Friday, December 2, 2011

Book Review - Wake

Title: Wake

Author: Lisa McMann


Synopsis from Goodreads: For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can’t control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant.


My Review: There is plenty of amazing stuff to be said about this book, and some not so great. Lets start with the positive.


I loved that the book starts with the reader being thrown into a dream sequence. It helps us to experience what Janie goes through, how incredibly sudden and unexpected it is for her to be pulled out of what she's doing and sucked into a world she'd rather avoid. Very gripping.


I also really enjoyed the variety of dreams that were presented. Some of them were a bit more...sexual in nature...but the book is about teenagers and hey, teenagers have hormones that get let out while they sleep. The dreams weren't very detailed and Janie usually has the ability to pull out of dreams, which she always tried to do with the sexy ones because they made her uncomfortable. They really weren't a problem for me.


I liked Janie as a character. She is strong and assertive, though frustrating at times when it comes to Cabel. But, again, teenagers can be weird, especially when it comes to boys, so I can't hold that against her too much. She has a difficult life, forced to grow up faster than most because of a mother is drunk all the time and a father she's never met. I think she shows young adults what it means to be strong.


The way the book is presented is fascinating. It can feel choppy, but in an intentional way. I really enjoyed how it was presented.

Now, on to the bad. I hated, hated, how much language this book has. I realize that the author was trying to show what kind of a world Janie comes from, but I don't need to read the 'f' word at least thirty times for that point to come across. I got a pretty clear picture of her world without the language, thank you very much. I honestly wouldn't want my daughters to read this until they're at least sixteen...preferably older...due to the language. Teenagers get exposed to enough language on a daily basis, they don't need it in their literature too.


The other thing that frustrated me was that we have this strong main character, who has a major weakness, her use of alcohol. She sees what it does to her mom, and yet she partakes in it too? Just doesn't make sense to me. Janie's better than that.


Overall, I enjoyed this book. I just think it may need to have a more mature audience.


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WIP - I Won!

It's Wednesday and time to report on my progress!

I'm happy to announce that on Sunday, the 27th I hit 50,020 words and officially won NaNoWriMo!

I'm not finished with the story of KleoS, but I am happy that I've made a huge dent in it! I'm hoping to finish the story in the next week, two at the latest.

After that, I'll put it away for a month or so before I start tackling the editing process. It's what I did with Transformation and it makes reading it for the first time a much more realistic experience. It's amazing what you can forget about the plot after only a month, even if you're the one who wrote it.

The plot line has taken a huge turn from what I had originally planned, but I'm really liking where the story is going. I even have ideas for a sequel, which was definitely not planned when I started. To me, that is the greatest part about writing, watching the story come alive. I can't wait to see how KleoS ends.

Maybe by next week I'll even have a synopsis written so I can share it with you all. I think that will be a goal for me. Until then, Happy Writing!

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


I'm participating in the weekly meme presented by Book Journey.

I finally have something new to write about today! I finished that book I've been reading that took me over a month to finish. I don't even remember the last time it has taken me that long to read a book.

I'm currently reading Fade by Lisa McMann. It is the second book in the Wake Trilogy. I read Wake back in the early Spring and I've been anxious to finish it. When I finish Fade, I'll jump right into Gone, the third and final book in the series.


I anticipate finishing them quickly since I read the first 100 pages of Fade in a few hours. If I do manage to finish them I will get to move on to another book. I think I may have to finally read the book Eden by Keary Taylor. It's been in my TBR pile for a few months now and I'm really looking forward to it!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIP - It's getting easier

I didn't do a post last week so my update will include the past few weeks of NaNoWriMo.

As November approached I was getting more and more nervous to begin the rigorous writing month. I had great memories from last year and I was anxious to recapture the amazing feeling of finishing a 50k word novel...but to get the feeling you actually have to finish.

I have been working on a story idea for months so you'd think it would be easier to dive right in and begin the writing process. Wrong!

Because this idea has been dancing in my head for so long I have really felt the pressure to capture it the way I see it, which is hard. Really hard.

The first couple of days this month were extremely difficult. It was like pulling teeth just to get the required daily word count out. It was a task, a chore. I didn't look forward to the times I had to write, it was dreaded.

Part of the problem was the pressure I put myself under, but part of it has also been due to the fact that I am in a new state this time and my dear writing partner, Jenni, is all the way on the other side of the country. A three hour time difference puts plenty of kinks in the 'lets write together and do writing wars' plan.

Those wars with Jenni last year were the only reason I was able to finish last year, so I've had to find new reasons to write this year.

Thankfully, once I hit about 12,000 words, it started to become much easier and the words began to flow. I finally reached that point in writing where I look forward to it on a daily basis. And, I'm happy to report, last night I hit 30, 029 words! Woohoo!

I know I have at least 20k of material left, I just don't know how much more than that I will be able to write. However, I do know that I am looking forward to finishing it and having the complete story in my grasp! Happy Writing!

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading??

I've been bad, but I don't really need to state the obvious here. With all my free time being focused on getting my word count in I haven't been maintaining my blog. Oops.

I'm going to try and stay on top of it, but this month I really can't guarantee anything.

Today I'm participating in the weekly meme presented by Book Journey.

I almost didn't do this post today because I don't have anything new to report from my last Monday post. I'm still reading Garden of Apples by M. Nova.

Part of the slow reading process has been lack of time, which is obvious, but part of it has to do with the fact that I'm having a difficult time getting into this book. When I do find time that I could be reading I look at the book and decide to do something else instead. Not a good sign.

These type of books are always difficult to review when you're done because the issues you have are probably just personal ones that only affect certain people. I don't want to tear the book apart because someone else may really like it, but I have to tell the truth as well. I'm already dreading having to write it.

I am, however, looking forward to finishing it so I can move on and so I can finally finish Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth Series. I only have three books left to read in the ten or eleven book series and I'm dying to know how it ends.

Hopefully that will be the motivation I need to get through Garden of Apples this week. I hope you all are having more success in the reading department this week. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WIP - It's begun!

I've really been slacking these past few weeks on my blog. I kept thinking I needed to get my blog posts done but then something would come up and I would put it off longer.

I'd like to say it was because I was spending so much time with my preparation for NaNoWriMo, but in reality it was just me being caught up in the game of life.

On a positive note, yesterday was the first day of NaNoWriMo!

I will admit, all day Halloween I kept thinking about how I was supposed to start writing the next day and it had me extremely nervous. I've been thinking about this project for months and I wasn't sure if I was ready to get it on paper the way I see it in my head. But that wasn't going to stop me from trying.

I hit the computer hard yesterday. It was difficult to get started, more so than I had anticipated. It took me over four hours to write 362 words. That's an extremely slow pace for me.

Thankfully, once my cuties went to bed I was able to get online with my friend Jenni. Together we were able to pump out a great day. I ended my day with a word count of 3042 words. Wahoo!

Even better than my word count, I ended the day excited to get going again today and the rest of the month. I can't wait to get this project finished! Happy Writing!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WIP- 12 days of procrastination

I saw my friend Jenni's WIP update today and I realized I hadn't done mine yet.

I've been bad. I have not been taking any more time to plot out my storyline for kleos. I keep meaning to, but then life gets in the way and I get distracted. Isn't that always the way it is? The things we want to do get done get pushed out by the things that we have to get done.

On a positive note, I did manage to finally unpack my notebook that contains all of my ideas and characters that I have brainstormed. In reviewing, I have the overall story-arc created but I really want to fill in a few more gaps before I can feel prepared for NaNoWriMo.

I have 12 days until I will be glued to my computer during any and all free time I can find. In that time I know I should get the last of this brainstorming done. But I am going to be honest with myself, I probably won't do much more before November 1st.

Last year at this time I was just deciding to sign up for NaNoWriMo. When I finally came up with a story idea it was with a few days to spare and I had the roughest outline imaginable. The final product ended up being completely different from what I had anticipated, and yet I made it through and the final story was way better than what I had originally anticipated.

I'm hoping that will be the case with kleoS. I'm afraid if I overanalyze and over think, I will lose some of the heart of the story. I want the story to lead me, not the other way around. At this point, I almost think it will take more self control to not think about it anymore until the 1st of November.

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday again, and time for the weekly meme hosted by Book Journey.

Last week I made time to read which made me exceptionally happy. I hate when I go all week without reading much. I was able to finish the book Dragon Mound and my review will be posted on simplystacie.net, so keep your eyes peeled!

As for this week, I received another book to review in the mail which I started last week and I will most definitely finish in the next few days. The book is Merciful Law by Darby Rae.


Once I finish with this book I don't have any book I 'have' to read, or at least nothing has come in the mail yet, but how knows, it's only Monday. If no books do come, I will get the pick of my TBR stack and at this point, I'm not sure what I will choose. I will be sure to let you all know next Monday what I ended up reading. Happy reading!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Book Review - If I Stay

Title: If I Stay

Author: Gayle Forman


Synopsis from Goodreads: In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...


A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make -and the ultimate choice Mia commands.


My Review: This book was fascinating. It takes place during a twenty-four hour period of time, beginning a few hours before the car accident and ending the next morning. It only covers a short time period, it's written in such a way that we learn all about Mia's life. The author takes the reader back in time with flashbacks as Mia is remembering her life. I loved this execution. It helped to build so many layers as Mia struggles with the decision that will impact the rest of her life, should she stay or should she let go?


The best part for me was the fact that, as the reader, you had no idea what Mia was going to choose until the very end, when she actually does. I was gripped right from the beginning and I couldn't let go until I knew how it ended. It almost didn't matter to me what she chose, I just needed to know what it the choice was. Though, I must say I really liked how it ended.


The only negative thing about the book was how liberal Mia's parents were. It wasn't even that they were liberal, I found that to be refreshing, but I felt it was unrealistic that Mia would have a boyfriend who would spend the night when she was still in high school. Especially since her Dad has transitioned from a rocker to a 'traditional' father figure over the past few years...and yet he lets his daughter's boyfriend spend the night in her bed? It just didn't sit well with me. For that reason, I can't give the book a 5 star, but it's a high 4 for me.


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday and time for the weekly meme hosted by One Person's Journey Through the World of Books!

Last week I didn't get any reading done like I hoped I would. It's been a crazy couple of weeks, but I'm hoping things will slow down a bit. In the meantime, I finally received a book to review so I will definitely be making time to read that it throughout the next week. It's been sad not having any books that I have to read, but the mail has been slow I guess.

This week I will be reading Dragon Mound by Richard A. Knaak.


I haven't read a good adult fantasy book in awhile so I am really excited to dig into this one. I've read the first few pages and I have a feeling I'm going to like what I read.

Until I get some more books to review in the mail I won't know what else I may read this week, but I'll be sure to post about them next week if I receive anything new! Happy reading!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Book Review - Pure

Title: Pure

Author: Terra Elan McVoy


Synposis from Goodreads: Promise. Betrayal. Confession. Revenge.

Tabitha and her four best friends all wear purity rings, symbols of the virginity-until-marriage pledge they made years ago. Now Tab is fifteen, and her ring has come to mean so much more. It's a symbol of who she is and what she believes—a reminder of her promises to herself, and her bond to her friends. But when Tab meets a boy whose kisses make her knees go weak, everything suddenly seems a lot more complicated. Tab's best friend, Morgan, is far from supportive, and for the first time, Tabitha is forced to keep secrets from the one person with whom she's always shared everything. When one of those secrets breaks to the surface, Tab finds herself at the center of an unthinkable betrayal that splits her friends apart. As Tab's entire world comes crashing down around her, she's forced to re-examine her friendships, her faith, and what exactly it means to be pure.


My Review: Based on the synopsis of Pure, I was expecting an intense religious message, and though the main character is a devout Christian and they do talk about their beliefs, it isn't thrown down your throats. Or at least it doesn't feel like it.


*Spoiler Alert*


Tabitha has made a promise with her four best friends that she will stay pure, a virgin, until marriage. But when she finds out that one of her best friends has broken that promise, without regrets, her world is turned upside down as the friends turn on each other. Tabitha is then forced to ask herself what it really means to be pure and what she truly believes.


I loved that Tabitha didn't sit back and let her friends dictate what she should believe, particularly her friend, Morgan. They were twelve when they made the promise and donned their rings for the first time, and though twelve year old is more than capable of understanding what they just did, Tabitha did it more because her friends were doing it and she wanted to be a part of it all. Now that she's fifteen, it would be easy to go with the flow still, but when Morgan and Naeomi turn their backs on Cara for a decision she made, it just doesn't settle with Tabitha. It feels wrong to her. To me, that makes perfect sense. Through Tabitha's own research, she is reminded of the greatest of all commandments which is to love others as thou would love thyself. You don't have to agree with a friend's decision, but you don't have to shun them either. When we love someone, we love them for who they are, not what they do/did.


For me, that was the greatest message of the book. I would definitely recommend this to teenagers and their parents, especially to parents who are finding it difficult to address this issue with their own teenagers. It can help break the ice and lead the way for discussions.


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

WIP - Is it really October?

I keep telling myself there is plenty of time to plan for kleoS. That it's practically still summer and I have MONTHS until November when I will start pumping out the first draft.

Unfortunately, today it hit me. It's already the 5th of October. I have less than one month to get this plot to a point where I feel ready.

I thought I was almost there, but as I pulled out my little notebook with my notes on kleoS, I realized I'm not nearly as prepared as I want to be.

It doesn't help that I've been finding it difficult to feel inspired lately. I'm exhausted all the time, so in my downtime I just like to sleep or sit. When you add that to the fact I've been living in a house that I knew was just temporary so I haven't felt settled for two months, well, it makes focusing difficult.

There is good news in my future, though. I am moving tomorrow to my permanent house so I can finally achieve that permanent feeling I've been craving. I can create my perfect little writing nook and really get my head in the planning stages of writing. I will have a little over three weeks to fine tune my plans before I have to jump in to this next round of NaNoWriMo.

I hope all of you fellow participants are having better luck than I have. Happy Writing!

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It seems like I'm just getting busier and busier. This week I'll be spending most of my time packing or unpacking for a last minute move that we're doing, but I will find time to read at least one book.

Deadly Little Secrets by Laurie Faria Stolarz


I bought this book with a gift certificate that I won and I'm really excited to finally get to read it. It's been on my TBR shelf for a few months now!

I know I won't have time to read anything else this week, but I'm hoping to be mostly settled in our new place by next week so I can start devouring more books. Until then, happy reading!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Review - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Title: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Author: Stieg Larsson


Book Synopsis from Back of Book: Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of iniquity and corruption.


My Review: It took me a few months to finish this book, but not because of lack of interest. I was pulled in immediately with the Prologue and my attention was kept as the stage was set. My problem came with the amount of information that is presented throughout the course of the book, particularly in the beginning. I don't know much about journalism or business, so for me it took a lot of concentration to follow the conversations as they discussed the case against the main character, Mikael Blomkvist. I will admit, at some points, I didn't really try to understand. It was taking too long to read, so I just gave up and I figured that what was important would come across, even if it wasn't completely clear to me why. This method of reading seemed to work for me, and it was worth pushing through the 'heavy' stuff because the rest of the plot was amazing.


Another challenge for me was trying to remember the characters names and the places that they went. The book takes place in Sweden, as that is where the author is from, but the names are so foreign to me it was hard to keep them straight at first. Once they became established characters for me, it was much easier.


How the book is presented is fascinating. We follow Mikael and the other main character Lisbeth, but their story doesn't actually overlap until almost halfway through the book. I knew that they would eventually come together, so it was fun to read how they got to that point.


The plot was extremely intricate and the plot twists were surprising. The Vanger family is unlike any other family I've ever read about. Each member had their own unique quirk that added to the twists of the plot. When I finished, I immediately wanted to pick up the sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire. There is a preview of the book at the back and after reading the first ten pages I know I'm going to enjoy it as much as the first book.


This book is definitely not for everyone, but if you enjoy a good mystery and you like to be surprised, this is a book to take a look at.


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (It would have been 5, but I couldn't justify it with the skimming I was forced to do.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm alive and mostly well

I feel bad I haven't had a chance to do my blog posts for the past week and a half. With my mother-in-law in town it made it difficult to get on the computer because all of my downtime (the kids napping and after bedtime) was spent visiting with her instead.

It doesn't help that I've had morning sickness and just want to curl up into a ball most nights, plus I go to bed around 9:30 every night. It's a must if I'm going to survive November. I have to stock up on sleep while I can.

I will be on top of my blog posts now though. You can expect a book review of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo tomorrow followed by my normal schedule next week! Happy Writing!

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday and time for the weekly meme hosted by One Person's Journey Through the World of Books!

Now, I thought last week was a slow week for me, but I have a feeling this week will be an even slower one for me. My mother-in-law is coming to visit so I don't know how much reading I will realistically get done, but I'm hoping to knock a few books off of my list.

I am currently reading my ARC copy of Seers by Heather Frost. I've been feeling under the weather and it's been a great distraction for me. I'm excited to finish it in the next day or two.


Next, like I said last Monday, I hope to finish The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson.


Then, hopefully, I will have time to start a YA book I bought a few months ago, Pure by Terra Elan Mcvoy. I buy books of all genres, but for some reason I'm craving something sans magic and mystery. I think Pure will do the trick nicely.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Book Review - Birthmarked

Title: Birthmarked

Author: Caragh M. O'Brien


Book Synopsis from Goodreads: In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the wall and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife, Gaia Stone, who live outside. Gaia has always believed it is her duty, with her mother, to hand over a small quota of babies to the Enclave. But when Gaia's mother and father are arrested by the very people they so dutifully serve, Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught to believe. Gaia's choice is now simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying.


My Review: I had been intrigued with this book for months, but I was hesitant to read it because I wasn't sure if my heart could handle it. In the bookstore I read the first few pages and my heart was breaking as Gaia took a newborn baby from her birth mom. As I read the mom's reaction, screaming for her baby, I knew I would react the same way if someone tried to take my own babies away from me. I'm glad I gave it a go though, because the story was great and I only shed a few more tears throughout the rest of the book, all having to do with babies of course.


The mystery of the Enclave was the most intriguing thing about the book for me. As with most trilogies, not all the questions were answered by the end of the book. I'm not sure if the questions I want answered will ever be addressed because of how the first book ends. I suppose I won't find out until the second book comes out, but for me the question I want answered is the difference between stars for me. I can't be too specific as I don't want to have any spoilers, but the motive of the Enclave is questionable for me and I'm seeking a bit of closure.


A few elements were predictable, but I was pleasantly surprised by some plot twists that I wasn't expecting. Particularly one with Gaia's mother.


Captain Grey, Leon, was also an intriguing character. Mainly because he wasn't easy to get a handle on. The reader was just as confused as Gaia when it came to what his true intentions might be. His inconsistency made me want to learn more about him. He ended up being my favorite character.

If you enjoy dystopians, you will enjoy Birthmarked. Though, if you're a Mommy, prepare to shed a few tears before the book is through.


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Another review for Transformation!

I just received a text from my dear friend, Jenni, who let me know that there was another review for Transformation on Amazon.com. This review is a bit more positive than the first review that went up on Sunday so I just had to share it. It can be found HERE.

I'm off to bed now, sleep tight!

WIP - There's not enough time in the day.

First things first. Two weeks ago in my WIP post I mentioned that the first review of Transformation had been completed and I said I would post it once it was up and available to read. It was just posted on Sunday, so you can read the review HERE if you're interested.

Now I'm supposed to report on how well I did this past week in finishing up the character development for kleoS, but I can't.

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you felt like you were go, go, go all the time and yet at the end of the week you have no idea what it is that kept you so busy? Well, that's how last week was for me. The few moments I did sit down I was so tired I fell asleep.

Most of my writing/planning time is done in the evenings once my two little kids go to bed, but I've been going to bed by 9:30 all week. I just need lots of sleep in order to function right now. I blame the pregnancy.

Right now I'm starting to worry, just a little bit, about how well I'm going to be able to function during NaNoWriMo in November. If I keep up this exhaustion, I fear I won't have what it takes to complete the project.

Thankfully, in November I will be into my second trimester so I should be more energetic. My fingers are crossed that that will be the case. Until then, I will continue to try and develop these characters when I have the energy to focus on writing. I hope I have better news next week!



Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I have decided to join the weekly meme, It's Monday! What Are You Reading? hosted by One Person's Journey Through the World of Books.

I'm really excited about this and I hope it helps introduce all of you to a whole new world of books!

Last week was a bit of a slow reading week for me.

I finished Birth Marked by Caragh M. O'Brien. Myreview will be posted on Friday!


I am currently reading The Woman Who Heard Color by Kelly Jones. It's been an enjoyable read so far, but not what I had been expecting.


One I finish with that, I will be reading my ARC of Seers by Heather Frost. I am extremely excited to read this book. I won't be participating in the Blog Book Tour that is currently in progress for Seers, but my review will be posted through simplystacie.net within a few weeks of submitting my review.


Finally, if I don't receive any books to review in the mail before I finish with Seers, I will be attempting to finish The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson. I started it a few months ago but then I got busy reading books that I had committed to finishing. Unfortunately, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo has been put in the "TBR Later" pile for far too long. I really hope I get the opportunity to finish it this week. I'm really intrigued with what I've read so far.


Now I want to know what you are reading! Pleas share.

If you would like to find out what everyone else is reading who is participating in the weekly meme, go to One Person's Journey Through the World of Books to find a list of all the participating blogs. Happy reading!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Book Review - Thirteen Reasons Why

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher


Book Synopsis from Goodreads: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.


My Review: There are no words that can express the depth that this book takes you to. It is amazing in the impact it has on the reader.


There are books out there about suicide but this book is different. The deed has already been done. Hannah is gone and nothing will change that, but how the people in her life behave can change. Before ending her life, Hannah created seven tapes. Each side of the tape holds a story from her life that has contributed to her decision.


The thing I loved about this book was Clay. We follow Clay as he receives the package of tapes on his doorstep and we experience the tapes with him. We read what he's thinking as he hears the different stories. And he's real. As he listens he gets angry and he judges and he cries and he mourns. The best part, though, is that he changes. The tapes do what they were intended to do for at least one of the characters.


The other thing I loved about this book was that Hannah took full responsibility for her decision. The stories contributed to her decision, yes, but she never once said, "I did this because of you." She made that very clear. This was her decision, her choice. I liked this because it helps the reader sympathize that much more with her. At times it's easy to agree with Clay, that she is being vicious by dragging these kids' actions in front of twelve other people...but she isn't being vicious. She's trying to teach, to help them learn not to hurt people the way she was hurt.


Suicide is a sad thing, but it's real. It happens every day. Part of the problem is ignorance and part of it is that it's a taboo subject to talk about. Teenagers need to know about this so they can help their friends when they might be going through something similar. This book is a great way to help enlighten them. I would recommend it to anyone and I think everyone should read it. We all need to learn and be better because what we do does affect other people, even if we don't realize it.


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WIP - Planning has officially kicked up a notch!

The beginning of September marks a very important time for me. It's time to really start my plans for NaNoWriMo in November!

I am getting so excited for it I can hardly stand it! It doesn't help that my good friend, Jenni, just won Camp NaNoWriMo, which is the same program it's just done during the summer! Reading her blog updates about how much she had written just made me want to write that much more!

I've talked about this before so it's no surprise that I have a project all lined up for November, kleoS. It's very different from my first book, Transformation, so I'm really excited for the challenge of a different storyline.

Another difference is Transformation was written in third person and kleoS is going to be written in first person. I'm a little nervous, but really excited to try my hand at it.

I have more planned out than I had anticipated at this point. Cross-country drives are great for those type of braining-storming sessions. :-) Even with everything I have, I want to have more planned out. I want to make sure that I know who each character is and what each of their purposes are. I read so many books that impress me with how well thought out they are and I really want kleoS to be one of those books.

My goal for next week is to have the plot line completely outlined. Now, by that I mean I want to have a definitive beginning, middle, and end planned out so I know exactly where I want this story to go. Granted, stories tend to change while you're writing them and that's okay, I just want to have a guide to follow along the way. I will definitely let the story lead the way if I decides to veer of course. I guess I won't know until November though.

Monday, September 5, 2011

It's Monday

It's Monday.

I can't believe we're already into September. So crazy. Where does the time go?

Monday's are usually Muse Monday for me, but I'm considering changing it. I had been trying to share the dreams I've been having lately as an attempt to inspire story ideas in all of you, but I'm not sure if that is something I can continue.

I am expecting my third child and pregnancy always makes me dream very bizarre dreams. Not only that, but I have them every night. That should be a good thing right? It would be, except I can never remember the dreams when I wake up. It's so frustrating to try and write something down that isn't coming back to you. The last thing I need is to start my day off grumpy, because chances are I'll be short tempered within a few hours of waking up. The joys of pregnancy.

So now I have a conundrum. What should I do about Mondays? They are such a let down. It's the day of the week that shuts down the weekend. I would like to do something fun, but I can honestly say I'm drawing a blank.

There is a weekly meme for Mondays called What Are You Reading? I've been considering participating in that because I do read quite a bit throughout the week. It would be nice to talk a little bit about the books that appeal to me and the ones I'm reading for review, but I'm just not sure.

My question to you all is, would that be something you'd be interested in or is it too overdone? Should I try for something else more original while trying to post dreams when I can? Please let me know if you have an opinion.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Book Review - Hereafter

Title: Hereafter

Author: Tara Hudson


Book Synopsis from Goodreads: Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.

My Review: The first Chapter hooked me immediately while I was at the bookstore. I just had to buy it. But I must admit, I was a little disappointed with the book.

What was it that was disappointing? I knew this was a love story, it says so right on the cover, but I wasn't expecting such an intense connection. It was a little understandable on Amelia's part...sort of. She's been walking around in a fog for years, experiencing her own death over and over again at random times while simultaneously being numb to everything around her. I get that she would be drawn to Joshua because he allows her to feel almost alive again. But I wish that the author had kept it at that. Having Amelia be so obsessed with the person and not just the experience got old and it was almost uncomfortable to read. I mean...she's dead.

And then there's Joshua. He is unnaturally open-minded. I mean...if I was in his position I may have been able to get over the fact that I had just met a ghost and I would probably want to do what I could to help said ghost, but I don't think I would want to be in a relationship with one. It would take awhile to get to that point where I could look past the ghost aspect.

The big appeal to this book is the mystery. Amelia has no idea what her purpose is and if there are rules she has to follow as a ghost. For her, the fog is all there is after death until she meets Joshua. I also really liked how Amelia had to learn about her life because she had forgotten...in particular the details of her death. I loved when she realized the specifics of how she died. That was written really well.

I liked the book, I just didn't love it. Honestly, if the author had decided to tone down the love story a bit, it would have gotten a better rating from me.


My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WIP - First Review of Transformation

I missed last week's WIP day because I was in the middle of a move and without iternet. Sadness.

It's almost pathetic how much I rely on the internet these days, but it's so much more than a web of information. It provides connections to friends, outlets to vent, and a way to publicize...though some uses are admittedly better (or used more often) than others.

It's easy to get on here and check facebook and e-mail while reading blog posts about things you love. It's not so easy to put yourself out there, leaving others open to criticize and potentially tear you apart. The hope is that they will take that opportunity to build you up, boost your self esteem a little, but unfortunately there are no guarantees as to what will be said about you.

Why am I ranting about this?

I had submitted my first book, Transformation, for review shortly after it was published last month. I want to submit a few more copies for review, but with my move and the expenses that are necessary for that, I couldn't afford to at the time.

Since the submission I have been waiting for that first review to pop up. I've known friends and family who have read it and it's been well received, but it's always hard to tell if people like it because it's good or because they know you, the author. I'm still not sure.

I have been privileged to read the review before it will be posted on the internet. I'm not sure when it will go up, though I would assume it will be some time in the next few days. (I will post the link when it does.) I will admit upon reading the review my heart sank a bit. It wasn't the rave review my subconscious had been hoping for, though not really expecting. Though, it wasn't the worst review I could have received either. I appreciate that the reviewer took the time to talk about the specifics that bothered her and she made sure to point out the things that she liked. That's really all I can ask for as an author.

My biggest frustration is that the first review of Transformation is not the best one it could be. I'm hoping over time a few great ones will show up, but in the meantime I will take her criticism and work with it so I can be a better author for my next project that I'm currently outlining. For a first novel, I'm awfully proud of Transformation, and though I know there are things that I'm constantly wanting to change about it, I will leave it as it is.

It's a starting point for my writing adventure.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Muse Monday - Can you say overdone Love Triangle?

It's Muse Monday so of course it's time for me to share one of my incredibly random dreams with you all in the hopes that you may be inspired for a story:

I had a dream that Neil Patrick Harris and David Schwimmer were fighting over a woman. She kind of resembled Patricia Clarkson...the mom from Easy A...but she just resembled her, she wasn't actually her. Each guy had a huge thing for her and they were trying to hide it and be the bigger guy. They started out being nice, giving each other the opportunity to go after her so she could choose between them.

For whatever reason, the two guys got frustrated and decided they didn't want to nice anymore. They both wanted her, and one of them was going to have her.

Next came a ridiculous display of manliness. I don't remember all the details, just that I'm sure I was laughing out loud in my sleep. Patricia ended up choosing Neil but they hid their relationship from David. Of course he found out about it. In a fit of anger, David let loose a bunch of snakes out that covered the ground between the hotel they were at and Neil's car. He didn't want to back down, so he attempted to cross the snake infested parking lot anyway but he kept getting attacked by snakes. He'd have to pull them off of himself and throw them away, but they would just leap back at him and re-attach themselves. I woke up as he was trying, without any luck, to get in his car.

As far as writing potential, the only thing I see is maybe an Indiana Jones type love triangle. Maybe it will be helpful to one of you readers. On the bright side, I wouldn't have any trouble casting the parts.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Review: Divergent

Title: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth


About the Book (Froom Goodreads): Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.


My Review: Divergent was amazing. I calculated and found out I read it in just ten and a half hours. I couldn't put it down. There were NO slow parts in the entire book! For me, even the best books have a point, (whether it's a conversation, transition scene, informative section, etc) that just drags on and you think, "Get on with it." I never hit that spot with Divergent. Every scene flowed wonderfully and kept my mind engaged in the story. And, more importantly, every scene contributed to the story. It's a long book, 485 pages, and every word is important to Tris' experience as she makes the choice between factions and then as she goes through her initiation.


I love that the book takes place in Chicago and that Roth uses the buildings and sites that are there to help build this world. It makes it extremely believable. It helps that I've been to Chicago so when she describes Navy Pier in it's abandoned state with Lake Michigan dried up and turned into a marsh, I can really picture it. It makes it so real and believable.


I like that Tris doesn't focus on what her life would be like if she chose Dauntless, she just knew she wasn't who she needed to be in order to be in Abnegation. It made her surprise at what was required of her real when she gets to the initiation. If she had asked too many questions, or dwelled on it too much, she might not have been able to chose Dauntless and then we wouldn't have a story. I know I wouldn't have chosen Dauntless, it is definitely not the life for me. I think I'm more of an Amity person myself, or maybe Candor. Thankfully, I don't actually have to choose.


The characters are amazing, the plot is amazing, the world that is created is amazing. I can't believe this is Roth's debut novel. AMAZING. This book definitely didn't disappoint in the hype that it has received and I know the sequel won't disappoint either! I'm so excited for it! Go and read Divergent, you won't be disappointed.


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Muse Monday - A pledge

I don't know what it is, but lately I keep coming up with new plots for novels. My muse must be inspired because I can't seem to stop these random ideas.


My most recent idea came as I was driving through Missouri last week. Out of nowhere I had an idea for a murder mystery.


I love mysteries and thrillers. (But I love a lot of genres so that doesn't really mean much.) I've always respected those who write them because of the work that it takes to create a great mystery. In order to be amazing they need to be well thought out, creative, and have a few twists and surprises. I've never thought I would ever tackle one because it seemed like so much work.


It still seems like a lot of work. It requires so much more planning then what I am used to, but I don't know if I can just pretend I never had this idea and turn my back on it.


What would happen if you chose to ignore your muse? Would you stop receiving inspiration all together? That thought is too scary to even dwell on. I need my muse. I need the ideas to keep pouring in so that I always have something to work on. I don't ever want to crave writing without anything to put in words.


With that in mind, I will take this mystery challenge. It will, unfortunately, have to wait a bit to be born because I have other ideas that presented themselves first. However, I WILL write this mystery. I owe it to myself, and I owe it to my muse.



Friday, August 19, 2011

Book Review - The Giver

Title: The Giver

Author: Lois Lowry


About the Book: (From Goodreads)

Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.


My Review:

I will admit that growing up I never read The Giver. A friend of mine found out and was appalled, so of course I had to borrow it. I'm so glad that I did.


The Giver is fascinating. I loved the idea of a world full of control. One that removes the fear and pain of choosing for ourselves and of the loss that you experience with bad choices and heartbreak. I could actually understand how they would have created that world of structure for themselves over the generations. In some ways, it is tempting to want to live in a society that tells you who to marry, what job to perform, what meals to eat every day. But it is ability to make those decisions that create joy in our lives, and Jonas discovers that.


Jonas is an amazing MC. At twelve years old he understands the world better than all of the adults around him, save one. Jonas develops into this amazingly strong character. I love how brave he becomes even though he has no idea what bravery is.


I don't want to give anything away, but I love the moment that Jonas realizes how fake his life has been, that it has all been a charade. Reading that fire light in him is what makes The Giver a fantastic book, and one that I think everyone should experience. It is a quick read. I read it in a day, so there are no excuses to not pick it up.


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WIP - Some characters were born

My husband and I have been driving across the country and in an attempt to keep my husband awake in the wee hours of the morning I asked him to help me create some characters for kleoS.

It was exciting to see how into it he became. He had so many great suggestions and insights. It helps to have another person to bounce ideas off of in the early stages. It would have been frustrating to create a character that I felt was believable, that I had put hours of time into developing, just to find out that it didn't make sense or that it could have been done better.

An amazing thing about my husband is his ability to be honest without being cruel. He knows how to let me down gently and tell me what he really thinks. He is one of my biggest supporters and he is amazing. He also loves to read so he has a great imagination and understanding as to what makes a character good and what makes it flop.

Within two hours we had created the antagonist for kleoS, including a name(which is so perfect I can hardly stand it) along with an important supporting character. He also helped me to fine-tune the main character, Kleos. I am really getting excited to finally start writing kleoS in November. I just hope I can create it on paper the way I see it in my head in a way that does it justice.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Muse Monday - What's in a dream?

It's amazing how a great story idea can pop into your mind out of nowhere. You can be in the middle of making dinner, playing make believe with your children, reading a novel, goofing off with some friends, or most commonly sleeping.

There are so many people who get their ideas from dreams, myself included. Dreams are amazing because they capture something in a way that inspires you because it was your mind that created them.

In my experience, I have found that combining dreams is a great way to develop a story. Not all dreams are great on their on. In fact, a lot of them are quite boring full of every day, mundane tasks that we're forced to relive even when we're resting. But when you put those dreams together, something amazing can be created.

On that note, I hope to either inspire you with my dreams, or even better, inspire your mind to start producing some inspiring dreams of your own. So here we go:

Last night I had a dream that I was living with my in-laws in a condominium that resembles my late grandparents. We were getting things ready for a party and I used a special room down the hall that was like a miniature apartment, but I'm talking miniature. (I am trying to be vague here, I can't give away ALL of my ideas.) When I was ready I went back to my own apartment and the party was in full force. I walked past a man who asked me a question about a tourist attraction. I ignored him because I didn't know the answer, but as I was about ten steps away I felt guilty and turned back to answer the question. When I got back to him, he had changed into a little girl, no older than eight. She was upset that I had ignored her so I tried to comfort her and answer her question. At the same time, we kept getting crawled over by random children that were trying to get away from their parents. I finally got the little girl calmed down and as I was heading back to be with my family I woke up.

It was a very strange dream and I'm sure buried inside of it is a great idea for a story. It didn't inspire me, but maybe it will inspire you. Happy writing!