Series, Interrupted

How do you feel about starting a series of books…in the middle? Or at least, not at the beginning? I don’t mean deliberately, I mean you find a book that looks completely amazing, you buy it and start reading, and then you realize it’s part of a series…and not the first book.

What do you do?

Throw it down in disgust and walk away forever?

Keep reading, on the assumption that you’ll figure out what happened before?

Stop, buy and read the previous books in the series, and then read your enchanting new love?

(Is there some other option/reaction I haven’t mentioned?)

I won’t purposefully start reading in the middle of a series. Are you kidding me? And not get the whole story? And, generally, I try to ensure that whatever fabulous new book I’ve stumbled across and been intrigued by is not in the middle of a series. But it has happened. Occasionally. Recently. Like last week.

I started reading Suddenly Spellbound by Erica Lucke Dean to review it, and then realized it was not the first book in the series. Since I was reading it for something other than pure enjoyment, I kept reading, but the bits of backstory and mentions of past shenanigans bothered me, because I didn’t know the details of what had happened.

If I’d been reading just for me, I would have gone with either option one or three above. I would not have kept reading, because not knowing drives me up the wall.

So, what would you have done?

 

What I’m Reading Now: February

Reading is always a priority for me. However, I’ve been super busy lately, so it fades a bit under the need for sleep while working 12-14 hour days.  With only small increments of time at my disposal, I’m reading several things, in tiny chunks. So, here’s what I’m reading currently:

  1. Suddenly Spellbound, by Erica Lucke Dean. (Just started it, but I like the breezy voice.)
  2. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell. (Will always be my favorite, but only time for a little bit at a time right now.)
  3. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin. (Just a few chapters in, but I’m liking it a lot.)
  4. Beginning Theory, by Peter Barry. (Quite dense textbook.)
  5. Fatal Revenant, by Stephen R. Donaldson. (Considering this series has been around since the year I was born, I’m really loving it.)

Storm Damaged, by Kerry Adrienne

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(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Loose Id, LLC.)

Kerry Adrienne is the author of several novels in different genres. Her newest book, Storm Damaged, is a fantasy/sci-fi romance.

Humans don’t know that mermaids exist, but they have a large tribal society and prefer to keep themselves apart from humans. Except for Mari. Desperate to get away from her domineering mother and her controlling fiancé, she left life under the sea behind to open a tiny souvenir shop on the island. She’s happy there, until her landlord, Chase tells her he’s selling the bar under which her shop is located.

Suddenly Mari’s happy fantasies of a relationship with Chase, the former Navy diver who lost his brother in a diving accident and is now afraid of the ocean, go up in smoke. Chase wants to get as far away from the ocean—and memories of his brother’s death—as possible, but before he can, a hurricane moves in, trapping him and Mari on the island. Will she be able to convince him to stay, or will her sea life come back to haunt them both?

Storm Damaged is a breezy story of two people both running from something. Mari has struggled for years against her family’s expectations, as well as her fiancé, while Chase is intent on running away from what haunts him. Their journey towards each other is a fun, engaging read touched with a little bit of magic.

(Galley provided by Loose Id, LLC via NetGalley.)

Night Study, by Maria V. Snyder

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(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Mira.)

 

Maria V. Snyder is the author of Study Series, the Glass Series, and the Insider Books. Her newest book, Night Study, is the second book in the new Study Series. It released yesterday.

Yelena Zaltana has always lived a dangerous life. But now, with her Soulfinder abilities gone, her life is even more dangerous than usual. Not to mention the assassins, psychopathic grudge-holding mages, and threat of war between Ixia and Sitia. Oh, and the Commander, ruler of Ixia, seems to be making questionable decisions of late. Decisions that put Yelena, Valek, and everyone they love in grave danger.

Valek has always been loyal to the Commander. But the Commander is keeping secrets. Dangerous secrets. Secrets that could cause the death of Yelena and their future as war looms. Valek must find out the truth as he struggles to protect Yelena, bereft from her magical protection, and try to prevent the war that seems inevitable as violence and betrayal looms on the horizon.

Night Study is the fifth book in the Study series of books. It picks up the tale of Yelena, former poison taster but now Soulfinder, as she struggles with the loss of her powers, trying to find out what caused the loss and how she can counteract it. The relationship between her and Valek is deeper as they fight their unseen enemies together amidst a world torn apart by lies and deception.

(Galley provided by Mira via NetGalley.)

The Winter Girl, by Matt Marinovich

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(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Doubleday Books.)

 

Matt Marinovich lives in Brooklyn and has written for numerous publications. His first novel was Strange Skies. His new novel, The Winter Girl, hit shelves on January 19th.

Scott and Elise have come to the Hamptons because her father is dying of cancer. While she spends every day at the hospital, Scott stays home, growing more down with every passing day, as he focuses on his failing marriage, his lost job, and his ailing father-in-law, who hates him. Scott becomes fascinated by the empty house next door, where lights turn on with timers in a semblance of life. Soon Scott dares to go inside, hoping for a sort of escape.

What he finds is an empty house that speaks of secrets. Secrets that excite Scott, lifting his depression. Soon he enlists Elise in his explorations, as they seek to rekindle their marriage. But things in the house next door are not what they seem, and soon Scott and Elise are seeking a different kind of escape: from the darkness that surrounds them, hiding secrets they never imagined.

The Winter Girl is dark and twisted, full of shocking revelations, insidious secrets, and a history of violence only hinted at on the surface. This book is not for the faint of heart, nor is for the reader looking for characters that are likeable and uplifting.

(Galley provided by Doubleday via NetGalley.)

Frankly, My Dear…

Friday I spent a little bit of time in a place I never really imagined I’d be:  the house where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind.

Gone with the Wind is my favorite book. I read it for the first time when I was 11 years old. I’ve probably read it at least 25 times. I’m reading it now (Sort of.). The name of this blog comes from the novel.  It’s not that I idolize the era it takes place in. I don’t. There was a lot wrong with that society, its practices, and its beliefs. It’s not that I wished I lived there. (Ha. I despise wearing dresses, so living where elaborate dresses was the norm is a joke.).

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This painting was actually used in the movie. Gorgeous dress, but not my style.

But the characters are so vividly realized I feel like I know them, as is the setting. I think Margaret Mitchell did an astounding job creating characters and bringing them to life. I still laugh, and cry, every time I read the book.

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Where she actually wrote the novel (Although not the actual desk or typewriter, which is on display at the Atlanta library.). She used a towel to cover her work when unexpected visitors dropped in.

I did not know that Ms. Mitchell had her husband burn the first draft (there was only one copy) of the novel after her death, as well as any other projects she was working on. I didn’t know that she never intended to publish it at all, and wanted it back after she did let a publisher look at it.

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A story the author wrote as a girl.

I knew she worked as a reporter for a while.

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Ms. Mitchell was so short that the legs of the desk she used as a reporter had to be shortened.

What I did know:  still my favorite book. Ever.

Weekly Update: the End is in Sight

This week has been plenty busy. Craziness at work (which should soon be resolving itself in a very positive way.). Trying to get everything for the first week of classes done, as well as the reading done for the second week (Just about have that complete.). And perhaps I should pack sometime today, since I’m leaving for Atlanta tomorrow. Perhaps

However, HTRYN Lesson One is going well. Sort of. It’s a bit depressing, but I should finish the first pass through Witches today. I’m seeing a lot of the same issues. Being aware of them is the first step to fixing them, right? (Here’s hoping.) I’m seeing a lot of telling-not-showing, and there’s more distance from my characters than I’d like. I do have an idea about fixing one issue that’s been bothering me somewhat for a long time, however.

I’m also less than five scenes from finishing the outline of Siren Song! I’m really happy about that, even if it’s not the greatest outline ever. I’m hoping there will be less wandering about with an actual outline to work from. (Knowing my tendency to get distracted, I’m almost positive that will be true.)

I’m off to finish things up so I can enjoy my sort-of-mini-vacation!

Writing Inspiration: Too Busy

It’s true, I really am too busy to write (fiction) right now. I know that sounds like a cop out, but it’s not. Really.

School starts next week, and I’m going to be out-of-town M-F for work, so I have to attempt to get everything done for the first week, plus the second week’s reading, this week. So there’s that. Plus, an hour-long commute to work right now. Let’s not forget trying to work out, eat healthy, and not let the house become a complete disaster.

Priorities.

So, while I may not actually be writing fiction, I am outlining Siren Song (just a general phase outline), to the tune of 5 scenes a day. And I’m almost done with that, which will make the actual writing so much easier!

I love when my stories surprise me. On Tuesday, I had a character I never even thought of saunter onto the screen and inform me that he was there to provide conflict (And also scenery. Of course.). So there’s that.

I hope everyone else is getting more writing done than I am.

What I’m Reading Now: The First Week in January

So, last year, I joined the Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge. Initially, I set my goal at 50 books. Between school and work, I decided that was a good number, but I ended up revising it to 75 later in the year, when I passed the 50-book mark with plenty of time to spare. I actually ended up reading 110 books (My Goodreads account only shows 108, but I re-read The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear, both of which I had previously read, and if there’s a way to mark them as re-read, I haven’t figured it out yet.)

This year, I’m setting my goal a bit higher right from the start, at 75. We’ll see how that works out.

Currently, I’m reading this:

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And this:

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(This isn’t the actual book cover, but it is the movie poster that is hanging over my desk, on a piece of old barn wood. My parents got it for me somewhere years ago.)

I’m also reading Warrior Chick, by Holly Wagner, and various assorted other books (textbooks) for school.

Can we talk about The Runes of the Earth? I read The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant I-have-no-idea-how-long-ago, when my mother gave me the initial two trilogies. Meanwhile, these last four books have been on my TBR shelf for…I have no idea how long. At least 6 or 7 years (hence the goal of actually reading from this shelf this year). It’s ridiculous. Initially, I didn’t start the first book because the second book was about to come out and I wanted to wait…then life happened.

I picked this up New Year’s Eve, and immediately got sucked in. Now I’m slapping myself in the forehead for not reading these years ago.

So, what’s everyone reading right now? What do you plan to read this year?

New Year, this Time with Some Actual Goals

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(I do not own this image.)

Happy New Year!

I used to make very complicated, intricately planned-out lists of resolutions every year. A few years ago, I stopped that, but this year I decided to give it another go. I ended up with three separate lists (Life, Writing, and Reading), each with eight goals.

Here are my Writing goals for the year:

1) Finish Witches HTRYN.

2) Finish 1st draft of Siren Song. 

3) Finish 1st draft of The Fall.   

4) Start Camelot

5) Revise Casting Shadows.

6) Finish copyediting classes and make X dollars at it per month.

7) Have 500 followers on this blog. (I can dream, right?)

8) Have 200 followers on my personal blog (It’s a goal.)

HNY

Here are my Reading goals:

1) Read Gone with the Wind (for at least the 25th time. I normally read it every year, but it’s been a few years.).

2) Read 1 book per month from my TBR shelf.

3) Read all books on the reading list for my American Women Writers class (8 total).

4) Read one classic per month.

5) Read one book of poetry.

6) Read 2 books per month to review.

7) Read one inspirational book per month.

8) Read 75 books total.