Weekend Wrap-Up #17

What I Read

review-cover-dreamscape saving alexreview-cover-life and deathreview-cover-love beyond timecover-review-love beyond reason

Woot! Despite all my doubts, I did it. I somehow managed to read ahead enough to cover all of October with scheduled posts so that I won’t fall behind when I head out to Disneyland for a week. I can’t tell you how good it feels to not have to worry about missing posts in my absence.

This week I read four books, the first of which was Dreamscape: Saving Alex by Kirstin Pulioff. This was one of those books that I picked up on a whim at Amazon because it was free and it had a gorgeous cover—and because I was looking for books I knew I could read quickly to get my posts scheduled ahead of time, I decided to pick it up and give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book was actually quite good. Dreamscape is a YA Fantasy Adventure with a tad bit of Romance thrown in about a girl who gets sucked into her favorite 8-bit video game from when she was a child, and then has to survive it in order to return to her own world. It was fun and imaginative, and I loved every minute of it.

The second book I picked up this week was a surprise pick: Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer. This was a book that I heard about last minute as part of the 10th anniversary release of Twilight, and though I’m not a huge fan of the series (it was Meh.) I figured I’d give it a shot. In a lot of ways, I liked it better than the original book. There were a lot of strong female characters, and it was interesting to see some changes that were made. The editing was much better than the original. But, it still wasn’t a ‘great’ book. A lot of people hated it, but I think a lot of the reviews it’s gotten on Goodreads and Amazon are based solely on the disappointment of Twilight fans who were waiting for a hopeful release of Midnight Sun, and were disappointed to get a simple gender-swap re-write of Twilight. Personally, I think it was a novelty read, released as a ploy to somehow keep Twilight relevant. She should have written a new book.

The third and fourth books I read this week are part of the Morna’s Legacy Series: Love Beyond Time, and Love Beyond Reason by Bethany Claire. This is a 7-book series, of which I own the first three. They are Time Travel Romances about a series of women who are sent back through time to medieval Scotland to save a famous Scottish clan from being massacred 400 years earlier. These are true Romance genre books, and perhaps a little too romance for most avid Fantasy readers to enjoy, but for Romance readers, they’re pretty good books. I’ve enjoyed them so far, though I’ll admit, they have their problems. Things are often wrapped up and solved a little too easily for my liking. I reserve judgment on the series as a whole until I’m a few books further in.

Upcoming Reviews & Things:

  • Monday, October 12 – Rising Inferno
  • Wednesday, October 14 – 10 Step Plan To Promote Your Book
  • Monday, October 19 – Dreamscape: Saving Alex
  • Wednesday, October 21 – Life and Death
  • Monday, October 26 – Love Beyond Time
  • Wednesday, October 28 – Love Beyond Reason

What Was Posted

What I Did

alightfullsharperThis is what you get when I put in a placeholder image of something I painted  3 years ago because I’m to exhausted to whip out my camera and find something worth taking a picture of for my blog. It’s been a long week guys.

I spent most of my week reading and trying to get things written up and scheduled ahead for my upcoming vacation. We’re a week away from our Disneyland Trip, and things are starting to get serious in the Morton household. It still feels like there’s so much to do before I leave for a week, but unfortunately, a lot of it has to be done last minute, and I don’t do well with stress and anticipation.

So, I also spent a lot of my week catching up on dishes, laundry, (reading of course), and making lists of what we need to buy/bring on our upcoming trip. Unfortunately, all of the preparation has been left to me, because my husband works out of the city 4-5 days every week. He’s across the state from Monday-Thursday, meaning I’m the one that’s gotta get everything cleaned, organized, and packed, all while maintaining the usual household chores, work on my blog, and my soon-to-be-12-year-old’s homeschooling.

Did I mention that my daughter’s B-Day is  2 days after we get back from Disneyland? My husband’s going to miss the entire day this year due to work (he leaves the previous Monday for the other side of the state yet again) so it’s going to be a pretty quite event this year. Somehow I need to get B-day shopping done before our trip, and in the one day I have between our return and my husband’s departure, I need to get al my shopping done for the following week, Mara’s B-Day, and Halloween. We don’t even have costumes yet.

I’m a wreck. I do not due well with time crunches.

Next Week

My next week consists mostly of cleaning. I need to get my house presentable for when we leave so I don’t come back to dirty dishes in my sink or even more laundry to wash. We have a cat sitter coming to take care of our three Fuzz-Babies while we’re gone (I can’t even tell you how nervous I am to leave them for a week—Imhotep is getting pretty senior and usually eats nothing but soft canned food, but will have to be put on kitty kibble for the week because he won’t eat with a stranger nearby, and if someone doesn’t sit with him while he eats, the other cats bully him into giving them his food). I still need to B-Day shop, shop for trip supplies, and Halloween costumes/candy. Meanwhile I get to stress over the fact that both my PC (which I hope gets fixed while we’re gone) as well as my brand spanking new Kindle Fire Tablet may arrive while we’re out of town…and I swear to god if either get stolen off my porch there will be a massacre the likes of which has never been seen. I hate stress. I don’t do well with stress.

All I want to do is go eat a Dole Whip and have breakfast at the River Bell Terrance in Disneyland. Seriously.

Things that will not happen next week: Probably Free Fiction Friday and Weekend Wrap-Up. Maybe. I have a feel I’m going to be very busy those last few days before the trip. I’ll be missing them the following week as well (as I’ll actually be gone), but review posts should continue as scheduled. I’ll be back Monday, October 26 (my daughter’s birthday is the 27th!) So unless I’m totally stressed out or busy washing a week’s worth of clothes, posts should be back to normal then. I hope.

Weekend Wrap-Up #15

What I Read

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I’ll admit, I didn’t get a lot of reading done this week. It was a bit chaotic. I did manage to get through two books though (okay, 1 3/4.. I’m still reading the last one).

The first, was Yellowstone Fugitive by Saige Silver, which is a BBW Menage Romance between a drug-running woman and two grizzly shifter park rangers. It’s not my usual foray into romance fiction, and in the end turned out to be more erotica than romance, but it was okay. By biggest complaint was how cheesy the dialogue was, but if you’re looking for a fun shifter erotica with lots of steamy sex scenes, this may be right up your alley.

The second book I picked up (and will be finished and reviewed by Monday) is Devil and the Deep by Megan Tayte. This is the fourth book in the Cerulean series, and so far, I’m enjoying it. I’m only about 72% into it, but should be done soon. I love Megan Tayte’s writing, so I was really excited to get ahold of this book—she’s been super generous to let me read the whole series so far in exchange for reviews—and I’ve loved all of the books. If you enjoy Megan Tayte’s Cerulean series, you should keep an eye out. I’ll have the review up for Devil and the Deep on Monday, September 28th, and on Wednesday, September 30th I’ll be hosting a Release Day Party + Giveaway. The first three books in the series will be free on amazon for the entire day, and I’ll have links to a giveaway for the fourth book too! So stay tuned!

Upcoming Reviews & Things:

  • Monday, September 28 – Book Review: Devil and the Deep
  • Wednesday, September 30 – Release Day Party + Giveaway: Devil and the Deep
  • Thursday, October 1 – Book Review: Sparked
  • Friday, October 2 – Free Fiction Friday #57

What Was Posted

What I Did

DSCN0507Just look at that beautiful weather. For the first time in two months we had sunshine. My allergies have not been happy.

So, this week was sort of a bust. I did get some writing done on the first draft of Daughter of Abraham—though I haven’t made much progress. I’m on chapter 3. Part of that, is because my health took a massive dive.

For the last several weeks my sleep schedule has been way off. I think a big part of it has been because it’s summer, and summer and I are NOT friends. At night it’s ridiculously hot without the AC running all night, but with it running, it’s too cold. My AC is old fashioned and isn’t set to a thermostat, so if I need to turn it on/off, I have to do so manually. That makes most nights uncomfortable, and I end up getting up 10 times a night to adjust the temp. My sleep schedule became so mangled at one point that I was sleeping 9-11 am, getting up for lunch, and going back to bed 1-5pm, and then staying up all night. It was like I was on some sort of weird graveyard shift.

In the end, a combination of my lack of sleep and my weather-induced allergies became this raging monster that ate my immune system, and I woke up a few days ago with yet another horrendous case of Oral Thrush. For those of you who don’t know what Oral Thrush is: It’s a really uncomfortable condition, often caused by a low immune system (like when people have been put on too many antibiotics, or are very very sick) where the body’s natural defenses get so low that the completely normal and safe levels of yeast that naturally live in a person’s mouth are no longer kept in check by the good bacteria that also live there, and all hell breaks loose. It’s basically a yeast infection of the mouth/throat that causes the outer layers of the mouth/throat/gums/tongue to slough off and bleed. It is painful and gross, and a pain in the ass to treat. I’ve had it twice before now, both times due to an over-use of antibiotics when I was very very ill due to sinus/ear infections. This time, the lack of sleep/allergies just ate my immune system away.

The unfortunate treatment of Oral Thrush is pretty miserable. Because yeast thrives off sugar, when you have Oral Thrush, one of the few ways to treat it is to go on a heavily restricted diet. This diet is NOT safe for extended periods of time, but it’s about all you can do to treat this particular illness. Basically, I’ve been restricted to eating only eggs, rice, chicken broth, and water for the last week. No carbs or sugars of any type allowed. On top of that, I have to brush my teeth/tongue about 8 times a day, and gargle a saltwater/baking soda mixture (or peroxide, whichever is less nasty) to kill the fungal infection.

You guys, I live off coffee and sugar. I’ll admit it. I feel really ill when my blood sugar drops, so this week has been utter hell. On the upside, my Oral Thrush is basically gone except for an irritated throat at the moment, so after the weekend I’ll be very slowly venturing back into real food again. After a week of basically eggs/rice, I can’t tell you how much I crave just a single piece of toast. It’s pathetic really.

Next Week

I need to read. Luckily, I seem to be back on a normal sleep schedule again, and I’m starting to feel better after my bout with Oral Thrush, so I’m hoping to get a lot more work done this upcoming week. I don’t have any book reviews lined up past October 1st, though I believe I have another Paranormal Shifter-Romance book waiting in my inbox for that first week. So many books, so little time!

October is going to be schedule hell for me. It is every year. Between Halloween + my daughter’s Birthday (She’ll be 12 on October 27th), October is usually pretty busy as it is, but on top of that, it’s also the month I get my heaters turned on for winter (which, let’s face it, anytime I get my house worked on in any capacity it is a scheduling nightmare), AND this upcoming month my family has decided to take a week-long trip to Disneyland! I believe we’ll be gone October 18-24, but I’m not certain. It’s also “let’s send the entire family to the dentist” month… so of course, this means I need to either hurry up and schedule a bunch of posts ahead of time, OR admit defeat and just not post for a week. Either way, Free Fiction Friday will be gone the week of our Disneyland trip. We’ll see how my reading goes. I have a bunch of books from NetGalley I need to get through, and this month would be a great time for that if I can get them finished up far enough ahead of time to schedule the review posts. Here’s to hoping it all works out!

Weekend Wrap-Up #14

What I Read

ww-1ww-2Devil and the Deep cover

It’s been a pretty slow week for reading around here. I’ll admit it. I’m actually coming very close to some review deadlines that I need to finish up (I still don’t have a book read for next Wednesday or the following week). It just seems to be one of those weeks where I had every intention of cranking out a couple of reviews, but other things got in the way.

I did manage to pick up and finish The Billionaire Brothers: Chase by Violet Walker. To be honest, it wasn’t my sort of thing. Everyone here on my blog knows that I’m not a huge fan of novellas. I tend to find them rushed and lacking the depth of character that I usually look for in my fiction. I picked up this particular novella, however, because I’m part of a review team who was implored to do so… and no surprise, found I didn’t care for it. You can look forward to that review on Monday. Btw—can we take a moment to discuss how ridiculous this book’s full title is? BILLIONAIRE ROMANCE: The Unforgettable Billionaire Brothers: CHASE (Young Adult Rich Alpha Male Billionaire Romance) (A Steamy Alpha Billionaire Romance Book 1) … it’s a mouthful. Also, for future reference, it’s not a YA Romance, it’s a very Adult Erotica.

I didn’t finish any other books this week, but I did pick up quite a few. The first of which I’m about halfway into called Yellowstone Fugitive by Saige Silver. Unfortunately, I do not have a cover for it yet, but it will be released September 24th. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. The book was spun to me as a BBW Menage Paranormal Romance, and although that’s a particular genre that’s been rather hit and miss with me in the past, I decided to give it a try. Right now, I’m not sure if I’m going to give it 2 or 3 stars. The book started out pretty good—the technical side of the book is really well done and the plot is unique… but the character dialogue is so ridiculously cheesy that I don’t know if I should cringe or laugh. The steamy bits are extremely explicit and a little too blunt for my tastes. I’m reserving too much judgment for now, but I’d certainly label this more of an Erotica than a Romance.

Another book I picked up this week was Poison by Lan Chan. I don’t know much about the book really—I picked it up on Netgalley on a whim, but so far, the little I’ve read has me intrigued. The writing is very well done, and I’m excited to keep reading. I wish I had more to tell you at this point, but I’ve literally read less than a chapter.

The last book I’ve picked up this week (and will be reading very shortly, although I haven’t actually cracked the cover yet) Is Devil and the Deep by Megan Tayte. I’ve previously read the first three books in this series (all of which I gave five stars) so when the author sent me an email a few weeks ago asking if I’d be interested in reviewing the fourth book as well as hosting a Release Day Party + Giveaway, I jumped at the chance. I’m super excited to start reading, and I’m hoping to have it done by the end of next week. The Release Day Party/Giveaway will be September 30th, so stay tuned (also, the first three books in the series will be FREE on Amazon the same day, so links will be available if you’re interested! Be sure to check in next week!

Upcoming Reviews & Things::

  • Monday, September 21 – The Billionaire Brothers: Chase
  • Wednesday, September 23 – Yellowstone Fugitive
  • Monday, September 28 – Devil and the Deep (? Hopefully)
  • Wednesday, September 30 – Devil and the Deep Release Day Party + Giveaway
  • Thursday, October 1 – Sparked

What Was Posted

What I Did

DSCN0487Yup. This is the weather outside my house this morning. See that barbed wire fence? That’s the back end of Fort Bliss. Yes, I live directly behind the base.

It’s been a bit of a long, busy week, even though I didn’t get a lot of reading done. I managed to get the outline for my book finished (Now named Daughter of Abraham) and have started on the first draft. It’s been a bit of a weird experience. Almost immediately after I got the first two chapters of the first draft done, I realized that I needed to set those chapters aside. They didn’t really fit into the book, but luckily, they would fit into a prequel, so for now, I’m holding onto them.

Aside from working on my book, I listened to a ton of podcasts over the week—mostly while writing. I’ve found a few gems so far that I’m really enjoying, including: Self Publishing Podcast & Self Publishing Podcast Classics / Dear Bitches, Smart Authors / XOXO After Darkcast – all are available FREE on iTunes, and I’d highly recommend checking them out. DBSA and XOXO are both Romance Genre related book podcasts, and SPP and SPPC are both podcasts by the same crew of authors that talk a lot about writing and self publishing. They have a lot of really interesting conversations and publishing tips, so I’d highly recommend you check them out.

And in more “My house broke again” news, I learned to McGyver a toilet, because once again, my plumbing broke in my house. The stupid little flusher lever that basically makes it possible for your toilet to flush broke, and having no vehicle for the week, my options were limited. Basically: stick my hand in the toilet tank every time I want to flush the toilet to manually lift the flapper valve, OR McGyver the hell out of it. What has my life become?

Next Week

I need to read. Period. I’m behind and I have three spots to fill in the next two weeks. I’m flailing right now. Other than that, my plans are to continue to crank out the first draft of Daughter of Abraham, fix my stupid toilet (because let’s face it.. it’s super annoying right now), and maybe bake some pie… cause fall is a thing that is now happening (see weather above for reference). I’m ready for apple pie.

Weekend Wrap-Up #13

What I Read

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I can admit it, I didn’t get a lot of reading done this past week. I don’t feel bad about it though—because I spent that time writing instead, and I got a lot done. I did find time, however, to pick up A SEAL’s Temptation by Tawny Weber, which was my monthly ARC read from The Naughty List ARC Club. Honestly, it was a nice change to read something kind of mindless. It was a pretty cute romance with lots of steamy bits, and what I like to refer to as “brain candy”.

Upcoming Book Reviews:

  • Monday, September 14 – Aisuru
  • Wednesday, September 16 – A Seal’s Temptation

What Was Posted

What I Did

Khet6Like last week, I spent most of my free time working on my outline for Khet (which still doesn’t have a real name). I added about 17k words and 27 scenes in that time, and lot a whole lot of sleep. It’s not much in comparison to how fast other’s write, but given that I’m in the process of figuring out the scenes and moving POV’s and characters/scenes around… I’m all right with that. Considering the book sat around with 9 chapters under it’s belt for the better part of two years, being 75% of the way into the outline doesn’t seem like a small task. I’m pretty proud to be this far in.

The next step, of course, is to finish up the last little bit of the outline, and then go back and start picking apart any chapters/characters/events that really don’t need to happen… getting things cleaned up for the initial draft. I’m hoping to have everything sorted out and ready to write by the end of the year (and I have every hope that I’ll be able to do so). Ultimately, I’d like to get it written, beta read, edited, and published a year from now. It’s time to stop procrastinating—and I think I’ve made a good start on that.

Other than writing, I didn’t get a lot done this week. I waited around for our lawn service to come and mow my grass so I could walk outside without having an allergic reaction…but of course, they never show up on time, and didn’t arrive. No big shocker there. My daughter is currently dealing with her first cold of the school year, which made our week pretty lax since she was running a fever. I took pity on her and had her watch cartoons for two days rather than attempt school work.

We also haven’t sent my computer back in yet, mostly because of time restraints. My husband’s been working out of town for his job (and for the next three weeks will continue to be out of town), so finding time to get to the post office, go grocery shopping, etc for the one day during the weekend that he’s here and the post office is actually open, is an exercise in madness. We only have one vehicle, and I don’t have it while he’s gone (not that I like to drive anyways), so getting my computer shipped out for repairs has been rather difficult. I’m hoping to get it sent out next week—but it’s not as urgent now that I have access to most of my files (my wonderful husband went and bought an external dock for my hard drive that we’re able to hook up to the laptop and access my files through—YAY!). It’s not perfect. I can’t play games and I don’t have most of my programs, but at least I can get to my e-book library again as well as my writing and blog files. Just being able to get to them is a huge relief!

Next Week

I don’t have a lot of plans for the upcoming week past general errands I have to do, and lots more writing. I need to get some reading done (before I run out of book reviews to schedule!), but honestly my heart isn’t in reading right now. It’s consumed with writing—and I can’t justify putting down the work I’ve tried so hard not to procrastinate on in order to fill blog posts. I desperately want to finish Khet’s outline, and I’m so close to the end that it’s hard to ignore the voice in my head that’s telling me to suck back copious amounts of coffee and just get the damned thing finished. I guess we’ll see what happens!

I hope everyone has a great week!

Weekend Wrap-Up #12

What I Read

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This week has been a bit of a slow one. Early on, my computer (once again) died, and so my ability to get to my reading library has been a bit hindered. It’s going to be a few weeks before I can get to my e-book library again, so I’m currently picking up some new books through Netgalley and various other ARC sites in the hopes of filling the time.

Luckily, I did get a chance to finish up Aisuru by Anma Natsu, and I’m happy to report that it was actually quite good—if a little cliché. If you’re an anime fan, this will probably be right up your alley. It does stick to a lot of the pretty standard Japanese anime/manga cliché’s, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good book. I really liked it, so keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming review.

Here’s the trouble with picking books up from Netgalley though. Unlike Amazon, it doesn’t have a preview button. I got approved for a copy of Shadows by Paula Weston and The Last of the FIreDrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy over the weekend, and so far, I’m not impressed.

Here’s the problem. The Last of the FIreDrakes has an interesting premise and a gorgeous cover…but the narrative is written like some teenager scrawled out the story in their boy band notebook. The editing is sloppy, the writing is terribly cliché and unbelievable, and the pace is ridiculously fast. I’m only 3 chapters in and I’m already over it. We’ll see if I can push any further.

Unfortunately, Shadows by Paula Weston has a different problem. The writing is spectacular. The story is gripping, and I’m engrossed…. but somewhere between the publisher, Netgalley, and my Kindle, every instance of “th” and “fi” “fs” “fr” “ff” (basically anything that has an F in it) has been replaced with a blank space. This leads to sentences like “It’s a  er work and I have  e track to myself.” Every single sentence is an exercise in deciphering what the author meant before it got butchered by the formatting somewhere. I really want to like this story, but it’s so hard to be patient with it when I have to continually stop to figure out what letters are missing. I’m going to continue to try to push through it, but it is rather exhausting.

Review Dates Coming Up:

  • Monday, September 14 – Aisuru
  • Wednesday, September 16 – Shadows
  • Monday, September 21 – The Last of the FIreDrakes

What Was Posted

What I Did

DSCN0485I’m actually quite proud of myself this week. After my computer died (yet again), I decided instead of whining about the fact that I’d literally just gotten my computer back only to have it throw a tantrum, I would use this downtime being relegated to the family laptop to work on my writing.

I’m happy to report that in the last two days alone I’ve added 8k words and 14 new scenes to the detailed outline I’ve been doing for Khet (currently still unnamed, so the main character’s name has been adapted as the working title). I know, I know. I’m 38k words into this outline and only just now more than halfway in, and I’m fully aware that it can hardly be labeled an outline at this point—but let me explain:

I don’t do bullet outlines. Okay… I just lied. See that notebook in the picture above? That’s my bullet outline for Khet. It takes up the entire notebook. When I initially wrote it, I didn’t stick to the main points of the story. I wrote in concepts and ideas and notes, and the feelings of the characters… backstories and genetic lines…. anything I thought might be pertinent to the story—and boy am I glad I did! I then went back and highlighted important bits, cut out scenes and characters that didn’t need to be there, and added sticky notes to further detail specific points or add in new scenes. It’s a mess, really.

What I’m doing now (here comes the detailed outline part) is taking that notebook, cleaning it up, and writing it into a Word document, complete with bulleted notes, a general run-through of each scene, who the viewpoint is for that scene, any information pertaining to the scene that I need to remember or keep track of, who’s in the scene, the setting… etc. It’s basically a shortened first-draft of the story without the actual dialogue and narrative (and without the chapter splits), but with the structure of the scenes explained out with all the information and important bits I need to keep the story on track. That’s why the outline is so large. To give you an example, here’s a piece of one scene to give you an idea of how my outline reads (you’re seeing real behind-the-scenes stuff right now):

SCENE ELEVEN

Setting: Khet’s family hut inside the river valley village, mid-morning, summer, hot and humid—but cooler indoors, and dark.

Characters: Khet, Safiya, Hala

POV: Khet

Khet removes her blind. Her elder sister, Safiya, is diligently finishing the last few bits of adornment on her ceremony outfit. When Khet enters, her sister scolds her for being late, and threatens that Khet is to pretend they aren’t related. She doesn’t want her association with the blind girl to ruin her last chance at marriage.

Their mother scolds Safiya for being cruel to her sister, but asks Khet to understand. Safiya has missed out on the ceremony once before and is nervous about doing so again. Khet shakes her head and says that Safiya is right. She has no intention of ruining Safiya’s day, and she certainly hopes she doesn’t find a groom herself. Her mother chastises her for wishing something so odd, but Khet explains her worst fears: that she will have to hide her secret for the rest of her life… and how would she explain to her husband if their children too had green eyes? The voiced fear makes her family’s activities come to a stop. She shrugs and says that she’d rather live the rest of her life alone than live with that fear.

Safiya tells Khet not to sulk, and now ready, leaves to join the ceremony. Khet’s mother tells her not to worry and helps her to quickly get ready.

  • Make Safiya’s dislike of her sister clear.
  • Show that although she puts on a brave front, Khet is frightened by what her future might entail, and though she says she hopes to never get married or have children, she secretly wants both… just not at the expense of freedom.
  • Khet at some point should ask about Ruwa… where she is, what she’s doing. (Ruwa remains unmarried). She is helping their grandmother set up.

When all this is done and cleaned up, I’ll then go back, do another look through for scenes that aren’t needed, cut it up into chapters, and start the first draft—which will be pretty easy to write out since I know exactly what my idea for each part of the story is. Basically, I’ve taken writer’s block out of the equation. Instead of starting the first draft and getting stuck by the finer details that aren’t figured out (I’ll just admit right now that I am terribly OCD), I’ve done all of that ahead of time, so that when I DO get to the writing, all I have to do is enjoy the actual language of the story. I know it seems like a lot of work, and it is up to a point, but it’s been a fun process, and it’s taken me from a very sloppy nine-chapter first draft (I scrapped it), to a fully fleshed out and plotted story that is much better organized and lacking of all loopholes. It’s been a really fun experience, and I’ve gotten a lot of work done, so I’m going to keep at it until I get this literary baby finished.

Next Week

Honestly, my plans are pretty much the same. Write until my fingers fall off, homeschool my daughter, drink lots of coffee… try to catch some naps. It’s not much of a plan, but it’s working so far, and I’m somewhat limited by my lack of access to the majority of my files and games. We’re hoping to send in my computer to be fixed/replaced this up coming week, so hopefully in another few weeks I’ll get something back that relatively resembles my computer (but hopefully it will actually work), and I can get back to… well, everything. I miss my e-book library like you wouldn’t believe.

I hope you all have a great week!

Weekend Wrap-Up #11

What I Read

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It’s been a really long week reading wise. I’m currently in the process of catching back up on my reading from the weeks I missed due to computer problems. I’m also working to whittle down my current TBR list, most of which has been sitting around for well over a year. The problem with this, of course, is that a lot of what’s still on my TBR list are books that I started to read… and didn’t want to finish. Unable to get past the first 10% of most of the books, I set them aside to try again later. Now is later. The problem with this of course, is that there’s probably going to be a lot of 1-star reviews coming up because I am scraping around what’s left of the barrel. I’m trying to keep my mind open and unbiased… but there’s only so many technical errors I can ignore sometimes.

The first book I picked up this week was Chimera by N.J. Tanger—which I started reading at the end of last week. I adored this book. It was complicated but interesting, and I loved all of the characters. You can look forward to the full review Wednesday.

The second book I picked up this week was Back Roads Kingdom by Christian O’Neill. Once again, this was a fantastic book. It was a little hard to follow at first, but the best comparison I can give it is Alice in Wonderland meets the Appalachians. Again, I loved the book, and that review is coming up next week.

The third book I picked up this week was Ukiyo by Mario Saincic. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed by this one. It started off really strong, but slowly fizzled out by 20% in. Too many times I questioned the decisions of the characters, the logic of the world building, and the technical skill of the editor. Sadly, this one ended up being a DNF.

I just started reading Aisuru by Anma Natsu just this morning—and already I have high hopes. It’s easy to tell that the author spent a lot of time with their research and making the culture of the book accurate, and it’s made for some interesting reading. I’m only 6% in, but I’m looking forward to finishing this one up in the next day or two.

Review Dates Coming Up:

  • Monday, August 31 – Trapped On Draconica
  • Wednesday, September 2 – Chimera
  • Monday, September 7 – Back Roads Kingdom
  • Wednesday, September 9 – Ukiyo
  • Monday, September 14 – Aisuru

What Was Posted

What I Did

It was a long week, though not a lot happened. I spent most of my time trying to catch up on reading, and suffering from a weird sleep schedule. Summer is not my thing. I’m not built for the 100+ F temperatures of El Paso, TX. What this all boils down to is not being able to sleep at all once the sun goes down. With the AC on, it’s freezing once night falls, but without it? Humid and hot as hell. Either way, it’s uncomfortable and I end up being wide awake all night… which then makes me want to fall asleep standing up come 11 AM. I basically live on a graveyard shift right now, which is the complete opposite of everyone else in my household. I can’t wait for fall.

Tuesday, thankfully, was my birthday! I don’t particularly like birthdays—being a twin, they’re usually shared, and I hate surprises… so by the end of the day, I’m usually disappointed and stressed out. This year wasn’t so bad, though I did manage to burn my cake. I got a book I’d really been looking forward to, and a Steam gift card… so now I can play games while I’m up all night. *thumbs up*

On the less fun side of things, I managed to get food poisoning… again. From pizza this time, which was weird. I’m already over it, but it wasn’t a fun couple of days. Then, to top off the week, my toilet decided to leak and flood my bathroom this morning. It’s fixed (thank god), but it was certainly a long day.

Here’s to hoping that next week is a little less stressful! We’ll be starting up homeschooling for the year come Tuesday (because I’m nice and letting my daughter start 6th grade September 1st instead of August 24th like the local public school…) Starting school before my birthday is just ridiculous. *nod* It’s like… a holiday.

Image: Imhotep, Aka my fuzzy baby. He’s a Sokoke that’s about to turn 13.

Next Week

I have no plans for the upcoming week. Read maybe? Play some games? Force my 11 year old to learn 6th grade math? Sounds like a plan. My husband is out of town for work for the week, but I’m still kind of hoping that he’ll bring me back my late birthday present (an Amazon gift card) that I’ve been informed he owes me. I WANT BOOKS. That’s all for now—I hope everyone had a great week!

Weekend Wrap-Up #10

What I Read

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Wow, it’s been awhile guys. As I’m sure you aware, a couple of weeks ago (4? 5? I don’t even know anymore), my computer’s main hard drive decided to die a slow, painful death. The irritating aspect of this, of course, is that my computer is not that old. Months. luckily, the thing was under warranty, so I sent my drive in to the company I bought it from, and got a free replacement drive. This wasn’t without it’s troubles, the largest aspect of which, was the sheer amount of time it took to get the replacement sent to me.

For those who know me, you’ll know that I’m an admitted computer addict. I basically live on the internet… so not being able to not only use my computer, but also reach my files, was a painful and very specific sort of torture. Unfortunately, this also meant that I was unable to read and review books, or even do much more than check twitter and drop off the occasional message here on my blog. Luckily, it’s all fixed now, but the only thing I can say in my defense of the super long absence and lack of posts is: Blue Screens of Death are a plague the kind of which I would never wish upon my enemy.

So, because of my forced hiatus, when my computer was back up and running this week, I jumped at the chance to try and catch up on some reviews. I started with Sparked by Lily Cahill, which was only recently e-mailed to me. It was fantastic, if a little unique, and you can look forward to a full review at the beginning of October (or if you’re impatient, check out my Goodreads where it’s already up!)

I then went on to try and finish up Independence by Shelly Crane. I adored the previous three books in the series, but to be honest… I was unimpressed by the fourth. I don’t know what happened or where the author went wrong, but I was honestly bored. I very nearly didn’t finish the book.

The third book I finished up this week was Phoenix Earth, a compilation of episodic science fiction stories by various authors. The book was sent to me more than a year ago, and honestly, I just couldn’t get through it. The science was questionable, the backstory slogged, and by the third time the first author had compared the  events in the book to the Jewish Holocaust, I was over it. I wanted to like it, but I’m just too detail oriented to enjoy something that makes me question the author at every turn. I ended up DNFing it.

The fourth book I picked up was Trapped on Draconica by Dan Wright. Again, I desperately wanted to like it. The author sent it to me a few months ago, but try as I might, I couldn’t get through it. It wasn’t a bad book, but it just didn’t suit my tastes. The writing and the melodrama was a little too scripted and saturday-morning-cartoons feeling than what I’d expected out of a YA Fantasy book. I couldn’t take it seriously, and ended up DNFing it as well.

I’ve just started ready Chimera by N.J. Tanger, and so far? It’s fantastic. The world building is so detailed and vivid that I can’t help but reading further into the story. I’m only about 23% of the way in, but I can already tell that I’m going to like it (if I don’t get lost in all the science fiction technobabble).

Here’s the review dates coming up:

  • Monday, August 24 – Independence
  • Wednesday, August 26 – Phoenix Earth
  • Monday, August 31 – Trapped on Draconica
  • Wednesday, September 2 – Chimera
  • Thursday, October 1 – Sparked

What Was Posted

What I Did

To be honest, I did a whole lot of nothing while my computer was dead. I spent time with my family, took naps, cleaned my house… watched far too much Netflix. I took needless pictures of my 11 year old so I could post them on my blog in the future. Ha ha. She sleeps like a ballerina.

I did manage to get some outlining done on one of my more recent novel’s, The Night Parade—which I guess is a win.

The thing is, there wasn’t a lot I –could- do. I mange to wrangle a laptop to work from, but it didn’t have any of my files or games on it. The internet was spotty at best—in fact, we’re planning on replacing the modem this week because of how much trouble we’ve had.

That isn’t to say I haven’t been busy though. There’s been dentist visits, we bought a new SUV to replace our Civic Hybrid before it was out of warranty (those batteries are EXPENSIVE), and I even organized my bookshelves. (Look! I have space for more books!)

I even managed to get my school shopping done, which was well overdue. We’re doing homeschooling again this year (My daughter is now in 6th grade!). We started organizing our next trip to Disneyland (this upcoming October! Woot!). But really, I’m glad to be on the internet and back to my blog. I missed the routine of reading and writing reviews, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Next Week

This upcoming week is a special one. I am planning to get a lot more reading and reviews done—I am desperately trying to whittle down my TBR list and catch up on my reading quota, which is now several weeks behind… but more importantly, Tuesday, August 25th, is my BIRTHDAY. I’ll be 32, and so will my identical twin sister. Happy Birthday Jamie! (You can find her here.) I’m hoping for some new books *crosses fingers*. I’ll let you know if I get any! Here’s to next week—I hope it’s a good one!