Top Ten Tuesday January 15: New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

January 15: New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

1) Alexandre Dumas. I know he had help with The Count of Monte Cristo, but I don’t care. I loved listening to it on Audible.
2) Stephen King. I know he has been around forever but I finally listened to The Shining and Doctor Sleep.
3) Kendare Blake wrote Three Dark Crowns. I want to get the next books from the library.
4) C.A. Higgins wrote the Lightless trilogy. I liked it so much I read them straight through.
5) Ania Ahlborn wrote Within These Walls.
6) Kim Wilkins wrote Daughters of the Storm. I have an ARC of the sequel.
7) Chantal Fernando wrote Wolf’s Mate. It was alright. Don’t think I’ll read any of her other books since it is not my type of genre.

These next two are Audible originals. Members get 2 free Audible Original downloads per month.
8) Dennis Kelly wrote Girls & Boys and it is narrated by Carey Mulligan. I cried.
9) Charles Olivier wrote Christmas Eve, 1914. I bawled my eyes out.

Advertisements

New York Comic Con 2018 – Sunday, October 7

The first panel of the day was Family-Friendly Fantasy: Keeping it PG in the Age of Grimdark & Game of Thrones.

Most of the fantasy works we discovered as readers new to the genre were books the whole family could read together, without worrying about graphic descriptions of rape, torture, or violence. But many of the popular fantasy works being created today contain images that are simply too graphic for some readers. There’s a place for gritty realism in fantasy, but how much is too much?

Colleen Lindsay was the moderator and Katherine Arden, Emily R. King, and Elle Katherine White were speakers.

B9147BF3-2CBF-4771-923F-24ADC5A9358A

Katherine Arden wrote the Winternight Trilogy. Emily R. King wrote The Hundredth Queen Series. Elle Katherine White wrote the Heartstone Series. 

Continue reading

New York Comic Con 2018 – Friday, October 5

I went to work for the earlier part of the day and got to Comic Con at 2PM so I could go to Ashley Eckstein’s meet and greet at the Reed Pop booth.

I was such an airhead and forgot to bring my From a Certain Point of View book for her to sign! What a scatterbrain I am sometimes.

Ok, next time. Moving on. I told her how emotional I was when I found out The Clone Wars was returning while watching the SDCC panel. Ashley said she was a hot mess because she was crying, but I told her I was crying with her and I loved when Matt got out of seat.

I was getting choked up again and so I asked her about her sweatshirt and if it’s available. She spoke about the concept for the original logo for Her Universe being Ahsoka’s markings and the shirt is available. It came out for the 10th Anniversary collection, but slipped under the radar with the other items based off the characters’ outfits.

I told her that I got the Skywalker hooded sweatshirt and she asked if it is too big. I told it her it is but I knew it would be. I can just wear it around the house when it’s winter. It is so comfy.

She is so sweet, she asked about my sister and I told her she would be coming to NYCC after work, and that we will be seeing her in April for Celebration.

At the Penguin Booth there was a mystery giveaway. You chose from several descriptions. I saw someone walk away with this book and the cover caught my eye, so I did my best guessing. I guessed right!
The Waking Land by Callie Bates

Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – July 24: Books with Sensory Reading Memories

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

July 24: Books with Sensory Reading Memories (where I was, what time of year it was, who I was with, what I was eating, etc.)

This is an interesting topic but there are only so many places I can list without it being repetitive. Mostly I read either during my commute, or at my grandma’s house on the weekend; and if it’s an audiobook I am either commuting, cleaning, or drawing/coloring. I feel this is going to be a short list of books that stand out the most, and it’s categorize by location or activity.

 

Grandma’s house:
I have read countless books at grandma’s house but these are two that really stand out to me.

1. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsle.
Ironically I was reading this in August and I remember sitting in my grandmother’s yard on a beautiful day. I was crying as I was reading the end.

2) Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.
I remember going to read in one of the bedrooms because my family was so loud that I couldn’t concentrate. There is world building and politics involved and I was just like, “SHHHHH!”
It has been over ten years since I read this and would love to reread it.

Coloring in my Johanna Basford 16 month planner:

3) The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas, Narrated by B.J. Harrison; 52 hours; February 11-April 24, 2018
Most of those hours were spent coloring.

4&5) The Tell-Tale Heart & The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe, Narrated by B.J. Harrison. Each story is 15 minutes. Great when you want to be creative but are on limited time. Listening to these stories is like a set timer.

Cleaning:
Sometimes you need to kill two birds with one stone.

6) Catalyst: A Rogue One Story, by James Luceno, Narrated by Jonathan Davi; 11 hours 15 minutes.

7) Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story, by Jewel, Narrated by Jewel; 10h 21m.

8) Thrawn by Timothy Zahn, Marc Thompson (Narrator); 17 hours.

In my bed:

9) Morning Star, by Pierce Brown.
The night before the book signing I was 50 pages away from finishing. I read 100 pages on Sunday and another 100 pages on Monday. By Monday night my right eye was blood shot.

10) Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austin, Narrated by Rosamund Pike; 11h 35m.
Sometimes I just want to lie in bed and do nothing but relive a lovable classic story.

The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy 2) by Katherine Arden

The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

Finally got to read my ARC from NYCC 2017!!

At a Deleted Scenes panel I went to where Arden was one of the speakers she said that she ended up rewriting The Girl In the Tower twice! The version of The Bear and the Nightingale that was published was only half of her original story, but when she went back to the second half it just wasn’t working anymore. So she scrapped the whole thing and started over for the sequel.

I am still curious what the first draft was like.

I was a bit of a mess when reading this sequel. I started it, got nearly half way through when life got in the way and I was too exhausted to read. Then I went away on a vacation and I never read on a vacation because I am too busy touring. Then I picked up where I left off after I got settled into my regular routine. So I feel a bit disjointed as I try to write this review.

I liked it, though not as much as The Bear and the Nightingale. Maybe I’ll feel differently when I reread it. When the third book comes out I’ll listen to the first two on Audible. I already have TBatN in my library.

I really liked the early scenes with Vasya and Morozko I liked their dynamic and I was happy that my questions from the first book about Morozko and the necklace were answered.

I liked Vasya’s rebellion against a patriarchal society and her fight for freedom in medieval Russia. Though sometimes I shook my head at her when she was risking her disguise with silly wagers and races. Girl, you are playing with fire! Figuratively and literally!

Speaking of medieval Russia, Arden really makes the setting feel just right for this fairy tale. I don’t know much about historical accuracy, though she did as much research as she could for a “poorly documented era” (her words). It just really felt like you were there. I also enjoyed the political games and deceptions being played. That added a frustratingly suspenseful dynamic.

One downside of the story is that I did predict who the ghost really was, though I didn’t guess the twist. It does make me want a prequel novel though because what a tragic love story that is!

There isn’t much of a cliffhanger since the villain was disposed of but I do like Vasya’s niece and I want to see where her magic takes her. I also still just really like the way the relationships are written, especially between Vasya and  Sasha, and Vasya and her horse. And of course we can’t see the last of Morozko.

3.5 out of 5 Chyerti

Some of my favorite poetic quotes: I know they say to check the finished work but I am too lazy and I like the way it was written in the ARC:

Page 67: “The more one knows, the sooner one grows old.”
Page 87: “I carve things of wood because things made by effort are more real than things made by wishing.”
Page 189″ The first stars had kindled in a sky gone royally violet, and the moon heaved a faint silver curve over the ragged line of palaces.”
Page 235: “Every time you take one path, you must live with the memory the other: of a life left unchosen.”

Iron Gold – Pierce Brown book signing at Barnes and Noble – January 24, 2018.

My sister and I got to Barnes and Noble pretty early and we got some good seats.
She had not read Iron Gold yet, but I finished it the day before.

Pierce spoke about the different POVs in Iron Gold and how his writing had to change. He usually does not outline, but he had to for IG and the next book Dark Age, not just because there is more going on but for pacing and syncing up different POVs that have to match at the same point in time. Otherwise there would be a lot of rewriting.

Something Pierce said that I related too when I write was that sometimes when writers outline they have so much energy and momentum while doing so but then lose it when it comes time to actually write. So sometimes it is better to just go for it.

This part threw me off because I noticed that Pierce changed his answer in another interview. At this event he said Lysander was the hardest to write because he’s so smart, and Lyria was the easiest to write. He thought Lyria would be the hardest.

One thing I really liked was when Pierce said that the readers have different experiences in life and it’s not an author’s duty to tell others how to think but to ask questions.

The Q&A portion with the audience was great. These were some of my favorites:

1)Someone asked what are the other Howlers’ real names. Pierce answered that he will reveal them in due time and it wasn’t an oversight to omit them, just there is a way he wants those details to be presented. He also has to find his notes to remember them. HA!

He also spoke a little bit about the differences in his former editor, Mike Braff and his new editor, Tricia Narwani. Mike had become one of his best friends and Mike’s complements could be counted on one hand. He’d say the pacing was slow and get to the killing. So Pierce would put in an Obsidian to distract him. Mike called Obsidians “Space Vikings.”

This is a funny story: Pierce told Mike that the end of Golden Son had a wedding. When he got to the end Mike was sending him messages in all caps and called him. But he was in his cubical so he had to use his inside voice but was clearly like WTF!?

Tricia was a beta reader before, the first person after Mike to read the drafts, so there is still continuity there. She is more complimentary and helps with the pacing when his world building slows down the story.

He has pages and pages of world building and his editor(s) would tell him it’s great and none of it will be used. I think that right there is a great start for a World of Red Rising Encyclopedia.

2)Another person commented how Lyria was written beautifully and wanted to know if he would ever write a novella from Mustang’s POV – as a mother and Sovereign.

Pierce said, “No comment. Seriously.”

Now I have nothing but speculations about Dark Age!

3) This was my favorite question of the night: When Pierce began writing Morning Star he wasn’t going to write a story about the aftermath, the what happens after the Death Star explodes. Is there any series, TV or book, that Pierce would like a follow up like Iron Gold?

Pierce answered almost all of them because when you are in the Falcon or at Hogwarts you feel like you are at home. You miss your home and you miss your friends.

The problem is…would the additions ruin the initial trilogy? He said it’s his burden/responsibility not to demean actions of the first three books: the original story, personal journeys and sacrifices of the characters.

So then, and this was my favorite part of the night, Pierce used The Last Jedi as an example. Luke’s evolution demeaned him from the the Original Trilogy.

Pierce wants to add on to the same journey with Iron Gold. The story should feel like the same characters and not a restart but an evolution of them as older people.

Sometimes he thinks he wants more but maybe it’s better not to have more. Many series go past their prime. He knows this story is not past its prime because he’s exhilarated to write this trilogy and if it didn’t feel right he wouldn’t write it. He doesn’t want to dilute or make the past consequences feel insignificant so that the fans feel cheap for reading it and then have fans say “that’s not my canon” or “not my Darrow.”

By not taking a big break and going right into this new trilogy he has kept the same tone. And there are new things to explore through the different POVs. We see more of the world and culture, and the cracks in their civilization. So it feels richer, and when we reread the first trilogy we’ll know all this is going on outside Darrow’s POV.

Before the signing portion we concluded the Q&A with a collective howl. People in B&N must have been like, WTF, lol.

Photos and a major spoiler below!

Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday January 2: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

January 2: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2017

Some I really enjoyed their work and would read more of their stories. Others are a one and done. I’ll let you guess which based on my reviews.

1) Katherine Arden
2) Vic James
3) Susanna Kearsley
4) Ruth Reichl
5) Connie Willis
6) Matthew Reilly
7) Lesley Livingston
8) Alex Flinn
9) Shelley Sackier
10) Steven Laffoley