Bookish Posts

Resources For NaNoWriMo

resources-for-nanowrimo

With literally three days left for the start of NaNoWriMo 2016, you might think it’s too late for prep. But the resources I’m listing here are ones that can help you during the writing month- whether you’re stuck, need inspiration or simply need something to make the process easier for you.  In fact, you can very well use most of these things for any type of writing endeavor, not just NaNoWriMo.

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This a free-to-download spreadsheet by Jodotha from the NaNoWriMo community. This one is a very useful tool that everyone should be using. You can set your daily goal and it tracks your progress throughout the month. It has many other features like calculating your average speed/hours and projected finish date based on your progress. You can download it HERE.

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This site has literally EVERYTHING a writer could possibly need. It helps you on every single aspect of writing. Have trouble with your dialogues, with world-building or plotting? Stop by this site and get all the help you need. My most favorite feature from this site is the tons of worksheets (for plots, scenes, characters) and printables made to make your writing easier. The printables even include NaNoWriMo planners, like the one below.

                 nanowrimo_notebook         creative_writing_worksheet

 

 

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Another infinitely useful resource is Write World. It provides inspiration and prompts, but the most important thing it offers is the Word Lists section. This section helps with your grammar and overall writing skills. I highly recommend you check it out for a moment. You’ll learn so much in under a few minutes, believe me. Some of the posts I’ve seen and found useful are: alternatives for commonly used words, things writers need to know (like the difference between road, street, avenue, drive…). You find information on things you never knew were important.

 

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Honestly, I don’t even know where I found this. Somehow I ended up here and then I just couldn’t stop generating a bunch of descriptions. The Character Description Generator is a really useful feature. I personally have figured out everything about my characters, but if any of you are looking for a bit of inspiration on your characters’ characteristics and features (other than Pinterest obviously), this would really help, especially fantasy characters.

 

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Brandon Sanderson is a #1 New York bestselling author, mostly known for his Mistborn series. I’m sure many of you know of him already. There are a bunch of videos on YouTube from his lectures in a writing class uploaded by Camera Panda. They’re free and professionally recorded to Sanderson’s knowledge. The class is mostly for Fantasy and Sci-fi writers, but really it helps for any kind of writer, as he said so himself. I’ve been watching plenty of them lately and it really inspires me to write whenever I’m stuck. I’ll be watching them throughout NaNoWriMo. Check the videos out.

 

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There are a lot of NaNoWriMo vloggers out there who put out videos daily throughout the writing month, updating with their progress. I’ve watched a bunch of vlogs from last year and it got me so excited and ready to start writing. One of the best things about NaNoWriMo is the community after all and watching others going through this challenge motivates you, helps you feel like you’re a part of something bigger. If you’re ever stuck, or if you need a slight push, check out the vloggers. Some of my favorite ones are:

Elisabeth Writes

Riley Marie

Katytastic Vlogs

Kristina Horner

 

 

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Do you use any of these? Are there other helpful resources you know would be helpful for NaNoWriMo participants? Let me know your thoughts down below 😀

Memes · Memes, Tags & Lists

Waiting On Wednesday: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

For this week, my “can’t-wait-to-read” choice is:

Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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Author: Katherine Arden

Publisher: Del Rey Books

Format: Hardcover, 336 pages

Release Date: January 10th 2017

Pre-order at: Barnes & Noble Amazon logo bookdepository logo

Blurb

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A young woman’s family is threatened by forces both real and fantastical in this debut novel inspired by Russian fairy tales.

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift – a precious jewel on a delicate chain, intended for his young daughter. Uncertain of its meaning, Pytor hides the gift away and Vasya grows up a wild, willful girl, to the chagrin of her family. But when mysterious forces threaten the happiness of their village, Vasya discovers that, armed only with the necklace, she may be the only one who can keep the darkness at bay.

 

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  1.  Russian Fairy tale: Who doesn’t love fairy tales? They are beautiful and magical and otherworldly. And this book is inspired by Russian fairy tales. It is often times compared to Uprooted by Naomi Novik, which should get you excited.

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2. Setting :  The novel is set in a cold, snowy village in Northern Russia. A great read for winter time. Or anytime, let’s be honest…

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Tell me, is this book already in your TBR? (Have I convinced you to add it? 😉 ) What books are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments below!!

Bookish Posts

Beautiful Books 2016 – My NaNoWriMo Novel

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This will be the first year that I will be doing NaNoWriMo. And the first time I’ll be joining Cait and Sky in their annual linkup, Beautiful Books. If you want more information on this linkup or on NaNoWriMo, head on over to the lovely bloggers’ blogs.

Although this is my first time doing NaNoWriMo, I’ve actually attempted to write many novels before this (Keyword: attempted). The story idea I have now though is one I’m most serious about and that’s why I’m more motivated than ever to write 50,000 words this November. I have done most of the outlining,  but I still have a lot more to plan. I have only 7 days for prepping and I’m officially freaking out but still kinda excited.

 

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I didn’t come up with the idea at once. I knew I wanted to write a novel centered around Ethiopian Mythology because, although I live in the U.S, I am an Ethiopian. I know a lot about the diverse culture, about its history and the many folktales; and I am in love with it all so I wanted to incorporate all that to possibly bring a new light in the way people view Africa. Aside from that, I’ve also always wanted to find books that delve into Social Anxiety Disorder and there aren’t many; since I have it myself, I thought I could touch upon it through my protagonist.

2. Describe what your novel is about!

The story is set in Abyssinia, a nation ruled by a queen who is heavily influenced into tyranny by a handful of enchanters that have infiltrated the court. Everything is rigged into benefiting the nobles, and as a result, common people are left barely making ends meet. In the midst of it all is Salem, a merchant’s daughter, who’s terrible at working for the family shop. She constantly makes mistakes and ends up losing them a lot of money. Her dream is to be able to afford education at the local women’s school so she could work in the scholarly city, Elam, and sustain her family. But with the harsh conditions and with her non-existent trade skills, it seems impossible.

So when she gets the opportunity in the form of the grumpy, blunt Ezana, she makes a deal with him and they set off to Berhan to meet one of the native enchanters- Salem to possibly bribe them into turning up her family’s luck a notch and Ezana…for undecipherable reasons. During their journey, they get tangled up with the paths of Abel– the erratic restless thief with a pet fox, Kaleb- a Budda ( a mythological human who can curse anyone with merely a glance) and Kaleb’s older sister who is more Abel’s partner-in-crime than a responsible sibling. You have a motley crew, each with incentives and goals of their own to pursue the most feared part of the land, on an adventure that promises curses and thieves and rebels and mythological creatures.

3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

 

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4. Introduce us to each of your characters!

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SALEM

  • 18-years old
  • Abyssinian; big curly hair; short and  skinny stature
  • Has social anxiety
  • Very responsible and thoughtful, but overly stubborn
  • Lives in Merkato (market town of Abyssinia
  • Comes from merchant family
  • Loves honey wine more than anything

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ABEL

  • 19-year old
  • Abyssinian; tall & almost elf-like
  • Notorious thief from Semien, Abyssinia
  • Erratic, mischievous, restless and infuriating
  • Has a pet fox (as is common in Semien)
  • Constantly on the run bc wanted at many cities (including home)

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EZANA

  • 18- year old
  • Aidhan; green-eyed & has permanent frown
  • Calculating, cold and a bit arrogant
  • Comes from a noble family of foreign descent
  • Bears a lot of responsibility with family’s legacy

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KALEB

  • 16 year old
  • Half-Abyssinian and Half- Eluhanian; brown, curly & unruly hair
  • Loyal, calm & composed, too mature for his age
  • Takes care of older sister
  • Is a Budda– inherently has “the evil eye” so can unwillingly curse ppl with his gaze
  • Wears something around his neck to suppress his ability

 

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

For this novel, I outlined. Although I’m not finished, I have a lot done in the aspects of world-building and characters. So far I know most of what happens but I haven’t finished plotting- honestly it’s the worst part for me. I researched a whole lot…mostly for the mythology and culture; even the names took me long to choose. And then of course there is Pinterest!! I go on there almost everyday; it’s where I get my inspiration and it’s where I got all of these pics.

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

I’m looking forward to writing interactions between the characters and just fleshing out their personalities more as I go. Characters are my favorite aspect of both reading and writing.

7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

Fantasy, Ethiopian Mythology, enchantments/curses

8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Salem’s initial goal is to help her family earn a good living and to be able to afford school so she can be educated, but it later evolves into something else. Her social anxiety stands in the way of her being successful in her family business. But all in all, the group of enchanters at the nation capital influencing the court are the major threats as their influence brought about the harsh living conditions.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Salem learns a handful of things throughout- she discovers a lot about herself and she learns a lot from her companions.

10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

The theme of this book is friendship and camaraderie, it’s about choices and identities, most of all it’s about self-acceptance and self-respect. At the end of this novel, I want readers to have fallen in love with the characters, to have sympathized and laughed and cried along. 

 

Catch-up · Reviews

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder – Review

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Blurb

poison-studyPOISON STUDY (Study #1)

Author: Maria V. Snyder

Publisher: Mira Books

 Format: Paperback, 409 pages

Published Date: March 1st 2007

Buy At:  Barnes & Noble  Amazon logo  bookdepository logo

(Click Picture or underlined title to add on Goodreads)

Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…

 

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adri's review

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Throne of glass is a bit too similar to this book if you ask me. I read TOG quite something ago and I didn’t finish it for some reason so I can’t say how similar these books are or which book I like more. I will say, though, that I REALLY enjoyed this book. The writing draws you in and there are some twists and turns enough to keep you on your toes (I did not see any of them coming). Some people complain that the writing keeps you detached from the characters but I disagree. I LOVED the characters; even the side characters were fleshed out well.

I think Yelena is my favorite protagonist. I have a lot of others whom I adore, but Yelena is kinda on another level. She’s one of the strongest and most badass female characters out there. I loved her passion for acrobatics and I love how that talent helps her throughout; it reminds me of Inej in a way (which is a bonus). She’s been through so much (including sexual, verbal and physical abuse. So if that bothers you, steer clear from this one) and her reactions were very realistically put. She is truly strong-willed, she is clever and if she wants something, she works hard for it. Valek, aside from being a kick-ass assassin, is very swoony. I love him. He comes off a bit stoic, selfish and cold, but there is more to him. His snark is one of my favorite things about his book. The chemistry between him and Yelena was well-developed. They just fit together so well and you can’t help but root for them, especially during their little banters. Ari, Janco, The Commander and all the rest were pretty solid characters as well.

Plot-wise there is a lot going on and there is a lot at risk for Yelena. You don’t know where things are going next and you don’t if Yelena would get through the day at all, which makes an interesting read (although you feel pretty bad for her). With the traces of magic she discovers in herself while in a state where magic is forbidden, her job as poison taster and the many who pursue her death, she constantly finds herself in danger.

The only thing I didn’t like is the way Yelena and Valek’s relationship was rushed towards the end. It felt out of place and I wish the author had kept up the slow-burn pace between those two.

 


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Book 2 and Book 3:

                                                     magic-study        fire-study

(Click cover or underlined title to add on Goodreads)

 


about author

mariaMaria V. Snyder is meteorologist turned novelist, Maria’s been writing fantasy and science fiction since she was bored at work and needed something creative to do. A dozen novels and numerous short stories later, Maria’s learned a thing or three about writing. She’s been on the New York Times bestseller list, won a half-dozen awards, and has earned her MA degree in Writing from Seton Hill University where she’s been happily sharing her knowledge with the current crop of MFA students. She also enjoys creating new worlds where horses and swords rule, ’cause let’s face it, they’re cool, although she’s been known to trap her poor characters in a giant metal cube and let them figure out how to get out.

Follow Author:   goodreads logo 2

Find Author: http://www.MariaVSnyder.com

Current Books · Reviews

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – Review

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Blurb

 

crooked-kingdom-1CROOKED KINGDOM (Six of crows #2)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

 Format: Hardcover, 536 pages

Published Date: September 27th 2016 

Buy At:  Barnes & Noble  Amazon logo  bookdepository logo

(Click Picture or underlined title to add on Goodreads)

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

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adri's review

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“Crows remember human faces. They remember the people who feed them, who are kind to them. And the people who wrong them too. They don’t forget. They tell each other who to look after and who to watch out for.”

I have never in my life anticipated a book as much as I did Crooked Kingdom. I’d been counting the days till the release date and thank God Amazon managed to get me the book the exact day of its release ’cause I would’ve had a mental breakdown had it not arrived. The book does live up to my expectations and I do give it 5 hearts, but somehow I can’t shake the feeling that something’s missing…

One thing I didn’t expect was just how plot-driven it was. In Six of crows you get to meet the characters and fall in love, but in the second book it’s more about the heists and the plans. Crooked Kingdom starts off where the first left off. Inej had been kidnapped and the crew is actively trying to get her back. Of course Kaz has a carefully thought out plan and everyone is eager to help anyway they can.

“Have any of you wondered what I did with all the cash Pekka Rollins gave us?”
“Guns?” asked Jesper.
“Ships?” queried Inej.
“Bombs?” suggested Wylan.
“Political bribes?” offered Nina. They all looked at Matthias. “This is where you tell us how awful we are,” she whispered.”

All the characters are the same exasperating bunch they were in the first book. I loved all their banters and I loved the dynamics they have with each other- especially the ships. I don’t want to spoil anything when it comes to the couples so I will only say that you should expect a lot of heart-fluttering moments (if you’ve read the book you know which scene especially applies to this), a lot of frustration, heartbreak, heart-mending and some warm fluffy times.

“Jesper ran a finger up Wylan’s forearm, and Wylan flushed a vibrant pink. Matthias couldn’t help but sympathize with the boy. He knew what it was to be out of your depth, and he sometimes suspected they could forgo all of Kaz’s planning and simply let Jesper and Nina flirt the entirety of Ketterdam into submission.”

The book isn’t really about the romance though. The main focus is on the plot, which I know many prefer. As for me, I would’ve liked more on the relationships. I just can’t get enough!! The heists are even more elaborate in this book and there are even more setbacks and more impossible tasks, which I enjoyed. You’ll literally be biting your nails the whole way; there is no way to guess what happens next.

The way this book was wrapped is the very definition of bittersweet. On one hand, I believe there couldn’t have been a more perfect ending. Everything was left where it belonged and things were wrapped up realistically. On the other hand, it left me wanting to hit something and cry simultaneously.


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Book 1

(Click cover or underlined title to add on Goodreads)

Six of crows 2

CHECK OUT MY REVIEW FOR SIX OF CROWS:

Adri's review (box)

 


about author

Leigh BardugoLeigh Bardugo is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Grisha Trilogy (Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising).

She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently, makeup and special effects. These days, she’s lives and writes in Hollywood where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.

Follow Author: Twitter logo  goodreads logo 2

Find Author: http://leighbardugo.com

Catch-up · Reviews

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch – Review

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Blurb

 

locke_lamoraTHE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA (Gentleman Bastard #1)

Author: Scott Lynch

Publisher: Bantam Spectra

 Format: Hardcover, 499 pages

Published Date: July 27th 2006

Buy At:  Barnes & Noble  Amazon logo  bookdepository logo

(Click Picture or underlined title to add on Goodreads)

In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part “Robin Hood”, one part Ocean’s Eleven, and entirely enthralling…

An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.

A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld’s most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined.

Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying…

 

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adri's review

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Ladies and Gentlemen, meet one of my new all-time favorite books…I must say that I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did when I first started it. That is because the world-building is so immaculately done that when I was suddenly dropped in such a new world I found myself confused. That’s only for a while though, because soon enough I was immersed deep into the dark, twisty world of Camorra and  I found myself so attached to the characters that I feel as though they will never leave me. Add in the rich detailed writing, the unique humor, the seat-gripping suspense, the violence, the awfully clever heists – all intricately woven- and you have A LITERAL MASTERPIECE.

I’m kinda lost for words so I’ll just summarize my feels:

THE SETTING IN FEW WORDS:

Dark Venice-like city, water-borne monsters, Fantasy world set after the extinction of an older magical race, GANGS, criminal underground, mafia-like feels, BLOOD AND GORE, VIOLENCE that makes you squeamish, a bit of sorcery.

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LOCKE LAMORA AND THE GENTLEMEN BASTARDS:

The Gentlemen bastards, considered the lowest of the lowest criminal gangs in Camorra, are actually the best thieves there are. They are orphans brought together since a young age and trained in the art of deception and trickery by Chains, one of the first con-artists in Camorra who is eager to pass on his legacy. They are a smart bunch who plan and execute the most intricate lies to rob nobles of their coins- and boy do they succeed… Locke is no doubt the cleverest charters I’ve ever stumbled upon. He is also one of the funniest and most loyal. Also, there’s no one who loves stealing as much as him.

“If he had a bloody gash across his throat and a physiker was trying to sew it up, Lamora would steal the needle and thread and die laughing. He…steals too much.”

The gentlemen bastards as a whole have the best friendship ever. You can feel just how close they are and how deeply they care for each other. The novel has plenty flashbacks to the past and that help you see just how their friendship developed and how each character came to be what they are in the present, which is a smart way to get you attached to the characters and their relationship.

SO MUCH FUCK-UPPERY

“Someday, Locke Lamora,” he said, “someday, you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee. And I just hope I’m still around to see it.”

The books starts slow at first and it could be a bit hard to get into, but I’m so glad I kept on reading. It picks up somewhere along the way and before you know it you are clutching the edge of your seat and holding on with your dear life. The trouble these characters get into…Lord Jesus…One moment they are their devious thieving selves and the next they are jumping from one disaster to another, barely dodging the bullet.

Some of the trouble they get into… you’re thinking there’s no way they would get through this limbs intact but they actually find such a clever way to save their asses (mostly due to Locke’s scheming)- something so clever that this is all you could do:

jaw

HUMOR & A LOT OF CURSING

“Get serious about telling me where that money is,” said Conté, “or I’ll kick your ass so hard every piece of shit that falls out of it for the rest of your life will have my gods-damned heel print on it.”

PLOT IN FEW WORDS (because it’s so complicated):

Heists, revenge, violence, TWISTS (lord…so many twists) and most importantly: LOCKE BEING A CONNIVING SMART-ASS AND INVITING A WHOLE LOT OF TROUBLE.

“Bug,” Calo said, “Locke is our brother and our love for him knows no bounds. But the four most fatal words in the Therin language are ‘Locke would appreciate it.'”

“Rivaled only by ‘Locke taught me a new trick,'” added Galo.

“The only person who gets away with Locke Lamora games …”

“… is Locke …”

“… because we think the gods are saving him up for a really big death. Something with knives and hot irons …”

“… and fifty thousand cheering spectators.”

 

I am not done gushing about this book so I’ll be posting a quote page and a discussion page where I get all spoilery.

Copy of Copy of Copy of My Rating

Copy of Copy of Copy of My Rating(1)

 


about author

scott-lynchScott Lynch

I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on April 2, 1978, the first of three brothers. I’ve lived in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area my entire life; currently, just across the border in Wisconsin, about half an hour east of the Twin Cities.

The Lies of Locke Lamora, my first novel, was bought by Simon Spanton at Orion Books in August, 2004. Prior to that I had just about every job you usually see in this sort of author bio– dishwasher, busboy, waiter, web designer, office manager, prep cook, and freelance writer. I trained in basic firefighting at Anoka Technical College in 2005, and became a volunteer firefighter in June of that year.

Follow Author:Twitter logo goodreads logo 2

Find Author: http://www.scottlynch.us/index.html