Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Basic Book Review-Tamora Pierce

I may sound like such a downer, but last week's read took a quick dive by page 100.  Sadly, since I was on vacation, I couldn't get my hands on another book.  So this week I'm going to review an old read, which is actually a good thing since I have many of those that I would love to share with all of you!

Instead of choosing one book by Tamora Pierce, I decided to choose all of her books that I've read.  She has created an awesome world of fantasy that grows as she uses the same setting and character's throughout different book series. 

I have read three of her book series. Unfortunately, when the first of the series that I read were handed to me, I didn't know it was the second series of the three.  When I picked up the first later on, it was like the character's I'd already met had grown to a different level as the back story played out.  Of course, if I'd actually read them in order, it would've been better, but it all made sense.  Anyway, I've decided to give my review before all the cover's and info blurbs since there are so many of them.

I'm going to give them a PG-13 movie rating and all around, they get a 
 out of 5 stars.  Although, I do want to say that the middle series was my least favorite and might actually lean toward a  .

The first series is the Song of the Lioness Series.

Here is the Goodreads book covers and info blurbs.
Alanna: The First Adventure Alan of Trebond, the best warrior in the palace, is harboring a big secret: he is really a she - Alanna. But when her prince is felled by an illness, Alanna has no choice but to use her healing magic - even if it means ruining her career.
In the Hand of the Goddess "I don't want to fall in love. I just want to be a warrior maiden."
Still disguised as a boy, Alanna becomes a squire to none other than the prince of the realm. Prince Jonathan is not only Alanna's liege lord, he is also her best friend -- and one of the few who knows the secret of her true identity. But when a mysterious sorceror threatens the prince's life, it will take all of Alanna's skill, strength, and magical power to protect him -- even at the risk of revealing who she really is...
Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, Alanna's second adventure continues the saga of a girl who dares to follow her dreams -- and the magical destiny that awaits her.
Alanna's journey continues...
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man Newly knighted, Alanna of Trebond seeks adventure in the vast desert of Tortall. Captured by fierce desert dwellers, she is forced to prove herself in a duel to the death - either she will be killed or she will be inducted into the tribe. 

Although she triumphs, dire challenges lie ahead. As her mythic fate would have it, Alanna soon becomes the tribe's first female shaman. Despite the desert dwellers' grave fear of the foreign woman warrior, Alanna must fight to change the ancient tribal customs of the desert tribes -- for their sake and for the sake of all Tortall.
Alanna's journey continues...
Lioness Rampant At last, Alanna of Trebond has become the first female knight errant in Tortall. She sets out on an impossible quest to find the Dominion Jewel, a legendary gem that, in the right hands, has limitless power for good. But while she searches for the one thing that can save her war-torn country, her nemesis returns from the dead and begins to wreak havoc. Only Alanna has the power to prevent Tortall's utter destruction...

In this final verse of the Song of the Lioness quartet, Alanna grows from heroine into legend. 

The second series is called Protector of the Small.

Here are the book covers and goodreads blurbs.
First Test Keladry, known as Kel, has always wanted to be a knight but must deal with the disapproval of some of her teachers and fellow students. But when her young servant is kidnapped on the day of the public exams, Kel has to choose . . . to follow her dreams, or her convictions.
Page As the only female page in history to last beyond the first year of formal training to become a knight, 11-year-old Keladry of Mindelan has an uphill battle to fight. In addition to proving herself worthy of being a page, Kel spends her time defending first-year pages from bullies, staying on top of homework, conquering her paralyzing fear of heights, and keeping up with Lord Wyldon's grueling physical training schedule. Kel's detractors do everything in their power to thwart her progress, from tormenting her friends to sabotaging the Midwinter Festivities to kidnapping her maid and dog on the day of final examinations. The tide of resistance begins to turn slightly during the summer between Kel's second and third years, when she leads a team of pages in defensive maneuvers against renegade bandits--coincidentally on the same day that she gets her first period!
Squire In Book 3 of Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small sequence, 14-year-old Keladry of Mindelan is ready to begin training as a squire after undergoing four grueling years as the first girl to be officially educated as a page. Disappointed at first that Lady Alanna (whom we first met in the Song of the Lioness Quartet series) does not choose her, Kel is delighted when gruff, good-natured, down-to-earth Lord Raoul takes her on. The next four years prove to be tough but happy, for the most part, as Raoul and most of the others in the King's Own (a corps of 300 men--299 now, plus Kel--that enforces the law and helps local nobles deal with problems such as centaur attacks and forest robberies) treat Kel as an equal. Throughout, Kel is physically and mentally preparing herself for the final test in the Chamber of the Ordeal, in which fourth-year squires must successfully face their greatest fears before becoming knights.
Lady Knight In the final thrilling installment of Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small series ( First Test, Page, and Squire), our sturdy young heroine, Keladry of Mindelan (a.k.a. Kel), has finally been knighted. Never one to rest on her laurels, Kel champs at the bit, ready to tackle the horrific magic killing devices she was shown in the Chamber of the Ordeal during her knighthood initiation. The huge, insectlike machines, "made of iron-coated giants' bones, chains, pulleys, dagger-fingers and -toes, and a long whiplike tail," feed on the souls of dead children and are systematically killing off the citizens and warriors of Tortall.
Thoroughly disgusted to discover that not only is she not going to be assigned a combat post, but she has been placed in charge of a refugee camp instead, Kel, in her usual noble, stoic way, swallows her disappointment and sets out being the best refugee camp commander possible. Of course, destiny has a way of sneaking up on a young woman like Kel, and soon she is fulfilling the ordeal the Chamber set out for her... and then some.

The last series is called Daughter of the Lioness.
Here's the info.
Trickster's Choice To the great joy of her many fans, Tamora Pierce with this book begins a new saga of Tortall to add to The Song of the Lioness Quartet, the Immortals Quartet, and The Protector of the Small tetralogy. At the center of each of these books is always a strong and resourceful young woman who masters the arts of swordplay and knightly warfare in the magical medieval country of Tortall. Alianne, or Aly, daughter of the warrior queen Alanna the Lioness, has all these skills, but also a delicious sense of humor, which serves her well when she is chosen by the trickster god Kyprioth to serve as his secret agent and a slave for a year in the embattled Copper Isles. There the dark-skinned natives, or raka, have been conquered and crushed by the laurin, light-skinned people from the mainland. The burning raka resentment is fueled by prophecies of a twice royal queen who will free them, aided by the "wise one, the cunning one, the strong one, the warrior, and the crows." Just how each of the colorful characters and Aly herself fit into this prophecy and Kyprioth's tricky plan keeps readers guessing. Aly plots to show her skill at spying as she flirts with the god and is courted by Nawat, a crow transformed into a handsome young man, who is puzzled when she rejects his attempts to mate-feed her with grubs and ants.
Trickster's Queen NO LONGER A slave, Alianne is now spying as part of an underground rebellion against the colonial rulers of the Copper Isles. The people in the rebellion believe that a prophecy in which a new queen will rise up to take the throne is about to be realized. Aly is busy keeping the potential teenaged queen and her younger siblings safe, while also keeping her in the dark about her future.

Gah!  That was so long.  Sorry.  If you made it to the bottom of this post, you are super devoted!  The good news is that I think I'm going to like the book I have to read this week :)

 What have you been reading?  Have you read any of Tamora Pierce's books?

Monday, November 22, 2010

What? Vacation? Oh YEAH! And a quick basic book review...

As most of you know, Thanksgiving is this week.  Since I have many fun and adventurous holiday plans, I'm going to take a week vacation from the good ol' blog.  I know, kind of sad, but totally needed on my part.  But before I leave, I'm going to give a quick book review of a book I finished last week.

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs is a clean cute YA novel about a mermaid.  Here is the cover and official goodreads blurb.

Forgive My Fins (Fins, #1)

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush. 

Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life. 

When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

I absolutely love the cover.  The book gets a PG in movie ratings and as far as stars go, I'll go ahead and give it a  out of five stars.  Fun and easy read.  If you like mermaids on any level, you'll most likely like this.

I hope you all have an awesome week and for those celebrating Thanksgiving have a safe holiday and Happy Thanksgiving!

One thing I'm thankful for?  I know it's kind of materialistic and so not what I'd usually focus on, but I'm thankful for my early Christmas present!  Yes, that's right.  I have it and when I get back from vacation, I'll tell you all what it is.  And, for the record, I think it needs a name and I might need help naming it.  

I'm super thankful for my husband, kids, Christ, family, friends, faith, books, talents, and hobbies!

What are you thankful for?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Quinn from Seeing, Dreaming...Writing is HERE today!

My Photo  It's great to have Quinn here with us today.  When you visit his blog, which you should all do right after you read about him, you'll find this picture and quick Quinn-in-a-paragraph blurb.
I am 25 years old. I graduated from the University of Delaware in 2006 with a degree in Interpersonal Communication and in Russian Studies. I am fluent in Russian, retain some understanding of Spanish and am currently studying Korean -- that's a lie; I'm not studying, I just pick up languages easily. I am currently teaching English in South Korea and have spent the last three years doing this. Last year, I completed the first book in my Dreamwalker series, THE GATEWAY. The rest of the series is outlined. I also just finished a young adult paranormal romance titled SEEING that I'm about to start editing.

Be sure to check out his about page as well, to get the whole back story.  

Keep reading, though, because there are some great things to know about him below!

How long have you been writing?

I first started by writing poetry throughout high school and college. I actually got suspended for writing a poem in high school. Long story short, it was about this girl at the school, someone got a copy of it, made copies and the next day everyone at school was walking around with a copy and quoting it. I was the main writer, but there were three others who contributed ... that's how this other girl's name worked it's way into the poem. I became known as the poet -- by other students and teachers.  (That's awesome, unless it was embarrassing. :))
I wrote my first novel last year in January.  (Ooh, me too!  Awesomeness.)

What made you want to write? 

It's going to sound stupid, but it was Britney Spear's music video for "Oops, I did it again." I got an idea for a character from watching the video and planned out a novel and it's sequel -- I was thirteen or fourteen at the time. I never wrote the novel because it got too complicated, but I kept trying after that (I think I have like three novels that I've planned out and then shelved for one reason or another).  (My list of shelved novels expounds daily.  One day...)

Do you have any pet peeves while writing?  Any certain music or drink you just have to have to concentrate?

I'm not sure that I have any pet peeves while writing. The only thing that's weird is that sometimes I have to write by hand. I can sit and sit and stare at a computer all day and never write a word, but as soon as I put pen to paper, the words just flow. Sometimes though, it's the opposite and I can't write unless I'm in front of a computer. I've never figured it out. (Sounds slightly frustrating for it to not be a set thing, but great that if one doesn't work, the other one most likely will!)
As for a certain drink I need to concentrate ... coffee. 
With music, I listen to whatever captures the mood of the scene I'm trying to write ... or the character. One of my characters in my book SEEING was inspired by Allison Iraheta from American Idol. When I would write that character's scenes, I would listen to Allison's songs to get the voice and attitude right. (That's a great idea.)

What is your favorite thing to write?

My favorite thing to write is a scene when my villain has the upper hand. I love villains. I just realized that this question meant what do I write ... I write YA. (No worries, I liked the first answer just as much as the second.)

What other genre's do you enjoy writing, if any?

The first novel I wrote was a YA Fantasy. The second was YA Paranormal Romance. I like to stay in those two genres.  (Awesome!  Those are my two main genre's as well.  They're so thrilling and the possibilities are endless.)

What is your favorite genre to read?

Same as what I write. I recently finished THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy though and may have to start branching out of the Fantasy/Paranormal genres because I loved it so much.  

What is your favorite blog?

It's hard to choose just one blog, but Elena Solodow's blog, You're Write: Except when you're Rong, is always hilarious. (I'll go find it for sure.  I can always use a good laugh.)

Have you been to a conference?  If you've been to more than one, which was your favorite and why?

I haven't been to a conference. I really want to, but there's not much of an opportunity here in Seoul. (You weren't at writeoncon?  You HAVE to be there next year if you weren't.  Two words:  online and free!  You can participate anywhere.  It's fabulous.  I never thought I could learn so much in one week.  I was proved wrong in so many ways!)

Which author's do you admire?

The funny thing is, I prepared a TOEFL response for this question to show my students how to do it. I won't bore you with that though. I admire J.K. Rowling for the obvious reasons and I admire Stephenie Meyer. With Stephenie Meyer, love her or hate her, I think you have to at least admire her.  (Okay, don't judge but I don't know what TOEFL even means.  It's sounds deep though.)

How often do you write?

Lately, not as often as I'd like. When I'm in the process of writing a novel, I try to write any time during the day I can get -- sometimes that can be very little, sometimes it can be all day long and well into the night. I'm not a morning person though, so most of my writing takes place after work -- 11 pm -- and then goes on until I can't stay awake any longer.  (Morning?  There are still morning people in the world?  Just kidding, I'm married to one, but all my writing is at night too.)

Thanks Quinn for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions.  It was a blast to get to know more about you.  I'm not kidding when I say that EVERYONE should go over to his blog this instant!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Random Writing Rants.

I just completed the first chapter of a new WIP!  It was so refreshing. 

Some of you may know that I was in the middle of a different WIP.  You might be wondering why I switched.  I came to a point in the old story where things just weren't coming together all the way.  I was about to wade through the muck,  when a brand new awesome idea came to me.  It really was a hard decision to stop the one and start on something new, but after much thought, I think it will be good.  I needed a step back from the old and the new idea was the perfect thing to distract me.

Now I can just release my inner excitement about this new story.
I  IT!
And the thing is, the pieces all came to me at once. 

I've had the idea for less than a week and I feel like I've already written the whole thing.  Of course, I haven't, but hopefully my excitement can carry me through the late nights, writer's blocks, and motherhood blank-mindedness.  I want to look my book in the face and say, "Bring it!"

Have you ever switched from one WIP to another?  Was it hard for you?  Are you a multitasker and work on more than one at a time?  Do you ever have to tell your story or characters to 'bring it?'

Monday, November 15, 2010

Basic Book Review for Hush Hush

Last week, between all the busy chaos that last week brought, I actually found time here and there to read a book.  Very exciting.  I read Hush Hush, by Becca Fitzpatrick in a matter of a few days.  

Here is the Goodreads cover and blurb about the book.

Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her...until Patch comes along. 
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel. 
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life. 

On a movie rating scale I give it a PG and for the stars, I'm going to give it a...

wait for it...

stop peeking down the screen...

it's coming...

That's right, four out of five stars.  I thought the pacing was great and the tension was just right.  Other than that, even though the pacing was good, it seemed a tad bit long.  Really, just a tad.  And, although the cover is attractive, for some reason the man on the front isn't as appealing.  But, the awesome feathers and  overall feeling make up for that.  Just sayin'.

It's definitely worth reading, though, and for your information the second book, Crescendo is already on my list of super near future reads.  

Have you read this book?  What did you think?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Meet Tessa Quin-Aspiring Author

When you check out Tessa Quin's blog, she'll tell you, "I'm a 32 year old mother of three-year-old twins and live with my husband in Iceland. I'm also a first-time writer of a novel, and my dream is to become a professional author."

The first time I saw the name Tessa Quin was during the always fabulous writeoncon conference this summer.  Of course, I wasn't very brave back then (translates into I didn't have time) so I didn't actually talk to very many people.  I'm so glad I got this chance to get to know Tessa, though.  Even better, you get to find out more about her too!

Tessa says that she had to stop playing World of Warcraft Online to write – because WoW is a time-eating monster. She's also been a vampire fanatic since she saw “Interview with a Vampire” as a young teen, and she knows the words by heart.

And here’s the big one... She says, "I almost never admit this to people... I used to idolize Michael Jackson from age seven to sixteen. Yes. I was the one in the wall-papered room with the tiniest pictures to huge posters. I even had a mask. He had a huge impact on my early life. I wasn’t interested in other boys, because I kept daydreaming about him. I still haven’t tasted alcohol or smoked cigarettes. I stopped eating sweets and drink sodas – I still don’t drink sugared sodas today. My fiction characters usually have black hair, and I suspect it’s because of him. I sometimes cringe when I hear his voice singing today, but I can’t deny that most of his songs are good. I was sad when he died, but I didn’t cry. I somehow got converted from Michael Jackson to heavy metal. I have no idea how."

Now we'll get down to the writing questions.

How long have you been writing?
I used to write stories as a kid, and I tried for publication in Iceland when I was fifteen, but I got rejected. I only tried one publication, and, well, you know how sensitive teenagers can get. So I gave up writing until I read the Harry Potter books in 2003. I wrote fanfiction about Snape. It was roughly 40,000 words, but that was it until I read Twilight in 2009. I‘d had a story idea in my head and loads of notes by that time. So, in summer 2009 I took a month off from work and wrote the first draft. I kept improving it until spring 2010, when I spent months writing a query letter. I shipped it off in July to loads of agents, but every single one rejected. Why? Horrific query letter, way too much backstory, and not the best writing. So I‘ve been taking a crash course in writing ever since and I‘m amazed at how much my writing has developed. I‘m currently working on rewriting the manuscript from scratch. (Way to go!)

What made you want to write?
I‘ve always had it in me. It comes very naturally to me. You could say I‘m in my element when I write. I was probably the only kid at school who squee’ed when we had to write an essay. But I have to say that reading Harry Potter made me want to write again, and then after reading Twilight I figured that if Meyer could publish, then I should be able to as well. Oh! By that I don‘t mean that I thought her writing was bad. I just saw how my genre was becoming popular and thought this was the time to write. But I’ve been a bad-case of a daydreamer since childhood, with very wild stories in my head.

Do you have any pet peeves while writing?  Any certain music or drink you just have to have to concentrate?
Pet peeves? Most definitely! I can‘t write if there‘s noise around me (which means I can‘t write when my kids are around), and I can‘t have the internet turned on, or I‘m tempted to read blogs and such. I cannot write with music. (I'm the same way.  Totally know what you mean.)  I have to have a glass of tab water (which is pure as crystal in Iceland and so, so yummy), preferably with ice cubes to munch on. Chocolate doesn‘t hurt either, but I‘m trying to cut down.

What is your favorite thing to write?
YA Paranormal and Fantasy (yes, I‘m aware that I‘m capitalizing them). I‘m currently more in the YA (light-)Fantasy category, but I love reading Paranormal and might try my hand at one some day.

What other genre's do you enjoy writing, if any?
I‘ve got a story idea for a YA gay novel (M/M), but I don‘t know if I should publish it under the same name (it wouldn‘t be a problem in Iceland, but things seem to work differently in America). I also have two story ideas for adult novels, one humour, and the other suspense, but I‘m going to focus on YA right now.

What is your favorite genre to read?
YA Paranormal. Sometimes Adult Paranormal. Well, only Charleine Harris‘s Sookie Stackhouse novels, really, in the adult section.

What is your favorite blog?
Jackson Pierce‘s vlogs, at the moment. And also Melissa Gill‘s, Quinn‘s, Rachael Harrie‘s, Marieke‘s. Oh goodness. There are so many. I have them all in Google Reader and check them out randomly in the evening when I‘m too tired to do anything else.

Have you been to a conference?  If you've been to more than one, which was your favorite and why?
I have! I had the wonderful opportunity to attend two online conferences this year. It was WriteOnCon in August (I threw my family out of the house for that one), and The Muse Online Writer‘s Conference...which I sort of forgot because I was up to my ears in university studies. But I have access to their forum + material. The WriteOnCon was definitely my favourite and I learned so, so much there. (Me too.  I went in knowing nothing and left feeling like I'd learned some great secrets, which of course weren't secrets at all, I just didn't know anything about writing at the time.)

Which author's do you admire?
Charleine Harris has to be first! Then J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Cynthia Hand (new author of Unearthly), and Christopher Paolini (I love the Eragon books).

How often do you write?
*Blush* Not as often as I should. I have the university excuse, but it‘s not good enough. Let‘s see... Okay, what I‘m gonna say is that it depends. If I dive into a project, I‘m dead to the world. I‘ll spend every day, and almost every waking hour to write. But then I take pauses in between projects.

One last thing about Tessa.  She says, "And...Tessa Quin isn't my real name. My real name is not a secret - it just looks Klingon to foreigners."  I've seen it and it's another name I'd definitely add to my 'don't even try to pronounce that' list.

Thanks so much Tessa!  I loved getting to know more about you and finding the things we have in common.  Good luck with your future writing (on your new spiffy machine).  :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Just a few things...

First of all, it's time for another shout out to my awesome followers!  30?  Really,

Next, I'd just like to say how excited I am about the Aspiring Author Interview that's coming tomorrow.  I know, how cheesy am I that I get so excited for the interview each week that I end up posting about my excitement on Thursday?  Oh well.  I just want you all to be excited too!

And just to let you know, I'm reading a book that's much better than the two I read last week.  So, I should have a real review Monday!

On a different random note, my husband preordered my Christmas present early!  A hint:  it should help me get more writing done ;)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Random Writing Wednesday-The Excitement Coming to Life...or NOT.

The other night I sat down and watched Eragon with my husband.  We both love the book series and even though the movie and book are much different, like most books to movies are, we still love the movie.  

And even though Twilight, the movie, is nowhere near as awesome as the book and Robert Pattinson is NOTHING like the Edward in my head, I still liked the movie.  

To me, there's just something about seeing the character's and story come to life.  I mean, who's not excited to see the last Harry Potter movies?  

Again, it's too bad when they make a movie they usually don't get actors to satisfy everyone in the world.  But the thing is, they can't.  Character's are so personal, but the story is the same.  And usually having that story come to life is somewhat thrilling.

Now back to my original movie mention, Eragon.  Even though the movie wasn't the best and didn't stick to the book 100%, when it was over, my husband and I really wanted there to be another.  It came to life and we wanted the visual story to continue.

I just have to add that although I don't always like the movie after the book, more often than not it wasn't a bad movie.  And each time I wonder if I would've liked the movie more if I hadn't read the book or if maybe the book made me like the movie a bit more.  Just a thought.

So, I wonder, what's your favorite book to movie?  I love the Harry Potter series, but I also love to watch so many others over and over again.  How many times have I sat through Pride and Prejudice with Collin Firth in clingy pants?  How about North and South with Richard Armitage?  Or maybe a little Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Basic Book Review-RANDOM STYLE

Since the general consensus is to avoid giving a book a bad review, I don't have a fresh book on my mind to tell you about.  And yes, I did in fact read not only one, but two books last week!  That's one thing I can do while sick in bed.  

The worst thing about it was that the instant I finished the second one and wondered why I had wasted so much of my life on 500 pages of nothing (just in the second book), I didn't have another book yet to clean my brain!  Sorry, just a little frustrated that I had two downers right in a row.

Don't worry, this week I have at least 5 books to choose from, so there will be a more solid review next week!

I'll tell you about a few of my favorite books, besides those that are everyone's favorite (Harry Potter, Twilight, Chronicles of Narnia, Pride and Prejudice, etc.)  Obviously, since they are my favorites, they are going to get the full on but I'll give each of them their own movie rating.

The first is one that I haven't picked up in many years, but is still one of my favorites.  It's called The Alliance by Gerald N. Lund.

From what I can remember, it gets a PG in my movie ratings.  Here is the cover, of the one that I own (the goodreads one is different but this one is the best), and the jacket flap from goodreads.


It's 18 years after the end of civilization as we know it. Slowly, ragtag villages of nuclear holocaust survivors are being relocated to a new society known as the Alliance. At first it seems like a dream come true to Eric Lloyd and his family. There is work and safety and food enough to spare. But the trappings of civilization wear thin when Eric learns that the violent human impulses that lead to crime and rebellion are controlled by pain chips surgically implanted in the brain. 

Eric vows to destroy the Alliance. But can he have any hope of withstanding the wrath of the Alliance's Major and his computerized Punishment Mode? And what of Eric's growing attraction to Nicole, a Guardian in the Alliance? 

Futuristic in setting but timeless in its message, The Alliance makes a stunning statement about agency in a gripping and entertaining way.

The second one is The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale.  Honestly, the whole series is good, but this is where it all starts!  Again, from what I remember it gets a PG in movie ratings.  Here is the cover and jacket flap info from goodreads.

The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern, #1)

She can whisper to horses and communicate with birds, but the crown princess Ani has a difficult time finding her place in the royal family and measuring up to her imperial mother. When she is shipped off to a neighboring kingdom as a bride, her scheming entourage mounts a bloody mutiny to replace her with a jealous lady-in-waiting, Selia, and to allow an inner circle of guards more power in the new land. Barely escaping with her life, Ani disguises herself as a goose girl and wanders on the royal estate. Does she have the pluck to reclaim her rightful place? Get ready for a fine adventure tale full of danger, suspense, surprising twists, and a satisfying conclusion. The engaging plot can certainly carry the tale, but Hale's likable, introspective heroine makes this also a book about courage and justice in the face of overwhelming odds. The richly rendered, medieval folkloric setting adds to the charm. 

The last one, and certainly not the least (these are in no given order according to what I like of course), is Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder.  

This is also the first to an awesome series!  I give it a PG-13 in movie ratings (there are some gross details).  Here is the goodreads cover (I have seen another as well) and the jacket flap info.

Poison Study (Study, #1)

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear.

What are some of your favorite books?  Have you read any of these?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday's Aspiring Author--Monica Isaacson

Monica doesn't currently have a writing blog.  You may wonder how I know her then?  Well, she just happens to be my sister!  Yes, one of the many people who influenced me to write.

Maybe together we can convince her to start a writing blog ;)

What made you want to write? 
When I realized how much I enjoyed it and that my writing was decent I thought I would give it try.  Now stories and characters start running through my head and I have to write them down!  Sometimes I feel kind of crazy with all those voices in my head ;-).
 Do you have any pet peeves while writing?  Any certain music or drink you just have to have to concentrate? 
I can't think of any pet peeves and if I listen to any music it is usually classical (it helps organize my thoughts).  No food or drink is necessary but ice cream never hurts. (You're perfectly right.  Ice cream will most definitely help the thoughts flow!)
 What is your favorite thing to write? 
 Favorite?  That's hard to say.  My current WIP is a YA fantasy and I am enjoying it. (Woot Woot for fantasy.)
 What other genre's do you enjoy writing, if any?  
I like writing Picture Books and I have an idea for a Contemparary YA
 What is your favorite genre to read?  
I lean more toward fantasy but I read books from all different genres.
 What is your favorite blog?  
Perfecting The Craft of course!  (Oh geez I doubt that!)  Another good one is (Note:  This is probably the real favorite!)
 Have you been to a conference?  If you've been to more than one, which was your favorite and why?  
I have been to a few.  I think my favorite so far was a Regional SCBWI Conference.
 Which author's do you admire? 
Jane Austen is a favorite but I also admire JK. Rowling and Brandon Mull (Agreed)
 How often do you write? 
I try to write a little bit every day.  With a house full of munchkins it can be quite the task, but I find my thoughts flow more freely and I can write more often with a notebook and pen in my hand.  Then after the kids go to bed and I can dump everything onto the computer really fast! (I hear ya on the munchkins, but not on the writing by hand.  My carpel tunnel already gives me a hard time when I type.)
I want to give a huge thanks to my sister.  I had some set backs this week and she came to the rescue late last night!  I love reading her writing and did she say contemporary?  Bring it on!