Nov 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

The book I can't wait for is Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins. It comes out on May 1st next year. So long to wait. ;-; I got to read the first chapter before it was on inkpop.

Sweet Evil
What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? This is life for sons and daughters of fallen
angels in Sweet Evil.

Anna, a tender-hearted southern girl, was born with the sixth
sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of
a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger,
but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring
Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her
will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned
you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

A cross-country trip forces Anna and Kai to face the reality
that hope and love are not options for their kind. When it's
time for Anna to confront her demons, will she choose to embrace
her halo or her horns?

Pitch from goodreads. What's your WoW this week?

Nov 29, 2011

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand review

Unearthly (Unearthly #1)

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has apurpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?
Pitch from goodreads.

I just finished this moments ago, so bare with my rather short review.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. A lot. Which is rather surprising. I always heard that this would be a horrible book (maybe because one friend who didn't like it doesn't like love triangles (yes, there is a love triangle)).

The writing's right up my alley: first person present tense. It was easy for me to slip into it. And the setting, I'm both familiar with: I'm a born-and-raised Californian, been to the San Francisco area, and have been to Jackson, Wyoming, and to the Grand Tetons. But some aspects I liked were the facts that it took place during the winter, the originality of the angel ordeal, how Clara was flawed (which was pointed out), and other things. (Like who she ends up with.)

(Make sure you don't skip to the ending like I do; I kind of regret it. But I'll end up doing it to another book.)

There's also how the characters' react. 90% of the time, I was happy/satisfied with everything. The characters were all real. I actually noticed that there were quirks to the characters. That's some major bonus points in my opinion.

I hated, though, Clara's views on cliques. Yes, people automatically form their cliques, but they aren't always labeled. She labels everyone, thinks about popularity, etc. That part really irked me and makes her feel shallow, because she thinks about how different angels are and their aspects every hundred pages.

But, that's my only complaint. I was absorbed in this book. The past two days, I read over half of the book. Which is surprising for me. I don't have any rants, nor will I rave too much. I recommend it to those who enjoy love triangles, angels, and ... yeah, that's basically it. The book's not too mushy for me to gag, and it isn't too slow. One of the best books I've read this year (which isn't saying much; I haven't read a whole lot this year).

I'd give this five stars.

Nov 28, 2011

Writer's Tip #1: How to Avoid Info-dumps

Writers love words, but sometimes, words don't like writers. Especially when it comes to info dumps.

What is an info dump? Well, it is when you drop a load of information onto the reader. They are boring chunks that are generally found in dialogue, or at the beginning of the story. And are generally found in more paranormal/fantasy stories.

How do you avoid info dumps? The answer varies. When it comes to explanations of mythology, it may be best to have a prologue to show a bit of the mythology, or intersperse the information. Never drop a load of info at once, because the reader with a) forget everything by the end of the chapter or b) get seriously confused.

Another way would be the main character has visions that connect with whatever information is being given. Or tiny bits are revealed throughout the story, as I've stated before. People learn may different ways, so applying learning techniques may help, like providing information and then explaining the information later on.

Also, try to avoid info dumps at the beginning of a story. It will slow down the story, and its always best to start where the plot is. Info dumps are back story.

Fixing info dumps always requires a lot of though. Sometimes they aren't avoidable, but if they aren't, make sure to give little bits throughout the story. We don't need the reader developing a headache or throwing the book around when they're not even halfway through the book.

Nov 27, 2011

The TBR reading challenge


This a challenge held at Bookish starting January 1st, 2012 to December 31st, 2012.  And I've got tons of books that I need to read.  Check it out if you're interesting.

Some of the books I plan to read are...
~Jealousy by Lily St. Crow
~Defiance by Lily St. Crow
~Paranormalcy by Kierstan White
~Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund
~Torment by Lauren Kate
~Passion by Lauren Kate
~Captivate by Carrie Jones
~Entice by Carrie Jones
~The Host by Stephenie Meyer
~The Vampire's Assistant by Darren Shan

And many more! I'm already setting up plans for next year, and getting these series read is part of it all.

Nov 26, 2011

Have I mentioned I have a new idea?

Well, two actually, but only one of them has pitches and more than one chapter written. Do you know what inspired it? Some commercial where a sword goes crashing into the room. I think it might've been a video game commercial, but I don't really remember.

The story's current title is Smolder, but it is most likely going to change, because I don't like it. And here are the  pitches (I, personally, think they're getting better):

It all started with a sword. Crashing through the roof.
Not a nice way to wake up in the middle of the night.

Having to actually save something is the last thing on Milo’s mind. Being a demigod is a close second. Yet now she’s forced to take on these two foreign paths in hopes of keeping some sort of world order. But Milo couldn’t care less about things that don’t involve her.

Levin refuses to let her go down the wrong path. As her Guardian, he guides her as best he can. He’s able to solve many of her mistakes, until she upsets Them—the ones who granted mortals the chances for immortality in the first places. Milo should listen to them no matter what, unless she wants to lose the powers that come with being a demigod.

When it comes to change, Milo’s chances of staying a demigod smolder to dust.

I plan to post it on inkpop next month, on the 21st. And as soon as I have a decent pitch for my latest idea, I'll post it here. This is also one of two/three projects I plan to write for Writing Hell (more info about this will be posted on Wednesday).

Reading update: Currently on page 68 of The Night Circus and loving it!

How's your reading/writing coming along?

Nov 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at the Breaking the Spine.

After cleaning part of my room today, I found a $26 giftcard for Amazon. So I'm getting two books. One of them is the following, which I've wanted for quite a while.

Shatter Me
Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

I can't wait to get it!

So what's your WoW?

Nov 20, 2011

Writing Hell?

You may have noticed the badge on the side of my blog. What is Writing Hell?

Well, Writing Hell will be a 5-10 day thing where you write 5k every day. Or 2.5k, to be a little easier. This will be to get some writing done, for those of you who didn't and/or couldn't do NaNoWriMo. And I plan for this to go on throughout the year.

If you do this, make sure to post on your blog how much your wrote the day before, and a little excerpt of writing. You don't have to work on a single project, but its recommended to get that novel completed.

If you want to participate, leave me a comment or contact me via one of the sites provided below. Or email me. I will gladly word war with you, or just chat whenever you'd like.

Spread the word, and have fun!

Do you think this is a good idea you'd participate in?

Nov 18, 2011

You poor little thing

It's been a while, if you hadn't noticed. But school, band, and writing have all overcome me. Kind of.

On Monday, I have an essay on Macbeth due. On Saturday, I'm going to be out of town for our last marching competition. And then I'm trying to get lots of writing done for Rush and my new idea, Smolder.

But, come Monday, I won't have to be at school until the regular time, and will start posting Writing Tips. The book I just finished and the book I'm currently reading have sparked a series of tips that I believe will help aspiring authors.

And that's my little update. See y'all on Monday!

Nov 13, 2011

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Carrier of the Mark
Their love was meant to be.
When Megan Rosenburg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place.  After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself felling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRis.
But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago--and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.
(Back of cover pitch.)

My review:
This was a hyped up read. I was excited to finally get this book because of two things: the fact it was published after inkpop (which I am on) and it sounded really cool. But after reading only the first page, I was weary of my good thoughts. I will say now that I only enjoyed two things: the setting and the idea.

Let me start by talking about the characters. For me, they were all 'meh.' Megan was developed, but she felt inconsistent in some places. She fears water, yet her first choice for somewhere to sit by herself is on a dock, with her feet dangling over water. Even I can freak out when it comes to walking on docks, because they move so easily because of the water. And then her thoughts about Adam and how she treated her friends were rather sad. She ignores nearly everyone and only thinks about Adam. All the time. Usually, I notice when my friends space out; not that hard to notice. And the fact that she's spacing out to think about Adam just doesn't make me like her. I hate how she treated her friends.

Then there's loverboy Adam. Nothing about him hooked me. I preferred Rian over Adam, but even then, I didn't know who Rian really is (which is bad because he's one of the more important characters (or at least that's what I would think)). Adam wasn't all too developed, and I didn't even know Rian. And Aine came off as an Alice. How she (and Rian) joked Adam and Meg's relationship annoyed me. They did the same thing every time.

Another thing that happened with the characters is that I would forget who's speaking, when it came to some info dumps. At one point, I thought Fionn was talking to Meg, yet it was Adam. These two boys are the ones who do the most info dumping, and it doesn't surprise me that I mixed them up.

Now for those info dumps. As I writer, I've learned to avoid info dumps. And this book is riddled with them. I wanted to skip them (and I don't remember if I did or not). There's also the fact that they were confusing. What I've learned as a student is to provide info and then explain it (like on a pretest). If Fallon had replaced the Prologue with something to do with the background to how Meg and the DeRises got their powers, it would remove some info dumping. That, or take one of them many topics later explained in one of the chapters, and use the Prologue to explain it, no matter how cliche it may have seemed. The Prologue barely caught me when I read it, which is where I should have been hooked.

Motives were also unclear for me. I didn't understand why Meg couldn't just do things; I believe I didn't understand because I didn't get what all the info dumps were trying to explain. There was just too much info that needed to get across, which is the problem with books like these.

And, now that I've gotten all the bad out, I'll talk about what I liked. I loved the setting, and I loved the idea of the book. Got to learn some mythology out of it. I love the elements, I loved the Marks, and I believe the setting was rather interesting. The whole idea, though, is what just might make me buy the next book. I'd like to see the plot (because, in reality, it didn't get interesting until the last 50 pages).

All in all, I'd rate this a two. The characters need development and I'd have liked to see more of the story, not the info.

Nov 6, 2011

Awesome giveaway!

So, my friend, Zoey, is giving away these books:
ARC of Shatter Me by Tahereh Maji
The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
Touch by Jus Addardo
The Darkest Powers Series by Kelley Armstrong

Enter to win these books (US citizens can get most; The Pledge is the only international one) here:

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Have I mentioned I'm broke? I just managed to convince my mom to by me three paper back books because two have more than one book in them.

And, because it seems like I can't find the cover for this one book online, I took a picture:

So, I got the paperback edition of Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Fearless (including Fearless, Sam, and Run) by Francine Pascal, and The Dark Elite (including Firespell and Hexbound) by Chloe Neill.

What did you get this week?

Nov 2, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill here.
Pitch from goodreads.

The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.
Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic in training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws threaten to launch what’s left of humanity into civil war, and she’s not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will discover that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.
Dan Wells, acclaimed author of I Am Not a Serial Killer, takes readers on a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our humanity is both our greatest liability and our only hope for survival.

 Pretty awesome, huh? It comes out on February 28th, 2012. Hopefully I a) when the ARC giveaway currently being hosted or b) get a whole lot of money for Christmas and from recycling. Can't wait to check it out.

What're you waiting on?

Wanderslust (excerpt 1)

I'm kind of ahead in NaNoWriMo for this, and almost done with the first chapter.  So, here's the excerpt:

  James pops up beside Benjamin, slinging an arm over Ben’s shoulder.  “You mean you don’t enjoy the time you spend with her?  How could you ever say such a thing?” he asks, mock horror lining his face for a second.  He bursts into laughter seconds later, forcing Ben to rock from side to side. 
     “What are you, drunk?”  Ben shakes his head at James and steps away, standing in the road for a moment.
     “Knowing him, he has some scotch somewhere in his coat,” I mutter, turning on my heels.  Ben appears at my side, the two of us abandoning James.  I try hard not to smile at the close proximity and instead focus on the carriages as they move forward, the Minister’s car gone.
     “You know, that’s not a very nice thing to say.”  James slings his arms around our necks, his head hanging between us.
     I stop walking and glare at him through a lock of auburn hair.  “Go hifreann leat!
     He steps back, hand covering his mouth.  “Such words spout from such a proper young lady.”  He closes his eyes and shakes his head, dark blond hairs shaking into his eyes.  “Benjy, you really should be a hold on your lassie.”

The phrase is an Irish phrase in the Gaelic language (so says the website where I found the phrase).  (I kind of screwed up the formatting.  Need to fix that soon.)

So, how's your writing coming along?  Do you know any phrases in foreign languages?

Nov 1, 2011


The title of this steampunk (at least, I plan to be a steampunk) was inspired by my marching band's show, the Gypsy Life. The last song (out of three) is Wanderlust. I absolutely love our show this year, so I don't find it surprising that I've "adopted" the title.

Anyways, I have yet to post the pitches for Wanderlust, so I'll post them now.  Tomorrow, there will be a 300 word excerpt. Wanderlust excerpts will be on Wednesdays for this month.

When right and wrong collide, there’s a mess. 
She doesn’t like messes. 

The Minister ignores the poor. There is no such thing. 

The poor work and starve. They need food now. 

The Resistance is ready for change. But they don’t exist. 


Johanna grew up with the Minster’s daughter, America—her playmate for years. She learned how to act like a proper woman, yet hung out with more young men than women. And she grew up at her father’s side, following in his footsteps. 

1800s Ireland is a time where one can hear word about the Resistance on the street. Just the utterance of the word and hope springs within all people. Except for the Minister. This group appears to be after him, and he fears for his life. These horrible men won’t stop terrorizing the rich—the Minster’s most helpful people. Which means he needs body guards. 

For years, the Minister has looked for Johanna’s father as a guard and adviser. He’s heard of what Johanna can do, and he needs her help to keep his precious America alive. 

But everyone always has different incentives.

This is my NaNoWriMo project. I hope to reach 60000 words out of the expected/planned 80-90 thousand words. My first attempt at a steampunk.

Are you participating in NaNo? If you do write, but aren't participating in NaNo, how's the writing coming along?