Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith Switch Press US cover

Micro-Review: CHILDREN OF ICARUS by Caighlan Smith

I probably shouldn’t have expected much from a book that drew cover comparisons to The Hunger Games (which I hated) and The Maze Runner (which looks boring to me).

The narrator of the book somehow managed to weave a web of lies and deceit, despite making no active decisions until the second half of the book. Much of the plot required more suspension of belief than should be expected, and despite the title, there are few aspects of the original tale of Icarus beyond shallow, almost cosmetic references.

If you absolutely want to read more of the exhausted YA dystopian genre, this is probably a good book to check out, but otherwise, Children of Icarus offers nothing new or interesting for the subgenre.

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NaNoWriMo 2016: Writing Playlist

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participant-180If there’s one single thing I’ve learned over the course of the past several years participating in NaNoWriMo, it’s that a writing playlist is absolutely essential. I write best to a soundtrack, and over the past couple of years that we’ve been brainstorming, my writing partner and I have come up with soundtracks for each book in the series we’re working on.

This month, though, we’re working on A Night Full of Red, and

Continue reading

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NaNoWriMo 2016: Day 7 Complete!


Create Your Own Visited States Map

Day 7 of NaNoWriMo is complete! Final word count: 15,334.

Emi and I are still pretty far ahead of our goals, even though we barely wrote today — the Day 7 goal is 11,667 words. I finally hit the point where I’ve started struggling, although I think it might be due to outside stressors (Election Day) rather than anything inherent.

Still, I’m pretty pleased with some of the stuff we’ve written so far, despite getting stuck mid-scene and needing to walk away or hand off to Emi for a while. Ironically, the most difficult character to write is Dani, who’s the main protagonist of this book. We’ve made good progress, though, and I think it’ll only get better.

[ Challenge Page ]

Today’s photo: A generated picture from MapLoco to show what states I’ve been to. You can clearly see approximately where I live based on this map! (Technically, I’ve also been to Georgia, but it was a layover at the Atlanta airport, and I don’t feel like that should count, because I didn’t breathe any of Georgia’s outside air.)

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NaNoWriMo 2016: Day One Complete!

Day One of NaNoWriMo is complete! Final word count: 3,363.

This is about twice the number of words for Day One, so we actually have already gone past the Day Two goal. It’s a good, strong start to this year’s novel, but both of us plan to write more today.

[ Challenge Page ]

Today’s photo: My first successful version of garlic fried rice, although I used a little too much canola oil. Garlic rice is a pretty classic Filipino breakfast dish, although my dad never made it growing up. I learned to make it from this article on Kitchn.

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NaNoWriMo 2016: Launchpad

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participant-180Every November for the past 8 years, I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. It’s the beginning of November 2016, and today I’ll embark on the first day of my ninth NaNoWriMo project.

NaNo is a 30-day challenge to write 50,000 words, which for a lot of participants is quite a feat, but its real purpose is to bring together writers of every age and type. Continue reading

Micro-Review: Hollie Overton’s BABY DOLL isn’t for the faint of heart

Hollie Overton Baby Doll Redhook US coverFrom the publisher:

Held captive for eight years, Lily has grown from a teenager to an adult in a small basement prison. Her daughter Sky has been a captive her whole life. But one day their captor leaves the deadbolt unlocked.

This is what happens next…

…to her twin sister, to her mother, to her daughter…and to her captor.

While I truly enjoyed this book – it’s fast-paced, filled with action, and very engaging – the subject matter is definitely sensitive: a young woman who’s been held hostage and assaulted both physically and sexually escapes her abuser with her daughter and begins the legal process to get him put away.

There were times while reading this book that I felt physically nauseous, especially during descriptions of the abuse. Some sections are told from the perspective of Lily’s captor, and the sections feel so real and bone-shakingly horrific.

Because of that, while I thought this book was really wonderful as a thriller, I’m not sure if I would recommend to all readers because its subject matter is incredibly difficult to stomach. Readers who can, though, will find this an engaging, heart-poundingly suspenseful read.

4 out of 5 stars

The Expanse TV show
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Find your next pre-Star Wars binge over at The Portalist

Find my first article for The Portalist live now:

Thankfully, Star Wars isn’t the only space opera in the game. Science fiction is full of adventures set in space, focused on intergalactic combat, dramatic twists, and gallant romance. Here are a few excellent stories to keep you occupied while you wait, no matter how impatiently.

Check out the 6 space operas I’m dying to share and tell me about any others you think would be great as well!