Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Book #6!

Okay, this is way way way overdue. But this year for NaNoWriMo I wrote my sixth book. The title? Masque. The story? A retelling of Cinderella with an assassination plot on the night of the ball. I'd had the idea for this book since the beginning of summer, and I'd doodled a few ideas about characters. Mostly I was excited to be writing something that was purely for fun, especially after my grueling last year of college where I had to complete research papers and very serious short stories.

I didn't write all of this book during November. Actually, after NaNoWriMo ended, I put it down for a month before picking it up. But when I did, I put on the final 16k words and then slept for about a week.

You are all familiar with my tale of publishing woe and how it affected me. One thing that has been really hard since that fateful day in 2014 is finding fun in writing. I didn't stop writing for pleasure after Entranced Publishing closed its doors and Balancing Act came off shelves. But it was really hard to regain that sense of happiness as I wrote. While I wrote Poison Ivy, I channeled a lot of my unhappiness into the twisted relationship Ivy had with her family. I made her bitter and afraid, and in many ways it mirrored how I felt.

Publishing had been my dream for so long I don't even remember when it started. And I achieved it just to have it stripped away.

When I finished writing Poison Ivy, I felt accomplished. It was the longest book I'd ever written, excepting the first draft of my first book which was wildly verbose. But I still hadn't had that sense of fun.

I wrote Maque for fun. I wanted to write about beautiful, intricate dresses and masks, and friendship between unlikely souls, and oppulent palaces. I have no intention of ever sending Masque around to agents. It has plot holes the size of Texas, and it's incredibly unpolished. But by darn, did I have fun writing it.

I'm now writing my seventh book, titled Spiral. It was originally supposed to be the final book in the series that started with Balancing Act. But it's evolved into so much more. I'm taking my time writing it. I'm only at 20,000 words right now, but each one has been carefully chosen. I'm doing research, I'm writing when I'm inspired to, I'm taking the time to figure out how to work through difficult scenes instead of barreling through them like I would if it were a NaNo novel.

Guess what, guys? Writing is fun again!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Jewel

It's the weekend! Yay! And I capped off my full day of work by racing to the airport to catch a flight that ended up sitting on the tarmac for literally half my life. But on the upside, I had a lot of time to read The Jewel, which I had been working through for a week. I finished it halfway through the flight and then fell asleep while listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the umpteenth time. Not a bad way to end a hectic week.


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Retrieved from Goodreads
Violet is a surrogate. She's spent the last four years of her life training in the auguries before being auctioned off to the nobility in the center of her island city. She's destined to carry the child of one of the nobles. Her talent with the auguries results in her being bought by the Duchess of the Lake, an ambitious woman with big plans for Violet's talents. But Violet has no interest in being part of her plans. She doesn't want to be pregnant, and she hates being property. Forces in the Jewel are shifting, and Violet may be the key to ending the horrific surrogacy.

I had such hopes for this book. The cover reminded me of The Selection, which was a series I enjoyed. And the premise was something I felt could hook me. And I did enjoy the first third of this book. It was pleasant, easy to read, had a world that could be interesting, and a premise that could have some really interesting discussions about sexual abuse and one's power over their body and other people's power over it. I hate tearing down a book, so this review will be a bit shorter than usual. But there's maximum insta-love (blech), the world doesn't get developed and has a lot of holes, and the MC is a Mary Sue to the extreme. I would have rather this book were written from Raven's point of view, or Garnet's. Those were characters I could have gotten behind. Violet ended up being boring, and so was her story. I don't think I'll be reading the next book.

Goodreads Rating: 2 Stars
Up Next: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The 5th Wave

There are wasps living in the eves above my stairwell. Now, I'm terrified of bees. I've never been stung, I have no idea if I'm allergic, and I really don't care to find out. But it's put me in the strange situation of having to gird myself every time I walk out the door when it's sunny. I have to force myself to believe that everything will be fine, that the dozen wasps resting just a few feet above my head are *not* going to swoop down and sting me because I've entered their territory. So, as a result, I've been trying to consolidate trips out of the house until they get sprayed so I don't have to walk by the swarming death. This means more time for reading!


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Retrieved from Goodreads
Four waves have come and gone. They knocked out the electronics. They sent a plague. They caused a tsunami. Humanity is decimated and they have no idea who their attackers are. Just that they exist. And they seem to be inside us. Cassie has lost everything and everyone. All she has left is a promise to keep: find her brother. She can't trust anyone, but she can't go it alone. Meanwhile, Ben Parish was unlucky enough to survive the plague. Now he's been hollowed out and given a purpose. He'll destroy the aliens and take back the Earth. Of course, all is not as it seems.

Huh. This book really divided me. It's supremely easy to read, and it had some beautiful passages and thoughts about trust and fear. Cassie was great for the first third of the book, and I was so sad for Evan. Little details like the Crucifix Soldier and how Evan ran away added nice background to a fast-paced story. I dove into this book and read it really quickly. It wasn't until I was finished that things started to bug me. Like...the insta-love. There's a really interesting element with Evan that I won't spoil that could have been great! If it had been fleshed out more, given more nuance. We don't end up seeing into Evan's head beyond one chapter and I just...wanted more. There were some really cruddy insta-love and gender cliches in here which, now that I've taken a step back and noticed them, bug the hell out of me. And I guessed the twists pretty easily. I don't mind when this happens. It's a byproduct of reading a lot. But it would have been nice if it was harder to guess. This is a 400+ page book and not much happens to be honest. I'm still going to read The Infinite Sea because at the end of it, this book was very readable and I'm hoping for more character development. Such a mixed bag on this one, though.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars (More like 3.5)
Up Next: The Jewel by Amy Ewing


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Deliverance

I feel like I've been finishing a lot of series lately. The His Fair Assassins series, the Seven Realms series, and now the Defiance series by C. J. Redwine. And once again, I'm really late in posting this review. I wish I could say I had an excuse, but I don't. I just haven't been feeling like blogging lately. In fact, I've been wondering if I should shift this blog in a new direction in order to spice things up for both me and my (most likely) four readers. But that's a topic for another post.


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Retrieved from Goodreads
Rachel has been taken by Ian to be delivered to Rowansmark for her pain atonement. But with how much Ian hates her and blames her for the death of his father, she might not make it there alive. Meanwhile, Logan faces judgment in Lankenshire, and must make a deal with the devil if he wants to save his people and the other city-states from Rowansmark and the Cursed Ones. But most of all, he wants to save Rachel. These two battle their way to survival and each other in this last book in the Defiance series.

It's always weird when two main characters are madly in love but spend an entire book apart. It's like, I know it's only been two weeks for them, but it's been nearly 500 pages and 1/3 of the series to me. So when by midway through the book, I didn't really care about Rachel and Logan being together because there had not been one seen with them physically together to remind me why I should ship them and want them to make their way to each other. But that's a minor gripe. In the main, this was a quick read that brought many different threads together from the other books to have a finale. I thought the final climax was meh, but Rachel withstanding lashings and nearly dying several times to save herself from Ian and then to set herself up strategically was very nice. Logan was...boring. His martyring was much less interesting that Rachel trying to pull herself out of her self destructing loop. Willow was badass, and Quinn was a loyal friend. I'm not sure if I'll read Redwine's next series, but I wouldn't be opposed to it.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey