Tuesday, July 30, 2019

End of July 2019 Update

These posts started with reading updates for "fun" then I decided to add in my viewing updates, then my writing and pursuit of publication updates. These are all areas which intertwine in my pursuit of story-writing craft, publication, and the art of story. 


Non-fiction always takes me ages to read. I linger over several non-fiction books at a time, and sometimes a non-fiction book will take me years to read. However, these are some current notables: 

Language in the Schools: Integrating Linguistic Knowledge into K-12 Teaching edited by Kristin Denham and Anne Lobeck has an accurately descriptive title. The book is a collaborative look at "how basic linguistic knowledge can inform teachers' approaches to issues in the multicultural, linguistically diverse classroom." (Quote from the blurb). The two professors who edited this book were two of my top ten teachers at Western Washington University (and they still teach there). I didn't finish this book so it will just be something I dip into over the next several months. (purchased book)

GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth is a non-fiction book I picked up at Costco after reading an article in the Costco magazine (yes, someone reads those articles). In short, I thought I might need to read this book, then I buried it on my desk, re-earthed my desk, re-found this book, and so far it has hit the right spot.

Some quotes from GRIT:

"Even if some of the things they had to do were boring, or frustrating, or even painful, they wouldn't dream of giving up. Their passion was enduring" (page 8).

"... as much as talent counts, effort counts twice" (page 34).

The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars by Dava Sobel is a library book and, thankfully, it has an easy-to-enjoy narrative style and explains the technical jargon en route through the story so I am reading through it a little faster than the average non-fiction book. It's a fascinating look at the history of the women and men who discovered and cataloged the nature of the stars between the late 1800s and the 1950s with some notes up to 2005. So far, I would give it a 5/5.


Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Wow. Beautiful, haunting - a grim fairy tale come to life on the page. This book was recommended to me by a student and it reminded me of the work of Roald Dahl and the Grimm Fairy Tales intermixed. (library book, plan to purchase)
Highly Recommended! 5/5.


This section is both for enjoyment and research, as I intend to write a graphic novel script soon.

Angel Catbird by Margaret Atwood, Johnnie Christmas, and Tamra Bonvillain. I liked the premise, but for some reason I didn't love this comic book/graphic novel by Margaret Atwood - I really wanted to, but just didn't. (From the library.) 3.5/5

Nova: Burn Out written by Sean Ryan is a Marvel comic. I came into the story series partway through, but I enjoyed it. (I got this from the library.) 4/5

Foiled written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mike Cavallaro. This urban fantasy graphic novel for MG/YA readers had a fun mix of fencing terminology, first crush romance, and fantasy. (library) 4.5/5

Curses! Foiled Again by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mike Cavallaro. For some reason, I enjoyed this second book in the Foiled series far more than the first. I really enjoyed seeing Aliera and Avery grow as characters and understanding more about how the fairy and human world are mixed up together. (library) 5/5

Knights of the Lunch Table: The Dodgeball Chronicles by Frank Cammuso is a MG graphic novel that I just loved! Maybe I'm mentally a MG reader of graphic novels, who knows? I felt like the clever dialogue and story-line were just awesome!
(Also from the library, but I'm thinking about purchasing my own copy because I liked it so much!)
Highly Recommended to any reader with a sense of humor!
5/5 Dodgeballs! (My favorite graphic novel of the month!)


Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep is a beautifully written, action-packed, intense epic fantasy. The world-building is embedded so flawlessly that I slowed down, went back, and re-read chapter one just because I thought "I want to write like this!" Lady Everleigh aka Evie is from a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition but she's never been to the games, never had to fight anyone outside of training, until one of her cousins betrays their kingdom and attempts to assassinate everyone in the royal family to get the throne. Evie, with her secret immunity to magic, barely survives long enough to fall in with a gladiator troupe, which is in part a circus act and in part a deadly force to be reckoned with. Evie doesn't know what to do, but she knows she'll never let anyone put her in a corner again.
(I got this book from the library, but I want to purchase it.) 5/5 Highly recommended.

Hidden by Donna Jo Napoli is an action-packed historical fiction novel based on the legend of Alfhild, the first Norse woman pirate. Starting with a story of survival after escaping from slavers, 8-year-old Brigid is renamed Alf by her new family - a family that seems to despise her at times. I loved how this novel combined Alfhild's love for her family, her loyalty, her anger, and her compassion. (library) 5/5.

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kirstoff is an action-packed science fiction novel with satisfying character arcs and development for each of the crew members, as they each deal with an unexpected catalyst - a girl rescued from inter-dimensional space who has been drifting there for hundreds of years and claims to be from a colony that never existed. I really appreciated how the writers captured each character's individual voice in point of view chapters. 5/5 Recommended.


Poisoned by the Pier by Ellen Jacobson is the third in a series of cozy mysteries following the adventures of reluctant sailor Mollie McGhie and her cat Mrs. Moto. 
I really enjoyed the two previous cozy mysteries in the Mollie McGhie series, but I loved Poisoned by the Pier! 
With quirky characters, twisty turns, and a bit of redemption for some of the characters, Poisoned by the Pier has everything needed for a clean, cozy mystery read! 
Highly Recommended to readers with a sense of humor and readers with a love of cats (and dogs). (E-book purchase) 5/5 Chocolate Cupcakes!


This is not the whole list, just the notables.

Spiderman: Far From Home - This is an action-packed fun with a chance for Peter Parker to make mistakes, sorrow over the loss of Iron Man but still give us plenty of chances to laugh, develop his friendships, and have a few awkward moments with a girl he loves. It's a great mid-trilogy film! 5/5 Favorite film of the month!

Stranger Things Season 3 - Continuing the adventures of Eleven and all of the original cast, this show is a family favorite (I have young adult children). I loved the way this season brought everyone together, brought new faces to the show, and deepened the relationships. I also hope there's a Season 4! 5/5 Favorite Series of the Month!


Oy. It's been sporadic. One awesome day, two missing days, a few mediocre days, and so forth. I haven't kept my goal for Camp NaNoWriMo. I'm far behind. But yet, I'm glad I tried it.

Words Written as of the 30th: 23,000 for the month, this includes a non-fiction article, an idea for a short story, some work on a novel, and a bit of journal writing.


0 for 0. I didn't send anything new out. I did receive a few rejections. Currently, I have one short story out there on submission, and then ... I need to start sending novel queries again. Maybe August will be a more productive month.


Elizabeth Seckman said...

I really enjoyed Poisoned by the Pier. I own Coraline, but never read it. I buy books faster than I can read them!

krystal jane said...

I loved Coraline! So fun! I read it earlier this year. I saw Far From Home a couple of weeks ago, and just finished Stranger Things over the weekend. Both were a lot of fun. ^_^

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I need to read Ellen's series since I so enjoyed her short story in the second IWSG anthology.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I keep saying I want to read more nonfiction, but then I get caught up in all the new novels coming out. :)

I almost stopped watching Stranger Things 3 because i didn't like the first episode or two. But I kept going and I ended up enjoying it overall, especially the last chunk of the last episode. :)

The Cynical Sailor said...

Thanks so much for the shout-out for Poisoned by the Pier and your lovely review. Just what I needed today. :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

I really liked Coraline. You are making me want to read a whole lot more books. Thanks for sharing them.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Elizabeth - that sounds like what I do, except I check them out at the library in large piles. Thankfully, for the summer reading program, I earned a new library bag by reading enough hours. :)

Krystal - They were a lot of fun! Maybe I remembered your review when I picked up Coraline from the library ... I know a student recommended it, but I thought someone else did, too. Must have been you!

Diane - Ellen's novels are really fun!

Madeline - I know what you mean about Stranger Things. My daughter and I were bummed by the first episode, but we quickly got into the storyline.

Ellen - You're Welcome!

Natalie - Glad my reviews want to make you read! I get most of my books from the library. :)

Carole Anne Carr said...

Thank you for introducing me to another Neil Gaiman book. I have read The Graveyard Book and was fascinated, as I have always been more cautious when writing for MG children.