Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Reading Rather Than Writing

To distract myself from tearing my query to pieces after every rejection (which is not a smart thing to do anyway), I've been focusing on reading more than writing for the past month or so.

Reading is awesome because:

  1. It's fun.
  2. You get to see what's out in the market.
  3. You can study how others write.
  4. You can decide what works (and what does not) from their writing.
  5. You can return to old friends.
  6. Other reasons, I'm sure.
Image by Patrick Bouquet

Middle Grade Magic

  • The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas - full on fantasy that takes place in a semi-medieval city that's dying due to disappearing magic. There was a pretty interesting take on the mechanics of working magic.
  • The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud - very basic concept: Junior Ghostbusters. In an altered world where the dead are, well, deadly to the living, only kids can see these ghosts to put them back to rest. I couldn't quite tell the timeframe for this world - maybe a sort of 1950s (there were phones, but no cell phones). For me, this book started off slow because Stroud was weaving together a bunch of plot strings. When they all started to come together, the book was un-put-downable.
  • The Case of the Left-Handed Lady by Nancy Springer - I was quite annoyed with myself. This is Book #2 about Enola Holmes, little sister of Sherlock Holmes. No, I hadn't read #1, but, honestly, Nancy Springer made it work, so thank you, Ms. Springer. This mystery takes place in Victorian times, and has a bit of an older feel to it. Well-written, but not exactly my cup of tea.
Image by Nick Kenrick

Patricia C. Wrede, My Queen

Patricia C. Wrede is one of my favorite authors. I re-read The Magician's Ward from my bookshelf (I love that book), and bought some of her earliest books Shadows over Lyra (a 3-in-1 trilogy set in the land of Lyra). To be completely honest, it was sort of interesting to read Ms. Wrede before she really found her groove. The first of the trilogy was a good read, but it was a bit of a formulaic, Tolkien-esque fantasy. The others I enjoyed less. And from these beginnings, she went on to write some of my favorite books ever.

Image by Hembo Pagi

Awesome YA

  • Gone by Michael Grant - This was really good! A Contemporary YA in which everyone over age 14 disappeared from a small California town, and some of the kids left started getting mutant powers. The kids are trapped in this town, and you get a sort of Lord of the Flies vibe - but in a more fun sort of way.
  • Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood - I'd actually exchanged a little material with this author before she got published when we were both looking for critique partners. We didn't end up working together long term, but I was really curious to see how this book came out. It's a futuristic YA sci-fi in which a girl chooses to marry a stranger to save her sister - which turns out ... oddly well. 

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