Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Books I've Read: Now I Rise

I was so excited to read this book.  I absolutely loved And I Darken and devoured the whole thing in a single day.

I didn't love this so much...

Don't get me wrong.  It's still a compelling read, but because so much of the book is focused on war and intrigue, there isn't a lot of room for the characters to grow and change the way they did in the first book.  And while Radu and Lada are in different places, fighting different wars, the brutality is the same for them both.

Neither spend much time with Mehmed who was the centre of both their worlds in the first book, and the chemistry of those relationships is missing here.  In fact, it's relationships in general that are missing.  Lada is a lone wolf who trusts virtually no one, even her own soldiers.  And Radu goes into Constantinople as a spy, so is therefore forced to keep himself at arms length from anyone other than his fake wife (who remains my favourite character).

So while this is an action-packed read, it isn't nearly as compelling as I had hoped it would be.  Fingers crossed the third part of the trilogy will pick up the relationship action alongside the battles and political intrigue.

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

She has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself.

After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada Dracul is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.

What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?

As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won…and souls will be lost.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Weekly Goals 28-8-17

After not getting any writing done last week (again), this week I am determined to do some. I have several manuscripts that really only need a final polish before they are ready to be submitted, so this week I plan to drag one of those out and get to work on it.

 I'm lucky with this project and one other, in that I have some notes to work with because my agent gave me notes on both manuscripts before we parted ways earlier this year. So this week I intend to address some of those notes. Not all of them, because we didn't see eye to eye on some points, but there are certainly things I do agree with and those things are the ones I'll work on.

 I also plan to speak to my ghostwriting project's subject because we're not nearly as far into that book as I would have liked to have been by this point in the year. We need to try and figure out a better way to do interviews so we can keep the momentum going. Ideally I'd like to have the bulk of this project done by November so I can focus on writing something new during NaNo.

 What are your goals this week?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things 25-8-18

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?

It's Friday!  It has been a very busy week and I'm glad the weekend is here.  Although I have a pretty busy weekend ahead of me too...

My cold finally seems to be disappearing, although it still isn't 100% gone yet.  I've never had a cold that's hung around this long before.  It's really annoying!

An Unstill Life got a five-star review that made me very happy.   Hopefully it will also drive some sales, but just knowing someone out there really loved the book makes me happy.

I haven't done any writing again...  So that's nothing to celebrate.  Next week I really will do some.  No, really...

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Books I've Loved: The Heartbeats of Wing Jones

I really enjoyed this one and read the whole thing in a single afternoon.  It's a story about a girl who has always lived in the shadow of her older brother, Marcus, who she worships.  Then Marcus drives drunk and crashes his car, killing two other people and winds up in a coma.

The book follows Wing as she and her family deal with the aftermath of this tragedy, from figuring out how to pay the medical bills to dealing with the fact Marcus, the golden one, did something so irresponsible and reckless.

Unable to sleep at night, Wing starts running and discovers not only does she have a talent for it, she loves running.  Not to mention Aaron, Marcus's best friend and future track star...

I loved this book for tackling difficult subject matter in a realistic way.  I also loved the portrayal of Wing's multi-ethnic family that includes two grandmothers from very different worlds who don't always see eye to eye.

I also liked the relationship between the siblings.  They obviously cared a lot about each other, but Wing saw Marcus in an unrealistic way.  Her journey in learning to see her brother as both human and flawed, and to accepting him that way, is well worth reading.

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

Wing Jones, like everyone else in her town, has worshipped her older brother, Marcus, for as long as she can remember. Good-looking, popular, and the star of the football team, Marcus is everything his sister is not, and Wing is all too aware of this.

Until the night when everything changes. Marcus, drunk at the wheel after a party, kills two people and barely survives himself. With Marcus now in a coma, Wing is crushed, confused, and angry—could Marcus, the golden boy, really have done something so irresponsible, so reckless? She is tormented at school for Marcus’s mistake, haunted at home by her mother’s and grandmothers’ grief. To make matters worse, the bank is threatening to repossess her family’s house because all their money is going to pay her brother’s mounting medical bills.

Every night, unable to sleep, Wing finds herself sneaking out to go to the school’s empty track. With the breeze in her hair and her feet pounding the dirt for hours and hours, she can imagine she is keeping Marcus’s heart beating. If she runs hard enough, maybe he’ll wake up. Maybe she’ll free her family.

When Aaron, Marcus’s best friend, sees her running one night, he recognizes that her speed, skill, and agility could get her spot on the track team—and better still, a shot at a coveted sponsorship from a major athletic gear company. Wing can’t pass up the opportunity to train with her longtime crush and to help her struggling family, but can she handle being thrust out of Marcus’s shadow and into the spotlight?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Weekly Goals 21-8-17

I didn't end up doing any writing last week, despite my goal.  I've had a cold for two weeks and it just keeps lingering on and I've been completely exhausted by the time I get home from work every night.  I've been in bed before 9, trying to get rid of the damn thing.

I feel like maybe I'm feeling a little better after the weekend, but I will have to wait until this afternoon to be entirely sure...

So my goal this week is to do some writing.  I'm a little stuck on the ghostwwriting project because I haven't managed to get more time with the subject and I've written everything I already had.  I could write a few small pieces here and there to slot in later, but I feel like I need another day or two of interviews before I can do justice to the pieces.

I did have an idea for a book of my own to write, but it still needs more time to percolate before I can start writing.  I'm thinking I might make it my NaNo project for this year.  Not that I've even looked at what I wrote during last year's NaNo....

I have plenty of stuff I could be editing and working on, so my goal this week is to try and start that, unless I can get some time on the phone with my ghostwriting partner, in which case I will continue with that.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, August 18, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things 18-8-17

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?

My partner had surgery on Tuesday and came through it fine.  We're just waiting for the effects of the operation to settle down before we know if it has actually fixed the problem.  So keeping all fingers crossed...  Last year's more major surgery for this problem worked for a few months, but didn't solve the issue entirely.

New laptop!  I'm writing this post on my new laptop and I love it.  So clean and shiny and all the parts work.  So nice...

I had an idea for a new book this week.  It's been a while.  I still need time to percolate it, and figure out if it's going to work, but I'm quite excited by the initial idea.  Fingers crossed it will percolate quickly because I feel like it has been too long since I let my imagination go on a new idea.  The ghostwriting is fun, but it's not the same as creating lives and worlds in my head.

An Unstill Life is now available in print!  I just spent a small fortune buying copies so I can get them into bookstores here and have some to give away to the library etc.  There's something so much more real about having a book in print.  Ebooks are great, but I guess I'm old fashioned.  I like paper books best.

Anyway, if you would like a copy, you can purchase them here.

What are you celebrating this week?