October 27, 2015

Book Reco: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

We'll start with full disclosure: I love Rainbow Rowell. I just do. Technically, I don't know her. But after reading 3 of her novels, I kinda feel like I do. Regardless, I adore her. So, now that that's out in the open...

 Carry On is Rainbow Rowell's newest YA book. She took a brief departure from YA with Landline (which I haven't read yet), but she's back. And not only is she back to YA, but she pulled two characters from her previous book, Fangirl, (loved it!) and wrote a book about them.

What makes this even more interesting is that the characters she pulled from her book Fangirl, were actually characters in a book in Fangirl. As Rowell puts it, Carry On is "inspired by fictional fan fiction of a fictional series." Seriously.

But this part is only interesting if you've read Fangirl. And you should, too...but you don't need to to enjoy Carry On.

Here's my favorite description of the book:

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story-- but far, far more monsters.

Love that. And you know me...you're not getting anything else on the actual plot from me. You can Google that. But this is what I will tell you...

I started reading this book--as per usual, without reading the blurb-- and I was a little ho-hum in the  beginning. All was good, but not great. And I started to bum-out...was Rowell going to let me down this time?

Answer: No.

There's a moment about a quarter-to-a-third of the way into the book (you might know it when you read it) when everything shifts...when everything I had been hoping for without even realizing I'd been hoping for it happens. And I was sunk. I devoured the rest of the book in, like, two days.

And it was delicious.

Thank you, Rainbow.

What you need to know: It's a fun, easy read. Nothing too heavy. There's love and kissing, and swords and action, and magic and vampires...it's kind of a smorgasbord...but in a good way.

It's just fun.

Until next time, I bid you good reading.

P.S. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention my favorite of Rowell's books: Eleanor and Park. If you haven't read it, do. It's in my top ten of all time. I loved it.

October 22, 2015

The Explanation You Didn't Ask For...OR...Why I'm MIA

I have not been posting much lately on MamaManagement. Not that anyone really noticed. But I've been feeling a bit...uninspired...in the blog post arena, of late. And it isn't going to get any better because I'm about to launch into the busiest month of writing there is: November.

That's right, folks, t-minus 9 days and counting until the big kick-off of National Novel Writing Month 2015!!

I am super psyched for NaNoWriMo!

And a little bit scared.

This will be my third year participating. And, hopefully, my second year finishing!

If you're not familiar with NaNoWriMo, here's the basic premise: Write a novel in one month.

Well, sort of.

The objective is to write like a maniac and finish 50,000 words in 30 days. That's 1667 words per day. Sound tough? Yeah, well, it's not as easy as it sounds. 50,000 words will get you a solid shorter novel or the beginnings of an epic. Last year I wrote two shorter early grade children's novels which I'm still working on revising. But I did manage all 50,000 in those 30 short days. It was a huge accomplishment. (The year before I only got about 25,000 words in...but I was a total newbie, so it was still a huge start for me.)

This year I am tackling my first young adult novel. Something far more complex than what I've written to date. And I'm doing something else I've never done before...plotting. So far I've been what, in the writing world, they call a "pantser"...as in "writing by the seat of your pants." I'd have a basic idea for a story and then just sit down and write. I just followed wherever the story took me.

And it worked. But I think that approach made for more extensive rewriting. And it was an easier approach with a simpler story. This time there's more research involved and more complexity to the story. So, I'm plotting things out and spending a lot of time thinking about everything...the characters, the setting, the lessons to be learned...and, of course, the plot.

Not all of the details, those will come as I write, but the basic structure of the story: the place it will start, a few of the hurdles we'll have to jump, and where it'll all end. How we'll move through things? Well, who knows!

Anyway, the reason I haven't been blogging is that I haven't been inspired by much to blog about...I think that's because my brain is so wrapped up in my other writing: the surge I've put in to finish rewrites on another book before November, and the total and utter preoccupation I currently have with the new novel.

I'm a little obsessed, I'm not gonna lie.

But it has so much potential.

If I can do the story justice, I think it could be really great.

I hope.

So that's the long way of saying, I've been MIA here at MamaManagement because I've been writing/rewriting/plotting books...and it's gonna stay that way for the next month or so. So please excuse me...or forgive me...or whatever.

Though let's be honest, that's the explanation that no one asked for...

Until next time, my friends, be well.

October 2, 2015

My Top Ten Family Outings for the Fall

It's October 2nd and everyone is planning their fall activities...I know I am! So I thought I'd re-share last year's post on Family Outings for the Fall. We'll be doing all of these again this year...including the Family 5k tomorrow morning (and it's supposed to rain again!). What are you planning for this beautiful time of year???

Yesterday morning I awoke to a very cold house. Then I walked to my daughter's bus stop thinking, seriously, it's freezing out here...where are my gloves?!?! I came home and looked at the calendar and was shocked to find that it was, in fact, October. When did that happen??? (I know, about a week ago.)

Looks like it's time to turn the heat on. Looks like it's time to get out the warm coats. Looks like it's time to finalize the Halloween costumes. And, it looks like it's time to fill the calendar with fun fall outings! (Woot!)

We got things rolling this weekend, with our first Fall Family Activity: a 5k charity race. We had to get the kids up in the dark (at 6am) and it was raining out! But we had so much fun. We all ran together...at 3 and 5 years old, the kids were in and out of the jogging stroller throughout the race, but they got out to run across their first finish line and get their medal...they were so proud! We had a blast! And, it provided a great teaching moment about The Four Diamond Fund charity we were supporting, about kids who are sick with cancer, and about doing something to support other people. I highly, highly recommend a charity run or walk as a fun family activity. I hope to do many more of these! I implore you to give it a try...and fall is such a great time to do it.

So what else do we have planned for the month to come? Well, here it is, my Top Ten Family Outings for the Fall:

Top Ten Family Outings for the Fall
10. Family 5k charity race (we ran The Conquer Run for the pediatric cancer charity The Four Diamond Fund)
9. Apple picking (followed by some baking fun)
8. Pumpkin patch, corn maze and hay ride
7. Fall color walk and nature scavenger hunt (we'll go to nearby nature paths to check out the leaves turning color, wade thru the creek, do a simple scavenger hunt and collect fall craft supplies like acorns and pretty leaves)
6. Hershey Park in the Dark (trick or treating and rides at the nearby Hershey Park amusement park) and Hershey Gardens Pumpkin Glow (trick or treating and fun decorations at the nearby Hershey Gardens...over 150 losing jack-o-lanterns!)
5. Apple Cider Festival (a fun family festival at a nearby park, complete with pony rides!) and Farmer's Market Fall Fest (you can check out any local farmer's market or community fall fest)
4. Trick or treating in the neighborhood
3. Fall-Inspired Art Class (we'll take a Saturday morning family art class at a local art studio...you could also go to a paint your own pottery studio or do some family art at home!)
2. Campfire smores at Hershey Chocolate World (of course you can do smores anywhere...even the microwave, if you don't have a handy fire pit)
1. Picnic at the park (we'll pick a warmer, dry day to take a picnic lunch to a nearby park)

In addition to all of these fun family outings, I also have planned some fun, fall crafts and baking ideas. We're going to try making some fall scented play dough, some hot pumpkin cocoa and an apple crisp. We're going to create candy corn catapults and pumpkin sun catchers. And we'll do some painting and crafting with some of the things we collect on our nature walk...like acorn and leaf people. And, of course, we'll carve and paint some pumpkins. For some fun ideas for fall activities, check out my Aaaahhh Autumn board on Pinterest here: http://www.pinterest.com/amylorbach/aaaahhh-autumn/.

Until next time, go get your fall on!