Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Books I've Read: The Authentics

This was one of those books that really wasn't what I expected it to be and it kept surprising me.  Which is a good thing!

Daria is an Iranian/American in LA.  Her family are deeply entrenched in the Persian community and Daria is proud of her culture, even if it does infuriate her at times.  She has a tight-knit group of friends who like to call themselves The Authentics because they see themselves as being true to themselves and authentic while other kids are fake.

And none more fake than Daria's former best-friend, a fellow Persian from the group she likes to refer to as 'The Nose Jobs' because they have had their proud Persian noses fixed to look more American.

Daria's identity is thrown into crisis when she takes a DNA test as part of a science project for school, and discovers she is not in fact the person she has always believed herself to be.

The rest of the book is about Daria uncovering her true identity, coming to terms with it, and realizing that she and her friends are no more authentic than anyone else - everyone wears masks or fakes it in some way or another.

I enjoyed aspects of the book, especially the details about Daria's Persian culture.  What I didn't like were the relationships between women.  There seemed to be an awful lot of bitchiness and in-fighting and one-upmanship that felt unnecessary.

There was also the requisite love-interest who seemed just a tiny bit unreal to me.  A bad boy who wasn't really that bad, just misunderstood...

So while I didn't love this story - to be honest, I didn't like Daria as much as I wanted to - it's certainly interesting and engaging enough to keep you reading to the end.  And sometimes that's enough.

The Authentics is a fresh, funny, and insightful novel about culture, love, and family—the kind we are born into and the ones we create.

Daria Esfandyar is Iranian-American and proud of her heritage, unlike some of the “Nose Jobs” in the clique led by her former best friend, Heidi Javadi. Daria and her friends call themselves the Authentics, because they pride themselves on always keeping it real.

But in the course of researching a school project, Daria learns something shocking about her past, which launches her on a journey of self-discovery. It seems everyone is keeping secrets. And it’s getting harder to know who she even is any longer.

With infighting among the Authentics, her mother planning an over-the-top sweet sixteen party, and a romance that should be totally off limits, Daria doesn’t have time for this identity crisis. As everything in her life is spinning out of control—can she figure out how to stay true to herself?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Weekly Goals 20-11-17

It's going to be a busy week.  I have work things I have to go to in the evenings three out of five nights, so finding time to write is going to be nigh on impossible.

Hence my decision to give up on the idea of winning NaNo.

I did get some good writing done over the weekend though, and I'm over 28K into the book.  Which is pretty tragic really, when you consider the bulk of the book is yet to come....  I definitely noodled around too long in getting things started.

But that's what revision is for!

So my goal this week is to just keep working on the darn thing.  I'm trying not to obsess about word count and reaching that glorious 50K.  Just moving forward is important.

And sleeping.  I definitely need to do more sleeping.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things 17-11-17

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

So what am I celebrating this week?

In my day job I have been working on our business's annual report since June and yesterday it finally went to the printer.  I am definitely celebrating that because having it off my desk means I can focus my attention on the next big project I have, with a looming deadline in December.

I have been forced to abandon NaNo for this year, which is not something I'm celebrating, exactly, but certainly takes some pressure off.  I got edits on STUMPED from my publisher this week, and while they haven't taken me an enormous amount of time to turn around, I am now very behind the word count I need to win NaNo.

And next week is one of those weeks at work where three nights out of five I have to go to events or help at functions, so I would get even further behind.

I will keep working on the book in my spare time, but I doubt I will get anywhere near 50K by the end of the month now.  Especially if another round of edits comes in.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Books I've Read: The Homecoming

This is one of those books where the blurb grabbed me and I was super excited to start reading.  It sounded right up my alley with the boy POV, estranged family and a dead girlfriend.  I was ready to dive into an emotionally complex and moving book.

But I didn't really get that.

Something about the MC just didn't gel and I never found myself caring enough about him or what was going on in his life.  I never felt like I got under his skin and felt anything he was feeling.  Or even that he was really feeling anything.  It was almost like the author was describing what she thought he should be feeling rather than allowing the character to actually feel.

Maybe it was a stylistic choice because John had spent so long numbing himself with drugs and alcohol he didn't know how to feel.  

Whatever it was, it didn't work for me, and what should have been a painful, raw story about redemption and forgiveness, was actually a little dull.

Disappointing, really.  I hate it when a really good story is let down by less than great execution.  It's actually worse than a book that's beautifully written but has little to no plot to drive it.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

Forced to return to his estranged family, John discovers how hard it is to truly go home.

It's been a year since John lost his girlfriend, Leah, to suicide. Living with his uncle keeps his mind from the tragedy and his screwed up family-until he gets into trouble and a judge sends him back home. With a neglectful mother and abusive brother, John's homecoming is far from happy.

As he tries to navigate and repair the relationships he abandoned years ago, Emily, the girl next door, is the only bright spot. She's sweet and smart and makes him think his heart may finally be healing. But tragedy isn't far away, and John must soon face an impossible decision: save his family or save himself.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Weekly Goals 13-11-17

It's still all about NaNo.  I finished yesterday on just under 22,500 words which I'm happy with.  I would have liked to be a little further ahead at this stage, but considering how many days I haven't managed to write much, I'm pretty happy.

I will have to try and get a few good days under my belt this week because next week is a busy one with work-related events and there are going to be at least three days I probably won't get a chance to write much, if at all.

I finally got the plot moving yesterday though, so things should progress well from here.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things 10-11-17

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

So what am I celebrating this week?

I'm making pretty good progress on my NaNo book.  I should hit 20K tonight, if I have a good writing night.

Unfortunately, the story isn't moving forward as quickly as I would like it to.  I will have to edit some of the scenes I've written a lot when I revise.  But I know my process well enough now to know I always noodle a lot in the early chapters becasue I'm getting to know my characters and their voices.  Once I have them nailed, the plot elements start moving faster because I don't stop to explore every little thought and gesture to figure out how they should react to whatever is happening.

I'll probably only manage one writing session over the weekend because I'm going away for work on Saturday.  Which means my weekend will be even shorter than usual.

And that's about it for celebrating this week.  We've had some absolutely glorious weather and that always cheers people up. Long may it continue.

What are you celebrating this week?