Sharp and Sweet

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of the top books lists and seeing a lot of Kirkus Reviews stars, and I got to thinking that I needed a rating system of my own so you could know when a book really knocked my socks off. Two thumbs up is taken, 5 star systems are overused and not clear, and of course stars in general are used across different platforms.

This May I shared an embarrassing story involving my misunderstanding of how pineapples grow. I got to thinking that the pineapple is a perfect representation of me: spines, round in the middle, and relatively sweetish-sour on the inside, and so it might be a great symbol to use for my reviews as well.

pineapple

In the new year, I will be applying a “pineapple” to any book that is fucking spectacular. Books that made me feel something, whether it be sweet or sharp, that I devoured because they were delicious. Pineapple reviews will be filed under favorites and can be accessed anytime by clicking on that tab in the menu.

If you see any books being released in 2019 that you would like me to test out first, please feel free to email me the title at angryangelbooks [at] gmail [dot] com or connect with me on Twitter. I can’t wait to read with you into the new year!

Thankful Reading

A couple of weeks ago I posted a list of books that I had put on hold at the library as a result of looking at some of the best of 2018 lists.

I’ve already finished Elevation by Stephen King. Waiting at the library for me are The Incendiaries and The Great Believers, as well as Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. She also wrote Uprooted and His Majesty’s Dragon, and Spinning Silver has begun popping up on many of the best fantasy book lists for 2018.

While I’ve been on Thanksgiving break and waiting for these books to come in I’ve been reading the second book in Stephanie Garber’s Caraval series, Legendary. Caraval (#1) was dark, mysterious, and beautiful and so I wanted to see what book 2 had to offer. I’m also a sucker for books who show us women who escape convention to shape their own destinies. Waiting for me in my newly organized office is the SFF epic Dune, but I have to admit that my brain seems to be avoiding it as much as it avoided Stephen King’s The Stand for the same reasons – it’s a book I should  read but it’s fucking HUGE and right now I just want to read 300-400 page books about cool stuff.

Our Thanksgiving was pretty good. Photos of my food efforts can be found on my Twitter timeline if you’re interested. If you haven’t clicked a follow there yet please do. I’m not an influencer or anything, it’s just that sometimes I post things there that don’t get a full post here and if you’re interested in me you might be interested in that too.

I am thankful for you. Thank you for being here.

Most Wonderful Time

October, November, and December make up my favorite quarter of the year for a multitude of reasons, one of which is that it is “best of” list season. This weekend I’ve been googling different Best of 2018 book lists and scanning through them for any I might have missed and confirming that I have read some that are being celebrated.

I have had my library holds list under control for the last couple of months but now it’s got some new additions.

Elevation

 

Stephen King got me earlier this year with The Outsider and when I saw that he had a second new release this year I decided to trust in my newfound fandom of his work and request it in at the library.

Synopsis

I’m always ready for a trip back to Castle Rock, let’s gooooo!

 

The Incendiaries

 

The Incendiaries is a book that kept popping up all year in my literary circles, and when I saw it on the lists I said “fine, I’ll try it.”

Synopsis

I am intrigued by the love story wrapped up in grief wrapped up in fundamentalist religion bullshit, I’m just hoping it doesn’t make me cringe too much. It’s difficult to read stories about people making bad emotional decisions and avoid armchair quarterbacking out of context.

 

The House of Impossible Beauties

 

Set in the drag scene of 1980s New York, this is a book that kept peeking at me on Twitter all year and with week long school breaks just around the corner, I decided I could finally give it the time it deserves.

Synopsis

I find drag fascinating and I still have so much to learn about it. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

 

 

The Great Believers
A 2018 National Book Award finalist, The Great Believers wasn’t on my radar until this morning. It has been on every list I’ve looked at in addition to this award nomination so it must be one I need to see.

Synopsis

Here we’re in 1980s Chicago (not sure why there’s a 1980s trend in literature…) and the story is woven in with the AIDS crisis. It is a much more serious book than I usually read, but if it’s as good as they say, I want to experience it.

 

There There

This is another book that has been screaming at me since the beginning of this year. I knew There There was out there but I just never picked it up. It is time.

Synopsis

This novel explores a variety of Native American experiences in urban settings. To be honest I wish there was more fiction that centered around these experiences. I feel like America forgets about its first peoples more than they should. Every time I read someone’s view of this book they are shouting that people should read it, that it really is as good as everyone says, and that it should be required reading for all Americans. Well, I’m on it.

What are some books you are excited about this holiday season? Are there any you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t yet? Do you have any suggestions for me? Let me know in the comments!

Angry Angel Novel: 48 Days

The book project I started this summer has been coming alone nicely. There have been days where I haven’t written and days when I’ve written my ass off, but for the most part I’ve been trying to write about 1,000 words every day. Thanks to the #1000wordsofsummer event on Twitter I discovered that this was a habit I could keep up with, and it yielded fast results.

The event that got me thinking that I had a novel series in me, National Novel Writing Month, holds a summer event in July called Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s mostly for people to make progress on a manuscript or some work that is unfinished, as opposed to literally writing an entire novel in one month’s time. I put in what I had written so far in June as my starting point, made 75,000 words my goal for the end of July, and then I was off to the races. Their website keeps track of my progress and gave me these stats as of my writing today.

Screenshot 2018-07-18 at 9.03.38 PM

I am aiming for 100K words total on my first draft, but if I keep writing like I have been (and not the 2250 words per day as suggested by NaNoWriMo), I’ll be sitting at between 65K and 70K (at least!) by the time I go back to school on August 6th for teacher planning week.

Guys, I am really proud of myself. I am enjoying writing this story and I hope that someday people will enjoy reading it. I have never written this much in this short of a time span, even when I was writing parts of my dissertation during my doctoral work. My manuscript is sitting at 93 Microsoft Word pages, and I make that distinction because I have learned that Microsoft Word pages and book pages aren’t the same thing (e.g. 100K words = 400 book pages). The point I am making here though, is over the past 48 days I have written 93 pages of something. NINETY-THREE.

I can’t wait to finish this draft and then go to Staples to have them print and spiral-bind it so I can start revising and re-writing. I want to read about outlining and editing and take time to read books I think would be comparable titles to get inspiration. I’ve already started rereading Six of Crows because I couldn’t wait. I’ve ordered some writing how-to books that will help me strengthen my characters and enhance my storytelling. I’m so excited that I’m already thinking about the next step. I’m acting like this first draft is already finished, because I know that it will be, because I will finish it.

I hope you are enjoying seeing these updates. I am excited to share just a little of my progress with you, my readers, because without you I wouldn’t have this blog, and without this blog I wouldn’t be reading nearly as much as I do, and without all this reading I may never have become inspired to write my own book. Thank you for being here. Thank you for supporting me. Have a great weekend.

Angry Angel Novel Update

Oh angels, it is summer and I am living it up – if living it up is sitting for long periods of time, playing too many hours of video games, and still going to bed at 8:30pm because you can’t be hungry if you’re sleeping. Oh, and also going to the gym because I WILL GET MICHELLE OBAMA-LEVEL ARMS. Please clap.

The husband was in Utah from June 2nd through June 10th grading AP World History exam essays, so I had a whole week to just do whatever I wanted, so I met Joe Biden.

Joe Biden.jpg

But that was only Monday night from 7:30-9:30 so I had another 6 days to fill. Some of that time was spent writing THE BOOK.

Things I have discovered writing THE BOOK.

  1. I write about 1300-1700 words each time I sit down to write. I could do more.
  2. I can see this story beginning to end and that makes it easier to write. It’s like I’m watching the characters do stuff and I’m just describing what I see to you via THE BOOK.
  3. I skipped some days last week and so I feel a little behind now.

Things I want to try to do now that I’ve eased into summer:

  1. Write twice a day. Once in the morning and once some other time in the day. I’d like to up that word count and stick to it.
  2. Write more about the world/setting and not be afraid to describe things more. Since I am so often putting books down because I get bored with them, I am afraid of having that affect on readers myself.
  3. Think more about the magic system. Every fantasy book has a pretty clear idea about how magic works (although if we’re being honest “I was born with it so just hand me a wand” was kind of vague in HP but I still love it so much) so I want to be sure to give clear information about how magic works in this world.

As of today I have 10,000 words into this novel. It’s the 12th of June so mathematically that averages out to less than 1,000 words a day, which isn’t what I was aiming for, but it’s more than I was doing. This weekend I am leaving the husband at home and taking a few nights in a hotel just for me. I’m planning to sleep a lot since I won’t have to worry about taking the dogs out, reading, and writing, hopefully enough to catch up to where I would be by the 17th (about 25,000 words) since I won’t have anything to distract me except myself and the entire internet. What could go wrong?

This book is happening. I’m really excited and proud about it. Thank you all for supporting this effort. New book review is up tomorrow. See you then!

 

 

Angry Angel Summer Reads 2018

It’s the summer! Time for reads that you can drag to the beach or get the corners wet at the pool. Summer is a time for relaxation and enjoyment, and the books you pick up should support that goal!

If you’d like a more established, professional touch on your summer recs, I have a compilation of links that will take you to a plethora of suggestions from several major publications. My summer list is made up of books that even I have yet to read. If you want to read like the Angry Angel, you can pick a book up off my list and know that we’re probably enjoying it at the same time!

Library Selections

I had a very nice holds list set up at my local library branch. They were all in high demand, and their wait times were nicely staggered. But the literary gods chose to smile and laugh at me and all these golden selections came in at the same time.IMG_20180530_145740_053.jpg I am starting with the Stephen King. I have heard nothing but accolades and so I would hate to have to return it because I ran out of time. I’ll probably move to The Woman in the Window next, then The Mars Room, then I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. I’m not a huge fan of non-fiction, but I am a huge fan of Patton Oswalt, and Michele McNamara essentially wrote a road map for investigators to follow to the actual capture of the Golden State Killer in April of this year. My online reading buddies have implored me to not read that one at night. All but two of these lovelies are due back on June 13th because they are on hold by another patron, so we’ll see how many I can get through in the next 11 days!

Advanced Reader Copies

Publishers and friends have supplied me with several advance copies whose books are due for publication later this summer or early this fall. I’ll be tackling the following novels.

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras – Out July 31, 2018. A debut novel set in violent, 1990’s Columbia.

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson (I found out this one was kind of a sequel to her previous trilogy, so The Kiss of Deception in my library stack above is my effort to catch up before reading this one! Technically it’s a new work but all the reviews I read said to get the other trilogy in first.) – Out August 7, 2018

The Distance Home by Paula Sanders – Out August 7, 2018. A debut novel set in 1960s rural South Dakota which explores the lifestyles and challenges of living in rural America.

TBR Owned, Yes Owned!

I bought several books at the end of last year and beginning of this one that I have been meaning to get to but have pushed back in favor of library books with set deadlines. I have time to spare though, and so I’m definitely going to be (finally!) reading these selections from my own bookshelves.

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory – Fun and flirty, perfect for summer.

One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul – I am late to this one but Scaachi is hilarious and smart and I cant wait to dive into this one.

Everything is Awful: And Other Observations by Matt Bellasai – This gentleman is the one you want to sit and complain about stuff with, because everything is awful and he’s 100% about owning that shit.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton – I am here for all these challenges to racism disguised as beautiful, powerful black women kicking ass. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland is one of my current reads along the same vein. I want to read all of them. *grabby hands*

***

I hope one of these books finds you with a tall glass of lemonade staring at a freshly mowed backyard, listening to the sound of splashing and summer jam playlists. Just remember that sunscreen! Happy summer!

 

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.