I should be writing….

I have an a idea.  Just need to put down the controller and write some of them down.

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LLAP – RIP Mr. Spock

Spock_watches_Vulcans_destruction

I feel a strange sense of loss.  Leonard Nimoy went to that Undiscovered Country earlier today after a short stint in the hospital.  I knew he had been admitted to the hospital and was monitoring the internet for an update, but this isn’t the one I wanted to hear.   While I didn’t know him personally, having seen him at several conventions and on screen, I still feel like I knew him.  Weird right?

I’ve been a Trek fan for over 15 years, having been introduced to the world by my beloved P when we first met.  Now having seen all of the shows in the series (including the animated series), movies, and having been to several Cons in Vegas and Seattle, I could probably compete in a Trek Trivia contest with the best of them.

I have two fond memories of Spock on stage at big Star Trek Convention in Vegas August.  The first was in 2010 when he was joined on stage by William Shatner for a rather curious and contentious talk with the crowd.  They bantered sometimes wickedly at each other.  The ended the presentation with hugs and photo ops for all to revel in.

ShatNimoy

The next year Mr. Nimoy was on stage solo, and rather than the normal crowd banter the stars have with the crowd he stood on stage in his infamous LLAP shirt and said he was going to shake things up again.  This, he announced, would be his last convention appearance, and to thank the fans (about 8,000 in the room) he wanted to share his life experience that was made possible in part due to the fans in the room.  Spock (2)He then proceeded to present a slide show of pictures form his life (pre-trek military photos) up through present. Most of the audience was moved to tears.  My favorite piece is attached below.  A picture promoting a video of all of the spaghetti westerns he and the main Enterprise Crew starred in pre-trek.

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He finished his presentation on a high note to keep the room from losing it I expect showing us his latest work – a collaboration with Bruno Mars (there was a reason for this collaboration – his daughter’s boyfriend or something…) but anyway – hilarity ensued and the audience sent him off with a 10 minute standing ovation.

Live Long and Prosper Mr. Spock we will miss you.

Binging whilst Recovering…

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been recovering from a ‘minor’ surgery. Aside from the cataract that I had fixed last year I haven’t had any out of the ordinary medical procedures since I was a small child – so for me, this minor surgery was something of a major. Requiring one week of bed rest with the help of prescribed narcotics, and one week of working from home with a lot of super strength advil. I start back at work tomorrow. I’ve had only a couple of outings this weekend, couple of short walks with the dogs and a dinner with friends that wiped me out. HOPEFULLY I’ll be ready for tomorrow – but if not I’ll continue to work and nap from home. BUT that is not the point of this blog. The point is the love of the binge.

Really in the past week plus I’ve been able to binge on lots of indulgences books, movies, tv, chocolate (who’s going to say no to a patient!) whilst lying around my house. Part of my recovery was lying pretty flat/straight, so sitting up and actually going anywhere wasn’t part of the prescribed recovery. Therefore, I took advantage and did some catching up and here is how I spent the time:

Sports. How could I avoid them. Wimbledon (my first true sports love thanks to Dad) always fun to watch. Well done Novak and Petra hard fought and deserved. On to the US Open. And the World Cup. While admittedly – I am not really a soccer fan (120 minutes and NOT ONE SCORE?! seriously) – but it was hard not to get caught up in the USA hype. Exciting to watch those supreme athletes. Go… um? Netherlands?

Witches. Yup, you heard me. I think I must have watched something that prompted me to binge watch the new’ish series Witches of East End. I watched a couple of episodes when it originally aired and thought….meh, sort of silly, bed hopping drivel with not enough magic. Well, perhaps it was the narcotic buzz I was under, but I actually enjoyed the final eight episodes and am looking forward to the start of the second season tonight. From there I hopped over to Once Upon a Time. I stopped watching mid-season, for no reason other than I ran out of time in my schedule and P doesn’t watch (though he should, we’re both Disney-philes, why WOULDN’T he love this show!). Anywhoo – poor Regina. She is one of my favs in that show, and I actually like her evil and nice, but that witch can’t catch a break. And who isn’t excited to see Elsa, Anna and Kristoff join the show this fall?! Weeeee! AND… it didn’t stop there. While I’m stoked about the final book in the All Soul’s Trilogy coming out on the 15th (Deborah Harkness – check them out…), I wanted a little witchery in some reading as well and came across a unique series from a newly published writer named J.D. Horn called the Witching Savannah series (The Line, The Source and coming in 2015 The Void are the three in the series). I read through The Line and The Source in a matter of days and L O V E D them. Fresh material and voices, in a rich setting that he wrote so well. The secondary characters often outshone the primary, but the voices and tension and mystery of this family of witches was entertainingly written. I actually sent the author a thank you note and he responded within minutes. Lovely. Can’t wait for The Void. Trying to decide what to read next before my Book of Life (Deborah Harkness) is delivered to my kindle – choices are: the Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wicker (another new novelist)(picked up for $2.99 through amazon, have been wanting to read this mystical tale for a year now), the first in the Dresden Files series (a friend loves these), or The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (I’ve pushed this one away more than once despite all the high reccos because I think it’s going to be too romantic for me…blech). I think I’ll land on the Golem and the Jinni and see where that takes me.

I finished up a couple of other books before my inner eye turned me to Witches. The first was the last in the Shatter Me YA series Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi – cool super hero Xmen stuff, though fell down a few times as the story progressed. The third was definitely my favorite of the three, even if it wrapped up quickly. The other was a recco from my mom, Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse (not the model) – and while it was a well written yarn, it was not the scary ghost story it made itself out to be. pretty predictable.

We also started up a couple of new mid apocalyptic shows Last Ship (TNT) and The LeftOvers (HBO). I am liking the Last Ship better than The LeftOvers – but a lot of that is due to the fact that the Last Ship I can get my head around and the LOs just started with a ton o questions left unanswered. I can’t imagine either show will make a second season, just due to the subject matter – mid apocalyptic is tough. Looking forward to Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain later this month too to round out my mid-apocalyptic month!

Movies… of course, how could I forget those. Nothing I haven’t seen already – and mostly by way of what was available on one of the movie channels so I didn’t have to put in a dvd, but did watch some comfort food of movies; Jurassic Park (spared no expense), Oblivion (I really liked this Tom Cruise flick), World War Z, Indiana Jones, all 6 Star Wars. The only new movie we watched was called We’re the Millers and it was two star at best (my favorite part was during the outros and the whole group singing the Friends theme to Jen Aniston).

Special thanks to my lovely husband P, mom, dad, sis and her hubby as well as my lovely goldens who kept my spirits up and took care of me while I was down! xoxo

Remakes that are Remade

A few nights ago in class we talked about the ‘seven basic plots’ briefly and how to make a general theme your own with great characters and environment. That got me thinking about just how many things today are new versions of classics. For instance – three of the last five movies I’ve seen are remakes; Godzilla (fun spin on the classic, complete with Japanese Godzilla scream and other beasties!), Batman Dark Knight Rises (I know I know… what took us so long!), The Amazing Spiderman 2 (I loved Spidey and Gwen, but the villans were meh). Have to say though the remakes were better than the ‘originals’ (both from books). I also sat through the painfully long Wolf of Wallstreet (depressing and nekkid with loads of drugs) and the painfully bad Vampire Academy (I read the book and only rented the SD version, sooo cheaper than a latte) – In VA the song during the credits was the best part, yet another remake of the Bauhaus vamp classic tune Bela Lugosi’s Dead this time by CHVRCHES. And I keep hovering over the ‘rent’ button on the Great Gatsby, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet…

This trend is happening on my TV as well. I’ve seen the new Rosemary’s Baby plugged several times over the last few weeks (weird wig Zoe). How many NCIS or CSI shows are there now – NY, Miami, LA, St. Louis (kidding about that last one I think, I’ve never seen a CSI show) – while those aren’t remakes, they certainly are capitalizing on a ‘good idea’ while the iron is hot. I love love love the new take on Sherlock Holmes called Elementary, and I’ve heard the BBC Sherlock is tremendous as well (need to invest some time there). Beverly Hills 90210 had a rebirth on the CW (of course), I see Dallas adverts on TNT, I L O V E D the Battlestar Galactica remake a few years back, The terminator on Fox looked good (though I never had a chance to watch), I’ve heard a buzz that Charmed is being remade as well (much to the witch sister’s chagrin). My mom and dad keep telling me to watch the new FX show Fargo based on the hilarious movie a decade or so ago. There are even rumors that they’re going to remake or create a new installment in the Star Trek TV franchise (we’ll see if that’s true in July at the LV Con – yes, you heard me…).

Remakes happen in tunes all the time, often you’ll hear the remake in a movie soundtrack. The Bauhaus song was v. appropriate for the Vampire movie. Not sure what goes on behind closed doors to allow remakes, but I’m sure some sort of permissions/dollars pass hands from the original artist to the next. Some of my favs… Lorde’s version of Tears for Fears Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Hunger Games Catching Fire soundtrack), Johnny Cash’s version of NIN’s Hurt, Gary Jules’s Tears for Fears Mad World (Donnie Darko soundtrack) (still following?), Everything on this album… Anywhooo – plenty of remakes, I’m only covering a scant few.

That brings me back to novels and the seven plot theory. You don’t see a lot of ‘remakes’ of books, I’m guessing because that would be plagiarism of sorts? You do see writers reworking classics occasionally, once those classics are in the public domain. For instance, I am reading a YA series right now based on fairy tales (Marissa Meyers Lunar Chronicles – great spin on Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, and currently reading the spin on Rapunzel). You do see themes repeating over and over and some how people, gifted authors, make those themes their own unique stories for readers like myself to enjoy. And lucky us that they do.

Life is a series… of series

Having just returned from a quick trip across the Atlantic I had an opportunity to read a couple of books (and load a few as backups). I noticed upon completing these and observing those I’ve loaded that I have a serious series fetish. I personally like coming in when the series is complete so I can binge read, but sometimes that is just not possible. It feels rare these days that you get a book that is one and done – especially in the YA category (although refreshingly, the latest Expiration Day was… I think). EVERYTHING seems to be part of a series. As a wannabe author I’ve read that you should pitch your book (singular) even if you have a series in mind so that you don’t scare away the publishers/agents – but I’ve also read the opposite, if you have a good idea for a series (and can pull it off) put in your query letter that it is a series. I have so many downloaded samples of series starters… I just wish I knew before investing if I was going to be in for a good ride, or if I should stop before I begin.

Anyway – today I wanted to put a lens on these series that I’ve invested in…

Completed series (that I can remember – thank you goodreads):
1) Harry Potter by JK Rowling (beloved beloved beloved)
2) Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien (though admittedly, watched the movies, THEN listened to the BBC book on tape – that series is L O N G)
3) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (of course… what YA writer hasn’t read these as inspiration?)
4) Divergent by Veronica Roth (though the last one lost steam)
5) Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (again… what happens with these last books?)
6) Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris (yes I started before True Blood, and she definitely petered out – but watching that HBO series divergence you can see why)
7) His Dark Materials (aka Golden Compass series) by Philip Pullman (definitely started better than it finished, but I do have a dog named Lyra so does deserve a place on this completed list)
8) Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis (at least I think I finished these… 6th grade stuff!)
9) Wool Series by Hugh Howey (so good! recommend for anyone who likes dystopian)
10) Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown (is this one finished? Don’t know, cruised through Inferno this summer)
11) Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (dino-saurs… what’s not to like?)
12) Dragon Tattoo series by Stieg Larson (gripping, good, cruised through all three in short order)
13) 50 shades by EL James (yep. I read them all. Paperback and all, not even hiding behind my kindle. Silly lightweight porn. Could have probably made one good book instead of three mediocre books)
14) Confessions of a Shopaholic Sophie Kinsella (writes a fun/funny main character who is terrible hopeless but makes you feel better about your own plight)

Abandoned series:
1) Anita Blake Vampire Hunter by Laurell Hamilton (the first few were so good – then they just got lazy and pornographic)
2) Meredith Gentry Fairy Series by Laurel Hamilton (same author and same problem as Anita Blake)
3) Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz (liked the first book, did NOT like how it ended, trudged through the second book and didn’t continue)
4) Fire and Ice Series by George RR Martin (aka Game of Thrones – made it half way through book three and didn’t want to meet yet another unimportant character or have to refer to the family glossary in the back to see who was killing whom in which family. TOO Much. Thank you HBO for simplifying – though that Red Wedding was a SHOCKER!)
5) The Boyfriend List series by E. Lockhart (read the first one after meeting the author, didn’t love it enough to want to read more)
6) Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld (read through the first 2 in this series before giving up)
7) The Strain Trilogy by Guillermo del Toro (who doesn’t like a vampire trilogy? me apparently. This started off so well, but then spiraled into mundane, maybe I’ll watch the FX series…)
8) Cormoran Strike series by JK Rowling (definitely not Harry Potter and I apparently don’t like male protagonist detective novels…)
9) The 5th Wave series by Rick Yancey (not even sure another one is coming out – but not a fan, didn’t like the characters)
10) Alex Cross by James Patterson (I did like these, but I think I just stopped grabbing the latest one while at the airport…)
11) Kay Scarpetta series by Particia Cornwell (didn’t mind these either… just stopped reading. Watch Bones now if I need a fix)
12) The Black Jewels by Anne Bishop (I think I read the main three from this dark fantasy series – not bad, but when the main protagonists story completed I wasn’t interested in the side character stories)
13) Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia (aka at Beautiful Creatures – apparently this is a good series but honestly I didn’t like either of the main characters and the movie was even worse. Couldn’t do it, as much as I like books about witches…)
14) The Inheritance Cycle (aka Eragon series) by Christopher Paolini (impressive first book for a 16yo writer. Actually own the second two in hardback from the series, but haven’t felt the need to pick up a 1000 page hard back…)

Still going strong:
1) Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (just finished the first one of these on the plane – impressive!)
2) Maze Runner series by James Dashner (about to start book 3 of 3 – but haven’t invested in the .5 versions)
3) Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare (gave up on this series after reading the first book, but then picked it up again after watching the cheezy but fun movie, on book 3 of 5 so far)
4) Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead (the first one was mildly amusing, strong protagonist, would’ve abandoned, but my friend let me borrow the next couple, so am currently about to read number 3)
5) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer- another Seattle author, like Richelle (these are clever futuristic takes on fairy tales. About to start 3 in at least a series of 4)
6) Stephanie Plum Bounty Hunter series by Janet Evanovich (these are fun to just pick up and read whenever – no need to rush out and binge I’m on 15 of a still going 21 so far!)
7) MaddAddam/Oryx and Crake series by Margaret Atwood (clever adult dystopian. Didn’t love the protagonist, but the second in the series was highly recommended so will go back)
8) The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (not quite the ‘next JK Rowling’ as the previews stated, but good enough to preorder the next one)
9) Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi (only have read one of several in this series, but it was funny so I’ll go back some day. Have the second one loaded on ye ole Kindle)
10) Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde (so cleverly written I have to take long breaks inbetween…)
11) The Passage series by Justin Cronin (love this dystopian series…wish I would have found it AFTER he completed it, waiting is painful)
12) All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness (same as The Passage series – waiting for the third book is painful… want it now)

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Kathy has
read 24 books toward her goal of 52 books.
hide

Writing Rituals & More Reading

Hello Happy Readers (aka Mom and P),

It’s time for an update.  I stayed up too late last night finishing a book and didn’t have the energy to get up and head to the gym at 5:20.  Therefore, I’m writing a blog entry (and if I finish in time I’ll start on a bit of a novel overhaul).

We are two weeks into our third quarter at the University of Washington’s Popular Fiction 1 course.  During this quarter we are discussing the finer points of getting published with our novels and writing the ‘end’.   In our first few classes we’ve learned about how to and are writing a Query Letter for our books, as well as perfecting our elevator pitches.  Mine is still a little weak (e.g. P and I were chatting a week ago and I was telling him about class and he asked me what my elevator pitch was and I had to look up what I wrote in class…).  The fact that I’m struggling so much to get my story into a couple of sentences and a page (for the synopsis) makes me think I need to give the draft another edit and perhaps pull out the parallel story and just focus on my one protagonist for this go.  But need to noodle on that.

The other thing we have talked about in class are writing rituals and how folks who are serious about being professional authors all have them.  This writing ritual is something you do that helps you get into a regular writing groove; go to a coffee shop around the same time each day and order a drink and sit and start writing, wake up at 4am and writer for two hours before work, walk around greenlake to get your thoughts together then write for a couple of hours.  I personally do not have a ritual yet.  I am a morning person – and should set up my writing ritual in the AM before work.  I have to work out a few challenges 1) I like to go to the gym (I NEED TO GO TO THE GYM) M/W/F at 5:30.  2) T/Th present day I’ve been getting up and playing video games… which while part of my job, I could forgo to write if I really WANTED to… I am feeling inspired though, and our latest game (Elder Scrolls) has been a little lame so perhaps now is the time to start a new writing ritual.

The reading challenge is still ON like Donkey Kong!  I’m actually a couple of books ahead right now in part due to a nice plane ride down the west coast and a short little book of poems written by a dog… 🙂  I’ve read eight books since my last post on March 2nd, even some from the list I said I was going to read next!  ha!  Here are some quick notes in the order that I personally liked them:

1) A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron I agree with another reviewer- this W. Bruce probably is a dog.  The book, written from a dog’s POV, is one of the best I’ve read this year.  Touching, funny, and an interesting exercise in point of view.  AND since my two loyal blog readers are reading now I won’t give away any spoilers – but it’s good.  GET reading!

2) Carrie by Stephen King – yup, Stephen King.  That’s right folks.  My second Stephen King book, though not sure we should count his autobio/writing book, as it was all non-fiction.  I really liked Carrie.  I’ve never had the urge to read Stephen King.  His stories and movies always seem so overwrought.  But after reading the story of how Carrie came to be (his wife pulled a draft out of the garbage and loved the flawed, SERIOUSLY flawed main protagonist, encouraged Stephen to finish it and turn it into his publisher – and it became his first published book).  It was pretty fantastic.  All over the place from a POV and setting perspective as it jumps from Carrie’s story, to a bystanders story, to telekinesis researchers articles, to newspaper clippings and interviews of ‘the incident’.  Short book – must read if you’ve never read a Stephen King book.  I may actually read another of his… 🙂

3) Scarlet (the Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer.  First, Marissa is my hero. I know I’ve written a review about her already.  She’s in her 20’s, wrote both Cinder (her first published book) and Scarlet during NaNoWriMo and lives just south of me in Tacoma Washington (plus she wrote me back when I sent her a note through her blog.  :))  I love that she’s taken fairy tales  (Cinder is about a young borg servant who works for a mean lady and her two step daughters, and it culminates at the prince’s ball… and Scarlet is about a young French woman with lovely red hair who meets up with a gruff young man who’s in a gang called a wolf pack while investigating her grand-mere’s disappearance) and turned them on their head in her Lunar Chronicles series.  I also love that her protagonists are kick ass young women.  I’ve already downloaded Cress which is the third in the series.

4). I Could Chew On This: and Other Poems by Dogs by Francesco Marciuliano.  This is a sweet little book of poems written by dogs.  Super fun to read these out loud to friends and family members who also appreciate a good poem by a dog.

5). The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.  This is an acclaimed story written from the POV of an autistic teenager.  V. interesting but a little frustrating to read.  This was recommended during class by the same person who recommended The Fault in Our Stars.  I didn’t like it nearly as much as the Fault – but it was still a well written story.  Not much about the dead dog – I don’t want you readers to think all I read are books about dogs… not true! 🙂

6). ttyl (Internet Girls #1) by Lauren Myracle.  I picked up this book after the AWP conference.  An excellent exercise in point of view, this YA book is written entirely with text messages between three best friends.  The author actually gets away with using pink font in this best seller to differentiate one of the texters.  I liked a couple of things in this book 1) that it is completely in text and therefore there is practically NO setting in this book at all (I struggle with setting!) and 2) that you can actually see the story progress through a normal story path, even while written entirely in text messages.  Brilliant.  I didn’t like it enough to read the next one in the series though.

7). The Boyfriend List:  15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver (#1) by E. Lockhart.  This was another AWP find.  I went to a panel with the author on it.  This one I didn’t really enjoy, mainly because the protagonist was so annoying.

8).  Yoga Bitch: One Woman’s Quest to Conquer Skepticism, Cynicism, and Cigarettes on the Path to Enlightenment by Suzanne Morrison.  Another AWP find.  Went to a reading of this and a few other humorous memoirs.  Loved the writer and her reading of the memoir, but upon reading the book myself found that I wasn’t a big fan of memoirs or yoga and was a little bored.

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Kathy has
read 17 books toward her goal of 52 books.
hide

Reading Challenges to end all Reading Challenges…

Alright – so last year (around May-ish) I discovered that Goodreads had this reading challenge where you could set up a simple goal of how many books you wanted to read for a set period of time. I put in a goal last May of reading 52 in 52 (book a week – easy right?) and backtracked in a bunch of books that I had already tracked for the year in the regular Goodreads tracker. I ALMOST made it – but alas, fell apart in the last month (you’d think flying for over 35 hours would make for easy reading time, but fatigue took over and I slept during most of those hours.

So I started up again in earnest this year from the beginning of the year – with the hopes that I can get a little head start on the runway. Also I’ve been told it’s smart to ‘know your audience’ (in video game marketing as well as writing) – and as my first novel attempt is YA I am reading a LOT of YA books right now (and trying to sprinkle in a few adult books from time to time). I am currently one book ahead in my challenge (YAY for short YA books!) and about to finish another today, which will bring me up to 10 books for the year. Let me stack rank them in order best book to worst book so far (though none have been horrible, and I appreciate that even if I didn’t like them, it is quite an accomplishment to be published at all!) 🙂

1). The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (yep, I’m one of those annoying adults walking around with this book telling everyone to read it.  About two kids (several kids) with cancer, and uplifting and funny at the same time.  Crazy good dialog! Made my mom and now cancer free dad read immediately and they agree. Good stuff!)

2). The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (good – still trying to grapple with how this was YA here in the states, it wasn’t anywhere else in the world.  It’s not first person – narrated by Death, with an ‘adult’ view of how a child navigated the streets of Nazi Germany.  Pretty dark and depressing, but v. good and somehow YA).

3). The Giver by Lois Lowry (my mom said she had to approve this for reading in younger grade so it definitely is YA maybe even Middle Grade and SO peculiar, but really interesting.  The end remains controversial in our larger family… We’ll see what the movie does to it later this year.)

4). Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (first adult book to make the list, and second dystopian.  I love a good dystopian.  And boy howdy those scientists made a MESS of our world in this one.  V. curious writing, characters and new words I had to read a few times to grok.)

5). Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich (serialized goofiness that I love to sprinkle in.  Not sure what I’ll do when I catch up sometime this year to where she is in the series… Hurry Janet, write more about our beloved Stephanie and her cast of merry men!)

6). Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (a local seattlite people – v. cool.  Read this when I saw it was coming out in theaters.  It was fun, and took more risks than the YA books I have read to date with sexuality – so that was interesting to read purely from a research perspective.  I liked the snarky voice of the main character too so I may read another in her series at some point. Oh and I will be watching the movie when it comes to HBO…)

7).  Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (another YA dystopian, though played up as Utopian – they’ve fixed us (like in The Giver) so that we’re all happy happy.  This one was the first in a while where it felt like the author was trying to force his voice to sound YA.  Annoying, but a fun jaunt and fun enough to read the next one.)

8) Pretties by Scott Westerfeld (second in the series and I’m out.  Can’t read anymore in this series.  The voice sounds forced and when the Uglies become Pretty I don’t like them as much.  Probably what the author wanted, but interesting to read the comments about the book in Goodreads and the forum on who they think should play the main characters in the movie).

9) Allegiant by Veronica Roth (oh Ronnie… what have you done?  This one felt phoned in.  I really liked Divergent new twist on dystopian along the vein of Hunger Games sort of – and certainly coming of age for the main character.  In Insurgent it was more of the same, though war torn and new characters introduced – all still from the main characters POV.  In the third book they escape the city and get some ‘answers’, those answers are pretty weak, and for some reason the author breaks the magic she had in the first two books by now telling the story from the main heroines POV and alternating with her angry boyfriends POV.  V. disjointing.  I think she had to ‘wrap it up’ and could only do that by having people in two places at once – hence to narrators.  Still going to Divergent on opening night though!)

On the bedside table (or kindle) to read the next fifteen in some order, not necessarily THE order:

1) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
2) Magic in Manhattan (books 1 & 2) by Sarah Mlynowski
3) The Boyfriend List by E.  Lockhart
4) Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson
5) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
6) Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
7) TTYL by Lauren Myracle
8) Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
9) Yoga Bitch by Suzanne Morrison (also local Seattleite)
10) The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
11) Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham
12) Sand by Hugh Howey
13) American Gods by Neil Gaiman
14) Redshirts by John Scalzi
15) Finger Licking Fifteen by Janet Evanovich