Recent Posts

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Review - Larkstorm by Dawn Rae Miller - and contest!

Goodreads summary:

In the years following the destructive Long Winter, when half the world’s population perished, the State remains locked in battle against the Sensitives: humans born with extra abilities.

As one of the last descendants of the State’s Founders, seventeen-year-old Lark Greene knows her place: study hard and be a model citizen so she can follow in her family’s footsteps. Her life’s been set since birth, and she’s looking forward to graduating and settling down with Beck, the boy she’s loved longer than she can remember. 

However, after Beck is accused of being Sensitive and organizing an attack against Lark, he disappears. Heartbroken and convinced the State made a mistake, Lark sets out to find him and clear his name.

But what she discovers is more dangerous and frightening than Sensitives: She must kill the boy she loves, unless he kills her first.

Contest at the end of post - hang on!!

The review: 
Larkstorm is a cross-over between dystopian and traditional fantasy. Witches and super trains. Dark magic and repressed societies. Perhaps I'm just not well-read enough (even though I try), but I thought this was a unique cross-over combination that allowed for a lot of unusual plot development. What if witches brought about a global catastrophe? What would that look like and how would society rebuild itself with magic at the helm? Miller brings that world to life with intricate detail and descriptive writing.

But at its heart, Larkstorm is a love story. Lark and Beck grow up believing they are destined to be together and the earlier scenes attest to their devotion.  I loved the interactions between them - the tension! OMG, how does Lark manage to not jump all over that boy and eat him alive?? She definitely has more will power than I do!  I also admired Lark's bravery for going against everything she was brought up to believe in order to find Beck and clear his name. When the two are reunited (well, that's a bit spoilery, but you knew it would happen), I admit I had an 'Ah, that's so sweet' moment. I was eager to see how the two would fight the system together and bring it down. At that point, Miller pulled the rug out from under me, and I learned things that I really wish I hadn't. I'm all for a good plot twist, but it all seemed so unfair! I felt Lark's frustration and anger through it all, which is a testament to Miller's ability to tug on the reader's emotions.

Secondary characters - I have a fascination with secondary characters because I believe they're one of the hardest story elements to get right. They're in the backround, always lurking, always adding their two bits. As an author, you want them to shine and feel "real", but giving them their own unique flavor and history without letting them take over the story is hard, to say the least. In Larkstorm, I loved the character of Bethina. She reminded me a lot of Mrs. Weasley with her warm, motherly demeanor, and no-nonsense attitude. She really stood out. Other favorites included Lark's best friend Kyra and the creepy Eamon. They each added something to the story that intrigued me and made the story richer.

I will admit that I wish Lark had been a more active character in the last third of the book. Given the strength that Lark displays in the first half I thought there would be more instances of her pushing against those who I'll call the enemy (for lack of a better term since again, I don't want to spoil the fun). I didn't get that. But what I did see, and actually loved, was Lark's inner conflict as she tries to figure out who she is. Imagine the frustration and doubts that build as people try to convince you that you will hurt the one person you love or die yourself. This is an effective plot device, and Miller utilizes it to its full advantage by including her own unique elements.

Overall, Larkstorm is a recommendation for me. It goes on sale December 6th at Amazon, and will also be available at Barnes and Noble and Smashwords (I think). Links coming soon.  It also has a very cool trailer - check it out!

BUT DON'T LEAVE YET!!! Because I'm also doing a contest! I'm giving away a copy of Larkstorm  (kindle or nook version). All you have to do is comment on this blog post. You can get extra entries for:

1. tweeting the contest +1
2. being a follower +1
3. adding Larkstorm to your goodreads shelf +1
4. Finally, if you mention Larkstorm on your blog, I will give you not only 5 extra points on this contest, but 5 extra points on my 100 Book Celebration Contest. Link here!!

Add up your points please. Contest ends 12/9. 

*Thank you Dawn Rae Miller for an advanced reader copy.

Friday, November 25, 2011

100 Book Celebration and a Contest!!



I read 100 books!

Actually I did it a couple months ago, and I'm up to about 125 now, but I'm never one to be on time for anything, so this post comes a little late. Actually, I've been trying to think of the right way to talk a bit more about this 100 book goal without sounding preachy. And well, here goes...

Why read so much?

My perception about writing in general and my own writing in particular has changed a lot in the past year, and I think that a lot of this has come about because of all the reading I've done. I read books that made me laugh out loud. I read books that turned me into a big bawl-baby (and resulted in funny looks from family members). I read books that were just so-so. I didn't read any books that made me throw them against the wall (although that has happened in the past). I tried to pick apart the differences between them. I stowed away in my memory some lessons on POV, plotting, characterization, and especially on what makes great prose. I didn't memorize character names  - I am horrible with names - but I did devote to memory when an author did some little thing that I liked. For example, when Jaclyn Moriarty had Bindy Mackenzie write little notes to herself in the third person. Or the way that Brigid Lowry (Guitar Highway Rose) described things not in long drawn out sentences but by using lists. Finally, I made my own list, a collection of those dozen or so books that tore my gut out or made me grin so much my cheeks hurt. It's these books that I'll come back to time and again throughout my writing journey. And yes, I'm jealous of these writers. They got everything right.  I know that I may never be as good as they are, but I can hope.


Let's be honest here. Almost every newbie writer thinks his/her book is the hottest thing since sparkly vampires became in vogue. I loved my first book. I loved my characters and I had a bit of a crush on my LI. I think the writing was good, and I even think if the market weren't quite so saturated with paranormal YA, that it would do okay on the shelves. Note there, I said that I think it would do OKAY. Not smashing and not a best-seller. Just okay. I know that I sound like I'm down on myself, but I'm really just being honest. Reading a lot has given me perception, and this is not a bad thing. I'm still querying Nikki's Wish, and I'm still hopeful. I know there are a lot worse books out there so I certainly have a chance. But I'm also okay with it if NW isn't my debut. In fact, I might even be glad if it's not. My new WIP has a much bigger, and more unique, concept. I think that my writing has improved. I think if I were to debut with my new WIP, that I'd be better off overall. So, no tears here. Just growth. I've grown as a reader, and in turn as a writer.

And now for the CONTEST!! 

There will be two winners and each will get their choice of one of the books in the picture below.
These are my 5 star lovelies, the books I drooled over, the books that kept me up late at night just so I could finish them. If you should win, these will be the books you get to choose from. Not because I have a thing against gift certificates or letting people choose the book they're dying to get, but rather because these are the books that I really want to share my love for. I want to promote them and discuss them and all that good stuff because they are now near and dear to my heart.

To enter, just leave a comment below telling me your favorite book this year!
You can get one extra point for tweeting the contest or mentioning it on your blog.
You can also get one extra point if you're a follower.
Honestly I don't care about follower numbers, but some publishers seem to and this will help me get more ARCs *insert cheesy grin*.

Add up your entries: 3 possible, and please remember to include your email address to your comments so I can get in contact with you.

Contest is international (wherever The Book Depository delivers) and will end on December 9th!! 


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review of Hushed

I'm over at TYAC today with a review of Kelley York's Hushed. You won't want to miss it!!

Hushed by Kelley York
Available Dec 6, 2011

The Amazon summary (altered a teensy bit to be less spoilery) : Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn't protect his best friend, Vivian, from what happened when they were kids, so he's never stopped trying to protect her from everything else. It doesn't matter that Vivian only uses him when hopping from one toxic relationship to another. Archer is always there, settling Vivian's scores for her. And waiting to get noticed.

Then along comes Evan, the only person who's ever cared about Archer without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is.

But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out she's not number 1 anymore, she'll do whatever it takes to put things back the way they were.  

Head on over to TYAC to



Related Posts with Thumbnails