Confessions Of A Bookworm January 2016

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So far this year I’ve managed to get through four of the books on my last list of do here is this month’s update on what I’ve been reading, what I’m about to read and what I thought of the books I actually finished.

What Am I Reading

I’ve knocked some books off my ‘currently reading’ list this month. I wanted to try and focus on the books that I want to finish during February. I’m a few chapters into ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’ ‘Magician’, ‘Blackbirds’ and ‘America Gods’ but the other two are pretty much untouched. If I’m honest, ‘Go Set A Watchman’ is the lowest down on the list at the moment, but that’s just because I’m enjoying the others too much. I keep finding myself debating over which one to pick up.

Recently Finished

I’m trying to focus in on the books I’m reading and reduce the number of ones that I have lurking around half-read.

While I liked ‘Dodger’ well enough, I felt that it lacked any real motivation behind the story. While ‘The Colour of Magic’ is whimsical and fun, ‘Dodger’ is a weird mixture of history and imagination. While Dodger amused me, I never felt any real connection with Simplicity. The ending seemed rather convenient as well and the final chapter, well let’s not even go there. It was very much a ‘meh’ book. ‘The Colour of Magic’ on the other hand was everything I’d expected from a Pratchett book. It was an utter joy to read. I’ve managed to hold off buying the next book in the Diskworld series just because I’m trying not to divert too much off my current reading list, but I’m not sure how long that resolution will last.

‘A Dance of Chaos’ was brilliant. It was the perfect ending for David Dalglish’s series and it had all the same face pace, break neck action as the rest of his books. I won’t say any more for fear of spoiling the earlier ones but if you like action, sword fights and criminal underworlds then you have to read this series.

Finally we get to ‘The Sentinel Mage’. I’ll admit that I got a few chapters into this book and put it down. I thought the Prince was a prat, the main characters while nice enough seemed to innocent, and I lost interest. It turns out that this is another one of those books that grows on you as you get further. At ten past twelve this morning I was busy telling myself, just one more chapter, just one more chapter. The book does end with a conclusion of sorts, but it also left a lot of questions to be answered in the next book. I went from being two chapters in to finishing it in three days.

‘The Sentinel Mage’ has a really interesting chapter structure as well. Lots of short chapters, interspersed with some longer ones. It made me think about my own writing and how I’m structuring it. I felt less inclined to put the book down mid chapter and I’d defiantly say that this was an enjoyable read. For those who like the fantasy genre, I would recommend it.

What I’m Reading Next

Both of these books are released next month with ‘Daughter of Blood’ set to land on my doorstep TOMORROW! I’m so happy and I can’t wait to read it. I raved about ‘The Gathering of The Lost’ in my last Confessions of a Bookworm post. Both the series and the writer have me under the spell.

‘Night Study’ is set to be out the end of February but I’m also super excited to have that winging it’s way towards me. The first half of 2016 is filled with released from writers that I adore so you’ll be seeing them pop up now and again, knocking some of the older ‘currently reading’ books out of the way as those pre-ordered copies zoom through the letterbox. ‘Poison Study’ which was the first book in this series became on of my favourite books in the fantasy genre from the moment I read it. The fact that Maria V Snyder has returned to these characters is wonderful and the ending of ‘Shadow Study’ has me practically scrabbling for the opening chapters to ‘Night Study.’ Luckily I won’t have to wait much longer.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some reading to do. This list won’t get any shorter by itself.

Confessions Of A Bookworm

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So the last time I wrote one of these posts was at the end of September which was three months ago. Not great for someone planning to try and write one of these a month but oh well.

What Am I Currently Reading:

A couple of these books have been carried over from September I’ll admit. ‘Between Silk and Cyanide’ and ‘Go Set A Watchman’ just haven’t been grabbing my attention in the last few months and as such they’ve sat lonely on the bookshelves with their bookmarks gathering dust. I will get back to them, I just don’t know when. Hopefully soon.

‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’ by Susan Clarke is something of a mammoth read. I borrowed a copy from someone at work to read but I’ve decided to buy my own as it’s taking me forever to get through it and I feel bad hanging into their book for so long. I’m making my way through slowly but I doubt I’ll be finished with it any time soon.

‘A Dance of Chaos’ is the sixth book in David Dalgish’s beautifully violent series ‘Shadowdance’. The previous book in the series was on my September reading list and now this one is on my December. I started reading yesterday and to be honest, I’ll probably finish it before any of the others currently on this list.

I’m only a couple of chapters into ‘The Sentinel Mage’ and I’m finding it tough. The story line has so far failed to grab me and while it’s not a bad book I’m reading it more out of stubbornness than love. Who knows, it might get better as it goes on.

I’ve been meaning to read ‘Blackbirds’ for a while as Chuck Wendig is one of my favourite bloggers on wordpress. I’m a chapter in and so far I really like it. It’s dark and funny which is what I love about he’s blog pieces so I’m looking forward to reading more.

‘Magician’ looks like it’s going to be one of those books that I’ll have to work to get into. It’s nice enough but a bit slow to start.

Finally, ‘The Colour of Magic’ and ‘Dodger’. I have never read a Terry Pratchet book before. Well I did read ‘Good Omens’ but that was joint between him and Neil Gaiman so I thought it might be time to read something purely Pratchet as well. I’m ‘The Colour of Magic’ enjoying it well enough. The idea of a chest with hundreds of little feet protruding from beneath it gives me the shudders but other than that the book occupies the same style of fantasy world that I love. It has the same dry wit that I adore in Gaiman’s writing and it’s just nice to read. Next to ‘A Dance of Chaos’ it’s one of my favourites on the list. ‘Dodger’ is good as well. Pratchett has jammed all these various London based stories that everyone knows into one book and there at the centre is charming Dodger and the extraordinary Charles Dickens.

 

Recently Finished

Over the last few months I have read some fantastic books. Books that have made me genuinely happy to hold in my hands.

Firstly! ‘Snow Like Ashes’ and ‘Ice Like Fire’ by Sara Raasch. The moment I finished ‘Snow Like Ashes’ I was on Amazon to buy ‘Ice Like Fire’. Granted, I saw the revelation of the first book coming long before the end, but the second one had me practically screaming at it by the last chapter. In some ways I’d say the second is better than the first just because it managed to keep me in the dark so much longer.

‘The Ocean At The End of The Lane’ by Neil Gaiman. Do I need to even explain why this book makes me happy? Granted, it’s not quite the same as ‘Stardust’ or ‘Neverwhere’, but for me it was a great book. I love that it started out as a short story for his wife to try and show her what his childhood was like and by the end he’d accidentally written a novel. Reading it brought back a few memories of my own childhood, and as always, magic was woven through every page. Neil Gaiman is very much one of my favourite authors of all time.

Helen Lowe’s ‘The Gathering of the Lost’ and David Daglish’s ‘A Dance of Ghosts’ are the only two books on Septembers ‘I am reading’ list that actually got read. I spent the first half of ‘The Gathering of the Lost’ a bit confused and the second half raving about how cleverly it was written. I have never seen the a writer write in the same way as Helen Lowe does in this book and it was nice to read something unique.

David Daglish’s ‘A Dance of Ghosts’ has the same fast paces, brutal attraction to it as all his other works. Whenever I’m stuck writing a fight scene I refer back to him, which often means I’m a couple of hours from returning to writing, but I’d say it’s worth it.

I put of reading ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ by Sarah J Mass and I’m not sure why. I love her ‘Throne of Glass’ series but I never felt the need to pick up this book of hers. Once I did I couldn’t put it down. It’s been a while since I was as genuinely excited to get home and dive into a book as I was when reading this one. I was counting down the hours at work so I could get home and read another chapter. I adored it. Even better was the fact that when I reached the end I realised it wasn’t a stand alone and there would be even more! Sarah J Mass, I don’t know how you do it, but your books make me so happy.

‘City of Heavenly Fire’ by Cassandra Clare.

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Hay Festival 2012?

Okay, this was another mammoth book and the last in a series as well. At over 700 pages long you have to be willing to put in the time for this one.

Cassandra Clare’s books are another favourite of mine but this one had been sat on the shelf for a few month with the book mark only about 100 pages in. This week I decided I was going to get it read. It took two days of curling up on the sofa with more pillows and blankets than normally socially acceptable and many, many cups of tea. It was bliss.

The length of the books means that there was more than enough time for everything to happen that needed to happen. There was no rushing and unlike some shorter books, I didn’t put it down and feel that overwhelming sadness that the series had finished. In some ways the length of the book allowed me to come to terms with the collection ending. I felt satisfied with how everything ended and I admired how not everything was tidied up with a neat bow. It was a realistic ending, not a fairy tale one.

I tend to think that I prolong reading final books just because I don’t want a series to end. There is always something slightly traumatic about saying goodbye to the characters you love.

 

What I’m Reading Next

I’m not 100% what I’ll read next. There are a number of books coming out in 2016 that I’m desperate to get my hands on but whether or not I’ll finish my current reading list and have time before they arrive is another matter. At the moment these ones are the ones I’m most keen to get on to next:

First Draft Done… Sort Of

Character Design For Tara Woodfall by Antonia Brennan
Artwork by Antonia Brennan

So I’ve managed to do it! I’ve completed a first draft of a novel for the first time in my life. Whoohoo! Lets throw a party.

Okay, let’s not throw a party just yet, the hard bit is just around the corner.

Yes, I have 52,000 words of writing that sort of follows a plot line and gets my characters from where I wanted them at the start of the book to where I wanted them at the end of the book.

Yes, all my characters have appeared in that 52,000 words.

Yes, most of the major events have been included.

NO.

The last chapter has not been written.

The character development has as much meat on it as an emancipated stick-man.

Most of the characters barely do anything except those major scenes and the rest seems a lot like fluff without much relevance.

Result:

Redrafting is needed in abundance.

But on the bright side. I’ve written 52,000 words so I have something to work with. Maybe I will throw myself a small party. I shall go brew a celebratory pot of tea.

I’ve achieved something I hadn’t before. I know know that I can get this far so why not further.

All the same. Wish me luck with editing.

Books, Books And More Books!!!!

What Am I Currently Reading:

I’m one of those people who always has about twenty books on the go, so here are the top four books on my ‘Currently Reading List’. I’m most of the way through A Dance of Ghosts so that one is the one I’m focusing on at the moment. I should have it finished in the next couple of days and next up will probably be ‘Go Set A Watchman’ and then I’ll dive back into ‘A Code Maker’s War’. I like to keep some variation in the books I’m reading and not have two of the same one after the other, otherwise it’s too easy to get bored.

Recently Finished:

Haha! I’ve been good in the last three weeks. I’ve managed to start and finish a few books instead of leaving them on the shelf half-read to come back to later. It’s helped that three of my favourite authors brought out books at about the same time. The divine Derek Landy brought out the first book in his new series ‘Demon Roads’, which on reflections bares some similarities to Skulduggery Pleasant. A dry humoured male with a mysterious past driving around in an awesome car encountering supernatural weirdness along the way. I’d say ‘Demon Roads’ is a bit darker though, and definitely has its own unique attraction.

‘Queen of Shadows’ is the fourth book in Sarah J Mass’s amazing Throne of Glass series. Celaena Sardothia is one of my all time, favourite characters and up there next to Valkyrie Caine, she’s busy showing the sci-fi/fantasy world just how bad-ass female leads can be. Book four makes up for the lack of progress in the third book and defiantly marks a return to form for Miss Mass. The only question! Will there be a fifth? There is a resolve of sorts, but the ending definitely left room for another book to follow on.

‘The Heir Of Night’ is the first book in its series and I really enjoyed it. I’m finding the second book a little slower to get through, but in the second book the focus drifts away from the main character, the heir, and I’m just not as interested in that right now. There’s a bit of a time jump between the two books and I’m impatient to see how Milain has changed.

Last of all, and do not judge me, ‘How To Fight A Dragon’s Fury’. I fell in love with Cressida Cowell’s How To Train Your Dragon series back at the beginning of secondary school and that love has never waned. This final instalment was long awaited and I was so happy when it finally landed on my doorstep. If you’ve seen the films then I’ll warn you, the books are vastly different. They hold the same essences, but the actually storyline is off on completely different tangents. I have to admit that I love both the films and the books though. Being so different, for once, is great since it means I can look at them and enjoy them as individuals and not as a thing of a thing. Anyway, back to the book. Cressida. You did not let me down!

Reading Next:

These are the next five books highest up on my ‘To Be Read At Some Point’ list. As you can see it’s a little fantasy heavy, but I am currently redrafting Darkened Daughter and I like to read a lot of the genre that I’m working on.

Terry Pratchett has always been on this list, I’ve just been lazy about reading his work. Then I read ‘Good Omens’ and realised that under no circumstances whatsoever could I continue to somehow miss out on reading his novels.

Peter Ackroyd’s book I’ve technically started but since it’s a history, I’ll dip in and out of it between books a chapter at a time. I always find that’s the best way to read academic books, it makes them easier to digest and gives you more time to mull over what you’ve read.

‘Sleeping Angel’ and ‘Dance of Chaos’ are both series books and once I’m invested I rarely give up until that series ends.

‘The Sentinel Mage’ is just a book I heard a good review on.

I’ll let you know what I thought once I’ve read them.

If you want to have a go at this Book Obbessed Blog Prompt, check out it’s host at ‘Taking On A World Of Words’.

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Oh Look. I’ve Run Out Of Rope… Drat.

I Just wrote myself off a cliff.

Well sort of.

Darkened Daughter is now 500 words away from the halfway point and I thought I knew what was going to happen in every chapter between now and the end.

Apparently this was not true. I did not know what was going to happen, because my sneaky little brain decided to derail things and throw up a new event that now means one of my character will be out of commission for a couple of chapters. This mean I can’t write chapters eighteen and nineteen as planned, because it simply won’t make sense.  Replanning is now required.

Of course I knew that this would happen. It always does when I try to write something.

I’m also aware that every single chapter I’ve written so far is too short for its content, bar one that is just short full stop but somehow works.

Redrafting will probably have this novel reaching far beyond its 80,000 word target, but I’m not going to say that’s a bad thing because I love a chunky book and I want this to be a book that I can pick up and love. I want people to read this book and think ‘Wow! This is such a full world!’

But for now I’m going to focus on replanning chapters eighteen and nineteen, and worry about how the story is only skin and bones once the first draft is done.

*Sigh*. Back to work I suppose.

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I’ve been buying mugs again. I’ll run out of space soon, not that it will stop me.