Instagram for July

Here’s my Instagram roundup for July. As I’ve said before, I’m an Instagram nut. I don’t usually like sharing pictures, but I’ve found it to be a fun way to get to “know” someone other than through words. Follow me, I’m leeannac!

– leeanna

Goodbye July, Hello August

IN JULY…

Where has the summer gone? Time flies when you aren’t a college student. I miss my summers off!

Let’s see. I posted 5 reviews in July, although I wrote a few more that haven’t made it onto the blog. I had something of a review block — I keep feeling like I’m saying the same things over and over again. It took me almost a week to write the review for Stormdancer! I still have to write one for my blog, too.

I’m still trying to find the balance I mentioned in June, but I think that is something I’ll always be trying to find, especially as I add more to my life. Work + blogging + reading + reviewing + writing + fandom activties = BUSY!

Reviews Written:
The Selection by Kiera Cass. Blog review.
Dark Companion by Marta Acosta. Blog review.
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. Blog review.
Shift by Em Bailey. Blog review.
Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff. Amazon review.

It’s Monday, What Did I Read?
July 2, 2012. I read five books (some from June).
July 9, 2012. I read two books.
July 16, 2012. I read one book.
July 23, 2012. I read three books.
July 30, 2012. I read four books.

Tuesday Top Tens:
Top Ten TV Characters. Some of my picks include Maura Isles and Azkdaellia.

Waiting on Wednesday:
Adaptation by Malinda Lo.
Neferet’s Curse by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast.
The Bone Girl by Sarah Diemer.
Starting From Here by Lisa Jenn Bigelow.

Promotional Events:
Cover Reveal: Awakened by Ada Adams.
Cover Reveal: Hollowed by Kelley York.

Other Totally Random Stuff:
July Page Count Contest. Grand total: 3634 pages.
Zen and the Art of Fandom. Some thoughts on writing and fanfiction and not stressing.
Once Upon a Time Readathon. Kickoff post.
Once Upon a Time Readathon. Summary post.
Instagram photos for May and June.
Olympic Readathon:
Kick off post.
July 28 Update.
July 30 Update.

Stats:
I had 607 visitors in July.
I have an average of 17 feed subscribers.
I have 162 Twitter followers.
I read 10.5 books, or 3,634 pages.

Site Stuff:
I did create an Events page, like I wanted to last month.

 

AUGUST PLANS…

Site Stuff:
Find a related posts plugin.
Find a tabbed widget plugin.
Add total number of reviews posted.

Reading Goals:
For the Olympic Readathon, my goal is 2012 pages.
For the August page count contest, my goal is 4000 pages overall.

Writing Goals:
50,000 words! Yes, I am doing Camp NaNo’s August session.
Create a word count spreadsheet?
Start an article series for the blog? This is a maybe, and probably won’t happen until September, since my writing energy will be focused on Camp NaNo.

– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (@SJMaas)

throne of glassThrone of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: August 7, 2012

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined. (summary from goodreads)

I’ve heard so much buzz about this book, and from the reviews I’ve already read, I’m sure it’s going to be a book I love. I like the author’s story just as much — from her site:

In April 2002, I began posting the first chapters of the very rough draft (then called Queen of Glass) on FictionPress.com, a wonderful website for aspiring authors. After getting some super-positive responses, I posted some more. Six years later, Throne of Glass had become the most-reviewed story on FictionPress, garnering thousands of readers from around the world. Their enthusiasm and dedication led me to try my hand at getting Throne of Glass published, and in late 2008, I left FictionPress to follow my dreams of being a published author.

Talk about inspiring!

Socialize with the author:
Website
Facebook
Twitter @SJMaas

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

August 2012 Page Count Contest

I’m participating in Reading Angel’s page count contest. It’s a fun way to push yourself to read more. My goal for August is 4,000 pages.

Title Author Date Finished Page Count
The Wild Princess Mary Hart Perry 08/01/12 232/432*
Darkness Before Dawn J. A. London 08/01/12 76/342*
The Pledge Kimberly Derting 08/04/12 336
The Peculiars Maureen Doyle McQuerry 08/08/12 354
The Forsaken Lisa M. Stasse 08/10/12 375
Before the Rain Luisita Lopez Torregrosa 08/13/12 228
Hollowed Kelley York 08/17/12 237
Keep Sweet Michele Dominguez Greene 08/19/12 224
The Assassin’s Curse Cassandra Rose Clarke 08/21/12 320
My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century Rachel Harris 08/23/12 304
Sister Wife Shelley Hrdlitschka 08/24/12 176
Unspoken Sarah Rees Brennan 08/25/12 384
The Chosen One Carol Lynch Williams 08/27/12 213
Libriomancher Jim C. Hines 08/31/12 305

Running count: 3,764

*started in July 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo, August Session

I’m trying Camp NaNo again. This time I’m determined to break 50,000. You know something that’s driving me? Seeing that some publishers want YA novels in the 40,000 to 80,000 range. I know I can do it. I let my inner voice get in the way, along with a healthy dose of procrastination.

For most of July, I’ve had some ideas percolating. I’ve made a few short notes, but I’ve mostly let them be. If I write too much about an idea, I lose the urge to tell the story, and if I don’t jot enough down, I forget things. I have to find that balance, which is something I have trouble with. This happens to me with fanfic, too, so I know it’s not just a problem with original stuff.

The August session of Camp NaNo may be more about developing ideas and discipline, rather than just word count. I already write every day, and have done so for more than a year and a half. It’s made a difference in my writing, and someday I hope that I’ll be able to say I’ve written every day for five years or ten years.

I’m going to try an outline, too. I’m normally a pantser, but that hasn’t gotten me anywhere with original fic.

I’m also not alone this session! Rather than a cabinful of strangers, I’m “rooming” with Sarah at Breaking the Binding.

Lastly, I think I will update weekly, or maybe more/less often, on my progress. No one else is probably interested, but I really like looking back at my thoughts and seeing where I was when, and how my thoughts have changed. It’s no surprise that I often say I talk about writing more than I actually do it. But that’s something I really want to change.

Review: Shift by Em Bailey

shiftInfo:
Title: Shift
Author: Em Bailey
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Source: Library
Series? No
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Contemporary
Page Count: 320

Summary:

She obediently takes her meds and stays under the radar at school. After “the incident,” Olive just wants to avoid any more trouble, so she knows the smartest thing is to stay clear of the new girl who is rumored to have quite the creepy past.

But there’s no avoiding Miranda Vaile. As mousy Miranda edges her way into the popular group, right up to the side of queen bee Katie – and pushes the others right out – only Olive seems to notice that something strange is going on. Something almost . . . parasitic. Either Olive is losing her grip on reality, or Miranda Vaile is stealing Katie’s life.

But who would ever believe crazy Olive, the girl who has a habit of letting her imagination run away with her? And what if Olive is the next target?

A chilling psychological thriller that tears through themes of identity, loss, and toxic friendship, Shift will leave readers guessing until the final pages. (summary from goodreads)

My Review:
At first, I thought Shift was going to be scary. I mean, the inside flap describes it as a “psychological thriller.” And I did have a moment or two where I went, “Okay, that is creepy,” but before long, my thoughts changed to, “That’s it?”

“That’s it?” sums up how I feel about this book. I really don’t like when something obvious is kept secret when I’m reading — Olive’s “Incident” — yet the author reminds me over it over and over and over again. I knew what she had tried to do the first time it was mentioned. I suppose her unreliable mental state is part of the book — I never knew if I could believe her or not, and I got tired of that pretty quickly.

I also had a hard time believing that Olive’s mother didn’t notice what was happening to her. After becoming friends with Miranda, Olive physically wastes away. I highly doubt her mum wouldn’t have seen that happening, and wouldn’t have been watching over her, especially after Olive had a problem with her medication.

I was disappointed with the ending, too. After the same thing happened twice, the ending was a fizzle. I didn’t feel any urgency or fear for Olive, just a general blahness. Hence my “That’s it?” thought for the book as a whole.

Rating: 2 owls

Olympic Readathon July 30 Update (@RandomHouseCA, #OlympicReadathon )

I’m on a roll today. I’ve read almost all of The Wild Princess. I might not finish tonight, but I’ll come close.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #17

Last Week’s Reads:

Stormdancer♦♦
by Jay Kristoff
Poison Tree
by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Huntress
by Malinda Lo
   
Shift
by Em Bailey
   

This Week’s Reads:

Darkness Before Dawn
by J.A. London
The Wild Princess♦♦
by Mary Hart Perry
Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses
by Ron Koertge
 
Darth Vader and Son
by Jeffrey Brown
vN♦♦
by Madeline Ashby
 

I had a good week last week. I got quite a few books read, and this week I’m hoping to do more of the same. I really need to get some of my review books finished and reviewed, so those are on the list. I’m participating in the Olympic Readathon, and my goal is 2012 pages. The only thing that might slow me down is writing reviews. It took me almost a week to write a review for Stormdancer! I have to write reviews soon after reading, or I end up having to reread.

Review books received from:
Stormdancer: Amazon Vine
The Wild Princess: William Morrow & Company and Edelweiss
vN: Angry Robot and NetGalley

Thanks! ♥

♦♦ indicates books received for review

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Journey.

The YA linky list for It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts.

Olympic Readathon July 28 Update (@RandomHouseCA, #OlympicReadathon)

readathon1

I’m starting off slow with the #OlympicReadathon (who didn’t see that coming?) but I’ve read one and a half books. Huntress is such a gorgeous book; I didn’t want it to end. I’m working on Darkness Before Dawn.

Review: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

incarnateInfo:
Title: Incarnate
Author: Jodi Meadows
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Library
Series? New Soul #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Page Count: 374

Summary:

New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Heart

Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life. (summary from goodreads)

My Review:
I liked:
♥ The uniqueness of the story. Prior to Incarnate, I hadn’t read any reincarnation stories.
♥ Ana. I thought her being a newsoul in a world of old souls was a lot like a teenager around adults. Adults have that world weary feeling of having done everything before, but to teens, it’s all new. I really felt for her, living in a world where everyone else had known each other for 5,000 years.
♥ There’s an intriguing mix of fantasy and modern day elements. For example, the people of Heart have cars, but instead of driving there from the mountains, they walk for a week, with a pack pony. There are dragons and laser pistols. I liked the blending of old and new.
♥ I don’t want to let this book go back to the library. I almost never buy hardcovers, because I don’t have the room for them, but I want to so I can have Incarnate on my shelf. I know I’m going to want to reread it when Asunder comes out in January of 2013. Which is too long to wait, by the way.

I didn’t like:
— The romance. It came too soon for me, but Sam is a sweet guy. I can see why Ana fell for him. Hower, the romance wasn’t enough to detract from what I loved about the book.
— The Tower confused me. I didn’t quite understand the scene with Meuric there, but I’m assuming more explanation for that will come in Asunder.

Favorite thing:
Everything about this book is beautiful. It’s a very well designed package, from the story to the writing to the cover to the chapter illustrations. There is a striking butterfly drawing at the start of each chapter. I really like the author’s writing style — the descriptions are lush without being purple prose. If I started quoting favorite lines, I’d have ten pages before I knew it. The writing is my absolute favorite part. I hope I can emulate some of Jodi’s style in my own writing.

Second favorite thing:
Okay, I loved the cover. I’ll admit it. I choose books with my eyes first, zooming in on covers that I really like. It’s so unusual, and even better — it fits the story. I’ve said it over and over, but I could stare at this cover forever.

Rating:

Socialize with the author:
Jodi Meadows:
Website
Facebook
Twitter @jodimeadows