Top Ten Novel Recommendations for Eclipse Watchers

Novels for Eclipse WatchersTop Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is “top ten recommendations for ___.” I chose my top ten recommendations for eclipse watchers.

This theme is inspired by the solar eclipse of August 21st visible in North America. I’ll only see a partial eclipse myself, but I wish all those able to see the total eclipse the best and a reminder to not look directly at the sun without proper eye protection.

Even if you don’t plan to see the eclipse, these might still be good reads for future eclipses or just because you feel like reading them.

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Nightfall

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Goodreads summary

Imagine living on a planet with six suns that never experiences Darkness. Imagine never having seen the Stars. Then, one by one your suns start to set, gradually leading you into Darkness for the first time ever. Image the terror of such a Nightfall.

Scientists on the planet Kalgash discover that an eclipse – an event that occurs only every 2049 years – is imminent, and that a society unfamiliar with Darkness will be plunged into madness and chaos. They realize that their civilization will end, for the people of Kalgash have a proven fear of Darkness, but they are unable to predict the insanity and destruction that will accompany the awesome splendor of Nightfall.

Thoughts

I haven’t read this book but love Asimov’s Robot books. Regardless, this is an awesome premise.

 

A Memory of Light (Wheel of Time #14)

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Goodreads summary

*may contain spoilers*

“And it came to pass in those days, as it had come before and would come again, that the Dark lay heavy on the land and weighed down the hearts of men, and the green things failed, and hope died.” From Charal Drianaan te Calamon, The Cycle of the Dragon.

In the Field of Merrilor the rulers of the nations gather to join behind Rand al’Thor, or to stop him from his plan to break the seals on the Dark One’s prison—which may be a sign of his madness, or the last hope of humankind. Egwene, the Amyrlin Seat, leans toward the former.

In Andor, the Trollocs seize Caemlyn.

In the wolf dream, Perrin Aybara battles Slayer.

Approaching Ebou Dar, Mat Cauthon plans to visit his wife Tuon, now Fortuona, Empress of the Seanchan.

All humanity is in peril—and the outcome will be decided in Shayol Ghul itself. The Wheel is turning, and the Age is coming to its end. The Last Battle will determine the fate of the world…

Thoughts

I’ve only read the first three books in this series. However, I’m told there is an eclipse in this one, so on the list it goes.

Defy the Stars (Constellation #1)

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Summary

Noemi will to do anything for her best friend and planet. Even sacrifice her life, but when Noemi discovers an abandoned Earth spacecraft and a chance to end the war between her world and Earth, Noemi’s plans change. Noemi might not need to sacrifice her life to save her planet anymore, but she’s not sure she can make it in time.

Abel, a humanoid robot, was locked in an abandoned spaceship for thirty years. Now, he’s been freed by one of his maker’s enemies. Abel wants nothing more than to find his master and serve his purpose, but a flaw in his programming won’t allow it. Abel has no choice but to do everything his new master says, even if it means helping his enemy.

Thoughts

While this book doesn’t have an eclipse in it, I think it would be a great book to set the tone for watching one. It’s set in space and involves mentions many celestial bodies. Read my review to learn more.

Dawn (Xenogenesis #1)

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Goodreads Summary

Lilith Iyapo has just lost her husband and son when atomic fire consumes Earth—the last stage of the planet’s final war. Hundreds of years later Lilith awakes, deep in the hold of a massive alien spacecraft piloted by the Oankali—who arrived just in time to save humanity from extinction. They have kept Lilith and other survivors asleep for centuries, as they learned whatever they could about Earth. Now it is time for Lilith to lead them back to her home world, but life among the Oankali on the newly resettled planet will be nothing like it was before.

The Oankali survive by genetically merging with primitive civilizations—whether their new hosts like it or not. For the first time since the nuclear holocaust, Earth will be inhabited. Grass will grow, animals will run, and people will learn to survive the planet’s untamed wilderness. But their children will not be human. Not exactly.

Thoughts

This one doesn’t have an eclipse either, but it also seems like a great book to set the tone for the event. I’ll be reading the second book in this series in the time before the eclipse myself.

The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past)

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Goodreads Summary

The Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple award winning phenomenon from China’s most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin.

Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

Thoughts

This book was a little slow for my tastes, but I still think it would be a great way to set the tone for the eclipse. This book even (sort of?) involves an eclipse . . . though I’m not sure if what happens qualifies as an eclipse or not.

Illuminae (Illuminae Files #1)

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Summary

Just hours after their recent break-up, exes Kady and Ezra find their home planet in the middle of a war between intergalactic corporations. In the evacuation, the two find themselves on separate space ships.

If they want to survive. Kady, Ezra, and the other refugees need to reach the nearest jump station, through which they can reach a more densely inhabited region of space, before those who invaded their planet catches up with the refugees.

Thoughts

If you’re looking for a book with non-conventional formatting to set the tone for a non-conventional day, this may be the book for you. No eclipses in this one, but plenty of space travel. Read my review to learn more.

The Martian Chronicles

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Goodreads Summary

The strange and wonderful tale of man’s experiences on Mars, filled with intense images and astonishing visions. Now part of the Voyager Classics collection.

The Martian Chronicles tells the story of humanity’s repeated attempts to colonize the red planet. The first men were few. Most succumbed to a disease they called the Great Loneliness when they saw their home planet dwindle to the size of a fist. They felt they had never been born. Those few that survived found no welcome on Mars. The shape-changing Martians thought they were native lunatics and duly locked them up.

But more rockets arrived from Earth, and more, piercing the hallucinations projected by the Martians. People brought their old prejudices with them – and their desires and fantasies, tainted dreams. These were soon inhabited by the strange native beings, with their caged flowers and birds of flame.

Thoughts

Okay, so this one is more anthology than novel, but this could be a plus for people traveling to see the eclipse. I have trouble committing to lengthy books while traveling, so short stories might be the best way to go.

This one also deals with Mars more so than space, but I still think it could be a great way to set the tone. Unfortunately, no eclipses here.

Eclipse (Twilight #3)

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Goodreads Synopsis

As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob – knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which?

Thoughts

The book everyone was waiting for, just kidding. I know you guys, but I just couldn’t make this list without including the book with the word eclipse in the title.

Ironically, no eclipses here either.

Red Rising (Red Rising #1)

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Summary

Darrow spends his days on Mars mining the minerals needed to terraform the planet’s surface. He could care less about the fact that he is a member of the lowest “caste,” oppressed by the Society. Darrow is too busy trying to provide for his wife and extended family. Darrow knows the price of rebellion. He attended his father’s execution at five years old.

Darrow’s outlook on rebellion changes when another of Darrow’s loved one is killed by the society. Her dying wish: break the chains. Now Darrow will stop at nothing to make her dream a reality. Even if it means infiltrating the Gold, upper-class, society and pretending to be one of his enemies.

Thoughts

Yet another book set more on Mars than in space. I think the sequels set the tone better, but don’t want to include a sequel on a list where the first book will do. Read my review to learn more.

The Martian

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Summary

Mark Watney was part of an early mission to Mars, but what had been the opportunity of a life time quickly becomes a disaster. Believing Watney died in a Martian sandstorm, the crew has left Watney behind. The next Mars mission isn’t scheduled to arrive for another four years and Watney’s supplies were designed to last 31 days. With no way to contact NASA, Watney must find a way to defy the odds and survive.

Thoughts

This list is getting Mars heavy, but I still felt the need to include this book. Even though it’s planet bound, all the novel’s discussion of space exploration seems a great way to set the tone for the eclipse.

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Have you read any of these books? Are you watching the eclipse? What books would you recommend people watching the eclipse read to get them in the mood? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Beautiful People August 2017

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Beautiful People is a monthly writing meme hosted by Cait @Paper Fury and Sky @Further up and Further in in which writers answer a series of questions about one of their characters.

This month I’m talking about Lyle, the protagonist of my science fiction work in progress. I’m currently over 60,000 words into my first draft of this project and am loving it.

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What are they addicted to/can’t live without?

Lyle is addicted to watching documentaries for hours on end. He could, however, live without them, and does so for much of my manuscript. I suppose the one thing Lyle can’t live without are his values and perhaps his family.

Name 3 positive and 3 negative qualities about your character.

positive: caring, determined, devoted

negative: opinionated, stubborn, inexperienced

Are they holding onto something they should get rid of?

Yes, towards the middle of my manuscript Lyle is holding on to longing for a life he can no longer lead.

If 10 is completely organized and 1 is completely messy, where do they fall on the scale?

Lyle’s an eight. He is organized when he can be, but there are times throughout the story where organization is physically impossible.

What most frustrates them about the world they live in?

Inequality and injustice, Lyle hates it.

How would they dress for a night out? How would they dress for a night in?

That depends on the formality of the occasion. Lyle likes formality, but has limited clothing options.

As for a night in, Lyle’s fine motor skills are terrible. He’d want something without buttons and as few zippers as possible. Needing to ask for help from others not only embarrasses him, but would take a lot of other people’s time.

How many shoes do they own, and what kind?

Not many. Probably only one or two pairs. The kind that can be slipped into without laces because Lyle wouldn’t be able to tie them.

Do they have any pets? What pet do they WISH they had?

Yes, but I can’t say much because these “pets” are a huge part of the plot.

The answer to the second question also revolves around a major plot point, so I’m going to be as vague as possible and say Lyle wants pet pigs.

Is there something or someone that they resent? Why and what happened?

Yes, Lyle resents his parents and a pair of farmers. This is a major plot point, so I can’t say.

What’s usually in their fridge or pantry?

Lyle is a minor and doesn’t have much control over the household food choices. That said, Lyle’s mother seems like the sort who would keep a bunch of diet foods around.

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Are you working on any writing projects? How’s it going? Would you want to be friends with Lyle? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Beautiful Books: 2017 Writing Goals

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Beautiful Books is a tri-annual linkup and variation of the monthly Beautiful People meme run by Cait @paperfury and Sky @furtherupfurtherin in which writers discuss their writing projects.

What were your writing achievements last year?

I finished rewriting my epic fantasy work in progress.

What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?

To reread my project from last year, decide what to do about it, and write another first draft. Hopefully have something I feel comfortable sending to beta readers by the end of the year.

Tell us about your top-priority writing projects for this year!

Not quite sure what the focus will be this year. I have a lot of ideas I could start, and am not sure which ones I will chose yet.

How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?

I hope to get better at revising my completed work. At the end of 2017 I hope to see myself with at least one revised manuscript.

Describe your general editing process.

This is still forming, hence the goal to get better at revision, but I tend to start with big picture issues first then move to smaller ones.

On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out?

Five, it’s a lot better than the first draft, but needs a lot of work.

What aspect of your draft needs the most work?

World-building, this piece deals with a lot of fictional cultures, and I’m having trouble deciding on some of their characteristics.

What do you like the most about your draft?

That it’s complete now. 🙂

What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?

Not sure yet. It depends how confident I feel in it after more revisions. however, I’ll almost certainly be sending it to beta readers, but not for some time.

What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?

Set it aside for a little while before deciding what to do with it.

Top 10 Best Books of 2016

This is my first ever Top Ten Tuesday post. I don’t usually participate, but it just so happened that the idea I had for my next blog post corresponded with their theme, so I decided to participate.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Brook and the Bookish. Read the original version of this topic here.

These are my top ten favorite books I read this year in no particular order.

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The first two books in the Broken Earth Series by N.K. Jemisin are phenomenal. The world-building is some of the best I’ve seen. I liked the first book more than the second, but the second is still good enough to make this list.

I read the first book in the middle of a massive reading slump and with a lot happening in my life, but it managed to get through to me all the same. That’s impressive.

I wouldn’t recommend this to the younger readers of this blog because this is definitely an adult book, but for everyone else reading this who likes fantasy I highly recommend picking these books up.

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I loved the first book of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crow’s Duology, and the sequel was just as good. I loved the way the cast meshed so well with one another. One perspective never overwhelmed the others. I loved reading from each and every character. The anti-human trafficking message is great as well.

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This book surprised me. I expected it to be terrible, but this prequel is better than the main series. I love the complexity of Darkstalker’s character: how I’m never sure if he is the hero or the villain. It’s something I don’t see a lot of in middle grade novel, but I do wish the author had chosen a name other than Darkstalker.

Darkstalker is a prequel to the Wings of Fire Series, but can be read as a standalone.

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And Then There Were None is my first Agatha Christie novel, and I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. This book is a classic for a reason. Agatha Christie knows how to tell a mystery. My only qualms are that I had trouble connecting with the characters because of the distant narration, and I’m quite glad to have read the modified version as opposed to the original . . .

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These two books are very different but technically part of the same series, so I’m lumping them together.

The Bands of Mourning is the sixth book in the Mistborn Series, and you definitely need to have read from at least the first book in the spinoff, The Alloy of Law,  and preferably the original trilogy too to understand what is happening.

The Bands of Mourning has a different tone from the previous books in the series with more focus on discovery, but was still excellent.

Mistborn: Secret History is a novella that it’s impossible to say anything about without spoilers except that “There is always another secret,” and you need to have read at least the first three Mistborn books before this one, and preferably most of the books in Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere universe too. I highly recommend Mistborn: Secret History to fans of Sanderson’s Cosmere, but no one else because you will be too confused.

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This Savage Song kept me up late into the night, and I read it twice: once in physical form and once in audio because I liked it so much. The sequel is one of my most anticipated reads of next year.

I love August’s internal struggle as a monster who wanted to be human, and can’t wait to see what happens next in this fascinating world.

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Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but was not asked to put it on this list. Opinions are my own. 

The Diabolic had great timing for me. It’s the book that marked an end to the reading slump I mentioned earlier. It also contains some of my favorite tropes. I love space operas and characters from one social group masquerading as a character from another social group.

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I love Morning Star for similar reasons to the book above as it contains similar reasons to the book I mentioned above as it is also sci-fi and contains a character from one group masquerading as a person from another group.

This is the only book on this list I went to the book store to buy because I couldn’t wait the amount of time it would take for shipping to get this book. I was not disappointed.

Beautiful People: September 2016

Beautiful People for WritersBeautiful People is a monthly writing meme hosted by Cait @Paper Fury and Sky @Further up and Further in in which writers answer a series of questions about one of their characters.

This month I will be focusing on Yuliana, my protagonist. I’m thinking of changing the names of all my characters (I have a tendency to do this), but I’ll stick with the current name for the purpose of this post.

How did you come up with this character?

There was no one point at which I came up with Yuliana. She developed with time. In the very first version of this story, which never got past a chapter or two, she was a he with a personality almost exactly the opposite of her current one. In the second attempt, which got to around 20,000 words, she was female with her personality somewhere between that of the original male lead and her current one.

By the third attempt, the first I finished and what I consider to be my first draft, she had all the basics of her current personality, but wasn’t as well developed as she is in the second draft I am currently rewriting. I suppose the answer is that Yuliana developed through writing about her.

Have they ever been starving? Why? And what did they eat to break the fast?

She has been starving on several occasions for many different reasons. It would take way too long for me to go into all of these instances and give away too much. Generally, Yuliana has been starving because food is unavailable for some reason or another. She has eaten a lot of different things after being starving.

Do they have a talent or skill that they’re proud of?

Yuliana is proud of her ability to read and write. Literacy is not common for people of the serving class where she lives.

List 3 things that would make them lose their temper.

  1. Someone trying to blame a murder on her.
  2. Someone kidnapping her, a member of her family, or her friends.
  3. Her younger sister, Glenda, not listening to her when both their lives are in jeopardy.

What is their favourite type of weather? Least favourite?

Yuliana’s favorite type of weather is hot and humid. Her least favorite is freezing cold.

What is their Hogwarts house and/or MBTI personality?

Yuliana’s Hogwarts house is Ravenclaw.

Are they more likely to worry about present problems, or freak out about the unknown future?

Yuliana is more likely to worry about the present.

What is their favourite thing to drink?

tea

What is their favourite color? Least favorite?

Yuliana loves green, but hates violet.

What is a book that changed their life?

Well, in the first draft of this story I wrote to completion there was a book that changed Yuliana’s life significantly, but I’m not planing to include it in this draft as that book was basically a cheep plot device allowing Yuliana to learn everything with the least effort on my part. Other than that, Yuliana is too poor to own many books and doesn’t have much free time she could use for reading until the end of the novel. She hasn’t had much chance for a book to change her life.