Mar 29, 2012

So… I’m Talking About Goodreads Again

Do you even care?

I was tooling around over there the other day and decided that I was going to be more present on the site. How? By actually reviewing the books there. I know it’s not much and in the long run, I don’t know that anyone will bother to read them, but it’s what I’m going to do.


Unlike my blog reviews, these won't have a summary or reccomendation to buy, borrow or brush past.
How do you use Goodreads? Is it a place you keep track of lists? Do you pay attention to people’s reviews? Tell me, please :D

Mar 28, 2012

Looking for a Literature Sherpa

I promised someone – maybe several someones, or maybe I’m making that up in my head – a picture of my book towers.
Some people have tbr piles… I have a tbr mountain. Anyone want to find me a Sherpa?



To the left, the books waiting to be read (this does not include the two pre-orders making their way to me April 3rd and May 29th). To the right… the books I’ve read since February.

At present, I’m in the middle of the 5th book in the Song of Ice and Fire Series… and so my reading rate has slowed considerably. I equate reading the books to slogging through knee deep water with the loose silt of the river bottom suctioning your waders. Once I get done with it I’ll get back to making a serious dent in that mountain. Hopefully I’ve found my Sherpa before then.

Mar 27, 2012

Review: Gabriel's Ghost

Gabriel’s Ghost
By Linnea Sinclair

Steamy Science Fiction
Paperback, 447 pages

Published by Bantam Spectra
Released October 25th 2005







My Summary:
Chaz has been falsely accused of a crime and sent to a prison planet where no one survives long. Her military training keeps her alive long enough for Gabriel Sullivan to find her. Sully, a man who was supposed to have died years before, was a pain in her side when she was part of the fleet, keeping her constantly on the run with a cat and mouse game she never fully understood. The fact that he’s there to rescue her leaves her more than skeptical. But there are bigger things at stake than Chaz’s concerns.  Someone is breeding vicious creatures, killing machines that were outlawed long ago. In a universe where Chaz can trust no one else, she has to learn whether she can trust herself around Sully.

My review:
The plot and pacing of this novel leave you with little time to catch your breath. Ms. Sinclair walks that delicate tightrope between romance and danger, concocting a story that pulls you in, tugs at your heart, tosses it against the wall and then finds a way to heal any breaks.
Her characterization is clever and compelling, the settings are vivid and unique. The alien races she’s created are not so alien as to be off putting and the relationship she’s created is organic, albeit quick.
Completely unrelated to the content: The cover is tragically embarrassing. But if you can’t get past that, there’s always ebook format.

Buy, Borrow, Brush Past:
If you’re into both SF and Romance, go for it. This is totally a Buy. If you’re not into the former, but still into the latter, I’d suggest borrowing this one (and if you like it, take a chance on the rest of her books). If you’re a hard core SF buff who doesn’t like cream in his coffee… you might want to Brush Past this one (even in ebook format).

Mar 26, 2012

MI: Vibrant


This color is an odd source of inspiration for me.... since it lead me to think of roaches- I know, weird.

I love the softness inherent in the petals of a flower, and yet how harsh this color is. Beautiful in it's dissonance.

Mar 21, 2012

Colorful Language


Presently, I'm working on revisions of novel #6 (Buckling down so I can get it off to the editor extraordinaire and move on to finishing Novel #7).

This is what that looks like:


My edits are very colorful, but they have a purpose! Each color tells me something different, so at a glance, I know that page "x" has two instances of repetition to deal with, one sentence that needs to be rewritten in its entirety, a character description that needs to be expanded upon and a transition that needs restructuring.

This is actually the 3rd edit I've done to this ms.

First edit was a quick go through.
In the second edit, I cut the entire ending (a whole 45k words).
And this, the third edit, is making the front end mesh with what I plan to make the new ending...

so it is far from my last edit (Highlighter salesmen can rejoice).

Anyone else in revisions right now? Anyone else feel as neurotic as I do when I talk about this sort of thing?

Mar 20, 2012

Review: A Million Suns

A Million Suns
(Book two in the Across the Universe Series)
By Beth Revis

YA Science Fiction with More Twists and Loops than a Rollercoaster
Hardcover, 386 pages

Published by Razorbill (Penguin)



My Summary:
Amy and Elder uncover secrets big enough to topple the ship as a murderer and unrest run rampant. (I’d say more, but I really can’t think of how to do that without giving away spoilers!)

My review:
To be completely honest, this novel made me crawl out of my skin, and in such a good way. Ms. Revis managed to keep the feel of her first novel through this sequel and maintained the same level of “Dear goodness, what now?” that came up in AtU.  The novel will have you desperate to find the conclusion and won’t disappoint when you get there.

Buy, Borrow, Brush Past:
Buy! If you haven’t gotten your hands on Beth’s first book, obviously go get that one first, but this is one series you don’t want to miss.

Interview with the author, Bet Revis

Mar 19, 2012

MI: Beautiful Destruction


Darkness rides forth on a blood red mount
Drinking up the blue sky as water from a fount
She knows she must kill more than she can count
 - A. B. Keuser (03/08/12)

Mar 15, 2012

GoodReads

I enjoy GoodReads more than I probably ought... but it appeals to the part of my brain that loves organization! LOVES IT.

One of my favorite features is the cover view of your read/currently reading/to be read books

It could partially be the grid layout that makes me happy, and the pretty covers I've had the pleasure of holding in my hand as I read the books...

What about you? Do you love GoodReads? if so (and we aren't already) look me up sp we cam be friends on GoodReads too!



Book recommendations, book reviews, quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

Mar 14, 2012

Beta Stages

So, I’ve explained this to people before, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never done a post on it…

I have a small slew of beta readers and when it comes to their valuable help, I have  a system – heaven knows I love my systems!

Stage 1: Draft 1

I do something that may or may not make you cringe…. I have a beta reader who reads chapters as I finish them (obviously only when I write chronologically). Jenna is my “As-I-Go” beta. She helps me by pointing out any severe issues right off the bat, I then mark that place with a note and worry about it later. Mostly, I use her for the emotional response. If she wants to know what’s going to happen next, I know I’ve at least ended the chapter well. She also helps with character weakness and pacing problems – catch ‘em early!

Stage 2: My Edit

Next, I go back through reading it myself and tweaking things here and there with the notes from Jenna in mind. This stage can be the messiest, mostly because I use about five different colored pens and eight different highlighters for this.  At this point, I send the whole thing back to Jenna, and to Katie, my second “reader” beta. They go through, Jenna picking it apart from the get go because she’s already read it, and Katie telling me what she does/doesn’t like from the stand point of a reader.

Stage 3: Beta Edits

I get back all their notes and I do another edit. At this point the novel is looking more like  a novel, but I’ve had it on my hands for so long…. I pretty much hate it. The black and white of the page makes my eyes want to bleed and while, I could revise with that blood, I don’t think it would be advisable.

Stage 4: The Harsh Edit

My mother is a grammar nazi, and luckily for me, she’s gracious enough to go through my novels and edit them. This is great for me because a) I can be horrible about that, b) it means my ms is in Oregon for at least a month (when I can’t change anything about it – even though I have a draft on my comp) c) she provides me with amazing insight and clarity. The downside (if you can call it that) when I get the ms back, it usually has a good 5k changes that need to be made.

Stage 5: Crit Partner Edits or Re-edit.

Depending on the state of the novel at this point, it either repeats stage four, or I’ll send it off to a crit partner. The big difference here is that the crit partner is someone who is a writer themselves. Up until this point the betas have all been readers (except my mother who happens to write policy manuals, but that’s another thing entirely). Crit partners are invaluable because they can look at it with a writer’s eye and tell you owhat is/isn’t working from that perspective.

Stage 6: Repeat if necessary.

The risk in any revision (and I guess also the goal) is that you find something that needs to be fixed. Sometimes it’s a little thing… sometimes you find yourself chopping off the tail end of the novel and starting over (welcome to the novel currently in stage 4 for the second time).

In the end, it’s a long process, but fully worth it. I wouldn’t be anywhere near ready to think about publishing were it not for my awesome Betas!

Mar 13, 2012

Review: Warchild

Warchild


Militaristic SF with an odd twist
Paperback, 451 pages

Published by Aspect

(Werner Books, Inc)







My Summary:
When Jos’s ship is attacked by pirates, he’s thrust out of childhood and into hell. But the place he ends up is far from anything he would have ever expected. Between Pirates, the Strit

My Review:
Interestingly enough, the first part of the novel is told entirely from the 2nd person POV. Part two switches into first person and the book stays there for the rest of the novel. The unfamiliar perspective took a little getting used to, but was an effective way to put the readers in the eight year old protagonists’ shoes.
While the novel does occasionally slip into lulls, it’s moderately paced and several scenes will have you turning the page as quickly as your fingers will allow.
The author is not kind to her protagonist, so if you’re easily queasy, you may want to avoid this book for those sections.

Buy, Borrow, Brush Past:
I give this novel a solid Borrow, mainly because to buy it new (last time I checked Amazon) you’d have to drop $22. That’s just bad business sense when it comes to a mass market paperback. However, if you find this used, like I did, and you’re a SF buff, totally snatch it up!This novel, while containing some very unpleasant points, was a good read.