Ultimate 2017 Word Count Goal Complete

In which I talk about setting goals and destroying them.

Capture
A lot of words

 

New high score.

Last year, I wrote roughly 75,000 words total. So at the beginning of this year, I set that number as my goal to beat. I have to admit, while my intention had been to reach this sooner than April, a part of me didn’t expect to make it at all. So high five to me! This is the most I’ve ever written in just three-ish months. It’s also the most I’ve written within the span of one year.

Target destroyed, my dudes. Here’s to seeing how much I’ll have written by the end.

This progress tracker is from mywriteclub.com, which is a neat and simple tool for keeping up with your writing progress. It doesn’t just track your words, but also scenes, chapters, pages, lines, etc. If you, like me, get a high from watching that progress bar go up, check it out. And if you, like me, would care to have a writing buddy/cheerleader, look me up here.

Book Review: Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

The narrative style is quick and punchy enough to keep me turning pages, the wit snaps, and the characters are quite lifelike. I’d definitely hang out with this bunch of goofballs and have a good time with them.

Hold Me Closer
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, by Lish McBride

Synopsis:

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

(Via Goodreads)

My Impressions:

About the Author:

 

Lish McBride
Lish McBride, image from foreveryoungadult.com

 

Lish McBride lives and works in the Pacific Northwest as a Young Adult novelist.  She’s written two books about Sam LaCroix and she has another series she’s writing that starts with Firebug. While I haven’t read this one of hers yet, Leigh Bardugo — whose book Six of Crows was the subject of one of my more fangirly previous posts — publicly acclaimed it on Twitter, so Firebug is going straight onto my to-be-read listHold Me Closer, Necromancer is McBride’s first novel.

About the Book:

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is a character-driven urban fantasy set in Seattle, Washington and populated with a plethora of magical creatures, namely some witches, a mess of werewolves, and, of course, a couple of necromancers. It’s not the John Dies at the End story I expected based on the description. (Why would I think that? I don’t know. That’s just what I got out of it.) More like something in the vein of The Dresden Files books, but for young adults.

Though the book is designated as Young Adult, the main character, Sam LaCroix, is really a new adult, just post-graduation and stuck in a soul-sucking fast food job with little to no hope of a fulfilling career. His wry attitude makes such all-too-familiar agony bearable though, as he’s a guy capable of rolling with the punches with good humor. He has a handful of solid friends who have his back when his entire life takes a turn for the weird. I dig how the villain, Douglas Montgomery, is constantly in motion, not sitting on the sidelines or waiting for Sam to bring the fight to him. The narrative style is quick and punchy enough to keep me turning pages, the wit snaps, and the characters are quite lifelike. I’d definitely hang out with this bunch of goofballs and have a good time with them.

There were some parts that didn’t thrill me too much. For example, the really cool, kickass chick spends nearly all of her time in a cage magically designed to keep her half-breed self locked up, and the rest of her time flirting with Sam. She does get one awesome and well-deserved fight at the end, but that’s it. The romance isn’t mushy, as my local library promised (half the reason I picked this up, aside from the word necromancer on the cover), but, as is my main complaint with most YA romances, it comes off a bit forced. Also, while Sam’s narrative is in first person point of view, we get the point of view of several other characters, all of those in third person. Switching between first person and third person bugs me, but that may just be a personal peeve. I really liked getting into Sam’s head, but I found myself less interested in the other characters and looked forward to when we would get back to his part of the story.

McBride takes a decent amount of time with her wrap-up to tie up any loose ends, which I appreciate. Her execution struck me as kind of odd, however, until I found out there’s a second book in the series, for which she was setting up. I think she could have put most of the ending content at the beginning of the next book and it would have been a good deal neater. But it was just intriguing enough that I think I’ll be checking out the sequel, Necromancing the Stone.

Goodreads rating 3.95 stars
My rating 4/5 stars

 

Book Review: Crooked Kingdom

As a sequel to Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom hits the ground running, carrying the energy of the previous book by dropping its readers into the beginning of a new heist-in-progress, one that will determine the fate of our favorite bunch of gangsters.

Crooked Kingdom
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Synopsis:

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets — a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

(Via Barnes & Noble)

My Impressions:

About the Author:

#1 New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Young Adult fantasy. In addition to The Six of Crows Duology, she has written The Grisha Trilogy–set in the same world of the Grisha as Six of Crows–along with a couple of kids books. According to her website, she has three more books in the works.

About the Book:

Get ready, because the action hasn’t stopped.

As a sequel to Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom hits the ground running, carrying the energy of the previous book by dropping its readers into the beginning of a new heist-in-progress, one that will determine the fate of our favorite bunch of gangsters. Kaz Brekker’s team of dangerous criminals are now outlaws and the stakes are higher than ever; even though they should be on the run, they’re out to rescue their captured friend from the clutches of a back-stabbing merchant overlord. Reeling from the successes and failures of the previous adventure and, with no resources or allies, they can only rely on each other for survival.

Just when I thought this bunch of badass misfits couldn’t get any cooler, they do. As they each capitalize on the lessons they learned in the last book, we get to watch them become a force to be reckoned with in the face of more and more danger. Tension and conflict and character development take off right out the gate so that, when I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down until halfway through, and then only because I had to sleep. Bardugo makes you think you know where the plot is going, only to draw the curtain back to reveal the hidden mirrors. You just thought, she smirks at you. Her character, Kaz Brekker, not only stays a step ahead of his enemies (for the most part), but also ahead of the readers, making for delicious twists and surprises.

The Six of Crows Duology is technically a sequel to The Grisha Trilogy. A few characters from the trilogy are mentioned and some even make an appearance (squee-worthy for those of us who’ve read both), but readers need not have read about the Grisha to enjoy this story. Bardugo seamlessly weaves their backstories in so newcomers will not be left in the dark.

This story is masterfully woven into a fast-paced tale of anti-hero justice and vengeance, clever heists, cunning tricks, and intriguing characters, all set in the beautiful 1900s-esque merchant undercity of Ketterdam. I’m especially pleased that the narrative reaches a satisfying climax for all characters involved and it takes enough time with the wrap-up to answer all lingering questions. If you’ve read Six of Crows, you won’t be disappointed with this crowning sequel. If you haven’t and you’re not quite convinced, you can read my review of the prequel before you go pick it up.

No mourners, no funerals.

Goodreads rating: 4.63 stars
My rating: 5/5 stars

Book Review: Six of Crows

This story takes readers on an emotional roller coaster of bated breath, joyous highs, and gut twisting plunges. Quick, heart-pounding, witty, and never dull.

Six of Crows
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Synopsis:

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

(via Goodreads)

My Impressions:

About the Author:

Leigh Bardugo
#1 New York Times-bestselling author, Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo  is a #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Young Adult fantasy. In addition to The Six of Crows Duology, she has written The Grisha Trilogy–set in the same world of the Grisha as Six of Crows–along with a couple of kids books. According to her website, she has three more books in the works.

About the Book:

Six of Crows is about quick wit and devotion from a handful of people who must put their faith in a young man haunted by a tortured past. It blazes forward with the unrelenting energy of heist stories such as Ocean’s Eleven and Now You See Me, but is set in the early 1900s-esque fantasy country of Kerch. Here, profit is king and Kaz Brekker is a devoted follower. He and five other characters drive the story, facing increasingly dangerous situations and overcoming deadly odds in the pursuit of their collective and individual goals.

All of the characters are anti-heroes in their own ways–criminals, rejects, wasters, killers, and traitors, morally ambiguous to the last. But they are human; relatable, tragic, and beautiful. I love all of them, but my favorite is Kaz Brekker. He’s a Slytherclaw in personality (like me)–brilliant, ruthless, cunning, and one of the few main characters I’ve witnessed who has both a psychological and a physical handicap. The tale contains several other instances like this of breaking from your typical, cookie-cutter hero types. So if you, like me, are interested in fresh and creative characters, you should check this book out.

The Six of Crows Duology is technically a sequel to The Grisha Trilogy. A few characters from the trilogy are mentioned and some even make an appearance (squee-worthy for those of us who’ve read both), but readers need not have read about the Grisha to enjoy this story. Bardugo masterfully weaves their backstories in so newcomers will not be left in the dark.

This story takes readers on an emotional roller coaster of bated breath, joyous highs, and gut twisting plunges. Quick, heart-pounding, witty, and never dull.

Goodreads reviewers gives Six of Crows 4.45 stars, but I give it 5 stars. Highly recommended.

Second 2017 Writing Goal Complete

In which I talk about meeting word goals and fangirl about new books.

word-count-goal-2
A novice novelist wrote words. So many words. Not pictured: madness.

Pant. Puff. Wheeze.

I hit 50,000 words on my novel last night. Two days past my personal deadline (as indicated by the slightly darker green on the right side of that graph up there). That was my fault, for taking too many days off, for writing a draft for one short-story, and then for writing/revising a second short-story. I also caught a gross cold. There are only 28 days in February, dude. In case you might have forgotten, like apparently I did. Not enough time to complete that many projects, jeez.

The miracle, really, is that I made it to 50,000 words at all. Only two days past deadline. Sure, accomplished writers could manage that by just flexing their fingers in the direction of a keyboard. But I’m not one of those (yet). I’ve only written this much on a single piece once before and that was six years ago. But I never could have done this last year. Back then, I might have quit around 10,000 words.

This, my friend, is progress. So I’m giving myself two rewards for such a feat.

1)  Taking today off to roll up a new Dungeons & Dragons character. I’m thinking a necromancer rogue? We’ll see how the mechanics shake out. Lichdom, here I come!

2) Pre-ordering this little gem:

all-the-crooked-saints
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

All the Crooked Saints is a new fantasy Young Adult stand-alone novel written by my favorite author, Maggie Stiefvater. Most of the details haven’t been released yet, but Goodreads gives the description as “Saints. Miracles. Family. Romance. Death. Redemption.” Pre-ordering with Fountain Bookstore means I’ll get a limited edition, signed and doodled copy, but I’m just happy to read another one of Stiefvater’s fantastic stories.

I’ll stop fangirling now. Tomorrow, it’s back to noveling!

This progress tracker is from mywriteclub.com, which is a neat and simple tool for keeping up with your writing progress. It doesn’t just track your words, but also scenes, chapters, pages, lines, etc. If you, like me, get a high from watching that progress bar go up, check it out. And if you, like me, would care to have a writing buddy/cheerleader, look me up here.

First 2017 Writing Goal Complete

First 2017 Writing Goal

I made it to my first word goal last month! To celebrate, I got myself a new haircut and it’s wicked adorable. Now only 75,000-ish more words to go to complete this novel draft. I’m this. close. to hitting my next word count goal before the end of this month. Just have to power through this icky cold.

This progress tracker is from mywriteclub.com, which is a neat and simple tool for keeping track of your writing progress. It doesn’t just track your words, but also scenes, chapters, pages, lines, etc. If you, like me, get a high from watching that progress bar go up, check it out. And if you, like me, would like a writing buddy/cheerleader, look me up here.