Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I just ran across a great article on plots/plotting. I've found that anything can be explained via Lord of the Rings. Check it out here and tell me what you think. How do you come up with story lines? How predictable should a plot be? Any tricks of the trade you're willing to share?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Review: Supernaturally, Kiersten White

The Plot: Evie finally has the normal life she’s always dreamed about. She’s applying for college, working at a diner, and hanging out with her boyfriend. And she’s really bored. So when Raquel begs her to start working for the IPCA again, she agrees. One mission leads to another, and soon Evie is spending a lot more time with Jack, her cute but unbalanced guide through the faerie paths, than with her friends. Evie finds herself keeping more and more secrets from Lend, and she starts doubting their relationship. Then Reth, her ex, shows up with answers to her questions about her past. But can Evie handle the truth?

Kiersten White is bleeping awesome. (You have to read the book to get that.) Supernaturally is a fun and fast-paced read, a great sequel to Paranormalacy. There are few authors who manage to blend so many paranormal elements without sounding absurd, but White pulls it off beautifully. I did see most of the plot twists coming, but they were still fun and full of interesting details. It’s the little things, like a taser with a nickname, that make me smile. Evie was more emotional, bordering on whiney, in this book. But she is a teenage girl, so it’s believable. Like Evie, I wish we got to spend more time with Lend in Supernaturally, I liked him much better than Jack. All of the main characters are well developed, and I like that we are able to see more than one character struggle with hard choices. I’m looking forward to many more books from Kiersten. And I highly recommend reading her acknowledgement section. It’s great.   

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This is not a Review

I recently finished reading Stephen King’s On Writing. The main reason I’m not reviewing it is that I have no idea where to begin. It is a collection of anecdotes (usually funny) sprinkled with writing tips and creative exercises. And, honestly, how do you review one of our times most successful writers tips on writing?

But I will say that I’m encouraged by this book. Encouragement #1: I own the only writing manual King thinks is worth owning. Encouragement #2: I think like Stephen King. (Okay, maybe that shouldn’t be encouraging) His process of developing a story (just watch and write down what your characters do) is very similar to my own. And he states that the only way to be a successful author is to be an avid reader. (Insert huge checkmark here) So…. That means I’m going to be as successful as Stephen King one day, right?

And when I’m famous I fully intend to make use of his other tips: take walks (but not on winding roads), develop a group of honest beta readers, let all stories “incubate” before doing a second draft, and take no more than a few months on a first draft.  As for now, I just want to write in a room with a door. That way I can write without… oh look, a kitty.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Book Review: Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales, Tamora Pierce

 Fans of Tortall rejoice! If you’ve caught yourself wondering how Ali and Nawat are doing, what mischief the darkings are causing, or whatever happened to Kitten, Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales is for you. Six of the eleven stories in this collection are based in Tortall and feature old friends. The other five tales span from unnamed desert locations to modern-day New York City. Goddesses, talking dragons, warriors, and former trees all have their turn taking center stage.  And, as an added bonus, there is also a sneak peek of Mastiff, the final book in the Beka Cooper trilogy. Whether you are a die hard Tamora Pierce fan, or are new to her world, this is a must-read.

Tortall and Other Lands is a masterpiece, but I’ve come to expect nothing less from Tamora Pierce. Each of the stories from Tortall was like a visit from an old friend. My personal favorite was “Nawat.” The descriptions of what new parenthood is like are priceless. And any story with a darking in it makes me smile.  I loved catching up with some of my favorite characters. But the stories were written so that someone who hasn’t read all of the Tortall novels would still understand them.  The modern stories were a bit of a surprise to me. I didn’t expect the creator of Tortall to write about New York or Idaho, but she did it with the same skill and creativity that I’ve come to expect. Tortall also has a more personal feel since one of the stories (not even fantasy!) comes directly from Tamora’s experiences as a young woman. My only complaint about the collection is that I wish it would have been longer.   

Book provided by

Monday, August 15, 2011

Language Rant

I will not argue that the English language is the most expressive or poetic of languages. But I would love to know how we have been reduced to a few 4-5 letter words to express anger, fear, excitement, surprise, pain, excitement, and nearly every other human emotion. This is a book blog, and I've put down numerous books that had wonderful potential because they had ridiculous amounts of useless foul language. But this post is also about facebook, twitter, text messages, and everyday conversations.

I am not against a well aimed insult, (see my previous post for examples) and under the right circumstance (dropping a sledge hammer on your foot) I understand how a thoughtless explicative could slip. But under normal conditions, I'm begging you, put a little thought into your words. Can we really think of no better insult than to condemn a person's parentage? And does it really need to be said that a December day is colder than a lake of fire? Don't get me wrong, I don't want to carry a thesaurus with me so I can understand you. But a little variety would be nice.

In the words of a good friend: "If you can't say something nice, use rhetoric I can't understand."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Book Review: Half-Blood, Jennifer Armentrout

The Plot: Seventeen-year-old Alex has been on the run with her mother for three years. But now her mom is dead, murdered by Daimons, and Alex gets shipped back the Covenant. At first, Alex is terrified that she will be forced into servitude. That’s the only option for Half-bloods who can’t make it as Sentinels who protect the Pures. And since she’s missed three years of training, it doesn’t look good for Alex. But then she gets help from an unexpected quarter. Aiden, a totally hot, totally untouchable Pure offers to train her through the summer so she’ll be ready to attend class in the fall. Alex progresses better than expected, until a disaster rocks Deity Island. Everything they think they know about Pures, Halfs, and Diamons changes, and Alex is faced with a terrible choice. Can she kill the one she loves?

Wow. Just…Wow. Half-Blood is the most exciting start to a series that I have read in a long time. And, on a random side note: the cover is gorgeous. I simply couldn’t put this book down. I love Greek mythology, so the “descendants of the gods” plot had me hooked from the beginning. There may be other new books out there like this, but I haven’t read them. The world Armentrout has created is refreshingly different and oddly believable. I love that Alex is so strong, and has such faith in herself, despite all the crap she goes through. Minor down points: Although it was realistic, I’m not a huge fan of the language, and Aiden’s dialogue seemed a little fake at times. Of course, if he acted like a real twenty-year-old male, I probably wouldn’t be in love with him. J Major down point: Pure, the next book in the series, isn’t scheduled to come out until some point next year. (Insert minor temper tantrum here) But never fear! There are plenty of books on my to-read list to keep me occupied until then.   

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Review: The Iron King, Julie Kagawa

The Plot: Sixteen-year-old Meghan Chase just wants to be normal. Her dreams consist of dating the quarterback, owning her own car, and getting as far away from her tiny hometown as possible. And then Faeries kidnap her half brother. Now Meghan learns that she is half fey, and in the middle of a battle between the courts. And if that isn’t complicated enough, she’s falling in love with Ash, prince of the Unseelie court. And Ash has sworn to kill her and her best friend, Robbie. Meghan has to learn quickly how to navigate fey politics and the Nevernever in order to find Ethan and escape without losing her head, heart, or other valuable parts.

Honestly, I was bored through the first half of The Iron King. It felt like an awkward combination of all the fantasy books I’ve read, with nothing new added. But Meghan was a likable character, so I stuck with it, and I’m glad I did. The second half of the book flips everything I thought I knew on its head. A third court? Unseelie that are actually helpful? Faeries that like iron? Without giving too much away, I’m still not a fan of the technology-is-evil theme. I mean, without technology kindles, book trailers, and book blogs would not exist, right? But I love that Kagawa really shook the fey world up and did something new. Also, I’m not a fan of the Alice in Wonderland cat, simply because he’s creepy. But I’m a huge fan of the ending. So much is left unanswered that I have no choice but to come back for more!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dreams Come True

When you wish upon a star…. Okay, that was corny. First off, I want to apologize for slacking in the book reviewer department. I am reading something right now, and I’m not sure what to think about it yet, but more on that at a later date. J

These past weeks have been a little crazy for me, but I have some exciting news! I’m the newest copy editor at Spencer Hill Press. In case you haven’t heard of them, SHP is an awesome small publishing company that specializes in YA fantasy books and “growing careers.” Basically, that means they are willing to help me get one step closer to my goal of surrounding myself with great books! (lots of excited jumping up and down.) I would promise to keep my nose in a book all weekend and have another review early next week, but my baby just started crawling, so probably not. But I’ll try! Have a great weekend.