What's been happening and I Can't Believe It's May Already

I get dozens of blog post updates a week, and most of the blogs I'm following are smart and amazing and I learn a million new things from other bloggers and aspiring writers like myself, though I rarely comment or engage with the authors unless I'm really, really impressed with something. So, one of the blogs I follow - confessions of an idea squirrel - had this cool format for a blog post this week which I'm going to borrow for this one time, because I'm too overwhelmed with life at the moment to finish one of my many blog posts still sitting in a queue. I'll add one category of my own. So, here it goes...

What I Am Writing

While my YA novel known at the moment under the code name 'The Hayden Project' is sitting on someone's desktop awaiting its fate in a local debut YA author contest, I'm working on my doctoral dissertation and a collection of short stories. The dissertation is nearly there in its first draft form while the collection is really taking shape now. I'm immensely excited to learn new things about the whole indie-publishing process as I get this book ready for publication. I made a decision to design a book cover myself and I've been learning a lot about graphic design and practicing daily. Yesterday, I produced the collection's potential cover image # 20+ and was thrilled to see how drastically it differed from the first option I designed weeks ago.

The collection will have seven stories, one of which has been published in a magazine but it'll be slightly reworked (it's a sort-of prequel to The Hayden Project). The title story of the collection and the other stories are brand new. However, two of those are curretly under consideration in different magazines. Both of these stories were sent through the Submittable software, which allows an author to track each of their submission's progress. One of those has been 'in-progress' for a few months now while the other one has been sitting there for more than five months. My plan is to wait until the very last moment before inquiring about each story's progress and probably withdrawing them for the inclusion into the collection.

What I Am Reading

I have this habit of reading several books at once, jumping from one to the next and back, depending on what catches and keeps my attention. The truth is I think this multiple-book-thing happens when I cannot connect with the current book I'm reading and so I seek out something new before I'm finished. I really hate not finishing books but I've been doing that lately because life's too short to read crappy books.

So, here is the list of the books I'm currenly reading:

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell which was purchased in a paperback format (a huge honour in my house: 99% of books we buy are electronic) after I saw Cloud Atlas, the movie. I found the movie rather intriguing and wildely entertaining and it definitely deserved more praise than it got at the time of release. I didn't get too far ahead in the book so far, though. From what I gather, I need to be in a special mindset to read and enjoy it, and when I get that mindset, I'll probably finish this book in a few days.

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare - the third and final book in the Infernal Devices trilogy (the spin-off from the hugely popular Mortal Instruments series). I actually finished this one a few days ago but it took me about a month to get to the end, so still wanted to include it here. I've been conflicted about this series (and the author), and now I have my final verdict... The first book in this trilogy was brilliant, the second was not and the third... While Clockwork Princess was a bit of a drag, its Epilogue was one of the best things I've read this year so far. It actually made me cry (ok, just a little, and I was emotional already due to other stuff). You see, without giving away any spoilers, the Epilogue of  Clockwork Princess gives the best ever resolution to the old love-triangle problem that's so common in the YA books nowadays. While I don't have a problem with reading love-triangle stories, I'm rather curious of how they get 'resolved'. Clare's solution to the Will-Tess-Jem conundrum is realistic and smart and heart-wrenching. The series and the author have redeemed themselves in my eyes with this Epilogue.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by J.K. Rowling - thanks to a friend, I didn't have to buy any of the Harry Potter books, and I'm finally on the last one. Just like with the rest of the HP volumes, it took me a while to get into this one, but, as I know from past experiences, the more I read of each of Rowling's installments, the more I get into it. I'm quite looking forward to finishing all the HP books at last!

The Woman and the Ape by Peter Hoeg - this one was recommended to me by my Mom - she's a big fan of Hoeg and his other books, especially 'Ms Smilla...'. I don't know whether it is the soulless mechanical translation of this book to blame or perhaps my complete disinterest in and the lack of respect for the heroine or the story, but I found it impossible to engage with this book and was shamelessly skimming through the pages until the end. Fortunately, this was a library book and it didn't cost me anything.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller - don't judge! They didn't make us read much of American literature in school (War and Peace took up a lot of our time!), so I'm finally catching up on some 'mandatory' reading on my list. Just like with Cloud Atlas, I'm waiting for that special mindset to take over me and help me finish this book in one sitting before it's due back in the library.

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling - another literary-minded friend gave this one to me and I'm seriously curious about this book but didn't have a chance to start it yet. Actually, as I type this, I have a strange urge to head to Goodreads and glance at some reviews...

Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill - this one had great reviews and kept popping up in various 'best' lists on Goodreads... I guess, I was in the mood for another PNR of that style (vampires-forbiddenlove-snarkyheroine) and I got just that... I'm up to page 50 or so and not sure I'll be finishing this one. Just another PNR/Vamp cliche. How sad...

The Dark Heroine by Abigail Gibbs - abandoned this one on page 200+ something (I must have been sleep-walking to have read it this far). This book is simply not good. The best thing about it is its cover art. 'Nuff said. 

...and the best book I'm currently reading is...

Angelfall by Susan Ee - I didn't have a compulsion to keep reading a book no matter what since I've devoured the Fever series by K.M.Moning early in the year; and reading Angelfall comes very very close to that experience. This book is all that a great YA book should be: gritty, different, dark, sexy and smart. Praise to the author. 

Five Books I Am Looking Forward To Reading

1. Burnt by Karen Marie Moning
2. The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

3. The Age of X by Richelle Mead

4. Book # of Penryn and the End of Days by Susan Ee (sequel to Angelfalll)

 5. Haze (The Rephaim book # 2) by Paula Weston


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