T5W: What Books Will I Never Read?

Hey buddies!

So, to try and get back into the swing of blogging (I’m still pretty sick, which is seriously killing my writerly self-esteem), I feel like a nice gentle post to begin with would be the awesome Top 5 Wednesday prompt hosted by Lainey and Sam over at the T5W Goodreads Page. The prompt,

What Books Will You Never Read

is actually a really interesting prompt. I’m more curious to find out what you guys don’t think you’ll ever read despite the hype and popular recommendations made by your friends/the book community. For me, the books are all fairly straight forward:

  1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
  2. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
  3. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  4. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  5. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan


So, yeah… all of these are incredibly popular book series that I genuinely know I will never read. The Dresden Files is the only one that I’ve actually heard starts out poorly written and isn’t that great… but apparently, it gets better and better with each book. Still isn’t enough to hook me.

All of the others are lauded as life-changing and appealing and epic. What appeals to me most about a book is intelligent design and message- I want something that’ll teach me and wow me throughout. Riordan appeals to a much younger age group I think, so his books seem a little too young for me. Clare and Roth, however, appear to have written books that are near mockups of some favorite YA Fantasy books that have already been written… I just… come on… we’re all aspiring writers. Quit copying others or at least try to throw something original into the storyline.

Their books just seem too much like interpretations of more popular series, and it is hard for me to drag up any sort of interest in a book like that.

ACOTAR, however, I just genuinely have no reason for it. It just seems like too romance-y/not enough substance for me. It’s a completely judgmental reason, and if I’m wrong, please tell me!

What do you guys plan on never reading? Something inside your favorite genre that genuinely looks unappealing? Something outside your favorite genre that has been recommended to you? Something your school assigned? Lol

Let me know! I’d love to hear it 🙂

Until next time,

Live,

Morgan Paige

My fearless friends, I owe you all a massive, heartfelt apology. For the past week, Sunday to Sunday, I was couch-ridden with one of the most relentless sinus infections/flus I’ve ever had. I couldn’t move let alone think, and so my blogging went totally and utterly neglected. I missed you all so much, though, and fortuitously my writing bug fought its way to conquer the actual sickness bug and though I’m not right as rain yet, I know I will be!

Sicknesses have a way of restarting your body and mind, I feel. It was like a thorough, disgusting, boring cleansing as I laid on the couch and filled my soul with crappy daytime TV and naps. You know it’s bad when you can’t even work your brain into anything resembling focus. Have any of you been so sick, your sinuses so unbalanced, that you feel dizzy all the time? That weird drunk feeling plagued me all week, and I’m so happy to say that I finally have a clear head. My energy still isn’t up and I still run to the bathroom to blow my nose every half hour, but hey! I’m out of the house and off the freaking couch!

Towards the end of the cold, I was able to focus long enough (and stay awake long enough) to finish a book. And dear GODS was it the best book I have read since The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. Let me tell you…

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff is one of my top five favorite books ever.

I can’t even begin to laud how perfect this novel was: dark, twisted, sexy, violent, intelligent, and oh-so thoroughly entertaining… how? How is this real? It’s like a magical book that I feel I dreamt up while struggling to survive in my medicine-addled hours on that couch. It was pure tonic for the soul and has inspired me so thoroughly that it’s been hard for me to step away from writing and actually work.

I love this book. It’s to my adult years as Harry Potter was to my childhood. It’s everything I needed to reassure me that I should keep moving forward with my own genre-defying story, and Jay Kristoff is an unparalleled author. I think he’s right up there near Garth Nix, dare I say.

If you want to check out my book review on it, check out my Goodreads page 🙂

Which also brings me to some other musings… I’m considered reworking my blog and introducing new content that is a little different from what I’ve been doing. It’s been a good year since I started up this blog (in October!), and I feel like we have grown so much together. But I really want to focus on my own writing. Incorporating that into self-published book reviews and newsletters is a bit much in terms of work required. So I’m still trying to manage and balance what I will continue putting out.

What do you guys think? Do you come here mostly for that self-published info? Do you love the book reviews? I haven’t put out many thought bubble posts in a while and that hurts my soul a bit :-X

Let me know, I’d love to hear what you guys like to see. I really want to put up some Writing-In-Progress pieces for you- what do you think?

You guys rock 🙂

Until next time,

Live,

Morgan Paige

T5W: Favorite First Lines

Favorite first lines?? This is almost as good as favorite last lines.

This week’s T5W focuses on the best first lines in a novel and I love it because it’s just beyond nerdy. It shows what kind of readers we are and what hooks us. There’s this cock-and-bull story that in order for a publisher to pick up your book, you have to start with action and GRAB the reader right where it hurts. I think this is a bit of an oversimplification, because even without a rough-and-tumble first chapter or a jaw-dropping opening paragraph, all it comes down to is whether or not the author can draw you into their world. Books aren’t social media- they shouldn’t just appeal to shock and awe.

It’s all about quality 🙂

I usually know when I read just the very first sentence if I will like the story within those pages, and it’s based on intuition and feel.

So, my favorite first sentences are all about setting up the feel of the story. They kind of vary between genre and era, but all-in-all can carry the weight of the story in just those first couple of words.

    1. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    2. First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys – Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.
    3. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. – Harry Potter by JK Rowling
    4. People often shit themselves when they die. – Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
    5. Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday; I can’t be sure. – The Stranger by Albert Camus

 

These are all some of my favorite books (though I’m currently reading Nevernight and Something Wicked This Way Comes, and I’m looooving them both), and you can definitely get the feel of the book just with those lines. What are some of your favorite first lines? Do any of these make you smile/laugh/cringe as they did me? Or do they intrigue just as much, too?

Happy Wednesday, readers, I’ll chat with you soon! Join the T5W crew at this Goodreads page!

Live,

Morgan Paige

Café Review: The Book Bar, Portsmouth, NH

You know that feeling where you’re just sitting there, at work or at home just minding your own business, and out of nowhere this pressure pushes on the back on your skull and your neck and makes your heart shudder into overtime? That feeling that something is wrong, and your gut is writhing with indecision and doubt. That same, strange, sensation has been plaguing me for days and is turning my everyday life into a bit of a thriller. I don’t know what it is- anxiety? A sense of foreboding? All I can say is that something’s a bit off in the big, wide world out there… and before it rears its ugly head, I’ll be burying myself in books.


This may be a theme of mine, but whenever I feel like something is askew in this world, I always strive to find a new sanctuary. Whether this is a new place to write, a new bookstore to haunt, or even a new spot to sit in the sun while I read, I just need a new vibe to saturate my brain while I try to distract myself with fantasy worlds.

I did a little road trip recently and found my way out to Portsmouth, NH, where this one bookstore still sits- I drove past it every week for two years when I worked on the coast, and I never had the time or energy to actually stop and enjoy the establishment, even though my eyes were drawn to it like little magnets each time I passed by.

The Book Bar.

I was expecting a hopping bar, something filled with young twenty-somethings socializing and laughing and eating off their food-filled plates. But what I walked in to instead was essentially a library with a centralized stretch of wall converted into a café. With a bunch of beer taps.


Despite my expectations, my nerves relaxed as soon as I walked in and I saw fluffy couches, worn book bindings, and smelled the strong bite of coffee. It was around noon when I got there, and there were people eating their gorgeous lunches with a craft brew, but there were also people sitting at the tables reading one of the many used books that the store offers with a pastry and cup of tea in hand.


I let myself sink into the comfort of the place, ordered a cup of tea called Be Joyful (supplied by a local tea artisan store), and picked up a slightly battered copy of Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. My mind got to wander, my body got to relax, and slowly that feeling of nervous anticipation lessened.

What is it about these moods that draw us to the one place that can heal us?


The atmosphere was perfect, the music was lovely (it was a bit hipster-y, but really, what can you expect with a used bookstore/bar/café?), and the book choice was rejuvenating. There’s something special about finding gems on the shelf that you can’t find in the big book sellers nowadays… it kind of reminds me of when I was a kid and book recommendations didn’t really exist (my friends weren’t big readers). It was all up to my intuition and hunting skills to find my next heart-warmer.


The Book Bar is a thriving, book-lovers dream. I think anyone, whether you’re looking for a place for good food and drinks or to find that strange title you don’t think anyone will carry, would love it.

If you give it a shot, let me know 🙂

New Self-Published eBooks: August 14-20

Hey again, happy Saturday my book lovers 🙂

I just spent the day brunching and birthday-partying it up for an adorable one-year old, and as much as my aesthetic screams “vampire,” seeing the sun and some great people really made the day into something super special. (And of course, I lathered on that sunscreen lol)

Do any of you guys find that certain interests in different mediums seriously affect your interest in other types of art/ entertainment? For example, my boyfriend and I binged watched Stranger Things on HBO, which just so happened to coincide with my attempt to tackle Stephen King’s The Stand (this has been a bit of a fail lol), but I’ve been hungering for more 80s nostalgia reading, shows, and music. I think it actually began a couple of weeks before Stranger Things when I watched almost all of Molly Ringwald’s movies in a weekend… I think I have a bit of an obsession lol

I’m curious, have you guys watched the show? Or have any reading suggestions to give to kind of go with that whole vibe? I just started Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, and I have to admit I am looooving it. So far, it’s exactly what I was looking for in a story- compassionate, emotional, and just starting in on some Halloween spookiness for that essential paranormal edge.

I would love to hear what you guys have to recommend! Here’s this week’s list of upcoming publications, I hope you find something great to read 🙂

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Stairways End by Walt Pickut available August 14, 2016

Havoc Road (#2) by CR Watson available August 15, 2016

About Time – and Particles Colliding by Mark Murray available August 15, 2016

Moonlighting at the Mortuary by TS McLellan available August 15, 2016

Derailed by CM Boers available August 15, 2016

Bloodline: Samson and Delilah by Y Stokes available August 15, 2016

Fatal Reaction, The Beginning by MA Hollstein available August 15, 2016

One Man’s Island by Thomas J Wolfenden available August 15, 2016

Retaliation (#2) by Tobias Klausmann available August 15, 2016

Remnants (#2) by Bridget Bundy available August 15, 2016

We Who Remain (#2) by Sean Fletcher available August 15, 2016

Cinderella Dreams of Fire by Casey Lane available August 15, 2016

Resurgence by Joshua W Nelson available August 15, 2016

Ice Burns by Charity Ayres available August 16, 2016

Mannegishi by Ben Willoughby available August 16, 2016

The Element Hunter Series Book One by Alyssa Casey available August 16, 2016

Journey Back to Mars by Hugo Huesca available August 16, 2016

Dawn of Defiance by Andi Neal available August 16, 2016

Southern Zombies 5: South of Hell by Ann Riley available August 16, 2016

Fated Souls by Sariah Skye available August 16, 2016

Influence by David R Bernstein available August 16, 2016

Sorcerer: Betrayal by DL Harrison available August 16, 2016

Nightshade by AK Anderson available August 16, 2016

Unknown by Wendy Higgins available August 16, 2016

Enforcer by DM Turner available August 17, 2016

A World Apartby Loui Downing available August 17, 2016

Society Stronghold by TJ Vensarn available August 17, 2016

Diabolical Quest by Joanna Mazurkiewicz available August 17, 2016

A Tale of Two Airships by Katherine McIntyre available August 17, 2016

Curse of Chronos by Megan Cutler available August 18, 2016

Sacrifice by Mia Bishop available August 18, 2016

The Actress, the Witch, and the Amazon by Jonathan Pidduck available August 18, 2016

Episode 1: Bloodlines by Allyson Gottlieb available August 18, 2016

Good Things by Mia Darien available August 18, 2016

The Yesterdays of Tomorrow (#2) by Jessica Hernandez available August 19, 2016

Ricochet Through Time (#3) by Lindsey Fairleigh available August 19, 2016

Ben by Shelley Jarvis available August 19, 2016

The Uprising by Kachi Ugo available August 19, 2016

Dark Realm by Mary Vigiliante Zsydlowski available August 20, 2016

Shattered Fate by Yelena Lugin available August 20, 2016

Children of the Voidby Jack Halls available August 20, 2016

The Hundred Gram Mission by Navin Weeraratne available August 20, 2016

 

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Dawn of Defiance by Andi Neal available August 16, 2016

Origins by MR Pritchard available August 17, 2016

Resurrection by MR Pritchard available August 18, 2016

The Uprising by Kachi Ugo available August 19, 2016

The Sleep Trade by Amy Parker available August 19, 2016

Angels and Avalon by Catherine Milos available August 20, 2016

Fusion Heart by Andrew J Cole available August 20, 2016

Dark Realm by Mary Vigliante Szydlowski available August 20, 2016

 

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Anya and the Power Crystal by NA Cauldron available August 15, 2016

Origins by MR Pritchard available August 16, 2016

The Uprising by Kachi Ugo available August 19, 2016

Resurrection by MR Pritchard available August 18, 2016

Dark Realm by Mary Vigliante Szydlowski available August 20, 2016

T5W: Authors You’re Waiting on Another Book From

This T5W post has me fangirling like nothing else. There are too many authors that I love that have books either coming out (Libba Bray, Garth Nix) or who are just SITTING there writing without telling us ANYTHING!

I can respect them and that’s fine lol but the anticipation is killing me. I’ve even pestered some of these artists on Twitter and have yet to get a reply… maybe my persistence is getting to be a little too much. I mean… I can barely finish the first draft of the story I’m writing now. I should give them some slack, right?


Here are five authors who I REALLY want to release a new book soon but haven’t announced anything (but who are we kidding… they have to have a new book coming out soon… right? Right???)

  1. Jonathan Stroud (sob)
  2. Joe Hill (I know he writes graphic novels, too, I am just listing him here for novel purposes)
  3. JK Rowling (literally no info on the Cormoran Strike series…)
  4. Scott Hawkins (I’ve bothered him enough… he says he’s working on a story now but it’s still in the infant stages of production)
  5. Philip Pullman (pie in the skyyyy)

 

So, most of these amazing authors actually will publish something at some point but daaaaang does my heart break every time I see Jonathan Stroud’s books on my shelves. He is a phenomenal, groundbreaking author and I don’t think he’ll make any books soon that aren’t children’s books. Philip Pullman is along the same lines- they both keep releasing new editions of their successful books instead of actually coming out with something new and it destroys a part of my soul each time.


I just wish SO HARD that these guys would come out with new books because I haven’t read anything by them I haven’t liked. What about you guys? Have you any authors that you adore and are waiting oh-so (im)patiently for? We’re such good fans J Just rooting them on lol

Let me know what you guys think, I’d love to hear about some new authors that I can pine for.

T5W is brought to you from Sam and Lainey at the T5W Goodreads page!

Until next time!

Live,
Morgan Paige

Debut Book Review: The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

Title: The Wolf Road

Author: Beth Lewis

Length: 356 pages

Published by: Crown

Summary (from Goodreads): Everything Elka knows of the world she learned from the man she calls Trapper, the solitary hunter who took her under his wing when she was just seven years old.

But when Elka sees the Wanted poster in town, her simple existence is shattered. Her Trapper – Kreagar Hallet – is wanted for murder. Even worse, Magistrate Lyon is hot on his trail, and she wants to talk to Elka.

Elka flees into the vast wilderness, determined to find her true parents. But Lyon is never far behind – and she’s not the only one following Elka’s every move. There will be a reckoning, one that will push friendships to the limit and force Elka to confront the dark memories of her past.

Impression: Sob. Gut me like a fish, please.

This is a masterpiece of a debut novel and it has left me sensitive and tender to the world as I rethink everything I’ve ever learned.

Elka, Lewis’ incredible protagonist, defies every convention and expectation a reader would have for a wild, feral girl brought up under the tutelage of a sinner. Her… teacher? Caretaker? Leader?, Trapper, is a man threaded with mystery and hidden secrets. Elka’s trip across the dystopian world is one that takes her from a naïve wildling to a wizened woman who has to find her place in the world.

I don’t know if you can tell, but I loved this book. Every step of the way, I was attached to Elka’s poetic yet basic grasp of the English language and couldn’t put the book down until I had followed Elka through snow and poisoned waters, traps and crates alike. Lewis spins a heart-wrenching tale that merges the wild with the industrial, the animalistic with the humane. No one is as they seem and every opportunity could be a noose or a hand up.

I learned so much from this book and was thoroughly entertained throughout. It is a story of love and strength in all forms and will leave you floored.

Please read it! It’s not for the faint of heart (it is reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in terms of horror and dystopian themes), but it will leave your own heart melted once you finish it. This book is worth each of the 5 feather pens and I wish I could just have lunch with Beth Lewis to pick her brain about this book. It’s incredible!

Rating:

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T5W: Books You Feel Differently About

HAPPY TOP FIVE WEDNESDAY!

😀

This week’s prompt is a bit of a skull-scratcher, if you know what I mean, and I’d love to hear what you guys think!

You guys probably have noticed, but I have very specific tastes when it comes to books and writing style 🙂

Usually, I know immediately if I will love a book or hate it just based on the author’s ability. However, I realize that a lot of my taste in a story has to do with where I am in this adventure we call life! There are many books that I used to adore that I just don’t connect with anymore and honestly don’t enjoy. I find that there are more of these than books I’ve disliked and ended up rethinking.

For the most part, thinking of this week’s T5W, I realized that a lot of the books I thought I grew up loving I actually only liked because of bias or lack of reading experience. Just go ahead and check out this list lol

 

  1. Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey
  2. Lady Friday and Superior Saturday (#5, #6 in the Keys to the Kingdom series) by Garth Nix
  3. The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
  4. Eragon (or all of the Inheritance cycle) by Christopher Paolini
  5. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

 

The first four books on the list were ones that I read and absolutely adored. Especially DRoP and Eragon, I just couldn’t get enough when I was younger.


Number 2 on the list, The Keys to the Kingdom books, were unfortunately just the weaker ones in a series. I genuinely can’t remember what happened in them because they were nondescript in comparison to the rest… and Tearling, unfortunately, just had so many inconsistencies that I first looked past when I was drawn in by Johansen’s writing. It took rereading it to really see what all the low-star reviewers meant in their synopses.


Odd Thomas was the opposite, however. The ending was moving but I honestly couldn’t say I was engaged through out the whole story after my first reading. It wasn’t very dark (everything advertised it as a horror… how do you consider a love story a horror? I was super disappointed it didn’t have many horror elements in it and also was very, very slow), and I wanted to like it because a friend of mine loved it, but I genuinely didn’t think it was anything special. After rethinking it, however, I realized there are some beautiful lines that Koontz wrote and have continued to stay with me until today. I think that sort of a lasting impression means something and I should give the author the benefit of the doubt- it may not have been my cup of tea or even lived up to its hype, but I can see that the author is a great storyteller and Odd Thomas is a good story in and of itself.

What do you guys think? Do you find yourself loving books and then realizing how much you were influenced by another reader? Or do you generally judge books a little harder and then realize that the book was actually pretty good? I’d love to hear what books you guys have read and changed your mind about. This prompt was a little bit of a challenge because I generally don’t revisit books I first disliked.

Until next time!

Live,

Morgan Paige

Cafe Review: Buckley’s in Merrimack, NH

Hey friends! 

I have another little travel log here, one documenting my trip to a beautiful new cafe in Southern NH. 

Buckley’s is a local steakhouse owned by an awesome restaurateur named Michael Buckley, and together with his wife Sarah they’ve opened some of NHs best restaurants. They have since opened a bakery and cafe next to the steakhouse where they offer freshly baked bread, pastries, sandwiches, cold-pressed juices, and, of course, coffee.
It was a beautiful day when I went so I bought an iced coffee to sit outside and read in their little garden patio, and it wasn’t just any iced coffee. On top of normal iced coffee, they also offer cold brew, Vietnamese style, and nitro coffee. I got a nitro (which comes in one satisfying size) and paired it with a chocolate macaron and a bag of local coffee beans to bring home with me.


This cafe was extraordinary in terms of service, food options, and atmosphere. There is a plethora of vegetarian food options which REALLY made my visit extra special, and we already planned for a nice lunch trip for next time. Their sandwiches are pre made and stuffed with amazing assortments of food, and their bread selection made the cafe smell like home. It really is a beautiful place to visit and I would suggest anyone driving through to stop by.


The thing that really struck me though is how nice everyone was. You know that alienating feeling you get sometimes going into a “cooler than you” independent cafe? Buckley’s was neither aloof nor intimidating and all of the employees were smiling, laughing, and overall happy to help. This doesn’t downplay who genuinely sophisticated the cafe looks, either. It looks like an upscale indie cafe for professionals, but remains warm and inviting like the rest of Buckley’s establishments.

Definitely check it out 🙂 the nitro iced coffee came out frothy and delicious and the macaron was just the right amount of dense, crunchy, and sweet.  

Until next time!

Live, 

Morgan Paige

August To-Be-Read! 

Happy August, everyone!

It’s been nothing but rainy and gloomy for the past three days so I’m been cramming so much reading and writing in. And yoga. Because, if I have found any sort of physical exercise that actually agrees with my anti-athletic muscles, it’s yoga. It’s honestly insane how much yoga has helped me- not only do I feel like I’m in the “writing zone” more than I usually am, but I also am getting almost complete movement back in the foot I got frostbite in last year (really stupid story… always take care of yourself first, kids, never put work before your own well-being) and I’m also losing some of the killer knots I have in my shoulders. I know people carry their stress in different places- their back, their gut, their skull. I carry mine in my shoulders and genuinely look like a Green Bay Packer with traps of glory when I get stressed.

So, if you guys have any yoga youtuber suggestions (my favorite is Yoga With Tim ❤ ) or best yoga mats to buy, please let me know! I’ve been borrowing mine so far and think it’s time to finally get my own!


Anywhoooo

I have some amazing books lined up to read so far and a few of them are eBooks. Most of these books are actually suggestions from friends and readers on this blog! I can’t say how happy I am to connect with you guys and share a taste in books. Let me know if you all have read these books or are interested in hearing more about them. Because not only do I like to review debut and self-published books here, but I also love to read a huge variety of other novels and these TBR’s are where I get to show you guys what else I’m reading (and on Goodreads, of course). So, if there’s anything you’d prefer to see reviewed in this little mash up, let me know!

  1. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
  2. The Night Clock by Paul Meloy
  3. The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison
  4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling


And… by the time this post goes up, I may have already read The Cursed Child… I couldn’t put the book down! It was just like old times when I waited for each new release and then devoured it in a day. I couldn’t help myself- but now we can talk about it! What did you think? (With minimal spoilers so those who weren’t lucky enough to get the book right away can still enjoy it). Who was your favorite character? How did it make you feel? Were you satisfied and excited? Do you just want to go see the play now? Will you get the Definitive Edition that comes out in 2017?

Aaaand there’s all the fangirling lol thanks for reading guys, I can’t wait to hear what you all will be reading this month, too 😊

Until next time!

Live,

Morgan Paige