Get in My Kindle: The Reckoning by John Grisham

Happy Monday, fellow readers! I had to work this weekend and didn’t get a chance to read until yesterday afternoon. Even though I didn’t get much reading done this weekend, I’m still eyeing books for my ever growing to be read pile. What better way to start a Monday than looking forward to an intriguing upcoming release? If you’re a kindle reader, heads up: you can have this one in your Kindle tomorrow! Paperback readers will have to wait longer, but it may just be worth the wait. *Thus far, no Get in My Kindle feature is a sponsored post, and I haven’t been giving an advance reader copy of the book. I’m simply sharing the books I’m interested in reading.

Title: The Reckoning
Author: John Grisham
Release Date: October 23, 2018
Description: October 1946, Clanton, Mississippi

Pete Banning was Clanton, Mississippi’s favorite son—a decorated World War II hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, father, neighbor, and a faithful member of the Methodist church. Then one cool October morning he rose early, drove into town, walked into the church, and calmly shot and killed his pastor and friend, the Reverend Dexter Bell. As if the murder weren’t shocking enough, it was even more baffling that Pete’s only statement about it—to the sheriff, to his lawyers, to the judge, to the jury, and to his family—was: “I have nothing to say.” He was not afraid of death and was willing to take his motive to the grave.

In a major novel unlike anything he has written before, John Grisham takes us on an incredible journey, from the Jim Crow South to the jungles of the Philippines during World War II; from an insane asylum filled with secrets to the Clanton courtroom where Pete’s defense attorney tries desperately to save him.

Reminiscent of the finest tradition of Southern Gothic storytelling, The Reckoning would not be complete without Grisham’s signature layers of legal suspense, and he delivers on every page.

Why I Can’t Wait to Read: The first time I was exposed to John Grisham was when someone gave me a copy of A Time to Kill. I was immediately immersed in this legal thriller. The detail with which Grisham related the trial gripped me. I can remember really enjoying this book, and then never picking up another Grisham novel. I don’t know why I didn’t. Maybe it was because I began to focus on reading books in the genres I wanted to work in. Whatever the reason, when I saw the description for this book, I was intrigued. It reminded me of what I loved about A Time to Kill. I can’t wait to figure out why the faithful member of the church killed the reverend, and why he wouldn’t give his motive.

Amazon Associate links:

Kindle version:

Are you a fan of legal thrillers? Will The Reckoning make your TBR pile?  Any other legal thrillers you’re looking forward to this fall? Let me know in the comments section!

Review: Cowboys Need Not Apply by Robert Tate Miller

Happy Monday, fellow readers! I’m experiencing a bit of a binge hangover after watching a full season of TV show in one evening (a show gone much too soon, by the way), but I wanted to share another review with you. Entangled Publishing sent me an advance copy of Cowboys Need Not Apply by Robert Tate Miller because I requested it. I couldn’t miss this opportunity. What romance lover wouldn’t want to read the story of a cowboy and a prima ballerina? It was only after I requested it that I realized Cowboys Need Not Apply would unique in another way: it’s written by a man. I haven’t read any Nicholas Sparks or any other big name male romance writers, so I was interested in seeing the spin a guy would put on a romance. You can get your copy of Cowboys Need Not Apply and draw your own conclusions starting today, August 13, 2018.

Title: Cowboys Need Not Apply

Author: Robert Tate Miller

Release Date: August 13, 2018

Review: Rodeo rider Matt “Mad Dog” Walker is on the fast track to being All Around Cowboy, the best bronco rider in the world when one bad ride tears his ACL. The rodeo doc is convinced Matt should retire, or at least sit out the rest of the season, but Matt is too close to achieving his dream of being the best and fulfilling a promise he made to his father before he passed to sit out the Big Ride. Matt’s uncle and manager Harry is convinced he should take the doctor’s advice, but knowing his stubborn nephew, he finds the best rehab facility in the country to give him a shot at a full recovery before his foolhardy ride.

Prima ballerina Jessica Carmichael knows something is wrong as soon as she lands a sauté in a performance. The doctors confirm she’s torn her ACL. All Jessica knows is dancing, and she refuses to miss the Rite of Spring performance where she made her debut at age sixteen. If she’s going to dance again, she has to be able to trust her knee one hundred percent, and the only way she’ll do that is if she works with the best rehabilitation clinic in the country.

When Matt and Jessica both arrive at the clinic, their competitive natures cause them to push one another in therapy to good affect. They came to heal their damaged knees and get back on top of their game, but could these two competitors win at the game of love as well?

Robert Tate Miller has crafted a Cutting Edge-esque romance that’s funny and witty, but most of all heartwarming. Jessica and Matt are both natural born competitors who love what they do. Neither one is ready to walk away from their career, even in the face of such a serious injury. Although the Manhattan born and bred ballerina and the Montana ranch owning rodeo rider live in two different worlds, they share a grit and determination, and a mutual attraction, that makes their burgeoning romance fun to watch. I also enjoyed the supporting characters of Jessica’s sister, Kat, and Matt’s uncle, Harry. They injected much needed realism and sound advice into the headstrong duo.

In addition to a man’s name being on the cover of the book, there were a couple other things that were different about this romance. The hero and heroine didn’t meet until I was about 12% into the book, and they spend a sizeable amount of time away from each other in comparison to other category romance titles. There were also a few points where I felt like the narration turned more clinical and distant than it should have been for the poignancy of the moment the characters (and the reader) were in. Lastly, if I never hear the term “in the footlights” again, I think it will be too soon.

Overall, I enjoyed the crisp, concise language and the way Miller unfolded the story. Miller does a great job of establishing the characters of Jessica and Matt in the readers’ mind and bringing the New York and Montana settings to life.  I loved the banter between Jessica and Matt, and I couldn’t wait to see how the Big Ride and the “big dance” went. I would recommend this opposites attract romance to anyone who loves their romance with witty banter, loveable characters, settings that become characters, and cowboys who can ride a bucking bronco and jeté, plié, and sauté.

Star Rating: 3.5/5

Page to Screen: The Fault in Our Stars

Happy, Friday, fellow readers! Today we have another  post by the lovely Alex of CatFairy Books, a Page to Screen post all about The Fault in Our Stars. I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, but Alex makes a great case for both. Have you read the book, seen the movie, or both? Do you plan on reading or watching them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.


The Fault in our Stars is one of the first books to reintroduce me to the world of YA. I wrote a book review of The Fault in our Stars when I was a baby reviewer! Read my review of the book here. If you have never embarked into the world of young adult think of John Green as your official starter pack! Since I have about a zillion books I am reading, unfortunately, I don’t have time to do an official reread of The Fault in our Stars but I can tell you that this book is still one of my favorite books in YA till this day and I consider it a classic!

John Green wrote the kind of book that is unequivocally devastating and uplifting all at the same time. The Fault in our Stars is not just your stereotypical weepy story about two kids with cancer who learn to live their lives like “each day is their last.” If your looking for this storyline then this isn’t the book for you. This is a raw, emotional, introspective, thought-provoking, and a sometimes humorous story about two kids that are doing the best they can! They are not in denial about their cancer in the slightest, in fact, they are one of the most self-aware characters that I have read about. Not only are they self-aware, they are quirky as quirky can be! I actually think if you looked up quirky in the YA world you would find Mr. Green as the master of quirk! I was completely fascinated by the unreal intelligence of Hazel and Augustus and their unfiltered way of viewing the world around them in relation to their cancer. I am full of nostalgia when I think about this book because it’s the book that changed my life because it made me fall head over heels over the YA genre and that led me to write book reviews to blogging a few years later!

Film Adaptation
I felt that the film adaptation is actually equally just as good as the book! There were many little details in the book that are left out of the movie adaptation but it didn’t affect the story in a significant way. The movie really captured the full essence of the book! The characters that played Augustus and Hazel were pure perfection and they captured the heart and pain of these two characters.


Watching the film adaptation brought out the same emotions that I felt when I read the book and this is a rare occurrence for me when it comes to adaptations! I had a few ugly cries throughout the movie that I wasn’t prepared for even though I knew what was coming. The actors in the movie were born to play Hazel and Augustus and you can see that the chemistry between the actors wasn’t the least bit forced. I was touched by the raw emotions felt between these two characters and I loved how their love was pure without any angst or bullshit behind it. They were truly meant to be Augustus and Hazel for the rest of their lives. This is the kind of story that will make you realize the importance of the little things in life and how we all take them for granted until it’s too late. My heart will always have a special spot for Augustus and Hazel and it was truly a privilege be a part of their fleeting world.

Even though, the film adaptation is just as satisfying as the book I still highly recommend that you read the book so you can bask in all the quirkiness of these adorable characters and fall completely in love. (And when you ultimately fall in love with them you can look forward to a few ugly cries afterward!) If you have never read a contemporary YA book before this John Green back should be number one on your list!


You Oughta Know: What Should I Read Next Podcast

What Shoul I Read NextHi, fellow readers! I’m happy to introduce one of my favorite features, You Oughta Know. This is where I share all the cool reading related things I find online or in real life that I believe other readers should know about. It can be a podcast, blog, YouTube channel, book related merchandise, or another cool thing related to the reading life. Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite finds: What Should I Read Next?, a podcast that answers the question that plagues every reader. 

If you’re a reader, you oughta know about Anne Bogel. I first found Anne through her interview with Jamie Ivey on The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey podcast. Anne Bogel is a reader’s dream. Between her book-related blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy, and her books, Reading People and I’d Rather Be Reading (you can read my post on this book here), Anne is a treasure trove of bookish delights. By far, the jewel in her literary crown for me is her  podcast, What Should I Read Next?

On her podcast, Anne seeks to answer the question that plagues every reader: What Should I Read Next? On each episode, she does some literary matchmaking with a guest. They tell her three books they love, one book they hate, and what they are currently reading. Anne in turn gives them three book recommendations. If having a practiced hand giving you personalized recommendations isn’t great enough, Anne’s guests are interesting. Anne has interviewed librarians, booksellers, audio book narrators, bookstagrammers, booktubers, authors, and other book podcasters, among others, who bring an interesting perspective to the conversation. Even those who are “regular readers” have fascinating stories of how they became readers, what books they like, and what fits with their current reading life.

I get a ton of book recommendations I never would have found through Anne’s podcast. I also found several of the future You Oughta Know subjects through the show. My favorite book finds through the podcast are A Man Called Ove and Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine, but there are still several more books on my reading list.

Do you listen to What Should I Read Next? What was your favorite episode, guest or book recommendation? Are you a fan of another bookish podcast, blog, YouTube Channel, or product I should feature? Let me know all the things in the comments section.

Writing Wednesday: Writers’ White Whales

Happy Hump Day! Today’s Writing Wednesday we’re talking about the illusive book of the heart–the book that a writer has in her heart for years that she just hasn’t written yet. I asked my writer’s think tank (aka my writer friends on Facebook) “what story is the book of your heart? How long has it been on your heart to write? Why haven’t you written or published it yet? Here are there answers. Have a book you know you’re meant to write but still haven’t written or published it yet? Tell us about it below! *My book of my heart is in the list as well. 😉

There’s one book. No title, I just call it Ryan’s book. It’s been maybe 10 years 🤦🏻‍♀️ and has gone through many, many rewrites and still isn’t finished. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to analyze why and the best I’ve got is this irrational need to protect it. It feels like my baby and I’m a helicopter mom 😂 I’m afraid to finish because then I have no reason to not put it out there. -Tanya W.

I always wanted to write a historical romance novel but very shy to write it. I would be more comfortable if I had a partner writing it with me. It’s a wonderful plot bunny about a young French Aristocrat becoming a dance master while falling in love with one of his rich students. – Theresa K.

It’s a fantasy novel based on Celtic mythology that I wrote TEN years ago. I love the characters so much, and the ideas behind it too, all the magic and romance. It stands at 60K, and funny you should ask, I got tired of having it weighing on my heart and mind, so I am rewriting it now– started four weeks ago. One of the reasons I’ve avoided it so long is that it needs a new opening. I just could not find the right place– my first chapter turned out to actually be chapter 2. That was a huge revelation when I finally found what needed to happen in chapter 1. And I, against my nature, broke down and asked for other eyes on it. Best thing I ever did, ask for help, something I don’t know much about doing. Glad I finally worked up the nerve to reach out. Gave me the perspective I knew I needed, being, as you said, too dang close to it. Having another writer helping you “see” what the story needs to have tweaked is so beyond helpful. – Shanda M.

I’ve always wanted to write a Scottish historical. For Camp NaNo this year I started it. Not sure if it will be a novella or category length but MacGregor’s Magic has begun. – Tambra K.

I have this idea…it’s not fully formed but it’s been in my head for a couple of years. It would be a more serious women’s fiction story with two generations of women in Ireland and Australia. I just don’t think I’m up to the task of writing it yet. And I havw a couple of other books to finish! – Cassandra O.

I have one I call Gabriel’s book about a musician with Asperger’s. I’ve wanted to write it for at least five or six years! -Laurel B.

The original title for my book was “How Pleasure and Pain Became Friends.” I started it as a teenager. The story has always been about a woman named Pleasure and a man whose last name is Payne (or Paine). Over the years, their backgrounds and relationship has changed but the idea has always been there. I even entered a version of it in So You Think You Can Write. My CPs have read a large chunk of it, and one in particular always asks me when I’m going to finish it, but I haven’t. I think I haven’t finished it because I’m so invested in the story. I love these characters and I want to tell their story perfectly. If I can get out of my own head, I might be able to have a finished story worth submitting. -Erica D. Hearns

Review: Catch Him If You Can by Jennifer Shirk

Happy Tuesday, fellow readers! *Side note: I need a cool name for my readers. What should I call you?*  I’m still recovering from a long weekend of working, but I wanted to share a review with you. Entangled Publishing sent me an advance copy of Catch Him if You Can by Jennifer Shirk because I begged  requested it. I’d read Ms. Shirk before and really enjoyed her writing, and I LOVE a fake fiancé romance, so I had to read this one. You can get your copy of Catch Him if You Can on August 13, 2018. 

Title: Catch Him if You Can

Author: Jennifer Shirk

Release Date: August 13, 2018

Review: Veterinarian Wade Roberts doesn’t want to fall in love again. After losing his wife to cancer, he’s more than content running his veterinary clinic and having occasional relationships with women who know not to expect forever. Someone should tell that to the matchmaking ladies in town who keep sending marriage minded women his way. It’s only gotten worse since his sister’s engagement. Wade needs to do something to dissuade them before he’s buried in baked goods and his clinic becomes the set of the next season of The Bachelor.

Wedding Planner Arden Pearson has her own crisis to deal with. Her business is in big trouble after one of her grooms quit his job and moved to the Bahamas in lieu of marrying his betrothed. When Wade approaches her about pretending to be his girlfriend, she turns him down. However, meeting with a huge potential client who would prefer to have a planner with personal experience planning a wedding, Arden changes her mind. Arden does have experience planning her own wedding–the groom just didn’t show up, much like her recent Bahamas Bolter. Instead of admitting this, she approaches Wade with a deal: she’ll get rid of the matchmakers and marriage minded women overrunning his waiting room if he’ll help her land and keep the contract that could make or break her business. It’s a win win arrangement between old friends. What could possibly go wrong?

I’m a huge fan of the tropes in Catch Him if You Can: fake fiancé and friends to lovers. In Shirk’s capable hands, the tropes feel new and fresh. Usually I fall in love with the hero first. If I can identify with the heroine, I’m all in. In this book, though, I loved Arden from her introduction sassing Wade in the coffeeshop line. She was smart alecky and fun but with emotional depth that made me really root for her. Wade’s character was swoon-worthy. He loves animals, can’t bring himself to tell off the sweet old ladies who keep trying to fix him up, and he honors the commitments he makes, which is why he’s so reticent to make them. He doesn’t take commitment lightly, and that makes him the perfect guy for gun shy Arden, who, deep down, longs for someone who will follow through and commit to doing life with her.

This story got me in all of my feels. It was funny, and sweet, with shades of sadness that made the good stuff even better. The black moments were throw your book frustrating, but I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. This isn’t my first Jennifer Shirk book, and it most definitely won’t be my last. I have to know what happens in the next book to the next heroine. I know Jennifer is going to give her a great happily ever after as well.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a sweet friends to lovers romance with a healthy dose of fake fiancé that features characters you can root for from page one and wouldn’t mind seeing again in the next book. This is the second book in a series, but it is standalone. If you’d like to read them in order, start with Bargaining with the Boss.

Star Rating: 4/5

Get in My Kindle: Indestructible by Allison Fallon

Happy Monday, fellow readers! I had to work this weekend and didn’t get a chance to read until yesterday afternoon. Even though I didn’t get much reading done this weekend, I’m still eyeing books for my ever growing to be read pile. What better way to start a Monday than looking forward to an intriguing upcoming release? If you’re a kindle reader, heads up: you can have this one in your Kindle tomorrow! Paperback readers will have to wait longer, but it may just be worth the wait. *Thus far, no Get in My Kindle feature is a sponsored post, and I haven’t been giving an advance reader copy of the book. I’m simply sharing the books I’m interested in reading.


Title: Indestructible: Leveraging Your Broken Heart to Become a Force of Love & Change in the World

Author: Allison Fallon

Release Date: Kindle–August 7, 2018; Paperback–November 20, 2018

Description: Indestructible tells the shocking story of a marriage that didn’t go as planned, the truth that shattered everything, and the beautiful unfolding of a woman who decided that saving her marriage wasn’t worth losing herself. Like most people, Allison Fallon didn’t get married thinking she would get divorced. In fact, marrying a pastor felt like the surest way to guarantee a safe and happy marriage. So when she found out the man she married was not the man she thought he was, she had some choices to make. A wrestling with faith and love, romance and drama, truth and fiction, this story calls into question what it means to fall in love, stay in love, and become a force of love and change in the world. Although Indestructible is only one woman’s story, it serves as a powerful reminder to anyone who has been disillusioned by love that falling in love might be harder and easier than they ever imagined; and that “the one” they’re looking for is closer than they think.

Why I Can’t Wait to Read: It’s no secret I love a good memoir. To me, a memoir needs to do four things: 1) be honest with the ugly. 2) Be so specific it can’t help but be universal. 3) Drop truth bombs, and 4) Perform surgery, not suicide (For a more in-depth explanation of this criteria, read this post).  At first glance, Indestructible meets this criteria.

I first heard Allison’s story on the That Sounds Fun Podcast hosted by Annie F. Downs (you can listen here). If Allison writes half as well as she speaks, Indestructible promises to be a beautifully written book. In her interview, Allison was honest, dropped truth bombs left and right, and it’s clear she did the deep work to work toward healing in this book and off the page. Unfortunately, divorce and/or other unexpected transitions are a reality for most people. The description for Indestructible clearly states that Allison’s story is specific to her but promises to speak to others who have experienced a similar disillusionment. Indestructible sounds like a perfect addition to my list of most anticipated memoirs.

Amazon Associate links:


Kindle version:

Is Indestructible the type of book you’d love to read? Are there any memoirs you are looking forward to this fall? Let me know in the comments section!

Page to Screen: Anne with an “E”

Erica here. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to one of my favorite people, Christina Yother. Christina and I (along with Dana R. Lynn) were matched together as critique partners way back in 2013. Christina is the author of the inspirational historical romance series Hollow Hearts. All the details about the Hollow Hearts books (Reverie, Reliance, and Reconcile) can be found on christinayother.comI love her blogs on books and writing. She’s one of the best writers I know, and she helped me come up with Page to Screen. Page to Screen is where we will discuss books that have been turned into movies, TV movies, or TV shows. This week, Christina tackles Anne with an “E,” the Netflix series based on Anne of Green Gables. 

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

I still remember reading that line and thinking that Anne Shirley understood my love of autumn like no one else. I grew up with L.M. Montgomery’s beloved character and spent hours of my childhood floating down the river as The Lady of Shalott and suffering through the cruelness of having red hair. Anne’s despairs were my despairs – at least in my imagination. I felt that I was made a kindred spirit just by reading about her adventures.

Over the years there have been many times when our spirited heroine was brought from the pages of the books to the big screen. From the beloved 1980’s PBS classic to several made-for-tv movies, Anne, Gilbert, Diana, and the Cuthberts delighted us with their adventures and growing pains. Last year Netflix released a new interpretation called “Anne with an E,” giving their own spin to the tales we all remember.

Anne with an E“Anne with an E” still carries the same bones as the book series. Anne Shirley is an orphan adopted by the brother and sister duo, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. She is befriended by Diana and engages in a competitive friendship with Gilbert Blithe. The show gives us many of the wonderful adventures and misadventures that we’ve come to love from the book series – Gilbert calling Anne “carrots,” Anne’s wild imagination, the infamous puffed sleeves. But, what I love about this interpretation is the liberties it takes and the “darker” themes running through the story.

I would go so far as to say this series is meant for adults – men and women who grew up with Anne of Green Gables but are willing to view it through a different lens. We are given a deeper look into Anne’s past and the abusive nature of her experiences as an orphan. We see the effects its had on her and the trauma she lives with as she tries to accept her recent adoption. The show also deals heavily with sexuality in a tasteful yet real manner, showing what it was like to be “different” in an age when such views were much less accepted. We journey with several characters, young and old, as they explore and understand queerness and all forms of love. New characters and characters we’ve grown to love are shown to have a depth that the books didn’t address. Viewers are faced with a look at racism beyond what we’ve been taught in history class, including tolerance and inclusivity. And, we must watch the characters grapple with the emotions and reality of mental illness. There is a huge theme surrounding the roles of women and how they struggled to embrace their identity and power in an age when the expectation was to raise mothers and wives. There is a realness in this series that takes a sweet and beloved classic and explores it in a modern way. And I think that is what makes this new interpretation so relatable and powerful.

Of course this series won’t be to the liking of everyone. Many will view the liberties taken as a butchering of something they once loved. But, it’s important to remember that when any book moves from page to screen there will be specific aspects of the story that either don’t translate to the screen or simply don’t make the cut. One interpretation of a story isn’t right or wrong – creative freedom comes in to play. If we, as viewers, remember to appreciate a screen adaptation for what it is than our expectations are less likely to be disappointed. In the case of “Anne With an E” we can all use this new take on an old classic to understand the complexity of human emotions and experiences. It’s still a coming of age story, but this darker twist makes it even more timeless and relevant.

Gateway Book: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

As I face down a busy day and a working weekend that promises to be anything but reading friendly, I’m sharing a quick, fun post on a gateway book, a book that introduced me to a literary niche I didn’t know about but now really enjoy. Discussing our differing opinions on the subject of Christina’s post (which I can’t wait for you to read tomorrow) brought up the subject of perspective. One of my superpowers as a writer and human is a natural inclination to seek out new perspectives and ways to look at things. This discussion reminded me of a book I’d read, a gateway book that introduce me to a literary niche I now really enjoy–and yo might, as well. WARNING: This post contains spoilers for Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, so if you’re wanting to be surprised by that literary classic, you might want to wait to read this one.

My cover doesn’t look like this one, but I like it!

When I was in college, I read Wide Sargasso Sea for one of my many (many) English classes. SPOILER ALERT: It’s the story of the madwoman in the attic in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Mr. Rochester’s “crazy” wife. In this book, Jean Rhys shifts the perspective of the reader from seeing “the mad woman” (who Rhys names Antoinette) the way Bronte’s characters see her. Here, we learn how Antoinette grew up, when she met Rochester, how they came to be married, and what really drove her “mad.”

I have to admit I’ve never read Jane Eyre. Even before I read Wide Sargasso Sea, it never sat well with me that people were so swept up in JE that they completely overlooked or forgave Rochester for having a whole woman locked away in the attic, a woman he was married to, while falling in love with another. Nothing about any of that said romance to me. I’m the person who would read something like that and go “wait, what? Pause. I need to know how we got here.” That aspect of the story always turned me off. I never imagined someone else wanted to give this woman an identity and a voice, let alone that they’d written a book that did exactly that.

I’ve always loved art that helps you see something you’ve always seen in a new way. Everyone is the main character in their own story. The best stories manage to help the reader see the story from several different points of view. The moment I read Wide Sargasso Sea, I realized there were books that flipped the stories we’re all familiar with on their head simply by shifting the perspective from who’s on the main stage in the original to a different character. The Wind Done Gone has been on my list for a long time, though I haven’t gotten around to it yet. The play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard is also on this list. The literary parodies of Gone with the Wind and Hamlet, respectively, these two are perfect examples of how telling a classic tale from a lesser known viewpoint completely changes the story.

I haven’t had the opportunity to read many of these stories since I graduated college, but I’d love to find more.

Are you a fan of classic stories told from a different perspective? What are some of your favorite books in this literary niche?

Writing Wednesday: The Dreaded Outline

Hello, Fellow Readers! Erica here. Today is Writing Wednesday, and I have a special post for you from my friend and fellow blogger, Alex. Alex and I took classes together at the University of Central Florida none-of-your-business years ago and bonded over our shared love of the cheesiest, yet still completely awesome  movies and TV shows. However, it was our mutual love of all things books and reading that cemented our friendship. Alex runs at Catfairybooks, a website where “a quirky cat lady” reads and reviews “mostly young adult lit” and catalogs her obsession with teen soaps. If this sounds like your jam, give her site a follow. Alex will be a regular contributor to By Her Shelf, and I for one am so excited to have her as one of the talented trio of girl boss bloggers behind this site. 

Today, Alex is sharing about her experience going from a pantser to a plotter. 

My last post was about the writing challenge Camp NaNoWriMo and since I joined the challenge extremely late, I have a whole load of writing ahead of me! Last weekend I went on a short excursion on a couples trip and now my word challenge is going to be more challenging than ever before! Currently, I have about 3431 words and I still need about 6561 words left if I am going to meet my 10,000-word goal…


Currently what is holding me back from meeting my daily writing challenge is outlining. Back in my early 20’s, I was more of a pantser than a planner when it comes to writing. Since I am now adultish I have changed to outlining because I am someone that could frequently overlook the details in my writing. Outlining is a surefire method to get my facts straight and properly plan what is coming up next in my story.

I was introduced to the prospect of outlining in a fiction workshop that I took a few summers ago and I found out that there were so many different types of outlining. At the time, I found the prospect of outlining extremely overwhelming because of all the options available to me. The options that were introduced to me were INSANE! There was the snowflake method, index card method, and there are technological outline tools like Scrivener which you have to pay for. (This poor teacher needs to save her pennies for the summer!) In the beginning, I began to outline in a very simple manner by just writing in the setting, characters, and problem/solution.

When I read the writing memoir The Thorn Necklace by my favorite author in the entire universe Francesca Lia Block, outlining became a less daunting task. I wrote a review of The Thorn Necklace here. FLB is my ultimate hero when it comes to writing and her level of writing success is what I want to achieve for my life. I may be just a bit biased about my love of FLB and how highly I place her opinions about the writing process but I feel that her outlining encompasses everything that you want to include in a novel. The book is based on 12 questions to help you figure out your goals and it adds depth/dimension to the story. The questions focus on character, setting, style, protagonists, antagonists, and the theme. There are so many writing exercises to chose from and amazing examples from classic novels! This writing memoir has been an outlining savior for me!

Since I am not planning any future vacations for the month of July, I know that if I focus and pull a few all-nighters that I could meet and conquer this goal!

Now I want to know what is your writing process?! Are you a pantser or a planner?! Let me know in the comments below! (If you’re a pantser I am very jelly of you!)

Erica again. I’m going to check back with Alex today and see if she made her July goal. Did you participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this past month? What were your results? Are you a pantser, plotter, or plotser?