Monday, December 5, 2011

Moving Out!

That's right folks! My Ever Expanding Library  is moving and changing to something bigger and better over at WordPress. Mel from He Followed Me Home...Can I Keep Him?  and myself have decided to join forces. To this end, we have created The Novel Nation, a site we hope will be a great blend of our reading tastes, with awesome new content and more!

Make sure you stop on by to see what we have cooking!

Thank you for everyone's support at My Ever Expanding Library.  I look forward to more book chats in the future, at the new home base :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Survived NaNoWriMo....and lived to tell the tale!

So, my poor little blog has gone unattended for the last month, but it was for a good reason. I'm happy to report that I struggled, I drank tea like mad, I shed tears of 12 font print, and as a result, I got this:

I thought I would take a moment to share what I learned throughout this last grueling month with any of you out there that are considering joining in for NaNoWriMo next year:

1- Getting over your own fears is the biggest obstacle. It's great to have an idea in mind but overwhelming when it comes to putting that idea into words. The things is, when you sit down and actually start to type (or hand write, if you want to go old school), there are times when the words just flow right out. It is an awesome feeling. (There are also days that you look at your work, have no clue where to go next, and wonder wtf to do, but once you get beyond those, it's a total rush to see your 'novel' come to fruition.)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Blog update

I've decided to put this up publicly and let you all know what I'll be up to for the next month. That's right, I'm NaNoWriMo'ing! And now that I've told you all, I can't possibly back out at the last minute...which would be right now. Anyway, I have a bunch of reviews that I hope to have up shortly but if you don't see me around for a while, this is why. I'm hoping, though, that NaNo will encourage me to write like crazy and I promise to update my progress. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On Location with Jennifer Hillier

There's another great event upcoming, if you live in the Greater Toronto Area. Jennifer Hillier, a Canadian author, will be launching her debut novel, Creep,  on November 7th. Check out the flyer below for more info:

To read more about Jennifer's work, check out her website here. She's already got a second book in the works and let me tell you, any book that has Jeffery Deaver telling you to lock your doors, sounds like a win to me! Hope you can make it out to the event.

Review: The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

Available at Amazon, Book Depository, Chapters, Harlequin

I'd been working on this series as part of a book club read on Goodreads and I will admit that each book gradually made the entire series grow on me. (My reviews of The Iron King, Winter's Passage and The Iron Daughter are linked here.) The idea of Iron Fairies and how they came about is a very cool concept, but it's the characters and their situations/battles that have steadily improved for me.

Going into The Iron Queen, it was initially with the thought that it would be the end of the series, then, of course, with the announcement of The Iron Knight coming out, it was uncertain whether much closure would come about. Truly, I had certain formulaic expectations of how this book would end. And, wow, I did not expect things to go the way they did (I even said this out loud as I was reading it.) Kudos to Julie Kagawa for surprising me (and going against the grain!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: Triangles by Ellen Hopkins

In this emotionally powerful novel, three women face the age-old midlife question: If I’m halfway to death, is this all I’ve got to show for it? Holly, filled with regret for being a stay-at-home mom, sheds sixty pounds and loses herself in the world of extramarital sex. Andrea, a single mom and avowed celibate, watches her friend Holly’s meltdown with a mixture of concern and contempt. Holly is throwing away what Andrea has spent her whole life searching for—a committed relationship with a decent guy. So what if Andrea picks up Holly’s castaway husband? Then there’s Marissa. She has more than her fair share of challenges—a gay teenage son, a terminally ill daughter, and a husband who buries himself in his work rather than face the facts. As one woman’s marriage unravels, another one’s rekindles. As one woman’s family comes apart at the seams, another’s is reconfigured into something bigger and better. In this story of connections and disconnections, one woman’s up is another one’s down, and all three of them will learn the meaning of friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness before it is through.

Available from Amazon, Book Depository, Chapters, Simon and Schuster Canada

When starting to discuss Ellen Hopkins, the first thought is about her writing style. While it is not new to the world at large, it was a new reading experience for me. Sure, it's in a poetic form, but she tells a narrative tale, even incorporating titles into the main stream of the story, giving the impression (and rightfully so) that constant care has been put into every line; every page.

One particular font is used in the telling of each woman's part until the point of view is about to change. At this precipice between character POV's, there would be a breakdown of sorts. Hopkins moves into a more abstract thought to sum up what she'd just written. I found this served an effective method to withdraw the reader, temporarily, from the intense emotions of each "chapter"; a carefully placed pause to allow the reader time to regroup. And, visually, with each turn of the page, you never knew what the next one would look like. This made for an artful, fascinating reading adventure.

Format and style aside, I was emotionally invested in the story from the very beginning, with her portrayal of a disgruntled wife, a mother with an ailing child, and a lonely single mother. Before page 50, I could barely bring myself to read Marissa's story (the mother with the sick child). The anticipation alone of what might happen in each of her "chapters" was enough to reduce me to tears. Considering the relatively small number of words used to this point, they were chosen and positioned so well as to offer the reader maximum impact....eliciting full on waterworks.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday (1)

I have seen this post over at My words and pages, with Melissa participating frequently. It sounded like a great idea, so today I give it a shot!

The credit for the original idea goes to Dottie at Tink's Place. A picture is posted on Monday mornings to which you write a story of around 350 words, and link up on her blog on Friday. Simple enough, right? We'll see....

Here's this weeks picture and my virgin offering. Please feel free to critique honestly (but not cruelly ;):

Jonah swung his arm back, hesitating slightly. Then he pitched his arm forward, with all of the force he had, the line swinging out from the fishing rod in a near perfect arc.  He was usually a much more patient fisherman, but he had other things on his mind tonight.

He had arrived here a few hours ago, to the place he had found such comfort in as a child. Try as he might, he couldn’t wait until morning to get out on the water. The night was peaceful with only the call of the birds to detract from a feeling of total remoteness. The water was still; smooth like a sheet of perfectly made glass. What Jonah couldn’t figure out was why none of this was settling his sense of foreboding. So here he sat, hoping his favourite method of meditation would do the trick. Maybe he'd find a reasonable explanation to everything that was going on around him besides the obvious "you're losing your mind".
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