Friday, January 27, 2012

TGIF and Follow

Who's ready for the weekend?!  I know I am!  I'm introducing a new(ish) feature for Fridays to re-cap the week's posts & to propose a question for my followers.  Feel free to get involved by linking up at the bottom. If not, I'd love to read your responses in the comments. Thanks!

This Friday's Question:

Buy or Borrow: Where do your books that you read come from? The bookstore? The library? Do you prefer to own a book, or have it on loan?

I am definitely a buyer and a hoarder of my books. I keep books that I don't even like. I keep books that I have no intention of reading (at least in the future) In my head it is the principal of the matter. Books are precious (makes me sound like Gollum) someone worked very hard on that book and it deserves to be on my shelf. 

And my hording has gotten worse since ebooks. I'll get it on ebook and then decide I MUST have it in paper format. So I go out and buy it.  

Q: Which book genre do you avoid at all costs and why?

Science fiction - the old school kind, like The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury - I get it. I have done my homework on it. But I don't GET it. 

Political books with strong underlying messages - I get that too. People have points and believe very strongly in their political views. I have my own set, but I always feel like this type of book gets so bogged down that it is more of a thesis than a fictional story. 

What about you? Are you a hoarder? What genre do you avoid? Leave me a post and don't forget to follow :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though - she leads them as the captain and quarterback on her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there's a new guy in town who threatens her starring position on the team... and has her suddenly wishing to be seen as more than just a teammate.

As most of you know, I am a paranormal junkee. I like things to be off in the worlds that I read about. A little chaos, maybe throw in a fairy, take out the US, give everyone a really weird gene, I'm a happy girl. But there was something about this cover that I was like: Hey, I like that. And then I found out the girl is 6 feet and a football quarterback. It took me right back to my high school career where I wanted to play football. I never did, but I am telling you as a freshman, I could whoop a few of the guys.

My favorite aspect of this book may seem trivial to others, but I think it is what made me really enjoy the book and think it was realistic. I like how Jordan and her group of teammates talked and bantered with one another. They swore, made some crude comments, and acted like a high school team. For those of you who hate that kind of stuff, it is not, by any means, overwhelming. I also liked how several of Jordan's best friends were super protective of her. I had a few guy friends that were that way and again, it made it more realistic in my head.

Jordan is a teenage girl in all aspects. She is confident in one aspect of her life, not in another, figuring out the whole guy thing, and chases her dreams. She is extremely likable, even if she doesn't have fangs.

The ending - I will say this type of fiction to me is easy to guess. I know how it will end. Um, no. Wait. I didn't. Nice TWIST! Point Kenneally.

It was a good read!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Overwhelmed. Eck

If you are a regular follower of my blog you may have noticed a decrease in posting from me. Why? Has my love of reading stopped? Does the blog world no longer interest me? Did aliens kidnap me and finally return me to Earth? All those questions get the answer no.

So what has happened? Life. Oh My Lanta. I cannot keep up between teaching, writing, reading, blogging, social life, dogs, cleaning and oh that whole thing about keeping my sanity. Did anyone ever notice that when you are super busy your laundry multiplies? My job takes the lead spot. I need that to survive and pay my bills and Saturdays are the only days that I will absolutely write, but even then, my life can interfere with that.

How do you do it? How do you juggle it all? Leave some tips and tricks for me and if anyone wants to be my personal assistant for free, email me. :)

PS. If you want to win a copy of The Vampire Academy see the blog post below.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Im a feature and having a giveaway.

Hey there my book buddies.

I am doing a giveaway over at Ruby Reads. Go here and enter the giveaway!! Pass along the word if you love me.

Some info.
Ruby is having Book Bully week. Basically what is, is a bunch of book bloggers are ranting and raving about their favorite books, trying to force you into reading their favorite series. So far, there are some awesome series being talked about and being given away.  Go. Yeah. Now. Hurry up.

Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

The Ultimate Sacrifice.

Calla has always welcomed war. But now that the final battle is upon her, there’s more at stake than fighting. There’s saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay’s wrath. There’s keeping Ansel safe, even if he’s been branded a traitor. There’s proving herself as the pack’s alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers’ magic once and for all. And then there’s deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is. 

I'm not really sure where I should start with this.  *sits for five minutes*

I'm going to start with a disclaimer. Recently - the paranormal genre hasn't been grabbing me as much as it did in 2011. So while, this story didn't grab me like the first two installments, it was still a very good book.
There is a spoiler at the end of this blog - I need to vent it out - so if you haven't read the book and plan to, do NOT read the last paragraph.

The love triangle remains in tact except we really get to see that Ren does love Calla.  We already know that Shay does. But a reader could infer that Ren only wanted Calla because she was the alpha.  In the book it becomes a legit love triangle. Though because Calla can't seem to choose and is drawn to both, she leads both guys on. I had a problem with this, because someone pointed it out to me. She's the alpha - dominant, self-assured, and she can't pick. I dunno - it seemed wishy washy looking back at the series. Had she been a legit alpha like she claims to be, she would have been with Ren, right? OK that could be Team Ren coming out in me.

There are a lot of characters in this book to manage. But all characters got an "end" so to speak. I knew where everyone stood. No body just disappeared from the story. I didn't find myself going: Oh, what happened to so and so? Speaking of the end, I was a bit surprised at how it did come together. It was different, but happy.

My favorite aspect of the book was Adne and Ren. I thought it was a sweet moment, finding family, being wolves and I think the loss of Monroe (and Emile) really endeared me to their relationship.


Seriously? Ren had to die? And not even in a: I am going to save my Lily type of way. That jerk face Emile got to do it? GRR. It was at this point that I really got angry with the book and Calla. Im not sure why with Calla but I was.

And hi - Cosette - did she really have to kill herself -

I forever will be on Team Ren.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Polishing your novel

I started The Owens Legacy: Revelations two and half years ago (I think). It started the process by writing different scenes and sending it to a friend for her comments, then she kind of fell off the writing bandwagon and I got super protective of my writing. No one read it until I had "finished" it.

Ellen read it - she made it more well-rounded and pointed out GIANT wholes I had in the story.

Cody - followed the same suit with a bit more grammar involved.

I think I am doing good at this point - not to much longer.
*Bahahahahahahaha* right.

Nadine gets her hands on. And read it twice - both times making huge changes throughout and catching more mistakes in my writing - Um - wasn't I supposed to be good at writing?

Nadine sent it on to Marie - and with all of her edits, well you would really think I had no skills. None.

Then it went back to Nadine.

Then it went to:
and Joe

OH MY GOD! Am I done yet?

I know I have a good story. I know that I know how to write a story. I know I know grammar.
But the process is brutal. I constantly have to remind myself that my dream is to be published in hard cover. But some days that doesn't ease my frustration.

How do you cope with the constant critique? How do you keep your head up? Who do you trust to edit for you?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Stargirl and Watsons

I am going to do two mini-reviews.

Sixteen-year-old high school student Leo Borlock knows how to fit in at Mica High School. He plays the game like everyone else but is more enthralled than most when a new girl comes to school. Stargirl Caraway is her name, or at least the name she is using for now. And after 15 years of homeschooling, she is decidedly different from even the oddest high school students at Mica High. First there's her unusual name, one in a long line of odd names that she has chosen to go by, ignoring her given name of Susan. Then there's the way she looks, shunning makeup and wearing long granny dresses. But all of that is small potatoes when compared to her behavior, which is as weird and bizarre as any of the students at Mica High have ever seen. 
This is a great story. I read it years ago and each time I read, I still love it.

There are some awesome themes and concepts in this book. The first being how different Stargirl is from everybody else, and when she does conform to fit high school, it shows how unhappy she is. Ultimately - it lets people know to be who you are not who "others" want you to be.  Something else I loved in this book was Leo's part. He's a teenager who really cares for Stargirl and really just wants everyone to get along. But he does learn that it can't always be that way. And he does understand how precious she is.

A wonderful middle-grade novel narrated by Kenny, 9, about his middle-class black family, the Weird  Watsons of Flint, Michigan. When Kenny's  13-year-old brother, Byron, gets to be too much trouble,  they head South to Birmingham to visit Grandma, the  one person who can shape him up.

This is a laugh out loud book. The POV is from an 8 year old and he is so funny. I am not kidding, I LOL, all the time. My students do. Other adults do. Need a happy read? Pick it up.

Second - the story takes place during the Civil Rights movement and in Flint, Michigan, it doesn't effect the Watson's as much. But they travel to see Grandma Sands and find out how dangerous the time period is. So as funny as it is, it is just as moving. Another high recommended book.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Um, what's happening to GFC?

OK - So I have seen a lot of this no more GFC following. I think there is a lot of information out there, people are panicking that they are going to lose their followers (Um, I worked hard for mine) and no one (no one being me) knows what is going on. Can someone tell me how this is going to effect people who use blogger, people who do not use blogger, and how are you supposed to follow people now?


So I am not starting out the New Year very well am I? I have been super busy with school. It's been a lot of grading, but things are coming across my desk so that's a good thing. Also, I have been submerging myself in my current WIP. My friend Joe and I have been blocking out hours on certain days to write. It is really forcing me to stay on track and my creativity is just a movin', I tell ya! And because of this I haven't been doing too much reading. I have read The Watson's Go To Birmingham and I am currently readying Stargirl. Both Middle Fiction. Both being used in my classroom. I will be posting those in the next days.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie? 

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses. 

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.

Normally when I read books I immediately post about them. Like I am talking within three minutes of reading a book I am online and blogging about it. I stewed on this.

OK - the book in the beginning is SUPER focus on developing the new (old) Victorian era. It was a bit much for me and I waited for the action to happen. I am happy that I did but I will get to that in a minute. The world that Habel sets up is very detailed - if you feel like you are getting bogged down with it, do not fear, it gets better. I promise.

OK - so on to the good stuff. I really liked Nora. I did, but I liked Bram better. Nora was very bold for a time period where women were supposed to be meek and mild. I admire that but it went against the world that Habel had created.  She's pretty bold though and the relationship she has with Bram, especially the trust she has in him, after she develops it, is sweet.

Bram - I love a zombie. I do. Call me crazy. I liked him because he was old school chivalry, though he did want to eat Nora. You could tell from the very beginning that this teen wanted nothing more than to be normal, and then he meets Nora, and then he wants nothing more than her. He's very sweet, charming, and in an old school way. Can zombie's be hot?

One problem I had - all the POV. There were five that happened within the book - and the tricky thing with POV is that you have to make each voice VERY different. It's hard. A lot of the POV, blended together for me. The characters did not, but the POV did.

I thought this was a refreshing read. I think if you are willing to get through the beginning - you'll really enjoy it and then at the end - you feel sad and heartbroken for the couple. I mean how can a zombie and a human be together? Remember - sucker for romance here.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Top five fave - part 3

These are my favorite covers of 2011 - I will admit that I have not read all of them but I will this year. 

I loved this one because of how her skin stands out against the black background. Plus she totally looks like she is up to something.

Apparently I love contrast because I love the gold against the black. I also love how it's dark but then there are flowers - again - contrast.

I'm a princess at heart - I blame my father for the complex - and does she not look like a total princess?

Do I really need to explain why this one is awesome? 

This is partially because I have been starring lovingly at this cover for over a year. I mean - look at the detail in the background - and the hottie?

And the honorable mention - I know, it's shameless- but I am really happy with how my cover turned out and the work Kenzie and Maggie did for me. 

What were your fave covers of 2011?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Top 5 Part 2

My top five couples of 2011

No particular order

Will and Tessa - from The Clockwork Prince - It is because I have a crush on Will (lets be real I have a crush on all of the guys in this section.) But also I like that fact that kissing and passion is very improper at this time period. It makes it MORE scandalous.

Tris and Four - from Divergent - I like them as individual characters a lot and when they are together, they don't lose themselves to the other. They stay strong and I think Four is very charming but not in the same Will Herondale way, but more Dimitri way.

Ren and Kelsey - Tiger's Curse series - It bugs me that Kelsey doesn't have enough confidence in herself to believe that Ren loves her but I think the seduction involved in this series is amazing - Ren knows how to woo.

Calla and Ren - Nightshade series - OMG A. Cremer please make this love triangle be different from all the others and the original, side guy wins. I love how they are both alphas and the dominance thing add a great element.

Matthew and Diana - A Discovery of Witches - This love was prob more age app. for me. I liked this adult couple because a. the supernatural point, b. the maturity and c. even though they were mature they acted like teenagers. What a great reminder.

Who were your favorite couples?