Angry Angel Novel

If you’ve been a member of my Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/angryangelbooks/) or followed me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/angryangelbooks) you’ve noticed a fair amount of writing content in addition to my usual book reviews and essays. Since NaNoWriMo in November 2017 and attending the AWP writer’s conference in March of this year, I’ve been exploring writing/author Twitter and researching the worlds of agents and publishing, mostly because I’m discovering that I have a story in my head and I wanted to know how I might get it out into the world.

The summer of 2018 will be the first summer since 1997 that I will be free to do what I wish. I mean, I have a 4 day AP Statistics training to attend in July, and the husband and I are taking an anniversary weekend in St. Augustine just before that, but that’s like 7 days out of 65 total days between this school year and the next.

It’s not a lot of time. A fiction novel meant for adults tends to be around 100,000 words, and a first draft must be edited, read by trusted friends and colleagues, revised, and sent out to agents once it feels “done” to me. As a first time author, I would probably have to pitch with a complete manuscript because I am a higher risk and an unknown.

The mathematician in me says that 100,000 divided by 65 is about 1540 words per day. My depression says “ha, bitch, I’d like to see you try!” The teacher in me says, “a little each day means success in the end.” The failure says, “one more thing to start and never finish.” The reader, “I can do this.” The writer, “You only need a pen and paper, and you have computers too – you have everything you need to put words down, in order, many times over.”

There are a lot of internal voices that have opinions about this new endeavor. The loudest is the logical side of my brain that insists that I have the time, I have the resources, and I have friends that will help me. I have nothing to lose. The husband supports my efforts. It shouldn’t cost me anything. So, logically, as long as I can set that daily word count and stick to it, I can at least write my first draft. Everyone says that’s the hardest part. If I can do that, then I can handle the rest.

Starting tomorrow I will be writing a novel. The first in a series. Wish me luck. It seems as though it is a required element of the process. Posting here may reduce for the summer, but I will give occasional updates and a couple of reviews a week since I will, of course, still be reading.

And you should be too. Check out my summer reading list suggestions right here tomorrow!

Read. Be brave. Stay angry. Have a great summer, angels.

2018 Summer Reading List Compilation

I love the times of year where lists come out! Publications are releasing their summer book lists and I am excited to peruse them!  Here are a few for you to enjoy, along with any reviews I’ve already written about books on that list.

Washington Post Summer List

New York Times Summer List

Wired Summer List

Chicago Magazine Summer List

Vanity Fair Summer List

Times Summer List

To be very, very honest there are a lot of books on these lists that are very mainstream or stuffy. I was surprised that a lot of my “I got bored with it” books were on the most visible lists. Do people really want to read a depressing book about city foxes and gardens in London as described by scientists for their summer read? Maybe, but summer reads are supposed to be light, fluffy, and readable as you soak up the sun on the beach. Books you would enjoy in your free time, not assignments you’d receive for a class.

I’m making my own list to add to these and it’ll be up June 1st. Hopefully I’ll bring together some suggestions to light up your summer nights. You know the Angry Angel can bring the heat.

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6)

Tower of Dawn

Throne of Glass Series #1-5

Throne of Glass
Crown of Midnight
Heir of Fire
Queen of Shadows
Empire of Storms

***

I have been taking my time getting around to this one.  After reading A Court of Wings and Ruin last year, I had to set Sarah J Maas aside for a bit because I was so angry that the book was SO BAD. With the recent announcement that the seventh and last installment of the Throne of Glass series, Kingdom of Ash, will be released in October of 2018, it was time for me to catch up with Chaol and Nesryn, the new Hand of the King and Captain of the Guard. Chaol was injured in the battle at the glass castle in Adarlan, and was sent by Dorian Havilliard (the new king) and Aelin Galathynius (the queen of Terrasen) to the southern lands to convince them to fight the Valg and get healing for Chaol’s spinal injury.

They arrive to find that the youngest princess has (supposedly) committed suicide and everyone is in mourning. The healer assigned to Chaol (Yrene) has prejudices against Adarlan because they killed her mother, and so we get the predictable cold shoulders and banter you would expect from that. Nesryn becomes wrapped up in one of the princes (Sartaq), and flies with him to inspect the lands and the ruk soldiers (ruk = giant, golden, flying eagle-esque bird you ride like the witches ride wyverns) and seek out any possible Valg invasion into this continent.

Man oh man I was not expecting all this shit to go down in this book. The solution Yrene finds for Chaol’s injury is SUPER CORNY but works so that healers might become warriors. I do not want to spoil ANYTHING about what Nesryn and Sartaq find in the forests to the south – I outright gasped and I want you to have that same experience. Just know that there are a LOT of stygian spiders running around and they are big as horses and fucking disgusting. Also their love story is super sweet and I hope you like it too. Both couples find love and all I could think was “oh, was this where the good romance writing went?”

How is Maas capable of writing books like this while also giving us the trash that was the conclusion to the ACOTAR series? And the extra court novella? GARBAGE. DUMPSTER FIRE. What the hell is going on? She’s supposedly coming out with an adult fantasy series sometime next year (?) and I’m like “lady, you’re way too hot and cold for me to pre-order this shit, I’m gonna wait and see what people say” but then I’m like “shit, I’M the one that people want to hear from about how things are” and so I’ll probably have to bite the bullet to give you all a heads up.

The seventh and final book of this series had better be the best fucking book I’ve ever read. You can’t build all this up and give me a dud. I will legit go off if Kingdom of Ash is literally a burning tire pile and I will @ Mass on social media with my review idc idc idc.

But I have hope that Aelin et al. won’t let me down. It should be a battle for the ages. See you in October for the thrilling conclusion!

Oh yeah, and go get this book if you’ve been reading the series. You need what’s inside.

Heart Berries

Heart Berries

Remember a while ago when I was running my Memoir Monday series? I got to a point where I couldn’t read so many memoirs all at once because the entire industry (genre?) seems to be dealing in pain and trauma. If you don’t have some kind of abuse in your past, you’re not publishing memoir right now, or so it would seem. Even the light hearted memoir has to have portions that have an “if I wasn’t laughing, I’d be crying” kind of feel.

Heart Berries is chock full of these themes and more. The writing is set like a journal, like a “dear diary” kind of confessional. It covers relationships and parenthood and mental illness. The entries lead you on the author’s journey of self-discovery – through a psych ward, on a reservation (the author is of Native American descent), in the homes of others and her interactions with her children.

I’m not really sure what to say about this book. It’s very short, only about 150 pages, and it’s like a dramatic monologue that will either touch you deep in your heart, leave you confused, or both. It is a very personal journey. I felt like I was eavesdropping or spying on someone who was truly struggling and there was nothing I could do to help. It was super emotional and thoughtful and weird. I got to the end and I just said “WOAH” out loud; I didn’t know what to do with what I had just read.

I encourage you to try this one out. It won’t take you long to read, and it’ll for sure make you feel things. I’d be interested to hear what you think, because I’m still not entirely sure what I think.

Face the Fire (Three Sisters Island #3)

Face the Fire

Dance Upon the Air (#1)
Heaven and Earth (#2)

(Spoilers abound.)

This is easily the weakest book in the trilogy. Mia Devlin is the red-headed, older, wiser witch. She’s helped both Nell and Ripley through their magical awakenings – Nell discovering that she has power, and Ripley with controlling hers. But the third test still remains, and with the darkness exorcised from Jonathan Harding, there’s a gross evil shadow wolf lurking about the island, working to drive Mia to her ancestor’s fate of jumping to her death in despair.

That premise alone is shaky. Bolstered by the prior success of her two “sisters,” it stands to reason that Mia would be confident about facing her demons. She’s been presented to us as nothing but the confident leader, and with a complete circle and full support, we would expect her to just absolutely flatten anything that comes her way. Her thoughts of suicide just don’t add up with everything we’ve seen so far in the serious.

I also don’t like how Sam Logan, her former lover, just comes back to the island and barges into her world, and she gives into him almost instantly. Their first kiss is him grabbing her and forcing himself on her – not totally down with that – and then she just grabs him for more kissing. Honestly their “romantic” entanglement isn’t hot because I don’t believe it. I don’t believe that a strong, smart, 30-year-old woman who is a powerful and knowledgeable witch who teaches and leads others would act like this. It’s like Nora Roberts just guessed at what a suicidal person might have running through their heads and had her think it – and it doesn’t add up.

I hate the ending. I hate it so much. I already have to suspend belief about the previous two books, but having it end with a shower of stars and her being a starry eyed babe wanting marriage and children ASAP and that’s how the curse is broken…I don’t know man, I know it’s a romance novel and ending it with an independent woman who don’t need no man isn’t how these things go, but could we at least have had a second love interest? Like, new love versus old love, and she has to choose? But no, we end right where we expected to, with marriage and babies for everyone! Yuck. Just a complete 180, out of character resolution to the trilogy. Okay, I guess.

It’s still one of my favorite trilogies of hers, because the first two books are so strong and I love the magic and the curse. But this last book always makes me mad that Mia, the best of them, couldn’t have been more than this. I wanted more for her.

 

The House of Broken Angels

House of Broken Angels

It is a shame that this book did not hook me like I wanted it to. I love books with good, healthy family drama, and the fact that this was based on a Mexican family with mixed immigration statuses also fed my hunger for stories that speak to deeper societal issues too. Unfortunately I got about 90 pages in and became weary with reading about how Big Angel (the patriarch) is dying and all the things he thinks about and the family dynamics around him…I don’t know, I just didn’t care enough to keep reading.

This is a book that would be a perfect seminar book. I need to make a tag for those – you know, the kind of book that you could read across a semester in an English class (high school or college) and there are enough references in the fiction to connect to actual, real world issues happening currently in real time? Immigration, how the armed forces treats its members that are not civilians, Mexican time/family dynamics, drug issues, gang issues – they are all here. It’s a book I want someone to read with me and discuss, not necessarily one I would read for enjoyment or in my free time.

So I set it aside, not because it was poorly written or a bad story, but because I’m not really in the mood for an academic read disguised as a fiction novel at the moment. If you enjoy books that expose you to culture and teach you about it through story, grab this book right away. It’s current and fresh, and the writing is good. I know I’ll come back to it at some point, it’s just not the right time right now.

 

Heaven and Earth (Three Sisters Island #2)

Heaven and Earth

Dance Upon the Air (#1)

The second installment of the Three Sisters Island trilogy focuses on Ripley Todd, a policewoman on the island and the direct descendant of the witch called Earth that originally formed the island sanctuary. Her central issue is control; she wields the most power of the three, but has locked it away instead of learning to use and control it.

With the vanquishing of Evan Remington on Samhain, and Nell finally free, the first seal on the curse is broken. Ripley knows that she must face her demons next, or the island will perish as as result of the curse.

The actions that the three “sisters” took to drive Evan Remington mad have caught the eye of two men. Jonathan Harding, a reporter, and MacAllister Booke, a paranormal researcher. Booke comes straight to the island to do research, and Harding travels to meet with Remington, who he discovers is now a raving lunatic, and walks away with more than he bargained for. Both men head for the island for answers.

Booke is a hot nerd, and he and Ripley have this fight-a-little, kiss-a-little, get-so-angry-we-have-sex kind of courtship. He’s patient with her, which is nice, because she’s the kind of person that only resists destiny harder when she knows she’s being forced into it. So she comes around to liking him without him doing anything but his normal day to day activities – studying the history of the island and the magic that is done on it. Ripley finds his clumsy nerd act combined with hot bod endearing, and so the love story portion of the tale is born.

So Ripley has to control her power and find a way to have both justice and compassion at the same time in order to break her ancestor’s piece of the curse. Will she succeed? Will she get to keep the sexy nerd? Read to find out!

(PS – This is definitely the sexiest of the three books.)