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  • S.M. Ryan

August Reading Wrap - Up

Updated: Sep 10, 2020


“Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere.”

– Mary Schmich


August felt like it lasted forever and went by very quickly all at the same time. And while my inbox racked up a lot of unread emails (that I'm finally getting to) I did manage to get a decent amount of reading done if not much else.


I was actually a little excited about August book releases because for one thing, I was on time for book releases and managed to snag a pre-order of a signed Sucker Punch copy, and also because I wanted to get out of my reading rut and nostalgia gets me every time.


Now, my August reading wrap up isn't very long, again I'm pulling myself out of a reading dry land here, but I did have some thoughts on the two releases I most looked forward to.



SUCKER PUNCH by Laurell K. Hamilton

In the 27th installment of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series, the executioner we've come to love (or hate, if that's your thing) finds herself in Michigan working to save a life instead of just hunting down the bad guy.


When the crime scene doesn't make sense and the main suspect doesn't seem interested in saving his own ass, Anita does what she knows how to do in effort to avoid doing what she doesn't want to do -- be responsible for the execution of an innocent man.


Is Anita saving the day or reminding us why her name is also War?



My Rating: 3/5 stars -- I Liked it, But....

A. This Cover and it's feel, 8/10 -- give me even more texture. It's so nice.

Though this book brought back some of my favorite characters in the series and while I was all here for the complications presented by their arrival, I was far more sold on the sub-plot than the main plot if only because the sub-plot offered a variety on conversational topics between the characters, where most dialogue centering on the main plot felt incredibly repetitive.

Said repetition made it very easy to guess how the main plot was going to progress and end about 100 pages in. I would have enjoyed this read a lot more if the sub and main plot lines were swapped, or we just skipped the whole "who done it" of it all.


As a whole, I do enjoy the series but every book doesn't really hit the same. If you want a bit of a fresh take on the supernatural and enjoy adult fantasy start with Guilty Pleasures and let me know what you think.





MIDNIGHT SUN By Stephanie Meyers

If you don't know by now what Midnight Sun is then, you're not really missing much? because if you know what Twilight is about, you know what this book is about.


15 years later, Stephanie Meyers gives us a retelling of Twilight from Edwards perspective. Midnight Sun follows the plot of Twilight point for point through the lens of a sparkly, old masochistic vampire who thinks a lot. Unlike in Twilight we (obviously) get to spend way more time with the Cullen family and inside the heads of every side character except for Bella.


Admittedly, Midnight Sun was a semi-exciting release for me because, just like a lot of us, the Twilight Saga was my first full dive into vampire YA and it was how I'd made my way to finding the Anita Blake novels in the first place. I think it's safe to say we all know what we're getting into when we step into this world. Despite that, I couldn't help myself and I had to read the book I was promised so long ago. Just know nostalgia kept me holding on.



My Rating: 3/5 stars and this gif.

I don't know where to begin. I do know that I enjoyed being able to reconnect with my younger self and her special love of the Twilight Saga. My teen heart was happy to travel back in time and listen in on Edwards endless thoughts. Do I love understanding how a 108 year old can come to love an 18 year old? Not really but under its context of instant-obsessive-but-kind-of-toxic-first-love-that-feels-all-consuming -- it hit the nail on the head.


As a writer, I take lots of issue with this book (i.e. did it need to be 600 pages? No. Does the reader in me kind of appreciate it? Also no.) when I think about the unhealthy way this relationship is written but again, for a YA vamp romance, it does its job. I will say, I'm sad we won't be seeing the rest of the Saga from Edwards perspective, if only because I'm so curious how he spent his time alone from Bella in New Moon.


I'm also just glad Stephanie Meyer finally got to release her book, it's clear she worked hard to give us our characters back for a little while and I'm happy to have it to add to my collection.


Anyway.



Between my fantasy reads, I slipped in some books on writing to act as palette cleansers that were recommended by some writers I watch on Youtube. I was interested enough to pick them up and glad to find they were short, quick helpful reads.



WRITING INTO THE DARK: HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL WITHOUT AN OUTLINE By Dean Wesley Smith

Quick Summary

This book is exactly as to the point as the title is. Dean Wesley Smith walks a writer in any stage through pantsing with more confidence in a way that may (heavy on that) even make it easy for plotters to shake up their methods if they want to.


Writing into the Dark is a quick read with actionable advice and clean easy explanations as to why this method really works and what is has to offer to our writing.


If you already write in the dark, like me, it's nice to know you're not alone in your method of madness and you may find a couple of tips you didn't think to use.


My Rating: 4/5 stars


I was surprised to find that this book is so short, because surely the secrets were deep and plenty? Turns out, not so much. I enjoyed how to the point this was and how simple the tips he gave were, all aimed at not pulling yourself away from the writing but not allowing yourself to stray so far into the dark you loose your way.

I can't say I ready anything especially new in the way of writing tips for pantsers but I did learn a new ways to apply the practices and I didn't have to spend too many hours reading about it.




5,000 WORDS PER HOUR: WRITE FASTER, WRITE SMARTER By Chris Fox

Quick Summary

This is another book that turned out much shorter than expected and is really helpful if you're someone who is trying to get back in the groove of writing and need to strengthen your writing muscle. It's also helpful if you're someone just looking to increase your word count so you can produce at the level you know you're capable of.


In 5,000 Words Per Hour, Chris Fox gives actionable advice but he also includes exercises that demonstrate his point while helping you learn to work his suggested method for yourself.


Another quick read so you can get back to writing.




My Rating: 3/5 stars

While I enjoyed reading this book, I didn't feel like I was reading anything new because I'd figured out everything he talks about on my own but I liked the inclusion of practices instead of just the suggestion and an explanation why you should do it. Basically, I wish I found this too many years ago.

However, I like that I can, again, apply the practices I already have in place in a fresh way and pull it into my every day writing to keep increasing my output.



If you've made it this far, thank you for indulging my rantings. Let me know in the comments how your August wrapped up. Did you read? Did you throw books in the trash? Did you just restock your overflowing TBR pile? Let me know.

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