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.

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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!

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April 2016 Wrap-up and Announcement

Monthly Wrap-Up (1)April was an insanely busy month for me. While I did not accomplish much in the way of blogging I did manage to read six books and two novellas.

Before I begin I’d like to mention the two books I forgot to put in my March wrap-up, but have since edited that post to include. Not because I didn’t like these books, but because I forgot to mark them as read on goodreads until more recently.

Honorable mentions from March

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Short Synopsis: The queen of an alien civilization and a half human, half alien boy must team up to save themselves and humanity.

Thoughts: This book was a light and fun read. The writing was a little hard to follow at times. I sometimes wondered how the characters had gotten from one scene to another, and wasn’t too keen on the romance, but all in all it was a nice debut.

Rating: 3.5 blue jays

 

13638125Short Synopsis: Two college students uncover the key to getting superpowers which subsequently ruins their lives.

Thoughts: Very different from the other V.E. Schwab books I’ve read in the A Darker Shade of Magic series. I really enjoyed the way the novels’ two timelines interwove, and how  this book toyed with the traditional concept of good verses evil.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

April Reads

223236592360443525711360Short Synopsis: The second story arc of the Wings of Fire series following a new group of young dragons as they attempt to prevent a prophecy unrelated to the one in the first half of the series.

Thoughts: I like the direction the author has chosen to go with these new characters, but think these books should probably have been considered a spin-off as opposed to a continuation of the original series.

These books are highly addictive, and I look forward to the next installment.

Rating: 4 blue jays

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Short Synopsis: A novel about a girl trying to win a motor cycle race in order to kill Hitler, and its prequel novella centering around the events in the same race the year before.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed these. I’ve written a full review of Wolf by Wolf which can be found here.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

 

28698036Short Synopsis: There is always another secret.

Thoughts: This novella is definitely not for everyone. Seriously, those who haven’t at least read the original Mistborn trilogy should stay far, far away from this novella. Those who haven’t read at least the first six books in the Mistborn series, and even some other Cosmere novels not part of Mistborn series may want to avoid this as well.

Beyond that this novella has an unusual structure without a typical beginning, middle, end feel. This is all I can say about the novella itself without spoiling it.

Rating: 

4.5 blue jays

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Short Synopsis: First book in the Spin-off series to The Seven Realms.

Thoughts: I have a lot of conflicted emotions with regards to this book. The character death at the beginning felt a lot like a plot device, and knowing what I did about this individual from the previous series I found their death a little out of character.

I like our new cast, and am glad it looks like we’ll be seeing more of this world than we did in the previous series. I’d recommend reading the original series before this one if only because I enjoyed it more, but that could change as this series progresses.

Rating: 3.5 blue jays

Writing

Camp NaNo Graph April 2016Last month I participated in the April 2016 session of Camp NaNoWriMo. My original goal was  to write 20,000 words, but I lowered that to 15,000 words halfway through the month.

As the chart on the left shows, I ended up writing a significant amount on the last day of the event to meet my original goal. My total word count for the event was 20,084 words.

 

Announcement

Next week I’ll be attending Bookexpo America in Chicago. I’m very excited for the chance to interact with people who enjoy books as much as I do, get lots of books, see Chicago, and experience this thing people living in temperate climates refer to as “spring.” (I live in the sub-tropics. This is technically in the temperate zone, but it’s just not the same.)

February 2016 Wrap-Up

book signing books
Books I got signed at the book signing I went to this month. Note: the ARC in the image was acquired indirectly from someone who had received it from BEA, but gifted it to me when she learned about the signing. 

I read significantly less in February than I have in the last few months, but I’m okay with that. February was a much busier month for me, and I still managed to read some great books. I also managed to go to a book signing where I met Melissa Landers, Carey Corp, and Lorie Langdon. I rarely get a chance to go to book signings, so that was exciting.

Reading

25551332Short Synopsis: An anthology of short stories set in the Unwind universe.

Thoughts: Some of these stories were really good, but others I didn’t really care for. For this reason, I’m not going to give it a rating, but left me wanting more books set in this world.

 

 

 

 

 

18966806Short Synopsis: Final book in the red rising trilogy.

Thoughts: Of the books I read in February this was my favorite. See my full review here.

Rating: five blue jays

15704486Short Synopsis: Final book in Brandon Sanderson’s YA trilogy about superheros.

Thoughts: This was the series that introduced me to Brandon Sanderson’s work, and I am very grateful for that. All the same, I think the second book in this series was the best. The pacing at the end of this book felt very rushed though as a whole this was still a good, fun read.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

20764879Short Synopsis: Second book in a series about traveling between parallel world versions of London.

Thoughts: This was quite addictive, and I read it in an extremely short period of time. The character development was also great.

That said, I felt like the plot didn’t develop much in this book. I was hoping to learn a lot more about a certain parallel world than I got to. Hopefully more will be explained in the sequel.

Rating: 4 blue jays

7932356Short Synopsis: A group of rabbits struggle to survive surrounded by enemies who take the form of everything from foxes, to humans, to rabbits themselves.

Thoughts: Listened to this one in audio book format. My favorite part was the world building surrounding the rabbit’s culture, but I also felt like the world building sometimes went to far and took away from the story. This book probably could have been much shorter, but it was still very interesting to read from rabbits’ point of views.

Rating: 4 blue jays

Blogging

I didn’t blog much in February as what little free time I had went to reading new releases, but I did post two reviews.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 4.5 Stars

Morning Star by Pierce Brown 5 Stars

Writing

I finally started writing again in February. It went pretty slowly, but I did manage to make it past the 25,000 word mark in the story I’m rewriting. This month I’m participating in the twitter challenge #MarWritingChallenge. The official website for which is writingchallenge.org. The goal of which is to write at least 500 words every day in March. I apologize to my twitter followers about the sudden increase in writing tweets, but it’s been really motivating.

October 2015 Wrap-Up

Reading

In October I didn’t have much time to read, so I only read four books. Two were middle grade, one was either middle grade or young adult depending on how you define the audiences, and one was adult. Of those three were fantasy and one was science fiction.

Short Synopsis: Book two in the Magistarium series. To learn more read my review of book one here.

Thoughts: For some reason the plot twist this series centers around is one I can’t seem to get enough of. This book was a lot of fun.

Rating:

 4 blue jays

Short Synopsis: When her underground home is destroyed Eva Nine finds herself surrounded by creatures she hadn’t even known existed.

Thoughts: Read this book thinking it would make a nice comparison title for the writing project I’m working on this November. I was right. The artwork is also stunning.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

Short Synopsis: Fifth book in the Mistborn series, and second book in the Alloy Era of Mistborn. Read my review of the first book of the original trilogy, Mistborn: The Final Empire, here to learn more about Mistborn.

Thoughts: I liked Alloy of Law, but not nearly as much as the original trilogy. I think part of that had to do with the stakes being so much lower. In this book the stakes were raised, and I was much more invested in the story from the beginning onward.

Rating: 

five blue jays

Short Synopsis: When Magnus Chase dies on his sixteenth birthday he discovers his life is far from over.

Thoughts: This book was a lot of fun, but I wasn’t completely blown away.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

Writing

I’m now finished with my rewrite of the first third of my high fantasy work in progress. Part one ended up being exactly 21,461 words long. My target for part one was 20,000 words, and I almost never go over my target length even though I often want to so this is great.

I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month for November and (as it is November while I am writing this post) am working on a middle grade sci-fi project about a twelve-year-old girl who thinks she is a robot.

Blogging

Yes, I am well aware that I am still terribly behind on my tags. I really do appreciate it when people tag me, it’s just hard to find the motivation to write up tag posts sometimes. I’m also terribly behind on my reviews as well. Hopefully I’ll get around to posting more in the next few months.

September 2015 Wrap-Up

Reading

In September I read six books and a novella. Of those one was adult, three were YA, two were arguably either YA or middle grade, and one was definitely middle grade. All but two were fantasy with one being magical realism and the other being sci-fi/dystopian.

Short Synopsis: “The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.”–A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness

Thoughts: If I had known this book was from the perspective of a boy whose mother is dying of cancer I wouldn’t have read it, but even though as a general rule I don’t read books featuring cancer, I’ll admit that this is a well written, amazing quick read. I highly recommend it to people looking for a book along those lines, but do be aware that this book is a very emotional read.

Rating:

five blue jays

Short Synopsis: A thief is offered her freedom in exchange for forging an emperor a new soul.

 Thoughts: I had no idea a novella could be this good. Then again, it was written by Brandon Sanderson, so I’m not all that surprised.

Rating: 

five blue jays

Short Synopsis: Matt must figure out why he is the only intelligent clone in a society where clone’s brains are permanently damaged at birth.

Thoughts: A thought provoking read that deals with many real world issues. It may also be the only book I’ve ever read set in Mexico. I think this would be a great book to read in a book club or classroom setting.

Rating: 

4.5 blue jays

Short Synopsis: Child genius, Sophie, discovers she is an elf.

Thoughts: I think twelve-year-old me would have loved this book, and I’ve already recommended it to an eleven-year-old. As of when I read this, however, I found the first half of the book read a little too much like info-dumping and almost stopped reading, but enjoyed the mystery element of the second half much better.

Rating: 

3.5 blue jays

Short Synopsis: When rithmatist students start disappearing from an elitist school Joel, the non-rithmatist son of a cleaning lady, is determined to learn who is responsible.

Thoughts: Really enjoyed this, though not as much as some of Sanderson’s other works. Part of that is the concept of rithmatists, magicians whose chalk drawings come to life, seems a little ridiculous though Sanderson did a great job developing it. The other reason is it takes a while to get to the action. I would be upset that the sequel won’t be out until 2017, but I want Sanderson’s other books just as much if not more.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

Short Synopsis: The fourth book in the Throne of Glass series.

Thoughts: Definitely enjoyed this one, but I’m having a hard time putting my feelings about it into words.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

Short Synopsis: When Alina discovers she has magical abilities her life changes forever.

Thoughts: Flew through this book, and some of the characters were really well developed. However, there were times when I felt that although I was still very engaged not a lot was happening.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

Writing

I’m still working on revising my high-fantasy work in progress. My goal for October is to have finished with part one, but I’m in college and have midterms in October, so I’m not sure how practical that is.

I’ve decided that I am probably going to participate in NaNoWriMo again this November. There is a new idea I’ve been longing to write so I’ll be taking a break from my revising for the month. The first draft is unlikely to make it to 50K because I’ll be writing a middle grade novel and tend to underwrite. For this reason, my current goal for November is to finish the entire first draft in a month as opposed to the usual 50,000 words/month.

In other news, I’ve printed out about the first fourth of my YA sci-fi work in progress and plan to print out the rest soon. This is the first time I’ve seen any of my novel length works in physical form so I’m ridiculously excited about this. Once I get the whole manuscript printed I’ll probably be carrying it around everywhere with a huge grin on my face like I do when I get my most anticipated book releases of the year.

Blog

This past month I’ve come to have over 50 followers, and this will be my 49th blog post. Thanks everyone who subscribed/ reads my posts!

I know I’m extremely behind on my tags, but I still have every intention of doing the ones I’ve been tagged for.