#MirthMusicMon – Thank you, thank you very much – #mondayblogs

I’m whipping this post up quickly, before I head off on my retreat. I’ve been in a bit of an Elvis mood lately, ever since Edy and I had a private karaoke date night a couple of weeks ago and I found this song amongst the catalogue.

Swoon.

Now for something entirely different. Edy dredged this up. I remember this ad vividly but I hadn’t thought about it in years. It is kinda gross, but also amusing.

That’s it from me. I will see you when I get back on Wednesday.
~ Emily

#WIPpet Wednesday – You look like you’ve seen a ghost – and #WWW Wednesday

wippetwednesdayMy daily writing practice continues to be going well, though today I did have to sneak in an extra five minutes at lunch to get my page written, because I accidentally got chatting about politicians. And I’ve also managed to finally stick my head down and my bottom up with regards to uni work. Which is to say, I managed nearly three solid hours of it last night, and will hopefully do the same tonight.

But for now, it’s WIPpet Wednesday. This is a blog hope wherein writers post excerpts of their WIPs that somehow relate to the date. You are welcome to join in, too, and see what other people have posted here. Today is the 22/7, so I’ve added 2+2+7 and have eleven lines for you. This takes place a little later in the seance, and it’s Madame Dorenia speaking the first line.

“What do you see?”

Grace didn’t reply. Her gaze was fixed on the translucent figure by the door. He was leaning on the door frame, an easy smile on his face as he calmly gazed back at Grace. He was older than she ever saw him. At some point, he had started balding, and there was visible stubble on his chin.

“Hello, Frederick,” Grace said quietly.

“Hello, Grace.”

“Why are you here?”

“Haven’t the slightest, though I imagine you had something to do with it.”

“Me?”

“Your magic flowing through a circle of people all hoping to see a ghost. Seems you’re the only who can, though. They’re all looking at you like you’re mad.”

Awkward.

wwwwednesdaySadly, uni work (or at least, staring at my computer and contemplating uni work) has meant that I haven’t had quite as much time as I would like for reading. In spite of that, here is WWW Wednesday, in which we answer 3 W questions about our reading habits over the past week. This one is hosted by Sam, over at A World of Words.

  • What are you currently reading?

I started Dorothy Must Die this afternoon. I had it from the library a while ago, but got it into my head that it wouldn’t be that great, even though it sounded interesting. I started reading the sample at the bus stop after work, and ended up getting off the bus at the library to see if there was a copy on the shelves. And there was! I’m less that 10 pages in, and I’m already rooting for the main character and wanting her to kick ass.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

I finished A Cold Legacy on the bus this morning. I really loved this series and recommend it. Be warned, though, it is not for the faint-hearted. It is violent, bloody, contains detailed descriptions of medical procedures and lots of people die. But the ending really got me emotional. There were some things that I got a bit confused by (a character can’t take after a character she’s not related to? Even if the taking after is in terms of personality?) but overall it was fantastic.

I also finished The Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 last week. There were definitely some laugh-out-loud lines where I thought, “Yep, that is exactly how a male teenage mind works”, though I still sort of felt he was a bit over the top. My partner has several of the other books in the series, but while I can deal with a teenage character bemoaning the fact that the world doesn’t understand him, I’m not sure I could put up with it from an adult, even if it’s the same character as an adult.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I put a few things on hold at the library yesterday, so I hope they’ll be ready to pick up soon. In case you didn’t see my post on Monday, it’s my birthday this Sunday, so I’m going to spend three days at a health and well-being retreat. Not that I necessarily need it (though things have been stressful lately), but I wanted to treat myself. So I want to have lots of good reading material. I’ve got Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas, For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund and Crewel by Gennifer Albin all to look forward to, but no idea which one I’ll start first. There were a few others that I was keen to get, but they’re currently checked out to other people, so I’ve left them for now.

Cover Reveal: First Choice, Second Chance by Fallon Brown

I’m really excited today to be taking part in Fallon Brown‘s cover reveal for her upcoming release, First Choice, Second Chance. The book is coming out on August 18, but you can pre-order it on Amazon if you like the sound of it. Or, if you don’t have Kindle, you can mark it as to read on GoodReads.

Here’s a quick synopsis:

One wrong choice doesn’t have to lead to another.

Seven years ago, he watched her drive away.

Lila Corelli was the love of Mason Akeley’s life, but she chose a music career and another man over him. He thought it would destroy him, but he’s been scraping by; on the family farm and in life. Now, she’s back in town, and he feels like he’s barely hanging on.

She made a wrong choice.

Lila knows she made a mistake. She thought she had been on the right path; to her career, love, her life. Instead, she never saw the disaster one wrong choice could cause. Now, with everything gone, she returns to her hometown, hoping to find her way to a new path.

Mason’s love for Lila has never died, but he’s afraid to open himself to be hurt again. Lila chose the wrong future once, and she worries she’ll be making another bad choice that will only lead to more destruction. But, if they can untangle their past from their present, they just might be able to find their future together.

Now, the bit you’ve all been waiting for, the cover, designed by Marianne Nowicki.

FirstChoiceSecondChanceSmallerWebUseIsn’t that gorgeous?

Just as an extra teaser, here’s an excerpt as well:

He held up a hand to stop her. “Give me a shot of Jack.” He caught Lila at the edge of his vision. “Actually make it a double.”

Jess hesitated then poured the drink and passed it over to him. He took the first sip and winced at the burn. He wasn’t sure if he would ever get used to it. The whiskey warmed the parts of him that had gone cold with Lila’s arrival. He kept his eyes focused on the wall across the bar as he took the second sip. He still knew the moment she stepped up beside him. He didn’t know if her scent still lived in his memory and he recognized it, or if it went deeper. He didn’t even have to hear her voice. It was in his head, in his dreams, every day and every night. When she ordered a drink, it twisted around his heart again.

His fingers tightened around the glass. He was almost afraid it would shatter right there in his fist. He dragged in some air through his nose, but it only came back out sounded strangled. He started to turn away. He needed to put some space between them. He couldn’t handle having her so close. As soon as he took a step, her hand was on his arm, the muscles in it cording tighter. “Mason.”

He was going to explode, shatter into tiny pieces no one would ever be able to put back together again. He had to get away. He didn’t even respond to her saying his name. He set the glass on the top of the bar. It must have been harder than he planned because a crack sounded when he did it. He didn’t even look back.

“Put it on my tab, Jess. All of it.”

His head pounded. He didn’t think it was the alcohol or the music. It was Lila. It had always been Lila. He pushed out through the door. Then braced his hand against the side of the building and squeezed his eyes shut. The door opened again, and he didn’t even look behind him. Instead he strode across the small parking lot to his truck. She called his name again, but he didn’t stop. He checked his mirror to make sure she wasn’t right behind him, he certainly didn’t hate her that much. She still stood close to the building. She had her arms wrapped around her, and stared after him. His eyes started to burn. Then, he backed out of his parking spot and pulled out of the lot. The gravel spun under his tires, but he didn’t care. He wanted to put distance between them. Before he lost the grip he barely kept on his sanity.

About the author:

Fallon Brown was born and raised in a tiny town in the northwestern corner of Pennsylvania. At one time, she dreamed of having a cabin in the woods or mountains where she could be left alone to write. Instead she spent three years studying psychology before realizing that wasn’t for her. She now lives outside of a slightly larger small town in the same corner of her home state with her husband, two children, dog, and cat. She spends her days interfering in the lives of fictional characters while trying to keep a semblance of a clean house. Often the clean house bit fails.

Follow her:

Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

#ROW80 Check-in 19/07/2015

row80It’s been a bit of an odd week; I had some personal stuff crop up that I wasn’t expecting, and that affected me more than it seemed it would at first. I ended up taking Thursday off work, which threw off my routine a bit, but I still made my daily goals on that day.

  • Write one page in my notebook every day

I did this, and I think it was multiple pages every day except for Thursday and Saturday, when I didn’t realise I hadn’t done any writing until 9:30 at night.

  • Type up stuff in notebook on Sunday afternoons

I just finished! And learned that for all the pages I wrote, it only added about 1500 words to my file. But the regular writing habit is what I’m aiming for this round, and so far I’m doing that.

  • Read for half an hour every day. Keep on track for 52 books in the year.

Haven’t had any reading time today, but have read every other day. And probably for more than half an hour, too, since I read on the bus to work, and then on both my tea breaks. I write on the lunch break, though.

  • Write one book review per week, and queue them up so I don’t miss another post

I started one, but then I lost it. I’ll have to try to write two this week.

  • Spend Tuesday and Thursday nights, and Saturday afternoons working on assignments.

Yesterday was the only day, though I completed another 10% of my winter course work, which takes me up to 30%. There are two work sheets and the final essay to go. However, I realised that second semester starts this week, and the course I am enrolled in has things due while the winter course is still going (curse this overlap!). So I’m going to have to really get motivated this week. If I wasn’t writing this so late, I’d write a to do list for each day in this post, like I was doing in first semester, but I think I’ll leave that for tomorrow.

  • Ride bike to work/walk from work into the city after work at least three days a week.

I did two lots of Zumba this week. And ate enough junk to cancel it all out, to be honest. Still need to find a time on a weekend to get my bike into the shop. The problem is that it won’t fit in the back of my car, so I will have to take it in on the bus.

  • Devise fortnightly meal plans in the couple of nights before pay day.

I did this, though… I got home from uni yesterday to my partner informing me that our fridge had died… thankfully, we had only been to the farmer’s market so far, and the fresh stuff was okay out of the fridge. We did have to run out and buy a new one and pay the extra $10 for Sunday delivery, and then we had to wait for the few hours until we could turn it on, then another few hours before we could put stuff in it, so the rest of the groceries only got done tonight. Foolishly, we thought to measure the width of our old one, but not the depth, so this one sticks out past the edge of the alcove a bit, but hey, it’s a working fridge! We’re just lucky Edy’s tax refund came through when it did, or I would have had to raid my savings, and I wouldn’t have been able to that until tomorrow.

I’m probably going to miss next Sunday’s check-in, unless I do it early. It’s my birthday, so I’m treating myself to a stay at a wellness retreat, where I intend to entirely cut myself off from the outside world for three days. I will be enjoying a facial on one day, a massage on another, bush walks, bike rides, a heated pool, a gym and a silent room with an open fire, where I will be doing lots of reading and writing each evening… I mean… I’ll be working really hard and it’ll be awful and you have no reason to be jealous whatsoever. :P

Anyway, it’s now 9:45, so I should finish this up so I still have some time to read for a while before bed. Until next time!

~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday and #WIPpet Wednesday – July 15, 2015

wwwwednesdayFirst up tonight is WWW Wednesday, a blog hop that asks three W questions about what you’re currently reading. It’s hosted by Sam over at A World of Words.

  • What are you currently reading?

I started reading the Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ because I needed something light between Her Dark Curiosity and A Cold Legacy. I am finding Adrian a little annoying to be honest, but my partner assures me he becomes endearing in his annoying-ness, so I’m willing to keep going. It’s less than 300 pages so I feel like I should just sit down and go through it.

I guess I am also technically reading A Cold Legacy¸ since I did start it immediately and then realise I needed a break from that world after the murder and mayhem at the end of the second book.

  • What did you recently finish?

I finished Her Dark Curiosity (the second in the Madman’s Daughter trilogy) on Monday night. It was just as good as the first, but it is even darker, so as I said, I needed a bit of a break before ploughing further on. I have a feeling the third is darker still.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I’ll finish A Cold Legacy and then I’m not sure what to follow it up with. It’s put me in a very specific mood in regard to books and I don’t really have anything similar on my TBR.

And now on to WIPpet Wednesday, another blog hop where writers come together and share snippets from their writing that somehow relate to the date. This one is hosted by K. L. Schwengelwippetwednesday and the linky is here. Please do join in if you feel so inclined! Today is the 15th, so I’ve added one and five together and have six paragraphs. Last week, Tristan said that the medium, Madame Dorenia, was not the slightest bit genuine, but hilarious nonetheless. Here’s a glimpse as to why.

From invisible speakers, a thunder clap sounded as the door burst open. It was all Grace could do to not laugh at the figure who struck a pose in the doorway.  The woman was probably in her sixties and must have been wearing at last five petticoats to give her skirt as much volume as it had. The skirt itself was a patchwork of shiny fabrics in various colours. The accompanying blouse was a garish hot pink. Grace had once seen a production of the Blythe Spirit when she lived in England, and the so-called medium in front of her reminded her of the Madame Arcati in the play.

Madame Dorenia swayed into the room. One man further down the table snorted at the spectacle and she shot him a glare. He looked down at the table, embarrassed.

Tristan pulled out the chair at the end of the table and Madame Dorenia lowered herself into it with a gracious nod towards him. She placed her hands flat on the table and let her eyes wander slowly from guest to guest, pausing slowly enough to make each of them fidget.

“Do you all believe?” she asked, her voice low and husky. Silence. “I said, do you all believe?”

“Of course we do,” said a woman near Madame Dorenia quickly.

“This is a serious matter,” Madame Dorenia continued. “The spirits will know if one or more amongst us is a non-believer, and they will not waste their time with us. Now, all join hands.” She paused as the guests did as instructed. “Now, close your eyes and empty your minds. Imagine a portal between our world and the next. Imagine it opening up, allowing our friends on the other side safe passage through.”

With any luck, I will actually get around to your blog posts this week, something I have failed at rather dismally in the past couple of weeks. For now, though, I’m going to go and read some more before bed. Laters!

~ Emily

A great start to #ROW80 and some Doctor Who #mirthmusicmon

row80I’ve got to say, I’ve made a really good start to this ROW80 round, and I’ve had a really productive week overall. It’s now Sunday night and I’m feeling pretty proud of myself, actually. Let’s hope it lasts! Ruth Nestvold was talking on her goals post about how they say it takes 21 days to make a habit. That’s what I’m aiming for with this round. Even when I sometimes wanted to just read on my lunch break instead of make sure I did some writing, I did the writing anyway, and I always felt really pleased with the words I was getting down. The only thing I didn’t manage was to visit very many people’s blogs. I’ll try and do better at that this week. Here’s a break down of my goals:

  • Write one page in my notebook every day

I did this! I so did this. I think there was only one day when I only wrote one page, the rest were multiple. And I have actually figured out the ending of the story. Which is a relief, because this is the story that has emerged from my 2014 NaNoWriMo and for the past nine months I’ve had no clue how it was going to end. I also wrote some fairly important scenes. And there’s more to come. This coming week will be good, too.

  • Type up stuff in notebook on Sunday afternoons

Done!

  • Read for half an hour every day. Keep on track for 52 books in the year.

Pretty much. There were a couple of days where I didn’t manage it, but I probably read for more than half an hour on the other days, so it’s even. I’m only just on track for 52 books in the year, though. Someone pass me some graphic novels!

  • Write one book review per week, and queue them up so I don’t miss another post.

I wrote the review for Splintered that went up on Friday.

  • Spend Tuesday and Thursday nights, and Saturday afternoons working on assignments.

I spent Sunday at the library. I’m going to get into the uni work a bit more in earnest starting this week. I’ve completed about 20% of my coursework so far.

  • Ride bike to work/walk from work into the city after work at least three days a week.

Yeaaaah. See, my bike has a flat tyre which I need to get fixed, and I was finishing work quite late, and it was usually dark by the time I got out, so I skipped the walking, too. I did do a zumba session at home on Thursday morning, though. That counts for something, right?

  • Devise fortnightly meal plans in the couple of nights before pay day.

music_mirthThis Wednesday is the first pay day since the round started, so I’ll be doing this over the next couple of days. It’s also time for Mirth and Music Monday. Today’s is rather Doctor Who-themed, because I came across the classic clip of David Tennant in drag, so I apologise to those who don’t understand a word of it. Mirth first, then music.

Our Mirth and Music Monday linky is here. Please come and join the fun! To learn more about ROW80 (“the writing challenge that knows you have a life”), visit the blog. I’m heading off now, I’ll see you soon! ~ Emily

Book Review: Splintered by A. G. Howard

Title: Splintered (Splintered #1)
Author: A. G. Howard
Genre: Fantasy/fairytale adaptation
Date Read: 17/06/2015 – 21/06/2015
Rating: ★★

Review:

splinteredcover Look at that cover. I had really high hopes for this book, pretty much based on the cover alone. Alas, it was not to be.

In Splintered we meet Alyssa, the descendent of Alice Liddell, the namesake of the titular character in Alice in Wonderland. Her female ancestors have always been cursed, hearing insects talk and other weirdness. Eventually, Alyssa finds out that the Wonderland in the stories is real, that she is the only one who can save it, and most importantly, that her childhood friend, Morpheus, who visited her in her dreams when she was young, is really sexy but less than trustworthy.

I’ll get my ranting out of the way first. Though I only mentioned Morpheus above, there is actually a love triangle, with Alyssa’s best friend’s brother, Jeb, as the other point. Jeb was awful. He was controlling and over-protective, and it drove me crazy. He wouldn’t let Alyssa make any of her own decisions, even though she was the one who actually had latent memories of Wonderland and of the two of them, was going to be capable of getting them home alive.

Morpheus, on the other hand, while definitely morally ambiguous, at least had faith in Alyssa and her abilities. He always let her choose. Even when it often turned out that he was on his own side more than Alyssa’s or Wonderland’s as a whole, he was still preferable as a love interest.

Alyssa as a character was okay. I got the sense the author was trying to make her “quirky” and “alternative” with dreadlocks and a skateboard and that sort of thing, but she still felt pretty bland. She spent a fair bit of time swooning over either of her two guys, though when she was with Morpheus, she did at least want to take charge a bit more.

The world-building itself was pretty good; I’ve read a few Wonderland adaptations before and this one took things in different directions, which I did appreciate, even if I wasn’t entirely I liked the direction. It was definitely a much creepier Wonderland than usual, and some of that I got really into, while there were other parts that made me go, “… really?”

Overall, I felt this book could have been really great, but suffered from objectionable or boring characters. I read a few reviews of the second one because a small part of me was interested in continuing the story, but based on a few things I read, I decided not to. I think it would just make me crankier.