So I wrote a book … now what?

No, I’m really asking, now what?

A few weeks ago, I finally wrote the last sentence of the novel I have been writing for the past two years.

Two. Years.

As soon as I finished, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride.

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I was joyful. Ecstatic. I had finally accomplished something that I had dreamed about doing as a little girl, and I was proud of it. So proud! I mean who cares if nothing ever came of it, I WROTE A BOOK!!!!!!! If no one else liked it at least I did, and I was okay with that. So what if I poured two years of precious time and effort into this thing? I didn’t need anyone’s approval, I was a strong independent woman who has accomplished a DREAM!!!!!!!!!!

I WAS A CHAMPION!!!!!! Right? … Right?

Well, yea, I was technically right. But here’s the thing about books. There not worth much if no one reads them. So, how was I going to get people to read it? and enjoy it? As I stared at the 107,000 words I had written ( I know, it’s long) I couldn’t help but think, Now what?

So I did the only thing I could think of. I entered a contest.

I wasn’t under any delusions that I would magically win and suddenly become a best selling Author.  I entered because they promised feedback, and feedback is invaluable. Creating my entry also forced me to look at the first two chapters of my book with a critical eye. It forced me to edit. It forced me to cut. All in all, it made my story better.

So, that was a good start! I took a first step!  I am going somewhere!

And after that first step, I arrived at the same question .

Now what?

So, I’m entering more contests and trying to gather some draft readers. Truthfully I’m just stumbling around, sort of lost. I am taking some time to read other people’s work, because I think a good writer has to be an avid reader . My inbox is jam packed with books, just waiting for me to review them! I can’t wait!  But I am worried this new experience is going to change my ability to critically review.  Will I still be honest about flaws? Will I be too connected to the author’s feelings, and suddenly be too biased?

Great job!!!!...Sort of.
Great job!!!!…Sort of.

Am I going to say “good work” to everything, just because I truly understand the blood, sweat, and tears that went into these pages? I open the first book on my list nervously. It’s written by a favorite author of mine, Kate Avery Ellison (review coming soon!) and I dive into the story.

Thank the book gods, I think I’ll be okay!

I have always enjoyed looking past a book’s surface and focusing on the details. Pacing, world building, and all the technicalities have always held a little magic for me. Suddenly I notice these intricacies more. I can read between the lines so much clearer now.

I am excited to post my next book review. I think it will be one of my better ones.

As far as my own book goes, I’m still stuck on island “next step is unknown”.

Anyone out there have any suggestions? A map? A guide? Anything? If so, please, send me a message in a bottle.  I could use some book direction.

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Review of In Dawn and Darkness

in dawn and darkness

I have been waiting for this book.

I love this series. Ellison is probably best known for her Frost Chronicles, but in my humble opinion her best work is The Secrets of Itlantis series. The books are set in a beautiful futuristic fantasy world deep under the ocean, and there are several different cities and cultures that are wonderfully woven together. The book’s main character, Aemi, is flawed (like all good characters are,) but determined. The series has victory, loss, romance, a little comedy, and most importantly a lesson. All of the elements of a good fantasy novel are there. Of course, any decent YA Fantasy book should have all of these elements, so what sets this book apart from the eighty others I have read this year?

The writing.

I love authors who are poetic. I don’t want books to tell me it’s raining, I want them to show me how each raindrop cascades down the glass pane, leaving a trail of sparkling drops behind. I want beauty. I want quotable lines. I want the mundane to sound amazing.

Kate Avery Ellison is a pro at this.

The story is well woven, the plot is thick, and the pacing is on point. None of these things are spectacular, but they are good. The characters have their own personalities, and surprises are revealed as the story moves. It is a solid piece of work. But what sets it apart from other books is Kate Ellison’s specific style of writing.

The book isn’t perfect, which is why I am giving this book a 4.5 start rating. There are a few editorial errors, and parts of the ending seemed rushed. I think the romantic tension could have been more defined. However, the final chapter of this book gave the readers great closure, and the beautiful writing and creative world building make up for the small amount of typos. As far as the romance? Well, I always want more. That flaw is probably my own.

Overall, I loved it! I will be recommending this series to people, especially now that I know it remains strong to it’s end.

To purchase your own copy, click on the Book cover!

4.5/5 Stars!
4.5/5 Stars!

A review of The Heir – Not what I was expecting!

The Heir (The Selection, #4)The Heir by Kiera Cass

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The fourth book of the Selection series has finally arrived! Some of us have been waiting for a year to meet the offspring of much-loved Maxon and America, and I am sure there are tons of girls (including myself) that immediately bought the book the moment it was available, sat down, and read it cover to cover. Now that I’ve finished it, what did I think? Was it good? Did meet my expectations?

Well, that’s a complex question.

When I started this book I was fully aware of the massive amount of industry demand and expectation that was riding the tails of The Heir. The Selection’s success is hard to truly express, the words “exceptionally well” really fall flat. I mean, it’s The Selection. It’s up there with The Hunger Games and Divergent. Heck, it’s up there with Twilight! I am positive that if a show or movie is ever created (please, please do this WB!!) there will be girls playing the shows on repeat on their DVR/ lining up outside the movie theater in the same droves twilight invoked.

That is quite a bit of pressure for one book.

Was it as good as the last book in the Selection series? No, it wasn’t. However, I think there is good reason for that.

The original Selection story was just that- an original story. That isn’t the case with this new part of the series. Yes, it is a new story with new characters, but Kiera didn’t have the freedom to just create any world she wanted. She had to build a new story around an already existing cast and set. She had to weave the old characters in with the new, and provide enough of the old to entice her readers, while still keeping her new characters as the main focus. She had to make us fall in love with new people, while we were still over the moon about Maxon and America’s happy(ish) ending.

Holy Spumoni, that sounds hard! I have to imagine that was a challenge, even for the exceptionally talented Kiera Cass!

Right from the beginning this book had so much to surmount, and it showed. I have to be honest, I dredged through the first few chapters. It wasn’t that they weren’t good per se, they just weren’t good in comparison to the first chapters of The One. I didn’t have the same heated anticipation that spurred me to fly through The One, tearing through each page with the vigor of a hungry child. There was nothing I needed to know about Eadlyn yet, because I didn’t yet know her at all.

So I set the book down, and I reset my mind. I reminded myself that I wasn’t feverish when I first picked up The Selection, either. The Selection had just been another new book, and that was how I needed to treat this book too. Regardless of knowing who Eadlyn’s parents are, I needed to focus on Eadlyn and not her parents. This was her story, not theirs.With a new additude, I charged on.

As the book went on, it grew on me. That doesn’t surprise me, Kiera is great with the build of a story’s crescendo. I don’t like Eadlyn as much as I liked America, but I think I could. I suspect that many people will prefer Eadlyn over America at first. The reason is simple, Eadlyn is a spoiled princess, and America was the very opposite. In fact Eadlyn isn’t just a spoiled princess. SHE IS A SELF CENTERED BRAT!!

Eadlyn and America could not be more different. Other than their stubbornness they have almost nothing in common at first glance, simply because they are both the product of very different worlds. Eadlyn was raised to know she was powerful and important. She is spoiled, and why wouldn’t she be? She is the next ruler of I’llea. She grew up in a palace, with an army of servants. Of course she has a bit of a self-important complex. Yet, I see potential in her. I see her mother’s steadfast nerve, and her father’s faith. I see a girl who could be great… if a few things change. One of things that needs to change is the way her parents handle her, and that was difficult for me to absorb. The Maxon and America I knew would never have allowed a daughter to treat people the way Eadlyn treats others… but then again, they seem to be trying to teach her selflessness through the selection.

I also want to discuss the boys, of course! I have to say, I am not sure what the outcome of Eadyln’s love life will be. Her love story isn’t as intense as America’s was, but I think it will be. I definitely have a favorite for Eadlyn, but my favorite could easily change. I knew exactly who America should be with pretty quickly, this time it doesn’t seem so obvious to me. The problem is Eadlyn’s crippling fear of falling in love. She puts up walls so people can’t see that she is just a girl, and you can’t fall in love if you don’t let anyone in.(view spoiler) My favorite picks from the selection are Kile & Henri, and I am leaning towards Kile because the Language barrier is a big obstacle for sweet, perfect Henri to overcome! Of course there is also Eric. He may not be a part of the selection, but he is certainly becoming an important part of Eadlyn’s life. I am interested to see where that relationship goes.

Finally there was the ending. It was devastating! I have a love/hate relationship with cliff hangers, but I feel no love for this one. It was cruel. Be warned, you might cry.

Overall, this was my least favorite book in The Selection series. I’ll still read the next one, and I think the next one will be much, much better, but I feel like this whole book should have been squeezed into the first half of one book. Eadlyn could have been a little more likable too! However, there were moments that truly moved me, and there are some very quotable phrases in this book. Some of them were so good I had to stop reading and take a breath, just to revel in them. four stars is my final verdict for The Heir!
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The One – Definitely the one for me!

The One (The Selection, #3)The One by Kiera Cass
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been waiting for this book for over a year. A YEAR! So I was prepared to be let down because of the massive amount of build-up I had centered on The One. I promised myself I would stay calm, collected, and I would not cry hysterically, yell at the pages, or shout with joy. I was going to act like a composed adult.

Then I got through chapter two, and I was already yelling at the pages. You see, there are books that immediately capture you, and this series does that. Then there are books that get you so involved in the characters you stay up all night because you just HAVE to know what happens…and this book is one of those as well. So heed my warning, and start in the morning! You will not be able to put it down.

This book is a fairy tale. When I say that, I mean it in terms people don’t usually think of when they hear that phrase. There is a happy ending, but it comes with heartache and struggle as well. And really, isn’t that what most fairy tales are like? The characters in this book go through a lot to get to their happy ending. Maybe it should be called a “real fairy tale”, because it isn’t just a happily ever after story, it is an “I love you no matter what” story. That is probably why I loved this story so much, because those are my favorite kind.
I can’t say much more then what I have said already, because if I do there will be spoilers. This is a book you need to read spoil free! The ending is a surprise in a way most will not expect. It is fulfilling, happy, sad, and everything Cass’s loyal fans wanted. It is hard to make everyone happy, but I think she did it!

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Unravel me- Officially a Warner fan!

Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2)Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BE STILL MY POOR, CONFUSED HEART!!!

First off, love this book.

Second, it is all about the romance. Usually, I am not okay with that. But the romance in this series is so good, it doesn’t even matter that the storyline is mainly all about the love. It is beautifully written, heartstoppingly sexy, and nobody has even made it pass second base yet. WOW.

Third, turns out there is more than one love interest. And it is evil, murderous Warner. and you know what? I LOVE HIM!!!!!!!!!! But wait…no I don’t… this is Warner!!!! The guy who tortured wonderful, sweet Adam! The guy who shot a guy in the head! (view spoiler) I mean this guy has no remorse or feelings! right? RIGHT????????

WRONG!!!!!!!

Warner is human. And not just any human, a gorgeously broken self loathing human that looks like the perfect male specimen, has killer dimples on the rare occasions he smiles { and oh! that smile!}, has a secretly kind heart and is totally manipulated by his evil father. HUH.

WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THAT!!

*how I feel about Warner*

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SO, I have decided to deal with my confused feelings about Warner by completely jumping ship Adam and going strait to Warner. Why, you ask? Read chapter 62. Then read destroy me.

I also have to say I am usually very loyal to my teams, but Warner is just…..he’s so….he’s all beautiful and his words, they make me all sparkly inside.

I am sorry Adam. I really am. But you just don’t make me squirm like Warner does.

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