Winds of Winter Release Date!

The quarantine has produced a miracle. At long last. George R.R. Martin has announced the release date of Winds of Winter. And it is… Unknown. It’s April’s Fool Day and even I am ashamed at how cruel this joke is. Apologies to readers everywhere.

I did reach 25 books read so far this year though! Let’s take a look:

  1. The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
  2. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
  3. Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston
  4. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. The Glass Scepter by Bekah Harris
  6. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
  7. Revan by Drew Karpyshyn
  8. First and Only by Dan Abnett
  9. The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno
  10. Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston
  11. The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
  12. The Great Glowing Coils of the Universe by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
  13. Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan
  14. House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
  15. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
  16. Ghostmaker by Dan Abnett
  17. Warrior of the Altaii by Robert Jordan
  18. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
  19. Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
  20. Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
  21. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
  22. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  23. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
  24. Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody
  25. Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

This year’s series re-read is Lord of the Rings. I will probably also reread The Hobbit and The Similarion as well. I am trying to keep it to one series a year, unless it is Wheel of Time. Those can get sprinkled in whenever as there are 14 of them (15 if you include New Spring).

There are so many good ones in this 25. I really cannot say which are my favorites.

Save the Cat! is my new writing companion. I am in love with the theory and outlining method. Every aspiring writer should read it. House of Salt and Sorrows and The Starless Sea are probably top five worthy. Both were fantastic reads.

There is a lot of fantasy on that list. It’s my main genre. I did manage to finish The Last Wish before watching The Witcher on Netflix. Love them both. All the Star Wars books are really good (there are 4 on this list), especially the ones about my girls Padme and Ashoka. Brandon Sanderson I love, but it takes me much longer to get through his books. They require a lot of concentration, but the worlds he creates are wild.

I can’t wait to see what the next 25 will be! I am currently reading 2 books with 1 or 2 more on my Kindle waiting to be downloaded. As always, any suggestions are appreciated!

This May Be My Most Controversial Post Yet

CAUTION: THIS IS ALL ABOUT STAR WARS INCLUDING AND NOT LIMITED TO ALL THEATRICAL RELEASES, TV SHOWS, AND NOVELS (I HAVE NOT PLAYED ANY OF THE VIDEO GAMES). THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a confession to make. I like the sequel trilogy. I also like the prequel trilogy. And the stand alone films. And the originals. Now, that does not mean I do not recognize the problems the films have on an individual level. I just want to be entertained. If a movie or book or whatever has enough things that I enjoy, then I will like it. I do not indulge in sci-fi and fantasy to be taught some deep. psychological lesson. I want to see cool fights and sappy romance. You know, the good stuff.

I know the sequels are the hot thing to hate right now. But, the writers did take from the extended universal novels (that are no longer cannon but still really good to read), and a lot of those novels are not great. I mean, there is a whole arc that Luke goes up against a Palpatine clone that has gone insane. So, yeah. Disney tried to use some of the ideas that we already were familiar with. The main issue there, in my opinion, was using multiple directors who did not want to work together on plot line apparently.

Let’s take a look at the films and TV shows (that I have seen, sorry Rebels) in chronological order, shall we?

  • Episode One: The Phantom Menace: We were gifted with a super cool villain in Darth Maul, the BEST piece of soundtrack ever with “Duel of the Fates”, introduced us to Padme Amidala who is pretty awesome, and gave us Qui-gon who was definitely a gray Jedi. Jar-Jar and dialogue were big problems (“Now THIS is pod-racing”), but the characters and action made up for that.
  • Episode Two: The Attack of the Clones: This is the weakest of the prequels. Padme does get to be a badass, and Ewan McGreggor is the best thing to happen to Star Wars. BUT, the best pick up line Ani can come up with is “I don’t like sand.” The guy has clearly never spoken to a female before.
  • The Clone Wars: If you have issues with Anikin’s character arc in the films, you need to watch this animated show. There is so much depth in the different relationships and the slow dissolve of the republic. Still not sure why Ani was not granted the rank of master when he had a padawan, but whatever. There’s an episode with dark Yoda that looks like a creepy Smeagol thing from nightmares.
  • Episode Three: The Revenge of the Sith: Best of the prequels, and not because of the memes. Epic light saber battles, betrayals, more bad dialogue. But most importantly: Darth Vader arises. I do have MAJOR issues with Padme being reduced to a weak pregnant lady when I think she would still be badass. That wasn’t cool.
  • Solo: I think this one suffered because it was released so soon after The Last Jedi. Donald Glover was great. I think the guy playing Han did a good job. The story was fun; there was some fan service in there. BUT THE ENDING. I want there to be a follow up somewhere, because I literally punched my husband in the arm repeatedly when I saw Maul.
  • Rogue One: The best of the Disney era. I honestly cannot think of a big issue with this one. The characters are awesome, all loose ends are tied up, and there is a beautiful transition to the original trilogy. Darth Vader steals the movie. His scenes are terrifying. We finally get to see how powerful he really is.
  • Episode Four: A New Hope: Han shot first. Also, Luke was able to use the force pretty easily to destroy the Death Star for someone who had like three lessons with Obi (or is it Ben?). Chewy deserved a medal. That was rude.
  • Episode Five: Empire Strikes Back: Yoda is a creepy little puppet frog, but he’s cool. Lando is fun. Things happen. Han and Leia do their thing. Honestly, this one is probably my least favorite of the movies (besides episode eight).
  • Episode Six: Return of the Jedi: Leia killing people in a bikini is a mood. We get a great wrap up of things in this one. Anikin’s character arc is complete- he is the one to bring balance to the force. Everyone is happy and the evil empire is gone… OR IS IT?
  • Star Wars Rebels: I have not watched this yet, but I’ve heard it’s good.
  • The Mandalorian: Who doesn’t love a good space western with heists and the most precious baby alien you have ever seen in your life? My only complaint is people die too soon. Side characters are a guaranteed one episode only thing. Oh, and it’s pretty much confirmed Ashoka will be in season two which will be awesome.
  • Episode Seven: The Force Awakens: Ben is actually one of those borrowed extended universe ideas, but he was Luke’s son (I wish Mara Jade was in a movie). Yes, it follows the same formula as A New Hope, but I honestly thought the setup was good.
  • Episode Eight: The Last Jedi: The only part of this worth watching is the throne room scene. Canto Blight makes no sense. The force bond is neat, but they did Luke dirty. Also, Leia was trained in the force and used a lightsaber in the extended universe novels. I think Kylo makes for an interesting character with his struggle between good and evil and being a confused mess.
  • Episode Nine: Rise of the Skywalker: I think this one did the best it could after trying to pick up the scattered pieces episode eight left behind. Really, one director should have been in charge of this. And, I will repeat myself, clone Palpatine was in the extended universe. Probably force healing too, I’m really not that sure. I did not like how they further reduced Finn and Poe to be comedic relief. They’re better than that. Also, this is the first time all of them are together and their like instant best friends? And why didn’t force ghost Ani show up and be like “grandson, you’re being stupid.”

Now, if Disney continues to bring in things from the novels (I will not pretend I have read them all), I think they have some strong stories to draw from. Thrawn is the greatest villain character in the universe. Revan is a fun one. Mara Jade. I love Mara Jade, but I guess she can’t be married to Luke so not sure what we can do there. Basically anything set before the prequels would be fun to see. Or more Darth Maul. I love Darth Maul.

I am not trying to make excuses for any of these movies. I just think Star Wars is Star Wars and having more Star Wars is awesome. Also, if you don’t like something, you can always fix it in your own fanfiction. Just don’t start fights with someone just because you think Disney ruined Star Wars. They did not. They aren’t giving us perfect Star Wars, but it was never perfect.

I do highly recommend going to Galaxy’s Edge when you get the chance, though. That is a fantastic area.

The Complete List of Books of 2019

I am so sorry it has taken this long to reveal the full list. I read 42 books last year, and my Goodreads goal was 40. Yay me! Here they are in order that I read them:

  1. Red Queen by Victoria Avegard
  2. Empire of Storms by SarahJ Maas
  3. Legendary by Stephanie Garber
  4. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas
  5. Catwoman by Sarah J Maas
  6. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  8. The Fork, The Witch, and The Worm by Christopher Paolini
  9. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas
  10. Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  11. Phasma by Delilah S Dawson
  12. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas
  13. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
  14. Rebel Born by Amy A Bartol
  15. Before the Broken Star by Emily R King
  16. Eldest by Christopher Paolini
  17. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
  18. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
  19. The Wrath of Darth Maul by Ryder Windham
  20. Into the Hourglass by Emily R King
  21. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  22. Fledgling by Nicole Conway
  23. Avian by Nicole Conway
  24. Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  25. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett
  26. No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty
  27. Wicked by Gregory Maguire and Douglas Smith
  28. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
  29. Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire
  30. Finale by Stephanie Garber
  31. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  32. The Thorn Princess by Bekah Harris
  33. Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul
  34. Loki by Mackenzi Lee and Stephanie Hans
  35. Heir of Iron Hearts by Bekah Harris
  36. Game of Shadows by Bekah Harris
  37. Reign of Darkness by Bekah Harris
  38. Starsight by Brandon Sanderson
  39. On Writing by Stephen King
  40. The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster
  41. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
  42. Everafter Song by Emily R. King

I would say that Song of Achilles and Spin the Dawn remain my top recommendations. Both had amazing storytelling, and I am still thinking about them almost a year later.

On Writing and No Plot? No Problem! were books I chose to help me with my author related goals. If you want to learn more about becoming a writer, especially if you plan on doing National Novel Writing Month, you should put these on your must read list. I have a couple more that I plan on reading this year as well. Do note that On Writing is about 50% autobiography of Stephen King. It’s a really interesting read.

Bekah Harris was a Kindle Unlimited find. I devoured her series on there. It’s a fun, quick young adult story dealing with fairies. I am mad at her for doing something to one of my favorite characters that I believe was not necessary, but that’s spoilers so… yeah. If you want something good and quick for a beach trip or school holiday, check her out.

Feel free to ask me about any of the books on my list. I promise to give honest reviews. I cannot wait to tell you all about what i am reading in 2020. My goal is 50 books, and I am currently at 17. I’ll do a post when I hit 25.

Goals for 2020

So we are six weeks into 2020, but I am still trying to figure out what my main goals for the year are. I am trying to have at least one for what I believe to be the important parts of my life. As soon as I share them, you guys can help hold me accountable. But, here are the couple I have so far:

My reading goal for the year is 50 books. That’s a little less than a book a week, and I think I can pull it off. Heck, I have 12 done already which will be good if I get into a reading slump later in the year.

Health goals are going to be non-scale based. I think that is part of the reason why I have such a hard time with it- numbers get into my head. I want to complete a 5k by the end of the year and move from power walking to jogging on the treads at my Orange Theory class. I just started jogging on the all outs without inclines, and man, that makes me super winded. Cardio is not my thing, y’all.

I want to finish writing my NaNoWriMo 2019 novel before NaNoWriMo 2020 starts. My plot decided to not follow my outline so I have been stuck with how to get things going again.

Make the most out of my annual passes. I am paying for Universal and SeaWorld, and I don’t want that money to be wasted. I don’t see it happening because I just love theme parks and roller coasters, but my life isn’t 24/7 Disney (it basically is, but we keep getting blocked out thanks to Star Wars).

Career wise I don’t have any specific goals yet. Last year was huge for my job, so I feel like this year will be honing my knowledge on skills I need for industry accounting. The change from public was a welcome one, but a lot of my every day smarts are not used here as they were tax related. It’s a different brain and I am enjoying it very much.

I plan on keeping you updated on these goals and more as they come up. I also plan on bragging about all the fun theme park stuff I get up to, so if you have any questions about Orlando theme parks, let me know and I will do my best to answer!

Happy NaNo!

Go start yours!

National Novel Writing Month is here! 20 days. 50,000 words. Roughly 1,667 words a day. Time to ration the discount Halloween candy to get through the challenge.

My project this year is Golden Soul. I am also using the software Schrivener for the first time. So far I really like it. Go start your project by going to NaNoWriMo.org and announcing your novel! Then add me as a buddy: DestinyDalma.

Well, I have writing to get to. Good luck to all the novelists out there!

Books of 2019 (So Far)

Hello everyone! My Goodreads goal for 2019 is 40 books. I am a little behind schedule- moving states and new jobs can do that I guess- but here are the books I have read so far. They are listed in the order that I read them- not by how much I like them.

  1. Red Queen by Victoria Avegard
  2. Empire of Storms by SarahJ Maas
  3. Legendary by Stephanie Garber
  4. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas
  5. Catwoman by Sarah J Maas
  6. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  8. The Fork, The Witch, and The Worm by Christopher Paolini
  9. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas
  10. Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  11. Phasma by Delilah S Dawson
  12. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas
  13. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
  14. Rebel Born by Amy A Bartol
  15. Before the Broken Star by Emily R King
  16. Eldest by Christopher Paolini
  17. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
  18. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
  19. The Wrath of Darth Maul by Ryder Windham
  20. Into the Hourglass by Emily R King
  21. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  22. Fledgling by Nicole Conway
  23. Avian by Nicole Conway
  24. Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Song of Achilles is by far my favorite book of the ones listed. The story was amazing, and it was a great retelling of the Trojan War. Granted, I am obsessed with all things mythology and ancient Greek, but I believe that anyone not obsessed would still enjoy the story.

Christopher Paolini’s newest book made me wish he would release more about the aftermath of the Inheritance saga. I definitely want more of Angela’s antics, and a little more into her history would be much appreciated as well. I also want to see more of how Murtagh is dealing with his new freedoms and the consequences of his role in the war. I just want more. Mr. Paolini, please.

My other top recommendations would be Spin the Dawn and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. They are two completely different books- one being a “help” book- but they will probably make my top 5 come the end of the year.

Spin the Dawn is a young adult novel, but it does not follow all of the typical tropes you may think of. There is no dystopia, no “chosen one,” but a girl trying to help her family. The book was described online as a Mulan-esque tale, and that is completely true. Elizabeth Lim does a fantastic job at telling a story, and I cannot wait to read the sequel!

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is all about choosing what you actually care about. There are things that are worth using your energy on- you just have to take the time to reflect to decide what they are. Mark Manson utilizes the perfect amount of humor and metaphors to get the message across. It is definitely worth the read, especially for my fellow millennials.

I have about 5 books that I am currently reading/ have in my to be read pile and another few books on hold on Libby. I’m excited to see what stories I get to experience next!

2018 Reading Roundup

So back in August I posted about the books I’ve read from January till then as a celebration of hitting my reading goal of 30 books. I’ve read a total of 60 books this year (thank you Goodreads for keeping tack), and here are the rest of them, in order that they were read.

  1. The King’s Curse Phillippa Gregory
  2. The Hammer of Thor Rick Riordian
  3. The Kingmaker’s Daughter Phillippa Gregory
  4. The Warrior Queen Emily R. King
  5. Outlander Diana Gabaldon(Love the show, but it was a slow read for me)
  6. Mistborn Brandon Sanderson (Not as good as his work with Wheel of Time, but still great)
  7. The Red Pyramid Rick Riordian
  8. Caraval Stephanie Garber (I loved this one. I’m on my library waitlist for the sequel)
  9. Big Little Lies Liane Moriarty
  10. The Throne of Fire Rick Riordian
  11. The Night Circus Erin Morgenstern (This one was weird, but I enjoyed it)
  12. Ready Player One Ernest Cline (Liked both the book and the movie despite all the differences)
  13. Star Wars Trilogy George Lucas
  14. A Court of Mist and Fury Sarah J. Maas
  15. Crazy Rich Asians Kevin Kwan (Loved it! Still need to see the movie)
  16. Hocus Pocus & The All New Sequel A.W. Jantha
  17. Children of Blood and Bone Tomi Adeyemi (Totally counting down to the sequel. This one was one of my faves of the year)
  18. Whiskey in a Teacup Reese Witherspoon (I just love her)
  19. Crown of Midnight Sarah J. Maas
  20. A Court of Wings and Ruin Sarah J. Maas
  21. Circe Madeline Miller
  22. Furyborn Claire Legrand
  23. Girls of Paper and Fire Natasha Ngan (This one was really good. I think James Patterson is helping her? Anyway, totally recommend)
  24. An Ember in the Ashes Sabaa Tahir
  25. The Outsider Stephen King (I read this in 24 hours cause holy crap)
  26. Heir of Fire Sarah J. Maas
  27. Skyward Brandon Sanderson
  28. Queen of Shadows Sarah J. Maas
  29. The Well of Ascension Brandon Sanderson (This one took me a good while to read, mostly because library books were priority)
  30. Crimes of Grindelwald J.K. Rowling

The Throne of Glass series was probably my favorite of the year. I know I still have a few more to go, but I believe it is better than A Court of Thorns and Roses. My other favorite new series was listed on the other post- the last book comes out next year.

I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings book wise! My reading goal is 40 books (there is a lot planned for 2019, including buying a house), but hopefully I can beat it again like this year.

Thankful

It is Thanksgiving morning, and I have been up since 5:30 thanks to my adorable kitties who decided 5:30 is the best time to demand cuddles. It has been quite a year, so I wanted to list a few things I am thankful for.

  • My husband who puts up with all my weird moods and antics. I’m 90% sure I annoy him most of the time, but we are now in our 3rd year of marriage and 8th year of togetherness. I love him bunches and wouldn’t know what to do without him.
  • My cats. They really are my fur babies. Life just isn’t worth it without cats.
  • My mom who is my best friend. I am lucky to have such a great relationship with her. She keeps me sane and out of jail, even now that I am 25.
  • My dad who is so much fun and has the best advice as I go through things in life that they don’t discuss in school (which they probably should).
  • My brother. He may be WAY more creative and artistic than me, but he is still awesome.
  • My family. They’re crazy, but I love them. And my closest friends are family, so they are included here too.
  • Disney. Always thankful for the happiness and the magic.
  • This is a weird one, but I am thankful that my current CPA exam section has a chapter on bankruptcy because whenever I get to that chapter all I can think of is Michael Scott declaring bankruptcy in that episode of the office.
  • Books. Especially ones like Harry Potter that never get old no matter how many times you read them.
  • All the men in Marvel movies. Beyond thankful for them if you know what I mean.
  • Fuzzy blankets and socks, because I am always cold.

I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving. The parade starts in just a few hours, so let me know what your thankful for in the comments!

NaNoWriMo Prep

I know it’s not even October yet, and I most likely will not be able to do much writing in NaNoWriMo this year because of finishing up the CPA exam, but I did a thing I don’t usually do. I outlined my story idea before starting to write it.

Okay, so it’s a rewrite of a story I wrote in high school. A lot of the stuff is changing though- I’m just keeping the basic story line idea. But it is outlined (very roughly) from start to finish. That is huge for me.

I’m a write on the fly type of girl. Which usually means my plot lines are not organized (shocking coming from the one with three planners) and my characters do not have a clear path. It’s one of the things I am trying to focus on when it comes to my writing.

I hope to have some time to do character sheets next, but, to be honest, this is probably as much prep I will get done before November first. This CPA thing has got to come first right now. Next year I’ll be more focused on hitting that 50,000 words target.

Anyone else preparing for NaNoWriMo? Add me as a buddy! My author name is DestinyDalma (I joined NaNoWriMo the same time I joined fanfiction.net, so most of my usernames around that time are the same). Fun fact: Destiny actually gets a role in my story this year! I’m excited to make the changes to make her less of a fanfiction character and more of a Disney won’t come after me if I use her character.

God Bless Kilts

My life has recently been taken over by fictional Scotland. I am making sure to put the fictional in there because I have no idea how realistic my exposures have been.

If I’m being honest with myself, I fell in love with the country back in the days of Brave (still super obsessed over Merida in the Ralph Breaks the Internet trailer). and more recently when I binged Reign over the summer. Yes, I know that Mary was a Scot raised in France, but she was still a Scot. The Philippa Gregory books have also touched upon Scotland’s history in dealing with the English, and I have read most of those the past couple of months.

Well, this past week I have discovered Outlander. I had a free trial of Stars with Amazon Prime, and I had heard great things about the show. Full disclosure: I have only seen season one as of now.

Oh my lord, the kilts. God bless kilts.

The Scottish characters are freaking amazing. Sure. you have your share of sleezeballs and jerks, but most of the characters are strong and intelligent. Even the “bad guy” British characters are well written (yes, even Randall even though I hate that guy). And the women! Oh my gosh I love them all. Even in the eighteenth century world, they are independent and strong and cunning and just plain smart.

I am just so in love with this show right now, you guys. I do have the book borrowed from the library right now as well, but I am not my usual picky self when it comes to reading before watching. I do like being able to pick up on the differences, though.

If you have not watched this show, I recommend it. And let me know if you have any other suggestions to fuel this love for Scotland (fictional or not).