#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 22 February, 2017

bookcrossinglogoSo quick question. Does anyone here do Bookcrossing? It’s that thing where you register a book and it gets a unique ID which you write on a little bookplate and then you leave it in a public place and hopefully the person who picks it up will register it and you get to see where your book travels.

I’ve known about it for ages but I’ve only just joined. I “released” my first few books this morning to an “official” crossing zone, so a place where other users actively look. It looks like my state, for all its tiny-ness, has a very active Bookcrossing community, which is quite exciting. I did make a pact with myself though, that I would release a few books before I go about capturing any and giving myself more books to read.

Anyway, that turned into a bit more than a quick question. But let me know if you’ve ever done it! On with the blog hops!

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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 haven’t written much so far this week, as I’ve become stuck on a slow scene. I am tempted to just leave it for Future Emily to finish/fix in revisions. Future Emily won’t be too happy but that’s also Future Emily’s problem.

I have four paragraphs following on from last week’s snippet. Clara is letting the bad guys think she’s going with them, in order to let Max and Jana (Max’s aunt, and to Clara’s knowledge at this point, her godmother) get away. Max knows this is the plan because they were able to communicate telepathically, but Jana doesn’t.

She looked at the four strangers. “I get the feeling that even if we got away from you now, you would keep coming after me,” she said. “So I decided to come with you. After all, in the first words you spoke to me, you told me more about where I come from than these guys ever have.” She jerked her head towards Max and Jana and saw Conrad smirk at the dig. Max kept his expression neutral, but Jana began to open her mouth to argue.

“It’s fine, Aunt Jana,” she said. “I know it was ‘for my protection’” – she did air quotes as she spoke the last few words – “but I’m tired of not knowing anything. And if this does all fall apart, I can magic myself back to you, right?”

She tried to give her godmother a reassuring look. Locking eyes with her, she sent her thoughts through to her.

This is part of my plan. But do feel free to object out loud.

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.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

traitortothethronecoverI finished Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton and while I figured out the twist right at the end before it was revealed, it was nonetheless a really fun book! Usually I’m not one for in depth political intrigue, but there was just enough in this one. And very little romance, which also worked for me.

I posted my Traitor to the Throne review here and you can also read my review of The Mesmerist by Ronald J. Smith here.

What are you currently reading?

fearlesstravelersguidecoverI have started The Fearless Traveler’s Guide to Wicked Places by Peter Begler. It’s quite slow-going and while I am liking it, I’m not sure it would keep an actual middle-grade reader interested. My reading speed also slows right down when I’m reading something slower-paced, so it might take me a little while to finish.

cornerofwhitecoverI also began A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty on audio yesterday. This has been on my Australian Women Writers Challenge TBR for a while, so when I saw it available on Overdrive, I picked it up. It has various narrators, but one of them is Fiona Hardingham, who I just recently listened to narrating The Dark Unwinding.  She’s got a lovely, silky voice that’s really easy to listen to.

What do you think you’ll read next?

adverbscoverI’ve got a couple of ARCs still pending but one of them has been on NetGalley for a year after its publication and the other is not published until  the end of April, so I feel I can let them both sit for a while. After 3 ebooks, I’m rather hanging out for a physical book. I think it untoldcoverwill either be Untold, the second book in the Lynburn Legacy series by Sarah Rees Brennan or Adverbs by Daniel Handler. They’re the two things I’ve currently got out from the library, so it would be good to get through them and then return to working through things I own.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

Book Review: Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

Title: Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2)
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Date Read: 30/01/2017 – 16/02/2017
Rating: ★★★

Review:

Contrary to what the dates above sort of indicate, it didn’t take me over two weeks to read this. I started it when I was in the wrong mood for it and only read perhaps 25% over a few days… a week or so later I came back and devoured the rest in the same amount of time.

During a surprise attack on the Rebel Camp, Amani finds herself taken prisoner and trapped in the Sultan’s harem, with no means of escape. She turns to spying, finding a way to sneak information out, but the Sultan has his own plans for her.

I know a lot of people were disappointed that Jin doesn’t play a bigger role in this book, but I actually really appreciated the fact that this wasn’t one of those cases where the middle book is mostly about the romance. Amani has to rely on herself, and there was no lovey-dovey-ness for the most part. I actually found myself annoyed when Jin showed up again, because then it did get a bit mushier, and I’m way more here for the political intrigue.

Speaking of which, SO MUCH political intrigue. We meet a few more princes and princesses, both loyal to the Sultan and not, as well as plenty of foreign dignitaries from all the surrounding countries. And the Sultan himself. I actually… really liked him? In the first book, he’s just that far-off evil villain, but we really got his side of things in this one. It’s not that he’s evil, exactly. It’s that he’s ruthless. And I really liked how unapologetic he is about that. Of course, his weakness is thinking he knows everything that’s going on, and that’s going to make for some interesting situations in the next book.

I think the reason this book and I got off on the wrong foot was the way it opens. It does not pick up straight after the events of the previous book; instead, it’s been a little while. The first few chapters give us an overview of the events that have happened off-page, but it really is just an overview, which is somewhat dissatisfying. Once I got past this, though, the book really started to pick up.

When I finished Rebel in the Sands, I felt a bit disappointed because the book had turned out to not be what I was expecting. I hadn’t been sure if I would even continue. But for whatever reason, I got excited about this one anyway, and I’m glad I read it. Now I’m looking forward to the third book and to seeing how the revolution pans out.


(Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a review)

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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 15 February, 2017

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I thought I might mix it up this week and put WIPpet Wednesday at the top of my post. I knoooow. I live on the edge like that.

WIPpet Wednesday 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. It’s the 15th, so I’m sharing six paragraphs. Clara is testing out her newly-developed telepathic and teleport-y powers to create a distraction.

I didn’t quite make it around to all of you last week, but I will try to do better this week! (I seem to say that a lot.)

~*~

Max? she thought. Jana? Can you hear me?

She sent the same thought out several times in a row. She had no way of knowing whether or not they had heard her, but she kept her mind trained on thoughts of them, open to a response. When there had been no voices inside her head for a while, she tried again, and with relief, heard Max’s voice in reply.

Clara? Where are you?

I’m a block away, she replied. I’m getting the hang of this ability. I’m going to appear with you guys again in a moment, and pretend I’m giving myself up and going with them. That will give you and Jana a chance to get away. Go back to the park and meet me by the sculpture.

Okay, Max’s voice replied inside her head. Be careful.

I will.

~*~

She then proceeds to be pretty kickass if I do say so myself.

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.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

chooseautobiocovverI read Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris over the weekend. As you can tell from the title, it is in choose your own adventure form, though after a while I was ending up faced with a choice between three paths I’d already read. At that point, I just started going through from beginning to end and reading the pages I hadn’t read yet. It was cute and fun and not especially memorable, but it was interesting hearing some behind-the-scenes stories about the performances I’ve really enjoyed him in.

themesmeristcoverI also finished The Mesmerist by Ronald L. Smith. This improved a bit in the last 25%, but I was underwhelmed. I do think 10-12-year-old me would have enjoyed it, so it’s probably a bit of a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”.  This was an ARC and the official release was last week, so I hope to have the review up this Friday.

I also posted my review of Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. Click the title to read it.

What are you currently reading?

traitortothethronecoverI’m finally getting through Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton. I think I was not in the mood for it when I started it, and I missed some vital information, which left me confused, but now that I’ve figured out the info I missed, and am also getting into the action, I’m really enjoying it more than the first book! I know a lot of people have been disappointed by the lack of Jin in this one, but I’m actually appreciating that it is really Amani’s story, and not Amani+Jin’s story. Also Rahim for Sultan, y/n?

scarletlettercoverI’m also listening to The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne on audio. My plan is to use Overdrive to get through a few classics I’ve never read before, though to be honest, I’m probably not devoting my full attention to it. I do admire Hester Prynne, though. But apart from often staring at the letter, everyone seems to treat her pretty much as normal? Which seems odd?

What do you think you’ll read next?

fearlesstravelersguidecoverI think probably The Fearless Traveler’s Guide to Wicked Places by Peter Begler. I can aspire to have one ARC review up before the book’s release date, at least! It’s another middle-grade one like The Mesmerist, but it’s got some really good reviews so far so I’m hoping I like it. I also have a couple of library books out that I want to get to soon.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 08 February, 2017

Guys, guys! Did you see that GoodReads has finally added a re-read feature? There are no words for how excited I am! They are rolling it out gradually but it is already showing up for my account. I don’t even reread much, but it’s good to know I can now revisit a series before the new installment is released, for example, and still have it count towards my yearly reading challenge. I am a slave to the GoodReads Reading Challenge.

Anyway.

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop 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?

thereptileroomcoverI finishedThe Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket, book 2 in the Series of Unfortunate Events. It wasn’t quite as good as the first, but I still want to keep going and get into all the mystery stuff that I remember from the later books.

I also finished Beauty Queens by Libba Bray just this beautyqueenscoverevening, and it was my first five star read of the year! 😀 The audio book is incredible and if you have the time to commit to 14 hours of it, I really recommend it. I ended up downloading the ebook and splitting my time between the two because I was only four hours into it and it was due back tomorrow.

I only posted on review this week, of Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan. Click here to read it.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve been flitting between things over the past week, so I’ve got a couple of things on the go at the moment.

traitortothethronecoverI started the ARC of Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton, with the hopes of finishing it in time for the release date last Thursday, but that came and went and I’m still going. I was having trouble reading off my tablet over the weekend because my eyes were aching, so that put a bit of a dent in my reading plans.

themesmeristcoverI also started The Mesmerist by Ronald L. Smith, another ARC (the book was released yesterday). It’s cute so far but some of the writing feels a bit clunky. Still, it’s fairly short, so I should get through it fairly quickly.

What do you think you’ll read next?

heartofbrasscoverWell, there’s Heart of Brass by Felicity Banks, which I have on hold and really should pick up again. There’s also The Fearless Traveler’s Guide to Wicked Places by Peter Begler, which I would like to try to review sometime around the release date of March 1. I probably should also review The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias before too long.

adverbscoverNot to mention Adverbs by Daniel Handler and Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris are both waiting for me to pick them up from the library tomorrow. Oh, and I still havethe four books of the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carringer on loan from a colleague, and another colleague today brought me in the rest of the Series of Unfortunate Events books.

So, um, yeah. It’ll be one of those, I guess.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

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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.

Before I go any further, I wanted to announce that I have finally settled on a new title for the story-that-was-until-last-Thursday-known-as Operation: Sugarplum. This WIP is now known as With Memories and Magic, which is way more fitting now that the plot has completely diverged from its original form as a retelling of The Nutcracker.

My maths is easy this week: two paragraphs for the second month. This actually follows on from the WIPpet I shared a few weeks ago. Max has now arrived and is confronting the people pursuing Clara. He’s also brought back-up.

“I see you have two traitors with you.”

“You mean Derek and Ivo?” Max motioned to each man as he spoke his name. “They’re not the ones trying to persuade the Queen to return home so she can be enslaved by a dictator.”

Boy has a point.

I’m on the downhill run with the first draft of With Memories and Magic, and my subconscious has decided to go and get all antsy about it. I’m not getting down anywhere near the number of words I was each night a couple of weeks ago, and I’m far more angsty about the words I am getting down. I’m still hoping to finish this draft by the end of February, though. Cross your fingers for me!

I’ve been continuing with Fictional Flashback February. I’m hoping to write a few more little stories to go with my pictures like I did on the first few days, but some days it has just been easier to do one sentence with an image.

That’s it from me this week. I’m off to do my nightly writing and beta readings, and I’ll catch you all soon.

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 01 February, 2017

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop 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?

unspokenlynburncoverI finished Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan, which at first I thought was going to be my first 5* read for the year. But then as I went on, my feelings became a bit more mixed. It started off with tropes and characters I really liked, but then it veered off not necessarily bad things, but things I am less fond of and less likely to flail and squee over. Review will be along soon.

Idarkunwindingcover also finished The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron. It’s definitely not a standalone and I do want to read the second book, but I am going to have to buy the ebook, as neither my public library nor digital library has it. So it will wait for a bit. My review went up on Monday and you can read it here.

I also posted my review of The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co.) here this week.

What are you currently reading?

traitortothethronecoverI was approved for an ARC of Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton, which is released later this week. I’m hoping to finish it in time to get a review up on Friday, though if I need to leave it until Monday, that’s okay. It took a little while but I’m getting into it now.

beautyqueenscoverI also started listening to Beauty Queens by Libba Bray on audio. I went looking for one of her other books, and found this one. It’s a very black YA comedy. I’m enjoying it so far. And she is a great audio performer as well.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I actually posted a February TBR post yesterday, as I’ve got quite a few to choose from. I already have The Reptile Room (Series of Unfortuate Events #2) and Untold from the library, and I have two other pending ARCs to read as well.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

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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. I’ve got three paragraphs today, for 01/02. Max has been reunited with some of his Aligarian Mage colleagues, but Clara is missing, and they’ve just told him that some of the Mages not loyal to Clara are also hunting for her here. Reminder that Clara has an entirely different set of memories at the moment.

Max felt his stomach knot up. “We need to get back to my Aunt. Clara – the Queen – has run off somewhere. Just now. I didn’t think she was that far ahead of me, but there’s no trace of her.”

“You’re that familiar with her?” Derek asked. “Calling her by her name like that?”

“She’s not the Queen here,” Max reminded them. “And she has no concept of being a Queen, either. We’re just her friends here.”

If anyone is interested, I’ve decided to participate in Faith Rivens‘ February challenge, Fictional Flashback February. My first post is here, introducing Clara in more detail.

That’s it from me this week. Toodles!

~ Emily