Friday, July 31, 2015

A Game of Thrones Book Review

Instead of Writing Tuesday this week, I have decided to go with a book review.

2015 Reading Challenge

14. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
      Topic/Theme: book based on or turned into a tv show

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.
As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honor weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty. The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.

My Review:
Where can I start a review when there was so much going on? I've been reflecting a lot on this answer. I'm not a huge fantasy reader (except for Harry Potter of course), but then again, there are always exceptions. I wanted to read this book not just for the sake of the Reading Challenge, but to find out what the craze and rave was all about. You see, a lot of my friends are fans of the book series, as well as the television show. Let's get started shall we?

First, there are a lot of characters, but for the size of the book series,  that's not a bad thing. I did appreciate George R. R. Martin putting the lineage for each house in the appendix. It definitely helps in keeping the characters straight.

For me, reading A Game of Thrones was good, but not great. It seemed that every time someone tried to make things right, that person was killed, not to mention innocent people in addition. The book is about playing a game to come out on top. I found myself "rooting" for the Starks just because they were the underdogs. And don't understand why Ned got beheaded when he was already on the road to dying. It seemed that deceit was a major theme in the book and while most people paid for it in the end (Ned for example), the Lannisters were the most deceitful, but always got away with it. They just seemed to get what they want. By the end, I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next with certain people and I will be reading the other books in the series next year.

Favorite Characters:
1. Ned
2. Catelyn
3. Jon Snow

Least Favorite Characters:
1. Cersei
2. Tyrion
3. Joffrey
4. Sansa

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Funday: Bike Trail Enthusiasts

Sunday Funday

Recently, my dad and I have been talking about different bike rides/trails around our city and thought bike trails in general would be a good idea for this week's topic.

USA Today and 10 Best recently released the 10 Best Urban Trails for riding bicycles across the country. I'm just going to highlight those 10, but for more information, go check out the links above. For more information on the bike trails, check out the links below.

1. Schuylkill River Trail - Philadelphia, PA

2. MKT Nature and Fitness Trail - Columbia, MO

3. Swamp Rabbit Trail - Greenville, SC

4. Buffalo Bayou Park - Houston, TX
5. Indianapolis Culture Trail - Indianapolis, IN
6. American River Bike Trail - Sacramento, CA
7. Atlanta BeltLine - Atlanta, GA
8. River Walk and Mission Trail- San Antonio, TX
9. Lakefront Trail - Chicago, IL
10. Rose Kennedy Greenway - Boston, MA

Hope you enjoyed!


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Author Spotlight: John Grisham

Author Spotlight

John Grisham

Get to Know John Grisham:

  1. American author
  2. Former lawyer and politician
  3. Best known for thrillers
  4. Books translated into 42 languages
  5. One of only three authors to sell 2,000,000 copies on a first printing
  6. First bestseller was The Firm
  7. Nine of his novels have been made into movies
I'm ending this with a quote of his.
“I seriously doubt I would ever have written the first story had I not been a lawyer. I never dreamed of being a writer. I wrote only after witnessing a trial.” - John Grisham
For more information on John Grisham, click here.

Side Note: My next book review should be up sometime next week.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Writing Tuesday: Feelings

For most of us in the writing world, this is not new. I've decided to go with this just to remind you or just in case you've never heard of this before.

This is a Feelings Wheel. It helps explain how we feel in a more elaborate way. Feelings are comprised of feelings - there's always a reason why we get sad, happy, angry, etc -  and that's the purpose of this. As writers, this wheel aids us in finding other words for the same thing. Instead of writing someone's sad all the time, we have the option to use lonely or ashamed, etc. Keep in mind there are more feelings than this wheel allows. Its purpose is to help us understand how we feel.

There are two typos in the wheel above.
*estatic = ecstatic
*remoresful = remorseful

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Author Spotlight: Maeve Binchy

Author Spotlight

Maeve Binchy

 Facts about Maeve:
1. Irish novelist, playwright, short story writer, columnist & speaker
2. Known as Ireland's best-loved and most recognizable writer
3. Featured several times on The New York Times best seller's list
4. Was also featured in Oprah's Book Club (Tara Road)
5. Novels translated into 37 languages
6. Sold more than 40 million copies worldwide
Unfortunately, Maeve Binchy died in 2012 at the age of 73.
Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Writing What You Know...or Not?

Writing Tuesday

Tackling Writing What You Know...

Over the years, I've read lots of writing magazines and articles on writing tips, advice and such. What I have found out is that while some of those articles recommend writing what you know, there are other ones that say that writing what you know isn't the best tactic. I've decided to share my input on this.

Writing What You Know
~ You know what to write about
~ You don't have to research the topic as much
~ Possibilities are endless
~ More inspiration/motivation to write
Not Writing What You Know
~ Endless possibilities (multiple topics to choose from)
~ More research required
~ You may find something that interests you
~ Writing may take longer
It all comes down to this. Writing what you know may be a bit more easier, but it's also important to learn new things as well. Whether you write what you know or not, research is always a necessity. Over the years things change and it's good to know more about what you're writing about. Like I pointed out in both situations, there are endless possibilities/topics to write about. Choose what you feel comfortable with and run with it and see what you come up with. Most stories get repeated through the years - it's how they are written that makes them different and unique. Making a story different is the key to becoming a successful writer.
Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday Funday: Vacation

Sunday Funday

I have decided to show some of the highlights from my recent trip to Wildwood, NJ.

2nd and Ocean Avenues


Irish Brigade

Seagull went swimming in the hotel pool

Me hanging out on a beach ball
Hope you enjoyed!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Grey Book Review

2015 Reading Challenge

13. "Grey" by E L James
Theme/Topic: Book published this year

As a companion book to the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, Grey tells the story from Christian's point of view.

My Review:
I enjoyed getting to know Christian by him telling his side, as well as getting a better glimpse at his nightmares from his childhood that influenced who he became as an adult. I did find it a little bit harder to get into Grey in the beginning than I did with the Fifty Shades of Grey, but it still was a great read. To me, it would make sense if E L James would write the two other books from Christian's side of the story. For me personally, I would like to know Christian's point of view for certain events (don't want to give those away just in case anyone hasn't read the series) that happened in Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.

I don't necessarily believe in a dominant-submissive lifestyle/relationship, but I have liked how E L James wrote or writes about erotic romance in such an unique way.

I will say this, though. In any relationship, sex should be pleasurable for both sides. But there's also a line that shouldn't be crossed and that's what I don't accept. Sexual abuse (and/or physical abuse) is not to be taken lightly and if anyone finds themselves in that situation, I hope they can find a way out. This is not to say that sexual abuse happened in the Grey series between Christian and Ana, but at times, I thought it was close.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Author Spotlight: E L James

This week's Author Spotlight is on E L James. I'm finishing up her latest book, Grey, and a review of that will be up either Friday or Saturday.

As I'm sure most people already know, E L James has brought the erotic romance genre to new heights with her Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and companion book.
              ~ Fifty Shades of Grey
              ~ Fifty Shades Darker
              ~ Fifty Shades Freed
              ~ Grey

Fun Facts:
~ E L James is a pen name
~ Real name is Erika Mitchell
~British author
~ Novels have sold over 100 million copies worldwide
~ 35 million in the US alone
~ Set record in the UK as the fastest selling paperback of all time
~ was one of Time magazines "The World's 100 Most Influential People" in 2012
~ worked formally as a tv executive

More information about E L James can be found at her website here.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Writing Tuesday: Bucket List

For today's Writing Tuesday post, I'm going to be using a writer's prompt.

Prompt #1 List the top 10 things on your bucket list

My top 10 are:

1. Get published
2. Swim with dolphins
3. Hold a koala bear
4. Have a closer relationship with God
5. Go on a helicopter ride
6. Visit all 50 States in the US
7. Travel the world
8. Be a mom
9. Learn how to play the guitar
10. Climb a mountain
These are just a few of the items on my bucket list. Now it's your turn. What are some of your things on your bucket list? Have you accomplished anything that's been on your bucket list.
One of the things I wanted to accomplish on mine was to become an aunt. That got accomplished almost a year ago when my brother and sister-in-law had their son. And for one more - when I got to go to Yellowstone National Park back in 2011.
Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Independence Day

I just wanted to say Happy 4th of July everyone! Here's a few fast facts:

The United States gained their independence from the British on July 4, 1776.

The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, PA.

Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence.

John Hancock was the first to sign the Declaration (President of the Continental Congress and a Massachusetts representative).

The Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem, was written by Francis Scott Key.

Betsy Ross is credited for making the first United States flag.

Born and raised in Philly, I really like that the US gained their independence here. There's a lot of great history here and I couldn't be prouder to be a Philadelphian, as well as an American, on July 4.

"I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free, And I won't forget the ones who died, Who gave that right to me, And I gladly stand up next to you, and defend her still today, 'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land, God Bless the USA." - Lee Greenwood

Hope you all have a great holiday weekend!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

I'm Back, Plus Updates

I just wanted to write about why I haven't posted in two weeks.

Last week, the computer was having problems and I couldn't post and it gave me no time to warn ahead of time. This past week, I've been away and just got back today. I'm going to take a couple days to get caught back up on things and since this is a holiday weekend (in the US), my first post (other than my 4th of July post this Saturday) will be up Tuesday July 7.

Schedule of Posts:

Tuesdays - Writing Tuesday
Thursdays - Author Spotlight
Sundays - Sunday Funday

To clarify, this blog is about combining reading and writing into one. In addition to the three specific post days described above, I will be doing book reviews as I get done reading a book.

Sunday Funday is my free day to post about something other than reading and writing, with the exception of book tags.

Also, I will be incorporating some fun posts along the way as it applies. For instance, if I read several books during a certain month, I may post a book of the month type of thing. At the start of the New Year (as I did last year), I will do a Books Awards post, rating the best and worst of the books I read of the previous year.

I am currently reading three books right now (I know, I know), so I should be having a couple of book reviews coming up soon.

If I'm unable to post for some reason, I will do my best to let you know ahead of time.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!