Half-Way Nano Point
Outside the Reviews / November 16, 2017

Every Nanowrimo I’ve done so far has brought some new experience with it. This year, so far… this year’s record is “most re-starts”. I didn’t hit it off with my first story idea, persisted for about 14K words, and then when I still didn’t like any of it I decided to start a new story. That one didn’t work either. I’m working on my third beginning now, and this time I love the story-idea. I’m still not confident in my own ability to write it, or at least write it as well as it deserves – but G. K. Chesteron once said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly,” and besides, I’m not about to break my Nano-win streak. So, current wordcount for my Nano novel: 3448 words. Someone send help. (A new muse would be good, or a box of writing ability. Failing that, chocolate.) Actually, speaking of chocolate, I decided to participate in the Nanowrimo swap this year: a participant-organized parcel swap, where writers trade small packages of useful things. Like chocolate. I got an absolutely wonderful partner, who sent me (among other things) an amazing ravenclaw hat, a new TARDIS notebook, and, yes, chocolate. The day that…

Five Reasons to Read Brandon Sanderson
Outside the Reviews / November 10, 2017

By Bernadette and Marietta Oathbringer, the third book in the Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson, is coming out in just a few days! ​Because we just can’t wait in honor of the occasion, we’ve compiled a list of five reasons to read Brandon Sanderson’s books. If you’ve never read his books, I hope this can convince you to remedy that situation, as well as explaining why I’m such a huge fan of his. 1. All The Shattered Characters. Wait, what? No, I meant it. Sanderson’s books are full of characters with tragic backstories; but instead of being a pity-point, these backgrounds are critical to the formation of said characters, shaping complex, often conflicted people with real issues that will affect the story and their part in it. There’s Kelsier, a former-slave who came into his powers when he ‘snapped’, both magically and almost mentally, after losing everything; he will literally change the world he lives in, and the course he chooses remains one of a man who will give everything up to save the world. There’s Vin, street-urchin and thief, a girl who grew up with betrayal and death; and it will take thousands and thousands of pages of the long series…

The Scorpio Races
Young Adult / November 6, 2017

Author: Maggie Stiefvater. Summary: Some race to win. Others race to survive. It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition – the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen. My Thoughts: If it were possible to give a book a formal apology, I’d be writing that for The Scorpio Races right now instead of this review. I read this book over a year ago, by a friend’s request, when I’d just started doing content-reviews. At that point I was keeping track of content in my head. (Quick word to the wise: NO. DON’T. Your memory of the book will be heavily…

How To Get All The Books
Outside the Reviews / November 5, 2017

First, a quick disclaimer: everything in this post is wholly unsponsored. It’s just ideas from my long experience of never-enough-money-for-all-the-books, compiled for you out of the goodness of my heart. All bookworms are intimately familiar with budgeting problems, right? All these shiny books, and they cost so much. A reader has to keep a sharp eye out for deals and freebies. There are two main divisions here: physical books, and e-books. Physical books in general are more expensive, and correspondingly hard to find deals for. I’ll start with those, since it’s a short list. ~ Physical Books ~ If you’re on Goodreads, the Giveaways are easy to enter. Pros: they have a lot of them, sometimes ARCS too, you can toggle a setting so they’ll notify you when there’s a book on your to-read list, and it’s a quick-n-easy enter like I said. Cons: you do have to use Goodreads, and because it’s a giveaway there’s no guarantees. I haven’t gotten any books this way yet, but people definitely do. Like giveaways? Cool. It Starts At Midnight hosts a monthly giveaway hop every month. Which means a whole bunch of book blogs link up to a single giveaway page, and you can…

Warcross
Young Adult / November 2, 2017

Warcross #1. Author: Marie Lu. Summary: For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation. Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only…

Turtles All the Way Down
Young Adult / November 1, 2017

Author: John Green. Summary: Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis. Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. (Published Summary) My Thoughts: I’ve never had a mental illness, so I can’t really say (as I would like to) that this is good portrayal of clinical anxiety and intrusive thoughts. I can tell you it made me uneasy, so much so that I had to put the book down several times and come back to it after a few minutes. I can tell you I’ve had nights that echoed the spiral-trap of Aza’s thoughts, a circling panic ungrounded in reality, and if it was only a pale echo still the writing-stirred memory had me flinching. I can tell you I believed her. That was the thing. I believed Aza. If you…