Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's A Scary Journey


Two days ago I did the unthinkable: I sent two queries to two different agents.
I'm not revealing who these agents are because I'm secretly afriad that I'll jinx everything and it would go horrible but just know they're agents.

It was scary and and exciting. After I sent the first letter I started crying because I could not believe I was at this point of my writing journey. To be honest, it's scarier that in it exciting because it's the first time I've put myself out there, plain and simple and ready to take the punches (and they will come).

I'm proud of myself and want to keep my head in the ground and just enjoy the moment. I'm not expecting anything and I know my writing has yet a lot of room to grow but PAPER ANGELS is my baby, you know?

Naturally, after I sent the queries, I keep thinking of all the things that I could have done wrong and all the things I could have made better. Did I spell my name right? Did I spell the agent's name right? What if the agent gets mad that my query appears in their inbox? Will they care if I'm from Puerto Rico?

All these thoughts and more crossed my mind and I had tot take a breather. I had to close my eyes and think that what's done is done and I should be proud of myself...right? What do I have to lose? Nothing. Yet I have so much to gain. I'm still young and still have a lot of life ahead of me. Life is nothing without risks, after all.

I'm glad to have you all here in this crazy journey with me and I hope you stick around for the wild ride that's just beginning.


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

At First Sight:
I have to be honest, when I first received an email for this book I was slightly creeped by the cover and the premise. I thought this was going to be one of those awkwardly creepy books where you just don't know what's happening and the narrator is some weird loner. But I was intrigued nevertheless and thought, why not? So I accepted and here are my thoughts.

My Thoughts:
I have to start with the title. Weird and catchy at the same time. But when I received this book in the mail, the packaging was simply fantastic. It looked like an old-new photo album with embossed pages, beautiful colors and designs. I think it's the prettiest book I have on my shelf.

When I started reading, I didn't expect how much I'd like it. Jacob is a true teenage voice and the narration is beautiful. Ransom Riggs did an incredible job bringing every single character and situation to life. In fact, he did such a wonderful job that at one point you start wondering if any of it is actually real and not fantasy.

The plot was fantastic, too. Like I said, I wasn't expecting anything that I'd enjoy but I was wonderfully surprised. I'm such a historylover that I adored the historic bits of the story. It had enough mystery to intrigue you but not so much that it would creep you out and you'd have to put it down.

AND THAT ENDING! It's a wonderful (see, I keep using adjectives?) cliffhanger that makes me yearn for the next installment NOW.

Overall, it was lovely (OH NO I KEEP USING ADVERBS) surprise. I LOVED IT!

In One Sentence:
It doesn't seem like it at first sight, but ANYONE can enjoy this book. It's eerily fantastic.

Okay, that was two sentences. See how good it was??

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

Monday, June 20, 2011

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Water For Elephants

Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.

Jacob was there because his luck had run out - orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive 'ship of fools'. It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn't have an act - in fact, she couldn't even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

At First Sight:
I learned about this book through the movie. Like most movies made from books, I'd rather read the book before I get to see the movie. Lucky for me, the movie had already left theaters when I got the chance to buy this book so I was able to read it without being tempted. To be honest, the book didn't interest me that much by the cover. I mean, circus and elephants? what? But OMG was I wrong.

My Thoughts:
The Prologue is like, mind-blowing. You know that from the very beginning this book will be beautiful. The writing from the very first sentence is fantastic and the imagery that is created I was wary of a female writer narrating as a male adult but Jacob's voice was very manly and real.

We learn about how Jacob has lost his parents and he decides to simply go. Feeling his life has turned for the worse, he runs away and ends up in a train car where he meets curious people. At first, Jacob is a bit shy and curious yet he's sure of who he is and what he's able to do. Very respectful, I loved that.

He meets Marlena, a beautiful woman who is also the wife of his boss. He ends up falling in love with her. I loved the development of the romance. You have to squint a little to see it in the beginning but it grows and it's very beautiful and magical.

Water for Elephants is a masterpiece that is so unexpected. You really don't expect such a book to come from between those pages. Everything is woven and written to perfection and I just...fell in love with it. I can't wait to see the movie now.

In One Sentence:
Unexpected and Beautiful!

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

Friday, June 17, 2011


Sorry for the big bold header I wanted to get your attention.

Now that I've got it I want to tell you that I am officially done with edits for my novel, PAPER ANGELS. As is usual, my thoughts are better expressed in lists:

01. I started this novel during NaNo 2009 and finished shortly after. I've been working on it ever since.

02. It's been through around 4 rounds of editing/re-writing. I have to admit, editing is not my favorite part. I love the sense of freedom and open-mindedness of just writing the novel and pouring out all thoughts.

03. I already have an account at Query Tracker where I've listed the first five to seven agents I want to query. Before I do this, though, I'm going to research them further and read everything I can read about them to make sure they're a good fit for me.

04. I'm excited but I don't want to be. I don't want to have big expectations and then have them shattered after querying to many people and then being rejected. I'm usually very big-dreams-big-fall kind of person.


Interview with Elise Allen, author of Populazzi.

Today we're pleased to have author Elise Allen, writer of POPULAZZI. Welcome Elise!

01. Populazzi portrays a fairly common high school experience: a girl wants to start fresh and hopefully make it to the top of the social ladder. Are any of the events in Populazzi based on real events of your life?

No. Sadly, my life in high school was nowhere near as interesting as Cara’s!

02. If there were to make a movie out of Populazzi, who would you pick to play the characters?

I am obsessed with the idea of Darren Criss as Nate. I’m reasonably obsessed with Darren Criss in general, quite obsessed with the Warblers’ CD, and wildly obsessed with Kurt and Blaine as a couple (I’m talking Glee, btw), so this casting choice might not be a huge shock to anyone who knows me.

However, Nate is unlike Blaine in every way, and I think it would be a very exciting chance for Criss to show a different side of himself. I believe he’d pull it off brilliantly. And if he somehow gets wind of this, I hereby promise not to totally gleek out on him when and if we actually meet.

03. Are there any rutines that you have when writing? For example, writing with music or in a designated place?

I usually write best with my noise-cancelling headphones on, and Pandora (the internet radio station) blaring in my ears. When I try to write without the music, it’s much harder. Occasionally, the characters have trouble speaking to me over the music, and I have to turn it off to hear their voices. That tends to happen in later drafts, when I’m really finessing things and have to pay very close attention to my characters or I’ll miss something. I know that sounds twisted, but it’s really how it works for me.

04. What insipres you to write?

Everything! I’m fascinated by why people do what they do, and I have an over-active imagination, so I tend to spin out all kinds of scenarios, and suddenly there’s a story. Or sometimes it’s a situation that fascinates me first, and I wonder what in the world happened to get all the players into that particular place... and soon there’s a story.

The stories are all surface-y at first, but once I jump into one and dedicate myself to it, that’s when I dive deep and start fleshing things out. When that happens, I’m hooked, and I want to know more and more and get to the real meat of the story, so I can both figure it out for myself, and also share it with other people.

05. Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring writers?

It’s been said a zillion times, but it’s so true. Read like crazy, and write like crazy. I’ve been a voracious reader for as long as I can remember, and nothing feeds a love of stories like reading. As for writing, I had my first short story “published” in a school newsletter when I was in 3rd or 4th grade, and I’ve been at it ever since. Everything you write helps you learn the craft and improve.

As you get ready to move from writing for your own pleasure to writing with an eye to getting published, it’s helpful to read advice from the masters. My favorites are Stephen King’s “On Writing” and Anne Lamott’s “Bird By Bird,” both of which are absolutely brilliant – I wish I’d read both long before I did.

06. Finally, can we expect any new books from you soon? What are you working on now?

Oh, I hope so! Next out is “Devoted,” which I co-wrote with Hilary Duff. It’s the sequel to “Elixir,” and it comes out in October. As for my solo books, there are two I’m working on right now, but neither has a publication date as of yet. When it does, I’ll let you know!

In the meantime, I’m working on a passion project:, which will go live ideally by the middle of the month. The big concept behind it is that while Cara, my Populazzi MC, thinks the road to popularity requires she turn herself inside out to become what people want to see, the true road to popularity is harder and scarier. It involves being yourself, honestly and fearlessly. is all about helping people do that, with features like real Hollywood stylists offering custom advice to readers who write in with questions; tips from professionals in fashion, beauty, organization, and fitness; and stories of wildly successful people in cool careers, and how their high school experience made them what they are today.

Thanks so much for the interview, Patty! I so appreciate you taking the time to chat with me, and to feature “Populazzi”!

P.S. You can see my review of Populazzi here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nine Rules To Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake

A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried - and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing.

But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss - to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston - charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all - the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love..

At First Sight:
I saw this book a year (or two) ago on The Story Siren and it got a great review. I'm not much of a romance reader but when it was presented to me, I took it up and started reading it.

My Thoughts:
Callie is a delightful character who is much like most of us. She's said to be a helpless spinster now that her peak of age has dwindled. But it is not until she takes a wild dare and kisses the notorious rake, the Marques of Ralston.

What follows is an adventurous, romantic, steamy tale of how two people who cannot be any more different from each other, finally not find company but find themselves once again. It is a classic tale of romance depicted in a beautiful setting. Readers of historical romances won't be disappointed.

In One Sentence:
"Steamy and fun!"

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

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Are You Going To Kiss Me Now? by Sloane Tanen

Are You Going To Kiss Me Now?

High school junior Francesca Manning is an outsider, an aspiring writer and secret devourer of celebrity gossip mags. A fake essay to Seventeen wins her the celeb-schmoozing opportunity of a lifetime, but after the plane crashes, she's stranded on a desert island with five of the most clueless, self-involved headcases to escape Hollywood. Happily skewering their foibles in witty observations on her iPhone proves surprisingly educational for Francesca. The group must work together to survive-if they don't insult each other to death first.

At First Sight:
The concept of this book is strangely hilarious. I mean, who would get stranded on a desert island with five other celebrities? I was attracted by the fact that it seemed very funny and just interesting. I wanted to know where Francesca would end and how everything would play out.

My Thoughts:
I picked up the book and I couldn't put it down at first. Sloane's voice is real and addictive. It's like talking to your best friend. I couldn't help but think about one of my favorite authors that achieves the same sort of feeling, Meg Cabot. I liked how the beginning moved. It was nicely paced and definitely laugh out loud funny. Francesca and her best friend, Jordan, are like two peas in a pot. Their addiction to texting is much like mine and my friend's and their relationship was very believable.

Towards the middle and end of the book I started feeling less and less excited. Of course, they were stranded in a desert island and those celebrities aren't really smart but I kept waiting for them to have redeeming qualities that would make them feel like real people and not empty-headed bimbos. I mean, we all know celebrities have lives but we don't actually see much of that, right? I expected Sloane Tannen to show us that real, emotional, sensitive side of the celebrities but it never came. It also seemed to me like they kept going over the same things again and again. The end was a bit rushed for me but it had a nice surprise that I loved and it closed the book in a good satisfying way.

Overall, I think the book's greatest strength is its humor. The characters are not ocean-deep and I've always been huge on characters. But this book is so entertaining and nicely paced that you almost forget about it. It's the type of book you'd bring to the beach because it's definitely light hearted and sort of that summery fun feel.

In one sentence:
"Laugh out loud funny!"

Plot: 4
Characters: 3
Writing: 4
Cover: 4
Overall Feeling: 4
Average: 3.8 stars


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