Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

Decided to read another fairy book. I really like the fairy trend. The fairy trend is my absolute favorite of all the trends.

Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city— Chicago—and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit. As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways from the hotel’s jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?

Okay as much as I love books about fairies, the story had potential, but it just wasn't clicking for me. The plot became overly predictable and there were parts that needed improvement. What ever happened to good old plot twists in stories? The writing style was really good.This is another example of a trend book, it felt like I was reading the same thing over and over again. Human girls finding out they were fairies. 

*BIG SIGH* If you are still reading the trends like I am then it is clear to see why the Big Publishers move through the trends so quickly, it's just story retelling after story retelling.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Another angel series I have been so curious to read but never got the chance to read because of school.

An angel is sent to Earth on a mission.But falling in love is not part of the plan.Three angels – Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human – are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?

I must say I really enjoyed this particular book. It was a little bit different from the majority of angel stories out there. I also liked the religious aspects it had to it. But the writing was not that great. Adornetto was very young, according to some sources she was around eighteen when this novel was written. But it never got a high sales ranking due to it. The story had so much potential but the pages felt rushed and it needed more heavy editing.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lessons from Write On Con

The past week and a half, I attended the virtual Write On Con online. For those who did not know what it is, it's an online writer's conference, it was in a way like a virtual one for those who couldn't afford to travel to another town for those conferences. During the conference there were agents, authors and editors talking about book publishing and establishing author platforms and in the forums some agents and editors were requesting manuscripts through the forums, and there were some things I wanted to share.

1. More than one POV
The agents and editors said they don't mind more than one POV but they want the voices to be different. They also recommended that if you want to write novels with multiple POVs good examples of published novels using that technique is Jodi Picoult's novels and Pretty Little Liars Series by Sara Sheppard. All of Jodi Picoult's novels deal with 5-7 different POVs and she is a New York Times best selling author for multiple years and her novels have received many awards. The Pretty Little Liars Series by Sara Sheppard deals with 4 POVs, but what makes them different is the personalities and characterization are so strong and different, it's clear to tell which character is talking when you read a new chapter.

2. Editing
Agents and editors said their pet-peeve is when they make suggestions for revisions on the manuscripts and they get the manuscript back in two days and nothing was changed, or not enough effort was put into the editing. Another suggestion they made is for an author who is querying to agents or editors for the first time is to hire an editor for the manuscript before sending it to submissions or to the agent because bad grammar will sometimes make them think the author took no pride in self editing their manuscript (and it can never hurt to have an extra set of eyes look at your story,and get the manuscript into tip top shape before sending it out).

3. Author Platform
Most agents said using a blog as a great way to author platform; blog about books you are reading, what you're using to research agents, outlining, writing, editing, NaNoWriMo, querying etc., but one of their pet peeves is when the author doesn't even bother to blog on it for weeks or months. If you're going to use a blog as your temporary website at least blog once a week. Another one they talked about was social networks. How people put in their queries "I have 30,000 followers on twitter". An agent Scott Waxman mentioned how he does not understand why querying authors think it's important to have thousands of followers on twitter, and he said to be honest it does not matter to agents how many followers you have on twitter. 100, 20, 2000 followers agents only care about one thing; representing a good book with good writing that will sell. An editor also recommended to stop obsessing on getting thousands of followers.

4. Querying
This to me had to have been the most helpful when I was watching the live feed mostly because I am in the process of querying agents as I'm sure other authors are doing and well.  During the live feed, the agents and editors who were listing their pet peeves really told me "this is what you should not do in a query letter." A lot of agents gave their pet peeves with query letters:

*writers putting threats into the query

*seeing authors sent out one mass email and you can see all the other agents email's in the letter. Instant deletion and displays the author is unprofessional

*comparing their work to other branded authors "This is like Stephen King but much better"

*no personalizing the letter when submitting to the main line

*addressing the letter as "Dear Agent" instead of putting the agents name showing they are sending the letter specifically to that agent ex. "Dear Ms. Smith"

  • Again, personalizing the query letter is important and falls under the definition of researching the agent specific taste when querying. There are some agents who prefer for the queries to be personalized and some who prefer for the queries to jump right into the pitch.

Ex: Into Pitch

Dear Ms. Reamer,
For as long as the underworld has existed there was a prophecy of a girl who would destroy all evil that walked the night known as the slayer.

Ex: Personalized

Dear Ms. Reamer,
I am a big fan of your client Stephenie Meyer and I thought you would be interested in my manuscript Poison.


Dear Ms. Reamer,
I read the most enchanting book called Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia. When I looked on the author's website and and saw that you represented the book I thought you might be interested in my manuscript Bewitched, targeted at the young adult audience completed at 75,000 words.

Here is the personalized example from debut author Heather Anastasiu of her query with a Personalization.

Dear Mr. Olsen,
I read an ARC of Andrea Cremer’s Nightshade and saw on her website that you represent her. I think you might like The Beautiful Anomaly, my 78,000-word romantic dystopia targeted to the young adult market. This novel imagines a future in which world peace is finally achieved, but at a terrible price—by enslaving most of the global population through emotion-deadening bionic hardware.

* authors not following the guidelines as stated in their submission guidelines and putting the sample pages as an attachment as opposed to the pasting it into the body of the email (please note; not all agents check their spam box)

*not putting the in the subject line "Query: Title of Book" (Doing that in the email is important. An agent who checks their spam box will see that the subject says "query" and your wonderful submission won't get lost in all the other spam).

*word counts that exceed over the normal amount for a book "My books is completed over 100,000 words" (this makes agents cringe)

*Not researching the agent enough to see what they like and what they don't represent (One agent's blog specifically said she does not like books with damsel in distress, yet, she kept getting all these submissions and the characters were a damsel in distress. Another agent on her profile on the agency website says, 'NO wolves, no vampires, no angels' and people were still sending queries dealing with those supernatural creatures after her profile specifically says not to send her manuscripts dealing with those elements).

Another thing most agents pointed out in the video conferences was that these are the things they read in query letters that get an instant rejection;

      "This is the second book in a self published series, and I'm hoping you can get it published"

      "I have over 60,000 followers on twitter"

      "My father and my cousin read this book and they loved it and think it will be the next      

      "This book is the New Twilight, Harry Potter, etc."

      "My friends loved this book and say I'm the next J.K. Rowling"

      "My books is completed over 100,000 words" (this makes agents cringe and most editors              cringe)

Putting that into the query letter or you will get deleted and that is the end of that potential business relationship. I'm hoping you will find some of the things I learned during that conference very helpful, I found some very useful, a bit like the do's and don'ts of querying. Hope some of these lessons help you in your process of querying. Happy Writing!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blog Tour: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

So happy to be apart of this magnificent blog tour. I received and ARC of this book and I was extremely excited to begin reading it. Once I found out there was going to be a blog tour, I just had to sign up for it! 

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze
Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore
Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

Release: Sept. 11, 2012 | Publisher: Entangled Publishing | Purchase: Amazon | BookDepository

As a teen, Rachel Harris threw raging parties that shook her parents’ walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels.

As an adult, she reads and writes obsessively, rehashes said embarrassing fodder, and dreams up characters who become her own grown up version of imaginary friends.

When she's not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, you can find her homeschooling her two beautiful princesses, hanging out with her amazing husband, or taking a hot bubble bath…next to a pile of chocolate.

MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY is her debut novel.  She did have her own fantabulous Sweet Sixteen in high school. Sadly, it wasn't televised.

http://www.rachelharriswrites.com | @RachelHarrisYA | facebook.com/RachelHarrisYA

I found one of the characters Lorenzo to be absolutely yummy! 

I am one of those girls where I am extremely happy with a good book. I loved this book so much! What I loved about it was the magical realism behind it. The style reminded me of the New York Times best selling author Francesca Lia Block, who's novels are very popular because it contains the essence of  magical realism. I love books that deal with magical realism I find them to be absolutely wonderful!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

I'm not over vampires yet. There were just so many to choose from in the book store that its hard to sometimes pick out something to read when there are so many of the same genre to choose from. A lot of people recommended I read this series since I loved the House of Night novels by P.C. Cast and I thought I would give it a chance to read. I'm glad this whole series was complete because it gave me the chance to read the whole series through.

Vampire Academy (Book 1)
St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...
Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

HOLY COW! This is the book series that should have been made into films around the same time as Twilight. I really liked it. It's tough chicks! I liked the writing it wasn't dull, and to top it off neither were the characters. I found myself very attached to Rose. She is strong and determined. I especially liked how it was not all romance but had A LOT of action sequenced into the book it was all girls who could kick some serious ass!  A wonderful vampire series to read. 5 STARS!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Blog Tour! Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

So honored to be apart of another blog tour. I received an ARC copy of this book and I absolutely loved it! Out of all the trends New York Publishing should keep the dystopian trends going because they are the most interesting to read. This one in particular caught my interest and I was so anxious to get my hands on it, and I'll tell you, it was worth the wait! I don't know why it took so long for St.Martins to publish this because it is a work of genius! I loved it! It had some romance but it was all mostly action and adventure! It was truly an amazing story and I loved every word of it!

In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.

When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.

As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.

Release: August 7, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Heather Anastasiu is the author of the young adult sci-fi novel,GLITCH (St. Martin's Press/Spring 2012). She recently moved to Minneapolis with her family, and when she’s not busy getting lost exploring the new city, she spends most days writing at a cafĂ©.  
Random Facts About Me:
  • I played the piccolo in my high school marching band.
  • I paint a little, but for some reason, only in winter.
  • So, the last name, I know it looks like Anastasia, but it has a U on the end: Anastasiu (rhymes with 'so-nice-to-see-you'). It's Romanian in origin.
  • I like body art. Well, I like art of all kinds, but especially body art, i.e. tattoos, because it's the art you get to take with you. I figure, there's so much about the body we're given we don't have control over (hips, nose, forehead, chin, height, foot size, health), so much that we get no choice in, but hair color and ink designs? Hello world, this is me and the kinds of things I find beautiful!
  • I was in a wheelchair for a year during college because of health problems. Being wheel-bound and knee-high for a year certainly changed my perspective on life (pun intended).
  • Yes, I am a fan of cheesy puns.
  • My favorite book is East of Eden because it blew open my world when I first read it at age 20.
  • I also unabashedly love Twilight. I even wrote a chapter in a forthcoming book of academic essays about how Twilight, for all its shortcomings, can also have positive implications for readers in that it provides a platform for public participation in a communal female myth. It's compulsively readable and is all about engaging our fantasy lives and letting us participate in vicarious wish fullfillment.
  • I like pink and black together, but not apart.

Small Scene from Book

Again i was struck by the mystery of this boy. Who was he? How did he know so much? Why was he helping me?

Before I could continue through the long list of questions racing through my mind, we reached a small four by four foot plateau at the top of the staircase. Adrien found the switch easily this time and spoke the authorization code. And then, as the last door swung open and my eyes were stung by blinding light, I learned the answer to at least one of my questions.

Adrien wasn't trying to help me at all.

He was trying to kill me.

I flinched and covered my face as even though I knew it wouldn't help. Exposure to the outside air was deadly. And if it didn't kill you right away, the radiation would lead to tumors soon enough.

I turned to race back down the stairs but Adrien grabbed my upper arms

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium (Book 1)

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

This is another dystopia that is set with the government controlling society. I'm starting to see patterns now with the government themes in the dystopian books and now why publishers are sort of done with dystopian novels though I do like every single authors take on what would happen in a post apocalyptic world. What I happen to like the most about is how the writer's strength is in her world building and the purpose of society in the novels. I really did enjoy this book, but the reader does find the government theme as shown in other dystopians. In Pandemonium, Lena character does develop to maturity than she was in Delirium, but is very realistic. The chapters went back and forth from "then", which takes place right after Lena escapes to the Wild, and "now", which happens many months after this when Lena is living in New York. 

This back and forth between the chapters tends to give me a headache worse than head hoping, but did show how Lena is adapting to her new world. In the wild, she experiences hunger, death, and survival. In New York, she's experiencing survival in a different form. One that is a lot more dangerous than battling the elements. The writing got more confusing than books written in two point of views instead the chapters where hoping back and forth from present to past and it tends to give a reader a headache more than head hoping novels. with an ending that was predictable. Now I am truly upset because I have to wait until next year to read the final book, I should have just waiting until the whole trilogy was published. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Kanaeva Golden Again

I love Rhythmic gymnastics. It does not use a lot of gymnastics elements, it more of dancing, while using tools, the scoring is different from artistic.

Now don't get me wrong I am American, and I always want U.S.A to take home the gold, but I love watching when Russia performs. They have dominated this sport for years, and it's because of their culture, the Bolshoi ballet is legendary, and most Russian gymnasts, artistic and rhythmic, have trained in classical ballet along with their gymnastics training. Rhythmic gymnastics is about the dance elements while also using the apparatus, it requires intensive ballet training and a lot of flexibility. 

What I love about Kanaeva is how graceful she looks on the apparatus. She is also considered the most successful rhythmic gymnast. Winning two Olympic All-Around titles straight and multiple world titles. I was so happy she won, she deserved it, she's so elegant and graceful. I hope she considers going into professional dance.

Evgenia in Beijing 2008

In London 2012

Friday, August 03, 2012

Women's All-Around, American 3 Peat

For the past two Olympics, U.S.A. won the All-Around.

In Athens 2004, Carly Patterson was the Golden Girl

In 2008 Beijing it was Nastia Liukin

For the third Olympics straight, in 2012 London Gabby Douglas fulfilled the U.S. expectations for a third All-Around Olympic Champion. With Russia's Viktoria Komova and Aliya Mustafina taking silver and bronze.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Men's All Around

The Men's Individual All-Around final occurred and as predicted Japan's Kohei Uchimura won the gold. As much as I want the U.S. to win titles I'm glad Kohei won, he is a fabulous athlete. He has the most difficulty of any male gymnast in the world, was the World All-Around Champion from 2009 - 2011, and he worked hard for his success, congrats Kohei!

However I was extremely surprised when U.S.A Danell Levya won the All-Around Bronze! This makes Danell the first Cuban-American to win an Olympic Title CONGRATS DANELL!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012


1996 was the first time the U.S.A's Women's gymnastics team won the Olympics, the team was known as the Magnificent Seven.

And now for the second time in gymnastics history, Team U.S.A won the team gold! And they will be known as the Fierce Five