Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “Novella

Day 80: Monster by Bridget Clerkin

Day 80

Summary From GoodreadsMonster

A dark and savage story about a mother struggling to keep her family together amid unsettling events: the family dog goes missing, her teenage daughter has become increasingly rebellious, and a bloated, unidentifiable animal corpse washes up on the local beach.

As her two younger children hang up missing dog posters around the neighborhood, she discovers that a class ring identical to one worn by her old flame was found in the mysterious creature, and now the local news and her children are beginning to ask questions.

Bridget Clerkin’s Monster is the chilling story of a mother who leaves the monsters of her bad relationships in the past–but has to face the reality that her children are unable to forget the scars left behind.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

If you read the summary from Goodreads and then read the novella, Monster, you might be a bit confused, don’t worry, it isn’t just you. The last part specifically is not represented in the piece. It isn’t the scars from the past that are haunting any of the children, it is the present and the issues that they are going through then. It isn’t like the 2-year-old remembers any of that, and the other younger child wouldn’t remember much, if any, of the bad times either. The older daughter, Lena, may have dealt with some rough times when her mother wasn’t altogether or there for her, but that doesn’t give her credence to be the whiny brat that she is. She isn’t a likable character, and with her messing with her younger siblings she loses any understanding or pity she might have received for the troubles she had experienced.

The story is rather predictable, but it ends quite abruptly. There is no way to know what will happen to the mom or her kids at all and if you do manage to invest emotionally in any of the characters in this short piece than that can leave you a bit sore. I can’t deny that Monster is an interesting read, but it isn’t a light one to breeze through like many of the novellas I’ve read. If you want a more serious story that deals with some real life issues than Monster could be the piece for you. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 81!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #80/365

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Day 78: No Time Left by David Baldacci

Day 78

Summary From Goodreads

Frank Becker is a highly sought after, expert assassin. When Becker takes a mysterious job, he has no idea that it will force him to delve deeply into his own past. Undeterred by obstacles he is determined to complete his assignment. But he may realize too late that his success will permanently alter his future.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

My first experience with Baldacci’s work, No Time Left is a very short story that I am sure is aimed to shock and amaze the reader quickly and without remorse. Unfortunately, for me this was not the case. I knew what was going to happen to Becker before the midway point of the short piece and while I am usually pretty quick at figuring these sort of things out in books, I think this was more about the obvious setup leading to the ending being responsible.

While I certainly wasn’t looking for a ton of depth in a piece of this length Becker felt exceptionally like a cardboard cutout. Average guy that can blend into a crowd, really good at his job yet ignores obvious pitfalls because of money, even has the stereotypical crappy childhood with abusive parents to lead him to this line of work. The amount of cliches packed in No Time Left is the most impressive part of the story and that is clearly not a positive thing.

After reading this I certainly can’t recommend trying it out and even though it was just a short story that will probably be my only foray into Baldacci’s work. Oh well, they can’t all be winners. Also, I do apologize for the overabundance of novella reviews lately, work has been a tad crazy, but it should be closer to normal after today so thank you in advance for bearing with me, I appreciate it. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 79!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #78/365

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Day 76: Don’t Eat Cat by Jess Walter

Day 76

Summary From Goodreads

In this brilliantly entertaining send-up of zombie lit, Edgar Award winner and National Book Award finalist Jess Walter offers a twist on America’s favorite monster: You don’t have to be dead to be a zombie. Walter creates a postapocalyptic nightmare that is as sidesplitting as it is moving—and all the more damning because it’s so recognizable.

Set in the year 2040, amid rolling epidemics, economic collapses, ozone tumors, genetic piracy, and an Arizona border war, “Don’t Eat Cat” is the story of Owen, a guy who just wants to forget the results of his recent full-body scan with a grande soy latte before going to work in Seattle’s food/finance district. The world has gone straight to hell, and the most horrifying part of it is that not a damn thing has changed: You still have to go to work, you still don’t have a girlfriend, and, unbelievably, the line at the Starbucks Financial still stretches on forever. Why? Because there’s a zombie working behind the counter, an addict of a club drug that causes its users to become aggressive, milk-pale, dead-eyed dimwits with an appetite for rodents and house pets—cats in particular (and, in very, very rare cases, humans).

When Owen finally makes it to the head of the line, the afflicted barista’s people skills falter under pressure and he mauls the store manager. It’s the first documented zombie attack in months, and it sets the sim-tweets buzzing, ultimately ending in a vigilante killing. As for Owen, he gets more than a free latte out of the incident: He’s forced to confront the brokenness of his present life by venturing into the past. With the help of a private investigator, he heads into Seattle’s Zombie Town to search for the only woman he has ever loved. In “Don’t Eat Cat,” some highs are better than a lifetime of being human.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I always find it a bit funny when the summary is so long like this one is when the piece is a bit over 20 pages. I guess they need to give extra reasons to purchase the short story since it isn’t free but is so short? Anyway, Don’t Eat Cat is a mixture of humor and a harsh view of reality. Zombies being a clear metaphor for anyone from druggies (the most obvious example) to the lazy and unmotivated (if you read between the lines/look deeper). The short plot is the selling point in this piece as you fly through this journey to discover what is left of humanity in the world as it is and the depth of some people’s motivations and choices. The best line by far in Don’t Eat Cat is delivered by a ‘zombie’ “That nobody chooses. That we’re all sick. We’re all here.” An enjoyable and surprisingly eye-opening short story, I’d say Don’t Eat Cat hit all the marks it was aiming for spot on, quite well done. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 77!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #76/365

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Day 56: Heroes & Vallenez by Angela Kulig

Day 56

Summary From Goodreads

Victor Vallenez might not be a villain, but that doesn’t make him a saint. At age 16, Vic could be a career criminal, but instead he spends his time lurking in corners and telling other peoples’ secrets—for a price. As a professional snitch, money is the only thing that talks more than he does. Still, as much as Vic hates to admit it, there are some things even blood money won’t buy—mainly Emily. So, when her chivalrous butthead of a boyfriend shows up and asks for his help, there is one very good reason he won’t turn him down—and that’s his angle.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Heroes & Vallenez is an interesting and humorous short story, but one that I have a hard time categorizing. For one thing, the main character, Victor, does not seem to be at all like a teenage character, and had I not known that he was going in I would have though that he was an adult who happened to be a snitch. That doesn’t necessarily detract from the story, but as this is intended as more MG, not even YA, it throws me off a bit. Also, I don’t want to spoil the story, so suffice it to say there are some certain “unreal” elements that are thrust at you in the latter half. Those elements seem a bit forced, if you take them away completely I don’t know that you really lose any of the major plot points or developments that occur which makes me wonder if it is simply because it is an MG piece that Kulig thought they were necessary. Not sure.

I did enjoy the novella overall. It was an easy read and the ending certainly was interesting. The humor used was easily my favorite part of Heroes & Vellenez and from reading Kulig’s other works that comes as no surprise. There were things I might have changed or left out, but the piece worked, and a MG reader probably wouldn’t even pick up on the subtle ticks that I found which might mean they’d enjoy it even more. Try it out for yourself! Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 57!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #56/365

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NaNoWriMo: Day 7

NaNoWriMo Day 7

Today was not a failure. That is what I have to keep telling myself when I see that 0 for how much I wrote. There will be days like this and I not only have the cushion to easily withstand it, but I actually needed this particular one. I have pretty much finished my first piece as I mentioned yesterday and so I’m down to my new second one. The problem was that I hadn’t planned on doing a second piece so I was still making it up as I was going along. I wasn’t having a good day to begin with for reasons I won’t get into and I didn’t have enough direction for my second piece and I was feeling a disconnect from it. I didn’t feel any urge or desire to write it, I didn’t have a why.

Since I haven’t ever provided a visual of what my place looks like let me inform you that I have stacks of books surrounding me. My general place of being, as far as inside my house goes, is on my bed. It is obviously nice and comfy and big enough so that I have some work space too. Next to it is a dresser of which I primarily use the top of it and also some wire cage type shelving. My bed is also next to a window with a rather large sill so there is space there as well. That means that currently I have not one, not two, but three small stacks of books within reach, a fourth not much farther off and then on the other side of my room all of the rest in various shelving or lack there of. Almost all of the new books I get hang around near my bed in case I feel the desire/find the time to read one.

Now that you have that visual in place I can move on. So I was trying to find some inspiration for my second piece, or even possibly come up with a different idea and decided maybe just picking up some of these unread books and reading a small bit from each might inspire me. I read about ten pages or so of six or seven books and I don’t know if it was that or just the time my brain had to contemplate, but I finally came up with the inspiration I needed. I worked on outlining a bit and though it isn’t completely structured I have a much better idea of everything and a gist of how I want it to go. I figured out more about my main characters, how they connect to each other, what obstacles they need to overcome and their purposes. I also hashed out more of the setting in my mind and what the bad guy might be working on that they would need to stop. I know, that sounds like a lot, and it was which is why I’m not THAT upset by my lack of writing for the novel, I made progress, it just doesn’t show up on the word count. I really hope that tomorrow I can make up for that lost day and get back to my normal routine. We shall see!

How is your NaNoWriMo going so far? Are you still having fun and enjoying writing? Have you been participating in any word wars, sprints, 1k1hrs or hangouts yet? Let me know in the comments if you’d like! Good luck! Thanks for being so supportive as well, I really appreciate it.

Pages Written Today: 0

Words Written Today: 0

Approximate Hours Spent Writing Today: 0

Words/hr Today: 0

Total Pages Written: 42.25

Total Words Written: 35,406

Snacks Eaten/Drank Today: None


NaNoWriMo: Day 6

NaNoWriMo Day 6

Today was the day the USA election took over. I barely even thought about writing as I was watching hour after hour of seemingly endless and repetitious coverage. The winner was decided and I was left with one hour to cram in as much writing as humanly possible. I didn’t get quite as much done as I would have liked, especially not with the day as a whole, but considering that constraint I feel relatively satisfied with the knowledge that I somehow managed to at least hit the official NaNoWriMo daily word count goal of 1,667. They admittedly are probably not the best 1,667+ words that I have written thus far, but at least they are in there and I have to remember that I am allowed to suck.

Tomorrow when I am not going around to the hundreds of Waiting On Wednesday posts and commenting on them I will hopefully be putting in some extra writing hours. I look forward to it as I am now essentially done with my initial piece which will end at ~34,000 words and have moved on to my second piece which is hovering at ~2,000. Oh! I just realized, I also passed another milestone in the path toward 50,000 words which was moving past the 35,000 mark! Hooray! Should be a fun day tomorrow. ^.^

How is your NaNoWriMo going so far? Are you having fun? Have you been participating in any word wars, sprints, 1k1hrs or hangouts yet? Let me know in the comments if you’d like! Good luck!

Pages Written Today: 2

Words Written Today: 1,683

Approximate Hours Spent Writing Today: 54 minutes

Words/hr Today: 1,870

Total Pages Written: 42.25

Total Words Written: 35,406

Snacks Eaten/Drank Today: Dr. Pepper (1 can), Yogurt (1)


NaNoWriMo: Day 5

NaNoWriMo Day 5

I did not set any goals for Day 5 which I suppose turned out to be a good thing. However, I have decided that my personal goal will be 2,500 words rather than the NaNoWriMo standard of 1,667 per day. I don’t know if it is because the number is just so nice and round or if it is just a benchmark I prefer to get but that’ll be the one I work with. It will also keep me ahead of that NaNoWriMo daily mark which is helpful just in case I have days where I can’t write, perish the thought.

I only wrote in my initial piece for today. I just had a few things I had come up with for it that I wanted/needed to get out and so for the limited amount of time I did write that is what I chose to focus on. I actually had to do some research for the bit I did today which was interesting as well as time consuming. I enjoyed adding some scientific studies into my main piece because it was a passion for me for so long, especially in high school, and I had missed reading articles on various new understandings. I am very, very close to finishing the first piece though so I’ll be forced to work on the second one, not that I mind terribly. The piece looks like it will end somewhere between 35,000 and 40,000 words, or about 40-42 pages single spaced in Times New Roman 12pt font if you prefer a visual. I’m satisfied with how it went and though it is somewhat unfortunate that the initial piece will almost certainly fall far short of being enough for the 50,000 goal by itself I do not want to stretch it just for that very purpose.

Outside of the daily goal of 2,500 I don’t have any plans writing wise for tomorrow. Tomorrow is election day for those of us in the United States so I will be paying close attention to, and voting in, it for the majority of the day, hopefully it won’t prevent me from getting my daily goal in, I don’t think it will.

How is your NaNoWriMo going so far? Are you having fun? Have you been participating in any word wars, sprints, 1k1hrs or hangouts and if not what is holding you back? I find them extremely fun and helpful to motivate me. Let me know in the comments if you’d like! Good luck!

Pages Written Today: 3.5

Words Written Today: 2,784

Approximate Hours Spent Writing Today: 1.60

Words/hr Today: 1,740

Total Pages Written: 40.25

Total Words Written: 33,723

Snacks Eaten/Drank Today: Dr. Pepper (1 can), Monster Energy Drink (2 16oz cans), Pretzels (undetermined quantity)