Monday, August 29, 2011

Bout of Books Read-A-Thon Recap

As midnight struck on Day 7 of the Bout of Books read-a-thon (it didn't really strike so much as turn in red numbers on my alarm clock), I finished my ninth book, Paper Towns by John Greene.  This of course means that I failed to reach my goal of ten books in a week (boo Megan!).  However, given that the week was also my first week at a new job, I don't feel too badly about it. 

Here are my final numbers:
# of books read:  9
# of pages read:  2,803

The three books I read yesterday were: Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner, Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn, and Paper Towns by John Green.  I had a lot of fun and hope all the other participants did too!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bout Of Books Days 5 & 6

As Day 7 of my read-a-thon begins, I have four books left to reach my goal.  This very rainy day is giving me that chance- it is doable as I am lucky enough to read very fast, but I will have to tear myself away from CNN's weather coverage, which is addictive.  Here is my update from the past two days:

# of books read since last post (Day 4- Thursday):  3
# of books read total:  6
# of pages read since last post:  1,021
# of pages read total:  2,030
Books read since last post:  If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? by Melissa Kantor (Cute contemporary YA), Bones of a Feather by Carolyn Haines (Fun, Well-plotted Mystery- Adult), and Born At Midnight by C.C. Hunter (EXCELLENT YA- I loved this!!!)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A title to die for

The current issue of Writer's Digest magazine landed in my mailbox yesterday and, as usual, I immediately turned to my favorite section, "Breaking In".  It highlights upcoming works from debut authors and features mini-interviews where they explain how they got published.  In this issue, my eyes were immediately drawn to the title of Michelle Hodkin's debut YA novel, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.  I am in awe of that title.  L-O-V-E.  I would buy that book on the title alone.  In thinking about this a little further, I must admit that although I do research books and read reviews, oftentimes I make my purchases are based on title and/or the book's cover.  I had the title of An Unexpected Kingdom in mind the day the story started percolating in my brain.  I know it's dangerous to be so married to a title since an agent or publisher may make you change it, but I am very attached [hugs manuscript].  As for other books, I took a scan at my bookshelves and here are just a few of my favorite titles:

The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen
Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

How must stock do you put in titles?  What are some of your favorites?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 4: Falling behind- can rain save me?

I have just finished Need by Carrie Jones and I liked it a lot.  It felt like a less-angsty Twilight in some ways- NOT derivative, but it made me the same type of happy- cool premise, fun love story, otherworldly beings living in plain sight.  Unfortunately for my read-a-thon numbers, that is all I have read today so my total books read is only at three.  Next, I plan to start If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? by Melissa Kantor.  The good news for my read-a-thon schedule is Hurricane Irene.  We certainly won't be going anywhere this weekend, so I can read to my heart's content and hopefully hit my goal of 10 books for the week by the end of the day on Sunday.

Official Update for Day 4 of Bout of Books Read-A-Thon:
# of books read since last post: .816
# of books read total: 3
# of pages read since last post: 249
# of pages read total: 1,009

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday is a slow day- Day 3 read-a-thon update

I finished Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children after dinner and it was truly a magnificently written novel.  It did not read as YA to me, even though the protagonist is a teenager.  It has a very mature writing style.  Whatever category is has been sold in though- it is very, very good.  Strange and exciting and effortless.  I have just started Need by Carrie Jones.  I am only to page 57 and won't finish it tonight.  I'm just too tired to stay up late. 

Official Day 3 Update:
# of books read today: .453 (.186 of Need plus .267of Miss Peregrine)
# of books read total:  2.186
# of pages read since yesterday's post:  150
# of pages read total:  760

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday (day 2) Bout of Books read-a-thon update

At close to the end of Day 2 of my reading marathon, I am just about at my daily goal.  I am on page 255 of 348 of the truly wondrous Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children.  I also managed to hit my local library after work and I checked out eight books and placed a request for one more through an inter-library loan.  That requested book is a novel from my new Goodreads friend, Lisa Bork, who writes mysteries and whose first book, For Better, For Murder was a 2009 Agatha Award finalist for Best First Novel.  Exciting!  Of the eight books I brought home, only one had been on my to-read list (Paper Towns by John Green), but six others are fun-looking YA (including Need by Carrie Jones) and the last is a quick-read mystery, which I love.  And now for my official progress:

# of books read today (day 2):  .733
# of books read total:  1.733
# of pages read today:  255
# of pages read total:  610

Not bad for only reading at night.  See all you BoutOfBooksters tomorrow!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Read-A-Thon update

I am exhaus--  Sorry, I dropped off there for a second.  Whew!  I am exhausted.  I had forgotten how tiring a first day at a new job can be, especially with hardly any sleep the night before.  I am reading 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison and am on page 147.  It is an upper Middle Grade novel focusing on Tanya's reluctant trip to her grandmother's country estate and the dark mystery she uncovers.  I am heading to bed soon and will read the rest with my head on the pillow.  So, my official update as of 10:30PM on Monday, August 22 is:
Number of books I’ve read today:  .414 of a book (thank you phone calculator)
Total number of books I’ve read:  .414 of a book
On tap for tomorrow:  hit the library for more books, read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bout of Books READ-A-THON

Readers unite!  Amanda from On a Book Bender decided to host a read-a-thon this coming week, just for fun.  Love it.  Although not an ideal week for me since I start a new job tomorrow (yay) and am getting over being sick (boo), not to mention that I have a lot of work to do on my writing/revisions, I am p-s-y-c-h-e-d (why, yes, I was a high school cheerleader!).  My goals for my week in the read-a-thon are:

1. Read a minimum 10 books, at least eight of which are MG or YA.
2. Get the majority of the books from the library (my husband's rule).
3. Keep my fellow read-a-thoners (is this a word?  it is now) updated on my progress as I'm sure everyone awaits my news with bated breath.

I did buy two books from my to-read shelf this afternoon (prompting my husband's library rule): 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison and Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.  I will read these two first and get the remainder from the library tomorrow or Tuesday night.  The read-a-thon starts tomorrow and goes through Sunday.  Let's! Get! Reading!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The land was green and lovely

I am pretty sure that is the start of an Irish song, but if it isn't, it certainly should be.  Wow! 
Well, clearly I am back from my trip to Ireland and it was amazing.  It was fun and gorgeous and inspirational and I drove on the wrong side of the road.  Really, what more can one ask for in a vacation?  (If I were nitpicking, I suppose one could ask for Diet Coke to taste the same as it does at home, but other than that- GRAND.)  My thoughts are still more than can be lucidly written about, so please pardon my stream of consciousness ramblings.  Life is so unhurried there that it took me a whole day to stop feeling like someone was playing a trick on us.  My sister, Caitlin, is the fastest walker on earth and she looked insane compared to the meandering locals.  Caitlin and her betrothed are wonderful travel companions and we were so lucky to be with them (right up until they got the super flu, but even then they didn't give it to us- so cheers!).
There are so many cows.  And they are all laying down!  We were amazed by this.  Cows in the U.S. (I started calling it America three days in because that is what you do there) stand up, at least the ones I have seen.  I guess our cows have more pressing matters to attend to.  Or they are all anxious.  We even saw horses laying down.  I thought they were dead.  They weren't; they were having a rest.  Dogs just walk across main roads by themselves.  I know I am going on and on about animals, which is weird, but really there were a lot of animals.  The proprietor of our first B&B (in Galway) is an Elvis impersonator and he comes to the U.S. regularly to perform at weddings in the southern states.  We were all baffled by this for several reasons, the main one being that there is no shortage of American Elvis impersonators, but a close second was the fact that having a thick brogue means you don't sound much like Elvis.  My favorite day was the one we spent on the smallest of the three Aran Islands where we rode rented bicycles around all day. My favorite meal was a lunch we had at a pub we found in the middle of a rainstorm in the tiny south coastal town of Glandore.  My cousin got married near the end of our trip outside Dublin and both she and it were lovely beyond words.
While I did not have a lot of free time to write (or revise), I did a lot of reflecting and was able to reform some key parts of An Unexpected Kingdom in my head.  I am working on getting those revisions down on paper this week.  I will expand on that in another post.  For now, I need to continue the unending cycle of post-vacation laundry.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


The day is here!  By the time the sun is setting over Boston I will be soaring through the sky on my way to Shannon, Ireland.  Unbelievably, this is my very first trip to Europe (and my husband's as well).  Our passports are very stiff and unadorned.  Luckily, we will have some very seasoned international travelers with us in the form of my sister and her almost-husband. We will be staying in Galway, Kinsale, and Kildare/ Dublin.  Towards the end of the trip is my cousin's wedding- she is marrying an Irish gentleman (bloke?) and quite a few members of my family are making the trip, including my parents who we are not traveling with us due to my dad's insistence on fishing, golfing, and horseback riding, none of which any of us like to do (including, I should note, my mother who WILL be traveling with him).  I will be driving a stick shift (which I have not done in at least ten year).  While sitting on the opposite side of the car.  On the wrong side of the road.  Hmmm.  Potential for disaster is high.
One thing I am not taking a vacation from is writing.  I have major revisions to do on An Unexpected Kingdom and this is a perfect way to force myself to start them.  It is hard to kill your darlings, which is why I find revision to be MUCH more difficult than writing.  I will also be doing some writing (yay) on The Guardians of Ben Q. Flanders.  I had been thinking for a while that adding a change of location to the middle of the book would help move along the story and Alice's character arc so I am thinking I may have them go to Ireland.  By sheer coincidence (no it's not) I will be in Ireland, so I can do research and jot down notes as we travel (at least until it gets too annoying for my companions).  I hope to have lots to share upon my return.  Erin go braugh!