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Archive for the tag “reading”

January Round-up

Here is a round up of all things reading and writing.

Reading:

Ten books finished in January.

Writing:

24,000 words for January. 31 day streak!

jan2017wordchartNot too bad. I managed to add a few sentences to my #writeastory project every day. The story makes absolutely no sense, but it worked as a daily warm-up before writing something else.

Editing/Finishing:

I decided I needed to really focus on clearing out my WIP folders. With that in mind, I’ve made an effort to edit some of my older stories that have been sitting around forever. I managed to finish/edit/revise two fanfics. I also edited a short story in my Jumper series that is only posted on my LiveJournal for now.

Posting:

Meanwhile, Life Goes On (The 100 (TV))
At the Center of the Night (The 100 (TV))

2017 Goals

Goodreads: 52 books
Writing: write at least 444 words every day
GetYourWordsOut: 250,000
Editing: finish and/or edit one old story every month
Novel: finish second draft of Boys Like Mine
Planningwork on outline for NaNo 2017

Goodreads challenge update final

Well, I didn’t get a chance to update my progress the last week because I was busy reading and celebrating the holidays. So here’s a what I read between the 22nd and 31st:

The last 8 are all novellas that I read on the 31st. In the end I was half a book short of my goal. If only there’d been 30 extra minutes to the year lol. But 37 (15 novellas and 22 novels) books in 30 days is impressive.

On to next year and another 52 books. Maybe I can convince myself to spread them out this time.

 

Yeah, right.

Goodreads challenge update #3

My kids had another four day weekend thanks to snow and now Christmas break is upon us. Having them home all of the time is cutting into my reading because they keep wanting my attention. Darn kids–don’t they know what’s important?!?

Goodreads challenge update #2

Two weeks have gone by. When the month started I needed to read 39 books in 30 days. A daunting task. The first week I made it through 9 books. The second week slowed a little with my kids having snow days on Thursday and Friday. I only finished 4 books and am mostly finished with the fifth. Hopefully next week will be more productive because I’m getting farther behind.

I now need 25 books in 17 days. I need to find novellas to keep up this pace. Read this week:

Goodreads challenge update

Well, it’s been a week and…

It’s not going too bad. I’m now 25 books behind schedule. That’s 29 books in 25 days. Totally doable, although Christmas might cause some problems. I’d like to thank whoever came up with the idea of adding companion novellas to series. They make for short reads that add to my book count.

In the last week, I’ve read 6 full novels and 3 novellas. 2,368 words.

Read this week:

Yeah, I’m a sci-fi kick this time. I’m rereading a bunch of series I read years ago. Mostly ones I never finished because their last books weren’t out at the time.

Review: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

99 Days by Katie Cotugno
99days

Started: 10.1.15; finished: 10.5.15

Goodreads rating: 2/5 stars

my rating: facepalm

pages: 384

found: library

My main thought after reading this book is, “ow, my forehead hurts,” from all the times I facepalmed. Molly has got to be one of the dumbest, unlikable protagonists I’ve ever read bout. I liked the book enough, mostly just to see what moronic move she would make next.

In every situation, she chose the worst possible option available to her, and keeps repeating the same mistakes over and over, never learning until the end. At first, I felt sorry for her, because despite her responsibility in the initial incident, things were really crappy for her. More so than they should have been because no one in town would let her move on from her mistakes (also, they only seemed to punish her for something that took two people to do). As the story went on, though, I wanted to punch her in her face because everything that happens from that point on is on her. She made bad choice after bad choice.

About the best thing that Molly did was to finally stand up for herself against Julia and her idiot friends at the end–something she should have done a long time ago. Also, in the end, I felt a little sympathy towards her as she found out that Gabe’s intentions weren’t all that honest at the beginning of summer and Patrick also had ulterior motives in his feud with Gabe. They were both screwing with her head, and when you are bad at decision making, that spells disaster.

I summarized the book for my fifteen-year-old daughter who facepalmed about as hard as I did. It was a cautionary tale in don’t be a dumbass like Molly Barlow, and when your mom is a writer, don’t tell her your deepest, juiciest secrets, lol. Said to my fifteen-year-old daughter that likes to tell me all of her illicit doings and secrets. Fodder for my next novel, darling, fodder for my next novel.

Review: Epic Fail by Clare LaZebnik

Review of Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

epicfailStarted: 7.23.15; finished: 7.23.15 (read: 2013, 2014)

Goodreads rating: 4/5 stars

my rating: read again and again

pages: 295

found: in my library

Epic Fail has become one of my favorite soft teen romance novels. I love it for a quick read at the beach or to get me in the mood to write. I’ve read it three times now which is a record for me with any book.

I’ve never actually read Pride and Prejudice (I’m pretty sure I’m the only woman that hasn’t), but I’m a little familiar with the storyline. Maybe it’s because of that, I never got bored with Epic Fail. I didn’t know what to expect, having never read the original, so I was always surprised.

I loved the development of Elise and Derek’s relationship. As an adult, I laugh at all the idiotic things they do, but I understand that from a teen’s perspective, they all make perfect sense at the time. Hearing stories from my own teens… Well, I wish her life was more like Elise’s.

My favorite part was the slow realization that Derek is nothing like Elise expects and very much likes her, but is just as insecure as she is. It’s cute how they orbit each other, getting pushed and pulled from their mutual attraction, their friends, and enemies.

Elise was a bit of a dolt, not believing Derek like her–she was too wrapped up in her judgmental attitude. Juliana was a little too nice. I know a lot of teens, and I don’t think I know one that nice. I know ones that act nice around certain people (like adults), but when they’re out with their friends… not so much. I think it’s mostly because she doesn’t even get mad at her own sisters. She just accepts everything and always smooths over the disagreements everyone else has. I have five kids–three of them are teens–they fight constantly, even the “sweet and nice” one.

That leads me to Layla. If she were my kid I’d want to strangle her. I don’t think any of my kids are as annoying and spoiled. I get that she feels left out and hates sharing a room with her younger sister (who is ten and acts like a baby). My almost thirteen-year-old currently shares a room with her nine-year-old sister and five-year-old brother, and the only issues they have is the brother getting into their things and him needing to go to bed before they do. My nine-year-old acts nothing like Kaitlyn, but she has friends that do–most of them are only-children.

Chelsea also ticked me off–what a selfish, entitled brat, but I found her to be believable. There are kids like that–I’ve seen it among my children’s friends.

Anyway, Epic Fail will always be one of my favorite teen romance novels–my go-to book for a fun afternoon read. Maybe one day I’ll actually write a proper review.

Review: Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

 

leavingparadiseStarted: 7/20/15; finished: 7/20/15 (originally read: 2/24/13)

Goodreads rating: 4/5 stars

my rating: worth rereading

pages: 303

found: on my shelf (originally: library)

I picked up this book from the library in 2013. I love a good romance with a lot of teen angst. I know I’m weird that way. I read in a day last time.

Well, we were heading to the coast this week, and I needed something on the light side to read, so I grabbed this off of the shelf, having bought it used to keep in my collection (my Kindle has been taken over by my kids). I almost finished it between the three hour car ride there, a half hour at the beach (before the waves called me) and the three hour ride home. It was done before I went to bed.

What I like about this book is the development of the friendship between Caleb and Maggie. It seemed believable and real, if not odd. How many people make friends with the person that ran them over with their car and ruined their life? I think it worked because there was the basis of a friendship already there, from growing up together. I loved that they were able to talk open, freely, and honestly (well, to a point on Caleb’s part) about the accident. They don’t pussyfut around the topic like everyone else in their lives.

I also loved how Mrs. Reynolds went out of her way to get them past their issues. She knew they were meant to be together. I cried when she died. Especially when Maggie started babbling about the flowers. I just lost it at that point. Then Caleb goes to her house seeking refuge from the one adult he trusted only to find out she had died. It was heartbreaking.

This was one of the few teen books I’ve read that doesn’t end happily with the boy and girl together. I cried again at the end when Caleb refuses to stay. His attitude through the whole book rubbed me the wrong way, but I can excuse it since his situation with his family and friends was pretty messed up. His reactions to situations were annoying, but realistic in a way because teens do stupid things and say stupid things, often just to get a reaction. I know–I have three of them. I can’t imagine being in Maggie or Caleb’s shoes.

All-in-all, I enjoyed this book just as much the second time around. It’s a short book, perfect for a day trip. It might not be the light, fluffy read most people like when sitting on the beach, but it had just the right amount of sarcasm and angst for me.

Should Adults be Embarrassed to Read YA Novels?

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Should adults be embarrassed to read young adult novels? That the question Ruth Graham asks over at Slate. The tagline to her article, “Against YA,” reads:

Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children.

In her opening paragraph she states her thesis of why adults shouldn’t read YA. It’s not because the writing is bad, it’s simply because the books were written for teenagers. She then goes on to bash several popular YA novels, criticizes adults that enjoy them, and implies that adults that do read them aren’t sophisticated enough to get adult (read “real”) literature.

She bases her entire argument on her experience of reading YA books as a teen and how she just wanted to graduate to the adult aisle. She then assumes that all readers had this experience (as many, if not most, voracious readers do as teens) and simply can’t understand why adults would want to regress to the tripe of the modern teen novel.

It’s no secret that I read YA novels. In fact I love them, and I’m not embarrassed to say that. They’re fun to read. I can’t say they are great literature (whatever that means), but then again, I find supposed great literature to be pretentious most of the time. Maybe I’m not sophisticated enough to “get it.” Or maybe it’s just that when I want to read I don’t want to have to do mental gymnastics to understand what the story is about, then spend hours contemplating the meaning of it all. I just want to relax. I want to rest my brain, not exercise it.

Some of her other arguments against adults reading YA fiction just baffle me.

It’s not simply that YA readers are asked to immerse themselves in a character’s emotional life—that’s the trick of so much great fiction—but that they are asked to abandon the mature insights into that perspective that they (supposedly) have acquired as adults.

Wait, what? Since when do adults always have to keep an adult state of mind?

Most importantly, these books consistently indulge in the kind of endings that teenagers want to see, but which adult readers ought to reject as far too simple.

Who says only teenagers want to see these kind of endings? I happen to enjoy them. I don’t want to read depressing literature with complex endings. But Ruth Graham knows better than all.

She follows up with this gem:

Fellow grown-ups, at the risk of sounding snobbish and joyless and old, we are better than this.

At the risk? No, I’m sorry, Ruth, but you’re not at risk of sounding snobbish, you are a snob. A literature snob. And last time I checked, being a snob was not a positive character trait. If being a lit snob is what it means to be an adult then I want no part of it. Call me unsophisticated, dumb, or uneducated if you want, but perhaps you just don’t have the imagination that’s required to read YA fiction. In my opinion that’s your loss.

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