Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflections and Resolutions

I wanted to put up a post of my favorite twelve books of 2009. But, despite the fact that I read tons of books, I couldn't actually find twelve favorites that really excited me enough to be considered a favorite. So, instead of just posting my FAVORITE 2009 books, I will include a few that I consider great books and would still recommend people to read (some of these books may not have actually been published in 2009, but I read them in 2009, so they make the list).

1. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
2. Fire by Kristin Cashore
3. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
4. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
5. Need by Carrie Jones
6. Catching Fire by Suzanne Jones
7. Intertwined by Gena Showalter
8. Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater
9. Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater
10. City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments book 3) by Cassandra Clare
11. City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments book 2) by Cassandra Clare
12. City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments book 1) by Cassandra Clare

I've tried my best to put those in order, starting with my favorite. It's a close call between Shiver and Fire. I am in love with both Maggie's and Kristin's writing styles. Simply gorgeous! If you haven't read any of these books in 2009, definitely pick them up for 2010.

And now that I am done reflecting on the books I've read, I think it's time to look ahead. I have come up with a few resolutions that I hope I can stick to in 2010.

1. Write more = finish draft 1 of novel!!
2. Exercise more, lose a little weight (that means actually using the gym membership I'm paying for and probably riding the bike my husband bought for me)
3. Pay off some debt! = decrease stress level

How about you? Any favorite books of 2009 that I didn't mention? Any good resolutions for the new year?

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!! Have fun and be safe!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Look What the Book Fairy Left Me (5)

The Book Fairy and Santa conspired this year to bring me some good books. Unfortunately, Santa did not make me the book shelves that I wanted for above the closets in my bedroom. I've run out of floor space. Now I'm going up for storage! :) Of course, my husband/aka Santa, is thrilled by this idea.
I got a pretty good haul this Christmas! I seriously need two of me just to read all the books in my TBR pile. But I am not complaining...



Deadly Little Lies (A Touch Novel) by Laurie Faria Stolarz
this is the sequel to Deadly Little Secret, which is in my TBR pile.
Last fall, sixteen-year-old Camelia fell for Ben, the mysterious new boy at school who turned out to have a very mysterious gift--pyschometry, the ability to sense the future through touch. But just as Camelia and Ben's romance began to heat up, he abruptly left town. Brokenhearted, Camelia has spent the last few months studying everything she can about psychometry, and experiencing her own strange brushes with premonition. Camelia wonders if Ben's abilities have somehow rubbed off on her. Can the power of psychometry be transferred?
Even once Ben returns to school, Camelia can't get close enough to share her secret with him. Despite the romantic tension between them, Ben remains aloof, avoiding contact. Then when an unexpected kiss leads to a frightening argument, Camelia makes the painful decision to let Ben go and move on. Adam, the hot new guy at work, seems good for her in ways Ben wasn't. Adam is easygoing, and seems to really care about her.
But when Camelia and Adam start dating, a surprising love triangle results. A chilling sequence of events upturns secrets from Ben's past--and Adam's. Someone is lying, and it's up to Camelia to figure out who-before it's too late.

Shadowland by Alyson Noel
This is the third in the Immortals series. I enjoyed the first two, so I am excited to see how this new book unfolds. From the book description, it appears there are going to be some twists. I'm a little bummed only because some of what I've read from the book description is a little similar to the book I am writing. But that's ok...hasn't stopped me yet!
Ever and Damen have traveled through countless past lives—and fought off the world’s darkest enemies—so they could be together forever. But just when their long-awaited destiny is finally within reach, a powerful curse falls upon Damen…one that could destroy everything. Now a single touch of their hands or a soft brush of their lips could mean sudden death—plunging Damen into the Shadowland. Desperate to break the curse and save Damen, Ever immerses herself in magick—and gets help from an unexpected source…a surfer named Jude.
Although she and Jude have only just met, he feels startlingly familiar. Despite her fierce loyalty to Damen, Ever is drawn to Jude, a green-eyed golden boy with magical talents and a mysterious past. She’s always believed Damen to be her soulmate and one true love—and she still believes it to be true. But as Damen pulls away to save them, Ever’s connection with Jude grows stronger—and tests her love for Damen like never before…

Fallen by Lauren Kate
I absolutely love the cover of this one! Ever since I saw it, I've wanted it. Hope the inside holds up to the outside.
There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.
Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.
Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.
Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
I grew up in SC (although, I believe the town in this book is fictional), so I'm intrigued to read a fantasy in that setting.
There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.


Books I bought with Santa money!
First Test by Tamora Pierce


I've heard such great things about her as a writer and I am always interested in reading about strong female characters, so I am hopeful that this is a good book. The problem I have discovered, which probably isnt really much of a problem at all, is that this book is set in the world of Tortall and apparently there is another series of books Ms. Pierce has written set in this world with some of the same characters. Of course, the other series precedes this one, so I am torn on whether or not I should try to pick up that other series first. It isn't necessary, according to the book jacket, but it would be nice to be familiar with some of the characters that are mentioned in this newer series.
Ten years after the proclamation that girls are eligible for a page's training at the court of King Jonathan of Tortall, 10-year-old Keladry applies and is accepted, but on probation, a condition never forced on male applicants. Resolutely accepting the challenge, the hostility of the royal training master, and harassment by fellow pages, Kel makes her way through this difficult year. Trained from early childhood by stoic Yamani warriors, she is capable of hiding her feelings, fearless in a fight, and willing to work hard to develop the necessary physical capacity. Her sympathy and support for the underdog and her sense of chivalry earn her the admiration of a group of fellow pages. She also befriends the sparrows that live outside her window and wins over a difficult horse. Kel performs well in her first real battle and is grudgingly allowed to stay for another year of training. The medieval/magical world of Tortall has been the setting for eight of the author's titles; in First Test, the first of a new series, this fantasy world is clear and well developed, allowing the book to stand on its own. Characters who may be familiar to readers of the previous titles are reintroduced successfully or remain on the sidelines. The scrappy Kel is an appealing and believable girl whose struggles to integrate a formerly all-male world are both familiar and freshly told.

My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers series) by Rachel Vincent


The sequel to My Soul to Take, the third book is due out any day now...
I have these in my TBR pile. So many books, not enough time!
The last thing Kaylee needs right now is to be skipping school, breaking her dad’s ironclad curfew and putting her boyfriend’s loyalty to the test. But starry-eyed teens are trading their souls for a flickering lifetime of fame and fortune in exchange for eternity in the Netherworld — a consequence they can’t possibly understand. Kaylee can’t let that happen, even if trying to save their souls means putting her own at risk....

Darklight by Lesley Livingston


sequel to Wondorous Strange, both of which are in my TBR pile...are you seeing a recurring theme here? :)
Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was Faerie royalty, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved New York City from a rampaging Faerie war band. When a terrifying encounter in Central Park sends Kelley tumbling into the Otherworld, her reunion with Sonny is joyful—but cut short. For they’ve been plunged into a game of Faerie deception and wavering allegiances in which the next move could topple a kingdom...or part them forever.

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain


Bree's debut novel. I came across this one purely by accident. I can't wait to read it.
Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.
The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.
The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.

And there you have it! A very long list. Can't wait to dig in!
Did you get anything good for Christmas?

*book descriptions were taken from amazon.com and goodreads.com

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Think I'm In Love...Again


What can I say? I've gone and done it again. I've fallen in love with a book...
I want to remain spoiler free so that the rest of you who haven't already fallen for this book can enjoy it in it's entirety. If you haven't picked this book up - DO! It's awesome. If I could only choose two words to describe it they would be: exciting and sexy! And did I mention how gorgeous the cover is?! I could barely put it down, and when I had to I was devastated. You know a book is good when you get so emotionally involved in the characters - that's all I'm going to say about that...

Here's what goodreads.com has to say about it:
For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

This is author Becca Fitzpatrick's debut novel, and it's a beauty! I am so stoked for the sequel, Crescendo, due out in the Fall.
So, hopefully Santa will be bringing all of us books for Christmas this year...it's not too late to ask for this one.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Things That Made Me Smile Today

Just a quick post to squee about a few things that make me smile.
Tonight was the finale of SYTYCD!! And, guess who was there dancing his little booty off? That's right! Legacy! But, really, the entire show was great - minus a few of those musical performances. It made me smile to get to see some of those awesome dances again.
I was excited that my 3 faves of the final 6 came to be the final 3. I was only slightly bummed that they won in reverse order for me. I really would've liked to see Kathryn or Jakob win it all, but Russell was just precious.
On to the second thing that made me smile today:
this!
Thing Three:

A book that will be on next week's Look What the Book Fairy Left Me post; Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne.
Is there anything that made you smile today?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The TV Killed Me Last Night...

Any time I am feeling particularly emotional over something I feel the need to post, the need to share my highs and lows. Last night I experienced one of each: a high and a low. And I am just not sure how I feel about it this morning. I think that even though the high was a good one, it has been overshadowed by the extreme low. So, I will deliver the bad news first:

My favorite - FAVORITE - dancer of all time on SYTYCD was kicked off last night. Why do they do it to me?! I called in. I voted. Every week!! I can't believe that America didn't vote to keep Legacy, the most awesome b-boy in SYTYCD history, on for the finale.

You know, Ryan and Ashleigh were ok. They'd gotten better. They'd grown on me. But, SERIOUSLY?! Just because Ryan tried to be all chivalrous and asked the fans to vote for his wife instead of him is no reason to keep him on the show if his dancing wasn't as good as someone else's. And though I wasn't quite as devastated about Mollee being voted off, I am still a little annoyed. She danced her ass off on Tuesday and had done her best all season! And the Travis contemporary dance that Legacy and Ellenore did? Holy crap! It was freakin' AMAZING! Ok...I digress. This is going to take a while for me to get over.
Now, on to the second order of business. The high for last night that helped to slightly ease my broken heart: Glee.

Last night's season finale had everything I could've hoped for! More new songs. Some news coming out that had been secret to at least one of the characters. (Not to mention that last weeks episode was also awesome in the secrets being revealed arena). And a perfect ending! Will and Emma kissed! Eeek! I squealed like a little girl and my husband just rolled his eyes and laughed.
I absolutely can't wait for the Spring season premiere!!
How about you? Did you happen to watch?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Look What the Book Fairy Left Me (4)

Well...I'm finally back. I took a short break from blogging. Reasons? Holidays (house guests), sad things, and, well, simply because I didn't have anything much to blog about. Where does the time go, by the way?
I don't have much to brag about for this week. I did get one new book. I've slowed down a bit on book buying. My shelves are overflowing and I am already out of room again since I got my new bookshelf in September. I have a whole crapload of borrowed books that I just got my hands on, so maybe next weeks book fairy post will show all of those books. That's going to be a long list :)
So, without further ado, this week's book is Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.
I have yet to read any of Mr. Westerfeld's books, but have several in my TBR stack. Despite that, I really wanted this book. Steampunk stuff intrigues me. The book itself intrigues me. The cover is awesome. The book is heavy - and for some reason, I like that. It is full of cool illustrations. And on top of all of that, one of the really cool things is that the book has a girl character in disguise as a boy. I really can't wait to read it.



It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.
Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.
With the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way...taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.*


*book description taken from amazon.com

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Le Chat Est Ma Coeur



Today is Halloween. My favorite holiday. But instead of being happy about all the fun Halloween usually brings, I am horribly sad. Today I lost the best kitty I've ever had. And although his name was Ivaan the Terrible, he was my favorite little buddy and not terrible in the least. It was sudden and unexpected. I don't know if that makes it harder or easier. Right now I just can't even breath.
I love you, Ivaan.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This Fire Has Lit My Heart



*Fire, Graceling's prequel-ish companion book, takes place across the mountains to the east of the seven kingdoms, in a rocky, war-torn land called the Dells.

Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.

Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.

Wondering what makes it a companion book/prequel? Fire takes place 30-some years before Graceling and has one cross-over character with Graceling, a small boy with strange two-colored eyes who comes from no-one-knows-where, and who has a peculiar ability that Graceling readers will find familiar and disturbing...

I finished Fire this weekend. I have two words - amazingly beautiful. This easily jumped up the list to become one of my all time favorite novels. I also read Kristin Cashore's debut novel, Graceling, just after it's release last October, and thought it was fabulous. I highly recommend adding these to your reading pile if you haven't already read them. You won't be disappointed. It isn't often that I become so emotionally involved with characters that I gasp aloud, cry, laugh and shriek "I knew it!" when something I suspected would happen does happen. And now I wait on the edge of my seat for her planned third novel, Bitterblue, which is still in the writing stages. I can't wait!

*taken from goodreads.com

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Are You a Winner?

In reviewing some of the recent posts of blogs that I follow regularly, I came across a fun contest! The 3rd Sort-of-Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge! The contest is hosted by literary agent Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown Ltd.
It sounds like a lot of fun and may also help to motivate you to better something you've already written and put aside, or something that you are currently working on. The idea is to send in the first paragraph of your work for the chance to win a query critique, partial manuscript critique or a phone consultation! How awesome would that be for those of us who are aspiring to be published?
Of course, I must also give credit to the blog that I accidentally came upon that referred me to this contest. Natalie Whipple is last years winner AND is now represented by Nathan! Just a quick peek at her blog and I became a follower. She's got some helpful information posted there. It's always great to read about the worries and struggles of a published writer so us newbies know we aren't alone.
I'm going to re-vamp a couple of my first paragraphs and see what happens. Even though my novel(s) are nowhere near completion, it would be neat to win and get some priceless advice from a real literary agent! And who knows...maybe they'll realize that you are a keeper.
Do you think you've got what it takes?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Look What the Book Fairy Left Me (3)



Once again, I'm very happy to say I got a few books! Folks, I have an addiction. I can't seem to stop myself...

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
Sixteen-year-old Jack forgets to take his medicine one morning, and by afternoon is filled with such strength he sends his rival, Garrett Lobeck, sailing into the net at soccer tryouts--without even touching him. Jack soon discovers he is no ordinary teen and his medicine is not what he thought it was. Since the secret insertion of a warrior stone in his chest at infancy, Jack has been dosed with a suppressant designed to hold his powers as a Warrior Heir in check until his wizard sponsor can retrieve him and prepare him to fight in a death tournament for supremacy. With the aid of an aunt, old and new friends, and a magical sword, Jack fights to retain his identity and choose his own path.

I'm not at all sure about this one. It sounds a bit like Harry Potter meets The Hunger Games. Both of those series' I enjoy. But I wonder if that will set me up with high expectations that won't deliver...I've heard mixed reviews, but nevertheless, I am in the mood for something different from what I've been reading.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for himself, his mother, and his sister Mari. Ironically, the only thing of value he has is something he can't sell. For as long as Han can remember, he's worn thick silver cuffs engraved with runes. They're clearly magicked-as he grows, they grow, and he's never been able to get them off.
While out hunting one day, Han and his Clan friend, Dancer catch three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. After a confrontation, Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to ensure the boy won't use it against them. Han soon learns that the amulet has an evil history-it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.
Meanwhile, Raisa ana'Helena, Princess Heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She's just returned to court after three years of relative freedom with her father's family at Demonai camp - riding, hunting, and working the famous Clan markets. Although Raisa will become eligible for marriage after her sixteenth name-day, she isn't looking forward to trading in her common sense and new skills for etiquette tutors and stuffy parties.
Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea-the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems like her mother has other plans for her--plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for.

I thought the book description for this one sounded good. Then I realized it was published by a Disney subsidiary...I hope it's not too childish or lame, but I'll give it a shot anyhow.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

I have to admit that it was the cover that initially drew my attention to this book. Plus, I've read a few good reviews. I think this is part of a series.

And last but certainly not least! The long awaited companion to Graceling, Fire by Kristin Cashore
It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.
This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she has the unique ability to control minds but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.
Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City. The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.
If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was.

I absolutely adored Graceling and have been waiting for Fire for a long time! You don't have to read the first to understand this one, but if you haven't yet read it, do. This is being bumped to the top of my TBR stack. Can't wait!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Look What the Book Fairy Left Me (2)



Well, I'm pleased to say that I did get some new books this week. Once again compliments to my birthday B&N gift certificate.

The Hollow by Jessica Verday
When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special.
Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.

I've heard good things about this one. It's the first in a series, and the author's debut novel. Plus, she likes LJ Smith. So, of course, I can't wait to read it.




Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
When Kelley moves to New York to pursue her dreams of theatrical success, she expects that her only encounters with mythical beings will be confined to the stage, in the Avalon Grande Theatre's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. All of that changes when she meets Sonny Flannery, who introduces Kelley to a world she never knew existed. A member of Auberon's Janus Guard, he patrols the portal (in Central Park) between the human and faerie worlds on the few dangerous nights when it opens and members of the Unseelie Court can pass into the mortal realm. He is strangely drawn to Kelley, and as he gets to know her, he begins to suspect that there is more to her history than either of them know. Through encounters with sirens, hellhounds, and kelpies, Kelley and Sonny are drawn irrevocably into a battle among the Fey. Despite the budding attraction between them, forces they can hardly understand seek to keep them apart. Set against the backdrop of present-day New York City, this enchanting first novel weaves together the worlds of theater and magic in a way that is sure to please fans of both.

Thought I'd get a few fairy books this time around. Take a little break from the werewolves and vampires. I hope I'm not dissapointed.

My Soul To Take (Soul Screamers series) by Rachel Vincent
She doesn't see dead people, but…
She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next…

I'm excited to read this one. I've never read any of Rachel's books, but I've been told that I should. I've also got to admit that I like the title and the cover caught my eye. I know I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but sometimes I can't help myself. :)

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater (ordered online at b&n.com)
Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan, a gifted harpist who regularly plays for weddings and other events, has the kind of stage fright that makes her physically ill before a performance, which is an inauspicious way to start a romance; but while vomiting before a competition she meets a gorgeous boy who comes into the restroom to hold her hair. He is Luke Dillon, a flautist who proceeds to accompany her in a truly stellar performance. As four-leaf clovers start appearing everywhere, Deirdre develops telekinetic powers and encounters strange, unworldly people who seem to bear her ill will. Her best friend, James, also a talented musician; her beloved grandmother; and her mother all are in danger, as Deirdre is targeted by the queen of Faerie. Deirdre eventually discovers that she is a cloverhand, a person who can see the denizens of faerie, and Luke, not the only immortal who has her in his sights, is a gallowglass, an assassin assigned by the queen of Faerie to kill Deirdre but who falls in love with her instead.

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater
James Morgan has an almost unearthly gift for music. And it has attracted Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and then feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. James has plenty of reasons to fear the faeries, but as he and Nuala collaborate on an achingly beautiful musical composition, James finds his feelings towards Nuala deepening. But the rest of the fairies are not as harmless. As Halloween—the day of the dead—draws near, James will have to battle the Faerie Queen and the horned king of the dead to save Nuala's life and his soul.

I'm extremely excited to read these two. I just recently read Shiver by Maggie, as well, and absolutely loved it. I just had to read the rest of her books. Plus, I am in the mood to try out a few fairy books, so this just happens to work out! As a nifty bonus, Maggie is very artistic and musical herself. Check out her website for the book trailer's that she's created with stop motion (my absolute favorite type of movie). maggiestiefvater.com

Legacy by Cayla Kluver
In an award-winning YA fantasy debut (the first of a planned trilogy), novelist Cayla Kluver brings a magical touch to an unrelentingly suspenseful coming-of-age tale. Duty-bound to wed her father’s choice in successor to the throne, Princess Alera of Hytanica believes that she is being forced into the worst of all possible fates—a marriage to the arrogant and hot-tempered suitor, Steldor. When a mysterious boy from enemy Cokyri appears bearing secrets and an entirely different view of what's appropriate behavior for a young lady, Alera learns that her private desires threaten to destroy the kingdom. When Narian’s shocking past comes to light, Alera finds herself in a shadowy world of palace intrigue and ancient blood feuds, facing an uncertain future with dwindling options—and must learn to decide between right and wrong all alone. Marked by witty, rapid-fire dialogue and dramatic complexity that belie the writer’s age, Legacy brings a fresh, new sensibility to age-old questions of duty and inheritance and to a young heroine’s quest to find her true voice.

I couldn't find this one anywhere but online. I found out about this one by accident. To be honest, I'm not even sure how it came up! But I'm glad that it did. This book was written by teenage debut writer. I'm amazed and intrigued. The first in a planned trilogy. It sounds like an old-fashioned fairy tale. Can't wait to read it.

Also purchased online (adult):
Covet (a Fallen Angels book) by JR Ward
Redemption isn't a word Jim Heron knows much about-his specialty is revenge, and to him, sin is all relative. But everything changes when he becomes a fallen angel and is charge with saving the souls of seven people from the seven deadly sins. And failure is not an option. Vin DiPietro long ago sold his soul to his business, and he's good with that-until fate intervenes in the form of a tough- talking, Harley-riding, self-professed savior. But then he meets a woman who will make him question his destiny, his sanity, and his heart-and he has to work with a fallen angel to win her over and redeem his own soul.

JR Ward's good for a nice, quick, somewhat sleezy read. I also enjoyed The Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Her novels are a bit cheesy at times and a little over the top, but I still like 'em. :)

The real problem begins when I decide in which order I'm going to read all these great books! Not enough hours in the day. I've got a few more series books coming out soon, so I will be adding those into my already heafty TBR pile.

How 'bout you guys...did you get anything good?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Look What the Book Fairy Left Me (1)



This is my first attempt at what will hopefully be at least a bi-weekly thing. I doubt I will be lucky enough to get books every week. This past week happened to be an especially fruitful one since it was my birthday week! So, without further ado...

YA:

Moonlight: A Dark Guardian Novel by Rachel Hawthorne
Kayla is the nature lover, the all-American beauty who can't understand why she's so drawn to distant, brooding Lucas. Adopted as a young child, she has no way of knowing that she's inherited a terrifying—and thrilling—gene that will change her life forever.
Lucas is dangerous, gorgeous . . . and a werewolf. As leader of the Dark Guardians, shape-shifters who gather deep within the state park, he has sworn to protect his pack. But when Lucas finds his true soul mate, his love could put them all in harm's way.
As Lucas and Kayla struggle with their feelings for each other, a greater danger lurks: Humans have discovered the Dark Guardians and are planning their destruction. Kayla must choose between the life she knows and the love she feels certain is her destiny.

I got this as a gift from my very special writing/blog buddy. Can't wait to read it. Thanks Shauna ;)


Sacred Scars: A Resurrection of Magic (Book 2) by Kathleen Duey
Sadima, Franklin, and Somiss, driven out of Limòri by a suspicious fire, are living in a cave hidden within the cliffs that overlook the city. Somiss is convinced the dark passages of the caves were the home of ancient magicians, and his obsession with restoring magic deepens. Sadima dreams of escape -- for her, for Franklin, and for the orphaned street boys Somiss has imprisoned in a crowded cage. Somiss claims he will teach these boys magic, that they will become his first students, but Sadima knows he is lying.
Generations later, Hahp is struggling to survive the wizards' increasingly dangerous classes at the Limòri Academy of Magic. He knows the fragile pact he has forged with his secretive roommate, Gerrard, will not be enough to put an end to the evil. It will take all the students acting together to have any chance of destroying the academy. Building trust, with few chances to speak or plan, will be almost impossible, but there is no choice.

I have actually spoken to (via blog, of course) Kathleen. She is an extremely patient and kind person. She's given me some priceless writing advice. The first book in this series was very interesting and I look forward to this second installment.


The Awakening (Darkest Powers, Book 2) by Kelley Armstrong
Chloe’s a teenager who likes Simon, but maybe likes Derek, and definitely hates Tori, who crushes on Simon, who kind of cares for Chloe. Sounds pretty typical. Except that Chloe’s a necromancer, Derek’s a werewolf, and Simon and Tori are sorcerers. Following The Summoning (2008), this book in the Darkest Powers series has the teens on the run from a shady organization whose murky involvement with their manifesting powers is unclear, but definitely not for their betterment.

I havent even started book one of this series yet...but both are in my TBR stack. I've heard nothing but good things though, so I can't wait to read them.


Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
An ancient prophecy divides two sisters-
One good...
One evil...
Who will prevail?
Twin sisters Lia and Alice Milthorpe have just become orphans. They have also become enemies. As they discover their roles in a prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other, the girls find themselves entangled in a mystery that involves a tattoo-like mark, their parents' deaths, a boy, a book, and a lifetime of secrets.
Lia and Alice don't know whom they can trust.
They just know they can't trust each other.

This is another one I heard about through the grapevine. It is the first in a trilogy.


Deadly Little Secret: A Touch Novel by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Some secrets shouldn't be kept...
Until three months ago, everything in sixteen-year-old Camelia's life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades, an okay relationship with her parents, and a pretty cool part-time job at the art studio downtown. But when a mysterious boy named Ben starts junior year at her high school, Camelia's life becomes anything but ordinary.
Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend's accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She's reluctant to believe he's trouble, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. Instead, she's inexplicably drawn to Ben.and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help-but can he be trusted? She knows he's hiding something... but he's not the only one with a secret.

Another series. I've heard mixed reviews about this one, but I look forward to reading it nonetheless.


Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns . . .
Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they've been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.
Or not.
Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.
However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student . . . an attraction that could jeopardize everything.

As a kid I was obsessed with unicorns. I had unicorn stuff everywhere! This is a very unique take on unicorns, and so I was intrigued. Can't wait to read it!


Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Playing on every teen’s passionate desire to look as good as everybody else, Scott Westerfeld (Midnighters) projects a future world in which a compulsory operation at sixteen wipes out physical differences and makes everyone pretty by conforming to an ideal standard of beauty. The "New Pretties" are then free to play and party, while the younger "Uglies" look on enviously and spend the time before their own transformations in plotting mischievous tricks against their elders. Tally Youngblood is one of the most daring of the Uglies, and her imaginative tricks have gotten her in trouble with the menacing department of Special Circumstances. She has yearned to be pretty, but since her best friend Shay ran away to the rumored rebel settlement of recalcitrant Uglies called The Smoke, Tally has been troubled. The authorities give her an impossible choice: either she follows Shay’s cryptic directions to The Smoke with the purpose of betraying the rebels, or she will never be allowed to become pretty. Hoping to rescue Shay, Tally sets off on the dangerous journey as a spy. But after finally reaching The Smoke she has a change of heart when her new lover David reveals to her the sinister secret behind becoming pretty.

I was told this is a must read, and so, here it is in my TBR pile. I was hesitant in picking this one up (unsure about the plot of pretties vs uglies), but after a little prodding, I decided I would give it a shot.

Adult:

The Darkest Whisper: (Book 4) Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter
Bound by the demon of Doubt, Sabin unintentionally destroys even the most confident of lovers. So the immortal warrior spends his time on the battlefield instead of the bedroom, victory his only concern…until he meets Gwendolyn the Timid. One taste of the beautiful redhead, and he craves more.
Gwen, an immortal herself, always thought she'd fall for a kind human who wouldn't rouse her darker side. But when Sabin frees her from prison, battling their enemies for the claim to Pandora's box turns out to be nothing compared to the battle Sabin and Gwen will wage against love.

I love me some paranormal romance. Gena makes writing seem effortless. She writes books left and right. Wish I could do that! Every once in a while I need a break from the YA. This series is hot and steamy. There's a "lord" for everyone - at least one that every woman will consider a personal favorite! I am still waiting for my two faves to be written, but in the meantime, I will certainly enjoy the other fellas stories.
All of the book descriptions are cited from amazon.com.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Must Read



I just finished reading Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. This book was excellent! I loved it. I am not sure if it is a series or not. It ended where it could go either way. But, I highly recommend reading this one. It is written in multiple POV, an idea I tossed around for my own novel but didn't feel that I could pull off. Maggie did it beautifully. You get to see first hand each of the two main characters inner workings. I hate to keep using the same adjective, but it really is a beautiful story!

Here is what Amazon.com has as the book description:
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

I also recently finished Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Loved it! If you havent already read The Hunger Games, this is also a must read.
On a side note, I have just returned from vacation, and not having internet. I am hoping to update my blog soon, so keep an eye out...of course "soon" could mean within the next month. ;)
I spent my week vacation typing my longhand novel notes into my new laptop! I am nowhere near done, but I put a little dent in it anyway.
What books have you read lately that made you want to pass copies out to all your friends?

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Thought the Past Was Dead and Gone, But I Was Wrong...


Yesterday, a new show premiered on the CW network - The Vampire Diaries. I am both a little giddy and a little unnerved. Let me explain:
As a young teen, when The Vampire Diaries trilogy first came out, I was obsessed. I read these books probably 3 or 4 times, if not more. I couldnt get enough. I even dressed up as the main character, Elena, for Halloween. Well, sorta. Let's just say my costume was inspired by events from the books. So, understandably, I am pretty excited to see the books that inspired me to read more and want to be a writer brought to life from the page.
But, at the same time, I am a little bothered.
First off, Elena's supposed to be a blue eyed blonde. Is there a problem making her character believeable on tv if she's a blue eyed blonde? I don't get the purpose in completely changing how she looks. Strike one.
Secondly, they've given her a cell phone and a brother. Ok, ok. The cell phone I get. We have to modernize it to fit in with today's teens. When I kid, we all survived just fine without them - but that's ok, give the girl a cell phone. The brother though? Seriously? What's up with that? Maybe this will broaden her character more, having a little brother? Maybe this will allow for more action and excitement? Who knows. Doesn't make sense. Strike two.
Thirdly, Elena's best friend, Bonnie...In the books, if I remember correctly, Bonnie was a petite, bouncy strawberry blonde. In the show? They've made her a cute black girl. I am not at all prejudiced. But seriously? What the hell? Not only that, but they've juiced up her "psychic" abilities. Again, I am guessing this makes for a more interesting show somewhere down the line. Yeah? Well, strike three.
And despite the three strikes, I am still going to watch. Despite all the little discrepancies, I am probably going to be a fan. Sure, at this point, I am a little old to be watching a teen show. But I dont care. There's a vampire craze going on, and I've been part of it for the last 17 years. These were THE books for me growing up. (And by the way, apparently not only have they re-released these books, but she's written more to continue the series! the first "new" one to the series came out in Feb '09, and the second comes out Feb '10) So, YAY for vampires and YAY for the past being undead!! I can't wait for next Thursday...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Does Size Matter?



Absolutely!

In my opinion bigger is better- especially if it's good! Get your minds out of the gutter, people, I'm talking about book length! :)

According to a lot of editor and agent websites/blogs, shorter is the way to go. This is especially true if you are a new and previously unpublished writer. Publishing houses are being extra cautious these days, what with the economy and all. But, it appears that there have always been loose guidelines in what is an acceptable manuscript length. What once was a "loose" guideline is really tightening up in recent months.

Once you've become published and you can prove your worth (i.e., book sales), you can definitely loosen your guidelines up for length quite a bit. Some publishers may remain adamant that they want you to keep the novel length shorter, but that's what agents are for, right? Agents who are really passionate about your work, and who are good at what they do, will help to negotiate what is ultimately turned in for publication.

Like I said, I prefer books to be at least 500 pages if not longer. If they are good books I don't want them to end. More is better. Even if they are series books. That's just my personal preference. The book I am writing was originally planned to be at least 500 pages in length (which translates to approximately 130k words), but I've decided to taper that back a bit - maybe around 300-350 pages. It is a planned series, so I figure whatever I can't fit into this one I can certainly squeeze into the others. And once I'm published (positive thinking!) I can hopefully extend the length a little if necessary!

Here are a few useful links to some blogs I follow that contain TONS of excellent info:
here
and here

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wuv, Twu Wuv





I went to bed broken hearted last night. But, is it true love for The Bachelorette's Jillian and Ed? It better be.


Last night's season finale held a surprise twist - Reid. He came back with an emotional profession of love, and to propose. Can I just say that I am devastated that she didn't choose him?


This appears to be a recurring theme, here. Reality TV, you've gone and done it again, you bastards! Suck me into these shows only to kick me right at the end of the last episode! I would say that, in protest, I'd quit watching - that's just how sad I feel for Reid - but I can't say that. I can say that if I wasn't married, I'd marry you, Reid, you precious little fella *sniffle*. Just ask my husband. He had to hear me pine all night and first thing this morning.


If it doesn't work out for Jillian and Ed - and I don't think it will, personally, because Ed can't just give up on his career that easily (let me add, lest everyone think I am completely anti-Ed, that between Kiptyn and Ed, I totally rooted for Ed) - will Reid still be ready to take her back?


I hope your heart gets better soon, Reid. :( I was rooting for you.


I think Jake's up as the next bachelor...


AND! On a lighter note, I did get some writing and typing done this weekend! Go, me!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fire and Ice

How far can you go with sex and violence in a YA novel?
Kids today are saturated with this stuff and are certainly doing things a lot earlier than even when I was a kid. (Which wasn't really that long ago...) Things that are acceptable on TV and in books now, definitely weren't as commonplace then. Or perhaps they were and I was just oblivious. I know that I read books like The Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith. There was definitely romance going on, but nothing hard core or descriptive.
**possible spoilers below**
And there are books now, like Wake and Fade by Lisa McMann and Graceling by Kristin Cashore, that have sex (handled quite adult and very sweetly, I might add). There is a fair amount of fighting and violence in YA books as well. Obviously with Harry Potter, as the series progressed, there was a lot of death, but not so much description on the violence. In the Twilight Saga there was both sex and violence. But the sex here waited until marriage. And again, the violence was toned down - though I believe there was mention of James' head being yanked off and his body burned and some other such activities.
So, this leads me to my point: How far is too far in YA literature today? Can it still be YA if your leading couple goes "all the way", perhaps on more than one occasion? - of course, keeping the sexiness and passion toned down and to a minimum in descriptiveness for sensitive eyes. And if chapter 3 has "the bad guy" doing some very bad and evil things - such as ripping out a heart of an underling - is that going too far?
Of course we don't want to condone kids' bad behavior - the point is, kids are going to do bad things anyhow. It's a fact of life. You live and you learn. Just because you read about sex and death doesn't mean you are going to think these things are ok. In fact, I would think that kids that take the time to actually read are smart enough to know what's right and what's wrong - that the books are actually fiction, after all . I also feel the parents hold a certain level of responsibility here.
I guess no matter what, there are going to be critics out there who say a novel was taken too far on some level. Look at all the folks who say Edward from Twilight was abusive and that little girls that read that will think "it's ok to be in an abusive relationship now". I'd better not go there today...
But, what is your opinion? Is there such a thing as too far with teens and what they read today? How hot is too hot for love, and how cold is too cold for evil?

Friday, July 10, 2009

RIP Phillip


So, once again, I am mourning the "loss" of a reality TV favorite. First it was Adam Lambert from American Idol. Seriously, how could he lose? Now, it's my little Phillip Chbeeb from So You Think You Can Dance.
How could you America? Why didnt anyone vote for this awesome dancer? He's ridiculous! And I mean that in a good way. At least he gets to go on tour. And his good bye speech? Brought a little tear to my eye.
I will miss you, Phillip, and your sweet-ass popping abilities. You will always be on my "hot tamale train". You rock!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Little Progress is Still Progress

For the holiday, I had a four day weekend. I had big plans for that weekend. Big plans...
Why is it that big plans never work out?
See this precious little bunny with all the crumpled papers in the garbage? That's how I felt sitting in front of my computer this weekend. Blocked. Unable to complete those big plans.
My husband was out of town. I could've gotten so much accomplished. Alas, I did not. However, I did get half of a chapter written. And though half a chapter is nowhere near the goal that I had set for myself this weekend, it is something.
So YAY! for all of you out there who made a little progress. Be it 3 chapters or 3 pages - or half a chapter- a little progress is still progress. Give yourself a pat on the back for all your hard work.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

When It Just Feels Write



I had a bout of motivation this weekend, in keeping with my goals of a few weeks back...

I decided to set some goals and deadlines, if you will recall. So far, I've been doing horribly at sticking to them. That's the problem with self-set deadlines. You don't really have to meet them. No one cares but you. And so, I've been slacking. I mentioned before that I am a procrastinator. I do best when I am under pressure. But no one's pressuring me.

And so, I've done it. I've set a date as my personal deadline. I've decided that it would be pretty kick ass if I could at least complete a first draft, possibly even edited once or twice, and present this to my bestest friend for her birthday in December. Since she is one of my biggest supporters, I think it's pretty fitting. Now I've posted about it, so I might be held a little more accountable for these goals of mine.

Saturday, after working, I put aside the book I am reading in exchange for the computer. I pulled up the garbage I'd written as the beginning of my novel and began editing. It took until Sunday night (when I had to stop for the True Blood season premiere) to get thru chapter 3. But I did it! And it felt good. So, I am trying to keep myself on this motivation train. I even wrote some new material last night. If I can just keep myself doing something, no matter how much, every night, I might just get somewhere. I'm looking at what I'd written previously as my skeleton. Now I am going back in and tweaking and fleshing it out. I can already see a big difference. And I can't wait to do more! I am off tomorrow and have the entire day to write. Wish me luck...

Friday, June 12, 2009

I'm Giddy for Glee!


Have I already mentioned how giddy I am over "glee", the new Fox series due out this Fall?
Yes, I am a big dork. I can admit that. I'm not afraid. If you want to channel your inner dork and you also aren't afraid, I highly recommend watching this show. If you happened to miss the teaser premiere that came out May 19, check it out here: http://www.fox.com/fod/play.php?sh=glee
I am, however, not a smart enough dork to know how to do those fancy little "click here" hyperlinks that don't actually show the whole link, but actually allow you to just click "here". Maybe one day I will learn...
The show's plot is based on an optimistic high school teacher who wants to revive the school's Glee Club. So, there are tons of awesome (and silly) musical performances expected! Also, the show stars the hilarious Jane Lynch (Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, The 40yr Old Virgin, etc.) as the school's hard-hearted cheerleading coach.
It is definitely worth checking out!
Another show I love that is worth checking out- So You Think You Can Dance. Last night was the first round of eliminations for the top 20. That part is always so sad. They are all such good dancers! I look forward to the amazing performances to come.
Hope everyone has a great weekend. I have to work :(

Tim Burton, You Genius, You've Gone and Done It Again!



What is that he's done, you may wonder. Well, he's gone and made my insides a pool of mushy goo because he is the best! A movie and stop motion genius! But that's just my humble opinion...


I thought I would just mention a few of the upcoming, highly anticipated, fantabulous, spectacularly awesome movies that Tim Burton is working on. Since I am madly in love with pretty much everything Tim Burton does (especially when it involves Johnny Depp), I feel they are worth mentioning.




Thanks to my online writing buddy, Shauna (THANKS!!), I am so excited about the movie 9 that is due out on 9/9/09. Here is a little blurb from Wikipedia:




9 is an upcoming animated action/fantasy film directed by Shane Acker and produced by filmmakers Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov, director of Wanted. It is based on Acker's Academy Award-nominated short film of the same name. Although CGI, the movie will have a stylized look resembling stop motion which Tim Burton called "hauntingly beautiful". The film has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for violence and scary images




9 takes place in a world parallel to our own, in which the very legacy of humanity is threatened. A group of sapient rag dolls, living a post-apocalyptic existence find one of their own, 9 (Wood), who displays leadership qualities that may help them to survive.
The conflicted but resilient group includes 1 (Plummer), a domineering war veteran; 2 (Landau), an aged inventor; 5 (Reilly), a stalwart mechanic; 6 (Glover), a visionary and artist; and 7 (Connelly), a brave warrior. The trailer also depicts 3 and 4 as identical, hooded rag dolls whose numbers are on their back, and 8 as a hulking warrior, whose number is marked on his right shoulder unlike the others, who bear their numbers on their backs.




Then of course, there are the rumors of a Dark Shadows remake. I love Dark Shadows, even though it was made before my time (and yes, I did stay up late watching the marathons of the 90's remakes). I thank my dearest mum for that. Dark Shadows was one of her favorite shows growing up.


For those of you who don't know anything about Dark Shadows, here is what Wikipedia has to say:


Dark Shadows is a Gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966 to April 2, 1971. The show was created by Dan Curtis, who tells of a dream he had in which a girl takes a long train ride to visit a large mansion. The story "bible," which was written by Art Wallace, does not mention any supernatural elements. It was considered daring (and unprecedented in daytime television) when ghosts were introduced about six months after it began.
The series became hugely popular when, a year into its run, vampire Barnabas Collins, played by Jonathan Frid, appeared. In addition to vampires, Dark Shadows featured werewolves, ghosts, zombies, man-made monsters, witches, warlocks, time travel (both into the past and into the future), and a parallel universe.


Of course, what makes this project even better is that Johnny Depp wants to play Barnabas, the resident vampire. I can't wait for more news about this one!


And last, but not least, Alice in Wonderland, which is due out March 2010! Of course, I adored this book as a child. I can still remember my mom reading a chapter or two a night to me when I was little. Back then, some of the adventures were frightening to imagine. Now, I can't wait to see what Tim Burton does with it. His cinematography and art direction are exceptional! I love how everything is always so dark and gloomy. But, even if you are familiar with the book, you will be surprised by the movie. Apparently, this is telling a later story of the same Alice, just a little older than when the original story takes place. Alice returns to Wonderland, which, over the years has become a bit overgrown with a haunted quality. This is a new story that tells of Alice's rite of passage. Burton promises strong elements of color and a few surprises. And it doesn't hurt that Johnny Depp will be playing the Mad Hatter. Helena Bonham-Carter, Burton's long time partner, who also appears in many of his movies, will be playing the Red Queen. "Off with her head!" The rest of the cast doesn't disappoint, either.

Any movies, books, or albums that you are desperately awaiting?

Monday, June 8, 2009

If You're Broken, I'll Fix You



Whew! Ok. Let me calm myself down long enough to type this post. But, damn!, he is sexy!

I thought I'd start the day off on the right foot. I listened to Rob Pattinson sing "I'll Be Your Lover Too" and "I Was Broken" as I drove into work. And it worked. Of course, I got all giggly and silly like a high school girl. Gushing about just how precious that Brit is. Maybe my opinion is a little biased...

But then I just had the biggest urge to turn the car around and go home and write! We all know that's not possible. So, here I sit, again, wanting to write but stuck at work. In fact, as I sit here typing this, I've been interrupted countless times. I take back my having a good day thing...

On to my point for the day! Have you ever listened to a song that made you just want to write? That inspired you to want to write a story around how that song came to be? It happens to me all the time. I hear a great or cute or funny song and I get inspired to write. Usually, if it's a song I really like, I think about how that song could fit into the soundtrack/playlist to my book. And what situation may actually be happening to my characters that would make that song relevant. I should add that I can't actually listen to music when I am writing - just before or after and sometimes I pause writing to listen and be reinspired!

I will start: my latest inspiration comes from poppy punk/alternative music. There are just so many precious little love songs. Since my novel has a definite love story tucked into it, this is the mind set I like to get into. And thanks to iTunes and Genius, I can buy individual songs (some I'd never heard of before) without having to buy the whole album!

Does music inspire your writing? What is your favorite writing music?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Copy Cat Syndrome



Do you ever get the feeling as you read a book that you've seen those words somewhere else before? That it feels very familiar?

I do. In fact, there have been a few instances now in different books, both adult and YA, where I feel like I am reading part of my own manuscript. It's the same, but not quite exactly the same. And I know that I am reading these books after I've already written similar parts in my own manuscript, but no one else knows this. So now I am paranoid. What if I start querying agents and they notice similarities too? Or what if I do get published (maybe I should rephrase that to when I do get published) what if readers have read those other books and see the similarities and think I'm a rip off. So, I've got Copy Cat Syndrome now. Great. As if writing isn't hard enough already!

I guess the good news is that the book I am currently reading is very enjoyable to me. So, maybe that is a positive thing. Maybe my book is also good and will be enjoyable to someone else one day. The problem is, I am a pessimist. It's hard for me to find the brighter side sometimes. But, I refuse to let this deter me in any way. I'm going to keep writing. I should probably quit reading the genre that I am writing in, so I won't see these similarities and get discouraged, but...my other problem - I can't stop reading. I adore that genre. This is my dilema. What's a girl to do?

Do you other aspiring or established writers out there feel the same way sometimes?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Reject Your Reality and Substitute My Own


I guess it's time to come out of the closet and admit that I am an American Idol fan. There. Whew, I feel better. I haven't watched it every season. I watched last year and I watched this year. Maybe one or two other seasons as well.

But the finale to this season of American Idol is just unacceptable to me. I'm devastated. I love me some Adam Lambert. How is it even possible that the other little twirp even got into the finals? Not that the other guy (whose name I refuse to mention on my blog) was completely terrible or anything, but just nowhere near the singing genius of Adam.

So, now that the rest of my day is officially ruined, I've decided to follow Adam Savage of Mythbusters advice and am pretending that it never happened. I will substitute my own ending to season 9. Ha! Take that, American Idol!

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's Okay to be Stupid, Let's Just Not Abuse that Privilege...


I am having a stupid people day. You know, one of those days where you swear that just about every person you come in contact with is lacking in the brain area? Yeah...well, today is certainly one of those days. Not that I am brilliant or a rocket scientist, by any means. But, seriously? C'mon, People! I know working at McDonald's sucks, but it's not hard. Can't you understand the difference between crispy and grilled chicken? It's acceptable to screw up once in a while, but every time?! And, I know Mr/Mrs bank teller that your job is stressful, but you've seen me a million times, is it really that hard to give me my money? And you, Mr Man driving in front of me, do you seriously not know where to find your turn signal?
Ok, maybe I am just being too hard on the good citizens of America. I just had to bitch or I might just blow!
And here are two smart people that I agree with:
"Just think how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are even stupider!" --George Carlin
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." -Albert Einstein

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I've been shot!


Of course I haven't literally been shot. I'm referring to inspiration. Ever have one of those days where you wake up full of ideas and energy? A day where you think to yourself, wow, I could really get some writing done today.
Today is one of those days. For me, at least. But, guess what. I have to work a 10hr shift today. Yesterday was my day off. Why couldn't I have been hit with a bullet of inspiration yesterday? *sigh*
Maybe I can sneak a few lines in between customers and answering phones...
Sometimes I think my muse is toying with me.
What inspires you? When do you come up with your best ideas?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Producer or Procrastinator?


I'm the kind of girl who works best under pressure. Give me a deadline and I am going to wait up until just about the last moment to complete the work - because that's when I do my best.
But, when there's no actual pressure, no deadline, am I doing myself more harm than good by continually putting things off? And by things, I mean writing. Of course, the only person that I am "harming" here is me.
So, this brings me to my point...I've decided to officially make writing work. Even though I am not getting paid - yet - it is going to be another job for me. I will give myself deadlines to stick to and hold myself accountable for. Otherwise, I think I could be writing this first story forever! And as much as I love it and my characters, I don't want to be stingy. I want to share it. I can't wait to share it!! Plus, I have others that I want to tell. I've already begun working on another one.
Now, I know better than to have unrealistic expectations of myself. I am going to start small and work my way up to bigger goals. Wish me luck...
How do you work under pressure? What are your tricks to getting it done?
By the way, this lovely picture is the inside of a star nebula. A little inspiration to get going...and reach for the stars!

Mmm Mmm Good



Ok, so this has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but I saw it and thought it was a real product for a moment. It isn't. Thank goodness. I can imagine that there are probably people out there who would actually use this crap! Ew. It made me laugh first thing this morning, so maybe it will put everyone else in a chipper mood too...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Into the Wild and Then Back to Work


Since I haven't posted anything in a while, I thought I'd at least put something up today. I have no fabulous news about my book projects. No fabulous news about anything, to be precise. Same old boring stuff. I am in the middle of reading a long awaited book at the moment and havent had/made much time for anything else. I know that I probably shouldnt be reading much right now. I've got a book to write, dammit. But, I can't seem to stop myself. I have a mountain of books to read and not enough time to read them. I need two or three of me to get it all done!

One of these days I have to prioritize, though. Because writing is important to me. Right now I have a sick husband and a busy day job, so not much writing has gotten done this past week.

So, with all the swine flu and working and reading and procrastinating going on, I made time to watch a movie this weekend that I'd gotten from Netflix 2 weeks ago (yes, I am that person that has the movie that you want but hasnt returned it yet, so you have to keep waiting on it). I'd heard about this story but never really though much about it. If you havent seen this movie, do. It is really good. There are parts that make you happy. Parts that make you angry. Parts that are sad. And then there are the parts that really make you think. The kind of deep reflection where you wonder and question things about yourself and the kind of person you are. Anyway...It is based on a true story of a young man trying to find himself in the early 90's. If you don't know of the story, don't google it, just watch this movie first. You'll see why. I don't want to ruin anything. Sean Penn directed and I really do love Sean Penn's work!
Happy Monday! (total contradiction of words...blagh!)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dream On

I woke up this morning to my husband giving me the cold shoulder. "What's up with you? Wake up on the wrong side of the bed?" I asked.
His answer made me laugh despite myself. (I certainly didn't want to piss him off anymore than whatever I had "allegedly" done obviously had.)
His answer: He'd had a bad dream about me. I'd left him for another man and had broken his heart and laughed about it...
I am all for trying to understand your dreams and think perhaps they have hidden meanings or are trying to tell us something at times. But I have to say, this is silly! To be mad/upset about something that very obviously didn't happen in real life? So, I just had to laugh it off.
For me, especially lately, I've been having some crazy dreams. I think the big difference for me is that most of the dreams that I can remember are pretty far fetched, so I don't necessarily let them affect me. Sure, there are times that I wake up emotional about what I've dreamed about, but this usually leads to me having to write things down and has given me some good ideas. I will most definitley be using some of these ideas for my books and stories.
How about you? What do your dreams mean to you? Do you ever come up with awesome ideas this way?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I Once Was OCD, Now I'm Lost

Today I want to talk about getting organized and staying focused. I'm not going to talk about how wonderful I am at either of those things. That would simply be untrue. I've always had trouble focusing on one thing for very long. But, I am fairly certain that before I attempted to be a writer, I had no trouble with staying organized. I have even been accused of being OCD. It is here that I must interject to defend myself. I don't think I was THAT bad. I mean, everyone has quirks. What can I say? I like things done my way. That's because my way is the right way. If you want to help, you will follow my precise instructions. If you do not, it will not be done correctly and will inevitably have to be redone at some point. Why waste the time and effort? I could name examples, but I don't want to bore you. Besides, that would take WAY too much time. I like to complain...
I used to clean a lot, but we have a lot of animals. I liked to keep things in neat little piles and rows. I liked to be able to find things. But somewhere along the line, I lost it! Oh, things are still in piles here and there, just not neat ones. Once in a while I clean like I used to. The "every minute detail" kind of cleaning. That doesn't happen often. You see, I have issues. Addictions, if you will. I get on the computer sometimes and just can't stop myself from reading a bazillion blogs, or from going onto iTunes and finding tons of new music, or from browsing for books to buy and add to my already enormous TBR pile. But, I also like to sleep. A lot. I don't get to. Not as much as I'd like, anyway. If all I ever had to do was sleep, write, read, write some more, sleep again, I'd be happy as clam. Although, I can't imagine that clams are very happy, but you get the idea.
So, here is where my dilema begins. I work a 40+ hr a week job. I work on Saturdays for extra cash. And while I dont have any kids, I have animals, and they are just as bad if not worse. Kids can be distracted w/shiny objects or tv's or money. Not animals. All they want is love and attention. So, I get sidetracked. I also have a husband. He also wants love and attention. There is no time for children. I don't have the patience for them anyhow.
Now, back to what I like to do: sleep, write, read. Where do I find the time to do these things? I am probably ok on the sleep thing. I get at least 6hrs sleep on any given night. Naps are cool. I like naps. It would be nice to squeeze those in once in a while. But what about reading? And more importantly, what about writing?! I adore writing! When do I find the time to sit down and REALLY focus on my writing?
Now that we are done with dilema one, let's move on to dilema two. I am forgetful and have to write everything down as it comes to me or it's gone. So, I've gotten in the habit of writing on anything I can find. Napkins, sticky notes, deposit slips, etc. I have little stacks of these things all over the place. I have notebooks that I bring with me to try and prevent that, but sometimes a notebook in the purse isn't very practical. So, there are napkins and sticky notes shoved in my notebooks, stapled, paperclipped, whatever. I've got large envelopes for each story idea that's on loose paper, (however, some are in my notebooks and it's too messy to tear them out, so I've gotten in the habit of writing the story title or idea name in the corner for later reference), in an attempt to keep them organized. I've suddenly become overwhelmed with story ideas. I hear a lyric in a song that sparks an idea, or I'll have some crazy dream and wake up thinking "eureeka!". And all of these things get written down somewhere. And that's my problem. What do I do with all of these notes and ideas? How do I keep them straight? How can I keep from overwhelming myself and stay focused?
One of these days, I am going to finish my original novel, the one I focus the majority of my attention on. But, now I've got these other voices telling stories in my head. Does that make me sound crazy? I guess I am to a certain extent. It pains me to put my first baby down, but what do you do when you've got some voices overpowering the others? At least I am trying to stay on task. Sort of. I've finally made myself create an outline for my first novel idea (now that I've got several). This is my attempt to keep focused and not let myself sink in all the little details. I've got pages and pages of text, all typed out of order and at different times, some not typed at all. I write long hand and then transpose everything into my computer. Another issue: finishing typing all of my written text.
So, with out further getting sidetracked, my questions to you: What do you do to stay focused? How many projects do you work on at a time? How do you stay organized?