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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

RTW -- June's Best Book

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic:
What was the best book you read in June?

There's no contest this month. It's Paper Towns by John Green of course! I loved everything about this book and it's really stuck with me even after I've closed the book and set it aside on my bookshelves. I'm definitely going to get Looking for Alaska or Will Grayson, Will Grayson (or both) the next time I go to the library/bookstore.

Overall score: 10/10 for pure awesome.

My formal review/fangirling is here

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Paper Towns Review

I had an amazing and crazy weekend. It was like a rollercoaster and not in a good way. Having an awesome day so far today though. =D The new Doctor Who was epic genius. Made of win. The only bad part is now I have to wait until Christmas for a new one. Also, USA lost to Ghana and is out of the World Cup. I missed the game, but I heard all about it. =(

This isn't so much a review as it is fangirling over Paper Towns and John Green.

Paper Towns by John Green
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Speigelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life -- dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge -- he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues -- and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew.

Best. Book. Ever. It's definitely on my top ten list of favorite books. This book is seriously amazing. I think these might've been the best teen characters I've ever read. I'm not even exaggerating on that. The dialogue was so amazing I couldn't believe it's not real. When I closed it and went to bed, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I still can't stop thinking about it. It's really stuck with me. I cried after I read the end and I'm not even really sure why.

This was one of those books where I didn't really feel the back summary fit the book. But unlike the other two books on that short list, I felt this one was far better than the summary.

10/10 There are no words to describe it's awesome-ness.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

When it Happens Review

I couldn't really divide spoilers from non-spoilers so there is a tiny spoiler at the end of the fourth paragraph of the review.
When It Happens by Susane Colasanti
Seniors in high school, Sara and Tobey couldn't be more different. She wants to get into her first-choice college; he wants to win Battle of the Bands. Sara's other goal is to find true love, so when popular Dave asks her out, she's thrilled. But Tobey always creeps into her thoughts. Lucky for Sara, one of Tobey's goals is also to make her fall in love with him.

I'm still kind of on the fence about this book.

I love the alternating points of view between the characters, but there were certain bits that I wished I could see from the other character's point of view (usually it was something I wanted to hear from Tobey and heard from Sara instead). Another thing about the changes between narrator is some scenes were repeated. First we'd hear about it from Tobey and then we'd hear about it from Sara, or vice versa. That kind of left me confused because it was like "didn't this already happen? How'd you get here, you were just there? Oh, it's the same scene."

I didn't like the jumps in time. It was like we went from a significant event one day to seven days later and it left me confused and wondering what came in between. I kept feeling like I was missing out on some major events and a couple times I even had to flip back a chapter to see just how far we'd jumped.

There were a couple things that were absolute genius though. The Rules of Cafeteria Survivor, for example, are so unbelievably true. Also the bit about AP English being the most difficult class of their high school career, not an exaggeration! (Not to scare off any of you future AP Lit-ers. It's an amazing class, but it's definitely not a blow off one.)

I liked the characters in general. They definitely felt real. Though honestly in the beginning they felt more like freshman than they did seniors, at least to me. Tobey was by far my favorite character. I loved him, even if he was a slacker. He was a hard guy not to like. Sara on the other hand...well, let's just say I wanted to slap her. A lot. Especially when she was dating Dave, but that was supposed to be a learning experience for her so I went along with it anyway. Then I wanted to do it again through the last quarter of the book. I just wanted to scream "Girl get over yourself! He's a freaking guy he's human he makes mistakes!" It annoyed me that she loved Tobey so much, until she found out that he had another "girlfriend" before her and then she was so close to throwing it all away.

As for Tobey and Sara's relationship overall, I loved it. It was so awkward and oh so real all throughout. I don't see that a lot in young adult these days. It's like two people meet and they automatically connect. There's no first love awkwardness. But there definitely was here and I loved that.

Overall: 7.5 I liked the book, but I didn't get that cloud nine feeling after I turned the last page.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

RTW -- Character FML

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! We interrupt this regularly scheduled RTW for a special news bulletin! USA WON THEIR GAME AGAINST ALGERIA!!!!! (Yes, I realize I'm late. I was gone all morning, missed the game, and didn't find out about it I got back at four.) It was tied up 0-0 until the 91st minute when USA scored the incredible game-winning goal. Which means we won Group C and it's the first time we've won our group since 1930!!!!!!!!! *fireworks* We shall return now to our regularly scheduled programming.

I wasn't going to do this week's RTW. But then I read everyone's entries and then I started getting ideas and I couldn't not do it. So here I am.

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's question:
If your favorite characters submitted to F My Life, what would they write?

****Advance Warning! My FML's are full of spoilers. (Sorry)
There's Deathly Hallows, City of Bones, City of Glass, 2012 (the movie), Princess Bride, and Gone (Lisa McMann). There will be pictures of the cover before each one. *****

Gordon:Today, I survived California falling into the sea, Yellowstone exploding, crash-landing a plane in what should have been the Pacific but was in fact the Himalayas where we were going (that was convenient), and sneaking into the multi-zillion dollar arks that the government's been secretly building only to be killed by the gears because we were too freaking impatient to wait outside and get in with everyone else. FML

Wesley:
Today, my true love's fiance killed me and then I woke unable to move a muscle (except apparently the ones from the throat up because I can still talk and whatnot) expected to storm a castle guarded by many men with only me and two other guys so that we could get inside and stop the wedding. FML

Harry Potter, Deathly Hallows:
Today, after fighting the evil bastard for half my life, I'm now expected to lay down and just let him kill me. FML

Jace, City of Bones:Today, I found out the girl I love is, in fact, my sister. FML

Jace, City of Glass:
Today, I discovered that not only did my insane father imprison and torture an angel, but he also performed experiments on me and I'm a part-demon Shadowhunter. Ironic. FML

Janie:Today, I found out that my dad isn't missing or dead, he's lying in the hospital in a coma with a permanent expression of extreme pain on his face and a messed up dream playing itself over and over in his head. FML

Today, I found out that either I can let the whole dreamcatcher thing happen, watch my hands become very gnarled, and slowly go blind OR I can shut myself off from the world including Cabel and develop a slowly worsening migraine that causes my brain to practically melt. FML

Monday, June 21, 2010

Week in Short

OMG WE SURVIVED THE WEEK AND WE'RE ALMOST THERE TOMORROW'S THE DAY!!! (If this is the first time this week you've been here (Hi! by the way), six days ago was part one of Doctor Who's series finale. Part two is tomorrow. I. Can't. Wait.) Yesterday was a heart attack-filled afternoon for me as my laptop decided to die. Three times. It's apparently decided that summer is too hot for it because it overheats on an hourly basis. So I'm working on keeping it cool and functional until we can get it to to get the fans fixed.

Must Read:
Pitching to agents
Enjoy being unpublished now
Offer of representation Q&A

News:
The Lost Hero cover has been released! Don't you just want to steal it and take it home? =D No? Okay, that's just me then. Still, I can't wait to get my hands on it. Also, there's a link to where you can read the first two chapters. Which seriously made me want the rest of it. GAH I hate cliffhangers so much.
Official movie synopsis of Pirates of the Caribbean 4 [Can. Not. Wait. =D]

Blood-Red Pencil:
Show don't tell

Moonrat:
Why first pages are important

Nathan Bransford:
Why vague partial rejections?

Pub Rants:
Multi-book contracts
One-book contracts
Joint accounting, one peril of multi-book contracts

Rachelle Gardner:
Quick Q&A

Writer Unboxed:
Best advice: what happens next?

YA Highway:
Unusual and wonderful writing advice

***
I was doing very well with my aspiration to write 1k every night until last night when I had to go to bed early because I wanted to give the laptop the whole night off. I will get back to it tonight!

ARML -- revisions going well.

Three Days - 35k. Going very well at the moment. We're well on track to have it complete by my goal.

Guardian -- is back on my plate for some world-building. I've never actually had to consciously work at world-building before so it's all new to me, but I think it's going well. I'm struggling to figure out the finer rules of magic in their world, but it's coming to me. I'm mainly working on the research to create their creatures at the moment.

Everyone have an awesome weekend!

I got an award? Really?

OMG. My weekend. Was "meh" overall except for the one hour of epic fabulousness that was the new Doctor Who. It was made of epic win. I couldn't stop shaking for like an hour afterward and I still haven't stopped thinking about it. Five days until the Big Bang (series finale)! In the meantime I'm watching all of series five again in search of clues to what will happen in the finale.

Also, today is the first official day of summer. So happy summer solstice!

Anyway...This award was passed on to me by Rebecca. *blushes* Thanks!! Isn't it shiny?

So according to the rules (guidelines) I have to...

1) Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award. [Check!]

2) Share 7 things about yourself.

3) Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (In no particular order...) [Define recently.]

4) Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

So...seven things about myself...

1. The only sport I'll willingly watch and enjoy that doesn't involve horses is soccer. I've already seen quite a few of the World Cup games. Though I keep missing the first games of the day because they're at seven my time.

2. I used to be a morning person. Seriously, when I was younger it was almost impossible for me to sleep in past seven. Eight at the latest. After I became a writer, I slowly became nocturnal. Now I'm up until two in the morning almost every night and sleep in until ten or eleven.

3. I'm addicted to horse-related online games. I've joined probably twenty or more in my lifetime and I only play two right now. The longest lasting of those two is three years old.

4. I love video games. I have a DS, Playstation (which doesn't work anymore), Playstation 2, Gamecube, Wii, Gameboy Advance, and a Gameboy SP. My favorite video game of all time is Final Fantasy X. My favorite to play with other people is Call of Duty World at War.

5. Next year I'm probably going to be running track in the spring. My family's trying to convince me to run hurdles and the 100m dash. I'm in training to at least consider doing it. I've thought about it every year since seventh grade, but never went for it.

6. I played the clarinet for a year in fifth grade. Eventually I fell so far behind in the class and couldn't learn to read music fast enough that I had to quit. The clarinet was not in my top three choices of instruments when I took band. I wanted to play the flute, but they said because of my mouth structure it would be impossible for me to play.

7. The first horse I ever remember riding was an old brown grade (mutt) gelding named Whittemoore. He was owned by a friend of my father. We went over to his house one day, he gave me a tour of the barn and asked if I wanted a ride. I said yes. It was just a short walking ride around the fields, but I was hooked. Prior to that day, I'd been afraid of horses. I've been crazy about them ever since.

And now I have to pass this on to 15 bloggers. But since the rules are more like "guidelines" than actual rules (I am a big fan of Pirates btw), I'm going to pass it on to seven. Also because I tried to do this at midnight last night and I couldn't think of 15 bloggers out of the top of my head that hadn't already received the reward.

Rachel
Tahareh
Vero
Emilia
Vee
Kristin
Raven

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Secret to Writing Sprees

OMG. FIRST TRAILER for Voyage of the Dawn Treader was released last night!!! It came out at 3 a.m. (EST) and I was going to stay up and watch it, but I only made it to one. Seeing it now, I almost wish I'd stayed up! It's EPIC. This movie is going to awesome.

Monday I wrote over 12,000 words in one day, breaking my previous record of 11,310 words. Thanks everyone for their support during that day and for the congratulations afterward! Today, I'm going to share the secret of how I did it.

Tips for Word-Filled Writing Sprees

It's a marathon, not a sprint. The first thing to remember is that a long day of writing is more of a marathon, less of a sprint. It's a time to settle in with your characters and let the words spill out on the page as they may. The words may not even be good and you definitely won't like all of them. But that's okay. The important thing is to not burn out in the first hour and call it a day. (Unless you're only planning to write for an hour and then that's okay.)

You don't have to go in alone. I definitely couldn't have done it without my writer friends support. If you're settling down to a write-a-thon, convince some writer friends to do it too! You can keep each other motivated, share in your shortcomings, and maybe bounce around some ideas if you get stuck.

Make time. I started writing around ten in the morning, just after I got up. I finally clocked out around midnight. I didn't write for those entire fourteen hours (dang internet temptations!), but I did write for a lot of that time. That breaks down to about 850 words an hour.

Stock up on snacks. Make sure your body stays hydrated and fed! Keep water and some of your favorite (preferably healthy) snack at your desk (or bed). I started drinking a Monster (energy drink) around eight. It was my reward for hitting 8k and also my motivation to continue. For some reason I write really well on energy drinks (particularly that one).

Find your time of day. I really kicked it into gear after dark and that's because I write best at night. I dragged through most of the day, but once night hit I was raring to go. Figure out the right time of day for you and arrange writing time for then.

Determination is key. It takes a lot of determination to clench your teeth and push onward when the muse goes on strike and writers' block hits, but sometimes you just have to do it. You might need to skip ahead to a later scene and write that. I wrote a lot of random scenes Monday. They all fit in the plot line, but they definitely weren't in order.

Reward yourself. Give yourself a reward for each 1k that you write. It can be something as small as a bowl of ice cream, a piece of chocolate, or a ten-minute internet break. Or it can be something as large as the entire next day off to do whatever you want, a nice piece of jewelry, or a fancy dinner the next night. My reward for hitting 12k was Tuesday off from most kinds of work. A piece of chocolate was my reward for 5k. I also got ten minute internet breaks for each 1k I managed to make. Rewards keep your mind fresh and give you a reason to keep coming back for more.

Give yourself a break! For especially long writing sprees, it's essential to take breaks once in awhile, even if it's just as a reward for hitting a certain point. They'll keep your mind fresh and make sure you don't get frustrated and burnt out.

Avoid interruptions. The day I set the previous record, I was home alone. I curled up on the couch with the laptop on a TV stand and just wrote all day. This time I kept to my room as much as I could in order to avoid inconvenient interruptions. Interruptions can also include those of the non-family variety, such as the internet. If you have to, shut it off for awhile until you take a break. It'll help keep your mind away from Twitter and YouTube and on writing.

Keep writers' block at bay. Last time I washed dishes to keep writers block away. For some strange reason, I get a lot of ideas while washing dishes. (Don't tell my mom, she'll try to use that as an excuse to get me to do the dishes all the time.) I think it's because I'm just standing there staring out the window with nothing else to do but let my mind wander. This time I couldn't really do that, so when writers' block set in, I had nothing to do but press onward or take a quick break and watch a couple of (semi) related Youtube videos.

Get in the zone. No, not Auto Zone. Find your favorite place to write and get comfortable. It might be your desk with soft music in the background. You might rather stretch out across your bed with a pillow propping you up, your feet under the covers, a summer breeze blowing in your window, and the laptop on your lap. Whatever makes you happy. Just find that place and get comfy.

Write or Die. In a pinch, heard over to Write or Die and pound out a couple quick hundred words until you get past writers' block. It will help to get the creativity flowing again and the words out on the page.

Now go out there and plan your own writing spree! It obviously doesn't have to be as ambitious as mine, I was feeling particularly crazy last week and decided I wanted to try to beat my previous word count record. You can pound out words for a couple hours or an entire day. Good luck!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

RTW -- The Beginning of This Long Journey Called Writing

Today is...um...Wednesday. Yes? Yes. Summer has the tendency to make the days bleed together until you barely remember whether or not you've had lunch yet or what month it is, let alone the day of the week. But anyway, it is indeed Wednesday which means it's time for another awesome topic by the wonderful people over at YAHighway. [Hop over there and read everyone else's posts on the topic and get a sneak peek at next week's. I seriously can't wait. There are going to be some hilariously epic posts next week.]

This week's topic: When/why did you start writing?

There's actually two stories for this one.

I actually have no clue when I started writing. I assume my journey started the day they taught me how to hold a pencil. Slowly, like all little kids, I learned to write. And write I did. I started to write short stories and the starts to random novels. All these stories had two major things in common: they were short and they included horses, unicorns, or a fantasy tale of how something came to be. (I once wrote a story about how the first waterfall was born. I'll share it someday. It was adorable.) I started writing because I loved it and because I couldn't not write.

I started writing seriously in November of '08. Prior to that amazing and crazy month, I'd started to write countless novels but they always ended up in the graveyard of barely started stories never to be touched again. I had major commitment issues. Then I got this idea. The result of that idea is now called Destiny and is shoved in the trunk. It was then known to me as Andra. I woke up one morning from a strange dream with an SNI. Experienced by this time in the fact that I could never finish a novel, I shoved the SNI in the back of my mind and forgot about it. But like the best story ideas, it refused to leave. It sat there in the back of my mind simmering and clearly making it's presence known until finally, on November 8th, I sat down and penned the first words of what was to become my first novel. Once I got started, I was hooked. I couldn't stop. I wrote it in two months and once I was done, I couldn't believe it. To this day, if you asked me how I managed to finally finish a novel after countless failed attempts, I can't answer you. Because I have no idea. The only thing I know is that I wrote because I had to and if I didn't, that idea would just sit there and nag me until I cracked.

I never started writing because I wanted to be published. I started because I didn't know to do anything else.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Red Pyramid Review

I had a fantastic weekend. The Lodger (new episode of Doctor Who) was hilarious and the teaser trailer for next week's episode made me fangirl squeal for about ten minutes. Rachel Alexandra FINALLY won her first race of the year after two close misses. Zenyatta made racing history in becoming the first modern day Thoroughbred to win 17 straight unrestricted races. I may have accomplished nothing writing-wise, but overall a great weekend and I'm refreshed and ready for a nice, long writing-work week.

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Since his mother's death six years ago, Carter Kane has been living out of his suitcase, traveling the globe with his father, the brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julius Kane. But while Carter's been homeschooled, his younger sister, Sadie, has been living with their grandparents in London. Sadie has just what Carter wants -- school friends and a chance at a "normal" life. But Carter has just what Sadie longs for -- time with their father. After six years of living apart, the siblings have almost nothing in common. Until now.

On Christmas Eve, are reunited when their father brings them to the British Museum, with a promise that he's going to "make things right." But all does not go according to plan: Carter and Sadie watch as Julius summons a mysterious figure, who quickly banishes their father and causes a fiery explosion.

Soon Carter and Sadie discover that the gods of Ancient Egypt are waking, and the worst of them -- Set -- has a frightening scheme. To save their father, they must embark on a dangerous journey -- a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and its links to the House of Life, a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

**Warning, usually I separate the spoilers-included and no-spoilers reviews. It was hard to do that with TRP's. There may be some spoilers in this review.**

For the record, I've been a huge fan of Rick Riordan ever since I read the Lightning Thief four years ago. So when I found out that he had a new book out, I had to get it. Basically this was my Riordan fix before The Lost Hero comes out in the fall. I was excited to hear that he was doing Egyptian mythology since I don't know much about it.

I thought the story was cute, but not as good as Percy Jackson.

First of all, The Red Pyramid feels a lot like a repeat of PJ with Egyptian mythology to replace the Greek. The voice for both stories is very similar. Both stories suffer from Missing Parents Syndrome where the main character has one existing parent while something has already happened to the other. Then the existing parent gets kidnapped and the MC has to go save them. Both stories have the MC chasing one danger that turns out to be the start of something much much larger.

Despite that, there were still a lot of things I loved about the story.

It's told in the alternating PoVs of main characters, Sadie and Carter. Sadie was my favorite of the two. I also loved their little side comments on the "tape transcript" to each other. Those were cute little side bits. Overall my favorite character was Bast. As a cat owner myself, I could really appreciate the catty bits of her personality. The whole thing with Zia really confused me for awhile, but I think I get it now.

I love the Percy Jackson reference about Manhattan having different gods. It made me laugh.

GAH huge cliffhanger ending. Anyone know if there's going to be another one? Preferably very soon? Please? I need to know what happened to Zia!!

Overall: 7/10

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Week in Short

Yay, happy Friday everyone :) Which means not only is today WiS, it also means that the new Doctor Who is tomorrow! It's the first half of the series finale and to say I'm excited would be an understatement. My life's been revolving around the World Cup and writing lately. Except I keep missing the WC games. I completely missed Slovenia/USA this morning which did not make me at all happy. I did however see Mexico crush France. =D

Songs of the Week: Crazy Town by Jason Aldean [Kind of reminds me of the publishing industry and the journey aspiring authors go through]
Kiss Kiss by Holly Valance [Long story. Don't ask. I don't know why I'm addicted to it.]

Must Read:
How to grab an agent's attention in a query at Querytracker
Maggie Stiefvater on revisions [I'm bookmarking this one]
Querytracker contest follow-up by Kathleen Ortiz

Contests/Giveaways:
WriteOnCon vlog + info + awesome giveaway = Elana Johnson's post!
Steph Su Reads summer giveaway #2
Emilia's AWESOME summer giveaway!
Paranormal Five ARC giveaway!

News:
In case you missed it yesterday, the FIRST EVER TRAILER for Voyage of the Dawn Treader was released Thursday in the very early hours of the morning. It's EPIC. Prince Caspian's my favorite movie of the series, but it looks like this one might take over that title.
Wake series is being turned into a movie series!!! Except Miley Cyrus might be taking the lead (Janie).
New agent, Amanda Luedeke of MacGregor Literary

Blood Red Pencil:
Magical realism
Deep PoV mistakes and how to fix them part 1 and part 2
Cliches

BookEnds:
What it takes to become an agent

GotYA:
Interview with Elana Johnson

Mandy Hubbard:
What she looks for in opening pages
When to give up

Queryshark:

Successful young adult query

Querytracker:
Manuscript length

Rachelle Gardner:
Differing advice in signing with agents
Dealing with contradictory feedback

Writer Unboxed:
Don't give up

YA Highway:
Interview with Jennifer Laughran
World-building even outside fantasy

***
ARML -- Revisions are in full swing. I finished the first read-through last night. Revision list is about four pages long. Not too bad considering Jump's was like 7-9 pages, but most of what's wrong with ARML is consistently wrong throughout the entire book. I'll probably start in on real revisions sometime today or this weekend. Hoping to have round one finished by the end of next week at the latest.

Summer Fling -- 30k. No, this isn't a new WiP. I decided to rename Three Days because the title was too long. The full title is Not Just a Summer Fling. It's not official because I haven't gotten around to changing the name on the word document and folder yet, but it will be soon. Planning on getting some wordage in on her over the weekend. We're still not quite halfway through the story yet. Still going too fast and needs to slow down. I need to figure out a couple of extra things I can throw at her to slow down the pace.

Fire -- 22k. She's almost complete. I'm past the climax and onto the point where I'm trying to figure out exactly how to end it. This is probably the first time ever I've made it this far without knowing what the ending is. Usually the ending comes to me about three-quarters through the book and I have that before I have the climax. There's going to be some massive adding of wordage in revisions for this one. Like double the current word count massive.

After the Jump -- 3.6k. This one's coming along rather slow but I think that's because my focus is partly on other things right now. She'll probably be the main focus once Summer Fling or Fire are complete and out of the writing picture.

Everyone have an awesome weekend! I'm off to see if I can watch the England/Algeria match. =D

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rules of Attraction Review

Sorry about all the reviews this week, but with the internet down last week I didn't have anything else to do except read. *twitches* I just watched Waters of Mars (Doctor Who). OMIGOSH. The episode was incredible, but I can't stop twitching...

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
Carlos Fuentes idolized his older brother, Alex, when he was a member of the Latino Blood. So when Alex chose to get jumped out of the gang for a change at a future with his gringa girlfriend, Brittany, Carlos felt shocked and betrayed. Even worse, Alex forced Carlos to come back from Mexico to join him on the straight and narrow path. Trouble is, Carlos just wants to keep living on the edge. And ties to his Mexican gang aren't easy to break, even hundreds of miles away in Colorado.

In Boulder, Carlos has to live with one of Alex's college professors -- and he feels completely out of place. He's even more thrown by his strong feelings for the professor's daughter, Kiara, who is nothing like the girls he's usually drawn to. But Carlos and Kiara soon discover that in matters of the heart, the rules of attraction overpower the social differences that conspire to keep them apart.

This book is the reason why I read Perfect Chemistry in the first place. I saw the book trailer for this one on Kristin Nelson's blog. Since Rules wasn't out yet, I sprung for PC. I loved PC so of course when Rules came out I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.

The first half kind of let me down a little, to be honest. It was a great book, but it just felt average after PC. I needed a little more to set it apart. The second half really redeemed the book for me though. I didn't want to put it down at all and the ending was pure awesome.

Kiara kind of annoyed me. It's like she started out strong and independent. Then all of a sudden she met Carlos and her resolve completely weakened. She's a lot like Brittany was. Both girls were strong with their old boyfriends, strong without them (mostly), and then all of a sudden they meet another guy and they're ready to give it up and just give everything they can to this new guy.

I do love Carlos and Tuck though. I can't help but like Carlos even if he's being a jerk. Tuck's dialogue really cracked me up sometimes and he's a hard guy not to like.

Overall: 9.5/10

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Week in Short

School's out for the summer WHOOO! Actually, I skipped the last two days of school so I've been out since Wednesday. Don't ask me how it feels to be a senior because I have no clue. It hasn't quite hit me yet.

Random notes from this week: The Wedding Date and She's the Man are both awesome movies. I need a copy of On Writing because even though I still think Stephen King is insane, he knows writing. I have officially seen every one of the newer episodes of Doctor Who. I watched Waters of Mars and both parts of End of Time yesterday. I'm kind of sad that the excitement of watching them all for the first time is over. But there's still the new ep tomorrow!

Also, I went to the bookstore today. I walked out with Murder on the Orient Express and Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, and Paper Towns by John Green. What to read first??!!

Anyway...enough about what I did this week. =D

Must Read:
Style sheet from BookEnds
One sentence summaries critiques and tips by Rachelle Gardner

News:
New agent, Marcy Posner

Pimp My Novel:
Lead title
Best writing advice
Picking titles

Querytracker:
Improving your critiques

Rejector:
Posting work online

Story Flip:
Keeping focus
Guest blog by Kody Keplinger on dialogue

YA Highway:
Dystopian and Apocalyptic

***
Double-Crossed and Guardian have both been officially filed away in the Waiting folder. That's the folder on my computer where my many started manuscripts hibernate. Raye's not very happy about this new development.

ARML -- is back! I decided that I needed to get another manuscript out for revisions in preparation for querying and chose this one. The first read through is going rather slow at the moment, but I'm hoping to have this one in submission by the end of the summer.

Three Days -- 23k. Moving along slowly at the moment. I'm not entirely sure where the story is going at this point. I'm getting up to the big first kiss scene, but Jeremy and Cam won't tell me how it happens.

Fire -- 18k. Despite the fact that school is over, this one's still rolling along quite well. The only problem is, I'm estimating that it's going to be complete at 20-25k. Which means there will be massive expansion in the revisions. It should be interesting since expansion for me usually involves adding a few scenes, not half a book.

After the Jump -- 2.7k. I haven't worked on this one for awhile. It's a combination of lack of time, a need to do more research, and indecision of where the story is going to go next. Hannah's still in the hospital and I seriously need to do more research on post-coma recovery.

RTW: Is it working?

This Week's Topic: When do you know when a project is going to work and when it's not?

The answer for this one is all over the board for me. I have at least fifteen projects in my "started and quit" file. Some of them are doomed to stay there forever. Some will be pulled out in a few weeks, months, or even years for another look.

The answer to the question isn't an easy one. Because the answer is: I don't know until I know. I've quit projects less than 1k in. I've quit projects that are halfway done. At some point I just kind of laze off. I make excuses not to work on it. I make promises to try again that are never kept.

For me, it's clear the a project is not going to work when it's no longer fun. When it loses it's intrigue, then it's time to put it away. That's how I know that a project just isn't working and it's time for me to give it a rest. Most of these projects are put away because the worldbuilding just isn't something I'm capable of doing. Some of them I just realize aren't good ideas and I shuffle them off onto the sidelines until I think of something better to turn them into.

The point is, when a project isn't going to work, it'll tell you. You just have to listen. It might not work forever, but if it's clear that it's not working now and you're not enjoying the process of working on it, then it's time to put it aside and finding something that does fit that bill.

Monday, June 7, 2010

City of Glass Review

LOOK! Deathly Hallows trailer! =D I can't wait!! It's going to be the best of them all, I know it.

** Note: All spoilers for this book will come after the warning. I cannot promise that there won't be spoilers for the first two books in the series before that.

City of Ashes review [Apparently I failed to review City of Bones. I'm rather disappointed with myself over that.]

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
Third book in the Mortal Instruments series
To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters -- never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only change to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save teh Glass City -- whatever the cost?

Before I start, I just want to say: this book is made of awesome. I spent the entire afternoon reading the last half. I ended up staying up past midnight on a school night because I refused to go to bed until I'd read the ending. And dang was it worth it. Very satisfying ending to the series. I was a little worried because a friend of mine told me that it would really throw me through a few loops and the first two books definitely did that to me, but it wasn't as bad as I expected. I actually saw a lot of the "loops" coming and I enjoyed that. It wasn't like I could see it coming from a mile away and when it finally came to pass it was boring. It was kind of like I had theories and then it was exciting when I found out I was right.

Jace was okay through the first half of the book. Quite honestly I really wanted to strangle him and I didn't love him as much as I did in the first two books. He slowly managed to redeem himself though so that was good.

Clary was a little better, but she got under my skin at some points. She just doesn't listen. She doesn't get that what she does has consequences for other people and there are times when you should just shut up and listen to what someone's telling you!!! Her fear of the horse really annoyed me. I just wanted to slap her and scream "Shut up he's not going to bite you!" Though that might be because I'd kill to be in her place, but whatever...

I was in love with Sebastian. I couldn't help it. He was just such a sweetheart...

And for the record, I want Maia's "What doesn't kill me had better start running" shirt. =D Because that is epic.

I couldn't stop smiling at the ending. I loved it so much. =D All the loose ends from this book and the previous two tied together. I just wanted to sit there and grin after I finished it.

Overall: 10/10

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

I had so many jumping on the bed screaming moments with this book. Screaming in both a good and bad way. Especially the last half when the rollercoaster ride really started.

I spent so much time wishing that someone would yell "SURPRISE! Jace really isn't Valentine's son!" that I literally jumped on the bed when I found out I was right and he wasn't. I was just so ready for poor Clary and Jace to get a break. Especially after they spent that night together. Even though at that point they still believed they were siblings, it was just such a cute scene...I loved it!

I knew the lake and the mirror would end up connected. I thought that perhaps the mirror would be hidden somehow in the lake or that the mirror would be somehow hidden in the void that Clary travels through when she makes the Portal, but I knew it would have to have something to do with the lake.

Remember what I said about loving Sebastian? Yeah, completely destroyed. I somehow knew that he couldn't be trusted. I even suspected that he might be Valentine's real son (though hoping might be a better word for it). And I was RIGHT!!! I mean seriously it explained the feeling of wrongness she felt when she kissed him (ew) that she should've felt with Jace and didn't. And it also explained the strange sense of familiarity the first time she saw him.

When Clary wanted to stop Jace from going after Valentine, that annoyed the heck out of me. She of all people should know that there's nothing anyone can do when Jace sets his mind to something. She fights so hard when people try to stop her from doing stupid or dangerous things, but turns around and tries to stop them when they try to do the same.

The whole Mark of Cain thing on Simon was pure and absolute genius.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

RTW - Favorite Book in May

My internet is still out. =( I'm writing this from my grandpa's house. Mom brought me over so we could use the internet for a bit. Fingers crossed they'll come out and fix it tomorrow!! In the meantime...

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic: What's the best book you've read this month?
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare = easily the best book I read last month. I read the last half of it in one night, staying up until after midnight Monday night because I couldn't put it down. I haven't done a formal review for it yet because of the lack of internet, so hopefully that will be up next week sometime. Fantastic conclusion to the amazing series.