#WWW Wednesday – 03 May, 2017

Hello everyone! Apologies for my absence over the last couple of weeks. I had a 4000 word paper due a couple of days ago, which pretty much consumed my life for the time I was writing it. It turned out to be harder than I expected to write, but I got there in the end. It wasn’t my best work, but I’m reasonably confident I won’t fail the course, since I have done reasonably okay on the assignments worth the other 50% of my grade. And if I do fail, I will be disappointed for a bit, then shrug it off and do the course again next time it is offered (it’s a core one for my specialisation, so I do need to tick it off somewhere).

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You may notice that this post only features WWW Wednesday. That’s because I’ve set up a new blog for my writing. You may have already seen the post I wrote on Monday announcing this, or you may have seen my Facebook post. If not, you can read my first WIPpet Wednesday post in the new digs here.

So now 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.

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished The Asp of Ascension by B. R. Meyers and posted my review here. I enjoyed the mystery and felt it had a lot of potential, but there were a few too many things that didn’t work for me, so it only got three stars.

After that, I read The Abyss Surrounds Us and its sequel, The Edge of the Abyss, both by Emily Skrutskie. My review of the first one is here, and the second one will go up this Friday.

I finally got back to the Series of Unfortunate Events for a while and read The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket. It was nice to see the Baudelaires hanging out with some kids their own age, even if it didn’t last very long.

Last but not least, my review of The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil was also posted since my last WWW post; you may remember me gushing about it. Click here to read the review.

What are you currently reading?

After seeing a really incredible stage production of it last week, and after discovering that I hadn’t donated my copy, I am trying to read  Dracula by Bram Stoker. Mostly to compare it with the performance, because I’m intrigued as to how much of the eroticism and repressed sexuality that seems to be in every adaptation was actually in the original text.

I know I’ve said in the past that I was swearing off vampires but Dracula doesn’t count. It’s modern vampires that I don’t like. The ones with ~feelings~ and who are all angsty about their nature. Unapologetically evil vampires I am still okay with.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think I will try Poison Study by Maria  V. Snyder next. I own three of the books in this series and the four of them are on my April – June TBR. It’ll be good to knock a few off there, as well as being able to count them towards my Beat the Backlist challenge. Also everyone I know who has read these books has really loved them. And the covers are really stunning.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

Book Review: “the Asp of Ascension” by R. B. Myers

Title: The Asp of Ascension
Author: R. B. Meyers
Genre:
Mystery/ YA
Date Read: 17/04/2017 – 21/04/2017
Rating: ★★★

Review:

After a slow start, this book did grow on me a little, but I was still left feeling that it was a little rough around the edges.

Nefertari “Terry” Hughes is still recovering from the accident that killed her mother and left her permanently injured. Now she has to start at a new school while her dad helps to organise an exhibit at the local museum, which may feature the sarcophagus of Cleopatra. But when Terry’s dad is found unconscious in the museum’s Egypt Room, she finds herself trying to solve a 50-year-old mystery and dealing with what may be a 3000-year-old Egyptian curse.

The plot of this book, with its mystery and also small supernatural element, was actually pretty tight, but the writing style felt more middle-grade than young adult. Apart from the romance, which felt pretty target-age-appropriate, the characters felt a lot younger than their sixteen/seventeen years. Some of them  actually also felt rather two-dimensional, particularly in the beginning. At about 20% in, I was reading on the bus and turned to my partner to complain that the characters were all such archetypes, “the jocks”, “the cheerleaders”, “the one who doesn’t fit in”, “the quirky one”,  etc. Fortunately, the main characters did at least develop a little more depth, though several of the side characters still felt two dimensional.

There was also the issue that took 75% of the book to hit me, but once it did I couldn’t let it go: one of the characters is an Egyptian Prince (allegedly). With all the talk of Cleopatra and pharaohs, I didn’t question it at first, until my brain finally caught up said, “But wait… Egypt’s a republic!” I did Google it just to be sure, and Wikipedia tells me the monarchy in Egypt was dissolved in 1952. And the thing is, this character doesn’t even need to be a Prince for the story and his character arc to make sense. He could have just been a diplomat. It wouldn’t have made any difference, apart from the fact that the teenage characters couldn’t swoon over there being a literal prince in the vicinity.

Okay, I feel like I’ve ranted a lot, so here are the things I did like. I thought the mystery was well-constructed and I enjoyed seeing the characters doing some really good research into the past of the museum. I also really appreciated that there was some ethnic diversity among the characters; I’m not sure but I got the impression that one or both of Terry’s parents had been Middle-Eastern or of Middle-Eastern descent. Not only that but there was the fact that Terry was dealing with chronic injury/pain, which is uncommon in YA protagonists. I also really loved the frienship between Terry and Maude, who was another social outcast at the school. The scene where Maude admitted she hadn’t acted when the school bully started approaching Terry was because it was nice to not be the target anymore  felt painfully honest.

Having said all that, the book was enjoyable but nothing amazing for me, so I don’t think I’ll be reading the second book in the series.


(Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)

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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 19 April, 2017

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Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday! This is a weekly blog hop hosted by yours truly. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us 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 finished the first draft of Memories and Magic! The last chunk is a bit haphazard, as I realised I need to fix some structural issues in the third act before I can make it run smoothly, but I sort of have a whole A – Z progression. In this scene, Clara’s memories of being a princess have just been restored after several months of her living with some false ones.

The scene didn’t change for several minutes. Finally, the blue of the rune faded and the ink on the wall disappeared, as usual. All eyes turned to Clara. She wavered on her feet for a moment.

“Huh,” she said weakly before passing out on the floor.

Yep.

My last assignment for the semester is due on June 09, so writing will go on the backburner for the next couple of months. It’s kind of a good time to finish a draft, as I’ll actually be distracted from wanting to start revisions too soon. I’ll still try to have something to share each Wednesday, even if it’s just something I’ve slapped together on the day.

Sort of on that note, a random writing observation: I realised the other day why I’ve never successfully written a contemporary. It’s because pretty much all ideas and characters I have for contemporary stories are based on my own experience, to the point where writing them in the third person feels weird and distant. Even though that’s what I write everything in, so it is kind of my default. Now that I have realised this, though, I’m going to try writing in first person and see if that helps.

And now 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 Soulless by Gail Carriger and reviewed it here. It wasn’t my favourite but it was amusing enough.  I would have preferred a bit more urban fantasy and a bit less comedy of manners in the end.

I also finished The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil. I fell in love with it on page one and stayed in love right to the end; not really a big surprise given how much I’ve enjoyed Keil’s other books. If you read YA and were ever a geek at school, you should read them. She nails it. It doesn’t read like she’s even trying, it just feels completely authentic.

Okay, I’ll stop gushing now. 😛 My review of that one will be up on Friday. If you’re interested, I also posted a review for The Man from Snowy River by Elyne Mitchell over here.

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading The Asp of Ascension by B. R. Meyers, which I requested from Netgalley because I feel like there aren’t enough books that use Ancient Egyptian mythology as their basis and this one sounded fun. When I started it yesterday, I was fairly bored but I’m about halfway through now and it has grown on me.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Next I will be reading The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie. I have the sequel waiting for me on NetGalley, but I don’t think it’s one to read out of order. I’ve kind of hyped this series up in my head because it’s premise is lady pirates fighting genetically-engineered monsters in a dystopian future and also there’s LGBT representation, so it’s got huge potential. I just hope it lives up to it!

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily