Friday, December 9, 2011

First book club meeting

School book club. My first time going to a book club -- ever. I had expectations of meeting people as awkward an book obsessed as I. The book we planned to discuss was Everlost. I envisioned sitting at a circular table, rolling around in a professional-looking rolley-chair, and having a spirited debate on Mary's creepiness factor.

But no.


Our chairs were stationary and our tables square.







We started the meeting by eating gummy snacks. Not just any gummy snacks, but organic fruit gummy snacks with no artificial colors. I highly recommend them. They tasted kinda like fruit juice but harder to swallow.


The first topic of discussion was pondering of what would happen if quicksand became a deadspot. Then we, meaning the three out of six people there who actually read Everlost, came up with a scenario about someone who would love quicksand enough for it to come back as a deadspot.

Five minutes pass.

Next topic of discussion: the goodness doughnut sandwiches. Result: decent enough if no mayonnaise is added.

Twenty minutes pass.


Random person while looking at watch:

"Well, I have to leave now. Bye"

Other person:

"Yeah, me too."

Me:

"Yeah..."




Success!

 Err... somewhat. The food was good. The people who came-- although shining examples of typical introverted bookworms-- managed to keep up conversations that were easy and fun to jump into. I only felt confused as to the lack of book topics. I don't know how the others felt about that; I know I wanted to keep the book conversations going, but being the one to initiate and keep the book-talk going could turn embarrassing fast if the other self-proclaimed bookwormies aren't as bookwormie as to want to really talk about every aspect of a book. Anyways, whatever we talked about, I liked. Are all book clubs like that? Minimal book-speak?  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


Summary- Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thankful for... Mammoth

 
 
 
 
At first the contest had me confused. Thankful? There wasn't a particular book that immediately came to mind. Nothing had an impact earth-shattering enough for me to remember instantly. And, just sayin', I'm not a fan of anything Narnia although Turkish Delights sound heavenly. The Narnia book series has always sounded like it would be better read aloud to a gaggle of poor stuffed geese by an aloof, elderly English man. Not that I discriminate against aloof, elderly English men who pass lonely, lonely days reading aloud to a gaggle of stuffed geese. Much. The movie was surprisingly good, but I ending up falling asleep during the hour-long fight scene.

      I had to dig through my bookshelf to find a book I had almost but not quite forgotten about. Mammoth by John Varley was my Narnia. It was a just-because present from my college broke sister. I was ten, and I knew Mammoth was probably going to be a  face-palmer. The tip-offs?


  1. The only books my sister ever reads are Serious Books. One bored weekend in her apartment, I found myself learning all about the joys of feminism in a concise work of literature topping a thousand pages. My sister had read over and highlighted the most important bits. Fun stuff.
  2. The book in question was purchased new for a dollar.
  3. I was ten. Mammoth was meant to be read by adults.

     Oh, yeah. Ten-year-old me had major skills of deductive reasoning. But my skills had failed me. Mammoth was good. While I was right about some scenes being too old for me (what did Matt and Susan mean when they said making love? Why did they lay down together? So. Many. Questions.), the parts that made sense opened my mind up to the possibilities of the good in bigger, more complex books. Mammoth helped me to branch out and find worth while middle-grade books leading me to become my obviously awesome bibliophile self. : D 

  

   

Monday, October 17, 2011

Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst

 
That's some crazy drink right there...



When Pearl, a bloodthirsty, teenage vampire, unexpectedly gets stabbed by a rainbow-tooting wereunicorn, she develops the ability to be out in the sunlight. It's a helpful ability when trying to lure in humans to be oh, I don't know, feasted on in an age-old king's coming of age ceremony. Lucky for Pearl's vampire family, the honored host of this event, Pearl has gained her Daywalker status in time to be of some use. There is one problem the Family did not anticipate getting in the way. The problem being Pearl starting to think maybe, just maybe she would much rather be with her forbidden human crush than become a mass murderess. Gaining a conscience can be a bitch.
  I didn't know whether to place Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst on the top of my reading list or the bottom. So, to work through this little dilemma of mine, I made a pros and cons list:

CONS 
  • Vampire. The only vampire for me is a academy vampire. None others can possibly compare. If I find a vampire that can even halfway measure up to Rose's tendency to be kick-butt amazing, I'll eat one of these.
  • As awesome as I think the cover is, the general population of my school would think it's creepy-looking and inevitably ask me what Drink, Slay, Love is about. It's an example if a deplorable situation for all ya'll PSAT takers. I will use the phrase "stabbed by a wereunicorn" in my summary, and either the person will think "wereunicorn" is as awesome a word as I do, or said person will blink very slowly then leave me. Alone. Forever. Not fun.
PROS
  • Drink, Slay, Love is by SARAH BETH DURST. SARAH BETH DURST. I am love with Enchanted Ivy's blend of supernatural and sarcasm.
  •  Wereunicorn. Even as a young child, I had always known that my goal in life was to be one-third unicorn, one-third human, and one-third owl. A wereunicorn is, like, two-thirds closer to my goal.
         The choice finally got made for me when I got sent a review copy. (Thanks, Sarah Beth Durst!)

The characters of Drink, Slay, Love all have the personality and spunk I love, even the villains.  Matt, wannabe vampire hunter, video-game lover, my favorite, has a quirky make-ya-wanna-smile response for everything and so do the others. It was impossible to discreetly read Drink, Slay, Love-- I had a perpetual smile going on the entire book.

          And Pearl... (I do not wish to eat a bug...) passes the Rose test. Although she keeps her sarcastic attitude the whole way through, it made me happy and somewhat giggly to spot the subtle changes in Pearl's thoughts and actions that signified her new found conscience.

    I give Drink, Slay, Love five stars. THIS is a book I can read over again.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon


All Megan wants when she moves to Ireland is to fit in. But this seems unlikely when she catches the attention of the famously anti-social, famously hot Adam DeRis. Megan knows she has a connection with Adam from first glance. But what Megan doesn’t know is that Adam is one of the four rare Carriers of the Mark—and so is she. Able to control one of the four elements, she and the other three Carriers are in constant danger from those who wish to control them. The fear of being captured and exploited might be bearable if Megan had Adam to comfort her, but an ancient prophecy foretells great destruction if two Carriers ever get together.

The relationship between Adam and Megan is, in my opinion, unbelievable and slightly clich├ęd. Adam has perfected his Edward Cullen stalker gaze, and he shares Edward’s propensity for confessions of deep and undying love in the early stages of casual dating. Although, technically, Adam and Megan are secretly spying stalking keeping tabs on one another for a while before that first date, so I guess he knows her well enough.

Although the madly-in-love-at-first-sight type of romance is overdone and flinch-worthy, the ultimate let down is the star-crossed lover aspect. Here’s the thing: If Adam and Megan have a baby, then the world will implode. Great twist, right? Who cares that they’re still in high school? Who cares that they’ve only been dating for a few months? Their relationship will undoubtedly lead to babies. Multiple babies. Yep, this is the type of paranormal YA novel where talking about baby making and the earth’s ultimate demise as one in the same is a major plot point.
The Carrier if the Mark reminds me in plot and characters of Hourglass, Hush, Hush, and The Seven Rays. If you like those books, I would recommend trying The Carrier of the Mark. But if you’re not a die-hard paranormal romance fan, there’s nothing spectacular about the formulaic romance to make The Carrier of the Mark stand out in the vast genre of YA paranormal fiction.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey

Summary:

Braden was born with witch eyes: the ability to see the world as it truly is: a blinding explosion of memories, darkness, and magic. The power enables Braden to see through spells and lies, but at the cost of horrible pain.

After a terrifying vision reveals imminent danger for the uncle who raised and instructed him, Braden retreats to Belle Dam, an old city divided by two feuding witch dynasties. As rival family heads Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe desperately try to use Braden's powers to unlock Belle Dam's secrets, Braden vows never to become their sacrificial pawn. But everything changes when Braden learns that Jason is his father--and Trey, the enigmatic guy he's falling for, is Catherine's son.
To stop an insidious dark magic from consuming the town, Braden must master his gift—and risk losing the one he loves.


Review:

The summary alone forced me to move Witch Eyes to the top of my reading list. Bradon's power (or curse) to see past memories and the seemingly invisible spells cast on him is something I have always wanted to see in YA but rarely have. In my mind, it isn't the type of power that makes a person extraordinarily strong, but it does make a person valuable. Valuable people equal action. Action, if done right, equals a good book. All this depended in the Witch Eyes.

     Sadly, even to the end of the book, I could not fully define a witch, the powers that come with the Witch Eyes, or what is in the supernatural universe of Witch Eyes. At the supernatural bits I would try to reread the explanations on how the supernatural works, but the explanations muddled and explained little or nothing about what I needed to know. I gave up on trying to understand the confusing world of the witches in about halfway through the book, that is when it started getting really confusing.

      Bradon's thoughts could sometimes be funny but also erratic. A thought on hot Abercrombie dude becomes pages on explaining Brandon's gayness. The falling-in-love-with-the-enemy's-son thingy looks hard to mess up on, but the romantic side of the plot got old fast. The OMG, a guy this hot has to be straight phase to the OMG, a gay guy this hot can't be my family's century old rival's son did not do much to make me like or connect with Trey. And because the supernatural was a huge part of the romance I barely understood half of who Trey is. It was confusing about how much of the supernatural world he was actually a part of and why.
    
      It wasn't for me, but the the sarcastic voice of Bandon made me have to read the book through. Although I wont probably pick up the sequel, I could see why die-hard fans of paranormal romance would.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Vanish by Sophie Jordan

In Vanish, the second book in the Firelight trilogy, Jacinda returns home to the enclave. But home isn’t home anymore. Kept in a constant lockdown, Jacinda is forced to completely reevaluate the relationships with the people she loves. Seeing Will has become just a fantasy, never to happen, and Cassian isn’t as coldhearted as he used to seem… but when Jacinda is given the impossible chance to meet with Will again, how can she refuse?




Lately all the second books in the trilogies I read have been disappointing. Since Firelight is one of my favorite paranormal romance books ever, I hoped that Vanish could beat the Second Book Slump. Maybe. At first I could almost believe that Vanish had the Slump beaten. In the first chapter, everything is what I expected: fast-paced with crazy awesome twists.



But then Vanish slows down. Nothing, well, Firelight worthy happens. Mostly, Jacinda spends her time mending old relationships and starting new ones—like with Cassian (eww!). The thing about Vanish is that singular events are taken out of proportion and made overly dramatic. Too many chapters are wasted on Jacinda’s thoughts about what she needs to do and grievances over the slights of her community. I wanted something to wow me, but nothing especially pops out.



I’m Team Will. I LOVE the whole hunter-falling-in-love-with-the-hunted thingy. There is so much potential in those kinds of relationships. But Cassian? Who needs him? Though some parts of Vanish really did make me want to go to the dark side (after all, they have cookies), Jacinda and Cassian simply don’t have enough chemistry to convince me that they could be happy together.



So, Vanish doesn’t quite compare to Firelight’s impossibly awesome standards. But I haven’t abandoned the series; based on how Vanish ends, the final book in the Firelight trilogy looks like it’s going to be the best of them all.



You can also view this review on Figment

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fury by Elizabeth Miles

Emily Winters is crushing hard on the deep, soulful Zach McCord, and she is positive that he has feelings for her, too. Em feels awful about the fact that Gabby, her best friend, is already dating Zach, but she knows that he deserves better. Em is better.

Chase Singer wants nothing more than to forget his past. When he meets the gorgeous and mysterious Ty, he leaps at a chance to forget it all. He never expects to fall in love. But instead of helping him forget, Ty makes him remember his horrible past even more. Chase is sorry about what happened, and Em wishes Gabby could forgive her.

But sometimes sorry and begging for forgiveness isn’t good enough. The Furies live to make them pay.


I was sucked into Fury from the first page. I loved the detail-oriented writing. You know the “oh-just-one-more-page” books? Well, Fury is an “oh-just-one-more-sentence” book. I tried to stop, but every sentence begged me to keep on reading. The writing allowed me to feel closer to the characters then I do in most third-person narratives.

Em-the-boyfriend-stealer and Chase-the-player are two characters that don’t seem to be likable, but I ended up loving them both. They (obviously) have their flaws, and at times I loved to hate them (Hello, Em? Does the phrase, “Once a cheater, always a cheater,” ring any bells? Of course not, you… you ninny). Other times I wanted to forgive them because I could see that, despite everything, they didn’t deserve what was happening to them. No one does.


The only reason why I can’t give Fury the full five stars is because of the paranormal aspect. Fury is kinda, sorta supposed to be paranormal, I guess, but for the beginning and middle of the book I would’ve classified it as a mysterious drama with slight paranormal undertones. In the last quarter, I felt that Fury plays a rushed game of catch-up on the paranormalacy part of the novel. It partway succeeds.

Fans of Pretty Little Liars will love Fury’s thickly suspenseful drama. I will definitely be looking out for the next book in the trilogy, Envy. Four and a half figmentstars.

You can also see this review on Figment.

P.S.
  Sorry for being absent on this whole month. A reasonable excuse would be that I just started high school, and my thoughts are now constantly swinging between, "this isn't so hard compared to middle school, why did everyone make a big deal out of this?" And, also, "why in the world did I take an AP and a seminar as a FRESHMAN? If I was really smart enough to pass those classes, I wouldn't have taken them." That is my impressive fake excuse.

   My real reason: I got addicted to Lost. Any other Lost fans here? On that last episode I bawled... So really, I have no excuse.

But no worries!

I'm baaack!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris



Super-smart Kate Grable has an okay life playing doctor to her high school’s football team. I mean, managing football players looks good on college apps, right? No way is she “doctoring” the losing football team just so she can breathe the same air as her unattainable quarterback crush, Aaron. No way. Kate is too smart for that.



But Kate’s insider status means she’s the first to find out that the football coach has been giving the players a creepy steroid that turns them into mindless, flesh-eating, football-playing zombies. Kate knows she needs to find a cure, preferably before the zombies kill everyone.

Ehem…I have a confession to make. I discriminate against short books. There, I said it. To put it in simple terms: I like big books and I cannot lie. At first I was wary of the length (or lack thereof) of Bad Taste in Boys. But it was about zombies. Football playing zombies. Alas, I was too weak to resist. Not all short books have “short book issues,” but Bad Taste in Boys, sadly, has some. I think that the novel could have been better if it had more room to develop. The beginning and the ending both needed some fleshing (sorry, couldn’t resist) out.


Although it took some time getting into the story, I managed to fall in love with Kate’s character. She knew when to break out her lab kit and when to use her plastic sword to show the zombies who’s boss. The sarcastic voice of the novel had me smiling all the way through while the creepy gore kept me “ewwing.” There was a dismembered foot in the underwear drawer. Nuff spoken.


But can you guess my absolute favorite part of Bad Taste in Boys? My absolute favorite? NO STEREOTYPICAL CHEERLEADERS! There was actually a nice cheerleader. I get really annoyed when a book has a stereotypical slutty, popular cheerleading team in it. Because guys, cheerleaders are people too. With personalities and stuff. Sorry, I can get really worked up over that.

So, if you are looking for a funny, light zombie read with plenty of creepiness involved, Bad Taste in Boys is your book. Four Figmentstars.

This review is also posted on Figment, the awesome teen-centered writing site.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Forgotten by Cat Patrick


Stars: 3.5

Summary:

Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her whole world disappears. In the morning, all that's left is a note telling her about a day she can't remember. The whole scenario doesn't exactly make high school or dating that hot guy whose name she can't seem to recall any easier. But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can't make sense of, she realizes it's time to learn a little more about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.
Part psychological drama, part romance, and part mystery, this thought-provoking novel will inspire readers to consider the what-if's in their own lives and recognize the power they have to control their destinies


Review:

At first, Forgotten was purely "meh." London was too apathetic to my liking. She could see the future, but she just seemed resigned to it. Strike one for annoying main character. And Forgotten had stereotypical cheerleaders whose only job is to stare menacingly/ vapidly at London to make her very uncomfortable. They didn't even do anything cool. So, strike two for useless stereotypical cheerleaders.

  What kept me reading was Luke. It wasn't like Luke was that special or memorable of a character. It was the fact that London got up every day and discovered Luke all over again. Every day was a new beginning and that is what made the romance of Forgotten so memorable. I even got to know and like London better. How London and Luke were together made up most of the middle part of Forgotten and I was totally okay with that.

   But then the ending came. And it just ended. The ending left me wanting more information. There (sadly) isn't going to be a sequel so I don't know what exactly to think about end.

Despite Forgotten's faults, I think this book will appeal to people looking for a unique romance/ paranormaly/ mystery.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

In My Mailbox (3)

IMM is hosted by The Story Siren.

I've had  a VERY,  VERY good week:

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris (I'm reviewing this one for Figment)

Hourglass by by Myra McEntire

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma (I've already reviewed this one, you can read my five star review here)

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stievater

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber

The Earth, my Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Caroyn Mackler

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar



Yay! Leave the link to your IMM so I can check it out.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma




     Summary-        
  Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.
But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.
 
With palpable drama and delicious craft, Nova Ren Suma bursts onto the YA scene with the story that everyone will be talking about.


Review-

I feel that there have been so many other reviews of Imaginary Girls that express my own opinions of the novel. Haunting writing, unforgettable characters, dream-like.
A wondrously strange book.

The writing set this book apart from the rest. It isn’t like all other books. With every paragraph, with every elongated sentence, a picture was planted inside my head. Suma’s writing style added in an eerie dream-like quality to Imaginary Girls. I didn’t quite know what was real, or what was happening. I would love to quote the whole book on here, but, you know, I can’t.

I wasn’t sure whether to like Ruby or not. Her relationship with Chloe was beautiful. It was so carefree and weightless. I remember having kind of the same relationship with my sister. (But with less cussing and more fighting. Ten year age difference is a lot to come across.) But then Chloe would go out into the town and see Ruby’s influence. Chloe would see Ruby’s evil, egotistical side. Whatever else Ruby might be, she is a character to remember. Five stars.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Stars: 5/5 

Summary from Goodreads:

From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.


Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.
 
 
Review:
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray was good. It was more then good. It was Great. I’ve read A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine by Libba Bray, but although I loved Cameron’s unique voice in Going Bovine, the books didn’t click with me. Beauty Queens clicked. It had all the amazing voice and charm of Going Bovine, but without the confusing plot.


I was hesitant to read the book at first because of how many characters there were. In the first chapter I was overwhelmed by all the people I had to memorize. Thirteen girls to memorize? *Brain explosion.* But by the end of the book I knew all the characters and their personalities. It was ridiculously cool. Bray was great at making sure every character was unique and relatable. I liked how Beauty Queens chose a new character to focus on every few chapters. It was so much easier to get to know them. I think my favorite character would have to be Sosie. She does back handsprings, I want to do back handsprings= instant favorite character. Of course I like her for more then that, but you can read about her yourself!

I can’t not (ohh… double negative…crap) talk about Beauty Queens with out mentioning the funky commercials. Bodacious Pirates IX: now more Badder and Bodaciouser? Maxi Pets? Mygosh. Craziness. Read Beauty Queens just for that. Except don’t. Read it just for that, I mean, because the entire book is Great.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

IMM vlog (2)

Yo. Dis is my second vlog. Don't be a hater.


IMM is hosted by The Story Siren.

Bought

Possession by Elana Johnson

Library
Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Virals by Kathy Reichs

Devilish by Maureen Johnson

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen


*Blushes* *Fiddles thumbs* So I was on Figment a few days ago (and the day before... and the day before), when I found out there was a writing contest.

I tried to write a good fable. But then I got into one of those funks where I say that the world sucks and I'm a horrible writer. Yeah... happens every few weeks. No prob.

But today I climbed out of that hole. No way was I a crappy writer! I'm downright spiffy! I'm the spiff-master! One problem: The contest is ending tomorrow. So after I hyperventilated, I posted the fable I did on Figment. I did a basic run-through of grammar and general okay-ness, but I want it to be better. (I'm invested in it now : P)

Would any closet bloggy figmenters mind looking at it? I dubbed it The Man Who Dared Smile, which right off the bat says it's for Kool-Kidz. So, read only if you're Kool enough for it. (If you don't have a Figment account you can still comment under this post with suggestions you might have.)

Thanks =)
Also:
Leave your IMM link in a comment and I'll be sure to come and check it out!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dead Rules by Randy Russell








Release date: June 21 2011





In Dead Rules, Jana Webster (of Webster and Haynes) innocently dies in a bowling accident. Which Jana actually would have handled pretty well if her boyfriend, Michael Haynes (also of Webster and Haynes), would’ve died with her. Instead, he is still among the living, leaving Jana to navigate though her new home at the Dead School. Yup, school for the dead.


Everyone in Dead School can be separated into two groups, the Risers and the Sliders. A Riser is what Jana is, on the fast track to the greater good. Sliders are the deadlies who did awful stuff in life. Sliders have stolen and killed before.

Jana is warned to stay away from the Sliders. Nothing good can come out of them…or so the rule-following Risers say. Than Jana meets Mars Dreamcote, the hot, sweet, sensitive Slider with whom she is not going to fall in love. Really. No love. Her true love is Michael.

And Jana will make him join her.

I love how all the characters twist and turn throughout the novel. I thought I understood them, but they all had their own inside motivations and secrets. For instance, Jana’s bud Wyatt started out as a freaky, mutilated Slider. Further into the book he was revealed to be loyal, sarcastic, a kick-ass friend… and my favorite character.

In the beginning of Dead Rules, Jana sounds like a crazy, lovesick ghost. Before death, Michael was her sweetheart Romeo and only friend. Jana loves him, and she is sure he shares her feelings. (It’s obvious Jana never read Dateable: Are You? Are They? : P) Sheesh, I felt super sorry for her. In life her best friend (except for Michael) was a literal Ken doll. Ironically, it is on her quest to bring Michael back to her that Jana starts coming out of her shell. I liked her determined attitude. Jana knows what she wants accomplished and gets it done.

Farts, fudge, and popcorn! Dead Rules deserves four figgystars.


You can also view this review on Figment.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

summer reading list

Summer.
I. Can. Read. A. Lot.
And. I. Will.
Trust. Me. I. Will.
Here are some of the books I'm planning to read that comes out this summer:



Twisted by Sara Shepard
Wildfire by Karsten Knight



Starstruck by Cyn Balog
The Babysitter Murders by Janet Ruth Young



Fury by Elizabeth Miles
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab




Sweetly by Jackson Pearce



Anything I should add?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Giveaway winner

The winner is...


 posspublish



Congrats!

Non-winners:

The Forts novels are available for 2.99 in the Nook and Kindle!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Forts: Liars and Thieves by Steven Novak



Stars: 5/5
Summary:

Having survived their initial excursion into the land of Fillagrou, Tommy Jarvis and the children of the prophecy find themselves drawn into the war once more in a desperate attempt to rescue their old friends. This time however the stakes have been raised - this time there will be no coming back.


Review:


      Forts: Liars and Thieves is up there with Forts: Fathers and sons on the likability factor. But better. Read my five star review of the first book here. Enter the giveaway for the signed copy of Forts: Fathers and Sons here.


      In Forts: Liars and Thieves I could see a definite increase in the writing skills in the novel. I love when I can see an author improve writing prowess from book to book. Since Forts: Fathers and Sons was AH-mazing, I guess I'm saying Liars and Thieves is more then AH-mazing.


    I was eager to see how all the relationships that were left off in book one would progress. Especially the one between the Jarvis brothers and their dad. I was glad when the daddy-son issue got put more in the front of the book. I liked the way Tommy and Staci's crushes on each other got more fleshed out on the second book. Tommy and Staci are both young and I although I was afraid of them acting to old with the crush; they never took it too far. Plus, the chrush (thankfully) never interfered with the action.




   The third book in the Forts trilogy better come out soon. Or I am going to kick a baby. Not kidding.

   

 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Guest post by Steven Novak on being a jerk. Err.... character developement.

BE A JERK AND YOUR CHARACTERS WILL THANK YOU FOR IT
Bethany asked me to write a little something about character development, so here I am attempting to write a little something about character development. There’s one major problem. I honestly don’t know anything about character development.

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating just a little bit for the sake of comedy.

The truth is that I don’t know anything that I’m supposed to know about character development. Plus, I’ve always found it a bit weird for me when someone asks me to write about the “craft” of anything.



The only real “craft” I have any right lecturing on is Kraft Macaroni and Cheese – which happens to be the only food in existence with a taste wholly dependant on your mood. If you’re depressed it’s awesome. If you’re happy, it’ll make you depressed.

That should be their slogan.


The only real bit of advice I can offer up when it comes to your characters is this: Be a jerk.

As a writer you’re in control of every aspect of your character’s lives and it’s pretty safe to assume that you feel a certain love for them. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s great actually. You should love them. If you don’t love them, the fact that you’re going to spend endless hours and upwards of a 100,000 words writing about them would just be silly.

A problem arises when you love them so much that you start treating them the way you want them to be treated, rather than the way they need to be treated.


If it makes sense for them to get hurt, be prepared to hurt them. If they have to die to get across your point, I suggest you find yourself a sturdy tree and pull out the hangman’s noose.

Remember that great story where everything always worked out for everyone and everything was fantastic all of the time?

No? That’s because it doesn’t exist.

You can’t be a good friend to your characters. You have to be a terrible friend. It’s a necessity of the relationship. At some point you’re going to make them hurt. You’re going to drag them through the mud and make them cry. You’re going to take them to the lowest of lows and just when they think you’re done hurting them, you’ll slap on some more.
It’s for their own good. It has to be done and you’re the heartless jerk that has to do it.

In my opinion the love you feel for the characters you create has be a tough love. Anything else is a detriment to your story. It does them an injustice, it does you an injustice, and it does the term injustice, injustice.

Wait…That last part didn’t make any sense. Ignore the fact that I typed it.
Love your characters and love your story enough to be the jerk they need you to be.

Wow, that almost sounded like I knew what I was talking about – a little bit anyway. And I wasn’t even ruminating on the pros and cons of Velveeta Shells and Cheese as opposed to Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

Don’t even get me started on that battle of the unhealthy titans.

We’d be here for hours.
**************************************************************************************
I'm sorry I didn't get my review of Forts: Thieves and Liars up yesterday. I will put it up on Saturday instead. sorry guyz :D

I'm hosting an amazing giveaway for a signed, with illustration copy of Forts: Fathers and Sons! Check it out because it's ending soon.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Interview with Steven Novak


What was your favorite scene to write in Forts: Fathers and Sons?
That’s actually a pretty tough question. There are moments that I like a lot because they’re so personal and I’m really close to them. There are also moments I really enjoy because something really cool happens and writing stuff that’s “cool” is, well – pretty cool.

It would be tough to nail down a single one, and it would be even tougher to do it without giving away any spoilers.

Stop trying to trick me into spoilers, Bethany.


What is your favorite book of all times, why?

It might sound a bit silly, but my absolute favorite book of all time is still, Harold and the Purple Crayon. Before I was even confident about the spelling of the word crayon, that book stuck with me. I have a copy here at the house and if I were to crack it open tomorrow I think it would affect me the exact same way it did so many years ago.

It’s an incredibly simple idea pulled off remarkably well, and that’s the sort of thing that lasts a lifetime.


If you weren’t an author/ illustrator, what would be a cool job to you?

Unfortunately I’m terribly unqualified to do anything else at all. Seriously, beyond the arts I really have no skills of which to speak.


I’m not all that personable. I’m terrible with money. I’m a bit of a lumbering oaf physically, and I’m not entirely sure I even know how to change a tire.



It’s sad, really. That being said, in a world where anything is possible and tire changing is as simple as digging into a pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving morning, I think it might be kind of cool to be an astronaut - or something - maybe. Of all the things a human being can do, blasting into space and floating around is beyond a doubt one of the most interesting.



When I was growing up all I wanted to do was write and direct movies.That would have been fun too.



I really like the characters within Forts: Fathers and Sons, how did you come up with all of them?



Thanks! I appreciate that. My main goal was to make sure the characters in book were more than your initial impressions of them. I wanted them to grow and change, and learn from the situations they found themselves in. I also wanted to make sure that the good guys weren’t always good and the bad guys weren’t always bad. I think it’s just more real. A lot of them are pulled from people I know today, or I knew growing up. I actually have a brother that’s two years younger than me, and his name is, Nick. I know it’s not exactly “new” advice, but I personally think that writers need to write what they know. The stories I’ve always been drawn to are the ones where you can really hear the author in the words. There are things in this book (and series) that I experienced first and hopefully that comes across.



What does every young writer need to know?

Write for yourself.


It really is as simple as that.
Write for yourself, write to have fun, and if you love doing it don’t let anything stop you.

If you’re writing simply because you think you’re going to become the next J.K. Rowling, and someone is going open up a theme park based on your characters, you’re in for an awfully rude awakening.


You’re more likely to make a decent living as a plumber.At the end of the day, when all is said and done, it’s important that you’re able to look at what you’ve created and be proud of it. If you can do that, none of the other nonsense really matters and if you can’t a theme park will never make up for it.


Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit. A theme park would be pretty sweet.

*********************************************************************************

Thanks for doing this interview, Steven Novak!


Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a signed copy of Forts: Fathers and Sons.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Win a SIGNED, with a CHAPTER ILLUSTRATION copy of Forts: Fathers and Sons

Click here to read my review.


•deadline: June 12, 2011


•entrants must be 13 years of age or older


•contest open to residents of the US only


•ONE ENTRY PER PERSON






Go here to enter the giveaway.






If the giveaway link doesn't work, copy and paste this into your browser: https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHNwaDNfaVAybExMUkVlbmw5OXhzekE6MQ 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Forts: Fathers and Sons Review. Plus Author Week with Steven Novak!


Forts: Fathers and Sons takes place in Fillagrou, a once peaceful land now in the power of a war-loving dictator. Tommy Jarvis is human. He knows nothing about Fillagrou and its problems. Tommy has enough problems of his own, a dead mother, an abusive dad; he doesn’t need any more problems.

When Tommy and four other kids stumble across an entrance to Fillagrou, they discover they are a part of a prophecy. A prophecy to save everyone. But how can five children have that kind of power?

I’m surprised with this book. Really surprised. I expected to like it, but what I didn’t expect was staying up till twelve PM to franticly finish the book. I thought “just one more chapter” about 66 times.

All characters of Forts were extremely likeable. Even the villains... okay, maybe not. But they were still interesting to read about! The chapters often alternated between different characters. Instead of being annoyingly confusing like I thought it would be, the alternative chapters gave me greater insight on each of the characters. Like Tommy’s abusive dad. It helped me to understand each of the characters stories. I wanted every one of the characters to accomplish their goals. (It caused quite a problem between heroes/villains :P)

I would recommend this (although it would work for just about any reader) to reluctant younger YA reader. I don’t know why, but (maybe because of its sheer awesomeness, but that’s just a guess) about four people asked to borrow the book after me. I really liked the imaginative plot and characters. Forts reminded me of the Narnia series except I actually enjoyed Forts. A lot. Five stars.

Thanks to Steven Novak for providing me with a review copy! It in no way influenced my opinion of the novel.


****************************************************************************************

Steven Novak, author of Forts, has awesomely agreed to do an author week on Owl Review a Book. Here is how this week will go:


Saturday- Forts: Fathers and Sons review.

Sunday- Giveaway of a SIGNED, with a CHAPTER ILLUSTRATION copy of Forts: Fathers and Sons.

Tuesday- Interview with Steven Novak.

Wednesday- Review of Forts: Liars and Thieves (the second installment).

Friday- Guest post by Steven Novak on making characters interesting to read about.

Sunday- Announce giveaway winner. (If not enough people enter, I will extend the deadline by a week.)


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs



Summary:

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.


A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.


Review:

The first this I have to do about Miss. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is gush over the amazing photography. *gush gush* ... *gush* The people who took those photos are AMAZING! All of the photos added to the creepy, vintage feel of the book. I could amuse myself for hours by flipping through the photos.


At fist I felt disappointed by the book. I expected Miss. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children to be super-creepy. Instead it was mostly fantasy. I think it’s important to know that Miss. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children isn’t a horror/thriller novel before starting. Once I got past that, I was sucked into the story.

I liked discovering all the kid’s powers. One girl had a “back mouth”... nuff said. It was good to see how they changed from innocent little kids into something more knowledgeable when Jacob came into the home.

Jacob’s, the main character’s, journey was finding out about his grandpa’s twisted past. (It was a very twisted past, it had lotsa weirdoes in it as well.) And Jacob’s own uncertain future. Jacob’s sweet love with Emma made a great subplot. Emma is so sheltered and Jacob is her like to the outside place she cant go. Great job on making it as star-crossed as possible. ;) Four and a half stars.

Also check out this awesome book trailer:


Awesome right? And the book is going to be made into a movie! I'm pretty psyched for that :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Love/hating on my Kindle

I’m having a love/hate relationship. I hate love/hate relationships. The way I see it: You either love something or hate it. There is a fine line between love and hate (its called sanity).




Yes, I’m love/hating on my Kindle.



THE LOVE

I’ll start out with a believable scenario for this one: The AZAZINGISTAWESOMIST book just came out for the tenth time this year. If I don’t get the book RIGHT THIS SECOND something bad will happen. Preferably something dramatic like CHOKING ON A PIECE OF COOKIE DOUGH FROM A BEN AND JERRY ICE CREAM TUB I was eating to console myself because I didn’t get the AZAZINGISTAWESOMIST book RIGHT THIS SECOND.



All this tragedy could have been averted if I just would have used my Kindle. Amazon has something called a “Whispernet.” This “Whispernet” delivers the AZAZINGISTAWESOMIST book in a blink of an eye (less than sixty seconds). (I imagine Whispernet as an overgrown Collie, “Lassie” if you will. Lassie sees me suffering from book deprivation and brings me a book in its non-slobbery, blunt-toothed mouth. Yay Lassie! Er... yay Whispernet!)



THE LOVE/HATE

This is the part where everything turns into a large complicated vat of ooze. Namely: book samples. *Gasp* DUN DUN DUU. My love for samples comes from being on the borderline with a book. The book sounds good, but not good enough to buy on a whim. I need to hear more about it. If I don’t like the writing, good. Saven’ me some maja mullah! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) If I do... (This is where the hate starts) I have a dilemma on my hands. Do I download the book immediately? Or wait till I go to a store? Is it cost effective to get the book on the Kindle? Does it have a drop-dead amazing cover?



If I really like the book, the petty voice of Logic isn’t going to help much. Usually the books I check out have breath-taking covers. This brings us to the hate...



THE HATE

Grr... *punches hole through Kindle* *pauses* *spits* *steps back to admire work* *cries* *stops using asterisks* *fools readers* *laughs evilly*

Going back to my first example in THE LOVE section, the happy (or not so much) ending would be me buying the book and Lassie bringing it to me in her loving, capable jaws. I will celebrate by reading my prize within an hour. Back to THE LOVE/HATE example, the cover would be really boring. The next time I go to a bookstore, I will longingly pet the glossy, beautiful cover of the AZAZINGISTAWESOMIST book. Then I will look at the price tag and be annoyed. Turns out, the lovely, new, glossy covered hardback book would have, with a coupon, cost less then the boring, black and white Kindle copy. Than I go through a period where I don’t use my Kindle and imagine myself throwing Lassie out of the house and telling Lassie to never come back. It would’ve been very tearful.



Again and again the cycle goes....

Now you know all my woes....

(OMFG i rhymed.)



P.S. Sorry for the crappy posting this week. School is trying to murder me before I leave. Does anyone have some tips for starting in high school?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

In My Mailbox (vlog)



Eep! My first vlog!
Please note that this is not me, but instead a very realistic robot. Like all realistic robots, this one is incredibly awkward. Also shy. And they cannot mimic voices properly, so they sound a bit odd and cannot pronounce words properly. Also: their teeth are made of metal. Don't tease; my robot is doing it's best.







Leave a link so I can see your In My Mailbox!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Winner of Happy Birthday to Me.

The winner of Happy Birthday to Me is...


Lisa Richards

Congrats! Expect an e-mail from me confirming your win.

For all you *ehem* non-winners, Happy Birthday to Me is available for only .99 cents on the Kindle.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pretty Little Liars book 9: Twisted cover.

Isn't that cover just da bomb? I just saw what it looked like yesterday. Twisted is going to rock. (Hopefully.)

 The release date is July 5. 


Summary from Goodreads:

It’s been a year since the torturous notes from A stopped and the mystery of Alison DiLaurentis’s disappearance was finally put to rest. Now seniors in high school, Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily are older, but they’re not any wiser. The Pretty Little Liars have more secrets than ever - twisted secrets that could destroy the perfect lives they’ve worked so hard to rebuild.
Aria’s jealous of her boyfriend’s new exchange student. Spencer’s getting a little too cozy with her soon-to-be-stepbrother. Hanna’s one scandalous photo away from ruining her dad’s Senate campaign. And Emily will do anything to get a swim scholarship.
Worst of all: Last spring break in Jamaica, they did something unforgivable. The girls are desperate to forget that fateful night, but they should know better than anyone that all secrets wash ashore … eventually
 
 
 
 
Eep! Did everyone already know about this? This is so epic... I wonder what happened in Jamaica. Is there going to be a new A? I don't know how Sara Shepard will make this work, but I will totally buy the next four books! 
 
 
Also the next book is going to be titled Ruthless . Sounds fan-girl worthly.
 
Here is the Goodreads summary for Ruthless:
 
 
 The #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars are back with more scandals, secrets, and drama.


Everyone’s favorite pretty little liars are back with a fresh story arc filled with dark new secrets and deadly plot twists.
Hanna, Spencer, Emily, and Aria are trying to move on and forget about their old friend Alison DiLaurentis and all the torture she put them through. They thought she was gone from their lives for good, but someone is keeping her spirit alive. Now A wants to ruin their pretty little lives—or does A want to end them?
The hit ABC Family TV show continues to bring new readers to the bestselling series, and the Pretty Little Liars fanbase keeps growing! Legions of readers will clamor for Sara Shepard’s new pack of lies....
 
 
 
So there IS a new A? How do you think that's going to work out?
 
 
 
 
P.S. Don't forget to enter my Happy Birthday to Me giveaway! It ends tomorrow.  : D


P.P.S. It's 6:00. Still not raptured.

P.P.P.S. It's 7:00. Still not raptured.

P.P.P.P.S. It's 8:00. Still not raptured.

P.P.P.P.P.S. It's 8:02. Giving up hope.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves

Stars: 4

Summary from Goodreads:

 Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that’s just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around.



It’s no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren’t killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities….



Review:

Slice of Cherry is the companion novel to Bleeding Violet, although I was fine without reading the first book. (I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY want to read Bleeding Violet now. Really.)


A conversation between Fancy and Kit:
Kit- Hey, Fancy? Feel like killing anyone today? I'm in that mood again. I'll let you cut the body open this time.

Fancy- Good morning most awesome sister in da world!!!! That is a very tempting offer, but alas... how shall we hide the bodies?

Kit- Sigh... Can we hide them in our shed like daddy use to do? I know he got caught and now he's in jail and all, but I have a need to squish a human heart.

Fancy- Me too, sister dearest. Me too. If only we had somewhere to hide all those pesky dead bodies... *HINT HINT*

End of conversation.


The reason I liked it is because... it’s odd. I can read a hundred more books, and none of them would have the same creepy/awesomeness factor that Slice of Cherry’s got going on. (Except maybe Bleeding Violet.) I would compare it to Coraline.


This book is a great break from the serious paranormal genre. All the characters in the quirky town of Portero are like, "Yeah, there's a magical portal door in front of me. Whatevs. Who wants some pizza?" That attitude made the book for me.

The way the book shouldn't make sense in normally (but in a weird way does) makes Slice of Cherry a awesome, kooky read.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

In the futuristic setting of Bumped, being sixteen- or hopefully even younger- and pregnant is the subject of every girl’s fantasy. Because of a virus making everyone over eighteen infertile, it’s kind of a necessity. Hey, no one’s complaining.




The narrators are two genetically gifted twins, Melody and Harmony. The twins have been separated their whole lives until they recently met up. Melody is all super-hyped about getting lavishly paid to “bump” (if you don’t know what the title is hinting at, don’t read this book… please!). Harmony is all super-religious, and her sister pregging for profit goes against her beliefs. All Melody wants to do is convince her sister to return to the secluded religious settlement she came from and leave her alone. And when Melody is hired to bump with world-famous Jondoe, life couldn’t get any better. But then a Parent Trap-worthy moment comes along to complicate everything…



I couldn’t find a character that I liked long enough to dub “My Favorite Character”. As soon as I found something that might qualify the character as Favorite, they did something to counter that. Parts of Bumped that are supposed to be dramatic are made ineffective because of a character’s inexplicable thoughts or actions. Like when Harmony meets with Jondoe, he first comes across as a shallow, self-absorbed idiot whose goal in life is to party his hardest. At the end, he magically (because magical is the only way to describe his transformation) turns into a Good Family Guy with Outstanding Christian Morals. Bumped, to me starts in the middle and spends the rest of the book in catch-up mode. It doesn’t leave much room for the characters’ present, the part where the characters could really develop into something deep.



Bumped had me feeling confused. On the first page I was “rilly” overwhelmed. All the futuristic slang of Bumped-land is mostly left for the reader to interpret, or explained way later in the book. For the first half of the book, I found myself having to ponder over the meaning of a random made-up word every few sentences. But maybe that’s just me. I can be pretty thick sometimes.



I have to say, though, this book makes you think. I look at Bumped’s society, and it is something I could see happening in a situation where adults are infertile. You know, teens pregging. There is one part of me thinking, “Hellooo? Thirteen year olds pregnant? EWWW!” Another is thinking, “Oh well, what other options do they have?” Then I start arguing to myself. In case you’re wondering, yes, it is possible to have an exhausting mental battle with yourself. It is the unique plot that makes Bumped worthwhile.

Three stars.
You can also view this review on Figment.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Giveaway of Happy Birthday to Me extended.

Hey,

 I'm extending the Happy Birthday to Me giveaway by a week, it'll end on May 22. This book is a really cute summer read, so don't forget to enter.
:~ )

Friday, May 13, 2011

Author guest post: Brian Rowe on writing a novel.

I'm holding a giveaway of Happy Birthday to Me.  Dont forget to check it out! Thanks to Brian Rowe for writing this. 2,000 words a day?! Haha, that's awesome. I struggle with five hundred :P



On Writing A Novel.


I view writing a lot like how others view exercise—if I turn the practice into a daily ritual, after a while, it will feel as typical as eating breakfast and doing laundry. I don’t want to view writing as a chore in any sense; after all, it’s supposed to be fun. But facing that blank page every day is certainly daunting, and many wannabe writers feel too threatened by it to face the task of writing his or her first novel.

I was that way for a long time. I tried to write a novel once in high school, but felt too unsure of myself after five or six chapters, and I abandoned the project. I wrote short stories and screenplays over many more years but always felt too intimidated by the task of writing a novel to attempt it. Finally, after becoming inspired by an idea that I knew would work best not as a short story or feature script but as a book, I knew it was time to write my first novel. I was certainly scared, but one great man prepared me with some excellent advice, and that man was Stephen King.



For any aspiring writers out there, I recommend wholeheartedly Stephen King’s fantastic nonfiction book about writing, titled simply On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. In it the bestselling horror novelist not only discusses how he got his start writing and selling his books, but also discusses concise, important writing tips for budding novelists everywhere. I’ve read this book probably ten times over in the last few years, and I’ve tried to take most, if not all, of King’s advice in regards to sentence and story structure, grammar, dialogue, and, most of all, daily writing tasks.

What kept me for many years from tackling the seemingly enormous task of writing a novel was that it seemed next to impossible. It’s hard enough to write a short story. How in the world could I write a 70,000-word-plus novel? King spelled it out clear: write 2,000 words a day, every day, until you finish your first draft. A lot of writers, including myself, will work on a project for months and months, picking out hours at a time to do some writing, and then wait a week or longer to continue. It doesn’t matter what you want a write—a literary novel, chick lit title, YA paranormal romance, or horror rollercoaster ride—you can do it if you stop looking at the big picture and start looking at the small pieces.


I started writing my first novel Slate, influenced by the two years I spent working in feature film casting in Los Angeles, in early 2010, and looked at the task with both anticipation and trepidation. I had a brief outline of the plot, knew the first few chapters, the last few chapters, and some meat of the story in between, but I definitely didn’t know exactly how every storyline and character arc would play out. But I decided that I would start writing at least 2,000 words a day, every day, until I either finished the book, or died trying. The writing of my first book was difficult at times, yes, but it also turned out to be the most freeing and joyful experience of my creative life. When I finished the first draft, which stood at 108,000 words, I knew I had accomplished something special. But little did I know then, that the work of writing the book had only just begun.

That leads me to the important of revisions. Writing a novel is a process, a long one that takes months and months, and for some, years. If the hardest part about writing a book was completing that first draft, a lot more people would be doing it. But finishing the first draft is the first of many, many steps that will lead writing to a polished novel. I didn’t know it at the celebratory time I finished the first draft of Slate, but I ended up revising the novel in full over ten times in the course of the following year until I finally published it in March. My rewriting process begins like this: finish the first draft, print it out, put it in a binder, and don’t look at it for at least four to six weeks. I love to finish a project, put it away, and then work on something else for a while. Then, when I pull that first draft out of the drawer, it’s almost like reading something I didn’t write! It’s a great thrill, and it allows me to look at the words on the pages with a fresh eye.

I’ll spend a few weeks working on the second draft, and then put the manuscript away again. I’ll do this time and time again for six months to a year until I feel the material is ready to show to my closest friends and any fellow writers who’ll agree to review my work. After taking and using much of the feedback I receive, I’ll do one final polish, and finally prepare the work for eBook and print publishing (a whole other beast of a process!).

Happy Birthday to Me is my debut Young Adult novel, and it was something that I’d wanted to write for a long time. After my joy in writing my first book Slate, I knew I wanted to continue writing novels, and Happy Birthday to Me felt like the perfect second project. I spent nearly nine months working on this book, finally publishing it in April. It’s a funny, romantic supernatural tale that is truly for readers of all ages, and I’m so dedicated to this story and these characters that I am currently writing a sequel!



Eighteen months ago I wasn’t sure if I could even finish a novel. Today I’ve written three novels, I’m working on my fourth, and I’ve outlined nearly fifteen projects to be written in the next three to four years. I’ve become a writing fiend, and I’ve never been happier. I have Stephen King to thank for his inspiring wisdom, and all the readers and writers out there like me who love a great story.