good morning, cyberspace!
For the past two years, I’ve run a little something during the month of November called The NaNoWriMo Dare Squad. For those of you who maybe don’t know what on earth this is, here’s the entire playlist of posts that may enlighten you to the gloriousness that the Dare Squad was. (though I highly recommend checking out the very first Dare Squad post if you’re trying to find information, because that one probably explains it pretty well. [lol, you actually think I’m going to read through it to see if it ACTUALLY explains what the dare squad is? nah, bruh.])
Now, due to an unholy amount of stress that I’ve been slowly working my way through, I will NOT be resurrecting the Dare Squad again this year. (trust me. this saddens me greatly, peasants.) BUT. Since a promise is a promise and I am–quite frankly–tired of not doing the things I say I’ll do, I am here today with MY dare from last year’s Dare Squad!
Or should I say DARES, because in a cruel twist of fate, Anna was permitted to give another participant a second dare to do, and she–being the lovely little sunflower that she is–chose me.
Thank you Anna. Thank you SO much. *glares* *but not too hard because I love you*
So. The dare that I rolled for the Dare Squad was none other than Eva’s beautiful submission, which is as follows: “Write a review of Twilight (whether you’ve read it or not), gushing about how amazing the writing, characters, etc., are. If you’ve read Twilight and actually love it, then pick another popular book you loathe and/or despise.”
The dare that Anna gave me, however, was Kate’s:
“The Dared Individual Shall Take The Most Unlikely Couple From Their Current Manuscript And Write Their Wedding Scene And Post It Upon Their Blog For The World To See.”
^^ For anyone wondering, Kate has a severe obsession with weddings. We must form an intervention.
If anyone cares to remember, I received Kate’s dare two years ago in the very first NaNoWriMo Dare Squad. Because of that, I had to announce my very fake, very embarrassing engagement. (you can read that post here. it presented a mess in my personal AND internet life, and I still have not forgiven Kate for it yet. *brandishes fist*)
But anyway, despite the fact that all dares are, in their most basic essence, rather embarrassing to do, my dares this year are relatively harmless (for the most part) and I am VERY excited to do them!
And since it’s my actual dare that I received last year, the first one up to bat is my book review! I mentioned in my Allotting Of The Dares video last year that I wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to do Twilight, since I actually didn’t despise it when I read it. (and if I’m being perfectly honest, I still don’t really despise it?? I mean, don’t get me wrong–it has ISSUES. but it reminds me of a happier, care-free time, and that’s something that I kind of enjoy about it. . .) So in order to protect my non-hatred of it, I’m going to be reviewing another book instead!
A book that I just couldn’t get into, no matter how hard I tried. . .
— KENZIE’S REVIEW OF SHATTER ME —
I have a curse
I have a gift
I am a monster
I’m more than human
My touch is lethal
My touch is power
I am their weapon
I will fight back
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
* * *
–THE REVIEW —
Okay, folks, I’ll be honest: this was, by far, my absolute favorite book in the whole entire world.
No, really. I loved it. Absolutely.
I first started reading Shatter Me around Christmastime last year, but because I just knew I wouldn’t be able to write a review of it without getting extremely fangirl-y, I just kind of . . . didn’t write a review for it.
because I would have started screaming with rage obviously Because I couldn’t trust myself with accurately expressing the intensity of my feelings for this story and its characters.
And trust me, my friend. The feelings were intense.
First things first, let’s talk about the writing!
i. THE WRITING
Oh, how I adored the writing style of this book! The prose was lyrical and smooth, the descriptions were vivid, easy to read, and didn’t ramble on incessantly for pages on end. There were also these really cool cross-out’s throughout the entire thing that
were really annoying and kind of an eyesore and were NOT used sparingly at all were super unique to the story’s narrative. But unfortunately, I don’t feel like I can do the writing style of this book justice without providing you guys some snippets that are taken directly from the story itself. Stuffed between this book’s two covers are some truly inspiring quotes, such as:
“His lips soften into a smile that cracks apart my spine.”
“My eyelashes trip into my eyebrows; my jaw drops into my lap.”
“Hate looks like everybody else until it smiles. Until it spins around and lies with lips and teeth carved into semblance of something too passive to punch.”
“The sun is revolving around the moon when he responds.”
“I want to cry into his eyes.”
“So much everything all the things dead.”
^^ I mean??? You can’t get more raw and unfiltered than this. I’d kill a man for a good dose of
purple lyrical prose, and this book was chock full of it!
ii. THE CHARACTERS
Next up on my list of reasons why I loved this book SO. MUCH. is the characters!
I mean, I think you all know me pretty well by now to know that characters are some of my favorite aspects of storytelling. Your plot might be on the weaker side (though, if you really know what you’re doing, your plot will still have a good amount of structure), but if you have a good, solid, lovable case of characters for me to fall head over heels for?? I will love your story for the rest of time. And as far as character development goes, Shatter Me TOTALLY delivered!
First up we have our main character, Juliette
(who I totally did not have to google because I’ve tried so hard to purge this story from my mind), who is a wonderfully mundane heroine. Y’all know I’m a sucker for a good Mary Sue, and this girl, guys . . . this girl is about as Mary Sue as they come! She’s annoying and whiny and always gets her way, and I could just relate to her so well. It was like looking in a mirror and seeing myself blinking back at me with a “. . .small smile the size of Jupiter”. (<< yet another quote from the book, in case you couldn’t tell.) I also loved how Juliette was loved by everyone throughout the course of the story, even though we were explicitly told that she was a freak and absolutely no one liked her in the beginning!
Character Arcs for the win!!
The two other main characters in the novel–Adam and Warner–are equally worth mentioning, but not in separate paragraphs, because–like with any good opposing love interests–they are pretty much identical in personality and attitude. I mean, yes, one is clearly the “I’ve known you since we were little and have loved you for forever, even though I never acted like I knew who you were and basically ignored you my entire life” love interest, and the other is the “I’m a super bad villain and tried to kill you numerous times but it’s only because of my deep, devoted, passionate love for you” love interest, but I mean??? Potato potahto. They’re both obsessed with Juliette (because no one likes her, obviously) and both
clearly need to rethink their priorities in life love her unequivocally. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I would absolutely LOVE to have a relationship like the kind Juliette fosters with Adam and Warner! It didn’t feel toxic at all–a first for YA dystopian romances thrillers.
iii. THE PLOT
Speaking of romances, another thing I absolutely ADORED about this novel was how it dissolved from an intriguing thriller to a typical, teenage angst romance! You all know me and my reading preferences–whenever a book leads me on with an interesting plot and an original premise, then switches mid-story to a romance that could have potentially been cut to focus more on the main character and the theme they’re trying to learn, it just makes my smol romantic heart swoon with happiness! I just can’t get enough romance in books, guys. Seriously. There needs to be MORE love-triangle stories on the bookshelves, okay? Give me all of the sap and cliches!
. . .I absolutely adored this book! It’s one of those stories that makes you want to
dig your eyeballs out with a wooden spoon devour it in one sitting, and even though I didn’t actually finish reading it (I just loved it THAT much, folks!!!), I’m so happy that I read what I did of it! I now know what Hate looks like, how it feels to have your spine crack apart when someone smiles at you, that middle-grade astronomy was actually incorrect all along, and that if you feel like everyone ignores you, all you need to do is learn how to kill people with nothing but your touch! The boys will come flocking to you like you’re a three-tiered chocolate cake drizzled in icing, I promise.
Shatter Me was a delightfully entertaining and emotional read, and I would highly recommend it
to all my worst enemies!
* * *
All right, folks! That was my review of Shatter Me! In all honesty the book wasn’t that bad, but . . . it just wasn’t my cup of hot cocoa. I do, however, know that some people absolutely adore this story, so if you love this story and I just totally ripped it apart . . . I’m sorry? We can probably still be friends. I guess it depends on what your opinion of The Lunar Chronicles and Anne of Green Gables is. . .
Okie dokie! Second up is the dare I got from Anna and Kate!
Now, I’ll admit it, folks . . . I kind of bent the rules on this one.
Okay, okay, don’t throw your rusty pitchforks at me yet. Just hear me out.
The dare instructions said to take an unlikely couple from your current manuscript and write their wedding scene. Now, I’m all for this. It sounds adorable and cringey and wonderful. BUUUUUT . . . I don’t exactly have a couple to pit together in my current manuscript. I mean, I do . . . kinda. But writing that scene would give away way too many spoilers about those two characters, and that’s something I’m not exactly comfortable with right now.
And I know there are going to be those of you who are like, “KENZIE!!! WRITE A SHORT WEDDING STORY ABOUT THAO AND ADALINE!!! DO IT OR I’LL SPILL THE GUTS OF THE GOBLIN KING ONTO YOUR PILLOW TONIGHT WHILST YOU SLEEP!!!!!” but, as I will kindly remind you, everlost is no longer my current manuscript. I finished that draft, and I’m currently working on SK. (or I’m going to START working on SK, at least. two more days, peasants!!!!) So I’ve clearly dodged a massive bullet here. *sweats nervously*
So. With everlost not being my main manuscript, and SK being too spoilery to show you, I’ve had to play around a bit and choose a different story–a story that I’ve kind of waffled around with in my head as a “just-for-me” story, but haven’t actually DONE anything with yet. (although after this, I’m seriously contemplating writing a full novel at a later time. . .)
So without any further ado, here’s my short story!
— A BEAUTIFUL DAY FOR A WEDDING —
Fun fact: getting married is, in a nutshell, torture.
I stand at the front of the chapel–darkly patterned tie cutting a slice into my jugular–and shuffle my feet nervously beneath me. The music from the live band crescendos into my death march—oh. I’m sorry. Is that supposed to be a wedding song?—and suddenly the sweat breaking out on my palms moistens into a damp, soggy swamp on my skin.
Well, this is just great. Now I can’t breathe.
Skirts and mutters rustle behind me, and I’m rather annoyingly reminded of the fact that this is supposed to be my ‘special day’. Forcing my feet to cooperate, I spin around to face the door.
And there she is.
My heart rockets into my throat at the sight of her. She’s wearing a dress—a first for her, I’m sure of it. By the way she’s carrying herself, she has no clue what to do with the excess of elven-spun fabric billowing around her legs—but the delicate pattern of flowers and blue butterflies swimming down her skirts is nothing compared to the bloody murder flashing in her eyes.
I wince, remembering the wicked knives she keeps on her at all times. Where’d she manage to hide them this time? The dress sure didn’t look like it had pockets, and her hands were fisted—empty—at her sides. Maybe she strapped them to her legs with belts, or—
My gaze drops to her feet, and I sigh. The boots. Of course.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen her without those boots on. You’d think for our wedding she’d have chosen something a little classier, but no. Fur-trimmed, muddy brown, and flat-footed, they’re more of an eyesore than anything, made for the snowy, desolate peaks of Lycaster—the kindgom where my future thorn-in-the-side-bride tumbled down from on the winds of a particularly nasty avalanche. I’m sure the dressmakers shed a tear or two over the degradation of such nasty footwear in contest with their artwork, but Ariel Dupris was never one for fanciful dress. Apparently being unwillingly stripped from your home kingdom made you do everything in your power to never forget where you had once come from—including wearing the most disgusting shoes in the history of all kingdoms combined.
Judging by the sharp glint poking out of her left boot, she wasn’t forgetting her knives anytime soon, either.
Suddenly, the murderous sparkle in her eyes makes me more nauseous than uneasy.
The death march continues, and I’m wondering if it would be more courageous or cowardly to try running away when I hear Minister Jones behind me, his voice like sharp rocks in my ears..
“Congratulations, Master Fenrir. She’s very pretty.”
Yeah, I think. Pretty ugly.
“Chin up, sir. This union will benefit us all. Both kingdoms will thank you for your sacrifice. Your names will be remembered for centuries.”
Right. Only it won’t be my name they’re remembering.
With another few stomps of her dust-caked boots, Arial makes it to the alter, and that blood-red, murderous gaze is finally aimed directly at me. Threatening. Challenging.
But there’s nothing either of us can do at this point. It’s out of our hands now—if it was ever truly in our hands at all—and besides. Jones is right. The kingdoms need this.
The music cuts off sharply, and silence invades the room like a plague. Jones clears his throat. He speaks, but I hardly hear him over my own heart pounding in my ears. I can feel the frustration and anger and hate rolling off Arial’s shoulders, and it’s enough to make me physically ill.
If only she knew just how much I was dreading this… So much more than her, that’s for sure…
Finally, something Jones says cuts through the numbness in my brain—a name. Not mine, of course, but my brother’s. My twin brother’s. The very same brother who I–in a rather unflattering moment of temptation–fed to my dragon less than twenty-four hours ago. The very same brother who’s supposed to be marrying little miss murder, here.
The very same brother who I’m secretly filling in for while he battles his way out of Mathusa’s scaly throat.
Okay, okay, I’ll admit it. Clearly I picked the wrong moment to do a twin-swap. But how was I supposed to know the idiot was getting married today? This, I want to scream at Fenrir, is what happens when you don’t get an invite to your own brother’s wedding. Bad things happen. Terrible things.
Like feeding your brother to a dragon and accidentally marrying his weird little fiance.
“Fenrir Flint, do you take Arial Dupris to be your lawfully wedded wife, for richer or poorer, through sickness and health, until death do you part?”
I swallow. Cement fills my mouth. I can practically hear Fenrir’s war-cries as he claws his way out of Mathusa’s stomach linings, and for once, I wish him a speedy recovery.
Jones turns to Arial and repeats the same vow. “Arial Dupris, do you take Fenrir Flint to be your lawfully wedded husband, for richer or poorer, through sickness and health, until death do you part?”
Her eyes are fire when they find mine.
It sounds like a vow, but we both know it’s the wrong kind–the kind that promises death will come much sooner than I think. . .
BOOM! There you go, my peasants! My two NaNoWriMo Dare Squad Dares!! I’m kind of sad that the Dare Squad isn’t happening this year, but I kind of need the break. Besides, if I give myself a year to recover, the Dare Squad might return even brighter and better than it was before! (<< LOL. #lies)
Before I sign off, I would like to give a huge thank you to everyone who participated in the Dare Squad last year, and also to the marvelous Eva, Kate, and Anna! You guys’s dares were SO much fun to do, and even though I thought the wedding scene was going to be embarrassing, it was actually really fun to write! Unfortunately, writing this is forcing me to think about THIS weird little story, and not SK, and that is NOT the kind of thinking I want to take into November. Excuse me whilst I go listen to my SK playlist for a thousand years on end. . .
As always, have a beautiful day, and go do some writing or something. NaNoWriMo’s going to be here before we know it!
TALK TO ME, PEASANTS!
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? (and if so, make sure to friend me on the NaNo site, for I am lonely and need friends [<< this is, in fact, a lie, as I have some of the most wonderful writing friends in the world, but STILL. FRIEND ME. I YEARN FOR MORE.]) Did you participate in the Dare Squad last year? And if so, which dare–if any–did you get??? Have YOU ever written a wedding scene? A relationship? A ROMANCE??? (and if you have . . . HOW??? how does one write romance?? I mean, I TRIED, but just look at those smol fruitcakes! they’re going to bust out the swords at the reception, mark my words. . .) And also . . . have you ever read a book that you just absolutely despised? If you have, which book was it, and why did you hate it so much??? (I must know all of the things, obviously)
As always, let us talk about ALL OF THE THINGS!!!! down in the comments below! And until next time. . .
16 thoughts on “The NaNoWriMo Dare Squad: My 2018 NaNoWriMo Dare Squad Dares!”
AHHH!!! OH MY GOODNESS THIS STORY!!! THIS IS PERFECTION. (everything else is as well but this takes the cake)
LikeLiked by 2 people
Oh my goodness!!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH, PHOEBE!!!! I had a ton of fun writing it, and I was way too excited to share it with the world. XD (also, mmmm… cake. i want cake now…)
YOUR REVIEW WAS HILARIOUS.
I cannot believe those are quotes from an actually published, rather famous novel. o.O Gives me hope for my own work! :D
And your writing is beautiful. *is blown away*
I wish the Dare Squad was a thing this year. But if anyone gets The Busyness of Life, it’s me! Lol. =)
LikeLiked by 1 person
MEEP!!! Thank you SO much, Eva!!! Writing reviews doesn’t come very naturally for me (though the snark definitely does) so I’m so happy it turned out well!! 😂
Oh my goodness, I know, right???? Sometimes I worry that I just won’t be good enough to get published … And then I read things like this, and suddenly there is hope again. 😂😂😂
ASDFGHJKL *flails* I CANNOT EVEN WITH YOU…. Thank you. That means the world to me… And UGH, I wanted to do the date squad!!! But there was just too much last year… (It’s 2020 now. What on earth happened.) THIS year, however…. Perhaps there will be hope…
Thank you so much for this lovely comment, Eva!!! You just made my day!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Okay, so somehow I missed the whole NaNo Dare thing??? HOW DID I MISS ALL THIS GOODNESS????? But I just poked around at old posts and read the original post explaining it and KENZIE. THIS IS BRILLIANCE. AND HILARIOUS. AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!! You are so clever and fun! I cannot believe I somehow missed all of that while it was going on. Like…where even WAS I? o.o But aaahhhhh!!! SO COOL.
And THIS. POST. I am grinning so hard. This was gold. PURE GOLD.
The amount of sarcasm in the review gave me LIFE. Now I want more opposite reviews from you, because this was everything! I can’t stop giggling. And though I haven’t read Shatter Me, everything you said is the reason I HAVEN’T read it. I’ve heard some meh things about it, so decided to not bother with it and…now I’m glad I did. Heh. (But seriously, whyyyy must the romances take over the plot? *grumble, grumble, grumble*)
AND THE WEDDING SCENE!!!!!!!!! I realize I’ve not read much (if anything???) of your writing. THIS WAS A TREAT. Because KENZIIIIEEEE. YOUR WRITING. It is so good!!! The guy’s inner monologue just POPPED. It was so full of life! And everything was described so well. Plus the HUMOR was perfect, which is exactly what I would expect from the brilliant, hilarious Kenzie herself! I LOVE YOUR WRITING. LOVE IT!!!
This whole post just made my day! Thank you for sharing this goodness with us. It was the BEST!
Christine!!!!! Oh my goodness!!! You literally NEVER cease to make my day. How on earth do you write the most amazing comments?? I kid you not, I am grinning like a Cheshire cat right now… MEEP!!!! Thank you SO much!!! The Dare Squad is something I seriously love doing (even though I couldn’t do it last year… :(( ), and I can’t wait to open it back up again!!!! (perhaps you shall join this time around???? *hint hint*) XD
UGH UGH UGH!!!! I cannot even with Shatter Me. I was expecting something really amazing (because, unlike you, who apparently has some very wise inside information-givers) all I’ve heard through social media and bookish influencers was that it was absolutely amazing???? And yet….it just wasn’t for me… I shall definitely consider doing more opposite reviews, though!!! I had a LEEEEEETLE too much fun doing this one. . . XD
OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! CHRISTINE, I CANNOT WITH YOU. *tackle hugs* <333 Thank you!!! Thank you so much! You have no clue how much this means to me… I really don't post a whole lot of my fiction work (I think part of it stems from fear, but I'm going to be working on fixing that in 2020!), so hearing that you enjoyied it is just !!!!!!! Thank you!!!! You literally just made my entire week. . . <333
Hehe, I actually liked Shatter Me, but I can admit that it had some big flaws. I could deal with the *ahem* ‘experimental’ writing style, but I felt like the plot could have gone in a much more interesting direction several times throughout the trilogy. I felt like more interesting things could have been done with Warner, in the end, too. I like his snark and the fact that he’s a villain who ended up getting the girl, but I will forever complain about that faux-redemption arc. Kenji stayed awesome, though. Kenji was the bright point of those books.
I love your writing so much! That is awesome!! It’s so good, and I want to read more!
LikeLiked by 1 person
OOF. Sorry!!!! XD I seriously wish I could have gotten into it, because I know–I KNOW–that had I read it at the height of my dystopian, Hunger Games, Divergent phase of reading, I would have ADORED it. (also…..Warner gets the girl???? I…might have to read this now. The villain NEVER gets the girl…. XD WHY MUST I HAVE TO WADE THROUGH SO MUCH FLUFF TO HAVE A STORY WITH A GOOD TROPE?????? XD) Ooh! At least one character stayed awesome! Though I must admit I have no recollection of who Kenji is… XD
MEEP!!! Thank you so much, Becky!!!! That honestly means the world to me! Maybe I’ll start posting more of my original fitction in 2020…. *sweats nervously*
LikeLiked by 1 person
That story is so good!! I need more! And your review almost makes me want to read the book. Like, how can your eyelashes trip into your eyebrows and your jaws drop into your lap? That has to be a very special person.
I’m kind of sad that there won’t be a Dare Squad this year. But I totally understand, I’m not even able to manage life besides NaNo, let alone a whole squad ;). I also just got around finishing my dare. I mean: 2 whole days before NaNo starts, that’s not bad for a chronic procrastinator. And I was wondering: will be there some kind of list or something where I can find the dares of the others who participated? I want to read them all! Because some dares were so good!!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Oh my goodness, thank you so much, Saartje!!!! <333 LOL! You know, to be honest, I'm kind of considering trying to read it again. Just writing this review made me miss the days of constant cringing and struggling to understand how such interesting contortions fit into modern anatomy. XD (actually, this book would have been so much better had it been about a circus contortionist. I need that now….)
OOOOH! A list would be fantastic!!!! (and I'm just now getting to this comment, so you can see how much of a procrastinator *I* am. XD) I shall have to see what I can do. I'm not sure who all even had dares to do anymore, but I'm pretty sure I can round them all up and compile them into a list! I'll let you know when/if I'm able to do it!!! (and I want to read all the dares, too. I've just been so busy with Life-ish things that this poor blog has fallen by the wayside. Oops…)
LikeLiked by 1 person
I love the short story! AND THAT POOR TWIN BROTHER! Never feed your siblings to dragons, you don’t want to get mangled in a marriage! xD
I think that’s about all I can say because I must finish my own Dare Squad story and I am freaking out about how to end it! xD I need it done before tomorrow when I go to work…
I want to know what the guy’s name is, since his brother is really Fenrir.
I have attempted wedding scenes before. And romances. I think the key to writing romance is to get into a romantic mood by thinking about your ideal significant other and what you hope will be and then your story can take on those feelings as well?
LikeLiked by 1 person
MEEP! Thank you so much, Jethan!! I actually had so much fun writing it, and now this story–which was SUPPOSED to be a ‘just-for-fun’ sort of project, won’t leave me alone. UGH.
OOOOOH! Is your Dare posted yet??? I must have missed it in my super-unexpected hiatus… Oops. XD
Ah! I can do that! his name is Finnigan Flint! Mwahahahahaha!
Ooh, that’s a good thought. Unfortunately I’m just…not much of a romantic?? I mean, I’m a HOPELESS romantic, but when it comes to romance, I tend to shudder and flee rather than accept it… XD
The short story is amazing!!!!! :D :D :D :D I was so sad it wasn’t Thao and Adaline but I recovered and really enjoyed this ^-^
LikeLiked by 1 person
MEEP! Thank you!!! (okay, I CONSIDERED doing Thao and Adaline, because clearly that’s what everyone wanted, but like….?? I’M SCARED, MAN. XD)
LikeLiked by 1 person
Ok but how does one “trip my eyelashes into my eyebrows” ??? (and yes, I did just sit here trying to get my eyelashes to touch my eyebrows) like wow, those are some big fake eyelashes.
LikeLiked by 1 person
DUDE, SAME. I’m not even sure how most of this is physically possible. Like, couldn’t they have just said, “my eyes widen.” ???? THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH EASIER, NO? XD
LikeLiked by 1 person