Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Revision Process

I'm getting so frustrated with this revision process! I had no idea what I was getting into. I thought the rough draft was an irritating process at times, but that was cakewalk compared to what I'm dealing with right now. It is nice, however, that I have a great little foundation for my book with a decent rough draft with some very usable and loveable scenes. I'm actually doing something that is slightly weird and combining two characters from the rough draft into one character. We will see if that works. If not, I guess it is back to square one. Personally, I think it is a good move and will make things a little more interesting and allow for more character development.

For some reason, a big frustration with this process has been that I cannot seem to get motivated to write! Probably because my mind is not used to having to go back and rewrite and revise. I've trained myself just to write and be done with it. I've never really been one to rewrite and revise. With a project this large I know it is necessary. My undergraduate education probably gave me some bad habits that way. I tend to write maybe a second draft and then I'm done. Or I just try and write it as perfectly as possible right from the get-go (another impossibility when writing a novel).

While it is grating on my nerves it is also interesting to see the story take shape and become more fully developed. I'm certain I will be satisfied with the story the more I work on it and it will become less of a chore as I keep working at it. I am currently rewriting the beginning (which was horrendous in the rough draft) and it is coming together nicely. This is like molding something into a beautiful masterpiece, but it is also like tying together a quilt and making things match nicely and seamlessly. Someday I will perfect my art, but for now I'm learning as I go. I don't understand how authors can write more than one book a year. Granted, they are all more learned and experienced than I, but it still blows my mind. Maybe I am biased, but I tend to think that, if you are spitting out books that fast, they can't be that great of writing. I'm still doing well with working on this novel for just a year. I'm hoping to start sending queries to agents and publishers by June. We shall see if this frustrating process takes on hyperspeed before then.

Until then, I guess I will just keep dealing with it. If you hear screams of frustration in the distance, you will know I am working on my book.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

City of Fallen Angels

Rating: 5 out of 5 Half-Dead Demon Half-Brothers

City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels. (courtesy of

Cassandra Clare is one of my favorite young adult fiction writers out there. I would say she is in my top four along with Jennifer Donnelly, Markus Zusak, and Lauren Oliver. Her Mortal Instruments saga continues in this fourth book and it took me awhile to get used to the idea that the story was continuing. Book three had wrapped up so beautifully that I wondered where she was going to take the story to bring in more conflict.

During the first, say, half of the book I wanted to smack Jace. That was a new feeling for me. He was always one of my favorites during the other three books. This installment finds a tortured and conflicted Jace (again) but in different ways. For the longest time, Clare keeps it under wraps as to what is really bothering him and why he is acting so dumb. He finally has Clary, the girl he loves, and he starts avoiding her for no stupid reason. And then when he does see her he paws at her and tries to take off all her clothes. The sexual tension is unbelievable in a good way but even Clary comments on it. She says You can't just kiss me in place of talking. Good call, Clary. I don't know. The Jace and Clary story is wonderful, but, during the beginning through the middle I couldn't help thinking that Cassandra Clare was just stretching for more drama with them.

That was not entirely true. I had changed my opinion by the end of the book which is why the book gets such a high rating from me. The denouement of this novel is fantastic. Everything comes out smoothly and surprisingly. There are enough little twists to keep the reader guessing which is always a plus.

The Simon/Maia/Isabelle love triangle is interesting, but I'm glad the introduction of Jordan kindof breaks that up. I'm hoping that develops more and in the way I want it to. Cassandra Clare, I am sending you mental vibes of how you need to end that plot to make me happy. Simon is also one of my favorite characters, but he kindof gets whiny in this book.

I can see why we had to read the prequel Clockwork Angel before we read this book. There are characters in the book and characters mentioned that would have no real meaning if I had not read Clockwork Angel. So, if you haven't read Clockwork Angel, read it before you read this one. I was a little more than annoyed when I had to read the prequel last year instead of reading this one, but I'm glad Clare had some forethought that way.

Just a couple more comments.

Cassandra Clare's writing, in the first three books, was superb. I remember reading City of Bones and just feeling like the words sparkled and leaped with magic and life and vigor. This one, and even Clockwork Angel, not so much. The quality isn't what it used to be. More mental vibes headed your way, Ms. Clare. Bring back the magical feeling in your writing! Maybe it is still there and I've just gotten used to it. I don't really know.

I love the tie-in with the Bible and Dante's Inferno. There are continual references to both in these books and I think Clare has done an amazing job of creating her own mythology/world with those two books. It goes to show what a good writer can do. I have given this book 5 out of 5 Half-Dead Demon Half-Brothers.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Rating: 5 out of 5 Procedures

Lena Haloway is content in her safe, government-managed society. She feels (mostly) relaxed about the future in which her husband and career will be decided, and looks forward to turning 18, when she’ll be cured of deliria, a.k.a. love. She tries not to think about her mother’s suicide (her last words to Lena were a forbidden “I love you”) or the supposed “Invalid” community made up of the uncured just beyond her Portland, Maine, border. There’s no real point—she believes her government knows how to best protect its people, and should do so at any cost. But 95 days before her cure, Lena meets Alex, a confident and mysterious young man who makes her heart flutter and her skin turn red-hot. As their romance blossoms, Lena begins to doubt the intentions of those in power, and fears that her world will turn gray should she submit to the procedure. In this powerful and beautifully written novel, Lauren Oliver, the bestselling author of Before I Fall, throws readers into a tightly controlled society where options don’t exist, and shows not only the lengths one will go for a chance at freedom, but also the true meaning of sacrifice. (Jessica Schein,

I did not know what to expect from this novel. The cover is intriguing; the back and the flaps don't really give much away as far as any sort of synopsis; I had to know what it was. I had only read three chapters and I was hooked. It is the kind of story that publishers devour and tackle because it is so sellable. It is the kind of story that avid readers love because it is unique and intriguing. It is the kind of story that needs to be told and Lauren Oliver is the only one who could give it the voice it needed.

Oliver's writing is decadent and provoking. Every motion, every word simply breathes. There is movement in her words that you don't find everywhere. Her writing is reminiscent of Jennifer Donnelly's, but they both have a distinctive style that is their own.

Lena is a reliable character. I never once felt like she was too weak for her task at hand, but I still always wondered if she would be able to make it. There is an element of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games in this book in that it is a dystopian society with an authoritative regime, and I'm not the first to compare it to those books.

The commentary on society is intriguing. I kept thinking of all the aspects being presented. The fact that it is not too outlandish for something like this actually happen to our country and our society is scary in itself. And then I kept thinking about how everything stems from love. Even hate and anger are biproducts of love even though they are the antitheses. At some point, when you are angry with someone or hate someone, you loved them also. There are different kinds of love as well. Not just romantic. Mother-daughter relationships are explored in Oliver's book as well as the love between best friends. I'm glad that Oliver did not choose to focus so solely on the romantic aspect, but, rather, showed how love encompasses everything and there simply is no cure for it.

This is Book One in a trilogy which I was mad about because now I have to wait for the next book to be released. I guess I will have time to re-read it then. This deserves a 5 out of 5. Awesome work, Ms. Oliver!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

For the Love of a Child

Congratulations to my friends Matt and Traci Mellor.

They are adopting a baby from Kansas!

This has been a long time coming, and I am super excited for them. They will make great parents. I just had to give them a shout-out from my little niche in the great blogosphere.

For their side of the story, visit their website here.

PS Matt, when I said "You suck" on was a joke. No hard feelings. : )

I'm Not Dead

Just so you all know...I'm still alive.

My bloggy-ness has been pretty stagnant lately, and I apologize for that. I love writing book reviews and that has been all I've had energy to devote to for my blog these days. But I will be better.

I guess here is an update on things in my life:

I'm reading an amazing book called Delirium by Lauren Oliver. It is such an interesting story. Just wait for the book review. I hope it keeps me enthralled like it has so far all the way through the book. Sad note: I found out it is slated to be part of a trilogy. OMG, people, I don't want to wait for more books to come out! Oh well. As a writer I can understand why they do it, but as a reader it irks me.

Speaking of books. Mine is...there. I tried to sit down last night to write and do some revising, but I couldn't get going. I'm really frustrated because I have some great ideas, and I've gotten great feedback from everyone who has read the rough draft. I guess I'm just not sure how to go about the changes. Where to begin? Oy. More to come on that later, and hopefully it will be good news.

I'm still working as a supervisor at Deseret Book. I really enjoy the different store and the people I work with. It is a much better situation for me than where I was previously. However, I am again on the hunt for a "big-kid job." I'm also considering *gasp* going back to school! Scary thought. If I do go back I want to go somewhere outside of Idaho. Sure it may be more expensive, but I want to experience something outside my comfort zone for awhile.

I'm still growing out my hair. Operation: Fabio is still in the works.

My best friend is getting married. I told him that the end of the world is nigh because we all thought it would be the end of the world before he got married. He didn't find that funny. But yeah. I will be his best man, and they are getting married in Oakland, California in August. A day after my birthday. Happy birthday to me. I'm really excited for both of them.

I'm planning a few trips besides California. I want to go to North Carolina to see my cousin and her cute little family sometime in June. Also, as "research" for my book I am hoping to go to Boston this year sometime. I'm thinking July-ish or May-ish or September-ish. I really don't know though. My book takes place in Boston and I've never been there, so I feel like I need to go get a feel for it and experience it myself to really know what I'm writing about. A little jaunt up to Portland, Maine would be nice. That would be a double whammy because the book I'm reading takes place there and there is a part in my book that occurs there as well. The pictures I've seen of it are absolutely gorgeous. Again it is all "research." These trips will help me fulfill one of my New Year's resolutions in which I travel to places I've never been before.

I'm still very single. I hate to go on a diatribe about that, so I will just say that I'm okay with it. I kind of have to be. But really. I am not really interested in anyone right now. Slightly depressing, but it's the truth.

Anyway, I need to shove off and go to work. I leave you with lyrics from a P!nk song entitled "I'm Not Dead."

I'm not dead just floating
Underneath the ink of my tattoo
In the belly of the beast we've turned into
Right behind the cigarette and the devilish smile
You're my crack of sunlight.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 Raised Demons

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Acher to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she? (Product Info Provided by

The second installment of Hawkins' Hex Hall series is every bit as good as the first. We find Sophie recuperating from the events of the first novel and preparing for the Removal. Her long-absent father enters the picture and takes her away to a huge English countryside palace/house where she is supposed to learn about her heritage. The premise is intriguing, and I love that it takes place in England. I found, however, that I missed the nuances and quirkiness of Hex Hall. There was something vibrant and unique about that place where Thorne Abbey is merely okay because it is so splendorous.

We meet new characters in this novel and some old ones carry through. Daisy and Nick are interesting because they are the antithesis of what Sophie is. They represent exactly what she does not want to become as a demon.

While Archer isn't as present in this novel as he was in the first, he still takes up a lot of room in it. Sophie spends just enough time wondering about him to keep him in the readers' mind. This was a fine line to walk and I think Hawkins' did it superbly. Archer is an interesting character, but none of the questions about him really get answered in this book. We know he's not really against the Prodigium but he isn't really with them either. But why?

Cal takes more of a lead in this book which is interesting. I am glad, but I wish he'd get fleshed out more. He loves Sophie, and that is clear, but we don't know why. We really don't know anything about him at all except that he's a powerful white warlock that can heal people. Oh and he looks like an All-American jock. And he always helps Sophie regardless of the cost to him. He's an endearing character, but I feel bad for him because Sophie doesn't see him as a romantic interest, but there is definitely some sort of spark there. I can't decide whose team I'm on. In most books it is easy to pick which guy of the love triangle that I want to get the girl. This one I'm torn because I like both of them.

The wit and humor is still ever-present in Demonglass. I have to say that Hawkins does an excellent job of describing things in a funny way that lends itself to a teenage voice. When some of it should come off as awkward it actually plays off as charming and clever. She is an enjoyable read. I gave it 4 and 1/2 out of 5 Raised Demons.