Thursday, February 23, 2017

Unpopular Opinion Book Tag

Last month I posted a New Years Resolution Book Tag. Which I had a lot of fun putting together. Then, the other day, I stumbled across a book tag on Cuddlebuggery that I just loved! The theme of the book tag is "Books you didn't like" and as usual if anyone else would like to do this tag, please let me know in the comments so I can check out your picks.


A Popular Book/Series You Didn’t Like

A Shade of Vampire Series by Bella Forest - This is a super long series that's well rated on Amazon and has sold millions of books, but the writing was terrible! I liked Twilight, I watch The Vampires diaries, but I did not like this book. Read my Review.

A Book Series That Everyone Hates, But You Love

This is hard. How do I define "everyone?" I guess I'll say Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. I don't think it's fair to say "everyone" hates this book, lots of people love it like I do. But, I think it's a series you either loved or you hated, and many of my friends hated it. It's got some pretty scathing reviews on Goodreads, but for all the reasons other people disliked it. I loved it! Read my Review.

A Love Triangle Where the MC Ended Up With A Person You Didn’t Want Them To End Up With, Or An OTP You Didn’t Like

This is a hard one. Usually I'm on the same page as the author. I was team Peta, team Edward, team Maxon, ect... Tahereh Mafi even pulled me over to team Warren in the Shatter Me series. But, there's a book I read called Reaper's Novice by Cecelia Robert where I wanted romance to line up with Ana and Zig, but it never did and at the end it seemed things were going in a different direction for Ana's romantic future. That said, this book was published in 2013, and a second book has yet to be released. So, I may never know if Ana and Zig had a chance. Read my Review.

A Popular Book Genre You Rarely Reach For

If it doesn't have monsters or a paranormal element I usually stay away. Contemporary Romance is probably the least looked at genre for me. That said, I am trying to branch out more! I'm reading some more mysteries and thrillers that (gasp) don't have a paranormal element!

A Popular Beloved Character That You Didn’t Like

Graceling by Kristin Cashore - I hated Katsa. I honestly have no idea why anyone liked her. Read my Review.

A Popular Author You Can’t Seem To Get Into

Veronica Rossi - I read Under the Never Sky and while it was well written I just didn't connect with her story-telling or her characters.

A Popular Trope You’re Tired Of Seeing

Insta-love / Love at first sight / "I'm drawn to you for no reason!" - Relationships need to be developed!

A Popular Series You Have No Interest In Reading

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. Nope, I just can't do it. All of my friends have read this book, even the ones that generally don't read. Knowing that it started at Twilight fanfiction, and not just inspired by Twilight, but actual fanfiction bothers me. Read More. I haven't seen or plan to watch the movies either.

The Saying Goes “THE BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN THE MOVIE,” But What Movie Adaptation Do You Prefer More Than The Book?

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. Okay, don't chew my head off, the book was awesome! Here's the thing, the movie and the book are very different. They're both philosophical and funny, but I liked the changes the movie made. The humor in the book was drier than it was in the movie and in the movie R feels closer to Juliet's age. I loved them both, but the movie took the light-hearted, funny moments from the book and expanded them. Read my Review.

Share your unpopular opinions in the comments below.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Review for Sweet Temptation (Sweet Evil) by Wendy Higgins


4 Stars. Sucked me back into a story I loved with a new perspective. I loved reading this because it allowed me to revisit one of my favorite books, Sweet Evil, but still felt new at the same time. Sweet Temptation is the Sweet Evil trilogy through Kaidan’s eyes. When reading Sweet Evil for the first time it took time to really understand Kaidan’s struggle. It was awesome to be inside his head and see how he viewed Anna and how his feelings for her changed. He’s not a ‘good boy’ but watching him realize that he wants to be ‘good’ was an incredible journey. I also loved seeing his struggles and watching him overcome his lust. You get to really understand his character in this book.

I have to say, I actually think I liked a lot of the sexy scenes between Kaidan and Anna even more in this book than I did in the originals. Kaidan’s perspective is really unique because of his inclination toward lust, making those romantic milestones between him and Anna really intense.

The only thing about this book that I wished it would have done was become its own story. We get to see lots of scenes that weren’t in the original books. The author does a lot more than just rehash previously written scenes, but it still felt a little choppy. I didn’t get the sense that someone who hadn’t read the original Sweet Evil trilogy could pick this up and understand everything. And, I wished the author would have done that.

Overall I loved this book and if you’re a fan of the Sweet Evil trilogy it’s a must read.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Review for Red Fox by Lara Fanning

4.5 Stars. One of the most unique storylines I’ve read in a long time. There were some really twisted things that happened to the main character in this book, and though they were awful I enjoyed every second of watching her overcome them. Lara Fanning explores a dystopian Australia where the government seeks to take the population back to their more primitive and savage roots. Freya is a high school girl who witnesses tragedy and turmoil as her government turns her country upside down, forcing those worthy of survival to do unspeakable things. I loved this. My only complaint is that I just wish we’d gotten a little more interaction between the two main characters, Freya and Whil, in the second half of the book.

Freya was a well written character. She was intelligent and fierce. There were moments that I didn’t like her much in the beginning. At times, she came across as ungrateful and selfish. But, I admired her strength and independence and I think those parts of her personality kept me interested in who she was and what was happening to her. She could also be a little impulsive at times, but I think that played into this “Red Fox” concept the author explores.
Whil was also a great character. He was softer than Freya and I think he helped even her out, but he was also smart. I really liked their dynamic, and the time they spent together were my favorite scenes. Part way through the character’s environment drastically changed and it changed the mood of the book. Though it was a little abrupt, I really enjoyed the direction the story went in the second half. I just wish we’d seen more of Whil in it.
Overall, the writing was good. I found a few typos and maybe a sentence or two that was redundant, but the plot had me hanging on every word. One thing I found a little strange was that the book started out with some religious points that I didn’t understand how they fit into the overall story. For example, the first sentence is “Q1. Do you believe in God?” It was the first question on a test that Freya took, and while I understood how the test itself played into the overall plot, I felt like the rest of the story didn’t have anything to do with the character’s religious beliefs. It just seemed like there could have been less emphasis on religion in the beginning. This is definitely a must read and I’ve added the second book to my ”to-read” list.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

January 2017 Wrap Up

As most of you know I've only recently returned to blogging and writing after a year-long hiatus. Yes, I fell into that dark, unmentionable place that writers sometimes go and sometimes never return from. It’s a lonely place where read books are never reviewed and ideas float away in the wind, never to be brought to life with ink and paper (or more accurately, a keyboard and word-document). But, I’ve returned!

I’ve found my way back into this crazy writing world of books and bloggers and social networking, and I’ve realized a lot has changed since I’ve been gone. Many of the blogs and writers I used to follow have fallen into that dark place I mentioned before, and it seems they weren’t as lucky as myself to find their way out. But there’s also lots of new bloggers and writers out there I’ve slowly been discovering. I’ve lost followers, and started to gain new ones. Some of my old ways of connecting with people don’t work as well as they used to, and I’m attempting to find new ways to reach people.

So, I’m starting a monthly wrap-up post. These will post on the first Saturday after the first of the month and will discuss what I’ve been up to in the previous month. (Otherwise, I post on Thursdays).


READING:

Books Reviewed in January:

Goddess Interrupted (The Goddess Test #2) by Aimee Carter - I liked this but the ending really wasn't my cup of tea. Check out my review for more!


Books Read in January:

Goddess Interrupted (The Goddess Test #2) by Aimee Carter

Red Fox by Laura Fanning - I so LOVED this, and I'll be posting a review soon! This is why I read Indie books!

[Started Reading] Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins - OMG more Sweet Evil and Kaidan!?!


Books to-read February:

Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins

Persephone (Daughters of Zeus #1) by Kaitlin Bevis


WRITING:

Unearthed After Sunset! Yes, I’m working on this, and sadly it went on hiatus when I did so there’s still work to be done. I’ve got three chapters left of serious editing (and the last chapters always seem to need the most) and then I’ll be doing one last read through before sending it off for a professional editor to go through with a fine-tooth comb. I’ve been pokey about getting it finished, but for good reason. Read more about it here!

I’ve been distracted by writing Unearthed After Sunset #2. Which I’ve completed the first draft of, AND I started the first draft of Unearthed After Sunset #3!

Also, on the backburner is a fantasy story I started and some outlining for something Greek-mythology related. But, it will be some time before I’ll be sharing much more about those two.


BLOGGING:

I now have a Tumbler account! And, I've been spending more time on Bloglovin.

My Favorite Blog Posts in January:

Favorite Post Written: Why You Should KILL Your Word Count - Word count and how long a novel is "supposed" to be are things that have tripped me up in the past, so I really liked being able to explore this quality vs quantity conundrum with word count.

Favorite Post Read: New Year Resolution Book Tag on BOOKS, BOXES & BAUBLES - I read lots of great blog posts in January, but this one was the most fun!


PERSONAL:

I turned 28 on January 30th! My new fur-baby (6mo yellow lab puppy) has eaten all of my socks. And, the hubby and I are remodeling the kitchen (and pulling our hair out along the way).



How was your January?


Thursday, February 2, 2017

When to Ignore your Outline

Outlining for your novel is great, it can keep you on track and help you to have a well-paced novel with well-rounded characters. But, sometimes, the outline can get in the way.

I say all the time, stories write themselves. Sometimes as you're writing, characters or plot points develop in unexpected ways and you have to be ready to adapt and change your outline as you go. Otherwise, you risk having a storyline that feels forced. Or worse, you'll have regrets when it's all over.

For example, years after the final Harry Potter novel was published, J.K. Rowling announced that Hermione and Harry should have ended up together instead of Hermione and Ron. She explained that she wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as wish fulfillment. While many readers remained loyal to the book as it was written, there are some that felt the same as Rowling herself. As a writer, you can plot and plan for two characters to end up together, but sometimes when happily ever after comes around it just doesn't feel right. Trust your gut and listen to what your characters are saying.

Romantic parings in a novel can change much the same as when a TV show introduces a new character - planning to kill them off - then discovers they have great chemistry with the lead on screen. The writers can plan to kill someone off, but once the viewers love them they often stick around, and if the writers don't pay attention to their viewers and kill them off anyway, it often results in angry fans. You need to pay attention to the chemistry that develops between your characters as you write them - not just as you planned for them to be.

The 90's TV drama Dawson's Creek ended a love triangle in its final episode. Showrunners had planned for Joey to end up with Dawson, but when it came time to finally write the final episode they changed their minds and Joey ended up with Pacey instead. The point is, sometimes what we plan to do, doesn't end up being the right call in the end.

Regrets and wish fulfillment happen when authors stop listening to their characters.

And, this doesn't just apply to romance. You may plan for a story to have a happy ending only to discover that what fits best is for your main character to die. For example, many readers felt cheated that Harry didn't die at the end of the Harry Potter series. Others were disappointed that Prim did die at the end of Mockingjay. I was disappointed at the end of The One, by Kiera Cass when the King was killed (and off-screen!) and everything seemed to wrap up in a nice little bow for America. I felt like the author had enough material to write a fourth book and it ended too easily.

Read my review of The One by Kiera Cass

Your readers want your characters to overcome struggles and to earn what they have. And, sometimes, when your characters are up against a threat that should kill them, they want them to die. You have to be aware enough as a writer to see when your outline is going in the wrong direction and make a change.

So how can you avoid this? Here's five tips.

1. Don't over-plot. Keep your outline simple. That way it can guide you without dictating what you write.

2. Be open to change. Your outline isn't carved in stone. You can, and should adjust it as necessary.

3. Listen to your characters. How do they really feel about other characters and things going on around them?

4. Think about how your reader will feel about what they get to see and what they don't. Should you show or tell this scene? (Deaths and Romance off camera can be disappointing, but throwing them in for no reason can be equally troublesome).

5. Is there anything that feels "too easy?" Don't let anything wrap itself up into a nice little bow.


Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Unearthed After Sunset by Lauryn April

Unearthed After Sunset

by Lauryn April

Giveaway ends November 05, 2017.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway