Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The 77, 7, and 7 Blog Challenge

Fellow writer, Angela Archer, tagged me for a blog challenge! The Challenge is this: Go to page 77 of your book, count down 7 lines and then list the 7 lines that follow. Then pass the challenge on to another writer buddy.

Here are my lines from one of the first conversations my main character Doll has with her love interest in DEAD DOLL (paranormal YA):


-->
Jayme spoke. “I actually do have my license.”
“What?”
He let out his breath, lips vibrating as he blew a raspberry. “I got it the day I turned sixteen. I died exactly two years after that. Do you know what your folks do with your personal stuff when you die?”
“You died on your birthday?”
 “Yeah, and my folks built this sort of shrine for me in my old bedroom. I broke in one night and took my license and some other things. Living or dead, you can’t function in this world without an ID.”


I know, I know. I actually listed 9 lines, but I didn't want to leave off in the middle of a sentence.  :)

Now, to pass this on, I’m sending the challenge to Tamara Grantham. She's writing one of the best books I've had the pleasure of reading in a looong time.

Share your 7 lines with me! I'd love to read them.

January 2013 Reading List

So I'm sick. Hooray! Got that awful bug that's going around. But the good news about being laid out for a few days is I've gotten caught up on some of my reading.

You probably saw that I've officially reviewed two YA books this month, and I also unofficially reviewed my reading experience of THE DARK HEROINE.




Those were the books I'm "supposed" to be reading this new year, but I've also gotten caught up on a few other books that I'm not reviewing. (Yes! I got to read purely for pleasure).

If you follow my Twitter, you probably saw all my posts about Chase Novak's new novel, BREED. A definite creep-fest and that best adult horror novel I've read in some time. Novak does a great job of balancing tension with the grotesque. I definitely give that one a great review.



I also finished THE NEWS FROM SPAIN. I picked up this collection of related short stories while perusing the shelves at Full Circle Books where I work. This book grabbed me right from the start, and I've been devouring it every chance I have some time to read something I want to read. THE NEWS FROM SPAIN had the same effect on me that OMENSETTER'S LUCK, SIDDHARTHA, and ETHAN FROME had. In other words, a life-changing work of fiction that I'll rave about until the day I die. Five stars from me, no question about it.



I also finished two YA novels that came out some time ago: Kristin Cashore's latest fantasy novel, BITTERBLUE, and T.M. Goeglein,'s debut novel, COLD FURY (You'll see an interview with him the first week in February. Yay!).



Cashore's novels continually diverge from one another. She shows an incredible fluidity in her writing style and story complexity. Complexity-wise, BITTERBLUE is a step up from both GRACELING and FIRE, but only FIRE hooked me and didn't let me go. I'd been reading BITTERBLUE for several months before I finally got around to finishing it.

Goeglein's novel, COLD FURY, was one of those fast reads that I zoomed through in record time. LOVED IT! Five stars. And I do believe I'll be reviewing FLICKER AND BURN, the second book about Sara Jane Rispoli on my blog, so stay tuned for updates about that.




So occasionally I get to break out of my YA book rut and read some other great stuff. I need to do more of that...There are so many books I want to read, but, alas, so little time.


Anywhoo, also on my reading plate are YA novels CREWEL and ROT AND RUIN (both of which I'm listening to the audiobooks), and I hope I'll finally get to finish J.K. Rowling's CASUAL VACANCY. I'll be reviewing the YA book DUALED in February.


Also in February, I'll be hosting my giveaway of INVISIBILITY (join my blog for a chance to win this fabulous book! We need thirty followers by the end of February to kick off this giveaway).



Keep pace with me on Goodreads to know exactly what I'm reading and when I finish what. Find me under the username EYWriterEditor.

As always I'm happy to review any books that readers throw at me, so tell me about your 2013 reading list and what you'd like to see reviewed.

Until next time!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Finished a New Adult Novel!

If you're an author or reader who writers/loves the Young Adult genre, I'm sure that by now you will have heard of the New Adult genre.

What is New Adult?

All the articles I've read basically sum it up as Young Adult with more sex, violence, and language. Harry Potter goes to college, basically.

If you follow me on Goodreads, you probably noted I recently started and finished reading my first ever New Adult novel. SLAMMED is by author Colleen Hoover.


Can I say I was a little disappointed? The back cover description talks about a student's affair with her teacher--but let me tell you, the affair never happens. And SPOILER ALERT, the main character and her love interest don't even have sex in this first volume (which is a series, apparently).

There was minimal language and violence. The only difference I noticed between this and a typical YA book was the fact that the main character doesn't start out at age 16 or 17. She's 18.

But is this small variance in age really enough to constitute a change in genre? I'm not thinking so. But before I put in my final vote on that topic, I plan on reading several more New Adult titles. Keep checking back for New Adult updates.

Have you read any New Adult novels? What do you think about this emerging genre? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review of SCARLET by Marissa Meyer

I just finished Marissa Meyer's second book in the LUNAR CHRONICLES. In this story, we not only catch up with Cinder, but we also meet Scarlet...a fiery, feisty redhead on a mission to save her grandmother.



"...and yes, there is a big, bad wolf."

Here's the synopsis:

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

And here's my review:

At first, I wasn't too keen on the book. Scarlet was incredibly abrasive at the beginning, and I found some of Meyer's word choices, especially verbs, strange--almost to the point, it seemed she was misusing them.

But I kept reading, and I'm so glad I did. Meyer's world is incredible. It's obvious she's spent a huge amount of time on her world-building, and as the book went along, the plot kept getting bigger and bigger and BIGGER. This isn't a silly teeny-bopper romance. This is a story about responsibility and war.

I also loved Cinder. Meyer does a great job of explaining what it would be like to be a cyborg. Again, the thought she'd put into this wowed me. I definitely think SCARLET should be on your 2013 YA must-read list. It comes out in February and is sure to be in-demand. Reserve your copy now.



Marissa, just one question...When's the next one coming out??

If you've read CINDER or SCARLET, what did you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

February Giveaway--Invisibility

I want to give a big shout-out to everyone who participated in my first giveaway, which was an Advanced Reader Copy of Marie Lu's second book in her LEGEND series, PRODIGY.

I mentioned in a vlog post that I was going to try to do monthly giveaways in 2013. I'm skipping January because as of the 17th, I'm off to Maui for the Aloha Writers Conference. (It's not too late to sign up and join me there!)

But at the end of February, I'm going to be doing another raffle--this time for INVISIBILITY. INVISIBILITY is co-written by David Levithan (Author of EVERY DAY [a seriously amazing read])



and Andrea Cremer (Author of the NIGHTSHADE series)



You can read the synopsis and see the cover below:

INVISIBILITY


Summary:
 
Stephen has been invisible for practically his whole life — because of a curse his grandfather, a powerful cursecaster, bestowed on Stephen’s mother before Stephen was born. So when Elizabeth moves to Stephen’s NYC apartment building from Minnesota, no one is more surprised than he is that she can see him. A budding romance ensues, and when Stephen confides in Elizabeth about his predicament, the two of them decide to dive headfirst into the secret world of cursecasters and spellseekers to figure out a way to break the curse. But things don’t go as planned, especially when Stephen’s grandfather arrives in town, taking his anger out on everyone he sees. In the end, Elizabeth and Stephen must decide how big of a sacrifice they’re willing to make for Stephen to become visible — because the answer could mean the difference between life and death. At least for Elizabeth.

I'm really excited to give this book to an avid reader, so if you want to be included in the raffle, you need to become a follower on my blog. You'll be immediately entered into the pool of names I'll draw from. AND you'll be included in the rest of the giveaways I do this year. That means even if you don't win INVISIBILITY, you could win one of many other great titles.

*NOTE: I need 30 followers on my blog by the END OF FEBRUARY 2013 to make the raffle happen! We're only two away, so encourage all the YA readers you know to join. Let's make this happen!*

Just as a side note--Isn't the Misty Mountains song in the Hobbit awesome?! I'm listening to it right now...

Until next time!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

DARK HEROINE by Abigail Gibbs--Unofficial Review

Welcome to 2013! I hope you've had a fabulous new year so far, that you're enjoying this holiday season, and you're beating the cold by reading a lot. I know I am.

I just finished THE DARK HEROINE (DINNER WITH A VAMPIRE) by Abigail Gibbs. I'm calling this an unofficial review of it because I'm reflecting more on her internet success more than on the book, itself.



Did I like HEROINE? Well...that's a complicated question to answer. I finished the book, which means there was something that kept tugging me back into it. Obviously I could have spent my time reading one of the many advanced reader copies of books I'm going to review this year, but I finished HEROINE instead.

The story--at times--appalled me. I still can't grasp the romance between the main character and Kasper (the friendly ghost??). I'm not sure I think the plot was totally cohesive. I finished it wondering how all the pieces fit together. The ending wasn't satisfying. Probably because I didn't feel like the story really started until page 250 or so.

But I can't deny something happened in every chapter. Something exciting. Gibbs continually ramped up the plot and stakes. The main character, though obviously dreamed up by a 15-year-old girl, intrigued me.

But would I say I liked the book? "Like" is probably too strong of a word. But let's say I definitely appreciated it, and yes, I WILL be reading (and blogging about) the second one.

So it's $2.99 on the iTunes bookstore. Definitely worth it if you ask me. And if you have some spare time.

Now for the back story on Gibbs. 15-year-old Abigail started posting DINNER WITH A VAMPIRE (DID I MENTION I'M A VEGETARIAN?) on an site called Wattpad.


Since she first posted that story, it received over 17 million views. People from all over the world commented on Gibbs' story, and she commented back. Gibbs is incredibly endearing. Her personality and willingness to interact with fans (and deal tastefully with flamers) no doubt helped expand her reach.

Gibbs signed with HarperCollins (a high 6 figure deal), and soon after, she released the first in what's called an epic vampiric saga. Go Abigail!

Lesson for aspiring writers? DON'T GIVE UP! REACH OUT! People want to read your work. People want to know who you are--no matter if you're 13 or 93. And, yes, publishers are still offering first-time authors fabulous contracts, even in this economy.

I know Gibbs' perseverance and dedication inspires me, and for all those out there criticizing her story and writing...Keep in mind she WAS writing (and every day, too) at 15. Just think of how great she'll be when she's 30.

And speaking of writing, I should get back to it.

Happy new year!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Review of PAPER VALENTINE by Brenna Yovanoff

For those of you who didn't know, author Brenna Yovanoff (acclaimed for her novel THE REPACEMENT) has a new novel debuting at the end of January 2013. Her new novel is titled PAPER VALENTINE. Look for it wherever books are sold.



To be perfectly honest, I couldn't finish THE REPLACEMENT. I picked up a copy at the library, loved the cover, and gave it a shot. But I never got into the story--I couldn't because I was distracted by the lack of polish in the prose.

PAPER VALENTINE, on the other hand, it beautifully written. Yovanoff uses many literary techniques to convey how her protagonist thinks. Here is a synopsis of the story:

The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record.  The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.

For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one.  Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders?  Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets.  She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.

Paper Valentine is a hauntingly poetic tale of love and death.

That's what the summary from Penguin says. I didn't feel quite the same way. When I first started the story, it reminded me of THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, which is, as you know if you've read it, almost tongue-in-cheek with its melancholy mood. But the more I read, the more I got the feeling that the main character is just really depressed.

I got sick of her whining and moodiness pretty quickly.

But my biggest problem with the book is one that simply can't be ignored. I didn't buy the killer. Not for a minute.

*SPOILER ALERT*

For the entire book, Yovanoff builds up to a police officer (who I will not name) being the killer. But he's not! Even after she ends a chapter near the climax where the officer fixes her with a sociopathic (paraphrasing here) stare, a huge clue to him being the killer, she veers off in a completely different direction. 

And not a good one. 

Good mysteries drop subtle clues along the way as to "who done it." When you read the end, you look back and say, "Of course it was the butler! How come I didn't see that? It was staring me right in the face!"

I guarantee you won't come away from PAPER VALENTINE with that feeling. You'll be blindsided by who the killer really is, scan back through the pages and find nothing, absolutely nothing, incriminating these two boys. 

That ruined the book for me. On Goodreads, I gave the book two stars. One for the prose and one for...being generous, I guess. With so many amazing titles releasing in January, my vote is to not waste your time with this one.