Day 12 NaNo Update

“Every first draft is perfect, because all a first draft has to do is exist.”
–Jane Smiley

I saw this quote today and thought it was a timely reminder as I am currently writing the first draft of Ghost at the Cemetery. At a little under 6,000 words, I cannot say I am particularly happy with the result so far. In fact, I was feeling a little despondent this afternoon–until I saw this quote.

Yes, I can acknowledge this first draft isn’t great, but as long as I continue writing until I get to the end, I will be happy. The first edit will be HUGE! But at least I will have a (shaky) draft to work with.

I’m pleased that I can recognise the fact that I still have a lot of work ahead of me, especially when the first draft is done. Yet, I feel invigorated knowing that my brain is already working on the improvements I intend to make. And knowing that, the story I currently write is morphing in a slightly different direction than I intended to accommodate the changes.

My intention is to complete the first draft by 30 November. I am on track to reach that goal.

eBook review: The Black Cauldron

The Black Cauldron (The Chronicles of Prydain, #2)

The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The blurb: Taran, the Assistant Pig-Keeper, and his friends are led into a mortal struggle with Arawn and his deathless warriors. Taran must wrest the black cauldron from them, for it is the cauldron that gives them their evil strength. But can he withstand the three enchantresses, who are determined to turn him and his companions into toads? Taran has not foreseen the awful price he will have to pay in his defence of Prydain.

My review: Like book 1 in the series, book 2 is a winner in my eyes.

It is wonderful to pick up a book and just fall into the story. The pages seem to turn themselves and the characters and plot play out in front of your eyes, with the reader feeling as if they are right there with them. This is how I see The Chronicles of Prydain books. Simply love them.

The characters are so much fun and if young readers are lost in the story, a parent can relax knowing they are being taught how to work together, be loyal, think of others and be self-assured. It’s important to recognise good and evil, but this book also reminds us that sometimes there is a grey area where we can go either way if pushed–yet we can be saved if offered help.

The author has a writing style that pulled me in and held my attention. The words flow with the storyline and characters. Highly recommended.

eBook review: The Splendid Secrets of 66 Lilly Pilly Lane

The Splendid Secrets of 66 Lilly Pilly Lane (A fairy fantasy for kids ages 9-12)

The Splendid Secrets of 66 Lilly Pilly Lane by Elena Paige

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The blurb: A magical house. A secret past. And an awful decision. Will she claim her destiny… or save her sister?
Twelve-year-old Chia is blind and toils in the mines digging up diamonds for her evil stepmother, Priscilla. Her only thought is to rescue her twin sister Viola from a life at the palace.

Everything changes when a mysterious woman transports Chia to 66 Lilly Pilly Lane, a magical house where wondrous creatures live. To her delight, she’s no longer blind! With an entourage at her side and magic at her fingertips, it’s time to rescue Viola from Priscilla’s clutches and start a new life elsewhere.

The trouble is, her new friends claim Viola is not as innocent and helpless as she seems…

Come on a magical adventure to discover The Splendid Secrets of 66 Lilly Pilly Lane, a middle-grade novel that will entertain and delight even the most reluctant of readers.

My review: This book is a story that I may have missed out on, which would have been a shame because I loved it. The characters are “different” and by that I mean you will read about people interacting with animals, trees, statues and even a house. Yet each character has a distinct personality and has a way of planting themselves in your mind so that you think nothing of a tree offering you breakfast.

The book is a magical, delightful story where the main lesson (in my opinion) is doing what makes you happy — not doing things for other people. At first, I had an issue with the premise as I believe it is important that our children are taught to be helpful and supportive of each other. It took a while for me to understand, and for the main character to understand, that the author was trying to say (again, in my opinion) that sometimes by helping ourselves, we help others. And that while we should always consider others, we must do what is right for us first. Sacrificing yourself is noble, but is it the right option to take.

And then a real-life situation occurred and I found myself saying “we can try to help her, but she needs to want to be helped”, and that’s when I realised what the author was trying to say without saying it.

Young readers will enjoy the adventure of Chia and her best friend, Pip. The story will allow their minds to open to all possibilities, but a few younger readers might find some scenes a little scary. However, the majority will love the opportunity to become lost in Chia’s world.

Recommended. I will check out other books by this author now that she’s on my radar.

I received a review copy of this book, and this is an honest review.

Audiobook review: Dark is the Moon

Dark Is the Moon

Dark Is the Moon by Ian Irvine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb: Rulke the Great Betrayer is free at last, to use the deadly construct he has spent a thousand years perfecting. To succeed he needs just one thing Karan’s sensitive talent. Karan and her lover Llian are lost in the Nightland, in an alien palace that is collapsing around them. Only Rulke can open the gate and send them home to Santhenar, but Karan is terrified that he will corrupt Llian first. Yggur and Mendark, sworn enemies, struggle to tame the power of the rift. They must seal the gate before Rulke brings forth his construct. If they fail he will ravage the world. And if they succeed, Karan and Llian will be trapped in the Nightland for eternity.

My review: Sorry to sound like a broken record but, again, if I had to “read” the books, I would have abandoned the series. For this series, in my opinion, audio is better.

If you have read the first two books, you know what to expect and don’t need to read reviews. I guess the thing that annoys me the most is the long, dry spells in the story. You know what I mean, the long periods of time when nothing much happens. Yet I listened every day and do not regret that decision or action.

The Llian and Karran relationship seems to be smoothing out to feel more realistic now. I am not totally convinced of their feelings for each other, but they seem to be finding their way. Perhaps that’s how it is for some couples.

By the end of this book, we are getting a better understanding of the characters and how they might fit together. There are clues as to those who might have been deceitful and those who could have been wronged.

Good and evil can be a hazy business and I suspect that is the case within this story.

I don’t have much more to say, except I am going to finish the series. I’ve invested a lot of time already and want to know how it comes together.