August, September, and October Wrap-up

August, September, and October Wrap-up
This image is derivative of “Red-blue sunset” By  Adam Ziaja  CC BY 3.0.

These past few months were eventful to say the least. So eventful that I am wrapping-up my reading experience for three months in one post. Seriously though, there is a lot to cover.

I read some books that disappointed, others I loved, went to two author events, and finished the first draft of a novel.

Bluejay Feather

Reading

I read eight books in August, September, and October.

30253091

Title

Shadowcaster (Shattered Realms #2)

Short Synopsis

A princess proving her worth. A captain on a dangerous assignment. A boy with enchanting music.

Thoughts

I was hoping to enjoy this book as much as the books in the original series, but like the previous book, the characters didn’t seem as memorable, and the story didn’t seem as compelling as the Seven Realms series.

 

Rating

3 blue jays

19105727

Title

Adulthood Rites (Xenogenesis Trilogy #2)

Short Synopsis

Akin is the first human-alien composite male, but looks human. This makes Akin a subject of interest to the sterile human survivors of the apocalypse.

Akin must act human enough to avoid their wrath, while remembering his true nature.

Thoughts

I need to read more of Octavia E. Butler’s works. I’ve really enjoyed the two I’ve read so far and can’t wait for the others.

My main complaint is that this was too short, but that has more to do with the style of writing that was popular at the time it was written than the author. Still thought provoking even though it was published about 30 years ago.

Rating

4.5 blue jays

30063453

Title

Amid Stars and Darkness

Short Synopsis

After being kidnapped by an alien, Delaney must impersonate an alien princess or else the entire human race will be enslaved.

Thoughts

I was waiting in a long line at the library and picked this up on impulse as I walked by. I’m not sure I would have read it otherwise.

It’s too romance heavy for my taste, and I prefer more science in my science fiction, but it was otherwise a light, fun read.

If you’re looking for a book you can’t put down, this might be for you.

Rating

3 blue jays

9539

1166599

Titles

The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time #4), The Gathering Storm (The Wheel of Time #12)

Short Synopsis

Books four and twelve of the Wheel of Time series.

Thoughts

Some of you are probably wondering if I indeed skipped from book four to book twelve in this series. The answer is that, yes, I did. At the risk of annoying some of the Wheel of Time fans, I must admit my motive for reading this series lies in the fact that Brandon Sanderson wrote the last few, and I want to read all his books.

I like the other Wheel of Time books, especially book four but not enough to read the eight 1,000 page long books in between books four and twelve.

Rating

4 blue jays
33198183

Title

Darkness of Dragons (Wings of Fire #10)

Short Synopsis

The final book in the second arc of the Wings of Fire series.

Thoughts

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, it’s probably no secret that Wings of Fire was one of my favorite middle grade series. To some extent it still is. However, this book is probably one of my least favorite in the series, though my least favorite overall would have to be book nine.

It came across as a little anticlimactic to me, and I wasn’t a fan of the characters’ resolution of the conflict that’s been building in the last few books. Still, it was a fun read.

Rating

3 blue jays

22295304

Title

Shadowshaper (Shadowshaper #1)

Short Synopsis

Sierra must uncover the mystery of her family’s magical heritage before anyone else dies for it.

Thoughts

I wanted to love this book so much. The atmosphere is great. Older seems to have captured an otherwise realistic portrayal of Brooklyn with some magic thrown in.

Unfortunately, this book didn’t capture my attention enough for me to give it a higher rating.

That said, if you’re looking for a detailed, diverse portrayal of Brooklyn this may be the book for you.

Rating

3 blue jays

13612968

Title

The Silver Mask (Magisterium #4)

Short Synopsis

Fourth book in the Magisterium series.

Thoughts

Oh, look, the only book I read in October. *Hides in shame.* If this isn’t an indicator of how busy I’ve been I don’t know what is.

There is something about this series that makes me always come back to it even though there are some less than amazing elements to it. I think it’s the premise. I love “hero destined for evil” stories so much.

Rating

4 blue jays

 Author Events

In the past three months I went to events for Leigh Bardugo and R.L. Stine. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Bardugo twice before, but I don’t see how I can go to too many signing events when one of my favorite authors is involved.

Even after attending her events in the past, I still learned something interesting about Bardugo’s writing style. She uses a modified version of the beat structure outlined for scripts in the book Save the Cat. She outlines most of the beats mentioned in the book, but skips a couple because she’s never sat down and read the book to find out what the others were.

Hey, when it comes to writing, the right way to write is the way that works.

R.L. Stine was a first for me. My biggest takeaways from his event were that sometimes life takes us in unexpected directions, that one of the best ways to succeed is to be open to these directions, and that ideas come from unexpected places.

If you would like to see a full post about these events, leave a comment to let me know.

Writing

Total Words Written in August
The words I wrote in August. Graph generated with NaNoWriMo goal tracker.

My months have been so distinct from one another in terms of writing progress that it almost seems wrong to sum it all up in one post like this.

August was a great writing month. During the first half of the month, I averaged around 5,000 words per day. My first draft ended up being 70,000 words. This makes it the longest first draft I’ve ever written, though still shorter than the longest thing I’ve written (90,000 words).

I took a break after finishing my first draft midway through the month, intending to get back to my writing in September.

I started some short stories in September, but the progress I made was interrupted due the disruption Hurricane Irma made to my schedule. I’ve put those short stories on hold for now.

Little writing progress was made in October until the end of the month when I began reading through the draft I finished in August.

Bluejay Feather

Have you read any of these books? If you could meet any author who would you choose? How do you go about revising your first drafts? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Advertisements

August 2016 Wrap-Up

Monthly Wrap-Up (1)

August started with a reading slump. Thankfully, I got out of it during the second half of the month and read some great books.

Reading

26836910Short Synopsis: Girl genetically engineered to have her life revolve around protecting a single person must pretend to be the person she would die to protect.

Note: An advanced copy was provided by the publisher, but opinions are my own.

Thoughts: This book managed to get me out of my reading slump. It was so addictive I had a hard time putting it down when I needed to.

I’m also a fan of sci-fi novels in which the main character has to masquerade as someone from a very different walk of life, and enjoyed the main character’s internal struggle of trying to decide whether she could be her own person when she’s internalized that she is less important. Full review to come closer to the release date.

Rating: 

4.5 blue jays

28190254

Short Synopsis: Three young dragons have choices to make. What they choose will influence their world for centuries.

Thoughts: This is book can be read as a stand alone without reading the series it’s a spin-off from. In fact, the main series contains spoilers for this book.

I wasn’t expecting much from this book since I already knew how it ended and spin-off books have a history of being not that great, but this book surprised me.

My favorite part was Darkstalker (one of the three narrator’s) moral ambiguity. It seems to be becoming more common lately, but it’s still rare to see the main character in a middle grade novel, or novel in any genre really, walk the line between good and evil so closely. I want to like Darkstalker, but part of me thinks he is the dragon equivalent of Hitler.

I have a bit of a problem with the names of Darkstalker and his sister, Whiteout. The names sound like some sort of racist joke, but other than that this story was great.

Rating:

4.5 blue jays

13259262Short Synopsis: Collection of short stories about fictional Martian colonization.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this overall, but at times certain details seemed illogical to me, or not to connect to the story as a whole. It was as though most of the short stories contained in this odd combination of an anthology and a novel were set on the same timeline while a few were set on different ones.

Still, this is probably one of the best anthologies I’ve ever read, and Ray Bradbury’s prose is beautiful.

Rating: 

4.5 blue jays

13612965

Short Synopsis: Third book in the Magisterium series.

Thoughts: Something about this series has me hooked, but I have a hard time figuring out what it is that makes it so addictive. I’ve come to the conclusion that I really enjoy the protagonist’s internal struggle, though I can’t go into what that struggle is without telling spoilers.

I’ve read books with similar concepts to this one many times before, but never executed exactly this way. I think it’s the exact set up of the protagonist’s internal struggle, and the reaction of those around him to that struggle that make this series so attractive to me.

Rating: 

3.5 blue jays