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May Book Releases I’m Eagerly Anticipating

May is coming and guess what? SO ARE BOOKS! BOOKS ARE COMING! BOOKS I WANT! Who wants to plot robbing a bank with me? No, FBI monitoring the interwebs, that there, was a joke…though seriously, I need to make more money…for BOOKS! I’m so excited for these five books coming out next month…which…

“You’re only a DAY a-wayyyyy!” -Annie sings

The One by Kiera Cass

• The third book in the Selection series
• On sale May 6th from HarperTeen

9780062059994

Check out this BEAUTIFUL book trailer!

Rebel by Amy Tintera

• Second book in the Reboot series!
• On sale May 13th from Harper

9780062337900

Rebel didn’t get a book trailer but check out the Reboot trailer (1st book in the duology)

After the End by Amy Plum

• A post-apocalyptic story!
• On sale May 6th

9780062225603

 

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

• The sixth book in the series!
• On sale May 27th from Simon & Schuster

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Mila 2.0: Renegade by Debra Driza

• The second book in this cyborg series!
• On sale May 13th from Harper

9780062090393

Here’s the first book, Mila 2.0 book trailer

What spring/summer book releases are you anticipating most?

For more May releases, check out EpicReads:

The 15 Most Anticipated YA Books Publishing In May

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If We Were Having Coffee: April 2014

photo courtesy of: Ransom Riggs-phtograph of @TaherehMafi 's hands
photo courtesy of: Ransom Riggs-photograph of @TaherehMafi ‘s hands

Long time no ‘see’, I know! Much has happened as of late and I’m excited to explain my absence. In the last couple weeks there has been ‘Divergent’ movie goodness and a great opportunity that has added to my busy days and I’m loving every minute of it. So I thought, what better way to share but through another ‘If We Were Having Coffee’ feature!

What are you drinking? Coffee? Tea? How do you take yours? Me, I’m having a creme brulee latte topped with whipped cream, and sprinkled with cinnamon on top. I made my drink at home.

text if we were having coffee

Thursday, March 20th, my at-home bestfriend Vanessa joined me on this epic event–yes it was epic to me. Two days before that, I pre-ordered tickets to a midnight showing of ‘Divergent’ the movie! The movie was set to officially release Friday, March 21st, but many theaters released early showtimes on Thursday, starting at 8pm. This book means a lot to me. It will remain as one of my favorite books, as well as an influential one during a specific season in my life when I read it. I plan on sharing more on that as I mentioned in my previous blog post, Divergent Movie Review.

Luckily, even though Vane had never read the book, she heard enough about it through me, and was excited to watch the movie. My bestfriend (who lives in another state-Heather) loves YA books and understands fully my fangirl tendencies, but sadly, we could not experience it together. Vane indulged me and got all dressed up in theme of the book. We went Dauntless black, baby! I figured,

“Eh, one doesn’t always get the opportunity to dress up for something like this, so…why not?”

be brave tattoo

Sported a ‘Be Brave.’ tattoo. (look at my Sharpie skills-Ha!)

It’s funny. Though it’s almost become a ‘cliche’ catchphrase within the ‘Divergent’ fandom world, this has been a significant phrase I’ve been contemplating a lot lately. Since starting this writing journey–seriously and intentionally starting it–I’ve had to learn to ‘be brave’. When I was a kid, I grew up with loud, negative voices in my life, always putting me down, making any attempts I pursued seem worthless, which would cause me to shrink back. I’d draw Ariel-The Little Mermaid, free-handed and show someone close to me, excited, believing I had done a good enough job but they’d tell me,

“Oh, I know ‘so and so’ would have done a better job. They know how to draw,” they’d tell me. I was eleven years old.

I believed their words and keep drawing because I liked to but kept it to myself, never believing it was good enough to show others. When I would sing a song, these same voices would tell me, actually they’d show me how they can do it better. Again, I continued singing because I loved it, but quietly to myself, never wanting anyone to hear. I did it for myself, but did not believe I was good at it. I did that with my writing too. All my life, I wrote songs, poetry, and scripts. I would go into my introverted hermit hole and write movie scripts for hours. I would even do research on the locations I’d pick to set the story in. I’d search pictures of actors and actresses because I’ve always been very visual. I have written tons and tons of stories that I kept away for no one to see, because in my mind, even if I thought they were good, that small voice haunted me,

“But remember Des, that doesn’t mean they’re actually good. Those who’s opinions matter won’t think they’re good so keep them to yourself.”

Even as I share this with all of you, it’s like a revelation even after all these years. I don’t realize how much those voices when growing up, stayed buried deep, deep, down, still affecting my self-esteem today. Almost a year ago, I chose to ‘be brave’ and email that author I’ve mentioned before and ask her if she’d be willing to meet up with me and answer some questions. I never thought she’d respond. One of her books were made into a big, well-known movie, with well-known actors. I sat in front of my computer, proofreading that email a hundred times before having the courage to click send. Then the waiting. Give it a few days and I told myself she wouldn’t respond, and that I should just forget I ever did it. But I still told myself,

“Hey! At least you did it. That was a big step on it’s own.”

It paid off. She responded, we met, she gave me GREAT advice and connected me with my now SCBWI (Society of Children Book Writer’s & Illustrators) writing group who I appreciate so much! I’ll share my other ‘be brave’ story below…stay tuned if you’re still with me. *winks*

So on I went to see ‘Divergent’, all dressed up.

2014-03-21 04.46.20

2014-03-21 04.43.42

I dressed in black, overdid the jewelry, smoked the eyes, and tried making my hair a bit big and wild. It was fun! The theater gave out posters which I gladly accepted and now have hanging on my wall.

Divergent theater poster

text if we were having coffee

In addition to content writing for an organic hair product website, there was an opportunity I came across through a Book Tube video one evening. I was sitting in bed with my laptop, contemplating what I wanted to pursue in life. Yeah, it was one of those heavy, late night, ‘analyze your life’ sessions that keep you awake even longer. For me, I wanted to figure out all the answers that night and see it in motion already. I may have an issue with impatience. Anywho, another ‘be brave’ opportunity dropped on my life. It stared me in the face like a boy from ‘The Outsider’s’ challenging me to ‘be brave’. The opportunity was a job as a news writer on a book to movie adaptation website called, Page to Premiere.

I reviewed the submission details and got to working. I really got into it and then wrote the email, sending over all the stuff. Again, it was one of those, review the email fifty MILLION times then finally clicked send before I talked myself out of it. Actually, I did talk myself out of it–three times. It was, I think almost three in the morning when I finally sent it. Then…I waited.

I am such a dork. A week and this girl’s already freaking out, convincing herself she didn’t get it–yes I’m talking about myself here.  I told my Mom and Vanessa which had them asking me every two days whether or not I heard anything-Nope. I found myself going the ‘negative’ route again thinking,

“It’s okay. You didn’t get the job but hey, you were brave enough to put yourself out there again–that’s huge!”

By the way, they were extremely busy with an event, hence I hadn’t heard back. Long story short, I got it! *happy dances* What made it official for me was when I was sent an invitation to the “Staff Page” for the website.

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It was a very cool moment! So where have I been? I’ve been learning the ropes, researching stories, learning how to format articles, while keeping up with my day job, writing for the organic hair product company, and tossing in there time to keep writing my book, also remembering I have you awesome folks to book talk with. It’s been busy now that I’ve added this awesome opportunity to my plate but it’s a matter of time management and well, *clears throat* spending less time getting distracted with the endless black hole of social media. *grins* 

What is Page to Premiere?

homepage divergent

Page to Premiere follows adaptations of books, plays, and graphic novels, that are generating buzz in the film community. News, exclusive interviews, and original opinion coverage is all written from the perspective of a reader!

The inspiration for Page to Premiere came from my six years of experience running fan websites for specific adaptations. People love following their favorite books from page to screen, and there was a space in the market for a website that offered extensive news and fun activities surrounding that topic. Many of the abundant general movie sites follow adaptations, but people who are excited about the process of seeing their favorite novel become a film like to know every single piece of information as soon as it happens. Our smaller niche allows us to be very thorough with our coverage!

Look! It’s official. I have my own bio/pic and page referencing all the articles I write.

ptp bio

You all probably know by now that not only do I read YA (Young Adult fiction) but I write for the genre as well, and I love it! I’m also a movie junkie–almost attended film school to learn how to direct and bring my screenplays to life–so being able to write about my favorite YA books turn movies was right up my alley.

Again, I do this for the community. I believe what’s precious about the YA book genre is the all ages–really, ALL ages–community these books build and bring together. I, as a not so young adult anymore, believe our young generations need passion, imagination and a supportive, common interest community to help them through the most confusing and difficult years of our lives. It’s the time in our lives when we’re forced to figure out and then ‘know’ who we are. There’s a constant struggle between feeling all grown up at fifteen–cause we all did or do–to having life experiences that remind us we have absolutely nothing figured out.

Remember that Taylor Swift song, ‘Fifteen’?

when you’re fifteen feeling like
There’s nothing to figure out
But count to ten, take it in
This is life before you know
Who you’re gonna be
Fifteen

And when you’re fifteen, don’t forget to look before you fall
I’ve found time can heal most anything
And you just might find who you’re supposed to be
I didn’t know who I was supposed to be
At fifteen

The ages of 13-21 are so difficult to maneuver. We don’t have our own convictions defined yet, even if we think we do. We don’t realize how much we believe at that age is influenced by our upbringings, and social surroundings. I just turned 30 and am now going through such a transitional phase of figuring out who I am and what do I really want. Spoiler young adults: EVERYTHING I wanted between the ages of 13-25 has changed and the few that haven’t turned out much more differently than I swore they would. Of course, nothing is that black and white and I don’t speak for the entire seven billion on earth.

Anyway…whoa, sorry, didn’t mean to get all ‘deep’ on ya and go down that bunny trail there. *chuckles* In the end, I’m liking the ‘brave’ moves I’m taking. I’m learning to be more positive.

text if we were having coffee

am writing at starbucks

I’m almost at 60,000 words on my manuscript! It’s crazy to think I’m passing the hallway point of my story. Both besties have been beta-reading which has been very helpful. I trust their opinions, highly. Both are very literary minded. One is a reader of YA and the other is not, which I believe is smart, letting me know both perspective opinions. Feedback has been very positive. It’s always a good sign when you send them new chapters, and they get back to you saying,

“I hate you. Where’s the rest? I need to know what happens, NOW!”

*squishy heart feels* Moments like that make me think,

“Hmm. Maybe I’m not that crazy and can actually do this. Maybe people would want to actually read this story one day.”

Here’s to hoping and believing! *high five*  Thank you so much for having coffee with me! It was lovely!

How about you? If we were having coffee, and I finally stopped talking about me, what would you share?

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Alienated by Melissa Landers Book Talk

Alienated

Alienated by Melissa Landers

Book Talk

What’s the Story About?

Well, according to the Goodreads page (<~~~ clickie) 

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

_____________________________________________________________________

What Did I Think?

First, can we talk about that cover? Holy Moly, it is beautiful, and let’s face it…I’m a judge-a-book-by-it’s-cover snob. I’ve come to realize this. I’m not ashamed. A twitter pen-pal told me the other day, how I always have books with such beautiful covers. Sadly, it’s because I rarely buy a book when it has a hmm, let’s not say hideous…let’s say, “special” cover, which is bad.

Why is it bad? I’ll tell you why. I’m then missing out on probably some great books. I have a perfect example! I was at my local indie Book Barn Exchange store (the only in town, really) and the book clerk suggested this book and it’s sequel. I was hesitant about it because the cover looked lame, mainly, the book’s sequel cover. I ALMOST left it but she said it was really good and I trust her judgment.

Boy, Oh Boy, I’m SO glad I bought them. I LOVE THOSE BOOKS. Which ones?

Leaving Paradise and Returning to Paradise by Simone Elkeles. Returning to Paradise is on my soon to reread list.

Lesson learned.

Now, back to Alienated. The moment I saw the cover to this book (before it came out), I knew I had to have it. The concept intrigued me and two authors–whose opinions I trust–said it was great, one of them said, I’d love it. I knew I would. Finally ventured into bookstore (for something else) saw it and had to get it. And so, I did.

So did I like it?

Yes, yes I did. Very much.

From the beginning, I liked the quirk. I liked Melissa’s writing style and the voice she was giving these two characters. I liked how it’s told from 3rd POV, but she wrote in a way that still gave you an intimate 1st person feel. We’re, I believe, the whole time, mostly in Cara and Aelyx’s POV–we see only what they see throughout the story, which I’m used to in 1st person POV’s but it’s nice when that happens in 3rd as well. Sometimes, in 3rd POV, I’m not interested in other random, or secondary character’s POV and find I’m eager to quickly read through those parts so I can get back to being in my MC’s heads. That’s just me, though.

Cara is a writer and she starts a blog: Alienated -clever. I enjoyed those random blog posts that she incorporated within the book. They had their own blog header and everything. Those were fun!

We meet Aelyx and his two roommates from L’eihr–another planet, of course, more advanced. Their personalities are not as dry as their exterior. They are not like humans. Everything is done with intention and purpose–premeditation. Physical touch isn’t irrational or reckless, and they do not allow or encourage emotions leading actions. Their planet is very dull, gray and flavorless. Earth explodes their senses with it’s colors, and flavors, physical interactions, all to the point of nausea and dizziness. It’s overwhelming.

So here comes this blazing redhead with bright blue eyes, who’s strong and competitive by nature and Aelyx, our intergalactic exchange student, gets to live with her and her affectionate family.

I loved–as I usually do–the tension in the beginning between Cara and Aelyx, due to their differences. Cara determines herself to make this work, and makes it her competitive duty to ensure her new guest, feels at “home”. In time, Cara’s humanity breaks down his rigid walls and it starts becoming them against the world–literally. Hate riots and world tensions rise from these three exchange student’s presence on Earth. No one trusts them and rumors of the L’eihrs true intentions rattles the anti-L’eihr groups around the world.

I thought this was a fun, sweet, read, with a touch of romance, tension, and excitement. Apparently, there were a lot of complaints about it being too “fluff”, but you know, sometimes, that’s exactly what we need. I like a break from intense, complicated, suspenseful, mind-boggling, or emotionally heavy reads. Fun, sweet romantic reads are usually my go-to when I’m entering a funk and can’t handle heavy at the moment. They lift my spirits up again and I get that hunger for reading again, once I’m done. This may have been part of that category but it was an entertaining sci-fi as well, set within the backdrop of typical High School scenarios. Awesome concept.

(minor spoilers)

The ending leaves you wanting more. Things take a reversal shift near the end, (which I guess you can tell by the next book’s cover) leaving us with the start of what will sure be, a tense sequel full of difficulties for our MC’s. There seems to even be a third party being thrown in the mix that may be vying for Cara’s affections which I’m sure will cause some issues between the long distance couple, as well. I’m very anxious to get the next book in my hands.

Invaded. The cover was just revealed & it’s just as beautiful! I need it. I need it now!

Invaded Melissa Landers
courtesy of: Melissa Lander’s facebook post

And those are my thoughts folks! Not gonna post any Spoiler Memorable Tabs on this one. Hope you all check this one out.

Till next time!

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SCBWI Monday

SCBWI group pic 2013
image courtesy of: Group Leader, Stacy’s FB

Ladies and Gentlemen, here are some of my SCBWI writing group peoples!

I know I have probably spoken a little about this in the past, but here, let me elaborate. For the last three months, I have not been able to make it to my writing group. Between irritating car issues and at times, health issues, I found myself M.I.A. at the meetings.

I remember, what feels like ‘way back when’, a certain YA author graciously met up with me and answered all of my naive and ignorant questions about a world I wanted to delve into but had NO clue about. One advice she gave me was for me to become a member of SCBWI (Society of Children Books, Writers & Illustrators). Then, join a writer’s critique group through the SCBWI database. All across the nation, there are Writing Groups you can join.

I connected with Stacy–our group’s leader–and soon, ventured off to my first meeting, shaking like a leaf. I was feeling so wrecked inside. I felt like a fraud, an amateur, inadequate–the list goes on and on. Here was I, a girl with no college degree in English, I’m not a librarian or any other stereotypical label I thought was expected for anyone saying they were pursuing writing.

I was in the middle of writing my first draft for the first concept, (remember, the one I chucked?) and though I was passionate about the story and finishing it, I still felt naive. I get there and meet Stacy, who is a spit fire, Jewish background woman with red hair. She had me laughing the first ten minutes. Then came everyone else–experienced writer’s who know the industry and have been acclimated within for years. Again, *gulp* what was I doing there?

Just a few months before that, I was trying to get back into Acting, after a ten year hiatus. See, at the time, I never saw myself as a writer (I still kind of don’t but…shhh). I never counted any of my past creative outlets through writing as legit. To me, they were things I did because, it’s me. It’s what I did. I constantly had thoughts, stories, emotions fluttering through my brain and needed to let them out however I could. That was through screenplays (movie scripts), scripts for theatre dramas, songs, poems, etc.

I believe it was my third meeting where I found the…hmm, “guts?” Sounds too small. I found the “cojones” (pardon my French…well, actually, Spanish) to bring in my first chapter of my first concept to read aloud. They each had a copy to write their critiques on.

I flubbed and butchered reaching out loud. Looking back it was hilarious and sad. I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. I had read my manuscript out loud to myself and my bestie a couple times. There’s something about reading out loud to a group of acquaintances who have knowledge in the matter, that can suddenly perk your ears up to mistakes you never noticed before. Here I was reading out loud and wincing as I read over another redundant word or clear sentence structure mistake. Ugh. “Earth, swallow me hole,” I thought.

I’ve written about what happens next already so I won’t bore you with that again. In the end, as difficult as it was to hear–for the first time–your baby critiqued, I’m so grateful for them. It helped me remold my story. It challenged me to take a step back and let go of the first concept. I fell in love with my first concept, which made letting go ache but it was necessary.

It’s been months, and I have now a much better concept. It’s tighter. It has more tension.

Three months later, I returned to my group. I sat there at first a little nervous. Had I lost the momentum of connection with them? I am still fairly new. I still haven’t really become a part of the group. Some of these people have been together, in this same group for almost ten years. Ten. Years. Some of them are published already, which is so exciting and encouraging. I wasn’t sure how to feel or what to expect when I got back there on Monday.

I didn’t bring any of my new chapters to read yet because, well, I was just coming back and didn’t feel confident doing that yet. We read other peoples pages and together discussed it. Something happened. Unlike the first few meetings, where during the critique portion of the meeting, we write notes on the others MS (manuscript), I had NOTHING to contribute–still feeling like a fraud during those days–suddenly…I had ideas. I had things to contribute and hey, look at that! A couple of things were actually useful? Made sense? What’s the word? Well, a couple of ideas I contributed, the group either agreed on and or the writer agreed with. I had a feeling of belonging.

In the last ten months, I have been pursuing writing hard, with conviction and asserted passion. I haven’t ducked away, writing to myself for no one to ever see because I never believed anyone would want to see them. I chose to, without shame from my lack of knowledge or experience, put out there my writing pursuit. With that, I’ve become intentional about learning all I can. I’ve sought out other authors and picked their brain or blog posts they put out there with advice. I have purchased recommended books and of course, read. A lot of reading.

Something clicked for me on Monday (our group meets once a month–first Monday of the month). I felt like I might have a shot at doing this. I just might be learning and grasping ideas that can in turn, actually give one of my manuscripts a shot in the future.

Something else clicked. I was truly grateful for this group. I appreciate their warmth and welcome. I appreciate their knowledge and experiences which they are willing to share. I appreciate their view of the ‘little guy’ who though naive, desperately wants to learn and be apart of this wonderful community. I appreciate that they’re willing to take us novices in. Other groups are more strict about who they allow in the group. Some will only take already published, seasoned writer’s with a community reputation. They’re not interested in a wet-nose novice in their group and though that may sound like a jab stemmed from bitterness *winks*, it’s not. Its the truth and I get it. I understand.

When it comes to creative outlet careers (entertainment industry, fashion, writing, etc), it’s really hard for new, fresh meat talent to find mentors. Rarely do people want to take the time and invest in them because it’s time consuming. Usually those with the ability to “mentor” those “below” them, are seeking to climb themselves and so the focus stays there. The climbing. I personally believe both can be done, simultaneously but to each their own. It’s like leaving college with your degree (so now you have a driven focused career path) and you apply for a job in that field and they tell you,

“Sorry, you need two years experience before you can work in this entry level position in your desired field which you just spent years going to school for.”

“Um, okay. But I can’t get experience if you don’t hire me…”

*cricket cricket*

Yeah, makes a whole lot of sense, right? Our microwave generation wants the quick, the marketable, the baby geniuses who somehow are already gifted with super powers in their field or better yet, those who know people and get hooked up. It’s always about who you know.

Well, that leaves the other 80% of us clueless on how to proceed.

All that rant to say,

Thank you, writing group, for taking little ol’ me in and mentoring me through your stories, advice, and even plain old hospitality and friendship.

Writing can be a very secluded and lonely lifestyle. I think the biggest thing the reading/writing community has is just that–community. It’s so important, necessary, for us to connect with others who understand our quirks and passion for books! No man is an island and we should not be afraid or intimidated to reach out and ask for help.

I was. I was petrified. I usually don’t know how to ask for help because I’m such a shy, introvert and you’d never know it from meeting me because I’m also friendly and easy to talk to. I’m told I smile a lot…like….a lot (don’t know how to feel about that) so I come off even more energetic and happy. If I had given in to my intimidation, I would have never found the, again, ‘cojones’ to write that author and ask to meet. If I gave in, I wouldn’t have made the hour and fifteen minute drive north to my writer’s group. If I had, I would have not returned after the first meeting.

I’m glad I didn’t give in. The long drive, (it’s only once a month) is worth it. It’s worth the sacrifice to go and connect with these people. 4 meetings later and already it’s helped make me a better, and slightly more knowledgeable writer.

Any aspiring children’s book, middle grade, young adult writers and illustrators out there who are starting out or have been pursuing for years and haven’t connected with SCBWI, I definitely encourage for you to find a writing group in your area and join! You can find one through the SCBWI database. Also, you can just gather friends who write and read as well and meet up wkly, bi-wkly, or monthly and read each other’s stuff. Even if not all of them write and/or read the same genre you’re writing for, fresh eyes of all reading interests benefits. Toss fear and intimidation out the window. We need one another to pursue these dreams.

Well, back to work. Gotta get to writing. *smiles* 

Hey, YOU SHOULD BE WRITING! *winks* 

Till next time…

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Writing…Back On!

Writing…Oh, Yeah, It’s Back On, Baby!

…took long enough-Ha!

SYNOPSIS board

I’m such an extremist. I’m either all Reading or all Writing. I need to learn happy mediums. The last four months I would say, have been me waiting. And waiting…wondering when the juices to complete my synopsis would hit me. Here I was trying to be a good girl and not start the drafting process till after I had organized the plot for both books.

For those who don’t know, I had began almost nine months ago with a concept for a book. It was going to be a trilogy, it was in dual perspectives, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, etc, etc. For months, I wrote the first draft of this first concept and was almost done. I mapped out the last few chapters and was at 67K words.

Then…*breathes remembering* long story short, it wasn’t working. It didn’t have a proper ending. Book one had an ending, but the series couldn’t work. The concept wasn’t tight enough and I never figured out the full story. When it came time to answer those questions…I was mortified–for myself–that it wasn’t going to work.

I chucked the entire draft out the window. *single tear* But in the end, it was most definitely for the best! Soon, a more tight concept I liked even better came about. Months of working it out, other things fell into place and I was excited. I had all of Act One figured, and soon I had an idea for how Book one would end.

I came to the conclusion that this story could be told in one POV, and that it would be a “duology”-made up literary term. *grins*

Now I had much of the skeleton and could have began writing but I said,

No! Don’t. Touch. That. Manuscript. Woman.

Yes, I talk to myself, a lot and in that manner. So! I waited…and procrastinated…and waited…and nothing. Nothing was coming. Four months later, anxiety began to set. I wasn’t liking this. I was letting time pass and not progressing in this project I determined to finish by this year.I was letting myself stress too much. I was going into “you are failing” mode, which is never productive or healthy, but in fact, I was beginning to feel like I was failing at something I’m so passionate about.

So I immersed myself to binge reading. I was reading…ALL. THE. TIME. Which I was more than okay with. I caught up on so much reading and it was wonderful. I’m addicted again and must remember to lift my head up every once in a while, be social and say hello to at least the people in my household. Outsiders? Pfft! Who cares about being courteous or social with them. *snickers*

Then…one fateful evening…after watching this movie I have never heard of that in fact, was an adaptation from a book, it came to me. The movie featured Saoirse Ronan who I have dubbed: Every Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic authors go-to gal for casting. She’s astonishingly brilliant for someone so young and has been able to maintain it as she grows up. Anywho, the movie is called “How I Live Now”.

I may never say this again and almost feel ashamed to say it now but after reading reviews of the book–once I found out it was a book first–I think I prefer remaining ignorant to it and only knowing of the movies existence.

*pots loudly crash on the floor, clinking and clanking*

That’s horrible, I would never condone such a statement but the fact of the matter is, that the sensitive issues within the movie are amplified in the book. We have the first cousins falling in love scenario and taking that relationship all the way. I mean, at least it’s cousins and not a “Flowers in the Attic” brother and sister scenario, so it’s easier to swallow somewhat. This was the norm, many a years ago, especially in England. i.e. Elizabethan, Victorian, Regency eras.

Once, I got past that part, I really, truly enjoyed the movie. I thought the main characters journey was real and beautiful. Here you have this bratty, fifteen year old American from New York, shipped off to England, by force, to live with her aunt and cousins, in the English country. She’s foul mouthed, has a substance issue relating to an eating disorder and definitely has issues, mentally. She puts up walls and acts like a total brat when she first arrives. Instantly, she’s mesmerized by the older of the three kids. Eventually, they’re abandoned by the aunt who leaves for buisness, and the forbidden love affair that doesn’t seem to bother the other two cousins, occurs. Then, WW3 hits England. War changes everything. The girls are separated from the boys and shipped off to opposite locations to participate in war-surviving efforts through hard labor.

The promise made when separated was to get away and come back here–home. Our main character grows up. She faces the realities of war and how war brings out the worst in many people. She slowly becomes more maternal, less selfish and her instinct is to get home. Get to him. Make it out alive with her little cousin, who relies on her now.

I thought the end of the movie was absolutely beautiful, thinking of this teenager, putting herself aside, demonstrating true love by selflessly giving of herself to serve those she loves. It’s “how I live now” she says in the end, and I loved it.

Daisy and Eddie
courtesy of: How I Live Now (2013)

 Any way, this was supposed to be about me writing and I’m gushing about this movie. Ha ha ha. Throughout the movie, I found myself reaching for my notepad and jotting down random ideas that came to me. By the end of the movie, I was processing that beautiful ending and cinematography shot and it all hit me at once. I reached over to my writing bag, grabbed my notebook and jotted frantically the idea for the entire two books.

Next, I told myself to sleep on it. I was gushing with hype and emotion. Sleep on it and come “morning” (I was up late, meaning I wasn’t going to be up by morning, probably–nightowl syndrome) go over it all with a sound mind.

I was so excited the next day. I had it. It was finally here. I went back and grabbed my trusty plot/outline board which I had abandoned, and filled it up with all the next stuff. Bitter sweet taking off the first concept index cards I still had hanging on there.

I spent the day organzing the synopsis and finalizaing all my ideas. Next day, the day I had been waiting for…DRAFTING! Actually writing the story now!

am writing at starbucks

Now, I’m all writing again and my books are pouting puppy faces at me. I’m trying to figure out a new schedule. Since I’m writing late afternoons, early evening, late into the night (my once reading time), I’ trying to schedule my reading time with my doctor’s mandated hour of sun outdoors a day regiment. (taking care of some health issues currently) The silver lining? I have all this time to take advantage and write this book!

home office writing

My mother walks upstairs and catches me here (above image), laughing.

“Every day you have a different office”

I laughed. I raid different parts of the house, different days and claim them as my office. Today, I’m here. The view?

writing spot sunny

I love all the high ceiling windows that let in all this brilliant sunlight. I’m nocturnal but love open, bright spaces with natural light…go figure.

So that’s my update. I’m sure I’ll be switching towards “Writing-Talk” mode more than Book Talk but will still try to get some Book Talks out there. I have a few I could already write from my last three reads. See when I get those done.

Wish me luck!

Happy Reading, Writing or whatever you do that made you happen upon my little blog.

Cheers!

No…I’m not British.

Uncategorized

Ignite Me Book Talk!

Oh Ignite Me, let me count the ways…

Ignite Me banner
image courtesy of: Epic Reads

Spoiler FREE section: (Spoilers marked below!)

I feel so inadequate, trying to express my feelings for this book. In the last week, I have read three series finales. I have a three book hangover. I’m trying to recover. I loved each of them. I loved them all for different reasons. I need to reread them all. The first two, were beautiful in regards to their relationships as well as their great action-adventure story telling throughout. Ignite Me, I would say was more about the relational romance dynamics with a backdrop of the world-building plot and let me tell you…I did not hate it! It was cool to see a romance that was set within a dystopian backdrop, but the dystopian plot not being the focus of the story. It was a character story.

Overview of the series:

Shatter Me series
image courtesy of: Epic Reads

If you’re looking for a detailed world-building, intense, action-packed, classic dystopian novel, this isn’t it. The theme and dynamics connected to our main character is Dystopian in nature, but the story is a relationship-centric romance.

I believe, if you can go into the story with that in mind, you can then appreciate it for what it is. The core of the Shatter Me series is about Juliette. It is a character story following the journey of a young girl who we first meet as timid, tortured, living within the frightened shell of her mind, shunned by people due to her ability to kill with just the touch of her skin.

Through the three books, we see her first (Shatter Me), experience freedom with Adam—a young solider, struggling in poverty to make ends meet for him and his ten year old brother. We meet a sadistic, sociopath named Warner—a leader of the military in Sector 45 and son to the Commander of the Reestablishment. Warner begins as Juliette’s captor, a monster trying to bring out the monster within her, which she desperately fears and hates. She wants to hide away from the big bad world and Adam shelters her, protects her, keeps her away from all she fears—or he tries. No one can touch her. No one but Adam. This begins the bond between them. Juliette, holding to hope, believing fate brought the one person who can touch her…until Warner too, touches her.

Come book two—Unravel Me—we begin to see Warner in a different light—especially if you read the novella in between the first two books, Destroy Me. Adam’s and Juliette’s relationship begins to suffer. Her touch is beginning to drain him, kill him slowly. His ability—which no one, not even him, knew he had—was what allowed him to touch her, and deflect her power, only now, by doing so, it drains his energy. Then we find out that Warner too has his ability, and not only can he touch her, but her touch strengthens him, fills him, doesn’t hurt him as it does Adam.

Now let’s get into it—Book three. IGNITE ME

Here is where Juliette breaks out of the frightened, little girl shell and determines herself to live differently. She will no longer be afraid. She will learn to truly live. She would have done everything different if she could but chooses to look ahead and live each day with confidence, and determination to make tomorrow different. For her. For everyone.

I loved many things about this book! It truly was focused on Juliette’s journey with herself and with love. The rest of the world-building plot took a back seat, providing a backdrop and scenery for the real story.

At first, the love triangle.

The changes taking place in Juliette.

Many things we saw within the first two books through Juliette’s perspective get confronted and challenged.

Suddenly, things she thought she knew, things she believed happened, in fact, did not happen the way she thought. Through her perspective, we all, together learn these things as well.

Kenji!

Kenji is pure, awesome, ridiculousness and has by far, most of the best lines ever, in this book. I laughed out loud so many times, I can’t count and 99% of the time, it was cause Kenji spoke. I enjoyed very much Kenji and Juliette’s friendship in this book. In book two, I didn’t connect with it because it was still growing. By book three, they’re friendship is a solid best friendship and I loved it! I loved their conversations, his candidness with her, his vulnerability. He provided such a wonderful bridge, and comic relief to so much of the story. He was more of a main character in this book.

The end for me needed more pages. For the most part, there is enough resolution. All in all, I am very happy with who Juliette ends up with. It is most definitely the best choice for her and I love how Tahereh developed it further in this book. I love that she allowed us to SEE it, enjoy it and not just wrapped it up in the end with, “And Juliette chose so and so and now live HEA.” No, she let us in. I liked that very much.

I loved this book. I loved the “love”. I loved Kenji and his friendship with Juliette. I am satisfied with the ending—though there is a little more I would’ve wanted. Just a few more pages Tahereh.

I would definitely recommend this series!

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And now…SPOILERS

By the way, yeah, I won’t do a Memorable Moments Tab because I would pretty much be sharing the ENTIRE BOOK. I’ve never had so many tabs in a book before. No one would need to read the book after I’m done. They would have it here. Ha! So let’s just discuss it 🙂 

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The Love

Through out the book, a lot doesn’t actually happen other than everyone training but what I did like about that was that it gave room for the development of Juliette falling in love with Warner. I truly appreciated how Tahereh built that story line, how she let us SEE the process of Juliette falling in love with Warner. I didn’t mind that it took till Chapter 55 (oh dear goodness me, Chapter 55 *blushes) for them to officially come together. Everything leading up to that was brilliant because she allowed us to see the development. I loved that this book was pretty much Juliette, Warner and Kenji. Ha! Awesome.

Anderson

Now, I do agree with some that there could have been perhaps more Anderson. He’s such a strong villain and an opposition to the story. I mean, yes, we definitely got a good clear picture of him in Unravel Me. You hate me. You understand he’s bad. There were no holes about his character but what I would have really like perhaps was in the end, or near the end, a Warner and Anderson and maybe even Adam showdown, resolution.

More Action?

Maybe not so much throughout the story, because as I mentioned, I really enjoyed that time being dedicated to Juliette’s growth and seeing her fall in love with Warner and understanding what her true feelings were towards Adam all along. Perhaps in the end, it would have felt like a well-rounded ending if when it was actually time for action…there was um…action. More action, showing the rest of the group’s battle, struggle. A little more conflict perhaps.

Bromance

I did NOT expect Warner’s reaction to be what it was after he finds out Adam and James are his brothers. My heart melted. I LOVED his walls coming down, feeling sorry and guilty for almost killing his own brothers. He lost his mother (oh my goodness, talk about heart shattering quiver lip. I can’t see a man cry. Breaks my heart. Man Warner, you won my heart in this book), he gained two brothers and was eager to make amends and spend time with them. Get to know them. Build that brotherly bond that was lost for so many years. So weird to think Warner’s the older brother. Oh my goodness, I LOVED (I need a thesaurus, I know) James and Warner conversing. I wanted more! I wanted James to keep breaking down Warner’s walls, especially AFTER Warner found out, I wanted him and James to chat more, bond. Too cute.

Juliette’s Personal Journey

Quiet, fearful, sweet, tormented girl at first…in the end she is strong, confident, aware of life, and of herself. Thank goodness, cause yes, Juliette’s feeble minded self drove me crazy sometimes but that was the point. The point was to really see a character arc and transformation. She came into her own. She learned so much about herself and from there, understood what she needed, which in turn was what she wanted and not by default because…SHE COULD TOUCH PEOPLE NOW! How cute was that scene with Kenji, holding his hands, tears in her eyes. She learned to control her lethal touch, now being able to have skin to skin contact. *wipes happy tear* How did we know this? Because of Adam’s jerk of a move that could have killed Kenji, dang it! Oh my goodness, let’s talk about that for a moment.

But lastly, the famous quote:

I am no longer afraid of fear, and I will not let it rule me.

Fear will learn to fear me.  -page 103

Adam Goes From Boring To JERK Mode!

Omygoodness, Adam, what the hell?!

Book one, I was team Adam, all the way. There was so much, I felt, that he was still holding back, and hiding. He was sweet and hot, (yes, um, shower scene, anyone?) and caring and protective but there was something lacking. Come Unravel Me, I was a bit torn. I was still wanting to be Team Adam, but then he got all crippling by the news of his ability and how Juliette’s touch weakens him more than anything. He became desperate and distant and a bit of a pansy here. I was wanting so bad for him to man up and I felt bad for him. Juliette refused in her “love” for him to hurt him. She broke up with him. She walked away from him. Things got awkward between them and then entered Warner. He started to fog up my head and judgment as he did with Juliette. I didn’t know what I wanted. I came into Ignite Me thinking, Adam’s going to redeem himself, be so freaking awesome and be the healthy choice for Juliette.

Holy Baloney was I wrong.

I hadn’t read Destroy Me before but I knew there were some misunderstandings about Warner from Shatter Me. Chapter 62 in Unravel Me (hot dang) had me swaying but I thought still, something would happen where Warner wouldn’t be the right choice in the end. So I thought. Ha.

I didn’t finish reading Fracture Me before this, so I didn’t even see when Adam starting showing his jerk side. I was completely blind-sided, as I’m sure was Juliette, by Adam’s behavior. Man, talk about sore loser. He became venomous. I was hurt by his toxic words towards her. Granted, I did feel bad for him.

“All of this,” he says, meeting my eyes, his voice quieting to a raw, aching whisper, “was for you. I left everything I knew because I thought we were in this together. I thought it was going to be me and you.” His eyes are so dark, so deep, so hurt. Looking at him makes me want to curl up and die. “What are you doing?” he says, desperate now. “What are you thinking?” -page 135

Ugh. Ok, here, my heart went out to him. I saw how he thought, as did I, leaving Unravel Me, things weren’t technically over. He thought, we were on a break. *chuckles* Ah, Ross from FRIENDS comes to mind.

“We were on A BREAK!!!”

He held hope that once he could control his power, and not be hurt by Juliette’s touch anymore, they could be together again. I totally get that but then…Oh, but then…there was NO excuse for his behavior, his harsh words. That says a lot about a person. In the long run, he would NOT be someone I would want to be with if that’s how he reacts when he doesn’t get his way. Hell to the No!

Page 167, which I like to call…Where All Hell Breaks Loose. 

Adam finds out Warner is returning to his house to meet with everyone about the plan to work together to take down The Reestablishment and ultimately, his father, Anderson.

Adam. Flips. Out. and kicks Juliette out. Let’s just review some of the lovely phrases Adam spewed within just a couple of pages. Sorry Adam shippers, but I had hope, kind of, for Adam and Juliette still until THIS. I lost all respect for Adam.

“She can go do whatever the hell she wants.” He turns to me again. “You want to be with him?” He points to the door. “Go. Drop. dead.”

Juliette’s inside are breaking and Kenji’s trying, pleading with her not to go, but how could she not? Adam’s there, waiting, spitting in her face practically to get the hell out of his place.

“I was happier,” Adam says, “when I thought she was dead.”

“You don’t mean that. Don’t say things like that, man. Once you say that kind of shit you can’t take it back–”

“Oh, I mean it,” Adam says. “I really, really mean it.” He finally looks at me. Fists clenched. “Thinking you were dead,” he says to me, “was so much better. It hurt so much less than this.”

Oh, and there was more. My mouth was gaped open, in shock. My heart was punched. It’s like I was there, looking over at frozen Juliette, trying not to cry, trying not to fall apart, and my heart ached for her. I was there, part of the nine, looking at Adam, then at Juliette, then at Adam again, shocked at how someone could do such a 180. Later, Juliette’s standing there frozen, not registering voices and pressing the clicker over and over and over again, hoping Warner would come and rescue her from this heart break.

From the moment Warner rushed in, straight to her, cupping her face, so worried, I was done. I was 150% team Warner from here on. -pages 167-175

On To Happier Times: KENJI

I should do a post just on Kenji’s one-liners. Man, he made me laugh out loud SO many times. That doesn’t happen often. I’ll smile or chuckle inwardly with a book but no, Kenji flat out made me laugh. Him and Juliette on the roof, sharing their feelings. Too cute. It was nice to see the natural, vulnerable side of Kenji that he only allowed Juliette to see, and perhaps Castle but we never see those moments. By the end, as they were going to attack Anderson, one Kenji moment stood out, and I was cracking up.

“…I know I am an extremely attractive man, J, “

Um, can we just pause at the cuteness of his new nickname for her. I loved when he started calling her J, all the time.

“but I am not Bruce Lee.”

“Who’s Bruce Lee?”

Who’s Bruce Lee?” Kenji asks, horrified. “Oh my God. We can’t even be friends anymore.”

“Why? Was he a friend of yours?”

“You know what,” he says, “just stop. Just–I can’t even talk to you right now.” -page 371

I’m laughing right now just typing and reading it again. LOVE. IT!

And finally…The End

As Katytastic on YouTube described:

The “not-enough-pages-to-conclude-all-of-this-syndrome”.

This was for me, the one thing that left me a little bit conflicted in the end. I finished the book, after binge reading it for seven hours, and though I was smiling on the inside and out, the entire time, I closed the book and said,

“Hm.”

Was there an epic, elaborate battle scene in the end? Kind of? Nope, not really. It was a medium sized intensity battle scene. The entire “confront the bad guy resolution” begin and happened within the last 10 pages of the book.

I’m reading, and freaking out because as I read, I look over and notice, the pages are dwindling FAST. Chapters are ending quickly, becoming shorter and shorter and I’m tensing up thinking,

“Tahereh, how the hell is this ending? How can you possibly wrap this up soon? Is there an epilogue? (nope)”

There were a few things I wanted. The last pages felt rushed. There needed to be more pages to round it up better, if that makes sense. It felt like the ending, after this whole emotional journey, was merely snapshots of what happened in the end, with missing pieces.

It was battle time.

We got a lot of tension with Juliette running around tight, military hallways for like three chapters and some weird, unknown thing overpowering her for a few minutes, Kenji finally showing up but now will he live, and then Juliette overcoming the thing which turns out to be a person with crushing sound wave abilities, then Anderson and her two second showdown. The end. Oh wait, and then there was ‘Where are my friends, pause. Oh, there they are, sweet. Wait, where’s Warner? Phew, there he is, hugging me. The World aint got nothing on us. Now, the end.

Wait, what? That all happened in like 20 pages. That was the quickest wrap up of life. I just needed a little bit more. More conflict. More of the battle in the sector with everyone else in the group, perhaps a Anderson and Warner verbal showdown, confrontation. Before all that, I wanted more bro bonding between Adam, James and Warner. I wanted to see it. Especially more James and Warner convo. I wanted an epilogue with more of Warner and Juliette, together, living this new reality. *sighs*

All in all, I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK! I will re-read it again. I need to read it more slowly, enjoy, digest the awesomeness. The ending conflicted me a bit, hence I gave it a 4.5 on Goodreads but putting that aside, I am satisfied with the ending. I am most definitely happy with who Juliette falls in love with. I love them together. I’m in SHOCK, looking back at how I perceived Warner, and seeing how much I LOVE him now, which is crazy but it’s true!

YAY TAHEREH MAFI! Thank you for such an awesome series that made me laugh, and FREAKING blush, woman! Thank you for SHOWING us, Juliette falling in love and actually allowing us to see them BE together. It wasn’t, she chooses Warner in the end and now imagine what them being together would be like. No, we get to see their relationship for a bit and it was AWESOME!

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Really LONG book talk but there was just too much to say about this awesome ending. Best of the three books by far!

And that’s all folks! Fangirl with me in the comments below!

Oh, and if any of you know about BookTube, check out Christine’s (PolandBananasBooks) Book Talk below. I love her! Loved this book chat about Ignite Me! Enjoy

Happy Reading!

Uncategorized

Mail Day: Ignite Me Came!

MAIL DAY-Books

Nonchalantly, stepping outside, my eyes dart up. Bernard the Mailman catches the crazed look in my eyes and braces himself.

BERNARD!!! IS IT? IS IT?

He reaches into his satchel and takes out the beautifully covered book I have waited for. I let out a high pitched, schoolgirl squeal.

IT IS!

I tackle Bernard the Mailman and lock him in an awkward embrace. He has no choice but to accept my book love. I grab the book and skip, leap, fly–I can’t tell which–inside, saying repeatedly,

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Ladies and Gentlemen…

Ignite Me

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Everyone and their mother has been talking about this book since it came out, February 4th. People read it and were discussing it. Epic Reads, talked about it last week…AND. I. DIDN’T. YET. POSSES. THIS. BOOK!

I didn’t put myself through the torture of reading the first 15 chapters that were released the week before. I knew that the moment I flipped to page one and began reading…there was no stopping. There was no turning back.

And that’s exactly what happened, folks. It arrived in my hands at seven p.m. I prepared myself. Come nine p.m. I took my happy butt to bed, got cozy and opened. the. book.

Fast forward, it’s FOUR in the morning. I only had 72 pages left, which sounds more than it looked. I had to stop and process. I knew the book was almost ending and there was still A LOT that had not been revealed or resolved and I honestly was beginning to get nervous. I was fearing a bit, Tahereh’s ending. Would she wrap things up? Give us resolution cause, um…Tahereh, there aren’t many pages left in my book, woman!

Ignite Me reading

Today I woke up and finished the rest. Overall, I finished this sucker in seven hours. I’ll have my book talk up tomorrow!

Happy reading everyone!