Top Ten Tues: Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists by other bloggers!

September 19: Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR List

(These are books I plan to read after the start of fall on September 22nd, but before winter rolls around. I’m excited about all of these! <3)

  1. The Language of Thorns; Leigh Bardugo. I love the grisha world, and this is tales from that world.

2. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns; Julie Dao. Dark magic, and a powerful destiny.

3. Ladycastle; Delilah Dawson. Graphic novel about women in charge.

4. Taste of Marrow; Sarah Gailey. Book 2. Diverse characters, high stakes, and people riding hippos.

5. A Plague of Giants; Kevin Hearne. New series by an author I like. With invading giants and magical beasts.

6. Godsgrave; Jay Kristoff. Book 2. Goddess of murder, people bent on revenge–very intense book 1.

7. Renegades; Marissa Meyer. Another new series by an author I like. Superheroes and supervillains!

8. All the Crooked Saints; Maggie Stiefvater. I’ll read pretty much anything she writes. About the price of a miracle, and a family who performs them.

9. City of Lies; Victoria Thompson. New series! 1920s mystery with a con artist protagonist.

10. Artemis; Andy Weir. Loved The Martian, curious to see what’s next!

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Weekend Writing Warrior: 10/22

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child, moves in with him, and more than a year later, is outside painting when L, the pink haired man, shows up and gives her a hand carved wood goldfinch, saying “It reminds me of you.”

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He must’ve read the surprise on Rekka’s face, because L swiped his hand through the air as if to erase what he’d said. “Not the coloring, of course, or that you’re a bird, because you’re not, but… you made me something, and I thought I should make you something, too…”

“It’s lovely, really,” Rekka reassured, “but it must’ve been much more work than my painting.”

“I travel a lot, and sometimes you’re stuck somewhere with nothing to do, so I make these out of scraps,” he waved his hand again, slower, dismissing his efforts.

“And I’m like a goldfinch,” Rekka prompted.

“Bright, inquisitive, and chirpy, yeah,” he said, without hesitation, having abruptly gotten over whatever troubled him.

“Chirpy,” Rekka repeated, considering if she wanted to accept the word. There was, she decided, a certain cheerfulness to her nature, and a definite willingness to peck at people when it amused her.

“I’m touched you thought of me, L. Were you headed somewhere?”

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children.  Due to population diversity issues, many colonists have children using genetic bank material, or choose a succession of partners. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.

Top Ten Tues: Throwback

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists by other bloggers!

September 12: Throwback Freebie: Ten Books I Loved During The First Year I Started My Blog, Favorite Books Published 5 or 10 or 15 Years Ago, Ten Older Books I Forgot How Much I Loved, etc. etc. Tweak however you want!

Let’s throw it waaay back, shall we? Top Ten Books from the 19th Century.

  1. Persuasion; Jane Austen. My second favorite Austen, for variety.

2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Lewis Carol. A trip.

3. Oliver Twist; Charles Dickens. Can you have some more?

4. The Three Musketeers; Alexandre Dumas. Every book needs some sword fights.

5. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; Arthur Conan Doyle. Witty and short. Holmes is kind of terrible, but still entertaining.

6. Frankenstein; Mary Shelley. We’re all a little bit the monster, I think.

7. Treasure Island; Robert Lois Stevenson. Pirates! Arrr!

8. Dracula; Bram Stoker. You rather have to admire this old school vampire story. It’s creepy and gothic, and monstrous.

9. Around the World in Eighty Days; Jules Verne. Packed full of adventure.

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray; Oscar Wilde. A really terrible character that gets what’s coming to him.

Weekend Writing Warriors: 9/9

*****The edge of the storm has passed my city. Very little damage, keeping the coast in my thoughts.*****

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child, moves in with him, and more than a year later, is outside painting when L, the pink haired man, shows up and starts rummaging in his bag for something–his last line “I have something to make up for…”

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“For?” Rekka prompted.

“For?” he blinked at her, hand still in his backpack. “Oh, right, for my rudeness in forgetting…” he paused to rummage more, and then finished triumphantly, “your name!”

L lifted a small wrapped bundle to the light, and then folded his fingers around it while he stuffed everything else back into his backpack. That achieved, he snagged her hand with his free one, and deposited the bundle on her palm, smiling broadly.

For a moment, Rekka was caught in the pure pleased good humor of that smile, then she dropped her gaze to the object in her hand. He’d wrapped it in a twist of pale blue fabric, something cut raggedly from a larger piece, and fraying, threads tickling her hand.

She poked at it, finding a seam, and unrolling, until she revealed the object nestled in the curl of cloth—a carved wooden bird, feathers cut into the pale wood, and sections dyed black and yellow, making the carving recognizably a goldfinch.

“This is very well done,” Rekka tipped it this way and that in the light, admiring the thin, curved cuts, which brought the otherwise simple shape to life.

“Thanks,” he ducked his head, ruffling his hair, “it reminds me of you.”

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children.  Due to population diversity issues, many colonists have children using genetic bank material, or choose a succession of partners. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.

Butterfly Smile: A Poem

Inspired by a friend’s Facebook post, which reminded me of these moments.

Image from WikiMedia by Alberto Salguero.

***

Butterfly Smile

Wearing butterfly wings that rose over my head

and stretched past my shoulder

painted in black and red and gold

a bright bold fairy at Scarborough Fair

I was walking when a man called out

“Smile!”

when I turned to face him, silent

“Come on, smile!”

when I walked away

to my back, shielded only by gauze wrapped wire

and rapidly dissolving joy

he shouted about ‘fairy extermination’

and laughed

Later, I felt a tap on my shoulder

and turned to find two fairies

both winged in greens and browns

carrying wings larger than mine

with leaves and flowers in their hair.

One blew her pipes, a rising note

question

the other held out his hand

with a star-shaped bead gleaming blue in his palm

and when he dropped the star into mine

he smiled

and I smiled, too.

 

 

Top Ten Tues: Struggles

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists by other bloggers!

September 5: Ten Books I Struggled to Get Into But Ended Up Loving or Ten Books That Were A Chore To Get Through or Ten Books I’ve Most Recently Put Down (the theme is…books you had a hard time with…tweak it how ever you need)

I’m quite particular about the books I read, which cuts down on the failures, so I’m splitting this between DNFs and Struggles.

DNF

  1. Hue 1968; Mark Bowden. Too dry. The writing didn’t engage me, so I put it down.

2. Seven Dreams; Charlotte English. The characters felt flat, and the plot failed to catch my attention.

3. The Shape of Bones; Daniel Galera. Disjointed, with a narrative so confusing I couldn’t quite tell what was going on for some time.

4. Empire Ascendant; Cameron Hurley. The first book was dark, and this book proved to be darker.

5. Jitterbug Perfume; Tom Robbins. I found the prose overwrought, and everything that was meant to be funny didn’t amuse me.

Struggles

6. The Library of Fate; Khorana Aditi. Loved the idea, but there were too many weaknesses in character development, plot, and pacing.

7. The Massacre of Mankind; Stephen Baxter. A sequel to War of the Worlds that didn’t feel like it really added anything.

8. All the Sounds of Fear; Harlan Ellison. A collection of dark, sometimes hopeless sci fi tales, I had to spread this out among other reading. Haunting, but interesting.

9. Heartburn; Nora Ephron. I got the audio book pretty much because Meryl Streep voiced it, and she did a good enough job to keep me going.

10. The Leopard; Jo Nesbo. This is the eighth book in the series, but each one is a slog, driven by the well-written mystery, and slowed by the terrible characters.

 

Weekend Writing Warriors: 9/2

*****The edge of the storm has passed my city. Very little damage, keeping the coast in my thoughts.*****

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child, moves in with him, and more than a year later, is outside painting.

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge

 

 

 

“Hey!” a male voice came from behind Rekka.

She swiveled, glancing behind her, and saw a broad-shouldered figure approaching, features washed out by the sun. As he drew closer, she recognized the wavy pink hair falling just short of the man’s violet eyes, his skin tanned a darker shade of brown than when she’d seen him last.

When he stopped a few feet from her stone perch, she smiled, “Hello, L. It’s been awhile–a year, I think.”

“Yeah, about that, but you still remember my name.” His tone was sheepish, and he ran his fingers through his hair, his gaze on the ground before he made eye contact.

“I have the advantage of writing your name down,” Rekka uncoiled from her seat, shifting to face him more comfortably, her legs swinging in the air,  “Mine’s Rekka.”

“Well, Rekka, I have, in fact…” he paused, rummaging in the backpack thrown over his shoulder, “something to make up for…” he took a few wrapped bundles out of the backpack, pinning them awkwardly between his arm and his body while he kept searching.

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children.  Due to population diversity issues, many colonists have children using genetic bank material, or choose a succession of partners. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.

Book Riot Read Harder 2017: August

And the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge is here again! There’s 24 prompts to encourage you to read harder, and I urge you to check it out if you want to get outside your comfort zone. 🙂

(Click the link to see the challenge, and to download a PDF of the challenge list.)

book riot

To quote the article: “We encourage you to push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try. But this isn’t a test. […] We like books because they allow us to see the world from a new perspective, and sometimes we all need help to even know which perspectives to try.

  • Read a debut novel

When Dimple Met Rishi; Sandhya Menon.

This is Sandhya Menon’s debut novel.

Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel’s parents want them to marry. Rishi is happy with this idea, and is pleased to meet Dimple at a summer program she wants to attend. The big problem–Dimple has no idea Rishi exists, and has told her parents repeatedly that she has no interest in an arranged marriage. So their first meeting is explosive! Dimple is invested in doing well at the program, so she ends up wanting Rishi to help, and the more time they spend together, the more they find in common.

I admire Dimple’s drive, her commitment to her dreams, and her willingness to speak her mind. But I didn’t quite buy the romance. They are quite young, and the differences in their life goals don’t seem simple to resolve–but since they’re young, they can perhaps work it out. The romance is cute, regardless, with plenty of sparks, and back and forth bantering.

  • Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color.

Here Comes the Sun; Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn.

I remember 3 POV characters, and all of them are POC.

This is a much darker book than I was expecting. The characters are suffering, all letting each other down, all betrayed or given to betraying each other. This leads to some terrible pain–and a general sense of hopelessness. There’s also much more rape and sexual exploitation than I expected–so be warned.

Margot works at a beautiful resort–a tourist paradise–but lives in one of the makeshift shacks nearby with her mother Deborah and sister Thandi. She’s constantly scrapping for just a little more money, and her life is difficult, full of soul-eating compromises, but she’s determined that Thandi will have a future. Again and again, Margot gives up parts of herself, saying it will all be worth it, that Thandi will pay her back–but Thandi is crumpling under the pressure, and uncertain that this future she’s being pushed towards is what she wants. And then things really begin to fall apart. A new hotel is being built, and the landowner has sold the area they live in–drastic changes will come, whether they’re ready or not. Deborah, Margot, and Thandi, all trapped by their pasts, have to find their own ways forward, and decide what they value most.

I had a serious issue not just with all the violence against women, but also with the way the characters expressed love. In many ways, they hurt the people they claimed to love–family, especially. There’s a lot of excuses made, an an ugly treatment of Margot’s sexuality (she’s in love with another woman who is ostracized for being known as a lesbian.) Love is judged often in this story–of who is worthy, and who is not. This judgment is only skin deep, and often the ‘worthy’ ones prove to be horrible people. It’s just a tough read.

Top Ten Tues: Hidden Gems

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists by other bloggers!

August 29: Ten Hidden Gem Books in X Genre: Pick a genre and share with us some books that have gone under the radar in that genre!

Defining a book as a hidden gem is a bit tough–is it number of rating? People who’ve read it? But here are some books I think well worth reading. 🙂 Here’s my Top Ten Hidden Gems in Fairy Tale Retellings.

1. Snow White, Blood Red; Ellen Datlow. A collection of varied retellings, but be warned, these are dark tales, reminders that the originals were more horror than light fantasy.

2. Ice; Sarah Beth Durst. A modern East of the Sun, West of the Moon, set at an Arctic research station.

3. Bitter Greens; Kate Forsyth. A Rapunzel tale leaning heavily toward historical fiction.

4. The Stepsister Scheme; Jim C Hines. Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty meet in a light, action adventure.

5. Thorn; Intisar Khanai. A darker, less romance driven retelling of The Goose Girl.

6. One Good Knight; Mercedes Lackey. Normally I wouldn’t do two series by one author, but this one weaves a lot of fairy tales and myths together. This book is St. George and the Dragon.

7. Fire Rose; Mercedes Lackey. Though it’s the start of a series (1995) and not as polished as later books, this Beauty and the Beast story is magical.

8. The Rough Face Girl; Rafe Martin. A children’s book adaptation of Cinderella that’s a little less about outer beauty.

9. Outlaws of Sherwood; Robin McKinley. Robin Hood’s story is more fictionalized history, but it has a sort of fairy tale air to it.

10. Snow White and Rose Red; Patricia Wrede. The Elizabethan setting and language make this retelling not for everyone, but if you don’t mind a slower read and elaborate language, it’s lovely.

Weekend Writing Warriors: 8/26

*****My city is getting about 6 inches of rain Sunday, and flooding is expected, but I’ll hope for the best, power-wise. Stay safe if you’re in Harvey’s path!*****

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child, moves in with him, and several weeks later, she overhears part of an angry phone conversation before he shuts the door–and goes to the park to paint, where she meets a pink-haired man and does his portrait.

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“Huh, that’s really good–I can see me in it,” he said.

“Glad to hear it,” Rekka picked up a pen and signed and dated the picture at the bottom, then started stowing things away while she waited for the painting to dry.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“Everyone calls me L–just the letter.”

Rekka snapped a picture of the portrait with her phone, titled it “L by the fountain,” and, after testing to see if the paint was completely dry, slid the painting into a sleeve, and handed it to L. “There you are. If you want to display it, it should go behind plexi, either with a UV filter, or out of direct sunlight.”

“I… thanks.”

“I like doing faces, and I’ve done this as a job a time or two, out in parks and such. I need to be getting back, but it was nice to meet you, L.”

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children.  Due to population diversity issues, many colonists have children using genetic bank material, or choose a succession of partners. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.