What’s Up With the Best Book of May

WUWI decided to do a mashup with Road Trip Wednesday and What’s Up Wednesday this week because I wanted to do both. What’s Up Wednesday is hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, and as always, Road Trip Wednesday is hosted by YA Highway.

YA Highway asks:Β What’s the best book you read in May?RTW

To be honest, May was a really lackluster reading month for me. Making this pick was disappointingly easy, because there was only one book that stood out.

15754483It started off a little slowly – which I seem to remember from the previous two books when I read them last year, too – but once the tension built, things got going and didn’t let up until the end. Probably one of the best conclusions to a series I’ve read.

What I’m Reading:

I’m reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Still. I’m enjoy it, but I’ve been so focused on SHARDS the past week that I haven’t really been reading as much when I’m not at work.

I’ve also been reading pieces of a couple of different manuscripts, which has been fun. It helps that I’m not looking at my own manuscript…

What I’m Writing:

Still polishing up SHARDS. I got some more feedback on it, so I’ve been working that into my edits. I’ve also been playing around with FIRE a little. I reworked the first chapter and sent it to Ifeoma, who’s been bugging me for more. This book might get written yet πŸ™‚

I also wrote a synopsis with the help of this post by Susan Dennard. It was relatively painless. I don’t understand why so many people are afraid of synopses…

What Inspires Me Right Now:

While I didn’t have high hopes for June initially (“Junuary” is a questionably affectionate nickname a lot of people around here use), the past few days have been gorgeous.


There’s a distinct possibility that I’m solar powered.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

If you couldn’t tell from the above sections, I’ve been cultivating my hermit-ing skills.

That being said, I am traveling down to my homeland this weekend to visit my family because I miss their faces and also I like free food. So I guess next week I’ll report back on which episodes of Big Bang Theory we watched.

I kid. Mostly.

29 thoughts on “What’s Up With the Best Book of May

  1. Kendra Leighton says:

    Happy Melina Marchetta’s series ended well for you! I haven’t read it, but so many series seem to have debatable endings, so it’s great that you loved it.
    THE HOST is a hefty book to get through. Worth it though!
    Have fun with your family. πŸ™‚

    • Stephanie Allen says:

      I feel like I tend to go against the majority on endings. For example, I loved how open-ended Lauren Oliver’s Requiem was and found that very satisfying, whereas Harry Potter and The Hunger Games didn’t impact me as much as they did a lot of people. Endings are definitely one of the most difficult things to pull off, so I always appreciate the good ones!

  2. Nicki Pau Preto (@nickipaupreto) says:

    Thanks for sharing that Susan Dennard link! I am one of those sad people who HATES writing synopses. Poor me. Maybe I’ll give that What’s up Wednesday a try sometime, though my posts would all be variations of: Eating. Trying to write. Trying to read. Eating.

  3. Melanie says:

    I’ve only read Finnikin of the Rock and while I remember liking it, I also remember that it took me a bit to get into it, which is why I haven’t picked up Froi yet. I’m glad to hear it ended well (and ended at 3 books!)

    • Stephanie Allen says:

      Froi is in the same vein, pacing-wise. It starts off slowly, but then you’re hooked before you realize it. The rest of the series is definitely worth a read! Although that being said, you’re not missing out on any of the story from Finnikin if you decide not to read the other two πŸ™‚

  4. Colin says:

    I’m curious–given you said QUINTATA OF CHARYN had a “slow start,” would you have plowed on through anyway because that’s just the kind of reader you are, or did your experience with the previous books encourage you to keep going, or was it something else? I think how we deal with these situations can be instructive to us as writers.

    I don’t fear synopses–I just don’t like writing them, and don’t see the point of them for fiction, especially when trying to attract the attention of an agent. In my mind (and in the mind of a number of agents), the object of a query is to make the agent want to read more. The query, therefore, has to be full of voice, and give enough of a premise that the agent knows what the story’s about, who the principal players are, and wants to see pages so s/he can read the whole story. The purpose of a synopsis, it seems to me, is to tell the story so the agent can know whether the plot works. Surely it’s more important to know whether the writer has a great voice and a good idea? Plot can be fixed in edits.

    But I know there are agents that require them, so you do what you have to do… πŸ™‚

    • Stephanie Allen says:

      I would’ve plowed through the beginning of Quintana anyway, because that’s the kind of reader I am. That being said, I wasn’t as put off by the slow start as I’d normally be because of my experiences with the other books in the series.

      I’m going to go back and polish my synopsis, obviously, since it’s a sample of my writing, but I’m not going to put nearly as much effort into it as my manuscript and query for the reasons you mentioned. I’ve also read it’s the query and the pages that are the most important – the only point of the synopsis is to prove you can tell a story from start to finish (and I suppose there’s probably something to be said for brevity, also – can you fit your story into one page or is there too much going on?).

  5. Kari Marie White says:

    Sometimes the best books are the ones that start a little slower and pick up speed. Maybe because it feels somewhat unexpected to love it so much in the end. Your book star ratings are almost identical to mine. πŸ™‚

  6. Jaime Morrow says:

    I am horrible at writing synopses. Just horrible. I’m going to check out that link you provided for some tips. I still have to continue on with the Lumatere Chronicles after finishing FINNIKIN. I picked up a copy of FROI, but I wasn’t ready to plunge into another ultra-thick fantasy just yet. Nice to hear that you and Katy enjoyed them so much, though. You know, I think we’ve been getting a lot of the same weather as you are in Washington. :/ We have a couple of sunny days and then it’s back to rain, rain, and more rain. Boo. I think I might be solar powered too (at least in the summer anyway).

    • Stephanie Allen says:

      That post was really helpful because Susan did a great job breaking down what you need to have. It almost felt like filling in the blanks for me, anyway.

      What’s with all the icky weather up north? (Or north-ish. I guess Washington isn’t all that “north” for those of you who are actually up north πŸ™‚ ) Oh, well, this time of the year always makes putting up with the rest of the year worth it!

  7. katharineowens says:

    YES! Susan’s synopsis post is my go-to guide. I have used it countless times. It makes the process tolerable, at least. I just bought Finnikin and am looking forward to starting the series. Marchetta can do no wrong in my book. :0)

    • Stephanie Allen says:

      I loved how Susan broke it down. It made it so easier to write something coherent.

      Melina Marchetta really can do no wrong. I’ve read her fantasy and (some) of her contemporary now, and I’ve loved everything of hers I’ve read so far.

  8. katyupperman says:

    Totally agree with you about QUINTANA being an excellent conclusion. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such closure and satisfaction with a series end.

    I hoping for a lovely Washington summer in your future. πŸ™‚

  9. Alison Miller says:

    That synopsis post is pretty awesome. I shall return there when I write my synopsis for the new one. I still am not a fan though. I wish they’d write themselves. πŸ™‚

  10. Jessica Silverstein says:

    I’m excited to read Quintana, although it’s been a while so I think I will go back for Froi and Finnikin first. That sounds like a lovely project for the first week of summer, actually! Glad to hear you liked it!

  11. Miss Cole says:

    Summer finally arrived in the UK this week and it’s like the whole population has gone sun mad. We had the worst winter and spring on record this year, so to finally be warm is just wonderful!

    Aaaah, synopses. Mine was a struggle ^^; I try not to dwell on it! So glad to hear yours was relatively painless though!

    • Stephanie Allen says:

      You can tell when it hits 50 (or 10) degrees, because suddenly everyone is walking around in shorts. It’s even funnier when they also have a fleece on top because it’s still hovering around freezing in the mornings…

  12. Anna says:

    I enjoyed The Host, the first time I read it, years ago. I’ve not read any of the Melina Marchetta books, but I’ve heard some good things about them. They’ve just not really crossed my radar enough.

    • Stephanie Allen says:

      Jellicoe Road was the only one I’d ever heard about, but it turns out she’s written several books! I think maybe it has something to do with the fact that she’s from Australia and her books don’t get published here in the States until later.

  13. Rebecca Barrow says:

    I do not understand how you can find writing a synopsis “painless”. DOES NOT COMPUTE.

    Aah, Junuary–perfect word to describe last week’s weather here, but we too have some sun! Yay!

  14. Erin L. Schneider says:

    I have FINNIKIN on my TBR list and I’m so happy to hear that the final book wrapped up the series so well – I’m looking forward to reading all of them (although I still need to reattempt JELLICOE ROAD).

    And aren’t you just loving our fabulous weather here in Seattle??? I’m actually on the East Side (Maple Valley) and today is just beautiful…in fact, I think I may just go take THE 5TH WAVE and go read outside!

    I’m headed on over to Susan’s post on writing a synopsis – queries I have no issues with, but sometimes the synopsis can tie me up for a good long while! Thanks for sharing the post!

    Happy Wednesday – I hope you’re able to enjoy some of this fabulous sunshine!

  15. Juliana Haygert says:

    Host has been on my shelf since the release and still haven’t gotten to it lol
    Oh, riends asking for more is always a great motivation!
    Junuary – that’s a new one for me …
    Yay for free food!

    • Stephanie Allen says:

      I’ll admit, my only motivation for reading The Host is so I can see the movie and stare at cute guys for two hours. Tickets are only $4 right now, so I have to take advantage πŸ˜‰

  16. Ifeoma Dennis says:

    Go you!! Rock that synopsis πŸ˜‰ Writing a synopsis is a gahhh-inducing task for me but hopefully, that link would help. I bookmarked it.
    And yes, the week’s almost coming to an end so hope you send FIRE’s second chapter soon!

  17. ravenamo says:

    I must read Finnikin (and the other books in the series) one day. I MUST. I loved Jellicoe Road so I’m familiar with how beautiful Melina Marchetta’s writing can be, and don’t doubt that this series is good.

    I’ll have to bookmark that link for when I get around to writing a synopsis. I might even try writing one now (since I’ve never written one) just to get some practice in.

    Good luck with editing Shards, and writing your other wip. πŸ™‚

  18. Sara Biren (@sbiren) says:

    This post made me laugh. I’ll have to check out that synopsis post – because I am one of those people, the scared ones. I’m still holding out for sun here in MN, too. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

    Love the mashup idea! Have a great week!

  19. Erin L. Funk says:

    I have to admit I’m one of those people who fear synopses. Well, not fear them really, but I do find them frustrating. I just finished mine and found it difficult to work in all the major plot points in so little room. You’re the second person to recommend Susan Dennard’s post today. I think I’d better check it out!

    Have fun visiting your family and watching Big Bang Theory!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s