Friday, January 31, 2014

Cover Release for Paranormal Keepers by Jen Naumann!

Release date: March 4, 2014
Model Photography: Jen Naumann
Cover Design: Najla Qamber Designs
Publisher: Phantom Owl Press

Book Description:

Everyone thinks Harper Young killed her boyfriend. No one will say it to her face, but the signs are everywhere.

It’s almost been a year since Gavin was torn from Harper’s arms and brutally murdered. The police wrote it off as a freak accident, deciding Harper’s strange testimony was given under duress. But she knows something unnatural was involved and refuses to stop looking until she finds his killer, even if it means her reputation as a senior is ruined. Even if it means there really are monsters living among us.

With the discovery of the mothmen, witches, vampires and all the creatures she always suspected were out there, Harper finds herself amidst a complex bundle of unseen heroes who call themselves "Keepers", sworn to keep the secret of the paranormal creatures that walk this earth. As she tries to understand what’s so special about her that she’s able to break an old Keeper law, Harper has a baffling vision of kissing a mysterious guy before a blade is brought down on him. Before she can get a handle on her future, she becomes central to a battle between the questionable “heroes” and the evil she’s been training to fight, leaving her to wonder if there’s any way to change the fate that has been foretold before it’s too late.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review for Reaper’s Novice by Cecelia Robert

Fun Start to a New Series
 
3.75 Stars. I really loved the characters in this book. Ana was easy to relate to, and Zig was a lot of fun. He was snarky and witty and I loved every scene he was in. Everyone felt like they had their own individual personality and were well written. There was also some really beautiful imagery. I loved the way the souls were described.

It did take me a little while to get in to this story, but after a few chapters I started to get sucked in. I also liked that the author did some different things with this book than I'm used to reading in YA. It was refreshing to see a protagonist that wasn't white, and to be immersed in a setting outside of the US.

I liked that at the core of this story it was about Ana and her friends and family. It was about growing up and growing apart from the people and places you used to be close to. This book isn’t a romance novel. It’s not a love story. There is some romance between Ana and Rolf, and some really interesting sexual tension between Ana and Zig, but this story isn’t about some mystery guy that swoops in to whisk the lead female off her feet. Although the ending does set up an interesting scenario for Ana's future love life.

I really liked the story, watching Ana reap souls and meet all these strange creatures from the underworld. But, I didn’t always understand Ana’s decisions. She puts herself in a few dangerous situations when it didn’t really feel like she had to. There’s a few situations that don’t seem desperate enough for her to make the choices that she does. And, Ana is a little too dense when it comes to her boyfriend Rolf. It’s obvious that she loves him but when strange things started happening, I don’t understand why she didn’t talk to Ernest (Grim) or Zig about them, and she stayed overly trusting of him when it’s obvious she shouldn’t be. Also, I wanted to see more of Ana’s trips with Ernest and her learning to be a reaper. I wanted a little more background on this trade she was learning and the underworld.

This book is definitely setting up for a series, and I would be interested in knowing how the story continues, but as it sits the ending feels a little anticlimactic. There are a few different things that get resolved, but this book sets up a lot and there’s a lot to wonder about once it’s over. It just doesn’t feel like it ends in the right spot.

Overall this was a fun read, and I will consider continuing this series in the future.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Words to Search and Destroy in your manuscript

Eleven words you should delete from your novel.
 
I’ve been working on revising my next novel, A Different Kind, so I thought I’d share with all of you part of the process. When I get closer to that final draft I take advantage of Microsoft Word’s “Find” feature, using it to find and remove unnecessary “dead” words. The following words should be used sparingly. Unless absolutely necessary, or in dialogue these words are evil and must be destroyed.

Very – Never use very. 

Just – Sometimes the word “just” is useful at showing how suddenly something happened, or necessary when used in phrases, but other times “just” is just “very” in disguise. If the sentence makes sense without it, take it out.

Really – Sometimes “really” in necessary, but if it’s not it’s just another “very” in disguise.

And – “And” is obviously a word that cannot be avoided, but excessive use of “and” makes your sentences drawn out and wordy.

Then – Again, the word “then” isn’t one you can avoid using completely. But sometimes “then” is just “and” in disguise, so if you don’t need it, cut it.

Suddenly – This is a word that tells instead of shows. EX: “Suddenly there was an explosion” or “Boom! The stove burst into flames” which is more sudden? Exactly. Cut the suddenly’s and describe your scene.

Seem – This is a “wishy-washy” word and using it won’t inspire confidence in your reader. Things should either happen or not happen, don’t say that they “seemed to happen”.

Like – Saying something “looked like...” something, is the same as saying “seemed”. Unless something “looks like” or “seems” to be something that it’s not, then take out these words and just say what it is. Also, if you use “like” a lot, you may be using too many similes.

Up – Don’t say “he stood up,” just say “he stood”.

Out – Don’t say “he went out to the car,” just say “he went to the car”

Over – Don’t say “he walked over to the door,” just say “he walked to the door”

Mrs TeePot

Check out these three paragraphs. The first uses many of the “evil words” mentioned above. The second paragraph just highlights them, and the third is the same paragraph with the words removed.

John stood up, and went out to the car; he walked over to the door and seemed to be looking for something in the glove box, and then suddenly he jumped back. Just then a squirrel leapt from the car, and John laughed, his face turning really red.


John stood up, and went out to the car; he walked over to the door, opened it and seemed to be looking for something in the glove box, and then suddenly he jumped back. Just then a squirrel leapt from the car, and John laughed, his face turning really red.


John stood. He went to the car, opening the door and looked through the glove box. Thump! His head banged into the roof as he backed up, and a squirrel leapt out. John laughed, his face turning red.

Note that I made a few other changes in the final paragraph. John no longer walks to the door and opens it. He just opens it. You reader will assume the in-between action of “walking to the door”, if you tell him he went out to the car and opened the door. Also the squirrel no longer leaps from the car; he just “leaps out”. The reader already knows we’re at the car, so it doesn’t have to be said again.

Also notice that the final paragraph is much shorter than what we started with, and yet it gives us more information, such as John hitting his head on the roof of the car.


If you liked this post, you can find more like it here.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Review for I Choose to Die by Ksenia Anske

Beautiful Descriptions, But Too Many of Them 

3 Stars. I have somewhat of a love-hate relationship with this book. Ksenia Anske definitely has some talent. She can write beautifully descriptive scenes, and has created unique characters with a storyline that felt new and different. However, too heavy of descriptions weighed down the plot, making this book tough to get through.

Ailen Bright is a rather damaged character. Her mother is gone, her father is abusive, and she doesn’t want to live anymore. I thought Anske handled Ailen’s depression and her feelings about committing suicide well. I understood her thought process and why Ailen makes most of the choices she does. However, she’s a little quirky when it comes to what things she thinks internally and what she decides to say aloud. She makes a number of comments aloud that I thought would have been more likely for her to have just internalized. Also, I didn’t like how she jumped back and forth between trusting Hunter and not trusting him. She seemed a little too wishy washy about that. I do commend her, however, for taking on the serious themes that are in this book and exploring them honestly.


There is some beautiful imagery in this book; I particularly love how the souls were described as sounds. Anske displays some true talent with her writing. However, while the imagery was well written, there was way too much of it. I feel like large chunks of detail could have been cut without affecting the storyline. At one point they were driving through town and there was so much detail it felt like I was being given directions, it was just unnecessary. The excessive imagery makes parts of the book feel drawn out, and overall the pacing feels off. There’s lots of action, but every action is drawn out with heavy imagery taking away from it.


If you’re the type of person who loves lyrical prose and enjoys detailed scenes, I would highly recommend this book. For me, I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Anske, but, this particular book didn’t suck me in the way I wanted it to.