Winner of Writing Challenge #26!

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Read my Science-Fiction short story The Bumpy Way Home on the Re:fiction website.

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Book Series Winter Wrap-Up

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In January, February and March and April (yeah, we still have snow shower in April, so for me, it still counts as a last winter’s month) 😉 I read around 41 books. I think this is the year I read most so far, not counting the years I wasn’t registering every book I read on Goodreads, but with this large enough number, I considered writing a blog post with short reviews on all the series I will (or not) go on reading.

 

Series I won’t go on reading.

 

In the last four months, there were around four first-in-a-series books that I would react to with, “Nope! Not at all,” either because the books were written to another audience, or because the books were really beyond terrible, so I decided to drop their series, even if I am a series follower at heart.
I considered talking about these books here, but on a second thought, that would make this post too ranty, so if you are curious to see which ones, take a look at my list of “series-I-will-not-finish” on Goodreads.

 

Series I will (eventually) go on reading (or not, it depends on my TBR)

 

Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano
A quite dark dystopia, this first book just felt like an introduction to the story world since not many questions were answered here. Let’s see what the next books will bring.

 

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
I found this story quite original. I also liked the characters and their original world. Blue with the clairvoyant mother and friends and the raven boys. That said I think that things moved at a much slower pace than most YA books I’ve read lately, not many answers were given at the end and the characters seem to be still at the beginning of their journey. Even though it was an original book, so I may go on with this series even if I rated the first book 3.5 stars.

 

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab

I liked the story world and most of the characters. The story wraps up quite well in the end, without giving many hints on how the characters or the story could go on. So I’ll probably go on reading this series, even if I see no reason to hurry.

 

Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie

This book is slower paced than most science-fiction dystopia books I’ve read, but this perhaps due to the characters relationships being in the foreground. This slower pace, in my opinion, also created a better world description and story development, so it was all right. I liked the way the story was told even if the book finishes with a hook. And the touching role the Dylan Thomas poem played in the story was so beautiful, that it alone won my good opinion on this book. I’ll probably finish this series later.

 

Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton

I wasn’t too impressed by the first book of this series, but it could be due to me getting a vampire story overload? At the moment I’ve already read more than thirty books with vampires on them, so I feel I’ve seen a lot of the tropes already. This book was written in 1993 before vampires acquired the twilit hype that would also weaken them, so it’s not the book’s fault and I’ll probably read a couple of books more to make up my mind about this series. I’m just not in a hurry.

 

Series I will (definitely) go on reading.

 

Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

This book is so good you will take your time reading it, so it lasts longer. And so far I can remember, it’s one of the best epic fantasies I’ve read. So I’ll definitely go on reading this series.

 

Queen of Hearts (Queen of Hearts Saga #1) by Colleen Oakes

I really liked this book and I’m curious to read the next book in the series. IMO the first book of a series has to leave enough mystery, enough hooks for the second book, otherwise, I don’t feel so eager to read it. But this first book was quite successful in that, so I can’t wait to read the sequel.

 

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

I didn’t start reading this series now in winter but read The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass 0.1 – 0.5) and Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) in January.  So even if I rated both books 4 stars and felt a bit wary of the heroine changing her mind about love interests all the time, I’ll go on reading this series.

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas

After reading the Throne of Glass series from the same author I was seriously underwhelmed by two-thirds of this book. The story only starts to go at a faster and more interesting pace after page 250, when the heroine finally starts to commit to her journey and Rhysand, the best character in this series, finally gets a more central role in the story. I found the second book much better than the first. This was a book I felt like fist pumping and shouting ‘yes’ with the heroine choices. I couldn’t put the second book down. So let’s see how the rest of this series will develop. I’m even afraid of the next book not managing to be as good as the second one.

 

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

I’ll go on reading this series even if I always complain in the reviews about the science fiction component of the story being forgotten in name of romance and action.

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs

I read Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9) and read that the next book will be again someone getting kidnapped, a plot similar to other books in this series, but since I like the characters I’ll go on reading this series, for now.

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1) by Ilona Andrews

This year I was waiting for Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) for a couple of months. The same day it was released, in the same paperback size as the rest of my collection, I ordered it. I gave it five stars and now I must wait full of curiosity for the next book.
Oh, the joy of long book series!

 

 

Series I finished.

(In the rain, a violin plays a dark melody of longing.)

 

The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass

I read the five books in this series in one week and consider them all highly entertaining page-turners. An ideal series if you just want a break.

 

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo

The Grisha Trilogy, in my opinion, deserved all its hype. I read it on my e-book reader, but I’m seriously considering buying the whole series in paperback just to have it. I liked the series enough for that.

 

And you, have you read any of these series and had a different opinion on them? What is your favorite unfinished or finished series? Do you know any YA, Fantasy or Science fiction series you would like to recommend to me? Or do you prefer reading stand alone books?

Let me know in the comments.

 

Yay, I won the awesome Fiction-writing book Giveaway from Re:Fiction!

 

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I’m happy to announce that I won the awesome giveaway from Re:fiction

(More about  Re:fiction at the bottom of this post.)

My prize was an Amazon gift certificate of one hundred euros to buy Fiction-Writing books.

Among many interesting recommendations from Tal Valante from Re:fiction , I had the following Fiction-writing books recommended to me. I didn’t get these only because I already have them, but I would also recommend them as very helpful books:

Wonderbook : The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer (Goodreads Author), Jeremy Zerfoss (Illustrator), John Coulthart (Illustrations)

And the Angela Ackerman‘s Thesaurus series

My Fiction-writing book choices were:

 

1) Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee

2) Word Painting Revised Edition: The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively Kindle Edition by Rebecca McClanahan

3) Writing the Breakout Novel: Winning Advice from a Top Agent and His Best-selling Client by Donald Maass

4) The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself by Susan Bell

5) The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction: Your Blueprint for Building a Strong Story (The Writer’s Toolbox Series) by C. S. Lakin

6) MASTER LISTS FOR WRITERS: Thesauruses, Plots, Character Traits, Names, and More by Bryn Donovan

7) Make Your Words Work by Gary Provost

Now I wish to find enough time to enjoy all these awesome books! But summer is coming so I’m quite hopeful this will happen.

 

About Re:fiction

” Re:fiction is a fast-growing resource website for writers. We host everything from practical articles and tips to writing prompts and a story idea generator. In our newsletter, you can practice your skills by entering free, prize-bearing writing challenges. Need professional feedback for your work? Try our free editing scholarships.

Our mission statement:
We seek creative people who write with authenticity about a diversity of subjects, all while in pursuit of literary quality. Our mission is to find, nurture, and reward these writers in any way we can.”

 

 

My Favorite Booktube Channels

Here is a list of my favorite Booktube channels.
They aren’t listed in order of preference. Some of these channels I have followed more closely, some less. In any case, I found all of them very inspiring when looking for a new book or comic to read. The first link is the channel and the second my favorite video from that channel.
 

1 – BookswithEmilyFox

Favorite Video: 2016 Wrap Up & 2017 Reading Goals

Favorite Video: READATHONS IN 2017

Favorite Video: BOOKSHELF TOUR!

6 – Epic Reads


8 – Book Riot


10 – BEmpoeirada

This last channel is in Brazilian Portuguese.

What my most-read author’s list on Goodreads told me about my reading habits.

 

Have you already looked your list of most read authors on Goodreads? Today I did that and found that really interesting because that simple list of author names, together with the number of books I read from each of them gave me a lot to think. A kind of contemplative kind of thinking, as if I was looking at a piece of my life listed, at all the hours I spent reading my favorite children books, or my vampire, paranormal fantasy, romance or science-fiction books.
I spent hours going through it, correcting when an author appeared with more or fewer books due to me adding a book in two different editions or forgetting to add it.
I also draw some final thoughts on looking at that list and, even if that list didn’t specifically show me as an extremely well-read or even intellectual kind of reader, I was still happy with its sincere, even if incomplete, picture of me as a reader. So, those were the conclusions I had.

1)I don’t have to read many books by the same author so that author is an influential or favorite author.

A couple of authors that were very influential to me weren’t listed because I read only one book from them. But that sole book stayed with me. Even if I haven’t read another book by the same author, their importance is still there. One of them is Victor Hugo, of whom I read only The Hunchback of Notre Dame or Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. But I indeed liked that sole masterpiece. So they are equally influential, even if not represented on my list of most read authors.

2) I read mostly to entertain myself.

I do read a lot of classics, but only if the plot is interesting and the author’s voice makes it a not too dense and tiring read. If the style is too old-fashioned or the author’s voice isn’t catching, I’ll probably drop the book. A good story is not enough for me, it must also be told in a way it hooks me as a reader, or I won’t read it for long. I’ll probably skip a lot of pages or wait for the movie. I do though have more patience with books than I lot of readers I know of, and I’ll equally skip a book if the writing is too commercially oriented, so there are a lot of bestsellers books I could not read through or I’m not even interested in. So I’m not in the mainstream audience, but I’ll also won’t ever read a book only to look well read. I like to go my own way between commercial and literary reading.

3) I mostly don’t reread fiction books.

The only time I reread two-thirds of a fiction book was when I forgot I had already read that book. While reading it again I wondered all the time why the story was so familiar and why everything was so repetitive, until I saw I had read that book before. I think I still need some time to allow myself to reread fiction books. There are so many new interesting fiction books out there that I don’t feel like coming back, even if I gave that book five stars. Perhaps one day I’ll be in the mood of rereading my five-star books when I run out of new books on my TBR list.
What I could eventually do though is rereading some of my non-fiction books on writing techniques, so that all that knowledge has a second chance to stay in my mind.

4) I am faithful to the authors I like, up to a certain point.

Once I treasure an author’s voice I’ll read a lot of books from the same author.
I can follow a ten book series with the same characters and world, or read a five book series in the same week. If the author’s voice and the plot make their books an entertaining read, I’ll dive in their words like a seal, only coming back to surface after a thousand pages.
It takes a lot to put me away from reading further from the same author, but this will also happen if the author starts rehashing old plots in new books or the plots start getting weaker with each new book. I’ll also drop an author if he/she starts a new series based on themes I’m not interested in, or if he/she starts writing in a new genre I’m not really into.

5) I read a lot as a child and a teenager. And nowadays I read Paranormal Fantasy and Science Fiction while all other genres tag along.

I read 24 books of the Brazilian author Monteiro Lobato, mostly his children books series. My teens show in the list with Isaac Asimov as the mostly read Science-fiction author of 17 books, and Anne Rice leads Paranormal Fantasy as the most read author of 16 books. The list goes on with other Paranormal Fantasy, Science Fiction, Classic, Young Adult, Dystopia, Epic Fantasy and other Brazilian children books authors. The most-read author’s list shows my genre preferences, but it won’t show the occasional Thriller or Historic fantasy books I read, even if they aren’t always my first choice genre.

As a final thought, I know this most-reader author’s list isn’t complete, as I surely forgot to add some of the books I read and forgot about, but this is fine because, in the end, our look into the past or ourselves is never complete or really accurate.

The view into our past is mostly a view into the fog, making it fantastic or romantic, otherworldly or eerie.
Like the books that we read along the way.

Blog Tour: Umbrae Excerpt

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excerpt

Danny woke up with a start. Something was tickling his nose. He opened his eyes and was surprised to find a small green fairy hovering right by his face.

“Hello,” said Danny, unsure of what he was seeing. “Where did you come from?”
“Ah,” said the fairy. “That is a question, isn’t it? Stella has come from far away, or maybe she has always been near, but you have never seen her before. Your mother has kept me hidden away, or so she thinks. Such a clever woman. A boy! She had a boy and such a beautiful boy. Stella could have fun with such a boy if he was willing…or maybe even if he’s not!”
Stella reached out towards Danny. There was a flash of silver and the world changed.

My favorite movies

After writing about my favorite villains, I’ll continue with the list making exercise from the book “Writing Love: Screenwriting Tricks for Authors II” by Alexandra Sokoloff.

This time I’ll list my favorite movies, dividing them by genre:

Science Fiction

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1. Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back
 

And only those first two, after all, the other films were made mostly for children. After being extremely underwhelmed by the Return of the Jedi (silly Ewoks) and the Prequel Trilogy, I’m still considering whether “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is worth watching. But I can’t deny that I saw “The Empire Strikes Back” so many times I caught Han Solo’s cowboy accent to spice my English. 🙂

2. Blade Runner
Awesome director, actors, and screenplay in one of the best science-fiction cult films of all times. The future setting is awesome, the story the best ever, and all characters make this film nothing less than Legendary!

Fantasy

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3. Ladyhawke

I saw this film still as a teenager, but it stayed with me forever. Special stories are never forgotten. Rutger Hauer gives a show here, like in Blade Runner. He’s the kind of actor you could watch forever.

4.The Dark Crystal

Together with the Wizard of Oz, this was a childhood favorite. The whole world and the characters were just magical and for years I pulled up my ears so they would look like Kira’s.

 

Comedy

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5. Tampopo

This is a cult Japanese comedy about love and food. I saw it as a child and never forgot it. I just wish I could have a bowl of Tampopo’s noodles after watching the film.

6. The Little Shop of Horrors.

This has been a favorite since I was fourteen. I watched both versions, though I prefer the one with Rick Moranis and Steve Martin who will make you roll on the floor laughing as Orin Scrivello, the crazy dentist. I also loved it as a theater musical.

7. What’s new Pussycat

The first produced screenplay from Woody Allen and IMO one of the best comedies of all time.  Petter Sellers and all other actors make you laugh non-stop in this awesome comedy.

8. Some like it hot

I’m a fan of Marilyn Monroe and most of her films, and this is the funniest of them. A classic is a classic and this film belongs among the best ones.

 

ROAD FILM

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9. Thelma & Louise

Another awesome cult film from director Ridley Scott and the actresses Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon. Pure art, with an original story.

ROMANCE

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10. Shakespeare in Love

Romantic setting with the story playing in 1593 London, and Joseph Fiennes as Shakespeare in one of his best roles.  I’m usually not a huge fan of romance, but this film was way too good to miss.

11. The English Patient

An awesome film based on the novel of the same name from Michael Ondaatje. All the actors are great, and Ralph Fiennes as Count László Almásy is unforgettable. He and Juliette Binoche are wonderful together as in the film 12. Wuthering Heights which is also one of my favorite romantic films.

And finally, a romantic film where things end up well:

13. Breakfast at Tiffany’s

To explain why this film is one of my favorites I just need to say two words:  Audrey Hepburn. But the underlying theme of a girl pretending to be superficial and mercenary while she’s lost is a deeply touching story. The song “Moon River” helps too.

After this list, the following warning is advisable
Some films will mean something greater to you than just two hours sitting on a movie chair. Those you will not forget. And they will remain with you and be part of you forever.