Thursday, May 29, 2014

June 2014 Releases

Ooh, there are some goodies this month! :-)

The Murder Complex by Lindsey Cummings 

Why -> I love fast paced thrillers and this one fits the bill. Meadow has been trained by her father to survive in any situation, especially since she lives in a Florida where the state is controlled by an organization called The Murder Complex. Their mission is to keep the population under control. Which is why the murder rate is higher than the birth rate. But then she meets Zephyr, who doesn't realize he's one of the organization's programed assassins.

Hexed by Michelle Krys 

Why-> Yeah, Krys had me at witches and sorcery, mystery, disappearances, a missing family "bible," and a war between the first two. And then there's a sexy guy named Bishop who insists Indie is a witch? I'm in!

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis

Why -> This one is different. Amara and Nolan are from two different worlds, but are bound beyond their control. Nolan experiences everything Amara goes through while protecting a cursed princess, whether he wants to or not. Amara's unaware of the connection until the day he learns how to control her, and they communicate for the first time.

Glimpse by Kendra Leighton

Why -> For starters, I love ghost stories. After Liz loses her mother in a crash, ten years' worth of her own memories, and inherits the Highwayman Inn, she just longs to be normal. But, Zacchary, who haunts her dreams, makes that difficult. Especially since he's the one that makes her feel the most alive while bringing her entire life into question.

Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler

Why -> This reminds me of one of the movies that Disney makes to go straight to their TV show, like Lemonade Mouth, which I LOVE! Ally's best friend is a television star, but Ally has other plans, away from Hollywood. But when her life becomes entangled with her bff's world she has to decide what's most important to her. And if she can't play by the rules in Hollywood she may have to risk losing her friend, her first love, and the future she dreams of.

One, Two, Three by Elodie Nowodazkij

Why -> Gah, I cannot wait for this one to release so y'all can finally read this. I LOVED Natalya and Tonio. Seriously, they had me smiling like a fool while I was reading. Natalya has dreamed of nothing short of being a professional ballerina for as long as she can remember. That was before a tragic car accident took her dad's life, her dreams of dancing, and pushed her mother over the edge. Now Natalya is forced to live in her Babushka's house, alone with an alcoholic mother, and go to a high school with her only real friend. Adding to the mess she now calls her life is troubled Tonio, who makes her heart do ballet moves every time he's near. Topping it all off is the question regarding what everyone else thinks really happened that night of the accident.

What books releasing this month are you excited for?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #14

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event spotlighting upcoming releases that we readers are eagerly anticipating and is hosted by Breaking the Spine

by Michelle Krys 

Publication Date: June 10, 2014

From Goodreads

If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too.

Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Emotional Plot

As I mentioned the other week, I've recently finished reading Writing Irresistible KidLit by Mary Kole. And I'm beyond glad that I did. Partly because when it comes to plots, I'm horrible at making those graphs and thinking in terms of the three act structure. For some reason it doesn't compute in my brain. But, Kole suggests in her book to look at it from the emotional perspective of the protagonist.

So for the past few days I've been going through page by page re-reading my manuscript, notating all of the emotional changes my main character has. I'm still struggling on how to graph it properly, but I did notice something while marking up this draft. I'm seeing places where my mc should be feeling something strong, and it's not shown on the page, through the dialog, her thoughts, etc. It just falls flat on the page.

This is something that requires some major work. So, even if I never quite figure out the graphing portion, at least I did realize that I need to work on the emotional side more. I'm thinking I need to do this notation on all of my manuscripts now.

As for the emotional plot that I hope to graph, I'll keep you updated if I ever figure it out. Any pointers are greatly appreciated. At this point her emotions shift regularly. Especially since I'm looking at it paragraph by paragraph. Maybe the key is to look at it overall, scene by scene, not on such a small scale.

What's your take on plot graphs? Do you prefer the three act structure or an emotional plot graph?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #13

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event spotlighting upcoming releases that we readers are eagerly anticipating and is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

City of Heavenly Fire 
by Cassandra Clare 

Publication Date: May 27, 2014

From Goodreads


I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Book Blast: MORTAL ENCHANTEMENT by Stacey O'Neale


“Mortal Enchantment spins a unique twist on elemental mythology. This series is not to be missed.” Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

In Kalin Matthew's world, elementals control the forces of nature. They are divided into four courts: air, woodland, fire, and water. At sixteen she will leave the life she's built with her mortal mother. Kalin will move to Avalon to rule with her father—the elemental king of the air court. Along the way, she's attacked by a fire court assassin and saved by Rowan, a swoon-worthy elemental with a questionable past.

Worst of all, she learns her father is missing.

To rescue him, Kalin will have to work with a judgmental council and a system of courts too busy accusing each other of deceit to actually be able to help her. But, they aren’t her biggest challenge. With the Midwinter’s Ball only five days away, Kalin must take over her father’s duties, which includes shifting control of the elements—power Kalin has yet to realize.

As Rowan attempts to train her, a war looms between the four courts. If Kalin fails, her father will die and the courts will fall, but the betrayal she’s about to uncover may cost her even more...

Available Exclusively at Amazon eBook for $2.99 and Paperback for $8.99
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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Writing Craft Book Review -> Writing Irresistible KidLit by Mary Kole

I just finally finished reading Writing Irresistible KidLit by Mary Kole. First let me say that it's unusual for me to have taken so stinking long at reading a book this great, but moving from New Jersey back to Texas and whole lot of other upheaval was going on during the reading of this. Once things calmed down, I picked the book back up and started reading it again.

Second, if you are writing books for either the MG or the YA crowd then this book is a must have on your shelf. I can't believe I didn't buy it the second it hit shelves and read right through it then. But, I have remedied that!

Mary Kole, is a literary agent with Moveable Type Management and previously worked at Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She also has an amazing blog that I highly suggest following. I don't think I've seen a post that isn't worth taking the time to stop and read, and doubt I ever will. They are all very informative. You can also follow her on Twitter for more great advice and links. 

Thankfully she decided to write a book aptly titled, Writing Irresistible KidLit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers. And the ULTIMATE GUIDE is extremely appropriate in this title. I doubt I will ever be able to edit a single manuscript without using her advice.

Kole is straight forward and doesn't take her time in getting to the point. Everything included in this guide is there for a reason so pay attention. She gets right into the nitty gritty, talking about the KidLit market and the mindset of MG and YA readers. Then she delves into the meaty portion of the book: big ideas, foundations, characters, and plot. She finishes off the book by giving excellent information on writing queries and finding an agent. And I have to say I really like her approach to writing queries. It seems there is someone on every corner saying do this or don't do this with regards to query writing. She sets forth simple questions that give an agent exactly what they're looking for.

I also highly recommend keeping a highlighter close while reading. My copy is covered with bright green highlighter markings. I even created a word doc from all of the exercises listed within. Great helping points.

I pulled a manuscript I was working on back in January and February, and rather stuck on, off the shelf to work her magic on. Right from the start of the exercises I realized that I don't have a strong first line like I thought. Not only that, I don't need the first chapter at all. So I deleted the entire first chapter. Reworked the first line and voila, I have a much better opening.

Now to tackle the rest of the manuscript using her tips and exercises. You may see more in the coming months related to Writing Irresistible KidLit and my current manuscript. And hopefully, you'll go grab your own copy and use it with your writing. I'm so glad I read it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #12

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event spotlighting upcoming releases that we readers are eagerly anticipating and is hosted by Breaking the Spine.
End Times 
by Amy Schumacher 

Publication Date: May 20, 2014

From Goodreads

Carbon County, Wyoming is like a current running through Daphne’s heart.

When life gets too tough to bear in Detroit, Daphne flees to her Uncle Floyd’s home, where she believes she’ll find solace in the silent hills of her childhood summers. But Daphne’s Greyhound bus pulls over in downtown Carbon County and it’s not silence that welcomes her. It’s the sound of trumpets.

Daphne’s desire to start again in simple country comfort is instantly dashed as the townsfolk declare that the End Times are here. And incredible occurrences soon support their belief. Daphne does all she can to keep her head down and ignore the signs. She works a job at the local oil rig, helps around the house, hangs out with her pregnant cousin Janie and gets to know Owen, a mysterious motocross racer and fellow roustabout at the rig. But soon a startling discovery shatters her resolve and calls into question all her doubts and fears.
Daphne landed in Carbon County for a reason. She only has to read the signs—and believe.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Packing A Punch

Years ago I read Beautiful Creatures, the first book in the Caster Chronicles, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to wait until the fourth and final book was out before I continued to read the series. Well, the final book came out in 2012 and I still haven't read the last three books. So, I decided that I'd read them now, but first I needed to reread that first book. The one that made me grin from ear to ear while reading.

What do I remember the most about the book?

The writing and the setting and the characters. It was all so wonderful. And recently I have just picked up a manuscript that had been simmering for a little, waiting for a fresh round of edits.

As I delved into the book I remembered exactly why I love the writing in it. Why I wanted to wait and read them back to back. And I see why this series is beloved by so many. Garcia and Stohl are very talented writers and I will read anything they write just to get more of their words and the settings and the characters.

Here's a quick excerpt from what I read the other night, I only had twenty minutes to read and this was what stood out the most from that quick session. The description is perfect, something I strive for in my own writing.

"She was wearing a purple T-shirt, with a skinny black dress over it that made you remember how much of a girl she was, and trashed black boots that made you forget." 

Seriously, that description packs quit a punch. It describes Lena from Ethan's perspective so well. And it tells so much about how he views her, she's more than just a girl to him. She's also not quite like any girl he's ever known. I love the imagery their books set forth.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #11

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event spotlighting upcoming releases that we readers are eagerly anticipating and is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

The Murder Complex 
by Lindsey Cummings 

Publication Date: June 10, 2014

From Goodreads

An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.