Tuesday, January 31, 2012

And the Young Adult Hop Winner is...

Thank you SO much to everyone who entered my Young Adult Blog Hop giveaway.  What an awesome turn out it was!  

Not only did you all help me break the 700 follower mark, you gave me so much love on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads that I barely know what to do with myself.  

*beams*

And now... Without further ado.  The winner (chosen via Rafflecopter) of my Young Adult giveaway is:

Amanda Jane

Congrats Amanda!  I have sent you an email.  If I do not hear from you within 48 hours, I will have to redraw the winner.  So get back to me soon!

As for the rest of you... as I always say: Stick around!
I always have things planned for the future, and love having you all hear to give things to, bounce ideas off of, and hear from.  I look forward to our blogging together!  Happy Writing

Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Review - Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
by Laini Taylor

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
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?

Why I Picked this Book:  A close friend of mine pretty much praised it, and I couldn't resist.  Not to mention that awesome, different cover!

My Thoughts:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a magical story about fate, love, and battling for it all.  Laini Taylor truly has a magic quality with her words, and was able to weave a story that left me wondering.

The beginning was a bit rocky for me, to be honest.  I kept reading though, mainly because others had raved so much about this book.  After a bit I finally got into the groove of things, and was pulled in.  The main character Karou was very interesting, what with her blue hair, crazy battle skills and the fact that she was raised by chimeras.  I couldn't help but wonder what the heck was going on with her, and what secrets her psuedo-father Brimstone, the teeth collector, was keeping from her.

Then you meet Akiva.  An angel who at first is set out to stop Brimstone from his magical secrets.  That is, until he meets Karou.  Then everything changes.  There is something about her that he can't resist.  And now he finds he cannot bear to leave her.  The reason why... is so much more than he expected.

Overall, the story was enchanting.  Taylor created a world that was pretty believable, full of mystical creatures, battles of fate, and faithful friends.  Many times I literally felt like I was there, in the story instead of reading it.

My issue with this read was that about three quarters of the way though, the story suddenly changed.  I get why it did, and it does make sense.  Still, I felt disoriented and am still unsure how much I do like that choice. Though everything does connect and make sense in the end (which might I add, leaves you with a complete, total cliff-hanger)... I can't say I fully enjoyed the switch up.  I loved the story that was told.  I really did.  But... See?  Even now I am all flustered.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone was a very enjoyable read.  I do look forward to the next book in the series, though I might not be clambering to the bookshelves to get it as fast as I had hoped.  I recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick magical outlet from their normal, mundane world.

My Rating:
(3 out of 5 stars)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Young Adult Giveaway Hop


Welcome to the Young Adult Giveaway Hop!

For this hop, I am giving away one awesome YA novel, to one lucky winner.  Spike my following numbers enough, and I just may do what I did last time and add in another winner.  Oo...

This hop will run until midnight, January 31st.  Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter and announced February 1st.  This giveaway is open anywhere that the Book Depository ships.

Let's keep this post simple and to the point, since I know most of you are only here to follow me, enter, and move on to the next hopping blog... you know... the ones listed here.  I am doing the very same thing. *wink*

The Winner will have the choice of ONE of these awesome reads:


Two of my favorite most recent reads...


A pre-order of two anticipated part 2 novels...

To enter: Just fill out the Rafflecopter below.  You must be a follower of my blog, either through GFC or NetworkedBlogs.  There are also a few bonus entries... so enter away!

Good luck! And Happy Hopping!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WIP Day - Blame Netflix

I blame television.
More specifically: Netflix.

It has taken the cake for my top procrastination device.  Oh my.  I have found myself watching shows more than perusing Facebook.  More than exploring Tumblr and reading tweets on Twitter.  And, needless to say, this has really been affecting my writing and editing.

Oh Netflix, why must your awesomeness impede on my creativity?

Good thing first: I started in on my rewrite.  Phase two is a go!

Oh man, I am liking it so much more with each word retyped.  Present tense is adding a whole new feel to ITB that I did not expect.  I love diving into my MC's mind.  I love feeling the moment as it happens to her.  It is amazing.  Maybe this story won't turn out perfect.  But man, I am learning so much more about my writing self as I plunk out these words.

Bad thing: I just keep slacking.  I want to work on it.  I want to so bad.  So why do I sit down and watch Netflix instead?

It isn't for a lack of desire.  Or drive.  Gosh, I want to write more than anything (Other than sleep in.  Sleeping in sounds like heaven.)  So what kind of metaphorical kick in the butt do I need to get my fingers flying faster than they are?

I am asking you, my blogging and reading people.
Tips? Advice? Fist shaking? Help a writer out!

*eyes trail over to Netflix queue* Bad Jenni!


In Other News:
I finally revamped my website.  It has been waiting for my attention for some time now and I finally gave in to it.  (Yes, yet another awesome distraction from my writing.  I am on a roll!)  Check it out

Side note: There will be a give away on Friday, as part as a hop hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer.  Make sure to spread the word and enter!  My normal Friday book review will be posted Saturday morning.

That is it for this week's WIP update.  Sad, I know.  But who knows what next week will bring!

Happy Writing!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Book Review - A Million Suns

A Million Suns
by Beth Revis

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.
It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies.

But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.

In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

Why I Picked this Book:  I very much so enjoyed Across the Universe and knew there was no way I could not read book two.

My Thoughts:
Oh Beth Revis... Can I live in your head?

A Million Suns is book two in Beth Revis' exciting Young Adult sci-fi series Across the Universe.  It takes place pretty much directly where book one ends, and doesn't pause a moment in momentum or story.

Note: If you haven't read Across the Universe yet, this review may spoil some things for you.  Just saying.

Eldest is gone.  Elder is now in charge of the ship and everyone is off of the mind-controlling drug Phydus.  The problem?  Now that they can think for themselves, they aren't so sure they want a teen to be in control of their lives.  Not to mention they still don't trust Amy, the strange Earth born girl who just doesn't fit in.

There are revolts.  There is betrayel.  There is love, and fighting, and humor, and broken hearts.  Honestly, this book goes everywhere.  It dives into the core of who people are, with their need to ever be in control yet yearn for someone to lead them.  And the utter drive of humanity to deny anything true, just because it is a scary thought.

I found myself so mad at the inhabitants of Godspeed that I was fuming and sputtering to myself.
I love it.

My only issues with A Million Suns was, at least for me, the predictability.  From the get-go I guessed the bad guy of book two and was almost sad that I was right.  Revis did save it though with some twists to his 'reasons why' that I did not expect.

Oh, and Amy.  Needless to say, I prefer Elder over Amy any day.  There is just something about her... maybe the fact that she keeps pushing this guy away even though in the same breath she says she wants him.  Come on girl!

As with book one, this book is written from two different POV's: Elder and Amy.  I don't know if maybe I have just read more than I did with book one... if Revis has just gotten better... or something else out there.  But this time around I found it much easier to stay in the story and enjoy it.

As for the ending... where is book three??

Needless to say: I loved this read.  Revis is by far securing herself in my list of favorite authors, and I cannot wait to read more.  If you enjoyed Across the Universe, make sure you pick this book up quick and see where the adventure goes next.

My Rating:
(5 out of 5 stars)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

WIP Day - Ding Ding, Round One

Hello Thursday.
How was your Wednesday?

This last week has been a week of busy.  I finally got my writer butt in gear and finished my first read-thru of ITB.  I have to admit: It wasn't as horrible as I imagined it would be.

Yes, I have tons of editing ahead of me.  Yes, most of it is a complete overhaul/rewrite (including writing the last few chapters that were some how lost over the last couple months...) Yes, I am tired and slightly overwhelmed.  But man, am I stoked.

Really.
Reading through ITB.  Seeing the improvements I have already made in my writing.  Seeing where I can still go... Man!  I love writing!

So now I have noted the rough arc that ITB decided to run along, brainstormed ideas to add in and change, and made a huge decision.  I am officially changing the tense from past to present.  I kept bouncing back and forth between it.

Past is more accepted and easier.  Present gives more personality.  Past is like sitting across from a friend as they tell you their story.  Present is like becoming that person as every moment happens.

After much bouncing, I decided that I wanted to stretch myself once again.  Present tense it is.  I am very, very, very excited people.  Honestly.  When I think about it.  When I plot new scenes and changes.  My heart hammers and my mind reels and I just can't resist the urge to type.
Good sign, yes?

*Resists urge to stop blog post mid-sentence and day dream about ITB*

Oh.  Um.  Hi.  Still there huh?

What's next?
Well, writing duh!  I am in the middle of reading the MS of a writeshove buddy.  Along with catching up (as always... when does it end?) on photo editing.  Amidst it all, mixed with being mommy and attempting reading time as well, I am starting in on stage two of ITB edit.  Busy!

PN Update:
I ordered more stock of my book.  Decided to check my UPS tracking number to make sure it was still on time for its projected Friday delivery.  Only to find that the current status was "train derailed."

Wait... What?  

Sure enough, after Googling it (okay, what was life like before you could say that you "Googled it?") I found that was just what had happened.  The train that my box of PN copies was traveling on had hit a semi in Montana... and derailed.  Luckily it looks like no one was critically hurt.  Thank goodness.  Still, it means that I have no idea when that shipment will get here.  (And yes... the very next worry in my mind was "But... are my books okay?")

I like to say that my book is so awesome, it derailed a train.
Just let me think that, alright?

Oh, and you know me.  I love sharing photos, and can't resist it when I have a few new ones to show off.  To those of you who have read it and reviewed it... you are so awesome.  Really.  You are.

My totally gorgeous sis-in-law Nikki showing off the very cover she helped me make
Heidi with her copy and awesome humor
How has your week been?  Any updates?  Do share!

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA Blackout Day


Due to the planned Black Out for the protest against the SOPA and PIPA bills, my weekly WIP update will be postponed until tomorrow.

I will be honest: I don't follow the news a whole ton.  And I rarely know what is going on in politics.  Yes, I am one of those Americans.  *shrug*

But what I have read, heard and learned about SOPA has me worried.  I won't get into a huge rant about it here.  My blog is a not a place for political uproars, it is a place for writing.  But I will say that the possibility that images like the one above might appear on my hard-worked-upon (yes, I have made that a phrase) blog... That something worse than that image could happen... That more and more freedoms and rights might be taken from people... does have me worried.

I do see where this act is coming from.  I would hate to find that my book, which I literally slaved over, has been pirated.  I would be more than upset.  Regardless, seeing the potential of what these bills could result in is much more frustrating and scary than the thought that someone stole a free copy of my book.  (It's not expensive... don't steal it...)

For today, many sites across the internet (including Wikipedia, Wordpress, and Minecraft to name just a few) are blacking out.  They are showing us a tiny glimpse of a large possibility.

I swear... there has to be at least ten books out there about this...
We all love dystopians.  Just imagine.

For a great post from Muggle Born, sharing information on how these two Bills might affect us book bloggers,and a video to boot, click here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Book Review - Legend

Legend
by Marie Lu

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias' death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.


Why I Picked This Book: The cover was everywhere in the blogging world.  While there was nowhere near as much hype for it as other recent releases, it still flooded sites.  I had to pick it up!

My Thoughts:
I don't even know what just happened.  I swear I picked up a book to read.  But it is already over and barely any time has passed.  Did I really just devour that thing?  Yes, yes I did.

That was my original thought when finishing Legend.  This book pulled me in and I literally couldn't stop reading until it was over.  And over all too soon.  Did it really just get released?  Do I really have to wait around for book two to come out?

Legend takes place in a ravaged future.  The U.S. has split in half and is at war with itself.  Poverty is everywhere.  Day is a wanted criminal, only 15 and already has caused enough vandalism and chaos to land him on the most wanted list.  The problem?  No one even knows what he looks like.  He lives in the slums, only coming out when it is time to stage another protest against the ruling government.

The very government that June works for.  She is the top of the top.  She scored a perfect score on her trial... a test every ten year old must go through to determine what they will do with their lives.  Did I mention that Day failed his?  Yup, completely.  Then June's brother is killed... by Day... and she will stop at nothing for revenge.

One thing I loved about this book is how Lu handled the alternating POV.  When written in 1st person, two POVs can get confusing at times.  Not in Legend.  The font color, even the font type, differs for the two.  I loved it!  Bouncing back and forth between Day and June was easy and fluid, and I never complained.  Day and June were very similar in personality, which does make sense as the book goes on.  The differing font colors really helped to keep me in line.

Now, the overall plot was sort of predictable.  It runs along the lines of a very basic, classic story: One character is the bad guy, one is the good guy.  Bad guy kills good guy's someone-special.  Good guy seeks revenge, only to find that more is going on than previous stated crime.  Bad guy just might not be all that bad.

There were many twists and changes I completely saw coming.  But honestly?  I didn't bug me.  At all.  It was like watching a movie you have seen a million times, but love so much it feels like the first time.  Lu paints an amazing picture, and I was pulled in.  The world was believable, the characters just deep enough to care about but not so deep that they seem unreal.  There was action and violence.  Humor and kissing.  Character growth and betrayal.

Yes, I do have a few complaints.  A few that just might have pulled my rating down to a 4-star.  But I enjoyed the story too much to give it anything less than 5.  I am hoping that my few complaints (spoilers withholding) will be answered in the next book.  If they are, I will be a happy reader.  If not... okay, then I might start complaining.

All in all, I loved Legend.  It was such a great break from the super detailed, out-there books.  It was simply a dystopian, ruined world and all, with a plot line that kept me wanting more.  Lu is an amazing author, and I cannot wait to read more of her work in the very, very near future.

My Rating:
(5 out of 5 stars)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's My Blogoversary!


Three years ago today, I wrote my first ever post for this blog.  It was a horrible post, lacking formatting, purpose, pretty much everything.  I refuse to even link to it.  But it was the birth of what would someday become one of my number one obsessions.

After that post, I rarely updated.  Blips here and there about my make-believe writing.  Then I completely ignored the poor blog for months.  Almost a year.  How sad.  Once again I started up with my random posts that received no comments and little attention.  And once again... I forgot about my blog.

That is until I started to prep for NaNoWriMo 2010.  I decided to resurrect this little blog of mine.  I made friends.  Found support.  Created a system.  And become thoroughly, absolutely addicted (and in love) with my blog.

I could never leave it now.

Happy 3 year anniversary, dear blog.  We had a rocky start.  Many spats, many months of neglect and cold shoulders.  I almost ended things completely with you many times.  But we made it through.  Now we are better than ever, with a bright future ahead of us.

(Yes, I am whispering sweet nothings to my Blog.  And it deserves it!)

To celebrate... I thought to host a random, short, fun little Giveaway.  Of Prison Nation.  You know, that book I wrote.

How it will work:
- Comment on this post, with some blogging sweet nothings. Aww...

- The first people who comment will win a digital copy of Prison Nation.

- The prize will be a gifted digital copy, in either Kindle or Nook format.  Sorry, those are the only digital formats I offer at this time!

I would love to do more, such as an actual paperback giveaway... and will do more, very very soon.  But for now, this is all I can do.  Still... A digital copy is better than nothing, right??

If you just want to comment for the love of it and do not want a digital copy (*gasp!*) just let me know in the comment.  But... we all know you want a copy.  Of this book.  That I wrote. *winks*

Three years... I am left wondering: What is next?  Oh, the dreams and opportunities.  And blog posts.  Where will we go?  It all abounds.  And I am so happy that all of you are along for this ride.  *beams*


Happy Anniversary, Dear Blog!
And... as always: Happy Writing!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WIP Day - Past or Present?

I will start today's post with admitting:
I am such a huge slacker.

I was supposed to dive into editing ITB as soon as 2012 started.  Well... last night I finally began.  I am full of the excuses:

I am mad at my missing chapters.  My kids are absolutely crazy.  I just need to finish watching the last season of Charmed.  My brain went on vacation and let me here in a mindless drooling lump.  I am hungry.

Honestly though, it is just because I am a slacker.

Last night I finally opened my ITB file, and began my first read through of my Camp NaNoWriMo 2011 novel, pen and notepad in hand.  And let me tell you... it has much editing ahead of it.  I knew it would before I even started.  But actually seeing it... *sigh* I have to keep reminding myself that this is perfectly normal.  That it is part of the writing process, right??

Here is one thing I am finding though.
I wrote ITB in 1st person.  And for some reason, I tend to bounce between past and present tense at times.  (I blame it on the word sprints.  Frenzied fingers equal confused tenses.  Ha.)  So now I am wondering: Which tense should I keep?  Is one more appropriate for this piece than another?  Is one better overall?

Oh, the questions.

I am thinking I will need to fully write an entire chapter in each tense, then see which flows with my story better.  It sounds like a decent plan to me.  I already did it with a short blip from the story, and that didn't help me much.  I am clearly seeing the strengths with each option... and am in quite a bind!  Tell me your thoughts! Please!

Let us talk, Past vs. Present.  And... go!

Aside from that... WIP day is just wip-ping along.  I will read/notate more tonight.  I will!  If you find me on Twitter or Facebook goofing off, please... do yell at me.

PN Update:
Just a quick note.  Tomorrow (aka Thursday) I will be ordering another box of books for my personal stock. If you just so happen to want to order a signed copy from yours truly, please let me know via email before then so I can make sure to have enough in stock for you!  Signed copies are $13 (which already includes the s/h) You know you want to...

Now for more kicks and giggles... I want to share a few of the photos I received recently from bookish friends.

Trisha showing off her copy of PN! My book is across the globe!
Ruthie with her very own copy :)
I couldn't help it.  I need to jump in for a pic too!
Don't forget... Kindle copies rock too!

Vince sharing his newest ebook purchase!

That is about it for my WIP day.  How be yours?

Happy Writing!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Do You Need Some Prompting?

How many times have you sat down to write and found that your mind just isn't spinning correctly?  It is dead.  You can't think of anything to say and writer's block is threatening to take hold of you and choke the inner writer to  a gory, final literary death.

(Okay yes, maybe a little over dramatic there.  But we all know how utterly horrible that feeling is!)

Maybe you need a prompt.
Put aside the book you are madly writing, take a deep breath, and let your muses flow as you follow a prompt, nudge, sprint, mental throw-up, whatever you want to call it.  Whether is is a sentence prompt, a photo inspiration, a five minute quick write of blabbering... Sometimes what you need more than working on that book is letting your mind relax and remember that: It is creative, and it does love to create.

One book I have found that is full of prompting gems is The Writer's Book of Matches: 1,001 Prompts to Ignite Your Fiction.  It is a little book, jam-packed full of various prompts that get your mind spinning.  Varying between single prompt lines, dialogue, perspective choices, and pick-your-own-path type options, this book is sure to help most any writer looking for a kick to get those juices flowing once again.

Back before I started keeping this blog on a regular schedule, I had another blog that I tinkered with.  Someday I may even resurrect it.  I want to.  I love that blog.  (Hmm...)

In it I mostly posted one of two things: Writing prompts, and writing tips.  Most of my prompts are from The Writer's Book of Matches.  I have to say: What a great experience those writing frenzies were.  If you want to check out the few I posted, click here.

Along with great books full of tips and prompts, you can find online challenges for those days that you need a nudge.

My fellow writer and book lover Ruthie has done just that.  Over on her blog Live Love Laugh Write!, every Saturday she posts a writing nudge for the week.  Her challenge: Write.  Then post your blog link to her linky list, and check out each other's nudges for the week.

It is an awesome challenge, and I plan to start taking part once I get my life back in some sort of working order.  I say you should try it too.  It doesn't have to be long.  It doesn't have to be the most amazing piece of literary gold ever created.  It just needs to be written.  Take a moment to check out her nudges, follow her, and join in the mad writing fun.

Here are my few tips, that I have at this moment in time, for writing from prompts:


  • Treat it like a quick write.  Remember those back in school?  When the teacher would set the clock for 5 minutes, then tell you to keep writing until the timer went?  Do that.  Don't stop, waste time, check your email, ponder the existence of whales...  Just write, until that short piece is finished.  Or close to it.

  • Let the Muse take control.  Prompts sometimes can be hard to figure out.  You might find yourself thinking "Oh, I can't write anything from this prompt."  Well, you will never know if you don't try.  All it is... is a prompt.  Even if the resulting story ends up having nothing to do with the original push, it is still a story, and is still writing.  That is the goal here!

  • Keep it short.  Unless a certain prompt inspires a complete book out of your awesome mind, keep it short.  The story doesn't need to be pages long to be great.  Even a simple 500 word thought could be just the mind dump your creativity needed.

  • Take a risk.  These prompts, challenges, and nudges are just that.  Don't stick to the norm.  If you always write high sci-fi, but a certain nudge gives you an idea for a Young Adult Contempory exploration, then do it.  Who knows, you may find a strength or idea you never knew you had before.

  • Have fun.  Honestly.  There may be many reasons that you write.  Money, peer pressure, pleasing family, fame, an agent banging on your door.  But when it all boils down to it, you are writing because you love to do it.  If you are taking a moment to follow a simple prompt, then do it for the sheer joy of it.  Let it lead, and see where it takes you.


I challenge all of you to try a prompt of some sort this next week.  I know I will.  It has been too long since I last did one.  Just like you take a vacation to get away from life and work, let a prompt give you that short literary break from your masterpiece you are currently hammering out.  I dare you.

And then of course... feel free to share!

Happy Writing!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Book Review - Prized

Prized
by Caragh M. O'Brien

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime. In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole?

Why I Picked This Book: I loved Birthmarked.  It was a no brainer I had to pick up book two as well!  Not to mention the cover is just stunning.

My Thoughts:
After reading Birthmarked, I highly looked forward to book two.  O'Brien is a very talented writer, and I couldn't wait to see where Gaia would find herself next.  Prized from the get-go had me worried.  The opening felt very rocky, and from then on out... It just kept rocking.

In book two, Gaia finds herself in the Dead Forest.  Hidden inside is yet another dystopian community, where she finds herself trapped because of a strange addiction in the air.  In this community, the woman rule.  And the women are dying out.  Her skills as a midwife are valuable and needed, but can she change everything that she is in order to survive?

It was an intriguing plot that seemed like it could go well with book one.  O'Brien's writing is amazing, and her words always pull me along.  The problem for me is: it didn't feel connected at all to Birthmarked.  Prized is book two in the series, picking up almost directly where the other book left off.  But everything felt different.

To me, it felt like not very much happened in this story.  I kept waiting for something awesome, and kept finding myself walking in the same circles.  It felt like that final spark just never flared to life, which left my bumming.

Oh... and there is a love square.  Literally.  Three guys, all fighting for Gaia in their own ways.  Leon is back, angrier and more surly than ever.  I just wanted to smack him.  Peter, the boy who saved Gaia and doesn't mind bending a few rules to get her attention.  And his brother Will, the silent devoted type.  Sigh.  Too many guys for me, to be honest.

I think one of the few redeeming facts of this book, aside from the writing, are the topics it dares to touch on.  Abortion.  The right to raise your own child regardless of your living circumstances.  Pregnancy.  Love and the right to fight for it regardless of the law.  O'Brien is a brave author to touch on some of these topics.  It is done in a very tactful way, without being too overbearing, which I appreciated.

Overall, it was not a horrible read.  If read solely for the enjoyment and experience, I do not regret it.  I am just disappointed about how disconnected it felt from Birthmarked.  And the level plateau that it never seemed to rise from.  Still, I do not doubt I will pick up whatever O'Brien has up her sleeve next.

My Rating:
(3 out of 5 stars)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

WIP Day - I Know I Hit 'Save'

A few days ago I settled down at my desk, pulled out my notebook, cracked my knuckles... And opened my ITB document.  Editing time, it has begun.

I scrolled through the entire book, just to take it in.  Then found something that I did not like, at all.

The final few chapters were no where to be found.  I quickly opened up my email to find my back up copy there... only to discover find that the final one I had emailed myself August 31 was no where to be found.  I swear I emailed it...

I checked my netbook.  Same issue.  Even the version saved on my flash drive was missing the final chapters.

Now, I am pretty OCD about backing my work up.  So this has left me completely perplexed.  I guess the writing Gods didn't like those final few chapters and wanted to make sure I couldn't even read them before rewriting.

Which is okay, I guess.  Since I hated them as well and was planning on an overhaul of the ending of ITB.  Still... it frustrates me like nothing else that "poof" they are gone.  Needless to say, I didn't edit that night.  I grumbled loudly to myself, turned on Charmed, and zoned out to cheesy witchy action.

Now it is about time to kick myself in the butt and get that editing on.  I have already been slacking.  Oh no!  I plan on starting in on the thing tonight.  The first read will be... interesting.  I can't remember most of what I wrote, and I am mixed with a very strong blend of fear, anxiety, and sheer curiosity.

Moral of this story?  Triple check your back up.  Even if it is chapters you hated and were going to completely redo, back them up and make sure they are there.  Grumbling just isn't as productive as editing.

PN:  Just wanted to share these two pics sent to me, of two awesome people holding my book.  I love seeing it in there hands!  And I love getting pics like this!  Totally makes my day.  People seem to be really enjoying PN, which makes me all bubbly inside.  I love you guys.

Keary showing PN off
Kimmel finally got her copy too!

Now, off I go to be mommy.  My boys have both been up since 5AM and both woke up with quite a lethal intent to drive mommy completely bonkers today.  Wish me luck.

How is your first week of 2012 going?  Any updates?

Happy Writing!

Monday, January 2, 2012

My 2012 Writing Resolutions

Well, would you look at that.  It is 2012.
I decided that for my post today, I would share my 2012 Writing Resolutions.  Pretty much meaning: My goals and dreams for the year 2012.  And we all know that when you write something down and share it for the internet world to read, you kinda have to stick to it.  So here I am, sharing away.  *wink*
Let's get these goals rolling.



- Edit ITB.  That's right.  It is time.  I wrote ITB in August, and it has just been sitting and simmering.  My goal with ITB: Get it all edited and polished, dive into it so much I hate it.  That's always a good sign.  Then market it around and if I don't snag any snapping agents, prep it for publication by the end of the year.  I am excited to get back to work on ITB.  Let's hope that sticks!

- Write.  I have two different book ideas that have been tugging at me for some time now.  I would love to be able to work on at least one of them this year, while editing.  We will see how that goal goes.  And no, I am not sharing the synopsis for either of them, yet. *smiles*

- Promote PN.  It has been out for a month now, and what a great month it has been.  Still, I would love to see more people out there holding my book.  (I love getting those photos!) So... I need to think of what to do to get that goal accomplished.  Hmm... If you have any ideas, suggestions, or love, feel free to throw it my way!

- Plot for book two of PN.  That's right.  I was unsure if I would write a second book to it, but being as all the feedback that I have received so far has been begging for a sequel, it looks like my decision has been made for me.  I have a title and some ideas already, but shhh... those are a secret.

- Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo.  I love camping!  Writing while "camping" is even better!

-Participate in NaNoWriMo 2012.  This will be an epic year!

Connect.  I am a stay at home mom with a single car family.  Clearly, I am a recluse.  I am lucky enough to live in an area with an awesome NaNoWriMo writing community, and this year I want to take advantage of that.  NaNo PDX people out there... yell at me more to come over.

- Learn.  In 2011 I learned first hand about so many things: editing, the word "was," cover design, blogging.  There is so much out there for me to still learn though.  I want to make this a year of learning, growth, and discovery.  This includes attending Wordstock once again, diving into more of the writing books I have stacked here at my desk, and really analyzing how I write.

- Read.  Alot.  As if I do not do that already... I have taken up the challenge to read 55 books this year.  Amidst all my writing and editing, I will for sure be a busy lady!

- Stop doubting myself so much.  I am a good writer.  No, a great writer.  Even if there are a million writers out there ten times better than I am, I love this art.  And that is all that matters.  I need to work on my self-confidence, and this year will be the year to do it.  I just need to keep reminding myself, hourly, that: I am a great writer.

______________________

That seems to be the main goals I have for this year.  I am sure there are more sub-resolutions, and more will surface throughout the year.  Still, I have some place to start, and that is just what I am going to do.
2012, it is on!

What about you?  Do you have some 2012 writing resolutions? Do share!

Happy Writing!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Best of 2011 Giveaway Hop WINNERS

Ok, honestly.  You all rock.  Do you know that?  I had such an awesome turn out of entries for the Best of 2011 Giveaway Hop... that I even added a 2nd winner.

That's right!  I drew TWO winners, each of whom (whom?  I think that's right...) will get a choice of ONE of the books I listed in the original post.

And the winners are...

Alivia
and
Juhina Elmajdoub

Congrats you two!
I have emailed the winners.  They have 48 hours to respond.  If I do not hear from them by then... I will draw a new winner.  So if you are one of those two, respond quick!

And to the rest of you who did not win:
I hope you stick around.  We have fun here, right older followers? *looks around hopefully*  Really, we do.  So don't go anywhere! *offers hug*

And, of course: 
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Let's make 2012 an awesome one.

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