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.

Bluejay Feather

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.

Bluejay Feather

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!

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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.

Bluejay Feather

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.

Bluejay Feather

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!

February and March 2017 Wrap-up

Reading

Between February and March, I read six books, a novella, and an anthology.

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Title

The Three Body Problem

Short Synopsis

Science fiction novel featuring China’s cultural revolution, a high tech video game, and aliens.

Thoughts

Slower paced than I usually like, but I was intrigued enough to keep reading. It’s hard to see how all the different elements connect at first, but they come together by the end.

Rating

3.5 blue jays

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Dark Matter

Short Synopsis

Man is abducted and wakes-up to discover everything in his life has changed.

Thoughts

Really enjoyed this, but there were some elements of the world-building that confused me and kept me from rating it higher.

Rating

4 blue jays

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Title

Vortex (Tempest #2)

Short Synopsis

Sequel to Tempest.

Thoughts

I was in the mood for a book about time travel and read the first book a long time ago.

This book was fun, but some parts made me roll my eyes.

Rating

3 blue jays

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Title

The Naked Sun (Robot #2)

Short Synopsis

Classic science fiction novel in which Elijah Baley must travel to a distant world to solve a murder mystery.

Thoughts

I’d heard a lot about I, Robot before, but never knew the author had written a series set in the same universe. Even though this book is a product of its time, I enjoyed it much more than I expected.

Rating

4.5 blue jays

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Title

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Short Synopsis

Jonathan is a special seagull none of the other seagulls can understand.

Thoughts

Listened to this novella on a long road trip because one of my traveling companions wanted to. There were aspects I enjoyed, but it also falls pray to some tropes I’m not a fan of.

Rating

3 blue jays

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Title

The Caves of Steel (Robot #1)

Short Synopsis

Elijah Baley is recruited to solve the mystery behind the murder of an individual visiting Earth from another world.

Thoughts

Yes, I read these books out of order. I’m terrible, but these aren’t really books that need to be read in order. They still make sense if the second book is read first.

I enjoyed this book about as much as the second.

Rating

4.5 blue jays

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Title

Arcanum Unbounded

Short Synopsis

A collection of Brandon Sanderson’s short fiction set in the Cosmere universe.

Thoughts

Short stories/novellas in this collection would get a rating between 3/5 and 5/5 if rated on an individual level. Works that would get a 5/5 or a 4.5/5 include: The Emperor’s SoulMistborn: Secret History, and Edgedancer.

Rating

4 blue jays

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Title

A Wizard of Earthsea

Short Synopsis

A young wizard grows into his powers.

Thoughts

I’ve heard about Ursula K. Le Guin for so long but hadn’t given her work a try. I decided to change that. I liked this book but didn’t love it.

Rating

3.5 blue jays

Writing

I wrote a couple short stories that I’m revising this month. They’re turning out better than expected.

Beautiful People: July 2016

Beautiful People for Writers

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 will be focusing on Catrine, a major secondary character from my current epic fantasy work in progress that I’m about 75,000 words, or three fourths of the way through rewriting.

Do they want to get married and/or have children? Why or why not?

Yes, Catrine has already made a dress she planned to wear for her future wedding, though she no longer has it due to her constant movement between places. She has every intention of recreating that dress to the best of her abilities when the time comes for her wedding.

She wants to get married and have kids because she really likes the idea of having small children to make clothing for and pass down her trade to. She also likes the idea of being able to settle down somewhere, something she has a hard time imagining herself doing with all the places she has lived.

What is their weapon of choice? (It doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical weapon.)

A sewing needle. 🙂

What’s the nicest thing they’ve done for someone else, and why did they do it?

The nicest thing Catrine has done is help some of the poor people on the island where she lives at the start of the novel by giving them free clothing as she uses them to practice making clothes for her wealthy clients and lets them keep what she’s made for them at the end. Cloth is very expensive on this island, and most of the poor only own one pair of clothes.

Have they ever been physically violent with someone, and what instigated it?

Catrine is normally a non-violent person, but when she feels she, her brother, or her job as a tailor at the palace is threatened she can get violent. During the story there is an occasion when she feels threatened by the main character due to something the main character did that gave her good reason to suspect the main character was threatening her aforementioned values. I can’t go into specifics without spoilers.

Are they a rule-follower or a rebel?

rule-follower

Are they organized or messy?

organized

What makes them feel loved, and who was the last person to make them feel that way?

Having people show her kindness makes Catrine feel loved. The last person who made her feel that way was her brother.

What do they eat for breakfast?

It varies. Catrine has lived in a lot of places and has parents who were from two places she has never lived. She takes what is available based on the place she is living in at the time.

Have they ever lost someone close to them? What happened?

Yes, she has lost people she was fairly close to through disease, but she has also lost many people she cared about not because they died, but because they lost her trust.

What’s their treat of choice? (Or, if not food, how else do they reward themselves?)

By making a nice garment for herself.

August 2015 Wrap-Up

August was a great reading month. I read nine books: one adult sci-fi, three adult fantasy, and five young adult fantasy. I also started revisions on one of my writing projects.

From now on I’m going to be splitting my monthly wrap-ups into three sections: reading, writing, and blogging.

Reading

The Martian by Andy WeirShort Synopsis: Astronaut is stranded on Mars.

Thoughts: A very realistic, well researched portrayal. Though I really liked it, the book didn’t always grip me as much as I would like. Review to come.

Rating:

 4.5 blue jays

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Short Synopsis: A princess is forced into a marriage to the mysterious “God-King” in an attempt to prevent war between too nations. While this princess settles in to life in the foreign palace her sister tries desperately to free her.

Thoughts: Once again Brandon Sanderson’s world building proves extraordinary. The plot is captivating and unpredictable, the breath and color based magic system is well thought out and unlike any I’ve read before. For my full thoughts see my review.

Rating:

 five blue jays

Elantris by Brandon SandersonShort Synopsis: Elantris was once the city of the gods. Now it is a city of the living dead.

Thoughts: I can really tell this is the first novel Brandon Sanderson published. His prose were really clunky and this is the only Sanderson novel where I’ve skimmed sections. Still an overall enjoyable read though, it’s interesting to see how much Sanderson has improved over the years.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. SchwabShort Synopsis: Kell is one of the only people left who can travel between parallel worlds. Kell uses his ability to illegally smuggle objects between worlds. One day an object Kell smuggles turns out to be especially dangerous and it’s up to Kell to dispose of it before it’s too late.

Thoughts: I haven’t read a lot of books about parallel worlds, but when done right it’s a topic I find intriguing. There were times when I felt this story felt a little predictable and the characters not as developed as I would like, but it was an excellent read overall. Review to come.

Rating:

4.5 blue jays

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Short Synopsis: A princess struggles to free herself from expectations of her. Book two in the Heart of Betrayal series.

Thoughts: I’m surprised how much I liked this one as I had mixed feelings about the first, but there were certain aspects I really liked. Review to come.

Rating:

4 blue jays

The Demon King by Cinda Williams ChimaThe Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams ChimaThe Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams ChimaThe Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima

Short Synopsis: A thousand years ago one nation became seven and the world was shattered during a terrible disaster. Now Han, an ex-thief, and Raisa, the princess heir, must learn from the past in hopes of a better future. The entire Seven Realms series.

Thoughts: The pacing at the beginning was a bit slow, but once I got into these I just couldn’t seem to put them down. I read the last three over what was primarily a two day period of time. The world building is some of the best I’ve read in YA (in a lot of YA it tends to be lacking), and the characters were so much fun. I’m surprised this series isn’t more popular. Can’t wait for the spin-off series Shattered Realms.

Rating: 

4.5 blue jays

Currently Reading: 

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Writing 

What I wrote last month: In August I started revisions on my high fantasy work in progress. It’s working title is A Rose Like Death, and it was my project for NaNoWriMo last November. Most of what I’ve been doing so far is rearranging the files of chapters and scenes into an order I think would better fit the story. (I use Scrivener.)

My main focus right now is big picture edits and making everything flow. I’m also doing a lot of rewriting to change my main character, Yuliana’s, voice because the narration feels too distant at the moment. Feedback from everyone who has read the first chapter has been very positive overall with most issues involving grammatical and sentence construction errors that I don’t intend to fix until far later. Everyone seemed to have a much better grasp of the world building and character dynamics than I expected by the end of chapter one, and each person who read it had a different theory about the direction the plot would take. Only one really got anywhere near to the truth.

What I plan to write next month: I plan to continue with what will become the second draft of A Rose Like Death. Now that summer is over progress is going to slow and the goal is to have it finished by October 31 so I can start a new project for NaNoWriMo in November, but I’m not sure if that is realistic yet.

Blogging

I know I’m behind on my tags. It might take me a while to get them posted, but I haven’t forgotten about them. I’ve been tagged for the quote a day challenge and my blog has been given the Liebaster Award, but have yet to post about them. I’m planning to combine the quote a day challenge into one day instead of three because I post once a week and like to keep it consistent.

Read or write anything interesting in August? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!