Sunday Summary – July 24, 2016

sundaybanner

This week in writing

I only wrote about 1000 words this week. I’ve started a new position at work, and while I finally feel like I’m getting my head around it, it has completely exhausted me. Getting up each morning was hard, and in the evenings, I just hung about, reading.

I did, however, realise that my Camp NaNoWriMo project would work far better if my main character was a governess to her boss’ children, rather than just a maid in his household. Gives them a bit more of an excuse to be intereacting a lot. So that’s something I’ll have to work on. August is going to be revision month.

This week in reading

I’ve already finished two books this week. I’m currently trying to whittle down the number of unread books on my Kindle. There are actually far fewer than I thought, which is good!

This week in blogging

I got around to the mmajority of blogs I was supposed to. Yay! I think there are a couple of WIPpet Wednesday posts I still need to get to, which I’ll try to do tomorrow. I also posted two book reviews and scheduled two for this week.

This week in health and fitness

See “This week in writing”. The same applied to exercise. And my eating habits were not the best. I am hoping that the rain we’ve had for the past several days is going to clear up soon. I got my bike serviced a couple of weeks ago, so as soon as the weather is better, I hope to start riding to work again, which will definitely help with my fitness goals.

Other highlights this week

It’s my birthday on Tuesday, so yesterday my friends and I did a Build-a-Bear workshop. Here is me with Jordan, my “rainbow cuddle bear”. She’s coming to work with me tomorrow.

IMG_20160723_154607

Here’s all of us at the shop, with some bears more visible than others:

20160723_135740

That’s it for this week! See you all soon!

~ Emily

Save

Save

“I taught you everything you know, but not everything I know.” // Review of “Blood of My Blood” by Barry Lyga

Title: Blood of My Blood (Jasper Dent #3)
Author: Barry Lyga
Genre: YA/Psychological thriller
Date Read: 09/07/2016 – 10/07/2016
Rating: ★★★

Review:

Hmm. Well, that was a bit disappointing. After such a strong series opener and a really good follow-up, I felt that this book was a bit of a mess. Maybe it’s just that I’m terrible at keeping track of details, but there seemed to be so much going on, and so many POVs, that I ended up lost. It’s never a good sign when you’re glancing down at the page numbers to see how many you’ve got to go, but that started happening with this book.

Jazz is on the run in New York City, suspected of at least two murders and a myriad of other crimes. Meanwhile, Connie and Howie are also both in danger, but both of them realise they will still do whatever it takes to protect Jazz. Eventually, everything converges on Lobo’s Nod again, where a final showdown is about to commence.

This book made a return to the first book’s tendency to focus on Jazz’s angst regarding his upbringing, and whether he might be a serial killer in waiting. While it’s completely logical that Jazz would wonder this, even obsess over it, it gets repetitive for the reader, especially when these thought processes have no evolution or resolution and don’t lead anywhere. Not only this, we also had Connie and Howie going through similar periods of angst. And it took a long time to get to a point in the book where these characters were doing constructive things, rather than just lying in hospital  or in Jazz’s case, road-tripping home.

On top of this, we had scenes from the POV of not only Jazz but Connie, Howie, Detective Hughes of the NYPD, Sherrif Tanner, and a couple of serial killers at times. It felt very busy, maybe even an attempt to make it appear more was going on than what actually was. On top of this was the strange backstory to Billy Dent’s career, and his position within an established serial killer pecking order. It didn’t make a huge amount of sense to me, and it didn’t help that by this point in the series, Billy Dent was starting to become something of a comical villain, rather than the chilling voice in Jazz’s head he started out as.

While I have read series closers that were more disappointing than this one (coughTheRavenKingcough), there is still that “…heh” feeling at the end. Despite that, though, I still recommend this series if you have the stomach for it. Even if this final novel isn’t quite as good, you are still in for a good ride!


Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Save

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 13 July, 2016

Hey guys. Just letting you know that except in a couple of cases, due to blogging technology being against me, I am having trouble commenting on posts on non-Wordpress blogs. I am not ignoring you, I just can’t get them to post!😦

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

  • What are you currently reading?

wonderwomencoverI am back to reading Wonder Women by Sam Maggs. I’m still really appreciating learning about all these awesome women who history has forgotten, but I am still a little irked by the Tumblr-esque writing style. It’s fine if I’m on Tumblr, but I’m trying to read a book. I should finish this over the next few days and hopefully have a review up on Monday.

Also just started the audio book of Paper Daisies by Kim Kelly. Early days yet, and while there are a couple of things already irking me about the writing style, I think they might stop once the story really gets going, so I’m continuing for now.

  • What have you recently finished reading?

Nothing,  unfortunately, apart from DNFing The Secret River by Kate Grenville. I was disappointed because I loved her other book, The Lieutenant, but this one was just so dull!

I did, however, post reviews both for All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry Lyga. Click the links to read them.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

islasinheritanceI’ve decided to start trying to whittle away at the unread stuff on my Kindle, and I plan to start with Isla’s Inheritance, the first in a series by local author Cassandra Page. My aim is to try to get through one or two Kindle books a month, along with everything else. I’m also trying to nut out how to approach my reading challenges in the second half of the year, so I have a few other things on my immediate radar for that.
wednesdaybanner

And now for WIPpet Wednesday. This is another blog hop in which writers share excerpts from their current WIP that somehow relate to the date. Clicking the blue guy on the right will take you to the linkup for this one. I’m still sharing from my July Camp NaNo project. The night before, Frederick Merrow had been showing Grace some of his magic, which led to Grace being awake all night thinking about it, and being unfit for work the next morning. Seven paragraphs for the seventh month.

“It’s Frederick,” the voice outside replied, startling Grace into leaping out of bed. “I heard you were unwell. Is there anything I can do to help?”

Grace opened the door. She must have still looked exhausted because he took a step back to take her all in and then said, “I hope I am not to blame for your current state.”

“I couldn’t sleep last night,” she said. “I kept thinking about everything you showed me. So I suppose it is your fault in a way.”

Frederick barked out a laugh.

“Sir, surely you shouldn’t be down here.”

Frederick shrugged. “Why ever not? This is my house, isn’t it? I can go where I please.”

“Yes, but… going to the bedroom of one of your female servants. What would people think?”

That’s it from me, see you on your blogs!

~ Emily

Save

“Jazz felt as though his own life was a minefield, one he’d lost the map for.” // Review of “Game” by Barry Lyga

Title: Game (Jasper Dent #2)
Author: Barry Lyga
Genre: YA/Thriller
Date Read: 07/07/2016 – 09/07/2016
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

gamecoverWhile this instalment in the series took a bit longer to get going than the first book, I still found the it to have a high chill-factor that made me want to speed through the pages.

After the events of I Hunt Killers, Jazz is summoned to New York to consult with the NYPD on a serial killer case there. While he still has concerns stemming from the aftermath of the Impressionist case, he and Connie go along anyway, and soon Jazz finds himself closely linked to the murders in NYC.

This book benefits from spending less time in Jazz’s head. I found the first book started getting a bit repetitive with all of Jazz’s “Will I, won’t I?” about becoming a serial killer like his father. However, it did take a while to get going, as the set-up of Jazz’s visit to NYC and the establishment of how the Hat-Dog murderer was working took some time to cover. This book also spent more time in other POVs, which I felt slowed down the pace a bit, even though in most cases it did need to be done to continue advancing the plot. There is also the fact that you do have to suspend a fair bit of disbelief about the NYPD taking on a 17-year-old as a consultant, but I am pretty good at suspension of disbelief, so I was able to get around that.

I did like the revelation of the titular “game”and how it fitted into everything. It was particularly gruesome, but also rather clever, in a macabre sort of way. However, the revelation that formed the book’s cliffhanger did not come as the slightest surprise to me, as there had been so much effort spent throughout the book to make me think the opposite was true that I couldn’t help but assume this revelation to be the case.

Still, the first book set a huge standard, and this a good follow-up, even if it doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor.


Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Sunday Summary – July 17, 2016

sundaybanner

This week in writing

Despite being sick all this week (nothing serious, just a cold I couldn’t shake), I still managed to write 7568 words, and hit my Camp NaNoWriMo target of 15k only two days behind schedule (as uni goes back tomorrow, my plan was to reach 15k in 15 days, then let study take over). I’m going to continue to try writing each morning and see how I go. It’d be nice to hit 20k for the month.

This week in reading

I’m currently reading The Secret River by Kate Grenville but it’s slow going. I’m hoping to knock over a chunk of it on the daily commute this week.

This week in blogging

Being sick did at least give me plenty of time to respond to all comments on my most recent posts, and visit all the WIPpeteers and WWW Wednesday participants.

This week in health and fitness

My FitBit tells me I managed four days of “exercise” this week, but they were all very short bouts and were achieved quite accidentally (eg. walking around the supermarket). Mostly I was just eating whatever I wanted and lying about feeling sorry for myself. And blowing my nose an awful lot. It was pretty gross, to be honest.

Other highlights this week

 

I did see both the new Ghostbusters movie and Disney’s Zootopia. Two movies showing women succeeding in traditionally male-dominated fields made me very happy. :DI liked them both, though Zootopia wins out as my favourite.

Uni starts back tomorrow, so I will start including study goals in my Sunday posts as well. And make my weeks a bit more goal-oriented. As I haven’t had a huge amount to work on during mid-semester break, it’s been easy to just list what I’ve done instead.

That’s all for now.

~ Emily

Save

Save

“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”// Review of “All The Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr

Title: All The Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Genre: Historical fiction
Date Read: 26/06/2016 – 06/07/2016
Rating: ★★

Review:

I said when I first started reading this book that the crossover between Pulitzer Prize winning books and books that I enjoy is pretty much zero. There’s a reason for that. While I enjoy well-written books, books that win these sorts of prizes tend to be crafted in such a way that leaves me unsatisfied, even if I can appreciate the intricate work that went into making them. I did push through to the end of this one, but it did have that same effect.

All The Light We Cannot See is set during WW2 and focuses on two stories that of Marie-Laure LeBlanc, the blind daughter of the locksmith at the Natural History Museum in Paris, and Werner Pfennig, Marie-Laure and her father escape Paris to live with her Uncle Etienne, as her father is carrying a huge secret, and Walter, a boy with a knack for electronics, is recruited into the German army to detect enemy radio transmissions. As the war goes on, their stories gradually converge.

Walter and Marie-Laure both had the makings of interesting characters, but as I said earlier, the book is written in such a way that screams “I took a day to craft each sentence perfectly” and that distracted from the characters to me. Characters are the most important part of a story to me, so if I can’t connect to them, it doesn’t matter how amazing the plot is, I won’t have as much interest.

And that is the other thing… there isn’t a huge amount of plot here. While I do find it incredible the kinds of things regular people did to survive during the Second World War, so much of this book was just filled with people doing mundane, every day stuff, trying to get on with their lives when the world was falling to pieces around them. I felt I was getting both Marie and Werner’s entire life stories, when events that happened to them years before the main story could really have been summed up in a few sentences rather than across several chapters.

I know that there are people to whom this sort of high literature with clever language appeals, and more power to them. I am not one of those. However, I am sure that for serious historical fiction fans, it is one that should be picked up at some point.


Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 13 July, 2016

Edit: Hey guys. Just letting you know that except in a couple of cases, due to blogging technology being against me, I am having trouble commenting on posts on non-Wordpress blogs. I am not ignoring you, I just can’t get them to post!😦

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

  • What are you currently reading?

secretrivercoverI will finally start The Secret River by Kate Grenville at some point today. I did listen to maybe the first quarter of it on audio earlier in the year, but I realised it was one that I would get through faster by reading the print version. I’ve actually had this out from the library for over a month, but I kept finding other things I wanted to read first.

  • What have you recently finished reading?

gamecoverI’ve had a much better reading week this past week than the last couple. I finished the Jasper Dent series, reading both Game and Blood of My Blood. I thought Game was a good follow-up to I Hunt Killers, though I did think the story got a bit messy in Blood of My Blood.

verygoodlivescoverI also read Very Good Lives by J. K. Rowling, which is actually just a transcript of the 2008 Commencement speech she gave at Harvard University, but I really loved it, despite the annoying illustrations on every second page. (I also looked it up on YouTube, it was lovely watching her deliver it as well).

I ended up DNFing White Cat by Holly Black. I just wasn’t interested, and Jesse Eisenberg wasn’t the most riveting narrator.

Reviews of two memoirs, The Fictional Woman by Tara Moss, and Catch Me If You Can by Frank Abagnale Jr. went up this week.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

No idea! The Secret River is the last library book I have out at the moment, and I will probably try to get through a few books that I own before I start requesting again. Also, next Monday heralds both the start of the new university semester AND the first rehearsal for a musical I hadn’t intended to audition to, except then I did, and I ended up with a role… so reading might slow for a few months at that point…

wednesdaybannerAnd now for WIPpet Wednesday. This is another blog hop in which writers share excerpts from their current WIP that somehow relate to the date. Clicking the blue guy on the right will take you to the linkup for this one. In this scene, Grace is on her afternoon off, sitting out in the fields with her shoes and stockings off (scandal!) and is about to get caught in a summer storm that has come over very suddenly, when she meets the master of the house, about whom she has heard all sorts of rumours, but who has proved rather elusive up until now. Thirteen lines for the thirteenth of the month.

“Nice day for it!” he called to her. She blushed,  and didn’t reply. To her horror, she realised that he was making his way over to her. She looked down and concentrated on getting her boots done up.  She felt the first splashes of rain on her head, it was going to come on thick and fast any moment.

“Here, allow me,” Mr Merrow said, and Grace’s heart nearly leapt out of her chest in shock as her boot laces started lacing themselves, far faster than her panicked fingers had been managing. She glanced up at Mr Merrow,  and he nodded towards her second boot. She slipped it on, and the laces once again did themselves up under Mr Merrow’s gaze.

“I can trust you to keep a secret, can’t I, Miss…?”

“Kent,” Grace said, looking up from her shoes.  ”Grace Kent.”

“Well, Grace, we’d best be getting up to the house before we’re soaked,” he said. He held out his hand to Grace,. She took it, and he pulled her to her feet. “I can’t control the weather,  though I might be able to keep us a little drier than the rain would like us to be.”

Just how he plans to do that is a WIPpet for another day. (Any typos in the above excerpt are to be blamed on auto-correct, as I was typing that scene on my tablet at a writing group meet-up. Having said that, I think I caught them all).

That’s it from me, see you on your blogs!

~ Emily

Save