#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.
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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

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#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

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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 29 June, 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 (I’m posting early, so you might have to wait a bit for the link up to go live).

wwwwednesday

What are you currently reading?

allthelightcoverI’ve started All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I’m moving slowly with it, though I do have seven hours of travel on Saturday, so in theory I could get it finished before it’s due back to the library next Wednesday. If I do have to return it, though, the queue is moving quite quickly, so I can reserve it and have it again in a couple of weeks.

catchmeifyoucancoverOn audio, I’m listening to Catch Me If You Can by Frank Abagnale Jr. and Stan Redding. I really enjoy the movie with Leonardo di Caprio and Tom Hanks, and I absolutely loved the musical when I saw it earlier this year, so when I saw it available on Overdrive, I thought I would pick it up. I guess it’s unsurprising that a man’s memoir written in the 80s about being a teenager in the 60s is fairly sexist and gross at times… but if you can overlook that, it’s pretty entertaining so far…

wonderwomencoverI accidentally left All the Light We Cannot See on my desk at work yesterday, so last night I started Wonder Women by Sam Maggs, which I was approved for on NetGalley. While I really appreciate being made aware of these awesome women I had not heard of in many cases, I do wish the author was a little more academic and a little less snarky (I swear, there’s a “witty” aside every two sentences).

What did you recently finish reading?

nimonacoverNimona by Noelle Stevenson was very sweet, though not terribly original. I still really enjoyed it, though; the characters made it.

Nightshade by Maryrose Wood was… well, a bit weird. It felt a bit like it was trying to go dark and kind of missed and just ended up melodramatic instead.

fictionalwomancoverAnd finally,  The Fictional Woman by Tara Moss. Tara’s personal stories were definitely the strength of this book; the data analysis and social commentary felt like it was treading familiar ground. Still, an enjoyable introduction to feminism if you are looking for that sort of thing.

I also posted two reviews this week, for Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine and I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga, both of which were 4.5 star reads for me.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I still have The Secret River by Kate Grenville out from the library after my library haul at the beginning of the month. I am honestly not sure whether I will enjoy it and I may not end up getting through it, but I want to give it a go.

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. Today is the 29th, so I took eleven lines from my Scrivener document. In this scene, Carrie is still posing as the Princess. They have arrived back at the palace, and Masden has left Carrie to the princess’ ladies’ maid to get washed up before reporting to the King that she is supposedly home.

Her face lit up when she saw Carrie. “Oh, Princess, it’s such a relief to see you’re all right!” she exclaimed. She took a couple of quick steps forward with her arms out, as though she had intended to embrace the Princess, but then seemed to remember her place and thought better of it and let her arms fall.

Carrie gave her a smile. “Hello, Maisie,” she said, hoping she sounded natural enough. It was hard to talk to a stranger and make it sound like they already knew each other well. “It’s good to see you, too.”

Maisie gave a little curtsy, a broad smile beaming on her face, then she made her way straight to the bathroom. Carrie heard her speak through the door as she ran water into a tub. “Have to get you looking presentable for your father,” Maisie commented. “If you don’t mind my saying so, your Highness, you look a bit of a sight. You could do with a bath, but we haven’t got time for that. We’ll just get your face washed before you see your father, and change your clothes. The rest of you can wait.”

Carrie had no idea how the Princess would react to that. Surely, if that sort of familiar conversation was not welcome, Maisie would not have lasted long as the Princess’ companion. And besides, the Princess Adelyn that Carrie knew went out of her way to be accepting to all people. She even believed that magic had its place, unlike her father. A talkative servant was unlikely to bother her.

Carrie settled on a vague, “Yes, that sounds good,” and continued to sit on the bed, not sure what her next move should be.

Technically, they probably shouldn’t even have running water at this point, but I do intend to revise the time period in the next draft. I will be revising a lot of things in the next draft actually. So. Much. Revision.

But that’s Future Emily’s problem. For the moment, I’m working on Lessons  Learned. I had a rather large epiphany about this one, namely that the backstory is not backstory at all, but the actual story. So I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo to make a start on that! My username is spaciireth on the site if you want to share a cabin. I’m not going to go in a random cabin but will happily hang out with blog friends.

I should head off now. Catch you all later!

~ Emily


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Book Review: The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville #aww2016

Title: The Lieutenant
Author: Kate Grenville
Audio Read By: Nicholas Bell
Genre: Historical fiction
Date Read: 03/01/2016 – 08/01/2016
Rating: ★★★★★

Review:

lieutenantcoverWhen I first finished this book, I gave it four stars, because I wasn’t quite sure that I liked it enough to give it a full five. But since I was still very much thinking about it the next day, and found myself poring over the digitised versions of William Dawes’ notebooks (William Dawes being the real life lieutenant from whose life and work Kate Grenville took inspiration for this book), as well as still smiling and slightly tearing up over the way the book ends, by the time I got to writing this review, I decided it deserved to have its rating upped.

The Lieutenant follows the story of Daniel Rooke, an outsider in his native England, who joins the First Fleet on its voyage to the new colony of New South Wales. Once here, he sets up camp in an isolated spot to better his chances of accurate astronomical observations. The local indigenous people soon start to visit his camp, and as a linguist also, he begins to learn the intricacies of their language. This leads to an intimate friendship with a young girl called Tagaran, from whom he learns a significant portion of the language. But her lessons and their friendship are interrupted when Rooke is given an order that will change his life forever.

I’m still pretty new to historical fiction, so when the first part of the novel was taken up with Daniel’s growing up years in Portsmouth, I was torn between finding Daniel himself a very endearing character, and wanting the story to hurry up and get to the good stuff in New South Wales. This eventually happened, and Grenville does a marvelous job in giving a sense of place through her descriptions, and portraying the challenges faced by the settlers. Being shy in the first place, and also isolated from his fellow Europeans, Rooke’s POV gives us a removed observation point from which to watch the action unfold in the settlement. I found myself face-palming on many occasions, wishing they would just use some (by my modern-day standards) common sense. Instances like the English speaking to the native people in very slow, broken English in the hopes they would understand seem unbelievable today, yet I know this is what it would have been like. Meanwhile, Rooke is up on the hill, filling his notebooks with vocabulary and grammar, but terrified to let anyone see them, lest it ruin the fragile friendship he is forming with these people.

The relationship between Rooke and Tagaran is a real highlight. At first, Rooke is just pleased that she and her friends are paying him attention because it means he can start making notes on their language. Once they are at a point where they communicate with each other, Rooke develops a real depth of feeling for her that he is unable to describe (it is never explicitly stated that this is romantic, and there are definitely times when she reminds him of his younger sister, Anne, but it could be interpreted that way if you wanted to). When he is visited by other settlers, they express disbelief that he has formed friendships with any natives, because, well, obviously, they’re too primitive. When when of his friends assumes that he must be sleeping with Tagaran, because why else would he be spending time with her, it was pretty heartbreaking watching a shy and flustered Rooke trying and failing to explain that it’s not like that all.

At first it seemed like the part of the book set in NSW ended rather abruptly, followed by a jump in both time and location. But in taking us to the end of Rooke’s life and looking back with him over his years in NSW and the decisions he made towards the end of his time there, Grenville gives a very satisfying conclusion, albeit one that brought a little tear to my eye.

I listened to the Bolinda audio book read by Nicholas Bell. He read in an English accent that suited Rooke’s point-of-view, but was also able to vary that for the other settler characters. I wonder if he studied the Gadigal language beforehand as well, as he seemed to have a good ear for its pronunciation (admittedly, that is coming from an uneducated person who would be unable to tell the difference between one Indigenous language/dialect and another).

Overall, I would recommend this book to all historical fiction fans, Australian or otherwise.

(This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016. Click here for more information).