Monthly Highlights - May 2017

May 29, 2017

   I may or may not have slacked (...or taken an unexpected almost-hiatus?) on doing posts in May. My apologizes - but I was sick, so I do have an excuse! But here I am to tell you all about the random things that happened to me in May ... 

  - Our baby robins (a pretty little mama robin decided to build her nest right outside our window - er, she reused an old one that was already there xD) are getting huge and adorable. I have to admit, when they're newborn and slimy ... well, they aren't all that cute - but now that they have fuzzy little feathers and teeny black eyes, they're adorable.

Two and a half week old baby robins
a bad picture of them, because they INSISTED on sleeping all day xD

   - We handed out May Day baskets and went to multiple graduation parties, which was tons of fun - May was definitely a very busy and very epic month ;). And I'm almost done with school - it'll be super awesome to start summer break. 

   I would say "where do I even start?" ... but I started last month's Writing-ly Things section like that, so let's not be repetitive xD.

   - I wrote roughly 22,890 words this month - and I say roughly because I wrote words for so many different projects that I don't think they're all present and accounted for!  

   - I started on a brand new writing project, but I can't tell you what it is yet ;). But I CAN tell you that you'll know more about it on the 1st of June. I'm super super excited about it though, so definitely be watching out for that post.

   - Killing Snow got a lot more words added to it during the month of May. I didn't get near as many as I wanted to - I meant to get it all done, and I only got three fourths of it done - but I'd say that it was very, very good progress. I'm planning to getting the rest of it done in June, but considering the new project I mentioned above, I might not finish the whole of it. But, to stick with the schedule, I need to get a good deal of it done, so I'm certainly going to try. 

   Well, I'd share snippets, but I don't have the time to go looking through all the junk I wrote to find good bits to share. Guess I'll owe you extra snippets in June, huh? ;)

12 books that I read in May

Worst book:  Swipe by Evan Angler (and may I mention that it wasn't a bad book? It just wasn't up to par compared to the rest of the almost-all-four-stars-or-above-books that I read during the rest of the month)
Best book: Probably North! Or Be Eaten (don't judge it by the title, because I did) by Andrew Peterson, though When Ravens Fall would have come close, if it wasn't a novella - though, if I could include A Time To Rise by Nadine Brandes (and I technically can't, because I read it last month, but wasn't able to include it in April's Monthly Highlights, since I finished it after it was published), IT WOULD TAKE THE CAKE.

   Wow, so I rambled on much longer than I thought I would. Let's get on with this, shall we? ;)

   - North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson. I read the first book in this series (The Wingfeather Saga) in May as well, but the second book - this one - definitely surpassed it, I'm so glad I decided to continue with this series. I was a little worried during the beginning, because I was having a bit of a hard time getting attached to the book, but by the end WOW. I love this thing so much. I need the next one. I'm giving this one a beautiful 4 1/2 stars. 

   - When Ravens Fall by Savannah Jezowski. I'd read another novella by this author, and it was AMAZING, so I was expecting good things from When Ravens Fall - and it didn't disappoint at all! It was such a beautiful novella, and the things that surprised me the most was that it didn't feel like a novella. Most novellas that I read feel like they're a bit short and moving a little too fast - but this one felt like it was a novel. It was lovely, and I adored this read. Definitely worth the 4 1/2 stars I'm giving it.  

   - A Time To Rise by Nadine Brandes. This is my blog so WHO CARES if I read this book during the last few bits of April. I didn't include it before, so I'm including it - it was too good for me not to! Seriously, like I said last month, if I had to pick a top-favorite series, the Out Of Time Series would be a top contender. I have never cried over a book in my life, but I think this one brought me the closest (and yet I've still never cried over a book *sighs*). Nadine is a BRILLIANT storyteller. Hopefully I'll get a full review of this book up during June, but for now I'll just say that I give it a full 5 stars.

   I also reviewed A Question Of Honor this month, so do check that out if you want more of my bookish thoughts ;).

   - Mary Horton did a beautiful post about imperfect beauty (ironically xD)

   - Burning Youth may have posted my favorite post of their's this month <3 <3 <3.  

   - Katie Grace posted about all the bookish and writer-ly things - which was super fun to read about.

   - Nadine did a post on 20 books you should add to her summer reading list, (and Jonathan did one, too) and my TBR just got bigger (and I might steal Nadine's post idea because other people have, haha ;))

   - Amanda Beguerie did a post that I love so much, and I can't even find a way to explain it, so I'll just leave you with this link. <3

   - Hannah White did a post on explaining your story to other people and OH BOY was it helpful.

   - Shantelle spotlighted a book titled Unraveling (by Sara Ella) and OH MY. I though I'd buy it for the cover alone, and then the excerpt had me sold. I need the thing xD.

   I'll be finishing off the How To Liven Up Your Character series in June - we only have one post left! And then there's a special post I'll be doing on the 1st that I'm really really excited about.

   But I can't tell you what it is - so I suppose you'll have to wait and see ;).

~ Savannah Grace 

   How was your May? Do you know what my post on the 1st is going to be? What do you want me to do a series on after the How To Liven Up Your Character series is done?

The #VoicesOfYA Tag

May 20, 2017

   The has got to be one of the coolest tags ever created. Caitlin is the maker of it, and Audrey is the one who tagged me - so many thanks to them both! I'm excited for the chance to ramble and rant about all things YA fiction ...

The #VoiceOfYA Tag - Header Image

What Draws You To YA?

   The voice. The way it can twist and whirl and send your mind spinning and falling until you're not even sure if you can can come back - until you're not even sure you want to come back, because why would you after that story? The feel and the sound and the way YA voice gets from my brain to the page (or from the page to my brain) is one of the many things that draws me to YA. 

   And ... then there's the characters (if you didn't guess that I was going to say that, you haven't been around me long). They're beautiful and incredible heartbreaking and they can teach you things about the world. Both the crafting and the reading of people that aren't real, but should be, is what draws me to YA.

   Gracious that was a ramble. And only half of what I really wanted to say, so you may or may not get a whole post about this later on ;). 

Describe Your Writing Process.  Do You Like Outlines And Structure, Or Seeing Where The Story Takes You? 

   Whoo, boy. My process is so complicated, I think you'd go nuts to hear it - mostly because it changes with every. Single. Book. I never know what's going to happen! But I almost always know where I want to start, and I always know where I want to end! It's a start xD.

   Let's go with my process for Killing Snow (my unfinished WIP), shall we?

   I started with a zero draft, then I thought up a rough outline of what Killing Snow should look like so that I knew how to stitch those pieces together (I don't remember if I wrote it down or not). After I pieced the first draft together, I edited it into a second draft, then edited the third draft, etc. (I'm sure there was more outline scratching and restarting in there somewhere - I had a lot of plot holes). Until I got to the fifth draft. I stopped full out after the fifth draft and wrote a very long outline to turn Killing Snow into a novel (during this whole process so far, it had been a novella).

   So all of that is what has already happened - and now I'm using that outline to try and tame a very, very feisty story called Killing Snow. It's not working very well. I'll get back to you on it xD. 

How Long Have You Been Writing? Where Are You In Your Journey?

   I've been writing since I was ... ten years old, I think? But I started realizing that publishing young was a thing getting serious about my writing when I was about thirteen. I'm in the 'I could be so close' part of my journey, because I'm hoping to start researching literary agents and publishing houses at the beginning of 2018, along with the pros and cons of self publishing. But I've been writing for about six years, which is insane. THE ROAD IS LONG - but I'm in it to win it xD.

What Do You Need To Write? Coffee? Music?

   A brain that is mostly fully awake (which is a rarity), and preferably a plot bunny or two. I love music, but only if I can find something that really really fits the mood of what I'm writing, and that's hard to pinpoint sometimes. Gel pens, though - I cannot even think about handwriting without a gel pen. I will refuse. I will quit. I will full-out stop and wait to get my gel pens. Even though handwriting is not really my forte (I type my words if I can), I do still love it, so I always have quite a stock of gel pens ;). 

Pen And Ink

     Honestly, what I need to write changes on my mood. Who can tell. (but a thunderstorm is always nice *shrugs*)

If You Could Offer One Piece Of Advice To Another Writer (OTHER THAN "don't give up"), What Would It Be?

   My word - I love encouraging writers, so it's hard to pinpoint one piece of advice, but let's give it a shot ...

   Do you love writing? Don't quit. Do you love writing? Then God's got a plan for your words. Do you love writing? Then there is a reason for what you do. Never doubt yourself.

   Never doubt yourself.      

   Don't quit if you're having a hard day - or a hard week - or a hard month. If you love words, then you love them for a reason. Don't doubt yourself as a writer. Dry spells are hard enough to drive a writer to tears and frustration and doubt, but you'll come through. Doubting yourself is okay for a time, and we all go through it, but then you've got to let get. 

   Don't doubt yourself as a writer - you've got this.

What Book Still Has You Reeling From Its Plot Twist?

   Good gracious. I've read so, so many books that have plot twists big enough to make me drop the book and wonder if it really happened or not! But the most recent book I read that had a giant plot twist was Heartless (Marissa Meyer), and the Out Of Time (Nadine Brandes) series. Both of these had jaw-dropping plot twists in them. Well, okay, I predicated the plot twist in Heartless, but I didn't actually think it would happen!

   I'm still reeling from all these books, you guys. Read them.

What Books Are You Most Anticipating For This Year?

   Ooh, another hard question. There are so many epic books coming out this year! But I'm majorly looking forward to The Evaporation of Sofi Snow (Mary Weber), The Girl Who Could See (Kara Swanson), and Renegades (Marissa Meyer).

Three books I look forward to this year, by Weber, Meyer, and Swanson

   Perfect eye-candy right there, you guys. I would almost buy these for their covers alone xD.  

In Your Opinion, Which YA Book/Series Has The Most Unique Premise?  

   I'm trying to chose a book that's a little more recent here ... and I'm also trying not to mention Heartless and the Out Of Time series again (go figure) ... huh. It's hard because there are certain books that are super super unique, but because they are so unique, they then kind of started a trend and became not-so-unique because everyone is copying them xD. I could go on and on and on about YA books with unique premises, but I'm going to say Illusionarium (Heather Dixon), because I've been thinking about it lately. That book is incredible, and I love it so much.

What Is Your All-time Favorite Quote From YA?

   Don't ask me such questions, what is wrong with you people? I have SO many quotes that I love from YA books, and I could probably fill five posts with them (... maybe I should do a post of them at some point ... *has ideas* xD)! But one that I ran over recently was this one from Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire ...

   "If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals." 

   (spoken by Sirius Black, from Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire)

   It keeps rolling through my head - and I finished the book (for the third time, maybe?) a couple days ago - and I can't get it out. But I think it's pretty true ;).

What Book Do You Most Hope Will Have A Movie Adaption?

   But don't most movie adaptions just ruin the books? Okay, well, if you could assure me that the movie would be as good as the book, A Branch Of Silver, A Branch Of Gold (Anne Elisabeth Stengl), Entwined or Illusionarium (Heather Dixon), and A Time To Die (Nadine Brandes) would be some of my choices. And all the gazillion other books I've ever read xD. 


I Tag ...

   Abbie @ Abbiee
   Jonathan @ Fishing For Ideas 
Mary @ Sunshine And Scribblings
Rebekah @ Rebekah's Remarks

 - any and all of you who write and love YA fiction -


   Gracious, this post got long! And I really want to expand more on some of these questions - so I suppose you guys will have to put up with some more posts on YA fiction later, huh? ;)

~ Savannah Grace

   How long have you been writing? What books are you looking forward to this year? Do you write YA fiction? 

Book Review - A Question Of Honor by Jesseca Wheaton

May 17, 2017

   When I heard that Jesseca Wheaton had published a book - a historical fiction entitled A Question Of Honor - I knew that I had to have it. And what do you know, I ended up winning an ebook copy of it during an Indie E-con! And it was wonderful - which means I have to share all my thoughts on it with you ;).

Book Review - A Question of Honor, by Jessica Wheaton - Header Image

4 Stars

   I knew Jess when she was in the process of getting A Question Of Honor published (she's one of my buddies in the word-war chat, and she's awesome), so I was REALLY looking forward to reading her work. And it didn't disappoint! This is the first historical fiction book that I've read in a long time, so I wasn't sure what I was going to end up thinking - but I loved it ;).

- From The Back Cover - 

Cover image of A Question of Honor, by Jesseca Wheaton

A man. A child. A war.
When German soldiers invade France during World War II, young Joyanna's perfect world is shattered. In the hands of those who hate her, she battles to comprehend why people can be so ruthless and cold toward those whom they have never met.
David Sullivan, pilot in the Royal Air Force, was certain he would never hate, but a painful loss forces him to either reconsider or do the inconceivable—forgive. He is suddenly challenged by the realization that doing God's will is not easy, but most important. With the lives of freedom-fighters relying on him, he must learn the difficult lesson that he is not in control, but merely one who must surrender his heart of obedience to One greater.
A sudden turn of events lands Joyanna and David in the same country—but for far different reasons. When their paths cross, David finds he must make a decision that will affect them both for the rest of their lives.
Will he chose vengeance, or will he let his life be ruled by a higher standard? A standard of Honor.

A quote from A Question Of Honor, by Jesseca Wheaton
   - It was obvious that the author did her research. What with it being historical fiction and all (the story is set during World War II), an author would obviously have needed to do research - but I think Jesseca did an especially good job. The story felt real - and while I'm definitely not an expert, it seemed like it could be something that actually happened during that time period.

   - The way the character's plots worked together. There was a well-rounded cast of characters, both on the right and the wrong side, and I loved how all their plots worked together! None of the characters were there simply to be there - they all definitely played a role in A Question Of Honor. And it's always nice to read a book that doesn't have "fly on the wall" type characters :). 

   - The ending for "one character in particular whom I shall not name because #spoilers'. Gracious, that sounds confusing - especially when you add it to the fact that I didn't actually like this character's end, I just like that the author ended it really realistically! xD. (highlight the rest of this section if you want to know what I mean, because I'll be tossing spoilers about): ... Basically, I like what the author decided to have happen to Erich in the end. I really really wanted there to be a 'redemption story' for him, but I realized that it just wasn't realistic. So I really admire that Jesseca did what was right for the character and the story in the way that Erich was still on the wrong side at the end of A Question Of Honor. ...  

   - It didn't feel self-published. Admit it - right off the bat, there are some books that you can pin-point as "self published". Whether it's the cover, the formatting, or the story itself, we can sometimes tell. And I knew A Question Of Honor was self published when I started reading it (I first read it as an ebook), but the story was incredible! And then, when my library bought the book and I was able to get the physical copy, I was very impressed by the cover and formatting - and if I hadn't already known, I would never have suspected that A Question Of Honor was an indie published book!

A quote from A Question Of Honor, by Jesseca Wheaton
   - I couldn't picture the setting as well as I'd have liked. But I think could have been more my fault that the author's! This is one of the only (and may be the only, seeing as I have the brain of a goldfish) World War II stories that I've read, so I had a bit of a harder time imagining what the setting was like. But it wasn't that bad, and I was still able to enjoy the story - I almost read it all in one sitting! (and I would have, if it wasn't for lunch interrupting me, pesky little thing. Who needs food when you have books?) 

   - The genre wasn't my favorite. I feel like this is irrelevant though? I mean, I chose to read the book, and I knew what genre it would be in. But I think this book didn't get a full five stars (or at least four and a half) because, while I loved it, I typically won't read a historical fiction book twice. And most of my five-star books are the ones I will hug and pet and squeal over for 1.7 million years *shrugs*.  

   A Question Of Honor is most definitely a book I would recommend to anyone who loves a good historical fiction - the characters were amazing, and the plot was so very good. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and I hope all of you who decide to give it a try do, too ;).   

~ Savannah Grace

   Do you read historical fiction often, or not? Have you read A Question of Honor?