Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What's Up Wednesday July 9th



What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme, started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Join by visiting their blogs and signing in on the widget.

What I'm Reading
I just finished Scarlet by AC Gaughen and I have to say, I could not put it down. The basic premise is that of the Robin Hood tale, but from the perspective of Will Scarlet, who...wait for it... in this version is really a girl in disguise. The Merry Men know that Scarlet is a girl, but no one else does. 
What did I love about this book? I found it riveting. Lots of action as the characters climbed castle walls, jumped through the trees, and ran through the forest-- but it wasn't just an action book. There was also a lot of character development. In fact, I found the character of Scarlet to be the most amazing combination of tough and vulnerable that I have seen in a long time.  She is a complete and total knife-flinging, tree climbing badass, but she also has real heart. Then there's Robin of Loxley. Sheesh-a-reesh. Smoldering is the word. I love that the author took these characters I thought I knew and did something really unique and creative (yet still logical and true to the overarching story) with them. I read on Goodreads that some have been bogged down by the narrator's manner of speech, but once I got used to it a few pages in, I thought it was a fantastic way to develop character and voice. I could not recommend it more. 



The family read aloud this week is Arthur Slade's Hunchback Assignments. We stayed up a little past bedtime to finish it last night. I had to, because we were so close, and ALL of us were dying to learn how it would end. This is a steampunk that has been on my shelf for a while. I wanted to finish working on my own SP book before I read it. This book, like my MS, features some clockwork creatures and a clockwork guild-- but thankfully there is really nothing else similar about it. Whew! 

Like the Robin Hood book above, this story borrows some characters from literature (like Quasi Modo and Dr Hyde) but then does something really creative and amazing with them. A great deal of the story is told from the perspective of Modo, who has been raised from childhood to work for a secret organization that seeks to protect Britannia. I don't want to include any spoilers, but suffice it to say there are lots of really funky-cool creatures and inventions, mysterious organizations and dastardly double-crossers. My sons, ages 6 and 8 (soon to be 7 and 9) were SO INTO THIS BOOK. Not only did we have to read it in just three short days, they also peppered me with endless questions about how the mechanics might work, who I thought might be the real bad guys, and what might happen next. I have promised to get the next one ASAP so that we can dive right in.  

What I'm Writing
Mina is still off with the agent. No creative writing this week. Just work. And that's okay. 


What Inspires Me Right Now
These guys.

We have been having the best time reading together and hanging out this summer. 


What's up with you?

27 comments:

  1. Both of those books look fantastic. (yay! another sp fan :) ) I'm going to have to find a 'bigger' book for read-aloud evenings again. I'm thinking that's a super idea for the winter months. Thanks for the tip !

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    1. Yay for SP, indeed, T! I hope you enjoy Slade's book, too. It's great.

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  2. I've been wanting to read Scarlett. Now I REALLY want to read it! My oldest son is seven and he is into sci/fi and steampunk stories right now. Thanks so much for telling me about one!!! It looks perfect for him!

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    1. Oooh, I'd love to hear what you think, Sarah, if and when you get a chance to read it. :0) Yay- I hope your son likes The Hunchback Assignments.

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  3. Looooove steampunk. My favourite series is due for its new book next month, hooray!

    Have a great week with your family ^_^ Hope you find loads of great stories to share.

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    1. So now I want to know what your favorite series is, Miss Cole. I'll stay tuned on your blog and hopefully find out. :0)

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  4. Arthur Slade, the author of THE HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS, lives in the same city in Saskatchewan as my sister. I have the second book in that series on my shelf, but I still need to get the first one. I *also* have SCARLET on my shelf, and I've been meaning to read it for ages now. Your ringing endorsement definitely bumps it up the TBR pile! Love the new header on your blog, too, Kat! It's perfect. :-)

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    1. How cool, Jaime! He seems like a really great guy (this is based off twitter, not real life, but anyway!). I bought the second of Slade's books in this series today. Can't wait to start it with the boys tomorrow.
      Scarlett REALLY pulled me in. I just bought her second (didn't even know it was out) and can't wait to start it. Thanks for the header compliment-- you have such a great sense of style for all things graphic!

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  5. Yay! I got the email from your blog!

    I will try to get both Scarlet and Hunchback Assignments when I go to the library today. HA sounds like something my steampunk son would like, even if he's a little old for it (he'll read whatever he likes, no matter who it's "intended" for).

    Have you tried the "Mysterious Benedict Society" series for read-aloud? My family loved reading them together!

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    1. Mare- were we separated at birth? Seriously. I JUST got TMBS at the library yesterday to read with the boys. I read the first one and loved it. I could only find the second at the library, but I'm hoping it stands on its own enough to jump in. :0)

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  6. I love summer. :) Those books sound really interesting! Have a great week!

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    1. Yes, Emma, there's nothing like summer. Thanks-- hope your week is great, too.

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  7. I'm ashamed to say that even though I live in the same city as Arthur Slade (Saskatoon), I haven't read any of his books yet. I've been meaning to forever now, but the TBR list is never-ending. You know, I've seen SCARLET at the bookstore many times, but I don't think I ever realized what it was about. It sounds so good! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it! And now the TBR list just got longer lol. Glad you've been having a wonderful summer reading to your boys! :)

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    1. So cool that he's kind of your neighbor. :0) and I hear you, Erin, these weekly memes are killing my TBR pile. So many books. There's just not enough time. :0)

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  8. Those books look wonderful!
    I have to admit that I was so jealous when you discussed a family read-aloud. We used to do that every night in our family, but my kids are all grown now. :( My husband and I keep saying that we're going to do it, just the two of us. But so far, it hasn't happened.

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    1. Do it, Connie! I am going to have to force my husband to sit through read-alouds one day, I'm sure.

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    2. Okay, it's on my To Do List. I did get my husband to join us for read-alouds when the kids were young, especially when I decided I'd read through The Lord of the Rings. (That got his attention.) I cringe to admit that my youngest was still in a high chair when he heard LOTR. However, he's my book worm, so it must have been a good thing.

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  9. SCARLET sounds awesome, I love twists on classic stories.

    I wish my nieces lived closer, I would read to them constantly. They'd be sick of me after awhile, I'm sure :)

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  10. You convinced me. I just added Scarlet to my to-read list on Goodreads. :)

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    1. YAY Meredith-- I hope you like it as much as I did.

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  11. My writing pace is slower this summer, which is kind of nice. And the reading pace is higher! :)

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    1. Ahh, that sounds FUN Nina-- my reading is also picking up. Of course the more books I read the more books I realize I want to read.

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  12. SCARLET sounds so good! I'm adding it to my list. :)

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    1. I'd love to hear what you think, Rebecca! I really loved it.

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