Book Review: “If We Were Villains” by M.L. Rio

Hello!

June was a surprisingly good month for my books. I thought I would be about to get through three to four books, but I guess I was reading a lot faster than I originally thought and I managed to finally hit 25 books as we neared the end of it.

When “If We Were Villains” first came out, I was unsure if I’d really be interested in it. I was intrigued by the suspenseful mood but having a big chunk of it built around Shakespeare made me worry since I’ve always had trouble understanding the meaning of what everyone was saying, like most would, but then again, I’m always searching for something like Victoria Helen Stone’s “Jane Doe” and I will admit this book isn’t anywhere near in that direction, but I liked it just as much though.


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Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.

As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

taken from Goodreads.

As the reader, you get to hear both the events that happened in 1999 to a group of students. Four boys and three girls, as they study theatre in college. Everything starts up like it does every day, but then they get their individual requirements for the Halloween show and something changes within the group itself. One character ends up dead and everyone is trying to go on about life, while in the back of their minds, they try to solve who actually killed their friend.

It was just us‚ÄĒthe seven of us and the trees and the sky and the lake and the moon and, of course, Shakespeare.

Honestly, it’s a very cliche of “who done it” style of book but I will say it also had a very unique layout. The fact that the author included many Shakespeare references throughout was interesting to me! I got to see how the characters live and breathed William Shakespeare’s plays on a daily basis. You could see each of them act out various characters – sadly I was more focused on how these people would bring them to life as if I could see the show in front of me, and this was a wonderful display of elements. I still had some issues with the dialogue of that time’s way of speaking. I made it through in one piece, but I doubt I will read anything like that for a while. Thanks to this book, I have put both “Macbeth” and “King Lear” on my TBR list!

My true issue was once you made it passed the events that happen after Halloween, everything became very boring, it didn’t pick back up under the final Act, which for a while I wondered if it was worth finishing because it was that bad for me! As I suffered through this section, I tried to figure out who could play each of the characters…

I started hunting when I first started reading but I was thinking of various other actors, and I went with Jamie Campbell Bower as Alexander, Camila Mendes as Filippa, Emilia Clarke as Wren and Sam Claflin as our main Oliver, although I did end up changing my mind toward the end of the story, but I don’t know who the person I saw at that point. Honestly, this was a difficult thing to do because I rarely see a person’s actual face when creating the character’s features, so I could have all of the descriptions an author can give me, and I could still have problems forming them.

Have you read “If We Were Villains” by M.L. Rio yet? If you have, what were your thoughts on it? I’d also like to know who you saw for the important characters down in the comments too.

snowflake

NaNoWriMo | 2 Week Mark

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Hi ūüôā

Today marks two weeks after I started on NaNoWriMo or NaNo as I keep calling it!¬†I wanted to write this post as a way to give others who are considering on doing it next year. I figured by the time I was going to write it, I’d be saying “let them figure it out for themselves” but luckily for you I’m not that mean! I made a second commitment to do this post for you and that’s what I’m doing today.

I watched a couple of a NaNo related videos on YouTube throughout the first full week and I watched one by Felicity of GoWithFlick – she is also doing NaNo and even though she’s never really heard of it, but she’s decided to give it a go this past month.¬† In the video where she announces that she’s participating in it, she says something that really hit home for me. She read a quote for an author that described her sentences to author John Green’s “perfect” sentences and how much we wish our sentences looked liked his and we sort of feel really down about it when our stuff doesn’t look like it should basically, at least this is how I took what she was saying in this section, it made perfect sense though.

During the first day, I was pretty proud of myself on how much I went on to describe about my main character and what had been going on with him for most of his childhood, because that’s one of my issues is that I’m not good at describing things that I’m seeing in my head as I go along.¬†Another thing is dialogue. In almost every story I’ve ever written in a notebook or on here, I’ve tried to leave it out. I’ve been somewhat content with what I’ve done so far. I’m describing what the characters are seeing; my MC has ADHD and so I’ve been told that people with this have a hard time focusing, can be easily distracted and notice almost everything around them. He’s also pretty vocal though, so this has been an interesting experience so far! I will I might’ve picked the perfect condition to test this out or I will either hate myself once the month is over.

I am in the middle of writing the sections between ACT I and ACT II right now, and I haven’t exactly started on my antagonist’s story. I do think I should add it in somewhere, because he was the real reason why I never finished my outline in the first place! I’ve been told from other people to not edit anything while working on NaNo, but right now it’s all about the main character’s story, which isn’t bad because so far his story is easy to write and I know where I want it go, but I still feel like my bad guy needs to be in there, as he has a big role in the telling of the story too. Has anybody have any tips for me do to? In a random chapter, should I just add a section about him and see how it goes with the plot itself?

Okay, now it’s time for some of my own tips that have worked for me!

One of the things I had decided about two days before I started writing my novel was I wanted to figure out a system of what part of the day I should write. I thought about what times would be good to reserve for writing and I kind of quickly realized that as long as I was fed and went to the bathroom before 1pm then I could start there and if I wasn’t able to do it at that time, I figured I needed a back up time so I picked 4pm for a later session.

The first day I put the time start into effect, I actually wrote for about two and a half hours and I was so shocked! It was after the weekend that everything kind of went to hell. I don’t usually write anything on Saturday and Sunday, and even though I did write quite a bit I am glad that I didn’t force myself to do anything on Sunday, as my sister and brother-in-law came down that afternoon. I’ve seen a lot of people say that the weekends are perfect to “double up” your word count, but self-care is important too whenever you’re doing something like this that requires a lot out of you everyday. So as I’m not entirely okay with breaking my rules for this, and if I don’t feel like writing that day, then I need to step back and wait until I am ready to write again.

So okay, the last thing I wanted to share on here was my daily word count.

In my first post, I told you that to be able to hit the 50,000 word goal at the end of November, that you needed to get to 1,667 words daily. A lot of aspiring writers actually make goals of how many words they wish to hit everyday for NaNo, but I knew early on that¬† I wouldn’t be able to do that so I just took whatever amount I did was good. I mean, at least this way I didn’t put so much pressure on myself and I was still feeling good what I had written so far too.

I even decided to stop writing the very beginning of my story. I got through two chapters, before I realized that I wasn’t exactly ready to explore the next section so I actually moved on to a distant chapter that I knew I was ready to work on and I’m really glad I did that because I was discouraged before this and I knew if I had continued, I would have stopped working on it entirely. So unfortunately, my word count as a whole is a bit different since I had two different sections now.¬†I didn’t add today’s word count as I schedule my posts so early in the mornings, so I will include it in my final post at the end of the month!

Day 1: 2,615
Day 2: 1,285
Day 3: 143
Day 4: 1,525
Day 5: 0
Day 6: 346
Day 7: 933
Day 8: 483
Day 9: 1,431
Day 10: 1,344
Day 11: 1.056
Day 12: 0
Day 13: 956
Day 14: 0
Day 15: 545

If you’re on Twitter, I’ve been trying to post my word counts and I’ve been doing pretty good at not feeling too horrible whenever I look at the progress everybody has been making on theirs, but I feel pretty happy for everyone who has been working on their novels too. This is all I have to say about the last two weeks of doing NaNoWriMo, I hope you all have enjoyed this!

If you’re doing NaNo this year, how are you doing so far? What kind of tips do you give others who are thinking about doing it too?¬†
snowflake

25 Book Facts About Me!

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I have found something kind of cool! I am a vivid bookworm, even though this year hasn’t been like the last couple of years were I’ve been reading and getting different books every other month. Sometimes I read very quick and then there are days were it literally takes me FOREVER to get through just one book. We’ve all been like this at some point in our lives with something. A fellow blogger Hello January! posted this “tag” on her blog today and I just loved the idea of expressing facts about me that are also about books too. So let’s start, shall we?¬†

  1. I love my Kindle!
  2. I love reading a physical book though!
  3. In 2011, I went looking around for cheap books to read, I found Slash’s autobiography and read it, got into¬†both Guns N Roses and Motley Crue. I ended up going back and forth between both bands in a sense as I read Slash’s, Nikki Sixx fist book (The¬†Heroin¬†Diaries), Duff McKagan’s book (It’s So Easy and Other Lies), Nikki Sixx second book (This Is Gonna Hurt), and then finished with Steven Adler’s book (My¬†Appetite¬†For Destruction).¬†
  4. I read A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck twice in high school, once as a freshman but never finished it. The second was while I was in summer school and I was actually happy that we read it because I was surprised that we never completed it two years prior.
  5. While I was a freshman in high school, we had our first final-like project at the end of the year. Our teacher had us pick out one book and we basically had to devote ourselves to that book and he gave us this hefty list of things we could do that went with the book. Our limit was 5 things and one of the things on the list was make up a soundtrack for the book. I used this software called Jam Trax over the summer and was obsessed with it that I talked about it all year-long in that class, so I found a way to make a soundtrack by making different tracks that I thought would represent the book. The book was Alias: Sister Spy by Laura Peyton Roberts.
  6. We had to give ourselves a grade for the project, I was honest with myself in that class, I didn’t think ANY of my stuff deserved an “A” that I did, including the soundtrack (that ended up being played in class – yes, I was embarrassed!) so I gave myself a “B+” and I remember getting that grade sheet back at the end of the day and it said “B+” and then at the bottom said, “you deserved a higher grade and awesome soundtrack.”
  7. When I was in Elementary, the library room had this corner, that I can now call a “nook” where it was a big space with two-step and everybody could sit and lay down to read instead of sitting at the tables. We used to sit down there while we were read to in class, that’s when I discovered the classics, The Boxcar Children¬†books.
  8. Our first day of high school in our English class, my teacher was going to the rules and he told us that if we didn’t read a book in his class and/or fell asleep that he’d make us read a book that he had on his shelf. That scared the living shit out of me at that time, so I got started reading from there and the series Dear America and¬†The Royal Diaries¬†became my obsession for the next two years. I basically read all of the ones I thought I’d enjoy and I’m sure I went over 20+ books.
  9. ¬†I’m a biography/memoirs, YA, erotica, historical fiction reader.
  10. I actually have a favorite author, I never thought I’d ever get to that point where I could say that, and it is Olivia Cunning!
  11. I don’t normally reread books, but I have reread the book¬†Finding Home¬†by Lauren Baker & Bonnie Dee.
  12. The first book I remember that I wanted to get after I graduated from high school was True Confessions Of A Heartless Girl by Martha Brooks. It took me three years to find!
  13. I have read three of Stefan’s Diaries¬†books by the creators of the TV show¬†¬†The Vampire Diaries,¬†I read the second book,¬†Bloodlust¬†while in Wal-Mart one day when my mom and sister were getting their nails done. I read 45 pages in that small aisle and remembered my place when I got from the library a month later.
  14. I am obsessed with these rock n roll romances, thanks to Olivia Cunning! I am almost finished with the Sinners On Tour series. If I can finish it then it will be my first series completed ever.
  15. I read Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James and hated it, but I want to see the movie.
  16. The first book I read on my Kindle was Dancing Lessons by Cheryl Burke and it was also my first book review on here too!
  17. I took a Novels class during my Junior year, it was basically like a book club but it was everyday.
  18. We read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Night by Elie Wiesel, Silas Manor by George Eliot, and Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry. These were the only books I could remember.
  19. I don’t use GoodReads, but I do use Shelfari and it works very well for me.
  20. I find more books on Pinterest and then I look them up on Shelfari and add them to my TBR list.
  21. Almost every year we go to Barnes & Noble for my birthday and I get a few books to keep me busy for the next few months. This has become a tradition for my family and I and I look forward to it too.
  22. I have 93 books on my TBR list as of right now.
  23. The last book I read was called The Seduction by Roxy Sloane.
  24. I have been followed by Michelle A. Valentine and Cherrie Lynn on Twitter, also been replied back by Michelle, Olivia, Roxy, Sophie Monroe, and Katie Ashley.
  25. I’ve only cried to two books,¬†Battlescars¬†by Sophie Monroe and¬†The Fault In Our Stars¬†by John Green.