Posted in reviews, Teen

Book Review of “Looking for Alaska”

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’ve been up to the cottage this week enjoying the hot weather before school starts. I can’t believe summer is almost over and neither can my boys.

A few weeks ago, I read the book “Looking for Alaska” by John Green. I enjoyed the story and the cover and blurb are below:

Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award An ALA Best Book for Young Adults An ALA Quick Pick A Los Angeles Times 2005 Book Prize Finalist A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age A 2005 Booklist Editor’s Choice A 2005 School Library Journal Best Book of the Year Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.

My thoughts:

“Looking for Alaska” is the story that’s told from Miles point of view. Miles is sent away to boarding school where he meets vivacious Alaska, and his life is never the same.

Miles not only meets Alaska, but a number of new friends as well. The story documents their adventures and Miles’ reactions to them.  It’s a great novel and I like reading the story from a young boy’s point of view. There aren’t many stories that are told from that view point.

The story revolves around Miles’ fascination with Alaska and his reaction when she abruptly dies. All of her friends experience the guilt of letting her drive while she was under the influence. It was sad and maybe that’s why I didn’t like it as much as “Paper Towns.”  It deals with death and the possibility that Alaska committed suicide.

It delves into this dark issue and brings back some of the painful memories we all have of high school and our own dark days. I must say that I will probably pick up another John Green book even though this one was on the sad side for me.

Posted in reviews, Teen

Book Reviews for “If I Stay” and “Where She Went” by Gayle Forman

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’ve been on vacation this week with the family and I must say it has been cold the last few days. So when I can’t enjoy the sun I like to read. And I must say I’ve read two awesome books this week. I read both of them in one day…they were that good.

The first one is titled, “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman. I must say this book rocked. The emotion and character development blew me away. I loved it. I identified with the main character Mia and I fell in love with her and her friends and family. All the characters were very real to me.

This is an incredibly sad story though. Make sure you have a box of tissue handy.

 The second book I read is the sequel to “If I stay.” It’s titled, “Where she went.” I loved this book even more than the first one. I got to know Mia’s boyfriend Adam in this story.  I must say I loved Adam. He was actually so strong and his love for Mia was unwavering. It’s one of those “I just can’t put down” books. It’s an emotional read so you’ll need another box of tissue for this one too, but this one has a happy ending.

I will definitely be reading more of Gayle Forman’s books.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. If you’ve got a book you’d recommend please do so by leaving the title in the comments. I’m trying to get back into the habit of reading. I’ve been writing so much lately that I haven’t had time to read.  I’m trying to change that.  🙂

Posted in Guest Author, promotion, Teen

Ariella Moon introduces her New Release to Us!

Spell Struck

 Book 2: The Teen Wytche Saga

What if the one person who saw through your lies and loved you, harbored a secret that could cost you everything?

spellstruck 

Back Cover Blurb

Goth outcast, Salem Miller, believes her love spell failed until Aidan Cooper arrives at Jefferson High. When he chooses her over the popular girls, Salem knows magic brought him. But can she summon enough wizardry to save her sister? Salem fears Amy’s next suicide attempt will succeed. Magic brought Aidan. Maybe it can cure Amy. Salem’s last hope lies hidden within a damaged grimoire, nearly destroyed by a wrongful love spell. Was her rightful love spell enough to restore it?

Newest Jefferson High transplant, Aidan Cooper, doesn’t expect to be attracted to a goth. Then he realizes Salem is throwing a glamour—pretending to be something she’s not. Guess it takes one to know one, since his whole life has been a lie. But if his kidnappers discover he’s broken their No Attachments rule, he’ll never see Salem again. Worse, he’s terrified they’ll harm her when they discover she possesses the ancient grimoire. To protect Salem, Aidan must destroy the grimoire, and escape his captors.

While Salem races to unlock the Get Well Spell, Aidan scrambles to overcome his past. With their star-crossed paths at odds, will time run out for both of them?

Excerpt

Aidan lowered his hand. His finger pressed against my skin, shooting a delicious tingle up my arm. When I didn’t move away, he hooked his finger over mine. My breath caught. We stayed, frozen, hyper-focused, for what seemed like three lifetimes. Then Aidan trailed his fingertips across the back of my hand. The soundtrack, popcorn smells, and theater audience melted into the background. The world narrowed down to the unspoken grief and need entangled in Aidan’s touch.

I rotated my hand so my palm faced upward. Aidan hesitated. Our gazes locked in the flickering light. The spell link humming between us lit up like blue lightning. At least I think it was the spell link. Aidan plunged his fingers between mine. Our palms pressed together, igniting a current. Air shuddered from my lungs. Magic rippled from us in successive waves.

My heart stuttered. My breath ceased. Every cell within me vibrated. Troops of fairies or dragonflies took flight in my lower abdomen. It’s possible blue lightning shot from my boots.

Good thing I wasn’t holding the popcorn.

About Ariella

Ariella Moon writes about magic, friendship, and love in Spell Check and Spell Struck, Books One & Two in The Teen Wytche Saga from Astraea Press. After a childhood spent searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia, Ariella grew up to become an author and shaman. Extreme math anxiety, and taller students who mistook her for a leaning post, marred Ariella’s teen years. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. She now lives a nearly normal life with her extraordinary daughter, shamelessly spoiled dog, and an enormous dragon.

 

Buy Links

Astraea Press

http://www.astraeapress.com/#!/~/product/category=662245&id=25881125

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Spell+Struck+by+Ariella+Moon&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3ASpell+Struck+by+Ariella+Moon

Thanks Ariella for sharing your new release with us! It certainly sounds intriguing!

Posted in Guest Author, promotion

Please welcome Author Heidi Nicole Bird as she shares her New Release “Ontario” with us!

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’ve got Heidi Nicole Bird with us today and she’s sharing her new release “Ontario” with us! But wait there’s more! She’s also sharing her thoughts on bringing characters to life, so you’ll want to keep on reading until the end! She’s got some great stuff for us! 🙂

Take it away Heidi!

Ontario final ebook cover“Don’t worry, Ontario, I’ll never leave you. You will always have me here to protect you and your brother.”

Those words from a childhood memory would haunt Ontario Stratton for the rest of her life. Losing her father had been difficult enough, but her life would change even more drastically at the beginning of her senior year of high school. Only weeks into the school year Mrs. Stratton abandons her two children for a more carefree way of living. Suddenly thrown into a very different life, Ontario clings to her brother Eddy, her new legal guardian, and to no one else. Could she trust anyone anymore? Even her best friend isn’t there for her. . .

In order to feel like less of a burden on her brother, Ontario gets a job at the local fifties-style diner. It is there that she meets her new “family,” including the oh-so-intriguing Austin, the only one who can help her truly heal. In time, Ontario discovers that Austin has his own demons, and that he needs her just as much as she needs him. Some things in Ontario’s life begin to come together again, but others continue to fall apart. Though her world seems to be breaking, she is introduced to a kind of happiness she has never known before, and her new found friends show her that maybe, just maybe, she can learn to love again.

Keep reading and learn how Heidi brings these characters to life!

                               Bringing Your Characters to Life

One of the things that really makes a book for me is a good character. Maybe that sounds like a “duh” sort of thing to say, but hear me out. I have read fabulous stories with fabulous characters, but I’ve also read some really great stories that didn’t quite make it to the “fabulous” category because the characters had something lacking. For me, the story could be fantastic and the author could be well known, but if the characters in the story aren’t that great, then it’s likely that I won’t pick up that book again.  Here’s the thing: characters make the story. Even if you have a great story idea it won’t seem great to your readers if your characters aren’t memorable. Creating great characters that my audience will love is one thing I really try hard to do, so I thought I’d share some thoughts on just how you go about creating a great character.

  1. Name – Okay, let me share my philosophy on names for a second. I like creating new and unique names as much as the next author, but I also think you can go way too far with that. If there’s one thing that distracts me during a story it is a writer who makes all the names so different that I can’t remember who the characters are. I do like unique names, I do! But, if every single character in your book has a name nobody has ever heard before it gets hard for your reader to keep them all straight, especially when the name doesn’t make it clear that the character is male or female. You probably won’t run into this problem as much if your book has few characters, but lots of characters with unique names = bad stuff.
  1. Looks – Another thing that bothers me is when I make it through a book without ever knowing what the author intended the main character to look like. Honestly, I may not even make it through the book if that happens. As the author you already know what all of your characters look like, but don’t forget that your readers don’t! This doesn’t mean you should randomly stop the flow of the story to give a detailed description of each character, but it does mean that you need to incorporate details into your narration. This goes the same for gender as well. Make sure you establish the gender of your characters, especially if your main character is telling the story.
  1. Personality – For me this is the biggest thing. Your characters have to be different. They have to have quirks. Maybe one character likes to make fancy little doilies and another one likes to watch pro-wrestling when kids are asleep. Whatever it is, your characters need to have depth. They need to have identifying characteristics or they won’t be memorable. Think about people in your own life. I bet you could pick someone, anyone, and think of personality traits that are unique to them, things that set them apart. That’s what you need to do with your characters. It’s great to have a character who is confident and happy all the time, but think about how boring it would be if all your characters were like that! Unless your story is about clones then make sure your characters are different, identifiable, and memorable.
  1. Flaws – This is another thing I think is very important. Sure, everybody likes a Super Man, but honestly, even he had his flaws. Your characters can’t be perfect or they won’t be believable, and neither will your story. If everything goes flawlessly for your character then there is something wrong. Nobody’s life is like that, so your readers will have nothing to connect to. Create weaknesses in your character. As bad as that sounds, you need to do it. They can’t be rock solid. Something has to make them breakdown, make them seem human.
  1. Keep your Readers Learning – Let me explain. When you first experience a character you need to know some basic things about them, as was discussed in point number 2, but you can’t, and shouldn’t tell everything about your character right from the get go. Well, I suppose you could if you really wanted to, but that would make for a rather interesting beginning to your story, which would start to sound more like a biography. You don’t want to go too far in the other direction either though. If your character can be completely described in a few sentences then you definitely have some fleshing out to do. Do your initial introduction at the beginning of your story, or wherever they enter the picture, and then throughout the story let your readers get to know them better. It’s just like when you first meet someone who later becomes your best friend. By the time you are best friends surely you have learned more about then than you did during your first meeting.

I’ve only covered five things in this list, but I think each of them are important to consider. I also think there are many other things that need to be thought about when creating character. As overwhelming as it seems, making a great, believable, relatable character isn’t that hard. Just try it out, using these tips, or other ones. As an exercise, think about your favorite book character. Analyze that character and make a list of why you like them so much, then try making a character of your own. The better your characters are, the better your story will be.

 

***Sorry about the numbers above, I copied and pasted this from Word and I can’t seem to get the numbers corrected in WordPress….thanks for your patience! 🙂

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Author Photo 300 DPIAuthor Bio

Heidi Nicole Bird has been writing for as long as she can remember and it is her favorite thing in the world. Heidi is a regular NaNoWriMo participant and is mostly a young adult fantasy writer, but also likes to write juvenile fiction and other genres. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Brigham Young University and she looks forward to exploring the genre of historical fiction. Heidi lives in Utah with her family and three dogs, and loves working from home as a full time writer.

Also by Heidi Nicole Bird, Through the Paper Wall

http://www.amazon.com/Through-the-Paper-Wall-ebook/dp/B00BF1MNT4

Links:

www.facebook.com/HeidiNicoleBird

www.twitter.com/HeidiNicoleBird

http://heidinicolebird.blogspot.com/

Links to Ontario:

Paperback                                       Kindle Store

Ontario on Goodreads

Thanks Heidi for sharing your wisdom with us and being a guest today!

Please leave a comment for Heidi and share your thoughts with us! We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in promotion

I’ve Won a Blogger Award!!

 

lovelyblogjpg

 

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! Well I’ve been tagged by Joselyn Vaughn to receive the “Lovely Blog Award”!  Whoo Hoo! For me! Thanks Joselyn for thinking of me.  If you get a minute and are looking for a great sweet romance stop by Joselyn’s blog and check out her books. You can find them here:  http://joselynvaughn.wordpress.com/

Now on to the seven random facts about myself.

1)    I love to hike through the woods all year round but especially in the fall. I love the sound of walking through the leaves that have fallen on the ground.

2)    I have one can of Mountain Dew first thing in the morning, to jump start my day. 🙂 I know…veeerrrry veeerrry bad. 🙂

3)    I love to go to the movies and I love movie theater popcorn!

4)    I love early morning when everyone else is still asleep and I can watch the sun come up. It’s very peaceful.

5)    I love listening to my kids talk when they don’t know I’m listening. They’re at a fun age and their conversations are so sweet and innocent.

6)    I miss my dad. He passed away twelve years ago and I feel sad that my kids never got to know him.

7)    I love the beach and someday I would love to live near the ocean.

And now I’m passing this award on to these awesome authors and bloggers! Check out their books for some great reads! You won’t be disappointed!

Sharon Ledwith   http://sharonledwith.com/

Tanya Eavenson   http://www.tanyaeavenson.com/

Graeme Ing      http://www.graemeing.com/

 

Thanks for stopping by and sharing my award with me!