What a year, am I right? But, now it’s time to welcome the new year the way most people do- with great resolutions! It is the time to reflect on the previous year and see where you want to take the new year. Here are reading themed resolutions that you can start in 2021:
Listen to more audiobooks.
Take a break from your average reading time and pop in an audiobook. It gives you the opportunity to multitask. Listen to your book at the gym, in the car, or while you cook!
Take notes while you read.
Expand your mind and think about what you’re reading. Write down your thoughts or quotes. Then you can come back and read your notes later!
Read books on your reading list or create a reading list.
Lists are beautiful! It gives you a reminder of what you want and something to look forward to. If you’re like me, you need a list or else you will forget what you even wanted to read in the first place.
Write more book reviews.
Did you love it or dislike it? Either way write a thoughtful book review to give other people a look inside the book. It is helpful for potential readers and authors!
Try a different genre.
I know trying new things can be scary, but you might like it! Go outside your comfort zone of historical romance and try a new mystery!
Modify the resolutions to fit you! It always helps to write them down and keep it in a spot that you can use as a daily reminder.
Writing resolutions post coming soon! So make sure you give us a follow:)
Having an array of characters makes each story unique and fun. Today, I want to dive into a foxy lady we all love to hate, the one who almost always gets her way: the femme fatale.
Before we dive into the deadly one, we first have to talk about where she stems from: a seductress. Describing a seductress is one thing because beauty is subjective. As the saying goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” So, how can you make your lovely lady appealing to the masses outside of her looks? It’s the obvious!
Make her free-spirited. This is important to her. She is care-free, curious about the world around her and open to those people surrounding her. This is what keeps her interesting. She comes off naive. Those who grow to be fond of her only want to show her the “right way.” This lady will always have some form of charm she uses to get people looking her way, or looking twice. This is a must. Ask yourself: does she have any intention with her ways? This is a great time to sit back and map out what made her this way and to make the plan of what you are going to do with her in your story.
One thing is for sure; she will want to be in the spotlight. Maybe not celebrity-status, but you can certainly do that if you want. Ultimately, she wants to be the center of attention – she wants everyone to turn their head when she enters a room. If she isn’t, she will certainly make it known she has entered the building. By the end of the scene, everyone will be quiet and staring and if they aren’t, there will be consequences. But, we are dipping into other territory there. The seductress isn’t harming anyone else in any way; she is simply hoping for something or someone to come into her life. So, once again we ask: what is her intention? What is her purpose?
The art of seduction comes with, in some way, the purpose of love. Or lack thereof. She could easily find it with her looks and charisma but your seductress is living a life, going 100 miles per hour for the sole purpose of finding The One. The catch is…even if she finds a suitable mate, that person would never be enough. And she will start all over again. Stability is not in her name; not just in love, but in life. Sometimes, it’s not about the person. It’s about the journey and, once again, the art of seduction.
When people think of seduction, the first thing that comes to mind is sex. Don’t get too caught up in the seductress’ sexual habits or even her sexuality itself. It isn’t the point of her character, it’s a part of her. She is more than who she does and does not allow in the bedroom. It shouldn’t be highlighted how many she’s allowed into her open arms; it should be brought to the readers’ attention why she does so. She doesn’t see anything wrong with her sexual appetite so neither should you. And sometimes, her sexuality has nothing to do with the storyline so cut it out of the picture.
If her sexual nature is a part of the storyline or a part of her character, her relationships and friendships with other heterosexual women could be strained. The seductress finds it hard to have platonic male friends, so she strives to have female companionship. However, this could be tough for her. She may not be able to secure these friendships because of her nature with men, and potential partners for those in which she wishes to surround herself with. The threat is there for those other women and they may try to cast her out. Though, this may not be the case for all and she could find a few who will understand her and try to nurture her. She will not get along with those similar to her in the way of seduction…mainly because they’re after the same thing in the same manner. Posing another threat.
Now, let’s get down to the point as to why you’re here: the femme fatale. The seductress is a great starting point for this character, but you will need to take this a step further. She is not only a seductress, but more so a seductress bathed in darkness. She is a user, potentially a black widow; she is out for blood and uses her charm and her looks to her advantage. She utilizes the “good” parts of the naive and carefree seductress and twists into a game that could end badly. Her backstory should be tragic, giving reason for her way of being and why she wants to end the trapped fly.
Literature holds some of the greatest and slyest women in the femme fatale archetype. Norma Bates from Psycho, Amy Dunne from Gone Girl, Gloria Denton from Queenpin, and Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass are all great examples of this particular archetype.
Do you have any characters who come to mind who fall into this category? We would love to hear!
Taking a step away from our usual posts, I wanted to talk about something I saw earlier this week that truly touched my heart in more ways than one, and shed a tear in the privacy of my own home.
Without getting into too much detail in setting up the scene (I know, I am going against my own advice on this one), I live in a very urban area by the coast of the Long Island Sound where houses must have sprouted from the ground like wildflowers. To set this up a bit further, my neighbor owns the home next to my apartment where he spent some time outside building what I thought was a bird house.
It’s not a rarity to see younger kids walking up and down the block in packs in my neighborhood, but there was one group that for some reason really caught my eye. One night, as I pulled into my driveway after a day’s worth of work I saw a group of adolescent girls bickering and laughing with each other as they headed up the avenue. They were singing a song released before their time and one girl kept saying, “That song is so annoying!”
One girl held a basketball under her arm and stopped at the birdhouse. Her friends kept walking as she fell behind. I then began to realize it wasn’t a bird house – but a free little library. She peered in through both glass doors, opened it up and pulled a couple out to examine the covers, read the summaries, and truly admired the weight of the chosen ones.
Her friends had made it a couple houses down and turned around to see where the girl was. They yelled down the street, “What are you doing? I thought we were going to play.” She held a book in her hand, closed the doors to the library, and ran towards her friends. They heckled her for grabbing a book, but she kept smiling down at what she picked.
In that moment – I couldn’t help but feel full of happiness and love because the universe restored my faith in the beauty of literacy.
The only free time I get to transport myself to another world within the pages of a book is in bed. Reading the right bedtime book is sometimes hard to do. I enjoy lighthearted reads before bed, but some people enjoy a good thriller to fuel their nightmarish dreams. Some prefer to read an action-packed chapter to tire themselves out. Everyone deserves a bedtime read – and now we have a way to get that book in our hands before resting our eyes at night.
As of 2018, HarperCollins UK has teamed up with the Heart radio station and Dreams, a bed retailer, to begin what will be known as the Bedtime Book Club. With the radio station broadcasting to listeners, the hosts will discuss a variety of HarperCollins novels, different themes, and genres to encourage reading. But just because the station is only broadcasting in the UK, doesn’t mean you can’t find your own nighttime reads.
If having a Bedtime Book Club isn’t reason enough to read before bed, maybe I should tell you why it can be important to get your nose in a book while under the sheets. It’s simple – if you want better sleep, read. You read me right. Sleep better. It’ll help reduce stress by distracting your brain from the life stresses that can get the best of you. I’m guilty of blaring my TV to help me fall asleep but it’s actually a good idea to read rather than watch. It’ll reassure your brain that you are at peace. And if you’re also like me, scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (whatever social media platform you choose), reading can help you concentrate better. In the long run, reading before bed can improve two other things: your empathy and your creativity. In a good way!
Reading is a powerful tool, so why not start your own Bedtime Book Club and start curling up with a good book to help rest your eyes and your brain.
Old or young, going back to school can always be hard. High school can be vicious and college or graduate school can be intimidating enough to keep you cooped up in your dorm or off-campus apartment/house. But, here at HRM we want to alleviate some of the pain of back-to-school shopping and the hefty price tag of purchasing textbooks from your university store. It’s easier said than done, but sometimes you need to find an outlet for all this stress in order to survive the year. The perfect book could just be your perfect escape when the real world has you down.
For high schoolers, there is a book for everyone in your local or school library or bookstore- whether you’re a wallflower (I’m looking at you,Perks of Being a Wallflower), a heavy gamer (pick up The Feed). If you are dealing with a particular issue at school or have a unique interest that no one else seems to have, there’s likely a book about it. Check out this diverse list of books from Brightly for young readers; there’s a book for everyone on this list!
For the ones going off to college for the first time or returning for another year, there will be many challenges you will face throughout the year: professors being dull during lectures, exams starting just one week into the semester before you even had time to settle down, or having nothing to do during the weekends if the nightlife scene is not your cup of tea. Again, books make the perfect survival tool because there’s a book for everything. Since there were so many options to choose from, I chose to highlight this long list of book essentials for every college student to indulge in.
So hang around by your locker, study hall, university quad, dorm room, or coffee shop with your newest book and let us know how it helps you cope with the school year!
Imagine a world where you, the reader, don’t have to browse bookshelves pondering if you’ll enjoy the book you’ve selected. Oh, wait… there is a world like that.
Book of the Monthhas been in effect for 90 years. “90 years of literary heritage,” is how they like to put it. It is a monthly subscription service built to your liking. There are a handful of different packages you could pay for, varying from receiving only a month’s subscription up to a year – meaning up to 12 new books to jump into. What better life could there be?
Every month you are given five books to choose from – some are popular best sellers and others are debut books from rising authors. You get the opportunity to pick the book you wish to read with the help from the judges. Judges range from publishing professionals to popular writers. Typically there are five judges each month. Each judge picks a book and writes a brief reaction to the book of their choosing. They explain why they picked the book and why the member should read it, along with some of their favorite scenes or characters. A synopsis and preview of the book is also provided through the BotM website. Members can vote on whether they enjoyed the book as well. The website rates the books like Rotten Tomatoes, minus the green vomit image next to the percentage. What’s also fun about BotM is the exclusive branded items they have for members. If a certain amount of money is put towards the membership, a free tote is included with the package!
BotM is a great option for avid readers who try to maximize their reading options. Or to the new reader who just isn’t sure how to find their next read. \ The benefits of the service make it enticing- you read the books you want to read, you pay a lot less for a hardcover, and you can skip a month if none of the options are appealing. The power in your hands is used to create more pleasurable reading for yourself and it’s likely that you will discover a book you never would have else wise. A reader’s dream is bound to come true with access to BotM endless possibilities.
A few weeks ago, Publisher’s Weekly came out with a ranking of America’s top 20 publishing houses for 2016. It’s no surprise who the top 5 were, but what’s really important is what came after.
The sixth and seventh publisher were both that of children’s books- Scholastic and Disney came in right under the ‘Big Five.’ It’s quite a refreshing thing to see. Children’s literature has always been a tough genre to crack because the audience is smaller, the interests change rapidly, and the surge of technology has threatened to turn some children away from reading and the love of books. Nevertheless, books sales for 2016 has proved that there is still so much to love about children’s publishing. For Disney, Star Wars and Rick Riordan books led the way.
Houghton and Workman come in next, showing us that non-fiction titles still have a big impact on our consumption market as well. For Workman, Atlas Obscura and What to Expect When You’re Expecting were their bestsellers. But for most publishers, their fiction titles landed them on this list. For Sourcebooks, The Cellar by Natasha Preston sold the most units.
Some other cool trends to see were that a few religious publishers made the cut, John Wiley’s business books proved fruitful once again, and adult coloring books are still in high demand from publishers like Dover and Sterling.