Back in the Saddle: A Review of Night Study by Maria V. Snyder


Last night, I did that thing we all do. I stayed up late, sitting up in my bed to finish an enticing novel.

I know I mentioned a review of Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates by Tom Robbins, but I finished that and felt like it was a lesson I’m going to need to mull over for a while.

Any who, I finished  Night Study by Maria V. Snyder, one of my favourite fantasy authors. Now, when I read Shadow Study, Snyder’s first attempt to revive the Study Series I was not impressed. Shadow Study felt forced. It was as if I was being spoon-fed one “oh shit!” scenario after another without much plot in between. Snyder relied too heavily on her reader’s former investment in the majority of her characters to really have them rounded out this time around. The only character in Shadow Study I thought had any real plot to handle was Valek, and that’s only because he had multiple flash-backs.

Night Study is a completely different experience.

The best way I can describe the two novels is that moment when you stumble over your own feet while walking and you break into a run so no one notices. Shadow Study is the stumble and the panic, Night Study is the lurch forward and the run that exhilarates and redeems you.

Snyder, to quote a 90’s cliche, got her groove back with Night Study. My favourite characters felt rich and alive again, the plot ran a twisted course which kept me going, and the “Eureka!” moments I had about the plot before the characters just made me feel that much more satisfied.

All in all, Snyder has found her way back into my heart. When I started reading yesterday I was on page 140, the novel ends on page 444. I feel like that says it all. My only two pet peeves are that the new Study Series titles don’t feel anywhere as relevant to the plot as the first three did. Also, the covers of my first three don’t match my fourth and fifth novels because they stopped making the covers I have! Which really pisses me off because they are the best looking covers, in my opinion, and my bookshelf OCD is now going insane. Also Shadow Study has different cover measurements than Night Study. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT ABOUT MIRA NOVELS?!?!? I feel as if the publishers are trolling me.

If you haven’t yet read all of Snyder’s Study Series, I suggest you get to it! Poison Study, the first in the series is still one of my favourite reads and I blew through Magic Study, the second in the series, in 48 hours and I was going to school then. Go, go dear readers and experience the heart-breaks and the triumphs of the Study Series. I can’t wait for Dawn Study, which I have to wait another year for!

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Gotta Get Caught Up!


So my dear readers, last week I kind of screwed the pooch with my writing goal. I wrote nothing, nada, not a word.

Granted, it was my birthday and I was out drinking the last year away… And when I say drinking I mean going out to dinner and having three drinks. I’m a wild woman, let me tell you!

Anyways, I got distracted and nothing got done. Also, I’ve been swept up in the sudo-reality of Master Chef on youtude. It’s addicting, don’t judge.

But, today because I live in beautiful BC, I got to experience the “Family Day” holiday. Yes, we have a holiday for celebrating families, a week earlier than the rest of Canada, might I add. So, I decided to use this glorious extra day that the government has so kindly bestowed upon me to catch up on my writing.

4,528 words written! Three weeks of writing goals blasted through! Oh yeah!

I did have some troubles with procrastination today, but I powered through it. I also had a seat thief.File_000

Every time I got up to get tea or use the washroom she stole my chair! Oh well, her cuteness let her get away with it.

I’m quite proud of my progress today. I got to write about a prison break, it was interesting to see how I would break out. Luckily, our captures were lazy prison builders.

I’m happy to share my writer’s triumph with you all!

Lots more to go!

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Goal This Week: Reached.


So I did it. 1,539 words reached this week.

I’m not doing too well, I got caught on a short flashback. Getting into the flashback was easy, I related the current situation to a very similar past situation, not hard. It’s getting back to the present from the flashback that I have troubles with.

Usually it’s something like: “And back to now where our hero is equally screwed, but more so since luck isn’t there this time like the time we just went through. Yay memories! But seriously, our hero is in deep.”

Of course that’s not exactly how it goes… I’m a little bit more eloquent about it and there are more details, but you get the gist.

Transitions have never been an issue for me before. All roads lead somewhere for me, they always have. I was the queen of transitions when it came to my essays.

I just can’t wait until I’m done this draft and can get to the editing. Yes, I know most authors dread the editing because it’s like tearing up your whole idea and piecing it back together, but I want to make this better!

I used to edit other people’s essays in school. I had three types: Structural Edit, Structural and Idea Edit, and finally Murder Edit. I would put so many red marks on that paper that it looked like it was the victim of a gruesome homicide.

I digress. I’m glad my novel is finally back on track. I’m approaching a section which I have written already, but I need to integrate it into the current version. I’m going to get a great big chunk of the draft done really quickly!

Look forward to elated posts in the near future my friends, I’ll have taken leaps in my draft!

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1,669 down! 65,331 to go!


I did it! I met my goal of 1,500 words for this week. I even went over by 169 words.

Not too shabby, although as in proper procrastinator tradition I finished two hours before my deadline.

I did the math. If I finish 1,500 every week I’ll reach my goal of 100,000 words for my novel in 11 months. That’s including the 33,000 in my final count I started with today. That gets me just within my goal of finishing by the end of the year.

Whether 100,000 words is enough for finish the story is another issue. I’m at roughly 35,000 words now and I’ve completed 6 of 28 plot points I need to run through. Lovely.

Either way, at least I got some writing done this week. Hopefully, by keeping this pace up and going a bit faster now and again I’ll get to my goal of finishing this darn first draft.

I’m just barreling through at this point. I just need the skeleton done. I’m not focusing on rhetoric or sentence structure or even typos. I’m just trying to get this down so that I can go back and make it good, hopefully better than good in the long run.

I think setting this goal here on my blog, for anyone to come and see has really helped get me into gear, so to all those who have actually read this, thank you.

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Writing! Why am I having so much trouble?


I promised myself that I would finish the draft of my novel.

I’ve managed 600 words in 14 days. Baby steps, I guess?

But seriously, why am I having so much trouble? It’s not like I have writer’s block. I have my notes and know exactly where my story needs to flow to unfold and what key points need hitting and how my characters need to interact etc, etc…

It might have something to do with the fact that I feel quite brain-drained after a day of staring at a computer screen that’s broken and nearly sezure worthy while trying to please everyone with a job done well and quickly. I’ve also developed laziness when it comes to my own writing.

I’m also having trouble thinking any sentence that comes out of me is anywhere near decent. I know my editing addiction is a factor, but I swear I’ve been doing so well fighting it!

I’m just currently a terrible writer, mostly because I’M NOT WRITING ENOUGH!

I need to get my brain into gear…

This weekend I need 1,500. I know this is not a big goal, I know this is barely a pebble on the mountain, but I need to get started. If by Monday I haven’t reached 1,500 (not including what I already have) you all have permission to pelt me with books! Preferably the virtual kind so that I don’t bruise too badly, they might ask questions at work. 

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Holiday Swag – The Wordiest Kind


I thought you’d all want to check out my Holiday Haul!

My family knows me oh-so well and decided that instead of guessing at what I’d like to read they’d just give me Indigo gift cards. Well done family!

Boxing Day Sale = so many lovely books.

Here’s what I got:

Baltasar and Blimunda  by Jose Saramago
The Night Circus  by Erin Morgentern
The Passion of New Eve  by Angela Carter
Night at the Circus by Angela Carter
Maddam by Margaret Atwood
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardvgo
Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Now, I know it’s quite the mixed bag, but so is the inside of my head.

This brings my total of unread books I own up to 38. It’s an addition, okay. I should really join a support group for book buyers… I mean really.

Anyways, some of these titles with be reviewed, hopefully soon.

(We’re getting a new system at work which I need to be an expert on by February 1st, so a lot of studying/reading will be devoted to that, but I’m determined not to let work take over my life this year.)

I raise my books to you and all book lovers, let’s hit that 50 books read goal this year and finish a novel! Okay, I might be getting ahead of myself here. To as many as humanly possible without burning out!

Lost: 2015. Have you seen it?


Well, I lost a whole year!

What in all the versions of the afterlife happened?!?

Last you heard from me it was 2014 and I promised I’d updated you on my travels… what a fail.

So, I spent my days looking for work, finding work, working my ass off, being under appreciated, and finding new work. Doesn’t my life sound fun? Yeah, no wonder I didn’t write anything for a year, nothing happened!

Okay, not nothing. I fell head first into a life I never expected. I became a house wife, so to speak. I live with my fella, it’s been nearly a year now. We’ve dawned typical domestic gender rolls, except I still work. Yes, the feminist’s soul in me died after the third load of laundry. But we have the cutest kitty in the known universe, so I guess it’s okay. And no, I’m not biased.

But there’s been an itch in my brain I just couldn’t scratch. For some reason, I spent the last year feeling somewhat vacant. Something from this glamorous life was missing. I’ve been working harder than I’ve ever worked for less money than I’ve ever made, I’ve been keeping an almost clean house, and feeding the creatures I live with, but I haven’t felt fulfilled? How could these things not keep me ecstatic, you ask? I asked the same thing.

At first, I realized, “You shmuck, you haven’t read much in a while!” Well, no wonder I felt a shade of blue, I wasn’t reading! So, I went to the vast collection in my office and looked through the list of books that I have and haven’t yet read and started to catch up.

But something still nagged at me. It took me almost a year to realize I’d been missing the most vital thing that kept me from jumping off a cliff when I had three jobs and full time classes, I wasn’t writing ANYTHING. I hadn’t sat down to put a word on a page in so long, I almost forgot how to spell “I.”

So, dear readers who’ve probably forgotten the tone of my voice in your heads, I’m back!

We’re gonna return to old times. Yes, reviews and rants are back my friends.

I’m about to start Tom Robbin’s Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates. It feels like a game changer. I’m excited.

I’m also going to give up the unpaid overtime (I know, crazy talk) and focus on the novel I’ve been trying to write for ten years but still haven’t managed a first draft of.

In one year’s time, if I don’t have a first draft completed you all have permission to pelt me with olives, or the salty snack of your choice.

Let’s do this!