The Weekly Update: 5/15/16


MY LAPTOP IS STILL BROKEN. I just… *sigh* How hard is it, really, to CHECK that the computer is working before sending it back? I mean, the second I took it out of the box, it was already turning itself on and off like it’s been doing since the first time I sent it in. Literally, before I even had the chance to hit the power button myself, which means it had to have been doing that since they had it at the repair place. So once again the laptop is being sent back in. Although at this point I have no faith in their abilities to repair a computer.

Anyway, sorry, guys, ranting about my broken computer is all the real-life news I got today.

Blog/Bookish Updates:

I had a wonderful bookish week in terms of ARCs and whatnot. Well, I didn’t go to BEA, so probably not as wonderful a week as some, but still πŸ˜› I also got myself a sparkly new paperback from Amazon.

The Heartless City by Andrea Berthot

This week I’ll be posting some of my own writing (I did post this story last year, but I’m pretty sure only like one person read it—you’re the best, Greg!), but it’s 2500 words, and I can’t figure out if I should split it in half or in three parts. 1250 words seems like a lot when I know people are busy, but 700-800 doesn’t seem very satisfying. Suggestions?

Lastly, I’m looking for books about characters with disabilities, chronic illness, etc. Especially sci-fi and fantasy. But something real, not something that turns out to be a paranormal thing. If you know of any or come across any, leave a comment, send a message on GR, DM me on Twitter, doesn’t matter how you do it, just let me know! Even if you hated the book. Even if you haven’t read it and aren’t sure if has a real disability or chronic illness. Let me know anyway, and I’ll look into it πŸ™‚

Books I Received for Review:

Machinations by Hayley Stone | reading, books
Argonauts by Kevin Kneupper | reading, books
Tainted Heart by Melissa Graves | reading, books
Welcome to Deadland by Zachary Tyler Linville | reading, books

Apparently I’m gonna be gettin’ my sci-fi on soon, since three of these are dystopian/post-apoc. And I’ll have to brush up on my mythology. (Yay mythology retellings!) I’m really looking forward to Tainted Heart though because I really enjoyed the first book and have been waiting months to get this one!

Books I Finished:

North to Zombieville by Meg Bawden | reading, books
Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski | books, reading
Art Ops Vol. 1 by Shaun Simon, Michael Allred, & Matt Brundage | books, reading, book covers
MacDeath by Cindy Brown | reading, books
Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg | reading, books

It was the week of the zombie for me! (Yes, two books qualifies considering how few zombie books I’ve read in my lifetime.) North to Zombieville was good, even though I didn’t quite connect to the characters. And Braineater Jones was such a fantastic, unique take on zombies—I still can’t get over the zombie brothel. Art Ops was also great. MacDeath, unfortunately, was a disappointment. The blurb mentions circus, but there was zero circus-ness, and the cozy mystery genre is not for me. Magic Bitter was also somewhat of a disappointment.

Song of the Week:

Didn’t have a chance to find a song this week.

In Case You Missed It:

– I reviewed Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers, a YA contemporary about abuse with a deaf protagonist.
– I discussed double standards in gender and how sexually promiscuous characters are treated.
– I reviewed Wish for Me (The Djinn Order) by A. Star, a light paranormal romance about djinn.
– I reviewed The Haunted Pub by Melanie Tushmore, a great M-M romance with a not-so-friendly, havoc-wreaking ghost.

The Sunday Post Link-Up:

Once again, I’m linking up to The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer πŸ™‚


Talk to me!

Did you find any good books or music last week?
Is 1000+ words too long for a blog post?
Do you know of any books about characters with disabilities or chronic illness?
Did you have fun at BEA if you went?
Why do I have so many questions this week?


Your Thoughts


50 thoughts on “The Weekly Update: 5/15/16

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  1. Deborah

    I sometimes write long blog posts but they’re probably interrupted by pictures and dot points or lists.

    I think if the story suits being broken down into three parts that would be best but otherwise go with the two parts.

    Oh and I’m so sorry that you’re still dealing with laptop issues. I’d be furious and I agree… you’d think they’d check!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Hmmm, you’re right, posts do seem longer when they’re ALL text. That’s something I need to consider.

      Thanks, I am so frustrated about this and starting to think the laptop is just kaput. But seriously, you should see the passive aggressive instructions I left this time telling them to actually check the damn thing this time lol.

  2. Annemieke

    Oh wow, that is just terrible. Can you possibly send it elsewhere?

    I would suggest Otherbound and On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis for the books you are looking for. Both are standalones. While one thing in Otherbound is attached to magic, there are other dissabilities in the book. On the Edge of Gone has a main character that is autistic. Not a dissability in my opinion, but I imagine you might have meant that as well.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s being sent to the Toshiba repair center where it’s covered under warranty :-/

      Thanks! I will definitely look into those books. I’m not being too specific in what types of disabilities and such I’m looking for since there’s already so few books.

  3. Literary Feline

    How frustrating! I hope they are able to fix your computer. They should stop charging you repair fees–or at least give you a discount since obviously they haven’t fixed it and sent it back anyway.

    What about a fantasy book where the kid is in a wheelchair up until he enters the fantasy world and is fine there? At least that’s how my memory remembers it. Far World, Book 1: Water Keep by J. Scott Savage. I read it several years back for a blog tour. I feel it’s cheating when the disability or what have you disappears once they enter the fantasy world, so don’t know if this would be something that fits what you are looking for.

    Is 1000+ words too long for a blog post? For some, I suppose. Not for me.

    Have a great week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      To their credit, they only charged me shipping the first time. And since the laptop was under warranty the first time I sent it, they haven’t charged me for repair even though it’s now out of warranty. But I feel like the whole point is that I shouldn’t need free shipping and all that because this shouldn’t even be happening! And I have no idea what’ll happen if they can’t fix it -_-

      Ugh, I keep running into that kind of problem too, where the illness magically disappears. It’s not really what I want, but thank you for letting me know, I’ll look into the book anyway πŸ™‚

      And thanks for your thoughts on the 1000+ words πŸ™‚ You have a great week too!

  4. Nick

    Oh boo! I’m sorry to hear about the broken laptop. How annoying though that they sent it back without being repaired.
    And hmm…. about your recs, I recently read The Season of You & Me (which is a contemporary YA) and the love interest was a paraplegic. As far as fantasy goes, Reign of Shadows is one that comes to bind, the MC is blind, but I know a lot of people thought her blindness was inaccurate, so maybe that’s not one I should be recommending.
    I hope you enjoy your books this week and have a wonderful week too!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks. It’s been ridiculously frustrating.

      I’ve seen Reign of Shadows around, but I had no idea the MC was blind. I’ll look into both books anyway, though it’s unfortunate that the blindness might not have been portrayed correctly :-/

      You have a great week too!

  5. Greg

    Still with the laptop??? Wow… although w/ Toshiba that doesn’t surprise me. Not really.

    I remember your story! And aw thanks. Yeah post it- with Annika and Daniela and all the NaNo people I’ll bet you’ll get lots of reads. I love that people are putting their stories out there. I think half or thirds is fine- when I put Trust Issues up it was around a thousand words or so and it seemed like people read it. That’s flash fiction length more or less. Whatever you do will be fine I’m sure.

    I love dystopian/ post apoc so those look like winners. and Argonauts?? As in Jason & the? I might have to check that one out. I read that Greek mythology one The Immortals a few months back and it was good stuff. Zombie brothel??? Um, that’s interesting. πŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      Stupid Toshiba -_- Yes, I’m so annoyed that I’ve resorted to grade school name calling lol.

      I think I might go with halves for the story and have faith that my loyal readers will read it regardless of the length.

      Yep! As in Jason and the Argonauts and the Golden Fleece and all that. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually learned that story, but I like to read originals before reading retellings, so I’ll be learnin’ it soon. It’s nice to see retellings that aren’t just fairytales. And yes, a zombie brothel. It was really… creative, haha. I talk about it more in my review which will be up on the 24th πŸ™‚

  6. Lillian @ Mom with a Reading Problem

    That sucks about your laptop! Our computer died in March, taking ten years worth of info with it when it decided to reboot from our external, essentially wiping it clean. So I feel your pain!!!
    I say share as much of your story as you want and only split it where it feels natural to you to do so. If that means halfing it or cutting it in 3 do it πŸ˜€
    I recently read The Queen of All that Dies by Laura Thalassa. It’s a scifi, dystopia. The main character has terminal cancer related to radiation poisoning. I don’t know if that’s something you’d be interested in when referring to disabilities/chronic illness. Even if it isn’t, it’s an excellent read!
    Here’s my Sunday Post.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yikes, your situation is bad in a whole different way since I at least managed to save my stuff. Sorry about your computer :-/

      Thanks, that’s a good point, I should split it where it feels natural.

      I have that book on my kindle! So I had already planned to read it lol. I had no idea the MC has cancer though. Thanks for pointing it out πŸ™‚

  7. Lola

    I can imagine that happening once, but now twice in a row they sent it back unfixed, I can understand you don’t have trust in them anymore to fix this. That’s so frustrating! Although I do hope they can manage to fix it this time.

    I had some book envy seeing all the BEA updates on social media, wish I could go there once. Although I am terrified of planes, so that’s going to be difficult.

    Nice picture of your new paperback, as we just talked about buying books on my blog I assume this is one of those books you really badly wanted, so I hope you’ll enjoy it!

    I am pretty sure I forgot to read your story last time you posted it. I always have trouble reading long pieces of writing on my compute,r blog posts no problem, but I don’t like reading stories on my computer. I’ll try to make time to read it next time you post it.

    Concerning your call for books about chronic illnesses and disabilities, that’s only regarding physical illnesses or also mental illnesses. I’ll take a look at the books I read and see if I remember any of them dealing with them. A few books with mental illnesses do pop up in my mind immediately, but I can’t remember any physical illnesses in books that I can remember. Does it has to be the main characters or is side character good too?

    Looks like you’re in a sci-fi mood with all those new sci-fi books. I hope they are good ones. I am currently in a paranormal/ fantasy mood and still cozy mysteries. I don’t like zombies as paranormal creatures, so two in a week would be consider a lot for me as well. I have read a few mild zombie books. That’s too bad MacDeath doesn’t feature the circus as much as you hoped, that’s a shame when you a blurb steers you wrong like that. I have read one cozy mystery with circus and a male main character, but as you mention you don’t like cozies I am not sure if you would enjoy that one either.

    I hope you’ll have a great week! And that maybe this time they finally fix your computer.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Exactly, it’s ridiculous to send it back still broken two times. I seriously doubt it’ll get fixed this time, and then I’ll probably be out a computer even though it’s only a year old :-/

      I’ve never even been on a plane, but they do seem a little scary, so I can’t blame you.

      We might not have even been following each other when I posted the story before. I can’t remember when I found your blog…

      I’m really looking for physical illnesses more than mental. But if any of the mental illness ones you know of are SFF, let me know since SFF is severely lacking in diversity in regards to both mental and physical health. Side characters are fine. I can’t afford to be picky at the moment lol.

      Gah, I need to stop requesting so much sci-fi lol. I like it, but I’m not in the mood for sci-fi as often as I am for fantasy, so it’ll probably take me longer to get these read. I don’t even know why the author made the show in the book circus themed when it literally didn’t even affect the story and was never talked about -_- But yeah, I think that was the first cozy mystery I had read, and it just wasn’t my thing, so we have different taste there.

      You have a great week too!

  8. Molly @ Molly's Book Nook

    Have you tried sending your laptop to someone else xD They seem incompetent. Also, I’m intrigued by the title Welcome to Deadland – I’m going to look that one up πŸ˜€

    I don’t think length should matter for your short story. Personally, I like longer blog posts, it means a lot of work went into it. And with your own fiction, we’ll all read it regardless (at least, I will πŸ™‚ )

    1. Kristen Burns

      This is the Toshiba place where the warranty is for :-/

      Thanks πŸ™‚ I’m glad I have at least a couple people who will read it! Though everyone has said different things about the length, so I still don’t know how to split it up lol.

  9. Caitlin @ Words and Other Beasts

    In regards to the kind of books you’re looking for, I suggest the Pure trilogy by Julianna Baggott! Many of the main characters have physical and mental disabilities caused by bombs being dropped worldwide. The series is one of my favourites, really vivid and excellently written. Not sure if you’ve already read it!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I looked up the book, and it sounds like something I’d like regardless of the disability, so thanks for the rec, I look forward to giving it a read πŸ™‚

  10. Tiffany

    Man, it’s still broken? Time to look for new repair people, or *gulp* begin considering you may have to invest in a new one. That’s the worst! Sorry you’re still dealing with this. A good book I read dealing with mental disorders was Reclaimed by Sarah Guillory. A good YA romance / mystery.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Ridiculous, right? Ugh, it’s only a year old though, so spending all that money all over again isn’t something I want to do :-/ Thanks though. And I’ll look up that book πŸ™‚

  11. Maureen's Books (@MaureenHinten)

    What a bad company that they keep sending you your computer back still broken. That really is just disturbing. I can totally see why you lost faith. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you! πŸ˜‰

    How exciting that your posting your own writing. I think three parts sounds like the best option. Not too much at ones.. Keeps it interesting if you ask me.

    Have a great week and happy reading!

  12. Kei @ The Lovely Pages Reviews

    I’m so sorry you’re still having problems with your laptop. I totally freaked out when my laptop’s battery died last year, so I get it! The Black Dagger Brotherhood features a lot of characters with disabilities despite them being vampires which I find so unique and realistic but I also love it so I’ll always recommend it LOL!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks, it’s been ridiculous.

      Oh, I had read or heard somewhere that characters in those books had disabilities, but I completely forgot, so thanks for mentioning it! And I’ve been wanting to give them a try just because I like vampires and want to see what the books are like since they’re so popular. Do you remember what specific disabilities they have though?

  13. sjhigbee

    This business with your laptop is beyond ridiculous – have you mentioned that you are currently blogging about it online and have a growing audience both disgusted and interested in their lamentable progress? I hope you get some sort of resolution SOON. As regards your story – I’m afraid I think that 1,000+ is too long…:(. Is there a reason you couldn’t break it down into shorter sections with a link to the previous episodes? And your query about books featuring characters with disabilities or chronic health problems – Lois McMaster Bujold’s storming sci fi series featuring Miles Vorkosigan, who was affected before birth by a terrorist attack and is an alpha male/adrenaline junkie in a bid to over-compensate, Elizabeth Moon’s ‘The Speed of Dark’ has an autistic character who works very well (she has an autistic son) and is one of my favourite reads, Tad Williams’ Otherlands series also features a boy suffering with porphyria – and it’s a bit off the wall, but Joe Abercrombie’s first book in The First Law trilogy especially features Glokta, the torturer, who is hideously mutilated when he, himself was tortured. Hope any of those helps…
    My roundup this week…

    1. Kristen Burns

      I didn’t mention that to them, but I have definitely been purposely mentioning the company name in every post lol. Thank you, but I’m not very hopeful about the laptop at this point.

      Thanks for the tip, I’m afraid 1000+ might be too long, it just feels kind of awkward when I split it into three, but it can be done.

      Thanks for the book recs! I will definitely be checking all of those out.

    2. Got My Book

      LM Bujold also wrote a fantasy series (The Sharing Knife) in which the hero had lost his hand in battle years before and now had a hook and various attachments (including a bow).

  14. Laura Thomas

    That’s quite an impressive haul of books. I’ve been on a science fiction binge and see a couple I might grab. That’s a bummer about your computer. It figures they don’t even check to make sure it’s fixed before shipping it back to you. Some people have no pride in their work.

  15. Jenn @ Quite a Novel Idea

    So sorry to hear about your laptop πŸ™ That can be such a pain. I hope it gets resolved soon. 2 books that come to mind in regards to illness or disability are more YA than sci-fi but “Everything, Everything” and “Me Before You.” Totally feel free to pass up on those if it’s not your thing lol

    Enjoy your book haul! πŸ™‚

  16. Daniela Ark

    Ok… you ask… !!1 “with disabilities, chronic illness, etc. Especially sci-fi and fantasy”
    sooooo… did I tell you about Cinder??? πŸ™‚ I know I did! you commented. So I’m not sure I can wait until you get it from the library so I replied to the comment asking for your address and DOB so I can get it to you as birthday present
    A retelling with a disable MC!!! EXACTLY what you are asking for!!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    not sure why you say you want something “fantasy/sci-fi” but “something real” though πŸ™‚
    I guess you are as crazy as me. πŸ™‚ Kindred spirits.
    I don’t know how I missed your writing last year. I guess I had not had the pleasure of knowing you yet!!! you know I’ve been asking you to share some of your work πŸ™‚
    So yes, I don’t care if it is 1 word or 100. I’ll read it πŸ™‚
    OMG I LOOOOOVE that pic of Heartless City!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Hahaha seriously, next time can I ship you in the box with the computer so that you can go raise hell for me? πŸ˜‰

      What I meant about the book recs was, I want books that are SFF, but illnesses/disabilities that are real. For example, I have one book on my list that’s post-apocalyptic, but the MC has diabetes. So while I am in fact crazy πŸ˜‰ this particular request was not lol. But I’m still looking into Cinder just because of you!

      We weren’t following each other yet when I posted the story last year. But don’t get too excited, it’s not dark or dystopian. It’s cutesy which is the opposite of what I read, so that’s weird lol, but whatever.

      And thank you!

  17. AngelErin

    Oh Toshiba! They suck so bad. :/ Good luck. I hope somehow you get it fixed soon. Great haul though! As for blog post length, I honestly don’t know if that’s too many words for a blog post. I’ve never bothered to worry about if a post is too short or too long. :X They just are the length they are lol! Maybe some of mine are too long, but oh well then. ?? I say just do what you want!

    1. Kristen Burns

      They do suck so bad! Thank you though.

      I don’t usually pay attention to post length, but I guess that’s because I know my posts are never outrageously long. With a 2500 word it’s kinda different lol. But I guess anyone who’s interested will probably read it whether it’s in two or three parts πŸ™‚

      1. AngelErin

        No, you’re posts are definitely not too long. I agree, I think anyone really interested would stick it out even if its super long. Or if it’s written well enough! ?

            1. Kristen Burns

              I don’t think you need to worry too much when writing reviews or discussions or whatever. I doubt those will ever get too long unless you just completely start rambling off topic, haha. I think your post lengths are fine πŸ™‚

            1. Kristen Burns

              Oh, I agree, everyone should do what they want on their own blogs πŸ™‚ In this case though, I just wanted to know what length people would prefer or were willing to read since it’s not like it makes much difference for me to split it into two or three parts.

          1. AngelErin

            Oh I see. I really don’t mind if someone’s blog post is long or short. The only thing that drives me nuts is if it’s extremely long and not split up into paragraphs. For some reason I don’t like that. Hope this is helpful! ??

    1. Kristen Burns

      Hahaha, right? Somewhere out there, everything you can possibly think of has been written about lol, no matter how strange.

      I haven’t started Machinations yet either. Trying to get through the sooner release date books first!