Live Like You Were Dying....

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Words are beautiful.

They really are. I'm a lover of the written word. And it doesn't matter if I'm listening to a song on the radio, watching a movie, or, reading a stellar book. It's the lyrics, script, or the descriptive passages in a novel, that stay with me after the song is finished, the movie is over, or after I put the book down.

Wither by: Lauren Destefano is one of those books that literally shook me. Mainly because the writing is so haunting and so beautiful that it left me in complete awe after I finished reading it.

And that's not the only reason why Wither is #4 on this list of top YA reads of 2011.

It's the world the author created. Imagine if you only lived until your early twenties. Imagine if you were taken away from your home and forced into marriage at a young age. How devastating would that be? Me, I don't know what I would have done in that situation.

Rhine Ellery was a character that I could really relate to. She's a little rebellious and I like when characters have that nature in them. It's adds spunk to them and they are never bland.

I always feel like there has to be that "it" factor in the character or the book as a whole won't work and in my opinion, Rhine Ellery has it.

I've been on a dystopian kick lately. Maybe because I like the futuristic settings or because the imaginations of the authors can really soar and give the readers something to think about. And I'm one of those readers and writers that always asks myself "what if?" when I'm reading or writing.

Wither, was a beautifully written, haunting tale of what our world would be like if we were all genetic time bombs.... And's a book that will literally blow you away!

Read it, feel it, love it!


Humans Are Such Beautiful Creatures

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The deep south....

Southern accents, southern cooking, the history, the extravangant plantations, there is something about the south that always draws me in when I'm reading about it.

When I was nine years old, it was the first time I ever saw Gone With The Wind and from that moment on, I became obsessed with it. I even had a Scarlett O'hara t-shirt and a Melanie Hamilton barbie doll. Kids my age would come over and be like who's that? And I'd say, "Well, I do declare that, that would be Miss Melanie Hamilton." And then the kids would look at me like I was some kind of weirdo.

I read the book when I was 13 for accelerated reader and to this day, the movie and book have been my favorites and probably will be for the rest of my life.

When I first heard about Beautiful Creatures, I was inrigued because the MC is a male. I hadn't read that many YA books with a male as an MC so I thought hey, this might be an interesting read, I'll give it a go. Case in point, I ended up loving it and have puchased the sequel and will probably purchase the rest of the series when they come out. But that's not the main reason Beautiful Creatures is #5 on my list.

Here's the two reasons Beautiful Creatures is my #5 pick for my best YA reads list of 2011. Gone With The Wind, really gave you a feel for what it was like to live in the deep South. I loved the way Margaret Mitchell described the world of wars, barbeques, courtships. And I was always tried to find a book with the same kind of world building, describing the deep south. And it wasn't until I read Beautiful Creatures that I realized I had finally found it.

The world the authors created is honestly spot on to what I think the deep south would be like. Yes, I've been to some of the southern states a number of times and some books that try and describe the south make it feel phony. Like they've never been their or witnessed it's beauty.

Everything about Beautiful Creatures, set in Gatlin, felt authentic. I could close my eyes and actually see the surroundings. That's how real it felt.

And most of the time, unless you are writing a dystopian or fantasy novel, because there are exceptions with those, that reality is important.

Southern Gothic was a new genre to me, until I read this book. Kudos to the authors because they have made a Southern Gothic lover out of me. And maybe for you guys too!

If you want to be whisked away to the deep south, where Amma's cooking, Ethan's love life, and Lena's witchy ways are the norm. Buy this book, you won't want to put it down!


Catch Me... Before I Fall..

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hello readers!

Who's ready for the #6 top YA read of 2011?

I know this book was released before 2011 but.... I didn't read it until 2011 so that's why it's on this list.

I feel like there is always a point in our lives where we look back at our teenage selves and ask ourselves: What the hell was I thinking?

Me, in highschool, I was a self-proclaimed rebel and some of the stuff I did, I'm glad I did it because I made mistakes and learned from them.

When I first head about Before I Fall, I thought it might be a good read so I bought it. And I wasn't wrong about it being a good read. Not at all. In the beginning of it, I tried to picture my teenage self, going through highschool all over again. I went to school with girls just like Sam Kingston... the main difference, Sam Kingston, had more to her. And I think that's why I instantly took to her. She's beautifully flawed. She felt real to me. And I truly enjoyed reading chapter after chapter and I got to see a different part of her revealed in each one.

"Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there's a tomorrow. Maybe for you there's one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through you fingers. So much time you can waste it. But for some of us there's only today. And the truth is, you never really know." ~ Lauren Oliver~ Before I Fall.

This book is a tearjerker... But totally worth the spilled tears!


Hush, Hush, Now My Love...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Who doesn't love fallen angels?

Angels, whether they're good or bad, if there is a book out there with a story on angels, that's good, there is a high possibility that I'm going to like it.

I think a lot that has to do with the fact that even fictional angels have some biblical history behind them and anything historical fascinates me.

In my opinion, #7 on this list has definitely earned it's spot. There's angst, secrets, teenage love, and a fallen angel named Patch who not only rocks Nora's world but mine as well. Which is why Hush, Hush by: Becca Fitzpatrick has earned a spot on this top reads list.

You know how there are only some books you can read once. You read them, and enjoy them but you don't feel the need to pick them up again. This is not one of those books! I've read it at least five times. And I fall in love with it all over again every time I read it.

I'm a big fan of angsty-badass guys and to me, Patch Cipriano has those qualities and more. I also like a book with some twists to it and Hush, Hush has got plenty of them. Twists keep the reader guessing. I don't know about you guys but I do NOT want feel like I know what's going to happen. Huge pet reading peeve of mine..... When you read a novel and you know from the beginning how it's going to end. Hush, Hush kept me guessing until the very end.

Hush, Hush is a trilogy. Crescendo, the sequel is fantastic too and I'm certain that when Silence comes out this fall... I won't be quiet... I'll be screaming with excitement.


Up In Flames....

Monday, June 20, 2011

Just another manic Monday, eh readers?

Or just another beginning to what will hopefully turn out to be a fantastic week!

Katniss Everdeen. Even the just saying the name makes me squeal with delight.


Because when you pick up a book and decide that you might enjoy reading it, Katniss Everdeen, is exactly the type of MC that I want to read about. She's a badass--deadly with a bow and arrow--fierce--in knowing she has to do what she has to, to survive the Hunger Games. And last but not least, at times, even though she is a very strong character, you get a certain sense of vulnerability from her. When you read a novel with strong characters, their vulnerability is important. To me, it makes them feel more human.

Katniss Everdeen was the girl who was on fire and that's why Catching Fire by: Suzanne Collins is on this list at #8.

Catching Fire, is my absolute favorite book of the Hunger Games Trilogy. There is so much, action and angst. Not to mention the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. I was team Peeta all the way.

And the ending left me on edge completely. Some people don't like that. Some people don't like when the book cuts off and you know undoubtedly that there is going to be another book following it. I do. Why?

When I'm reading a great series, I never want that series to end. I'd rather it go on infinitely.

If you haven't read any of the trilogy, I suggest you do. Trust me, you'll want it to go on forever too!


Love Potion # 9...

Friday, June 17, 2011

There is nothing hotter than a rockstar....

So when I heard that April Lindner had written a modern day interpretation of Jane Eyre and made Mr. Rochester a rockstar, you know I was all over that...

And that's why it's #9 on my list of the best reads of 2011.

I've heard many people say, well it's not like the original. Duh. It's a re-telling--it's supposed to be a little different from the original. And I will forever be a fan of the original but, April Lindner's Jane has earned a special place in my heart.

I can't rave enough about how much I truly adored this book. It's emotional, it's romantic, and the ups and downs of the relationship between Jane and Mr.Rathburn was like a wicked guitar riff. I plowed ahead, finishing this book in record time.... One Day....

That's when you know what you're reading is fantastic. Because you'd rather sit there all day and read it rather than do anything else.

This book is a romantic, rockin interpretation of a modern day classic. If you haven't read it yet. You should.

Have a good weekend!


Why Make A Promise? Unless It's In Blood.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hey Readers!

For the next two weeks, I'm doing something different. For the next two weeks, I'm counting down the My top ten YA reads of the year! So let's get this the ball rolling shall we.

10. Blood Promise(Vampire Academy 4)by: Richelle Mead.

Who here has read the bestselling Vampire Academy series? (I raise my hand and shake it... ME! ME!)

And now I'll tell you why this book has made my list.

Dimitri. Dimitri. Dimitri. Oh yeah, and Rose. From the get-go, I always wanted them to be together. But this book took it to a whole different level for me. It might just be me, but I loved Dimitri even more when he was a strigoi. It's always fantastic when you can the good and bad in a character. (Bad boys tug at my heartstrings, what can I say?)But.... whenever I read a book like this where one of the MC's is bad, I never count them out. I always try to dig deeper into the character and pull what I can from what the writer has written. There is more to character, than what you read. And deep down in my gut, not matter what Dimitri's actions were, I never thought that Dimitri, would ever stop loving Rose--no matter what he had become. And even though he made explicit threats, I never thought that he would actually kill her.

What I got out of it is that love.... can make you do crazy things. And I believe that when you truly do love someone, deep down within your core, that's something that never leaves you, undead or not.

And here's my favorite line from the book: "Roza." His voice had the same wonderful lowness, the same was all just colder."You forgot my first lesson.Don't hesitate." ~ Richelle Mead

What can I say? Dimitri had me from the first Roza.


Marketing Yourself.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Today we're going to talk about marketing ourselves as writers.

I came across a tweet one day where someone made a comment about if you write in numerous genres it would be hard to market your novels because people wouldn't know how to classify you as a writer.

Cue the eyebrow raise. Really? Huh. I beg to differ.

I for one, mostly write YA novels but I have written one in every genre. Contemporary, Dystopian, Horror, Steampunk, you name it, I've written it. So why would that make me hard to market? What it tells me is that I'm eclectic. Truthfully, I've always been that way--with everything! Music, books, movies etc. If you went through my ipod right now you'd find at least one song in every genre. So why is that a bad thing? Simple. It's not.

Why? It all comes down to voice. Readers can connect to any novel if they feel the main character. And it doesn't matter what genre you write, if the voice is there, it's there.

Secondly, your style of writing has a lot to do with it. If Lauren Oliver wrote a horror novel, there is a 99.9 percent chance that I'm going to love it. Because I love her style of writing. I'm going to refer to Miss Oliver again because her first novel was a contemporary, second, a dystopian. Which proves all the more that genre has nothing to do with it. If you are a good writer, you are a good writer, period.

The marketing area is a whole different ball game but it all has to do with the niche market. You need to know your market for each novel. If I sent out my horror novel to readers who are fans of contemporary fiction, i'm assuming they aren't going to dig it..... or will they?

Here's the skinny, readers crave great writing,great story-telling, and great books. As a kid, I can remember jumping from a book like Little Women straight to Garden of Shadows. Both great books. Two very different styles of writing. Very different genres. Did I dislike Garden of Shadows because the genre was different from something I'd normally read? Heck no. I could connect to Olivia just like I could connect to The March Family.

Nobody. I repeat nobody should try and tell you not to write a novel that you want to write because it's a different genre than what you usually write. You need to write that novel. You shouldn't be hindered. Let your creative mind explode into something amazing.

Because in the end, no matter what the genre, there are a plethora of readers out there and if you write it, they will come.


Book Of The Week.....

Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy Friday Readers!


Who out there loves Dystopians as much as I do??

I don't know what it is about a Dystopian novel, but I'm always drawn to them. Maybe it's because of the painted portrait of what society might be like in the future, or the fantastic world building, and somehow Dystopians always have kick ass hero/heroines.

Someone recommended this week's book of the week to me months ago. Back then, there wasn't as much hype, but after checking it out on goodreads, I decided that it would probably be a worthy read. A worthy read indeed.

People have been raving about this book. And I am more than delighted to introduce this week's book of the week.....Divergent by: Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her. (summary from goodreads)

Honestly, this book is very high up there on my TBR list and I hope to have a review up soon.

And..... I may be partial to the MC's name, because that's my grandma's name and I <3 her to death....


Enjoy the weekend!

How To Detach Yourself From Your Characters.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
If you're like me, you get wayyyy too involved in what's going with the characters in your

Yes, at the time you are writing the book, that can be a very good thing. You want to feel them. But.. when all is said and done, sometimes you have to back away from the keyboard and just say enough is enough.

There isn't enough time in the day for me to tell you how many times I've obsessed over my characters. (And I've written many novels.) Why is that a bad thing? Stress. And when I'm stressed out, my writing becomes strained. It's like the creative part of my brain is chained up and locked. That is never good.

Hashing it out in literary la la land is stressful enough, having to deal with queries, partials, fulls, synopsises, rejections, another author coming out with a book similar to yours,( Before you. That has happened to me twice, now!), revisions, first drafts, outlines, the list goes on and on.

I find that when I do detach myself from my characters, and set my WIP aside for a couple of weeks, when I'm back to it, I'm refreshed, free, and my mind is an open canvas. And yes, I'm still attached to my characters, I still feel them, and love them but I have the strength to not be overwhelmed by them.

And.... the stress is ultimately gone.

So just remember that when you hit that point while writing your novel. Take a deep breath, and back away from the keyboard. Trust me. In the end, when you have that fantastic novel in front of you, it will be worth it's weight in gold!


I Dreamed A Dream...

Monday, June 6, 2011
Hello readers!

Today I have a little treat for you! Today I am posting a teaser for my novel, Yelling Out Loud, the sequel to A Whisper To A Scream... I promise I don't give too much away lol! Oh, and enjoy!

Every time I had a dream, I dreamt that I was running--sprinting--vigorously through theforest behind my house. My feet plodded into the muddy, well-beaten path as I swatted atthe thicket of branches that hung above my head. The jagged edges of the branches cutdeep into my flesh and I felt blood drizzling down my forearm. But I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t let anything slow me down.

The sound of twigs snapping beneath a set of feet apart from my own keeps me
going. It pushes me further. A dull ache rippled through my lungs. My breathing was
short--rapid--and a cramp was throbbing in the side of my waist. Someone was behind
me--following me--and I couldn’t help but feel an icy chill of terror when I slowed downand allowed them to get closer.

The person behind me didn’t speak. There was a menacing rasp to the sound of
their breathing and it made every hair on my neck stand up. “Stay away from me!” I
screamed, causing myself further complications to my breathing and then I started
gasping for air.

A white light shined barreled through an opening at the end of the path. And
despite the tightening pain in my calves, I charged forward, anxious to burst through thelight. That was when I felt a hand on my shoulder. “No!” I dug my nails into their fingers,heard them growl, and felt the hand slip off of my shoulder.

The light was closer. With every pound of my feet, that meant I was that much
closer. Closer to freedom.

Only I never made it to the light. Feet before I crossed the barrier of darkness into
the light, the person following me tackled me. I kicked at them, gaining inches, but they pulled me backwards, dragging me by my ankle, mud staining me from my collar bone to my mid-thigh. “Ahhhh!” I wailed as hot tears stung my cheeks. “Please,” I begged. “Don’t hurt me.”

I blanched, turning my head to the side and I could feel their hands inching closer
to my neck. “No,” I whimpered as a final protest. I don’t want to die.

In a last ditch effort to save myself, I whipped my arm back and my fist connected
with their jaw. The sound of a crack combined with a thud sent me back to reality and I felt a pair of hands resting on my shoulders, shaking me. “Ellory, sweetheart, it’s Mom.”

Stuck in a world of half-delusion and half-reality, I began thrashing violently.
“No! No! No” Still the hands remained on my shoulders.

“Ellory!” my Mom shouted. “Honey, you were having another nightmare!”

Rolling over, in my bed, I caught my breath. I opened one eye at a time and glanced at the alarm clock on my nightstand. A wave of relief washed over me as I sat up and wiped the tears from my eyes. My Mom wrapped me in her arms and smoothed back
my hair. “Hush now, baby,” she comforted. “It was just a dream. And now you can see
that you’re in your own bed.”

“You’re right, Mom,” I exhaled. “It was just a dream. I couldn’t let her worry. If I
didn’t lie about it she would stay up all night long and lose sleep over me.

“Do you want me to stay in here with you?” she asked as she pulled away from me.

“No, Mom, I’m fine. Just go back to bed.”

“Are you sure, honey?”

“Yes, Mom, I’m sure.”

She leaned in close, kissed my forehead, then walked out of my room. I lad back
on my bed, in the darkness, staring at the glow in the dark stars on my ceiling.

There wasone thing about my dreams that I could never tell my mother. I could never tell her that these nightmares I had been having over the last few weeks…..were real.

Cheers! Hope you liked it!

Packing Punch Into Your Characters.

Friday, June 3, 2011
I don't know about you guys, but one thing that bothers me more than anything is characters that lack substance. And as they go along, you continue reading, wondering when or if they are ever going to do something bold. It may just be me, but when I read books with flat or weak characters, personally, I feel cheated. Nine times out of ten, I end up screaming at the book. "Do something, anything!"

So for today's post, I'm going to provide some helpful tips on packing punch into your characters.

1. Take a little piece of yourself.

There is almost always a little piece of me in my characters. In doing that, it helps guide you toward the light at the end of the tunnel. I always ask myself. "What would I do if I was in their shoes?" That little part of me inside of the character would me come up with the answer. And it would help you relate to your character.

2. Don't be afraid to get emotional.

Go ahead and let it all out. Sob. Cry. Scream. That shows that you are emotionally invested in your characters. And if you can sense the emotion as you are writing, your readers will sense the emotion as they read it.

3. People Watch.

I'm a constant observer. It doesn't matter where I am or what I'm doing, I'm always watching other people. No, not in a creepy, stalkerish sort of way. I watch them to see their reactions to certain situations. Like if a couple is walking through the mall holding hands, the boy does something and it ticks his girlfriend off. Stop! Freeze! How does she react? Being observant of realistic situations can help you relay that realistic situation into your character.

4. Show vulnerability.

Yes, in the beginning, I said I don't like weak characters but, I'm talking characters that are all around weak. They don't have any fire to them. They are just kind of there. Even strong characters have vulnerability. Even overtly brash characters have that one thing that makes them feel. Like in my book, Love Sucks, my MC is a very stong character, yet at same time she has vulnerabilities that make the reader able to relate to her at some points. You do not want your reader to not be able to relate to your characters, whether they are weak or strong.

I hope some of this advice helps! Have A nice weekend!


In the Hereafter.....

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I love haunting stories... No, I'm not talking about the stories that haunt you after you finish reading them, I'm talking about literally haunting stories.

Ghosts. Spirits. Apparitions. Life after death--the afterlife. Or as some like to call it the Hereafter.

Hereafter, to me, even saying the word gives me goosebumps. That's why I'm excited to introduce this weeks book of the week... Hereafter by: Tara Hudson

Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her--past life--or her actual death--she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to her their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Ameila back into the ghost world....forever.

Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation that you won't want to miss. (summary from goodreads)

True. True. Hereafter is a sensation that I definitely won't want to miss. And I hope that it haunts me. In a good way.