Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review: Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

Book: Shattered Souls
By: Mary Lindsey
Published: December 8, 2011
Published By: Philomel/Penguin
Description: A thrilling debut story of death, love, destiny, and danger

Lenzi hears voices and has visions - gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she's a reincarnated Speaker - someone who can talk to and help lost souls - and that he has been her Protector for centuries.

Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.
My Thoughts: Shattered Souls is a love story about a girl who can speak with the dead, has visions, and according to most normal people, is pretty insane.

Lenzi is in high school. Her father recently committed suicide after being sent to a mental institution because he heard voices. Now, Lenzi can hear voices; voices that seem to want her help. Voices that seem to want to scare her and frighten her and steal her body and kick out her soul. The only person who knows how to really help her is a creepy stalker/lurker boy named Alden who just happens to be gorgeous and sends currents through Lenzi's body she can't seem to ignore. Of course that's a problem for Zak, Lenzi's overprotective and seemingly alcoholic boyfriend with abandonment issues.

As if dealing with hearing voices wasn't enough, Lenzi finds that Alden can somehow feel her emotions. That she's a Speaker and he's her protector and that she must help lost souls cross over. On top of that, Zak's getting dangerously jealous, Lenzi is growing deep feelings for Alden, and there's a crazy malevolent spirit out to destroy Lenzi once and for all.

This story is super good. I love Lenzi. She handles learning of her past the way anyone would. She also handles the creepy stalker Alden the way I would. Run away first, ask questions later. Of course the books later events kind of go against that but still. She's impulsive and is never really sure what she wants or doesn't want.

I feel bad for Zak. There was a lesson in what happened with him. I'm glad it turned out the way it did. As for Alden and Lenzi, they are made for each other. I'm pleased with the result and wish there could be more I could read.

Although this isn't a standalone novel, the next book seems to be with different characters so you can rest assured that the ending of this book is complete with no cliff hangers. This story is frightening, haunting, beautiful, psychotic, hopeful and lovely. I'd love to read it again. 5 stars.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Review: Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

Book: Struck
By: Jennifer Bosworth
Published: May 8, 2012
Published By: Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR

Description: Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.
Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.
Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

My Thoughts: Due to NaNoWriMo, it took me longer than necessary to finish this book. I started it the day before NaNo, (stupid right) read a few pages, and then didn't read another for the entire month. I picked it back up on December 1st with hesitance. I couldn't remember why I wasn't obsessed with the book so I figured something had to be wrong with it or something. I couldn't have been more wrong.
We follow Mia Price. She lives in LA with her mother and brother. She's  a little upset due to an "issue" she had where she used to live and for that reason, she has to control her moods and stay away from other people. She's a lightning addict and for that reason, she holds this, energy, inside her that can be released if she doesn't control herself. After an earthquake hits LA, the city is a mess. Her mother is going through PTSD, the town has gone pretty crazy, and things just aren't the way they should be. To top it off, there's these two cults that have risen up. The followers, and the Seekers.
The followers are those who follow a False Prophet who believes God speaks through him and tells everyone that the world is going to end soon and that they need to follow him. They wear all white and are pretty brainless happy go lucky people who are like spreading God's word to the  WORST EXTREME POSSIBLE!!! In their mind's, if you don't follow Prophet and take his word as God's, you're a sinner and you will certainly die in a few days. They say it to your face and become a bit abusive to those that don't want to accept Prophet's word. There's not much I know about the Seekers except that they are opposite the Followers, wearing mostly red, and focus on stopping the Followers and Prophet at all costs.
Mia is at the center of it all. She's the key to both cult's success, and she doesn't want to help. Meanwhile, there's this guy who intrigues her. He can see the future for some reason. He's been struck by lightning too, and he tells her to stay away from both cult's at all costs. It's hard to do when you're wanted by them though, and eventually some things come to a head.
The story was actually pretty darn great. I loved the idea behind it. I loved the impending deadline of the storm, the way it affected Mia. I loved a lot about it, even though I must admit, I could anticipate much of the big events and especially the conclusion. Speaking of the conclusion, it seemed too good. Sometimes I want for things to end on a bad note. Everything cant end the way you want it to in your head. You shouldn't get everything you want. I would have preferred to have some sort of loss or something that hurt me and made me believe this could be real instead of just a book. I hope you understand what I mean when I say that.
Any who, it was a great book. I loved it and it was written nicely. I'm sure this review may not lead you to believe it was good based upon the things I said I didn't like but honestly, it was great. It makes sense in the face of an earthquake for the people to become lost, looking for a leader the way they were. I loved how thought out it was. 4.5 Stars.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Review: Girl Possessed by Reussie Miliardario

Book: Girl Possessed (The Girl Trilogy #1)
By: Reussie Miliardario
Published: May 16, 2011
Published by: Self Published

Description: A bad boy. A good girl.

Even in the darkness, magic, romance, and excitement can light up your mind.
In this post-apocalyptic world, an enigmatic boy takes Cordellia on a shocking adventure. In the most unexpected place, she finds love, beauty, allurement and a mission of great heights.

My Thoughts: I got this as a freebie on Smashwords. It had fairly good reviews and I had ultimately high hopes for this read.

Unfortunately, my hopes were not met. The story follows Cordellia and Shaul in a post apocalyptic world where the descendants of the serpent (Yea the serpent from the bible) rule society and humans are scared for their lives. Cordellia is strange and has this stupid looking hump on her back all her life. She meets Shaul while out looking for some antibiotics for her sick mother. They chat and sparks fly instantly. He's the typical YA guy, secretive, a bad boy, wishy washy, pushes you away one second and lusts after you the next. Of course he's gorgeous. He's also a descendant of THE bad guy. That's all I'll say on that avenue.

A process of events lead Shaul, Cordellia, and her mother to this hidden human community. There she is drawn to a forbidden lake (draw all the conclusions you want. They're probably right.). Some things happen and Cordellia goes through some shocking puberty changes that leave her changed but not mentally phased in the least. Meanwhile, a bunch of blood and guts and torture is spewed with a dash of random super natural creatures.

If my description left you confused, turned off, or wondering how on earth this all be in one novel, then you should. This story was extremely rushed. It skipped over details and just seemed to run ahead leaving me waiting behind wondering what the heck happened. There were BIG plot holes. I found myself getting annoyed at some of her writing ticks. The author had the habit of saying "____ hurt something awful," or "____ felt something wild." I hated that.

It was extremely short, only 77 pages and less than 40,000 words (I just got finished writing NaNo, and based upon the things she skipped I'm sure she could have spent a bit more time to add those additional words.)

I hate giving bad reviews. I usually try to find something I like about the book. If I plan to review, I usually make sure I read to the end, hoping there will be something redeeming about the book. In this case, I found scarcely a thing to like. All the characters seemed flat, although Shaul did hold my interest for like a chapter. The idea behind the story was interesting, and had it been developed more I'd dare to say I would have liked it a lot. Unfortunately though, I really didn't like Girl Possessed. There were quite a few good reviews about it, so others may like it if they read it, I just didn't. 1 Star.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Review: Into the Hollow by Karina Halle

Book: Into the Hollow (Experiment in Terror #6)
By: Karina Halle
Published: November 15, 2012
Published by: Self Published

Description: Perry Palomino has fought her demons – and won – but the battle is far from over. She’s now left broken and on her own, leaving behind her life and family in Portland to focus on giving Dex Foray – and the Experiment in Terror show – a second chance. But their past mistakes continue to tease and test their relationship, as does the wild and desolate terrain of the Canadian Rockies. The snow-covered peaks and ravenous forests hide an urban legend too unbelievably frightening to be true and the only way the duo has a chance of surviving is if Perry can let in the very man who sent her to hell and back.
Rated 16+ for language, gore and sexual content

My Thoughts: I didn’t want to waste a second after reading this story to write a review of it. I wanted to feel everything I felt and be able to somehow someway show you all how much I absolutely loved it.

We begin with Perry in her home after the fallout from the last book (I’ll try not to give any spoilers). She decides to move out of her parent’s house and in with a certain someone. She decides to think about Experiment in Terror some more and decides that taking on an investigation of a Sasquatch sighting may just be the safest route. After all, Sasquatch doesn’t exist anyway.

Things are strange between her and Dex, as expected and we see the fluctuations in feelings Perry feels. We see the changes they experienced in their lives after the last books events. There’s just so much emotion and I have no way to explain how great it is to see after the terror that was the last book.

I loved Dex so much in this book. I never felt I should love him more but somehow I did. He’s just awesome. I love Perry even more but she also pisses me off, probably because she reminds me of myself and I often piss myself off too. *wink* It’s also because she’s afraid to let Dex in (as always) and for good reason and I so want them together but I completely understand her reasoning. It doesn’t mean I have to like it.

This book had my heart racing in suspense. So many things have been happening and I just love it. The Experiment in Terror series just keeps getting better and better. Yes, it’s terrifying but it’s so much more than that. This series focuses on the intricacies that are our innermost feelings. It’s not about fear for the ghosts or demons or scary man-killing beasts. No, that’s not what it is at all. This series is about facing your fears, all of them, and overcoming them somehow. It’s about understanding that although you’re scared and tired and all hell is literally breaking loose, if you only have the courage to face those fears, you may just be surprised of what you end up with.

I would suggest this series to anyone who likes books that are open, that aren’t all gumdrops and rainbows and daisies. To those of us who understand that love sucks sometimes. It rips your heart open to leave it bleeding onto the street for you to pick up and attempt to assemble into a somewhat decent mess. That after something like that, you can’t and don’t ever want to love again, because how can one heart go on after something like that. How you can face the fear of being hurt time and time again? If you want a story that’s real, I’d suggest you give the Experiment in Terror Series a try. I give it 5 large stars, and I cant wait for the next book in the series, “Come Alive

Thursday, December 6, 2012

RRT: NaNoWriMo is over

Hey there Lovelies!!! Its been quite some time since you've heard from me, and if you've been following, It's because I've been focused on National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It's finally over and I'll admit that although I'm a bit glad, I'm also a bit sad. Since this was my first NaNo, I'll give some insight on how I felt about it.

To begin, Nano was quite difficult. With school and work, and other activities in my life, it was extremely difficult to come up with the time to do enough each day. I found myself skipping entire days and having to write 3 or 4 times the daily amount of words i order to not fall completely behind.

Its interesting the places you find time when you have none. I found myself writing at work (dont tell my boss), writing while cooking (a dangerous combination for my computer), writing while eating dinner, writing while in the bathroom (dont ask). I used the nice iPhone voice dictation thingy to write a few things in my phones notepad while I was driving, and my showers were spent imagining wonderful bits or dialogue in my head, only to rush out and hurry to type them (we wont talk about how many times I forgot to shave my legs because of this). My computer came with me everywhere, even if I knew I wouldnt have the time. It was at thanksgiving dinner next to the carrot cake, it was in my trunk when I took my dog to the surgeon, it was in my bag when I went out for mom's birthday, and I even took it with me to church. I'll admit, these times only about 30 or so words were written, but I suppose that's 30 or so words that wouldnt have otherwise been written.

There's a reason why you should start NaNo with a clean slate.I started with a Novel I had been working on for quite some time but never had the time to complete. It was about 9,000 words originally, but once I started, only about 6000 words remained because I removed an entire chapter. Nonetheless, keeping up with an accurate wordcount and coming up with new ideas was difficult when part of the novel was already written. I found myself already at 50,000 words well before the final day, but because I already started with words and didnt want to be a cheater I had to keep going. I'll remember that for next time.

I follow a few writers and read their blog posts about how it is to write a book. They talk about how dishes pile up in the sink, laundry doesnt get done, you forget to shower and otherwise lose contact with humanity. Although my experience wasnt quite as rash, I completely understood what they meant. I try to normally keep a pretty organized apartment, but November found me with dishes piled in the sink, the dishwasher, etc. I feasted on leftovers from Sunday dinner st the parents and ramen noodles, tortilla chips and salsa, popcorn, grilled cheeses, and tyson anytizer chicken nuggets. No real cooking was done, except for thanksgiving (hence the comment earlier about the dangerous computer/cooking combination). I spent conversations with people daydreaming about how I could possibly include a conversation like this in my writing. We wont talk about my laundry. The only thing that's saved me with that was the fact that the basket is in my walk in closet and I can close the door. There's no room though to actually walk in the walk-in closet anymore. (I'll have gotten to it by now though...I hope)

I found myself having full blown conversations with myself, out loud in my apartment. Maybe I was going crazy. Sometimes it would be to rationalize how much time I would spend taking a break, other times I would be in the mirror and have a conversation withmyself, pretending that the myself that was in the mirror was some other person, and then go write that conversation into my novel.

I experienced times when I doubted myself and my writing, thinking it sucked, I sucked and I was going to be a pure failure. I remember times when I dreamed of being on the NY Times Bestseller list. I fought internally with myself to try not to remove tons of pages of writing because I felt it probably sucked. I called myself all sorts of idiots and geniuses and failures. My emotions within myself were all over the place and I stressed a bit internally.

I loved writing the novel and still think a lot about how I could make it different. My characters came to life to me and I would imaging seeing them in a crowd and how they would react. I also hated writing the novel because I think I became pretty boring tomy friends. You may be surprised but talking about wordcounts and imaginary characters and worlds and discussing the awesomeness thatis your most recent development in the novel isnt all that exciting to non writers. I've seen a lot of vacant wide eyed expressions mixed with mmhmm's and ahh's as my friends feigned interest in something I could barely explain with words.
I'm proud to say I finished NaNoWriMo, and I won. It's a great feeling, even though I have tons of edits to do before I let anyone read it. I've signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo in the summer next year and will probably be doing NaNo in November next year too. So many other stories are floating around my head and I just have to write them down.

Did you participate in NaNo this year? What were your experiences with it? Will you be doing it again next year?