Love-Hate Challenge: Part II


My Love List of books, (see Love-Hate Challenge: Part I), was easy to make because I love so many books. The Not A Fan List however, is much more difficult. While I read a wide range of books, I also know myself well enough to avoid books I know aren’t for me (like computer coding or anything where a dog dies). That means there aren’t too many books that end up on the yuck pile!

I had to work pretty hard at this list and I honestly mean no disrespect to those who do like the books on my list. This is all just my humble opinion.

Not A Fan Book List

1. Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I’ve ranted about this book before, (See Favorite Thing Friday: Last Books). Now, don’t get me wrong, I think Roth is an incredible writer – I loved Divergent and Insurgent – but Allegiant made me so angry. I can’t remember the last time an ending killed the entire series for me. As a reader, I felt betrayed and I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.

2. Harlequin Romance

I want to clarify that I’m not totally against romance. I actually read a lot of romance novels, just not Harlequin. Why? They are all the same! If you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. I like a little originality in my mindless escape reading!

3. Books where chapters shift between different points of view or series that start in one point of view and switch to a different point of view in the last book

My post, One YA Reader’s Desperate Plea outlines a rather lengthy rant on this particular point. I really, really hate it when writers shift the point of view in a series. And I won’t even pick up a book if the point of view shifts constantly from chapter to chapter. Grrrr . . . it just bothers me!

4. Books I haven’t finished: The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeirer and The Idiot by Fyodor Dosteovtsky

I’ve read almost 200 books over the last few years. These are the only two with a bookmark still stuck in the middle. The Illumination wasn’t half bad, but I got bored and couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I still intend on finishing The Idiot, but I have also realized that I am not a huge fan of Dosteovtsky. He’s a little too depressing for my taste.

5. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

I was forced to read this book in high school and that might be part of the reason why I do not like it. Even though I’ve always loved to read, I’ve also always hated being told what to read and then subsequently forced to read it on someone else’s set schedule. Aside from that, I could not relate to the characters and I found the story quite disturbing. It’s just not my thing.

6. Series that go too long

There are a number of series that fall into this category, but the only one I fell into and then out of was the Lorien Legacies by Pittacus Lore. I read I Am Number Four, The Power of Six, and The Rise of Nine thinking it would just be a trilogy. The story however just keeps dragging on. The sixth book comes out later this year . . . This series should have ended a long time ago!

7. Most Works of Emily Dickinson

It took me two years to read Dickinson’s complete works. I have a lot of respect for Dickinson’s talent, but I don’t really like her poetry (with exception to her works regarding nature).

8. Most Works of Charles Dickens

With exception to A Christmas Carol and A Tale of Two Cities, I am not a fan of Charles Dickens. I made attempts to read all of his works (which is how I came upon the two exceptions), but could never get past the first 100 pages. I think he’s a talented writer and I understand why he is so adored, but I think it’s the Dosteovtsky issue all over again for me. Dickens is quite grim!

9. Books by Dan Brown before the Da Vinci Code

After I read the Da Vinci Code, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on all of Dan Brown’s previous books. After attempting to read the first 100 pages of each, I realized there was a reason why he didn’t hit it big until the Da Vinci Code. His previous thrillers weren’t that thrilling.

10. The Bride’s Farewell by Meg Rosoff (later redeemed by Rosoff’s What I Was).

The Bride’s Farewell was a thin book but it took me forever to read because it was such a slow moving story – almost glacial. I’d only get through a couple of pages before I started to nod off in total boredom. To this day, I’m not sure what the point of it was supposed to be. However, I liked the writer’s overall style, so I gave her another shot with What I Was, (which was incredible).


I picked these nominees because I think they’ll all approach this challenge with an interesting perspective. I’m hoping they’ll create lists that are unique to their personalities and writing genres.

The rules of the Love-Hate Challenge are simple:

  • Make a list of 10 things you love
  • Make a list of 10 things you hate
  • Nominate 10 bloggers

Rita Ackerman

Suzanne Brent

TBN Ranch

The Everyday Epic

Heart to Harp

Windy Words

Metaphors & Smiles

Random Acts of Writing [+art]

Michele Venne

YA Chit Chat


Love-Hate Challenge: Part I


Just the other day I was thinking how I never really saw blog challenges or chains anymore. Then this morning I find a little challenge treat in my inbox thanks to Paula Acton. Cool! The rules of the Love-Hate Challenge are simple:

  • Make a list of 10 things you love
  • Make a list of 10 things you hate
  • Nominate 10 bloggers

To complete this challenge, I decided to go with a theme – books! Seeing as I just had the time of my life at Powell’s Books this is a fitting answer to the Love-Hate Challenge. However, hate is a word I’d rather not apply to books, so I’m going to switch things up and do a Love List and a Not A Fan List.

10 Books I Love

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

41DMQB+vWwL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_I fell in love with this book at first read. A love story rooted in the gothic tradition, a plain governess falls for her mysterious boss. Add to that an unexpected secret hiding in the attic – the first time through I never saw it coming! While I love a good romance with a dark twist, Jane is the star for me. She isn’t the typical mousy woman, but rather a self-assured individual who stands up for herself. I’ve read Jane Eyre so many times and I never get tired of it! Juicy, juicy stuff!


2. Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer

41MLd2DZYwL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Vampires and Werewolves, oh my! I admit I fell under the spell of Twilight instantly, I read the first book in three sittings. And then I devoured the other three books in the series in under two weeks. Then, I turned into an even nuttier fangirl when the movies came out. What can I say, I was a total sucker for Bella (who I can relate to on so many levels) and the dreamy Edward (who is not as creepy and stalkerish as haters would proclaim). I just recently reread the first two books and was instantly reminded why Twilight is so much fun. It’s all about fantasy and the exhilaration of first love – Meyer captures these two concepts perfectly.


3. Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare

51LLeAJAgqL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I found this series in the throes of Twilight withdrawal. I had just finished Breaking Dawn and I needed something to get my mind off the ending of an era. I picked up City of Bones and fell happily into Clare’s incredible world of Shadowhunters and the ultimate fight against evil. Not to mention another really great couple, Clary and Jace. I’ve stuck with the Mortal Instruments through six books (all of which are phenomenal) and three books of the Infernal Devices series (also phenomenal). Clare is one of the best world-builders in YA fantasy and I’m always looking forward to more from her!


4. Persuasion by Jane Austen

411KbBtEyuL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Pretty much anything by Jane Austen falls into my love list, but I love Persuasion above all else. The story of Anne and Captain Wentworth melts my heart every time – I fall to pieces every time I read Wentworth’s letter to Anne at the end. Ahhhhhh! This is my ultimate romance novel as it is the epitome of how love always prevails.



5. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

51MU5VilKpL._SX338_BO1,204,203,200_Seriously, what is not to love about this series?? My heart wrapped around Harry from the first page of Sorcerer’s Stone to the last page of Deathly Hallows. Never have I become so attached to a character in a book (except for maybe Jane Eyre). Throw in some magic, Dumbledore’s wisdom, and the clash of light and dark forces and you’ve got a tour-de-force of amazing fiction. The best part is, you don’t have to be a kid to love this stuff!


6. This is Water / A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace

31iis44pawL._SX340_BO1,204,203,200_Like Austen, pretty much anything David Foster Wallace has written is on my love list. I love his quirky, yet highly intelligent style of writing. His observations make me laugh, consider things I hadn’t before and above all cause me to think deeply about myself and the world around me. He is in a category all by himself and no one can even come close to his genius, (musings of major fan, obviously).


7. Everything Matters by Ron Currie, Jr.

41LQyLs4UFL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_There are tear stains on the last few pages of my copy of Everything Matters. I cried in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but I bawled at Currie, Jr’s heartfelt and gut wrenching novel. Currie plays with the question: If you knew when the world was going to end what would you do? Keep it to yourself? Try to change it? Tell the whole world? Would it change how you lived? Loved?



8. Q-Squared by Peter David

510s1XRP0sL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_I think I’ve read every Star Trek: The Next Generation novel (and they are so much fun), but this little masterpiece is easily my favorite. Q is a fan favorite from the TV series and Peter David brings him to life in this funny, thrilling, and fantastical tale. And who doesn’t love the banter between Q and Picard!?



9. Maisie Dobbs Series by Jacqueline Winspear

51LeP0LfWDL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_This series is near and dear to my heart. A close friend, (who recently passed) introduced me to this historical mystery series and I love it. Maisie is a smart, independent woman who survived the battlefront of WWI and several personal tragedies. Instead of giving up, she always picks herself up and pushes forward. While she’s at it she solves murder mysteries with her uncanny ability to read people and pick up minute details. The 11th book came out earlier this year and I plowed right through it. Awesome as always!


10. Haiku Anthologies

UnknownMy love of haiku knows no bounds. I’ve paged through traditional haiku anthologies of Basho, Issa, and Busson, while also embracing modern anthologies like Haiku in English: The First 100 Years and The Haiku Anthology. I can’t get enough of this poetic form!




This post is quite long, so I’ll post my Not A Fan list and nominees later this week!

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What books are your love list?

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c.b.w. 2015

2014 Blog Recap


Thank you so much for making this year rock in the blogosphere! When I started this blog I had no idea it would connect me to so many wonderful readers and writers. As my journey as a writer continues, I count myself lucky to have all of you along for the ride!

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The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 45,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 17 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

2014 Goals: May Status Report


May has been all about endings and beginnings. The end of the school year brings about a summer of relaxation and freedom, but also a revived sense of creativity. As my muse continues to pull me in different directions,   I’m enjoying the journey.

1) Pitch The Muse.

Research continues on agents and query letter layouts. The May/June edition of Writer’s Digest and the Spring 2014 edition of Writing Basics have fantastic articles about the Young Adult genre and pitching the perfect query. I’m taking notes and making changes in my approach!

2) Outline and start writing The Muse: Lineage

I’m starting to feel the creative flow begin for this project. I heard a song the other day that made me think of one of my main characters. I could see her reacting to a situation and the vision is continuing to grow. This is pretty exciting as it’s been a while since my muse has even considered working on this story.

3) Submit writing.

I posted two poems on Poetic Asides. Every Wednesday a prompt is posted and writers are encouraged to post their work. It’s not a competition, but I enjoy the camaraderie among poets. It’s very inspiring.

4) Continue to build author platform.

From the looks of things around here, I’ve been busy. I’m giving my entire online presence an overhaul. At the moment, my blog remodel is at the top of my priority list, but I’ll soon be making some changes on Facebook and Twitter. Creativity and writing will still be the focus, but with a new look! Thanks for sticking around as I experiment with layouts, color, and details!

Facebook likes grew from 365 to 366

Twitter followers grew from 549 to 553

Thanks so much to everyone for clicking those follow and like buttons! Your support is greatly appreciated.

5) Inspire others.

As always, I hope I am a positive presence.

The invisible goal:

6) Be flexible.

The idea of changing the look of my blog was tough to consider, but I’m glad I took the plunge. The new layout is already challenging me to try new things with photography and creative writing.

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c.b.w. 2014

Time For A Change?


My blog has looked exactly the same for three years. When I first set the theme, I loved the color, simplicity, and atmosphere. In many ways, I still love my blog’s theme, but I’m also starting to feel the itch for something new. As my writing and creative pursuits grow and evolve, it seems only fitting that my blog reflects the changes of both myself and my muse.

The problem is I can’t decide what kind of changes I want to make. Do I want something sleek and modern? Or colorful? Or minimalist? The possibilities are endless and its hard to pinpoint a style that is both progressive and reflective of my creative interests. All I know is I like color (subtle, not bold), horizontal headers, and a simple layout.

It’s tempting to go with what I traditionally prefer, but I’m also considering a massive departure from the norm. I spend so much time on my blog, I’m curious to see how a drastic change might shake up my muse. Perhaps, my muse will be inspired to try new and exciting avenues of artistic creation.

While a foray into something new could open up new doors, there is something to be said staying true to myself. I don’t want to wander too far away from who I am or how I want to express myself. The last thing I want to be is fake blogger who represents one thing but thinks another. This blog has always been and always will be about following my muse.

Am I over thinking this? Probably. It’s as simple as picking a theme and clicking a button, right? Wrong! If I choose a theme that is too different from my current layout, I’ll have to go back and re-format over 600 posts. I may even have to reconfigure my footers, widgets, and menus. Nothing about that sounds fun!

Despite my misgivings about having to re-format, I am well aware that my blog is starting to look outdated. Pretty soon, it’s going to occupy the same shelf as cell phones with buttons and heavy laptops. No one wants to visit a blog that looks like a relic from the past (unless it’s a history blog!), nor do they want to spend time navigating a site with an archaic set-up.

As I contemplate the prospect of change, I’m reminded that things always do and must change. The last thing I want is for my muse to stagnate in a vortex of “sameness,” so I better get busy and start making some big decisions. If my blog looks a little strange over the next couple of weeks, chalk it up to experimentation on my part. I hope you’ll stick around for the remodel!

Here are some of themes I’m considering at the moment:


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What do you think?


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c.b.w. 2014