Saturday, 30 May 2009

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN TORC


For ages, Eddie Drood and his family have kept humanity safe from the things that go bump in the night. But now one of his own has convinced the rest of the family that Eddie’s become a menace, and that humanity needs to be protected from him. So he’s on the run, using every trick in the book, magical and otherwise, hoping he lives long enough to prove his innocence...

I'm a huge fan of the Nightside series, so I was looking forward to reading the first book in Simon R Green's Secret Histories series.

Eddie Drood - aka Shaman Bond - is an agent of good who comes from an ancient and very powerful family. The Drood family protect the world from supernatural threats that humans have no idea are going on around them. They also have golden torcs around their necks that turn into full body armour. He's good at his job as a field agent, but when he's attacked and labelled rogue, he's forced to depend on his enemies for help. And slowly realises that his family and his personal purpose may not be what he'd always believed it to be.

On his own and making new enemies along the way, he stumbles from one bad and dangerous situation to another, leaving behind a battered mess everywhere he goes. He seems to find more trouble at every turn, instead of answers, but when he teams up with the wild witch Molly Metcalf, together they begin to uncover a conspiracy he never imagined possible.

The cast of characters is extensive and very bizarre, proving that Simon R Green has a very fertile imagination and can deliver an exciting and twisted plot that keeps you guessing and involved until the very end. The answers about the Drood family past, the torcs they all wear, and their real motivation becomes just another explosive situation for Eddie.

The Man With The Golden Torc is a fast, clever story that'll keep you guessing at every turn. Who are the real bad guys? Are there really any good guys? At times, it feels overloaded with gadgets and supernatural paraphernalia, but that's totally expected from a Bond-esque type story.

This was a really fun book that you have got to read to the end. The answers make the ride that much better!

The Man With the Golden Torc, October 2008, ISBN 0575082224, Gollancz Paperback

Friday, 29 May 2009

I didn't get enough sleep...

*yawn*

So, do you stress about titles? I do, especially last night.

You see, the trilogy that I'm working on right now happens to follow straight after another trilogy. Same world, some same characters, new characters, new narrators for each one. Basically, it expands on the world and I think the titles I've given these three novels are great. I mean, they're connected, similar, and each relates to the main thread of the novel. So, it got me wondering about the first trilogy.

Do those titles have the same impact? Are they getting the same message across as these ones? Well, the titles are good, but they're not great and I don't think they've got the impact I want them to have. So, I drove myself nuts last night trying to come up with new ones.

So far, nothing. Of course, this is something that I'll be able to discuss in more detail with my editor once the editing starts, but it would be nice to have a few options ready to go.

Hubby reckons that I stress too much about my titles because I want them to be a fitting echo of the novel, and I know he's right. I just like them to sum up the story somehow. Y'know? I remember when coming up with titles was easy. Now, for some stories, it seems harder than getting the story told. Lol. :)

Well, this morning I got up early but I haven't added any new words to UC yet. I don't think I will either, not until after I drop my daughter off at school. I've got two chapters left to write. I'm almost finished and although everything's right there, ready to spill from my fingertips, I'm kinda resisting it. A strange thing to do, but I often find that when I'm so close to the end of a novel, I take my time to reach the first draft end. That's fine. I think I'll write that last chapter today and then finish up with the epilogue on Monday.

Oh, and as of yesterday afternoon, the word count = 67,503.

This morning, instead of writing new words, I tinkered with a synopsis and sent it to my editor and then put together a submission for one of my other ePublishers. Fingers crossed. So, I might not have added to UC, but I was still being productive!

Well, I think it's time for me to sign out now.

Have an awesome weekend!

Thursday, 28 May 2009

WIP

So, did you check out the Transformers trailer yet? Man, you've gotta. I've seen it heaps of times already, but never seem to get enough.

I absolutely LOVED the first movie and from the start knew that they were either going to release a shitty, boring, try-hard movie, or an outstanding, awesome one. I'm glad that it ended up being fantastic! And I get the feeling the sequel's going to be just as good.

I can't wait!

Anyway. How's everyone this week? Asides from the shitty weather we had yesterday, everything's pretty cool. :)

This morning, I got stuck into UC and managed to add another (almost) 1,500 words. Not as good as yesterday morning, when I managed to add 2k before my daughter woke up. Still, it's some good progress.

I'm now sitting @ 64,631 words.

According to my word meter, I've now reached 80%. I've almost reached my goal. I think the first draft will end up being 80k but I'm not sure. It might come in slightly under. Most of the story's been told, but I've still got another (maybe) two chapters to write so I can wrap everything up, and an epilogue. Yeah, it definitely needs an epilogue that seems to already be writing itself inside my head. :D Lol.

I'm having a lot of fun getting this story out of my system. I also think it's a good way to end the trilogy. There's going to be a high note, a not-so good note, and a setting-things-up-for-future-books note. Yeah, there's always one of those.

Well, I think it's time to sign out!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Another gloomy day in Sydney

Well, we managed to do our weights workout on Monday night and last night as well. Which means that today is our day off. Then, it's back to it tomorrow and Friday. I'm a little bit sore, but in a good way. :)

The hubby had a day off work yesterday, so I didn't add any new words. We did, however, go to watch STAR TREK. Let me just start with the fact that I'm not a Star Trek fan at all. I didn't watch or like the TV show and movies that it spawned. I've actually been known to fall asleep while trying to watch them in the past. Lol. But this movie - WOW!

It totally rocked! On so many levels. Not only was it action-packed and really put the Star Trek franchise into this century, but the reason why the story happened was awesome. I loved the explanation. Of course, I won't go into it here, but it was a great twist. Oh, and did I mention that I thought the script was excellent? Well, it was. It was actually everything a Sci-Fi movie should be!

We also saw the proper Transformers trailer and it was fantastic! If you haven't seen it yet, you should... it's over HERE. Wow! I can't wait to watch this one. Talk about action. Counting down the days...

I might not have added any new words yesterday, but this morning I got right to it. As a result, I've already added another 2k and have crossed the 60k-mark. I'm now @ 60,209. Very, very cool! I stopped mid-scene so that I can jump back into it as soon as I get home from my walk this morning. Man, it looks like it's going to be a miserable day outside. Very dark. You know when the sky looks bruised? Yeah, that's the kind of day we're facing. :/ Oh well, I've got some pretty bleak things to write, so it should be atmospheric.

Well, have a nice day! :D

Monday, 25 May 2009

Productive weekend

So, we went to the hairdresser on Saturday. I was long overdue for a trim. You see, I've got naturally wavy hair, and it's thick too. So, if I don't get it layered every few months, the layers grow out and I end up with really messy (bushy) hair. Now, I've got my layers back and my hair feels smooth. Easier to manage too. Awesome!

I also intended to buy this book, and came back with it as well as this one and this one too! What can I say? I'm totally addicted to books, but I guess you already know that. :)

We also watched a documentary - Richard Hammond Meets Evel Knievel. I like Richard Hammond from Top Gear, so he was pretty good in this too. He presented all the facts and compiled all the info in a very entertaining way, it's too bad that Evel himself ended up being a bitter old man every time he was on-screen. He was very rude, even though Richard showed him a lot of respect because he was a childhood hero of his. I think he's passed away since. Not sure, but he didn't look very healthy at the time.

Anyway, it was interesting.

This morning, the hubby started early again so I got typing right away and actually added about 1,200 words. The word count is now up to 54,135. This week, I'd like to reach the 70k mark. Of course, that means that I probably won't be able to finish the first draft this week, but I might next week. Cool! We'll see what happens, but we're heading into the showdown scene now and it's going to be a big one because it's not only going to be the end of this book, but the end of this trilogy too. So certain things will be ending.

Although on a side note, I already know how things are going to end for the hero and heroine, and I can't wait to write it.

Okay, gotta get some brekky for my daughter now because we need to leave a little earlier this morning. She's got an excursion on today. Bye for now!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

TANTALIZE


Orphaned and in her uncle's care, fiercely independent Quincie may be the most over-achieving high-school student around, but even she has her hands full with a hybrid-werewolf boyfriend and the opening of Sanguini's, her hip vampire-themed restaurant, which turns out to have way more bite than she'd intended.

Well, this one turned out to be a great read! It was one of those stories that when you get started you think you know where it's going to go and then you hit a certain page and - Pow! Nope, it heads in a different direction that totally throws you off-course and has you moving even faster through the pages. Actually, I read most of it today. I started last night, at about midnight, and stopped somewhere near page 30 because I was too tired. Today was a different story, I couldn't put it down!

Quincie is a girl who's lost her parents and is left to live with her uncle, who also manages the restaurant she inherited. When he decides to take it in a different direction, one that will cater to the fantasy of vampires and offer not just some lovely cuisine but also a total experience, she finds herself being swept away by the new head chef. 'Bradley' seems to be there, understanding her every step of the way as she stuggles with her blossoming love towards her best friend, Kieren. Who also happens to be a hybrid-wolf.

However, she starts to develop a 'drinking problem' and begins to doubt her friendship towards Kieren. Not to mention that she's a little tired of wishing they were more, although he keeps her at a certain distance. What happens to Quincie, and what she eventually finds herself facing will change her life forever.

It was a really great story, with a cool twist! Quincie was a great character who's desperately trying to find herself while maintaining her devotion for her family restaurant - no matter what the cost. It was a fast read that kept me interested from start to end. If you're into YA, vampire, or were stories, you might want to check this one out. :)

Saturday, 23 May 2009

DEAD AND GONE


Except for Sookie Stackhouse, folks in Bon Temps, Louisiana, know little about vamps—and nothing about weres.

Until now. The weres and shifters have finally decided to reveal their existence to the ordinary world. At first all goes well. Then the mutilated body of a were-panther is found near the bar where Sookie works—and she feels compelled to discover who, human or otherwise, did it.

But there’s a far greater danger threatening Bon Temps. A race of unhuman beings—older, more powerful, and more secretive than vampires or werewolves—is preparing for war. And Sookie finds herself an all-too human pawn in their battle.

It's not the first time I've said this, but the Sookie Stackhouse series is one of my favourites. And after reading the latest book, which happens to be #9, it remains up there with the best.

The weres and shifters have decided that it's time to reveal themselves to the public by having one of their own shift on live TV. At the same time, several of the 'furry' residents of Bon Temps also change inside Merlotte's, while others change in their homes. At first, everything seems to be fine, with only a few showing any signs of intolerance.

However, when a local shifter is killed and left outside Merlotte's for everyone to see, it appears that the first hate-crime has been committed on someone Sookie knows. It's enough to cause tension around town, but while Sookie tries to find out who did it, a whole lot of other trouble starts around her. She seems to go from one bad day to another, finding herself the target of several attacks from different people. All trying to use her as a tool to get a message across.

At least she gets to find a little bit of happiness in this book, and even though she's still not sure about her latest choice in men, he makes her happy.

Dead and Gone was another excellent addition to this wonderful and very addictive series. I love the way Sookie takes us through what usually starts out as an average day of work and daily duties, but always turns into so much more. There was a lot of action, more revelations about her family, danger at every turn, and a deeper understanding of the true nature of fairies. I also found that this book had a whole lot of suspense and tension, and had me turning each new page with a certain degree of dread.

If you're a Sookie fan, you won't be disappointed. And if you haven't read a Sookie book, yet, maybe it's time to start. Personally, I can't wait for the next one!

Dead and Gone, June 2009, ISBN 0575085517, Gollancz Paperback

Friday, 22 May 2009

Raindrops keep falling on my head...

Ugh! The rain is starting to annoy me as much as my runny nose. :/ It's coming down so hard - the rain, that is - that several places in QLD and Northern NSW are flooding. That's not a good thing. Doesn't it suck that you can never get a nice dose of whatever weather you need? It usually winds up being excessive or lacking.

So, what's new? Is everyone having a good week? Mine's been productive, but today I'd like to squeeze in a few too many things, so I'm not sure if I'll get everything done.

I added more wordage to UC yesterday and have officially passed the 50k mark. I'm now sitting @ 50,206 words. Yay! I've met my goal for this week. I've still got a scene that I'd love to write today. Hope I get the chance, and I just wish this darn headcold would go away. It's getting to be a total drag. Lol. My head feels like it weighs a tonne.

Last night, I stayed up a little longer to finish this book. OMG! It was fantastic. What an incredible tale - very dark, gritty, and plenty twisted. It was a great read and I'll be posting a review for it shortly. Wow! I really, really enjoyed it. Looks like I'll be reading a little Sookie next. ;)

Okay, I have to get my daughter off to school earlier than usual today. It's soccer day and they start early, but I don't think they'll be going anywhere in this weather. Still, it doesn't stop her from freaking out and trying to rush me out the door.

Check out those Winchester boys! ;) Well, have a great weekend!

DARK PLACES


Libby Day was just seven years old when her older brother massacred her family while she hid in a cupboard. Her evidence helped put him away. Ever since then she has been drifting, surviving for over twenty years on the proceeds of the 'Libby Day fund'. But now the money is running out and Libby is desperate. When she is offered $500 to do a guest appearance, she feels she has to accept. But this is no ordinary gathering. The Kill Club is a group of true-crime obsessives who share information on notorious murders and they think her brother Ben is innocent.

It is 2 January 1985 - the day of the murders. Ben is a social misfit, ground down by the small-town farming community in which he lives. His family is extremely poor and his father Runner is violent, gambles and disappears for months on end. But Ben does have a girlfriend - a brooding heavy metal fan called Diondra. Through her, Ben becomes involved with drugs and the dark arts. When the town suddenly turns against him, his thoughts turn black. But is he capable of murder?

I was intrigued by this book the first time I read the blurb. Not to mention that the cover certainly gives it that extra, dark look that totally captured my attention.

Libby Day is the only survivor after her brother massacred the rest of the family in the mid-eighties. As a result, after losing her mother and two sisters, Libby lived a hard life. In fact, her testimony of the events of that night is what led to her brother being locked up. Now that she's all grown up and the money is starting to fade to nothing, she becomes desperate enough to attend a meeting with a bunch of people who call themselves the Kill Club. Here, she meets people who believe her brother is innocent and hold her responsible for him being in jail.

At first, she doesn't want anything to do with them, but when they offer her money to start interviewing people that may know more than she does about that night, she accepts.

At the beginning, Libby seems like an unsympathetic character who blames what happened to her as a child for everything that is wrong in her solitary life. But as you get to know her and learn more about her story, you can't help but feel for her constant struggle to get out of bed every morning. It's easy to see why she turned out the way she did. Her honesty is raw and true. How can you not admire someone that strong, considering how weak she believes herself to be?

Her motivation starts out with her need for money, but after she visits her brother in jail for the first time, it turns into a search for the truth. She suddenly needs to find out what really happened that night as she attempts to piece together her own painful memories.

Cleverly interwoven with chapters that take you back to that day in the POV of teenage Ben and the desperate mother, Patty, the story unfolds slowly. So many unexpected layers start to appear as each of them moves along that day, while in the present Libby finds herself in a very horrible conclusion.

Dark Places is an amazing story, filled with mystery, raw emotion, and an honesty so brutal that it often makes you cringe. So much violence, lies, secrets, and misunderstandings lead to a dead family and a little girl who survives but never gets over the tragedy. Every character plays a pivotal role in what happened in that farm in 1985, and the end will shock you.

This is an edge-of-your seat read that you won't be able to put down until you know everything!

Dark Places, May 2009, ISBN 0297852876, W&N Fiction Paperback

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Very bleak

It's totally yuck! outside today. I swear, it's been raining since yesterday afternoon - after the sun popped out for about an hour or two - and poured all last night. :( It's going to make it really hard on my morning walk. I missed out on the puddles yesterday, but have a feeling that won't be the case today.

Anyway.

Yesterday I mentioned that I'm reading this book at the moment. And OMG! I'm more than halfway through now and I'm totally engrossed in it. I'm at that point where if I'm not reading it, I'm thinking about it. Which kinda sucks when I should be thinking about my own story. Lol. It's just such a great story. So many bizarre things are unfolding and I'm starting to form my own opinions on a lot of things.

Now, let's talk about my writing. The reason I'm not too worried about my thoughts not continually dwelling on my WIP (UC) is because I've pretty much got at least four pages with (very messy) scribbles about what's going to happen for at least three more chapters. I stopped in mid-scene after yesterday's session on purpose, so I'll know exactly where to jump in when I get back from my walk. Since my daughter's already up and I won't get a chance to add much of anything but this blog post. :/

Oh, I forgot to mention that I've reached 46,177 words. Today's goal is to reach/pass the 50k mark. That was the goal I set for this week, but if I can reach it today then I'll be able to add a bigger chunk than expected. That's a whole lot of yay! We'll see what happens.

I'm still not feeling very well. My nose is completely blocked and I've used a whole box of tissues in one day, not to mention that my left eye keeps watering and is quite sore as a result. :( Man, the cold season totally sucks! I want summer back, darn it! *stamping foot like a spoilt brat*

Okay, that's enough chatter for today. I'm hoping to have a productive day, and I hope you do too. And there's always that Sammy pic up there to inspire you... Bye for now!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

A little dark

Uh... because I absolutely *loved* the finale episode, and you can never have too much Winchester picture goodness, I'm going to be posting a Dean, Sam or Dean & Sam pic all week. I know no one will complain about that. :D

Well, we woke up to a yucky, dark, and very rainy day. For once, I'm not looking forward to my daily morning walk. It's going to be cold, wet and miserable, with a whole lot of puddles in the way. Oh, and did I mentioned that I've got a headcold and I have to keep blowing my nose every two seconds?

This week the hubby's been going in to work a few hours later, so I've been losing writing time in the morning. That also means that my daughter wakes up as soon as he leaves for the day and refuses to go back to sleep. See where I'm going? It's a total chain reaction, which ends with me not being able to add a darn word before we head out to drop her off to school. Still, I haven't been wasting that time. I use it for blogging, emailing, or squeezing in a few chapters of reading. No point in totally wasting the time away. ;)

And speaking of writing, that brings me to my current WIP, UC. I've been writing up a storm that kinda dwindled a little yesterday. You see, first I wanted to finish a book before picking my daughter up from school because we were going to the library, and then I was writing a very sad and emotionally-heavy scene. So, my additions yesterday only amounted to about 2k.

So, I'm currently sitting @ 41,798 words.

I'd like to get as close to 50k as I can today. Adding 2k before and after lunch would help. Luckily, while I was walking yesterday, I was able to write a bunch of notes about where I'll be going for the next four/five chapters. That'll help a lot today because I'm not feeling 100%.

Last night I started reading a book called, DARK PLACES. I have to say that the blurb intrigued me from the first time I read it, and the story certainly takes the reader to some very dark places. The main character, Libby Day, was seven years old when her mother and two sisters were massacred by her brother. Twenty-five years later, she's still a depressed and very bitter mess. And I just know that a bunch of secrets are going to come out of this book, because already, nothing seems as clear as how she seems to believe it is. Can't wait to find out more...

Well, I have to sign out for the day... but don't forget to enjoy the Dean pic. :)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

THE PEOPLE OF SPARKS


The People of Sparks picks up where The City of Ember leaves off. Lina and Doon have emerged from the underground city to the exciting new world above, and it isn’t long before they are followed by the other inhabitants of Ember. The Emberites soon come across a town where they are welcomed, fed, and given places to sleep. But the town’s resources are limited and it isn’t long before resentment begins to grow between the two groups. When anonymous acts of vandalism push them toward violence, it’s up to Lina and Doon to discover who’s behind the vandalism and why, before it’s too late.

Wow! This was a seriously great book! I watched the movie CITY OF EMBER a few months ago and really enjoyed it. I debated whether to borrow the book to read before this one, but in the end decided to just move onto the sequel. Sometimes, if I read the book after watching the movie it gets a little weird.

I'm glad I read this one! The premise is an interesting one: what happens when over 400 people from an underground city suddenly arrive in a small town of about 300? The instant answer is to, of course, offer them a place to stay, food to eat, and clothes to wear. But what if so many people threaten the survival of your own town? Like I said, a very interesting concept that was so well executed that I couldn't stop reading. I knew that human nature would wind up calling the shots, but didn't expect it to go in the direction it did.

It's amazing how easily humans can turn to paranoia and violence, huh? It might have been a story but the human nature was still very accurate. Even after a Disaster that wiped out most of the population, violence and prejudice still exist. I also loved the concepts of roamers and now need to find out if there are more books in this series. :)

This is a great book, once again proving that Lina and Doon's initial bravery wasn't a fluke.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Supernatural, baby!


As you can probably tell... we watched the SUPERNATURAL season finale over the weekend. And wow, awesome!

I *love* this show so much. How are we supposed to go without it for several months? Especially since it ended in such a cliffhanger.

Still, I was satisfied with several things that happened in the episode. One major bit being the death of a female character that has annoyed the hell out of me all season. And I'm not talking about Lilith. ;)

Anyway, I really enjoyed it and can't wait to catch up with the Windester Boys again.

Well, it's the start of yet another week. We're not far from mid-year again, huh? Before we realize it, we'll be getting all geared up for X-Mas again. Lol.

This morning, I managed to add 1k to my WIP - UC. Yeah, you might remember that I didn't add any new words from Wed-Fri last week, but that's all going to change today. I've crossed the 35k mark and really want to push myself to get close to 50k by the end of the week. I know it sounds like a lot, but in the past I've managed to add 20k+ in one week. So, if I put all my concentration/time on it during this week, I just might be able to make it. Fingers crossed.

Friday ended up being very productive for me. I might not have added any (new) words to anything, but I did cast two heroes and two heroines for two new Sci-Fi ideas that I had last week. And, I even managed to write several pages worth of 'plot notes' as well as 'character notes' for each story. I do believe I know exactly where these stories are going, and can't wait to write them. They'll have to wait for a bit, though. :) Not too long, though. They keep bugging me, and want to be written. Even if there's another installment that needs to be written before them. Lol.

Well, it's brekky time for my daughter, so I gotta get going.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

SO YESTERDAY


Ever wonder who was the first kid to keep a wallet on a big chunky chain, or wear way-too-big-pants on purpose? What about the mythical first guy who wore his baseball cap backwards? These are the Innovators, the people on the very cusp of cool. Seventeen-year-old Hunter Braque’s job is finding them for the retail market.

But when a big-money client disappears, Hunter must use all his cool-hunting talents to find her.Along the way he’s drawn into a web of brand-name intrigue—a missing cargo of the coolest shoes he’s ever seen, ads for products that don’t exist, and a shadowy group dedicated to the downfall of consumerism as we know it.

Yes, I had another Scott Westerfeld weekend. :)


I actually read this book in one sitting. It's a very strange book. In a very good way. It's a little hard to describe without giving everything away, but I really, really enjoyed it. Hunter was a very likeable character who gets himself into a series of very odd situations after he meets Jen.

Scott writes his characters with the perfect blend of mystery, bravery, and boldness that suck you right into the story. In a world where trends change constantly and no one ever seems to question why one thing is cool and another isn't, or why it's suddenly So Yesterday, I found this story to mirror our society in a bizarre way.

Another excellent book! Now I can't wait to read Scott's Midnighters series.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

THE LAST DAYS


A mysterious epidemic holds the city in its thrall and the chaos is contagious—black oil spews from fire hydrants, rats have taken over brooklyn, and every day, more people disappear. but all that matters to pearl, Moz, and Zahler is their new band. they ignore the madness around them and join forces with a vampire lead singer and a drummer whose fractured mind can glimpse the coming darkness. will their music stave off the end of the world . . . or summon it?

This book takes place after PEEPS, but is about a bunch of different characters. Five different characters - Moz, Zahler, Pearl, Minerva and Alana Ray. Although Cal and Lace do make an appearance or two. After all, the 'situation' is only getting worse.

Strange and yucky things are happening in New York City. Black water sprays out from the fire hydrants, rats seem to be everywhere, there are sections of the city where even the garbage trucks ignore. Not ideal conditions for summer, that's for sure. Oh, and let's not go into the fact that less people seem to be turning up to school, or that some are even going insane and throwing their belongings out of windows.

Still, this group of odd musicians decide to embark on forming a band. A band of misfits that will earn them the fame they desire, but definitely not in a way they could ever have imagined.

Each chapter is written in the POV of a different band member and keeps alternating in first person. I thought that would bug me when I started reading the book. After all, if it's in first person POV, I want to get into the character's head, right? Well, I did. Into several different characters approaching life with their own set of problems. The way Scott writes this novel is so unique that the POV changes didn't bother me at all. Actually, they each enhanced the storytelling in their own intricate way.

This was another amazing story from the fantastic mind of Scott Westerfeld. I loved it!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

OMG, it's already Wednesday!

And this is my first real post this week. :/

On Monday, the hubby had a day off. So, we had a nice time together while my daughter was at school. Then we had a doctor's appointment that afternoon. I didn't do any writing and hardly any Internet stuff either. Then yesterday, I was busy adding new words to UC but didn't add as much as I wanted because I was distracted by other things. Mostly updating website-type stuff.

This morning, I got started a little later than I expected and stopped @ 34,161 words. It's not so bad, I suppose. But because I would like to finish this first draft by the end of the month, I can't help but feel that I'm running out of time. Lol. Still plenty of days left, but with so much going on in the story, sometimes I feel like I won't get it finished in time. I mean, there's no real deadline, it's all part of my personal 2009 goal timeline of writing/revision. ;)

There are a bunch of projects that I want to have finished by the end of the year, because I've got new plans for next year lined up already.

Yesterday, I read the first story in Neil Gaiman's book, M IS FOR MAGIC. It's called The Case of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds. It's a noir detective tale featuring Mr. Horner. It also happens to feature a bunch of Nursery Rhyme characters and has a twist ending. It was really clever, and funny. I really enjoyed it! I've also started to read THE LAST DAYS. This is the follow up to the Scott Westerfeld book I read last week, PEEPS.

Well, it's time for me to go now. Today is our day off from lifting weights, which is just as well because I'm still sore from the last two days. Have a great day!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT


Stephanie led a pretty quiet existence until her uncle died. Not only did he leave her his mansion, he left her a new best friend—Skulduggery Pleasant, a skeleton detective (sorry, a supernatural skeleton detective)—who waltzes into her life for keeps. Now she's acquiring magical powers, endangering her life to fight evil, and trading snappy comebacks with something without a body.

So much for her quiet existence.

Stephanie's big job is to find the Scepter of the Ancients—a weapon capable of destroying anyone and anything—before the evil Faceless Ones steal it for themselves. She just has to defeat a bunch of ghouls, kick the butts of a clan of vampires, and hide her powers from the entire world (oh, and her parents).

No worries. She's got a bunch of bones on her side.

Firstly, let me just say that I absolutely love the cover for this book! It's fantastic. And secondly, wow, they sure don't make kids books like they used to. Lol. This is a children's book but with the amount of magic, danger, and death going on around the main characters, most of the time I kept forgetting it was a kid's book. Which is a great thing!

Stephanie used to be an average twelve year old, but when her uncle dies and she meets Skulduggery Pleasant, her mundane life in Haggard is thrown into a world of hidden, chaotic magic where the bad guy can kill with a wave of his horrid hand, and the good guy doesn't even have any flesh. That's right Skulduggery's a skeleton. A skeleton detective with a lot of attitude, sarcasm, and a sense of humour.

This book was intriguing, interesting, and mysterious too. I loved the worldbuilding, and the way Stephanie opens herself up to the new things she realises exist around her. I also enjoyed the cast of characters - Tanith, Ghastly, China, Mr. Bliss - but mostly, I liked Skulduggery. What a cool and unique character Derek Landy created.

I can't wait to go on more adventures with this magical, wisecracking skeleton!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

FROM DEAD TO WORSE



The supernatural community in Bon Temps, Louisiana is reeling from two hard blows: the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina and the manmade horror of the explosion at the vampire summit in the up-north city of Rhodes. Sookie Stackhouse is safe but dazed and she's yearning for things to get back to normal. But that's just not happening. Too many vampires - some friends, some not - were killed or injured and her were-tiger boyfriend Quinn is among the missing.

It's clear that things are changing, whether the weres and vamps like it or not. And Sookie, Friend to the Pack, blood-bonded to the leader of the local vampire community, is caught up in those changes. She's about to find herself facing danger and death and, not for the first time, betrayal by someone she loves. And when the fur has finished flying and the cold blood has stopped flowing, Sookie's world will be forever altered...

Sookie Stackhouse is one of my favourite characters. The Sookie Stackhouse series is one of my most favourite, so I was very excited about reading this one. Every time I read the latest Sookie book, I feel like I'm catching up with a bunch of old friends. Friends that live in a small town where not-so ordinary things happen all the time. And this book's no different.

Once again, Sookie somehow finds herself caught in the middle of a very serious were situation, as well as a vampire one. Both turn out to be very dangerous, but with surprising results.

One of the things I love about this series is the large cast. There are a lot of characters that have been in the series from the beginning, but Charlaine Harris always manages to introduce a bunch of new ones. Very intriguing people with otherworldly talents and secrets of their own. She also does a great job at making sure that her readers don't forget any of them because they're all so interesting.

In this installment, Sookie is forced to face just how deeply her blood bond with Eric is, while trying to deal with the fact that her boyfriend, Quinn, is MIA. Not to mention that Bill keeps popping up to remind her he's in the shadows. Her love life is still as complicated as ever, but at least her family seems to be expanding and a few family secrets surface. Things that help her understand her fairy connection.

From Dead to Worse is a wonderful, action-packed, emotional, intriguing read that'll keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. And boy, did I love the end. I wasn't expecting it to end the way it did, but now can't wait to find out how this new character will be included in future stories.

From Dead to Worse, May 2009, ISBN 0575083964, Gollancz Paperback

Saturday, 9 May 2009

PEEPS


A year ago, Cal Thompson was a college freshman more interested in meeting girls and partying than in attending biology class. Now, after a fateful encounter with a mysterious woman named Morgan, biology has become, literally, Cal’s life.

Cal was infected by a parasite that has a truly horrifying effect on its host. Cal himself is a carrier, unchanged by the parasite, but he’s infected the girlfriends he’s had since Morgan. All three have turned into the ravening ghouls Cal calls Peeps. The rest of us know them as vampires. It’s Cal’s job to hunt them down before they can create more of their kind...

As you can tell, I've become a huge Scott Westerfeld fan. Honestly, he's an awesome author, and I've got another six of his books in my TBR pile. His style is definitely... addictive.

In this book, he tackles a very unique take on the vampire genre. I was captivated from the beginning and the more I read, the deeper I got wrapped up in Cal's unstable life. And my gosh, I loved the mystery and the little twist at the end.

Cal's a very sympathetic character, taking the reader for a wild ride as he tries to figure out what's going on beneath New York, while trying to stay away from girls so that he won't infect anyone else. However, when he meets Lace, he meets his match. She's feisty and worms her way into his life, with unexpected results.

I have to admit that the even-numbered chapters freaked me out a little at the beginning. All that factual parasite talk was a little disturbing but very informative. In the Afterword, Scott claims that all the parasite stuff is actually real. Lots of ew! factor stuff in there but at the end, it's all relevant to the developing story.

The creepy factor of this story was high, the action fast, the characters strong and interesting, the plot absolutely fantastic! I loved it. I can't wait to read The Last Days, which follows this one.

PS. I don't know what it is about this version of the cover, but I love it!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

*shiver*

It was so cold this morning that I had a hard time getting out of bed. Lol. Still, I rolled out just after 4am and started the day with hubby.

My daughter has just woken up (@ 7am) and is very impatiently waiting for her breakfast. Still, I thought I'd sneak in a blog post before doing that. :) It gives her a chance to get dressed for the day.

This morning I managed to add almost 2k to UC.

After having a great word count day yesterday, the word count is sitting @ 25,616. I'm hoping to reach/cross the 30k mark by the end of tomorrow's writing session. If I continue at this pace - since I know where the next chapter will take me, I just might - I should have no prob doing just that. Fingers crossed.

So many little things are clicking together. I mean, I've got an almost-two page synopsis for this novel but so many new things are popping up. All things that deepen and connect everything going on in the heroine's life, as well as tying in very nicely to the other two books in the trilogy. Looks like most (if not all) of the previous characters are going to make an appearance before the end of this book, which I'm very excited about.

I'm reading this book at the moment. It's really interesting so far, but I think it's going to get even better. When I put the book down last night to go to bed, I didn't really want to. I've come to a section where things are going to get really spooky. I can feel it. :)

Well, my daughter's reading over my shoulder, so I think that's my cue to end the post.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

BETRAYED by P.C & Kristin Cast


It seems that (un)life is going pretty well for Zoey Redbird. She's settled in at the House of Night finishing school and is coming to terms with the vast powers the vampyre goddess, Nyx, has given her. She even has a boyfriend...or two. Best of all, Zoey finally feels she has found somewhere she belongs.

Then the unthinkable happens. Human teenagers are being killed, and all the evidence points to the vampires at Zoey's school. While danger stalks the humans from Zoey's past life, she begins to realise that the very powers that made her so unique might also threaten those she loves. Then, when she needs her new friends the most, death strikes the House of Night. Zoey finds herself facing a betrayal that could break her heart and jeopardise the very fabric of her world.

This is the second book in the House of Night series and it's fantastic!

A month has passed since Zoey's life-changing ordeal led her into the House of Night. She's bonded with her group of friends, she's getting used to the schoolwork, and is preparing to put together her first Dark Daughters full moon ritual. Things appear to be going great, as she accepts who she's becoming... until a boy she knew in her previous 'human' life is killed.

After that, she can't shake the fact that something dark and terribly wrong is going on around her. And to sort it all out, she'll have to believe the snotty and not-very-nice former leader of the Dark Daughters, Aphrodite. Something neither of them is happy doing.

In the second instalment of this engrossing series, the world expands and deepens. Showing the reader that not all is what it seems, even with the vampyres. For most of the book, Erik is away, so Zoey is forced to realise that the attraction she feels for him might not be as strong as she first thought it was. She feels a pull towards her ex-boyfriend, Heath, and there's someone very mysterious and alluring lurking in the background. So many guys, so little time because figuring out who she really wants to date takes a backseat when something tragic happens to one of her friends.

Once again, I was intrigued from start to finish and couldn't wait to see how it all turned out. The awesome thing about this series, is that although the book comes to an end, you can sense and spot all the seeds being carefully sowed for the future. Two books in and I already know that Zoey's life is only going to get more complicated, especially now that we found out the awful truth about a person she really trusted.

Betrayed is an amazing read that will definitely strengthen the intrigue that Marked began. I can't wait to read more.

Betrayed, May 2009, ISBN 1905654324, Orbit Paperback

Monday, 4 May 2009

*yawn*

I feel really tired this morning.

Almost as if sleep didn't do anything to help me rest during the night. :/ It sucks when you wake up tired, doesn't it?

We've been doing a lot more working out and even more walking than usual, so I guess that explains why I'm usually exhausted by 8pm.

It also took me a long time to find a pic that captured my mood this morning, and pretty much settled for the one to my left.

Well, it's a new week and I've decided to go back to the first draft I started writing several weeks ago. Remember how I stopped @ 15k for UC? Well, this morning I opened up the Word doc and started reading what I'd already written. Just to get back up to speed. I stopped at page 32/66 because my daughter woke up, but I'm hoping to add at least 2k later today. Although, it would be even better if I could manage more. ;) Lol.

We'll see how I go. I wasn't even sure if this was what I wanted to work on this week... until the story started bugging me over the weekend.

Now, I'm all ready to go and can't wait to write this story.

If you're interested in sampling some of my work, or would just like to read a freebie, I've now posted two free reads over at my Stuff page. Hope you enjoy 'em! :D

Well, it's time to get my daughter off to school now. Have a good one!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

THE ADAMANTINE PALACE by Stephen Deas


The Adamantine Palace lies at the centre of an empire that grew out of ashes. Once dragons ruled the world and man was little more than prey. Then a way of subduing the dragons alchemicly was discovered and now the dragons are bred to be little more than mounts for knights and highly valued tokens in the diplomatic power-players that underpin the rule of the competing aristocratic houses.

The Empire has grown fat. And now one man wants it for himself. A man prepared to poison the king just as he has poisoned his own father. A man prepared to murder his lover and bed her daughter. A man fit to be king? But unbeknownst to him there are flames on the way. A single dragon has gone missing. And even one dragon on the loose, unsubdued, returned to its full intelligence, its full fury, could spell disaster for the Empire.

This is the first book I've read by Stephen Deas, and it won't be the last.

Firstly, I have to say that I love dragons, so reading a book where dragons are the core of the realms, had me hooked pretty early on. The prologue of this very exciting book shocked me so much that it propelled me deeper into the story right away.

In a world where dragons exist and are bred and looked after by the Scales, and then ridden by dragon-knights, queens, kings, princes, and princesses, they are also used to do the bidding of these riders. No dragon is supposed to do anything on its own accord, not since the alchemists made sure of that by creating a potion. That is, until a white dragon called Snow - intended as a wedding present for Prince Jehal - goes missing and begins to awaken. After that, she's willing to do whatever it takes to find those responsible for keeping her kind under the 'Little Ones' control, as well as free other dragons along the way.

Every scene in this exhilarating book is heightened with tension. The suspense kept me guessing as each character's personal motivation started to shine through, only to be turned on its head as soon as I was sure where the story was going to take me. I loved the unpredictability of each character's next move.

I was enthralled from the first page and couldn't wait to reach what turned out to be a very exciting conclusion to a fantastic book. The world building was tight and amazing! The scenery described so flawlessly that I was swept away to these exotic locations.

The Adamantine Palace is a sharp, fast and well-written tale filled with an intriguing secret, treachery, betrayal, ambition, double crossing, and adventure. There are several POVs in this story - ranging from the wicked Prince Jehal, to the scheming Queen Shezira, to the aging Speaker Hyram, as well as the sell-sword Kemir, amongst others. And I found that the quick chapters and shifts in point of view kept me on my toes, and turning every page with interest.

This book will appeal to fantasy fans, dragon fans, as well as anyone who enjoys a very skillfully weaved story that takes you on a very twisted path that doesn't let up until the very last words. And even those last words are good ones.

The Adamantine Palace, May 2009, ISBN 0575083743, Gollancz Paperback

 
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