Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 49

Hi Blogland,

Last week felt unreasonably long. Like, each day just took forever and was needlessly complicated. I slept a lot of cope with it, which made achieving my goals a little tricky.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish reading A.V. submissions
  • Read Lies Sleeping
  • Write 2k words

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish reading A.V. submissions
    • Yes? I just did them this morning before I opened WordPress. I’m counting it.
  • Read Lies Sleeping
    • No. But, I did finish Skyward!skyward
  • Write 2k words
    • No, but I got real close.

Weekly Word Count: 1,586

I don’t really feel like I accomplished much this week. I wrote some overdue blog posts, and spent a lot of my free-time (such as it is) binge reading the newest Sanderson book. I did play some Red Dead Redemption 2, and on Sunday we made a fancy dinner, bought a Christmas tree, and assembled our new coat rack!

I was way too excited about that coat rack, by the way.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Read Lies Sleeping
  • Write 2k words

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got going on right now. The blog posts should be easy since I’ll have the Skyward review to write. The new Peter Grant book isn’t very long and they always read fast, so I’m sure I’ll get that done as well. Really, the only question mark on this list is the writing. I’m feeling a bit mentally checked out right now, which is pretty typical post-Nano. We’ll see if I can pull out of this funk.

If not, that’s what video games are for.

So yeah.  I’m feeling good about my odds of meeting my reading goal for the year, and I’ve done a lot of writing this year. Just gotta stay productive and coast on into the new year.

Talk at y’all soon.

 

BZ

 

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Book Review – The Furthest Station (Peter Grant #5.5) by Ben Aaronovitch

Hey Bloggos,

Just a quick post today. This novella takes place between Foxglove Summer and The Hanging Tree, so I made a point to get it through the Interlibrary Loan program at my public library before I crack open the last book.

Goodreads Rating: 3/5 Stars

furthest station

In a city as old as London, Peter Grant and the other members of the Falcon unit (aka, the branch of the Metropolitan Police that deals with “weird shit”) have come to expect their fair share of ghosts. But when there are multiple sightings along a particular line of the underground the Folly takes notice and sends their best: Peter Grant and his 14 year old cousin, Abigail.

Since these ghosts keep manifesting on train cars, we also see the return of Jaget Kumar, the BTP (British Transport Police) equivalent of The Folly, unit of one. Lucky for me, I really liked Jaget in his debut in Whispers Under Ground, and I was happy to see him make a reappearance.

So, Peter, his cousin, Jaget, and Nightingale all swoop in to try and figure out what these ghosts are all about and why they’re just now manifesting. It doesn’t take long for the team to discern that the ghosts are trying to send a message, and that a “Princess” is in danger, held captive in a “dungeon”.

Peter is the one to make the leap from ghostly poetry to kidnapped woman in the suburb of Chesham, and the hunt begins!

This novella was a ton of fun. Beverly Brook makes an appearance along with a River God toddler, as does Toby the magic-sniffing dog, and there’s plenty of light-heartedness and humor. I think that’s why I gave it such a low rating. After Foxglove Summer, I need more answers about Lesley and the Faceless Man. I wasn’t ready to read light-hearted.

It’s probably my fault for reading it in between, but that’s the timeline of the story! And, I understand that meaty, series-wide storylines are unlikely to get much focus in a novella since novella readership is typically much lower than novels. I get it.

But I ultimately felt a bit underwhelmed by this story. It was too topical. Too… fluffy. I wanted more. So, three stars it is.

My reading slowed down a little this week because I finally got my hands on Detroit: Become Human! I loved it, by the way, and will probably waste a lot of time playing it and exploring all the different possible scenarios. borne

 

I’m ingesting Borne in leaps and bounds, just few and far between. I’m also reading a lot of short stories right now to do some research for when we get back from Germany and it’s time to edit That Which Illuminates Heaven.

I don’t know if I’ll have a book review for next week. It’s a holiday weekend and my best friend is in town from Iowa. But, maybe later in the week? Hopefully?

I hope you all have a great Labor Day weekend! I’ll be around tomorrow for the monthly recap, and then again on Monday for the usual weekly goals summary.

Until then Blogland,

 

BZ

Book Review – Foxglove Summer (Peter Grant #5) by Ben Aaronovitch

Hi Blogland,

As promised, I am back to finally talk about the fifth book in the Peter Grant series. I finished it late Tuesday, as I expected I would. And you know what? I think it was my favorite so far.

Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars

foxglove summer

Peter has lived his entire life within the hustle and bustle of London. From his parents’ flat in Kentish Town, to the Folly, and all the police nicks in between, London is his home. So when Nightingale assigns him to an apparently Falcon-free (read: perfectly normal) case of two missing children in Herefordshire he’s reasonably nervous.

What is someone like him going to do in the country?

Turns out, an awful lot. Because, of course, there’s more to this case than two disappeared eleven year olds.

Rushpool is a tiny village surrounded by ancient woods, bisected by an old Roman road. It’s idyllic, quaint, and chock-a-block full of small town minds. But while he’s acting as an assistant to the Family Liaison Officer, Peter does a bit of digging of his own a discovers a trend. Eleven year old girls have a history of vanishing during the summer, on nights of the full moon only to reappear a day or two later. They also have shockingly similar tales of invisible friends. Invisible Unicorn friends, that have a taste for mutton.

Rushpool also has a healthy UFO sighting population, so who knows what’s real and what isn’t?

Beverly BrookBut, it’s Peter’s job to find out, and to find the girls. Lucky for him, he’s not alone. Beverly Brook is in town, supposedly for her own River business, but she tags along to help find the children. And there’s Officer Dominic Croft, the country boy that can’t stand the country. He was particularly enjoyable and I hope he comes back in future books!

So, why was this my favorite book so far? Well, the stakes are high, what with the two girls missing. Lesley is still AWOL, but she’s texting Peter and Nightingale is being very mysterious about his activities while he’s away. I feel like there was more going on in the background of this book than in previous installments.

And, Ben Aaronovitch managed to take my childhood fantasy and make it a nightmare. There’s a chase scene involving a carnivorous unicorn that is downright terrifying. I stopped afterward and had to take break. I laughed, because I really like unicorn lore and whatnot, so getting wigged out by a unicorn is just not something I expected from this series. unicorn

And more of the Fae make an appearance, with Peter getting himself into all kinds of trouble, as he always does.

This book reminded me of the BBC show Broadchurch a little bit. Big city copper comes to a small town and divulges secrets long thought buried. Except this is much funnier and there’s magic!

I’m getting really close to the end of the series that’s been published so far. Which makes me nervous. I’m not looking forward to finding another series all over again. But this one is just too good not to inhale.

I finished reading The Furthest Station tonight, so I’ll be around next week to talk about that. And of course I’ll be in tomorrow to discuss this weeks goals.

Until then, Bloggos,

 

BZ

Book Review – Broken Homes (Peter Grant #4) by Ben Aaronovitch

Hi Blogland,

This week got off to a slow start with a migraine that refused to respond to medication. Yesterday was my first day without pain, and I had some obligations in the morning and then work in the evening. So, now it’s Friday and I’m finally here with the review for the next Peter Grant book! Beware some minor spoilers below.

Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars

broken homes

I think this was my favorite of the books so far. As I’ve come to expect, Peter takes the reader through an all new area of London, furthering my mental image of the city with each flip of the page.

A string of suspicious but seemingly unrelated murders have piqued Nightingale’s interest, which means Peter and Lesley are on the job. From the car accident that revealed a murder in progress to the Housing Authority worker that committed suicide on the Underground. It all links back to a stolen book, a German tome on the industrial uses of magic and an architect from the 60s.

You see, the Faceless Man wants that book, and he wants the building the architect used to mine magical energy.

So, Peter and Lesley move into a vacant flat in the rundown Skygarden Tower. It’s a low income area with passionate tenants that have called the tower home for decades. They have monthly meetings to discuss how to combat the city council and keep the building protected.

Which is unfortunate, because the Faceless Man intends to blow it up.

This book takes its time setting up the history and lore, including how Skygarden Tower was designed, the purpose it serves, and the lives of those who call it home. Including a wood nymph named Sky who may be the spirit of the land the tower is built on. The Rivers are present, including the return of Peter’s almost lover Beverly Brook, and Zach the half-fae even makes a comeback!

But, once you reach the last 70 pages or so, things really take off. I felt like there were more action sequences in this book than in the previous one, and we get to see Nightingale really take off the gloves and unleash some monstrous power on the Faceless Man’s flunkies.

And, you know, Peter throws himself into danger in order to save civilians, like the proper copper he is.

There’s a lot more going on in this book, including some very interesting character developments, but I don’t want to give too much away. Suffice it to say I really liked this book and it launched me into Foxglove Summer the very next morning. foxglove summer

I’m hoping to get a ton of reading done over the weekend. I’m running out of time on these Interlibrary loans!

I should have another book review out next week, and I think it’s just about time to have a big Submission discussion, where I talk about my submissions so far and then share what my submission process looks like and what resources I use.

So, keep an eye out for both of those sometime next week.

 

Until then, Bloggos,

 

BZ

Book Review – Whispers Under Ground (Peter Grant #3) by Ben Aaronovitch

Bloggoroonies!

It’s midnight, I just received another personal rejection on The Cost of Rain, so while let’s talk about Whispers Under Ground so I can ignore this damn unpleasant feeling in my chest for a few more minutes.

Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars

Whispers_Under_Ground

The third book in the Peter Grant series continues the tradition of sharp wit and dialogue with another twisty-turny plot that leads Peter and Co., throughout London. This time it’s a US Senator’s son that’s been murdered in the underground. There doesn’t seem to be anything too magical about it, except that the murder weapon appears to be a shard of some sort of ceramic. A shard with an incredible strong vestigia (magical odor/signature of sorts).

So in come Peter and Lesley, searching out the elusive origins of the pottery. But between the unofficial interference from the FBI and the erratic behavior of the victim’s fae roommate, Zach, things aren’t quite as easy as they could be.

railway lines
Turns out even ghosts aren’t safe from trains.

The pottery leads them all over the city, until they finally find a secret passage down into the underground. That means that the BTP (British Transport Police) have to be brought in, which really means that their one-man X-Files agent assists Peter on the case. And they have to dodge the over-eager, religious FBI agent that’s so keen to solve the murder that she (illegally) carries a firearm through the city. And, as always the Rivers have a role to play.

Peter had his hands full in this book. Poor guy.

This book was a lot of fun. I really liked Lesley’s added role as she’s become Nightingale’s second apprentice and Zach was an unexpected delight. He’s half fairy which makes him, well, a bit of a shit, but I found it endearing. He eventually proves to be very integral to the investigation, and I was glad to have him around as much as he was.

As I’ve come to expect from this series, London is vibrant and almost shockingly real on the page. I feel like, even though it’s been thirteen years since I’ve been there, that I have a familiarity with the city thanks to these books. To clarify, I know I don’t. It’s a monstrous metropolis and reading a few books will not help me navigate it should I ever return, but at least I’ll remember some points of interest!

So, if I liked the plot overall, liked the characters and the setting, why only four stars? Well, I guessed the ending AGAIN! Though, this time I think I just happened to be very perceptive. It wasn’t as obvious and really hinged on my being suspicious of a certain detail early on in the book. But still, I called it two books in a row!

Another factor in my rating was that, after the intense end of Moon Over Soho and the revelation of the existence of The Faceless Man, this book had very little to do with him. There’s some legwork to be done, some old school policing in researching who went to the right school at the right time to have been a rogue Magician’s apprentice and so on. There’s more character development and we get to see the full breadth of the Folly’s network and resources, including the Bodleian library at Oxford!bodleain library.jpg

I will admit, as a library worker, that bit made me really happy.

But, there’s still surprisingly little about the biggest threat in the series so far. So, four stars it is.

I’m about one hundred pages short of finishing Broken Homes. I’m looking to finish it tonight or tomorrow. I’m running out of time to get all these books read before the due dates, and they aren’t eligible for renewal. I need to step up my reading game!

I’ll be back on Monday to talk about my week and complain about writing my query letter, which is my main goal for the day. Wish me luck y’all, because it’s gonna suck.

Until then,

 

BZ

The Recap – July 2018

Blogland!

We’re over the hill this summer. Can you believe it? It’s August. Before you know it, it’ll be September, and then I’ll be in Germany, and then it’ll be rainy and fall all over again. But, before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about July.

July Goals

  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Write chapters 6 and 7 of Sanctuary
  • Complete tumblr prompts
  • Santa Sarita recordings
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep reading!

Well? How’d I do?

  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
    • Yes! Wait, well, no. I wrote an average of 307 words a day. HOWEVER, I did finish it. So, I’m calling that a big ol’ win.
  • Write chapters 6 and 7 of Sanctuary
    • Nope. But I did finish chapter six! Hurray!
  • Complete tumblr prompts
    • Yes! And when I announced such on my writer’s discord I was immediately inundated with a brand new batch of tumblr prompts. Oy vey.
  • Santa Sarita recordings
    • No? I did one this month. So at least they’re ongoing, but I wanted to do finish the first part of Santa Sarita this month and that did not happen.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yep! The Cost of Rain has been out for a while. I’m likely to hear back about it early this month. Lifelike had a rejection, and is back out.
  • Keep reading!
    • Yarp. So much reading! I posted four book reviews in July, and I still have two more reviews to write  for books I read this month. So, six books down in July!

Total July Word Count: 19,256

Overall, I think July was a very successful month. I mean, look at that word count! That’s the highest word count I’ve had this year so far! I wrote a tumblr prompt each week, wrote a chapter of Sanctuary, and wrote three chapters of The Steel Armada. That’s a lot of writing. Like, a lot a lot. I’m pretty stoked about it. Feels good, man.

And I read so much! So many books! Kill the Farm Boy, Brief Cases, three Peter Grant books, and Bloodlist. So. Many. Books.

Submissions continue, as you do. I’ve actually managed to forget about it for a little bit, which has been nice. There’s a sort of fatigue that comes with submitting fiction. There’s a constant buzzing worry in the back of my head, but I’ve been so busy this month that I was able to ignore it for a while.

Now if I can just keep this momentum going…

August Goals

  • Submit The Steel Armada to Tim the Agent™
  • Finish The Fall of Ezra Clarke
  • Santa Sarita recordings
  • Keep reading!
  • Tumblr prompts
  • Write chapters 7+8 of Sanctuary

So, another full month. I’m aiming high for this summer and with our big trip coming up I need to make the most of the time I do have. My biggest priority is editing The Steel Armada and getting out to the agent I met at the writing conference back in April. My mental deadline for that is August 15th, four months since the conference. I’ve got a couple weeks to polish up this novella and then I can develop an ulcer in peace.

Ezra is going okay. It’s a little wandering right now, but I’m just writing it through and seeing where it goes. I think there’s a lot that will get cut, but that can’t happen until I know what the entire story looks like. This is my second priority for the month and will become the top priority once The Steel Armada is off into the ether of an agent’s inbox.

Santa Sarita recordings continue to be a fun side project, something I can do when I have energy but little writing gas in the tank. Plus, reading over the older stories in my fanfic series motivates me to work on the current story. It’s like a see-saw, and each time I work on one, I get bounced back into the other.

Reading will continue. There’s still Side Jobs, Here There be Gerblins, Yes Please, and four more Peter Grant books, plus the graphic novels. So, yeah. Lots and lots of reading ahead. I’m looking forward to it.TAZ Here There be Gerblins

I’ve got a mountain of tumblr prompts thanks to my friends in the writer’s discord. If I continue writing one a week, I should be able to get them all done before I go to Germany. Should. We’ll see how that pans out.

And that’s August. Hopefully. There’s a lot of work to be done, starting with getting the ending of The Steel Armada tweaked and ready to send to Madhu for review.

I’ll be back later this week with a couple of book reviews, since I finished both Bloodlist and Whispers Under Ground.

Until then, Bloggos,

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 30

Blogland,

This week absolutely flew by, and with a heatwave in Salem I had a good excuse to stay indoors and get some work done.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish The Steel Armada
  • Finish an audiobook
  • Finish reading Whispers Under Ground
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish The Steel Armada
    • YES! The story is done! The ending needs tweaking, but more on that in a bit.
  • Finish an audiobook
    • Yep. Bloodlist is done, thanks to yet another migraine.vampire files #1
  • Finish reading Whispers Under Ground
    • Nope. Sadly, I just didn’t manage to make time for this.
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Duh-doy. I always do.

Weekly Word Count: 3,729

I may not have done the reading I really wanted to this week, but gosh darn it, I finished my novella and that’s way more important! The ending isn’t quite right, but I don’t really know why. I’m stewing on it for now, and hope that, as I edit this week, it’ll sort itself out.

This is really all I did this week. I wrote a tumblr prompt once The Steel Armada was done, and have since started working on a new original project, thanks to a poll from my friends in my writer’s discord.

So, What’s next?

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Edit The Steel Armada
  • Write 1k words for The Fall of Ezra Clarke
  • Read Whispers Under GroundWhispers_Under_Ground
  • Review Madhu’s pages

I could probably add “record an episode of Santa Sarita“, but I think I’ll do that as a bonus if everything else pans out. This week is all about reading, editing, and a little bit of writing. I’m gonna try and make a tumblr prompt happen tomorrow night, that way I can cross that off my July Goals list, but we’ll see. I’ve already got 600ish words of Ezra done thanks to a good sprint session on the writer’s discord this afternoon, so that’s awesome. And of course, if I’m writing a new story, that means I’ve made a new playlist.

And I absolutely love it!

So yeah, that’s it. Gonna keep things simple for the first week of August. I’ve got at least one book review for this week, Bloodlist, and hopefully another if I can really buckle down and get this Peter Grant book done. And let’s not forget the Monthly Recap, due out on Wednesday!

Lifelike got a rejection, which I think I mentioned recently. It’s already back out, and The Cost of Rain is still being held. I’ll probably hear back about it in the next week or so, so cross those fingers and toes y’all.

I’ll be back soon with a book review. Until then, Bloggos,

 

BZ