Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Shadow and Bone Novellas

I've been on something of a novella kick lately. What with the quarter winding down my work load is coming to a head and I haven't had a lot of time to sit down and read a full-length book. However, a nice 40 page novella is just about perfect when I'm taking a break in between assignments.


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I've read about 10 novellas over the past couple weeks, most of them by Leigh Bardugo and set in the Ravkan world of her Shadow and Bone series. I adored every single one of them. For the record, they were The Witch of Duva, The Too-Clever Fox, Little Knife, and The Tailor. Each of these except for The Tailor has the feel of a fairy tale, with lots of exposition but not in a way that makes you want to snore.

I think my favorite of these stories was The Witch of Duva. It got my heart racing and had a seriously creepy ending. But at the same time I really appreciated Little Knife, in which a girl trapped in a tower is freed in a much cooler way than waiting for a prince.

These are quick reads, and if you've got an hour, I definitely recommend reading them. Leigh's style of writing is whimsical and dark, always a winning combo.

Up next time, my review of the Cinder novellas!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Update

Well, it's day 21 in NaNoWriMo and I've had a couple setbacks because I've had so much work to do for school. Like, a 17 page paper on top of another shorter paper and my reading. As usual, school is doing its best to kick me in the teeth.

But let me tell you, it's been great to get back into writing. In fact, last night I kept writing even though it started off painful because I was just having fun with it. And I'm reaching the climax of the story. My fifth book. Wow, that's crazy to think. It's been a long time since I finished writing a book, but I really do think this month has helped kickstart my brain back into writing mode where it hasn't been for a long time.

In case I forgot to mention this, I'm finishing up Poison Ivy, a story which I wrote half of for NaNo last year. It's a loose fantasy retelling of Romeo and Juliet and it's been really fun to write. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres to read, but I've never seriously written it before. It feels like great practice for when I get back to rewriting Griffin's Song.

How has your NaNo experience been going? What bumps have you hit along the way?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Looking for Alaska

I read The Fault in Our Stars two years ago in one sitting. I loved John Green's poetic style, and while I didn't fall-down adore it like a lot of people do, it was a good read and it was enough to have me pick up another of his books. I'm hoping to make more time to read for pleasure in the next couple months. I can't believe the quarter is almost over. In the last week I've read 3 books and 4 novellas. I've also done a lot of writing and homework and I'm so delightfully tired. But anyway, you don't want to hear about that right now.


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Miles "Pudge"Halter just started boarding school in Alabama. He's hoping he'll find his Great Perhaps. He loves last words and has never smoked before. His life gets turned upside down when he meets his roommate the Colonel and the beautiful girl down the hall Alaska Young. She's smart, mysterious, self-destructive, and sad. And she also has a boyfriend. Miles' existence is no longer safe. And he couldn't be happier. Until it happens. Until after.

I liked The Fault in Our Stars more than this book. That one felt like Green's writing style had done a lot of maturing. And while I liked reading about Pudge and the Colonel and Alaska, I didn't get invested in their story the same as I did with Hazel and Augustus. And when the book switched to "after" it slowed down so much. I didn't feel the same emotions Miles had, and I wanted a little more action. Still, I liked learning all those last words, and this book talks about drinking and smoking and sex in a relatable way that doesn't seem like it's trying to moralize. Props to Green for that. I've heard Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines are good, so maybe I'll pick those up some time. In the meantime, it was nice to read a contemporary book. It's been a while.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Young Elites

I adore the Legend series by Marie Lu. I adored June Iparis and her way of noticing tiny things a la Sherlock Holmes. So when that series ended I was very sad. But then I heard that she had a new series coming out and I got excited! That series starts with The Young Elite. I had a crazy busy week, and as you all know I've had practically no time or energy for pleasure reading. Well this week I sort of broke and read 2 books and 4 novellas. It was fantastic and I'm excited to get back into reading whenever I can. Anyways, on with the show!


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Adelina has been pushed aside her whole life for her beautiful sister who wasn't marked by the blood fever. For not having the courtesy to have the powers some of the people who survived the fever manifested. That is, until the night she runs away and those powers awaken. Then Adelina is thrown into a world where the Inquisition tracks down the Young Elites and kills them, and the Daggers (a society of Young Elites) are training Adelina to use her powers of illusion to help them overthrow the king. She should feel happy, but the Inquisition has her sister, and Adelina hates and loves the feeling she gets when she uses her power to inflict fear.

This book has sort of a weird start, with lots of flashbacks to Adelina's childhood and how she came to crave revenge and feel power from fear. But it picks up after she starts training with the Young Elites, and by the end I was forgetting to blink I was reading so fast. I love a heroine with a powerful dark side, and I love heroines who are also villains. Also, the power of illusion? Super cool. I thought parts of the ending were rushed, but I'll be excited to read the next book in this series. I liked Legend more, but this is a good, fast-paced book.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Friday, November 7, 2014

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Yes, I know, you guys are probably really tired of me going on and on about how much I adore Maggie Stiefvater. But did you guys read this book? It's gorgeous! And on an even cooler note, The Scorpio Races is getting made into a movie!! Anyway, I've been waiting for Blue Lily, Lily Blue to come out...basically since The Dream Thieves was released. So, without further ado, here we go!


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Blue Sargent's mother has disappeared underground, leaving her daughter to search for her and Glendower while her senior year of high school starts. Meanwhile Colin Greenmantle has come to town with the goal of punishing the Gray Man for disappearing without giving him the Graywaren. And the Aglionby boys and Blue are getting ever closer to finding the mysterious, lost grave of Glendower, though there are definitely some obstacles in the way.

It is always so freaking hard to describe Stiefvater novels! Because they are so beautifully written and they're more about the characters than the action. I tried to hit the main points up there, but there wasn't much I could say without giving it away. The Dream Thieves was angry and edgy because it focused a lot on Ronan and his habit of pulling real things out of his dreams. This time, Ronan takes a back seat to make way for Adam and Blue and Gansey, which is delicious in a whole new way. Perhaps my favorite part of this book which sums it up is when Blue explains that all of her friends are in love with each other, and it's an odd friendship, that they draw out jokes to make them last as long as possible. It was just so...accurate it made me happy. Anyway, beautiful character portraits as usual. I would have liked to have seen a few more scenes from Ronan's POV, but that's because I miss him from The Dream Thieves. Also, a little more about the caves they go into. It just got a bit confusing at the end. Oh but the getting there was gorgeous and I'm so glad I got the book and AH I can't believe this series is nearly over.

Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars
Up Next: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Monday, November 3, 2014

NaNoing while completely crazy

Yep, folks, it's that time of year again! When your favorite blogs devote tons of time to how to get inspired to write 50k words in 30 days, how to keep yourself on a schedule, how to plot, etc. Well, I'm not going to do that. Instead, I have a confession and a goal for myself.

I have been really blocked with my writing ever since Entranced Publishing closed its doors and Balancing Act was lost to oblivion. I have started and stopped so many writing projects, ones I still want to complete but can't seem to find it in me to do it. I have tons of valid excuses as to why I haven't finished a book in so long. I go to school full time where I'm completing two degrees simultaneously. I also work as an editor which takes up a lot of my writing and reading energy. I also try to have a social life because my friends are awesome. But in reality I should have been finding time to write. That's what writers do. When life kicks us in the pants, we use writing as an outlet.

It's NaNoWriMo time again, and I've done it for the last three years. And I'm going to do it again. I'm going to get inspired, and I'm going to write The End. I need to remember why I adore writing so much, and why it's such a big part of my life.