Mood and Music Monday: 10/31/16 (Halloween Edition)

Hello, everybody! Happy Halloween, and welcome to this week’s Mood and Music Monday!

Mood and Music Monday is a weekly meme I’ve started, wherein I’ll post a song and talk about how it relates to my day/week, as well as a few other things. (And, in case anyone’s wondering, this meme has no relation to Lauren’s [from Always Me] “Music Mondays.”) Feel free to participate and to leave a link to your posts down in the comments!

Here’s the update for this week:

SONG(S) OF THE WEEK

What are you listening to? THIS IS HALLOWEEN, THIS IS HALLOWEEN. 😀 So, yeah, it’s Halloween, so of course my family and I watched the childhood classic The Nightmare Before Christmas–and danced to and sang along with the opening song, obviously. It never gets old, but of course it’s special this time of year (AKA, my favorite time of year). Also, I just discovered this version, and now I’m even happier.  

What are you reading? After DNF-ing Interview with the Vampire, I’m back reading Crooked Kingdom and making good progress so far. I should be able to finish it before it’s due at the library. (I’m nervous though; Leigh Bardugo is going to do something horrible. I KNOW THIS IN MY SOUL, YOU GUYS. But I don’t know that it is yet. Please don’t hurt my babies, Leigh. >_<)

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What are you drinking eating? For Halloween, my wonderful sister made my family sugar-free, paleo caramel apples, and they were absolutely delicious. I wish she’d made more so I could stuff my face, but perhaps that wouldn’t be a smart idea given it’s a school night. (Note: “Perhaps” is the operative word here.)

Any goals for this week? Writing and reviewing! I’ve fallen behind on the latter, so I’m hoping to get back into it; another review should be up tomorrow, hopefully.

How about you?

  • What song(s) are you listening to today?
  • What is your current read? Are you enjoying it?
  • Do you have any plans or goals for this week?

INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE: Review (DNF)

font-b-interview-b-font-with-the-vampire-anne-rice-book-cover-locket-necklace-keyringInterview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1) by Anne Rice
Published by Alfred A. Knopf in November of 1992 (first published April 12, 1976)
Genres: adult, urban fantasy, historical fiction, supernatural, paranormal
Pages: 274
Format: Hardcover
Amazon Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | IndieBound

Rating: DNF at 51%


Drat.

I’ve been looking forward to this book for so long, you guys. Not only does it sound interesting, but I thought it would be excellent research for my own vampire novel. It’s been hailed as a vampire classic and a pioneer in its subgenre, one of the first to depict vampires as more compassionate creatures (as having more of a “soul,” if you will). (Also, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Kirsten Dunst. Need I say more?)

Unfortunately, I’m just not as invested as I hoped I’d be. Louis is melodramatic, Claudia is a whiner, and Lestat is just flat. If I were still early into the book, I might push through it, but I figure that, if I’m not invested in anything right now–halfway into the book–why would that change anytime soon?

Not to mention that the writing style is a little too dense for me. I commend Anne Rice for  making Louis sound authentic (he’s from the 18th century), but it definitely makes this book a slower read. And I’m afraid I have neither the time nor the patience to get through it, especially if I’m not connecting with any of the characters.

Maybe I’ll come back to this, when I have time to read it (and it’s not due at the library in two days). But, right now, it’s just not for me.

I met Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman, and Marie Lu!!!

 

 

WiP Wednesday: 10/26/16

Hello, and welcome to this week’s #WiPWednesday post! #WiPWednesday is a weekly meme started by Brigid Gorry-Hines from Wordfare. Every Wednesday, I’m supposed to post an update about my WiP (Work in Progress), including word count and where I’m at in writing/revising it. Hopefully, doing this meme will keep me motivated to continue working on my WiP.

Please note: Technically, I’m doing this a day later (on a Thursday), but, seeing as I haven’t gone to bed quite yet, it still counts as a Wednesday for me. 😉

So let’s get started! I’ll try to fill out these categories as best as I can.

WIP:  The L.S. M.S.

Writing or Revising? 

Still rewriting scenes. I’ve moved on again, but I keep jumping back and forth between certain ones.

Current Word Count: 95, 333

I’m finally getting the courage to delete scenes that don’t seem to fit with my vision for the story anymore, and go completely back to the drawing board with them. It’s a little scary, but I think it’s going to be okay.

How It’s Going:

It’s going all right, actually. I’ve finally started to embrace not having a plan, and just writing and seeing where the story takes me. Sometimes, you don’t have answers to things, and I’m trying to reassure myself that those will come in time, whether in the form of a plot point, a scene, or even one line of text. In the meantime, all I’m able to do is keep writing.

Goal for Next Week:  

Keep moving! Perhaps I can get far enough to afford to backtrack and revise those scenes again, which would really put my worrying mind to rest, hahaha. We’ll see how that goes.

Mood and Music Monday: 10/24/16

Hello, everybody! Welcome to this week’s Mood and Music Monday!

Mood and Music Monday is a weekly meme I’ve started, wherein I’ll post a song and talk about how it relates to my day/week, as well as a few other things. (And, in case anyone’s wondering, this meme has no relation to Lauren’s [from Always Me] “Music Mondays.”) Feel free to participate and to leave a link to your posts down in the comments!

Here’s the update for this week:

SONG(S) OF THE WEEK

What are you listening to? I’m on a The 1975 binge this week. “Settle Down” has been on repeat (I just love how euphoric it sounds), as well as “Love Me,” the title track from their sophomore album, and “Please Be Naked.” The last two are instrumentals, and I like them a lot. So many of their songs capture some of my current WiP’s scenes and moods—even those instrumentals. Maybe I’ll write to them one of these days.

What are you reading? I finished ACOMAF and Heir of Fire, and I’m currently reading Crooked Kingdom, but I’m going to have to put it aside; Interview With The Vampire is due at the library in several days, and I can’t renew it. So I’ll finish the latter, and then finish Crooked Kingdom. (And, in case you’re wondering, yes, my reading schedule is just as chaotic and jam-packed as the rest of my life.)

What are you drinking? Plenty of water and some iced tea. It’s been cold and rainy lately, so I might start brewing some hot tea soon. ^_^ I love autumn; it’s my favorite season because it’s just the perfect atmosphere for reading and writing. But, unfortunately, where I live, I’m stuck with a pretty temperate climate year-round, so when something that feels seasonal waltzes on through, you learn to treasure it.

Any goals for this week? I’m going to a Gemina and The Midnight Star book signing tomorrow night, and I’m super excited for it, so one of my goals is to enjoy that. I also have finals this week, so I’m hoping to survive that, too. *slinks back into my dark, musty cave to study* Please wish me luck!

How about you?

  • What song(s) are you listening to today?
  • What is your current read? Are you enjoying it?
  • Do you have any plans or goals for this week?

WiP Wednesday: 10/19/16

Hello, and welcome to this week’s #WiPWednesday post! #WiPWednesday is a weekly meme started by Brigid Gorry-Hines from Wordfare. Every Wednesday, I’m supposed to post an update about my WiP (Work in Progress), including word count and where I’m at in writing/revising it. Hopefully, doing this meme will keep me motivated to continue working on my WiP.

So let’s get started! I’ll try to fill out these categories as best as I can.

WIP:  The L.S. M.S.

Writing or Revising? 

Still rewriting scenes. I’ve moved on to others, but I still need to go back and work on a few later; I don’t think I’ll have peace until I do.

Current Word Count: 96, 891

Word count keeps decreasing because I’m editing scenes. I’m deliberating moving some other scenes around and then rewriting those, which would make the word count drop even further. Stay tuned on that.

How It’s Going:

I want to write a good story, but I feel like all I’m seeing right now is my story’s problems, plot-wise and in regards to character development. I want to rewrite them so that they’re…well…well-written, but I’m not quite sure how to do that. I’m worried I’m not capable of it.

Goal for Next Week:  

Finish the new scene I’m working on, and move on, if I have time. I’m working harder to make the time to do that. We’ll see if this pays off.

GEMINA (The Illuminae Files, #2): Review (ARC)

29236299Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 18, 2016
Genres: young adult science fiction, young adult romance
Pages: 672
Format: Paperback (ARC)
Amazon Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | IndieBound

Rating: ★★★★½ 


Aaaaaaand we’re back! 😀

Oooooh, boy. How do I even begin to review this one?

So, as all of you know, I loved Illuminae. Like, I loved it, loved it. That book is, and always shall be, one of my favorite thrill rides.

So when I won an ARC of this in a giveaway, I was ecstatic. Seriously, you guys. I almost started crying. I started it with a grin and a hope that it would be as fantastic as the first book.

Only, now I’m finished with it, and I’m not quite sure how to rate it. :/

Illuminae was explosive and so, so stressful. I was practically tearing my hair out while devouring that book, but I loved every second of it. There’s definitely action in Gemina, but it takes longer to escalate and the horrors on board of the ship are more insidious than before. Which is fine, just different.

I don’t know why, but for some reason I wasn’t able to connect with this book as well as I wanted to. It has nothing to do with the quality of the storytelling or the characters; both are vivid and well-developed. And I’m thinking maaaaaybe I feel this way because I’m still reeling from the first book? I’m not quite sure. (I’m also struggling with some personal issues that kind of make it hard for me to connect with things in general right now, so perhaps that could be a cause?)

Another thing I noticed was, though there are a lot of direct messages between the characters, there are more video transcriptions than text messages. As a result, I felt a little more removed from the characters than I did in the last book. I also felt what happened at the very end because of the twist (no spoilers here!) could have been explained a little bit more clearly, but, eh, that’s a nit-pick.

Let me tell you what I enjoyed about the book, though, so you don’t think I didn’t like it. I did, really.

So, Hannah, one of our main characters, draws, and Gemina incorporates some of the drawings in her notebook (illustrated by the lovely Marie Lu) into the story. While my copy of the book didn’t include these drawings, the ones I’ve seen are pretty darn good, and, based off of what I’ve seen, they add a lot of character to this book overall. (Also, this picture of Nik, another one of our protagonists? Sa-WOON! He makes me snort with laughter, the little rascal.)

Also, AIDAN’s back, you guys, and just as snarky and cynical as ever. It was fun to read his perspective again; though he’s very intelligent, his ignorance of human mannerisms and colloquialisms made me crack up. I missed my AI buddy. I want to hug him, but I don’t think that’s possible (and, even if I could, I’m a bit worried he might blow me up if I tried).

Another thing I enjoyed is how Gemina balances building on the old with introducing the new. This story, while it holds its own, is also deeply connected to the events in Illuminae, and we really see that here (especially in the reappearance of some of Illuminae‘s characters). We get to know Hannah, Nik, Ella, and the Heimdall, and I really enjoyed reading Hannah’s interactions with the Malikovs and Hannah’s and Nik’s interactions with Ella. They were funny, realistic, and sweet. (And Nik and Hannah make me grin so wide, you guys–mainly because Nik’s adorable, of course.)

We also learn more about BeiTech and their plans, as well as things we only heard about in passing in Illuminae. For example, we get to see more of Kady’s dad and the work he does on Heimdall (and, speaking of dads, I laughed so hard at Hannah’s email exchanges with her dad. Those were waaaaay too accurate, hahaha.). Kady and Ezra (and, of course, AIDAN) also get page time, which gave me those warm fuzzy nostalgic feelings. (And trust me: In this series, you learn to treasure those, because they’re really rare, heheh.)

The result of all these things is the same fun, exciting story, but from a different perspective–one with action, relatable, vivid characters, the desperation of survival, and a twist that’ll make your eyes wide and your jaw drop. (I really wish I could say more about that twist, but you’ll have to read it and see for yourselves!) A worthy successor to Illuminae, at the very least, even if I didn’t connect with it as well as I’d hoped to.

Many thanks to Alli and Taylor of A Bookish Alli for sending me this ARC, and thank you to Knopf and the authors for supplying it. All quotes in this review are from an advance copy of the book, and are subject to change in the final copy. No compensation of any kind was exchanged for this review.