Blog & Indiecember Update

It’s been over a month since I revived this blog so I added the usual blog pages that I’ve been missing, which are:

These pages are pretty straightforward. The Contact Me page contains a contact form, and I’ve written a few things about myself in the About Me page. If you feel like contacting me for some reason, or want to know a bit about me, you can check out these pages.

Indiecember

I wrote about Indiecember in my Indiecember Reading Challenge blog post, and I’m happy to report that I have read and reviewed three of the four books I mentioned. Here they are below with my Amazon reviews:

The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci

IMG_5965I would highly recommend this book to adults who love action, twists, and steamy romance. It’s a thrilling roller-coaster ride full of intriguing characters, including a baddie you’d love to hate (Kaleo fan over here). Speaking of love and hate, I had a love-and-hate relationship with the main character Tobias almost the whole time, but still rooted for him all the way. (If only he’d be less whiny.) He is definitely a complex character, but his counterpart Leila is even more so. Leila is a capable but troubled heroine that I enjoyed reading every time she’s on the page. She is that character where the more you know about her, the more questions you end up having! The circumstances of Leila and Tobias’ coupledom plays on your emotions on top of the ride your emotions are getting from the twists and turns you encounter in the story. The fantasy elements are minimal but well-utilized, though I still wished there was more world-building. The amount of profanity can also be a bit distracting sometimes. Overall, I definitely enjoyed reading and rereading this book, and I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel.

* I had to delete and rewrite this review because I initially put it on the wrong version (paperback or hardcover) and so it didn’t have the “Verified Purchase” remark there. This was my first ever review on Amazon.

UnEnchanted by Chanda Hahn

IMG_5990I read this book with low expectations, knowing I’m not the type to care about a character who seems like the typical insecure teenager pining for the hot jock. But the fairy tale concept and the twist on it was intriguing to me, and it’s definitely not typical. So I read this book with the understanding that I’m not the target audience. I was pleasantly surprised and was not bored at all when reading this book. I actually cared for the main character and interested to read the next installment. Mina turned out to be a character that I wouldn’t mind following to her next journey, along with Jared, and the Grimoire. The villain is also something I didn’t quite expect and I’m curious what it has in store for Mina next. I love that the negative side of fairy tales are emphasized here, rather than the usual princess-gets-the-prince contemporary retellings. It is definitely more the Grimm’s Fairy Tales than the Disney ones. However, there were parts where I felt could have been done better. It’s not a perfect book, but it’s not a long one either, and great for pleasantly passing time. But if you love fairy tales retold in a contemporary setting, this book is definitely a must-read.

She’s Not Here by Mandi Lynn

IMG_6128I did not expect this book to be that of quiet suspense, especially from the cover. But I have been reading two eventful stories back to back and for me this was a welcome change of pace. In my ebook version, I found several misspellings and formatting issues, which I hope the paperback doesn’t have. I also realized, after reading the book, that I have no idea what the characters look like. Maybe I missed their descriptions or maybe it didn’t matter to me, but I managed to enjoy the book despite all of that. This story takes place almost entirely in a hospital and that already makes things uneasy. Add to that the tragic circumstances that surrounded Sam and her family, which pulls on the heartstrings. Sam’s interactions with Pup was quite cute and disturbing at the same time. I wish we’d had more background on Sam’s teenage life to get a bigger impact on what she had lost after what Willow did to her. I fully sensed Willow’s desperation but did not sympathize with her selfish goals until the end when I felt so bad for her. I completely sympathized with Randy, who was stuck in an impossible situation, except at the end where I felt he should have been less selfless. Overall, I respected this book and appreciated the message I felt the author was trying to convey. I’m glad I picked up this book.

I shared my thoughts on The Savior’s Champion in this post, but aside from the Amazon reviews, I’m not sure yet if I will be blogging about UnEnchanted and She’s Not Here. I feel like there’s not much to expound on what I wrote in my Amazon reviews for these books, but we’ll see.

So right now, my Indiecember board looks like this:

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I will be starting the fourth book tonight. I’ve also decided on the book that will be a gift. But I’ll leave that for my next update. So, that’s all for now :)

More Indie Books I found in my Kindle

I came across the Indiecember Reading Challenge by Megan Tennant and planned the books I’ll be reading and reviewing for the challenge. I blogged about it here. I bought three of those books, although one of them was free. Then I bought another one, suggested by the author herself, and I thought it seemed interesting. I started thinking more and more about indie/self-published books and looked through my Kindle app, wondering if I had any more. As it turns out, I actually had a few more.

I am actually trying to make a rule for myself to not buy more books unless I have read the books I have already bought. As it stands, I have sixteen unread books, and three books that I’m currently in the middle of. Eight of those books were written by indie authors, plus three books that I’ve already read. That means I have with me eleven indie books. (By the way, is Eragon/Inheritance Cycle still considered indie?)

I am planning to read/reread these eleven books this December, regardless of whether they cross out any of the remaining squares in the Indiecember challenge. I might as well review them in Amazon (and Goodreads?) too, because indie authors need them.

Without further ado, here is my December TBR, in no particular order (links are Kindle ebooks):

It’s Killing Jerry by Sharn Hutton, Echo: Approaching Shatter by Kent Wayne, The Confectioner’s Guild by Claire Luana, The Lone And Level Sands by Emerson Grey, Aletheia by Megan Tennant, She’s Not Here by Mandi Lynn,  Eve: The Awakening by Jenna Moreci, Firestone Key by Caroline Noe, The Savior’s Champion again by Jenna Moreci, UnEnchanted by by Chanda Hahn, and The Elysian Prophecy by Vivien Reis.

Here’s a photo of these books in my old – but still alive! – iPad:

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Four of the above are already in my Indiecember list, we’ll see if I’m able to cross out other squares from the other books once I’ve read them. I hope I can read (and review) all of them within December. Wish me luck!

Indiecember Reading Challenge

IMG_5920After completing NaNoWriMo in November, I am now looking for a December challenge! So I’ve come across the Indiecember Reading Challenge by Megan Tennant and I’ve decided to participate! This will be my first time doing reviews in Amazon as well.

I really want to start reading a lot of books from now on as my book reading kind of dwindled in the past several years due to work and other things. So I think this is a great idea to get the ball rolling, and to support indie authors as well.

Before I begin, here is the Indiecember Reading Challenge:

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For more info: https://www.megantennant.com/indiecember

I really want to try flush style and discover all sorts of books, but I feel that may be unrealistic for me so I’ve come up with a much more doable list (links are Kindle versions) :

The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci

51lsmxtzmelTobias Kaya doesn’t care about The Savior. He doesn’t care that She’s the Ruler of the realm or that She purified the land, and he certainly doesn’t care that She’s of age to be married. But when competing for Her hand proves to be his last chance to save his family, he’s forced to make The Savior his priority.

Now Tobias is thrown into the Sovereign’s Tournament with nineteen other men, and each of them is fighting—and killing—for the chance to rule at The Savior’s side. Instantly his world is plagued with violence, treachery, and manipulation, revealing the hidden ugliness of his proud realm. And when his circumstances seem especially dire, he stumbles into an unexpected romance, one that opens him up to unimaginable dangers and darkness.

Trigger warning: this novel contains graphic violence, adult language, and sexual situations.

UnEnchanted by Chanda Hahn

41829mlrymlMina Grime is unlucky, unpopular and uncoordinated; until she saves her crush’s life on a field trip, changing her High School status from loser to hero overnight. But with her new found fame brings misfortune in the form of an old family curse come to light. For Mina is descended from the Brothers Grimm and has inherited all of their unfinished fairy tale business. Which includes trying to outwit a powerful Story from making her it’s next fairytale victim.

To break the fairy tale curse on her family and make these deadly occurrences stop, Mina must finish the tales until the very Grimm end.

She’s Not Here by Mandi Lynn

41nndg4adtlWillow watched her father diminish in front of her as Alzheimer’s pulled him further away each day. When a fire creates the perfect disaster, Willow’s desperation to find a cure to the disease causes her to change Samantha Ellison’s life forever.

Treated as an experiment, Willow injects Samantha with a serum that mimics Alzheimer’s and deteriorates her brain. With Sam’s mental capacity declining at an alarming rate, it won’t be long until people start looking for answers. With Willow’s husband as the doctor, it’s only a matter of time before he uncovers the truth. The only question is whether he discovers Willow’s secrets in time to save the innocent life at stake.

Aletheia by Megan Tennant

51ow2rbqeklNearly two decades after the fall, the transcendent city of Iris is the only place rumored to have a cure to the disease that decimated the world. Beyond Iris, are the remnants of the old world, crawling with the Depraved. Infected with Lethe, they no longer remember the people or dreams they were once willing to fight for, and are left instead with familiar voices that whisper dark and unfamiliar words within their minds. Instinct is all that keeps the diseased struggling to exist another day.

Deep underground, below Iris, exists a compound, prison to the Nameless who traded their freedom for the cure to Lethe. It is here that 736 fights to protect those she loves. Not against the Depraved that she’s taught to fear, but against the society that saved her from that fate. She was willing to trade away her rights to regain the ability to form memories, but she won’t let the cult that cured her treat the lives of the Nameless like a resource to be used and discarded. At least, not without a fight.

How much is 736 willing to sacrifice for revenge against her captors? For those she cares about? For freedom? Everything has a cost, what would you be willing to pay?

With these, plus gifting an indie book – I haven’t decided which one yet – I can cross the board this way:

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And if I can still do the flush, I’d have these spaces already filled with the above books, if I’m not wrong:

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I will be be blogging my thoughts on these books as well. First one up will be The Savior’s Champion because I’ve already read it right before NaNoWriMo. I’m not sure when I will post it, but it will definitely be in December. (I enjoyed the book, by the way.)

Anyone else participating in Indiecember? What indie books will you be reading?

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Guilty Reader Book Tag

bookandstuffI wanted to post something non-NaNoWriMo-related and decided to go for this tag, which I saw from pensitivity101, who got it from The Haunted Wordsmith, who picked it up from Cole Campfire Blog, who mentioned The Discerning Couch Potato, who credited Kristin Kraves Books, who was tagged by Orange Owl Diaries… and that’s all I got.

Anyway, here goes…

 

1. Have you ever re-gifted a book that you’ve been gifted?

Not really.

But I do know someone who claimed my gift for someone else, and she replaced it with a slightly used book that was a gift to her. I had asked her to do the gift-wrapping, and she liked one of the gifts, so she asked if she could have it. I allowed it as long as she replace it with something else. To my amusement, she saw the book in the room (her room), just took it, and wrapped it.

 

2. Have you ever claimed to have read a book when you haven’t?

I’m almost pretty sure that I have, especially for school, but I don’t remember a specific book.

I vaguely remember we were supposed to read around five of Shakespeare’s works, and I only read, like, three. OR we were assigned one of the five plays the teacher listed and I read three anyway. I remember being in the group assigned to Romeo & Juliet, which wasn’t very exciting because everybody knows that story already. So I read more. But I think we were still supposed to read all those five plays for an exam… I think.

 

3. Have you ever borrowed a book and not returned it?

Yes! I borrowed a Pugad Baboy book from a friend but never returned it.

Pugad Baboy is a Filipino comic strip usually in newspapers that has political satire elements to it. This book is a compilation of these comic strips.

I don’t know where it is now, probably still in Cebu, and I forgot who I borrowed it from except that it was a classmate from college.

 

4. Have you ever read a series out of order?

I used to read Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Sweet Valley, and the like, when I was a kid. I don’t know if this counts, though, because each book has a different mystery or story that is resolved within that book. I’m pretty sure I read them out of order.

 

5. Have you ever spoiled a book for someone?

Yes, usually because they ask for it. I have friends who watch Game of Thrones but haven’t read the books. Sometimes they want to know what happens.

 

6. Have you ever skipped a chapter or a section of a book?

Yes. Usually, when I skip a chapter it’s because it’s boring or I don’t care and I just wanted to get on with the story.

This is true for Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, which I read recently. I really did not enjoy the book and I think I am not the target audience for it. I think I enjoyed reading the footnotes more than the actual story. But, I’m happy to say, the movie was enjoyable. I guess this is a case where I prefer the story told in a visual medium than a written one. In the book, I felt no attachments to Rachel Chu or anyone (in fairness, maybe I would have if I hadn’t skipped sections). In the film, Constance Wu, the actress portraying Rachel Chu, was charming and charismatic and I enjoyed watching her. The same goes for Michelle Yeoh and Awkwafina. Henry Golding was not bad to look at, either.

 

7. Have you ever bad-mouthed a book you actually liked?

Yes. Lord of the Rings! The first thing I used to tell people about these books was that they’re boring! This is another case where the movies were the more enjoyable medium for me. But interestingly, I never skipped a chapter or section. I just felt like the author really made so much effort that I owe it to him to trudge along. I actually loved these books as a whole, and the epic story and characters captivated me. But honestly, I will still say that the books are “boring” and I will recommend the movies instead – well, except maybe to someone who is the type who loves to read paragraphs and paragraphs of world-building.

 

Verdict: GUILTY!

I am so sorry to J. R. R. Tolkien, Kevin Kwan, and the classmate who used to have a Pugad Baboy book!

(I would like to tag absolute0 on this.)

Day 15 of NaNoWriMo and my many distractions

IMG_5708I am officially behind in my NaNoWriMo word count. As of this writing, it stands at 21,761 words when it should be 25,000. However, I still think I can reach 50,000 words on time, if not earlier, so I’m not that frustrated about it (yet). My concern, however, is with regards to the progression of my story. I am still in Chapter 4. My outline calls for 45 chapters. I am now more and more certain that my story will have way beyond 50,000 words, and that my first draft will not be finished by the end of November. At this rate, I’d probably only have written 10 chapters by then.

I have temporarily stopped using Scrivener and have switched to Microsoft Word for the meantime. I learned about Scrivener from YouTube/AuthorTube and downloaded a trial version when I decided to join NaNoWriMo and actually write a novel. I realized recently that it was almost the end of my trial period, but also that one of the perks of “winning” NaNoWriMo is a Scrivener discount. So I decided to wait and copied all the relevant stuff into Word documents for the meantime. As I type this, I realize I could have used Pages since I’m on MacOS (my personal laptop is a MacBook Pro). I guess Word just instantly came to mind because I use it for work too, for reports and such.

LinzMunro commented on my previous post about name generators. I did not know there was such a thing, but now I do! Thank you LinzMunro! It was easy to find a fantasy name generator… like a site called fantasynamegenerators.com. Anyway, as a result of this discovery, instead of just generating names for the insignificant characters that show up as I write, I am now planning to change a lot of names, including place names.

There are many distractions since my last update that have led to my low word count. The very main one is the frustrations I have because of work. I often come home frustrated and depressed and not in any mood at all to focus on my story. So I end up doing other things…

The first distraction I will mention is: Bodyguard. I have completed the entire season on Netflix. I may talk about it more in a separate blog post (a review maybe?) but the gist of it is I love it and I highly recommend it!

Another distraction is the second season of The Sinner. It’s not bad, but I enjoyed the first season more, the one with Jessica Biel. I really like these types of crime stories so I will definitely watch a third season if there is one.

I also watched Outlaw King, a movie in Netflix. I love Chris Pine and his performance in this, but I can’t help thinking… why not Richard Madden? Isn’t he Scottish? But I guess having him in that role will only remind everyone of Robb Stark and Game of Thrones. Also, as you know, I just recently watched Bodyguard so Richard Madden is fresh in my mind.

Another thing that I did that distracted me from writing is my Goodreads library. I have now organized it such that it will only show the books that are in my Kindle app. I realize that I have a lot of books that I bought that I have not read (actually this was also true when I was still reading on paperback) and I have decided that from now on, I am not going to buy any other book until I have read all the unread books on my Kindle (not including language learning books). The books in my to-read shelf are the books I have bought but not read. I created a new shelf called “wishlist” for the books I want to read in the future, but have not bought yet. But you know, as I type this, I am still doubting myself. It’s soo easy to buy ebooks! You don’t actually need to make the effort of going to a bookstore! I need to make up for all those years I haven’t touched a novel and only read manga! (Manga refers to Japanese comics.) There are popular fantasy books that I am interested in but haven’t read.

So… because I was organizing my Goodreads library (there’s actually not much), I ended up finishing the books that I have started reading but haven’t finished. Therefore, more distractions! I actually managed to finish the non-fiction ones, namely: Born A Crime by Trevor Noah, The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, Accessory to War and Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Next month or early next year, I’ll probably write a quick review of all the books I’ve read in 2018 including these four.

I am now down to two unfinished books, which I have told myself not to finish in November. There’s The World of Ice and Fire, which is fiction but reads like a history book, and Inheritance by Christopher Paolini. I actually got the complete collection of the Inheritance Cycle in Kindle, but I read the first three books a long long time ago in paperback and hardcover (I bought Brisingr in hardcover because I couldn’t wait). I am still trying to decide if I should reread the first three books first before proceeding with Inheritance.

Lastly, I have recently received the mood board from my events stylist via my wedding planner. I am getting married next year in Cebu so my wedding planner is keeping me up to date and asking about decisions. I don’t know if I consider this a distraction, though, because it actually relates to an important life event. I will not go into details, and I might write a blog about my wedding in the future, but for now I will say that I’m happy with everything so far.

That’s it for my current update. I hope for better news in my next one.

Update: I forgot to include links to the stuff I mentioned. Fixed!