Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Delirium: The Improved Review

Imagine a world where there is no love. Love is a disease. Love causes too many problems in society—jealously, anger, destruction. One must be cured of this “deadly disease.” The government dictates and controls everyone. Once a young adult turns eighteen years old, you are mandated to be fixed to erase the feelings of love within you. At this point, you do not have a choice in your life once you undergo the surgery. After your evaluation, you are matched with a mate and given an appropriate career that will suite you best. Your entire life is planned out for you. You do not have a voice in your future. New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver paints a unique, dystopian tale of a young girl, rebelling against the norms of society, for true love with an outsider from the Wild.

“They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever. And I’ve always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years suffocated by a lie.”

Lauren Oliver, born and raised in New York, grew up with two literature professors as parents. Persuaded to be creative early on in the arts, she began to develop her love for writing to expand on her love of reading. After creating sequels for the books she loved, she started to write her own stories. She began working at Razorbill, a Young Adult division of Penguin books, where she began to write her own story. Soon after, she decided to quit Razorbill to become a full-time writer.

Going into Delirium, I had such high expectations because I previously read and loved Oliver's debut book Before I Fall, also a New York Times bestseller. Delirium, however, exceeded my high expectations with an intriguing, unique dystopian story with both lovable characters and a gripping storyline. The concept was crazy for me to read about at first, since I could not possibly imagine our society without love within it; this made the book both interesting and highly enjoyable to read. The dystopian genre is one of my favorites to read; after reading Delirium, it became one of my favorites of the genre.

The beginning begins a little slow, which makes it a little hard to get into the story and relate to the characters at first. However if given the chance, the plot quickens by the middle and will leave you longing to know what will happen next. I was entirely engrossed, after the slightly slow beginning. I physically could not put the book down at one point and continued reading, until I reached the heart-pumping, unexpected ending. If you find yourself a little confused and bored at the beginning like I was, my advice to you is definitely continue reading. because it will quicken and get much better—to the point that you definitely will not regret finishing. Oliver does a great job of developing the backstory of Delirium, by beginning each chapter with little snippets from their law, history, and handbooks as well as quotes and poems of the society’s culture. The first chapter begins with one from their law book, “The most dangerous sicknesses are those that make us believe we are well. – Proverb 42, The Book of Shhh.”

Set in a futuristic Portland, Maine, Lena Holloway considers herself to be an average girl, no one special. About to turn 18 and graduate high school, she cannot wait to undergo the surgery to remove her of the disease of love, amor deliria nervosa, which the government believes to be the source of all the society’s past problems. Her mother’s death occurred because of the failure of love. Wanting to be like her cured older sister, she just wants to get the surgery as soon as possible, so she can be “normal” like the rest of society and to rid herself of the grief and pain she has felt her whole life. Her schooling and The Book of Shhh have taught her of the symptoms of catching the deliria of love. She does not know any better but to accept the preaching from the government. Anyone not cured of the disease is considered to be a rebel. The Invalids live in the Wild, a restricted area lying outside of Lena’s perfectly controlled world. Traveling to the outside is strictly prohibited; a guarded, electric fence prevents this from happening—but not always…

“Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That's what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side.”

Lena has never conversed with a boy, let alone touch one. Her society does not allow the two genders to interact or be in the presence of one another, until they are cured. However when Lena meets an older boy from the Wild, she begins to question everything she once thought she wanted: a set future with a suitable husband and a stable career that was handpicked for her by the government. Lena’s best friend always rebels by sneaking out to listen to prohibited music and hang out with boys. Lena disapproves… until she meets Alex. She starts doing the unimaginable, begins to fall in love with the boy from the Wild.

Starting to break the rules for once, she starts secretly meeting Alex at night. She begins to fall deep for the boy pretending to be cured. Alex tells Lena of his past and of the possible future for her if she decides to escape and refuse the cure. She begins to imagine her life in a new light. Having practically nothing to lose, she makes the brave decision to leave her society, she has always known, for the Wild with an Invalid. Coming up with a plan, they decide they will escape to live in the Wild together. Lena has never felt so sure about anything in her life before and cannot stop the spread of love that has infected her heart and soul. Their plan, however, does not go as intended. Caught and forced to stay in her house a week before her operation, Lena starts to lose all hope, until Alex comes to rescue her. They make their escape for the Wild, but it does not go as planned…

“I run for I don't know how long. Hours, maybe, or days. Alex told me to run. So I run. You have to understand. I am no one special. I am just a single girl. I am five feet two inches tall and I am in-between in every way. But I have a secret… I love you. Remember. They cannot take it.”

The combination of romance, action, drama, and mystery in the plot made Delirium very easy to fall in love with, which also made the ending very powerful and sad. If you get as attached to the characters as I did, you will have tears in your eyes when you finish. The cliffhanging ending will make you want to immediately read the second book of Oliver’s trilogy, Pandemonium. Overall, Delirium was everything I was expecting and more. From the unexpected twists to the amazing characters and great story, you will not be disappointed. The intended audience is for young adults but can be enjoyed by all ages. I absolutely recommend picking up a copy immediately if you love dystopian stories or just, in general, love a great read.

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I had to write a book review for my Literary Publishing class, so I decided to post this even though I previously reviewed Delirium. This review is obviously much better and longer than my typical reviews, but I thought mind as well post it here too! I will hopefully post some reviews this winter break, so be on the lookout for those :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bookshelves!

Hey guys, it's been a while... I just entered my local newspaper's contest to show my shelves for a chance at 4 amusement park tickets. I of course entered since I am quite proud and love my book collection! I would greatly appreciate if you guys would take less than a minute to click the link and vote for my shelves. The voting runs from the 13-19th. Thanks!






Monday, April 9, 2012

eBook and eBook reader survey!

Hey guys, for my academic writing class I am doing a research paper on the revolution of eBooks and eBook readers and then comparing the experience to reading a physical hard copy versus reading an electronic copy. I am wondering how eBooks have impacted the reading experience and how readers are reacting to the change.

If you could please fill out my survey, I would greatly appreciate it. It will only take a few minutes to fill out! Thank you (:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guest Post with Author Mary Pauline Lowry

I wrote my novel THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE so that women and girls could experience an incredible adventure through the main character RHONDA, who swims across the Rio Grande River to Mexico and transforms herself into a Mexican boy named ANGEL by cutting and dying her hair. She then sets off across Mexico to find her one true friend. By “passing” as a Mexican boy, RHONDA blends in with her new and exotic surroundings and doesn’t have to be scared.

I think as women and girls we often long for amazing adventures ourselves, but sometimes we don’t have them because we’re afraid. We’ve been told that we have to “stay safe” and avoid situations where we might be in danger. The world remains a large and often violent place. And sometimes just being a woman makes us more visible and more vulnerable.

Even though THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE is a wild, fantastical tale and not at all realistic, I still believe firmly that real life women and girls can push ourselves (and encourage each other) to have adventures as wonderful and amazing as the one RHONDA/ANGEL has. And we can all make a start by reading books that show us strong girls taking risks.


The Earthquake Machine
 The book every girl should read,
and every girl’s parents hope she’ll never read.

The Earthquake Machine tells the story of 14 year-old Rhonda. On the outside, everything looks perfect in Rhonda’s world, but at home Rhonda has to deal with a manipulative father who keeps her mentally ill mother hooked on pharmaceuticals. The only reliable person in Rhonda’s life is her family’s Mexican yardman, Jesús. But when the INS deports Jesús back to his home state of Oaxaca, Rhonda is left alone with her increasingly painful family situation.

Determined to find her friend Jésus, Rhonda seizes an opportunity to run away during a camping trip with friends to Big Bend National Park. She swims to the Mexican side of the Rio Grande and makes her way to the border town of Milagros, Mexico. There a peyote- addled bartender convinces her she won’t be safe traveling alone into the country’s interior. So with the bartender’s help, Rhonda cuts her hair and assumes the identity of a Mexican boy named Angel. She then sets off on a burro across the desert to look for Jesús. Thus begins a wild adventure that fulfills the longing of readers eager for a brave and brazen female protagonist.

Author Bio:
Mary Pauline Lowry has worked as a forest firefighter, screenwriter, open water lifeguard, construction worker, and advocate in the movement to end violence against women. At 15, she ran away from home and made it all the way to Matamoros, Mexico. She believes girls should make art, have adventures, and read books that show them the way. 

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Thank you Mary for this lovely guest post and stopping by!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Guest Post with Author Cornelia Amiri + Contest

Daffodils and The Prince of Powys
By Cornelia Amiri

I live in Houston, Texas, a climate that is usually warm, so I’m already thinking about and looking forward to spring. The ancient Celts like most people loved spring. The ancient Celtic festival Imbolc, which takes place next month, February 1st, ushered in spring. When I think of spring, I often think of Daffodils. Not only are yellow daffodils the essence of spring but they also hold a place of sacred honor to the Welsh.

One of the daffodil's many Welsh names is Cenhinen Bedr (Peter's leek). St. David, also known as Dewi, the patron saint of Wales, was a monk who lived on bread, water, herbs and leeks. The day he died, March 1, 589 A. D., is celebrated each year in Wales as St. David’s day. At the battle of Heathfield in 633 AD, which took place in a field of leeks, St. David told the Welsh warriors to wear a leek on their helmet so they could tell them apart from the Saxons they were fighting. Legend has it that the wild daffodils open their buds on March 1st to remind people of Saint David. Also Welsh soldiers wear a leek or daffodil in their caps each year on St. David's Day. Daffodils are often worn in place of leeks in hats and buttonholes, because they’re prettier and smell much sweeter.

Even warriors, both present and past, loved daffodils. The 8th century Welsh Warrior King, Elisedd, has a pillar, a standing cross his grandson erected to honor his deeds in battle, which still stands in Powys near Eglwyseg Mountain.

In my new young adult novel, The Prince of Powys, King Elisedd picked daffodils at the hill fort of Dynas Bran and discovered the magic within them as he said, “Men like your sire and I are warrior kings. We have no time for pretty words and daffodils. We must look after our land and our people." As the stern-faced king spoke those words, he twirled a daffodil in hand.

Branda covered her trembling lips to keep from laughing. She gathered a bouquet of the yellow flowers and handed them to the king.

”Don’t tell Carthann that you picked these flowers," Elisedd said.

“No." Branda leaned in close to him. "Are you going to give her the daffodils?"

"Yes. Let her think I picked them, for it was my intent. It is why I offered to bring you here, I remember a time when I picked daffodils for her. The summer scents and a pretty maid meant much to me. You make me feel young again girl."

Blurb for The Prince of Powys:
In an age of heroes, Branda, a Saxon princess helps Blaise, a Prince of Powys, escape her father’s stronghold. In turn, he vows to escort the princess to her sister in Scotland so she can escape an arranged marriage. Instead, he holds her captive as his hostage in the unbreachable hill fort of Dinas Bran, where she captures his heart. Will Blaise be forced to throw away his honor for love or to tear out his heart for honor?


I included a picture of me with daffodil balloons at the Dafodill Festival in Round Rock Texas. For more more information about my young adult fantasy/romance, The Prince of Powys, please visit http://www.eternalpress.biz/book.php?isbn=9781615725823 or my website http://CelticromanceQueen.com.

Blogging Contest:
I am giving away a Celtic leather bracelet. Please post a comment or question below and a winner will be randomly selected. Include you email so I can contact you if you win.

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Thanks for stopping by Cornelia!
And be sure to check out her website and comment below to win the bracelet :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Guest Post with Author Derek Taylor Kent

The Scary Path to a Book Deal
 By Derek Taylor Kent (AKA Derek the Ghost)

My name is Derek Taylor Kent (AKA Derek the Ghost).  I recently received a three-book deal for my YA horror-comedy series Scary School, which came out June 21, 2011 (scaryschool.com). How this came to be is a bit of a horror-comedy itself.

March 1994. At the age of 15, I undertake writing an epic illustrated fantasy series. It’s an ill-conceived cross between Dr. Seuss and Lord of the Rings, but I spend six long years trying to get it published. Nothing ever comes of it.

April 2005. Painfully abandoning the illustrated book series and inspired by Harry Potter, I spend a year writing my first novel: Scary School, Book 1: My Homework Ate my Dog. After completing the first draft, I submit it to a few agents and publishers. All rejections.  

Confused, I gave the manuscript to readers. I receive notes that suggest a heavy rewrite. Reluctantly, I spend months doing exhaustive rewrites, but I had to admit the book was greatly improved.

Early 2007. I feel the book is ready to submit once again. But I had a relentless day job and my spare time was filled with other projects. My Homework Ate My Dog goes on the backburner.

Another year passes.

July 2008. There’s a brief window of time off from my day job. I decide that it’s time to go full-out toward finding an agent or a publisher. If it doesn’t happen, it will probably be the end of my YA writing aspirations. 

The task before me is daunting. I have the Guide to Literary Agents and the Children’s Marketplace books. It would take me a year to reach out to every agent and publisher, and I only have a window of a couple weeks. So, I hire an assistant. His job is to send out packages to every single YA lit agent in America. I spend my time focusing on online querying.

Responses start coming in. I’m getting bites. About one in every ten I sent out is asking to read my manuscript or sample chapters. Most are rejections, but if you have a 10% positive response rate to your query, you know that you probably have something good.

August 2008. Eric Myers from the Joe Spieler Agency requests sample chapters. A week later he requests the complete manuscript. On September 20, 2008, Eric Myers is my agent. He is very enthusiastic and has a great track record.

December 2008. Every publisher my agent has submitted to has passed.

The only glimmer of hope is from a junior editor at HarperCollins who says that she “really likes my writing and the humor of the book, but what I was expecting from a book called Scary School: My Homework Ate My Dog was not what I got. I was hoping for a light, funny book about a Scary School for a young audience.”

She was exactly right. My title was screaming: silly/funny book for 8-year-olds, but I had given her a darker Harry Potter fit for 12-year-olds.

The editor concluded with: “I do feel there is a market for a Scary School book series for a younger audience should he feel inclined to write it.”

There it was. A bite from a publisher. The only problem was my “bite” felt like an orca whale. I’d have to write a whole new book for her, and I’d have to write it fast so she didn’t forget about me or buy another book in the same genre.

I sequester myself and complete the first draft of a new book series, just called Scary School.

The first draft is done by January 2009. I send it to my agent.  He’s a little shocked that it’s not a linear story like My Homework Ate my Dog, but we agree to send it to HarperCollins as is.

March 2009. The junior editor writes back: “This is exactly what I was hoping for. I love it! I think we really have something here!”

A few weeks later HarperCollins offers me a three-book deal for Scary School.

I dance around my apartment and weep with joy.

The advance is not enough to quit my day job, but it’s enough to create a website, hire a publicist, and print thousands of Scary School T-shirts.

As I write this, I am exactly one week away from the Scary School release date on June 21, 2011. I had to wait another two years before it was scheduled for release.

It was agony.

Over that time I have self-published what is now called Rudy and the Beast: My Homework Ate My Dog!  There’s still an issue with the title, but I won’t surrender it. I also self-published an illustrated book called Simon and the Solar System.

This year, I finished a new YA novel called Principal Mikey about a kid who becomes principal of his school. I think it’s my most well-written novel and is absolutely hilarious.

No bites so far.

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Thank you for stopping by Derek! Be sure to check out his series and website.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (55): Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights an upcoming release that I'm eagerly awaiting.
This week I can't wait for Pandemonium: Delirium #2 by Lauren Oliver!

The first book Delirium was so unique and good, I'm quite excited to read the sequel. Lauren Oliver's books so far have all been so great that I'm expecting to devour and love this one too! It comes out very soon this winter on February 28, 2012. The absolutely stunning cover and summary below are from Goodreads:



I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare, 
pushing aside thoughts of Alex, 
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school, 
push, 
push, 
push, 
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.


Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) Review

Title: Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have)
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Number of Pages: 304
Genre: YA Contemporary
 Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: June 21st, 2011
My Edition: Kindle Book
Reading Level: Young Adult
Bought From: Amazon
Author's Website: sarahm.com

Summary from Goodreads:
2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house – parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn't have.
If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn't jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe "opportunity" isn't the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: "Lied to Our Parents"). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up "Skipping School" (#3), "Throwing a Crazy Party" (#8), "Buying a Hot Tub" (#4), and, um, "Harboring a Fugitive" (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.
In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn't-have-done at a time.
Review: 
Ten Things We Did definitely proved to be more than just your average silly story of a high school girl, who is both party and boy crazy, and told the story of a girl struggling to get over her parents' divorce and just through life in general. The story tells the tale of all the various crazy things April did after her father lets her move in with her best friend, instead of moving far away from her hometown boyfriend, friends, and school. I loved how the author set up the story by intertwining the past events with the current events to show the reader what had happened in the past while maintaining the story in the present.

When I saw that the Kindle book was only 99 cents, I knew I could not resist buying it, and I'm so glad I did! I started reading it on my phone one night before going to bed and just couldn't stop reading. I ended up reading until 4 in the morning, it was just that hard to put down. I just wanted to keep reading and reading because the story was too funny and irresistible to stop. I finished it the next day and wished it hadn't ended. The ending ultimately surprised me, but overall, I liked it a lot. The last paragraph of the book was definitely the perfect, also ironic, way to end the story.

As a whole, Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) had the worksfunny, interesting characters, and a back-story with depth and not just your average story-line. It definitely would make for a great summer read or a quick, fun book to read in your free time. I do recommend! This was my second book I've read by Mlynowski, and it certainly will not be my last. I look forward to reading more by her, and hopefully, those will be just as good.

Rating:


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Box of ARCs Contest!

Hey all, my resolution for this new year will be to read more at college (yes I am in college now, majoring in English Lit YAY!) and to definitely BLOG more! I will try my hardest to read and review more books as well as juggle my school workload, work, and social life. 

Anyways I feel bad having all of these ARCs that I have either read, don't want to read, or know I will never read just sitting in my room soooo I will be sending a lucky winner a box full of ARCs (12 Total)! I want to send it before I go back to school so the contest will end MONDAY January 16th, 2012. I move back into my dorm the 17th so this will give me a day to bundle it all up and send it before I go back!

These are the 12 ARCs I am giving away:
(click the link to go to the Goodreads page to read their summaries)

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CONTEST INFO:
- Open to U.S. addresses only
- Must fill out THIS FORM
- One winner ~ 12 ARCs (new and gently used)!
- Ends January 16th!
- Also since there are so many and a lot of them have been out for a while, if you have any of these just say so. If you win, I'll try to exchange one of them with a different ARC or another book.

EXTRA ENTRIES ~ MUST LEAVE LINKS:
+1 Commenting on any post (besides this one)
+2 For being a follower 
+3 Linking to Twitter, Sidebar, Facebook, Post, or etc.


Fill Out THE FORM and Good Luck!

Such a Pretty Girl Review



Title: Such a Pretty Girl
Author: Laura Weiss
Number of Pages: 212
Genre: YA Contemporary
 Publisher: MTV Books
Publication Date: January 2, 2007
My Edition: Bargain Book Paperback
Reading Level: Young Adult
Bought From: Amazon
Author's Website: laurawiess.com

Summary from Goodreads: 
They promised Meredith nine years of safety, but only gave her three.

Her father was supposed to be locked up until Meredith turned eighteen. She thought she had time to grow up, get out, and start a new life. But Meredith is only fifteen, and today her father is coming home from prison.
Today her time has run out.
Review: 
Such a Pretty Girl surprised me in many waysaltogether it was a powerful story about a teenager who is just trying to live and survive in a world with the father, who sexually abused and harassed her, once he is let out of prison six years earlier than she expected. It definitely surprised me by how much I was disturbed and disgusted by the little acts of unwanted affection Meredith's father displayed towards his daughter. I could never imagine being in that type of situation, which is one reason I love literature because it transports you to a world where you can experience the emotions of the characters you read about, without having to live them for yourself. I, however, would never wish this upon anyone to go through her type of situation, and I feel so sorry for those who have experienced this situation firsthand.

The story can easily be read in one sitting, which I tried to do, but it was hard to do so when the father just kept creeping me out so much. It is a very short book with very few characters and hardly any external plot going on but does have a lot backstory and underlying details that make the story very good but hard to enjoy because of the tough topic. Meredith was a strong female character who stood up for herself and had the support of her neighbors to do so, which without the love and support from them, she might not have ever been able to get out and most likely would have been abused again.

Overall Such a Pretty Girl turned out to be a novel that wasn't exactly fun or pleasant to read, but one where it tells an important tale of a strong girl who would not stand to be mistreated or abused again by her father or mother. This is the second book I have read by Laura Weiss, and I look forward to reading more of her books! Especially Ordinary Beauty which came out this past summer.

Rating: