#WWW Wednesday – 24 May 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 this week, and just answer the three questions.

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What have you recently finished reading?

I finished On Writing by Stephen King, though I wasn’t really that into it, to be honest. Long story short, I’m not really a King fan or a craft book fan and so I was destined to never really like this one. My review will go up on Friday with more detail.

I have posted two reviews this week, Heart of Brass by Felicity Banks, and The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias. Both were 3* reads for me.

What are you currently reading?

“I don’t like vampires,” she says, then proceeds to read Dracula by Bram Stoker (which continues to be enjoyable, unlike most classics I try to read) and listen to Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice on audio concurrently. The guy who narrates this has the most soothing voice! It’s kind of long but I’m at about 20% going to have a few solitary car trips over the next couple of weeks so I should get through it then.

I have just today started Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. I’ve been really looking forward to starting this series, but as often happens with books I own, I kept putting it aside for library books, ARCs, etc. If nothing else, the covers on these editions are really stunning, but I’ve flown through the first quarter with no trouble today and plan on reading more before bed.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I still have The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie from the library, so I should probably pick that up before too long. But at the same time, if I want to continue the Study series straight away, I’ll do that.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

P.S. If you’ve come here looking for WIPpet Wednesday, head on over to my new writing blog, Letting the Voices Out. Today’s WIPpet isn’t up yet, but you can pass some time reading my other posts for the Story a Day in May challenge.

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#AWW2017 Book Review: “Heart of Brass” by Felicity Banks

Title: Heart of Brass
Author: Felicity Banks
Genre:
historical/urban fantasy/steampunk
Date Read: 07/05/2017 – 11/05/2017
Rating: ★★★

Review: 

I have a rather hit-or-miss relationship with steampunk, which I think is my main reason for not engaging with this book very much. It did pick up for me in the last quarter, but up until then, I unfortunately didn’t really feel connected to the story.

When Miss Emmeline Muchamore’s brass heart malfunctions and she is forced to steal the materials she requires to survive, she refuses to reveal her secret and destroy her family’s respectability. As a result, she is transported to van Dieman’s land, subsequently escapes and makes for the Victorian gold fields. But there is unrest amongst the miners. Can Emmeline find the gold to send back to her family and restore their fortune, or will she and her newfound friends be caught?

I think one of my main problems was that I never really warmed up to Emmeline. She was a bit too snobby, and kept talking about how she was the only civilised one around and would have to teach her companions how to behave. It felt out of place given they were on the run and she had already stolen from several people. Her companions, Lizzie (for a whille), then later Matilda and Patrick, were more relatable to me. A conflict with a fellow convict, Dunne, was also well-written.

I did enjoy the idea of different metals having different magical properties, though I felt that not a  huge amount was done with this idea. Every now and then I would forget exactly what magical properties  a particular metal had because it didn’t really come up all that much. Still, the hot air balloon partially levitated by sheets of aluminium was good fun.

I also enjoyed the way the historical events of the Eureka Rebellion were incorporated into the story. I did go away and read the Wikipedia entry on what really happened, and then it was fun to see how Felicity Bank’s version compared. I felt that this was where the story picked up; there was a really engaging climax with lots of action, and a lot of bad things happening that the characters had to  deal with.

As I said, a lot of my lack of enjoyment probably came from the fact that I can’t always get into steampunkish stories. I would recommend this if you are a fan, as you may well enjoy it more than I did.


This review forms part of the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge for 2017. Click here for more information.

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#WWW Wednesday – 17 May 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 this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I finally finished Heart of Brass by Felicity Banks. It picked up a bit in the last quarter, and I actually enjoyed the tie-ins with actualy historical events. My review goes up on Friday.

I then whizzed through The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias. It started strong and remained readable throughout, despite some pacing issues. My review is scheduled for next Monday.

My review of How the Aliens from Alpha Centauri Invaded My Maths Class and Turned Me Into a Writer… and How You Can Be One, Too went up on Monday (and hopefully, I will never have to type that title again! Haha!). I feel like I’m finally back on top of reviews, after falling  off the wagon a bit lately. That review is here.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve  been concentrating on  Dracula by Bram Stoker this week. I’m aiming to read two or three chapters each week, and then it won’t take me forever to read it.  Most of the chapters are under 15 pages, so it shouldn’t be that hard. So far my main takeaway is that I want to give Dr Seward a hug. He’s all sad but stoic after Lucy rejected his proposal.

I also managed to pick up On Writing by Stephen King, since all the cool kids are reading it right now. 😛 Off the top of my head, I think I’m only about 50 pages in, so he’s still mostly talking about his childhood, but I am enjoying it so far.

What do you think you’ll read next?

My mother recently recommended The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie to me, so I have got it from the library. The author is a Buddhist and uses the cat’s perspective to inform the reader about Buddhist teachings. It sounds cute but I’m not entirely sure I will enjoy the perspective. We’ll have to see.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

P.S. If you’ve come here looking for WIPpet Wednesday, head on over to my new writing blog, Letting the Voices Out. Today’s WIPpet isn’t up yet, but you can pass some time reading my other posts for the Story a Day in May challenge.

#WWW Wednesday – 10 May, 2017

Hello friends. I hope you don’t mind me start this post with a non-book-related topic, but as this is the most visited blog post of my week, it makes sense to add it here. If you’ve followed my last few Sunday Summary posts, you would know that I recently registered to take part in the UN  Women Trek for Rights 2018. Money raised for this event will go towards helping women survivors of the 2015 Nepal earthquakes.

I am aiming to raise $3500 AU over the next twelve months and I’m hoping you can help me. If you are willing and able, please click the banner below to go to my fundraising page and make a donation. Any donation, no matter how small, is appreciated!


And now we return to your regularly schduled WWW Wednesday post. 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?

The only thing finished this week was a re-read: How the Aliens from Alpha Centauri Invaded my Maths Class and Turned Me Into a Writer… and How You Can Be One, Too by Jackie French. I actually read this when I was around the target age (it’s more MG/very YA). I honestly still remember some of the advice given, so I thought it was time for a refresher when I found it on the library shelves. I was actually looking for Stephen King’s On Writing, which wasn’t there, though the catalogue claimed it should have been. Another day, then.

What are you currently reading?

haven’t made much progress with  Dracula by Bram Stoker over the last week. I think this will be one where I read a bit here and there in amongst other reads.

I have finally returned to Heart of Brass by Felicity Banks, which has been sitting on my on-hold shelf for the last three months. I’m not finding it that engaging (partly why it got put aside in the first place), but it’s only short, so I’m going to finish it this week.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Not sure at the moment, though since I’m trying to finish things on my on-hold shelf, The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias might be next. I read about 5% of it on my phone when I didn’t have whatever physical book I was reading on me at the time, but again, it’s been weeks since then.

I do have a bunch of things on my Kindle that I want to read despite them not even being on my immediate TBR list. But I’m trying to ignore them.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ 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? 🙂

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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