Ever wonder what it takes to become a YA author? How about learning about the publishing process? Maybe you just want to know more about what it takesEver wonder what it takes to become a YA author? How about learning about the publishing process? Maybe you just want to know more about what it takes to be a better writer. Well, if any of those apply to you-- Wild Ink is for you.
This is not my normal type of book for review, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read this one. Yes, I was interested into learning more about the publishing process for books. I mean, who doesn't have that dream, right? But what I really wanted was insight into the writing process.
I admit it. I was 100% selfish with my decision to review this book. I am a teacher. In fact, I'm a Language Arts/writing teacher. Naturally, I would want to learn more about the writing process so I could share that information with my kids. Duh.
What I didn't expect though, was for a book to fully cover all the skills that I teach when I teach literature. Not only does Wild Ink spend the first 3 chapters hitting all the elements of great fiction, but it also provides exercises for practice. I love that. I'll even admit that I used some of the practice activities with my students. Great teaching tool.
As a blogger, I even found some of the information applicable to my blogging. Awesome, right? For instance, there is an entire chapter on how to interview authors. Yes, it's something you could figure out on your own, but it's nice to have a guide for the newbies.
Overall, I was impressed with the layout and presentation of the material in Wild Ink. I would certainly be interested in picking up other books by this author to add to my teacher tool kit. ...more
Review to comeMove over Hunger Games and Divergent, I think I have a new favorite dystopian novel! Neal Shusterman’s Unwind was amazing. Dark, deeplyReview to comeMove over Hunger Games and Divergent, I think I have a new favorite dystopian novel! Neal Shusterman’s Unwind was amazing. Dark, deeply disturbing, but amazing. Brilliant, even. I really want to know where he got the idea for this story! Like the uber popular Hunger Games series, the concept behind this book was highly original. I mean, legalized abortion for kids between the ages of 13 and 17? Insane! The world that was crafted is deeply disturbing, so please don’t start reading this book thinking it’s a fluffy middle grades “Dystopian 101” level book. I have to take a moment and go off on a small tangent… When you read a great piece of fiction, it makes you think about a lot of things. I absolutely love when a book can challenge our views and opinions on controversial topics in ways that seem unimaginable and horrific. You can truly explore the dark psyche of human nature through literature, even when people are scared to express the ideas or views openly. That is great literature! So, thank you Mr. Shusterman for this book... even if others think you’re demented for creating the concepts that haunt the pages of Unwind. One of the things that makes this book so amazing are the characters. They are very complicated. Each of the main characters have been chosen for “unwinding” (i.e. a form of legalized abortion during the ages of 13-17) without their concept. Conner is a troubled youth. He’s not breaking laws, but he doesn’t do anything to make his parents’ lives easier. Bad grades, bad attitude, bad future: Perfect candidate for unwinding. Except Conner is not okay with that decision. He realizes that he wants to live. His life is his to control. Risa has the unfortunate circumstance of being an orphan. State budgets are tough and money has to be saved somewhere. Unwind. Then there is Lev. Raised as a tithe (yeah, that kind of tithe), he will be devoted as an unwind. Until Conner kidnaps him and messes everything up. I think Lev is one of the most interesting characters I have ever encountered. He starts off as this blind lamb willingly following someone else’s plan for his life. Then there is a series of very strange events that change him (not necessarily for the better). The person he becomes by the end of the book is so convoluted. His various transformations are interesting and certainly worthy of many discussions. (Please read this book so we can discuss it!) I know the author intended this to be a stand alone title originally, but I am thrilled to hear that there is more of this story to come. I hope that we get more insight into Lev because I have so many questions that I need answers for! If you haven’t figured out the premise of the book yet, I’ll spend a bit trying to explain it. Basically, America’s final great war (called the Heartland War) was between two forces (Pro-Choice and Pro-Life) that just couldn’t reach an agreement. To stop further bloodshed, a third party (U.S. military) offered a solution to the age-long debate/war. The solution was unwinding. To make the Pro-Lifers happy, no one could get an abortion. All babies must be born and raised; however, you could choose to “unwind” your child from the time they turned 13 through his/her 17th birthday. The catch? Every single piece of the body has to be reused. (Yeah, think about that for a moment!) The military thought it was such a crazy idea that both sides would see the folly in their fighting and come to more peaceful terms. But you know that seldom happens when you’re dealing with politics. Both sides loved the idea! This is pretty thought provoking stuff, and that’s not even mentioning “the scene” near the end of the book. Good golly. It makes Saw IV look like an 80s Care Bear movie. There are no rainbows and unicorns in this one, folks. This is a dark read. The subject matter is disturbing, but it’s written with great skill and care. I do not think it’s suitable for younger readers because there is a fair amount of graphic violence within the book. Do I think this book should be read? Absolutely! It would be a disservice to your country to not read this book. (Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it is a great book.) I really hope I get an ARC of book 2, Unwholly, before August. I would wet my pants if I did. I want to know what happens next! The anticipation is killing me. ...more
If I had to describe this book with just one word, it would be: intense. The dystopian world that Roth has created is truly intense. I couldn’t imaginIf I had to describe this book with just one word, it would be: intense. The dystopian world that Roth has created is truly intense. I couldn’t imagine having to pick a “faction” that would require the dedication of the rest of my life, especially the factions in Divergent. I think that Tris was one of the best characters I have read in a long time. She is strong, smart, and courageous. It was no surprise she chose to join the Dauntless faction. She belonged there more than any other recruit. But of course, her time during the initiation wasn't easy. It was very The Hunger Games-esque. The best and worst of human nature was present at all times.
Then there was Four. Smoldering, complicated Four. Their relationship was wonderful. I loved that they were equals. There was no "side" with the upper hand. They fed off one another’s strengths. It was a very believable path towards a relationship, and I am a sucker for a good love story. Granted Four wasn't making bread, but he still won a spot in my heart.
I thought the overall plot of the book was fantastic. It was a little slow at first, but it picked up quickly. There were plenty of terrifying twists and turns throughout Tris’s time in the Dauntless headquarters. However, the tension was slow building; but when it exploded, it hit the fan. At times, I was a little frustrated with the slow building tension, but I appreciate its purpose. It was a slow and steady building climax, but the ending was a bit unresolved, in my opinion. There was a huge climatic event that didn’t seem to offer much resolution, but I know that’s because the next book is going to begin in the middle of some kick butt action. Overall, this was a good read, but I think book two will be better. ...more
This was a fun read--nothing too serious or complicated. If you’re a fan of mythology, you’ll really enjoy this series. It’s so full of mythology, youThis was a fun read--nothing too serious or complicated. If you’re a fan of mythology, you’ll really enjoy this series. It’s so full of mythology, you’ll overdose. The plot isn’t overly complicated with this one. There were a few twists that I enjoyed along the way, but most of them I saw coming. It wasn’t a bad thing though. I really did enjoy just reading the story for the simple pleasure of enjoying a story. No analysis. No deep thought. Just simple enjoyment. This was a good, fun read. (It should be noted that the sexual references were high in this one, so don’t read if you like “clean” books.) Gwen Frost is a Gypsy… whatever that means. She’s not entirely sure, since she’s the only one at Mythos Academy (or so she thinks). All she does know is that everyone else thinks she’s a freak and she has the hots for the reputed campus man-whore Logan Quinn, Spartan extraordinaire. I have to admit, Logan seemed pretty darn dreamy, even if he had this whole conflicted warrior thing going on. I would drool too. Reading about Logan kept my interest long after I figured out the majority of the plot. He was definitely mysterious, and I—like Gwen-- wanted to know why. Their love-hate relationship kept me turning the pages as fast as I could, until his betrayal at the end. Oh, how my heart broke right along with Gwen’s! Scandalous. (I also quickly picked up book 2 to find out what would happen next. So glad I did!) If you can’t tell, the romance factor is what I enjoyed the most in the book. The complicated weaving of the various mythologies was very original and interesting as well. I thought the author did a nice job blending Greek, Roman, and Norse mythologies together in a cohesive, slightly complicated way. Along with the on and off romance between Gwen and Logan, other characters develop relationships too. My favorite is between Daphne (super hot Valkyrie) and Cameron (Celtic band geek). They are adorable. There are a lot of transformations and lessons learned throughout the book, especially by Gwen. She has to figure out her place in the mythological world. See, Gypsies aren’t freaks. They are rare warriors gifted directly by gods/goddesses and she is no exception. Her biggest challenge is figuring out how to use her special magic, her touch magic that she views as both a blessing and a curse. (and for very good reasons!) As I’ve said, this was a fun read. Good beach reading. There is lots of romance, a good bit of action, and a kick-butt main character who is sarcastic and funny. I love Gwen’s uncanny ability to get herself into impossible situations. This is, however, meant for older YA readers. Since the book takes place at a boarding school of sorts, you can guess at the “extra-curricular activities” that occur with a lack of adult supervision. I wouldn’t want my 12 year old reading about that stuff. Just sayin’. ...more
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone, but I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised with what I read.I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone, but I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised with what I read. For some reason I thought there was a paranormal element to this book. I have no idea why that ever entered my mind—the synopsis gives no hint of anything paranormal related. I guess I’ve been so overwhelmed with all things supernatural lately, that I just assumed I was reading another book in the genre. Shame on me. In case you share my own folly, know that this is not a paranormal book. It’s a murder mystery mixed with a coming of age story. I thought the author’s ability to mix two stories (from two different points of view) was brilliant. She did an amazing job making the story lines flow smoothly without seeming choppy. I was engrossed with Becca’s story from the first chapter. Her piece of crap boyfriend made my blood boil. (Read that first chapter and you’ll know what I’m talking about.) I spent most of the book waiting for Becca to realize how crappy her boyfriend was. I’m not sure if that’s how I was supposed to feel or not, but he definitely struck a nerve with me. Of course, he did have a few redeeming qualities. I couldn’t help but feel a tug at my heart when he described his mom’s death from cancer. His compassion for other people’s suffering becomes clear in the end (even if he is a slug to his girlfriend). Mixed within the pages of Becca’s story is Amelia’s own tragic tale. When she finally realizes what she wants to be, it’s too much for those around her. The effects are tragic. In a way, the book is the coming of age story for two girls (un-coming of age story for the one that dies?). Both girls, Becca and Amelia, struggle with figuring out where they belong in the world and how the people they love fit into the puzzle. Both girls deal with horrendous heartache and life changing events... except one of them never gets the chance to grow from the experience. Enough about the characters and the plot. Let’s talk about what really made this book special: the author’s writing. Her descriptions! Sigh. She has an eye for detail, that’s for sure. Her writing had a poetic element to it that made me think of prose at times. There were parts that were simply beautiful. It’s hard to believe that this was the author’s debut book. She is certainly talented, and I’m excited to see what else she will write in the future. ...more
I am flying through these books! They are super easy to read and rather addicting. Kiss of Frost picks right up where the first book ends, and you areI am flying through these books! They are super easy to read and rather addicting. Kiss of Frost picks right up where the first book ends, and you are instantly hurtled into a steamy love triangle. Logan can’t make up his mind about what (or who) he wants and Gwen’s feelings for the Spartan have only grown stronger. Poor girl. She’s an emotional, conflicted mess. Luckily for her, there is a big winter carnival approaching that offers the promise of fresh meat in the love department, or at least that’s what her BFF promises… and Daphne always delivers on her promises. Gwen is instantly drawn to the dreamy Preston. He is gorgeous and exactly what she needs to get her mind off Logan. Everything is going well in that area too, until someone tries to kill her. Four times! The winter carnival suddenly loses its appeal, and the fancy-schmancy ski resort becomes a death trap. The same enticing romance factor in the first book, Touch of Frost, is found on every page in Kiss of Frost. There is no disappointment in that department. There was even a nice amount of action. Again, I sniffed out the villain early on, but it was ok. It didn’t take away from the story. I still enjoyed my reading. I was fairly satisfied with the ending of this book. There was a nice hook that left me desperate for the third book (thank you NetGalley!). The only thing that did bother me about the book is that I found myself experiencing déjà vu a lot as I read. I understand that authors have to give a certain amount of back story in each book, just in case someone starts the series without reading the first book. However, getting the sense of reading the exact same lines and phrases over and over made me feel like I was in that movie Groundhog Day. It became tiresome. (Unfortunately, it still occurs in book 3!) That would be my one major gripe about the series. I found myself scanning pages of text because I knew exactly what they were going to say because I read it all in the first book. I really am enjoying this series, so I recommend it. The mythology element isn’t as high in this one as the first. Or, at least it’s not as “fresh” this time around. We do meet a few more characters that become vital to the story line and see others undergo shocking changes. (Still wondering what that’s about.) ...more
I have mixed feelings for this one. On the positive side, it is a FANTASTIC love story. Absolutely gripping. You can feel the passion radiating from tI have mixed feelings for this one. On the positive side, it is a FANTASTIC love story. Absolutely gripping. You can feel the passion radiating from the pages. Hot and steamy. Stiefvater’s writing style is wonderful as well. There were parts of the book that were almost poetic the prose was so beautifully written. Unfortunately, those were the only things that gave me goose bumps.
My complaints are rather minor. As I read, I just couldn’t refrain from comparing Shiver to the Twilight books. I could go through my list of similarities, but I won’t. The one thing that keeps me from saying this book is a must read is the plot itself. There were a good 100 pages or so that had me nodding off. It was so slow. For the romance lovers, those pages contained a lot of relationship building. It was nice to feel the sizzling passion between the characters, but I was hoping for a little more action. I mean, there was a vindictive she-wolf running around causing trouble, but she didn’t appear very often. There were times when so much action was missing that the plot felt stagnant.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. The storyline was detailed, and I can tell that the remaining books will hold a lot of secrets (like the outcome of the crazy cliffhanger ending). Personally, I want to know what will happen between Sam and Grace. ...more