What I've Read

What I’ve Read: Wool by Hugh Howey

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This was completely out of my comfort zone. I have lurked in the YA fiction section for what feels like my whole life. Then, one day, I stepped out of that isle in Barnes & Noble and saw this beauty.

Why did I pick this book you may ask?

First, check out that beautiful cover. The colors pop. Then, I remembered hearing about this author and this book. He self-published, much like myself. Finally, this book is super hyped. At least it is on my Google+ page, anyway. So, I figured I’d hop on the hype train and see what it was all about for myself.

I’m so glad I did.

Wool is actually an omnibus of a series Howey wrote based in the walls of an underground silo – a single marker in the vast, desert landscape surrounding it. The people within are a memory of what humanity once was. These people live on separate floors of the silo, and each floor has its own purpose. There’s a floor for the hydroponic farms, a floor for maintenance, IT, ranching, butchering, etc. As one might imagine, there is also a hierarchy built within the confines of this silo. The middle floors would be considered middle class, the upper floors are higher class, and the bottom floors are- Well, you get the picture. Ultimately, everyone functions within the same guidelines everyday. If one doesn’t, he/she gets sent to do the cleaning.

The story starts by following a man who has elected himself as a cleaner. The cleaning is essentially someone leaving the silo and wiping off the cameras outside, which are covered in grime from never ending dust storms outside, so that the people in the silo can see the outside world on the giant wall screens on the top floor. People get anxious when there hasn’t been a cleaning in a while. They suit him up in a very astronaut-like garb and send him outside. However, when he makes it out, he sees that the world around him is lush, green, and very much alive, unlike what is projected to them through the cameras. The man, joyous with this discovery, cleans the cameras in sympathy for those who will never see the outside. Then, he makes a run for the hills. However, before he can reach the top, the screen in his suit goes black, his oxygen tank stops working, and the wind outside rips the very suit and skin from his bones. The world around him is dead.

And this is only the beginning of the story. The remainder follows a young mechanic named Juliette (or Jules, as she prefers). That is where the story really takes off as she discovers hidden truths within the confines of her silo.

This is a book I couldn’t put down. There was never a slow moment, and I couldn’t seem to turn the pages fast enough to see what happened next. Definitely one for the bookshelf.

Purchased? Oh yes.

What do you think? Will you be adding this to your TBR pile? Have you already read it? What did you think? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Want to review my books? Click here!

These posts are for book discussion and to express my overly-fangirly nature over certain books and series. Though I already have an extensive library with plenty of reading material, I’m always looking out for new or interesting titles. Not only is this for me, but for other writers! Often times, writers forget they started off as readers. Support your fellow authors and read!

WARNING: SELF-PROMO IS NOT ALLOWED IN THE COMMENTS
It will be considered spam and deleted immediately. However, if you would like me to buy and read your book, I’ll gladly take recommendations on this page. Fill out the contact sheet with a link to your book, and I will get to reading! While I will read most recommendations, I won’t review them all. If the book in question would probably get less than three stars, I’ll simply keep the review to myself and either email the author directly (if they themselves sent me a contact sheet), or just not discuss the book at all. I want to recommend books that I will read, and that I think others will enjoy. No need to embarrass someone in the name of reviewing.

Thank you for your understanding.

What I've Read

What I’ve Read: Ico Castle in the Mist by Miyuki Miyabe

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As I’ve written before, Ico is one of my favorite video games of all time. Video games and books have taught me so much about myself and about writing, it would be foolish to try to separate one from the other. When I discovered that an author had been given the rights to write a book based on the story and world of Ico, you can imagine my excitement. My favorite video game in book form? What is there not to love?

Well, let me tell you, this book is nostalgia goodness. I felt like I was playing the game again. A lot of the puzzles showed up in here, and even the descriptions of the castle mimicked a lot of the stages of the video game. The lore she layered onto this world is an absolute treat for anyone who has played the game and wants to strengthen their immersion while playing.

For those who don’t know the general premise:

Ico Castle in the Mist (and Ico the video game) follows a young boy, born with horns, as he traverses the mysterious castle he has seemingly been sacrificed to. There, he meets a girl by the name of Yorda who is unable to speak to him. She has been trapped here in a giant metal bird cage, and, once freed, she is too weak to travel alone. Ico must take Yorda by the hand and lead her through the castle to save both himself and her. Fighting off shadow creatures with horns much like his and solving strange puzzles, Ico learns the secrets of the castle and of Yorda, all while trying to find his way home.

Will people enjoy this who have played it or who are playing it?

Absolutely.

Can people who have never played the game still enjoy it?

… meh? Is that a good answer? It’s hard for me to say since I have played the game. So, I read it from the perspective of a gamer playing a game. This isn’t like reading a walk-through, but it’s got a few moments where it feels like I should be playing while reading. There were moments where I thought the author might be playing as she was writing certain scenes. Those sections would probably drag to those who haven’t played the game. While it helped me immerse myself in the world again, and it tickled my giddy, nostalgic self, the stage descriptions and puzzles may seem trivial and unnecessary to newcomers.

I think you could enjoy it if you like high fantasy writing without the high fantasy elements. Otherwise, you may get bored.

Even so, this is definitely one that goes on my “favorites” shelf.

Worth the Purchase?  Most definitely.

What do you think? Based on this description, would you read it? Have you read it? Have you played the game? Let me know, and comment below.

Thanks for reading!

-Lissy

Want to review my books? Click here!

These posts are for book discussion and to express my overly-fangirly nature over certain books and series. Though I already have an extensive library with plenty of reading material, I’m always looking out for new or interesting titles. Not only is this for me, but for other writers! Often times, writers forget they started off as readers. Support your fellow authors and read!

WARNING: SELF-PROMO IS NOT ALLOWED IN THE COMMENTS
It will be considered spam and deleted immediately. However, if you would like me to buy and read your book, I’ll gladly take recommendations on this page. Fill out the contact sheet with a link to your book, and I will get to reading! While I will read most recommendations, I won’t review them all. If the book in question would probably get less than three stars, I’ll simply keep the review to myself and either email the author directly (if they themselves sent me a contact sheet), or just not discuss the book at all. I want to recommend books that I will read, and that I think others will enjoy. No need to embarrass or completely wreck someone in the name of reviewing.

Thank you for your understanding.

Writing

How to handle bad reviews

I’ve never met a writer who wasn’t protective over their writing, myself included. When you toil day-in and day-out on a draft, writing, re-writing, editing, then preparing it for publication/submission, it’s hard to not become protective over what you’ve written. Once the book is out there for the prying eyes of readers, your book is subject to the opinions of loving readers, critical readers, and snarky readers, all of who might, and probably will, give your well-groomed work a negative review. It is bound to happen. No author is impervious to the dreaded negative reviews, and the worry shouldn’t be placed on getting the negative review. The worry should be how you react to the negative reviews, and today I have made up a list of how to go about handling the reviews. Onward we go!

  • IT’S OKAY TO BE UPSET
    Like I’ve already said, your work becomes your baby. It’s hard to hear people don’t like it or that they think you did such-and-such wrong. It’s alright to be upset about it.
  • AVOID RESPONDING
    Don’t respond to negative reviews. There is nothing worse for a writer’s image than to respond to the negative reviews, especially while in the throes of anger or sadness. Don’t respond, just turn off the phone/computer and leave it be. Let yourself be sad or angry for awhile, then you can think on things clearer.
  • TAKE NOTE OF ANY THEMES
    If you receive similar reviews with similar comments, then maybe there truly is something that needs to be worked on. Every negative review should be taken seriously. Read through them, take notes. Pick out things that may need major overhauls in your work and craft. Reviews are there to help you, and even the snarky ones have some underlying advice in them.
  • REVIEWS ARE YOUR LIFE BLOOD, ENCOURAGE THEM
    Reviews are what tell other readers what to expect in your book, and whether or not they should purchase it. You should encourage reviews, even if they may be bad reviews. It can only help you. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
  • KEEP WRITING
    One negative review isn’t the end of the world. Several aren’t either. Learn from your mistakes, be more careful in your next projects. Don’t punish yourself. To stop writing is to punish yourself, and it only hurts you. Keep writing and never stop.

It’s okay to be afraid. We all are, especially when it seems people are attacking us, though the reviews are toward our books. Remember, you aren’t your book. You and your writing are ever-changing, and any review that does attack you personally, isn’t a review. They’re not even worth your time. Regardless, time for questions. How do you handle negative reviews? Has the fear crippled your ability to keep writing? Do you read every review you receive? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Have a request for a blog post topic? Just wanna ask a question? Go to my About and Contact page, fill out the contact sheet, and shoot me an email! I look forward to hearing from you.

What I've Read

What I’ve Read: Matched by Ally Condie

After some thought and endless back-and-forth with myself, I’ve decided to start a little mini-series of posts, if you will, of some of my favorite books from month to month, always posted at the end of the month in question (or at the very beginning of the next month. I’m lazy, and it will probably happen).

These posts are for book discussion and to express my overly-fangirly nature over certain books and series. Though I already have an extensive library with plenty of reading material, I’m always looking out for new or interesting titles. Not only is this for me, but for other writers! Often times, writers forget they started off as readers. Support your fellow authors and read!

WARNING: SELF-PROMO IS NOT ALLOWED IN THE COMMENTS
It will be considered spam and deleted immediately. However, if you would like me to buy and read your book, I’ll gladly take recommendations on this page. Fill out the contact sheet with a link to your book, and I will get to reading! While I will read most recommendations, I won’t review them all. If the book in question would probably get less than three stars, I’ll simply keep the review to myself, and either email the author directly (if they themselves sent me a contact sheet), or just not discuss the book at all. I want to recommend books that I will read, and that I think others will enjoy. No need to embarrass or completely wreck a book’s reputation in the name of reviewing.

Now, with all of the “rules” and “disclaimers” out of the way, on to the books!
I read the last book of the Matched Series by Ally Condie: Reached. While I only read Reached this month, I will only be doing a review of the first book. Mainly to prevent unnecessary spoilers, while introducing the series to new readers. I will review the others upon request or recommendation.
1st Book in the series: Matched
Rating: 4/5
Genre: YA/Dystopian
Matched is about a futuristic society, appropriately named the Society, which was formed after a vague technological disaster. The MC is Cassia, a teenage girl, Society-molded, and on her way to her Match Banquet, which is the ceremony that puts teenagers together with their soul mate. Though, in my opinion, it’s just a prettier version of a breeding ceremony – moving on!
At the banquet, Cassia is surprised to find that her match is her longtime best friend Xander Carrow. So many cuddly feels at this point, other than my disgusting image of a breeding ceremony *shiver* – moving on!
Cassia is happy and comforted by the fact that she already knows her match and even lives in the same borough (town, basically) as he does, which is rare, as most of the teens going to be matched don’t already know their matches nor do they live near each other. After receiving her match, she is given a microcard, something the Society creates in order for matches to get to know one another before meeting.
Cassia rushes home and pops that puppy in and everything is going hunky-dory-lovey-dovey until another face pops up on the screen. A face that isn’t Xander’s. Somehow she has been matched with two people, and the book has Cassia trying to figure out how and why this happened because the Society and supposedly perfect – the Society doesn’t make mistakes.
I’ll stop there, since most of the information I’ve given can be easily read on the back of the book, and I’m tired of info-dumping. *shrug* Onto the review portion!
This book completely gripped me. The world it built had me floored, and all of the wonderful technology involved was wonderfully crafted. The only reason this book didn’t get a full on 5/5 was because there have been many reviews saying this book is identical to Lois Lowry’s The Giver, I haven’t read it yet, but I plan to. I can’t really judge Matched on that because I have no idea if it is or not. So, just to be safe, I ticked off a star. Still, a great book.
This is your classic love triangle, though, in my opinion, the winner is apparent from the beginning of his introduction. I could just be biased, but I knew she would choose him. Anywho, in all honesty, I probably would’ve given this book a 4/5 anyway just based on the love triangle. I have nothing against them, and they definitely sell books, but I feel like they follow a similar formula every time.
Regardless, I love how Cassia grows from the love triangle. While most love triangles are just for the romance factor, with the MC barely growing as a person, Cassia actually takes the fact that there is a choice to make her more independent. The Society wants everyone to rely on them, obviously because they want control. Well, Cassia wants control, but of her own life. The revelations she goes through are very thought-provoking, at least in my own opinion. It had me turning pages and wanting to read self-help books. Condie needs to write a book called How to Take Control of Your Life by Using Love Triangles: Love is a YA Learning Device. Condie, if you’re reading this, you can find my contact page above. Let’s talk pages.
But the pacing is slow. While the revelations are thought-provoking and beautiful with their metaphors and symbolic meaning, they tend to be dragged on. The plot and pacing suffers for it. The only thing that kept me reading them was because they were well-written and beautiful, so kudos to Mrs. Condie.
All-in-all, it’s your fun run-of-the-mill YA romance book with a fun dystopian twist. Not exactly the quick kind of read, but one I would recommend to buy and add to your collection.
Purchase Status: Purchased
I hope you enjoyed my first review. This is far from perfect and a major experiment, but I hope you still find it interesting. I hope enough people like it enough to keep me writing more. Now, for questions, what did you think of the review? Did you agree, disagree? Any recommendations? Anything you’d like to add? Let me know, and comment below.
Thank you for reading!
-Lissy