Monday, February 25, 2013

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows


New soul
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.
No soul
Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?
Heart
Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?



Set in the post-apocalyptic world, during the past thousand years people living in the Range  have been reincarnated over and over again. What makes the incarnation the most interesting compared to other books is the world building. It's when the people are reborn, they remember their pasts including who they are and what skills they posses. When Ana, the main protagonist is reborn, and they scan her finger into a system to see who she was before, nothing comes out so she is defined as newsoul. Ana lives away from society growing up, and when she's old enough she ventures on her own. Ana then meets Sam and together they search for her past.  It's also a little been considered a utopia but I don't care it's a beautiful bookl.

This book is a crosses several sub-genres of dystopian, dragons, science fiction, fantasy and romance. Compared to the majority of dystopian books out there published this one was my favorite. If I could give a book award for incredible world building it would be awarded to Jodi Meadows. After the first thirty pages into the book, it's where the real juicy parts of the story begin. Once further into the book I found myself unable to put the book down. This is a unique and interesting read and those who love dystopian books will be blown away by this original story.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

In my quest to one day in my writing career to write books for middle grade, I decided the best I could try and learn what it takes to write a middle grade book was to read them and evaluating what the author does to the books that makes them appealing to kids. The only children's books I have ever enjoyed reading were the Harry Potter series and the Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Parker, and it's mostly because I grew up with the books and saw as each new title was released each year and displayed in the bookstores. I went around asking many for recommendations and I was told the Percy Jackson books. I knew it was a movie but I honestly thought the books were YA not MG and I hadn't read the book or seen the film. So I decided to begin reading this book.





Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school... again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus' master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.
Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus' stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.





 

The Lightening Thief is book one in the Percy Jackson series. Percy Jackson is a twelve year old boy with learning disabilities. Percy has been rejected by schools and bounced around countless schools due to his abnormal behavior. Percy's math teacher also turns out to be a mythical creature in search of a mythological object. Percy soon discovers that he not like every one else, he's a demigod, the son of one of the Gods of Mount Olympus. 

When I first began reading the book, I had to try very hard to not read it with Harry Potter expectations. This has to be the first children's book I have read since Harry Potter series. I found this to be a new unique idea and plot compared to most of the books in the young adult genre. I think this book inspired the trend of Greek mythology in YA books today. I happened to find this a really good read. It almost reminded me of the Harry Potter books. The reviewers who say it's a rip-off of Harry Potter are reading it with the Harry Potter series in mind, because  they are nothing alike. The writing is what really hooked me from the first page. The world was created so well with such vivid imagination that it keeps the reader engaged into the novel. It has quirky dialogue with action that made me never want to put the book down. This is something many young boys will enjoy reading along with the Harry Potter books. Now I must go buy the DVD of Percy Jackson and read the second book before the next film comes out.




Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho



This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom points Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transformation power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.







I read this book for my high school for my Multicultural English class. Then when I had to sign up for second level English in college World Literature it turns out The Alchemist is the required reading for my class. When I was in high school I had never even heard of this book until I saw it was on the course syllabus to purchase. We were reading it in class and the book really appealed to me. Then to just read it all over again in college was helpful because well, I already know the book pretty well.

The Alchemist is about main protagonist Santiago, a shepherd who is on a journey and spiritual quest. During his quest he encounters people, strange dreams, and omens that stand in the way of him accomplishing. 


The books deals with nothing about magic or witchcraft or anything that would be deemed inappropriate. things that we've either forgotten about or simply dismissed as childhood fantasies. It is all about finding yourself. Finding the personal legend in yourself and pursuing your dreams regardless of anything that might come in the way . This book is really inspirational to those who are just trying to accomplish something in life. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

NaNoWriMo Letter from Nora Zelevansky


To all the participants of NaNoWri last November, Nora Zelevansky  a novelist, journalist, essayist, and editor, whose writing has appeared in Elle and Salon wrote a letter to all of those who are working on publishing their NaNoWriMo story.

Dear Writers,
There is a long-standing debate among us about which is more daunting: a blank page or a rough draft. Historically, I consider myself a stalwart of the former camp; something seems preferable to nothing. At least, I thought I felt that way until I recently finished the first draft of a new manuscript, stared into the editing abyss, and promptly developed a case of vertigo.
In 2009, I participated in National Novel Writing Month for the first time. Along with thousands of others, I aimed to write 1,667 words every day for a month in hopes of manifesting an honest-to-goodness book. I hemmed and hawed with the best of them, but ultimately relished the process of letting my imagination steer.
That year, when I finished the original manuscript, I started editing right away. As a journalist, editing is second nature to me: you write, you chop, you edit, you polish. That's how it works. And I was fortunate: in December of the next year, St. Martin's Press offered to publish the book. And in July 2012, my novel hit bookstores.
This past fall, the hoopla quieted. The time had come to sit down and write another book during November. This time, writing the first draft was a little more strenuous. Expectations and self-imposed pressure loomed large, but I kept reminding myself that I could always rewrite. No big deal, right?
Wrong. Once I finished the first draft and had to begin the edit, I felt more overwhelmed than ever. I realized, no matter where you are in your journey as a writer, the editing and notes process remains arduous and stressful. It will always test you.
I am currently awaiting notes. And I am terrified. I know that I'll likely be facing down some overarching issues without easy fixes. But I want to rewrite and take notes because I want my book to be as good as possible. We all feel that way, of course. Still, "daunting" doesn't begin to describe the feeling of staring at a document that you created, wondering how the hell you're going to take it to a final draft.
Be kind to yourself. As hard as it is, try to remember that Rome wasn't built in a day. Even award-winning authors have to rewrite. A first draft is never the final product. Don't give up.
Ultimately, rewriting is hard. Maybe even harder than staring at a blank page. So I say, applaud yourself for the effort and enjoy the miraculous moments when an edit works and the language begins to click. And I will try to do the same. After all, there are few things as satisfying as that.
Nora Zelevansky 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave. Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra. If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.





This was a book I had been so anxious to get my hands on, and I was very impressed with this witch book compared to the others I have been reading. It's like a historical paranormal romance.  I LOVE to read books that take place during another time in history. Cate is filled with so much conflict. The characters were just so captivating I can't stop thinking about them. I was upset at the end of the book. I really hope it continues as a full series (and maybe 2 novellas). Plus the new paperback release in in this pretty pink color!



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

NaNoWriMo Letter From Marissa Meyer

In my email, this is soemthing that New York Times author Marissa Meyer who in 2008 wrote her novel Cinder during NaNoWriMo and got it published.



Stars above, Fellow Novelist, you did it!
Whether you tackled the 50K challenge last November or have spent the past five years plugging away at your first draft, you now stand among the few, the proud, the somewhat mad. You wrote anovel.
If you harbor dreams of seeing that novel on the shelves of your local bookstore, then writing "The End" is the first step toward making that dream a reality. In fact, it's the most important step, and you might be surprised at how few aspiring writers ever get there.
But not you. You set out to write a novel, and that's just what you did. You toiled, you struggled, you laughed, you cried, and when it was all done, you cheered and celebrated this awesome achievement.*
Now you're ready to tackle whatever comes next. Which is, naturally, the process of revision.
There is a lot that can be said about revision. Countless magazine articles and blog posts and even entire books** have been written on this very topic. Some writers loathe revisions, while others love them. Some writers find them tedious and agonizing, while others think they hold more magic than the first draft. (I fall into the latter group, myself.) Whichever camp you belong to, the fact is that revisions are necessary. Revisions eradicate inconsistencies and fill plot holes. They increase tension and deepen characters. They bring worlds to life and make your writing sing.
So here's my advice as you embark on this exciting second leg of your noveling quest:
Take your time.
I mean it. Don't rush the revision process. Yes, I know it can be painful to pace yourself now, when you seem so very close to a finished product. Maybe you've already bookmarked the websites of your preferred literary agents, drafted your query letter, and made a list of famous authors you think might be interested in writing a blurb for your jacket. Maybe you're ready to jump in—right now!
But rushing through the revision process can not only result in a manuscript that may not be as finished as you think it is, it can also cheat you out of some of the most euphoric discoveries about your own novel. Remember when you were writing that first draft and you got an out-of-nowhere idea for such a brilliant plot twist you actually squealed out loud—prompting everyone on the bus to slooowly shift away from you?
Well, guess what. Those lightning-strike moments happen during revision, too! And they have the potential to take your novel to an entirely new place. To raise it above all those other manuscripts that cross an agent's or editor's desk every day.
So take this time to re-explore your story from the beginning. Experience every plot twist anew and ask if you can make it even more exciting, even more surprising, even more intense. Delve into the backstories and motivations of every character and question if they can be more intriguing and more insightful. Consider foreshadowing, sensory details, underlying themes, character quirks, building suspense, and subplots that tie up nice and neat at just the right time. I don't know about you, but I certainly can't keep all these things in my brain at once, which is why I work them into the story gradually, one draft at a time. Layer upon layer upon layer.
Take your time. Be patient. Experience the thrill of falling in love with your book all over again. Eventually you'll reach a point where there's nothing else you can do for your novel. You'll have written the best book you're capable of, and it will finally be ready to be sent out into the world.
Trust me, it will be worth the wait. Happy Revising, Novelists!
Marissa 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Beautiful Creatures Movie



I saw Beautiful Creatures and OMG, I think the movie is better than the book. Here's what I liked about the movie, unlike the book which was such a drag just getting through the pages and the poor characterization of the main character that we are inside their head a majority of the time, the movie gets right to the point of the story, and doesn't lag. I literally fell asleep reading the first book in the series which read like a carbon copy of Twilight. The actual novel series just really lacked characterization. I look forward to when Beautiful Creatures is going to be released on DVD.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Is death the end . . . or only the beginning?Ethan Wate has spent most of his life longing to escape the stiflingly small Southern town of Gatlin. He never thought he would meet the girl of his dreams, Lena Duchannes, who unveiled a secretive, powerful, and cursed side of Gatlin, hidden in plain sight. And he never could have expected that he would be forced to leave behind everyone and everything he cares about. So when Ethan awakes after the chilling events of the Eighteenth Moon, he has only one goal: to find a way to return to Lena and the ones he loves.Back in Gatlin, Lena is making her own bargains for Ethan's return, vowing to do whatever it takes -- even if that means trusting old enemies or risking the lives of the family and friends Ethan left to protect.  Worlds apart, Ethan and Lena must once again work together to rewrite their fate, in this stunning finale to the Beautiful Creatures series.





 

This is the last book in the Castor Chronicles following the love story of Ethan and Lena. At the beginning we find out The book was written in dual point of view, and I was glad that the books finally put Lena's character. It felt nice to actually read what she was thinking most of the time. I think the writing of the dual point of view would have worked out fine if the authors didn't have the point of views switched after every every one hundred pages, and if it was apparent that we were actually in different POVs the views were too similar lacking characterization. It didn't have that dynamic feel to the beginning. The beginning tends to be a little depressing. The plot became to predictable for the ending. It really takes four books just to find out who Lena's parents really are? The series really just lagged on just to keep the books going. If you are someone who has been following the series from the start you may be happy with the book, and you may or may not be happy with the series ending.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Love hurts. There is nothing as painful as heartbreak. But in order to learn to love again, you must learn to trust again. 
When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.
But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo’s empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in 

the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.



I have never read any of Nicholas Sparks books, I only read one of his books Message in a Bottle, and I found that book to be unappealing. I recently picked up the book to read because I am very picky. I refuse to watch a movie based on a book without reading the book first. I found this book to be quite enjoyable. The book really falls under the romance-thriller suspense. There are parts filled with so much romance and suspense the reader can find their hearts racing between the chemistry of Katie and Alex. Sparks has really good writing, and for a male writer, his romance novel fulfilled my expectations. I am very excited to be seeing the film and to compare what was kept and removed from the film.




Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What — or who — will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?
For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself — forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask. Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.


The style begins to feel the same like the first two books where the reader has a really hard time getting into the story. It's also really hard to feel the love between Ethan and Lena in this installment in the series like we did in Beautiful Creatures itself. Ethan is just a wonderful Southern gentleman and he treats Lena with so much respect, makes my heart melt. It takes a really long time to get into this book. Another issue is the interaction between the characters it feels really forced. There is still trouble between the Castor world and the Mortal world. It's not until the end something really horrible and tragic happens.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.
Sometimes life-ending.
Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.



The first book in the series was really good. I was too conflicted to actually continue reading the series because I had a lot of issues with the first book but since the last book of the series came out. Beautiful Redemption came out I wasn't as happy with book one but I am eager to see what happens with the characters and I am determined to read this series. 

Ethan continues to narrate through the book and his narration is not horrible but it is hard to tell if Ethan is actually a boy, the narration is not too realistic for it to be a boy perspective, a book that had a boy's point of view down to the core was Wolves of Mercy Falls series. Lena, while she barely makes an appearance throughout the book, her behavior in this book angered me so much, I had to refrain from throwing the book out of the window, Lena was a bit too conceited in this book. There was an interesting storyline between Link/Ridley/John is pretty interesting and I hope it keeps developing throughout the series as I continue to read it until the end. 

Another cliche is the love triangles, or a love square for this particular books.The most common problem with this just like in Beautiful Creatures is the writing, the writing is not bad, but the story just lags on where the reader just wants to put the book down. About 175 pages in this book could have been cut out. 

Another thing that made me think that this book was just another carbon copy of Twilight was when Lena announces to Ethan that she and her family are leaving town after an incident that happened in the school parking lot. Sound familiar from another book? The Cullens leaving Forks due to the accident that happened on Bella's birthday?

WRITERS: Never write pages that lag on, a book should be so addicting that the reader should never want to put it down.  there could be dozens of pages cut out so the reader gets to the good juicy parts.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl





Beautiful Creatures

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever. Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.





Beautiful Creatures is the first book in a four book series known as The Castor Chronicles, and is co-written by the author Kami Garcia and Margaret StohlEthan Wate lives in the small, boring town of Gatlin, South Carolina. Ethan is dealing with a family death and just wants to escape his small town life. Then Lena Duhannes moves to Gatlin. Lena wants to be normal, everywhere she has lived she has felt like she does not belong. Lena struggles with her abilities and Ethan then finds himself interested in her despite all the talk from his classmates and from his nanny to stay away from Lena.  Ethan takes an interest in Lena. Ethan tries to pursue Lena but she s him it's best he stays away from her. Ethan is later told in the book by Lena that she is a witch, just like the rest of her family and when she turns sixteen it will determine whether Lena is a good witch or evil. Lena is terrified that she will turn dark and it will do nothing but destroy the boy she loves.

Beautiful Creatures reads like a replica of Twilight. The book is told from Ethan's point of view, since Beautiful Creatures is written by females, it does not feel like you're in the head of a teenage boy. the only difference in the novel being that the paranormal love interest is a witch/castor and not a vampire. Garcia's agent is also the same agent who represents Stephenie Meyer, and Beautiful Creatures is published by the same publisher of Twilight it should have clicked how similar that book was. so when you are reading the book, you start to feel like you are reading Twilight all over again. When I first saw the book, needless to say and to be perfectly honest, I thought this book was going to be horrible which is why I didn't want to read it when I saw it at the bookstore for the first time because it's co-written. In most cases in terms of co-authored books, one of the writers will write one book one writer will write a chapter and then the other author would then begin working on the next chapter, causing the book to  make absolutely no sense causing the readers to get confused.

Beautiful Creatures had a lot of issues. The book is extremely long. There is a rule when it comes to word count when writing a books. Most young adult books run within the word count of 45,000-65,000 words, now 45,000 words is considered a novella. The only way an author can go beyond this rule is if the book is paranormal, science-fiction, or urban fantasy in which the general word count could range anywhere from 65,000-90,000 words. A debut author should not break this rule when it comes to their first time for publication. J.K. Rowling broke this rule, but the world and the stories she crafted were phenomenal and readers wanted more. There were also parts in the first book that so bland and overly descriptive tends to make you want to put the book down. There were also certain parts that should have been cut out of the book but it's mostly on fault of the editors. When I was reading, I found myself skimming through pages, or falling asleep there were pages within the book that were bland. it's evident that chunks should have been cut out of the book. Since the book series was published from the publisher as Twilight, the editor should have caught this along with the fact that the whole beginning of the book is just the background of the story, shouldn't the background of the story be the synopsis? Even then the publisher could have pulled the first hundred pages of the book and made it into a prequel story to sell before releasing the actual series. Then the characters tend to feel unrealistic. I will also admit I was not very impressed with this book, but I want to find out more about what's going to happen to the characters. 


I loved the chemistry between Lena and Ethan. and I loved the books! And here is the trailer for the movie! I'm so excited to see it!




Friday, February 01, 2013

Editing

I am now back at school. Vacation was hectic but I was able to begin writing the sequel to my nanowrimo trilogy I plan to self publish. I wanted to self publish it while the genre is still high and there are readers out there. But as vacation time is over and now it's time to do the most exhausting thing with my project.




Editing. This has to be the most dreadful part about writing the novel, going back and editing the approximate 55,00 to 75,00 WORDS that you wrote back in November. It's just pages and pages of things that need work. My first draft was completed at approximately 65,000 words, and once I do some editing myself, then send the chapters to my critique partner, I end up with a higher word count that could range over 100,000 words. I'll have to see what editing takes me with this NaNoWriMo project. I was so tempted to go back and edit the what I had written. After day one of NaNoWriMo I had 15,000 words written. All of it was mispelled and all but I had to remember from king, don't look back at that draft. 

I know this particular project will be very hard to sell, but it's something different which is what all publishers want. My writing teacher thinks I did something new with this particular sub-genre. Hope all goes well. Happy editing everyone.