March 6, 2016

Book Review | Finding Audrey

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Hello everyone!

I’ve been reading some more Sophie Kinsella books lately, and decided to do a review on the first book of hers I read a few months ago: Finding Audrey.

Finding+Audrey+Cover+Jpeg Finding Audrey is Kinsella’s first Young Adult novel, which follows a girl named, you guessed it, Audrey. Prior to the beginning of the book Audrey suffers through an incident that causes her to now have social anxiety, for which she has to go to therapy for. Audrey is too afraid to make eye contact with anyone, including the members of her family, all except for her youngest brother Felix. Because Audrey can’t make eye contact she hides behind a pair of sunglasses, even when indoors. She mostly keeps to herself and watches her mother and her little brother Frank argue about Frank’s obsession with video games. Frank plays with a team for one particular game, and invites his friend Linus over to play with him. Audrey initially freaks out when she sees Linus because he is a new person for her to be around, but she soon develops a crush on him. The two start a romance and Linus pushes Audrey to step out of her little bubble of anxiety by doing little tasks, such as ordering a drink at Starbucks, or going up to a stranger and asking a random question.

Overall this book was cute. Light, quick, fast paced. That said, it was irritating.

What the title should have been was Audrey’s Mother Has Some Major Issues (With Video Games). Because 70% of this story was just reading how Audrey’s mother is “concerned” about her brother constantly playing Land of Conquerors (which in my head was some sort of Call of Duty game). The issues with the mother and Frank take up pretty much the entire book, with little pieces here and there of our actual main character doing some stuff with Linus, or figuring stuff out in her head.

Audrey’s anxiety was confusing to me. Maybe it’s because we never learn what actually happened to her. I don’t know. I think if Finding Audrey had been even thirty pages longer, and it included what happened to Audrey, I might have liked it a bit better. But it’s nice to read about a book addressing social anxiety.

The best character in the book to me was Felix, who is four and adorably clueless about what is going on around him. There’s one scene in the story where Linus has Felix deliver a note to Audrey and when Audrey gives her response to Felix to take it back to Linus, Felix sticks the note in his pocket, saying he wants to keep it as his “pocket paper.”

Like I said before, this book was cute. If you are a big fan of Sophie Kinsella, or are just looking for a quick read for the beach, I recommend you checking this out.

 

*Rating on Goodreads: 3 stars out of 5

 

March 5, 2016

A New Challenge

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Hello everyone!

Last year I set a goal to read at least one classic a month in order to broaden my reading options, and to narrow down my TBR pile.

However, life got in the way and I ended up failing that challenge I had set for myself.

But today I have decided to set myself a new goal.

Over the past week I have been re-watching Gilmore Girls. I never watched Gilmore Girls growing up, and I never saw an episode until last year because Netflix had uploaded the entire series and I had the chance to binge-watch. I loved Lorelai and Rory’s relationship, all the quirky people who lived in Stars Hollow, season one Dean, and the bad boy bookworm that is Jess. And most of all I loved Rory’s passion for reading. The interactions between her and her grandfather where they discuss literature (and life in general) reminded me of the conversations I had with my grandfather when we would grab coffee or browse through Borders when I was growing up.

And as I am re-watching the episodes now I’ve gotten the sudden urge to read Sylvia Plath and Dorothy Parker and all these wonderful classics that I always see or hear about, and that I tell myself I will read one day, but have been too scared to try. UNTIL NOW (*cue dramatic music*).

So I’m planning on taking the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge.

This will not be completed by the end of this year, and probably not next year either. There are 339 books on that list. I don’t know how I would find time to read that much, especially with college graduation in 63 days followed by a 6-week internship over the summer. But this is a challenge I want to finish in my lifetime.

There is a website I found which I will link below that helps you check off what you already have read. So far I have made it around 45 books, which I think is a pretty good start. I’ll link a separate post that includes which ones I have read and which ones I need to get to.

The checklist is right here: http://www.listchallenges.com/rory-gilmore-reading-challenge

Go through it and tell me in the comments below how many you have already managed to check off.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

**Edit: Here is the link to the list of the books I have already read from this challenge :)

http://laurenecox.com/rory-gilmore-reading-challenge-checklist/

March 2, 2016

Book Review | Hook’s Daughter

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Hooks-Daughter-Heidi-Schulz-674x1024

Hook’s Daughter by Heidi Schulz is a middle grade novel that talks about, as the title suggests, Captain Hook’s daughter, Jocelyn. Jocelyn is an adventurer in a society where girls are expected to be prim and proper. Due to her wild antics, Jocelyn is sent to a finishing school, but after receiving a letter from her now deceased father, she runs away to avenge his death by the hand (or mouth, as the case may be) of the Neverland Crocodile. Along with Mr. Smee, Jocelyn gathers a crew and set sail on her ship, Hook’s Revenge, to find and kill the Crocodile.

I don’t read middle grade books very often, but this one was too good to pass up. I mean, t’s a Peter Pan retelling. I love Peter Pan so of course I wanted to read about the dear Captain’s daughter.

I thought the writing in this was great. It reminded me of Lemony Snicket’s writing style. The narrator of the story (possibly the deceased Captain Hook) will say very sarcastic things every now and again that remind me of passages from A Series of Unfortunate Events. Here’s an example from page 41:

“I have faced down some horrors in my day – ferocious animals, fangs gleaming and hungry for human flesh; fierce men with murder in their eyes; my own dear mother on wash day.”

This is the type of stuff you will find when reading this book.

As far as the characters go, Jocelyn is a great main character. Even though she is a little kid, she isn’t portrayed as being painfully immature. She is intelligent, caring, and has the makings of a phenomenal pirate captain. The secondary characters are also wonderful, especially Jocelyn’s crew on Hook’s Revenge. The crew is made up of these low-tier pirates who have fake injuries and battle stories, but she puts up with it/plays along with it.

If you look at the tagline on the cover it says that “Peter Pan has met his match.” However, Peter isn’t in the novel very much. He appears maybe twice, although his name does pop up a lot. However, other familiar characters appear in Neverland, such as the Lost Boys and Mr. Smee.

I believe this is the first in a series of middle grade books. I don’t know if I will be continuing this series right now as I have other TBR books that are more of a priority, but maybe a little ways down the line, I will continue with it as I did enjoy the characters.

If you like Peter Pan as much as I do, action and adventure, and/or writing styles similar to Lemony Snicket, I highly recommend you check this out.

Thanks for reading!

March 2, 2016

February Wrap-Up

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Hey there Literature Lovers! I hope you are doing well! Sorry for the lack of posting. College graduation is creeping up, and, of course, with this being my final semester, there is a lot of work to get done.

Today I thought I would just quickly share what books I read during the month of February. I’m planning on doing some individual reviews of some of these books either on here or possibly on my YouTube channel (I’ve never filmed myself talking on there before and I’ve finally decided it’s high time I give it a shot!). Those reviews should be coming out soon.

Here’s what I’ve read last month:

Hook’s Daughter by Heidi Schulz (*renamed to Hook’s Revenge)

Review: http://laurenecox.com/hooks-daughter

A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher

Review: http://laurenecox.com/a-little-in-love

Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

Review: http://laurenecox.com/the-chaos-of-stars

Crush du Jour by Michel Ostow

The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward

Love by the Book by Melissa Pimentel

Remeberance (The Mediator #7) by Meg Cabot

Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

 

What books did you read last month? What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

February 2, 2016

January Wrap-Up

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Hey everyone! Here’s a quick list of all the books I read last month. Share yours in the comments below!

 

Shopgirl by Steve Martin

Unbelievable by Sara Shepard

Wicked by Sara Shepard

The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss

Hiding out at the Pancake Palace by Nan Marino

My Name is Mina by David Almond

The Miracle Worker: A Play by William Gibson

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

The Proposal: A Mediator series novella by Meg Cabot

I also listened to one audiobook this month. Since Thanksgiving I have begun listening to books in the car and on my walks to class. The first one I listened to was the Princess Diaries Volume 11: Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot. I have been reading about Princess Mia since I was eight years old and going through my phase of reading every book that a Disney movie was based off of. This was my second time listening to the book in the past two months.

So yeah, those are the books I read last month. Please share what you read in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

 

December 18, 2015

Let it Snow

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Hello everyone!

I’m here with another Christmas book recommendation: Let It Snow!

This is a collection of short stories written by YA authors Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle that are set in a small town in Virginia during a massive snowstorm.

I first discovered this in 2009. I was at Borders (back when Borders was still a thing) with my mom and I was browsing in the Teen/YA section. This looked really cute and fluffy, which some might not like, but I actually enjoy that.

I had not read anything by any of these authors before. Heck, I didn’t even know who John Green was back then! But I enjoyed each of the stories immensely.

I think my favorite is the first story by Maureen Johnson. “The Jubilee Express” is about a girl named Jubilee who is on a train to Florida to see her grandparents after her parents are arrested during a riot at a store that sells collectible toy villages. She’s annoyed because she is supposed to be at her boyfriend’s house with his family where they would be celebrating their one year anniversary. She gets caught in a snowstorm and winds up hanging out with a guy named Stuart and his family for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This can’t get any fluffier, but it is easily the best book in the story (my opinion of course). I didn’t really like Jubilee’s boyfriend. He reminds me a lot of Amanda Seyfried’s boyfriend in Letters to Juliet (which is an adorable movie that you should watch if you haven’t). This was the perfect story to start off the collection, and I felt it established the town in the stories as well as the tone of the book vey nicely.

My second favorite was John Green’s story “A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle.” This story is about a group of friends trying to get to the local Waffle House where there is a cheerleading team who they think they’ll have a shot with. I think it’s a great introductory piece of his that can show his humor where some of his novels might not (since we all know he has the ability to wrench our hearts out and toss them across the room). Is it a little cheesy and ridiculous at times? Yes. But it’s definitely worth reading.

I like some parts of Lauren Myracle’s story “The Patron Saint of Pigs,” but the main character, Addie, could be a little irritating at times. She made everything about her and that’s supposed to be something she fixes by the end of her story. I thought she made a bit of a headway, but the TV in her head was still tuned to The Addie Show. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the strongest closer to the book.

Like I said before, it’s a light and fluffy read, which some people might not like, but if you think it’s up your alley, then definitely check it!

Thanks for reading!

December 15, 2015

Skipping Christmas

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Merry almost Christmas everyone!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and one of my favorite times of the year, but if I’m honest, I’m not one hundred percent in a festive mood. I suppose it’s because I spent the first two weeks of the month worrying about finals and presentations for my second to last semester of college, which doesn’t leave much room for festivities. Then I can home and started watching Christmas movies, listening to music, staring at our family’s Christmas tree…and I still didn’t feel the way Christmas used to feel. I felt like Cindy Lou Who in the live action Grinch movie, wondering where the feeling of Christmas had gone.

That is until I picked up Skipping Christmas by John Grisham.


I’ve read Skipping Christmas every year since the fifth grade, so about eleven years now. It’s only 177 pages long, but the story is so captivating and told so well that it doesn’t really seem that short. I also adore the movie, Christmas with Kranks, which was based off of the book.

If you don’t already know, the story is about a married couple who decide to go on a cruise instead of dealing with the stress that Christmas tends to bring while their daughter is off in Peu with the Peace Corps. The book centers around them avoiding all the hullabaloo that comes with the commercialized expectations of Christmas.

The story itself is hilarious and that’s a big part of why I read it, but I think what I love most about this book is how many memories I have of the past Christmases where I read this, and through the pages of this I was able to relive all those moments.

If you have never read this novel, I highly recommend it. It’s just the thing to get you in the holiday spirit if you, like me, have been feeling less than festive.

December 15, 2015

Timing and Outlining

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Hi everyone!

As I mentioned in my blog post, Revisiting Old Ideas, I have been working on the novel that I first started writing when I was sixteen. I am so glad to finally have the story the way I want it. The only trouble is getting it all on the page.

The story revolves around a marching band season, which can span from the end of July until the end of October, or in some cases, mid-November.

And that’s my problem.

My first novel that I wrote last year took place in the span of four days or a long weekend. There is obviously only so much you can do in one place for four days, and it wasn’t hard to figure out what was going on, probably because my main character felt very real and dragged me along with her to the various places she visited in that one city.

I’m having a bit more trouble now.

Four months is a long time. A lot more can happen, and I want to make sure it’s all clear without it seeming to be rushed or dragged out.

The big problem I’m facing is second-guessing myself. This story isn’t a memoir by any means, but it’s probably the closest I will ever get. Marching band was a big part of my high school years, so obviously I’m borrowing a lot of my experiences to put in this particular novel.

I find that making an outline has started to help me sort it all out. I only really do that when I have the whole book in my head and need a way to sort out where each new chapter begins.

It’s a lot of organizing, a lot of rewriting, but eventually it will get there. All there’s left to do is just keep writing.

A question to any fellow writers: Do you have similar problems with creating a realistic flow for stories that span a few months? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

October 13, 2015

Quotes

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I’ve always collected things. Chocolate Frog cards, coins with the states printed on the back, souvenir cups from the movie theater, and quotes.

It’s amazing how a single strand of words can speak to you on a visceral level.

I used to carry around a notebook in my purse that had my favorite quotes in it, adding on whenever I found a new one. Eventually the notebook filled up, and I wanted another place to display my collection of words. There was a space above my desk in my dorm room that seemed really bare so I decided to fill it with quotes that were funny, thoughtful, and inspirational.

There are so many of those sentences and paragraphs that I can relate to, but there is one I’ve found recently that seems to really encapsulate me and my passion for writing:

 

“I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.”

- Issac Asimov

 

I can relate to this so much. I feel like I was born to write, to share stories, to make something out of words. When I have writer’s block, or I don’t feel like I have time to write, I feel like I am drowning, and it’s the worst feeling ever.

Are there any other writers out there who feel that same way? Let me know.

Also, do you have a favorite quote? Feel free to share

Thanks for reading!

September 9, 2015

Revisiting Old Ideas

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It’s funny as a writer when you look back at when you first start a story and how it’s gone a different route than you were expecting.

Take one I am working on right now. It was the first novel I ever actually started writing. I’ve always wanted to be an author, always dabbled here and there with different story ideas, but at the age of 16, this one actually stuck.

The original story was going to be sappy, cliché, your typical young adult contemporary that would be considered a light, guilty pleasure read, nothing groundbreaking.

Now here I am, 21, already finished with a different novel and making great headway with a second, and this idea decides to appear once again, only it has taken a new turn.

The characters for the most part are the same, with the exception of two characters whose names have been changed. The setting is the same, the situations are more or less the same. But it’s a totally different story, a totally different angle. Because what I thought was important (in life and in a novel) are not the same now as they were 5 years ago.

It’s been fun to revisit this old idea, picking out what scenes to carry over and which to say good-bye to. And although some of the descriptions and dialogue are really cringy to read, it’s a reminder of how far I’ve come with my writing.

Remember to look back at your old works. Who knows? They might have just needed a little more time to think about where they were going.