The Year of Finishing Things

Ah, 2017. I’m excited to be in you.

Last year was long and eventful and a lot of stuff happened. For me, a lot of last year’s events were good! I got a job as a flight attendant, moved to a new state, made new friends, did a ton of traveling, and worked my tail off. I was very goal oriented and had a lot of personal growth and very little backsliding on things like eating a whole pizza in one sitting. One could call it a success.

I’m especially proud of how determined I was to write more in 2016. I worked a lot on the urban fantasy book I started in 2013. I attempted NaNoWriMo and actually did pretty okay for the first half of the month, given how much I was flying. November is always the busiest month. I wrote about 15,000 words, which is kind of a lot. And I’m not done. (btw, if you’re one of my super excellent beta readers I’ll start posting the newer bits soon!)

I also wrote poems and blogs and started a memoir/collection of stories about the funny experiences I had dating in LA while I was living there. I’ve only done about 7 tales/chapters but I made myself laugh and that’s the ultimate goal, non?

I also failed at a lot of things in 2016, but I’m not too torn up about it. I need adversity to really thrive, because let’s face it, I’m lazy as hell. Adversity gets me out of bed in the morning.

So, cheers to The Year of Finishing Things! Whether it’s the book I swore I’d complete in 2016, my Goodreads Reading Challenge (150 books was extremely ambitious, 100 is much more my speed for this year), projects I promised to undertake and didn’t, my laundry, and a good K.O. in Mortal Kombat, my only resolution for 2017 is to finish things.

Also: I’m not a quote person but I’m getting more and more basic so this quote by Brad Paisley. I keep thinking if I can just write a little bit every day I’ll have a Harry Potter length book by next year. Let me have this dream :p

How I read ebooks for free part II

Read part I

Method 2: BookBub

Bookbub.com is a subscription email service that sends you a daily email listing free or discounted ebooks. It’s a free service that helps millions of readers discover limited-time deals. Members receive a personalized daily email.

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Join for free by choosing your favorite ebook genres and retailers at BookBub.com. Once signed up, you get BookBub’s daily email with limited-time discounts on ebooks matching your preferences. When you see a deal you like, click through to the ebook retailer of your choice and download the book from there.

Pros:

It’s super easy to set up your preferred genres. The emails you get will be tailored just for your preferences.

Occasionally you’ll get author suggestions. Once you follow them, you’ll get notified when their books are free or discounted.

FREE! WE LOVE FREEEE. You’re going to discover a lot of new books by authors you might have not checked out if you had to pay for their books.

Cons:thedailyemail

It’s a daily email. If you, like me, are constantly drowning in a sea of unread emails (and books) this might be a bit much for you.

Some books are in the public domain (so you don’t need to pay for the format, it’s already available online) or self published, so I would definitely recommend looking into reviews and checking to see if they are quality worth reading before you begin.

Not all of the books in your list will be free. Some days you’ll get emails that are all books from 1.99-0.99. Which is fine. But we want freeeeeee.

Happy reading! Check out Part I!

 

p.s. This is not an ad. BookBub did not pay me to tell you about them, I actually use this service and I love it.

Waiting, Mental Health and Writing

Grave Visions (Alex Craft, #4)Grave Visions, the fourth and latest installment of the Alex Craft books came out today. I was fanatical about this series when I read them initially in 2012, which is when the third book came out.

I’ve waited four excited years for this day. Every time the publication date was pushed back I felt a bit of confusion and disappointment, but not much. The reason? Kalayna Price is an author. A really really good one. Her Haven series is also really great. That aside, she’s a human.

The only hint of explanation (which I was not owed, nor was any other reader) was a blog post from February of 2013, in which she told us that in order to maintain her health and wellbeing she needed to withdraw from touring and appearances and heal.

This resonated with me because I write and deal with health issues. Writing is extremely mentally demanding. The brain is a powerful thing, and the body is affected. In my experience dealing with mental health issues, the physical toll can be harsh. If your physical state is under stress, you can pretty much kiss goodbye any ease in using your mental faculties.
Kalayna Price is doing the dang thing and I’m incredibly inspired by it, whatever her troubles may be. Four years sounds like eons to an anxious reader, but to someone who has spent the last four years getting it together (me) it means work and recovering and more work. Brava, Kalayna. I can’t wait to read your book.

How I read ebooks for free part I

I bet that got your attention. I’m only addressing legal/questionably legal methods,here. As someone who one day hopes to make a living from the sale of books, I can’t, in good conscience, endorse illegally downloading ebooks. Don’t worry, with this handy guide you won’t need to!

Method 1: My public library! (I <3 U LAPL)

Okay, get this, some libraries have ebook collections! WHAAAT.

It’s easy, you just obtain a library card, go to the library website, and find their resources. The Los Angeles Public Library’s collection is called “OverDrive.” While you’re in there, check out the other collections. There are some cool resources in there, such as scanned historical documents, newspapers, and music.

lapl

Pros:

You can read new releases!
The ebooks usually come in a couple of different formats, such as DRM and non-DRM epubs, or in Kindle format. (Selecting Kindle format takes you to Amazon’s Kindle content manager).

You can download to your computer, or straight to any tablet, e-reader with an internet browser, or even your phone, and open them using an ebook reading app if the format isn’t compatible with your device. (I use Moon+ Reader and Aldiko, the latter of which is great for DRM protected material).

IT’S FREE AND LEGAL!!!! and INSTANT!

Cons:

Your library’s collection may not have EVERYTHING. (However if you’re patient you can always request they acquire the titles you’d like to read. Just make sure that title is available in ebook format from the publisher)

The library’s collection has a finite number of copies. (Usually 2). This often annoys me because I don’t really understand how an easily copied file can logically be called unavailable, but the publisher and the author have to make dollars somehow. My library has a hold system just like they do for physical copies. I am too impatient to use it but if you are willing to wait a couple weeks the world is your oyster.

Like any library material you check out, you have a certain amount of time in which to read it, after which the file becomes inaccessible on your device. The Kindle files are neat because you get an email warning you that your library loan is ending. (I guess some of the non DRM epub files might not be subject to this but don’t quote me)

Happy reading! Keep an eye out for Part II!

WIR: First post of 2014, skinwalkers and vampires and con men, oh my! & I still hate Divergent.

Hiii.

I just clicked through myself on a comment on someone else’s blog (you can see which blogs I like to read in my left sidebar) and I was like DAMN GURL u ain’t been blogging this year.

So welcome to my first post of the year. It’s not a review, obvi. I’m just catching you up I guess.

I HAVE been reading, though the currently reading shelf on my goodreads account hasn’t changed much in forever.

I still haven’t finished A Memory of Light, nor have I started Origin, the last book in the Lux series. Maybe I’ll do that this week.

Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock, #1)I do have a glowing recommendation to make. Two actually! The first is the Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter. Jane is my favorite badass lately, and there are so many things about her and her world I absolutely love.

I discovered the series seeking out urban fantasy books set in New Orleans. There is so much mystique and charm about this city (which I’ve never visited), and I love learning more about it through books. The secondary location for a lot of the first book, Skinwalker, is Asheville, NC—another city I’m fascinated by in book settings.

One of the best things about the series is that as a female character Jane isn’t one of those inexplicably gorgeous everyone-falls-all-over-themselves characters. I mean, she gets propositioned a lot, but that’s kind of a consequence of being a fairly decent looking woman surrounded by men in a patriarchal society.

On a brighter note, there is a lot of female friendship in Jane’s life! So refreshing to have a guy’s girl with female friends! Also did I mention she kicks a lot of ass? There are vampires in this series (boo) but Jane hasn’t hooked up with any yet and I’m on book 6 or 7 (yay), but they are all really hot (boo, wait, yay?) so I figure it’s only a matter of time.

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1)The second recommendation is for The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch. I can’t really gush too much about this book, and I read it in December (yes, someone got a copy of it from me for Xmas). It’s really smart and intricate. It is long, but that seems to bother people less these days than it ever has before. I call it the Rowling/Martin Effect. But if you like con men, plotting, nefarious deeds, and amusing comraderie, definitely definitely check this out.

There are a few more books and series I’ve read lately, which you can find on my Goodreads (I haven’t been reviewing them, just rating), and I’m proooobably going to post about Vampire Academy after I see the movie. I just have to find a theater where it is still playing. And someone to schlep out to it with me. I’m pretty sure all of the usual suspects have seen it already.

Am I going to see Divergent? Eh. I never saw The Host, and I actually liked that book. I wasn’t a fan of Divergent.

Anyway, life has been/is still pretty crazy around these parts for me, but I find myself missing posting to this blog, so hopefully you’ll see more from me in the near future.

As always, I’d love to know what you’re reading, or what you thought about anything I talked about here!

p.s. I’m going to do a giveaway soon, so keep an eye out for that!

 

NaNoWrimo: Update on extreme failure

So predictably I haven’t been writing for NaNo. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s the pressure, maybe it’s that I am just really bad at juggling life and stuff, but I’ve topped out at about 6 or 7k words.

Top 3 reasons why:

 

1. I got bored.  

Like, really really bored. My story, which seemed so new and exciting was starting to feel real. Like real life. I knew too much about it and I couldn’t be excited about something so mundane. The ironic part is it’s an urban fantasy, so maybe I just need to up the amount of dragons and monsters and butt kicking and stuff.

2. The mood.

Seriously, what’s up with that? I really wanted to want to write. I did. But I was invariably tired or grumpy or couldn’t focus. What are this.

3. That pesky social life.

Now, don’t laugh, because I’m not making this up. People actually wanted to hang out with me. It’s like every time I even put my fingers to the keyboard my phone would go off. Usually friends, but sometimes work. I had four work events, but I could have written despite those. It was the fact that I had friends to talk to that really threw me.

Unfortunately there isn’t a real solution for any of this. Whenever I am feeling particularly loser-like I am usually too restless to sit and write. So even if this was an off season for me and the calling cards ceased coming in, I doubt I’d be any more productive.

I’d have to write like 9k words a day to finish NaNo by the end of the week. Can I do it? Probably. I’ve written 10k in a day before, but that took monumental effort. Will I do it? I don’t know. I am not sure I can commit to that. It’s a really draining endeavor, and to be honest it’s not really up to me. I’d basically need someone (coughboyfriendcough) to take care of all of the things for the next five days. I don’t know if that’s something I can ask. Or will receive.

I’m pretty disappointed in myself, but it’s not too late. On the upside I’ve been reading, and have a review to post later today. I’m also doing a blog tour for T.M. Franklin’s The Guardians on Dec. 2. So check back in a week to see what I thought of the book (spoiler alert, I loved it) and read my interview with the author!

How is your NaNo going?

NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month, week 2

So I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year. This is my fifth or something year participating and I have yet to win, so I’m really trying to put all of my mental resources into writing, which means less (or no) reading. And probably no review blogging.

 I’ll try to post here with my updates. I really like my story idea, and I think it’s going along swimmingly, though I’ve got less than half of my day 8 target words written. I’m hoping to use the next couple of hours to really knock some of my word count out of the park.

Word count: 5074
Cups of coffee desired: 2309410397410410

What I’m reading: everything, pretty much.

Do you ever get the sudden rush of horror and despair when you think about how many books there are in the world (at least, in languages you can read), and how little time you have to read them?

I’ve been experiencing a bit of that lately. Just a bit. *stares blankly at wall*

Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1)I’m halfway-ish through the final book in the Wheel of Time series. I’ve let it sit in the backburner of my kindle because after racing through thirteen other books I don’t really want to be finished with it. It’s not really the type of series I’m likely to ever reread, so I guess I’m trying to keep the world alive in my mind.

I’ve kinda gottten sucked into Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, which is a testament to how entertaining they are, because I am SO very over vampires. But these books are like a rocket, you get sped through these stories and are kinda hooked. Like the (good) action movie equivalent of urban fantasy.

Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid, #1)I’ve been reading other series too, but so quickly I haven’t had the wherewithal to review the books individually. Richelle Mead’s Georgina Kincaid series is six books long, and I tore through them. I doubt I’ll ever get around to reviewing them, so I’ll just say that I enjoyed the world she crafted, even though Georgina being a succubus kind of sank the character into the hot-girl-at-whom-all-male-characters-throw-themselves territory. I’m not such a huge fan of this, but I enjoyed the story, which is very romance heavy. Shrug. It was pretty good anyway.

Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts, #1)I also started Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts series. I’m on the latest right now. This series is really interesting! It’s set in this sort of dystopic future society where ghosts are murderous and are held in captivity in the City of Eternity by the Church, whose motto is “Facts are Truth.” Cesaria “Chess” Putnam, the protagonist, is a drug addict with an insanely depressing past. She’s a weird anti-heroine that isn’t really that hard to like. I love the gritty aspect of the setting, a look into an addict character like Chess’s mind, and the slang Kane uses, which other reviewers have noted is actually brilliant in that it’s not racist. It’s also kind of infectious. Bump (a pimp/drug dealer) is probably the most entertaining dialogue to read. He uses the eff word with true artistry.

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real MagicHmm, what else? I read a book called The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic which I adored. I think I should definitely review that in depth. (I just checked Emily Croy Barker’s Twitter account and she’s working on a sequel. YAAAASSSSS)

That’s all really, right now. I’ve been really busy this last week and kind of burned out on reading, but that’s usually temporary. I’m thinking about getting back into more contemporary general fiction and literary fiction. I’ve been glutting myself on fantasy books to cleanse my mind palette, but I’m starting to feel as if my standards are being lowered by popular fiction. I’m open to book suggestions, although I have a stack of to-read books on my night stand that nearly reaches from the floor to my hip…maybe after the new year.

What have you been reading?

What I’m reading: Not dead!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Hey y’all. I’ve been AWOL the last few months but I have been reading. A lot. Too much, some might say (We don’t listen to those voices, though, remember that).

I’m still rolling along through Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. I’m on book 8, and BOY are these books long! This is coming from a huge fan of the ASOIAF series (Game of Thrones, for the uninitiated). So much book. I’m pretty invested at this point, so I’ll probably see them through.

Everything else has fallen by the wayside, though, in the face of these behemoths. I have several ebooks on deck, including some I’ve looked forward to for a while, like the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel. Shut up, you. I love them.

Anyway I just wanted to check in, say hello. Point to the title (kind of not a funny joke when you have depression, but people like morbid humor right? No? Well, too bad I DID IT).

Truthfully, I prefer designing* blog pages more than I like actually blogging, but luckily for DEP (one letter away from DERP) I like talking about the books I read a lot too. There is war in my soul. Fear not gentle readers. And my stepdad. (Hi, John. Remind me to bring you that book when I come over on Saturday.)

What are your summer reads so far?

*ratchet web design involves a lot of googling for tutorials and using MSPaint. Yup, Paint still exists.

What I’m reading: long awaited releases.

I love book series, but the wait between installments can be a killer, as any George R. R. Martin fan can attest. Sometimes I get distracted and forget about the books I am waiting impatiently to read, and the publication date sneaks up on me, as was the case with Maureen Johnson’s The Madness Underneath and Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Princess.

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)I am on the fence about reviewing Clockwork Princess because a) it’s the end of a series and b) I still have too many feels to really write a decent review. I definitely recommend both, though! TMU is a ghost thriller kinda, set in London, which I reviewed here, and CP2 (the 2 is because the middle book in the trilogy, Clockwork Prince is CP) is a steampunk take on Clare’s The Mortal Instruments, which I definitely enjoy. The movie is coming out in August, and the cast is phenomenal, they’ve got Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell-Bower, Lena Headey (Cersei from “Game of Thrones” Queen Gorgo in 300!), Aidan Turner (uber hot vamp Mitchell in the UK “Being Human” show) and Robert Sheehan (Misfits). I die.

Other than that, I’ve been slowly chewing through Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files series, which is decent, thus far. I mean, they’re about a wizard named Harry, so. A grown-up one, in this case. I can’t say I really love them—Harry Dresden is sexist in a way that I assume is supposed to be endearing. There are a lot of female characters, though, and they’re not entirely flat. In fact, Harry gets saved by them on occasion. But it’s still kind of grating to be inside of a character’s head when you would probably want to verbally eviscerate them in reality.

Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your WasteI’ve also started reading Bea Johnson from The Zero Waste Home‘s upcoming book. I’ve loved her blog for years, since I read an article in Sunset Magazine. I was undergoing a bit of doubt about my personal commitment to reducing my environmental impact, and seeing that another person, another family, had felt the same way and really DONE something about it changed my life. The book is great so far, and I can’t wait to review it here and on my eco/lifestyle blog, Project Pura Vida.

What are you reading lately? Are you, like, me, avoiding your course materials?