What's Up... Monday?!

I love Wednesdays in the blog world because so many friends participate in the What's Up Wednesday fest. It's fun to see what people are reading, writing, and thinking, so I thought I'd do my own version today!

It'll be my What's Up... Monday.


WONDER by R.J. Palacio

This is truly a wonder of a book and I think it deserves all of the praise it's been given. I laughed and cried and wanted more. August's voice is phenomenal and I loved his protective big sister, Via.

DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

I have to admit that this popular dystopian was not for me. I just couldn't wrap my head around the concept of these factions and how they could possibly benefit society.

TEN by Gretchen McNeil

I finished the entire book in one sitting! The problem with ensemble casts, though, is that some characters have to necessarily be less well-developed than others. I thought Meg, the MC, was very well-written.

SONG OF ACHILLES by Madeline Miller

I LOVE Greek mythology and I have a feeling I'm going to really like this book. I've always loved minor characters and I'm rooting for Patroclus already!


  • GARDENSPELL: I've been working on this for a couple weeks, and I'm really enjoying it! Like PPP, it's an upper MG fairy tale, but I want it to be more traditional, like wishing wells-ogres-and-seven-league-boots traditional. I'm about four chapters in and going strong!

  • FOTL: This is still in the planning stage, but I'm constantly scribbling down random snippets. I'll have to share pictures of my FOTL binder, which has dozens and dozens of pages of notes. Let's just hope I never lose it!

  • ELEGY: I sent this out to two more beta readers. I'm limiting readers for now because it's still such a rough draft, but I hope I'll get many more pairs of eyes on it eventually. I might whip up the query and first pages to post at WriteOnCon. (My palms are getting sweaty just thinking about it!)


Caro Emerald's album "Deleted Scenes From the Cutting Room Floor." I need to throw a Roaring 20s party to this music!


We went to see "Despicable Me 2" a few weeks ago, and it was hi-lar-ious. I laughed so hard my sides hurt, and am thinking about installing an Indiana Jones-type obstacle where you have to do a dance sequence on musical squares before you can enter my writing office. (I'm sure that makes absolutely no sense if you haven't seen the movie.) Also, I need a chip hat filled with guacamole.


“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.” - J.D. Salinger

I've been beta-reading and what's great about that is that you CAN call the author up on the phone (or email them) when you want to chat!

What's new in your world?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If you install those musical squares, I want photos.

Angela Brown said...

You've got a great list of books going in your What's Up world. I have yet to read Divergent but maybe one day I can sit still long enough to just give it a try. But hey, every book isn't for every reader.

Hope things continue well for you in the writing realm. I took a leap of faith and entered my MG fairy tale smash up in the MG Query Crit and the first 250 words for Write On Con. I even tossed out the first 250 words of my first picture book draft so I can hopefully learn so much more for each of them. Guess one never knows if they don't try.

I hope you put yours out there on WOC. That would be awesome!

Currently, Gwen and I are working on doing a dual cover reveal soon. very exciting times.

Krispy said...

Ah! That's what I couldn't get behind in Divergent too! Like if it hadn't been set in Chicago & had just been completely made up, I could probably suspend my disbelief enough for the faction-based society to work. But being tied to our world really threw me out of the world building. That said, I think Roth is good at writing nuanced character arcs (like I don't really know if I like Tris but she reads like real person & I find her growth compelling) and Roth actually develops her themes. It's why I'm still reading the trilogy even though the world building still makes me a little batty, haha.

You already know I loved Wonder. And I am BEYOND THRILLED you're reading Song of Achilles!!! It was my favorite book last year and is now on my forever favorites shelf. I thought Miller brilliantly brought that world to life, making it a mythical place that seemed so real. Love it so much! So I think you're in for a treat. Hope you love it too!!

Laura Marcella said...

I haven't seen this What's Up Wednesday fest! Is there a linky list somewhere or do people just post on any Wednesday they want? Sounds like a fun kind of post to do!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

workofheart09 said...

Oh my goodness, I LOVE that quote!!

I so admire the way you can work on different projects simultaneously. Do they each get their own binder? :)

Colin Smith said...

I have WONDER on my TBR--I've heard lots of good things about it. And I look forward to seeing you around the WOC forums, Julie! :D

Tiana Smith said...

Not much new in my world - but I'll have to pick Wonder up!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Awesome! I want to read WONDER. It was one of my class picks in last year's school contest to determine what books our library would buy.

I did not read DIVERGENT because the blurb did not pull me in, but I LOVED TEN. I also read it in one sitting! I love a good mystery!

What I'm reading currently: Well I just finished THIS IS WAR by Lisa and Laura Roecker. Another good mystery! Right now, I'm stocking books on my Kindle for a vacation overseas which will involve 2 planes and 3 trains. I have stocked up: IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS and GATED (which I beta read an early draft of). And I'm considering ordering THE DIVINERS.

What I'm writing: Book 3 in my MG fantasy series, even if it's still a bunch of puzzle pieces I haven't managed to fit together yet.

What I'm watching: ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. Wow. Just wow.

Connie Keller said...

I loved Despicable Me 2! It's so rare for a sequel to be as good (or almost as good as) the first.

I finished reading The Art of Racing in the Rain. Now I'm reading The Debt Collector.

Last night I watched The Words. If you're a writer and haven't watched that movie, put it on your Netflix list. But be warned, you'll be thinking about it for days.

Medeia Sharif said...

I loved Wonder and Divergent. I want to read Ten.

Happy writing. I almost thought it was Wednesday reading this post.

Jemi Fraser said...

I've got Wonder and Ten on my book shelves waiting! Have to get to them!! :)

Margo Berendsen said...

Isn't Wonder - um, wonderful! Love that book! I'm already pushing it on my kids.

I have got to go see Despicable Me 2. Our whole family is pretty much addicted to the first one. Does Margo show up again? :)

Azia DuPont said...

I understand where you are coming from with Divergent. I very much felt the same way!

Um, I'm so in on the guac-hat thing.

Nicole said...

Loved seeing this update. I haven't read Divergent yet, but have heard mixed reviews of love, not-so-much-love. That last quote sums up exactly how I feel after reading a great book.

Cynthia said...

In response to your comment on my blog, I think you should totally try SCBWI for at least one year. Even if you can't make it to one of the big conferences, perhaps there are local conferences near you that you can attend.

You know what, the first chapter of Wonder was used as part of an exercise at the intensive workshop I signed up for at the conference. I must put that on my to-read list!

I read DIVERGENT and I loved it!

Julie Dao said...

Alex: Oh, don't you worry. There will be video!

Angela: Fantastic! It sounds like you've been very productive and I wish you luck with those contests :D I'm definitely going to post at least a query on WOC. I need to fix up my first 250 or five pages before I even think of posting them there!

Krispy: I thought DIVERGENT was well-written, but I just couldn't get behind the idea of these factions. I couldn't see how our current society dwindled into that type of hierarchy. Also, I never identified with Tris, which is a big part of why the book wasn't my cup of tea. I remember you recommended SONG OF ACHILLES and I cannot wait to finish it! It's amazing so far :)

Laura: I believe so! Keep your eyes peeled on Wednesdays. I would join the linky list too, but I'm so irregular about posting these days!

Shari: They each get their own section in a notebook... FOTL gets its own binder b/c it's an epic fantasy and needs lots of room! :)

Colin: It's such a good book! I hope you enjoy it. And you will certainly see me at WOC!

Tiana: I hope you like it!

Dianne: I could NOT put that book down no matter what. I just picked up a copy of AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, the Agatha Christie novel that it was based on. Can't wait! One of my friends just finished reading THE DIVINERS and she said it was uh-mazing, so you'll have to let me know what you think!

Connie: I love RACING IN THE RAIN and need to reread it again soon. I will definitely add that movie to my list - I've never heard of it!

Medeia: TEN was amazing. Hope you like it.

Jemi: They're wonderful... excited to hear what you think of them :)

Margo: She certainly does - all the girls do! Hope you enjoy it!

Azia: Glad to hear I'm not the only one who didn't fall in love with DIVERGENT! Yes, let's both get guac-hats. *stomach rumbling*

Nicole: Yeah, I heard such great things about it but it fell short for me unfortunately!

Cynthia: I think I will! I've got the website bookmarked and have come back to it many times to look at what they have to offer. That's so cool that WONDER was covered during the workshop. It's a fantastic read.

Misha Gericke said...

Not much, really. Just editing, drafting and rewriting.

Haven't been by in a while, so I'm glad IWSG gave me a reason to stop by. :-)

Laura Marcella said...

Julie, I Googled "What's Up Wednesday Blog Fest" and found the post! There's no linky list for the blog hop, but there is a badge to include in your post: http://www.jaime-morrow.com/p/whats-up-wednesday.html

I'll definitely have to take part some Wednesdays, too. Thanks for letting me know about it!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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