Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to the Books BLOG HOP


Hello bloggers and hoppers!

Welcome to the Back to the Books blog hop,
hosted by I am A Read, Not a Writer and Buried in Books.
*Cheers*

Whether you are actually going back to school, or just remembering the "joys" of when you once did make that trek, this is the time of year when "Back to School" abounds.  I want to help you sink back into those books and reading and - uhg - homework.  So, my Hop Give Away will be a release from the assignments:



$15 for the Book Depository!
Come on, you don't only want textbooks this year, do you?

The Hop will go from September 1st-7th.  On the 8th I will draw the winner, who will then get to order a book of their choice, up to $15 in value, from the Book Depository.  And because it is the Book Depository... it is International! Oh yes.  Very awesome.

If I get a good amount of new followers, I just might up the prize amount.
So, spread the word!

To enter: 
- GFC follow me (located to the left) 
- Fill out the handy Rafflecopter below!

To view all of the many many other blogs participating in this Hop, click here!

Happy Writing... and reading... and Hopping!



WIP Day - Birthday! (And WriMo winning)

Hey!
It's my birthday!
Yay!

Ok, honestly... I have not really been feeling my birthday.  It is hard to, when it just feels like another day with nothing really special happening.  Sad, I know.  But I am trying to get myself happy and excited about it, so I am forcing this happy dance.

Today, 25 years ago, I was born.  Hello world, here I am.
25 years later: I am very happily married, have two amazing kids, am addicted to my blog, write like there is no tomorrow and take way too many photos.  I have to say, all in all, I am pretty proud of the person I have grown into.


I hope to make this 25th year even more amazing than the last.
*Blows out candles*

On another note:
I finished Camp NaNoWriMo.  Barely.  I literally had to pull the last few (thousand) words out like teeth, and have no doubt there is ALOT of editing awaiting me in the coming future.  Alot.  But I am proud of it. (Mostly)  I love this story, and can't wait to polish, re-write, edit, polish some more... and eventually craft into a book worth reading!

Still... I won!
*does another happy dance*

Now, time for me to enjoy the rest of my birthday with my family and friends.  This vacation is going great.  I filled it with lots of photo shoots, lots of friend time, and am loving every minute of it.

Still, I am anxious to get back home and back into my writing world.
I miss it.

That's the best sign yet.
*smiles*

Happy writing

Monday, August 29, 2011

Very Short Hiatus


Photo I took a few years back.  Yes, this is where I grew up.  I miss it.

Hey there everyone!

I am just letting you know:
We are on vacation right now, visiting family and the beautiful place I grew up at.  I cannot guarantee all of my posts for this week, but I will try!

(Amidst all of the crazy photo sessions I have planned, plus getting my final word count to win Camp NaNoWriMo!  SO CLOSE!)

I will be back to my normal schedule real soon, so don't worry!

Until then...

  • Congrats to Keary Taylor for finishing her first draft of Vindicated, book 3 in the Fall of Angels series!

  • On the 1st I am taking part in my first every blog hop.  Make sure to check it out!

  • Speaking of dates... It is almost my birthday!  So crazy!



Enjoy your Monday!  What do you have planned for the week?
And, as always... Happy Writing.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Review: Warped

Warped
by  Maurissa Guibord

Synopsis: (From Goodreads)
Tessa doesn't believe in magic. Or Fate. But there's something weird about the dusty unicorn tapestry she discovers in a box of old books. She finds the creature woven within it compelling and frightening. After the tapestry comes into her possession, Tessa experiences dreams of the past and scenes from a brutal hunt that she herself participated in. When she accidentally pulls a thread from the tapestry, Tessa releases a terrible centuries old secret. She also meets William de Chaucy, an irresistible 16th-century nobleman. His fate is as inextricably tied to the tapestry as Tessa's own. Together, they must correct the wrongs of the past. But then the Fates step in, making a tangled mess of Tessa's life. Now everyone she loves will be destroyed unless Tessa does their bidding and defeats a cruel and crafty ancient enemy.


Why I Picked This Book:  I am hungry for books involving Greek mythology.  In my searches (which didn't succeed as well as I had hoped they would) I found this book, and it grabbed me.

My Thoughts:
Warped is a fairy tale, mixed with some Greek, and splattered with Kate & Leopold (Boys, that's a movie, in case you didn't know.)  For those of looking for a change from the usual YA Paranormal story, this book could be for you.  Could be.

Imagine getting a strange tapestry at an auction, taking it home, and finding it has a loose string. You pull the string.  And out jumps a man.  Yes, a man.  What would you do?  Well, Tessa pulled a string, and out came William de Chaucy.  Soon she finds that there is more strange things going on than a man living in a tapestry.  A man from the middle ages.  The Norn (Fates) are demanding their lost strings back.  And Grey Lilly has come for her missing tapestry.

I think the over all plot was intriguing.  There is time travel.  Fates.  Second lives.  An evil witch.  Love, yes love.  And some action, here and there.

Tessa did bug me.  Most of the characters weren't too "deep" in this story.  While I don't need to know what they ate for breakfast two years ago, it would have been nice to get a little more of a handle on them.  Tessa was sarcastic, which was nice.  I enjoyed the 3rd person telling, mixed with Tessa's humor (which sadly dissipated near the end).  There just was something about Tessa I did not get drawn to.

I could never quite decide if Tessa and Will liked each other, or hated each other.  While I do know those things can go back and forth, they seemed to too much in this story.  In one scene, they would change their minds three times.  I got annoyed.

Yet I did enjoy the subplot that they had known each other in another life.  It makes you wonder: If things had been different, if Will hadn't been caught by an evil witch and trapped in a tapestry so she can channel his youth and life, would he and Tessa have been together?  Love it.

I feel like if the writing had been fine tuned a bit more, tightened a slight bit, this would have been an even more fantastic read.  It felt... loose.  Connections at times weren't fully made, and the middle did drag.  I still enjoyed it though, so it wasn't bad enough to distract from the overall story.

NOTE: Warped is a fairy tale.  A fantasy.  For those of you looking for a change from YA Paranormal, this could be for you.  While there are aspects that are the same, it is definitely different and should be read different as well.  This kind of book requires you to suspend your disbelief much much more than others.  Just, remember that.

Overall, I enjoyed Warped.  I cannot really say I loved it, but I really did like it.  If I did half stars, I would have given this a 3.5.  But, since I do not, I put it in the "I liked it" slot.  I was pulled into the story and wondered what would come next (though I did manage to predict most of it)  It was a cute love story, with a mystical twist, and warrants a good read from someone craving the fairy tale release.

My Rating:
(3 out of 5 stars)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WIP Day - Sprinting Along

I am only a little late with my WIP day post.
But late is better than never, right?

Let's get these updates going!

ITB:
It's going!  I am now at about 39,000 words.  I was cruising along, doing awesome, then the weekend happened and my word count kind of... stopped.  Photography, it gets in the way every time (Something I will mention in just a moment)  Still, I am right on time with everything.  I WILL hit 50k by the 31st, which just so happens to be my birthday.  How awesome, yes?

I honestly think know that the only reason I am succeeding in this summer writing fest is because of my Camp NaNoWriMo Cabin mates and my #writeshove buddies on Twitter.  To those of you reading this: thank you thank you thank you.

PN:
Oh, you know.  I am not even going to bother with that ramble.  Same old story there.  I am almost to the point of prepping for the self-publishing world.  More on that, some other time.  When I feel up to it.

TBR Stacks:
I get all giddy just looking at it
Need... more... books...
SO PRETTY!  I just had to share this photo of my most recently collected books.  In the last week or so, this is my stack of books I have added to the TBR pile (and still not including all of the books still waiting to be devoured on my book shelves.  I need another shelf already!  And much more time...)

This awesome stack contains 4 books I won from a Give Away, 2 review request copies, 1 that I bought on sale at Powells, 6 that I ordered from the B&N sale (so awesome!) and of course, my new Terry Goodkind book.  I am still waiting on one more book I won in a Give Away (waiting...), and of course hoping that my birthday will ring in even more books!

Lastly, for today at least:
I had the chance to photograph my first wedding this last weekend, hence my total lack in writing.  (Well, I was the 2nd shooter to be exact.  Which was a great way to get my first wedding experience!)

It was an outdoor wedding, on the hottest day of the summer so far in Oregon, and we were wearing all black.  Hot, you ask?  YES.  But it was amazing.  A gorgeous bride, perfect ceremony...  I actually have a post planned for later about what hobbies we love aside from writing, but for now I had to share at least one shot from that weekend that I took.  If you want to see more from this shoot, go to my facebook page here.

Oo... Pretty!

Now it is time to get back to my life. Well, as much as I ever do.  First, back to mommyhood.  Tonight I am hunting for photography props at Goodwill, then settling down to WRITE WRITE WRITE.

Camp NaNoWriMo, I WILL win!

Happy Writing!



Monday, August 22, 2011

What be Banned?

I apologize.  I am severely lacking in a good post for this Monday.
This has been a busy week, and an insane (but awesome) weekend, and sadly my mind spaced on this post.  Sad day!  No doubt I will ramble about it much more on my WIP day.  So I will hold off on that, for now.

Until WIP day, or until I can think of a better post to make up for this dismal failure of one today, I want to tap your brains.

At the end of September, I will be taking part in Banned Books Week.  I am pretty excited about it.  I am a Reader, Not a Writer co-hosts a great Hop for that week, and I am all signed up.  (To learn more about Banned Books Week, click here.)

Now, here are my questions:
1. What is your opinion on banning books?  Should it be done?  Is it good, or bad?
2. Do you know of some great banned or challenged book titles?  Old books?  New ones?  Do share!

Thank you!
I am really hoping I can get some good feedback, to both questions.  So... type away!  I need your input!

And, as always... Happy Writing



Friday, August 19, 2011

Book Review: The Other Side of the Island


The Other Side of the Island
By Allegra Goodman
Synopsis: (From Goodreads)
Honor and her parents have been reassigned to live on Island 365 in the Tranquil Sea. Life is peaceful there—the color of the sky is regulated by Earth Mother, a corporation that controls New Weather, and it almost never rains. Everyone fits into their rightful and predictable place. . . .
Except Honor. She doesn’t fit in, but then she meets Helix, a boy with a big heart and a keen sense for the world around them. Slowly, Honor and Helix begin to uncover a terrible truth about life on the Island: Sooner or later, those who are unpredictable disappear . . . and they don’t ever come back.

Why I Picked This Book:  I spent a crazy night searching for dystopian reads, and this was one title that popped up to catch my attention.  When I found it on sale, I snagged it. (Note: This book has two different covers.  This is the one I happened to buy.)

My Thoughts:
The Other Side of the Island rings a lot like The Giver, but with added in "the world has flooded and weather is evil" aspects.  The writing was very easy to follow, and the premise was simple, which was a a nice change.  Though I did enjoy parts and sections of this book, the over all product was a slight let down.  Sadly.

What would the world be like if everything was flooded, except for a scattering of islands?  What if there were a way to control the very weather, to guarantee no more natural disasters?  In The Other Side of the Island, that is just what they have done.  Earth Mother, the grandmotherly ruler of the islands, has found a way to enclose; to build a dome and control weather.  Not only that... she controls the people as well.

Censorship of literature, memorized prayers and devotions, evident brainwashing and harsh teaching.  People who, when they don't fit in with the ideals of the society, disappear forever.  Oooo, eerie.

The story felt more based on the premise than the character.  A total of about 3 or so years passes throughout the book, the MC Honor growing up very quickly as the world revolves around her.  I had a hard time ever growing attachments to any character because of this.  Everything went by quickly, characters came and went, and I couldn't form a solid connection to the story, aside from the fact that I seemed to be having as hard a time at remembering as the characters did.

I had a hard time believing in the weather.  (What a strange thing to say...) At one point they are talking about how the two poles are covered in a dome and completely controlled.  Then in the next breath they are talking about how their island is controlled, though not enclosed.  I was confused.  How can you just control weather?  Were they in a dome or not?  What about the storm that hit and totally ransacked the island at the beginning of the book?  Finally, I had to just shake my head and read on, accepting the fact that I was confused but would have to deal with it.

There were many aspects of the story that, if they had been touched on more, could have made for a freakishly dynamic plot.  People disappearing and turning in mindless drones who are controlled with drugs.  Not only that, but then they are turned around to serve the very people that used to be family and friends.  Awesome.  But it doesn't dwell on it.  I wanted more.  I loved the ideas, and craved more.

This book was obviously written for a younger reading audience.  And it is very appropriate for such.  It is a great introduction to the dystopian genre, lacking the sexual and physical intensities more recent books include, and touching mostly on the idea of controlled society, survival, and the battle to learn.

I did enjoy The Other Side of the Island.  Though not my favorite recent read, it was an enjoyable easy reader that rose many questions in my mind.  I will just need to seek some of the answers myself.

Now, time to check my weather reports...

My rating
(3 out of 5 stars)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness

I gave in.  I made a R.A.K.

What is a R.A.K. you ask?
It is a list, a wishlist, of books I want.  People who peruse the R.A.K.s can choose to do a Random Act of Kindness, and grant a wish!  It is all for the love of books.  Nothing more.  This awesome project is hosted by Book Soulmates.  What a great, great idea!

And it being my birthday month, I thought this the perfect month to join up!  I couldn't resist any longer!
-> Here is the link to my R.A.K!  Check it out! <-

I am very excited to look through all the other listed R.A.K.s, and totally plan on granting someone their wish!  Have a list?  Link it to me!

As for me... I am crossing my fingers that I get a birthday wish as well.  Hey, I am always book hungry.  That is no secret!  My list will most likely grow, which it always is.  There are too many good books out there, and I want them all! :D

Happy writing... and reading!

__________________________

P.S.  Looking for a review for your book?  I am ready, and wanting! 
Click here for more info.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WIP Day - I am a Superhero

Wednesday, we meet again.
And what a crazy week it has been!

First, ITB is doing great.  Last night I hit 33,052 words, and a dramatic scene.  It was great.  I am now only about 17k words away from winning the Camp NaNoWriMo challenge.  (Woot!)

Yes, I am going slower this time around than I did last November.  I just blame it on the sun.  Still, I am going!  I have passed the place I had roughly outlined too, and am now full out pantsing this thing.

It seems my writing community just keeps growing.  I have had you all for some time now.  My few "real life" friends as well.  (Way to make myself sound like a loner...)  Now, I have my cabin mates for Camp.  What's more?  I have discovered that Twitter isn't just a shameful place for stupid updates and random remarks.  There is a writing world in there, one that I never want to leave!

Every night I meet with my cabin mates and twitter companions, and we write.  Sprints, wars, #writeshove.  It is great.  To be cheered on, encouraged, and yelled at is a much needed thing.  If any of my writing friends are out there, reading this right now.... Goodness, you are amazing! 

Recently a few of them said some quotes, about me, that just made me giddy. If you don't follow my Twitter or Tumblr, here they are:


“You are a total powerhouse!”  - @CherylAngst

“Good land! You’ve got super powers!”  - @LauraRenegar

"You’re like batman. Only with pep talks instead of 
those bat-shaped throwy things."  - @remacagy

"Writer friends, if you aren't following @JMWriting , you should. Helpful, 
encouraging, & lays down wordcounts like a superhero."  - @LauraRenegar


...maybe a very tired superhero...

That's right.  I am like batman.  I am a superhero.  Muhahaha.

Anyway.  Their comments have really helped.   While I have been thoroughly enjoying ITB, I am still stressing about PN.

I received a snail mail rejection the other day.  This one hit hard, mainly because it was an agent I was really rooting for.  Then I checked my email... to find another rejection.  I know this is normal.  More than normal.  But each one does hurt.

So, I turn to my writing friends, get reminded that I am super, and keep trucking on regardless of how tempting it might be to stop.  Not that I could stop.  I am too much addicted to this world to ever leave it for another much more dull, much less imaginative one.

Speaking of rejections, did you see Beth Revis' video on WriteOnCOn, about failure?  No?  Go watch it!

Well, grocery shopping is calling to me.  Need more snacks, for my planned night of crazy writing!  To those of you writing: Write on!  To those of you querying: Don't give up... as tempting as it is.  To those of your published: Can I have your autograph?

*Sings epic Superhero song, puts hands on hips, and dashes off *

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Seriously Cute Blogger Award


*Does happy dance*

That's right.  I am dancing.  Why, you ask?
Trish, over Word+Stuff, awarded me this Seriously Cute Blogger award.

She thinks I'm cute.  Or my blog is.  Or just loves me enough to give me this puppy.  This fluffy, fluffy puppy.  Whatever the case, I love it!

To accept, I must answer the required question, which is:

"List five books, films, or TV programs that I've read, 
watched, or followed in the last 12 months." 

Here we go:

1.  Divergent (book) - LOVED it.  Have you read it?  No?  DO it.  It is The Hunger Games, on crack.  Read my review HERE.

2.  So You Think You Can Dance (tv show) - One of the few TV shows I actually take the time to tune in to and watch.  Why?  Because... I wish I could dance.  Since I lack the grace, I oggle those who have it.

3.  Daybreakers (movie) - Yes, it is a vampire movie.  But... I LOVED it.  Warning: Lots of blood.  Lots of it...

4.  Daily Grace (web cast) - Does this count?  Oh well.  I love Grace.  She is one of my main procrastination devices.  Especially Sexy Fridays... laughing even as I type this.

5.  The Omen Machine (book) - Ok, so I haven't quite read this yet.  It should be shipped to me today-ish (Yay!  It's released!) and I am on pins and needles to devour it.  PINS and NEEDLES

_________________


Now, as per tradition, I get to reward this!  So many to choose from, because I love you all!  I narrowed it down to three, for now, though I would love to pass cuddly puppies to every single one of you!

First...
You pretty much comment on all my posts... and it makes me happy!  So... here's a puppy! Enjoy!

Second...
Again, you show me love.  And I pretty much love everything you post, even though I have been lame on the commenting lately.

Third...
Because, you know, I love you!  

Thank you Trish!  Now, off I go to wish I had a real puppy...

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's Good to Laugh

Have you noticed how intense many YA books seem to be getting?

I do very much so enjoy me a dark, intense story.  But I have found myself missing good old fashioned humor.  It seems many things have changed since the rise of Twilight.  (I still love you Twilight, regardless of trends.)

One: paranormal YA stories.  Two: love triangles.  Dang love triangles.
Three: ...humor?

While life can be intense and sad and scary, people do laugh.  They do share sarcastic remarks and stupid inside jokes.  Life is a funny, funny thing.  We just forget to sit back and laugh at it.

So, today, I share jokes.  Mostly because my brain is too shot from all the writing I have been busting out the last few days.  But also because I think starting the week with a chuckle would make for a very nice start.  It is going to be a long week.  Let's start it with laughing at our own expense.

____________


A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.

She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.

"Oh my," said the writer. "Let me see heaven now."

A few moments later, as she ascended into heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.

"Wait a minute," said the writer. "This is just as bad as hell!"

"Oh no, it's not," replied an unseen voice. "Here, your work gets published."

____________


Three guys are sitting at a bar
#1: “…Yeah, I make $75,000 a year after taxes.”
#2: “What do you do for a living?”
#1: “I’m a stockbroker. How much do you make?
#2: “I should clear $60,000 this year.”
#1: “What do you do?”
#2: “I’m an architect.”
The third guy has been sitting there quietly, staring into his beer, when the others turn to him.
#2: “Hey, how much do you make per year?”
#3: “Gee… hmmm… I guess about $13,000.”
#1: “Oh yeah? What kind of stories do you write?”

____________


A hungry lion was roaming through the jungle looking for something to eat. He came across two men. One was sitting under a tree reading a book; the other was typing away on his typewriter. The lion quickly pounced on the man reading the book and devoured him. Even the king of the jungle knows that readers digest and writers cramp.

____________


How many science fiction writers does it take to change a light bulb?

Two, but it’s actually the same person doing it. He went back in time and met himself in the doorway and then the first one sat on the other one’s shoulder so that they were able to reach it. Then a major time paradox occurred and the entire room, light bulb, changer and all was blown out of existence. They co-existed in a parallel universe, though.

____________


A screenwriter comes home to a burned down house. His sobbing and slightly-singed wife is standing outside. “What happened, honey?” the man asks.
“Oh, John, it was terrible,” she weeps. “I was cooking, the phone rang. It was your agent. Because I was on the phone, I didn’t notice the stove was on fire. It went up in second. Everything is gone. I nearly didn’t make it out of the house. Poor Fluffy is–”
“Wait, wait. Back up a minute,” The man says. “My agent called?”

____________


There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire to become a great writer.

When asked to define great, he said, "I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!"

He now works for Microsoft writing error messages.

____________


Did you hear the one about the pregnant woman who went into labor and began to yell, "Couldn't! Wouldn't! Shouldn't! Didn't! Can't!"? She was having contractions.

____________


Ha ha ha. Har har.  Giggle.  Chuckle.  Snort and wheeze.

Ok, ok.  Tell me you at least smiled.  A little?
Do you have a joke to share?  A funny thought? Do share!

Go off now, write, laugh, and welcome in the week as best you know how!

Happy writing!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

6 Years Later...


Today is mine and hubby's 6 year wedding anniversary!  

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, 
MY LOVE!

Because of this day, I thought to make a special post.  I just couldn't resist.

Here we are.  Bloggers.  Writers.  Readers.  We crave stories, we devour plot lines, we dive into lives.  Love for the art, for the adventure, for love, is what drives us.  And we have found each other because of this.

My friend Keary did a post a while back, about how love does happen fast.  Many people complain because of fast love story lines in YA fiction now a days.  They say it just doesn't happen that way.  But in all truth, it can, and it does.  Every day.  I know in today's world it is normal to date for ten years, be engaged another eight, then maybe (just maybe) get married.  What people forget is that not everyone does that.  Sometimes there is just that first eye meeting, the flying sparks, and love is there.  There is no arguing it.  No fighting it.  And no postponing that inevitable "I do."

My hubby and I met in the summer of 2003.  At a dance.  It was the last dance of the night and I refused to sit on the sides (Stupid teenage boys, no one had asked me to waddle in that circle!)  I saw this cute guy sitting on the sidelines, and broke all my rules by asking him to dance.  Honestly, the only thing I can remember from that entire song was his insane laugh and huge smile.

We kept in touch.  This was before the Myspace and Facebook crazes.  (There was a time...)  Yahoo Messenger, plain old email... for a year that was how we talked.  We lived a state away, were living different lives, and being friends was enough.

The next year life changed.  I won't get into all the details, but we started dating.  He visited me for a week, I visited him for another week.  And that was it.  I was in love.  I had thought this would just be a simple summer fling before my senior year of high school.  But I couldn't deny it:  I was in love.

That November he moved to be closer to me.  That January, 5 months after starting this relationship, Shane proposed.  (Funny story.  Remind me to tell you some other time.  Note: Don't bring brothers with you when you plan to pop the question.)  I graduated from high school, then that very next August of 2005 (one year after our first few dates) we were married.

I have grown with him.  Learned with him.  Made two amazing children with him.  Laughed, laughed so much.  I am so happy I found this man.  Life with out him is unimaginable, and I cherish every moment with him.  Sometimes love takes time to develop.  It can take years.  But other times... other times love is love and you spend the rest of your life lost in the whirlwind that whipped you off your feet that one summer long ago.

 

I love you, Shane.  Happy Anniversary.  The last 6 years have been breathtaking.  And next many, many to come will only be better.




Friday, August 12, 2011

Book Review - Wither

Wither
by Lauren DeStefano

Synopsis (From Goodreads)
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?


Why I Picked this Book:  Honestly, I can't remember what first pulled me to it.  A blog?  The amazing cover?  Either way, it was on my TBR list, then shelf, then finally found its way into my hands.

My Thoughts:
Wither offered a new take of the world, in the view that forced polygamy has become the solve-all to a dying human race.  Lauren DeStefano has a way with words, pulling you along page by page.  There were many things I loved about this book, but sadly there were things that bugged me enough to cost it that five star.

In this world, mankind has cured cancer.  The first generation to take the vaccine live long, almost immortal lives.  Super health GO.  The problem?  All the generations born after that are cursed with death, a death no one seems able to solve.  Girls die at age 20, boys at 25.  So, to try and save mankind while this death keeps happening, girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages.

DeStefano has a way with words.  I couldn't stop reading.  She pulled me along page by page.  The idea that people would do this, the kidnappings and marriages, was a very real thought.  We know instances like this have happened in the past (though minus the sure death aspect) and polygamy still seems to be a very tense topic in the world.

I wanted to see how it ended.  I was intrigued with the answers looming around corners, the secrets alluded to, the minor characters who each carried their own heart breaking sub-story.  I wanted it all.

Here was my problem.  It was hard to believe that mankind could pretty much make a super race with medical cures, but suddenly was unable to fix this side affect.  I decided I couldn't dwell on it much though.  What just added to it, sadly, was the fact that the entire world seemed dead, except the USA.  Ok... not the first time we have seen that either.  Buy why is it that people think of all countries, Americans will survive?  Hmm...

There seemed to be no government, no order.  Just people attempting survival in this lone surviving country being controlled by the wealthy with many wives.  The world building just wasn't there.  While characters did develop, and the plot progressed with tension and suspense, I couldn't remotely believe the world they lived in.

Not all my questions were answered either.  Now, being as this is part of a series, I should have expected that.  While I still believe a few more answers shouldn't have been left in the dark like they were, I am hoping they surface in the coming books.

As soon as I suspended my reality, and just read this book for a great piece of fiction, I adored it.  I look forward the the next book, and plan on buying it as soon as I can.  Hopefully the next one will be a little tighter, so I can award the desired last star!  Even with these downsides, I couldn't seem to get myself to give it any lower of a rating.

Now, time to hug my hubby and be happy that I am the only one who gets his love.

My Rating
(4 out of 5 stars)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It's My Hubby's Birthday!

I try to not mention too much personal (as in family related) topics on this blog.  It's a writing blog, of course!  But today I just have to quickly post...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my AMAZING hubby!

He is 25 today, and just as handsome and priceless as ever.

Now, off I go to help my older son make a birthday cake for daddy, and to decorate our apartment with black streamers.  Yes, black.  Totally awesome.

Not to mention that I still have to wrap his presents from the boys and me. (Can you say Men in Black dvd and a grilled cheese sandwich maker?  Oh yes! It will be great.)

Happy birthday, love.  I love you!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WIP Day - Mad Typist

Hello bloggers, writers, random stumblers and YOU. *waves*

How is your day going?
Mine is... well...
It is going.
It is a day in the life of Jenni.

I am a mad typist.
In so many different ways.

Mad because...
My desktop computer bit the dust.  Ok, not all of it bit.  Just the main hard drive that I have all my programs, Operating System, and some files on.  Can you imagine how happy that made me?  NOT.  We tried many ways to get it to wake back up, (so happy I have a computer geeky hubby) but nothing worked.  So, now the hard drive is with a friend who is going to see if he can save the files that are there, and we are installing a much smaller hard drive to use for the time being.  At least it is something, right?
Sigh.

Good thing my many, many photos are saved on a separate drive, and are safe.
Oh, and I am religious about backing up my writing.  So it is safe too.
And I have amazing geeks in my life. *smiles*


So it is mostly just me grumbling that my computer hates me.

Mad also because...
I am a mad, crazy, awesome typist.  Yes I am!

I started Camp NaNoWriMo 10 days ago, and as of last night have recorded 19,250 words! Yay! *does happy dance*
(Have to do a shout out: Cabin mates, you are AWESOME.)

ITB is coming along quite nicely.  I am having fun seeing how this story progresses.  And being in Dawn's head is awesome.  I must say, I do like her.  The story seems to be writing itself at the moment, and I am just along for the ride.  Hopefully it stays that way!  I have a few things plotted out, a few in the dark with no idea what will happen, and the rest is some where in between.  I love this stage!

I do have a character question for you all:
What is something a guy would say/do/act like that would be
intimidating, but you would still feel drawn to him regardless?

Oh, and I made a Tumblr.  I know I know.  That, mixed with discovering more about Twitter, and I am becoming a lost case, very very fast.  Noooo...

Quick PN Update: You know, same old.  Sitting... waiting... pondering existence... If (whenever I do) I do have an update, you will of course be one of the first to know.  You know how this goes...  The waiting game. Isn't it great?

How are you doing?  WIP-ing along?  Any exciting news?  Do share!

Happy Writing!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Winner ANNOUNCED!

Good morning everyone!  Sleep well?

Well, I woke up this morning and the very first thought on my mind was: I get to draw the winner for Kimmel Tippet's SIGNED novel, Transformation!
(And yes, I was that excited.)

Remember: If you didn't win, don't be sad.  I plan on many more Give Aways in the future!  (Including joining some blog hops, which I have become very addicted to.)  I rarely ever win them myself (odds just don't like me) so have hope with me, and stick around.  I promise I will have something interesting to say. *smiles*

Now, without further ado, the winner is:




Congratulations Jeanette!
I have emailed you.  Look for it!
If I do not hear from you within 48 hours, I will have to redraw the winner.


Again, thank you all for the amazing turn out.  If you didn't win this copy, I highly recommend you still go get yourself a copy.  Kimmel is just great, you will see.

You all made me so giddy with your entries and I am so excited to have you in my blogging world.  I have to say, I have some of the best followers out there.

Now, off I go to start my day.
Happy writing!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Give-Away ending SOON

Just one last friendly reminder...

My Give-Away for a SIGNED copy of Kimmel Tippet's debut novel, Transformation, is ending MONDAY.

On Monday, I will use Random.org, via Rafflecopter, to choose the lucky winner!

Have you entered yet?  No?  Why not?
To read the original interview and Give-Away post with Kimmel, click HERE

To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter below.
(Though, I do insist you should still read her interview.  She is great!)

Nothing is magical about leaving. Every time Emily thinks she might finally be able to settle down, her mother announces they are moving again. She is sick of it, and ready to do anything to finally find stability. Desperation can do strange things to a person. Little does Emily know that moving in with her estranged grandmother will not only be magical, but potentially deadly as well. Cursed by her grandmother’s own hand, Emily finds something about her very being has been changed for good. She has fallen prey to the full moon. There is nothing Emily can do about the cursed physical transformation. But can she learn to be true to who she is inside before the change transforms her soul as well?



Friday, August 5, 2011

Book Review: Life As We Knew It

Life As We Knew It
by Susan Beth Pfeffer


Synopsis: (From Goodreads)
Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.


Why I Picked this Book:  A friend had told me about it, and said she knew I would love it.  So I bought it, and lent it out to other friends.  All of them loved it.  Months later I finally got it back, and decided to see what this love was all about.

My Thoughts:  
I loved it.
Life As We Knew It is such a realistic take on "what it" that it left me forgetting this event hadn't actually happened.  Pfeffer does a great job on writing in journal format, getting you into the MC, Miranda's head.  How the events unroll, how everything happens, isn't pumped up or magnified.  It is true people, acting how they truly would.

We read many stories about the world coming to an end.  Alien attacks.  Nuclear war.  Viruses, famine, dictatorships.  Smart apes.  In Life As We Knew It, all that happens is an asteroid hits the moon.  No one thought it would be bad.  They gathered on their lawns with sodas in hand to watch this rare event.

Then the moon grew larger.

In short, some how the asteroid managed the bump the moon out of orbit and closer to the earth.  And... you know... we kinda depend on the moon.  For tides.  And weather.  So you can only imagine what happens.

Miranda was very believable.  The story starts with her as the normal teen: whining about homework, thinking about boys, complaining about her parents.  Through the series of events and catastrophes that happen, you really do get to see this young woman grow up and change.

I was so in Miranda's head, that I forgot this story wasn't an actual journal of actual events.  When I had to set it down to take care of my kids, eat, anything, I found myself thinking thoughts like: "Ok, but we need to conserve the granola bars.  We don't know how long our rations will last." and "We still have tap water.  I hope it lasts."  Then I would have to shake my head and remember: In the real world, the moon is still in its rightful orbit.

The reactions of people was too right on.  It was real world reactions.  Real world panic.  How Miranda thought her mother had gone crazy when she loaded their car to the ceiling with canned goods.  How the schools and police stations and stores close down.  How people turn on each other.  How teenage love can truly only be a handful of journal entries long.

I don't know what else I can say.  I could rant forever about characters, plots, the happenings.  But honestly: I just want you to read it.  Pfeffer has created a book where she destroyed the world perfectly, and pulls you along for the ride.  It is believeable.  It is too real.  And now when I look at the moon, I am grateful for its small, distant size.



My Rating:
(5 out of 5 stars)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WIP Day - Camping and Synopsis Writing


Today I didn't realize it was Wednesday until a commercial during my son's cartoon told me so.  That is how awesome I am.  Thank you cartoon, for keeping me up to date.

Oh, and I have to say: Welcome to all you new followers!  Yes... you.  And you.  I love seeing you here! Really, I do.

Let's dive in.

Camp NaNoWriMo.  Have you heard of it?  Simply put, it is NaNoWriMo's resolution to giving us the challenge during the summer, instead of just November.  (If you still have no idea what NaNoWriMo is, click here.)

Well, I am doing it.  At least, I am trying to.  Monday started off great.  I got a few thousand words plucked away on ITB.  It felt so good to just write again.  Mindless, crazy typing.  Nothing more.  I loved it, even though I already know most everything I just plucked out needs a major overhaul.  It's a good thing.

Last night, I had to write out my full synopsis for PN.  I have been putting that off... but the time has come.  Man, those are hard to do!  I think I got it, but by the end my brain was mush and ITB didn't get any attention.  I swear, its like having two children, who both want you nonstop.  (I know that feeling well!)

Still, the synopsis is done... I need to read through it once more.  I scoured the internet for tips on how to write one of these.  And each site had different thoughts.  Finally I just threw my hands in the air, busted it out, and am hoping that it is good enough. (Hoping like mad...)

Tonight, ITB gets my love again.  I promised it, and I just can't stand to see it pout.
I wrote out a blurb for the Camp NaNoWriMo site.  I am not majorly in love with it, and plan to totally redo it, but hey: When you need something fast, this is what you get.

So, to close my WIP update for the week, here you go.


In the Blood (Title subject to change)

Ever since Dawn turned eighteen, she has been unable to remember the dreams that cause her to wake in a terrified sweat each morning. Now, as her nineteenth birthday draws near, things are getting stranger. Her dreams seem to be getting more intense. Her own waking reflection terrifies her. Strange shadows pass the moon, and the ever present feeling of eyes watching her keeps Dawn on edge.

After meeting Ryder, the strange man who looks too similar to her in his perfection, life as she knew it disappears. He frightens her. Yet something deeper pulls Dawn to him. Ryder holds the answers Dawn thought she would never find. The truth about her father’s death. The fear of her dreams. The cause of her perfection.

Ryder is Dawn’s only protection against the flying demon that is now hunting for her life. But can Ryder be trusted? The answers, all of the secrets, are in her blood.

____________________________


REMINDER:  
The Give-Away to win a SIGNED copy of Kimmel Tippets' debut novel, Transformation, ends soon!  
Winner will be announced Monday.  
If you haven't entered, go do it! 

-> CLICK HERE <-



Happy Writing!

Monday, August 1, 2011

When Muses Collide


Raise your hand if you have a story idea.
Now, raise your hand if you have five story ideas.

It is great to have something to write about.  When your muse graces you with that idea that turns into a plot that transforms into a book, you can't help but be giddy.  Too often we find ourselves in that "writer's block" slump, so shooing away our muse is definitely a very bad idea.

Besides, why would we wish the ideas gone?

At the moment, I have about eleven little idea books stacked on my idea shelf (Very literally.  They are pretty.)  When I get a thought for one of those waiting plots, I snag its book and scribble on its pages before tucking it back away.  I have found it is a great way to never have that moment of: 
"I had a great idea... but... what was it?"

Here is my problem:  The ideas keep coming.
(I know, sounds just horrible, doesn't it?)

Just last week I got yet another new novel idea.  One I am actually kinda of excited to work on.  But with all the others that are waiting before it, that I am also looking forward to write, all that happened was it earned a book and got its spot on that shelf.

There aren't enough hours in the day.
Days in the year.
And all I want to do sometimes is hide and pretend that the ideas aren't taking over.

So what do you do when muses collide?

Rejoice.

As much as I might want to whine about the "never having time" issue... I can't help but feel happy that I know, when I do have time, all of those stories and characters and evil doers are waiting.  Someday I will be able to sit longer, type more, and let them take control.  Someday.  (Says stay at home mommy of two.  Yeah...)

Until then, here are a few of my personal tips for you, when your muse comes a-knocking:

  • Don't hide.  Listen to that thought.  Let it roll around in your mind.  It's a present, not a poison!
  • JOT IT DOWN.  Whether it is in a special writing book, your cell phone, or the back of you hand, don't let that idea/quote/issue/whatever get away! 
  • Sit down at least once a week and look through the muses you have had.  Who knows, another may knock, or you may find yourself typing away like mad.  
  • Breath.  Yes, it is overwhelming.  Yes, it can be heartbreaking that at that moment, the story has to hit the back burner.  Don't lose hope.  Someday it will become your baby.  Just... breath.
  • Thank your Muse.  Chocolate works nicely.  Or a well written short story.  Either way, let that muse know that the idea will not go to waste.
  • One muse is great.  Two are amazing.  Three muses are scary, but awesome.  Though they might be battling for your attention and skills, don't cry.  They are battling because they love you.  And you love, adore, need them.  Embrace it all.  This is an art, and you have been graced.

I am taking a deep breath, and hugging my ideas today.
I may feel overwhelmed, but its a good feeling.  It's the knowledge that, for now, my idea-well is bubbling over.  Thank you, Muse.

As one of my blog followers, CherylAnne Ham, recently commented:
"Better to have lots of ideas and little time,
than plenty of time and no ideas.
Good luck and happy writing."
How about you?  Has your muse hit?  Are there more than one battling?  
Happy Writing!

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