April 30, 2014

What's Up Wednesday


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop created by me and my sister, Erin Funk, to help connect writers on this writing journey. With that aim in mind, if you'd like to join us, we encourage you to visit other WUW blogs each week, get to know some of the other writers taking part, and spread some writerly love! Don't forget to leave the link to your post in the widget at the end of this post. ***Please remember to link back to our host blogs and/or use one of the buttons. We really appreciate it!***

For those of you who are new to WUW, here are the headings we are using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Welcome, and thank you for joining us! 





WHAT I'M READING
I FINALLY finished DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS and was mostly satisfied with how she wrapped up Karou's story. That being said, I do have to admit I was put off by the purple prose this time around. I've always loved Laini Taylor's writing, but I think this particular book felt a bit bogged down by pretty wording, and like there was too much character introspection and time spent on things that didn't advance the plot. An entire page dedicated to Zuzana's eyebrow is, in my opinion, a touch indulgent. Clocking in at a whopping 613 pages, I think it could have been tightened up. And that's all I'm going to say about that. 

Upon finishing this gargantuan book, I was craving something a wee bit lighter (in weight and content), so I promptly moved on to THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME by Jennifer E. Smith. I'm enjoying it, though perhaps less so than THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT and THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE by the same author. Still, it's a pretty fun read.

WHAT I'M WRITING
So, I sat down to hammer out more revisions on my YA sci-fi, WATCH OF NIGHT, worked on that for a bit until I hit a wall...and ended up giving in to the pull of a YA contemporary I started drafting last spring/summer. Turns out IN THE END is exactly what I'm in the mood to work on right now. Look, I figure some writing is better than no writing. Rather than do irreparable damage in revisions because I'm not feeling it (at all), I might as well go where the inspiration leads. Still working on revisions, just...less.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
Is it weird to say the human brain? The ability to recall things years after last accessing them is pretty fascinating to me. I started working on my French course and it blows my mind exactly how much of the language I still remember after not really using it for about 10 years. It makes me want to fill my brain to the brim with a bunch of interesting things. Learning new stuff is rad.

The sweater I'm making:
"Australorp" by Berroco
WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
I'm about 2/3 done the sweater I've been knitting. It's a simple pattern and has whipped up rather quickly, which is probably why I've stuck with it. Not much left to knit now. Can't wait 'til it's done!
"CLEO"

Book club this month was over Sunday brunch, which was a nice change from the norm (Friday night with appies, wine, and sweets). I think only one person finished the book this time, though. And it's looking like May's read is going to be almost as exciting. (Which is to say, not at all.) After that, I went with a friend to the stables where her thoroughbread is kept. I got to help brush the horse down and even ride her (sort of--Adrianne led us around). Beautiful horse, beautiful day, and a great way to spend a Sunday, if you ask me.

Other than that, I've been doing the usual sort of things: reading; babysitting; going to pipe band (I'm officially done with lessons now); writing here and there; watching Veronica Mars, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Veep, Silicon Valley (a weird combo, to be sure); enjoying the gorgeous weather; hanging with the hubs; and not much else.

Oh, and I won a copy of THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN by Meredith McCardle from the always lovely Katy Upperman! I'm so excited to read it, and very grateful to Katy, of course. Thanks a bunch! 



Well, that's it for me.
WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU, FRIENDS?



* I thoroughly enjoyed DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE and frequently found myself stopping to savour Laini Taylor's writing. I felt like it sort of skirted the line of purple, but didn't quite cross it (some would disagree). I will always respect her ability to string together beautiful words, even if it was a bit too much for me this time around with DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS.


51 comments:

  1. Well, we've already discussed DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS, so you know my opinions on it were exactly the same as yours. Big surprise, seeing as we rarely disagree on books. I'm glad you're working on IN THE END. I love the concept for that story and want to read it once you're done drafting. Maybe inspiration will return for WATCH OF NIGHT eventually. The sweater you're knitting is so pretty, and it looks cozy too! Riding Cleo must have been so much fun. I want to reach into that picture and pet her she's so cute. :)

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    1. I mentioned in my comment on your blog that I read a review that was spot on how we both felt about the book. So spot on. I bookmarked it to show you. I figured the people who gave it 3 stars were probably in the same camp we were--wanted to love it but were put off by some stuff. I wasn't wrong.

      I'm pretty excited to work on IN THE END again. It's the time of year, I think. It helps that it's set in Eastern Michigan, somewhere similar to Petoskey. This time of year rolls around and I start thinking of fudge, manure, and lilacs. ;-) I feel like it's not going to need crazy amounts of revision either (I'm probably wrong), so that's heartening. As for WATCH OF NIGHT, I think it's more that it's tying my brain in knots right now. Once I figure out some key things, I think the rest should (hopefully) flow from there. We'll see, I guess.

      I can't believe how quickly this sweater is whipping up. I mean, I think it helped that Mom and I spent so much time knitting when she was here, but even so. Pretty darn easy. The unfortunate thing is that I'll probably finish it in time for really nice weather aka *not* sweater weather lol. Ah well.

      Cleo is an absolute sweetheart of a horse. It honestly makes me wish I knew how to ride for real. I told Adrianne any time she wants company at the stables I'd go with her. With Claritin in my system, of course. ;-)

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  2. Ooohhhh which YA contemporary is it? (the retelling or the other one?) :-) Exciting!
    And wow, lucky you, I can't wait to get my hands on THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN :-) And Cleo is adorable, glad you had a good time!

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    1. It's the other one, not the retelling. I think I told you a bit about it before??? (Can't remember.) I'll have to get some of it off to you so you can have a little taste of what it's like. ;-) I'm so super excited about reading THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN. I'm definitely a lucky girl. :-)

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  3. Always, always, always write what feels best :) Enjoy!

    Hah, that is a great combo of TV shows. Good to see The Walking Dead there. That's such an amazing show.

    Dude, seriously, a page dedicated to eyebrows?! A sentence couldn't say what needed to be said? Yikes.

    Have a great week!

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    1. I wholeheartedly agree: writing what feels best is the only way to go. I'd rather work on something that inspires more writing rather than something that makes me not want to write.

      We're still catching up on this season's The Walking Dead. I think we only have about two more episodes to go? Not sure. It was definitely a good season!

      I'm not even kidding about the eyebrow. She was trying to get across just how spunky and don't-mess-with-me a character was, but seriously. Say it and move on. This is just one example where less could have been more. Hope you're having a great week, Cole!

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  4. I've decided to save GODS & MONSTERS for the trip to Phoenix I'm taking in June. I figure it's more of a veg-out-and-read-by-the-pool book. I've been hearing majorly mixed reviews, but I'm still excited to read. I'm very curious about how Karou and Akiva's story concludes.

    I'm with you on the writing front. I'm not working on what I *should* be working on, but I'm still working, and I'm feeling inspired. I feel like since I'm not under some sort of writing contract, I'm allowed to write what feels fun. I'd rather be under contract, to be complete honest, but for now, I'll take it. :-)

    I'm super impressed that you're knitting a sweater! Please post photos when it's done.

    Have a great week, Jaime!

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    1. I definitely recommend reading GODS & MONSTERS in larger chunks if you can. Picking it up and putting it down over a long period of time is really no way to tackle this one. I hope you like it. There was a lot that I liked about it, even if there were things that bothered me. I'm still completely wowed by the way Laini Taylor crafts sentences no matter what I thought of this book.

      Nothing like feeling inspired by what you're writing. I think following the inspiration is the only real way to go. I mean, I know sometimes you just have to power through the un-fun stuff, but I'm in a place where it's the difference between writing and not writing, so I think I'll take writing. :-)

      I'll definitely post pics when I finish the sweater. Shouldn't be too much longer now. It's been ages since I finished a project of this size, so I'm pretty excited to see how it turns out. Hope you're having an awesome week, Katy! :-)

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  5. I'm likewise often surprised by how much I remember, and that includes the French I studied back in school. I was by no means fluent, but vocabulary and grammatical forms seem to have become lodged in my head over the years. The same with the Latin I learned in school, though I have actively tried to retain and build upon as much of that as possible.

    All the best with your writing, Jaime, whether the WIP or the SNI. I would tend toward the view that it's better to finish one project before starting another, but if you're not "into" it at the moment, and another project is occupying your attention--better go with the other project. It's all writing, and it's all good. :)

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    1. I think it helps when you start working on acquiring a new language from an early age. Growing up in Ontario (next to Quebec, our francophone province), we had to take French from grade one on. It has a way of taking root and making language acquisition just that much easier when you start early. I will definitely consider French Immersion for our kids if they ever show up lol. I tried teaching myself Latin some years ago and didn't make it very far. I always planned on going back and trying again. It fascinates me like no other language.

      So the story I'm working on isn't a true SNI. I actually wrote a good-sized chunk of it last summer, so I guess you could say I'm revisiting it. ;-) For me right now it's the difference between writing and not writing, so I'm going to go with whatever encourages me to write. I know I need to power through the revision at some point, and I think once I figure out a few key things, it should be *much* smoother sailing from that point on. I hope so, anyway! Have a great week, Colin!

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  6. I've heard mixed things about the last book in that trilogy. I went to Laini's book tour stop here in Boston and got to hear her speak for the last book. Interesting talk since they couldn't give spoilers (for people like me who haven't even read the first book) but they talked a lot about Laini's writing process and how she outlines and pretty much sets books in places she wishes she could visit. Prague was actually a place Laini and her husband Jim visited to do a graphic novel but it never took off…instead she used the place to set her own novel.

    Good luck with your writing Jaime!!! :)

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    1. While I didn't completely love DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS, I definitely want to give Laini Taylor props for crafting such beautiful sentences. In this case, I just wish it had been reigned in a teensy bit. (And by 'teensy', I mean by a couple hundred pages lol.) She'll always be one of those authors I look to for pretty prose, that's for sure. I visited Prague back in high school, so I absolutely loved that setting for DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE. Makes me want to take a trip there again! You know, she might be on to something. If you set a story somewhere you *want* to go, then it gives you a good excuse to plan a trip. Research! ;-) Have a great week, Rachel!

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  7. Yay for YA contemps! That's what I'm working on. Bummed to hear about Dreams of Gods and Monsters. I'm on book 2 but doing audio for the series. I finished The Geography and agree with you. It's good but I like the other two books of hers a lot more.

    Woo!!!! Veronica Mars!!!!!!!!! :-)

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    1. I have too many genres that I'd love to write lol. I *do* love this YA contemporary idea, so I'm happy to work on it. :-)

      So, you never know, you might love DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS. A lot of people did. While I really like the way Laini Taylor crafts a sentence (seriously gorgeous prose), I just wish she'd reigned it in a bit in this book. In the end, she satisfied me with the conclusion, so that's not too shabby. As for THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME, I think we're probably not alone in the way we feel about it. It just seems to be lacking in that special magic that the other two had. I'm not quite done, so I can't really say, but I think that's the overall feeling I'm getting.

      And honestly, I don't think I'll ever tire of Veronica Mars. Woo is right! :D

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  8. Is it the YA contemp that involves Montauk? :) I've been jumping around between projects, too--sometimes you just have to wait for the right moment to work on something in particular.
    I'm very impressed by that sweater! I love the style.

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    1. No, that was my PERSUASION retelling, ONLY ANNIE. Still have to get back to revising that one sometime too. *sigh* Can you tell I'm having a hard time nailing it down to one project? I think you're totally right about timing and the projects we work on. I'm going where the inspiration is right now because it's the difference between writing and not writing.

      As for the sweater, I think it's going to be finished just in time for non-sweater weather. LOL. Ah well. Come fall I'm going to be thrilled to have a new sweater! Have a great week, Rebecca! :-)

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  9. I have the DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS audiobook waiting for me to download. Your assessment is consistent with what I've heard from other folks. Switching up the work because you just aren't feeling it is a practice I need to get try. So often I get frustrated and end up NOT writing for days on end. It's so much harder to start again after a break like that.

    Thanks for the inspiration to try something new. Have a great week.

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    1. I wonder if I'd like the audiobook better? I feel like her writing would probably really lend itself to being read aloud, given how poetic it is. I think I probably would have liked it way more if it had been whittled down 100-200 pages. Ah well. Can't love 'em all, right?

      I have the exact same reaction to frustration when I'm writing. I shut down and walk away. I figure following the inspiration and writing is so much better than *not* writing. It helps that my two WiPs are so completely different from each other. It might get difficult switching gears otherwise. You should definitely give it a try! Hope you're having a great week! :-)

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  10. Love your new sweater! I always say that if I had any sewing/knitting ability I would have so many clothes.

    I think giving into the YA contemp is good and I'm not just saying that b/c contemporary is my favorite :)

    Have a fantastic week!

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    1. I can sew, knit, and crochet, and yet I don't seem to make use of those skills nearly enough. I need to find more simple patterns like this one and make more sweaters! We have an awful lot of sweater weather here in Alberta, so it would definitely be useful!

      When it comes to writing, I think you have to go where the inspiration leads. In this case, it's toward the contemporary WiP. I'll still work on the sci-fi, but it needs some figuring out still. In the meantime, I'd rather write something than nothing, you know? Hope you're having a great week!

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  11. I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone but I had a hard time with the second one. I've got Dreams of Gods and Monsters reserved at the library and I want to finish the series to see how it ends, but I'm not exactly jumping up and down in excitement to get it.
    Write what you're loving and don't worry that you're not doing those revisions right now. I definitely say go with what you're feeling because you're work will reflect it.

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    1. I had much the same reaction to the first two books in the series. Loved the first one, was iffy on the second. It's hard to get excited about a 613 page book, in my opinion. Even if you love a series to death, it seems a bit big. Who knows? Maybe you'll love it. :-)

      I agree wholeheartedly with you about your work reflecting what you love, or the opposite. I really don't want to do damage to the story in revisions, so I'll work on the other that's grabbing my attention right now. Hope you're having a great week, Melanie!

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  12. Sometimes it's best to go where inspiration leads you! I can't revise when I'm not in the mood, so I'll usually work on something else until I feel like digging into revisions.

    I kind of felt the same about DoGoM - with the first two books in the series, I didn't notice the length because I was completely hooked, whereas I felt 600-odd pages was a bit too much! Perhaps because the plot didn't seem to progress for a while and there were a few too many POV changes. But I'm still envious of Laini Taylor's writing skills!

    Have a great week!

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    1. That's exactly my approach to writing. If I'm not feeling the revisions, it's going to be a terrible experience and I'll just end up doing damage to the story. Best to work on what I'm in the mood for right now.

      I feel the same way you do about Laini Taylor's writing. I'm still wowed by the way the lady can craft a sentence. So, so good! That said, I wish the book had picked up sooner and that she narrowed it down to only a couple points of view. I mean, I get why she didn't, but still. If a book is going to be 600+ pages, it had better move a bit faster than this one did.

      Hope you're having a great week, Emma!

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  13. One can't always force writing - that's why I don't hold much from the 'You must write everyday' theory. Sometimes it's better to simply turn to other things.

    You'll show us a picture of the sweater when it's done, right? I'm sure it's gorgeous :)

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    1. I agree: sometimes it *is* better to turn to other things, whether that's a different story altogether, or just things outside of writing. I'd rather not ruin the story I'm revising by working on it when I'm just not feeling it. I'm in the mood for this other story, so why not see where it goes? The point is, I'm writing, and that's a good thing. :-)

      I'll definitely post pictures of the completed sweater. It's been awhile since I finished a knitting project of this size, so I'm pretty excited about seeing the end product and showing it off. Too bad sweater season has come to an abrupt halt in these parts. Have a great week, Tonja!

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  14. Yay for the Eighth Guardian! She's my pub sis and both our books officially release tomorrow! My copy should be in the mail.

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    1. I'm so excited about reading it! I'm thinking I might have to buy a copy for someone else since I'm getting this one for free. You know, support the author and whatnot. Another book by an author we both know will be showing up on my Kindle tomorrow... ;-) Can't wait to read your book!

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  15. I find the human brain inspiring too! I've only read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I did enjoy it and I have the sequel on my shelf to read as soon as I can make it through the stack I'm working on lol...

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    1. I definitely loved DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE. The writing, the setting, the story... so good! I just wish I loved Book 3 a little more. It had so many of these elements, just too many words. Ah well. Hope you love it!

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  16. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one my absolute favorites! Also, I really enjoyed participating in this meme for the first time. Glad I found it!

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    1. It's one of my absolute favourites, too. The writing is just so gorgeous and the setting is fantastic, too! Welcome to WUW! We're happy to have you, Minerva! :-)

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  17. I still haven't read any of Laini's books, and I know I need to! I have the Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and need to get it out and read it already. I think it's great that you are working on what inspires you! I agree with you, writing at all is a good place to be.

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    1. Her writing is absolutely gorgeous. If you like pretty prose, then you'll be wowed by DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE. And what's not to love about a book set in Prague with a protag who has blue hair? So good. DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS had all the right elements, just far too many words, in my opinion. It caused some pacing issues and just overall made it a bit tough to get through. Tons of people loved the heck out of it, so who knows? You might love it, too! :-)

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  18. It's great that you can take a break with your other WIP. Sometimes you need to force your way through lack of motivation, but other times you just need to step away. Sounds like the latter was the right move for you. :) And yes! The brain is super fascinating!

    Good to hear your thoughts on Dreams of Gods & Monsters. I still haven't started yet. I agree with you about her prose from the first book being at just the right place to be pretty without being purple. So I'm curious to see how I'll find it in this last book. But I do love her prose though. She is one of my biggest writing crushes!

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    1. That's exactly it: sometimes you need to power through, but sometimes you just need to take a step back. I'm still working on the revisions, but I'll be spending the bulk of my time drafting the other story until I finally figure out exactly what needs to happen in the revisions. Hey, it can't be bad to have more than one project to work on, right? ;-)

      I think DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS had all the right elements, but they were crowded out by too many words, too many POVs, and pacing issues. A lot of people loved it, so you might too! I hope so anyway. And I agree with you: she's one of my writing crushes, too. Her prose is absolutely gorgeous!

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  19. I'm looking forward to returning to these updates after a month off for the A to Z challenge. I still need to re-read the second Laini Taylor series book because I listened to it the car and lost track of what was happening. Yet I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

    Also, this is the third post I've seen today with a picture of a horse and references to riding. I think it's a sign that I need to write a YA about a girl with a horse. You know, after I finish revising the 2 projects I'm working on. I can't stop the idea wheels from spinning.

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    1. I'm looking forward to having you back! We've missed you. :-)

      You know what I did to refresh my memory on DAYS OF BLOOD & STARLIGHT? (There was no way I was rereading it before starting a 600+ page book.) There's a site called the Recaptains that has pretty detailed summaries of books so you can go into the next book with your memory refreshed. I found that super helpful and felt like I knew what was going on when I started Book 3. I, too, loved DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE. What a gorgeous book!

      That's too funny about the posts with horses. I'm never around horses, so this was kind of weird for me. You should totally write a story with horses! Clearly they're popular. ;-) I have three different projects on the go, so I should probably stick to those, right? Hope you're having a wonderful week, Stephanie!

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  20. Good luck with the YA Contemporary - it's always nice to work on something when you're really in the mood to work on it, and I think spring/summer time tends to lend itself to the contemporary genre. :)

    It's great to hear that the French is going well! Have a great week!

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    1. You're so right about spring/summer and contemporary. Every year at this time I start to crave contemporary. I'm just happy to have projects to work on, you know? It would suck not to have any story ideas and here I have at least two already on the go. And I'm pretty lucky that I feel motivated to work on one of them. That goes along way when you're drafting. Hope you're having a wonderful week, Jess!

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  21. Have not read Dreams of Gods and Monsters and probably will not get around to it anytime soon. I am not a big fan of series or trilogies for some reason. Maybe its because most great books have satisfying endings and that pretty much describes Daughter of Smoke and Bone for me. I don't always need a continued story and a new ending. But, I love Taylor's writing style--from the first sentence of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I am positive she has gorgeous lines in all three novels, so if I read them, that will be why.

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    1. I don't mind series, but I do find that so many of them are ending in ways that don't feel satisfying. I have at least three trilogies--possibly more--on my shelves that didn't end well, in my opinion. Book 1 was great, Book 2 was only 'meh', and Book 3 was not at all what I wanted in all of these trilogies. Frustrating, to say the least. I think more standalones need to crop up in some of these other genres. I'd be all over that!

      I, too, love Laini Taylor's writing style. Her prose is simply gorgeous. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE will always be one of my favourite books ever. So well written and captivating!

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  22. I can't wait to read THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME. Good luck with your revisions. Have a great weekend!

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    1. It's definitely a cute book, though I'll always love THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT the most of the three. Totally heart-warming and adorable. Have a great week, Amy! :-)

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  23. Writing is writing! Even if it's not what you were planning to work on, but it sounds like you might need a break from your other project, anyway :) Good luck with the new WIP!

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  24. Ooh, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is next on the TBR list. (I feel so hopelessly behind the curve on that one.)
    And I love horseys. Used to have two of my own, when I was a kid.

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  25. How fun to be taking a French course! And even more fun that you are finding you remember so much. I minored in French in college and even traveled to France once (stayed with a family for a whole week and spoke nothing but French). But my brain is not as marvelous as yours, lol. I can't remember a thing!! Ugh. Maybe some day I'll have an excuse to pick it up again. Have a great week! :)

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  26. I got so swept up into Dreams of Gods and Monsters I guess the purple prose didn't bother me too much. But Daughter of Smoke and Bone is my favorite! And I totally get you about being inspired about our brains :) I love the endless creativity we are capable of (just wish I could turn it on like a faucet sometimes when I feel stuck)

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  27. I'm interested to hear your thoughts on THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME. I read some reviews that said the romance was kind of small seeing as the two main characters barely interact with one another. I think if I read it, I'd be looking for a good romance, so I'm hesitant. That said, I love her other books, so there statistical probability of book love at first read is high. :)

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  28. I may have to wait for the DVD of The Walking Dead. Channel 5 dropped it and Once Upon a Time. I mean, what an insane thing to do. They're the only shows worth watching on that channel and it's killing me when I hear about what's been happening!

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  29. I haven't yet read DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS, because I was behind on beta reading when it arrived. I'm all caught up, but it's been having sleep overs the last several nights with my friends. Should get it back tomorrow or Wednesday--hopefully no later!
    I agree--some writing is better than none. Hopefully working on your contemp will get your creativity flowing and get you excited to work on you syfy again. Good luck!

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