What Are You Writing • Link Up

      Hello my loves! Now I’ve been posting some writing discussion posts lately because I’ve kind of caught the writing bug. I’ve kind of gotten into the habit of writing again (even though I don’t have enough time -sighs-) and I thought, I’d love to hear what everyone else is writing about. Whether you’re doing a research project or you’re writing your own novel, I’d love to know! So I’ll be hosting a linkup for this month and if you would like, make your own What Are You Writing? post and I will see it along with anybody else who decides to join in on the fun! This link up will run from the 28th of March to the 28th of April so you have a lot of time to write it. If you do decide to join this link up I politely ask that you link back to this post so that more people can join in!
   
So what do you write about?

     Well you write about what you’re writing. Kind of go crazy. Give us as much or as little details possible. This is for you to gush about your writing and about the endeavors of your writing. To have some structure, I’ll give you guys some questions that should be in the post. 
What are you writing about?
How’s the writing going?
Anything amazing I should be excited about?
     That’s it! Simple right? So let me answer my own questions here:
Q. What are you writing about?
   I’ll give you the 411 on two stories I’m working on (and maybe a third??). The first one that I’m working on right now is about a girl who’s a known thief in her city and her endeavors of discovering what happened to the (presumed) dead Canara family. The Canara’s were a very noble family and one year they were all assassinated in one form or the other. So our protagonist Minerva is trying to unravel this mystery after having the lost family jewels of the Canara family in her hands. Dun dun dun! That’s the basic plot line for story number 1. The story also has magic and the Canara families were magic users (as are a lot of noble families. Not ALL magic users are nobility, but a lot are). The jewels contain very powerful magic, almost a raw form of it. So there’s that too. I’m currently not really sure where I’m setting this periodically, but I do have the idea of tall gothic style buildings–but it’s not during the height of the Gothic age. 
    Story number two is something you guys might have heard about. I wrote my Beautiful People post on the two main characters. Kit is a cyborg who has run away from the grips of a human trafficking ring after a particular job goes sour. He is injured in his robotic parts and tries to find a way to be fixed before finally disappearing forever. He breaks into a mechanic’s shop and there tries to fix himself up (without any experience or knowledge) and meets Victoria, the mechanic living there. Victoria is sympathetic to his situation and the two of them try to help each other while also trying to stay out of the sight of the gangsters that had Kit in the first place. This is a pretty sci-fi book. It’s set in a city called Genesis and cyborgs are nothing unusual. A lot of people who are injured have them or there are people who get them for aesthetics. Victoria is a young mechanic who’s kind of an orphan. I say kind of because she has her mother, but she doesn’t really talk to her. 
Q. How’s the writing going?

     I’m actually already three chapters in with Minerva’s story. I haven’t written out a huge outline for this story just yet, but I’m doing the thing where I just start writing and see where it takes me. Currently I don’t really have the time to go and write down an in depth outline as much as I would like. I would rather start putting the ideas down, than trying to make an outline because there’s a huge chance I won’t remember where I was going with it in the end. 

    In terms of Kit and Victoria’s story… I believe I have a few chapters written about a year ago, but I have to reread them and get myself familiar with the story again to actually remember what I was going to do with it. Unlike Minerva’s story, this is a story I really hashed out but of course… I never wrote it down (silly Alexa) so now I’m a little confused as to what I was going with it, but I love Kit and Victoria, so I don’t want to get rid of them just yet. 

Q. Anything amazing I should be excited about?

    I’ve got some kick ass ladies and some great storylines. I’m thinking of maybe putting it up on Wattpad and seeing what kind of reaction it gets. I want to know if people are actually interested in reading the story because as much as I write for myself, I also write so that other people can read the story and while it’s fun to just live in my own fantasy for a little while, I want to know that someone else wants to live in that fantasy too. I’m also really excited about the kinds of magic I’m bringing to Minerva’s story. I’ve seen a lot of the same kind of magic being used in YA lately, and I want to bring something new and fresh. Well… it’s not exactly new, but it’s fresh. 

Now it’s your turn. Make a post, link it below so I can see it, and spread the word! I’d love to see what you guys are writing. 

Much love, Alexa.

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A Real Tim Burton Wonderland • Splintered

Title: Splintered
Author: A. G. Howard
Published: January 1, 2013
Pages: 371
Goodreads

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence.

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.



My Thoughts

I’ve had Splintered on my mind for a while because I love Alice in Wonderland retellings and I once said that I will probably read any retelling of Alice in Wonderland even if it was terrible. Don’t be discouraged though, because Splintered was a really good read. I had a few problems with character traits and stuff, but otherwise the plot itself was fun and engaging. I also came into reading this book blind because I didn’t really know about this book until I was randomly browsing on GoodReads so I didn’t really have a lot of expectations other than wanting it to be a fun book. Yes there is a love triangle, yes they fight over Alyssa (which ugh ), and yes I kind of felt like a lot of certain love scenes weren’t placed right (a case of “now is not the time, guys”), but I had fun with it and this is coming from someone who’s really critical of love stories in these kinds of books.

We get introduced to the characters pretty early on and I personally was a bit put off by Alyssa, our heroine. She had this really cynical, the world is a dark place kind of attitude, which okay, I understand with your mom being put in a mental institution but she was really milking it, and I’m not really a fan of those characters or people. But I understood. As the book progressed, I started to warm up to the girl. She had a lot of stuff thrown at her in life recently throughout the book, so I started to sympathize with her. Especially near the end with guilt. She felt that she brought an innocent bystander to a terrible situation and she had to make it right. In the end I was rooting for her and I wanted her to be able to set things right.

Jeb comes into the story fairly quickly too and he’s supposed to be this older brother type character that is also in love with her? I kind of got that, but I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t really buying it. Most of the time the two were fighting and at odd ends so it didn’t seem like they had this good relationship. It probably felt this way because we go into the story where Alyssa already had Jeb help in shooting down her dreams to go to London. I think what might’ve helped is if it showed this great relationship only to have it soured by Jeb siding with her father and saying she can’t go to London. So most of their romance and their relationship felt really factual. It never felt like there really was a relationship. It kind of was the case of the shoehorned romance. Jeb and Alyssa’s scenes felt like they were totally not appropriate to the situation they were in. Like I said in the beginning I was sitting there going, “Now’s not the time guys. We have other problems to worry about.” In all honesty I wasn’t interested in Jeb almost at all. He felt really overprotective and possessive like a hovering dad instead of an older brother so it was kind of weird in that sense that they had a romance going on.

Now Morpheus on the other hand. Whoo boy. I liked Morpheus a lot more. He too was really possessive of Alyssa, but with him I actually felt like he had history with Alyssa. I really loved their chemistry together and while Morpheus is totally the bad boy (not pseudo bad boy like this guy is pretty much an antagonist), I was rooting for him and Alyssa rather than Jeb and Alyssa I will be perfectly honest haha. He was really swoon worthy so I liked him a lot more. Morpheus just had this draw to him and I personally couldn’t help but get a bit infatuated with him and I’m normally a really abrasive person when it comes to guys. He was really charismatic and had a good sense of style so why wouldn’t I love him right? He just… you know has that really possessive, manipulative, and self serving attitude, but technicalities right?

Overall I think this book was a fun book. The world building was pretty fantastic and while some descriptions like certain pieces of clothing and character features were a little hard to follow, it didn’t really hinder my experience all that much. I loved how creepy this story was as a retelling, it’s a new fresh kind of look at Alice in Wonderland. It really reminded me of a lot of the older stuff that Tim Burton created. (Side tracking for a moment, there was an exhibit for him at LACMA and I totally went to that and it was great.) The book started a little slow in the beginning, but once we get to Wonderland the adventure starts and you’re on a wild ride. It didn’t have any problem with feeling like I was part of the story. I constantly felt confused and it was really hard to trust Morpheus after he manipulates Alyssa multiple times which really helped me sympathize and be on her side of things. If you’re into Alice in Wonderland stories you’re probably going to enjoy this.


Rating
      

What to Do During The Final Countdown • Life


Hello my loves! It’s almost April and for me that means I’m coming up to the last six or so weeks of my Spring semester here. SO since I’m taking 18 units I’m kind of going bonkers over all of the stuff that I have to do. I have to do a visual analysis of a work of Eastern Asian Art, I have to direct a ten minute play, I have to prepare for my finals for both my language courses and also my history class. It’s a lot to take in considering I have to wake up so early to catch the bus in the first place so I can’t even stay up that late to do too much homework or anything really. So I try and dole out my time wisely, but it’s all coming down so I’m trying not to freak out. I honestly need a time turner or something. 
So here it is: 
A List of Things to Give Yourself a Break During 
The Final Countdown:

1. Drink some tea.
I love tea. I try to have tea at least once a day or sometimes I’ll make a huge batch of green or barley tea and put it in the fridge to drink instead of water. The reason I say tea instead of coffee or even tea and coffee is because to me coffee is a bit too bitter and plus most of it is caffeinated (even though you can find decaf, but I don’t like decaf coffees either). A good green, herbal, or white tea is enough to relax me because I don’t have to douse it in milk and sugar. I can drink it straight and it just feels nice. But this is for people who are avid tea drinkers and actually like tea, so if you don’t apply then don’t pay attention to this. 

2. Break study time into increments to give yourself break times.

This is something I picked up while I was on tumblr a lot. There’s a blog named “unfuckyourhabitat” that’s dedicated to help people clean for people who have a really hard time cleaning their house. I. e. ME So they have this app where there’s a timer and what it does is that it has a 25 minute increment and then a 15 minute increment. What does this mean? It means that you clean for 25 minutes and then give yourself a 15 minute break. Rinse and repeat. It’s pretty simple right? 
I started using this for my studying and just really anything productive I’ve wanted to do and it works really well. I did it during spring break when I was trying to clean my room. I didn’t have a specific timer, but I had a playlist on YouTube running of Danny and Arin from Game Grumps playing Super Mario Maker. That thing has over 80 videos so I was set. What I did was I let it play through about two videos since each was around 12-15 minutes long and then the next one, I sat and watched the video, got on my phone, read a little bit, whatever. It made me way more productive. 
So if you’re one to be really fidgety sitting in a chair for hours on end just studying, I highly recommend this. Just make sure you get back to that desk haha. Just stand up, do some yoga, stretch yourself out and then get back to work. Trust me it works.
3. Take a nap.
I’ve become a huge advocate for naps. Waking up at 6 in the morning when you had to stay up until 12 or 1 is not the preferred method of living, I have to tell you. So on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I get home at around 2, I usually feel the need for a nap. Weird that I wouldn’t feel this on my busiest days right? Well I actually work out first thing in the morning so that energy follows through until I sleep, but I think if you’re unable to focus because of a lack of energy–TAKE A NAP! Not even a long nap, I think it’s proven that a short 20-30 minute nap can boost energy by six hours. Crazy isn’t it? Now my naps tend to take two or three hours (unintentionally!), but yours doesn’t have to. 
4. Wind down. 
What does this mean? Well anything that makes you relax for a little bit. Just to take a deep breath and expel all of that stress and tension you have. It’s really not good for your health to stress too much. Even though you don’t want to, you have to give yourself a nice little breather once in a while. Get back into the reality of the situation instead of having these exams, projects, and expectations looming over you. So do whatever it does that relaxes you completely. This for me is usually reading, listening to a podcast and just surfing the web, or watching some nice YouTube videos. Once I start to feel a bit more relaxed, I try to get back into the swing of things.

5. Take a bath!
I’m also a huge advocate of baths. I know it’s not for some people, but I love my bath scalding hot. I just sit in it and let my muscles relax because of the hot water. When I get out, I feel completely rejuvenated and I’m relaxed and happy enough to throw myself into the thick of studying. I usually get a lot of housework done after a nice bath and shower. Now personally, I like to take my baths with a nice bathbomb from Lush or something similar. They smell really nice and they leave pretty colors in the water! All the more relaxing.

6. Eat/drink something. 
Now imagine this, you’ve been studying for hours and hours and you’re starting to feel really, really tired. Well honestly, other than all of that other stuff, it’s probably because you haven’t really had anything to eat or drink for a while. How to solve this? Well as the little sub title says, eat or drink something. Preferably drink some water. I know in this day and age a lot of people don’t do enough of it, but water goes such a long way. Take a nice big glass of water and chug that down. You’ll immediately feel better. Along with that, try to have a small snack. Maybe you’re feeling the munchies–but most likely you’re thirsty. Brain needs water as my art history professor says.
These are how I combat the stress of school and studying. I’m trying to bolt through all of my requirements and be able to apply to UCs and Cal States along with USC in, hopefully, the next couple of years or so. I’m hoping to finish at least by Spring of next year and then maybe apply for either a Spring transfer or the Fall transfer of the next year they’re taking in. This gives me about a semester to a year of a break before I get back into the swing of things. 
What about you? What do/did you guys do to combat the stress of school?

Story Boards? Timelines? • The Writing Circle

Hello my loves! The Writing Circle is a little thing I started so we can talk about writing. The first post I made was about character playlists. If you haven’t seen it, check it out here!
Today I wanted to talk about how we actually plan our storylines. I know I used to be really meticulous about this, but now I’m not as much (or at all really). When I started writing when I was a lot younger, I just wrote to write, but then when I got a little more serious about my writing I starting writing everything down. I mean everything. For each character whether they were a main character or a side character, I had a full character bio and everything right down to their nervous habits and quirky habits. And then when I got to the actual plots, I would write a basic plot line, but certain things that were important I made sure lined up with each other. This writer wasn’t going to have plot holes, no sir. 
Then an author I talked to in high school said that having story boards is what she did and so I started to wonder if that was what I should be doing and I’m telling you guys, I had flashcards stuck on the wall next to my bed consisting in what happened in every. Chapter. Again, no plot holes. Not here. Get that out of here. 
Now when I started writing again, it was more to relax and to just unwind. So I wasn’t really going for any big sweeping stories or anything. I even wrote fanfic for a little bit (that aren’t ever finished, I’m sorry to those who keep finding them). But now I’m getting back into serious writing but I’m kind of taking the route that George R. R. Martin says where he kind of plants the seed and let’s it grow. 
How is it working? Eh. Alright I guess. Though I’m so forgetful with like a thousand other things going on that I need to start writing things down again. I made a post for two of my main characters, Kit and Victoria and even though I have a good handle on their characters and what initially brings them together, I don’t remember anything I wanted for their actual story line. All I remember is that it was in a sci-fi setting and that cyborgs were the norm.
What about you guys? Do you plan things out to the extreme details or you just kind of let it go wherever it wants?

Stay Tuned

Hello my loves! I haven’t done a Stay Tuned in a long time so I decided to bring one to you guys. Today’s song as it says in the graphic is Me! Me! Me! by Teddyloid. I’m going to be putting two YouTube links under. The first is the song with a cover by Vocaloids Miku, Gumi, and VY1V4 (a.k.a. Mizki) and the second is the original. I’ve personally been listening to the Vocaloid cover for a while now and it’s just a really catchy song and beat. If you guys haven’t, go check out the Me!Me!Me! animation video. Warning though, it is definitely NSFW, but it’s still a really cool video!

This song was actually released for the Japan Animator Expo and the same animator and artist got together and made a sequel this past year called Girl and it’s equally amazing and everyone thinks it’s either a prequel or a sequel to ME!ME!ME! (I mean it’s using the same characters soooo).

Have a spin!

So… What do you guys think? Yay? Nay? 
What songs have been on your mind?

I Think I Read My First "Chicklit"? • Multiple Listings

Title: Multiple Listings
Author: Tracy McMillan
Published: March 8, 2016
Pages: 336
Goodreads

What would you do if your ex-con father suddenly came to visit…indefinitely? Family drama ensues when Nicki’s dad unexpectedly moves in with her, her son, and her boyfriend in this comedic novel from successful TV writer Tracy McMillan.

Nicki Daniels owns a home appraisal business, but real estate is her true passion: she lives for open houses and really knows her way around a floor plan. And especially at this juncture of her life, real estate has come to signify the stability she is trying to build with her teenage son, Cody, and her much younger boyfriend, Jake. She’s finally ready to find the perfect house for the three of them and work on a new business venture with Jake that she thinks will jump-start their lives together.

Meanwhile, Ronnie, a longtime inmate at a nearby correctional facility, is getting some good news for once—there was a mistake in his sentencing, and he’s eligible to get out of prison. After a sixty-day stay in a halfway house, Ronnie decides his best option to avoid homelessness is to move in with his estranged daughter: Nicki. Even though they haven’t spoken in years, her door is always open to him, right?

Inspired by the author’s life and imbued with wit and profound insight into relationships, Multiple Listings speaks poignantly—and often hilariously—about the ties that bind families of all types together.

My Thoughts
*Thank you so much to Gallery Books for giving me this eARC for review. This does not change my thoughts about the book or the content of this review.*

I read the blurb of this book on NetGalley and I was excited because I haven’t really read any adult fiction, so I wanted to broaden my horizons and I was interested in this story. Was the family going to get back together? What was going to happen to Ronnie and Nicki? So I’m a bit upset that I wasn’t really impressed with this book. It possibly might have to do with the fact that I’m a youngin’ 20 year old, but I also just fell out of the story because of how long it felt. I’m actually surprised it’s only a little over 300 pages. It felt way longer. 
Overall the story was kind of nice I think. It ended with a nice little happy bow at the end, the people that are supposed to have a good ending had a good ending and happily ever after. It’s kind of cliche and almost comical how this ends in such a clean little happy ever after. I’m more geared towards the bittersweet endings or the endings that are content. I don’t really do well with these clean happy endings. Don’t know why. It just feels really fake to me a lot of the time. It made me think like things just happened way too conveniently for everyone (well except for the ex, but he was a dick anyway so). 
For instance there’s this whole gap of understanding between Nicki and her sixteen year old son Cody. They don’t really talk and all he does is play Magic, The Gathering (which oh my god). He even skips school and he’s on the verge of probation because he doesn’t tell her anything but then suddenly Ronnie comes into the picture and suddenly he’s way more talkative and Nicki can actually interact with him. I’m not saying this is improbable, this happens all the time, but it’s definitely a cliche. It’s just painfully obvious that Nicki has really no idea how to handle her son in terms of parenting. I’m not a parent so what do I know, but most of the book she’s way more invested in whatever is happening to her than… you know her kid. Like I think she thinks about Cody only when he’s physically around her in the book. Other times she’s thinking about how she doesn’t like her convict dad or how Jake (her ex) is being all weird and cryptic. 
In terms of writing, the first half of the story flowed really well for me. I was reading and getting into the characters and I was really interested in how they were interacting. I was wondering how Ronnie was going to face Nicki and how Nicki was going to react etc. etc. But then the second half of the book came around and I found myself skimming through most of it. There were these huge chunks of text that I wasn’t interested in and I just was swiping through pages until I found something that caught my eye, and aha! the story stayed the same. So was that huge block of text necessary? This is for both Nicki and Ronnie (the two POV’s of this book). I even skimmed through the last ten percent of the book because I knew how it was going to end and it ended exactly that way.
Speaking of which, the predicability of this book is what kind of ruined the book for me. I’m not a fan of books where I can guess what happens in the end. Like what’s the point of reading a book if I know what’s going to happen? Again, this stuff just kind of fed into me not really believing a lot of stuff. It felt like I was watching a romcom (I’m not a fan of romcom movies) and there’s this formula that it pertains to because that’s what it’s supposed to be. If this is what “chicklit” is like, I probably won’t be reading much of it. 
On top of all of this, the characters were all pretty much tropes or archetypes (feeding to it being predictable I guess right?). Sure Ronnie being a convict is a character I’m not really familiar with, but the whole womanizer con man thing is not a new idea. It’s happened many, many times. So this whole cast just felt really two dimensional. They all grew the way that they were supposed to and they all acted the way they were supposed to. It was just really boring near the end.

Again, I’m really upset that this story fell a bit flat for me! I really wanted to be entranced and like this story, but it just didn’t do it for me. Though if you’re a fan of these kinds of books, I wouldn’t knock it down just yet. It’s a good book that explores self discovery and redemption. There are some parts where I was rooting for Ronnie and Nicki and I wanted them to be better going forward. It was just unfortunate that the writing style and some of the plot line made me a bit disconnected.

Rating
   

Weekly Review 03.20.16

Hello my loves! It’s been a long, long while since I’ve made a Weekly Review post and now that it’s the end of Spring Break, I’m pretty sure this will be the only time I have for like… a month haha. It’s been a pretty hectic semester, I’ll have to admit. I both did and didn’t know what I was getting myself into and next year I’ll definitely try and plan better (but I’m still going to try and take all my classes ASAP). 
In Life:
I’ve been really just going to class, trying to do my assignments, wind down, and go to sleep in a timely manner. I have to wake up at around 6 AM every morning so that I can make it to school on time because I take the bus and that in itself takes about an hour. It sucks. BUT! I’m getting a car so hopefully I’ll get to start driving. 
yeah… I um… 
I don’t have a license (yet).
One big accomplishment I have done is I’ve gotten a lot of my room clean. You guys don’t know because I hardly want to show it, but my room is a disaster. I’ve just let things pile on top of each other and trash is just all over the floor. It’s.. it’s a hot mess. But over the course of a few days, I got some good work in and I cleaned a lot of it! Granted, I still need to organize and probably give away/box up a lot of my things because I have too many things and my room is tiny. It’s not a broom closet, but it’s pretty small. I can hardly fit all of my clothes in one place (which is why they usually just end up in a heap somewhere).
I also got a Cricut Explorer One! It was on clearance at where I work so I got it for about $90 with my sweet employee discount hahaha. I’m not too sure what I’m really going to do with it, but I’m planning on getting way more crafty because I really miss it haha. I might actually try to start a little DIY segment here whee.
And finally, I applied for a study abroad program at Cal State Long Beach. I applied to go to Taiwan from June to July over the summer! I’m really excited and I really hope I get accepted. I’ve been wanting to travel abroad for so long and if I’m learning, I’m even happier. If I could live my life as a scholar I would. I’m probably going to await the yes or no for a while. I’m so nervous! 
In Books:
Ugh I don’t know how I feel about this! I was really on board with it early on and I really liked the characters, but now I’m just really wanting it to be over. It feels like this story is just dragging on. I’m really trying to give contemporaries a try guys, but I think it’s just not my thing! I think it’s just something I like sometimes! I’m on Part Two and when I checked on my Kindle I was like “Oh okay we only have two more chapters left?” and then I saw Part Three and Four and I was like NO. I really don’t want to DNF this guys, but it’s so tempting.
I haven’t been able to read this book because of Multiple Listings. ML is an ARC and I would like to get that finished and reviewed first, but this book is a lot more my speed. It’s so funny and just the writing style is so different but just really fun to read. I love the narrative and the characters and just everything about this guys. I can’t wait to get back to this book. I think I’m a lot further in the book than it says on GR. I just haven’t been very good at keeping it up.
I also created a new Instagram for my blog. I felt like my personal Instagram wasn’t the right place to have my bookish things, so I moved it. Follow me @thewordsoffthepage! 
ICYMI:

Who Runs the World? (Girls) • Get Offa That Slump!
My First Book Depository Experience
An Ode to the Leviathan Trilogy • Get Offa That Slump!
Take it From a Korean
Let’s Get to Know Victoria and Kit • Beautiful People

I wanted to thank everyone for the support I got from my “Take it From a Korean” post. I was ready for some heavy backlash, but all I’ve gotten so far is support. This is really important to me so I’m grateful for everyone that posted!

How was your week?