#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.

wwwwednesday

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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Book Review: “The Devil’s Prayer” by Luke Gracias

Title: The Devil’s Prayer
Author: Luke Gracias
Genre: Thriller/horror
Date Read: 11/05/2016 – 13/05/2017
Rating: ★★★

Review:

I was instantly grabbed when I started this book, though unfortunately, the pacing and structure resulted in a story I was much less engaged with than I had hoped.

When a nun commits suicide in Spain and is identified as the missing mother of Australian Siobhan Russo, Siobhan travels to Europe to try to find out what happened to her mother. As she reads the confession written by her mother in the last months of her life, she is pursued by monks in red robes, who are after vital information that Siobhan’s mother was determined to take to her grave.

This book really tells four stories: Siobhan’s, her mother Denise’s, the story of a priest in the 1970s, and the story of a medieval priest. I felt that the scenes from Siobhan’s POV were the strongest; however, these scenes were actually in the minority.

The majority of the book is in the form of Siobhan’s mother’s confessional, in which she details the deal she made with the Devil and its aftermath. Perhaps this is due to it being in diary format, but I felt that there was far more telling than showing, which affected how easily I connected to the characters. The two stories set in the 1970s and further back in medieval times are only introduced in the last 20% of the story, and for the most part, consisted of rather a lot of historical info-dumping that slowed the story right down at the point where it was supposed to reaching the climax.

Having said that, even though I didn’t find the story engaging all the time, the writing style was easy to read and I got through it much faster than I expected.

To finish, I just want to give a content warning for some rather gruesome murder scenes. They certainly aren’t for the faint of heart.


(Thank you to the author and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. I apologise for taking so long about it!)

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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 – 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