And I Darken

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what I was getting into when I bought this book. I’ve read, and loved, all of Kiersten White’s books. When I saw she had a new one coming out, I clicked the pre-order button without even glancing at the cover copy.
What I expected was mid level YA urban fantasy. What I got was upper level YA (I might even make a case for adult) historical fiction. I was surprised, but not at all disappointed. I loved this book every bit as much as I have all of her previous works.
In many ways this book reminds me of The Traitor Baru Cormerant. They explore many similar themes. Though I found And I Darken did a better job of keeping my interest through the entire story. It managed to maintain the political intrigue and social commentary without becoming mired down in it.
The characters were well crafted and fascinating. I’m not certain I would want to be friends with any of them, though I thoroughly enjoyed reading about them. It was interesting exploring the various paths that can lead a person to accept necessary evil in the pursuit of what they view to be the greater good.
I know next to nothing about the Ottoman Empire, so I can’t comment on the historical accuracy of the story line. It did make for an intriguing setting, and I’m certainly interested in exploring more about this time period. Maybe I should have paid more attention in history class.
This book is a bit of a time investment, and quite a shift from Kiersten White’s other works, but it’s well worth the read.


Camp NaNoWriMo

I hadn’t planned on participating in Camp NaNoWriMo; my track record has not been a good one (two losses, no wins… I’m much better with the full version, where I’ve won 4/6 times). Somehow, I still found myself signing up on July 2nd  when I let a a friend talk me into it. At least with camp you can set your own word count goal (though sometimes I wonder if that is part of the problem. The low goal means I feel as if I can catch up later, but then I never bother to.)

It’s no surprise, to me at least, that I’ve fallen behind. It hasn’t reached the point where I’m at all worried about being able to catch up yet. At least I am having fun, and I’m actually happy with what I’ve written. (That might be the other issue with camp, the low word count goal means I slow down a lot and start to care about the words I’m writing… which leads to editing as I go. Bad NaNo form.)

This time I’m trying something a little bit different. I’m not working on any single project. Instead, I am giving myself the freedom to work on anything that’s not the novel. When I sat down for my camp first writing session I had no clue what I was going to work on. No idea what to expect, I asked my writing group to provide me with some inspiration. They responded with three words, “Prom, BINGO, and demon.”

Somehow it’s working for me, and I may actually get a short story out of it. (This is kind of amazing to me. I handle novel length fine, and flash fiction works great, but short stories never work out for me. It’s why I’m registered to take a short story course from Mary Robinette Kowal the end of the month.)

Which reminds me, I better get writing. I need to be finished camp before the course starts. There won’t be time to work on my NaNo project once it begins.



Join a Book Club? Me?

Last month I attended my first ever book club meeting. A YA book club for adults at a local independent book store. It’s not something I ever thought I would do. I read a lot, true. I enjoy talking about the books I read, yes. I’m just not a fan of being told what to read. The very thought of being handed a book and told I have no choice is enough to send me into fits of panic. I’m likely to find any excuse to avoid it, even if it’s a book I would have picked up on my own.

Maybe it was Shane that did it? I was forced to read it in grade 9, and I still cringe every time I see a stump. It could have been Heart of Darkness, once was bad enough, but I had to read it for three separate classes all in the same year. It didn’t get any better with repetition.

So why would I choose to join a book club now? I already read a lot of YA, so perhaps I figured the books would be something I might choose to read on my own anyway. But no, I’ve already established that can’t be it. Maybe it was the friend who gave me a shove. Doubtful, she’s suggested other things before that I’ve turned down. It could have been the promise of the free wine. Let’s go with that. It was probably the free wine.

Where was I going with this? Oh, yes. I surprised myself. The first book was way out of my usual style. I read it, and I loved it. (We Were Liars you should totally read it.) For the July meeting, we’ve been assigned two books. I just finished the first: Bone Gap. Much more in line with my usual reading habits, and absolutely worth the read.(No, really. I meant it. Go get it now, I’ll wait.)

The second book for July is way outside my comfort zone as a reader.  I’m finding myself pushing back and looking for any excuse to not pick it up. It covers topics that make me uncomfortable. Maybe it will be good for me. Maybe I’ll like it. Then again, maybe it will be like digging out a stump.


Pre-Orders? What Pre-Orders?

Not so long ago, I was chatting with a friend on Twitter about book pre-orders. It came up because the first of many was set to land on my Kobo the next day. Once we realized it would be entirely unreasonable to compare lists with such a strict character limit, we decided to move the conversation elsewhere.

So here we are. I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time, and it seemed as good an excuse as any. I guess I have a blog now. Hello World!

Her post is here. Now it’s my turn.

  • Poison or Protect – Gail Carriger (June 21st)
  • And I Darken – Kiersten White (June 28th)
  • This Savage Song – Victoria Schwab (July 5th)
  • Imprudence – Gail Carriger (July 19th)
  • Betrayals – Kelley Armstrong (August 9th)
  • Ghost Talkers – Mary Robinette Kowal (August 16th)
  • A Conjuring of Light – V.E. Schwab (Feb 21st)

I’m sure that large gap from August to February will fill in. For now, it’s looking like Mount To Be Read won’t get any shorter over the summer. If I can manage to keep it static, I figure I’ll be doing well.

Yes, I read a lot of YA. I’m even part of a YA for adults book club, but that’s a topic for another day.