Browse Tag by Novels

Makin’ the Love Monday – Saved by Venom by Lolita Lopez

IMG_8507I feel really lucky at times. For instance when I am at Target and the parking lot gods bless me with a parking spot under one of the trees so my black car with it’s black interior doesn’t become 150 degrees fahrenheit in the SoCal heat. That makes me feel pretty awesome. Or when I get on a plane and the person next me is a female. I have a super duper male species type neurosis and having to sit next to a strange male person can give me an anxiety attack. So female flight companions… blessed by higher beings. Or when Laura the Ellora’s Cave book review representative sent me the email for Lolita Lopez’s third Grabbed book, Saved by Venom, that there was like winning the book lottery for the week. That made me feel really, really lucky.

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Any Day That Ends in YA – The Spirit Keeper by K.B. Laugheed

photoI had a case of reader’s peckishness over the later part of last week and I tried to read Tijan’s Carter Reed and I wasn’t feeling it. Opened up and got to chapter eight on Flight, the First book of the Crescent Chronicles. I got to 40% of Love in the Time of Global Warming. Barely made it into Endless by Amanda Gray, which is one I’m supposed to review for NetGalley–not sure what I’m going to do there. And I bought but didn’t even tap into the Bayou Heat books by Alexandra Ivy & Laura Wright. I was sort of having my own version of my baby sister’s attention span on book boyfriends.

Finally yesterday, with the blood vessels in my head trying to evict either my brain matter or protesting the housing of my skull… somehow I managed to get two books read. I don’t know what it says about me that I can do more reading with a migraine than I can without one.

The Spirit Keeper by K.B. Laugheed was really an incredibly great book. I hate making statements like that because I can hear my Photography Instructor from college saying in the back of my mind that that is not the correct way to give valuable criticism. But this book really is a great book. (Nancy, I am going to qualify it now! I swear.)

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Tongue Wagger – The Last Alive by H.L. Wampler

IMG_7969This is my first Empowering Lemon Bundt Wednesday and the reference will probably be lost on most but it is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer quote from when Willow goes to join the Wicca circle at UC Sunnydale. Inspite of the tongue and cheek meaning to the comment it is meant to infer that the members have a mean amount of girl power. My Wednesday blog posts will be for books with heroines who kick serious boot-ay!

The first urban warrior to be featured is Emma Taylor, the zombie slaying survivor of an apocalypse started when her sister becomes patient zero after a mysterious bite on a family camping trip. The Last Alive is a very fast paced novel. From the first page it takes off and there are no lulls or pauses. Tension is created by an alternating look between the fortified Pittsburgh she lives in present time with flashbacks to the initial outbreak and it leaves the reader caught precariously between the panic of then and desperation of now.

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Morning Tea with the Author – H.L. Wampler

Today is an auspicious day because it is the beginning of a new addition to my blog, Morning Tea with the Author, which is a Q&A with authors about books, writing, reading and everything in the kitchen sink.

My first author is H.L. Wampler, creator of the novel The Last Alive, a horror story about a zombipocalypse that begins when her twin sister is bitten in the woods while camping and then things get really hairy.

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Makin’ the Love Monday – Night of the Tiger by N.J. Walters

photo Augh! Monday. It’s like Sunday night’s bastard sister. I am exhausted and it’s the beginning of the week, my list of things to do is just being made and I already want a break. Cry! Cry! How tough is life!

The book I chose for my Makin’ the Love Monday is something that I actually read a few weeks ago but I loved it and it is deservin’ of the kudos–so here is it’s red ribbon reward and all.

I found this book in my Amazon recommendations and I usually get the weirdest recommendations from Amazon so when I read the synopsis and it sounded good I sort of figured that Amazon must have screwed up and sent me someone else’s book suggestion. Night of the Tiger (This book is free for Kindle at this time) by N.J. Walters is the first book I have read by this author, despite finding she has written more books than the phone book has Smiths, and it was A-mazing. If I had to condense a description of what the beginning of this book is like I would say–imagine Dante’s Inferno, a hodgepodge of Bosch art, the TV show Carnivale, and Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter Series–put them all together, stir them up, shake that upside down, now add a little kitten tail and some mythologically screwed up comics and you get the world as it’s known to Aimee and Roric.

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Any Day that Ends in YA – Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

IMG_5725I’m trying something new. I have been home in Pennsylvania visiting family for the last few weeks and my mom has an internet package conceived by a real miser and a connection which rivals the stability of a house of cards and playing telephone with two cans and a piece of string. Soon I will be going home and I will miss my family but I will have a little more routine. This I do pledge my oath… until the time when I no longer pledge my oath.

So I have been reading tons of books. It has been raining a lot and I commandeer the couch in those times when the sky can no longer keep Mother Nature’s tears at bay. More than a handful were worthy of recommendations and if you want to go to my Goodreads and look up my August 2013 reviews you can find me on the website by searching me by my name.

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How well are you adapting?

I was sure today was Monday... but nah. Before Harry Potter and Twilight, movies that were adapted from books were usually general fiction with the focus group being just about anyone who would pay for a ticket. Occasionally there were movies that were for a specific audience; Disney films, Lucas films, Larry and Andy Wachowsky adaptions or Steven Spielberg productions. Some made a lot of money and others barely made any impression at all.

Early on, the basis for adaptations included novels–memoirs, comics, plays and in some cases news reports and non-fiction. Cinema banked on the new technology that allowed for the more traditional form of public theater to reach an audience that was titillated by innovation. The tradition of communal entertainment–public execution, sports events, theater, vaudeville, operas, music halls and street performance evolved through time and blossomed with the advent of film.

In the late 1880’s the movie camera was invented and motion pictures, silent films at the time, were shown at social events like carnivals and circuses. People marvelled at this new creation and news of it spread quickly. By the early 20th century the media was sending social and political messages attached to motion pictures to movie viewers and cinema devotees.

That is when the market of film adaptation took root. Some of the earliest stories that made it to the silver screen included,  The Little Match Girl, Sherlock Holmes Baffled, Alice in Wonderland and From the Earth to the Moon. I personally wonder if the makers of those films could even conceive of the birth of mass media that would follow. Or the access to film entertainment that would come in future times.

Some of the most popular classic movies were Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, adapted from Bram Stoker‘s novel written in 1897. Mary Shelley’s Gothic novel Frankenstein, that solidified the fame of Boris Karloff. Technicolor wonder, The Wizard of Oz, which shot Judy Garland’s star into the night sky. Interestingly, at the time that The Wizard of Oz was released it wasn’t received well. Later when it was shown on television the film found a revival of interest. While other films like Gone With The Wind, starring Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, received 10 Academy Awards the year after it’s release. Clark Gable made movie-goers swoon when a handsome Rhett Butler mutter the famous words, “My dear, I don’t give a damn” on film.

Between 1940 and 2000 other notable adaptations.

Stephen KingCarrie, Salem’s Lot, Christine, Cujo, Firestarter, Misery and It.
Michael CrichtonAndromeda Strain, Congo, Timeline and blockbuster Jurassic Park.
Jane AustenPride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma and Mansfield Park.
ShakespeareRomeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, Midsummer’s Night, Hamlet, Macbeth and The Taming of the Shrew.
Philip K. DickA Scanner Darkly, The Minority Report, Blade Runner, and Total Recall.
Jules VerneAround the World in Eighty Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

Not only were novels adapted from books, comic books and graphic novels began to make a real splash as well. Superman was brought to life by Christopher Reeve. Batman became popular when first adapted by Tim Burton and then reintroduced when Christopher Nolan, rebooting the winged hero with the Dark Knight Trilogy. Marvel flooded the market with Fantastic Four, X-Men, Spiderman, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the rather terrible Daredevil.

In 2001 when J.K. Rowling’s young adult books, Harry Potter, were given a new life in film, and a new genre of book adaptations became popular. Prior to Harry Potter fame, young adult books might occassionally be adapted to television with a small demographic of viewers. The Jason Katims TV show Roswell, which was inspired by the Melinda Metz books Roswell High, is a good example.  The response to Rowling’s already incredibly popular books was extraordinary. The interest in the teen genre exploded and soon after other young adult books were being shopped to studios hoping to be picked up for cinema and television.

Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga grossed over 390 million worldwide with it’s first film alone. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattenson’s names began to be on the tips of lips everywhere making them very appealing to the paparazzi. The following four films–New Moon, Eclipse and the two Breaking Dawn films created more and more of a stir. The books, which follow the love affair between a human girl and her vampire boyfriend, fed the interests of teenagers everywhere and soon other vampire novels began to get a great deal of attention from producers and studios.

L.J. Smith‘s Vampire Diaries premiered on the CW channel in 2009, the cast included teenage heartthrob Ian Somerhalder, and millions tuned in every week for more Damon Salvatore. Originally written in 1991, The trilogy included the titles of The Awakening, The Struggle and The Fury. After almost twenty years L.J. Smith returned to the literary world of Mystic Falls to write even more books based on the same characters. Currently the book series contains twelve books. Personally, I think that the original three were pretty bad. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that though.

Probably the newest Vampire series to have caught Hollywood’s attention is Vampire Academy, creation of author Richelle Mead. In six books the story of Rose Hathaway and her best friend Lissa Dragomi stretches from their first introduction ofSt. Vladimir’s Academy to ultimate domination. A dark world of power struggle and forbidden love fill the pages. The film, Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters, is currently in the process of casting actors. Zoey Deutch and Danila Kozlovsky will be playing the parts of Rose and Dimitri. No one else has been announced at this time.

But young adult adaptations aren’t all about bloodsuckers. There are numerous novels being slated for film and the genre varies.

In 2012 viewers flocked to movie theaters to see the first installment of Suzanne Collins dystopian tale, The Hunger Games. The novel is about Katniss Everdeen, a teen who lives in a world segregated by districts distinguished by wealth, social status and political strain. Jennifer Lawerence received critical acclaim for her portrayal of the character as a role model for young girls, strong and intelligent. The trials and tribulations of Katniss and Peta mark a path that pairs them together in order to survive The Hunger Games.

Philip Pullman’s popular fantasy books, His Dark Materials Trilogy, became known as one of the least liked film adaptations of the last decade. The Golden Compass, also known as Northern Lights, was released in 2007. A key component of the books is the religious implications of the importance of the human soul. The adaptation attempted to play down the controversial elements of Christian faith. By obscuring the original story the plot fell short. Despite the stunning visual effects fans were unhappy and the film flopped.

Currently in the process of being filmed is Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones. The approval and interest of fans regarding the first book adaptation of  the The Mortal Instruments was rewarded when a green light was given for the second book prior to the finish of the first. The Mortal Instruments books have a large cast of characters and fans debated and commented on Clare’s website as they were cast. Clary Fray and Jace Wayland, played by Lily Collins and Jaime Campbell-Bower, are the main concern of the first three novels. Clare later built on the initial trilogy adding more books. The voice of Clary, who dominates the books–City of Bones, City of Ashes and City of Glass is joined by characters, Simon Lewis, Alec Lightwood and Jace Wayland/Lightwood, in the books that follow.

Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, another dystopian society book, has garnered a good deal of fandom squeeing. The reaction to the casting of the two main characters, Four–Theo James, and Tris–Shailene Woodley has been positive. The plot, a world of a five faction society based on specific virtues, spends a great deal of time focusing on the concept of political control. Tris, is born to one faction but at her sixteenth birthday she is tested and finds she can choose another. In the faction she has choosen, the strongest and most fearless of those in that society, things become suspect. Soon she discovers a plot to control her faction and use them as a tool to control the others.

The Fault in Our Stars is a heart wrenching story of two young people living with cancer. Written by contemporary American writer and YouTube vlogger John Green, The Fault in Our Stars looks at the poignancy and fraility of youth. Faced with the horrors of cancer, The hero, Augustus Waters, waxes poetic and philosophically searches for meaning in all things. The story is told from heroine, Hazel’s, POV and reveals a girl who is surviving cancer rather than dying from it. There has been some controversy by book reviewers that Green was cashing in on tragedy, most readers don’t agree. Overall the book has been celebrated for it’s meaningful message and noteable quotes.

“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”

The woman who acted as guide to many females–pre-teens and young adults for over forty years is finally seeing one of her novels adapted to film. Judy Blume, winner of over 90 literary awardshas co-written the screenplay of Tiger Eyes with her son Larry Blume. Released in limited theaters on June 7, 2013 the plot is a look at a young girl’s grief at the loss of a parent. Blume’s celebrated insight and wisdom has addressed topics from masturbation to bullying and all those issues that touch nearly every girl in between those two things.

A great many adaptations are quite faithful to their inspiration. Like all things which go from the hand of one person to another–views, ideas and prominent points change. As a reader you may think one adaptation is a success and another is a travesty. It’s either great to see something you imagined interpreted in a similar fashion to your own ideas. Or it is heartbreaking to see a novel you enjoyed massacred. I am a firm believer in letting your voice be heard. Never be shy, if you can’t find a place to comment on the things you like or dislike publically, tell a friend. Opinions might be a little like buttholes, but no one can ever say you are better off without one. After all, that just means you are full of shit.

This has been a very long and involved look at the history and result of adaptation. Thank you for sticking with me and seeing it through.


Breaking Someone the Right Way

Break'em and Buy'em
Break’em and Buy’em

I write this sharing my lap desk with a big uncaring white fluff ball named Frankie. He likes to push the keys and sit on top of the computer so we stage laptop wars. So far we are about 50/50. I’m not really the one in authority here.

This week I read a truly incredible book by one of those authors that no one knows but really should be on the lips of everyone. Fallen Crest High by Tijan was a look outside the box in a way that killed the memory of the many formulaic books I have read lately. It bled dysfunction, unlikely alliances, the value of friendships and perceptions. This book was written very well, the characters were engaging and the power struggling and backstabbing feed my hunger for angst and trouble. I have not read any of Tijan’s other books but I did go right to Amazon and downloaded Broken and Screwed and the Jaded series as soon as I finished Fallen Crest High. When a book as good as this comes around it literally rocks your entire world and the impression left by this sort of story demands to be shared with anyone who will listen. I hope you are listening. Tijan’s Facebook page, Tijan’s Books, posts updates of the novels she is in the process of writing. I love authors who are so accessible and generous.

But how does one go about writing broken and ruined characters successfully?

So many authors try so hard to play the broken and tragic tales of one of their characters they meet with defeat. They are so hung up on the triggering event that the symptoms and aftermath get lost in the plot. Or they get so lost in the dark emotions and troubled behavior of a damaged hero or heroine that the ultimate reveal comes across as insignificant. It’s hard to write something real if you have never experienced or witnessed it yourself. Writing fiction about painful and difficult times resulting in horrific personal crises isn’t as simple as making up a tale of woe and prescribing cliched motives and villainous villains to milk a response. You have to actually make your reader feel like they have never felt so much pain, confusion, terror, distress, hopeful hopelessness and vulnerability from a narrative of this type before.

Trauma effects people in different ways but it almost always comes with a desperate anger and a feeling of hollowness or emptiness that removes the victim from the world of all the people around them. The isolation that a troubled person goes through may be of their own making or by being stigmatised as different from others in regards to the incident. Sometimes life is simple. You are made or broken and from that you grow into a stronger person. Most people aren’t really that lucky and pain, anger, helplessness win. That feeling of being other in a broken world can’t be solved with a chat with a therapist or pill. When you can’t talk it out and it just plows through your life the experience can live in your mind playing over and over again. When you come out on the other end it’s incredible. For others, luck doesn’t bless you that way and destroying who you are seems like the only option. When that happens you know you are going down and you no longer care who you bring with you. The injuries you have pull you into your own small world where you hurt so much you fail to see anyone else’s pain. And the feelings you have create a place all it’s own where people have to pay for what has been to you. Even the ones who are innocent.

That is reality. This is how people respond to abuse, tragedy and trauma. Knowing this happens in life makes for great writing. Assuming something like this from TV dramas, thriller movies and other books which address trauma, stress and tragedy isn’t enough. Writing a good story comes from writing what you know.

In fiction of this vein the author is creating a character that has suffered something monumental and that character’s story isn’t necessarily the only one that is being told. Authors say lot about themselves by showing how human nature works in their own minds by what they write. The violation or unjustice, how the world around the victim reacts and what the result of those actions are; All of that is a product of an author’s ability to see the inner turmoil and the greater gift of interaction. Topics such as cancer, suicide, rape, child or domestic abuse, assault, mental illness, family dysfunction, social or unspecified anxiety, and death (this list could really go on into infinity), mold characters just as they mold real people. Knowledge is a powerful thing and authors with knowledge can play God in the written sense.

I have been reading all sorts of books for most of my life and I have probably read thousands of books which have a life lesson contained within the wrappings of personal tragedy. I can remember the first book of this sort that really left a mark on me. A teenage author by the name of Cyn-Forshay Lunsford wrote a book in 1986 called Walk Through Cold Fire. It was a great story of a girl who had a pretty shitty life moving to stay with other family for a summer. The events which occur impact her life in pretty horrible way. As you can see from that Amazon link the book isn’t available in e-book format and it’s out of print. So unless you can find it in a used bookstore, like I did about ten years ago, the likelyhood of you getting to read this great piece of fiction is probably pretty slim.

Still I give the author props because the way she commanded that these characters matter in a world where it didn’t seem that people did was impressive. Walk Through Cold Fire was written with a rawness and truth that left me feeling every one of Desiree’s crushing burdens at the end of the book. I think it was the first book I read that didn’t have a happy ending. It felt real. To my youthful mind fantasy was so much more fun. But as I read and read and read during my pre-teens and teen years, the only book that really sticks out is Cyn-Forshay Lunsford’s. I can’t tell you the plot of too many of the Silhouette Young Adult Books I read. And I can tell you that the only thing I remember from the first couple of Sweet Valley High books is that one of the characters names was Fiona. And I only remember that because from that point on I wanted to change my name to that. I think as a young girl of twelve Walk Through Cold Fire actually changed something in me. It made me see the world differently.

By no means is that the only title that I recommend that would illicit a telling reaction. There are the classic S.E. Hinton books The Outsiders and Rumble fish. Both powerful stories about life on hard times. Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis, which told the tale of a jaded and lost generation in the middle of the 1980’s. The memoir of Susanna Keyson, Girl Interrupted, which I remember made me fear the possibility of something similar happening to me. All those were published before a time that really is remembered by the younger readers who are reading now. I don’t think they can relate with the times or culture before 2000, which is just unfortunate because the message that was being made at that particular times of those novels spoke volumes.

Of current books that I have read this past year, my tastes have run the gamut from terminal illness to incest and almost everything in between. Some to mention would be Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma, a book set in Great Britain about a truly broken family in which a brother and sister find themselves in a taboo relationship. The Fault in Our Stars by the incredible John Green. His book is being adapted into a movie. If the film impacts viewers half as much as the book did me no one will leave that theater with a dry eye.

A very dark and disturbing view into sex trafficking with the Dark Duet books by C.J. Roberts will leave you wondering how the hell something like this exists. Incredible and frightening. Jeffery Euginedes debut novel The Virgin Suicides was a little of everything. You know, I laughed, I cried, I read it multiple times. Nicole Reed’s Ruining Series was a road through a dark hell of a young girl just plagued with trauma and tragedy. Colleen Hoover hit on some very touchy subjects in Hopeless. Honestly the end of her book left me a bit shocked, Sky’s reunion with her father was so disquieting and I remember the pivotal part where I just shook my head and said, “What in hell did I just read?”. Jessica Sorensen left me speechless with her book The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden. The violation of Callie was just beyond what one would assume and Kayden’s family life was sickening but so often reality. Just the idea that they could get past their issues in any small way made this book pure gold. And I can’t forget Alice Sebold with her compelling story The Lovely Bones. I had read her memoir which told of her own rape and fight for justice in Lucky. She is a strong woman for making it through that. And writing what happened one time was a lot to admire, writing the horror a second time takes fortitude and courage.

I recommend every book that I have mentioned above. Read them once for me and then again for you. It takes a special author to develop stories that stage horrific and hopeless events in a way that pulls you out of your comfort zone but allows you to think that somewhere in all that hell something more might exist. Sometimes the ending is vicious and as a reader, even you feel violated. Personally, I see that as a great accomplishment on the writer’s behalf. I have always been fond of saying, “good or bad, at least you aren’t indifferent.” Give me a story that makes my heart hurt, my gut wrench and my mind feel like I just survived something most people can’t live through.

I congratulate the authors who attempt and succeed to touch on issues that make readers ill at ease. Sometimes you need to be shaken up. Life isn’t just hot guys and girls, living haphazardly, and fighting with parents, siblings and best pals. Sometimes living is hard. And surviving is near impossible. There is crime, hate, impossible odds, terror, heartbreak, pain and shame that make it so hard to breathe that you just suffocate on the thought of the next moment. Awful and alarming things happen to people you know all the time. Maybe they don’t talk about it. Maybe they can’t. Books that pull you away from your own safety, leading you through someone else’s bottomless pit, give you a better sense of humanity.  Sometimes having your world flip upside down can make everything around you mean a little more.

Thanks for reading this.

Edited because I mistyped Jessica Sorensen’s name as Jennifer. My apologies.



Sometime you have to rebuild it to make them come.

Bunny's Human
Bunny’s Human

Middle of the week. I feel sort of like I haven’t done much this past week. The major reason for that is two crippling migraines since last Friday. The first I had for over twenty-four hours and then I had one on Tuesday that had me pulling my blankets over my head and sleeping most of the day. I’m actually beginning to wonder if Ricardo Montalban didn’t put a worm in my ear while I slept.

Amidst watching Vampire Diaries, Kitchen Nightmares and SourceFed I have managed to get a little writing done and a scarce amount of reading. I did make another 30 in 30 list for this month. That is where I make a list of thirty books of varying genres and assortment of authors to see if I can’t read a little out of the box in the coming month. A few books choices are Escape From Camp 14 by Blaine Harden, Unremembered by Jessica Brody, January First by Michael Schofield, Obsession by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I always start out really strong and then newer books start to come out and I lose focus. Last time I read nineteen of them. That, unfortunately is the best I have done with it.

A small update about writing I have been working on… I scrapped the majority of the first six chapters that I had written for the first book of the Soul Wars. I have a working title for it and that title is Murmur of Souls. I was pretty happy with what I had before. As I wrote further into the story I began to see major issues between personalities, plot development and character support. I really burned my bacon trying to figure out how to make it work in a way that it would set up the second book and give this one some sort of intriguing end. I wrote out what I wanted as the goal of this book, how it would come about and actually worked backward from that. I also made a good sized list of names that weren’t so exotic and would feel more natural. It didn’t hurt that the newer names felt more intimate then the overly complicated I was discarding.

From that foundation I rewrote the prologue and first chapter so far. I more or less tossed the initial passiveness of Min and showed a lot more of her interactions with her friends and family. I felt this was missing in the first attempt and it left you with a watery character which bled into Min having a lack of personality. I have also changed the dynamic of her relationship with Jet to make it more combative. No relationship is more intriguing than two people who are stuck with one another and can’t stand each other. I feel like this will play out much better than what was there before.

Min and her brother chapter 1.

[Min]“Okay thanks, Mr. Adderly, for that Doomsday report. I am going to refrain from drinking the Kool-Aid.”
My brother’s lips tilted up before growing into a shit eating grin. He leaned over to my ear and stage whispered, “You are lucky to have me even if I have taken on a little Jim Jones overtones. You my little Padawan learner have been groomed for this sort of youthful Apocalypse. Which horse are you going to ride?”
“Cults, Star Wars and The Book of Revelations. My, my, Michael, are we preparing for a chance on Jeopardy?”

I spent a little time looking at the first chapter of le Cirque this morning. I wrote le Cirque in third person and when I did it I felt pretty secure in it. When I took some time away from it and then saw it anew, second eyes and all, I began to be nervous about that choice. I feel pretty strongly now that since this is Meridan’s story it would be better if it were in first person. Giving depth to the narrative that presently feels incomplete. The very thought of going through this story and re-hauling it feels pretty overwhelming. Most of the time I think this sort of thing and then I am blown away at the ease that I find myself making changes once I actually start writing. I hope this will be the case rewriting this.

Meridan and Verity while they are still in the Central. Third Person:
“I am imagining that the small girl to the left in brown ringlets will be training hard before her next performance”, Meridan spoke quietly. Verity looked and made a sympathetic face. “It is so hard at that age. You are all arms and legs. Well I assume that is how it was for most everyone else. I was always was pretty close to perfect.” Meridan nodded watching still. Verity was a good friend, although she believed herself to be better than most everyone else.
They stood silently until the end of the performance. The young girls left the platform and Legion Leader Martelle who choreographed the dances stepped forward to announce the next performance. As he walked back to his place to observe, Meridan saw him receive a note and watched his face as he read it and his look as he raised his eyes to the young girl Verity and she had spoken about. Meridan felt more unrest in her heart because she knew that that missive held an audit from one of the Legion males regarding her performance. That note could be telling Leader Martelle to discard her and that made Meridan feel sick.
“She is being evaluated”, Verity said sadly, seeing the same thing as Meridan.
“It’s not good”, Meridan agreed with the weight of Verity’s tone.
“Have you seen her perform before?” Verity asked.
“I’m sure I have but to me she has been unremarkable before tonight.”
“It would be unfortunate if this is her first unsteady night and it still came down to discard her. Maybe I should have helped her train. I have always been so very good.” Verity stated. She continued, “No one gets a second chance with the Legion audits.”

Same Part with First Person Perspective:
“I’m thinking that the small girl to the left with brown ringlets will be training hard before her next performance”. My voice was low and quiet as not to draw attention. Verity looked at the performers with as much sympathy as she could muster. “It is so hard at that age. You’re all arms and legs. Well I assume that is how it was for all the rest of you.” Her lips pursed and she squinted and flinched at another mistake. “I was always pretty close to perfect compared to you and the others.” I nodded at her since any other response would be lost on her. Verity was a good friend, but she was so full of herself I wasn’t sure if it was comical or irritating.
We stood silently side-by-side until the end of the performance. The young girls left the platform and Legion Leader Martelle, who choreographed the dances, stepped forward to announce the next performance. When he walked back to his place to observe, I watched him receive a note. He nodded his head as he read it. His dark eyes sought the girl who had trouble. I felt my heart squeeze painfully because I knew that that piece of paper held an audit from one of the Legion males regarding the young girl’s performance. That memo could be telling Leader Martelle to discard her and that made sickness cramp my stomach.
“She is being evaluated”, Verity said sadly. She was seeing the same thing I was. “It’s not good”, I replied, matching Verity’s tone.
“Have you seen her perform before?” she asked.
I shook my head and said, 
“I’m sure I have she’s been unremarkable before tonight.”
“It would be unfortunate if this is her first off night and it still came down to discard her. Maybe I could have helped her train. I have always been the most talented.” Verity stated. She shrugged. “No one gets a second chance with the Legion audits.”

Well that is where I am. This weekend is Memorial Day and I have plans to spend it with D. That means no writing for me. I think I may spend my free time reading some books. Maybe my next post will be a book critique.

Thanks for reading. <3


On a Wing and a Prayer

Me Blame it on severe depression. I spent three weeks in bed and a week after that getting out of bed but not wanting to do anything at all. This is my up and down world. While I was trying to sleep away the world, I was still reading some great stuff. I picked up some books that I didn’t think I would read and I’m liking them a lot.

Unintentionally, I read a good deal of books that were about angels and demons. Some were great, others good and some started out great and then later in the series they made me bug-eyed, grunting by how convoluted the story had become and how much I wanted to kill the protagonist. Sometimes it is painful reading about their weaksauce bullshit any further. A few recommendations I want to make are the Mad World Series by Christine Zolendz, The Premonition Series by Amy A. Bartol, The first book and then alternate POVs for the Sweet Trilogy and The Providence Series by Jamie McGuire.

Fall From Grace
Fall From Grace

I have to say the Mad World books, Fall From Grace and Saving Grace are pretty great. The premise is about an angel and a human woman who fell in love when the Grigori Angels (watchers) were sent to Earth from Heaven way back when them angels were just kids. If you know your Bible stories, in specific the Book of Enoch, you know that when these watcher angels mated with the human women, Nephilim were created. These children who were giant sized and compelled to destroy the world as we know it, they are redressed up with some writer’s license quite often. The hero and heroine never sinned but had shared a kiss, when the other sons of god were sent to sheol to repent, Shamsiel is sent with them. Then he and the woman he loves are cursed through time to travel from one soul to the next looking for one another again.

The things I truly love about this book is the complete humanization of these immortal souls. There is no feeling of divinity because they have lived thousands of lifetimes without any hope for relief. Not only were there fruitless searches for one other but the constant and draining effects of losing those they care for over and over again. You can literally feel the anguish, fear and attempts to recapture a fading faith.

I ask myself why it is that authors so often make heroines overburdened with pride. A great deal of both of Zolendz’s books weigh heavily on this struggle with assumptions. Even when one of them is telling the truth no trust is there to help them through. It’s disappointing when writers can’t do anything more than make their characters reckless and stubborn to further along a story.

Despite all reservations and grumblings I had with the books I would have to say that it is one of the better angel books that I have read in a long time.

Sweet Evil
Sweet Evil

Speaking of Angel/Demon books that are better than others I would have to say that Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins was phenomenal! She turned the entire genre of angel books on it’s head and made truly amazing characters that you can’t help but be intrigued and fascinated by. The book is about a sixteen year old girl named Anna who has always known that she was very different than everyone else. One night she goes out with her best friend and meets Kaiden, someone who is a lot like her. Along the way she finds that she is trapped in a world where she is pulled back and forth by her inner nature. Kaidan is incredible. My favorite kind of bad boy.

I must confess Kaidan Rowe would have to be right up there with Jace Wayland/Lightwood or Will Herondale on my the hotness scale of  bad boy book boyfriends. One of the sexiest guys to be drawn up in a YA novel to date. His confusion and compulsions are just wonderful to read and how his philosophy and job meet with those things make him pop of the paper.

I can’t wait to read the next book, Sweet Peril, which is due out 30 April 2013. I would say that these books are some of the best novels since the Shadowhunter books. I could see me grabbing paperback versions of these books for my bookshelves.

Jamie McGuire is the author of the ridiculously good and indecently delicious book, Beautiful Disaster. She created the ultimate alpha male character in that book, Travis Maddox. I’m awaiting the alternate POV book of that story called Walking Disaster which is due out 2 April 2013. However before those books became so popular she had penned The Providence Trilogy, a tale about a girl who finds out about what her life actually is after the death of her father.

Nina meets Jared at a bus stop the night of her father’s death and soon he always seems to be around. She becomes more obsessed with him, right around the time I might have started thinking that I needed a restraining order, and then they are baring their souls in a I-can’t-live-without-you-moment. No longer able to deny his feelings he tells her all the things she is forbidden to know. The knowledge alone cracks open her world.

I liked seeing that Jamie McGuire could be so diverse. By far, I love Beautiful Disaster it is just one of those books that blew me away. However I kept the Providence books on my Kindle afterward  in case I wanted to give them another read. Jared Ryel would lose in a battle with Travis Maddox.

Finally there is The Premonition Series by Amy A. Bartol. When I started this series I could not put it down. Every new character that was introduced I really loved. I was big on Freddy. Reed Inescapable: Premonition Series Book 1was best during the first half of the book when he was the enigmatic asshole. I loved it. All of it. The summary is that there is this newly scrubbed, fresh-faced, college Freshman, Evie. When she arrives on campus she finds she is embarrassingly effected by this guy who seems to hate her. He goes so far as to demand that she leave the campus completely. When he sees she won’t leave he tries to get to know her as well as he can. There is a few angels, a soul-mate and strong forces who want her dead.

The first book, Inescapable, is really great and the first few chapters of book two, Intuition, are good and then Bartol removes Evie from the little crowd of friends and that is where I start to dislike the book. Evie has left Reed and her friends, stranding her with her soulmate, Russell, at which time she pines almost to the point of needing a good fifth of tequila and a blow up Reed doll. This is when Bartol takes the fateful step that launches her to introduce a character I plain ol’ hate.  About midway through Intuition Brennus and Finn and there Fellas are introduced. They are basically undead faeries and they drink blood and want to make Evie their undead queen. Chapter after chapter it is all about breaking her spirit and then driving her insane so that she will bend to Brennus’s will and take her place with the Gancanagh.

If it had only ended when she is saved in book two that would have been great but all too soon in book three Brennus is reintroduced and my tolerance for him and an Evie, now so ridiculously ruined, I could actually spoon my innards out with a melon spoon. In this those angels/people, better at strategic thinking and more capable of handling situations of general warfare are thwarted time and time again by Evie. Impulsive and irrational she is incapable of listening and the throttling she deserves never comes.Just when I was getting my Reed fix at the start of the book, in comes Brennus and the story is hi-jacked for at least 80% of the book by the Gancanagh.

The thing I think that really rips my panties is that with the direction the first book was going and what happens in the second and third. I really feel like Bartol was headed one way and then vered off in another because she found she loved the bad guy more so much than the hero. Going so far as to make him a main character rather than a secondary in the third book. All the people you loved in the beginning–Buns, Brownie, Zypher and Russell are sort of meh to her and it is a Brennus fest. I truly loathe this character.

There are also a few more books I would like to talk about sometime before I leave next week. I hope someone may be interested in some of these books. Reading does the body good.

And the one thing I won’t review but will always push is the Shadowhunter books by Cassandra Clare. The Mortal Instruments, which is being made into a film starring Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower and The Infernal Devices. I have loved these books for years. In all actuality when I got rid of my paper books to get digital versions these my Cassandra Clare books, my Gemma Doyle books by Libba Bray, His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman and Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely Series were the only books that I kept. So when I say I want to grab the Sweet Trilogy of Wendy Higgins to add it is a big deal.

Thanks for reading this and I hope that maybe you will all trying to read a little of the above.