Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book Review: Code of Silence by Tim Shoemaker

Telling the Truth Could Get Them Killed. Remaining Silent Could Be Worse.When Cooper, Hiro, and Gordy witness a robbery that leaves a man in a coma, they find themselves tangled in a web of mystery and deceit that threatens their lives. After being seen by the criminals---who may also be cops---Cooper makes everyone promise never to reveal what they have seen. Telling the truth could kill them. But remaining silent means an innocent man takes the fall and a friend never receives justice. Is there ever a time to lie? And what happens when the truth is dangerous? The three friends, trapped in a code of silence, must face the consequences of choosing right or wrong when both options have their price.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book Review: Prism by Rachel Moschell

Prism (Story of CI)Summary:
He wanted to bring light to the world, but knew that along with it would come darkness…
Alejo is a leader in the Prism, a Muslim organization bent on fighting social injustice in his native Bolivia. His passion for God’s justice has always led him far away from the church and its dark secrets he has seen with his own eyes.

Until now.

The granddaughter of a Quechua villager and an Irish missionary, Wara Cadogan has South America in her blood. Her friends think she’s the ideal missionary in Bolivia, but they don’t know the truth: she betrayed her values, and it’s tearing her apart. When Wara and her best friend Noah collide with the Prism, she believes Noah is dead and Alejo is to blame. What can she say to the man who tried to kill her, then gives up everything to save her?

My Review:
What a roller-coaster of emotions! It took a while for things to pick up but once it did it grew harder and harder to set the book down.

This story mainly revolves around two main characters, Wara and Alejo. Wara is a missionary in Bolivia and while she has great friends and a good life there she holds several secrets. Alejo is a leader in an organization called Prism, which works with Hezbollah--a Muslim group that has renounced terrorism.

I really liked Rachel's choice of setting for this book. Prism is set about five years in the future (2017) in Bolivia and other various places.

Prism really opened my eyes to how Muslims think. Before it had always eluded me why they did what they did but once Rachel introduced Gabriel's character things started to make more sense. It is really evident in the story how much research she put into it. It made it all the more real to me.

As for a general consensus of the characters they were very well-formed! I loved how long it took for Wara to realize she was/is forgiven, Alejo too. Because in real life many feel that way. I adored how some characters changed and morphed from the people they were before.

My one complaint is it took a while for the story to pick up and it was slow in some parts. But other than that it was a very good read and I liked it. :-)

Interested? You can purchase the ebook here!

I was given this book by the author in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My First Award!!

Oh my gosh... I can hardly believe it. I feel so honored right now. Thank you so much, Sarah!!

Here are the rules:

1: This award is for book blogs only! To receive this award the blog must be at least 50% about books (reading or writing is okay).

2: Along with receiving this award, you must also share your top five favorite books you have ever read in your life. (It can be more then five if you prefer)

3: You must give this award to five-ten other lucky book blogs that you adore.

Okay, so my top five favorite books (In order) are:
1. Against All Odds by Irene Hannon
2. Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren
3. First Light (A.D Chronicles) by Brock and Bodie Thoene
4. Replication by Jill Williamson
5. Fatal Judgement by Irene Hannon

And the blogs tagged are:
Faye @ labor not in vain
Summer @ Summer's Writing World
Katelyn @ Interviews and Book Reviews
Katie @ Legacy of a Writer
Dawn @ Passion for Pages

Writing Mondays: Of Plots and Villains and Little Kittens

OK, so maybe I lied about the kitten part. This past week (coincidentally while my writing buddy was out of town) I had a problem. Not just any problem though. I couldn't find something for my heroine to fail at. I've fixed it for the most part now, thanks to my lovely friends over at Go Teen Writers. And now, I have a whole new plot element/twist that I'm excited about.

As for villains, there's definitely no doubt my villain is the bad guy now. But while he's cruel and malicious there is reasoning behind it all. And I never really understood why that was so important until this past week.

All villains need motives. Why does the villain hate your protagonist? Why is your villain evil? What does he hope to achieve? As an example, let me give you a little peek into my villain. :-)

For those who don't know, my WIP is set in a concentration camp and my villain is the Commander, who I shall refer to by his last name: Bruno. But how did he come to be a Nazi? And how did he get his Commander status?

Bruno's hatred and morals aligned with Hitler's when his son, a Nazi, was killed in a Jewish mob. He joined the ranks and quickly moved up. Months later he thought a Christian had raped his daughter. (This is not the case. However, to find out what really happened you'll have to read the book. ;D) This understanding is what sent him over the edge. He wants to see every Jew and Christian suffer because of what happened to his two children. After swearing his undying loyalty and his life to Hitler, he got the assignment for the camp.

So you see, revenge plays a huge part into my villain's evil-y-ness, the way he thinks and the way he acts. Revenge dabbles in a lot of villains' personal agendas too. What's your villain's motive?

There you have it. A little peek into my writing world! There will not be a "Writing Mondays" post next week, I will be out of town where I will have little internet access.

This is a really long post and I apologize. I hope you got something out of it though!

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All right, so maybe the whole kitten-thing wasn't a complete lie...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Book Review: Me, Just Different by Stephanie Morrill

Getting a fresh start is harder than it looks.

Skylar Hoyt is a girl who seems to have it all--she's pretty, popular, and has a great-looking boyfriend. Her senior year should be the best one yet. But a horrible experience at a summer party has changed everything. Now she's vowing to make better choices, including going back to church. But as Skylar tries to gain new perspective on life, the world as she knows it begins to fall apart.

Her parents are constantly fighting. Her younger sister has a big secret that Skylar is forced to keep. The guy she's dating is annoyingly jealous. And the new guy down the street is just plain annoying. In the midst of the chaos, Skylar starts to wonder who her real friends are and, even more importantly, who she is.

 My Review:
Woah. This book is incredible. I related much more to Skylar than I thought I would. I mean, I've never gone to public school, smoked, or went to keg parties (thank the Lord.) But I knew how she felt being with a guy you weren't sure you liked--much less loved. Because I found myself in a situation quite similar to hers. Once I got into this book I could hardly put it down.

Now for more about the book. Skylar Hoyt finds herself changing after a close-call at a party. It's because of this close-call that she agrees to date Eli. He's pleasant to the eyes, charming, and he loves her. What's not to like?

Skylar faces many daily high-school teenage struggles that a lot of girls could most likely relate to. An extremely jealous boyfriend, fighting parents, parties, oh yeah- and that annoying new boy down the street. She seems to handle things well at first, taking some to just be the new normal.

But something is bugging her. Why doesn't she reciprocate Eli's feelings? Skylar slowly comes to realize she can never really go back to how things were before. Can God be the key she needs to sorting out her life? To changing for good? There are so many questions and so many answers- but you'll have to read it to get them!

I highly recommend this book for any teenager. :)

Interested? You can purchase the book here!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Writing Mondays: Refining...plus some other news

Hey everyone! Today I'm officially beginning to edit, refine, and re-tune my novel. In the works are a few plot changes, new time constraints, and new character dynamics. All in all, I'm excited to see where my plans might take me...
...as long as they don't lead me back to the drawing board. Perhaps I might post another excerpt. :-)

In the meantime, I have some news. Good news, I mean. Our house sold last weekend. So, I'm going to do my best to keep posting during the chaos. Honestly though, it won't get really bad until our moving date gets closer. But I wanted to let you guys know in advance so no one thought I dropped off the face of the earth or died. Hehe... :p

As for the blog, tomorrow I'm posting a review of Stephanie Morrill's fantastic book Me, Just Different! Be sure to stop by!

That's all for now.
God bless!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Review: Child of the Mist by Kathleen Morgan

 Child of the Mist (These Highland Hills, #1)

 In the harsh Scottish highlands of 1565, superstition and treachery threaten a truce between rival clans. It's a weak truce at first, bound only by an arranged engagement between Anne MacGregor and Niall Campbell-the heirs of the feuding families.
While Niall wrestles with his suspicions about a traitor in his clan, Anne's actions do not go unnoticed. And as accusations of witchcraft abound, the strong and sometimes callous Campbell heir must fight for Anne's safety among disconcerted clan members. Meanwhile his own safety in threatened with the ever-present threat of someone who wants him dead.
Will Niall discover the traitor's identity in time? Can Anne find a way to fit into her new surroundings? Will the two learn to love each other despite the conflict? With a perfect mix of a burgeoning romance and thrilling suspense, this book is historical fiction at its best.

My Review:
I did not know what to expect when I opened the cover of this book. I went in completely blind. The beginning was a little bit too slow for my taste and I easily anticipated what was the conflict. (I had not read the back of the book summary/synopsis.) I did not easily anticipate, however, the many twists and mysterious turns Morgan left to be guessed. 

Some characters were more easily loved than others at first. Anne, for instance, is instantaneously likable from the start, as is Iain. It's Niall I had to warm up to. Honestly, I was rooting for Iain to sweep Anne away--despite the fact I knew she and Niall would end up together--for most of the book. Although Niall eventually swayed me over. ;-)

This book was written in third person but Morgan's style made me feel like it was written in first and from Anne's perspective. That is something I really cherished about this book. Something else I liked was when Anne made a huge sacrifice that threatened her life all for two people she loves. That, to me, makes her an excellent heroine. 

Morgan preformed very well in bringing to us a thought out and researched setting and dialogue. The superstition about witches and Anne's healing knowledge proved all to be accurate. Overall, I was quite impressed with this book and I look forward to reading more by this author.

Interested? You can purchase the book here!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Been tagged....

I have been unofficially blog tagged to answer twenty questions about myself. We'll see how it goes...
1. Let's start out easy.  Favorite color?
I really love soft, cozy, colors like lavender.

2. Favorite book genre?
Mystery/Suspense :D

3. Describe your dream house.
Hm...a two story home in the middle of nowhere surrounded by mysterious forests and large hills. And in this house, the second floor is all one multi-purpose room for me to do school, to write, to read, etc.

4.  Which of your characters (if you write) or someone else's characters (if you don't) do you identify most with?
I guess I'll have to say Isaiah from my first novel Concentration. He's very practical minded--like myself--and strives to protect his family.

5. Who is your hero?  Why?
I can't just pick one, so I'll go with the lover of my soul, Jesus. I can always come to him for help and He'll answer me. He's always there to comfort me and reassure me of His undying love.

6. Now it gets a little harder.  What is one major thing you dream of accomplishing in your lifetime?
Just one? Shoot. Well, there are many things I would like to accomplish. The one highest on my list, however, is to know my writing touched someone's life. To know that I made a difference.

7. Which quirk annoys your best friend most?
....I don't know actually.

8. Would you consider yourself more of a leader or a follower?
I lean towards more of a leader. I like having schedules, and I loath it when something unexpected crops up. (But I'm working on it!!)

9. What's an idiosyncrasy that drives you crazy?
When one person says they'll do something A and then does something B.

10. If you won a million dollars on a game show, what's the first thing you'd do with the money?
Open up a bank account. lol

11. A little easier, now.  Which Disney/Pixar character was your favorite?
Rapunzel :D

12. Why?
She has such a good heart, like most Disney princesses, but her cute innocence and helpful spirit make me adore her.

13. 3 people in your life it would almost kill you to lose?
  Grace, my best friend- I don't know how I'd live without her.
My mom- because I tell her everything. She's such a crucial part in helping me keep my sanity in today's world.
My cousin Tabitha- I don't know what I'd do without her constant support and hugs. :)
Lastly, my grandmother- her wisdom and love inspires me to no end. Can't lose her. ;)

14. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Paris, France!

15. If you could change your accent, what would you change it to?
British. Although I can fake one really well thanks to shows like Doctor Who and Sherlock. :)

16. If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
Hah! The answer that popped in my head was, "Nothing!" but then logic snagged me. I would give myself confidence to talk to other people and tough skin for when I'm rejected.

17. What's your favorite thing to do in your free time?
Lots of things. :D Read, write, listen to my ipod, chat with my friends, Skype with Sherlock... the list goes on.

18. Something you did out of obligation recently that you would rather not have done?
It was a moment where my kind heart couldn't bare to see someone hurt. And I wish I had just said nothing.

19. If you were stranded on a desert island (if you're stranded, how is there a desert there?) What five things would you bring?
A plane with a full tank of gas to escape. My best friend, books, my laptop and electricity.

20. One random thing about yourself.
I am Watson and my best friend is Sherlock. (And trust me, the roles fit well.)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Writing Mondays: Your Inner Editor

Every writer has a special, figment-of-your-imagination, someone sitting on their shoulder telling them about all their grammatical mistakes and spelling errors. This special someone's name is Eddy and he's your inner editor.


Or maybe he's a she, and she resembles an evil English teacher on TV. Regardless, they are still an annoyance and hard to control.
In my experience, Eddy has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. Because of that it is incredibly hard to tame him, especially when you're a perfectionist like me. So what do we do then?
One of the better solutions I've found is to set a timer for yourself (or set up a word war with your fellow writers) anywhere from five to fifteen minutes and just write. Write nonstop until you hear that timer go off. Then when time's up, I go back and edit like a grammar fanatic.

How do you deal with Eddy?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Woo Hoo!

I come to you with fabulous news.

I have just finished my first novel!! Indeed, it is only a rough draft... One that I shall be editing all summer... BUT it is finished! :D

This has been such an awesome journey and now I can't wait to edit it!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Book Review: The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

Two Hearts. One Hope.

Rose has been appointed as a healer's apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter's daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her—a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill.

When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she's never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose's life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny

The Healer's Apprentice

 My Review:
I heard about Melanie Dickerson's novel, The Healer's Apprentice, through a few different sources (blogs, reviews, etc.) and decided it was worth checking out.

Dickerson provides a very realistic setting and likable characters. I found myself thinking about what it would be like to live in Rose's time period. It is so different from today it's almost unimaginable to see myself without modern technology. Or wearing a tight corset! Going into it, However, her twist on "Sleeping Beauty" was almost too predictable for me. I had the ending solved in a few mere chapters leaving the rest of the book to be lacking.

As for the characters, I admired Lord Hamlin and Rose. Lord Hamlin was especially dear to my heart. His chivalry, authority, and want to do right by himself and Rose made my heart flutter. And as for Rose, I couldn't really find myself relating to her as much as I would have hoped. After all, a girl with no desire to marry was very uncommon in her time period. Maybe Frau Garuscha influenced her somehow.

This was a good read from a writing standpoint. Dickerson definitely provided a well established (and most likely accurate) setting and characters. I look forward to what fairytales she does next.

Interested? You can purchase the book here!

I checked this book out at my local library, no review required.