March Wrap-Up!

March was a very fun and exciting month for Amanda’s Nose in a Book!

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This blog reached 100 WordPress followers and was nominated for three Liebster Blog Awards. I successfully blogged nearly every day (giving myself only a handful of much-needed days off) and read and commented on many blog posts written by other book bloggers.

I reviewed the following books:

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Paper Towns by John Green

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

I started a new feature, called “Confessions of  a Book Blogger”

I went on a book buying ban (and have failed thus far— 4 books bought since then), dished on why i hate spoilers, and explained why i no longer rate books.

 

I also committed myself to two writing challenges for the month of April.

1. Camp NaNoWriMo

2. The A-Z Challenge

What you can expect from Amanda’s Nose in a Book in April:

  • Lots of A-Z challenge posts that discuss bookish topics from A-Z
  • Posts about Camp NaNoWriMo and my progress
  • Posts about my trip to visit my friend Tracy in Poughkeepsie (which I am doing later on this week!)
  • A couple of book reviews or discussions

I am going to be focusing on writing this coming month, so I will talk a lot about that, but there will be some other bookish surprises thrown in there as well.

What would you like to see in April from Amanda’s Nose in a Book?

Words of Wisdom

 

1973733_627944013953265_723796033_oI have been on a bit of a writing kick lately, as I prepare for two writing challenges for the month of April. This Ray Bradbury quote is excellent, especially when it comes to NaNoWriMo, drafting, and revising. I may even print out a copy of this photograph and put it on the wall next to my desk.

Do you have any writerly words of wisdom that you try to abide by while you write, or that inspire you to write?

 

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There are so many books that I constantly recommend to people, books that I have lent out time and time again in the hopes that people will read and love them as much as I did.

Has anyone ever felt this way about a book?

Camp NaNoWriMo— I am so ready!

campnanomytentEarlier this week, we got our cabin assignments for Camp NaNoWriMo and I was very saddened to see that the wonderful bloggers and friends that I requested to be in my cabin weren’t. However, I have been chatting with some of my cabin-mates and they are wonderful, so hopefully with the support of them and a group I recently joined on Google +, I will have that wonderful writing community that encourages me to keep writing, even when my brain isn’t sure it can handle it.

This weekend will be chock-full of me trying to squeeze in reading my first draft, making notes and an outline, and making my office just so, so that I can be super productive next month. Hell, I might even make a pillow and sheet tent in there so I have a cozy and comfy place to write and read. I am really excited to have my office back. My best friend has been living in there for the past 3 months and recently moved out, so I can now make it mine again. Hooray!!! 🙂

Where is your favorite place to write?

If you are participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, what kind of writing space will you create for yourself?

Feature & Follow Friday

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Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  The idea of this blog hop is for bloggers to have an opportunity to make new friends and gain new followers.  I follow you and you follow me.

 

Question of the week:  Snap it time!  A picture is worth a thousand words.  Anything and Anything.  Just give us a pic.

 

photo(19)What I am currently working on at 8 am this morning. Reading a bit, working on an outline in my wonderful Dino notebook for my WIP, a crochet project, and drinking some tea!

photo(20)And another custom crochet hood project that I just finished the other day. I need to get some yarn and make one for myself. They are so cozy!

Don’t have WordPress? You can follow me on bloglovin!!!

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What I'm Reading & Writing Wednesday!

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Happy Wednesday, folks! Last week, I read and reviewed Delirium by Lauren Oliver. It was definitely a fun and somewhat creepy read for me and I flew through it.

What I’m Reading…

This week, I’ve decided on a re-read. I have only re-read one other book so far this year. So I am currently reading…

divergent_hqDivergent by Veronica Roth!!!

I am really excited to re-read this book for a couple of reasons…

1. I am going to see the movie next week when I go and visit my friend Tracy. I have to re-read so it’s fresh in my mind when I watch the film.

2. With all of the writing I have been doing for the A-Z challenge posts, blog posts, and preparing for Camp NaNo, I needed a book that was familiar and enjoyable.

3. Even though Allegiant was spoiled for me, I would like to continue and re-read Insurgent as well next month (I will need to read a little bit amidst all of that writing) so that I can read Allegiant and be completely caught up.

After reading Divergent, I will probably take a little break from reading (a week or so). I know that once Camp NaNo begins, I will have limited reading time, and will probably only read one or two books over the course of the month. It will be a miracle if I somehow am able to read more.

What I’m Writing…

I am currently up to my eyeballs in writing posts for the A-Z challenge that is happening in April and am nearly halfway through the alphabet at the moment. It has been really enjoyable to write about a variety of different bookish topics in a conversational and short format. I’ve also had a blast finding fun and interesting topics to write about.

Curious as to what the A-Z challenge is all about? Click on the badge to be brought to the site!

I hope to have a couple more posts written and scheduled by the end of today because I need to focus on what I want to work on and change in my rough draft so I can write my second draft for Camp NaNo.

What else I’m up to…

I just bought my train tickets the other day to go visit my friend Tracy next weekend. So I am trying to get myself all organized and straightened away so I can be prepared to go on a 4 day (much needed) mini-vacation 🙂

Top Ten Things on my Bookish Bucket List

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fabulous ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme was difficult for me to come up with things for at first, but once I got a couple of things down the rest came pouring out and I found myself with more than 10 things.

1. Be a published author.

writing1I would actually like to finish a book, hopefully more than one and publish it. My dream is to be able to make a living off of writing books for young adults and adults. I just want to tell stories

2. Participate in a NaNoWriMo event each year.

nanowrimoWhether it is Camp NaNo or NaNoWriMo, or both, doing this event makes me happy and keeps me writing. It is very motivating and I can’t be a writer unless I actually write. My dream is to go to the night of writing dangerously.

3. Go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

wwohpBecause it’s the closest thing I will ever have to actually going to Hogwarts.

4. Read at least 50 books each year.

This is my goal this year, and I think it’s a realistic goal to continue on with.

5. Go on a bookish vacation.

I would love to visit places in other countries (or even in the U.S.) that I have only visited by reading about them.

6. Go to more signings and author events.

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My local bookstore has some wonderful authors visit, but I need to seek out some further away.

7. Keep on keeping on with the blogging thing.

I am so happy with what i have been doing thus far. I know I could be doing more and I plan on doing so a little bit at a time.

8. Have an actual library in my house.

home-library-2Because who doesn’t dream of this.

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And I want to do this.

9. Have a TARDIS bookshelf.

tardisshelfI know this is silly, but it would be so cool.

10. Get a bookish tattoo.

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Not necessarily this tattoo (and this isn’t my tattoo) or in this place, but I think it would be really cool to have a bookish tattoo.

Confessions of a Book Blogger: Why I no longer "rate" books

bloggraphicI’ve been thinking about the books that I have read so far this year. Some of them were excellent, 4 or 5 star worthy, others not so much. I have read back through some of these reviews and said “What was I thinking giving this books 3.5 stars” (or 4) when looking back I would give them far less. Even my opinion of a book changes over time, as I become more exposed to the genre and/or author.

I’ve decided that from now on, I will only review and discuss these books without actually rating them with stars.

Why is that? Because when I give one book a 4 doesn’t mean it’s “as good” as another book that I gave a 4. I don’t want to pit books against one another and while it is very easy for me to talk about what I liked or disliked about a book, it is very difficult for me to come up with a star rating. I guess I will have to when I post a review on goodreads, but on my own personal blog, I have decided not to do so.

When I read reviews posted by other bloggers, I don’t really look to the rating that they give the book as much as what they have to say about the book.

I would like to make my book reviews more like discussions, more conversational so that they are actually fun for me to write (instead of me hating on them as I write them— which I do sometimes) and more fun for you guys to read.

What do you feel about rating the books you read?

Have you ever looked back at how you rated a book and wanted to change it?

The "I'm fascinated by your creepy world" award goes to Delirium by Lauren Oliver

deliriumGoodreads Synopsis:

Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It’s hard to be patient. It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.

Review/Rant:

I have read quite a few dystopian novels in the past couple of years and have begun to get kind of burnt out on this genre. That is until I read Delirium  by Lauren Oliver. She brings the creepy and terrifying ideas of a dystopia to a new level. What if after your 18th birthday you had to under-go a procedure that would make sure that you never felt love? This procedure is said to be a cure for deliria caused by love, but which is really a way to control the masses. Without love there would be no hate, no violence and the human population of the enclosed cities would be docile and controlled. Scary, right?

Wait, there’s more. There is also a control on what the people of these cities see, read, and hear. They can only listen to approved music and read approved texts. Poetry and most music are not approved and are made illegal. Why? Because they make people actually feel something, even if it’s not love.

You see, this procedure, basically a lobotomy, makes people into unfeeling zombies. Those who have it do not remember, nor do they miss their friends they had before the procedure. You don’t have romantic feelings towards your “match” or even feel love for your children. Scary shit right there. So you can see how it would be easy for me to become fascinated by the world in which Lauren Oliver has created in her novel.

That brings us to our main character, Lena. She has always had it rough. Her mother killed herself after the cure didn’t work on her after she’d had it multiple times. Whispers of suicide follow her wherever she goes and she gets suspicious glances from those around her— will she be just like her mother?

In the beginning of the novel, I really didn’t like Lena much. She was a “prude” and did what she was expected to do. Her friend Hana was more up to my speed. Hana was the complete opposite of Lena, free-spirited and a bit on the wild side. Needless to say I was very surprised by both of these characters over the course of the novel. When Lena meets Alex, a cured, she starts to feel the symptoms of deliria and has to try to hide it from everyone else around her, or she will risk having to have the procedure early and exposing Alex for who he truly is. When Lena starts allowing herself to actually have feelings is when I warmed up to and began to like her.

That being said, I loved Alex from the get-go, even though I had questions about him. Alex is sweet, caring, and has many secrets of his own.

I need to stop, lest I give away important bits that happen later in the novel. Just know that Delirium is pretty darn fascinating. The propaganda in the beginning of each chapter is terrifying and gives the reader glimpses into a creepy dystopian state and I hope that our world never goes down that path.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Delirium and am itching to know what happens next.

Amanda's Camp NaNoWriMo Survival Kit

1970909_10152192372984299_1641461275_nHey there! As I told all of you last week, I am doing Camp NaNoWriMo in April and I’m so excited that it is in only 8 days. This is my first time doing Camp, but I participated in NaNoWriMo last November and won (which was pretty much one of the most happy and exciting moments I’ve had yet!). Since December 1st, I put my manuscript away for about 8 weeks and began working at it again. Without the set time and structure of NaNo, I really haven’t made it as far as I would like to in my second draft, which is why I am doing Camp NaNo next month.

Here is a list of things that are in my survival kit that will help me make it through next month:

1. Cadbury Mini-Eggs

There is a reason why Easter and session 1 of Camp NaNoWriMo are in the same month this year. Because when I don’t have fresh berries to reward myself with, I must resort to chocolate to reward myself. Oh, did I do awesome in that last sprint?— Have a Cadbury Mini-Egg. Have I met my WC goal for the day? Have another Cadbury Mini-Egg. What a fabulous reward system! During the summer session I hope to reward myself with fresh fruit (berries, hopefully).

If you don’t like these tasty, crunchy, chocolatey treats (they aren’t the nasty gooey ones) Starburst and Jolly Rancher jelly beans have a similar effect.

2. Coffee and Tea (and lots of both)

I plan on waking up at 5:30 a.m. so that I can try to start a productive writing routine during Camp NaNo. Guess who hates to see that hour of the day? This girl. I am a morning person, but only after about 9 am, and definitely not even then if I haven’t been properly caffeinated.

So I need all of the coffee and tea to wake me up and make my brain focus at that early of an hour. I did it during NaNo and it proved to be really worthwhile.

3. Really easy meals to make

Let’s face it. None of us want to cook when we could be writing an amazing novel. Last November I think I made an actual dinner like once or twice a week. Matt and I lived off of breakfast for dinner and PBJ the rest of the time. Easy meals are a must, even if they are frozen ones that you throw in the oven and let cook while you bust our your next 500 words or so. I will not be cooking anything even remotely fancy next month.

4. Good music

I don’t typically listen to music while I write because anything with lyrics distracts the hell out of me and I end up singing and dancing instead of writing. But to pump me up to get me prepared and or inspired to write— you bet your bippy I need tunes. A good dance party session before a writing session is the way to go for me. It gets all of my nervous energy out so that I can get to business.

5. Awesome people to support and chat with me about writing/NaNo/my novel

One of the coolest things about NaNoWriMo is the community of writers that you meet and become a part of when you participate. I have met writers from all over the world and I love it.

I also have the support of my boyfriend, who loves hearing what I am writing about and my best friend Tracy, who is also participating in Camp with me. I wouldn’t have made it through last NaNo if it wasn’t for word sprints with her a couple of times a week (and of course chatting and filling each other in on what was going on in our novels).

Things I could also use….

1. A House Elf.

Because damn. Nothing screams I am doing NaNoWriMo like the sight of my house during week 2.

2. A new laptop.

Because I don’t have one yet and mine busted last November. Luckily I have a desktop to use.

Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year?

What is in your survival kit, of if you aren’t participating what would be in it?

Confessions of a Book Blogger: Spoiler Alert— I hate spoilers.

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Some people like to know the end of a book, tv show, movie, what have you, before they experience it for themselves. I’m not one of those people. I don’t want to know what happens ahead of time and I don’t want to spoil the ending of a book for anyone else either. I’m not the kind of person to read the last couple of pages so I am aware of what the ending holds.

I go out of my way to avoid spoilers. To the extent of not getting on twitter or Facebook until I’ve seen that episode of my favorite show (which is sometimes a while). I avoid Amazon, Goodreads, and reviews like the plague if I think they might spoil the ending of a book or series for me, especially if it’s one that I have been looking forward to for quite some time. Hell, if I am waiting to read the next book in a series, I even stay away from a synopsis because sometimes they ruin the magic for me. I know that not everything that I read will be a surprise, but I want as much as possible to be.

spoilerstooWhile perusing through some of my friend’s blogs the other day, I accidentally stumbled across one of these evil spoilers. It was from a book that I haven’t read yet, but that is really high up there on my TBR list because I recently acquired a copy of it. I had big plans to re-read the first books next month and then read and review this one while it was still a fairly new release.

Now I don’t know if I want to, and that might make me a huge baby, but it was a pretty devastating spoiler. Not only am I quite pissed I saw said spoiler, I am pissed at what happens. I don’t know how this event comes to be or when, but I will be waiting for it during the whole entire book.

I understand that sometimes spoilers are really hard to avoid and sometimes (like in this case) shit happens– it wasn’t the blogger’s fault and it wasn’t mine. But please, for the sake of us who haven’t made it so far in our TBR lists, please give us a spoiler warning if you plan on giving any really integral and important plot points away. I promise to always do the same.

How do you react to spoilers?

Does it ever make you want to read the book or watch the movie/tv show any less?