Friday, April 27, 2012

Catching Fire Book Review

From Goodreads: Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol-- a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before... and surprising readers at every turn.


My review: I loved Hunger Games. As soon as I finished, I left to go see the movie. That night, I opened Catching Fire on my Nook. I read it just as quickly as I did the first book. I absolutely loved Hunger Games, and I thoroughly enjoyed Catching Fire although I thought it was a little slow in the beginning but when it picked up, boy did it pick up!


I loved how Katniss and Peeta and Gale remained true to their characters throughout the story At reading Hunger Games, I was Team Peeta. During different parts of Catching Fire, I kept switching teams. I also loved one of the new characters - Finnick. I even liked Johanna.


I wasn't sure that Suzanne Collins would be able to keep up the fast-paced action and the thrilling roller coaster ride but she definitely succeeded with this volume. I loved that we got to see the different districts. And Rue's poor family...


One thing that irked me? The ending. Or wait, I should say the non-ending. Because the book doesn't end. It just...stops. If there's one thing I hate, it's reading stories in a series that aren't complete books. The overarching storyline obviously isn't going to be tied up in the first or second book in a trilogy but they should still have a legit ending. I thoroughly enjoyed The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong but the ending ruined it. She just stopped the book in the middle of the story. That's not an ending. I haven't picked up the rest of the books in the trilogy because I was so annoyed by the non-ending.


What did you think of Catching Fire? I already can't wait for the movie to come out!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Live and Let Fly Blog Tour

An act of Magic.  The Threat of Armagheddon.  The universes have one chance for survival, and one dragon to do the job. 

Live and Let Fly Blurb:

For a dragon detective with a magic-slinging nun as a partner, saving the worlds gets routine. So, when the US government hires Vern and Sister Grace to recover stolen secrets for creating a new Interdimensional Gap--secrets the US would like to keep to itself, thank you—Vern sees a chance to play Dragon-Oh-Seven.
No human spy, however, ever went up against a Norse goddess determined to exploit those secrets to rescue her husband. Sigyn will move heaven and earth to get Loki—and use the best and worst of our world against anyone who tries to stop her.
It's super-spy spoofing at its best with exotic locations (Idaho--exotic?), maniacal middle-managers, secret agent men, teen rock stars in trouble, man-eating animatronics, evil overlords and more!

Excerpt:

Festival was Friday. We had two days to stop a Nordic demigod evil overlord—overlady, overbeing, whatever—from blowing up a nuclear power plant, possibly destroying half an island full of revelers in the process, and creating an Interdimensional Gap through which she can bring the rest of her giant relatives to set up housekeeping where the Faerie Catholic Church didn't have the power to control them. In other words, two days until Hel broke loose.
I've had worse deadlines. I could afford a long bath in our whirlpool tub and a good meal first.




Bio:

Winner of the 2010 INDIE for best Fantasy (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem) and a Mensa Owl for best fiction (World Gathering), Karina Fabian’s writing takes quirky twists that keep her--and her fans--amused. Nuns working in space, a down-and-out Faerie dragon working off a geas from St. George,  zombie exterminators—there’s always a surprise in Fabian’s worlds. Mrs. Fabian teaches writing and book marketing seminars online.

Find Karina at:



Find Live and Let Fly at:


http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=377&category_id=151&keyword=karina&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1

Clue: Vern drives an ATV.

Checklist for Characters in your Manuscript

Since so many of you enjoyed the checklist I wrote last week, I decided to make up more for various aspects of writing. This week, it's all about your characters.

1. Are your characters likeable? (Or unlikeable if they're supposed to be not liked?)
2. Are your characters relateable?
3. Does your MC grow throughout the story? (A great way to check this is to think of your character at the end of the story and place them in the opening scene. If he or she would react differently, then your MC definitely changed.)
4. Do your characters stay true to themselves?
5. Do your characters react to situations as one would aspect based on their personality? Or is there a reason why they don't?
6. Are your characters cliche?
7. Are your character multidimensional?
8. Do your characters have flaws? Pet peeves? Quirks?
9. Are your supporting characters as developed as your primary characters?
10. Does your villain have a believable reason for their actions?
11. Are your characters compelling?
12. Are your characters sympathetic?
13. Have you given enough physical description of your characters that your readers can easily visualize them?

Be sure to come back and keep an eye on these checklists because if I think of more items to add to them, I'll updated them

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Question of the Week - Survival

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This week's questions is brought to you by the Hunger Games. Just how far are you willing to go to survive?

I don't think I could kill someone else to survive. I like to think that I would volunteer to take my sisters pace if their names had been called although I probably would have been the first one killed.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hunger Games Book Review

It's been a little while since I've posted a book review. I would love to do one a week but that's not realistic so I'll aim for at least one a month.

Because the movie came out, I desperately wanted to read the trilogy before I saw the Hunger Games movie. It didn't take me long to read the all three books.

From Goodreads: Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival.

My review: The Hunger Games was a fast-paced, well written story that grips you from the first sentence and doesn't let go. It's one of those stories that you can't get out of your head, one that haunts your dreams.

I love to read action and adventure stories. This one was definitely not lacking in action! And Katniss is a wonderful character. Peeta is so sweet, Gale a perfect best friend.

The Hunger Games touches deep subject matter. Just how far are you willing to go to survive? Would you volunteer to take someone else's place knowing that you will have to kill or be killed and will most likely die for you efforts?

Stories that I can't stop thinking about weeks after I've finished reading them make up most of my favorite stories. Hunger Games was one such story.

Have you read the Hunger Games? What did you think of it? Did you see the movie?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Checklist for First Five Pages

As writers, we know how important the first five pages are in our novels. I've put together a short checklist of question to be on the lookout for when writing/editing the beginning of your story.

1. Are the pages engaging?
2. Do you want to keep reading?
3. Is the main character likeable?
4. Are the characters not cardboard?
5. Is the scene set?
6. Can the reader picture everything?
7. Is the voice strong?
8. Is the voice consistent?
9. Is it passive/telling?
10. Is it cliche or overwritten?
11. Is the pacing too slow or too fast or just right?
12. Does the dialogue sound stilted?

I'm just about ready to send out more queries for The Princess's Treasure Hunt, but I would love to have a few more eyes on my first five pages. I'm too close to the story to be able to answer the above questions objectively. Anyone willing to take a look at them for me? I'm willing to reciprocate of course!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Question of the Week - Dreams

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What did you dream about last night?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza G*veaway Hop


Welcome to Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop! This hop is organized by Once Upon A Twilight and by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. There are more than 270 blogs participating, and it runs from 6 - 12 April!

I'm giving away winner's choice of an ebook in PDF format from my Kingdom of Arnhem trilogy! To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
Aislinn of Bairbhe dreams of becoming a lady knight to honor the death of her fallen brother. To her mother's horror, King Patrick grants Aislinn's wish and she begins her long years of training.

Despite the mockery of the other pages, and the disdain of Prince Caelan who also trains to be a knight, Aislinn commits herself to her dreams and embarks on a journey of self-discovery and bravery. Through the years, Aislinn and Caelan grow from sparring classmates to good friends. They both know that someday Caelan will marry for the sake of the kingdom, but even that cannot keep them from falling in love.

The threat of war with the Speicans is a constant threat, and one that grows more frightening as she and Caelan train toward their eventual knighthood. Aislinn has committed herself to serving Arnhem, and has promised herself as King's Champion when Caelan claims the throne. She is willing to give up everything... her childhood, her life, even her heart for Arnhem. No matter the pain it brings.
 
Sir Geoffrey, along with some companions, has been sent away from Arnhem, entrusted by Queen Aislinn for a special mission, and has to leave behind the mysterious lady Celestia. On his journey, he uncovers seeds of a sinister plot, learns a horrible secret, and makes a new friend in exile Jenanna.

Their mission completed, Geoffrey and his companions rush to two different kingdoms to ask for aid. Danger and betrayal lurks around every corner, and even allies have secrets that could prove deadly. Geoffrey's feelings for Celestia grow and wane. After learning some of Celestia's secrets, he begins to have second thoughts about his love for her and is even drawn to Jenanna.

Rumors abound that the Speicans have enlisted a mage of their own, to work unspeakable, forbidden magic. The war between Speica and Arnhem has just begun. Will Geoffrey survive the battle to live another day and discover which woman he truly loves?
The Mystical Conch Shell of the Sea has been stolen, and it's up to Selliki, the selkie, to get it back. Selliki sets across the continent of Alethereia to find Arnhem, and Gabrael, the mage she loves. Selliki knows that no union between a selkie and a human have ever had a happy ending, but neither can ignore their feelings. Each night, they experience terrible, real dreams that show how doomed their love is.

The final war between Speica and Arnhem is threatening the entire world. Lucifer has aligned himself with Speica and wants nothing less than to bring about the Apocalypse before its time. In the last battle, cowardice is revealed, promises are broken, and many people die. Trolls fight icthyocentaurs, dwarves armed up against the Drow, angels against demons. Only one kingdom will prevail; that is, if the world doesn't end.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Question of the Week - Agents

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What websites are the best ones for stalking agents? Do you stalk agents? Which ones?

(Can you tell from last week and this week that I'm gearing up to visit queryland soon? Wish me luck!)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Long Overdue Introduction

Meet little Christopher!
I can't believe that son #3 is a month and a half old! And I haven't gotten around to posting pictures of him on here until now. #proundmamafail
Look at that hair!
Anyhow, son #3 was born in the wee hours of the morning on February 24th at 1:28am. The nurse delivered him, he came so fast the doctor wasn't even in the room, hadn't even been told to come yet! He weighed 7 pounds 3 ounces and was 19 3/4 inches long. (the smallest of the three in both weight and height)
I think babies are too cute when they yawn!
Both of his older brothers love him, and son #1 loves to sit next to him and hold his hands.
Me with sons 1 and 3
As much as I love my boys, and I really do love them even on the days when they make me want to rip out my hair, I'm already praying that baby #4 is a girl.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Cover Reveal - Heather McCorkle's To Ride A Púca

Heather: I'm so excited to share the cover of my young adult historical fantasy novel, To Ride A Púca, with you. I've been waiting for so long to reveal the news and the cover that it's been driving me crazy! This novel is special to me, as many of you know, because it felt like my heart and soul has gone into it. It isn't a part of the channeler series, though it is a tie-in novel as it's about one of Eren's ancestors. This is a stand alone of a very different flavor and I hope you love it as much as I do.


Here is a bit about it:

Invaders are coming to take what isn't theirs, again.

Neala wants to stand and fight for her homeland, but as one of the last druids, she may be standing alone.

Persecuted, hunted down, forced to live in obscurity, the druids have all but given up. Can the determination of a girl who has barely come into her power bring them together? Or, just when she finally finds her place among her kind, will they end up losing a homeland their very magic is tied to?

This novel is intended for mature teens and adults as it contains some difficult subject matter. 

I had to throw that warning in because I had one person who was disturbed by some of the subject matter in The Secret Of Spruce Knoll. To Ride A Púca is a much darker novel than Spruce Knoll and will certainly not be appropriate for some readers. Slavery, oppression, and violent situations are within this novel. It certainly falls under the dark YA catagory. But it is also about hope, love, and belonging. It releases this May! To add this novel to your Goodreads lists click here. To pre-order a signed hardback (to ship at the end of May), click here.