Author Archives: Jennifer F. Santucci

About Jennifer F. Santucci

I'm a former middle school English teacher and now I'm a full-time stay-at-home mom. I'm also an aspiring writer. To learn more about publishing, I completed certification in copyediting and I also have training in developmental editing. In the fall, I will be starting a writing certification program through The Writer's Studio Online. When I'm not reading or writing, I'm spending time with my husband and children. I also enjoy going on food adventures and walking the trail at our local nature center.

Marvel Movie: The Black Panther (spoiler-free review)

Ramonda: (to T’Challa) My son, it is your time! —Black Panther the movie

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I’m having a hard time writing this in a coherent manner because I really don’t have a point of reference to compare the Black Panther movie to. The hype is real my friends. It’s everything you heard and much more. It has the trademark Marvel movie action scenes these movies are known for. The imagery and costumes come together to create a seamless story that’s visually dynamic and breathtaking at the same time.

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But what I think makes this movie stand out is the respect and love that went into the details of creating Wakanda—its people, culture, and beliefs. I’ve been researching ancient Filipino culture (pre-colonization) for my book and seeing indigenous beliefs and customs included in a major film was so inspiring! The last time a movie affected me like this was Moana!

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If you’ve been on the fence about seeing Black Panther, please consider seeing it! Even if super heroes and/or action movies aren’t your thing, it’s worth the experience to see what true representation looks like!

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To get ready for the movie, I started reading the Black Panther series written by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I had to stop when I realized the storyline took place after the movie. 😅 I do plan to finish it now but I’m also going to try to find earlier issues too. I need more Black Panther in my life!

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And don’t worry! Okoye will be joining my Funko collection too! She’s only available directly through the Funko website! Ordered it after I saw the movie! 😆

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Writing Update: #dvpit

“Fear is your enemy only if you allow it to be.” An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir @sabaatahir

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What inspires you? What keeps you motivated to keep trying?

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Whether you own a small business or you’re building your account, or in my case, writing a book, we all are inspired in some way to start but how do you keep going?

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It’s been a while since I last shared my progress on my novel. The quick explanation: for the last two years I’ve been writing a fantasy inspired by ancient Filipino culture and I finished writing it last summer. I took a break and at the beginning of this year, I began the revision process so that I can start querying by summer.

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I will admit, I haven’t made as much progress in my revisions as I had planned to at this point, but now I have a definite goal to shoot for. I will be eternally grateful to Vanshika @thatreadingraven for bringing #dvpit to my attention. It’s an opportunity for marginalized authors and/stories to pitch their unpublished MS to editors and agents. And FRIENDS, I’M GOING TO PITCH MY STORY.

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I’m putting this here to hold myself accountable, but also to keep me inspired. In my experience, when you open yourself to opportunities, they present themselves in different ways. I’ve already had so many people offer to read my pitches which has been incredible and empowering at the same time.

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My original inspiration for writing this story is my daughter. I wanted her to have a story where an empowered biracial female was strong, clever, and valued her family. Then I read a book where a brown girl was fighting alone against a patriarchal society to save her brother against terrible odds. It was the first time for me seeing in print a brown girl as a main character with her own narrative. I knew then that Sabaa Tahir’s book was proof that brown girls had a place in fantasy stories (not just as a side character or in token roles), and there also could be a place for my story too.

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If you’re curious about #dvpit, check out the hashtag for more details or visit dvpit.com. It will take place on Twitter from April 25-26.

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What are your plans this weekend? I’m spending time with family but Sunday I’ll be going to see Black Panther!

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AEITA inspired magnet from Owlcrate @owlcrate.

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January Owlcrate Unboxing: Fearsome Fairytales

What’s one of your anticipated reads this year?

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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black @blackholly was one of the most hyped books last year for 2018 so of course I was curious and eager to read it! Imagine my surprise and joy when it turned out to be the book for the @owlcrate January “Fearsome Fairytales” box! I’m so excited to buddy read this with my girl Anna @fairravens! I’ve already read the first few chapters and so far I’m enjoying the world building and the characters.

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Included were several goodies: a Sleeping Beauty inspired pillowcase by @stellabookishart, a wax burner designed by Owlcrate accompanied by Hansel and Gretal wax melts by @spireside, a Rapunzel inspired charm bracelet by @authoradornment, a monthly postcard with collectible Owlcrate pin by @spykles, and my favorite piece—a stunning rendition art print of Little Red Riding Hood by @annelambelet. Swipe to the next slide to see a close-up!

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Thank you so much Korrina and Team Owlcrate for always anticipating my bookish needs! I can’t wait for February’s theme “Hidden Worlds”!

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Anyone else running like Dr. Ellie Sattler through the week toward the weekend like it’s the perfect hideout from velociraptors? 🏃🏽‍♀️🦖😊

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February Reads

What book are you enjoying so far from your February TBR?

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I’m really enjoying The Alienist by Caleb Carr. The TNT show is based on this book and I wanted to read it before I watched it. I’ve purposely avoided any specific details about the show so I don’t know how close it is to the book but I can say that the book is really good! I’ll have a more detailed review once I’m done, but if you enjoy historical fiction with a dash of true crime, you’ll enjoy this.

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The other books featured here are books I hope to get to this month and books I didn’t get to finish in January. I’m winding down on It by Stephen King and the feels are too real. I don’t want the Losers Club to die!😢 I’m thoroughly enjoying the Arabic inspired fantasy City of Brass—such gorgeous writing and the folkloric details are my jam! I’m enjoying The Night Circus, but I’m not loving it as much as other people. I don’t think circus stories are for me (I wasn’t a fan of Caraval either), but I’m enjoying the story enough to see how it ends.

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I’m really eager to read the rest! I’ve got a huge stack of graphic novels from the library I need to catch up on.

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We had a three day weekend and we have another one coming up. It’s a short week but it feels like it’s taking so long for it to end!

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Reread of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling

When you reread a book, do your feelings change toward it?

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This week my kids and I finally started listening/reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. (We listen to books on the way to school and home). It has been years since I’ve read the series but I enjoyed it and was looking forward to reading it with my kids someday. Someday arrived and it’s been such a fantastic experience so far. We’re only at the beginning but even though I know what happens, it’s like reading it for the first time because my kids are so enthralled with Harry’s world and enjoy discovering new things like he does. I also highly recommend the audiobook which is narrated by Jim Dale. He does a fantastic Hagrid!

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If you’re curious as to where we are in the story (SPOILERS), Hagrid has taken Harry to the Leaky Cauldron for the first time and everyone is like 🤩 towards Harry.

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Would you guys be interested in reviews for audiobooks for picture books, middle grade, and young adult books? Or is there anything you’d like to know about audiobooks?

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Happy Friday, friends! I hope you’ve had a great week and have fantastic plans for the weekend. We have a three day weekend. Monday is a holiday in observance of Lincoln’s birthday. I’m SO glad! This has been a rough week and I need the rest!

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The Golden Trio print was from the August 2017 @owlcrate.

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January Wrap-Up

It’s only February, but how’s your reading progress going for the year?

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These are the books I read in January and I have to admit, I was a little disappointed in myself. I usually average 5-7 books a month. I thought about why I hadn’t read as much and realized several things: I focused more on self care—reading is a form of coping for me and I needed to balance it with getting more activity and eating better. (Too many instances of sitting and reading while snacking!) I also needed to focus more on revising my draft. My goal is to start querying by summer and I have a lot to do!

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So, instead of thinking, “I didn’t read enough books,” I’m switching my attitude to “Wow! You managed to read four books while taking care of yourself and your family!” A bit Pollyanna? Maybe. But I’ll take it! We all could be kinder to ourselves and allow ourselves small victories.

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Instead of using a rating system for my wrap-ups, I use categories! Should be easy to do since there’s only four books! 😆

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📚Warcross by Marie Lu—Book with a unique setting and exciting pace! I’ll also add an honorary category for best book boyfriend with a dark past to Hideo Tanaka!

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📚Princeless: The Pirate Princess Volume 3 by Jeremy Whitley—Series that’s not only highly entertaining but it also teaches subversive lessons in how take down gender stereotypes.

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📚Binti: Home, Book 2 by Nnedi Okorafor—Character who is a bad ass because of her brains (Hermione Granger and Annabeth Chase have been previous recipients).

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📚The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey—Book most likely to make you reconsider your stance on the zombie apocalypse (maybe zombies are beings who just want to live their own life) and other life choices, i.e. leave the cell phone behind and take all the medicines! Honorary category for pretty much getting you to cheer for a little girl who likes to eat people.

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Are these categories helpful? Or do you prefer the rating system?

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Book sleeves made by me! 💁🏽‍♀️

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A book that surprised me!

“Like I wasn’t lazy lazy…but I still felt like the world was turning a bit too fast and I had to sit down a lot and get my bearings. Anyone relate? Or was that just me?”—from @sydneystrand, my writing role model who also happens to be my planner boss lady inspiration @the.adhd.planner.

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The weekend was full of family plans and it all caught up with me on Monday. Susan expressed my feelings exactly—had to sit one out Monday by resting and finding my bearings! I’m fine now, but favoring a more easy going pace this week than last week’s frenzied dash. (Really trying to put self care first! #imtrying)

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This book here is by an author I read for the first time last year. I read this book as part of a read along (that I didn’t finish in time to participate in the discussions but still finished nonetheless!) I was quite pleased at how much I enjoyed this story! It involves tragedy, a bit of mystery, and electricity! I also enjoyed this writer’s style—nostalgic at times, well-placed poignant moments, and a fine balance of mystery and terror. This author is often called the master of horror, but I wouldn’t call this story horror—mystery, thriller with really cool electricity?😏 Any guesses for the book and/author? (See the answer below in the tags.)

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*sips tea* How is your week going? Tell me about a book that surprised you!

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#revival #stephenking