Longest Books I’ve Read

I missed this topic when it originally posted for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl). So since this week was a free topic, I thought I’d take the time to go back to it–after all, as someone who’s read a lot of epic fantasy, it would just be wrong not to participate.

I fully expected epic fantasy to dominate here. And for the most part, that’s exactly what happened, though two historical fiction novels managed to rank alongside them.

I used page and word counts from Kobo, because they don’t have different sized paperback versions to confuse the issue. And because their word count estimates for the two books I’ve listed with them are accurate. So there’s some reason to trust we’re getting an accurate measure to work with (though note that their page counts tend to run long relative to Goodreads or Amazon). For the two books on this list which were out-of-print and therefore not on Kobo, I compared Amazon mass market paperback page counts.

The shadow of a dragon. The text reads, "Now the acclaimed HBO series Game of Thrones, New York Times Bestseller George R.R. Martin, A Storm of Swords."
Image: Bantam

Continue reading “Longest Books I’ve Read”

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Terrestrial Magic Has a Cover and Release Date

The ebook of my novel Terrestrial Magic–originally posted as a web serial, plus almost 7,000 words of bonus content–will be available on January 17th, 2019. The print version will be available from Amazon in the near future as well, and possibly other stores. The ebook is currently up for pre-order at a discount price. 

And of course, the cover:

A woman sits on a motorcycle on a dark, deserted road. The words read "Terrestrial Magic, Marina Ermakova."

Top Five Platonic Friendships in Books

The topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is platonic relationships. I thought I’d be able to pick out my selections for this pretty quickly. But to my surprise, I ended up eliminating a few potential choices because the platonic/romantic status of a relationship was left ambiguous.

In no particular order:

  1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
A woman stands in a window with a rose. There is imagery of trees and plants, along with birds and dragons. The words read "Naomi Novik, Uprooted."
Image: Del Rey

I really wanted to avoid selecting this book, because it came up in my last TTT list as well. But that would be disingenuous, because Uprooted blows most other novels out of the water with its focus on friendship. Agnieszka and Kasia’s friendship is the heart and soul of this book. It’s given the kind of development normally reserved for a romance (while the romance is relegated to a lesser role–which I’m totally happy with, by the way. I think that should be done more often.) Continue reading “Top Five Platonic Friendships in Books”

How Cloak and Dagger Develops Its Con-Artist Heroine

I couldn’t sworn I’d already posted this, only to find I had a draft saved on my computer and no record of it on my blog. Oh well, at least I remembered to do it before the second season of this young adult superhero TV series comes out.

Cloak and Dagger has some seriously subtle character development, and it is astounding to watch. In the other post I wrote about it, I literally spent 600 words gushing over the first ten minutes, that’s how much there is to unpackage in this show. Today, I want to talk about co-protagonist Tandy’s character journey over the course of the season. Continue reading “How Cloak and Dagger Develops Its Con-Artist Heroine”

My Five Most Memorable Villains for Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, Top Ten Tuesday gives a weekly prompt for a list of books, and this week’s theme is villains. Interestingly enough, when I was going through the list of the books I’ve read, I found that I usually remembered the protagonists much better than the villains. So for me, this became an exercise in finding the stories where the villains stood out in my memory, where something made them stand out. And then figuring out what that something is.

In no particular order:

The Toby Daye series by Seanan McGuire

A woman stands in a forest, with butterflies flying around her. The text reads "New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire, Hugo Award nominated series, The Brightest Fell, an October Daye novel"
Image: Tor

The character of Amandine had been vaguely hinted at in earlier books in this urban fantasy series, a picture emerging of a distant fae mother with a rift in her relationship with her half-human child, who nonetheless cared about her kid’s life. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when we finally met her. But it wasn’t for her to become the villain of the story. Continue reading “My Five Most Memorable Villains for Top Ten Tuesday”

New York Comic Con 2018 and Critical Role Live

This past week I attended both New York Comic Con and the live show for Critical Role in New York. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling well enough to make the most of it, but it was enjoyable all the same. There are my highlights:

Critical Role Live: The weekly session of voice actors playing DnD that I keep talking about. (The above animated sequence was widely cheered by the audience.) This turned out to be a good time to catch the live show, because there were apparently a bunch of problems with the audio online. The first hour was fantastic, the energy in the room infectious, but I did get a progressively larger headache as the night went on. I actually remember thinking, ‘well, this is still good, but I’d probably have caught more of what’s going on from home.’ Nope, turns out the live show was still the best place to be. Continue reading “New York Comic Con 2018 and Critical Role Live”

Doctor Who Season 9: The Highlights of the Doctor’s (Female) Supporting Cast

I enjoyed a lot about this season. It wasn’t perfect, and I didn’t like every episode, but there were a number of story arcs that captured my interest. Doctor Who season 9 was at its best when it was a little bit sad, but also gave its characters a little bit more time.

In contrast to most of the previous seasons, this season featured quite a few interesting character journeys that focused on women. Doctor Who has not traditionally been that great with female characters, so color me surprised. (Spoilers follow.) Missy almost feels like a test run for a female Doctor (though I didn’t know that back when she first appeared, and thought it might have been appeasement to the fans who wanted a female Doctor without actually providing that.)

Still, I’m glad that the season also featured Ashildr (who I wrote about previously) and allowed Clara’s sometimes mediocre character to finish on a powerful note. Because I want to see original female characters with interesting stories and agency of their own, not only gender-flipped versions of previously male characters. Continue reading “Doctor Who Season 9: The Highlights of the Doctor’s (Female) Supporting Cast”

Agents of SHIELD S5: Still Going Strong Despite Some Stumbles

Genre: Action/Superhero

Synopsis: Our SHIELD agents find themselves thrown into the future, where the Earth has been cracked apart and rendered uninhabitable, while humanity is enslaved by an alien race. They must find out how they got here, what happened, and how to get back in order to stop the end of the world. 

Their information about the apocalypse is incomplete, and each agent must make their own decisions about what they think it will take to save humanity–and whether they’re willing to do that.

Series: The fifth season is over, there will be a sixth.

I’ve Watched: All of it.

Verdict: Totally worth it, though not everything worked for me this season.

Agents of SHIELD is always a good, solid watch. The first arc of the season, where the team ends up in the future and witnesses a post-apocalyptic world, was less enjoyable for me because the character reactions to their situation felt off. But the action was still exciting, and the moments when the characters were on point were totally worth it. Then everything was back on track after that first arc—the space arc—ended. Continue reading “Agents of SHIELD S5: Still Going Strong Despite Some Stumbles”

7.25/10 Score from the Critic’s Report of the Booklife Prize for Chains Carried on Wings

Some publishing updates on my projects:

1. As the title of my post indicates, my YA epic fantasy novel received a 7.25 out of 10 score when I entered it into the Booklife Prize. I made the Critic’s Report publicly available on my Booklife profile such that anyone can see the critic’s comments on plot, prose, originality, and character development.

It isn’t enough to move onto the next round–it needed to rank in the top 10 in the YA/Children’s genre for that, and it currently sits somewhere around 20 (at least out of the entrants who chose to make their scores public)–but I’m pleased nonetheless. Continue reading “7.25/10 Score from the Critic’s Report of the Booklife Prize for Chains Carried on Wings”