#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 15 February, 2017

wednesdaybanner

I thought I might mix it up this week and put WIPpet Wednesday at the top of my post. I knoooow. I live on the edge like that.

WIPpet Wednesday is a weekly blog hop hosted by yours truly. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up. It’s the 15th, so I’m sharing six paragraphs. Clara is testing out her newly-developed telepathic and teleport-y powers to create a distraction.

I didn’t quite make it around to all of you last week, but I will try to do better this week! (I seem to say that a lot.)

~*~

Max? she thought. Jana? Can you hear me?

She sent the same thought out several times in a row. She had no way of knowing whether or not they had heard her, but she kept her mind trained on thoughts of them, open to a response. When there had been no voices inside her head for a while, she tried again, and with relief, heard Max’s voice in reply.

Clara? Where are you?

I’m a block away, she replied. I’m getting the hang of this ability. I’m going to appear with you guys again in a moment, and pretend I’m giving myself up and going with them. That will give you and Jana a chance to get away. Go back to the park and meet me by the sculpture.

Okay, Max’s voice replied inside her head. Be careful.

I will.

~*~

She then proceeds to be pretty kickass if I do say so myself.

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

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

chooseautobiocovverI read Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris over the weekend. As you can tell from the title, it is in choose your own adventure form, though after a while I was ending up faced with a choice between three paths I’d already read. At that point, I just started going through from beginning to end and reading the pages I hadn’t read yet. It was cute and fun and not especially memorable, but it was interesting hearing some behind-the-scenes stories about the performances I’ve really enjoyed him in.

themesmeristcoverI also finished The Mesmerist by Ronald L. Smith. This improved a bit in the last 25%, but I was underwhelmed. I do think 10-12-year-old me would have enjoyed it, so it’s probably a bit of a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”.  This was an ARC and the official release was last week, so I hope to have the review up this Friday.

I also posted my review of Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. Click the title to read it.

What are you currently reading?

traitortothethronecoverI’m finally getting through Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton. I think I was not in the mood for it when I started it, and I missed some vital information, which left me confused, but now that I’ve figured out the info I missed, and am also getting into the action, I’m really enjoying it more than the first book! I know a lot of people have been disappointed by the lack of Jin in this one, but I’m actually appreciating that it is really Amani’s story, and not Amani+Jin’s story. Also Rahim for Sultan, y/n?

scarletlettercoverI’m also listening to The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne on audio. My plan is to use Overdrive to get through a few classics I’ve never read before, though to be honest, I’m probably not devoting my full attention to it. I do admire Hester Prynne, though. But apart from often staring at the letter, everyone seems to treat her pretty much as normal? Which seems odd?

What do you think you’ll read next?

fearlesstravelersguidecoverI think probably The Fearless Traveler’s Guide to Wicked Places by Peter Begler. I can aspire to have one ARC review up before the book’s release date, at least! It’s another middle-grade one like The Mesmerist, but it’s got some really good reviews so far so I’m hoping I like it. I also have a couple of library books out that I want to get to soon.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 08 February, 2017

Guys, guys! Did you see that GoodReads has finally added a re-read feature? There are no words for how excited I am! They are rolling it out gradually but it is already showing up for my account. I don’t even reread much, but it’s good to know I can now revisit a series before the new installment is released, for example, and still have it count towards my yearly reading challenge. I am a slave to the GoodReads Reading Challenge.

Anyway.

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

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

thereptileroomcoverI finishedThe Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket, book 2 in the Series of Unfortunate Events. It wasn’t quite as good as the first, but I still want to keep going and get into all the mystery stuff that I remember from the later books.

I also finished Beauty Queens by Libba Bray just this beautyqueenscoverevening, and it was my first five star read of the year! 😀 The audio book is incredible and if you have the time to commit to 14 hours of it, I really recommend it. I ended up downloading the ebook and splitting my time between the two because I was only four hours into it and it was due back tomorrow.

I only posted on review this week, of Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan. Click here to read it.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve been flitting between things over the past week, so I’ve got a couple of things on the go at the moment.

traitortothethronecoverI started the ARC of Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton, with the hopes of finishing it in time for the release date last Thursday, but that came and went and I’m still going. I was having trouble reading off my tablet over the weekend because my eyes were aching, so that put a bit of a dent in my reading plans.

themesmeristcoverI also started The Mesmerist by Ronald L. Smith, another ARC (the book was released yesterday). It’s cute so far but some of the writing feels a bit clunky. Still, it’s fairly short, so I should get through it fairly quickly.

What do you think you’ll read next?

heartofbrasscoverWell, there’s Heart of Brass by Felicity Banks, which I have on hold and really should pick up again. There’s also The Fearless Traveler’s Guide to Wicked Places by Peter Begler, which I would like to try to review sometime around the release date of March 1. I probably should also review The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias before too long.

adverbscoverNot to mention Adverbs by Daniel Handler and Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris are both waiting for me to pick them up from the library tomorrow. Oh, and I still havethe four books of the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carringer on loan from a colleague, and another colleague today brought me in the rest of the Series of Unfortunate Events books.

So, um, yeah. It’ll be one of those, I guess.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wednesdaybanner
The
other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

Before I go any further, I wanted to announce that I have finally settled on a new title for the story-that-was-until-last-Thursday-known-as Operation: Sugarplum. This WIP is now known as With Memories and Magic, which is way more fitting now that the plot has completely diverged from its original form as a retelling of The Nutcracker.

My maths is easy this week: two paragraphs for the second month. This actually follows on from the WIPpet I shared a few weeks ago. Max has now arrived and is confronting the people pursuing Clara. He’s also brought back-up.

“I see you have two traitors with you.”

“You mean Derek and Ivo?” Max motioned to each man as he spoke his name. “They’re not the ones trying to persuade the Queen to return home so she can be enslaved by a dictator.”

Boy has a point.

I’m on the downhill run with the first draft of With Memories and Magic, and my subconscious has decided to go and get all antsy about it. I’m not getting down anywhere near the number of words I was each night a couple of weeks ago, and I’m far more angsty about the words I am getting down. I’m still hoping to finish this draft by the end of February, though. Cross your fingers for me!

I’ve been continuing with Fictional Flashback February. I’m hoping to write a few more little stories to go with my pictures like I did on the first few days, but some days it has just been easier to do one sentence with an image.

That’s it from me this week. I’m off to do my nightly writing and beta readings, and I’ll catch you all soon.

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 01 February, 2017

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

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

unspokenlynburncoverI finished Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan, which at first I thought was going to be my first 5* read for the year. But then as I went on, my feelings became a bit more mixed. It started off with tropes and characters I really liked, but then it veered off not necessarily bad things, but things I am less fond of and less likely to flail and squee over. Review will be along soon.

Idarkunwindingcover also finished The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron. It’s definitely not a standalone and I do want to read the second book, but I am going to have to buy the ebook, as neither my public library nor digital library has it. So it will wait for a bit. My review went up on Monday and you can read it here.

I also posted my review of The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co.) here this week.

What are you currently reading?

traitortothethronecoverI was approved for an ARC of Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton, which is released later this week. I’m hoping to finish it in time to get a review up on Friday, though if I need to leave it until Monday, that’s okay. It took a little while but I’m getting into it now.

beautyqueenscoverI also started listening to Beauty Queens by Libba Bray on audio. I went looking for one of her other books, and found this one. It’s a very black YA comedy. I’m enjoying it so far. And she is a great audio performer as well.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I actually posted a February TBR post yesterday, as I’ve got quite a few to choose from. I already have The Reptile Room (Series of Unfortuate Events #2) and Untold from the library, and I have two other pending ARCs to read as well.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wednesdaybanner


The
other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up. I’ve got three paragraphs today, for 01/02. Max has been reunited with some of his Aligarian Mage colleagues, but Clara is missing, and they’ve just told him that some of the Mages not loyal to Clara are also hunting for her here. Reminder that Clara has an entirely different set of memories at the moment.

Max felt his stomach knot up. “We need to get back to my Aunt. Clara – the Queen – has run off somewhere. Just now. I didn’t think she was that far ahead of me, but there’s no trace of her.”

“You’re that familiar with her?” Derek asked. “Calling her by her name like that?”

“She’s not the Queen here,” Max reminded them. “And she has no concept of being a Queen, either. We’re just her friends here.”

If anyone is interested, I’ve decided to participate in Faith Rivens‘ February challenge, Fictional Flashback February. My first post is here, introducing Clara in more detail.

That’s it from me this week. Toodles!

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 25 January, 2017

Oh, look, it’s, um… Thursday. In this part of the word. However, it’s only 8am on Thursday here, which means it’s still Wednesday in pretty much every part of the world where this blog has readers. I did have plans of writing this post last night before bed, except then I fell asleep on the couch. Oops.

Anyway. Let’s just pretend it’s still Wednesday and start off with WWW Wednesday, hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

Jcreepingshadowcoverust one finished this week – The Creeping Shadow, which is book 4 in the Lockwood and Co. series by Jonathan Stroud. I actually ended up being a bit disappointed in it, but it’s the 7th Stroud book I’ve read and the first one to let me down, so I can’t really complain. My review will be up on Friday.

I posted reviews for Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket this week. Click the titles to read them.

What are you currently reading?

darkunwindingcoverI’ve got about two hours left on the audio of The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron. This is a very character-driven book but I’ve ended up really enjoying it. And at risk of sounding like a teenager on Tumblr, pretty sure I found my first book boyfriend of 2017 in Lane Moreau.

unspokenlynburncoverI started Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan yesterday. It is the first in the Lynburn Legacy series. I wasn’t supposed to be getting anything else from the library but I’ve had this on  my TBR forever and when I saw it on the shelf I figured why not.

What do you think you’ll read next?

heartofbrasscoverI don’t know why I keep answering this question, since I have not once this year gone on to actually read the book I’ve mentioned under this heading. I think I will probably return to Heart of Brass by Felicity Hall, which is sitting on my currently reading shelf with only 60-odd pages read. I also have no idea what audio I’ll pick up; I will have to go on a hunt for one.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wednesdaybanner
The
other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

In this scene, Clara’s been chased down the street and grabbed by some strangers in purple robes. She’s stopped struggling because they seem willing to tell her some things about herself that her so-called friends so far have not, but she’s still not entirely buying it. Also, quick reminder because it’s been a while since he showed up in a WIPpet, General Bauer is the bad guy. He’s not really worried about her. Seven paragraphs beacuse 2+5 =  7.

She stopped struggling against her pursuer’s grip. Seeing that she was following his instructions, the man lowered his hand from Clara’s mouth. Three other figures stepped into Clara’s line of sight. They were all wearing dark purple robes and looked like they must be melting. Even after dark, the heat was still oppressive.

“Your Majesty,” said one of them, a woman. “General Bauer has been extremely worried about you these past six months. Come back to Thelidon with us. He looks forward to doing great things for the Kingdom, with you by his side.”

Clara bit her lip. “Look, um, it’s not that I don’t believe you about this, okay? Because some weird stuff has been happening to me lately, and at this point I’m willing to believe I’m the Queen of some far off country I’ve never heard of. But you’re going to have to explain things to me very slowly, because I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

The three people in front of Clara glanced at each other, as well as at the fourth person over her shoulder.

“You don’t remember Thelidon at all?” asked another woman.

Clara racked her brain. There was something about that word. And the robes these four were wearing. It was like a scrap of memory waving in the wind at the back of her mind, but when she tried to reach out to it, it was gone. She shook her head.

“Sorry.”

That’s it from me this week. As I’m late to the party now, and also since it’s a public holiday so I can spend my morning doing what I want, I shall visit your blogs straight away. Toodles!
~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 18 January, 2017

It’s time for WWW Wednesday, 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 have you recently finished reading?

rebirthofrapunzelcoverI finished The Rebirth of Rapunzel: A Mythic Biography of the Maiden in the Tower by Kate Forsyth. I found her research quite interesting, though the articles in the third section got a bit repetitive. More info in my review.

badbeginningcoverOn Monday night, I read The Bad Beginning, the first in the Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. When I read the first half of this series back at age twelve or so, I did not realise just how dark the book is! Proper, full-blown child abuse by page 30 or so! But it’s written in such a black comedy, deadpan kind of way that he gets away with it. I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t like it as an adult, but that fear was not necessary! I actually gave it five stars at first, but one I’d had a bit of time to consider, changed my rating to four.

Incidentally, the reason I’m finally reading this series again is because of the Netflix series, which so far I am really enjoying (I’ve only watched te first two episodes so far), though it is something that risks getting repetitive quickly.

My review for The Mother of Dreams edited by Majoto Ueda also finally got posted.

What are you currently reading?

creepingshadowcoverCurrently mostly invested in The Creeping Shadow, which is book 4 in the Lockwood and Co. series by Jonathan Stroud. So far it is not disappointing me. Stroud rarely does.

Aheartofbrasscoverlso technically reading Heart of Brass by Felicity Hall. I attended the book launch during the Canberra Writers’ Festival last year and it was a lot of fun, so I was hoping I would enjoy the book, too, but it’s taking me a while to get into at the moment.

darkunwindingcoverLast but not least is The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron, which I found on audio this morning, and then discovered I actually already had on my TBR. It sells itself as steampunk, but the reviews say that it’s more like straight historical fiction. Since I have a love-hate relationship with steampunk, that actually suits me just fine. I’m about an hour and a half into it at the moment, and will hopefully get a chunk listened to tomorrow on my day off.

What do you think you’ll read next?

For the third week running, I’m answering this question with The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias. I probably will actually get to it this time! Though a colleague did just today bring entire Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carringer for me so…

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wednesdaybannerThe other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

I haven’t written much over the past week, as first I was preparing for my mother to visit, then she was here, then I found myself feeling stuck once she left, so I got around the stuckness by brainstorming and subsequently planning the contemporary Wizard of Oz plot bunny I mentioned last week. Maybe next week I’ll be sharing something from that with you.  With that in mind, I just have a single paragraph for you. This is from Max’s POV, and you’ll hopefully be able to work out the context.

“Clara?” he called out. The path ahead looked deserted, but he was sure she had come this way. The music from the carols service was still quite loud, so  he kept moving, keeping an eye out for any movement up ahead. He started feeling nervous. As he continued to walk, the music faded, until the nighttime surroundings took on an eerie quality. He jumped as a bush rustled, only for a stray cat to fly out from the foliage and streak past him.

That’s it from me this week. I have the day off work tomorrow so I’ll be catching your posts first thing. See you then!

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 11 January, 2017

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is 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 have you recently finished reading?

I finished reading The Nnaturalwayofthingscoveratural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood, and I liked it, but it was a bit too open-ended for me to really love it. My review is here.

I then finished The Diary of a Young Girl (the Definitive Edition) by Anne Frank. It’s funny, you see all the really profound quotes everywhere that it annefrankcovertook me by surprise at first to realise she really was just like any other teenager in a lot of ways. This edition was printed in such a way that her final entry finished on the last line of a page, and when I turned it, all that was written on the next page was “Anne’s diary ends here”. I knew I was close to finishing, but that felt like a bit of a punch in the gut.

I also posted my review of Stars Above by Marissa Meyer this week. You can find it here.

What are you currently reading?

rebirthofrapunzelcoverCurrently reading The Rebirth of Rapunzel: A Mythic Biography of the Maiden in the Tower by Kate Forsyth. This is the academic component of Forsyth’s doctoral research; her novel Bitter Greens, which I reviewed a bit over a year ago, was the fiction component. I had known about this research, but didn’t realise until now that it had been published in full last year. I’ve now got a couple of other Rapunzel retellings on my TBR that I really want to read!

What do you think you’ll read next?

I probably should read The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias, since I received a copy of it from NetGalley. I think I will actually enjoy it once I start it, but I’m really enjoying reading physical books at the moment, and don’t really feel like an ebook?

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wednesdaybanner
The
other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

This scene takes place not long after last week’s. Clara ended up losing her job over the incident where it seemed she had thrown a box of Christmas lights at a customer, so she has gone home early, forgetting that she was supposed to meet Max after work. He’s now home and asking her what happened today. They’ve been discussing her developing powers and she’s starting to put two and two together about him and his aunt. 17 lines for 2017.

“I hurt someone today. He upset me and I hit him in the head with a box of Christmas lights.” She smiled weakly. “It sounds so stupid. But he thought I threw them at him, and he could sue the shop if he wanted to. Max?”

Max had been listening while watching the water in the kettle start to boil, but when Clara turned her attention on him so fully, he looked up and returned the favour.

“Yes?”

“What’s wrong with me?”

“Nothing’s wrong with you.”

Clara scoffed. “No one else I know is able to move objects with her mind, or make the lights come on and off, or hear the thoughts of everyone around them. You seem to know what’s going on.” She held up a finger as he started to object. “You’ve been way too calm about all these things I can do, and you never seem surprised when I talk about it. It’s like you knew this stuff was all going to happen. Is this why you and Aunt Jana invited me to live with you?”

Indeed it is, Clara. Sort of. It’s kind of complicated. You’ve kind of always lived with them, there was never an invitation but you don’t remember that.

So this thing keeps happening where every now and then I’ll write a moment between Max and Clara that’s totally adorable and I’ll think, “Yep, totally shipping these two”. Except a lot of the time they come across more as friends than anything romantic and I JUST WISH THEY’D DECIDE. I mean, I can work with “Long lost Princess falls for protector while unaware that she’s a Princess and then its awkward later” but I NEED TO KNOW.

Ahem. 

In other news, I found a really awesome plot prompt on the NaNoWriMo forums. It’s a contemporary Wizard of Oz retelling and I really want to write it, but I’m nervous about it. Throw me random encouragement!

I should probably leave this here! I’ll catch you all soon! 🙂

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 04 January, 2017

Hello to those of you who join me each Wednesday for this regular blog hop, and happy new year! I am wishing I was still on holidays, but at the same time, really glad to be finding my routines again. I had just under two weeks off work, but it’s amazing how even that short time can throw you off everything.

On that note, time for the blog hops! The first one is WWW Wednesday, 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 have you recently finished reading?

pyramidscoverI finished a few things over the holidays, though nowhere near as much as I would have liked. First, there was Pyramids by Terry Pratchett. I really enjoyed reading this; I hadn’t visited the Discworld in quite a while and this has made me think I should spend some more time there this year. I have a whole shelf of Pratchett books that I bought off a uni friend who was moving overseas, but I have only read a few of them.

starsabovecoverI spent my whole NYE reading Stars Above by Marissa Meyer, which is the short story collection set in the Lunar Chronicles universe. I have to be honest, I wasn’t actually that fussed. With a couple of exceptions, I didn’t really feel like they added anything to the overall narrative. But as usual with Meyer, it was really easy to read and I powered through it very quickly.

motherofdreamscoverAnd today, I finished Mother of Dreams;: Portrayals of Women in Modern Japanese Fiction, edited by Makoto Ueda. As with any short story anthology, I found some of the stories more meaningful than others.  I didn’t realise until I started reading it that it was published in the 1980s, and the stories featured were published over the previous 20-30 years, so some of it felt a bit dated.

Unfortunately, I DNFed Letters to the End of Love by Yvette Walker, which I had planned to make the final book of my 2016 Australian Women Writer’s Challenge. It was just a bit too literary and character-driven for my tastes.

I posted a review of The Two by Will Carver just before Christmas, and my review of Pyramids went up on Monday

What are you currently reading?

naturalwayofthingscoverI should be reading The Diary of Anne Frank, which I’ve had from the library since before Christmas and which is due back next week. But I’m not, I’m about to start The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood, which will be my first Australian Women Writers Challenge book of the year. A few people were discussing it on the AWW Facebook group and I felt I needed an un-put-downable book, so here it is.

What do you think you’ll read next?

annefrankcoverDefinitely need to read Anne Frank next. After that, I have a copy of The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias from  NetGalley (is it still an ARC if the book was released nearly a year ago?) and the few pages I skimmed on my phone the other day were appealing, so I’ll probably continue with that.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wednesdaybannerThe other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

I was having a bit of a freakout about Operation Sugarplum over the last couple of days, but I did some brainstorming and I know where I’m going now. I seem to have developed this method of outlining a bit, then writing that bit, then outlining some more. It works for me!

I wouldn’t usually share so much on a WIPpet post, but today you have 16 paragraphs (17 for the year minus 1 for the month – don’t worry, it’s mostly dialogue) of Clara dealing with a grumpy customer at the shop where she works. He’s trying to return some Christmas lights. Warning for some bad language.

Clara put on her best customer service smile. “What can I do for you?”

“These don’t work. I want a refund.”

“Okay. Do you have your receipt?”

“No. I lost it. But it’s your store brand, so obviously I got them from here.”

Clara grimaced inwardly. This was going to be fun.

“I’m afraid I can’t issue a refund without proof of purchase, sir.”

“It’s got your bloody brand on it. Where else would I have bought it?” He pointed to the store’s logo emblazoned on the box. Clara agreed with him, but there was still nothing she could do.

“I’m sorry, sir, but that’s the store policy. Would you like me to call my manager?” She reached for the phone, sensing that this was going to get beyond the level of customer service she was paid to deliver.

“I don’t want you to call your manager; I just want to get my money back for the shitty product that didn’t work!”

Clara took a step back as the man’s voice rose. He towered over her, his cheeks red, and Clara felt adrenaline spike through her body. She hated it when customers intimidated her. She lifted the phone to her ear to call her manager but saw the man throw up his hands.

“Bloody useless,” she heard him mutter.

She knew he was just venting, and that she shouldn’t take it personally, but she felt anger bubble up in her stomach regardless.

The next thing she knew, the box of Christmas lights was thudding to the floor and the man was swearing at her while rubbing a bruise that was quickly forming on his forehead.

“You little bitch!” he screamed. “Did you throw that at me?”

“No, I…”

Had she? She didn’t remember picking the box up at all. Was this another one of her unexplained abilities?

Oooh! 😉

I’m posting this a bit later than usual, so I shall head off and get my links done and hopefully get to some of your blogs as well. 🙂

~ Emily

The Christmas Book Tag

 Anticipation – The Christmas excitement is real, what book release(s) are you most anticipating.

These are a few upcoming releases that I’ve come across recently and added to my TBR pile.

anticipatedreads

  • Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
    This is a contemporary YA so not my usual fare, but it’s basically Mulan set in the a capella music world and it sounds delightful. Also I have friends who are altos (I’m one of those sopranos who enjoys getting carried away on all the high notes) so I’m hoping I’ll be able to recommend it to those friends.
  • Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
    Love the idea of a geeky scientist girl accidentally becoming Queen after the 21 people in front of her in line for the throne all end up dead. I’ve enjoyed Rhiannon Thomas’ other books, so I think I will definitely enjoy this one.
  • Hunted by Meaghan Spooner
    I have tried reading Meaghan Spooner’s books before and not finished them, but this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling and it’s another stunning cover and so I’m willing to give her writing another shot.
  • Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
    I haven’t read any of this author’s other work but holy moly that cover. Also it’s a sort of Mulan retelling except in Japan (or a Japanese-inspired world. There are samurai).
  • The Dragon’s Price (Transference #1) by Bethany Wiggins
    This is one of those “Princess either marries the prince or gets fed to the dragon and she chooses the dragon” type premises. Basically any dragon book that sounds mildly interested gets on my TBR.

Honourable mention to Release by Patrick Ness which doesn’t have a cover yet but it’s a new YA, so you bet I’ll have it pre-ordered.

 Christmas Songs & Carols – What book or author can you not help but sing its praises.

Patrick Ness! Marissa Meyer! Jonathan Stroud!

 Gingerbread Houses – What book or series has wonderful world building.

golemdjinniThe Djinni and the Golem by Helene Wecker. At first it was a bit slow, but it builds up a beautiful magical version of turn-of-the-century New York City that I fell in love with.

 A Christmas Carol – Favorite classic or one that you want to read.

LOL, A Christmas Carol is actually one of my favourite classics. I’m more into classic plays than books; I love things like Much Ado About Nothing and The Crucible.

 Christmas Sweets – What book would you love to receive for Christmas.

disenchantedcinderellacover
Disenchanted: the Trials of Cinderella (Tyme #2) by Megan Morrison. For some reason this was only released in hardback in October, and an ebook (or even a paperback) doesn’t appear anywhere in sight. I could get it for a reasonable enough price on Book Depository but if someone gave it to me for Christmas, I wouldn’t complain. The first book in the series was so wonderful!

 Candles in the Window – What book gives you that warm fuzzy feeling.

poohcornercover
The House at Pooh Corner
by A. A. Milne. I love the others as well, but I had a copy of this one at my grandmother’s house growing up, so I’ve read this one a lot more than the other three.

 Christmas Trees & Decorations – What are some of your favorite book covers.

favecoverslist
Recently I was raving about the cover of Elenore by Faith Rivens. Stars Above is definitely my favourite of the Lunar Chronicles covers, even if I haven’t read the books yet. Digital versions of The Last Days of Magic and Rebel of the Sands don’t really do the covers justice, because they just don’t give you a sense of just how shiny they are. Ad Cinnamon Girl is just a perfect cover for a near-perfect book.

 Christmas Joy – What are some of your favorite things about Christmas.

The Doctor Who Christmas episode! Lol kidding. Mostly. Actually not really kidding. Loudly singing carols, and throwing in the descants and surprising the people next to me in church (see note about my soprano tendencies in the first question). Also fruit mince pies. And my mum’s Christmas pudding (seriously, no other Christmas pudding has ever lived up to it).

… is this the part where I’m supposed to say spending time with family and all that? Yeeaaah, let’s not go there. 😉

I’m not going to tag anyone, simply wish you a Merry Christmas if you celebrate that, and a Happy Holiday season if not. 🙂 See you next year!

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 14 December, 2016

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 have you recently finished reading?

fairestcoverJust one book completed this week, and that was Fairest by Marissa Meyer. I had mixed feelings about it, as it is a helluva lot darker than the rest of the Lunar Chronicles, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. My review will be up on Friday.

My reviews of Heartless by Marissa Meyer and Eléonore by Faith Rivens went up this week. Click the links to read them.

What are you currently reading?

pyramidscoverI’ve got to be honest, I’ve been barely reading at all over the past week. I’m really tired and in need of the Christmas break, and don’t have the attention span for anything. However, the two books that are on my GoodReads currently reading shelf right now are Letters to the End of Love by Yvette Walker and Pyramids by Terry Pratchett.

My copy of Pyramids was picked up for $2 from a market raising money for an animal shelter, and when I opened it, I discovered an inscription that appears to be from Terry Pratchett himself. I’ve compared it to a few photos of his autograph online and it resembles some more than others, so at some point I’m going to post on the official TP forum and ask.

What do you think you’ll read next?

motherofdreamscoverI’ve still got Mother of Dreams edited by Makoto Ueda and Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank to read to finish my challenges for the year, so it will be one of those. I’m not entirely sure I’m going to get the challenges finished, but I’m going to try!

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wednesdaybannerThe other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

So today’s excerpt is not exactly related to the date but to the fact that this will most likely be my final WIPpet before Christmas. Imagine that you’re from a medieval-verging-on-Renaissance-era fantasy world, and you’ve ended up in today’s modern world. The person you’re protecting has had her memories altered so that she fits into this world (and for other reasons), but you need to remember that you’re protecting her, so you’ve had to keep your regular memories and wing it. This is Max’s situation with Princess Clara right now. Clara dragged him Christmas shopping, and they’re waiting for the bus.

They had waited for Thursday night and late-night shopping so that they could do their errands in the early evening and not have to spend too much time outside. Even so, waiting just a few minutes for the bus was long enough in the hot weather. 

“One day when I’m rich and famous,” Clara remarked, “I’m going to have a chalet in the Swiss Alps so I can have cold Christmases every year, like it was supposed to be. Mulled wine and ugly sweaters and all of that.”

Max just nodded attentively. He had done a lot of research into Christmas over the past month. He had been confused for quite a while, as everything he looked at referred to snow and baked dinners and ugly sweaters, and he couldn’t work out why people would put themselves through that when the weather was so sweltering. Eventually, he had mentioned it to Clara. She had gently slapped him on the upside of his head and told him that he was reading about European Christmases and that the seasons were reversed here. He’d gone away and researched Europe and hemispheres and how the seasons worked her, and eventually grasped the rough idea of why it was different in Australia.

Back in Ye Olde Days, Australian families used to try to emulate an English Christmas with baked dinner, etc, but thankfully, times have changed. I travelled around Europe at Christmastime in 2013 baffling everyone with my talk of 40*C/104*F Christmas Days and seafood and salad Christmas lunches. And you have lunch and open presents and then just lie in front of the air conditioner with a cold drink while you digest, because that’s all you have the energy for.

There should be more Australian Christmas stories! Every year around this time, I say I’m going to write a one (or maybe a play), and it still hasn’t happened. One day! (I say that, but actually, cold English Christmas is 2013 was basically my favourite Christmas ever).

That’s it from me for now. This may well be my last unscheduled post for the year (apart , as next Wednesday, I will be getting my bags packed to head to my parents’ place the next day. With that in mind, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, whether you’re celebrating anything or just enjoying some time off. I’ll be back in 2017 for more!

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 07 December, 2016

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 have you recently finished reading?

heartlesscoverI mentioned last week that Heartless by Marissa Meyer had come in for me at the library. I read it over a few short days and loved it. The ending felt like a bit of a punch in the gut but I’m not sure what else I was expecting for an origin story about the Queen of Hearts. My review will go up on Monday.

thetwocoverI also finished listening to The Two by Will Carver. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Girl 4; I felt there was a bit too much misdirection so the twist didn’t feel so much like a twist as it becoming a completely different story.

Then I read a graphic novel version of the Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which is not on GoodReads! I know I could add it myself but I’m lazy. 😛

elenorecoverAnd last but not least, I finished Eléonore by our very own Faith Rivens (who was kind enough to provide me an ARC), and quite enjoyed it, particularly in the second half. I’ll have a review up on Friday.

I’ve also posted reviews of Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen by Dylan Horrocks and Heat and Light by Ellen van Neerven this week.

What are you currently reading?

fairestcoverI have started reading Fairest by Marissa Meyer. It’s the Lunar Chronicles prequel focusing on Queen Levana. Possibly reading this so soon after Heartless will leave me feeling rather down, but oh well. This should be quite a quick read, I read the first 15% in my half-hour lunch break.

What do you think you’ll read next?

lettersendoflovecoverI mentioned last week that my last Australian Women Writers Challenge book for the year is Letters to the End of Love by Yvette Walker. I definitely want to read that next. I did post a full December TBR last week. I’m hoping to finish the challenges I signed up for at the start of the year. I’m so close!

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wednesdaybannerThe other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

This week I’ve added the digits of the date and the month together and I have ten sentences. Clara has just been forced to witness the execution of her parents. Maybe. They just disappeared in a flash of blue light so I’ve left myself open. Either way, Clara is assuming the worst. She’s in a room in the palace, the execution takes place outside in a courtyard.

“No!” Clara screamed, finally finding her voice.

As heads turned towards her, the guard who had opened the window hurriedly closed it again.

“No!” she screamed again. “No, no, no, no!”  She pounded on the glass with her fists before she was pulled away and the curtains were drawn. Once again she was being dragged out the door, down the corridor. She struggled in the soldiers’ grip, but it was to no avail. They were far stronger than she. When that failed, she let herself go limp in their arms; she wasn’t going to make it easy for them. They grunted as they were forced to support her entire weight, but they continued to drag her along with them.

On the upside, this does at least lead to Clara escaping (temporarily) from the guy who is rather successfully taking over her kingdom right now.

That’s it from me for now. I will do my best to get to your blogs this week, but I have choir practices tomorrow and Friday nights, then an audition and our concert on Saturday. But I’ll try to squeeze it in!

~ Emily