On Taking Time Off From Writing

This isn’t the blog post I thought I’d be writing, but here we are. I’m just going to go right out and say it–this week I haven’t done a ton of writing. Or reading. (Unless you count Monday, when I whizzed through more than half of Starfish, which you should all check out when it releases in September!) And I think a lot of writers see this as a guilty thing.
“I didn’t hit x number of words, so I shouldn’t be doing x, y, z,” for example. Or constantly thinking about writing, so much so that it pervades our dreams while we sleep. (We all have weird writing/publishing dreams, right? No? Just me…)

It’s not like I haven’t done much work for no reason. But sometimes, we writers just want to flop on our couches and call it a day. And I think, sometimes, it’s okay to give yourself permission to do that. So much of writing these days has turned into a battle between getting all the words written and writing slowly and methodically. I don’t mean to say that writing sprints aren’t good (because I love them) or that you should only be writing slowly, because every writer is different, and we all have our own pace and speed. But I think a lot of writers are associating writing quickly with getting the product out quickly, which isn’t always the case.

Take us, for example. We wrote a manuscript in 2 months, took a month off, and then revised it the next month before landing an agent. That is extremely fast and by no means what we expected. But that doesn’t mean that everything is go-go-go in the publishing industry, either. It’s summer, things are slowing down, and we’re really taking our time revising this manuscript. Why? Because it deserves time. It deserves slow, methodical thought, excruciatingly long world-building outlines (and lots of maps…). Which is all to say: we don’t want to rush things. It’s all right to take a little time off from writing once in a while. I barely wrote this week, and when I finally got back into things yesterday, it still wasn’t a ton. But I wrote (or rather, I edited…) and that was what mattered. Not that I did a lot of work, but that I did something after a long week of nothing, nothing, nothing. And after a long week of reading nothing, nothing, nothing, I recently picked up where I left off in Windwitch and I am fascinated by the world Susan Dennard has built. Each word, each line, is there for a reason. It’s a book that’s really making me think of my own manuscript’s world-building, and its writing.

Because it’s finally offering me some inspiration after a week of writers’-drought. (Is that a thing? I’m making it a thing.)

This is becoming a long, rambly post, so to sum things up–writers, don’t be afraid to take time off. To enjoy nature (yes, bugs and all…), to see things around you differently, to read voraciously and find inspiration in books and the world in general. It’s really eye-opening, once you take some time off your manuscript, to come back to it and see where things can be changed or cut, and where you’ve grown and strengthened as a writer since.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know everything about everything when it comes to the world-building in my own manuscript (yet!) but, in this revision, I’m working on it. I’m slowly, methodically, working my way through my own questions, so that someday, I can answer them for myself. (And so I can get this book revised.)

If you’re having a tough time with your manuscript, all I can say is let it be for a while. Sometimes inspiration strikes within the most unexpected places.

Thanks for reading and until next time,

S&S

July Wrap-Up [2017]

Hey all! July completely FLEW by, and we still can’t believe summer is almost over! Let’s take a look at what we read/what we posted on Instagram in July!

July was pretty eventful outside of school. We went to our cousin’s wedding, celebrated Canada Day and our bro’s bday, and visited Pennsylvania for a weekend (B&N book haul below!)

In July, Sarena read 1 book:

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon — 4.5*

Sasha read 6 books: 

Caraval by Stephanie Garber — 5*

The Child by Fiona Barton — 4.5* (ARC review here)

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus — 5*

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody — 4.5* (ARC review here)

The Disappearences by Emily Bain Murphy — 5*

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton — 4 – 4.5*

Here is our July book haul:

Let’s take a look at our other IG pics! Continue reading

[ARC Review] Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Have you ever read a book so immersive, you can feel the smoke, smell the kettle corn, taste the licorice cherries? Well, that’s exactly what Amanda Foody’s Daughter of the Burning City did for me–paint a vivid landscape in a unique circus setting, with a haunting mystery at its core. Take a look at the vibrant cover and synopsis, and then we’ll dive into my gush-filled review of this book! Continue reading

Super Late June Wrap Up [2017]

Summer is in full swing (kind of, because #summerschool), and it’s the perfect time for reading. Let’s take a look at all the (amazing) books we read last month, because there were quite a few, and they were all so fabulous!

We didn’t post much at all last month (once in total … woops) but we were super busy with school and our cousin’s wedding,  not to mention working on revision outline-y things–which is all to say, we were swamped with work. Nevertheless, we enjoyed all the books we read, and we want to share our love and excitement for them with all of you!

Sasha read 8 books:

  1. A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN by Sarah J. Maas (4.5*)
  2. THE GAUNTLET by Karuna Riazi (5*, review here)
  3. EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon (5*, read all of this in one evening/night, highly recommend!)
  4. WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon (5*, another amazing diverse title!)
  5. THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES by Mindy McGinnis (5*)
  6. AS I DESCENDED by Robin Talley (4*, loved how this one incorporates references to Macbeth, my fave Shakespeare play!)
  7. GOOSEBUMPS MOST WANTED: THE HAUNTER (3*)
  8. GOOSEBUMPS MOST WANTED: A NIGHTMARE ON CLOWN STREET (4*)

She also started Caraval, Labyrinth Lost, and The Child. 

Sarena read 3 books this month:

  1. THAT THING WE CALL A HEART by Sheba Karim (4*)
  2. WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER by Leigh Bardugo (4*)
  3. SAINTS AND MISFITS by S.K. Ali (5*)

She also started When Dimple Met Rishi!

And, of course, we got a bunch of books this month (despite being on a book-buying ban). We only actually bought two of them, though, because how can you not buy the super pretty editions of Harry Potter? Right? Right. Here are pics of all the super-awesome books we got:



We also attended the Saints & Misfits book launch, which was super fun!!


We hope you’re all enjoying your summer/summer reading!

-S&S

 

Great Canadian Reads! [2017]

Hey all! Happy Canada Day! Today we thought we would share some great Canadian reads (books by Canadian authors) that have recently been published, and later in the post, we’ll share some that we are HIGHLY anticipating! Let’s get started!

Image result for canada flag

1. Frostblood by Elly Blake

27827203The frost king will burn.

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.

Despite her unpredictable abilities, Ruby trains with the rebels and the infuriating—yet irresistible—Arcus, who seems to think of her as nothing more than a weapon. But before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to compete in the king’s tournaments that pit Fireblood prisoners against Frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her—and from the icy young man she has come to love.

2. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by EK Johnston

25528801Veronica Mars meets William Shakespeare in E.K. Johnston’s latest brave and unforgettable heroine. 

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.

3. The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

The Valiant (The Valiant, #1)Princess. Captive. Gladiator.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

4. Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan

22400015Julia has the unusual ability to be . . . unseen. Not invisible, exactly. Just beyond most people’s senses.

It’s a dangerous trait in a city that has banned all forms of magic and drowns witches in public Cleansings. But it’s a useful trait for a thief and a spy. And Julia has learned–crime pays.

Her latest job is paying very well indeed. Julia is posing as a housemaid in the grand house of Mrs. Och, where an odd assortment of characters live and work: A disgraced professor who sends her to fetch parcels containing bullets, spiders, and poison. An aristocratic houseguest who is locked in the basement each night. And a mysterious young woman who is clearly in hiding–though from what or whom?

Worse, Julia suspects that there’s a connection between these people and the killer leaving a trail of bodies across the frozen city.

The more she learns, the more she wants to be done with this unnatural job. To go back to the safety of her friends and fellow thieves. But Julia is entangled in a struggle between forces more powerful than she’d ever imagined. Escape will come at a terrible price.

5. Internet Famous by Danika Stone

31145123High school senior and internet sensation Madison Nakama seems to have it all: a happy family, good grades, and a massive online following for her pop-culture blog. But when her mother suddenly abandons the family, Madi finds herself struggling to keep up with all of her commitments.

Fandom to the rescue! As her online fans band together to help, an online/offline flirtation sparks with Laurent, a French exchange student. Their internet romance—played out in the comments section of her MadLibs blog—attracts the attention of an internet troll who threatens the separation of Madi’s real and online personas. With her carefully constructed life unraveling, Madi must uncover the hacker’s identity before he can do any more damage, or risk losing the people she loves the most… Laurent included.


Now it’s time for some upcoming reads we’re excited for:

1. The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

32667458In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be dark—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up hearing in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

2. Siege of Shadows (Fate of Flames #2) by Sarah Raughley

34109695There’s nowhere to hide.

Not when you’re an Effigy. No matter where they go, Maia and the other Effigies can’t escape the eyes of the press—especially not after failing to capture Saul, whose power to control the monstrous Phantoms has left the world in a state of panic. It’s been two months since Saul’s disappearance, and there’s still no sign of him, leaving the public to wonder whether the Sect—and the Effigies—are capable of protecting anyone.

When Saul suddenly surfaces in the middle of the Sahara desert, the Sect sends Maia and her friends out after him. But instead of Saul, they discover a dying soldier engineered with Effigy-like abilities. Even worse, there may be more soldiers like him out there, and it looks like the Effigies are their prime targets.

Yet the looming danger of Saul and this mysterious new army doesn’t overshadow Maia’s fear of the Sect, who ordered the death of the previous Fire Effigy, Natalya. With enemies on all sides and the world turning against them, the Effigies have to put their trust in each other—easier said than done when secrets threaten to tear them apart.

3. A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena (okay, this is 2018, but we’re SO excited for it!)

29451548A timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved. 

Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school.  You don’t want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that.

This beautifully written debut novel from Tanaz Bhathena reveals a rich and wonderful new world to readers. It tackles complicated issues of race, identity, class, and religion, and paints a portrait of teenage ambition, angst, and alienation that feels both inventive and universal.

 

We hope you enjoyed this post! Until next time,

 

Sarena & Sasha

May Wrap-Up [2017]

Hey all! We’re having a tough time believing it’s June already; seriously, where does time go?? We did some pretty cool things in May, so let’s take a look!

Sasha read: 0 books (sigh!). She did, however, read MOST of ACOWAR. 😀

Sarena read: 3 books

  1. Trials of Apollo 2: The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan — 4.5*
  2. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo — 4.5* (review here)
  3. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han — 5*

This month we also did something REALLY awesome. We signed with our literary agent, Pete Knapp (you can read our story here). We are so excited to get started on revisions for this new book!

On May 4 we attended a book signing for Nicola Yoon! I loved TSIAAS so that was really exciting!

nicola yoon signing

Nicola Yoon with the director of Everything, Everything!

On May 6 we were invited to the Raincoast blogger preview (which we watched from the comfort of our home, yay!). We are so stoked for the books coming this fall from Raincoast/Macmillan, like Renegades and Language of Thorns!

We also began interning for the awesome book packager CAKE Literary. (Seriously, they’re awesome.)

On May 21 we attended a signing for SJ Maas! We got to the mall location at 8:45ish and got one of the few final tickets for the signing at 1PM. The store was PACKED. (Photos below!)

Now let’s take a look at our month via Instagram photos:

Books we got from the Raincoast event:

Got this awesome book when we were out for Mother’s Day:

And we got these in the mail — STILL FLAILING.

Just got these in the mail!! SO EXCITED! 💕📚😮🎉 #whendimplemetrishi #flameinthemist #bookstagram #booknerdigans #books

A post shared by Sarena & Sasha Nanua (@sarenasashabooks) on

From said signing with SJ Maas:

Also, we attended an awesome Penguin Random House book sale!! Check out all these awesome books!~

And finally, we got this awesome ARC from S&S Canada. Very excited for this!

We hope you all had a great month! Look out for a May book haul on our Instagram soon 😀

-S&S