Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sequels I Can't Wait to be Released

I love a good series, but waiting for the next book to come out, especially when it's release date is months or even a year or more away can drive you crazy. Here are the books I'm counting down the days until their release.

SamanthaYoung’s fourth book in the Fire Spirits series
“Darkness Kindled”
Release Date: 2013

I have to congratulate Samantha on recently being picked up by Penguin. She deserves it, but with “On Dublin Street” hitting it big “Darkness Kindled’s” release date has gotten pushed back. I am utterly devastated. This book will be the final piece to her Fire Spirits series which I have fallen in love with and am dying to find out how it ends.

What I loved about these books was that they were something I’d never read before. Samantha mixes the Jinn mythology perfectly with urban romance, and her character development is spot on. I’d never liked a love triangle more than when I read “Smokeless Fire,” and the series only gets hotter from there out. “Scorched Skies” and “Borrowed Ember” were each better than the last and because of this I have high expectations for “Darkness Kindled”.

Read my Reviews for:

Jennifer Armentrout’s third book in her Lux series
Release Date: December 18th 2012
I wasn’t expecting to love this series as much as I do, but after reading “Obsidian” Jennifer’s Lux series has quickly skyrocketed to the top of my favorites list. I didn’t put “Obsidian” down until my kindle died then proceeded to twitch nervously as it charged. Then, I read its sequel, “Onyx”, just as fast. Now I’m trying to pace myself with the Lux prequel “Shadows” to hold me over until December 18th. These books were angsty and action packed and I found them impossible to put down.

Aliens aren’t normally the first thing that comes to mind when I talk about the kind of books that I like to read, but the aliens in this book are hot. I got sucked in with the “I want you, but hate you,” romance between Katy and Daemon and with every second and every secret that was revealed I wanted more. Katy and Daemon have spent two books going back and forth fighting their attraction for one another, now I’m dying to see how they come together in “Opal”.

Read my Reviews for:

My second book in the Ivy Daniels series
"Hidden Beneath”
 Release Date: Summer 2013
Okay, so maybe I'm not going crazy waiting to read this one, but I am getting really excited about publishing it. When I started “Into the Deep” I hadn’t planned on there being a second book, but after I got into this project and started writing’s Brant’s background I knew I wanted to do another one. I still think “Into the Deep” is a great stand-alone piece, but there’s more story to be told with Ivy and Brant. In “Hidden Beneath” (Ivy Daniels 2) we get to find out where these characters are the summer after Ivy graduates high school, and they get sucked into a whole new adventure. Now that I have this book almost finished (with the first draft that is) I can say that I like it even more than the first. In the first book Ivy and Brant were just getting to know each other, but in the second book they have history, and it makes their relationship much deeper and much more complex.

In “Into the Deep” I wanted to look at judgment and the way people view one another. It was about learning to be understanding of other people and to not judge a book by its cover. In “Into the Deep” Ivy learns that people make mistakes, in “Hidden Beneath” she will have to learn how to forgive people for the mistakes they’ve made.

Read Reviews for Into the Deep on:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review for Onyx by Jennifer Armentrout

A Whole New Layer of Danger and Romance.

5 Stars. This was a great sequel, picking up the story shortly after where Obsidian left off, and it left me wanting to read more. In Onyx Katy learns that she has more than just Arum to worry about. The government has their eyes on the Luxen at all times, but what they’re after are not the aliens themselves. This book was a whole new layer of mystery and danger, and it was just as hot as the first.

 I loved that Katy developed powers and that she didn’t stay this weak human among aliens. She’s still the quirky, independent, and real Katy that I loved from the first book, but she does some growing up and has to learn some hard lessons. I loved that Katy pushed to be seen as an equal and not just some damsel in distress. However, this need to stand beside Daemon and not behind him did cause her to make some bad choices. There were a few times she kept secrets from Daemon that I was just screaming at her to say something. All the same, I did feel like she made believable decisions.
I didn’t mind the love triangle that was introduced, Blake was a well written character and I understood Katy’s attraction to him, he seemed so charming at the beginning, as the story went on however it was obvious that he had a lot that he was hiding. Armentrout did a wonderful job of giving him motive for his actions and making it believable.

I did wish there had been a little more Dee, though I understood why we didn’t see as much of her. She wasn’t forgotten though. Dee goes through some changes in this book and you see that she’s growing up as well. I loved that even though her relationship with Katy gets a little strained, there isn’t a second of doubt that Katy wouldn’t want to be her friend anymore.
Overall this was a wonderful book and I am eagerly awaiting the release of the third book, Opal.

Read my Review of Obsidian, the first book in this series
Read my Review of Opal, the third book in this series

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review for Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout

Angsty and Action Packed.

5 Stars. I loved every second of this book. Normally I’m not interested in anything alien related, but I gave this alien love story a go and I’m so glad I did. Before you let your mind dive too far into the realm of scifi you need to know that these were not ET, or Predator like aliens. Think more like Superman or I am Number Four. They were beings from another plant that were really similar to humans just really attractive and with awesome powers.
The relationships in this book were so real. You have Daemon who wants to pretty much stay away from humans to keep himself and his sister safe knowing that they have a secret that needs to be protected. Where as his sister Dee just wants to live her life and pushes to be like everyone else around her, even if they are a different species. Her want to be normal brings her and Katy together. Their friendship is easy and real and you completely understand why they quickly become best friends. Their friendship also brings Katy and Daemon closer.
The “I want you but hate you at the same time” thing that Katy and Daemon had going on was perfectly done and incredibly hot. This wasn’t an “insta-love” romance or one where I didn’t understand why they pushed each other away. It was completely believable and relatable. I also loved how much Dee was involved in the story, she’s just as much a main character as Katy or Daemon and I felt it gave the book a deeper feel. It wasn’t just a love story.
Overall this book was absolutely amazing. I felt like I could completely connect with Katy. She was confidant and gutsy, always throwing something back at Daemon when he got under her skin, but she was down to earth as well. Daemon’s little game with the bonus points was a lot of fun, and the history of what Daemon is was well developed, and there was believable buildup to finding out about his past.
I will defiantly be reading this entire series and looking into more from this author.

Read my Review for Onyx
Read my Review for Opal

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Finding Inspiration in TV's Saddest Moments

How to make viewers, or readers, cry over the death of a character:

As an author I pull my inspiration for my stories from everything around me, from friends and family to books I’m reading and movies I’m watching. I think seeing how someone else created a believable scene, or displays a believable emotion can help writers better understand people and emotions and how to write those things in their own stories in a believable way. So, to help inspire all of you in your writing here are my top ten saddest TV episodes.

10. House – episode “Wilson’s Heart” – No one really liked “Cutthroat Bitch” but after episodes of watching House piece together the tragic bus accident you couldn’t help but shed a tear for Amber and the hopelessness of her situation. House did a great job of making its viewers feel for a less liked character. Part of what made this episode so great was the buildup. The fact that House puts so much effort in to figure out what happened, only to find that there’s nothing he can do to save her is completely heartbreaking.

9. Bones – episode “The Graft in the Girl” – Anytime there’s a child or a young person facing death our hearts reach out to them, and the fact that Amy is so mature about her situation makes us feel for her that much more. It’s not so much the thought of her death that makes this episode sad, but more so the thought of all the things she’ll never be able to do. This is emphasized by Angela bringing her the virtual reality headset to give her a glimpse of places she’ll never really get to visit.

8. Supernatural – episode “Swan Song” – Who doesn’t like Kansas’s “Carry on my Wayward Son”? That song alone could bring tears to my eyes. It’s not always just what happens that makes something sad, it’s how it’s presented. Having the right music, setting the scene in the right way, is necessary to evoke emotion. Also seeing good overcome evil and the way Sam’s memories gave him strength was a powerful message making his “death” all the more meaningful.

7. Angel – episode “I Will Remember You” – How could you not cry at the end of this episode? Buffy and Angel finally had a chance to be together, and forever the martyr Angel gave it all up to keep fighting the good fight. This worked because of who Angel was; he’d devoted his whole existence to making up for his wrongdoing and protecting those who had no one else to look out for them. We could believe in his love for Buffy, but being unable to protect those that he loved meant that he couldn’t be himself, and thus he and Buffy would forever be star-crossed lovers. Sacrifice will only bring a tear to your reader’s eye if they truly believe and understand why your character gave up what he or she did.

6. Buffy – episode “Becoming Part 2” – This is another example of good music choice, Sarah McLachlan and stabbing your boyfriend and sending him to hell to save the world. This is also another example of making sacrifice believable. The world was at stake, and Buffy did what she had to, to protect it, but in the end you saw how much that took from her. But, what I think makes this episode really sad was more than just music and sacrifice, it was looking at what it means to be alone and to have no one but yourself to rely on. Angelus has Buffy cornered and says “No weapons... no friends... no hope. Take all that away and what's left?” and she responds “me.” She finds strength in herself, that strength helps her win the fight, but in the end it also means she’s alone.

5. The Closer – episode “Last Rites” – Brenda finally pay’s the price for putting her work first. I think what hit me hardest with this episode was how unexpected it was. It was just so incredibly real, and the fact that Brenda’s mom never gets the chance to tell her something just eats away at you. Building up to a sad scene can be really effective, but this episode shows that the unexpected can draw just as much emotion if done correctly.

4. Buffy – episode “The Body” – I mentioned before that music choice in episodes was helpful in getting viewers to really feel what was going on in the scene. For this episode it’s the lack of music that tugs at your heart. It’s so raw, so real, and the fact that the entire episode is without music really drives the point home. As a writer I tend to lean more toward the descriptive and using language to describe in detail a scene, but I think this episode shows that pulling back and letting the silence seep in can be just as effective.

3. Angel – episode “A Hole in the World” - Not many people can make the decision to look at the bigger picture. What made this episode so sad for me was that it wasn’t just death that Fred faced, but the complete destruction of her soul. In the Buffyverse we got used to characters being killed off and brought back, but with Fred there was no possibility of a return. The finality of her death was what hit me the hardest. And, they could have saved her, but saving her would have meant death for thousands of other people. It was sad because to protect thousands of people they didn’t know they chose to not only let Fred die but for her entire existence to wiped out. The weight of that was heavier than any other death I’d seen on the show.

2. The Ghost Whisperer – episode “Threshold” – At the end of this episode you completely believe that Melinda’s husband, who was shot and in a coma, has just pulled through and that he’s woken up, but then you realize that Melinda was really talking to his ghost - completely unknowing that he’d passed away, and the whole time you’re sitting there saying “no” this can’t be. His final words to her and that last moment they got to have together was what made this episode sad. In the Closer’s “Last Rites,” the fact that Brenda’s mom never gets to tell her something is what makes it sad. In “Threshold,” it’s getting to hear those last words and knowing that they are the last words she’ll ever hear him say that makes it sad. It’s in knowing that she has to let him go that we feel for her.

1. Buffy – episode “The Gift” – I have never cried harder than when I first watched this episode. What I think makes it so sad is that you see how Buffy’s death effects so many people. Sometimes it’s not the death itself that’s the saddest part; sometimes it’s the way that death creates a loss for everyone who was a part of that person’s life. At the end of the episode you see all Buffy’s friends gathered around and it’s like you can feel the hole she makes in their lives and in their hearts with her death. After all, “the hardest thing in this world, is to live in it.” (Buffy ep. 5.22) and what makes this episode sad is the thought of living without someone who, in so many ways, was your world.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Review for Purpose by Kristie Cook

Wanted More Dorian

3.75 Stars. This book started out strong and ended strong. It’s much more grown up than the first book and I loved the way Alexis’s character had developed between Promise and Purpose. She’s a little broken, and very real. Where I had some problems with this book was the middle. Tristan’s return is wonderful but his relationship with Alexis quickly gets lovey-dovey. I get that they needed time to reunite, but I felt like the middle of this book got a little too mushy.

This starts out years after Promise ends and I really liked that Alexis had grown as a person. She wasn’t the same girl from the first book, but she still felt like the same person. I really felt her pain, and believed that her love for Tristan combined with living with his absence and trying to hold on to hope that he was still alive would affect her exactly as it did. She was torn between not wanting to forget him and needing to be strong enough to continue on with her life. She pulls it together for her son though, and I understood that.

In Purpose Alexis is a little erratic at times, and she’s gotten much more bitchy, especially in the beginning. But, I felt for the most part that it was an honest portrayal of a girl growing older and becoming more cynical. Although at times she did seem a little too extreme. As the story went on I liked the idea of Alexis having this inner battle with good and evil. I also liked Owen a lot in this book and how complex his relationship with Alexis was. I wish that the author had explored this a little further even.

Also, I loved Alexis’s son, Dorian. He was written very well and I wished that he had been in this book more. I felt like the parts of the story that revolved around him were more real and better developed than others. For example, the over lovey dovey-ness in the middle almost felt a little out of place, it felt too easy when the author had done such a good job setting up the beginning to show the complexity of love. Then there’s all this mushy stuff and I felt like it lost its honesty and believability and in turn was romanticized too much. I wanted for Alexis and Tristan to have a wonderful reunion, and they did, but there was so much time spent on this that it almost felt like the characters had regressed some. I wanted to rush through some of the love scenes to see Tristan meet Dorian. I wanted this to happen so much sooner and would have traded some of the mushy love story in the middle for more time with Dorian.

Some of the other things that I didn’t like as much were that again, in this book Alexis was a little too naieve at times. She can just be a little oblivious and there were times when I figured something out chapters before she did.

Also, I felt the religious themes in this book were stronger than they were in the first one. I enjoyed Cook’s message and I loved that she’s written a book that holds true to her values without ignoring, or watering down the passion, but I think the author could have been less blunt and still gotten the same message across. Also there were times when I wondered if Cook was Alexis, especially when it becomes obvious that Alexis’s purpose in life was to write books to inform her readers about the evil in the world and how to protect themselves from it. Was this also maybe what Cook was trying to do by writing the book in the first place? This wasn’t something that bothered me much, just a thought.

Overall I enjoyed this read, and I did go on to read the sample of the next book wanting to know more. But, I feel at this time I’m going to take a break from this series to read something else, and maybe I’ll return to it later.

Read my review for the first book in this series Promise

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