On Finishing (Or Not Finishing) Books — July 29, 2013

On Finishing (Or Not Finishing) Books

There are two types of finishing to talk about under that ambiguous title. First, finishing writing that first draft of your manuscript. Second, finishing reading a book published by someone else. (Okay, there’s a third, finishing the manuscript to completion by editing and revising and getting it published.)

I really want to focus more on that second one. I’m sure I’ve talked endlessly about finishing manuscripts. (I could search but I’m not that concerned.)

Last year, I think there were about 8 books on my TBR pile that I started but never finished.

This year, I was on such a roll. Hadn’t started and not finished a single book. Until this month. I started a couple and set them aside.

I was thinking about it and I think I probably stop reading for a lot of the same reasons an agent or editor might stop.

The most common one is that I am not sucked into the story. This could be for a variety of reasons, but commonly seems to be the stylistic choices made by the author that jar me out of the story.

Second most common is that I don’t care about the MC enough to have anything but apathy about their story.

And the third most common is probably that the antagonist feels too cliche, too cardboard.

What are reasons you stop reading a book you’ve picked up for fun? Or are you a die-hard who has to see a book through to its last word no matter how much you might be suffering?

Driving Myself Crazy — January 25, 2013

Driving Myself Crazy

My attempt to work through my TBR pile is resulting in me stressing out more than I should. It doesn’t help that my TBR pile keeps growing rather than shrinking. Sigh.

I swear I was born with a TBR pile I’ll never get through in my lifetime.

If you want to see my current (and really unchanging) TBR pile, check out the “My Bookshelf” page along the header up top. To see what I’ve read, you can search me out on Goodreads or Pinterest. (Links on the “My Contact” page.)

Author’s Bookshelf: The Breakaway by Michelle Davidson Argyle — May 3, 2012

Author’s Bookshelf: The Breakaway by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Why I read it: I received an ARC from Michelle as part of her pre-release promotional swing. I wanted to read it, which is why I’d signed up for the chance to get an ARC.

Mini-review: I liked the book. I did. Michelle’s writing is phenomenal and the bar by which I judge my own works. It’s not right, but it is. Her writing is so lyrical.

And now I want my own fancy-pants camera. So jealous of Naomi for that one.

Ah, Naomi. I have a love-hate relationship with this girl. So much of the time I just wanted to smack her upside the head and down the other. But it’s the mark of excellent writing to elicit such intense emotions in the reader. I felt every emotion and had to keep reminding myself to read what was on the page and not skip forward for that emotion to be released.

I have to say that the book did start to feel a little long. But that could have just been that it was kind of hot where I was reading it and so that was making me cranky. I did enjoy the book though. It’s definitely worth the time invested in it to read.

The Breakaway is just that, a break from the usual. This is YA but there’s a healthy dose of adult perspective throughout. It’s a fresh perspective in the YA genre and for that it’s absolutely worth the read.

Final say: Thumbs up. If you’re intrigued about it, read it.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: When Naomi Jensen is kidnapped, it takes her parents two days to realize she’s missing. Escape isn’t high on her list of priorities when all she has to return to is an abusive boyfriend and parents who never paid much attention to her. For the first time in her life she’s part of a family—even if it is a family of criminals. But she’s still a captive. In a desperate attempt to regain some control in her life, Naomi embarks on a dangerous plan to make one of her kidnappers think she’s falling in love with him. The plan works too well, and when faced with the chance to escape, Naomi isn’t sure she wants to take it.
The Breakaway is available now! You can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere else books are sold, both as an e-book and in print. Find it for a discounted price on the publisher’s website here: http://shop.rhemalda.com/
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle lives and writes in Utah, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. She loves the seasons, but late summer and early fall are her favorites. She adores chocolate, sushi, and lots of ethnic food, and loves to read and write books in whatever time she can grab between her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She believes a simple life is the best life.

You can find Michelle on her blog, http://theinnocentflower.blogspot.com.

Books of 2011: A Retrospective — January 3, 2012

Books of 2011: A Retrospective

Since I’m still on writing hiatus while I work out issues, our regular update post will be taken over by a reflective post.

These are the books I read or started to read in 2011:

Monarch by Michelle Davidson Argyle
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Herafter by Tara Hudson
Shifting by Bethany Wiggins
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn
To Catch a Pirate by Jade Parker
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
Supernaturally by Kiersten White
Possession by Elana Johnson
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Second Chance Courtship by Glynna Kaye
Scene of the Crime: Bachelor Moon by Carla Cassidy
My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Witch Song by Amber Argyle
Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Matched by Ally Condie
Light of Epertase:Legends Reborn by Douglas R. Brown

Looking at this list I see a few things.

1-If you didn’t know any better you’d think I had an affinity for a certain author.  The truth is I just got that far behind on the books and ended up reading the first two in each series in the same year.

2- I tried to branch out but it so did not work.  (Read, I read two straight up romances.  I ran back to my YA fantasy world very quickly.)

3- It’s a good thing for ARCs and contests and meeting people and just having conversations.  Several of the books on this list came about that way.

4- Not every book is created equal and not every genre is my cup of tea.

Books of 2012 — January 2, 2012

Books of 2012

Well, I’ve been on hiatus from writing of late.  I’ll get back to it soon.  Soon as I stop wallowing in self-doubt and get my writerly act together.

Meanwhile, here’s a list of books I’m a) looking forward to in the coming year and/or b) have blurbs intriguing enough to land them on my to-buy list.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (1/3)
Winterling by Sarah Prineas (1/3)
Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey (1/5)
Everneath by Brodi Ashton (1/24)
Bewitching by Alex Flinn (2/14)
A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont (4/1)
Magic Under Stone by Jaclyn Dolamore (4/10)
The Breakaway by Michelle Davidson Argyle (5/1)
Kane Chronicles Book 3 by Rick Riordan (May)
Dreamless by Josephine Angelini (May)
Until I Die by Amy Plum (5/8)
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis (5/8)
Fated by Alyson Noel (5/22)
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks (5/22)
Arise by Tara Hudson (6/5)
Endlessly by Kiersten White (7/24)
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (Fall)
Queen of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (sometime this year)

Obviously this list is in no way complete or comprehensive.  I just got tired of going through the Goodreads YA 2012 list so stopped there.  What books are you looking forward to this year?

Books of 2010 — December 29, 2010

Books of 2010

The following is a list, albeit likely incomplete, of the books I read or attempted to read this year.  I promise next year I’ll keep better record of what I read.  (Maybe I should reinstate the Author’s Bookshelf feature I used to run?)

Aurelia by Anne Osterlund
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Dragonspell by Donita K. Paul
Wake by Lisa McMann
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Keys to the Demon Prison by Brandon Mull
You Wish by Mandy Hubbard
Cinders by Michelle Davidson Argyle
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Delicious and Suspicious by Riley Adams
In Too Deep (39 Clues book 6) by Jude Watson
The Viper’s Nest (39 Clues book 7) by Peter Lerangis
My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

Of these, 12 were ones I actually could get involved enough in to read through to the end.  Of those, none were finished in one sitting because of other pulls on my time.  Some were started and finished in the same day but I had other things to do or took breaks because I was in physical pain from my sitting position.  (Or getting off an airplane coming home from visiting the family.)

Out of this list, I’d say Paranormalcy and Cinders were my favorites, followed closely by Hush, Hush and You Wish.  Though, Beastly was delightfully entertaining.  But Mandy Hubbard’s book made me laugh out loud for the first time in a long while when reading a book.  (Probably not since Paranormalcy in late August.)  Cinders was a great take on the aftermath of Cinderella’s happily ever after.  Just don’t let yourself think you’re getting the Disney Cinderella and you’ll be good to go.  (Note: Soon this novella will not be available for purchase until 2012 when combined with Michelle’s two other novellas for an omnibus work from Rhemalda Publishing.)

If homework, work, and partying permit, I’ll try to squeeze another book or two into the year.  No guarantees.  (Oh, and please vote in poll in sidebar.)

Books we’re excited for — July 22, 2010

Books we’re excited for

And by “we” I mostly mean me, but I did manage to get some input from others via Twitter and Facebook.  (Mostly the latter.)

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (I have to confess that I had to google this one because I had no idea what it was.)
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (Again, I had to remind myself which one this was.)
Stoneheart trilogy by Charlie Fletcher (Enjoy it, Nisa!)
Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
ETA: Cinders by Michelle Davidson Argyle

So, that’s the list I was able to compile.  What books are you looking forward to?

Footloose and Fancy-free Friday Reading — March 12, 2010

Footloose and Fancy-free Friday Reading

What grabs you when you’re reading a book?  What draws you in?

I’ve been working my way through my massive TBR pile, one portion of a book at a time.

Wait, one portion?

Yes, one portion.  You see, none of the books so far that I’ve attempted have drawn me in and refused to let me go.  I’m not going to name names, though.

I find that I take a book with me to school, read some, then I have to put it back into my bookbag because class is starting.  Then it’s a couple of days before I can even have time to read again.

And I find myself not caring about the characters or storylines that I was reading.  I just don’t feel the need or desire to know what happens to the characters.

I plan on moving to some re-reading that is on my TBR pile because I know those books will grab me and not let go.

I want to be upset when I have to put a book down.  I want to feel that “I can’t wait to get back to this book” feeling.

What makes you put a book down?  What makes you keep reading?

Footloose and Fancy-free Friday First December Round — December 4, 2009

Footloose and Fancy-free Friday First December Round

I can’t believe it’s December already.  How time flies.  2009 was such a better year all around than 2008 was.  I won’t go into details.  Just suffice it to say that 2008 was a flush in the porcelain throne while 2009 resided in a much better place.

I took the plunge and joined Twitter.  StephanieLMcGee is the name it comes up on over there.  I can’t figure out how to link it or I would.  If I’m quiet over there, just know it’s because I’m trying to figure out how best to utilize it.  That and I’ll be writing like mad the next few days.

I talked about my TBR and book wishlists yesterday.  Books make me happy.  I want to be able to surround myself with books someday.  Just have a nice library in which to sit and read.

Something akin to this, only a little cozier.

That’s a portion of the reading room at the British Museum.  It’s a big circular room mostly lined with bookshelves.  And those shelves are crammed with wonderful tomes that you have to have a membership to access.  (Same goes for the British Library, but the British Library’s display room is free of charge. First Folio Shakespeare, illuminated Chaucer, original Beowulf.  It’s fabulous. Oh, and Jane Austen’s writing desk.)

Yeah, someday.  I’d rather have books than clothes, as I proved to myself the other day when I got my first paycheck.  Rather than blow it on clothes, like I easily could have, I opted to go to the bookstore.  I did some Christmas shopping and spoiled myself.  Books, books, and more books.

I need more space to store them all in, though.  Alas, they’ll have to return to their boxes soon enough.

Q4U: Do you like this Friday feature?  Or should I just discontinue it and only post 3 days a week?