Thursday, December 30, 2010

Special Thank You

I want to say thank you to author Holly Schindler who sent me a lovely Christmas surprise.

I received it in the mail and was super happy. It's a note, a Playing Hurt button and a signed bookmark. EEP!

The Vampire Diaires (The Awakening) by L.J. Smith

Vampire Diaries (The Awakening)
Elena: the golden girl, the leader, the one who can have any boy she wants.

Stefan: brooding and mysterious, he seems to be the only one who can resist Elena, even as he struggles to protect her from the horrors that haunt his past.

Damon: sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him. Determined to have Elena, he'd kill to possess her.

Collected here in one volume for the first time, volumes one and two of The Vampire Diaries, the tale of two vampire brothers and the beautiful girl torn between them

At First Sight:
This wouldn't have happened if I hadn't seen the show, to be honest. But ever since I started watching it, I was intrigued to know more. So I've been wanting to get this one for a while and finally, I read the first book.

My Thoughts:
So I went into this both knowing that I had a pre-formed idea of the show and that it was very different from the show. Of course, I tried to separate myself from the show as much as possible because I didn't want my feelings for the show to influence my feelings for the literature itself.

Thankfully, the most resemblance to the book that the show has is the first episode, and not even that.

Elena at first is not very likable. She's the queen-bee-gotta-have-it-all girl that not many people like. But then you begin to enter into this character and you discover somethings that make her more...human and likable.

And then there's Stefan, dark and brooding. He's a gentleman in all senses possible and he truly does love Elena and Elena, inexplicably, loves him.

My favorite character (in the book) so far is Matt. Matt is the boy next door who is really nice and sweet. We kind of start feeling a bit sorry for him and although some may argue that he's not right for Elena, he really cares and loves her enough to respect the fact that they don't belong together anymore.

And of course, I LOVE DAMON! We really don't 'get to know him' in this first installment but I was trying to pick up some clues for the future and although I spoiled have to book to myself, I really hope that, in the end, she ends up with Damon.

I just love guys who are so messed up, what's wrong with me? Psychopath with no redeemable qualities? MY GUY!

Oh, and then I have to talk about the plot, naturally. Well, let me tell you, it's a pretty quick-paced book. I read it in about two days and I found it was pretty fun to read so I will definitely be reading the rest of the series. It has enough mystery to keep everyone intrigued for a long time.

In one sentence:
"DAMON! But that doesn't really count, right? I mean he doesn't 'appear' that much in this book." (That was more than one sentence, sorry!)

Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Books for Christmas

So, of course, it was natural for me to get a bunch of books this Christmas, because, hello, right? So, I haven't taken pictures but here's the list of the books I got (between being actual gifts, or books that I bought with the gift cards).

01. Style by Lauren Conrad (I know, don't say anything, please? I love Lauren and her sense of fashion is amazing. I'm a fashion girl, what can I say?)
02. The Vampire Diaires Volume 1 by L.J. Smith (I'm obsessed with the show and I HAD to have this)
03. Envy (Luxe #3) by Anne Godbersen (I haven't finished the series but it's just scandalous so I had to buy this.
04. Under The Dome by Stephen King (Now, I haven't read a Stephen King book ever but this one has been in the back of my mind for a while so I took the chance. You know, because reading 1000+ pages to start out with an author isn't a big deal--whish me luck!)
05. L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad (So I know, two Conrad books, right? But I like Lauren and I've been debating this one for a while and I couldn't put it off until much later.)

So you see, I'm finally reading the books that've been sitting in my TBR list for a while and hoping to dwindle those down. Of course, I have a bunch more that I'm dying to get but I'll keep you updated.

What did you get?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly


BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

I bought this book

At First Sight
I fell in love with this cover, even if the blurb didn't grip me right away, the cover is just absolutely fantastic. I literally couldn't get it off my mind for days. And then, when my daddy told me I could buy a book in my Kindle, there was no other choice but this one.

My Thoughts
If I was apprehensive of this book at first, that went away as fast as I can blink. The prose is so poetic, painful, and beautiful, almost like a drug, completely addictive. Andi was a hard character to sympathize with but once you get to know her, she's the sweetest most mature person ever. She has a hard time dealing with her brother's death and that's completely understandable.

Now, if you don't fall in love with Virgil, you have a cold heart. He was funny, artistic, poetic, and so real. The relationship between Andi and Virgil develops in a very natural way, unraveling itself as if it was meant to be.

I loved reading Alex's diary along with Andi. I felt the same thrill and curiosity every time the entries were narrated. Andi is a lot like me, very ambitious, a bit selfish, but she has her heart set on saving the boy who she loved, and that, is real loyalty.

The end has a great and amazing plot twist and I honestly won't spoil it for you but it was amazing.

In one sentence:
"Breathtakingly beautiful."

Plot: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Characters: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5

Monday, December 20, 2010

Elixir by Hilary Duff


Clea Raymond lives an extraordinary life. The daughter of renowned surgeon and a prominent Washington DC figure, she has been in the spotlight her entire life. Followed by the paparazzi, she resents the attention that is lavished on her for her looks alone because she has so much more to offer.p

Clea Raymond has a unique gift. A proficient photographer, in all her pictures, there is little something extra, and it's not just a result of her talented eye. There is always an extra photo that she didn't take. And, as she discovered at a young age, those photos always lead to a place where some tragedy is about to occur that Clea can prevent.p

Two years ago, her father disappeared while on a humanitarian mission and is presumed dead, but that doesn't stop Clea and her mother from continuing to do good throughout the world. On one such trip to Columbia, she meets Race, the guide for the trip. She feels a connection to him but cannot explain why. Was it something in their past or possibly in their past lives? Whatever has brought them together is threatning to tear them apart forever. As the mystery of her father's disappearance unravels, Clea discover that she has powers that are bigger than anything she could have anticipated.

At First Sight:
ANOTHER celebrity book? Are you kidding me? *looks at the back cover* Hm... It seems interesting enough but I wouldn't...I couldn't...Maybe...

My Thoughts:
So I did.

It was amazing how this book had a good plot line that didn't seem to base itself on the fabulous life of young starlets. Clea is a well-rounded character and the rest of this cast is so amazingly believable. My first thought was, "She couldn't have written THIS."

But whether or not Hilary Duff wrote the book, the person who did deserves good props. The book is well written and has a great mix of suspense, mystery, and romance. My favorite part? The historical 'flashbacks' and the paranormal hint of it. It was a unique plot and I like how the book just ended with a cliff hanger.

The least that I could say is that it caught me off guard and surprised me.

The most I could say?

It was amazing and I can't wait to read the next book. When is it coming out, anyways?

I usually read the acknowledgment page to get a good feel of the author and this one looked pretty legit and down to earth so I hope that Hilary Duff wrote this because if she did, she has a greater talent than singing and acting (and in my honest opinion, she seems like a nice person but not convincing in neither singing or acting).

I'll be getting the next book for sure.

Overall, I know I didn't say much about this book but it has some great plot twists that I don't want to give away. It's paranormal enough for paranormal fans and romantic enough for romance fans. I really liked it.

In one sentence:
"Surprisingly good!"

Plot: 5
Writing: 4
Characters: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 4.8 stars

Monday, December 6, 2010

Author Interview: Christine Schulze

Today, author Christine Schulze is stopping by to have a chat with us!

About the Author
Christine E. Schulze has been creating books since she was too young to even write them in words. The stories from Bloodmaiden: A Fantasy Anthology are only a small part of her vast twenty-seven book collection, The Amielian Legacy. She hopes to inspire readers throughout the world with these books by publishing in both traditional and electronic formats to make them available to all readers.

Christine has published several stories with Calliope and Kalkion magazines and is an active member of the WEbook online writing community. She has also published several Christian/fantasy books which are available at various online retailers, as well as publishing several eBooks via Writers-Exchange. Her latest and most exciting venture is landing a contract for her novel Bloodmaiden with Old Line Publishing.

Christine currently lives in Shiloh, Illinois with her Mom, three dogs and a rabbit.

1. What first got you into writing?

Honestly, I’ve been making books since I was too young to write them, when I was probably about three or four. Those books were just pictures, of course. When I was around four or five, I actually wrote my first book called Jonny to the Rescue, which has ultimately spawned the existence of one of my current series, The Legends of Surprisers.

I suppose then it’s just something I’ve always done. I consider it a God-given gift that I’m meant to do something great with someday. I love creating fantasy worlds, new races and creatures, deep characters with multiple story-lines all twisting together in an intricate and intriguing plot. I love painting rich imagery so readers can see and feel exactly what I do. I write for myself and hope others will like it too, and I write for my readers because, though I would write even if no one read my work, I have not done my part if no one ever reads my books. But, if at least one person reads and is inspired, I have done my part.

I just love everything about the craft and really hope to use my books to inspired readers around the world someday.

2. How is your typical writing routine like?

“Routine” is actually probably an awful word to use, at least compared to other writers. I’ve heard so many say that writing is to be this agonizing, toiling craft; so many writers are never satisfied with their craft, and it can be hard putting what they see in their head on the page. Many writers also have a set amount they must write everyday.

I’m not like these writers at all. I don’t box myself into a required quota, I don’t consider writing pain-staking, and I only write stories I’m really into, so I’m always pleased with my results! There’s been a couple times that a story really sucked, but I polished it up into something I loved. As for the writing itself, I write what I’m inspired to write, when God inspires me. It comes as naturally as breathing; if I force it, it doesn’t work. So, one day I might write a few chapters, the next day a single scene, the next day a brilliant sentence I came up with, and then might not pick up the book again until two weeks later.

Thus, I don’t write the book in order from start to finish either. I often have the beginning and end done before all the middle; I often like to have an idea of where the main plot is going, at least for the most part, before starting a new book—unless I have an idea for a really great scene that just must be written. Then, later, I might actually develop the book around that scene.

Moods are important too. If I am in the mood to write an action-packed chapter which doesn’t come until chapter 13, I’ll write that and wait until I’m in the mood to write romantic chapter 9.

So, while I am perhaps a very sporadic writer, it works, because when I AM inspired, I write fast. The only thing I usually have to make myself sit down and think about is when I’m trying to connect two story-lines or ideas which don’t seem to have to do with each other—I love doing this; it adds so much complexity and intricacy—or when I’m done with most of the book, all the important scenes, and just have to come up with what I call “filler”, the in-between bits which connect various scenes and make them flow into one another.

3. Can you describe BLOODMAIDEN in one sentence?

An honest answer would be “no”, actually. ^_^

This is the question I always cheat on (sorry, though thanks for not asking me to describe in three words; that one was definitely not going to happen); the best I can give is Bloodmaiden’s tagline, so without further ado:

Four dynasties. Four aria. One brilliant quest.

4. If BLOODMAIDEN were made into a movie, who would you cast?

I am SO thrilled you asked this question! I have always envisioned some of my books becoming movies someday and really, truly hope they do. When I get an idea for a scene, I see it so visually in my head, playing out like a cinematic experience, and then I transcribe what I see onto the page. Some writers have difficulty writing down what they see the way they see it, but God has thankfully blessed me so that I have never had a problem with this. Even as a kid, it came naturally, and many of my readers—especially those who have read Bloodmaiden—have commented that one thing they really enjoy about my books is the imagery, emotion, and my ability to really place the readers in whatever world I’ve created.

All that rabbit-trail completed, I think Bloodmaiden could make for a great film, between its lush worlds and moments of heart-pounding emotion—if done right. I’d want an expert like Peter Jackson on the sets, if possible. As far as actors, well, ever since I was a kid, I always said Elijah Wood had to be in one of my movies. This was when I was around twelve or so and created a character in his honor in my book Loz: Zephyr’s Islands. As for Bloodmaiden, he might do really well as Chalom since I know from Lord of the Rings that he looks adorable with curly hair. BUT, despite his eternal youthfulness, he might still be told for the role at this point. I think he might fair well as Brydon though, or another idea would be if the movie was animated. I always thought it might be cool for some of my movies to be 3-D anime, like in video games, such as Final Fantasy or my favorite Legend of Zelda. Then, Elijah Wood could do all the voice acting he liked...

If it was live cast though, besides Lij, I would need a very sweet, innocent, naive young girl to play Crisilin, as well as someone who displayed a wide array of emotions very well. A younger version of Liv Tyler would please me, if there was such a one. It’s difficult to say, because I always imagined Chalom and Crisilin as being thirteen; but Hollywood might deem that inappropriate and make them at least sixteen. Perhaps Emma Watson? She’s still very youthful and very gorgeous, but with a sweet look about her. She might also work well as Pan though; with her new haircut, she proves she would make an excellent pixie!

Some other possible good choices for Crisilin might include Saoirse Ronan, Sarah Bolger, Joey King, or Selena Gomez (if she could be blonde; she’s so cute!)

5. What advice do you have for young writers today?

Persevere and be patient!

Patience is killer, but very key. While Bloodmaiden is published by a small press, a lot of my other works are self-published. This has been a great and fn experience, and I consider them of just as high quality as Bloodmaiden, having had the chance to work with editors and thoroughly polish them. However, I still hope to get into a major publisher to help get my name out there, and that truly will take time and patience.

Also, keep learning and polishing your craft. Learn the market, learn “the game”, if you will, what it takes to write a successful query or proposal and how to really get your foot in the door. Even if you think you’re not the best out there, you have to market yourself as such, so confidence too is key. Having learned so much through self-publishing and publishing with smaller presses, I feel much more prepared in terms of writing a query and polishing a manuscript to present to an agent. You can always be educating yourself, practicing, and improving. With each new book I write, I find it amazing sometimes the progress and improvements my writing has made.

6. Finally, what are you currently working on?

It is surprising to say I’m really not working on a book right now. For those who know me well, they might ask to take my temperature at this point. Especially as a kid, I was always working on a slue of books at once. I did just finish up my first-ever fan fiction, Silent Hero, which is based on Nintendo’s epic Legend of Zelda games, my favorites, and which is available as a free ebook on sites such as Smashwords.

As for serious projects though, I’m trying not to write but instead work on promotion Bloodmaiden as well as my up-and-coming second release with Old Line Publishing, Tears of a Vampire Prince: the First Krystine. I have, however, just finished re-editting a middle grade fantasy of mine called The Last Star. In a few months, I should be ready to start submitting to agents. I have self-published and published with both small presses and ebooks. I’ve truly enjoyed the experience and learned so much from it; now, it’s finally time to use what I’ve learned to keep climbing up the ladder and hopefully obtain for myself an agent, a first step into the world of big publishing, probably the best way at this point to really get my name known and be taken seriously.

Here’s a blurb of The Last Star:

There were no Stars in Novalight that fateful night; they had all been extinguished save for one: and if Olette, THE LAST STAR, were to lose her Starfire too, then all the land would be consumed by Shadow—and the very world would come to an uncertain end.

Thankfully, the work of the Shadows goes yet unfinished. Hope remains solely in Olette, the tiny winged fox who flies into ten-year-old Christya’s bedroom that dark night. As a Backwards Star, Olette’s life source—her Starfire—cannot easily be snuffed out like all the others in Novalight. Being the smallest and youngest of the Stars, can Olette take up the position of Blue Star and unravel the mysteries of Star Appointment? Can she help Christya and her other new friends discover the truth behind their parents’ disappearances? Together, can they overcome the Shadows with their newfound powers before every last Star vanishes from the sky? Combining the magnificence of the heavens with the allure of magic to create a charming adventure, THE LAST STAR is more than an enchanting tale of light against darkness: it is a story of friendship and forgiveness, one that shows how even the smallest person can become a light of hope after all the others have gone out.

Thanks to Jonny for helping me craft an excellent blurb and query letter. ^_^

Well, that about wraps things up. Thanks so much to Patty for having me here; I truly enjoyed it and hope you will all take the chance sometimes to experience Bloodmaiden and other of my work.

God bless and happy reading!

We are glad to have had you, Christine, and we hope that you will stay in contact. The review for BLOODMAIDEN will be up soon.


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