#WWW Wednesday – June 20, 2018

Hello, everyone. Just a quick note before we get to the crux of today’s post. I’ve revitalised my Facebook author/blogger page recently, and am talking about what I’m reading as well as my own writing projects. If that sounds like something that might interest you, head on over to Emily Wrayburn and give it a like. 🙂 I’m also cross-posting a lot on Instagram, if that is more your jam.  And now, on with the show.

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?

Nothing this week, though I am quite close to finishing some things. I did post my review of Uprooted by Naomi Novik on Friday, and you can read that here. As you may remember me saying last week, I didn’t love it in the end.

What are you currently reading?

I finally managed to make some progress with  Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen over the past couple of days. Another day or two should see me finished. I haven’t really been hooked with this one. The writing style is quite detached. And there are German words peppered throughout it which I have to keep looking up on Google Translate.

Fortunately, I have whizzed through the audio of A Fever in the  Blood by Oscar de Muriel, which I am enjoying just as much as the first book in the Frey and McGray series. I have the third audio book reserved on my digital library and it tells me it will be available on July 1.

I haven’t  continued with All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque this week. I will pick it up again soon.

What do you think you will read next?

Not really sure. I need to read something rollicking and fun, I think. I’ve been thinking maybe Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. I went to a book talk with them when this was first released and it was a lot of fun, and I think it will be quite well-written, too, from the way they talked about their writing process. I haven’t had much patience for more trashy books of late, so I need something well done.

Does anyone have any suggestions for what I should use this month’s Audible credit on? I’m a new member so I only have two things in my wish list and neither of them are appealing to me right now.

What are you reading this week?~ EmilyP.S. If you’re  interested, head over to my writing blog, Letting the Voices Out, to read a snippet of my current WIP here.

“We’re meant to go. We’re not meant to stay forever.” // Review of “Uprooted” by Naomi Novik

Title: Uprooted
Author: Naomi Novik
Audio book narrator: Katy Sobey
Genre: Historical fantasy
Date Read: 20/05/18 – 13/06/18
Rating:
★☆

Review:

This started of well. I was enjoying the language and the mythology that was beinig constructed around main character, Agnieszka, and her village. But the plot began to drag and I wasn’t invested in the characters and after I while, I was just very underwhelmed.

The writing is really lyrical and beautiful. I think when I started the book, I was in the mood for something fairytale-like, and this fit the bill perfectly. Katy Sobey’s very soothing narration helped a lot, too. At somewhere around the 50-60% mark, though, I suddenly realised that the characters had very little personality and I didn’t really care about them at all. And once you have a realisation like that, it’s hard to come back from it. 

I also felt uncomfortable with the inevitable romance between Agnieszka and the  Dragon. There is no basis for it. The Dragon only ever insults Agnieszka,  or scowls at her, or sighs at her, even when they’re working together. And how does 17-year-old Agnieszka manage to do what several centuries-old wizards haven’t with regard  to The Wood?

Speaking of The Wood, it was a bit of an odd villain? I felt the same about the Wood as I did with the villain in V. E. Schwab’s A Conjuring of Light… its presence was over the whole story, but I never found it particularly threatening. Even though it obviously was. It was just a little too easy for the main characters to save those they needed to, so I always felt it would all work itself out in the end and I just wasn’t worried.

I can definitely see what people love about this book, and I myself have really enjoyed some of Novik’s other work. This one wasn’t meant for me.


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#WWW Wednesday – June 13, 2018

Hello, everyone. Just a quick note before we get to the crux of today’s post. I’ve revitalised my Facebook author/blogger page recently, and am talking about what I’m reading as well as my own writing projects. If that sounds like something that might interest you, head on over to Emily Wrayburn and give it a like. 🙂 I’m also cross-posting a lot on Instagram, if that is more your jam.  And now, on with the show.

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?

Let’s start with the good news first! I read a wonderful upper-MG/lower-YA book called Shine by Candy Gourlay.  This was a chance find at the library and I read it in one sitting. I have already reviewed it here. It felt like a modern folk-tale and while I had a couple of qualms about it, I couldn’t put it down.

I also finished Uprooted by Naomi Novik on audio during my bike ride home this evening. It started off strong but in the end, I didn’t love it as much as I hoped. It ended up dragging on a bit too long for me. 😦 I’ll try to have a review up this Friday.

Due to still feeling reading slumpy, I also got ruthless  with some DNFing this week. First it was Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. It sounds like the audio book is a lot better but I was reading the hardback and the tropey-ness and 21st century feminist attitudes in the 19th century setting just got too annoying after a while. I googled some spoilers and I have a feeling I would have felt very unsatisfied by the ending had I got there. So that was a relief.

Next I DNFed Purple Threads by Jeanine Leane, because it just wasn’t really my thing, and I turned to Twitter to seek out recommendations of Indigneous Australian authors writing YA and other things I generally enjoy reading.  No point in trying to diversify my reading if I end up giving 2 or 3 star ratings to everything and saying “this was fine, but not my cup of tea.”

What are you currently reading?

I have started All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. I am only three chapters in but I can definitely see why it is such a classic book. Having said that, I will probably go slowly with this and read it in between other things. (Which reminds me, I was supposed to be doing that with Dracula, too. I should get back to  that.)

I am also reading Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen, which is about a fifteen-year-old Jewish girl who infiltrates a Nazi boarding school. I’m only a few chapters in so far but I think it will probably be pretty full on. It doesn’t look like the author is going to pull any punches.

What do you think you will read next?

I am excited to start the audo of A Fever in the  Blood by Oscar de Muriel, which I picked up  from the library this afternoon and currently converting so I can put it on my phone. This is the sequel to The Strings of Murder, which I loved and reviewed here. This will tide me over until my Audible account ticks over into a new month and I can get another book on there.

Not sure what I’ll read physical book-wise. I am still feeling slumpy, dammit! It’s been a good six weeks! Though I have figured out this week that the key to getting reading done is to sit at one of the smaller tables in the break room, rather than the main one where I always end up just talking to people rather than reading. Maybe that will help?

What are you reading this week?~ EmilyP.S. If you’re  interested, head over to my writing blog, Letting the Voices Out, to read a snippet of my current WIP.

#WWW Wednesday – June 06, 2018

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?

Nothing finished this week, but I did finally post my review of The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel. Rolicking Victorian mystery made even more fun by the audio book narrator. You can read my review here.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve started Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco because I’m feeling a bit reading slump-y and I wanted some good ol’ fashioned YA. It’s tropey and anachronistic, and I’m making snarky updates on GoodReads every few pages. But I expect I will still finish it, in spite of wanting to smack the love interest every second time he opens his mouth.

Still going with Uprooted by Naomi Novik on audio and Purple Threads by Jeanine Leane. Not much to say on either of them right now.

What do you think you will read next?

I have Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco. Depending on how I feel by the end of Stalking Jack the Ripper, I might start that, though I read the blurb on GoodReads and it sounds like the stories just get more ridiculous?

I also have The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero from the library and while it’s not my usual type of book, I am intrigued by it, so I’ll probably try it quite soon.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – May 30, 2018

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’ve finished  The Owl Service  by Alan Garner… I have to be honest, I didn’t really get it. I had no idea what was going on for most of it, and only finished it because I wanted to be able to discuss it with the people at work who recommended it.

No reviews this week because I am behind schedule.

What are you currently reading? 

I am about 40% of the way through Uprooted by Naomi Novik now. I am really loving it, though I do wish the Dragon would stop calling Agnieszka an idiot and an imbecile quite so much. They have really good chemistry otherwise, but that is quite off-putting.

I have started Purple Threads by Jeanine Leane. I am not very far through it yet, but I can tell it’s going to have a really strong narrative voice and some great women characters.

I’m also reading Bookworm: a Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan. I don’t feel like I’m loving it quite as much as everyone else, but she did quote a line from Where the Wild Things Are and I suddenly felt myself getting teary, so there are certainly bits that appeal to me. But it does seem for every book I’ve heard of, she talks about three others I haven’t, which makes it less of a nostalgia trip and more of a literary history lesson.

What do you think you will read next?

I have three books out from one library, two books out from another library, and the majority of my May-June TBR still to read. So who knows?

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – May 23, 2018

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.

wwwwednesdayWhat have you recently finished reading? 

I‘ve had so much going on the last couple of weeks and I also fell into a bit of a reading slump. With that combination, it took me a full three weeks to finish Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton. It was… fine, and I was interested enough in the outcome that I wanted to stick it out, but I can’t say I was terribly invested in the characters. I can’t be bothered writing a full review but you can read my thoughts on GoodReads here.

I finished The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel on audio and this one was a lot more enjoyable. I have recently signed up for an Audible subscription, and while I didn’t pick up the second book immediately, I think it might be next month’s choice. I’ll have my review of this one up this week.

I posted by review of Lessons in Letting Go: Confessions of a Hoarder by Corinne Grant this week. You can read it here.

What are you currently reading? 

I have started the audio book of Uprooted by Naomi Novik at the recommendation of a friend. I am really enjoying this so far. The prose has a really fairytale-like quality, and the narrator’s voice is really suited to that. I’m not entirely sold on the Dragon, but I am hoping he’ll improve.

I’m also reading The Owl Service by Alan Garner. A few people at work read it and I wanted to get in on the action. I’m not quite sold on it yet, but I think I know where it’s going and it sounds like it could get interesting. Opinion at work is divided, so it’ll be interesting to see where I fall.

What do you think you will read next?

I have Purple Threads by Jeanine Leane and After the Party by Jesse Blackadder out from the library. Neither of these is what I would normally read but they are for my Australian Women Writers Challenge, in particular, my own diversity challenge-within-a-challenge.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

#ROW80 Check-in #5: In which dragons have been distracting

I mean actual dragons, that’s not a metaphor or anything. Actual dragons, in the book I’m reading. The book is Temeraire by Naomi Novik, and I like it so much I’ve been reading it on all my breaks at work, even though I usually use at least some of my break time as writing time. It has dragons (fierce ones and adorable just hatched ones, and everything in between), and battles and men in uniforms really and ships of the line and plucky female characters and really, what else does one want?

row80So there’s that, but I have managed to keep up with my writing. I ended up not needing to do much brainstorming; once I worked out where I was going with one particular scene, the rest just followed. The first 10,500 or so words can be read from beginning to end with no gaps, which is nice. My feminist tendencies are sneaking in more than I planned, not that I see this as an issue; at first, my MFC just got annoyed that my MMC was a bit of a dick sometimes and didn’t seem to think it was worth figuring out the proper way to treat her, but now a whole other character I hadn’t even planned has turned up in her workplace and is being an actual dick who will not learn, so she’s going to have to complain about him. I don’t envisage this particular little subplot taking up too much of the story, but it will add a bit of length I hadn’t expected. That’s where I’m up to at the moment. At time of writing this post, I have added 2524 words to the WIP this week, and will probably edge it up to 3000 before I go to bed tonight, since I’m halfway through a scene.

Incidentally, I think I have been converted to Scrivener this week. I put all my scenes into separate text parts in Scrivener so I could work out what I still needed and what needed to be reworked, and now I’ve realised I actually quite like formatting things to look like a real manuscript and the corkboards and lots of the other features as well. Guess I’ll actually be getting my money’s worth from it in the future.

As to other goals, well, choir started back on Thursday, and I went, so… check? While my uni courses don’t officially start until March 4, both course outlines have been put online, and if the course material starts getting uploaded, I’m thinking I will start getting to the library a bit earlier than March just to get a head start for myself. Assignments don’t sound too bad, but probably won’t be that much fun. Well, maybe the course on local history and archive collections might be fun, since that’s sort of the industry I work in (though my work is on a more national level without going into much detail). But these courses have a tendency to sound all right and then suck to do. Too bad I need the piece of paper to get any further, really. If I’m really lucky, my WIP will be just about finished by the time crunch time for assignments rolls around (in about mid-April), at which point writing will unfortunately fall off the radar for a bit.

Also,  just randomly, I will be changing my “official” Writing Night from Tuesday to Wednesday. I am starting Italian lessons with my friend Casey (whose family is Italian, though she second-generation Australian, so she’s never really had to learn) and since they are from 6-8 on a Tuesday, it’s unlikely I’ll feel like doing an hour of writing afterward, particularly considering we will have to travel a little afterward to get home. Learning the basics of Italian is one of my 101 Things in 1001 Days goals, so I’m pretty excited, even if I have felt poor this entire pay period after spending $330 on the course plus textbook (luckily they use the same textbook right through all their courses, it’ll “only” be $260 for any subsequent courses).

That’s it from me this week, I’ll see y’all at the Linky!~ Emily