25 Jun

Reading Challenge: June 2019

I wasn’t kidding last month about bingeing (binging? I feel like the “e” is necessary for pronunciation, but every reader would probably get it in context without…) on T. Kingfisher and Kelly Barnhill. Despite favorable conditions book-wise, though, I didn’t get a ton of reading done thanks to lots of 16-hour workdays.

I’m not linking to Amazon going forward, since the ~$20/year in affiliate money isn’t worth the stinkface I make every time I run up against their bullshit. (My ad blocker recently began blocking the Amazon-linked book covers and stripped the images from the posts, too, so I took that as a further sign it’s time to sever ties.) Now everybody will be equally inconvenienced having to manually search for books at their preferred stores!


Cover of Kelly Barnhill's The Witch's BoyTHE WITCH’S BOY by Kelly Barnhill: Sister Witch had twin sons who fell into a river. Only one of them could be saved from drowning. The one who survived fell ill with fever. Because she couldn’t bear to lose both of them, she caught the dead twin’s soul and stitched it with magic thread to the ailing twin to strengthen him. That twin, Ned, recovered, but it became difficult for him to speak or read or be around people. His father can’t even look at him, and the villagers call him “the wrong boy”—as in, the wrong boy survived. (Fuck them all very much.)

After Áine’s mother died, her father fell into a deep depression, which breaks only after they’re penniless and facing eviction and he realizes there’s nothing left to lose. He reverts to his premarital banditing ways, stocks up on stolen supplies, and returns to his childhood home in the scary forest with Áine. Then he gets high on a magic amulet and decides to steal the witch’s power, at which point the lives of these children collide. Áine has to help Ned escape from her father, not because she gives a damn about Ned but because if her father gets his hands on that magic, he’ll be further corrupted and she’ll lose him entirely.

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28 May

Reading Challenge: May 2019

Is it just me, or has this month lasted 72 years? Anyhoo, this was supposed to be my last month of web hosting, but it’s tied to email addresses linked to endeavors that periodically cough up money, some of which are unnecessarily difficult to change (“you’ll have to email us your bank information so we can set up a new account for you”—uh, noooooooo), so I’m locked in for another year while I extricate myself from tertiary garbage. Pour one out for my sorely abused credit card.

Product links are affiliate coded and go to Amazon.


THE TURNER HOUSE by Angela Flournoy: The story shifts between the 1940s, when Francis Turner moved to Detroit and left his wife Viola behind in Arkansas while he got established, and the present (2008), which mostly focuses on 2 of their 13 children. Cha-Cha, the eldest, is currently providing a home for their mother due to medical issues, so the titular house sits vacant. He’s in therapy after a work-related driving accident he attributed to a “haint” that first appeared to him as a teen at his parents’ house, trying to figure out what this apparition means. Lelah, the youngest, who’s been suspended at work for borrowing money from coworkers to fund her gambling problem, crashes in the empty house after being evicted from her apartment and spends much of her time trying to prevent everyone from finding out she’s homeless.

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26 Apr

Reading Challenge: April 2019

A better month than last with fun murder, pleasant romance, almost-there horror, a ghost story I finished despite my dissatisfaction, a rollicking adventure worthy of my apocalypse library, and a fourth-in-series that might have fared better if I remembered more about its predecessors before finally getting to a space adventure I couldn’t finish and a fantasy romance I wish had done a thousand things differently.

Links are affiliate-coded and go to Amazon.


MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER by Oyinkan Braithwaite: Korede is a tall, plain, practical nurse with a case of unrequited love for one of the doctors at work. Her younger sister, Ayoola, is so beautiful and vivacious that everyone she encounters is instantly enthralled—including the doctor Korede loves. This familiar tale of sibling rivalry is complicated by Ayoola having killed enough of her boyfriends to officially qualify as a serial killer. Korede has always protected her sister (starting in childhood with their abusive father and extending to body disposal and crime scene cleanup in the present), but this time she’s motivated to warn the victim, who promptly says she’s jealous and he’s disappointed in her for not being more supportive of her sister.

Hey, she tried.

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11 Apr

Deleted Scene from Silent Song

Silent Song is a second chance romance. As such, there’s a whole other story about what happened between Gin and Lex years ago. Part of figuring out who they are now and how their relationship works now involved looking at their shared past, so I have a ton of material about The Old Days.

The problem with any second chance romance is that it’s about the second chance, not the first attempt that failed, so no matter how great (or not) that ton of historical material may be, very little of it belongs in the book. Like any flashback, if it’s not immediately relevant to the now story, it’s not relevant at all.

This scene hung around longer than its peers that got cut. If I remember correctly, I was trying (unsuccessfully) to make it relevant to a subplot. When I cut three or four days from the story timeline and there wasn’t enough time for that subplot to happen, there was no longer even a flimsy excuse for keeping this scene. I thought about it yesterday, though, so I’m going to break my rule about sharing junk that ended up on the cutting room floor. (I usually don’t even save a file of what gets cut, but I kept 7,000 words trimmed from this book because I can’t let go.)

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26 Mar

Reading Challenge: March 2019

In a word, this month was rough. Five books. Four DNFs. I’m going to play video games during reading time for the rest of the month to cleanse my palate.

Links go to Amazon and are affiliate coded.


TIME SALVAGER by Wesley Chu: In a far distant future, Earth is a toxic wasteland and humans have to use time travel to raid the past for resources. There are, of course, strict regulations about what can be taken and when so the theft doesn’t disrupt the future, and only a select few are authorized to do the job. James Griffin-Mars is one such time traveler, and the nature of the job has begun to take a toll.

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