#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 15 March, 2017


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 was away over part of last week and briefly returned to With Memories and Magic but my main project at the moment is still my Wizard of Oz contemporary retelling. Today I’m sharing 15 lines for the 15th day of the month. Dora is chatting to one of her housemates, Sam Crowe, who if you couldn’t tell from the name, is the Scarecrow character. He’s only just started college and he’s already flunking out.

“I barely passed this paper,” he said. “If I don’t pick up my grades soon, I’m going to flunk this class.”

“What’s the class?”

“Twentieth century American literature.”

Dora stopped leaning on the door frame and took a seat on the couch next to him. “I did a few literature courses while I was getting my drama degree,” she said. “I did pretty well. Maybe I could take a look at it for you. I might be able to give you some advice.”

Sam didn’t look too thrilled at the suggestion, but he shrugged and handed the paper to Dora anyway. The topic of the paper was broad, asking for a discussion of themes in Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. As Dora glanced over it, she began to see a few reasons for Sam’s lower marks. He didn’t really focus on a particular topic; instead he jumped from idea to idea. His examples were vague, too. She had a feeling he had only read parts of the book and was trying to shoehorn in the quotes he was familiar with, even if they didn’t quite fit the point he was trying to make.

“Listen, I’m not trying to be rude,” Dora said, “but did you actually read the book?”

“Yes,” Sam replied, too quickly. Dora just raised her eyebrows at him and he looked away, shrugging again. “Maybe half of it. I used CliffsNotes for the rest.”

Dora bit her lip, trying not to laugh. “Sam, do you really think CliffsNotes is going to get you through college?”

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.

So I had the majority of this post ready for last week, then I shut down my computer and went away for three days without finishing it and posting it, so here we are! As a result, and the fact that I had lots of reading time while I was away, this is sligthly longer than usual.

What have you recently finished reading?

These aren’t in order of when I read them, rather I’ve grouped like books together.

I have finished the entire Colours of Madeleine series by Jaclyn Moriarty, comprising of A Corner of White (which I listened to on audio and the narrators were completely awesome), the Cracks in the Kingdom and A Tangle of Gold (I read these two in paperback). The first two I absolutely loved, but I was let down by the third one sadly. My reviews of A Corner of White and Cracks in the Kingdom are here and here respectively. A Tangle of Gold’s review goes up on Friday.

On a related note, I was thinking about starting a “this series started so well, what happened?” shelf on GoodReads because this happens to me an awful lot! Or maybe I need to swear off series and concentrate on standalone books.

untoldcoverI also finished Untold, the second book in the Lynburn Legacy series by Sarah Rees Brennan. The character arcs and the writing were really well done but the plot itself was a bit light on the ground. Review here.

I also finally got back to the Lemony Snicket books and read The Wide Window and The Miserable Mill, books three and four of A Series of Unfortuate Events. I haven’t been reviewing these because they work to a particular formula and I don’t think I would have enough to say about each of them individually, but they are rather addictive! Though I seem to be liking the odd-numbered books better than the even-numbered ones, so that’s a thing.

And last but not least, I’m going to put this here because I’m going to finish this tonight, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson on audio. This is an interesting book exploring the issue of public shaming in the age of the Internet, and how a person can have the virtual screaming hoards pile onto them and they can lose their jobs, etc, over one badly worded tweet. It’s fascinating stuff, though I think some of the things he talks about are a bit tangential, or at least the way he structures the book makes them seem that way.

I also posted my review of The Fearless Travelers’ Guide to Wicked Places by Peter Begler since my last post.

What are you currently reading?

After weeks of having this book as the answer to What do you think you’ll read next, I am finally actually reading Adverbs by Daniel Handler. It’s essentially a short story anthology, but the stories are all set in the same universe, and the main characters in some stories show up later in smaller roles in others. It’s interesting, but the writing style is a bit pretentious, but then I guess even his Lemony Snicket books are a bit pretentious.


What do you think you’ll read next?

So I thought my March TBR had gone right out the window, but I’m actually not doing too terribly with it, despite getting distracted by Jaclyn Moriarty. A Conjuring Of Light by V. E. Schwab is still waiting for me on Kindle, so that will probably be next. After that, I’m looking forward to returning to my Beat the Backlist and Australian Women Writers Challenge items for a while.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

#AWW2017 “How about we meet at midnight tomorrow and try this. I close my eyes, believe in you, and there you’ll be.” // Review of “The Cracks in the Kingdom” by Jaclyn Moriarty

Title: The Cracks in the Kingdom (Colours  of Madeleine #2)
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Genre: YA/urban fantasy
Date Read: 06/03/2017 – 11/03/2017
Rating: ★★★★


(If you haven’t read my review for the first book in this series, A Corner of White, you can do so here.)

My instinct when I finished this book was to give it five stars, but on reflection I decided it was more of a four. I’ve said in previous reviews that my star ratings are often based on  a vibe rather than any objective ratings system, and that’s the case with this one. I actually had to make myself stop reading the third one and write this review because I was so intent on staying with these characters, but knew I’d forget details if I didn’t stop now.

I won’t go into the plot too much because I don’t want to spoil anything for the previous book. The plot picks up where the first one left off, but rather than giving us more of the same, which is often what happens with middle books, this one builds on what came before.

It did seem that Jaclyn Moriarty clearly delighted in teasing me with numerous moments of Elliot and Madeleine nearly meeting through the crack between their worlds.  And those moments brought them even closer together, relationship-wise. Their relationship isn’t romantic, at least not really (it has the potential to go that way), but they’ve got such a deep bond, even though they sometimes disagree and argue and sometimes their friendship gets messy and difficult. I haven’t been this invested in two characters in a long time. I have so many feelings!

The other great thing with this book is that we got to see the other provinces of the Kingdom of Cello, via Elliot’s meetings with Princess Ko and the other members of the Royal Youth Alliance. Jagged Edge is full of interesting technology while Olde Quainte is… well, old and quaint. And hilarious. It’s a serious breach of ettitquette in this province to not have a simile in at least every third sentence you speak, though it doesn’t matter if the simile doesn’t make any sense. I also really enjoyed the descriptions of the Magical North, where magic interferes with technology, but where the Royal Family makes its home.

As with the first book, the action really ramped up in the last third. There were a few times where I was torn between stopping to make an “OMG!” status update on GoodReads and continuing to read. Continuing to read kept winning out and in the end, I only made one update for the entire book (which is unusual; normally I like to squee a lot when I’m enjoying a book, so that shows you how hooked I was).

I think I will leave this here before I get even more gushy and decide that actually yes, I should be rating this five stars (I think I figured out while writing this review that the main reason it’s only four is because Madeleine doesn’t really do a lot for herself, not anything that’s plot related anyway, and mostly just does what she’s told re: the Royal Family). And I’m going to go keep reading the next book in the series and spend more time with these characters.

(This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017. Click here for more information).

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