#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 26 October, 2016

Sorry for not getting around to blogs this week! I’ve had a lot going on. I’m hoping I’ll do better this week! 🙂

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?

I ftherookcoverinally finished The Rook! As I said in my review, I probably did myself and the book a disservice by taking so long with it and reading so many other books in between, but it is how it is.

I also read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which was, to be honest, kind of ordinary, though I felt bad about being so nit-picky about it! My review will go up on Friday.

I also finally wrote a review of The Pickpocket by Celine Jeanjean this week.

What are you currently reading?

illkeptoathcoverI am so behind on my ARCs so today I made a concerted effort to start The Ill-Kept Oath by C. C. Aune. It’s okay at the moment but it’s early days so I’m hoping that it picks up. There’s one character who’s a particular jerk, but he’s meant to be,  so that’s okay.

It’s been a very slow week and I’ve had all sorts of distractions, such as colouring books, so there’s been little to no movement on either The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer or Artie and the Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh. I’ll get back to these after powering through some ARCs.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Next are the other two ARCs I need to get read by early November: The Infinity of You and Me by J. Q. Coyle and Immortal Writers by Jill Bowers.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wippetwednesdayThe 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 I concluded that it is silly to wait for arbritrary dates to start new projects, even if I am starting a mini NaNo challenge on November 1. Since the new version of Operation Sugarplum is pretty much ready to go, I went forth and started it! I didn’t outline all the way to the end, but in terms of getting the story from A to B, I know roughly what B is and I think I can wing it… and if not, I can do more brainstorming later. This is from the very first scene. Clara has started awake to find her palace under attack. Now a strange man is on the other side of her bedroom door.

“I’m waiting,” came the voice again. “You can let me in peaceably or I will force my way in.”

Clara held the candle up to the lock on her door, assuring herself that the runes that protected it from destruction were still in place. They would struggle to destroy it without help from a member of the order of Mages that set it there to begin with.

Now if you were paying attention the last couple of weeks, you might know why the lock is not such an issue… 😉

All right, that’s all from me! See you on your blogs.

~ Emily

“Dear You, the body you’re wearing used to be mine”// Review of “The Rook” by Daniel O’Malley

Title: The Rook (Chequy Files #1)
Author: Daniel O’Malley
Genre: Supernatural/mystery
Date Read: 16/09/2016 – 20/10/2016
Rating: ★★★

Review:

therookcoverThis book came highly recommended to me by fellow public service friends and colleagues, who touted its basis as “a supernatural public service”. And while it certainly was that, I did find that after a while, there was too much bureaucracy and not enough real action to hold my interest overall.

Myfanwy Thomas wakes in the rain surrounded by dead bodies, with no memories but a note in her pocket telling her who she used to be. She learns she is a Rook in a secret organisation known as the Chequy, which protects the people of the United Kingdom from supernatural threat. As Myfanwy tries to navigate the Chequy based on the notes that her predecessor left her, as well as trying to work out who is trying to kill her and who might have infiltrated the organisation.

Myfanwy is an interesting character in and of herself. While she has no memories of who she used to be, she still develops a fairly solid personality. The letters her past self left for her provide information about the organisation and other figures within. There was also evidence of a conspiracy that past!Myfanwy chronicled for memory-less-Myfanwy to continue investigating. Sometimes these were a bit too info-dumpy, but other times they fit well into the narrative.

The Chequy itself is set up very well, though to be honest, I did not find it easy to differentiate between most the characters, and the revelation at the end about who the traitor was didn’t mean much because I couldn’t remember who that person was.

While the author is Australian, he spent a significant amount of time living in America, and a lot of Americanisms snuck through, which was annoying in a book set in London. The language switched between “ass” and “arse” and the Brits were putting cream in their tea while talking on their cells. Little things, but they pulled me out of the story. I would also say that I got a much more sci-fi vibe from the whole thing than supernatural, so I was sort of put off by expecting one genre and getting another.

To be fair, I probably didn’t do the book many favours by reading in between other ones. It was borrowed by a friend and so it got put aside for library books and ARCs that had closer deadlines. It is possible that if I had read it over a shorter amount of time, I might have had a better experience. As it is, I probably won’t worry about reading the sequel.

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 19 October, 2016

A quick announcement, before I get onto today’s blog hops. The Kindle edition of my novel, A More Complicated Fairytale, will be free this weekend. The GoodReads page is here, if you feel inclined to add it to your TBR, and I’ll do another post here when the promo goes live, as well as remind you on my Facebook page. Just so’s you know. 😉 And now, on with the show!

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?

realbookthiefcoverIt’s been a terrible reading week for me this week, and unfortunately, the only thing I finished was The Real Book Thief: (How To Steal an Author’s Work and Nearly Get Away With It) by Ingrid Black, which is the story of how the duo behind Ingrid Black discovered that their books were being plagiarised and published on Kindle under another author’s name. It was interesting also reading the reviews from people who had been friends with Joanne Clancy (the name the plagiarist published under) through social media and had reviewed the books, and seeing how betrayed they felt when this all came out.

I also posted my review of Mara Wilson’s memoir, Where Am I Now: Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame this week.

What are you currently reading?

therookcoverStill going with The Rook! But I’m on the downhill run now. It’s got a bit more interesting again. I am kind of tempted to ignore all responsibiliities for tonight and finish it, but if I do that, I will have no curry to take for lunch tomorrow, and that would make me sad.

badasslibrarianscoverI’ll include these as well, even though I’m only up to about page 6 on each of them: The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, which is about some archivists who protected priceless manuscripts from destruction by Al Quaeda, and Artie and the Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh (yes, the actor). Richard did a talk at work last night and I got my book signed. We stood in line for an hour so I started reading the book in the queue.

I’m also beta reading for two members of my writing group, which is fun!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Ifantasticbeastscover picked up Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them by Newt Scamander/J. K. Rowling from the library today. I’ve realised that I need to get a bit of a wriggle on with some of my reading challenges this year, and this is nice and short and fits the “a book that’s becoming a movie this year” prompt. And evne though it’s not like it’s the type of book where you read the book first to know the plot going into the movie, the movie does come out soon, so it’ll be good to have this under my belt.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

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 follows on from last week’s. General Bauer is the he in question at the start of this.  Nine sentences, which I got by adding the digits of 2016 together.

He looks down at me and he’s all smugness and smarm. I feel sick. But I don’t look away.

“We’ve got a surprise for you, haven’t we, gentlemen?”

I look around, and realise there are two men standing at his shoulders. They aren’t soldiers. They’re not his minions. They’re wearing the robes of the Aligar Mages, a group of magicians who swore to protect my family until I came of age and was trained in my powers. They look guilty.

That’s all from me! See you on your blogs.

~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – 21 September, 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

nameofthewindcoverWhat have you recently finished reading?

As promised, I read The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss while I was on holidays. It was a very satisfying book, in spite of a few small niggles I had (mostly about characterisation, as the world-building was pretty perfect). You can read my full review here.

Iwhereaminowcover also read Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame by Mara Wilson, who you might know as the girl who was in such movies and Matilda and Mrs Doubtfire in the early 90s. I tweeted that I was reading it and she liked my tweet and I had a total fangirl moment. She’s a great writer; I recommend this to everyone. My review will go up on Friday.

What are you currently reading?

therookcoverI’m back to reading The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, which to be honest I’m a little bored with, but I want to see it through because so many people highly recommended it to me, and maybe it will pick up a bit.

What do you think you’ll read next?

illkeptoathcoverI still haven’t properly started the ARC I have of The Ill-Kept Oath by C. C. Aune and it came out on September 27, so I should probably get onto that. After that, I also have ARCs of Immortal Writers by Jill Bowers and The Infinity of Me and You by J. Q. Coyle, both of which are released in the first week of November. I’m not worried about not getting them handed in on time. I just handed in my last assignment for the year, so now I have all the reading time in the world! (Except for the time when I need to write).

Let me know if you’ve any thoughts on any of these! 🙂

See you all later!

~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – 28 September, 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?

lifesassistanceagencycoverI finished three things this week. The first was The Life Assistance Agency by Thomas Hocknell. Sadly this ended up dragging a lot. It got better in the last 10-15%, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the earlier stuff. 😦 I also finished Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, which I enjoyed a lot more, in spite of the constant info-dumps. It was an entertaining story but it was definitely one where the author clearly wanted to convey a “message” (a worthwhile one, but it was still heavy-handed). I also read The Pickpocket by Celine Jeanjean, which is a prequel novella set in her Viper and the Urchin steampunk universe. It was adorable and I want to give tiny Rory all the hugs.

Little Brother review is here, while the Life Assistance Agency review is here. littlebrothercover

It was also the 75th book I’ve read this year, so I’ve completed my GoodReads challenge. 75 was my total for last year, and that included some Patrick Ness short stories and things that only took a few minutes, so I’m rather proud to have hit this this time with so much time still to spare.

What are you currently reading?

therookcoverI’ve finally returned to The Rook by Daniel O’Malley for the moment. I didn’t want to start anything new before heading off on holidays. I was only going to take The Name of the Wind with me, but because I’m pedantic, I don’t want to actually start it until I’m aboard the ship on Saturday, so the Rook is my reserve reading (trust me to choose two of the chunkiest books in my possession).

illuminationcoverI also started the audio book of Illumination by Karen Brooks. This is the third Curse of the Bond Riders book. I said I wasn’t going to listen to the audio book because it’s even longer than the second one and there were parts of that I wished I could skim… but I couldn’t find any other audio books that interested me right now and this was there and so far it’s okay. I may still finish it in print form.

What do you think you’ll read next?

nameofthewindcoverAs I said last week, I’ll be reading The Name of the Wind on my cruise. It did occur to me that my regular reading speed is about 100 pages an hour, give or take a bit, and that I could actually get through it a lot faster than expected, especially with the three days at sea at the end, so it’s probably good I’ll have The Rook in reserve, too.

Let me know if you’ve any thoughts on any of these! 🙂

See you all later!

~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – 07 September, 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?

paperandfirecoverI finished Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine and I am disappointed to say that it was a real chore to get through in the end. Admittedly, part of this may be that I’m in a bit of a reading slump at the moment, and so it’s probably not the book’s fault entirely, but…

All I can say is I’m having a really awful run with series this year! I need to get me some more standalones.

thecollectorcoverI also finished The Collector by John Fowles on audio. While I did find the second part of the book, from the POV of the kidnapped girl, a bit boring, overall this is definitely a book that will stick with me a long time. It was chilling, and I had a couple of moments after finishing it where I was quite wary about leaving my house. In hindsight, reading it when my partner was away for a week so I was alone during the evenings probably wasn’t the best idea, either.

My review of The Collector went up on Monday, along with my review of the first Marcus Didius Falco book, The Silver Pigs, last Friday. Click the links to read them.

What are you currently reading?

birdmanswifecoverI am back to reading The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley, a fictionalised account of the life of illustrator Elizabeth Gould. I’m over halfway through now. I think it may end up being one of those tricky books to review, because while it’s well-written and enjoyable, there is the fact that is based on someone’s actual life, so there’s no “plot” exactly,  just stuff they did. Which is sometimes a bit frustrating.

After a brief flirtation with Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White, I realised that shadaowsinbronzecoverclassics don’t really do it for me in audio form either, and I decided to stick with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical version of that one. Instead, I’ve started the audio book of the second Marcus Didius Falco book, Shadows in Bronze. I’m really enjoying these books, though it’s a different narrator for this one! He’s not bad, but I really liked the first guy. And going by Overdrive’s listing, it sounds like nearly every book in the series has a different narrator. Oh well.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m debating whether to return to The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, or keep going with some more ARCs. I accidentally requested another book from NetGalley today. The cover seduced me. I couldn’t help it. I do have two four hour train trips coming up this weekend, so I’ll be able to get quite a bit of reading done on those at least.

What are you reading this week? If you’ve read any of the books listed above, what did you think?

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 17 August, 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 did you recently finish reading?

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My partner ended up buying Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and so I ended up reading it a lot sooner than I expected. It wasn’t perfect, but I actually really enjoyed it! It probably helps that I haven’t really been involved in Harry Potter fandom since 2008, so I was able to shrug off the more dubious parts more easily. And being a theatre person used to reading scripts also helped as well, I guess. I wish I could see the play now, I think it must be amazing! My review for this will go up on Friday.

tallowcover  I finished the audio of Tallow by Karen Brooks this morning. This was a good series opener, though it really was setting up for things to come. I do like the alternate-Venice setting though. It’s really fresh and original. And I got quite invested in the romance, which is unusual for me in a YA series!

Reviews of Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant, and Am I Black Enough For You? by Anita Heiss went up this week. Anita Heiss retweeted the link to my review, and it subsequently got retweeted by 24 other people, which then translated two days where my blog stats were off-the-charts (at least compared to my usual traffic). So that made me happy.

  • What are you currently reading?

therookcoverI am still going on The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. I’ve really only been squeezing in reading time on my lunch break this past week so this one is going slowly. Fortunately, it’s borrowed from a friend rather than the library, so I don’t need to worry about impending due dates (though it does make me paranoid about breaking the spine or doing it other such damage that has usually already happened to the library book).

votivecoverVotive by Karen Brooks is my new audio book, as I finished Tallow this morning. From the reviews, it sounds like this one gets a lot darker than the first book.  At 23 hours long, it is the longest audio book I’ve committed to by about 7 hours, but I’m trying not to pick anything else up at the library at the moment, so I’m rolling with it. (I know, I know, some of you are able to get through 40 hour ones quite easily, but if it’s faster to read the book than listen to it, I usually try to go with that option).

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

thissavagesongcoverI know I just said above that I was avoiding getting anything from the library, but This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab has come in for me after several weeks on hold, so I’ll be picking it up tomorrow. I’ll probably put The Rook on hold to read this as it is likely to be a popular title and therefore only have a two week loan period rather than four.

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 decided to share from Operation Sugarplum this week, since that is where my interest is at the moment. For those newer to these parts, this is my modern-day retelling of the Nutcracker. In  this scene, Max is battling an Evil Creature, and for context, the sword he has just produced is magic and can only be used in defence. That isn’t explained here, but does come up later when Clara tries to use it to attack someone. I have complicated maths this week! ((1+7)/16) x 8 = 4 paragraphs.

“Ah,” it said. “It has to be this way, then?”

“I guess it does,” Max replied.

“What if I don’t touch you? What then?”

“Well, then, you might as well turn around now because I won’t come with you willingly. If you’re going to make your King happy, there’s going to have to be some sort of confrontation here, and that means I’ll be able to use it. And then I’ll beat you.”

Max is awfully confident for someone whose magical abilities have been an abstract concept/training exercise up until now. Let’s just say it’s a good thing Clara is spectating.

I think this is the first time I’ve shared from this story this year. You can read more excerpts by clicking here. Bear in mind, I’m working on the second draft now, so things are liable to change a bit.

All right, better finish this up! See you all later!

~ Emily


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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 10 August, 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 are you currently reading?

therookcoverI have just started The Rook by local author Daniel O’Malley. The tag line is “On her majesty’s supernatural secret service” and it sounds quite fun, and comes highly recommended. IIt’s been described as “supernatural public service” among my public service colleagues and even in the first 30 pages, there have already been a couple of moments where I’ve laughed out loud because the bureaucracy element is too real.

On audio, I’m listening to Tallow by Karen Brooks. This is a fantasy inspired by Italian culture – the main city is basically a fictional, magical version of Renaissance-era Venice. Enjoying it so far!

  • What did you recently finish reading?

amibalckenoughcoverI finished Am I Black Enough for You? by Anita Heiss. I really appreciated the renewed understanding of racial identity that this book gave me.

Reviews of The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Paper Daisies by Kim Kelly went up this week.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

bigbanggenerationProbably Doctor Who: Big Bang Generation by Gary Russell. This is a challenge item – “A book you intended to read last year but didn’t”. It is set on Christmas Day 2015 and I had grand intentions of reading it that day, except then I didn’t manage to get a copy in time. I’m actually pretty excited that there’s a DW novel set in Australia. 😀

So I made a list of all the books I own in various forms that I have to read before I’m allowed to buy any more or go to the library again… there are ten on it, and that’s not counting the books that have been on my Kindle for years, for example, just my most recent purchases. Sigh. What’s that quote about dying next to a pile of books I intended to read?

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 going a bit backwards from last week’s excerpt, this is when Grace first returns home after leaving her job in Frederick Merrow’s household (which was a maid in this draft, but will be governess in subsequent versions). Claire is one of her younger sisters, aged about elevent. Ten paragraphs for the 10th day of the month.

“I’ve come home, Claire.”

“You lose your job or something?”

“Well, yes. Is mother home?”

“Yeah, she’s here. Mum! Grace’s home! She’s been fired!”

Grace cringed. She would have preferred to deliver a gentler blow to her mother. She heard her mother’s footsteps approaching the door a few moments later, and found herself looking down at the ground under her mother’s hard stare.

“Hello, mother,” she said quietly.

“Is that true? Fired?”

“Yes.” Grace’s voice was nearly a whisper.

“What the bloody hell did you do?”

Grace cringed again, this time at her mother’s language. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, she grew up with it, but after six months living among people who spoke properly, it grated on her ears.

Even though I’m still sharing from Lessons Learned, I’ve actually been revising Operation: Sugarplum over the last couple of weeks. Most of the stuff I’ve bene working on is really similar to stuff I’ve shared before, though, so for the moment, I think I’ll continue with Lessons Learned. I might switch it up when you least expect it, though! Who knows! 😛

All right, better finish this up! See you all later!

~ Emily


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