Your WIP in Gifs Tag! (NaNoWriMo 2019 Edition)

For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you’ve probably seen this tag before! I have previously done it for my project Arcadia (check out the post here) and for my #witchyWIP (which you can check out here) and both times, I just had a ton of fun. Now, I didn’t want to do an official NaNoWriMo announcement, because I don’t know how seriously I am taking it this year, but I figured everything that helps get me motivated is a good thing.

Disclaimer for those who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is: It stands for National Novel Writing Month and is a yearly event that takes place during the month of November. Writers all over the world attempt to write a novel with at least 50K words during the time constraint of that one month. I’ve done it previously, but only succeeded once.

Since you are not supposed to TALK about what your WIP is about, I am not going to for now. I might do a short summary at the end, but will mostly just let you guess?? Let’s do this!

THE RULES

đź’› Thank the person who tagged you (no one tagged me this time, but still, thanks Michelle for creating this kind of post!)
💛 Credit the creator of this tag (Michelle!) and link back to this post so she can find out aaaall about your WIPs!
💛 Try to limit the amount of gifs you use per question – I’d say maybe stick to five or less but I’m not the boss of you

THE QUESTIONS

Sum up your WIP in 4 gifs!

(Keep in mind, this is just a regular old Contemporary YA. I wasn’t trying to hint at any sort of scifi connection or so …)

Time to introduce your main characters!

Karoline

Little bean thinks she can do anything!

Lena

There’s some stuff to unpack there. Who is she jealous of? Does it make her literally sick? Stay tuned!

Jack

Maybe that’s not so much Jack, as Karoline’s thoughts about Jack, but whatever.

Marcia

You don’t want to mess with that lady.

How would your main character react in a crisis?

I feel like Karoline would have a hard time asking for help. She’d just try to brave it on her own.

If you were to meet your main characters, how would you react?

This story has some … memoir-esque qualities …

And if you were to meet your antagonist?

It would be civil, but I don’t think we’ll ever be on the same page.

Is there any romance in your WIP? How would you sum it up in gifs?

Actually, despite Karoline crushing on one or two people, there isn’t really a romance. It’s super tame and just not about that.

How do other characters feel about this ship?

How do you want people to react to reading your WIP?

This is the evolution of how I hope everyone will feel about Karoline.

WHAT IS IT ACTUALLY ABOUT?

As much fun as it was to look up those gifs and pick them for this post, I could understand how you might not feel the connection to any of it, since I have told you literally nothing besides it being Contemporary YA so far. Let’s start with a little blurb maybe?

Karoline is ready to see the world! (Or at least she thinks she is.) After mountains of paperwork and considerable support from her friends and family, she is finally about to embark on her exchange semester in the US. But when she arrives, nothing is like she imagined it would be. Yes, every day in High School feels like she jumped right into one of the TV shows that have shaped her youth, but somehow she just can’t seem to make it work with her host family. Will Karoline manage and have to grow up in a foreign country with no support system from back home around?

I am still working on that pitch … but it’s basically what it’s about. This is very heavily influenced by my own experiences, but I threw in more than enough fiction to not make it awkward with real life people. At least I hope so … no one better try to find themselves in this story.

So far, I am not on target for the official NaNoWriMo goal at all, but it’s okay. I will write at my own pace. What do you think about my untitled exchange semester story? Are you interested? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Let’s chat!

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi (Book Review)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Page Count
: 310

Tahereh Mafi is one of my all-time favourite authors. I haven’t read everything by her, however, most of what I have read was more in the dystopian (??? gosh, I am terrible with genres) category, whereas A Very Large Expanse of Sea is Mafi’s first YA contemporary! I wasn’t sure how her writing style would translate to this genre, but it was a truly amazing read!

Where to even start? Set one year after the terrible events of 9/11, it chronicles a particularly memorable time for Muslim teenager Shirin. You can immediately tell that it is a very personal story and while I don’t know all the specifics that went into this book, I am certain that Tahereh drew some parts of it from her own experiences. Even though I can’t say I was really a teen in 2002 just yet myself, I was slowly getting there, and it instantly brought back some memories from that peculiar time. I remember the news reports and the fear and all that even though I was living on an entirely different continent. But I also associate those years with a certain kind of nostalgia, when everything was getting more digitalised while not quite being there yet.

Aside from a setting I could easily wrap my head around, I was most enamored with the characters. Shirin is a no-bullshit kind of narrator and a really smart one at that. She manages to paint a picture of all the people in her life in a way that makes them seem real, even if you only meet them briefly on the page. Her growing relationship to Ocean was exactly how I picture teens in love for the first time. Everything happened fast but at the same time with caution and the awareness that the other person might just have the power to break their heart.

The entire story tackled so many different topics. This isn’t just a love story, although there certainly is a focus on it, but also a tale about family, friendship, finding your passions and having to handle racism and Islamophobia. It hurts deeply to know that there are such vastly ignorant and hateful people out there. I always wished that those parts of the story were fiction only, but unfortunately that’s not the case.

Lastly, Tahereh Mafi finished the story off in the most bittersweet way. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I am not going to go into the details here, but it felt right to end it in that certain way, while you also wanted so much more afterwards.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! This book was packed with so much in such few pages in comparison.

Have you read A Very Large Expanse of Sea? Is it something you’d be interested in? How did you feel about Tahereh writing in another genre? Let’s talk about it!

Contemporary Witches are BACK on TV!

When I was little, I was always fascinated by any story that involved magic. However, in fairy tales, the witches are often the baddies, but growing up, I mostly saw them as powerful, good (or at least morally ambiguous) women on TV. I adored those portrayals and that’s part of why I am so happy that contemporary witches are having a real comeback on the small screen. Not to say there’s anything wrong with historic settings, but I do like to see them integrated in life nowadays – makes the daydreaming easier, if you know what I mean. Here are some of the most recent examples that you can currently find on the telly:

**Disclaimer: I haven’t seen the full season of any of these shows yet!**

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Very few people seem to know this, but The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina isn’t just a remake of the 90s sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, it’s actually based on a series of comics that are part of the Archie universe. Yes, that means that Riverdale and Greendale are effectively in the same universe and a crossover is not unlikely. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Just yesterday, Netflix released the full first season of the show. Even a cursory glance at it will show you that it has very little to do with the 90s show some of us might still remember, but that is probably for the best. It rarely works if you try to recreate something exactly the same way (although they should have kept the talking cat – Salem was just too iconic).

The visuals now are a lot darker, with a modernised perspective on things as well as a certain touch of retro to it all – I haven’t seen so many people use landlines in a decade! You can be certain that the set designers and cinematographers took great care when they created this show, especially in terms of playing with colour. While I do appreciate the new spin on things, I can’t say I love the show. It’s hard to put my finger on what it is that I am missing, but maybe it’s just moving a tiny bit too slow for me.

Light as a Feather

Staying on a darker path, this show is for people who enjoy the horror side of it all. Based on a former wattpad story and now published book, Light as a Feather is a new Hulu show that draws on works such as Final Destination and Carrie.

I may have expected this to be even creepier and gruesome than it was, but so far there were still a couple nice twists and turns. Albeit it being a little predictable at times, it’s still interesting to see the characters react to certain situations they are put in. My main complaint for it would probably be that I really didn’t understand the why of it all after watching 2/3 of the first season. I hope it will explain things to some extent, as I am really not expecting a full on tell all in the final three episodes, but a little clarification as to what’s going on would be nice.

Having said this, putting the show in a post about witches might have been a bit of a stretch since I don’t know what’s happening. But the whole “Light as a feather …”-chant does always remind me of witchcraft, so there’s that …

Charmed

A couple of you already know this, but I was one of the biggest fans of the original Charmed show. If I had any say in this matter, the CW reboot would have never happened and we would have gotten a Next Generation kind of show instead. Alas, that’s not what happened and here we are.

I think the biggest mistake the CW made with this show is alienate some of the original fans previous to the reboot’s release by saying that the new version is a feminist spin on the original. Three powerful women living by themselves, rocking their careers and not actually being all about men despite that being part of their life sounds great to me, but apparently it wasn’t enough for the CW. Nevertheless, I really wanted to give this a try. If it could introduce a new generation to the power of three, why not? Right?

Well … I am not entirely convinced. I am glad there seem to be more inclusion in terms of casting and portrayal, I would never ever argue with that. However, to me, the charm of the original was that they had to figure out the magic on their own. Their guardian whitelighter didn’t show up in the first episode to explain everything like it happened here. Furthermore, in terms of visuals, this new Charmed just seems to draw from a lot of modern day pop culture and I think that’s a bit lazy. The first demon you see could be a Game of Throne’s Ice King doppelganger and the way their whitelighter teleports looks like apparation from Harry Potter. Why did they change that anyway?

As you can see, I am very skeptical. The second episode was better than the pilot in my opinion, but it has a long road if it wants to become a fan favourite like the original.

A Discovery of Witches

Did I save my favourite one for last? I absolutely did! So far A Discovery of Witches, based on the book by the same title, has only aired on Sky One in the UK, but it will be out in the US in 2019.

There’s a lot that is wrong with this show. In my heart and my mind, I absolutely 100% know that. People who compare it to an adult Twilight are spot on. It has the clichĂ© vampire who stalks the girl who falls in love with him anyway, the forbidden love and whatnot. But it also has an intriguing system of magic and a scientific background to support it. Combine all that with a perfect casting of Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer as the leads (their chemistry is off the charts) as well as beautiful scenery shots of Oxford, Venice and remote places in France – I was hooked immediately.

Maybe, as I get older, I am more drawn to adult shows? I feel like that’s not universally true, but little did I know that I was still craving vampire stories just like I did when I was 13 years old. Out of all the shows I mentioned, this is the one I am yearning to see the next episode of. I know that the book is a tome, so in comparison I think they are moving quite fast on the show without making it look like a rush job. This is for sure my latest obsession.

Honorary Mention – Legacies

I really only want to mention this briefly, but Legacies is CW’s latest spin-off show of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. I can’t really recommend this for anyone who hasn’t watched the previous shows at all, as they don’t really waste time explaining who’s who, but rather just assume it’s a given that you know them. Still, it does have witches, vampires and werewolves – so it definitely fits the theme and if you are into that and liked the previous shows, then it might be worth checking out. The first episode was decent enough.


What’s your take on witches? Are you glad they are back as well? Don’t hesitate to comment if you want to chat about any of the above mentioned shows! 

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali (Book Review)

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon and Schuster
Page Count
: 336

First of all, I want give a huge shout out to Analee @Book Snacks because she hosted a giveaway which let me pick this fabulous book as my prize. Thank you so, so much! I rarely ever get lucky with giveaways, so this had me jumping up and down with glee when I found out. On to the actual book now! (TW: sexual assault!)

It’s no secret that I have been in a bit of a reading slump these past months, with things other than books occupying my mind. But even before that, I can’t remember the last time I stayed up until the early hours to keep reading like I did with Saints and Misfits. It’s not that this was such an action-packed story, quite the opposite, but it had me stressed out about 80% of the time. Janna’s story is one of a regular Muslim teen and super relatable at that even if you aren’t 100% familiar with her culture and religion. I truly loved that about the book. Aside from a dark twist early on, it’s very much grounded in her High School experience, struggle with finding her place in her community and family as well as figuring out how her belief fits into her daily and romantic life. Simultaneously, there’s this dark cloud following her every step in the shape of “the monster”. I don’t want to give away what exactly happens, but whereas the book gave me so many characters to love (Pick a favorite!?!? Janna, Nuah, Sarah, Tats – I CANNOT EVEN CHOSE!), it also gave me that one person to channel all my anger towards. I didn’t always agree with other people’s take on the events that happened, especially the ones calling Janna “weak”. I believe that most of us think that we would fight back immediately when something bad happens to us, but that is far from reality when the situation actually occurs. Her initial helplessness was contagious and I think that’s why I felt so connected to Janna all through the story. Add the side tale with Mr. Ram, with her emotions and thoughts very much mirroring my own after something that happened in my life and this book was sure to have me hooked forevermore.

I was sobbing during the last chapters. I was sad and touched and glad and angry. Any book that evokes so many emotions in me is one that I can only recommend to others as well. As much as I enjoyed the book, I couldn’t give it a full 5 stars, because of the pacing and the flow. Especially in the beginning, I thought that some of the story felt a little hacked up and not cohesive enough in terms of how it flowed. And then the end came very abruptly. I am a person who enjoys finding out about consequences as well and that wasn’t really given in the final pages. Still, I feel like this book will stay with me for a while and I am sure I will revisit these characters again and again in the future.

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! I will cherish this one in my heart for a long time!

Have you read Saints and Misfits? Do you want to?

TTT: Most Anticipated (Early) 2017 Releases

top-ten-tuesday

I haven’t done this in a while, but it is Top Ten Tuesday, which is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Today is all about the releases for 2017 we are most excited about. I am just going to let my list speak for itself! Here you go:

2017

And because my brain like a piece of Swiss cheese and I forget the most basic things, here are two more I am excited about (let’s face it, Our Dark Duet will probably be my most anticipated book for all of 2017):

2017_2

What are you most excited for in 2017? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Because I Love You by Tori Rigby (Book Review)

bily

Publisher: Blaze Publishing
Page Count
: 330

**I was provided with an eArc by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!**

Because I Love You was once more a Blogateers-buddy-read with Cristina and Cátia. It should come as no surprise that we were on the same wave-length in terms of what we thought about the book, but you should definitely make sure to check out their blogs in the near future to read their reviews!!

As of late, I’ve apparently read quite a couple of books with teen pregnancies and somehow I find they always end in a very similar way. However, even if I thought that the final decision was a little bit predictable, the book as a whole definitely wasn’t. You might think that there is a limited of twists and turns in a YA contemporary, but nope, there were so many surprises that I didn’t expect. People who were supposed to be friends either turned out to be backstabbers or cowards, yet the ones who I was wary and suspicious of were the greatest support. It’s not just the people though, the plot itself has quite a few things in store as well.

I am always having difficulties saying things about books I liked. First, I don’t want to spoil you in any way and second, I am not sure how much use simple fangirling is. Because I Love You flows really nicely from the beginning. It has relatable characters who will grow on you quickly and show you how important a good support system is. There’s also a swoon-worthy guy who would slay dragons for the people he loves and a girl who realises how good she has had it in life and how much she has always been cared for. The novel tackles surprisingly many themes aside from teen pregnancy and adoption, however, going further into this might reveal too much already.

If you do pick up Because I Love You one day, and I really hope you will, I want you to go into this with an open mind. There’s so much more to people than we are able to see at first glance, maybe even at second.

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! A great emotional contemporary with twists that will surprise you!

5stars

Have you read Because I Love You? Do you intend to?

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (Book Review)

SerpentKing

Publisher: Crown Publishing
Page Count
: 370

I bought The Serpent King because I saw many (really, oh so many) good reviews for it, but I didn’t actually have a clue what it was about. The only thing I did know was that even though it has a title that 100% screams Fantasy at me, it’s a YA contemporary and apparently a brilliant one at that. Well, after reading it, I certainly cannot disagree!

I did not fall in love with this book headfirst. Set in a religious small town in the deep South of the US, you are immediately confronted with the sad reality of Dill, Travis’ and Lydia’s life. They are passionate, funny but also different, which makes them instant outsiders in their world. The whole thing was laced with this kind of inherent sadness that I just wasn’t prepared for. Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading the book, but I didn’t love it, yet slowly and gradually it won me over.

Dill, Travis and Lydia are such strong characters and this book will push you down to the ground until you sob about their fate and then be the helping hand that guides you up again and shows you the better side of things. Whenever there was a truly happy instance, it got crushed immediately or vice versa. It didn’t feel like made up drama though, they may not have been conventional circumstances for all of us, but they definitely felt honest, raw and real.

serpent

The beauty of it all was that you could easily find a piece of yourself in each of the characters. I designated Lydia to be my personal spirit animal. She’s a blogger too (even though she talks about fashion which I know virtually nothing about – that’s really only semantics) and she is so confident and quick and smart, she is the kind of person I wish I had been in high school. Travis is this incredibly sweet and darling guy, who is completely lost in the fictional world of his favourite books and seriously, who cannot relate to that? And Dill … Dill feels stuck and as if everyone is leaving him behind after graduation. They all have their hardships to face, even though I think the guys have it much more difficult than Lydia, who at least has the most amazing, present and caring parents (which is ever so rare in YA these days).

I feel like there is so much to say about this book, but I simply don’t know how to express it! A couple of unexpected things happen, especially one big twist. It felt so very twisted in the faith department and it showed so much injustice. That’s a thing I can never handle very well, because it’s so unfair and all you can do is just watch … This book definitely crushed my feelings, but it also gave me so much hope and inspiration. I will gladly pick up the next book by Zentner.

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! Broke my heart into a million pieces and then mended it again.

5stars

Do you feel like picking up this heartbreaker? Have you read it already? Tell me all about it!