Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Thoroughly Planned SNI

The minute I finished off the first draft of Balancing Act, I was wondering what my next project should be. I have a list of book ideas, some more fleshed out than others. But it wasn't until I had a dream (cliche, I know) that I knew what was next.

Jane Rossi has been known as Plain Jane since she was a child. All of her appeal is in her mind. Jane is a telekinetic who has no idea how she got her powers. She can move objects, and even change them a bit. But her mother tells her no one can know. But Jane slips, and she comes to the attention of Alistair Montgomery, a distinguished gentleman who wants her to use her powers to fix his son Brian's eyesight. She does.

Two years later Jane's mother is keeping her under house arrest as a crime wave sweeps through their native Manhattan. But no regular walls can keep Jane inside. She sneaks out and runs smack dab into the criminals. And Brian is one of them. And he has X-Ray vision. Jane had accidentally created the first superhero, and he is now a criminal.

I spent weeks researching and plotting this thing out. I have the powers of each character restrained and fleshed out. The first book has a general outline for me to follow, and I have my explanation and back stories for everyone. I even have a small idea of what happens in the sequels. Now I just need to write it.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Eon

In case you missed yesterday's post, Eon by Alison Goodman was the last book I read for my Summer Reading Project. It is a hefty book at just over 500 pages, and took me a bit longer than usual to read. However, this should be attributed to the fact that the days had been spent moving into my new home at college, and meeting new people.

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This novel follows Eon, a sixteen-year-old who has been training for years to become a Dragoneye apprentice. This means that, if chosen by one of the twelve energy dragons, he would serve as a conduit between the realm of energy, and the human world. It's a powerful position, and only one boy is chosen every year. But Eon has a secret. He is actually Eona, a girl, and forbidden to bond with a dragon because women are unsuited to channeling the energy. Eona is drawn into the intrigue of court after bonding with the Mirror Dragon who has been lost for five hundred years. If her enemy, Dragoneye Ido, discovers her secret she will be killed. Of course, she might just be killed in the upcoming revolution.

This book has a lot of threads. Eon struggles with actually being Eona, and has pushed femininity so far down that she can barely remember what it is. She is also having trouble connecting with her dragon and balancing the duties of being a young Dragoneye with no one to train her, and having the possibility of a revolution revolving around her decisions.

It's intricate, detailed, and I think it could have been pared down a bit. Everything is very formal, which I loved, because that's how it was. You could only say specific things on specific occasions, and you had to bow a certain way depending on rank, and if you were of equal rank you had to bow to the elder of that rank. It's complicated. I loved Eon's struggle with Eona. I was a bit confused by the channeling of the energy, but I've heard it's explained more thoroughly in the sequel.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Up next: The Scorpio Races

Monday, September 24, 2012

Summing it Up

Well, I did it! I finished my Summer Reading Project on the very last day. The last book? Eon by Alison Goodman (review to come tomorrow). This summer I set out to read 34 books. And I did it. Using my spare time on my days off from work, my lunch breaks, car rides, and even before falling asleep in my dorm room, I did it.

It's been amazing. I've gone through fantasy, paranormal, science fiction, dystopian, historical romance, contemporary teen lit, classics, and I can't honestly say I had a favorite book. Some certainly stand out, though, the ones I would very highly recommend, and here they are:

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Legend by Marie Lu (dystopian), Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (paranormal fantasy), The Selection by Kiera Cass (dystopian romance), and The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (egyptian fantasy). Either because they were edgy, funny, exhilarating, or mind-boggling, these books sparked my interest in their sequels, some of which have not yet been released. Humph.

It's been a great ride, and my eyesight is now three times worse than it used to be. Oh well! Time to pick up the next book.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Beginnings

Well, I am back at school. Granted, classes don't start for a few days, so I have some time to settle in, get to know my new roommate, and finish my Summer Reading Project.

It's been a crazy summer. I've read so much my eyes got three times as worse, and I've finished the first draft of my third book. I've gone ziplining. I've ridden a camel. I had a minor surgery. I worked a full time job. And I didn't do homework, thank goodness.

I'm looking forward to the new school year, my sophomore year. What are my plans, you ask? Well, read even more. I'm not even close to finishing my TBR pile. I want to write books 4 and 5. Details to come later. I want to progress down the path to finding an agent. And I want to maintain a decent GPA, sleep, and have a decent social life. Seems reasonable, right? Probably not. But I'm going to try.

Here is to a new school year, and the books that come with it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Building

I am somewhere between a pantser and an outliner. I get an idea and I just go with it, but I like to outline on the side so I know where I'm going. But at the moment I am going full outline mode. Why? Because I think I've found my next project, and it's a sci-fi trilogy. What does that mean? Lots and lots of research. I'm writing out character sketches, backstories for every major character, doing general plot outlining for each book. And I've been reading up on telekinesis, neurotransmitters, astigmatisms, and Hell's Kitchen.

This is new for me. I'm not sure why I'm not just leaping into the writing. But something about the story tells me I'm going to want to plan it out. I want to know my characters inside and out before I put fingers to keyboard.

I'll tell you more about the idea later on, once I've determined I'm going to stick with it. It's been a busy few weeks.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

During my adolescence (which, granted, is probably not done) I gravitated mostly towards high fantasy and romance novels. The most obvious example of this is my obsession with Tamora Pierce, whose books take up an entire shelf of my bookcase. But over the past year I've drifted more towards Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Historical Romance, and even some Paranormal. But I jumped back into fantasy with a healthy dose from The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.

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This novel follows Elisa, a princess of Orovalle, who compares herself to her older sister and finds her own nature wanting. But she is the bearer of a Godstone, a gem planted in her navel at her naming ceremony by Him. This means she is destined for an act of service to God, but Elisa has no idea what it is. She just wants to be left alone to her books, her praying, and her sweets. But that changes when she is married off to the King of Joya-Arena, and is subsequently kidnapped by hill people. Elisa battles her doubts about her faith, her worth, a forbidden love, and discovers the world outside the palace is very different than what she expected. It doesn't help that she bears the Godstone. Most of the bearers die young.

What I liked about this book: it's unflinching weaving of faith and magic. Sometimes I feel authors shy away from having a religion in fantasy books that resembles modern religion. I also liked watching Elisa go from a frightened young girl to a decisive young woman (much unlike her husband). The world was well crafted and I didn't know camels' humps drooped if they get dehydrated...

What I found frustrating: lack of character descriptions! By the end of the book I know if a couple characters are tall or attractive, and I know Elisa is chubby. That's about it. I like having descriptors; it makes the characters more real to me. But from what I've read on other reviews, this is a personal thing.

Read it. I highly recommend it.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tired

It's been an exhausting few days. My body has been fighting off a bug of some kind and, while I haven't actually gotten sick, I've been lethargic. It's like I can feel the virus trying to take over. Bleck. But I've been sick often it's just like a walk in a park, granted a rainy park.

The result of this lethargy? I've gotten basically nothing done. No writing, no editing, no critiquing, and virtually no reading. Instead I've been doing stuff that doesn't require, well, thinking. I've been watching movies I've always wanted to see but never got around to (Pretty Woman, Indiana Jones series). And I've been crocheting. Crocheting so much that my hands stiffened up.

I promise I'll be back with reviews in a day or two. I just need to rest. I think the summer finally caught up with me.

Reading: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bleeding

The past few days my dream world and my awake world have been colliding more than usual. You know that feeling when you realize you're in a dream? Suddenly everything seems possible and you can manipulate the scenario of the dream. I get that a LOT. About half the time I'm conscience of that fact. But something different has been happening.

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I had a small surgery a couple days ago, nothing serious or life threatening, but enough that I have a few stitches. And I'm not supposed to elevate my heart rate while I have them. I was in the middle of a nightmare, being chased from my house by a guy with a gun when I realized in my conscience self that my heart rate must be becoming heightened. And I woke up. I told my father and he laughed so hard he almost cried.

Then this morning - and I swear this all connects to writing - I was in the middle of another weird dream. I was swimming in a pool that was also a library, and I had telekinetic powers. Long story short, I woke up seriously pondering a question of tracking abilities of telekinetics in big cities versus large natural spaces. This is something I need to consider when creating the world for my new WIP (tell ya'll about it later). So, to wrap it all up, writing has now gone from taking up a large portion of my daily life, to invading my nightly life. I think I can officially call myself a writer now!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Million Suns

I read Across the Universe by Beth Revis earlier this summer, and if I recall correctly I praised the writing style, but thought the book could have been a bit shorter. My comments are similar regarding the sequel.

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A Million Suns starts up three months after Amy was unplugged. Now she's struggling with being the only "different" person aboard Godspeed, and her lack of choices. Things heat up when she discovers a trail of clues her enemy left her from beyond his icy tomb. Clues that could reveal what's truly wrong with Godspeed, and why they haven't reached the new planet yet. Meanwhile, Elder is trying to take over the post of leader of the ship, which meets with resistance from the newly drug-free residents. Elder must decide if he can rule without the mellowing drugs, or if he's capable of ruling at all.

I read the majority of this book in one day, thanks to a very minor "surgery" I had which involved stitches. I'm not supposed to exert myself, especially not within the first 24 hours following the procedure. So I laid in bed watching The Big Bang Theory and reading this book. There's a bit of a lag in the middle, and I found some parts repetitive. But there was suitable tension and it was definitely not a sophomore slump. I really want to read the final installment, and will be following Revis' blog for updates on its release.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Next Up: Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Clockwork Prince

A couple days ago I went to the ophthalmologist and discovered that my eyes have gotten worse since I got glasses last year. Not surprising, as I've been reading and writing with a vengeance. And what did I do to celebrate needing glasses full time? I read Clockwork Prince, the sequel to Clockwork Angel by Casandra Clare.


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Clockwork Prince follows Jem, Will, Tessa, and their fellows at the London Institute of demon fighting Shadowhunters, as they race against the clock to find Mortmain, also known as the Magister, who is building a clockwork army to destroy all Shadowhunters. Also, Benedict Lightwood is trying to take over the Institute by claiming a woman cannot capably run it, and Tessa is further confused by her attraction to Jem and Will. One boy is dying, the other pushes her away at every turn, but wants her just the same.

I have read a lot of Clare's work this summer, and this book left me feeling much like City of Ashes - just slightly underwhelmed. There's some great character interactions, and I laughed out loud a few times. And the development of the V between Tessa, Will, and Jem makes complete sense to me. But.... not much happens. And when not much happens in a near-500 page book, I'm disappointed. I will certainly be picking up Clockwork Princess because of the ending. Gah, the ending was good.

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars
Next up: A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

If only the description of the book were more enticing, I might have picked this book up and read it back when I first saw it last year at a Tamora Pierce book signing. I had heard of it, sure, and knew it was a best seller. But I didn't understand why.

Now I do.
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Karou means hope in the language of the Chimaera. But Karou is human. Blue haired, an excellent artist, and a current resident of Prague, she receives languages for her birthdays. Karou balances two lives - a human one where she is an art student and friends with Zuzana, and her secret life where she deals in the trafficking of teeth to Brimstone, her foster father who is a Chimaera. Karou doesn't know anything about her life, why she exists, why she is the only human trusted by Brimstone, or why he needs teeth. That starts to change when she is attacked by the angel Akiva, and he sees something familiar in her.

This book was amazing. The descriptions were fluid, and the dialogue witty. And when strong emotionless Akiva collapsed in tears I felt it like a palpable thing. The depth to the characters is compelling, and by the end all I wanted to do was pick up the sequel.

But, alas, it doesn't come out till November. *Grah!*

Would HIGHLY recommend.

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Return of the King

Okay, so my eyes have been starting to ache from all the reading I'm doing, so I decided to listen to The Return of the King on disc. I love audio books. They are great for car rides or when your mind is too tired to even focus on a page.

The Return of the King was a great finale to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I enjoyed it much more than The Two Towers, partly because there was less trudging through harsh land with no hope ahead. There was some, mind you, but it didn't feel like there was as much.

My favorite part would have to be the last few chapters, when Merry, Pippin, Frodo, and Sam return to the Shire and set everything right. By the end of the book I had that swelling happy sensation. The ending made sense, and it was well written. And I felt joy for the characters I had come to love along the way. Pippin for his ever-happy nature and wise-cracking. Merry for his devotion and kind heart. Sam for his stalwart companionship and practicality. And Frodo for his pain, and determination to do the right thing even if it kills him.

I can now officially say that I've read The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and just polished off my 27th book of the summer. I have an eye exam in a week.

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I Am Worth It

One of the reasons I dread editing is that evil voice in the back of my head says "Why should you bother?" I want to be published. I've dreamed of it for years, which constitutes a significant portion of my life. Of course, back when that dream began, I had no idea how hard it was. Now I do. Which makes it harder to ignore the evil voice. The chances of my getting published are very slim. So why do I bother?

Because I am worth it.

I am dedicated, and I love my craft. Writing and reading fill my spare hours. I have to believe that all the work I've put into my three books, and all those hundreds of hours spent reading, has made me into a good writer. I need to believe that my dream can come true.

I am worth it. Books are worth it. And so are you.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sweet Evil

Over the past few days I've been focusing on finishing The Return of the King, but I took a break to read Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins. I know I said I would be reviewing Eyes Like Stars next, but it didn't grab my mood. I needed something dark and compelling.

Sweet Evil definitely delivered. It follows Annie, who can remember all the way back to her birth and can see people's changing emotions as colors swirling around them. All of her senses are enhanced, and she doesn't know why. But the secrets start to come out the night she meets drummer Kaiden. Annie is half demon, a Nephilim, and she is the daughter of the Duke of Substance Abuse. This means she has an uncommon draw towards drugs and alcohol, something she has struggled with her entire goody-two-shoes life. She is also drawn to Kaiden, a fellow Nephilim, and the son of the Duke of Lust.

I loved Annie. She was so...good. She reminded me of America in The Selection. Even as she starts to embrace the devil in herself to escape detection of the Dukes, she believes the best in people. And I loved the things with the colors that indicate emotion. It's something I wish I could do. I would definitely recommend it. Push past the first couple chapters because they're a bit slow, but it's smooth sailing from there.

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars