June and July Wrap-up

Monthly Wrap-up

June and July were productive months. I read eight books and wrote over 40,000 words.

Bluejay Feather

Reading

One of the books I read were middle grade, three were young adult, and four were adult.

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Title

The Shattered Lens (Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians #4)

Short Synopsis

Alcatraz must stop librarian cults from conquering the world.

Thoughts

I liked book four better than book three. I thought the conflict was more interesting, the jokes funnier, and I’m excited to continue the next book.

It’s important to note that there are a lot of people who would find this series more annoying than funny. I’m just not one of them. I think it’s hilarious.

Rating

4 blue jays

23168817

Title

The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth’s Past #2)

Short Synopsis

Aliens try to conquer Earth. Humans learn about our place in the universe.

Thoughts

I liked this book better than its predecessor. The plot was more cohesive, and a little faster paced, though still slow. This is hard sci-fi at heart. One of the things I love best about this series is the way it’s made me think.

That said, I’m happy with how this book left the story and am not sure I’ll continue.

Rating

4 blue jays

30312891

Title

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2)

Short Synopsis

Two young shadowhunters must protect the world and loved ones from supernatural forces while sorting out their forbidden romantic feelings.

Thoughts

This book was fun, but I’m tiring of reading books set in this universe. I’ll probably read the series final when it comes out in a couple years, but think I’m done with the future spin-offs.

Of course, if nostalgia strikes, I might change my mind.

Rating

3.5 blue jays

31423196

Title

Defy the Stars (Constellation #1)

Short Synopsis

A teenager fighting for a rebellion teams up with an android to free her planet from Earth’s influence.

Thoughts

Really enjoyed this one. See my full review for more information.

Rating

4 blue jays

 32075662

Title

Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2)

Short Synopsis

August and Kate must protect the people of their city from the monsters that seek to tear it apart while they battle their own inner daemons. For my full thoughts see my duology review.

Thoughts

I liked this book, but at the same time felt something was missing that I couldn’t place.

Rating

3.5 blue jays

7052200

Title

The Handmaid’s Tale

Short Synopsis

A handmaid shares the story of her life as a member of the first generation to live under a sexist dystopian regime.

Thoughts

Based on what everyone said, I expected to be left emotionally drained by this book. I think that these expectations and the fact that I don’t have children are the only reasons I wasn’t affected more. It is, however, still a creepy book.

That said, while I can’t say I liked what took place in this book, it was very well written, thought provoking, and made me want to keep reading. For these reason, it gets a high rating.

Rating

4 blue jays

228665

233649

Titles

The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time #1 and 2)

Short Synopsis

When a village is attacked, three farm boys must flee to a legendary city to protect themselves and their families.

Thoughts

I liked the second book a lot more than the first. Given the nature of most first books in epic fantasy setting up the rest of the series this isn’t too surprising.

Rating

3/5 for book one and 4.5/5 for book two averaging to a 4/5.

4 blue jays

Writing

Camp NaNo July 2017 Progress bar

I started writing a first draft in June and continued writing it throughout July. This was accomplished through Camp NaNoWriMo. I had a goal of 30,000 words for July but exceeded it and wrote 40,000 words.

Bluejay Feather

What have you been reading? Anyone read any of these books? Anyone participate in Camp NaNoWriMo? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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April and May 2017 Wrap-Up

Monthly Wrap-up

Reading

Between April and May I read eight novels.

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Title

The Sun is also a Star

Short Synopsis

Two teenagers meet and fall in love on the day that one of them is being deported.

Note: I received an advanced copy from the publisher. However, this is is with regards to the final audiobook, which I did not receive from the publisher. Opinions are my own.

Thoughts

I liked this book more than I expected. The characterization is great, and the novel was more thought provoking than I thought it would be.

Rating

4 blue jays

24909346

Title

Gemina (Illuminae #2)

Short Synopsis

Large corporations plot to get away with mass murder to make profits in space.

Note: I received an arc from the publisher. I read the first half this way, but decided to wait for the release date because so many details were to come. I listened to the second half of this book in audiobook form. Opinions are my own.

Thoughts

The gap between my reading of the first and second half of this book comes down to bad timing more than anything else. I started reading this book right before going on vacation, and a million things started the moment I got back from vacation, so this book sort of fell by the wayside.

Apart from that this was a really fun, suspenseful read.

Rating

4 blue jays

29939230

Title

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3)

Short Synopsis

The third book in a trilogy that I cannot write a synopsis of without spoiling books one and two.

Thoughts

I enjoyed this book, but it was a slower read than the previous books. Also, I didn’t get all of the resolution I’d been hoping for. For more of my thoughts on the Shades of Magic series see my series review.

Rating

4 blue jays

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Titles

The Scrivener’s Bones (Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians #2)

The Nights of Crystallia (Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians #3)

Short Synopsis

Alcatraz fights against the cults of evil librarians that secretly rule the world.

Thoughts

I thought the second book was hilarious, but the third book started to get a little old. I think I would have enjoyed book three more if I hadn’t read them so close together.

Rating

Book two gets a 4/5. Book three gets 3/5.

4 blue jays

3 blue jays

41810

Title

The Robots of Dawn (Robots #3)

Short Synopsis

Bayley must visit a Spacer world to prove a man’s innocence.

Thoughts

I enjoyed this novel and am sad that this seems to be the last book with Baley as the protagonist. However, I think this was my least favorite book in the series. This has a lot to do with the fact that Asimov’s romance writing skills are rather cringe worthy.

Rating

4 blue jays

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Title

Strange the Dreamer

Short Synopsis

Young man who loves libraries goes on a long journey.

Thoughts

‘I really enjoyed this book. See my review for my full thoughts.

Rating

4.5 blue jays

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Title

The Revealed (The Missing #7)

Short Synopsis

Seventh book in a series about missing children from history.

Thoughts

This series has drawn out a little too long for my tastes. This book was fun, but I won’t be reading the final novel.

Rating

3 blue jays

Writing

I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo in April. Most of the month was spent revising short stories. I wanted to do more editing on one of my novel length project, but at least I met my goal.

Camp April 2017 Stats

I’m planning to participate again in July. As of the moment, my goal is to get a significant portion of the way through the short story I talked about in my Beautiful People for Writers post this past May.

Bluejay Feather

Any thoughts on these books? 

What did you read last month?

Anyone participating in Camp NaNoWriMo next July? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

January 2016 Wrap-up

I read eleven books and a novella in January. I’ve been keeping track of how many books I read each month since January of last year. This is the largest number I have on record.

Air Awakens (Air Awakens, #1)Fire Falling (Air Awakens, #2)

Short Synopsis: A teenage girl might be the only one who can determine the end of a war.

Thoughts: These books are very fast paced and addicting. This would be a good read for people who either haven’t read a lot of fantasy, or are looking for a fast paced fantasy novel. I’ve read a lot of YA fantasy, and these novels contained several common tropes that kept me from loving the story entirely.

Rating: 3.5 blue jays

25403108Short Synopsis: Alcatraz discovers most of the world is secretly ruled by a cult of evil librarians. He must stop them by going on a quest to rescue a bag of sand believed to have the potential to allow the librarians to complete their quest for domination.

Thoughts: This book left me conflicted. On one hand, it had me frequently laughing out loud, the way it purposefully broke the “rules” of narration sometimes left me staring in awe, and the concept of a world ruled by librarians was interesting to consider.

On the other hand, the “rules” of narration are “rules” for a reason, and I sometimes found myself annoyed. This is also far from my favorite work by this author, and I’m interested to see what he would have come up with had this book been written more recently.

I listened to this one in audiobook format, and the reader did an excellent job. I looked at the text and saw parenthesis everywhere. I am not a fan of parenthesis, though I know they were used on purpose in this case.

Rating: 4 blue jays

17910048Short Synopsis: An 18-year-old, half-goblin, half-elvish young man who has lived his life in exile inherits an elvish kingdom.

Thoughts: Normally, books that don’t build to a dramatic climax are a pet peeve of mine, but this one just works somehow. I think I just found the court intrigue so interesting that the lack of frequent action and a climax didn’t bother me much.

Rating: 4 blue jays

The Lost Heir (Wings of Fire, #2)16100976The Dark Secret (Wings of Fire, #4)18527497

Short Synopsis: Books 2 through 5 of a series that follows five young dragons who are prophesied to end a war.

Thoughts: I continue to enjoy that this story is told from the perspective of dragons rather than humans, though parts of it were a little formulatic. It started to break the formula a little towards the end which I appreciated.

The end of book five feels like a complete story arc, and I’m not sure whether I will continue. However, the narrator of the next book is of particular interest to me so there is a high possibility of it.

Rating: 4 blue jays

Invaded (Alienated, #2)

Short Synopsis: Human and space alien exchange program gone wrong. The second book in a trilogy.

Thoughts: The first time I tried to read this book I started reading Mistborn: The Final Empire not long after. Those who frequent this blog are probably familiar with how much I enjoy Brandon Sanderson’s works, and will not be surprised when I say that this book didn’t stand a chance of being finished then.

In January I ended up trying again with this book from the beginning after I learning I would have the opportunity to attend the author’s book signing. I enjoyed this book much more the second time around and am looking forward to reading the author’s newest release.

4 blue jays

Legion (Legion, #1)

Short Synopsis: A man uses hallucinations to solve crimes.

Thoughts: This novella was a lot of fun, and very creative. The Emperor’s Soul remains my favorite of Sanderson’s novellas, but I’m interested to see what direction the sequel takes.

Rating: 4 blue jays

Carry OnShort Synopsis: Magicians try to save the world from the magic depleting creature known as the Insidious Humdrum and solve the mystery behind a murder while sorting out their complicated love life.

Thoughts: There were some aspects of this book that I really liked, and others that I didn’t like so much. The pacing was too slow at the beginning and too fast at the end. Some of the point of views seemed unnecessary. There was also the use of parenthesis, which I actually thought were used exceptionally well in this book, but were still often unnecessary. I think I’ve already mentioned my feelings on parenthesis in fiction earlier in this post.

At the same time, the characters were well developed and really liked the magic system and the concept of the Humdrum.

Rating: 4 blue jays

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn, #6)Short Synopsis: Book six in the Mistborn series.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. The characters’ had great synergy, and there were several twists that I didn’t see coming. This is my first five star read of 2016.

Rating: five blue jays

Writing

I didn’t accomplish much in the way of writing last month. Hence the large number of books I had time to read, but I’d like to change that in February. I haven’t written much since the end of November, and the long break has given me a better appreciation of how much I enjoy writing.

This month I plan to either begin rewriting part two of my high fantasy work in progress, or start on the first draft of one of the many ideas I’ve been longing to write.