#FridayReads: Expeditionary Force

This past year has seen an exponential increase in the number of audiobooks I listen to. Really, before last October, I may have heard 2 or 3 in my life. While working on a project that had me out of the house and too far from the community music source to hear very well, I opted to convert my current reads to audio format so I could get in the same amount of binge “reading” I was used to while still accomplishing life tasks. This astounding conclusion that I could get things done AND not slow down my insatiable need to devour words opened a whole new world for me.

A part of that world was the realization that some books are just great in audio format. Books I may not have enjoyed reading as much, or that might have gathered an entirely different experience, came to life when read. Craig Alanson‘s Expeditionary Force is one such series. Coming across book one in some random interweb space-time flux, I felt it was the narrator, as much as the story, that keeps me coming back. 

I just used my last audible credit to start Book 5: Zero Hour. Already, there is much laughing-out-loud even as the Merry Band of Pirates functions under the direst of circumstances. While Book 2 had me wondering if it was worth continuing the series, Book 3, and every book since, has only gotten better.

What are you currently reading? Tell me in the comments 🙂

Writer Wednesday: Logan Miehl

This Wednesday’s indie author shout out goes to Logan Miehl whose first 2 books in her Faerie Festival Series are excellent. Some Folk of the Air mixed with A Court of Thorn and Roses. If you love modern takes on the Fae and humans co-mingling, you’ll love it. I’ve been reading a lot of this genre, and trust me, you want to add this to your list.

Have a great indie you want to suggest? Tell me in the comments or find me on Instagram 🙂

#FridayReads: Crooked Kingdom

Yes, I get sucked into all the posts about the great bestsellers. A read many books to see if the hype is warranted and Six of Crows was one of them. I liked it. It was a kind-of Italian Job and Ocean’s Thirteen in Steampunk with fabulous characters unique and expressive. There’s just so many. I don’t do well with more than three or four.

Now onto book two, I’m about half-way and kind of like, MEH. I don’t really care about the broader story. How Book 1 ends has been rectified, and I feel like I don’t need to know anymore. I am curious about the television adaptation Netflix is working on. I wasn’t a fan of The Mortal Instruments book series, but I was teenage-girl-obsessed with The Shadowhunters show. *shrug* I can’t explain it either. Such great characters from Leigh Bardugo to bring to the screen.

What are you currently reading? Is it worth getting into? Tell me in the comments or find me on Instagram

The Holidays and Productivity

How are the holidays treating your productivity?

Did any of you participate in NaNoWriMo? I do. This was year three for me, and I failed miserably. Well, that’s not fair. I didn’t get many new words down, but I did flesh out plotting problems and sequencing. I don’t know if sequencing is a real thing, but in my world, it is.

Only this week, I’ve sat back down to write. The project I “worked on” in November is put aside for a project I worked on last summer. Apparently, this is my process. Like, I can’t just get it all out in an outline (as if I even outline) and then go. All the cool, fun scenes begging for release simply add up to a stack of muck I have to come back to and make sense of as they relate to a greater whole. Whether procrastination, lack of work ethic, or simply that my brain takes A LOOOONG TIME to deal with this, it’s become the norm. I get about halfway through a first draft, put it aside, go to something else, set it aside again, come back, put aside, etc., until I have a piece worthy of editing.

The first book I finished, and self-published, took two decades. Literally. Granted, stretches of years passed when I put aside the dream of completing a novel, but the time from inception to completion still stands. I didn’t realize that by taking so long with this first-ever project, I’d created a process (I may hate that word now).

I’d recently preached about how writer’s block isn’t a real thing. Sit long enough, type out enough bullshit, and you’ll find the flow. Writer’s block is just not feeling like it. It’s something toddlers say. Just work.

But this was not happening for me this November. So, I’m eating my words and thinking that, while writer’s block is not my problem exactly, maybe that’s what the phrase means. The soul-breaking abyss of the not-readiness of a project. The need for a story to marinate a little longer. Apologies to all of you I said were full of crap (unless you fall in the not working portion. No judgment. I just took five weeks off because I’d rather binge-watch Agent Carter and the last season of Flash and Arrow. Let’s just be real about it, though).

Finally allowing myself to step away from the blank pages that, for days, taunted me, I reset my sights on another project. This reacquainting with something I hadn’t looked at in at least six months was what allowed me to accept the marinating truth; the truth of my process (insert vomit sound). The same issues I struggled with in November on that project were what had me scrap this one. Those issues have evaporated after the time away. It’s made for a lot of rewrites, cutting, merging of characters, but it’s flowing like–well like things that flow unheeded. I hope this same occurrence will settle over the blank pages of November’s file.

View from my current writing “desk” where my fingers have found the ability to fly across the keyboard once again.

I’m currently in my last days in Central New York. We’ve raided my baby sister’s new house long enough. Sister number three visited last weekend, and it was serendipitous we were still here. So great to see her (it’s been two years), and since we were supposed to be back in Florida before Thanksgiving, it was especially fortuitous. My point is, an early Christmas wrecked my writing schedule, but maybe that’s okay. I’ve written almost 20,000 words in two and a half days. I deserve a cookie. Or a candy cane even, except I’m trying to refrain from all the junk food in this span of a few days between gatherings and traveling when my willpower will fall into the negatives.

Hmmm… I think my point has gotten away from me. Typical.

Whether or not you’re trying to get things done and failing this time of year (let’s be honest, if you’re doing it and doing it well, it will only make us feel bad about ourselves 😉 ) maybe that’s okay. At this rate, my five weeks off won’t accumulate to much lost time. Either way, whether you’re showing up and succeeding, showing up and failing, or just allowing yourself to binge on tiny ginger men, heated cups of chocolate, and peppermint sticks, Happy Holidays 🙂 The writing will be there when life settles.

Find me on Instagram and Goodreads. Share your favorite books and writing anecdotes here or there 🙂

The Queen of Nothing, By Holly Black

Book Review

The Queen of Nothing, Book 3 of The Folk of The Air series

By Holly Black

5 Stars

This one made all the others worth it

I don’t usually review anything but the first in a series, and I rarely review bestsellers, but after finishing The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black, I want to talk about it. Maybe I’m feeling sentimental, and nostalgic-Christmas is coming, a season that brings all the feels out of me-but whatever the reason, this book made me happy.

Book 1 in the series, The Cruel Prince, was alright. I happened to get an audio copy from the library (my experience with this series is all in audio format which I know can change much about the “reading” experience), and though I was not a fan of Jude, and felt the entire storyline petty and absurd, I made it through to the end. I believe I gave it 3 stars.

Obviously, I was curious enough to go on a wait for book 2. I think it was Cardan that kept me in it. His cruelty was such an obvious front, and Jude’s jumbled feelings for him seemed worth seeing through to the end. Also, I like having an audiobook to listen to on standby, so rather than make a decision on something else, I stuck with it. Okay! I got sucked into the teen angst of it. Isn’t that why we read these books? #sorrynotsorry

Book 2 was better. I genuinely could not anticipate what the hell anyone was up to, and the end literally had me asking, “what just happened.” So much so, even through Book 3, I forgot the main rule of fairy-the Fae can’t lie-that I continued to wonder if it was all a con. Part of me was excited about this antiromance stance. If this con really was what it seemed on the outside, this series would not end like I thought (hoped?).

Going into Book 3 (here’s where I get into spoilers), I figured we’d see Cardan and Jude reconcile and get together. It’s the nature of the genre. But read my last paragraph. I was so curious about how that might be possible. There was nothing I could see that would allow the pair to ever trust each other, regardless of their feelings. Maybe this wouldn’t be a happily ever after story. Ironically, this was a book where I hoped for it. Where Throne of Glass sorely disappointed me by not having a more gritty, heart jerking ending, I was rooting for it in The Folk of The Air.

“Will you just let yourself be rescued?” Another reason for my enjoyment of this book. Jude really needs no one to save her. There was a moment, maybe two, that I was actually a little annoyed with how the author took liberties with Jude’s character to make her so unsure and so lost. I’d like to think Jude’s time in Book 2 might have washed that out of her. Sure, she found herself elevated beyond what she might have dreamed, but she kept saying it to herself throughout: I am the High Queen of Fairy. She was angry she couldn’t draw on the title, and when Jude finally could, she didn’t know what to do? At least she would have known how to pretend; she would understand the need to posture.
I digress. I meant to talk about how awesome Jude is. In Book 1, I found Jude a little much, but even getting in way over her head, she rocks it. Staying firm against the pressure to give up some power to Madoc in Book 2 showed a will of steel. I was rooting for her to tell him what was going on. I guess I should never be made a spy, or advisor to any crown, and especially not a High Queen.

I did want to see a bit more development of Jude’s magic, her tie to the land, but there’s only so much paper to print books on, and I guess, at the end of the day, it wasn’t really relevant. Still, when has more magic ever been a bad thing?

The Queen of Nothing definitely made me glad I stuck with the series even when I considered just turning it off for other things. A modern take on the Fae Courts, a little present-day mixed with magical, some teen angst and enemies-to-lovers twisted in with sibling rivalry and grand fights makes the series worth being swallowed up in.

Happy Reading 🙂