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Writing A Book? Starting With A Synopsis

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Courtesy of the movie: Julie & Julia

*walks up to microphone & taps it…clears throat*

“Hi…My name is Des…and I’m a procrastinator.”

*the group in unison sing in monotone* “Hiiiii, Des.”

I have been a very bad girl when it comes to writing. Ending 2013 brought on tons of emotions that required processing and refocus. I approached 2014 determined to make productive changes, especially when it came to writing my book. Well, as many of you know, come January 2014, I got sick for two weeks. Talk about a monkey wrench tossed into my plans.

Coming out of the infestation called “le flu”, it took some time to reorient my life. Here we are, at the end of January already and looking back, I can’t help but cringe a bit at how the start of my grand new year towards awesomeness–a.k.a. 2014–is already looking, which is…nothing as I planned. Go figure. Does anything ever really turn out the way we thought or planned them to be?

I should start accepting it and work with it, instead of huffing and puffing, only wasting more time procrastinating because my “plan” or “idea” had flying monkeys swing by throwing poo. Apparently, it is common knowledge that monkeys throw poo.

Since the New Year, I have been productive in one area–book blogging. It’s been good, keeping my fingers exercising on the stair master of a keyboard, filtering my running thoughts into somewhat cohesive thoughts for all of you to read. With that, has come much reading. It’s felt good, being pulled out of that Holiday reading slump I was in two months ago, and tackling that wonderful stack of books.

With all the reading and book blogging, and attempts at refocusing my life, my writing (my book) has suffered, only because I had allowed it to. Why?

Synopsis.

I can not be a “pantser” writer–someone who sits down with just a thought of a concept, and begins writing, later seeing where the story goes–I tried that. I wrote 67,000 words and was only ten chapters away from finishing the first book of what I thought would be a trilogy. Well, there was a major problem. My plot wasn’t fully developed or had a resolution–an ending. I tried and tried. I even had the bestie chime in, tossing all the possible ideas with me. It just wasn’t working. My concept, and plot was so big, the possibilities and directions on where the story could go, was all over the place. It wasn’t a tight enough concept.

I don’t want to go through that heart ache again.

I spent the last four, or five months researching. I knew I needed to organize my new concept (which still has elements I hold dear from my first concept and draft) and I needed to plot and structure this time.

So when I say synopsis, I’m talking about knowing the beginning, middle, and end of my story. I believe this new concept will be told through two books.

This time, I told myself, I would outline my story, understand it, know it before actually writing it. I believe, once I do this, there will still be room to allow the story and characters to lead things here and there and surprise me. Those moments are the best.

Doing some “googling” and seeing what other people out in cyberspace (do people still say that?) had to advice in regards to Synopsis writing, I stumbled across something I found useful and of course, I wanted to share it with y’all.

Here’s “5 Steps to Writing A Synopsis”

(click on title for link directing to the entire article with details prior to 5 steps)

With some examples of which points to include, from a story of mine called The Lord of the Isles (finished length: 12,000 words).

1: The HOOK Start with the main character and trigger event which sets the story in motion. Reveal the character’s emotions and motivations, those points which explain why a character does something.

  • Theme: This story is a time slip to the nineteenth century. It’s about accepting changes and not prejudging people. It’s about co-operation and selflessness.
  • Main characters and background problem BEN’S father and CASSIE’S mother are about to be married – and he doesn’t think much to the idea, either having a step-mother or, what is worse, a younger sister.
  • Ben’s one big interest is Railways, particularly steam locomotives and he grudgingly thanks Cassie when she gives him an old photo of his favourite locomotive, The Lord of the Isles..
  • Trigger event of story Cassie’s precious cat runs into the old disused railway tunnel and Ben reluctantly goes in to look for it.
  • Story quest 1 Ben wants to prevent his home life from changing
  • Story quest 2 The rescue of the cat

2: The BODY of the Synopsis.  Write the high points of your story in chronological order.  Keep these paragraphs tight, don’t give every little detail.

  • High point 1 Halfway through the tunnel Ben realises that the rails are no longer rusty, but shiny with use, and what’s more, he feels the vibration of a coming train. Having caught the cat Ben runs out of the other end of the tunnel just in time before a steam train rushes through.Cassie does not believe Ben’s story of the train, as none emerged from her end, and her cat is still missing, having jumped out of Ben’s arms in fright. She agrees to continue the search the next day.
  • Highpoint 2 Together they go through the tunnel, which, along with the old photo, acts as a passage into the 19th century. They meet Tom, the chimney sweep.
  • Highpoint 3 Ben, who is quite thin, is captured by Mr Burns, the Sweep Master and sent up to clean a chimney. After this terrifying experience, he manages to escape through a window of the house.
  • Highpoint 4 Tom is fascinated by tales of ‘their time’ and Ben gives him his grandfather’s wind up watch. Tom knows where the cat is and promises to bring her.

3: The DARK MOMENT when all seems lost

  • **Highpoint 5 Ben leaves the photograph, along with the other contents of his pockets, in the big house where he swept the chimney, so they have no way of returning to their own time. Tom volunteers to go back for it
  • Highpoint 6 Having retrieved the photo and the cat, the three are about to enter the tunnel, when Mr Burns captures both boys and locks them in his cellar. Cassie escapes.

4: CLIMAX

  • Highpoint 7 Cassie causes a diversion involving a pie man and a herd of pigs so that the boys can escape from Mr Burns through the coal chute. With the evil man on their heels, the three of them plus the elusive cat, rush back into the tunnel, hoping to bring Tom into their time.
  • Highpoint 8 They hear the train whistle behind them.

5: The RESOLUTION

  • Highpoint 9 Tom does not emerge into the 21st century and they are left to wonder what became of him, especially as the council is blocking up the tunnel entrance so they cannot return.
  • Highpoint 10 When Ben looks more closely at his photo of The Lord of the Isles, he notices that the driver, who has one arm resting outside the cab, is wearing a wrist watch long before they were invented. He guesses it must be Tom, fulfilling his wish to be an engine driver – and obviously having escaped Mr Burns’ clutches.
  • Highpoint 11 Shows how the main characters have changed. Ben and Cassie have become friends through their adventure together and have both learnt to accept each others’ virtues and weaknesses. Ben realises that he had prejudged her.

A synopsis is NOT* A chapter by chapter detailed account of the plot* A blurb to entice the reader

A synopsis IS* Your principal selling tool* A concise account of what your book is about with nothing left out* Always written in omniscient present tenseIt’s well worth spending as much time polishing and honing your synopsis as you did your novel.

© Stephanie Baudet. First published in Writing Magazine October 2008

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I appreciated coming across this. In addition to all the other awesome research other authors have directed me towards in reference to Structure & Plot Outlining, I feel as though this will help me get back to just figuring out the gist of the story’s beginning, middle, and end. I’m excited and kind of itching to get to the actual writing of the story, but I want to do my story justice by building it’s skeleton before attempting to put skin over a half-crack pot silhouette.

Hope this proves helpful to any other writers out there who come across my little blog.

Happy reading and writing everyone!

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Asunder by Jodi Meadows Book Talk!

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Asunder by Jodi Meadows

Goodreads Synopsis:

DARKSOULS
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

SHADOWS
Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

LOVE
Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

In this second book in the Newsoul trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.

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My Thoughts:

I loved this book.

After I finished Incarnate-book one–I literally hunted this one down. I needed to know what happened. I needed more Sam and Ana. Jodi Meadows did it again. She created this unique fantasy world with so many intricate elements.

In book two, Asunder, so much comes to light. Many things within book one that were presented, are developed further in book two. There is so much to explore. Sam and Ana’s relationship has slowed down due to everything they and the town have gone through plus everything they begin going through in this book. There are many swoony moments still but Sam is hearing the sneering comments from the people of Heart who grow to hate Ana more and more. They begin tainting what they have, speaking of how inappropriate it is for Sam to be taking advantage of such a young girl. She’s only eighteen and he’s well, five thousand years old. It begins to mess with his head. He loves her and wants to honor her. It creates issues and a strain within their relationship that is surrounded with so much trauma and additional tragedy mounding up.

Many answers finally come to the light, and with Ana, we begin to understand so much about her existence. The ending leaves you crying (I literally cried) and with your mouth gaping open. Book Three–Infinite–I’m looking at you and eagerly waiting. THREE MORE DAYS! 

If you like fantasy, heart and romance, check this series out! It’s completion comes to a book store near you, January 28th, 2014. How about a Series Binge Read?

That concludes the non-spoiler section! 

Memorable Moments Tabs! 

(from here on, you see that Yellow Tape? Yup, this section is closed off for SPOILERS! You have been warned *winks*)

Tab #1 – (pg 21-23) Cris…Awkward Moment

In the beginning, Sam and Ana go to Purple Rose Cottage and encounter some sylphs again. Only, they seem to respond to Ana and music. Someone was approaching the cottage at the time. Once the sylph leave, Ana asks,

“Were they after you?” I asked.

He shook his head. “I don’t think so. I was walking here and heard your playing. I thought you might be–” He shrugged the words off. “Then I saw the sylph as I approached the path. That’s it.”

…”I’m sorry,” he said, offering his hand. “I’ve been rude. I don’t think we’ve met in this life. Cris.”

A little while later, Sam comes out of the cottage. He had gone to get some sylph eggs to save them from an attack. Ana mentions they left but they got Cris in trade.

“Cris.” Sam’s voice slipped, and there was something while the boys looked at each other–something I couldn’t understand.

“Dossam. I heard you were…” Cris shifted his gaze to me. “Then you must be Ana.”

Awk-ward! Omygoodness. First, can we talk about something a little weird to grasp in this series. These million souls have been reincarnated a bunch of times. Each life is different. Sometimes they’re woman, sometimes they’re men in another life. Now, imagine coming back with all your memories and experiences, remembering the people you have fallen in love with? So the weird part is you fell in love when you were a woman and they were a man. Imagine coming back and now you’re both men in this life. Then imagine, you being a man and seeing the man you fell in love with in another life, in love with another woman? Yeah, I think you understand now the AWKWARDNESS that occurs during this entire book between Cris, Sam and poor Ana who is for the most part till almost the end, completely OBLIVIOUS to this. She senses the weirdness but doesn’t understand what it’s about.

Here’s the crazy thing, you just cant seem to hate Cris for it. He…um, once she…um, well, in this book he is a he, and he is just so lovable and awesome, gosh darn it. You want to though. There is clearly some past tensions between Sam and Cris.

Tab #- (pg. 62) Sam loves Ana.

Sam and Ana are east of Range, where Menehem, Ana’s father disappeared all her life to do his research and experiments. Ana and Sam decide it’s time to go back to Heart and suddenly Sam scoots over to Ana saying he has something to tell her. He kisses her before saying what that is. His kiss is a little desperate. He pauses, breathing heavy and Ana is panicking wondering if what he is going to say is bad and that’s why he kissed her like that.

He drew himself up, kissed me again, and spoke the words against my lips. “I love you, Ana,”

My breath caught in my chest.

Eeep *high pitched girly squeal*

Tab #3 – (pg 185-196) Meuric Alive?

Ana and Sam were supposed to enter the Temple again to find answers. Sam got caught outside by Stef and started an argument. Ana was hiding in the shadows. No one goes into the Temple. There’s no door. Only, a device that Ana took from Meuric when he tried to trap her in the Temple in Incarnate (Book one), opens doors and causes reactions in the temple and from Janan–their deity? The one who reincarnates them. Stef won’t let Sam alone so Ana goes in by herself.

This place is horrendous inside. Every time Ana has gone in, I just want to run right back out. Janan reveals himself (vocally) more in the previous chapter and he is disturbing. He wants to eat Ana! He began messing with her mind in there. Time is different in there. It may only seem hours in the Temple but outside, you’ve been missing for days.

As if things weren’t already crazy in here, Ana hears a familiar voice, which in her mind, must be impossible because he’s dead. She killed him.

Meuric. He didn’t die when she stabbed his eye and kicked him into the upside down gravity reversed pit hole where he fell deep. The fall alone should have shattered every bone in his body and it had been months!

Blood and fluids seeped around his filthy clothes. He hadn’t moved all those months from that spot. This entire part is crazy. She finds a means to get information from him.

Tab #4 – (pg 195-196) and then…the Truth!

In the midst of this exchange between Ana and Meuric, he says something that literally shook my insides. Are you ready? This is a MAJOR Spoiler and in context to the book, man, this was huge and felt like a punch in the gut! I don’t know whether to tell you all and leave you wanting, so you’ll read it…hm…

Ok, I’m not gonna reveal it.

I’m trying to withhold laughter here because I’m in the middle of a Starbucks. I’m not laughing maniacally, it’s that I built that whole thing up only to not say it in the end. Sorry. Don’t hate me. It’s to enrich your reading experience.

What I will share is that, it finally gives us clarity about Ana as a NewSoul/NoSoul. We understand everything suddenly about why and how she is what she is.

Tab #5 – (pg 207) Sam said What?!

Yeah, so remember that whole Cris and Sam situation I told you about earlier. Oh. My. Lanta. When I read this part, I gasped and screamed and waited to see (read, actually) Ana’s reaction and she didn’t. She didn’t react and have a light bulb as I thought she would, or if she did, she is much less impulsive and emotional than I am. I would’ve gone buckwild. Then again, she was loosing consciousness so, what do I expect. But AFTER. When I resurfaced. Oh, yeah…buckwild.

So in book one, remember (I mentioned the Tab in my Book One book talk- Incarnate by Jodi Meadows Book Talkthis moment) in the beginning when Sam rescued Ana from the frozen river she jumped into, to survive the sylph attack? Then she woke in a cozy tent, her boots and jacket off, drying, laying down with a strangers body pressed up against her back with his hand over her heart. Then she freaked when he spoke.

Well…We-he-ell!

Back to this point of Book Two. They just found Ana who finally escaped from the Temple. She was missing for a week. She got out weak. Finally passing out, Sam picked her up and carried her home. All she could hear are voices.

Bundled in blankets on the sofa, everyone started trickling out to leave. Her blurry vision caught faintly people leaving out the door. At the door Sam and Cris spoke.

“You didn’t have to do so much,” Sam said. “But I’m grateful. Thank you.”

“She seems nice.” Cris hesitated. “Well, a bit testy, but I suspect she’s nice underneath all those thorns.”

And here it is…

“When we first met, she had scars all over her hands. It took me a while to figure out how she’d gotten them.” Sam hooked his thumbs in his pockets. “Or why they looked familiar.”

Then Cris holds up his hands showing his scars from tending flowers and plants.

What the? Holy crap! When Sam first met Ana and tended to her while she was first passed out, his flirty nature, his behavior, his confidence handling Ana...HE THOUGHT SHE WAS CRIS IN THIS LIFE! 

Omygoodness! I freaked about this. I wanted Ana to freak. It would hurt a little, understanding suddenly how deep their past was, their love.

But then, the entire time (though they’ve both had their stupid moments) Sam turns around and gives you no doubts, whatsoever, that he is in love with Ana. And again, Cris…just won’t let you hate him. He is so good and awesome.

Tab #6 – (314-315) Don’t Let Me Go

So here’s one of the stupid moments I just mentioned above. Back on page 292, Sam said something STUPID. This was clearly one of those guy/girl miscommunications.

Finally, we reached the house, and Sam’s mitten slipped on the doorknob as he spoke. “I wanted to ask you something. You’ve been talking about making your own decisions, wanting to do things for yourself” He tried the knob again, but snow and wool slid across each other.

“And?” I scrubbed my mittens on my coat and grasped the knob…

“Do you want your own house? Li’s or Ciana’s?”

…I felt like I had a mouthful of snow as I stared up at him. Had he changed his mind? Decided he loved Stef or Cris more? (cause, yeah, Stef was another past of Sam’s we had to deal with here) 

Before they could speak further on this, they see someone DESTROYED everything inside the house. It was so sad.

Later, through all the grief, aftermath, unspoken moments, big elephant in the room, Ana tried to go and get Sam’s attention. He’s been mentally M.I.A. lately.

She tells him she’s thought about it and will be leaving. They’ve been living together for a year now. They’re romance after the end of Book One SLOWED down significantly with everything that the city went through.

My heart was breaking as Ana was trying to be strong here and leave. She thinks it’s what he wanted. She then walks out the room, breaking a little more with each step.

As I left his room, I wanted him to stop me. I wanted it so badly I could almost hear the perfect words he’d say to convince me to stay, but when I breathed, those words were lost…Another step. If I could just make it to my bedroom–

Arms wrapped around me and my knees buckled. “No.” Sam’s cheek grazed mine, fresh-shaved stubble.

Tab #7 – (369) “Lick My Shoe!”

A lot happens, reaching to this point of the book. There are just some Spoilers, I will not reveal. I don’t want to take away EVERYTHING in case you haven’t read it yet. I won’t reveal one of the major plot point Spoilers here but on this page, I literally LAUGHED. OUT. LOUD.

I love Jodi Meadows writing and I love how she wrote Ana. I relate to Ana so much in this series. Her quirks and the things she says sometimes–which are hilarious–remind me of my own humor. Ana has some audacity, let me tell ya.

Here, she’s in the Temple again…yup…again. And Janan is shouting through the walls, during this crazy intense scene,

“You will die!”

And what does Ana say in response to his threat?

“Why don’t you lick my shoe?”

Best. Thing. Ever.

Nuff, said.

Tab #8 – (pg 396) Oh, Cris.

I am not going to say it for those who haven’t read it but for those who have and know what I’m talking about…Ohmyheart! Cris. Yeah…If I had the slightest doubt or lingering ill-will because of the whole Sam and Cris debacle…This. This right here, threw any of it left, out the window. Oh, my heart.

Tab #8 – (pg 403) She says it…finally.

Second to last page, Sam and Ana make a decision about what to do next (can we say, I need Infinite…NOW-book three). 

Heartbeat thudding in my ears, I met his eyes and let my emotions bubble into words. “I love you, Sam.”

It was easy to say. I could love. And I did.

*feels* 

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So there it is folks! I loved this book. I loved the first one. I loved the moments Jodi Meadows wrote between Sam and Ana. They’re beautiful. I can not wait to see what she does with book three and how she wraps up this entire series. There is so much she left us speculating. Jodi Meadows created an elaborate world, full of possibilities here. Her creativity, synopsis and plot was brilliant and beautiful.

Happy Reading!

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10 Tips For A Productive Life by A Beautiful Mess

a blog post by Emma from A Beautiful Mess blog!

I came across this thanks to my Bloglovin emails that connect me with some awesome bloggers. Well, here I am, attempting to finally shake off the after-New-Years “influenza” (not really, I’m exaggerating) that attacked my body and a bunch of others bodies as well. It really threw off my “Take Charge & Attack for Change New Years Resolutions”. The only thing on my list I have tackled is the reading one. I have been reading more. My Goodreads 2014 Goal chart says I’m two books ahead of schedule. Sweetness.

Last night I made a to-do list. I had a sudden motivation and I wanted to gain control of my life again.

Then…”Wha-la!” I came across this blog post. Took notes and feel inspired to get organized with all my goals. It sparked me so much, I wanted to share with you all! Hopefully it helps you as I feel it has helped me. Enjoy *wink*

10 TIPS FOR A PRODUCTIVE LIFE

Tips for being prodcutive

At first I was going to call this article, “10 Tips for a Productive Work Day.” But the more I thought about it the more I felt like productivity isn’t just about work. I like having a productive weekend or night at home too. (But, of course, I love a good vacation day spent doing NOTHING as well!) I would really like to have a productive life, but it’s sometimes a bit of a struggle. Here are ten tips that help me stay on track.

1. Make a to-do list. I am absolutely lost without a to-do list! I (try) to write out a list every morning just before I begin the day. I’ve also found that if I’m feeling overly anxious about a big project at work or looming deadline I sometimes make my to-do list the night before. This makes me feel like I’m getting a jump start on the day.

2. Give yourself small rewards for completing big tasks. I don’t know about you, but I am all about rewards. It might be something as little as, “Once I finish getting through all my emails I’ll go make my afternoon cup of coffee.” Little rewards don’t have to be about money or things, get creative and find small ways to motivate yourself to hustle. 🙂

3. Find ways to break up your workday (or night). I feel like I have a pretty decent attention span, but I’m not super human or anything. It’s good to break up tasks that take a long time or that are physically demanding in any way. For example, let’s say you’re a photographer and you have about five hours of editing to do one night. Work for three hours then give yourself a snack or paint your nails. Then finish up that work. Also, if you sit a lot in order to work make sure to build in a few stretch breaks into your day. You’ll feel better!

4. Avoid addictive time wasting activities. I recently confessed my love for Cany Crush Saga. I’m no stranger to time wasting activities. Facebook can be a trap. Smartphone or internet games can also get super addictive. Avoid these when you’re trying to get something done. Check your FB during the last five minutes of your work day (maybe as your reward?). Also set limits for mini “time wasting” sessions. It’s ok to need a mental break, but don’t get sucked in. For example, next time you go to check Instagram while you’re suppose to be working look at the clock first. Give yourself only 2-3 to scroll through your feed then stop.

5. Get as much done as early in the day as you can. It’s a ripple effect thing. Personally, I’m sort of morning, sort of not a morning person. You know? I have a hard time getting up in the morning! But I’ve noticed that when I do get up and get rolling on my to-do list for the day I already feel so accomplished by nine or ten in the morning that I feel confident about the rest of the day. Start your day with a bang! The momentum will keep you rolling. Then you have the evening hours to relax and unwind.

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For the last five tips (that are all really great), go on and check out the rest at their website. Here’s the link!

10 Tips For A Productive Life

 

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Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller Book Talk

WheretheStarsStillShine

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She’s never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love–even with someone who seems an improbable choice–is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

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What I Thought:

So. Much.

I went into this not really knowing ANYTHING about the storyline or plot. I didn’t read that slab of description within the front flap of the dust jacket. I almost did but decided,

“Nah, I want to just dive in blindly and see how it goes.”

It was a pleasant surprise. I read the first 122 pages the first night. I was sucked in. I really liked Trish Doller’s approach. It was real. Now, some of you are going,

“Uh, Des…duh, that’s what contemporary is.”

Hey, Hey! Simmer down the attitude *winks* I admire her writing. There isn’t fluffy, or pretentious language (and people who do write with fluffy words or pretentious, intellectually dripping, talking like a Gilmore Girl’s language, well a lot of them do it well, so I’m not knocking it. Especially indie writers driving an indie story, many of those stories are brilliant, so don’t get me wrong here).

There reason I admire Trish Doller’s writing is because she writes REALLY well. I admire it because I am not a fluffy, intellectual, Gilmore Girl talking witty type writer–I wish, but I’m not. I aim to write well. Plainly. Just tell the story and paint it well through words.

She did that here. There were sensitive issues involving sexual abuse at a young age. Our MC narrates, first person, present tense, through these moments where she reflects her being affected by these past memories and pain.

Here’s what I found interesting and liked; Trish didn’t focus on the time of the abuse, or the process of the main character’s years where she was stolen from her family–all the things presented to you within the synopsis isn’t the story. The story takes place during a time in Callie’s (our main character) life AFTER all these things. Trish brilliantly intertwined Callie’s past through her present moments without needing to take us all the way back and live it with Callie.

This story tugs at your heart in many ways; love, ache, anger, sadness, *Feels*, blushing…

It was a beautiful story leaving you wanting more. I would definitely recommend reading.

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Great Sum Up of Story! -courtesy of The Perpetual Page-Turner blog post

Check out her Book Review here

Memorable Moments Tabs!

(here begin the SPOILERS! You have been warned *grins*)

Tab #1 – (pg 10) I Relate to Callie!

So from the beginning, you are painted clearly Callie’s reality. She has a deadbeat Mom who makes bad decisions–especially with men–and is being dragged as a teen through this tumultuous rollercoaster called her mother’s life. Now, personally I can not relate. Then comes page 10 and I have a moment where I connect with Callie. And I wonder, if I were in her situation, would these little things be my little things as well.

When Callie runs back to the momentary apartment they are living in to escape one of her mother’s creepy, perverted boyfriends who finds her at a laundry mat,

laundry mat Callie
Callie’s laundry mat escape. Courtesy of Trish Doller’s pinterest

she finds her mother frantically packing–once again. She has two minutes to pack her life in a suitcase and get into the car for them, once again to escape to a new place, new city, new life. It’s her mother’s pattern.

It’s the things she packs that caught my attention. She’s a reader–yay–and she packs mostly books, a journal that’s stuffed and has papers sticking out from the sides–I love that!

I have boxes of journals that I have kept since little. I always aimed to have one of those, where you put your life in them so they’re overflowing with many knickknacks, poems, pictures and papers.

She packs maybe three articles of clothing–ha! I would do. Let’s just say I have staple comfort pieces. Ask my besties and my mom. They conspire together constantly to steal them and burn them.

Then she reaches for something that surprised me. I wasn’t expecting it from her character. A guitar. An old rosewood and spruce Martin guitar. I have one as well. Someone once anonymously gave me that Martin (that’s another story for another day) so it’s very special to me. My attention from here on out was peeked asking,

“Who is this Callie character?”

callies guitar
courtesy of Trish Doller’s Pinterest

Tab #2 – (pg 24) “My name is Callista?”

How sad is that?! Omygoodness. Callie all her life was told by her mother that her father left them. Her father was painted the villain. Her mom ends up arrested and her legal guardian is her father. She meets him for the first time, well since she was five years old. She’s seventeen right now and remembers nothing about this man, Greg, who shows up and takes her off to Tampa to live with him. Her mother stays arrested in Chicago.

During the flight, her father shows her a red leather photo album he had put together for her to have. Her birth certificate is in it and it says her full name…which she did. not. know.

Callista Catherine Tzorvas.

“My name is Callista?”

Greg’s chuckle dies in his throat when he realizes I’m not joking. “You didn’t know.”

I shake my head and his eyebrows pull together.

My heart ached a bit there and felt a little of what I can imagine Greg, her father felt. How could she not even know her full name is Callista. Here you really begin to see what living the life she has, on the run with her mother looked like. The lies, or selfish omissions her mother never cared to worry about or focus on, because it was always about her.

Tab #3 – (pg 33-34) Her Haunting Dreams

Oh my heart. This was so sad to witness, really. Callie’s living in an Airstream mobile home they (her father and his family) have out back. She falls asleep crying and has a dream. One of many that occur throughout the story. This was difficult, realizing what this poor girl has been through. Here was a brilliant way Trish Doller gave us a piece of Callie’s past, without needing to have taken us there from the very beginning, or making the story about that in a current setting.

In Callie’s dream, a man, whose breath is tangy with alcohol sits on her eight year old bed and whispers in her ear as he is sexually abusing her. Even right now, just half-re-reading it (cause I just can’t fully read it again right now) I want to find Frank (her mother’s live-in boyfriend at that time) and Lorena Bobbitt him!

She doesn’t even allow herself to cry for fear that he’ll cuddle her against him, kissing her cheeks, telling her she is his special girl.

Ugh, my chest is tight from how awful this is. Then she wakes up with tears and sweat, wondering where she is.

Tab #4 – (pg 40) Enter Alex Kostas…

kinda…here enters a mystery that leaves you wanting to know more…as it does with Callie.

Callie ventures off to explore because her emotions are all over the place. It’s night time. She’s used to her mother working nights, and being left alone. Now she suddenly has a father, and two baby brothers and a stepmother? A father who in his mind, logically has rules and practicality. These are all enigmas to Callie.

She reaches this river front lined with rows of fishing boats, their decks heaped with dark mounds of something she can’t identify. They’re sponges from deep within the seafloor.

Standing beneath the light, a guy around my age–no, probably a little older…He has a blue bandanna tied around his dirty-blond curls, and when he bends down for another sponge, there’s a sweat-stained spot on his gray shirt where it sticks between his shoulder blades. He glances up, and his face is something so fine and beautiful, it makes my chest ache the way it does when I hear a sad song or finish a favorite book.

(loved that last line)

They exchange some back and forth and this mystery guy on a boat just offers to go get a beer and give her the behind the scenes version of what he’s doing instead of the brochure tour version. Callie feels the air so thick between them and doesn’t understand why. They don’t know each other. She doesn’t even know his name.

He’s only the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen and I’m so, so tempted. But I also know how this ends. And after everything that’s happened in the past two days, I’m not sure I want to add feeling like a slut to my to-do list.

OMG…so apparently, directly from Trish Doller’s Pinterest board while she wrote the novel…here’s is her Alex inspiration. *drools* “Uh, hello.”

Alex Kostas
courtesy of Trish Doller’s pinterest

Tab #5 – (pg 84-86) Rocking the Boat Therapy? 

Whoa. So, didn’t see that coming.

Callie was introduced to her Big. Fat. Greek…Family? Suddenly this girl on the run with her deadbeat mother, all her life from one day to another has a father, little brothers, a step mother, a grandmother, cousins, and aunts and oh-my-lanta that is overwhelming. In the midst of sudden-family overload, Callie overhears some of her aunts trash talking about Callie’s mother and how she is sick mentally, and crazy.

This throws Callie over the edge so she sneaks out of her own welcome home party. She finds herself naturally walking to the boat docks. Alex went out for a few days on the boat to harvest sponges. She’s at her bench, that she’s become comfortable with, just in front of the boats, across the sponge shop she started working at.

They officially meet. He flirts and teases that if he knew she’d be waiting for him, he would’ve told her he wouldn’t be back for a few days. She bites back that she wasn’t, he just got lucky. Well, immediately he leads her to his boat and down below, where he pretty much lives. She knows she should hesitate but her mind is in her routine mode. She wants to escape, and a guy, whether it’s a Danny, a Matt, an Adam, Alex who she just found out his name, will just be another on the list–so she thinks.

Callie and Alex’s moments together are very much New Adult genre, rated R material. I was not expecting that. But then, something else was very surprising.

During a few of their “moments” together, there’s a pause. Alex does something that triggers Callie’s past “Frank” traumas. Right when you’re blushing, as Alex and Callie get to…um, know each other more, your heart stops and hurts for Callie. You want to Lorena Bobbitt Frank all over again for what he did to Callie at eight years old.

I won’t mention all the tabs where Alex and Callie, well…make me blush but there is a theme that happens here.

theirs
Alex and Callie- courtesy of Trish Doller’s pinterest

Throughout what you think is just a physical thrill between these two, Alex slowly–without knowing–chips away at the wounds that haunt Callie. He’s so patient and gentle with her during these moments where she freaks out without explanation. He doesn’t ask. He just helps her through it, or cooperates with her even though he doesn’t momentarily understand what’s behind it.

Finally, it isn’t until their first official date together (near the end of the book, before that, it was stolen secret moments together; on his boat, in her “room”, on the kitchen counter–just a makeout–with her father and step-mom in the other room! Freaking out they’d get caught moment much?)

kitchen table moment
Kitchen scene courtesy of Trish Doller’s pinterest

Oh and yeah, especially since we find out that…ALEX IS PHOEBE’S BROTHER. Phoebe, Greg; Callie’s father’s WIFE! Aw-kwardddd.

So page 277, while laying on Alex’s lap in his truck, after their beach venture,

date then truck ride
courtesy of Trish Doller’s pinterest

she falls asleep and has another haunting Frank dream. She wakes screaming, having a fit and Alex almost swerves off the road.

Moment of truth time. She tells him everything. I love Alex here. I love how angry and protective he becomes. He’s pacing and thinking of all the ways he can kill a man. I love him here.

Tab #6 – (pg 104) “Every girl needs a string of these for her room” Twinkle Lights. 

callies twinkle lights
Kat’s gift to Callie courtesy of Trish Doller’s pinterest

I loved Kat and Callie’s friendship. In the beginning, Kat drove me crazy sometimes, only because I’m more like Callie with personal space. Kat’s so extroverted and no boundaries but you just love her and she wins your heart, just like she did for Callie.

This moment with her made me smile because I believe Kat’s motto here.

They’re in her Airstream mobile home room and Kat takes out a box of tiny white star-shaped Christmas lights.

“Every girl needs a string of these for her room,” she says. “Not only are they beautiful, but when you have fairy lights, you’re never completely in the dark.”

This was a sweet moment that won my heart over to Kat and her thrusting-best friendship towards them.

and last…

Tab #7 – (pg 194) Can I just say, Yiayoula. Love. Her.

Her Greek grandma. Yeah, she’s awesome. Just when you think she’s just a naive, kind, old grandma, she spits out some sass! Then, she reveals, that she isn’t as oblivious as you think she is. I don’t want to write out this scene because reading it in context makes it that much better. Seriously had some “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” flashbacks here. Love it.

The Ending…

I did love the writing. I admired Trish Doller’s approach to such a sensitive subject. I loved the flow and pace of this story. I loved the father, daughter  relationship that developed–definitely one of my favorite elements of this story. I loved Alex and Callie and their crazy, very quick relationship that grew in beautiful depth…then…it ended. The book ended and left an open ending.

I finished, closed the book and thought,

“Wait. No, wait. That’s it? No, I need more. Don’t…leave it for me to figure it out Trish!”

I knew I needed to sleep on it. I understood that, to be true to Callie and Alex and the rest of the story and characters, it would need many more chapters to give me what I wanted.

My hope was that there would be an Epilogue that could still leave some elusiveness in the air but I wanted more closure.

I ran across a book review-book talk today of this book. It was by accident, because I was searching for images relevant to this book. The only reason I knew about Trish Doller’s pinterest was through this book blogger’s review which I really enjoyed.

Check it out here:

Book Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

By Flyleaf Review (thanks Heather R!)

She mentioned feeling the same way and then finding Trish on Twitter and discussing it with her and some other friends. After doing so, she felt better and understood the ending more.

I am not going to say the ending cause I don’t want to spoil it.

It was a great book. I truly enjoyed it and loved her writing style very much. I’m definitely planning on checking out her other books.

So there it is! Apologies if this is really long. If you’re in the mood for a Contemporary YA/New Adult (for me) that has sexy romance, a lot of heart and a beautiful story of finding yourself, your worth and believing finally that you are worthy and deserve more in life and it’s okay to believe in yourself, then definitely check this one out!

Happy Reading everyone!

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Goodreads BookClub-Clockwork Angel

InfernalDevices

Goodreads Book Club:

The Infernal Devices

Hey everyone!

So this series, everyone and their mother have told me about it and want me to read it. It was taking the lead on last weeks “What Should I Read Next?” blog. I made the decision to read a contemporary stand-alone as a break from all the series and adventurous, fantasy, dystopians (Which are my favorites, hence I read them so much).

I made a new writer friend recently. Her and her daughter read Young Adult literature and she wants to collaborate and be writing pals. She was waiting for me to start this series, so we could read it together.

I asked her if one; she used Goodreads and two; if she wanted to do a Book Club through it so we could chat about it or do it the old fashion way of meeting in person over coffee and book talk?

Well, she said “Both!”

This is my first time doing this and I might regret it only because its possible that it will require a lot attention and work, but perhaps not. I started a Group on Goodreads called

The Infernal Devices Book Club

I figured, if it’s as good as most people have been gushing about, then I will want to move on to the next two books. It would have to be terrible for me not to finish the serious. I have a resolution–closure issue. Even if I’m not crazy about the book (I have one in mind), and it’s a series, I will still finish it. If not, I feel it hanging over me, needing to be completed.

I’m realizing as a reader, artsy authors probably don’t like me (my type as a reader). *chuckles* The reason why is because I don’t like elusive, up-in-the-air type endings that leave the rest to your imagination. I don’t always need a happily ever after, but I like to close a book and feel as though I have closure with all the elements that were presented and dragged through with the plot from the beginning.

Why the rant?

Well, it just happened to me with the last book I read. I loved it but felt a twinge of unresolved closure on something and it lingers like an obnoxious child you love but keeps poking you in your side wherever you walk. Gotta love these “Special” analogies. As long as you get a sense of my point. *grins* 

So! The point of this. 

Anyone wanting to read the first book of The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel, or wanting to re-read it, I invite you to come along and read it with us!

We’ll be posting Discussion sections splitting up the chapters so we can all gush, vent, question, comment about it. We will begin reading today, Jan. 23rd, 2014 and I have placed a date of February 1st to finish book one. Gives others time to jump on the bandwagon and others who are busy and need time to get through these almost 500 pages, time as well.

Join us for some bookish chat! This might be fun. If it goes well, perhaps I’ll continue creating groups for other books and series.

So again, click The Infernal Devices Book Club to be directed to Goodreads Group Page. Introduce yourself and comment on the first discussion when you’re ready.

First Discussion (once you join the group) is your thoughts on the Prologue through Chapter 4. See you there!

Happy Reading!

p.s. (As stated on group rules)

1. Please no foul or inappropriate language
2. Please comment appropriately within the Discussion topic details to avoid SPOILERS for others reading or planning to read the series.
3. Let us all be kind to one another’s differences and difference of opinions. The beauty of so many people in this world is, there’s something out there for everyone. We all do not have to agree, and that’s okay.
That’s all! Welcome!

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The Infernal Devices Book Club’s currently-read…

The Infernal Devices Book Club 1 member

"Eh-llo" *british accent* (seems fitting) A friend and I are going to start reading The Infernal …

Books we’re currently reading

Clockwork Angel
Clockwork Angel
by Cassandra Clare
Start date: January 23, 2014





View this group on Goodreads »

Share book reviews and ratings with The Infernal Devices Book Club, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

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My Next Read-Picked!

Thank you everyone who mailed, tweeted and commented their suggestions! 

I have made my decision based on your suggestions! Not only have I made my decision about the next read I will possibly start tonight but I also know for sure which will be my next read after this one. Thanks!

My Next Pick:

20140119_201302

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Why?

A few people have suggested this book and also, a few bookish community Twitter-pals have recently read it and given amazing reviews about it.

Here’s a quick Goodreads review from a book blogger I follow-

“Everything about this book was flawless for me. I literally can’t think of one thing about it that could have been better. Trish Doller wrote a story that made my heart explode into pieces so small they shouldn’t have been able to been able to be put back together — but somehow she managed to put them back together with a moving story of family, second chances, love and facing your future despite your past. If you like amazing character development that feels incredibly real and makes you feel emotions so fiercely, pick this book up. The plot was immediately interesting to me and the characters just took it and ran and I didn’t want to pull myself out of the story because I was so immersed in it. Such a COMPLETE story that reminds me of why I love reading!”

 What a beautiful and powerful statement about a book. How could I resist?

Also Why…

Recently, I have been immersed in YA dystopian, sci-fi, or fantasy series–which I LOVE–and as I wait to FINALLY put a closure stamp on two of the series I have recently been reading, I thought today about giving myself a breather in between.

See, the last series I completed was the Divergent series, and if you read my Book Talk on Allegiant (Hello World. Allegiant.)–then you know that it was not a pleasant, closure-filled farewell, for me.

Since then, I have began many series that have yet to end. The agony of waiting, not knowing, being left hanging in the balance here, while people you have fallen in love with (characters) are holding their breaths waiting for their stories, voices to be told and concluded, is like an emptiness that walks around within you that can not be filled…not yet.

Dramatic, I know. *grins*

Today I thought,

“Huh. Where the Stars Still Shine and Clockwork Prince are the top two contenders…You know, (after confirming with a Twitter pal) Where the Stars Still Shine is a contemporary AND a standalone (meaning–not a series of multiple books-just one book, fully encompassing the beginning, middle and end of a story).

It would be nice to just jump into a completed story. A contemporary might be a nice breather as well cause let’s face it, come January 28th, I will be devouring the ending of two fantasy type series and THEN, come February 4th is it, Ignite Me–the ending of a dystopian sci-fi-ish series–comes out and I will be eating that one up to.”

Yep. I have full on conversations with myself. That was one, long thought process there too. It was most likely longer, but I’m sparing you all the rambling details. You’re welcome. *gives toothy smile*

I’m excited to crack open this book. It seems like a good, swift read–all depending on the pace, of course–so let’s see how this goes.

What’s Next?

Well, the 28th is still six days away so I’m sure I can get another read in there after this one. By popular demand, I will then take on:

20140119_201404

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Many people requested this as well.

So stay tuned, for as soon as I finish I will get on those Book Talks!

Also stay tuned for my yet remaining Book Talks on, Asunder by Jodi Meadows and Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi.

Thanks again everyone for your suggestions! Love being able connect with you all on bookish stuff.

Happy Reading

<3,

D. Marie

a.k.a. Des

a.k.a also DreamyMarie

a.k.a.k.a.k.a…. Ok, no, I’m done. Bye!

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Incarnate by Jodi Meadows – Book Talk!

Incarnate cover

Goodreads Synopsis: 

(click above link to add to your Goodreads)

NEWSOUL
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

NOSOUL
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

HEART
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life

____________________________________________

What I Generally Thought:

I had heard of Jodi Meadows and her Incarnate series earlier 2013 through EpicReads (of course-the YA news source *wink*).

When I had my book ordering splurge that included Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky series, Incarnate was included in that book splurge. The beautifully designed cover of Ana with her gorgeously crafted butterfly wings for a mask, embody the cover of this book. I was very intrigued about the concept of a NewSoul. Imagine everyone in the world has been reincarnated these last 5,000 years–keeping their memories as they pass through different lives–and suddenly, being the only one who has never been reincarnated before, a New Soul.

During my sick week (Reading Weekend! Sick Day Blues) when I finally pulled myself out of my reading slump (Winter Break Reading Slump) and delve back into the magical world of books, the second book on that list was Incarnate. I had just devoured Under the Never Sky in two days–honestly, I could have in one day probably, but I was deathly ill, so my brain wasn’t processing well–and not having Book two–Through the Ever Night–in my hands, I needed something that would help my through my Perry blues. I reached over & thought,

“Alright, Incarnate, let’s meet Sam and Ana.”

I devoured this book in almost one day (again, the sick thing). I loved Sam and Ana. Immediately, I wanted to get better and go out hunting Asunder (Book two), hug it, squeeze it and call it my “Squishy”.

I found the concept very interesting–this eighteen year old girl who had been sheltered away from the world all her life. Sheltered, but not for endearing protection, but due to her parents shame of her. Her first words were when she was five years old. No one ever spoke to her, so she never said a word.

Li took me home,and the next day I collected all the words I knew and made a sentence. Everyone else remembered a hundred lifetimes before this one. I had to know why I couldn’t.

“Who am I?” My first spoken words.

“No one,” she said. “Nosoul.”

Ana taught herself to read, to live. Hidden away all those years in Purple Rose Cottage, away from the nearest town called Heart, Ana never interacted, never felt affection or compassion from any other human being. We experience how different she is from those with the wisdom of ten, twenty lifetimes when she meets Sam.

This world of Incarnate, I found to be a different take to what I usually know about Fantasy books. Here, we have a world of Reincarnated people who live seemingly regular lives.  Few technological advancements compared to our world today and then she threw in dragons, sylphs, centaurs, trolls, etc. What made it all so interesting for me was reading the story and feeling as though Ana could have been me. Her struggles and awkward moments felt relatable. It wasn’t like being in the midst of “Game of Thrones” medieval times-like eras with dragons and centaurs (though I love those stories too). It was just refreshing to read a different take on Fantasy. (then again, I haven’t read much Fantasy yet so I am most definitely not an expert here)

Book one had left us off revealing so much about Ana, and her past. A tragedy occurred shaking the entire town of Heart, and the aftermath is where we leave off in Book one. Ana, is coming to a realization. She’s growing up and stronger than she or anyone else who doubted her, thought she could be. She wasn’t just a butterfly.

This concludes the Spoiler-free book talk. Next, Memorable Moments Tabs!

I loved this story. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to a friend.

*

*

*

Spoilers Time!

Tab #1 – (pg. 19) Ana wakes up from almost drowning to find a young man sleeping beside her

Enter SAM! 🙂

Here is Ana, just turned eighteen and her mother sends her off along with a broken compass. Ana gets attacked by burning sylph. Cornered, Ana jumps off a cliff into a risky river. It’s winter. She’s frozen, drowning, dying when suddenly, someones arms wrap around her waist and pull her up.

She wakes up dry, wrapped up in warm blankets.

Something solid pressed against my back. A body breathed in time with me, steady in and out, until I broke the unity by thinking about it. An arm was slung over my ribs, and a palm rested on my heart as if to make sure it continued beating, or to ensure that it didn’t fall out. Breath warmed the back of my neck, rustling hairs across my skin.

Just as I began to drowse further into my dream, a deep voice behind me said, “Hi.”

This was a great way to start things off. My attention was glued from here on. I believe I didn’t end up going to sleep till very late in the middle of the night.

Tab #2 – (pg. 65-66) Sam’s surprised gesture…Honey.

Oh my heart. Poor Ana, she was brought up terribly, and constantly was scolded for the most minuscule things like finding the honey and eating some. When Ana shared this with Sam, instantly her mind went towards wounded animal behavior, making sure to mention immediately to Sam that she was younger then, she would never take anything without permission. Inside she winced wanting to say, “Please don’t send me away”. They had been in his cabin together for two weeks due to her injuries from saving him from another sylph attack. Learning that she liked sweet things, Sam set out to the Purple Rose Cottage for more medicine and supplies. When he returned, he surprised Ana and brought her honey.

She was stunned. He drew out of the bag, “a glass jar filled with golden-amber liquid.” She did something that shocked even her. She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tight.

I shook with nerves–with touching someone voluntarily, and allowing him to trap me in his embrace–and I shook with warring confusion and gratitude.

Why would he do something so nice?

I didn’t understand. If he’d been Li, he would have used my desires against me somehow, but every time I told him something about myself, he gave me something in return. Music. Honey.

 Tab #3 – (pg. 123-126) Achingly cute…the almost kiss

Slightly awkward morning. Ana’s reeling from multiple little things. Last night, Sam almost seemed to have been reaching down to kiss her forehead goodnight, but he hesitated. This morning, she made coffee. They exchanged a little snark. He sits down and she expects a reaction from him after she says something she believes was stupid. Nothing. She definitely had a girl moment here. She admits to being annoyed that he doesn’t react. He doesn’t care, he’s too calm, even when he should be mad or happy.

Sam lifted an eyebrow. “Too calm?”

“Yes!” I stalked around the kitchen, looking everywhere but at him…

…”So you don’t think you’re just impulsive?”

I halted, glared. “Impulsive?”

“You know the word, don’t you” (whoa, Sam, no you didn’t. That’s like telling a woman during a rant “Calm down.”)

“Yes.” He really thought I was stupid, didn’t he?

“It’s just,” he went on as if I hadn’t spoken, “you’re so young and sometimes I forget what you do and don’t know.”

My chest hurt…I spun and marched toward the back door. Sam lurched to his feet and caught my wrist, my waist, and even though his grip was gentle, I didn’t have the energy to wrestle away.

“See? Impulsive.” He smiled and didn’t loosen his hold.

Eep. Feels.

Then they have this conversation, exposing Sam emotionally a bit. They stood so close and in silence, Ana wanted him to kiss her, desperately. She focused on it, hoping, willing him to know what she wanted. But Sam makes a decision. She sees it in his eyes and he leans away.

“Sam?” I turned away as my vision blurred. “You think too much.”

“I know.”

Tab #4 – (pg. 213-221) Ana Incarnate.

The dragon attack shook all of Heart but especially Sam. There was something specific from his past that traumatized him. Sam had been in bed for days, not really seeing people or doing anything. Music was the only time he seemed normal. This morning, he didn’t come down. She played hoping that would lift his spirits–nothing. Next idea, she began playing something new. Something she could hear in her head. Nothing.

She went to his room and found him sitting on the floor, staring blankly at the wall, not moving, hardly breathing.

He came to, finally and held her tight. She sat across his lap, sideways, leaning against his chest. Sam shares his greatest fears with Ana here about how he always seems to die.

Eventually, he suggests to go attend to their music lessons. He wants to hear what she was playing–first time her attempting something of her own–then as they leave the room, he reclaims her hand, spins her around in a dancing stance and says he just thought of a name for her waltz.

“Ana Incarnate.”

My heart felt too big for my ribs to cage.

For all the unfair head kissing, the way we hadn’t kissed in the kitchen, and his grudging agreement to dance with me every morning–it suddenly seemed he knew me better than anyone in the world. Better than anyone ever would.

Tab #5 – (pg. 260-266) MASQUERADE! *feels*

Omylanta, this entire chapter! I was SO excited because I knew the cover concept was inspired due to this Masquerade. The concept of Ana not wanting to be a butterfly, beautifully made and revealed but gone by morning. She didn’t want to be a Nosoul–no purpose, no point in living or considered at all, if only to be gone and not reincarnated for the next life–she wanted to be more than that, worth more than that. Ironically enough, she created a butterfly for her costume for this event. Her mask was beautifully crafted into butterfly wings. The point of the event was to celebrate two souls who have always been in love, connected and have found each other time and time again, throughout each life.

Later in the night, a group of people (reminder: Many people in Heart do NOT like Ana existing–her existence means an old soul didn’t get reincarnated and never will again) surround her and start grabbing her and tossing her roughly around to different people. Right before someone else took possession of her, a new dancer stepped in and came in between her and the group.

The entire night, no one is suppose to know who anyone is. The masks need to purposely conceal identities as a representation that two souls who are meant to be together will always find each other, even if they can’t see them. Sam and Ana haven’t found each other all night. She’s caught multiple masks eyeing her throughout the night.

Omyword, this dance between them was so sensual and beautiful.

Before she could get a good look at his mask, he spun her around and pressed her back against his chest. His arm wrapped around her waist, his embrace gentle.

At this point I’m freaking out wondering, “Is it Sam? It has to be Sam! Is it Sam!?!”

His fingers brushed my cheek, down my neck. The entire masquerade stretched out before me, but my focus tunneled to the man behind me. Hands eased around my hips and held tight as we spun; my feet lifted off the ground, but even when I thought the wings might carry me into the breeze, he held me tight.

When I tilted my head back against his shoulder, warmth billowed against my throat where he kissed.

Eep!

and then…FINALLY…The first kiss.

I kissed him

Three long seconds and he only gasped and tightened his hands on my back. Then…he opened his mouth and kissed me. It wasn’t an easy, sweet kiss like I’d imagined my first would be, but frustrated and hungry.

He was in shock when she pulled his mask off. She knew it was Sam. He was surprised she knew it was him. She feared he might have not known it was her and wanted it to be someone else but he confirmed, “of course” he knew it was her.

Can I just say, I love Jodi Meadows. So many quirks she gave Ana that are just brilliant and awesome. Exhibit A, while he was talking to Ana, she’s there thinking…

And I wanted him to kiss me again. Less talking. More kissing.

Tab #6 – (pg. 280-290) “Maybe three a day…maybe ten.” The almost more than a kiss

After the masquerade, Ana and Sam were in a beautifully stupendous place. She confronted him about his on and off again actions and conflicting emotions. Either they were kissing or not kissing. She needed clarity. He seemed to give it to her. Then…they got attacked by two people they couldn’t make out.

Back in the house, nursing their injuries, Ana pretty much has a meltdown. She says there’s a thunderstorm swirling inside her. They’re sitting on the bed talking, asking questions. Finally, Ana with some boldness says,

“Sam?” I twisted around, freeing myself from his arms.

He tilted his head. “Hmm?”

“You think too much.” I took fistfuls of his shirt and kissed him, somewhat more confident now that we had a little practice, still nervous…

Here, while they kissed, Sam explores her face, and arms, with his fingertips.

A part of you wants to scream, “Sam, stop being an old man, hesitating and over thinking EVERYTHING!”

Then I started thinking and couldn’t blame Sam. Here’s a young man, who has lived five thousand years. He has all his memories and experiences. He is experienced in some other matters *clears throat* if you know what I mean. I at one point just realized…

“Oh my goodness. Ana doesn’t know what sex is? How could she. Li never even let her speak or touch anything half the time. There was no one to explain to her any aspect of intimacy like that”

Her body responds and wants Sam but technically, she doesn’t know how or what it is her body is wanting. They break for a moment and she admits that she is nervous. She doesn’t know what happens next.

Then they have this cute back and forth about him after she asks, showing her a thousand things, whenever she is ready. First, it’s one a day. Ana doesn’t want to wait a thousand days to learn it all, so why not two, or three a day. In the end, after some flirtatious back and forth, she whispers, “Maybe ten.”

So though I was feeling Ana’s frustration, I understood Sam’s hesitation to be very careful with her. He didn’t want to take advantage. This intimate act that seemed so normal, common for him, was completely foreign to Ana.

I loved how Jodi carefully approached realistically, all the things Ana would be naive about but without making Ana weak, or ignorant either. Ana is still strong and wise beyond her years.

and last…

Tab #7 – (pg. 351) Enter Papa Menehem! Whoa. 

This entire time, all we know really is that Ana’s father left Ana and Li when she was a baby. She knew nothing about him. We get hints here and there that he was off somewhere doing studies and experiments and the people of Heart did not have a good view of him–especially the people of the Council. The little Ana found–diaries, research–from her father in his lab location far off, was stolen the night of Tab #6. Here, we are at the end of the book. Ana ran to Purple Rose Cottage as Heart was being attacked by both dragons and sylph. Would Li be there? She finds her, confronts her and then, Li dies.

Ana freaks wondering if it was her, by her hand, with the laser. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t a dragon, it wasn’t a sylph…then a man steps out, over Li’s body. His features. She knew them well, even though she’s never met him before because they were hers.

“I’m Menehem,” he said. “We should talk.”

end of chapter.

Whoa, what? Papa Menehem, where the heck did you come from and where the heck have you been?

All that comes a little into the light as the book closes. Then we’re left to pick up in Book two, ASUNDER.

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And that concludes my Book Talk on Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. I loved this book. I loved Sam and Ana. I am eager and excited for the conclusion of this series which comes out in nine days! Infinite!

Stay tuned for my Book Talk on book two, Asunder!