"Our truest responsibility to the irrationality of the world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find the truth."

-Madeleine L'Engle

Sunday, June 12, 2016

How I (Accidentally) Read The Winner's Trilogy Out of Order and Loved It

It was a three minutes after six o'clock in the morning on a Tuesday. I had my earbuds in, the elliptical was set to hill climb, and my Kindle sat before me. I needed something new to read, having just finished Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, I was ready to get back to my one true love: fantasy.

So I pulled up a book from a trilogy that had long been on my list, and started reading.

Let me go back even further. Last fall, The Winner's Crime was a $2.99 Kindle deal. I, of course, bought it and proceeded to commend myself for being such a savvy book shopper. I didn't know much about the series, just that everyone who I knew who had read it, loved it.

Actual order of books, not actual order of reading

Fast forward to that fateful day in March when I figured I'd start the trilogy. When I figured past Liz surely had been smart enough to purchase the first book in the series. When, for the first time in my life, I read the second book in a trilogy first.

Here's the thing: I loved The Winner's Crime. Sure, it seemed like a weird place to start a love story, what with the love story having already happened and our characters are now reuniting as SPOILERY THINGS HERE. But I really liked it.

It wasn't until I made it 73% of the way through that I realized I started on the wrong book, and only because people were talking about the series as the third was about to come out. So, as any good reader would do, I finished it. I LOVED it.

Then I proceeded to read the first in the series.

Here's the beautiful thing about entering into a love story where you already know what's going to happen: You fall in love with the characters even more, because you know the outcome and aren't so caught up in the stakes. And man did I fall hard for Kestrel and Arin. This love story guys.

When I finally made it to the third in the trilogy, I discovered something quite beautiful. Marie Rutkoski drew some very strong parallels between The Winner's Curse (book 1) and The Winner's Kiss (book 3), particularly with a story Kestrel's nurse told her as a child and Arin's connection to Death (his god).

I'm a fast reader, and had I read the first book first, I might have missed this connection. Instead, I got to see the story come full circle in such a powerful way. So thank you, Marie, for writing a series that can be started in the middle, and enjoyed just as much—if not more—than if it had been started at the beginning.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Currently...

Loving
So those of you who don't know, I play video games. My main jam is Heroes of the Storm (I used to play League of Legends, but I can't stand the community). This past weekend, all heroes were free, so I spent too much time figuring out Abathur. And I love him. To those of you who aren't following this at all: this particular character forces you to be aware of more than just yourself, which I think is a good life lesson in general.

Reading
I'm still working on The Winner's Curse. Work has been crazy, so reading has been slow.

Watching
My husband's been rewatching Game of Thrones in preparation for the season premier, so I've been rewatching Game of Thrones. Last night we watched the episode in which Sansa tells Lady Olenna what she thinks about Joffrey. I forgot how much I love Lady Olenna.

Listening To
This song has found its way into my writing playlist, because it perfectly describes one of the characters in this story I've been working on.


Thinking About
Social media. I'm a social media manager for a quickly growing start-up, and I've been reading some best practices books at the recommendation of our new CMO (hence the slow reading I mentioned earlier). I'm pretty excited to be able to finally have the time to take our social media to the next level and really use my creativity here.

Anticipating
The end of my WIP! I'm making good progress on revisions and think I may be a week to a week and a half out from having the manuscript ready for my CP's. This is a record for me. I started this book a little over a year ago, and the limited outlining I did made it go so much faster.

Wishing
That, of course, leads me to my wish. I want to be a good outliner, the best outliner, the kind of outliner who nails the book in an outline so writing is a breeze. I have no idea if it will work, but that's what wishes are for, right? And thanks to Tracey Neithercott, I have all sorts of resources at my finger tips.

Making Me Happy
Our new Fiat. That's right, we bought a new car! We've been a single car family for three or four years now, but work stuff is making that no longer an option for us. This was actually a first for us--buying a car together. After almost seven years of marriage, we don't have a lot of firsts left, so that was exciting.

Oh yeah, I'm a brunette again.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Currently

Loving
Spring. I like when it's cool in the morning but pleasant in the sun by midday. I like the smell of soil and the feel of it beneath my hands when I'm dropping seeds into the earth. I'm a gardener, and I definitely get affected by the wintertime blues. Spring is when I come alive again.

Reading
So this is embarrassing. I finally started reading the Winner's Trilogy (been on my Kindle TBR list for a while, but never got to it). At 73% of the way through, I realized I had started on book 2. So now I'm reading The Winner's Curse.

Watching
As soon as Dare Devil season two came out, we binge watched it. I love everything about the Netflix Marvel shows. Some day I want to write a YA that feels the way these feel.

Listening To
It's been an Of Monsters and Men kinda of few weeks. They make up a lot of my writing playlist for my current WIP, so I've got them on repeat even when I'm not writing to keep at least some part of my brain in that space.

Thinking About
Stickers. Tracey Neithercott talked me into giving the sticker method a try, and guys: it's working. I wrote 9,500 words in 10 days because of this. I finished a draft of my manuscript because of this. Of course, my calendar looks like someone is tripping acid thanks to all the Lisa Frank covering its squares, but I'll take it.



Anticipating
Camp NaNoWriMo! I'm in an awesome cabin with some lovely writer friends. My goal is to finish this Southern Gothic that I started a little over a year ago and get it into CP hands so I can have it to my agent by May. I also want to make some progress on my next project...whatever that is!

Wishing
That I could get a better knack for growing tiny trees. My husband bought me a Dawn Redwood Bonsai forest kit for my birthday last year, and it went horribly. I contacted the company and they sent me new seed, so I'm going to be trying again.

Making Me Happy
Puppies! My best friend has adopted the sweetest little lab pup, and we took Frankie (my chiweenie) over last night. It's fun to watch my dog (who's almost 5) play with, tolerate, and then dominate a puppy that will soon be much larger than him.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Bad Ass Books: Winter

Sorry for the lack of book reviews lately--it hasn't been for lack of reading. But now that it's getting nice out again, I've been getting back into gardening, and my blogging has been the one suffering because of it. So I've got a backlog of reviews to write, and I'll do my best to get them up here!

I'll be leaving out Winter's summary, that way if you haven't read the others in the series I'm not the one to spoil them for you. Here are my previous reviews for this series: Cinder, Scarlet. Apparently I never reviewed Cress. Sorry! I guess I'm even more behind on my book reviews than I thought. Out of order book review to come...eventually.


Why I read it: I started this series when it first came out--I'm a sucker for fairy tail retellings. I'm a sucker for fantasy. I'm a sucker for anything having to do with the moon (obviously). This was the last book in the Lunar Chronicles, so of course I read it.

ZOMG Yes! I was so deeply satisfied with the end of this series. We had so many new characters introduced throughout each book, and in book four, Marissa Meyer added Winter to the mix (after a brief cameo in Cress). While Scarlet (introduced in, you guessed it, Scarlet) is by far my favorite, Winter became a close second.

I think her madness, the reasons behind her madness, and the way she still maneuvered through Luna's political intrigue made her one of the strongest fairy tale characters I've read in a while. And of course, I kind of loved that Marissa Meyer's Snow White was black.

As you might've guessed, Winter derives much of its plot from Snow White, and while I should've seen certain things coming (because, like most people, I've read and seen many forms of this fairy tale), I was actually surprised when it happened and how it happened. I shouldn't have been, but I was. So that tells you how easy it is to get caught up in this story.

Hmmm Interesting: So I didn't read last year's novella, because I didn't actually want the backstory on Levana (the villain and evil queen of the moon) until I finished this series. Well Marissa Meyer must've guessed this would happen, because she gave us some good insight into her villain, and hot damn. I'll leave it at that so as not to spoil it for you lovelies.

Kthxbai: Overall, this was an excellent wrap up to a beautiful, beautiful series. We have four main love stories (one for each of our "princesses"), and well I really enjoyed watching these unfold, I found myself rooting for each young woman because of her own character not her role in those love stories and fairy tales from which she was inspired (even though I'll be shipping Scarlet + Wolf forever and ever!). I guess that's kind of the point, right?


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Currently...

Loving
My new hair. One of the perks of short hair, is you can dye it all sorts of colors pretty frequently without worrying about damaging it. Because, you know, you cut it all off. So for February, I went gray with a hint of lilac. Because why the hell not?

Reading
Since last we spoke I finished Winter by Marissa Meyer, and the final book in the series did not disappoint. I'm hoping to get a review up this week, but in short: Five Big Ass Stars. Last week I started The Love that Split the World. I'm only a little ways in, but I'm already in love, intrigued, and making all sorts of crazy guesses as to what's happening.

Watching
I've picked up this new procrastination technique that I like to call Watching Pretty Little Liars. I've made it to season two, and I've gotten thoroughly confused by the recasting of Alison's brother. Like, it took me four episodes to figure out who he was and what happened to the other guy. 

Listening to
So a friend of mine is a musician, and she put out this song and music video that just feels so YA. I love it. I hope you will to:



Thinking About
You guys, Beyonce's Formation? I'm so not over it. It has me thinking. A lot. Which I guess is part of the point. SNL did a pretty funny sketch about white people realizing she's black. And it was awesome--because it was so true.

Anticipating
I've finally gotten to the point in this story I'm working on that I'm writing new words--a completely different ending than where I thought I was going to be. And by ending I mean probably 30,000 words give or take. So that's fun. (really, it is. mostly.)

Wishing
I sort of wish time would slow down. There's so much that I want to do--with my time, to my house, in life in general--but I just keep getting older. I mean, I'm not about to hit some big milestone or something (maybe it's because I dyed my hair gray?), but I just didn't think things would go so fast.

Making Me Happy
Dead Pool. Have you seen it? We went for Valentine's Day, and I haven't laughed that hard in a long, long time.

What's currently making you happy?