Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Oh you don't want to hurt their feelings. When their feelings are hurt, they hurt the ones they love. And they love you, Ted."

So, my life continues apace! I got called into work today, which I had planned for as my day off. At first I was all despondent at the loss of my freedom, and it took some serious pep talking to get me to stop grumbling at the tea pot. But it turned out really well, overall.

Apparently in planning for my day I'd given myself 2 hours of work crammed into 10 hours, because when I knew someone was coming to pick me up I managed to complete everything I'd lined out to do. GO ME? :P And then after work, (which was good,) I walked home.

There were good things and bad things in this plan. The good thing was that I had lots of time to think in the hour it took me to walk it, and I figured out I'd been short-changing myself on my grocery budget. TIME TO GO WILD IN THE SPICE AISLE!

The bad thing was that it was raining, so that when I got home I looked like this.

Oh, the beauties of being mostly blind without my glasses being useable. I think it was primarily by the grace of God that I didn't die in any of the cross walks I hazarded, because I honestly couldn't make out the blinky flashy red hands any more. There was one time when I was barging across the street, and I noticed this car stop for me. So I waved and walked on, and then realized several steps later that I'd been walking while he had the right of way... Also, at one point a cyclist ran into my shoulder. ^_^ (Only briefly, and we were both only scared about the situation, not injured or dampened any more than we had been before. Which was SOAKED, given that the rain was coming from EVERYWHERE.

Oh it was an adventure, I tell you. Just like every day. :P

I was trying to take some pictures along the way. Most of them were hopelssly blurry with water and my shaky hands, but I did end up with these two

This is a cathedral. No, I don't know which one.

And this is a- something. No, not sure what it is either. But isn't it pretty? :D

I will blog about what I'm reading at some point in the future. Have a good day, all! And night!

P.S. My title is from Better Off Ted, which is a show I've recently been introduced to. It's very dry, cynical humour about an evil corporation. So obviously I love it. :D (I may be planning a marathon? In the future? Maybe?)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Decade, New Ideas!

So originally I started one blog, to keep my family to date on what was going on with my life.
Then I started writing, and I wanted to post about that, so I started another blog.
And then for a while I stopped writing, and the second blog became more of a reading blog.
And then I looked at my blogs and realized that my second blog had become almost entirely a review blog, which was never my intention. (Meanwhile, my first blog was languishing in the desert of absolutely no attention...)

So, I'm going to be changing what I'm blogging about, and where. First of all, I will not longer be reviewing everything I read. This is for two reasons.

  1. Reviewing takes a lot of time, and so I have a mental block on reading, because there's this massive chore at the end of something I normally find fun and amazing.
  2. When I don't like something, I get sarcastic and bitter about it. If I thought I was an infallible critical reader, I wouldn't mind that so much, but I am keenly aware that I am NOT a reliable source. I get insanely emotional about things for reasons ranging from a flashback an odd sentence started, to the fact that I had a bad day at work. And I know I'm hurtful when I'm sarcastic, which I don't want to be. Heaven knows, maybe the author will read this review some day, and I don't want to be the one going I HATE THIS BOOK IT"S ALL AGAINST PARENTAL AUTHORITY BURN THE WRITER because someone at work got mad at me for making stupid mistakes. And it's much easier to just not write the review than to rein in the anger and bitterness. ^_^
So, this is how it's going to work. I will review things I read for reading challenges, such as the 2011 YA Debut Challenge. That is going to be about 12 books a year. If you want to see me review more books that that, here is my goodreads page, with the books I've read. Go to the little "view" link to the side of any book, and leave a comment demanding that I review it. I'll try my best. :D

And I'll try to post about writing more, and my life. Which is to say, I'm retiring my first blog. All my blogging will be on this page, and I'll try to get something up once a week.

I hope you like it!
Have a random picture of a tree house because I love it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Top Ten books that devoured my life in the Year Two Thousand and Ten.

These are in no particular order, because getting them all picked and pictured was HARD, and I don't want to try messing with the HTML again. *Tired Medusa is Tired*

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You
Ally Carter

So I have a history of liking school stories. I may have read all the school stories in all the local libraries moved past that stage, but I still have a certain fondness for the genre. So I thought I'd enjoy this book. And I did, right up until the point where the characters started talking about fathers who go away to be in danger of death and/or torture, for work. 

And then I loved it. I may have mentioned here that my Dad was in the military (mentioned it once or twice,) and that aspect of worrying about your parents, not just because they're irresponsible, but because they're VERY responsible, is something I don't see in books very often. In this case, it was all it took to move me from "this book is fun," to "THIS BOOK IS ENGRAVED ON MY SOUL." And not cause of the romances, sorry. ^_^

Kristin Cashore

A fascinating, dangerous world, a main character I actually empathized with, and the ethics of duty. This was a beautiful book, and you should all read it. 

White Cat
Holly Black

OOOOOOOOh my gosh. Where do I even start? I'd read Holly Black before, and liked it, but didn't LOVE it. And then I met this one.

 Organized crime, and family loyalty, and TWISTING family loyalty, and unreliable memory, and totally emotionally bashing the MC- Of COURSE I loved this book! Can I have Red Glove please? Now?

Restoring Harmony
Joelle Anthony

It's a HOPEFUL Dystopian, with the mob and rescuing children and the importance of the black market, canning and music. I mean- need I say more?

Victory Of Eagles
Naomi Novik

This book made me care about the Napoleonic war. I actually started supper conversation about it and everything. And it made me think about war and what it costs, WAY more than a certain book by Suzanne Collins did. Psh.


Going Too Far
Jennifer Echols

A romance that I believed in and could follow. I think I've mentioned how scarce those are? And at the base of it, this is about how traumatic things in your past mess you up hardcore, and how people can help you recover from that. About grief and rebellion and helping others and relationships... 

It's just really GOOD.

Rosemary and Rue (October Day #1)
A Local Habitation (October Day #2) 
An Artificial Night (October Day #3)
Seanan McGuire

I read these books um- very fast and close to each other. It may have been a matter of hours. So they're indelibly LINKED in my mind. 

But I ask you. Stories about a half-fae PI/Knight who keeps getting called in to defend her family and friends. Only she's not very powerful, and so very breakable- and so very stubborn, which is why she's still standing. 


(Also the world is lovely and deadly and menacing. *adores it*)

The Rise of Renegade X
Chelsea Campbell

This might be one of my favourite books of the year, it's VERY possible. A young villain who finds out on the eve of his acceptance to super-villain university that his father (who is never spoken of,) is actually the city's most notorious (if you're evil,) Super HERO. Now he has to go live with the hyper-moral hypocritical looser and his heroic family, and go to public school, all while figuring out how to not jeopardize his acceptance to his REAL choice school. That's all I knew about it when I bought it, and then I found, to my surprise and joy, that there's all kinds of ethics and snarky teenagers and a love triangle that I actually didn't hate, and SUCH good snark, and, and and...

You see, when I love a book this much it's really, really hard to talk about it! It's one of my favourites of all time, okay?

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1)
Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson #2)
Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson #3)
Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson #4)
Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson #5)
Patricia Briggs

I read these back to back to back, so I feel justified in naming them as one book. And if you don't agree? Get your own blog. ^_^

I loved the world that Ms. Briggs has fashioned, all the mythology working together, and how it WORKS! They don't just say "people turn into wolves," there are rules for how it works, and how they could stay hidden. I love how people have to worry about money, and how the Media and Government are something which normal people DO think about (have I mentioned this already?) It just seems like a very real world, only with more awesomeness added. And I really love how Mercy is not an aethiest, and you can fight on Vampires with faith, (oh man, the lamb? Best scene EVER!) 

And I am delighted by how the plots tend to be machiavellianly twisted, and I love all the characters, (well, almost all,) and I love the writing style. I picked up the books, and it felt like reading back when I was 14 and 15, when it was my LIFE. I just love the whole series! :D 

Scott Westerfeld

I have a soft spot for alternate histories with heroic princes and awesome tutors and snarky woman scientists and cross-dressing girls and amazing steampunk science and WONDERFUL ILLUSTRATIONS, what can I say? 

And that's it! This took me WAY longer than I expected. *dies*

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Top 11 Books I am looking forward releasing in 2011

This is one of those lists that is super arbitrary. It's put together in an evening when I'm sleep deprived and a morning when I need coffee, working purely from the memory of what books I'm looking forward to. And it looks like all the writers are girls. Hum.

Demonglass, Rachel Hawkins. 
Goodreads Description.

I really enjoyed the first book, and following Ms. Hawkins' blog and twitter only reinforced the truth of the fact that she's hilarious. :D Plus Archer was one of my favourite boys of the year. Maybe because he's possibly evil? I'm not telling. ^_^
Late Eclipses, Seanan McGuire

Toby has so many circling dooms which could come to rest on her at ANY TIME. Which one will try and take her down this time? Her ancient friend with the standing promise to kill her? The old enemy who once turned her into a fish? The family with a liking for vengeance whose son she basically crippled? (Okay, he's a selkie, and he was dead at the time, and it was an accident, but still.) Her run of car luck expiring in shrapnel? 

Plus, I love the world and the characters and the plots. 

Also, Tybalt, who is up there also for best MAN of the year. As I usually read YA, he might win that little competition, actually. (No, I don't like Conner, I don't trust him. And he aims for trustworthy. Which makes me go all snakey.)

River Marked, Patricia Briggs.

So I wasn't thrilled on ALL counts by the last book. But even when Ms. Briggs is doing things to my characters (er, I mean hers, right, hers,) that make me TEAR MY HAIR AND WAIL IN DESPAIR, I still love her books. Her writing style is just about perfectly my cup of tea, and I love her world past all reason. Yes, Vampires are creepy as all get-out. *shudders at a mind-control memory* 

Plus, in this one we get into personal history, which I am always a sucker for. *beams*

Across The Universe, Beth Revis

Have I not been clear about my longing for this book? It's a teen SF mystery with a romance, but more importantly with a MURDERER on the loose. And her parents are important to the MC. Also, it's SF. Have I mentioned how deeply and passionately I feel the need for more good SF?
Possession, Elana Johnson

"Control or be Controlled."
It's Dystopian SF about mind control. Is any surprised I'm longing for it? Didn't think so.

Red Glove, Holly Black
"The cons get twistier and the stakes get higher."

The sequel to White Cat. AUGH I need it NOW NOW NOW. *grabby hands*

Divergent, Veronica Roth

This one I'm kinda taking on faith, because so many people are going gobbly about how good it is. Which hasn't worked for me for ALL books, but it did for y'know; Rosemary and Rue, White Cat, and Matched. And I know it's Dystopia, but I can stop at any time. Any time.

Okay, I'm gonna quote the whole descpription, because it is AWESOME.
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. 

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her. 

(Also, it sounds remarkably like the stories I used to tell to the small ones. So there's that.)
(Also, virtues should be striven for more.)

Bitterblue, Kristin Cashore
There isn't a title or description up yet, but come on. It's Kristin Cashore. Fire reminded me why I read fantasy in the first place. 

Prized, Caragh O'Brien
The more Birthmarked sits in the back of my memory, the more I like it. And I want more. :D

Anna Dressed In Blood, Kendare Blake

To be honest, all I have on this one is the Goodreads description, but it certainly got me. So have a look!
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story. . . 

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. 

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay. 

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. 

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.
The Name of the Star, Maureen Johnson
Here, have the Goodreads description.
A modern-day thriller about Rory, an American high-school student who enrolls at a London boarding school for her junior year. Soon after her arrival, a series of murders begins to take place across the city—on the exact dates and in the exact style of Jack the Ripper. Rory’s ties to the killer bring her in contact with a secret paranormal branch of the British police, as they attempt to stop the mysterious killer

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 After Action

This picture pleases me.

You're Welcome.
I want a flaming maelstrom in my room! Perhaps this shows you a little too much about my personality. Oops?

But at any rate, I have asked you here so I can talk at you about what I accomplished this year. I suppose this should be the part where I refer back to my resolutions from last year, but I'd prefer to, er, not do that. They say you should start the New Year as you intend to go on, so inflicting pain and shame on myself with a list of what I didn't do? Let's move away from that. *beam* *shuffles away*

On the other hand, the list of what I DID do pleases me! I shall now run through it.

  • Reading
    • I did the 2010 YA Debut Challenge!
      • Which was AWESOME. I discovered so many authors I wouldn't have dreamed of going after, since I live in a small town in a rural area. Our library obviously caters to whatever will be read most, and my reading habits are, well, not all about romance or vampires. Or girls with dragon tattoos. Though I do like dragon tattoos! *muses about this* Anyways, this challenge pleases me greatly, and I intend to continue next year, as well as stalking the authors I've discovered.
    • I did Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon!
      • Oh my gosh, this was amazing on so many levels. I raised money for charity, my family supported me spending 24 consecutive hours with my nose in a series of books, I drank so much tea- it was a good thing.
  • Writing
    • I finished the first draft of Karma Police.
      • It's so broken. But I know how to fix it!
      • And I like Ewan, and Ethan, so much. 
      • *hugs Nanami*
    • I started the 52 Year.
      • An indifferent short story every week.
        • They're indifferent.
    • I did NaNoWriMo!
      • It was a learning experience.
    • I learned that I am really not ready to pursue publication.
      • I firmly believe that some day, my stories will shine in their own little dust jackets on shelves, with my name on the spine. But this is not that day. This is so not that day. I'm just not READY. Writing professionally is about ideas, yes, but more than that it is about skills, and WORK.
        •  I don't have the nitty gritty how-does-it-all-work skills! I am learning so much about how stories work and what I'm trying to do, and most  of it just shows the massive gap in between what I'm aiming for and what I'm at.
        • But more than that, the work scares me. And it's not just that I'm lazy, though that is a factor. ;) Also, I don't take criticism well. Especially from people I trust. It just destroys me that I failed in writing a story so badly that everyone can see the glaring errors and/or is left confused about what I was going for. 
          • Obviously this reaction is not that helpful, and it doesn't make people prone to offer me criticism, if they have to keep holding my hand for the next day while I alternate despair with hating myself, the world, my mind, them, and the world. 
          • So I have to work on being able to take criticism without imploding, because I DONT want my stories to fail. I just also don't want to spend days in self-hatred and despair, so I'm wary of asking for crits. 
      • This doesn't mean that I'll stop writing, just don't expect to see my name on a shelf anytime SOON. :D 
  • Reviewing
    • I didn't get as much done as I'd have liked to. Some of my favourite books of the year never got reviewed, and that's criminal!
So what's ahead for the next year? Let's do another list again, I like lists.
  • I am so doing the 2011 Debut Challenge. With the books I've already preordered I may as well get a pretty badge to go along with it! I shall put up another official post about it soon, but consider this the pre-warning.
    • And Contempts are all nice and all, but I'm thinking they have their crowd, and I have mine, and they have angst, and mine has angst and jet packs. I LIKE jet packs. (And angst.)
  • I will review more. 
    • See above note about favourite books and how they didn't make it up. LET'S NOT LET THAT THAT HAPPEN AGAIN.
  • And on a note related to reviewing, I will not be posting reviews of books will two or less stars. 
    • This is part of my longstanding life goal to not be a jerk.  
    • You see, if I thought honestly that I was an objective reviewer, I could say that something only deserved two stars, and then go on, peaceful. But I know that I am NOT objective. I read emotionally, and more than that, it barely takes anything to set me off and then I'm shouting at the book because there was one scene with a stupid soldier. I KNOW I take things the wrong way, but then i cannot get my head to the proper place again. I buy in too deep to the first read, which is also why I don't read Horror or depressing fiction (willingly.)
  • This will be the year to focus on REVISION. 
    • By which, I mean of course, ReWRITING. It's time to whip my boys into shape. And girls, but mostly the boys. Exiling sloppy vetchers, lounging around my stories that way. Curse them all. ^_^ (I'm out of practice with the "tough" swearing. Can you tell?)
    • And see above about not melting down when people tell me I'm not flawless.
Tune in next time, when I'll tell you what my favourite books of the year, both reviewed and un-reviewed, actually were, and what I'm looking forward to for next year!
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