Why Haven’t You Gotten A #StrangeLit Bundle Yet?

ReadinginBetween_ShakeUpsStrangeLit

Oh my god, guys. GUYS. Why haven’t you gotten a #StrangeLit bundle yet?

image from giphy.com

I know, it sounds oddly self-serving considering the fact that I was published in one of those bundles. But seriously, if you haven’t gotten at least one of those babies, WHY?

It’s not like you’ll be bored with these stories

There’s a reason why this series is called #StrangeLit—it covers some really interesting speculative fiction. They can cover anything!

One of my favorites so far is Den Lim’s “Intersection”, which follows a(n admirably entrepreneurial) vigilante and a girl out on a very weird mission.

ReadinginBetween_IntersectionStrangeLit
Click on this image to find out what happens next on Wattpad, and follow Den! 😀

And then there’s Ysa Arcangel’s “Anathema”, the protagonist of which has to deal with some unpleasant experiences—and some unpleasant choices.

ReadinginBetween_AnathemaStrangeLit
Click on this image to keep reading, and follow Ysa on Wattpad!

And then there’s my short story “Shake-Ups”—in which a young woman needs to make a choice in the face of some extraordinary family secrets.

ReadinginBetween_ShakeUpsStrangeLit
Sadly, you’ll have to buy the #IncredibleTruths bundle to find out what the heck is happening here because the side story won’t be up on Wattpad until next month.

I promise you, there’s something for everyone here…provided they’re weird enough.

If you hang around my blog for the next week or so, you’ll be seeing even more #StrangeLit previews.

They’re not even hard to access

Sure, you can only read them via the Buqo App right now—but it’s really not that hard to use once you’ve downloaded it.

And it’s not like #StrangeLit books are super-expensive right now

Seriously, click the link above and see that a bundle won’t even cost you TWO DOLLARS. This is 90 Philippine pesos right at this moment, guys. You won’t go poor if you buy one (or all) of these. You won’t need to throw a fit over book prices the way this little boy did (sadly, no subtitles for my foreign readers).

But I must warn you—these won’t stay at Php 90/USD 1.95 forever. This is the soft launch price, and after October 24, 2015, you’ll probably have to shell out Php 250/USD 5.50 for each bundle. So what are you waiting for?

WHAT KIND OF BOOKNERDS ARE YOU?

A Few Readables

This is a very VERY short post, mainly because my brain has been squeezed fairly dry from some of the stuff that I’d had to do (which includes catching up with some writing in the wake of a long weekend involving Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – the review will be up soon – and the spaying of a young cat, as well as a small victory in the form of finally becoming AdWords certified). So needless to say, I’m kind of on zombie mode right now.

 

Zombified Elea
When I remove the make-up I look as dead as I feel (old photo, but still apt)

 

But I’m not so zombified that I’d let posting on this blog slide, especially when I managed to find time to log in. So to make up for the total blah-ness that I’ve been giving you guys, I’m sharing some interesting reads that I found on the Internet (thanks, Internet!).

  • Lev Grossman on discovering he’s a fantasy writer – I’m a little bit obsessed with Lev Grossman lately, with the release of Magician’s Land. Every time I see something written by him on my Facebook feed, I click on. And I never regret it.
  • On making sure your ideas don’t die – I’ve been making a conscious effort to get past my natural laziness and write as much as I can in my free time, and (ironically) reading articles like this while trying to avoid writing actually helps kick things into gear for me.
  • On cultivating an instinct for writing – Not everything he says here will probably work out for me, but at least it makes me think about my own approach to writing my stuff (which could only be charitably described as “erratic”).
  • Equoid – They’ve just released the list of Hugo winners, and I’m trying to check out the works that were recognized. This was one of them (and it’s certainly entertaining).
  • Tentative research on what gets self-published books bought – Very limited, but nevertheless interesting piece on self-published book marketability. Found it intriguing, since I’m planning to self-publish somewhere down the road.

Hope you enjoy these!

 

Do you have any other readables to recommend? Do feel free to share them!

 

Currently Reading: The Mortal Instruments

I haven’t read the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare before – it’s wasn’t that I wasn’t interested; it’s just that I always felt like I had too many books to read in my backlog to add any more to it. Then a few weeks ago I realized that I kept adding stuff to my “to read” list that it was pointless to stop myself from reading stuff that have been calling to me for years.

I started reading the series about two weeks ago. And now I’m on freaking Book Three.

City of Glass (Mortal Instruments)
This is what my addiction looks like right now (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do I think of the plot and writing style?

The overarching plot and the subplots of these series are in and of themselves very fascinating, but I admit that what I found more intriguing is the writing style: parts of it made me feel like I’m reading fanfiction.

Oh, I don’t mean that in a BAD way. What I meant is that there are nice little quirky turns of phrase in the prose that exposes Cassandra Clare’s fannish tendencies. And that’s a good thing. Sure, it could be a little jarring early on – in the first book, some of the witty banter felt slightly out of place given the fact that some characters hardly knew each other. But as the series progressed, it became a lot more comfortable.

Come to think of it, I think the very beginning of the first book was slightly awkward as well. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m just coming to grips with the plot at that point (I certainly felt that way with Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series – and that series’ geekiness made me wonder if the author used to write/read fanfic too) or because many fic writers aren’t used to writing  solid “beginnings”. If you really think about it, a whole lot of fanfiction don’t need “establishing scenes” because readers are assumed to already have some solid knowledge of the characters/plot. It might be thing that former fan writers carry over to their original work but I’m not sure.

That said, I still think this is a great read – especially as the story progresses. No matter how annoying Clary is and how much I want Jace to end up with Simon.

Would I watch the movie?

I’m still not sure if I’m inclined to see the upcoming movie, though – I’m one of those nerds who think that the book is better than the movie/TV series about 90% of the time (this is painfully true for the Dresden Files). It MIGHT be worth seeing if only to see Simon come to life. I think he’s the most wonderful Jewish geek ever put on paper and WHY DO YOU TORMENT HIM SO, CASSANDRA CLARE?! I also want to see the fabulous Magnus Bane all colorful and sparkly.

I’m not so sure I’m okay with Lily Collins playing Clary because her hair isn’t right. SHE’S NOT GINGER ENOUGH AND HER HAIR IS TOO SLICK. I know that it’s a stupid thing to quibble about, but I really think it’s part of what makes the character work. She’s insecure because she thinks her hair gets everywhere and that its color is depressingly carrot-like – in many ways, she doesn’t really think she’s pretty. It’s part of why she hated Isabelle on sight, even if they do end up kind of getting along later on. I also suspect that it’s the reason why she’s so stubborn most of the time – she may not be the kind of girl most boys like, but she sure as hell refuses to be completely useless. Of course, that’s what gets everyone into trouble in the first place…

You know, I think I may have to admit that I have misgivings about the casting for Jace too. I keep expecting him to sing “Joanna” from Sweeney Todd.

If you haven’t read The Mortal Instruments yet and you like awesome urban fantasy, I suggest you give this one a shot. Buy it at your local bookstore, or from your favorite ebook resources.

Judging Books by Their Covers

I admit it.  I’m a book cover snob.  I never really thought about it until just now, when someone on Twitter posted this Pinterest page displaying a bunch of book covers.  I liked some of them, true.  But for the most part, I found a lot of the covers to be way too busy for me.

Maybe they’re too pulp?  I don’t mind actual pulp fiction, but I really find most pulp fiction covers grating.

UK cover of The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Come to think of it, I initially got hooked on Julia Quinn because of the UK covers of her Bridgerton series (though I love her writing too).

Rocked by this (kind of) sudden realization, I despaired at the possibility of being a “shallow” book consumer.  Has my reading life been a lie all along?

(Yes, I know that’s a tad melodramatic.  But I have a point, I promise).

That’s why I started to look for people who legitimize judging books by their covers.  Hey, a girl needs to validate her unconscious habits!  So what did I find?

  1. Judging a Book by Its Cover (A Blog) – Apparently, there’s an actual blog out there that does book reviews based on nothing but the cover.  It’s freaking brilliant. BRILLIANT, I tell you!
  2. Judging a Book by Its Cover (An Article/Post) – This fairly old post on GeekDad recognizes the effect of having the right kind of cover to attract the right kind of reader.  In other words, the cover is meant to market the book (so you better get it right).  So really, covers are important.
  3. The Caustic Cover Critic – Let me just say that this guy just has some of the best reflections on book covers, especially with regards to the actual contents of the book, the book titles, and the overall appeal (or lack thereof) to him as a consumer.  I recommend this particular post:  Odd Titles, Dull Covers.

Having been validated, I moved on to contemplating my own book cover preferences:

  • Largely minimalist
  • Effective balance of image and text
  • The text must NEVER take up the entire cover (unless they’re business or self-help books)
  • The image must NEVER look like it’s just tacked on
  • Basically if the cover looks like it was made by someone who clearly didn’t know how to at least use PhotoShop effectively, I will pretend that book doesn’t exist.

I’m sure there are more elements that affect my book cover pickiness, but those are the major ones.

But what about you guys?  Do you judge books by their covers?  What do you like or don’t like to see?

EDIT:  Speaking of book covers, one of my favorite authors Susan Elizabeth Phillips is asking for people to vote for the cover of her next novel.  If you like her work too, please vote. 🙂

I am Stalking Maria Popova on Twitter and I will Never Regret It

So remember when I mentioned somewhere that I’ve gotten into BrainPickings?  It ended up being my excuse to stalk the awesome brainpicker Maria Popova on Twitter.

Don’t look at me like that.  We all know that Twitter is for stalking people.  I stalk Neil Gaiman and Nathan Fillion there too.  It’s totally not weird.

Anyway, following Miz Popova (only I call her that, in my head, without her knowing) on Twitter lets me see what really catches her (often discerning) attention.  Today, one of those things happened to be book-friendly seats.  (CLICK IT!  Such things of beauty, I tell you!)

I want the one in the exact center.

As if that weren’t enough that same link led me to an old BrainPickings post on re-imagining bookshelves, which I find absolutely magical.

A magical bookshelf, shaped like a tree
Whose bodies do I have to offer to the gods to have this in the living room?  And which gods?

So yeah.  I will NEVER regret stalking Maria Popova.  She shares so many pretty things and pretty thoughts.  I recommend that you either stalk her on Twitter too, or at least wander around her site BrainPickings.  I found some of the absolute best reads of my life there.