WoRd PoW! #12: Words, Meetings, Colors, Cards & Movies

WoRd PoW! #12: Words, Meetings, Colors, Cards & Movies

Well, I meant to update this every week in November, but as per usual, that didn’t happen. But, hey, we’re here now, so let’s talk about the things we love! 🙂

 

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_participantWRITING: NaNo was good this year. I didn’t make it to 50,000 words but I did get 29,116. That’s more than half and better than I’ve done in previous years. But really, the take away from this was that I still really love my story and there was no way I was going to be able to write the entire thing in a month, much less in 50,000 words. With all the words I did write, I’m not even half way through the story. I have no idea how long this is going to be, but it was liberating to just write.

I’ve had problems in the past where I over think every word choice and every scene. But I feel I truly let go of that this month. I just wrote whatever came to mind, even if I cringed while I wrote it and knew I’d have to change it, or kill the words, later. It didn’t matter, November was all about getting the words out of my head and onto the page.

That was a lot easier to do with my handy dandy AlphaSmart. I love this thing. *Hugs little keyboard*

 

READING: Two notable things here: 1) I finished Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I think this was one of my favorites of his. I’ve mentioned this before in my other reviews of Gaiman’s work, but sometimes I feel really disconnected from his characters and stories. It’s not always a bad feeling, but I’m used to being very sucked in to a story and sometimes reading Gaiman feels like a short drug trip that leaves me bewildered by the end.

Well, that wasn’t a problem with Neverwhere. This was pretty solid for me and the characters and world felt real and interesting. I enjoyed it a lot.

And the other cool reading thing is that I got to meet Brandon Sanderson last week! img_6870  I love his books, I love his writing style, world building, characters, everything. He’s a genius and I just want to crawl around in his head and figure out how he does it so well.

Anyway, I got to meet him and get a few books of his signed. I brought along my copy of Mistborn and ended up buying two new books. The one he was touring to promote Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection and an older one I’ve been meaning to read (an am currently devouring) Warbreaker. Sanderson is such a cool and nice guy. I ended up being near the end of the line and it was close to 11:30 by the time I got to him but he still smiled and talked to me even though he must have been exhausted.

I told him he was a big inspiration for me and then mentioned that I should be finishing up my NaNo. He said he needed to finish his too and then told me to go back to writing. 😀 I walked out of there glowing. 😀 Now one of the major things on my Bucket List, after getting published, is to become well known enough that I can be actual friends with the man. *sigh* A girl can dream. 😉

 

DOING: Well besides the usual Thanksgiving and getting ready for Christmas stuff, I found this fun little app called Colorify. It’s basically a digital adult coloring book with tons of different designs, patterns and mandalas. Here’s some of my better ones.

It’s really relaxing and a little easier than actual coloring with pencils and paper, since I can do it while laying in bed.

 

PLAYING: Hearthstone came out with a new expansion last week called Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. I’ve been playing a lot over the last few days. It’s a fun expansion with over 130 cards. I don’t have many yet since I only had the gold I’ve been hoarding over the last month. But I managed to get two dozen packs the first day and enough dust to craft a few extra cards.logo

This expansion introduces a few new card mechanics and combos, like being able to buff minions while they’re still in your hand, or summon a small minion that gets bigger every time it’s summoned, or being able to create your own spells. It’s very fun to play around with.

 

WATCHING: I recently discovered that my local library actually has a decent selection of DVD’s available. I picked up a few the other day, including Jane Got A Gun and Tales of Earthsea.

220px-gedo6snJane Got A Gun was fantastic. A tiny bit slow at times, but totally worth it in the end.

Tales of Earthsea was beautiful. Of course, it’s Studio Ghibli, they can’t do ugly. But, I felt like there’s a lot of the story I was missing. It made me desperate to read the book so I could understand it all. Earthsea has been on my To Read list for a long time. I’ll put it at the top now and find it after I finish Warbreaker.

 

Well, that’s what I’ve been up to the last couple weeks. What have you been, or will be, Writing, Reading, Doing, Playing or Watching? Leave a comment so we can squeal about the things we love! Thanks for dropping by!

WoRd PoW! #11: It’s That Time Again

WoRd PoW! #11: It’s That Time Again

 

happy-halloween-2

WRITING: Well, as you might have noticed I didn’t do my October writing challenge. But have no fear! Nano is here! I’ve been doing this 50,000 words in 30 days challenge off and on for 6 years. Only won once, back in 2013, but that doesn’t stop me from trying.

20161031_125751I feel really good about this year. I have this new dragon project I’m really excited about and, with both kids in school, I have a couple hours every morning to write. At my best I can do about 1000 words/minute.

 

 

Tiny confession, I may, or may not, have started writing this novel a week ago. And I may or may not include those words into my Nano total. I’m pretty sure I can do the 50k in 30 days but I’ve got a little buffer if I fall behind. 😉

 

READING: So I’ve read a couple books this last month. Here’s a quick list of what I’ve read and my star rating:

13638125 5 Stars  18739426 5 Stars  20764879 5 Stars

Currently I’m reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. And up next I’ve got Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson and Lindsey Stirling’s memoir The Only Pirate at the Party. I’ll do my usual full review of those in the coming weeks. If you want a full review of the 3 books I missed, leave a comment to let me know. 🙂

 

14568122_10101485182619388_5090967211692125511_nDOING: Well it is Halloween and it’s been a fun weekend. We made the boy’s costumes because what the boys wanted was pretty specific. William is a Wither Boss from Minecraft and Jacob is a spinosaurus. Not exactly costumes that you can find at Wal-Mart. We like using cardboard, duck tape and felt.

We also went to our church trunk-or-treat Saturday night and Daniel decked his, already, Jurassic Park themed car to look like an open dinosaur mouth, complete with roaring dinosaur noises. Excuse me while I brag a moment, but we all got awards. Jacob got Scariest Costume, William was Best Overall and Daniel’s bug got Best Trunk. Daniel deserves all the credit, he’s the one that put everything together.

 

thrall319PLAYING: Well of course I’m still playing far too much Hearthstone. I’ve been working hard to build the good decks that can compete in Ranked mode. The highest I’ve gotten is 13th with 2 out of 4 stars. That’s out of 25 levels, by the way. It’s tough because I’m still missing one card in my top deck.

I haven’t played Minecraft in over a month. But I’m excited for the 1.11 update to come out. The new hostile mobs and the llamas sound awesome.

 

love_26_friendship_posterWATCHING: I’ve been in a period piece mood lately, so I checked out the Amazon Original Love & Friendship. It’s based off a Jane Austen novella and it was great fun. All the characters are so ridiculous and crazy, but, as is typical with all of Austen’s work, everyone gets their happy ending. It was an enjoyable little movie to watch.

 

So that’s what I’ve been up to this last month. I will be updating this once a week throughout November so you can have updates on my Nano progress. If you want more day-to-day updates you should follow me on Twitter (link).

What have you been Writing, Reading, Doing, Playing and/or Watching? Leave a comment and let’s share the things we love! Thanks for dropping by!

Book Review: Elantris

Book Review: Elantris

9780765350374Elantris is Brandon Sanderson’s first published book. As a big fan of Sanderson, I can tell the difference between Elantris and his more recent work like the Mistborn series. Mistborn has more depth in general, but that does not mean Elantris isn’t a good book.

I give it a solid 4.5 stars. It’s a great stand alone book with hardly any loose ends. There’s room for sequels (which I think Sanderson is planning) but the story stays very self contained.

The story centers around the fallen city of Elantris. A city that was once home to god-like people, who, ten years before, contracted some kind of disease and lost all their magic powers. Now the city is akin to a leaper colony, full of the living dead, literally. The three main characters strive for power over the fallen city and it’s people in various ways.

Raoden, a prince who has been cursed with the Elantris disease, works to change the city from within by becoming a leader of the cursed people. Sarene, a foreign princess and Raoden’s fiancee, fights in the political arena for positive changes for all people in and out of Elantris. And finally, Hrathen, a priest and missionary of a harsh religion, seeks to convert the people to save them from destruction.

I love these three characters. They’re all engaging and different. Their goals and motivations often clash but it all works out in the end. I also love Sanderson’s explanation and descriptions of what it’s like to be a zombie, which the cursed people basically are.

*SPOILERS AHEAD* The people who contract the Elantris disease are literally the living dead. They have no heart beat, they don’t breathe, they don’t have to eat to survive. BUT they do feel hunger and every other pain, the difference is, the pain never goes away.

Just imagine stubbing your toe. You know that initial pain that hurts soooo bad? Now imagine that pain never going away, ever. The intensity and throbbing never fades, never gets better. Now add hunger pains, and a paper cut on top of all that and you’re pretty much in hell.

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Found this Japanese cover over at Sanderson’s site. Isn’t that amazing!

Sanderson did such a good job of describing all of this and making you feel it along with the characters. It’s a brilliant look at what it might really be like to be a zombie.

Now we get to the reason why I knocked off a half star for the book. The ending was a little confusing and the magic wasn’t well explained. At least, not compared to some of his other stories that work so hard to help the reader understand how the story world works. Of course, this was his first book, I can only assume he learned his lesson and has since gotten better in that department.

The ending is one big deus ex machina, partly because the magic isn’t explained as well as it could have been. So Raoden suddenly becomes god-like and is able to do anything, including teleporting across the ocean to save Sarene. Really, the big Ex Machina is one character who you only briefly see a few times and who suddenly isn’t crazy anymore and is able to judge and calculate impossible numbers. Real convenient there.

Also, I’m becoming pretty good at figuring mysteries out in books before the characters do. That isn’t always a bad thing, I like to be proven right, and wrong. What bugs me is when it takes forever for the characters to solve the puzzle.

For instance, I knew how to fix the Elantris magic  a while before Raoden did. As soon as they mentioned that the magic symbols are based on the geography of the country, I thought, “Oh yeah, that big chasm thing opened up over ten years ago and messed up the magic system. Just add a line for the chasm and everything should work.” It took the characters a few more chapters to figure that out. *END SPOILERS* 

As I said, this is a great book and a good one to start with if you haven’t read Brandon Sanderson before.

Question time! Have you read Elantris or any other Brandon Sanderson book? What are you reading this week end? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter.

Thanks for dropping by and have a great weekend!

Book Review: The Well of Ascension

well of ascension

5 STARS

This is the second book in the Mistborn trilogy and deals heavily with the political repercussions of over throwing a tyrannical government and trying to establish a form of democracy. There is a lot of sitting around and talking in this story, but I still really enjoyed it.

There’s a lot of character development, especially for Elend and Sazed. I really loved learning more about Sazed and his people. Elend becomes very enduring because of his idealism. I found myself rooting for him, hoping that he’d be able to create the utopia he dreams of. But, when there are three different armies at your front door, ready to kill you, ideals don’t mean much.

Vin is conflicted through the entire book and I was a little annoyed by that because I felt like there was a love triangle type thing developing, lucky that was squashed. (I’m really tired of love triangles) But the real conflict within Vin is her struggle of not knowing if killing the Lord Ruler was the right thing to do. Since so little is known about the time before the Lord Ruler’s ascension, or even how he ascended, Vin is worried that the Deepness is returning to destroy the world.

Vin is convinced that if she can find the Well of Ascension, she can save her city and its people. But, well, this is only the second book of three, so obviously, things don’t go well.

Overall, a very solid second book that leads into a promising third.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend! Leave a comment and tell me what you’re reading this weekend.

Book Review: Mistborn

5 STARS

mblg

I really loved this book, like completely. 🙂 Sooo well written. Great, complex characters. Strong world building and a unique magical system.

It starts off feeling really bleak and at first I wasn’t sure I’d like it. But as I got to know Vin and Kelsier and the rest of the characters I fell in love. The magic system is pretty much flawless. It’s powerful and full of possibilities but there are a lot of drawbacks as well. Those who practice it are not all powerful, which I really like. It’s too easy to have a magic system that turns it’s users into unbeatable gods.

The ending had a tragic, yet pleasant twist. Tragic because bad things happen to really good people, but pleasant because you don’t see the twist coming. I like to be surprised that way.

So if you like high/epic fantasy, I highly recommend this. It’s a great book and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series, and anything else Sanderson has written. 🙂

What are you going to read this weekend? Tell me in the comments below! At the moment I’m throwing a book across the room because it’s so bad. Maybe I’ll do a post about it later.

Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!