won’t take away too much of my time and energy. With luck, I’ll have a second draft of Part One done by August.

Key phrase: “With luck.”

So there we go: A goal, a plan, and a whole lot of hopeful thinking. Onward and upward, my friends.

Halloween, Librarian Style

Happy Halloween, everyone!

At my library, we take Halloween very seriously—which translates to: Costumes all week!

It seemed only appropriate that I share mine: Ash from Pokémon, Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice, Velma from Scooby-Doo, Green Arrow, and 1950s.

Hope everyone has a spooky-fun holiday! I know I have a real terror ahead of me starting tomorrow: NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). *Insert horror movie scream*

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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Summer Reading Memories

I don’t have too much to report on the writing front (yet), as I’m still tying up some post-Summer Reading loose ends. But, in the meantime, I thought it would be fun to share some more pictures from Summer Reading.

Good times. Good times.

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!