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I hereby decree it: City of Flails Weekend!

There are copious reasons for this including a) Sarah J Maas cover reveal ajdfkalsdfa!!!! b) Age of Ultron, and lastly c) my ownership of many City of Awesome books. I am a huge Cassandra Clare fan. I know, I knooow...her series was so 5 years ago. But I'm catching up, okay? I am a wild, wild fan.

[Made For You - thanks HarperCollins!]
[Circus of the Unseen - thanks Hot Key Books!]
[Spark - thanks Walker Books!]
[City of Bones - City of Ashes - City of Glass - which I am squeaking over because I got 3 of them as a box set for $5 at a garage sale!* My collection is now only missing one book!!]
[City of Heavenly Fire - thanks Walker Books again!]

After I ate the library last week, I'm being conservative. (I have already read the first 3 Cassandra Clare books but I have delicious rereading to look forward to one day. You know. When I've caught up with the millions of books of the world and have time to reread. HA HA HA.)


* Being a handy translator, as I am, I believe Americans refer to garage sales as "Yard Sales". Or "car boot" sales? Or "jumble sales"??! I don't even know. 

What happened this week?

Monday: I spill aaall about my NaNoWriMo novel. It involves ghosts and coffee shops.
Tuesday: I reviewed The Sky So Heavy and told you all with my apocalypse survival plan.
Wednesday: Here are 10 series I want to start...mostly because of their gorgeous covers.
Friday: I have ALL the tips for you to write 10,000-words in just one day this NaNo!
Saturday: I wasn't so fussed on Conjured...but it was creepy.


These Are The Books I Ate:


The Discworld Graphic Novels: I was scared to try Terry Pratchett...so I took the picture book option. It was awesome. [4-stars]
Second Star: I love Peter Pan. That is all. [4-stars] 
Spark: Superheroes done right...and I also may have a super secret awesome surprise concerning this book coming soon. [4-stars]
The Ghosts of Heaven: Well. I did not get this at all. But it's pretty to look at. [3-stars]
Circus of the Unseen: Um. Creepy but cliche. Bit of a fail for me. [3-stars]
City of Fallen Angels: WELL THIS WAS THE BEST CASSANDRA CLARE BOOK YET. I HAVE FEELS FOR THESE ADORABLE SHADOWHUNTERS. [5-stars]
The Intern: It's like a paperback chick-flick movie, including Catastrophic Coffee Spill. [3-stars]


Also, I would like to point out that a) I read very diversely across the genres yes I am fabulous, and b) I'm preparing the creative juices for NaNo! And also don't want to be...flattened by my TBR.
This is basically me all of October. PREPARATION. 

Elsewhere, other bloggers made glorious creations.

Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer is celebrating her 2nd bloggy birthday! Showers her with cake and confetti.
Kelley @ Oh The Books asks if you keep your blogging and internet life separate?
Sophie @ Ravens and Writing Desks recaps meeting awesome authors. Which makes me sufficiently jealous! 
Jeann @ Happy Indulgence talks about accepting when people don't like your favourite book.

Also. Did You Hear? The Internet Exploded.

Many many things went down this week on the internet. Some glorious. Some shockingly painful. 

You've probably heard of the Author-Kathleen-Hale-Stalks-And-Harasses-Blogger debacle, haven't you? It took me a while to catch on because noooo one would link to the article! FAIR ENOUGH. It doesn't deserve more pageviews. But if you're super curious, you can read the article here.  I'm absolutely sickened by the whole thing and will not be supporting the author. Um...ever. If you want to read some response articles, I recommend:

Amanda @ Book Badger lists all the laws Kathleen Hale broke.
Amanda @ Elfswood went through the article really logically (I admire this!) and I loved her thoughts as well.
Nichole @ YA Reads posted her side of the story...she got caught in the middle.

But there are happier things that also exploded the internet...

HYDRA LEAKED THE AGE OF ULTRON TRAILER!!!! IT'S OKAY. WE CAN FLAIL ON THIS AND FOR ONCE NOT HATE HYDRA. It is so so brilliant I'm just going to shriek, okay?


And Sarah J Maas' new series, A Court of Thorn and Roses (it's a Beauty and the Beast retelling!) had it's cover revealed. IT IS GORGEOUS BEYOND BELIEF. And we have to wait until May to read it...such pain. Such agony.


And Lauren DeStephano is my new hero after this tweet:


I'm linking up with these memes: Because they're awesome.

The Sunday Post

so, phewf. exciting week, huh? what do you think about the fiasco with an author stalking a blogger? and WHAT ABOUT THE AVENGERS 2 TRAILER?!! flail with me, blogglings! oh and tell me what series you're crazy about at the moment??

LOOK I MADE A GIF OF CONJURED!

Ah, yes, I'm also going to talk about the actual book, but you wanted to see my gif. I know you did, stop rolling your eyes, blogglings. And who am I, but delightfully acquiescent to your requests? Even if you didn't yet know your requests until I told you what they were. But don't thank me. I live to be helpful.

Conjured is a wild ride to Creepville on Freaky Express with multiple stops by Confusing Station.

I'm unsure how to react to it at the moment. Usually I a) love a book, b) loathe it, or c) feel mildly indifferent. For Conjured I feel a little confused but respectful of the intense imagination in these 360-pages. It's hard to review that kind of feeling!

But you know what I'm thinking, don't you?

LIST TIME.* Let us weigh the likes and dislikes together!

*If you're at all new here, bless you, then let me causally tell you that I absolutely love lists. My entire blog is founded on 89% lists.

Thanks Bloomsbury for the review-copy! Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst hit shelves 1st of October, 2014.
Eve has a new home, a new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past. She’s been told that she's in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or do—to her to get her to remember.
At night she dreams of a tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. But during the day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let anyone know that she can do things—things like change the color of her eyes or walk through walls. When she does use her strange powers, she blacks out and is drawn into terrifying visions, returning to find that days or weeks have passed—and she’s lost all short-term memories. Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined.

THINGS I LIKED

1. I enjoy a good book of extraordinary imagination. This book fits that perfectly. The imaginings are wild and crazy and intense and let me applaud! 

2. The setting was partially a quiet Witness Protection town, partly a freaky carnival. You know the drill. Magician. Dolls. Puppets. Sawing people in half. Magical other-worlds. Storytellers. Knitting needles.



2. The human boy: Zach. He works at the same library as our narrator (Eve). He's hilarious and talkative and bubbly. I love reading boys who fit that description! Because usually it's girls and we can all agree that boys can be talkative and bright too. Zach was HILARIOUS. He had some fantastic quips and stole the show so many times. Okay, he stole the book. 
[Zach] placed his hands on her shoulders so she'd look directly into his eyes. "You know, the moment I saw you, I said to myself -- because all the great people talk to themselves, of course -- I said, 'Zach, you have to meet that lovely lady, because she will make your life extraordinary.' I was not wrong." (CONJURED pg. 174)
You're adorable, Zach.

3. The plot was unique. (It reminded me of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.) It mixes magic into our world in this epic law-and-order case. Two cops are protecting a magical-girl-witness (Eve) from a powerful magician wanted for murder. But she's got no memories. Although, I'm being a wet blanket here, but the memory-less-ness is starting to get kind of old.


4. It has an incredibly unreliable narrator, which I always find interesting. I approve of books that mess with your braincells.

THINGS I DISLIKED

1. The writing style. Hey, but this is so subjective, so I honestly need to yell "READ IT" if you at all like the premise. But the style, to me, felt really thick. It was like eating insanely dense porridge. And the description? Eeeeverywhere. Literally everything was minutely described. I longed for plot and action and more characterisation. The description and slowness bored me half to death. 

2. Because our bonnie narrator kept losing her memories, it was freakishly hard to connect to ANYONE in the book. I'd flip to a new chapter and oops, oh no! Her brain is compromised again. I needed to care about her (and hopefully the supporting cast). But I just didn't. I didn't know them. 


3. Um...now this I'm sure has an explanation for...but it kept switching from 1st to 3rd person. The book started in 3rd person with the visions in 1st. Great. Good. I like that. (The visions were all sectioned off with their own chapters and italics. Very clear.) Then halfway through the book, it just ditched the 3rd person altogether and went 100% first person for visions AND normal narration. Um...OKAY? It feels like such a blatant mistake! But I'm sure there's a reason, I just have no clue what it is. So this just threw me completely. 

4. The ending was a whirlwind of confusing weirdness. I'm not even sure who "won" this. I'm not even sure what the villain's issue was.


All in all?

Basically, this is a book about memory loss, magic, and freaky carnival descriptions. I recommend it if you love noir novels with a dash of superpowers and blood soaked visions. And don't mind them being exremely slow. Conjured was okay in my humble but fabulous opinion, but didn't impress me. Not even a little.



hellooooo, my creeptastic blogglings. i have just realised the reason i'm getting weird freaky books for review is because it's near halloween for the americans! so (with that in mind) what was the last creepy book you read? or do you have one in mind to eat for this freaktastic season? anyone read Conjured? did you like it? and if you want to explain the entire book to me feel free.


Cait does actually like creepy books. She just likes them to make sense (obvious creepiness not subtle) and she likes to be emotionally attached to the characters. (But come to think of it, she actually didn't like Miss Peregrine's either. Asylum by Madeleine Roux on the other hand? OH THAT WAS HORRIBLY GOOD.) Currently, she's rewriting in order to limber her fingers up for NaNo.

I am a speedy writer. 

Unfortunately, isn't because I'm talented or have super powers. They might still be coming in though. It's because of these very uninspiring reasons:

a) I have a terrible memory and if I don't write fast enough I forget what I'm talking about and my sentences end with cranberry.
b) I learnt a few sneaky secrets.

Sneaky secrets are fabulous.

Like Gollum, sneaking is is a golden pastime of mine. Yes, I am Slytherin too, if you're curious. I often sneak in shorcuts when I'm writing. WAIT! I know what you're thinking! Shortcuts in writing are really evil, Cait. Well, yes and no.

But I'm going to be super specific here. My post is about first drafts. Not editing. Not rewriting. First ugly drafts.

SO! Let us begin! I will shed light on my secret with my sneaky ways. And therefore, unfortunately, show you peoples that I do not have superpowers. Although you can think I do if you want.




1. You need the whole day to yourself. 


If you have 2 million activities planned for the day, writing 10K ain't gonna happen, my friend. You need a day completely for yourself. (And I don't mean don't talk to people....I mean don't plan a huge activity that involves hours away from writing.) Also: don't worry! You're not going to write for 12 hours straight. Ha, ha, ha! Can you see me doing that? Heck, no. I have the attention span of a small goldfish.


2. Decided on mini-goals. 


I love ticking things off a list. I like to complete things. Saying, "I'm going to write until I can't type another dot" is way too hard. Half the time I feel like that after 100 words. SO. I need small goals.

If I'm aiming for a 10,000-word day, then I mentally map my day. I need to write 3.3K in the morning (for me that's like two chapters). After lunch is another 3.3K. Then after dinner is another 3.4K. Once you complete your goal, you have a mini party! And that's were rewards come in...


3. You need rewards. 

I don't just mean food either! Food is awesome, but if you eat a piece of cake for every 1,000-words you write? Well, it can a) get expensive, and b) your pants might not fit. Lucky for us, there are all sorts of ways to reward yourself.

Some ways I like to reward myself are: 

- Pinterest: very useful. A 5 minute browse does wonders for the inspiration, especially if I search for stuff that relates to my project.
- Go for a walk: Stretches them ol' bones, if you know what I mean. Sitting can be boring. A 30 minute walk does wonders for refilling the creative tank.
- Eat: Well, duh. I'm not an advocate of "a chapter before breakfast", but it IS a fabulous motivator to say "no-lunch-until-you've-got-two-chapters".
- Drink: After you write a chapter, you get a hot chocolate or a tea or swig from the fountain of youth.
- Watch Youtube/TV: All you need to keep in mind is the time. Spend 20minutes. Not 5 hours.


Things I do NOT do in breaks:

- Read: it makes me feel like my own writing is horrible beyond belief (which it is, but I don't need to be reminded right now).
- Play computer games: Anything that's hard to stop, because believe me, you sometimes it's hard to go back and write.
- Blogging/emailing: I'm not saying isolate yourself! I'm saying "guard thine fingers". They'll get tired.


4. Don't think. Just write. 


(Remember: we're talking about 1st drafts!) First drafts don't need huge amounts of thought. (Some is nice, of course, but yeah, don't sprain a brain cell.) I write WILD and I write MESSY. No thinking. Just spew words onto the page and you can fix them up later. If you're fussing over every sentence, you won't be able to write enough.

THIS IS THE KEY RIGHT HERE, OKAY?! Write messy. Throw words around. Just. write.

Technically I can write 100 words a minute. (Go typing tests!) Which means I should knock over 1,000-words in 10 minutes, right?!!

Haaaaa.

Don't worry. I don't. But I'd like to think I could knock over 2,000-words in 1.5 hours.


5. Enlist humans to keep you accountable/encouraged. 

You can do this so many ways. Like:

a) tell your writing buddy you're doing 10K in a day and keep them updated
b) update twitter. Remember that funny sentence you wrote? Keep it handy and paste on twitter/facebook in your break.
c) are you in a writer group? Update them! (Possibly even recruit them to do a 10K with you.)

The key is telling someone. It makes you feel like you've accomplished something! And bonus if they can give a few words of encouragement too.

(And I know I said "avoid humans" for #1, but this is different. #1 means don't go scuba diving on the same day you plan to write 10K. Duh.)

source

So how often have you written 10,000-words in a day, Cait?

Well, firstly, I'm so glad you asked. I have done it several times. In my perfect writing world, I would like to average 5,000-words a day. Hey. I said perfect. When I wrote Them Hungry Bones I averaged at 7K. And then, another day, did my BEST WORD COUNT EVER at 13K! But, gosh, was I exhausted after that one.

But, when I was rewriting another of my WIPs, I averaged 2K a day. It's completely different when you're first-drafting to when you're rewriting/editingSo say I. But when am I wrong? Ha...don't answer that.

I have churned out 10K days several times. Pros and cons? It's obviously exhausting, but it really gets you through a manuscript.

And if you're still looking at me blankly thinking, "there is no way I'll ever be able to do this," then give yourself the ulimate motivation: dare yourself.

You were saying, Gollum?



so, have you ever written 10,000 words in one day?! tell me about it?! exhausted or elated or both? just think: if you write 10K every day for 5 days you'd win NaNo! okay, okay, ignore me then. if you haven't, do you plan to try? is my list helpful or maddeningly frustrating?


Cait would like to confess she's been averaging only 2K a day during her round of sci-fi rewrites. It's hard. Her brain hurts. She thinks she belongs in fantasy and away from sci-fi techno terms....but what's life without a challenge, right? In other news, she just finished SPARK and has a delicious surprise coming with her review. It will be glorious. You will be surprised. 

I have a confession: I rarely finish series.

Although I believe I have confessed this before...so I'm just airing my dirty secrets repeatedly. I have what I call the Squirrel Syndrome. I see a book, I read it, I forget about it being in a series, I see a new book...etc. There are SO many books out there to read! HOW DO I FIT THEM ALL IN?

Cloning is a possible option.

But I do like the thought of series (if not the commitment), and I have good intentions to finish them...or start them. One day. Maybe? Ha ha. Probably not.

This week's prompt is: Top 10 New Series I Want To Start


1. Curse Workers by Holly Black

I'm going to specific and say these covers. Aren't they gorgeous? I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE SERIES IS ABOUT! I assume it's about freaky supernatural things because a) have you seen the covers? and b) it's by Holly Black.

I love Holly Black.

She's a genius of all things creepy and unique. I loved The Coldest Girl In Coldtown so much.*

* I also really love Spiderwick, but because I'm, like, a hundred years too old for that series, I have to keep it as my small secret. I really, really love children's books.

2. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Despite the last cover reminding me a delicious biscuit, I like the sound of this series. Did someone say "frightening abilities they can't control"?

Professor X understands. Let's groove with these mutants.*

* I actually only assume they're mutants by the use of "frightening abilities". I haven't read the books yet, so I could be wrong. Duh.

3. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

I LOVE CASSANDRA CLARE, TOO. I'm nearly finished The Mortal Instruments series* and therefore need to move onto this one. Lots of people have told me it's even better. I'm 98.3% confident I will enjoy the socks off it.

Also I'm having serious cover-love palpitations here.


* A phrase here which means "Omg, I have just realised how freaking big book #6 is and I may pass out".

4. The Lotus War by Jay Kristoff

If my dragon doesn't come through as a yard-friendly household pet, I also want a griffin. Apart from that I have no idea what these books are about except they're Japanese! Let me cheer! I like when books venture outside of America/Australia/Britain.

I am struggling with the author's name though.
Basically everything relates back to Frozen these days.

5. Dante Walker by Victoria Scott

I've heard it's insanely witty. Plus the blurb starts "Dante Walker knows is flippin' awesome, and he knows it." I feel kinship to him already.* Obviously he has wardrobe issues as he only owns one shirt in the first two books and loses it completely in the third.


* Since I, too, am flippin' awesome.

6. Dust Lands by Moira Young

I keep borrowing book #1 from the library and it just sinks to the bottom of my TBR...and ends up going back unread. It is a huge shame. I need to finish it! Or, well, start it!

I know it's a letter different...but the author's name makes me think of The Mines of Moria every. single. time.


7. The Iron Fey by Julie Kawaga

They're pretty. (Okay! I promise I'll stop making that my first reason of why I want to read a book!) Also, faeries are delightfully horrible little creatures and I enjoy reading them. Maggie Stiefvater's versions are my favourite, but I need to expand my horizons at some point.

And the covers are really pretty.

8. Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente

But seriously? The series is all "The Girl Who..." and then a boy comes along and totally loses the plot. Pfft. Boys.

I've been recommended this a lot, plus I own the first book! Why have I not started it yet?! What is wrong with me?

9. BZRK by Michael Grant 

It's the only series of his I haven't read yet! Considering I blather* about how much I adore Gone and hugged Messenger Of Fear (to name a few) I should really just read this. 

I have the first book on audio from the library, so possibly when I've finished listening to Disruption** I will read BZRK!


* But you love it. You love my recommendations. You love the way I tell you to read books that will rip out your heart and stomp on it. That's why we're friends.
** While we're on topic, Disruption is amazing. I didn't think I'd like it...but then I did.

10. The Wicked Years by Gregory Macguire

My sisters are in a plot to make me read this. One sister bought book #1 for me, and the other insists on belting the Wicked musical songs ALL over the house. I GET IT, GUYS, I GET IT. I will (and do really want to) read it...I just...

I don't know. Why haven't I read it yet?

I obviously need a clone.


so, my funky friends, i will take your recommendations now. any of these I should really really reeeeeally bump up the TBR and devour fast? did I list any of your favourites? and how about you: series finisher or series abandoner? and, yes, i want to read all of this basically based off cover alone. but that's normal, right?


Cait is still rewriting her book. Ha! Actually she's writing this post to procrastinate writing her book because writing is hard. It took her 2 hours to write 2,000-words, which is unokay. SHE IS UNOKAY! SHE NEEDS A BREAK. Her mind is breaking. So she's given herself a moment to read more of THE GHOSTS OF HEAVEN which is a sad and miserable book where everyone dies.