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Review: The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman

Book Review: The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman

“As a literary agent, Noah Lukeman hears thousands of book pitches a year. Often the stories sound great in concept, but never live up to their potential on the page. Lukeman shows beginning and advanced writers how to implement the fundamentals of successful plot development, such as character building and heightened suspense and conflict. Writers will find it impossible to walk away from this invaluable guide—a veritable fiction-writing workshop—without boundless new ideas.”

Book Review: The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman

What I thought:

It’s double review day, friends! I’ve got an erotic romance coming up later, but for now I’ve got a book on writing for you 🙂

The Plot Thickens was useful and I definitely took some notes, but as you may know by now I like my theory books funny, and this wasn’t that. It actually reminded me a little bit of that one teacher everyone had who has great info but who isn’t a great speaker. I learnt, but it was a little dry for me. Which is a shame since I really liked The First Five Pages by the same author.

One of the chief functions of multidimensionality is to make a work more realistic, to make it easier for us to relate to the person. It is hard for us to relate to the perfect man. But throw a few faults in, and he becomes more like us.

Having said that, this is great if you need help getting into your characters’ heads. It lists loads of questions you could be asking to either figure them out completely or just to fill in the gaps.

There is some magical element in storytelling, something mysterious that we’ll never label. It is the most powerful form of human creation. It is thought on the page, and few things of this Earth are more powerful than thought.

It all lies before you on the blank page. From your mind to your hands to the keys. Nothing is stopping you from changing the world.

I do feel like it was mostly centred around character creation and development, so if you want help with either of those you’ll find this useful.

Buy it on Amazon | Add it on Goodreads


Have you read The Plot Thickens? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

Please note: All reviews contain affiliate links. I do not review books on this blog that I didn’t enjoy or believe in–all reviews are recommendations.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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WWW Wednesday 9th August 2017

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

This meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

***

What I’m currently reading

A Torch Against the Night

This is everything I needed from a fantasy book <3 I’m almost done with it now and am hoping to finish it either tomorrow or Thursday morning. I’m a little behind on my reviews, though, so it may not be this week.

Blurb:

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

The Plot Thickens

I haven’t made any progress on this but will try to fit it in somewhere this week. Last week was a little busy and all over the place, but now that things have calmed down I should have time for it.

Blurb:

As a literary agent, Noah Lukeman hears thousands of book pitches a year. Often the stories sound great in concept, but never live up to their potential on the page. Lukeman shows beginning and advanced writers how to implement the fundamentals of successful plot development, such as character building and heightened suspense and conflict. Writers will find it impossible to walk away from this invaluable guide—a veritable fiction-writing workshop—without boundless new ideas.

***

What I recently finished reading

The Sword of Shannara Trilogy

I gave up on it :/ I hate giving up on books but I just couldn’t get into this. With shorter books I tend to finish them regardless of how much I’m enjoying them, but this one has 1,191 and the tiniest font I’ve ever seen in a novel. There’s just too much of it for me to soldier on, especially considering the many other books waiting to be read!

Blurb:

THE SWORD OF SHANNARA: Long ago, the world of Shea Ohmsford was torn apart by war. But the half-human, half-elfin, Shea now lives in peace – until the forbidding figure of Allanon appears, to reveal that the long dead Warlock Lord lives again

THE ELFSTONES OF SHANNARA: Ancient evil threatens the Elves and the Races of Man. For the Ellcrys, the tree of long-lost Elven magic, is dying – loosing the spell of Forbidding that locks the hordes of Demons away from Earth. Only one source has the power to stop it: the Elfstones of Shannara. 

THE WISHSONG OF SHANNARA: Evil stalks the Four Lands as the Ildatch, immemorial book of evil spells, has stirred to eldritch life. Once again Allanon, ancient Druid Protector of the Races, must seek the help of a descendant of Jerle Shannara.

Equal Rights

This was everything I wanted from a Terry Pratchett book! Writing the review might be hard, though, because my only notes are ‘love Granny Weatherwax <3’ 😀 It’s my current favourite Discworld novel but I suspect Mort will top that!

Blurb:

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.

The last thing the wizard Drum Billet did, before Death laid a bony hand on his shoulder, was to pass on his staff of power to the eighth son of an eighth son. Unfortunately for his colleagues in the chauvinistic (not to say misogynistic) world of magic, he failed to check that the baby in question was a son. Everybody knows that there’s no such thing as a female wizard. But now it’s gone and happened, there’s nothing much anyone can do about it. Let the battle of the sexes begin…

Zombie Playlist

I was so excited to find my ARC waiting in my inbox one morning! After The Sword of Shannara not working for me I needed something that made me laugh, and this made me laugh a lot! I’d already seen teasers of Dagger online but reading the finished novella was so much better. Dagger has a wicked sense of humour, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Zombie Playlist will be published on the 4th September, so go mark it now if you love snarky zombie apocalypse stories!

Blurb:

Dagger has survived the zombie apocalypse with nothing save a metal bat, blades, and assholery. With the company of an IPOD she attained courtesy of Dead-Dude, and King, the Bunker-Boy straggler she somehow acquired on her journey, she travels to the coast, putting down zombies, blowing up high-grade assholes, and teaching King how to ditch his pre-apocalypse conscience and keep his yellow ass alive.

***

What I think I’ll read next

Mort

With A Torch Against the Night begging to be read and the ARC of Zombie Playlist, Mort had to wait – but it’s definitely my next read now and I’m dying (hehe… get it? dying? MORT?) to get to it! It’s already in my locker at work, I just need to finish my current read now 🙂

Blurb:

In this Discworld installment, Death comes to Mort with an offer he can’t refuse — especially since being, well, dead isn’t compulsory. As Death’s apprentice, he’ll have free board and lodging, use of the company horse, and he won’t need time off for family funerals. The position is everything Mort thought he’d ever wanted, until he discovers that this perfect job can be a killer on his love life.

***

Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

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WWW Wednesday 26th July 2017

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

(Ah, good, I’m back to the normal schedule. This is better.)

This meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

***

What I’m currently reading

The Sword of Shannara Trilogy

After my last read I desperately needed a high fantasy, and there’s no book bigger or more stuffed with fantasy than this trilogy. All 1,192 pages of it.

It’s mahoosive, friends. If I wanted to, I could kill someone with it, it’s that heavy.

Get used to seeing it because it’ll take me a while to get through this. Right now my progress is p.96 /1191, or 8% according to Goodreads.

The world building is excellent, but so far I don’t care about the characters and there was a lot of history in the first few chapters. And there are no women? Where the fudge are all the women?? I don’t need every book I read to be dominated by strong female leads, but I’d have thought there’d be one woman in 100 pages, at least.

I’m not sure if it’s the weight of the thing, the tiny writing (Times New pt.8, I’m guessing), or the paragraphs which are the longest I’ve ever seen in a novel, but I’m struggling forward more than anything right now. I’ve heard many good things, though, so I’ll stick with it and hope it picks up soon. Although, to be honest, something pretty awesome needs to happen for me to continue with it next week.

Blurb:

THE SWORD OF SHANNARA: Long ago, the world of Shea Ohmsford was torn apart by war. But the half-human, half-elfin, Shea now lives in peace – until the forbidding figure of Allanon appears, to reveal that the long dead Warlock Lord lives again

THE ELFSTONES OF SHANNARA: Ancient evil threatens the Elves and the Races of Man. For the Ellcrys, the tree of long-lost Elven magic, is dying – loosing the spell of Forbidding that locks the hordes of Demons away from Earth. Only one source has the power to stop it: the Elfstones of Shannara. 

THE WISHSONG OF SHANNARA: Evil stalks the Four Lands as the Ildatch, immemorial book of evil spells, has stirred to eldritch life. Once again Allanon, ancient Druid Protector of the Races, must seek the help of a descendant of Jerle Shannara.

Equal Rights

Because The Sword of Shannara is such a monster, I refuse to haul it around with me every day. I needed something else to read while I wait for the bus, so I borrowed Equal Rights from my library. So far so excellent <3 I’d even go as far as saying that it’s my favourite Discworld novel (out of the three I’ve read, including this one… *ahem*), because I love Granny Weatherwax.

I’m already halfway through (it’s nice to read more than six pages in half an hour *shakes fist at The Sword of Shannara) and thoroughly looking forward to the rest.

Blurb:

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.

The last thing the wizard Drum Billet did, before Death laid a bony hand on his shoulder, was to pass on his staff of power to the eighth son of an eighth son. Unfortunately for his colleagues in the chauvinistic (not to say misogynistic) world of magic, he failed to check that the baby in question was a son. Everybody knows that there’s no such thing as a female wizard. But now it’s gone and happened, there’s nothing much anyone can do about it. Let the battle of the sexes begin…

The Plot Thickens

FRIENDS! IT’S A THEORY BOOK WITH A SHORT BLURB! I APPRECIATE IT ALREADY! <3 <3 <3

I haven’t had too much time for this but I’ll try to switch between this and Equal Rights more often. All I can really tell so far is that it’s excellent for character creation, and a good addition to the smol theory library that lives under my desk.

Blurb:

As a literary agent, Noah Lukeman hears thousands of book pitches a year. Often the stories sound great in concept, but never live up to their potential on the page. Lukeman shows beginning and advanced writers how to implement the fundamentals of successful plot development, such as character building and heightened suspense and conflict. Writers will find it impossible to walk away from this invaluable guide—a veritable fiction-writing workshop—without boundless new ideas.

***

What I recently finished reading

Never Let Me Go

Well, this wasn’t quite what I expected. I’m torn. I think Ishiguro has an incredible understanding of the human mind and motivations, but I’m sorry to say that it bored me. The purpose of Hailsham was explained fairly early on, and after that there were no more surprises or plot twists. Everything was quite predictable, really. It just didn’t excite me.

I’ll get my review written and on to Goodreads this week hopefully, and it’ll then be on here in a few weeks, too.

Blurb:

As children, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life, and for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special—and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.

The Caves of Steel

Now this was good! My review for it is already on Goodreads and will be on here soon, too, so I won’t repeat myself but it was good. For some reason I was reluctant to start it but I really enjoyed it, and I’ll look forward to reading more of his books.

Blurb:

A millennium into the future two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. Isaac Asimov’s Robot novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together. Like most people left behind on an over-populated Earth, New York City police detective Elijah Baley had little love for either the arrogant Spacers or their robotic companions. But when a prominent Spacer is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Baley is ordered to the Outer Worlds to help track down the killer. The relationship between Life and his Spacer superiors, who distrusted all Earthmen, was strained from the start. Then he learned that they had assigned him a partner: R. Daneel Olivaw. Worst of all was that the “R” stood for robot–and his positronic partner was made in the image and likeness of the murder victim!

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Oh gawd, friends, this was everything I want from a theory book <3 Apart from how I didn’t learn anything new (unless you count the history of the semicolon, which I don’t actually remember), but it was hilarious, and if you’re struggling with any aspect of punctuation I can recommend this. Not only will you learn something, but you’ll also laugh on every page.

My review will be on here tomorrow and there’s quotes to show off the hilarity, so keep your eyes open for that 🙂

Blurb:

A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.

“Why?” asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

“I’m a panda,” he says at the door. “Look it up.”

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.

Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”

So, punctuation really does matter, even if it is only occasionally a matter of life and death.

Now, we all know the basics of punctuation. Or do we? A look at most neighborhood signage tells a different story. Through sloppy usage and low standards on the internet, in e-mail, and now text messages, we have made proper punctuation an endangered species.

In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, this lively history makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.

***

What I think I’ll read next

Mort

(Now why did I think this one was red?)

Since I’m making terrible progress towards my goal of reading 10 Discworld books this year, I figured I might as well continue with this one. They are short and funny and magical, and I need something I can take with me while The Sword of Shannara stays in my locker at work. If I’m still reading that next week, that is.

Blurb:

In this Discworld installment, Death comes to Mort with an offer he can’t refuse — especially since being, well, dead isn’t compulsory. As Death’s apprentice, he’ll have free board and lodging, use of the company horse, and he won’t need time off for family funerals. The position is everything Mort thought he’d ever wanted, until he discovers that this perfect job can be a killer on his love life.

***

Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

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Review: The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman

Book Review: The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman
“Editors always tell novice writers that the first few pages of a manuscript are crucial in the publishing process — and it’s true. If an editor or agent (or reader) loses interest after a page or two, you’ve lost him or her completely, even if the middle of your novel is brilliant and the ending phenomenal. Noah Lukeman, an agent in Manhattan, has taken this advice and created a book that examines just what this means, and I have to tell you, it’s one of the best I’ve read.

I’ve written (and seen published) pretty close to a dozen novels in as many years — some are still to be published and will be out shortly; others are already out of print after four years. But I wish I had read Lukeman’s book, The First Five Pages, when I began writing fiction.

I’m glad I did now. It has helped, immediately. I’m already embarrassed about some of the goofs I made in my writing — and I’ve been revising recent prose with his advice in mind.

First off, Lukeman is a literary agent who once was an editor, and his editorial eye is sharp. If every novelist and short story writer in this country had Lukeman as an editor, we’d have a lot more readable prose out there.

He writes:

Many writers spend the majority of their time devising their plot. What they don’t seem to understand is that if their execution — if their prose — isn’t up to par, their plot may not even be considered.

This bears repeating, because in all the books I’ve read on writing, this is an element that is most often forgotten in the rush to come up with snappy ideas and sharp plot progressions. You can always send a hero on a journey, after all, but if no reader wants to follow him, you’ve wasted your time.

In a tone that can be a bit professorial at times, Lukeman brings what prose is — and how it reads to others — into sharp focus. He deals with dialogue, style, and, most importantly, sound.

Sound.

How does prose sound?

It must have rhythm, its own kind of music, in order to draw the reader into the fictive dream. Lukeman’s tips and pointers are genuinely helpful, and even important with regard to the sound of the prose itself.

Lukeman also brings in on-target exercises for writers of prose and the wonderful advice for novelists to read poetry — and often.

Those first five pages are crucial, for all concerned. But forget the editor and agent and reader. They are important for you, the writer, because they determine the sharpness of your focus, the completeness of your vision, the confidence you, as a writer, need to plunge into a three- or four- or five-hundred-page story.

The First Five Pages should be on every writer’s shelf. This is the real thing.”

Book Review: The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman

What I thought:

(What is it with theory books and overly long blurbs? You’d think they’d know better.)

The First Five Pages is one of the first theory books on writing I’ve ever read. Because I learnt so much from it I bought my own copy, and since I’m editing my second book now I figured it was the perfect time to read it again!

The blurb isn’t kidding when it hails The First Five Pages as the one book every writer needs to own, or at least read. It goes over every problem your draft could possibly have, shows you why each is a problem through examples, and shows you how you can fix it. There’s also a chance to apply what you learned with end-of-chapter exercises. It also offers small insights into how agents and publishers work, and why they might reject your manuscript. And, more importantly, it shows you how to fix it!

And on top of all that, it’s encouraging:

I have never had a book, story or poem rejected that was not later published. If you know what you are doing, eventually you will run into an editor who knows what he/she is doing. It may take years, but never give up.

The First Five Pages is an invaluable resource and I urge you to read it, maybe even buy your own copy. It’s not a dry thing you’ll struggle through. It’s easy to read and quite humorous throughout (the latter is a quality my theory books must have if they want to end up on my shelf)!

Buy it on Amazon | Add it on Goodreads


Have you read The First Five Pages? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

Please note: All reviews contain affiliate links. I do not review books on this blog that I didn’t enjoy or believe in–all reviews are recommendations.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

Want to know what else you can find on this blog? Take a look here.

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WWW Wednesday 19th April 2017

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

This meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

Prepare yourselves, friends, this is a big one!

***

What I’m currently reading

On Writing

I’ve made two previous attempts to read this when I borrowed it from my library. Both times it was requested by a student almost right away, so I didn’t make much progress either time. I eventually just bought my own copy, and now I’m flying through it.

It’s my favourite book on the subject. It’s hilarious, honest – often brutally so, like when he talks about his addiction to drugs – and I’m learning so much I’m taking notes all the time. If you’re a writer and haven’t read this yet I urge you to give it a space on your bookshelf. Buying this rather than borrowing it was one of the best things I did for myself, and I just know I’ll come back to it every time I need a boost of motivation, or a little encouragement.

Blurb:

Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in the vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999 – and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery.

There is a reason why Stephen King is one of the bestselling writers in the world, ever. Described in the Guardian as ‘the most remarkable storyteller in modern American literature’, Stephen King writes books that draw you in and are impossible to put down.

Remember to Love Me

This is my second read by Becky Wright (my review of my first read, The Manningtree Account, publishes here tomorrow) and again she’s introducing me to a genre I’m not familiar with! I don’t read many romance novels, and I don’t think I’ve read any time-slip novels at all unless you count my other read by her, but this book combines the two really well. It’s a celebration of family with the warmth of Christmas sprinkled over it, so it’d make a great Christmas read! I’m a third through it now and I’m excited to see how the story is going to develop from here.

Blurb:

1900
Annabelle yearns for nothing more than motherhood. Losing her own mother in child birth at the tender age of four; a gaping hole has grown in the pit of her belly with the desire to nurture a child. Her sole purpose, she values its significance and her duty to provide an heir to devoted husband Richard Hardwick, successor to a wealthy landowning family. But motherhood may not be as she once hoped, as fate deals her a cruel hand, leaving her with a life-changing dilemma.
Her younger sister Emily, vibrant and full of zest is engaged to the dashing Lance Corporal James Wright, jubilant with thoughts of the future she imagines nothing but wedded bliss on the horizon. But as a new century dawns, darkness falls, as the Boer War gains strength James is deployed to South Africa, leaving his new bride alone with an uncertain future. As melancholy festers, Emily escapes the rural confines of Bury St Edmunds to stay with Aunt Anna by the sea, where she languishes in nature’s rough vast beauty. As the distance stretches between the sisters, so too does the life-thread of family.

1997
April has spent her solitary childhood in the pretty Norfolk village of Winterton-on-Sea, surrounded by its quiet lanes and circular pastel holiday cottages; a child flourishing in its rural beauty and thriving off the natural elements of sandy dunes and buffering waves. But now, after leaving University and as her 21st birthday approaches, April finds herself relocating closer to her Grandmother Sarah, to her mother’s childhood home of Bury St Edmunds; a market town in the heart of the Suffolk countryside. Her parents open their longed-for antique shop, and although April is eager to assist with the busy Christmas rush, she aches for something else; a missing puzzle-piece. She looks to Sarah for guidance and direction, struggling to adjust, in her heart, pining for her sea-side home; she takes solace in the extraordinary bond she shares with her grandmother.
April’s feelings of uncertainty amplify as she steps over the threshold of her ancestral home; an early Victorian townhouse at the heart of the historic town, where time has stopped in its tracks, pristine and perfectly antiquated. In a visit to the attic late one afternoon, she discovers more than just dusty tea chests and old suitcases. She encounters an ancestor that has remained, a beautiful ghostly apparition whispering secrets in the shadows.

As the weeks follow and Christmas arrives, April is confronted with strange visions and dreams; memories of a lost, long buried time, of grave secrets, of sisterly love, romance and family loyalties that stretch beyond even love’s limits. April is thrown into turmoil, living moments in two eras, experiencing love and loss in both. With the help of Annabelle’s diary, she begins to unravel the mysteries of her ancestor’s history as her own destiny falls into place. Piecing together snippets of another life, giving peace back to the house and laying ghosts to rest; she unfolds the mystery of her family’s Supernatural Legacy.

.***

What I recently finished reading

The Slow Regard of Silent Things

While this had none of the things every book on writing ever will tell you a book should have – no dialogue, no character development, and no action, to name a few – it had everything it needed in just the right measures. It was delicate, it was whimsical, and I loved the insight into the mind of my favourite character. It’s a lovely little thing, just like Auri, and I recommend you read it if you’ve read The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear first, and if you’ve adored Auri. Otherwise this might just be a little too odd for you.

Blurb:

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is set at The University, where the brightest minds work to unravel the mysteries of enlightened sciences, such as artificing and alchemy. Auri, a former student (and a secondary but influential character from Rothfuss’s earlier novels) now lives alone beneath the sprawling campus in a maze of ancient and abandoned passageways. There in The Underthing, she feels her powers and learns to see the truths that science—and her former classmates—have overlooked

Nevernight

This book was awesome. Period. <3

My review will follow next week (I hoped if I waited a few weeks it’d be more useful information and less uncontrolled gushing, but I’m not sure that’ll be the case), and as always it’ll be up on Goodreads first. Hopefully today. *ahem* *makes more tea* *signs contract with the devil to have more hours in the day*

Blurb:

Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student.

The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.

The First Five Pages

As much as I enjoyed this and recommend this to everyone who wants to write or is already writing, I’m glad to be done with it, too. I don’t usually take this long over one book, especially one so short, so I’m relieved you won’t need to see it again in two weeks! 😛

My review will be up next week Thursday, just before my review for Nevernight will go up.

Blurb:

Editors always tell novice writers that the first few pages of a manuscript are crucial in the publishing process — and it’s true. If an editor or agent (or reader) loses interest after a page or two, you’ve lost him or her completely, even if the middle of your novel is brilliant and the ending phenomenal. Noah Lukeman, an agent in Manhattan, has taken this advice and created a book that examines just what this means, and I have to tell you, it’s one of the best I’ve read. Continue reading

All the Birds in the Sky

Unfortunately this didn’t work for me. It’s very rare that I don’t finish a book, but this is now the second book I gave up on. The idea was so intriguing, and there were some brilliant, poignant moments, but the execution led it down. The writing was amateurish for the most part, and I couldn’t connect with the characters at all even though I felt I actually had a fair bit in common with Patricia. There was a lot of “This happened, then this happened, he reacted this way so she said this, and then they went their separate ways’ going on, which got old for me fast. According to reviews this really falls apart in the second half, and since, in my opinion, it already didn’t have things together in the first half I decided to stop. Which I hate doing. But we just weren’t meant to be.

Blurb:

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during middle school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s ever growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together—to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the Apocalypse.

***

What I think I’ll read next

Awakening

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this and I’m excited to finally discover this series for myself. It sounds like a mixture of all my favourite genres so I can’t wait to dive in!

Blurb:

Izzy is on the fast track to nowhere. Being ordinary really blew sometimes. That’s until she meets Lucas–a man that’s unlike anyone she’s ever met. Mostly because he isn’t actually a man. He is a supernatural creature that proclaims to police the Light and Dark in order to protect humans.

And Izzy–well–she isn’t the human she thought she was. She is actually a supernatural being as well. And now Lucas is going to do everything in his power to find out what she is and protect her from the Dark lurking around the corner.

Awakening follows Izzy as she navigates this new world of demons, vampires, angels, and many other supernatural creatures. Recruited by the Promiscus Guardians and partnering with the most brooding and devilishly handsome man she’s every met, Lucas, Izzy is suddenly knee-deep up crap creek. Discover the secret behind her power and why it’s such a commodity in her Awakening.

or possibly…

The King

I read the prequel The Fool (you can read my review here) earlier this year and have been looking forward to The King ever since. I’m torn between this and Awakening for my next read, but it will definitely be one or the other, likely followed by whichever one I don’t read first.

Blurb:

Not all vampire hunters dress in head-to-toe leather and sit on rooftops overlooking a gritty vampire-ridden city. Meet Delia Roberts. At twenty-six, she’s a mid-level hunter with the Harriswood League, and, despite her best efforts, isn’t scaling the hunter hierarchy anytime soon.

Months earlier, desperate to prove herself, Delia snuck into an exclusive vampire masquerade, only to wind up with a bite on her neck courtesy of clan leader and gorgeous vampire Claude Grimm. Fearful of the League’s punishment for succumbing to a bloodsucker’s charms, Delia does what she can to hide the bite and pretends the night never happened.

These days, however, Claude is determined to win her over, insisting the spark they felt that fateful night is worth pursuing. As Delia tries to ignore her steadily growing feelings for the enemy and fend off a mounting quarter-life crisis, vampire clan tensions worsen around the quiet city of Harriswood, bringing with them a danger unlike any the League has ever seen.

One that might change the course of history for good.

***

Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

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11 Comments

WWW Wednesday 8th March 2017

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

This meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

***

What I’m currently reading

A Shining in the Shadows

I’m so thrilled to be on Lee’s ARC squad!!! The Making of Gabriel Davenport was one of my favourite reads last year, so I volunteered early 😀 A Shining in the Shadows is just as beautifully written and I’m flying through it. I might even be able to finish it this week!

A Shining in the Shadows will be out on the 7th of April, and I’ll definitely have my review ready for it. I’m dying to give you details and quotes, and not just squee and flail at you.

Blurb:

Gabriel Davenport has been remade from darkness. Now, he must adapt to survive .

In a small seaside town, Gabriel’s maker unwittingly takes his wards into the throes of a deadly new game. There are rumblings on The Bloodvyne, the mental web of linked vampire consciousness. Whispers about a cleansing, about the ruling council hunting vampires with impure blood.

Gabriel finds himself thrust into a new nightmare, where the hunter becomes the hunted. When his maker is taken, he must battle to untangle the mystifying clues laid out in an uncovered labyrinth to find the only creature strong enough to fight against those that hunt his new-found family.

Gaze long into the darkness, and you’ll find old vampire foes out for revenge, new ones with their own agenda, and a witch who holds the key. But just who is the monster in the middle?

Crescent Moon

I was happily reading this and enjoying Phoebe’s sarcasm when my ARC arrived on my kindle. Because ARCs take priority it’ll have to wait, but I’m excited to come back to it! I love learning more about Fahy’s worlds, and might have to sneak in a few pages here and there <3 It’d be a shame to not read this at all.

Blurb:

What do you do when your world is turned upside down?

When you discover your father had a direct hand in the genocide of much of the world’s human population?

Phoebe Harkness’ life has changed forever. Thirty years after a cataclysmic world war that eviscerated one third of the human population, a new sub-species of vampire-like drones has set its teeth to the survivors of humanity.

They’re not the only ones: ‘Genetic Others’ such as vampires, werewolves and more roam the streets of New Oxford, trying – and sometimes failing – to live peacefully amongst humankind.

But that is all about to change.

A spate of serial killings have occurred, rocking the already fragile ecosystem of New Oxford.

Brutal murders and mutilation are now commonplace.

Phoebe must get to work. She is named as liaison between the Genetic Others and the Cabal, the ruling order of the walled city.

She must negotiate with the Tribals, a subset of werewolves cast aside by the cultural hegemony of the Cabal.

But before she can make any progress with the Tribal leader, Kane, she learns of more murders – and three missing students. And Kane’s daughter is among the missing…

One of the victims leaves a message in blood: ‘Crescent Moon’.

Now Phoebe must act urgently with the help of Kane and her former paramour, vampire Allesandro to track down the culprit of these horrific killings.

But who is conducting all of these strange happenings behind the scenes?

And what does it have to do with the Crescent Moon…?

Crescent Moon is the gripping second instalment of the urban gothic Phoebe Harkness series. It follows the young doctor as she stalks through the corrupt dystopia of New Oxford.

The First Five Pages

Because of my ARC and Phoebe’s infectious sarcasm I haven’t made much progress on this. It’s one of those theory books that makes me want to write, so I’ve probably chosen a bad time for it to be honest, since I’m editing rather than writing right now.

If you’re a writer and you haven’t read this yet I strongly recommend that you do. It’s well-written, easy to apply, and it’s one of the few theory books that are written with humour!

Blurb:

Editors always tell novice writers that the first few pages of a manuscript are crucial in the publishing process — and it’s true. If an editor or agent (or reader) loses interest after a page or two, you’ve lost him or her completely, even if the middle of your novel is brilliant and the ending phenomenal. Noah Lukeman, an agent in Manhattan, has taken this advice and created a book that examines just what this means, and I have to tell you, it’s one of the best I’ve read. Continue reading (what is it with theory books and insanely long blurbs??)

***

What I recently finished reading

The Fool

As expected I sped through this! If it wasn’t for my day job and my edits I’d have read it in one sitting, but a bookworm’s life is tough as we all know. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book in her Lovers and Liars series, but I still enjoyed it and will definitely come back for more when my tbr list allows it! (Having said that, I already have The King on my kindle, so it probably won’t be too long.)

Blurb:

One night can change everything.

That’s what they always say, and for now, vampire hunter Delia hopes it’s true. After years of mediocre performances, she’s still nothing more than a grunt in her hunter league, stuck on surveillance duty and low-level vamp busts.

So, when her informant drops an amazing lead in her lap, she jumps at the opportunity to take down the region’s rumored vampire leader at an invite-only masquerade ball. Clad in a mask and an uncomfortable dress, Delia throws herself into the fray—only to realize she’s woefully unprepared for the night that awaits her.

Also… Some ridiculously attractive guy dressed as the Fool keeps distracting her.

One night. One job. One man. One chance to change her life.

All she has to do is not screw it up.

Blood Gifted

BloodGifted was my first book by Lacoba and I really enjoyed it. It was fast paced with intriguing characters and many plot twists! Because my tbr pile has grown to dizzying hights I’m not sure when I’ll get to the sequel, but it’s definitely on my list <3 If you love urban fantasies with sexy vampires and curses I recommend this! My full review will be up on Goodreads soon, too 🙂

Blurb:

What’s a girl to do when she learns she’s the key to breaking a centuries-old family curse? Become dangerously intimate with a jaw-dropping vision of male hotness hiding a secret agenda of his own.
Nothing could be simpler.
Or is it?
When primary school teacher, Laura Dantonville, learns of her family’s dark ancestral legacy, she’s propelled into a secret underworld ruled by magic, mystery and murder, and stalked by vampire clans who would do anything to possess her. For her protection, she’s assigned a guardian not knowing that part of her role in ending the ancient curse that has plagued her family for centuries, involves having a child with him.

And she has one day to make a decision.

With only five years left of servitude to his sire, Alec Munro reluctantly accepts to act as Laura’s guardian or risk remaining in slavery forever. But can he maintain a platonic relationship between them when something far more intimate is required to end his sire’s family curse?

With time running out, Laura must decide to either accept Alec or allow her vampire-hating detective boyfriend to end the legacy his way – by eliminating the undead side of her family.
After all, they’re not human are they?

Being unable to age is just the beginning.

Zero to 100,000

Overall this was disappointing for me. As someone who isn’t new to social media I couldn’t take much away from it, but if you’re new to Twitter, blogging, and other similar sites you’ll be sure to pick up a thing or two! I’m not sure if there’s a more recent version out there (I borrowed this one from my library) but this one wasn’t up to date. Several social media sites aren’t covered, and some of the information isn’t as relevant today as it was then.

Still, if you’re just starting to get into the vast social mediaverse you’re bound to learn a thing or two! However, if you’ve been using social media for a while there’s likely a better book you can use.

Blurb:

I work in digital media publishing, yet I’ve struggled, like most of the business world, to understand how to make social media work for me. Sarah-Jayne and Dean tackled the challenge with an energy that has to be seen to be believed. These two are now my #1 source of information and have provided simple and effective strategies that have helped me to monetize social media. Continue reading (It’s a really long blurb…)

***

What I think I’ll read next

I’m not making any promises this week. I’ve got so many current reads on the go that I’m not sure when I’ll pick something new. I’m not like most of you, I can’t read three books in one week 😛 I should have a better idea in two weeks when my next WWW post publishes.

***

Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

6 Comments

WWW Wednesday 22nd February 2017

 

Hey look, it’s my first post on my new website! 😀 <3

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

This meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

***

What I’m currently reading

Blood Gifted

This month I was part of an indie author event on Facebook called Our Books Are Not Free, and this is one of the many books I bought as a result! I had my eyes on Lacoba’s books for a while, so this was a great excuse to spend some money on an eBook haul 😀

I’m almost halfway through now and enjoying it. I haven’t read too many books in this genre so it’s a welcome change.

Blurb:

What’s a girl to do when she learns she’s the key to breaking a centuries-old family curse? Become dangerously intimate with a jaw-dropping vision of male hotness hiding a secret agenda of his own.
Nothing could be simpler.
Or is it?
When primary school teacher, Laura Dantonville, learns of her family’s dark ancestral legacy, she’s propelled into a secret underworld ruled by magic, mystery and murder, and stalked by vampire clans who would do anything to possess her. For her protection, she’s assigned a guardian not knowing that part of her role in ending the ancient curse that has plagued her family for centuries, involves having a child with him.

And she has one day to make a decision.

With only five years left of servitude to his sire, Alec Munro reluctantly accepts to act as Laura’s guardian or risk remaining in slavery forever. But can he maintain a platonic relationship between them when something far more intimate is required to end his sire’s family curse?

With time running out, Laura must decide to either accept Alec or allow her vampire-hating detective boyfriend to end the legacy his way – by eliminating the undead side of her family.
After all, they’re not human are they?

Being unable to age is just the beginning.

Zero to 100,000

This year I want to read more theory, so I figured I might as well include my theory books here 🙂 I know some of you are writers, too, so hopefully you’ll find this beneficial! (If this is you, would you like to see reviews for them here, too?)

It’s been interesting although most of the information wasn’t new to me. Because it’s an old book some of the information is outdated now, but I still picked up a couple of tips nevertheless. There might be a newer edition which my library just doesn’t stock. If you’re new to social media, or specific corners of it, you’ll learn a lot, but for someone like me who’s been using social media for a while new information is scarce.

I’ve still got a bit left to go, so it’s not too late to change my mind!

Blurb:

I work in digital media publishing, yet I’ve struggled, like most of the business world, to understand how to make social media work for me. Sarah-Jayne and Dean tackled the challenge with an energy that has to be seen to be believed. These two are now my #1 source of information and have provided simple and effective strategies that have helped me to monetize social media. Continue reading (It’s a really long blurb…)

***

What I recently finished reading

Ashael Rising

It seems like so long ago since I finished this! I really enjoyed Ashael Rising. Since my review will follow soon and since it’s already on Goodreads I won’t go into too much detail now. It had excellent world building and intriguing characters. Kinsella is an author to watch for sure! I’ll be keeping an eye on future releases 🙂

Blurb:

Ashael is a hunter-gatherer woman, apprenticed to Bhearra, the healer and spiritual leader of their tribe.

The Zanthar are invaders from another world who extend their own lives by stealing the life-force of everything around them. They were last seen on KalaDene 200 years ago. They have returned, looking for The Vessel, a being prophesied to hold the life-force of the land.

Iwan is a slave to the Zanthar, descendant of the folk that were taken as slaves the last time the Zanthar visited this world. He is sent out as a spy, while his mother is held hostage to ensure his compliance.

When Iwan and Ashael meet and she invites him to stay in Oak Cam, neither of them realise that she is the one the Zanthar seek. The fate of KalaDene and all of its people rests on Ashael’s shoulders.

Ruin and Rising

You guys, Ruin and Rising was so good! Definitely the best book in this trilogy <3 I flew through it. My only regret is not having more books set in Bardugo’s incredible world, I think I’ll be hungover for a while <3

Also, I’m struggling to hate the Darkling. All I feel is pain.

Blurb:

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

***

What I think I’ll read next

The Fool

Last year I discovered so many fantastic new authors, and Liz Meldon was one of them. Paranormal erotic romance is quite far away from my usual genre, but I really enjoyed hers and am looking forward to The Fool. I believe this is a short one, so I’ve put a little more on my tbr list this week ^-^ You can all laugh at me in two weeks time when I fail miserably 😛

Blurb:

One night can change everything.

That’s what they always say, and for now, vampire hunter Delia hopes it’s true. After years of mediocre performances, she’s still nothing more than a grunt in her hunter league, stuck on surveillance duty and low-level vamp busts.

So, when her informant drops an amazing lead in her lap, she jumps at the opportunity to take down the region’s rumored vampire leader at an invite-only masquerade ball. Clad in a mask and an uncomfortable dress, Delia throws herself into the fray—only to realize she’s woefully unprepared for the night that awaits her.

Also… Some ridiculously attractive guy dressed as the Fool keeps distracting her.

One night. One job. One man. One chance to change her life.

All she has to do is not screw it up.

Crescent Moon

I read the first book in this series last year (don’t read the blurb if you want to avoid spoilers) and loved it. Fahy was another author I came across last year, and now he’s on my insta-buy list, same as Meldon (once I’m caught up on what they’ve released so far, that is). Urban gothic was a new genre to me, too, so I dare say last year was a bookish success! 😀

I’m really excited to read on, and will get to it as soon as I’ve finished The Fool <3

Blurb:

What do you do when your world is turned upside down?

When you discover your father had a direct hand in the genocide of much of the world’s human population?

Phoebe Harkness’ life has changed forever. Thirty years after a cataclysmic world war that eviscerated one third of the human population, a new sub-species of vampire-like drones has set its teeth to the survivors of humanity.

They’re not the only ones: ‘Genetic Others’ such as vampires, werewolves and more roam the streets of New Oxford, trying – and sometimes failing – to live peacefully amongst humankind.

But that is all about to change.

A spate of serial killings have occurred, rocking the already fragile ecosystem of New Oxford.

Brutal murders and mutilation are now commonplace.

Phoebe must get to work. She is named as liaison between the Genetic Others and the Cabal, the ruling order of the walled city.

She must negotiate with the Tribals, a subset of werewolves cast aside by the cultural hegemony of the Cabal.

But before she can make any progress with the Tribal leader, Kane, she learns of more murders – and three missing students. And Kane’s daughter is among the missing…

One of the victims leaves a message in blood: ‘Crescent Moon’.

Now Phoebe must act urgently with the help of Kane and her former paramour, vampire Allesandro to track down the culprit of these horrific killings.

But who is conducting all of these strange happenings behind the scenes?

And what does it have to do with the Crescent Moon…?

Crescent Moon is the gripping second instalment of the urban gothic Phoebe Harkness series. It follows the young doctor as she stalks through the corrupt dystopia of New Oxford.

The First Five Pages

I’ve actually already this one but since I’m editing my second book now, I figured it’d be a good one to read again. Last time I borrowed it from my library and then bought my own copy right after I finished it, so I must have liked it.

Blurb:

Editors always tell novice writers that the first few pages of a manuscript are crucial in the publishing process — and it’s true. If an editor or agent (or reader) loses interest after a page or two, you’ve lost him or her completely, even if the middle of your novel is brilliant and the ending phenomenal. Noah Lukeman, an agent in Manhattan, has taken this advice and created a book that examines just what this means, and I have to tell you, it’s one of the best I’ve read. Continue reading (what is it with theory books and insanely long blurbs??)

***

Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

9 Comments

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