Girl of Nightmares & Auracle: Vastly Different Paranormal Experiences

Rating:

Recommended? Yes. For all the reasons I recommend reading Anna Dressed In Blood. But the ending of this book… oh, it’s brilliant. It’s amazing. This book will haunt you for days after you’re done reading.

Just like Anna Dressed In Blood, I loved this book. It’s another remarkable book, that’s well worth the read. The ending of this book was amazing. It was perfect and so sad at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this entire book. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, wondering what was going to happen and which characters were going to end up dead. Again, I either loved the characters or hated them — there really wasn’t any half-feelings. Though I was conflicted a few times on how to feel about Jestine and Carmel from time to time.

I really like Thesus Cassio Lodwood. I can’t think of a main character I’ve enjoyed more than him at the moment. He is easy to relate to, even though I doubt many of us go out hunting ghosts at night — or love a ghost girl, either.

The writing was pretty great, too. The way Blake can just slip in the most disturbing imagery as if it is no big deal was impressive. She really has a talent for description, too, I could picture everything in my head clearly from her words. I just… was in awe of this book once I was done with it (which took all of one day because I couldn’t put it down).

I wonder if there will be another… I really want there to be, because I enjoyed the story so much, but end felt like closure, like it’s officially The End for Cas’s story. Either way, I’m going to read Blake’s next book (whatever it is). I’m a fan. The ending of this book still haunts me. I think about it all the time. It’s just so… right for this book. Everything is so right in this book. I loved it.

AURACLE by Gina Rosati

Rating:

Recommended? Sure. It’s worth reading, somethings bothered me in this book but if you are looking for something mildly funny and light but filled with drama then this would be a good book for you.

This book didn’t really get a fair shot from me, I’ll admit. I had just finished reading Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake and I was still thinking about it when I was reading this book. So I didn’t really allow myself to be fully immersed in the story. It’s an interesting one. The concept is the main character, Anna, can astral project and during a mishap another girl gets into her body and starts to control it, leaving her stuck without a body. With the help of her best friend, Rei, she starts her journey to get her body back. I really liked Rei but Anna… I mean, I liked her, but I couldn’t really relate with her. She was so good and pure and oddly spiritual (in a new agey type of way, not traditional) that I just couldn’t buy it.

A lot of this book taps into new agey things. And the balance between the power of negativity and positivity. I’m not into that type of thing at all. Give me a horror story any day, but don’t make me think about new agey spirituality. That aside, it was an interesting read. I liked Rei, I liked Seth, and I liked Anna well enough. But… there were things in this that bothered me a lot.

I don’t like excessive exclamation marks, particularly in narration — even if it is first person POV. This was done multiple times. As was CAPITALIZING WORDS TO MAKE A POINT, which I dislike. I just feel like it’s a cheap way out of good dialogue. You should be able to show the emphasis of these words WITHOUT DOING THIS. I know JK Rowling did it, but still, I’d rather not deal with that.

Rosati did a great job of packing a lot of tension and drama into the book, though. And I’m sure a lot of parts would have been very amusing for people that have a better sense of humor than me (I have a dry one, more Parks & Rec than SNL). The way she explains the other dimension Anna is in is very real and sometimes even beautiful. She has a great talent to explain the unexplainable. I will most certainly read whatever her next book is, so I’m not saying she’s a bad writer. She just does things that I would never.

Plus, the solution to the problem is pretty obvious — at least it was to me. And Anna really brought most of her problems down on herself because she was either stubborn or just… stupid for not thinking of the obvious answer. But, like I said, I really like Rei and his family. I’m glad I read this book, and I’m glad I bought it, but when I just read a book I loved as much as Girl of Nightmares, I guess I was expecting something else. Or something more.

To NaNo Or Not To NaNo?

I think most people have heard of NaNoWriMo, even if they aren’t writers. I’ve always wanted to participate, just to see if I could really write a novel in one month, but I never have. Mostly because for the last couple of years I’ve been focusing on Vanishing Valerie or a different manuscript I had written — the latter is a hopeless cause. Anyway, I’ve finished with VV for the most part. It’s out in the query/partial land and there’s nothing to be done but wait, wait, and wait.

But now November is coming and I have a chance to participate in NaNoWriMo 2012, should I? I recently finished a different story, Pandora’s Hope (that’s the working title for now, it could change). And by finished I mean I completed the first draft, it’s needs some serious revision. So should I just focus on that or write a new story? I don’t want to fall into one of the most common lies writers tell themselves: I’ll come back to this story after I write this other story. And, of course, it doesn’t happen. But, then again, I don’t know. What if the story I could write is better than the story I have already written?

What if the story I’m going to write for NaNoWriMo is the one that will get me a lit agent then a publisher then — finally — published? I hate the world of what ifs, but… I’m not sure. Either ignore the impulse to join NaNo November and focus on my WIP or ignore my WIP for a month (risk ignoring it for longer) and write another WIP. What do you think?

I have a while to wonder about it. For the time being I’m trying really hard to plow through all my To Be Read list. What better way possibly prepare for NaNo than by reading?

Anna Dressed In Blood: Remarkable Read

Rating:

Recommended? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Do you like a little horror? A little romance? And a whole lot of WTF just happened moments? Go find this book and read it now.

I loved this book. I loved it from the start to the finish. I loved everything about it. I loved Cas. I loved Anna, even when I wasn’t supposed to, and I loved the cover art. I mean, come on, look at it, how can you not want to read it after looking at that? Once I got more than five chapters in, I hopeless. There went my weekend, I couldn’t put it down. I’m dying to read Blake’s next book, Girl of Nightmares. I read about that book at Pub Crawl and instantly wanted to read it but I knew it was the second in a series so, obviously, I had to buy the first.

This story is amazing and completely engaging. It starts in action and ends in action. There’s something going on in every chapter, every second, and it all means something — but, you probably won’t realize it right away. There are characters that you’ll love and character that you’ll hate. But I guarantee it’ll be one or the other. There’s not one that I feel just faintly one way about.

At first, I thought this was going to be like Supernatural. I was a huge fan of that show for a long, long, time. The first five seasons of which was amazing, so I figured I’d like this book. That Cas was going to be a mini Dean Winchester but it’s not really. Or a mini-“Cas” (Castiel), which was all I could think about at first when I learned the MC’s nickname was also Cas. But the story is its own and fantastic. Even though everyone’s read about ghost killers before, right? Well, most people, at least. This was different from the rest. It was unique, and I really did like Cas a lot.

Blake is an amazing writer. She tells a fair share, but that’s just what happens when a story is first person POV. It’s present tense, which is perfect, because it’s full of urgent-action-filled-moments. I didn’t notice a lot of unneeded adverbs or adjectives. And I love her for showing that fiction, particularly YA, can be filled with semi-colons and that there isn’t anything wrong with that.

The best part was that I never knew what was coming. I really didn’t. I thought I did a couple of times but I was always wrong. And the ending… I just can’t wait to read the next book. Which, really sadly, I did not buy yet. Damn that little voice in my head that whispered what if you don’t like it? I should have already bought Girl Of Nightmares. I could’ve returned it if I didn’t like the first one… I guess I’ll just have to go buy it tomorrow. I was planning on reading another series starting tomorrow (I’m sort of on a read-a-thon) but that’ll just have to wait.

The Not So Pretty First Draft

I’m officially finished with the first draft of my WIP, which is currently nameless. Coming up with compelling, meaningful, titles has never been a strong suit of mine. It’s 85K words and a YA urban fantasy (no shocker there, right?). It’s considerably different from my complete manuscript (Vanishing Valerie) which is currently out in the land of partials and queries. Unlike VV, it’s first-person and present tense. I’m not sure if it’ll stay like that through the revision stage. I mean, it’ll probably remain first person but the verb tense may change.

For the most part, it turned out like I had expected. I’m sure you all know it goes when you’re writing, sometimes the story takes a completely different turn. A couple characters turned out differently than I had envisioned, but that’s fine since it took the story to where I wanted it to go. But… really, Hemingway’s quote couldn’t be more right. It’s decent, but really nothing remarkable. I need to take a big step away from it before I can start to revise it. I need fresh eyes and to figure out how to make it better — and, mostly, whether I’m going to change the verb tense or not.

So what am I going to do with that time? Focus some on the querying process for Vanishing Valerie, of course, but mostly read. Read, read, and read some more. I really think that it’ll help me with revision more than anything else. I was reading an article, Envy or Inspiration, over at Magical Word today and it really was perfecting timing for me. Sometimes I struggle with being envious over the amazing books I read, but I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s their final products. Their polished work that took them multiple drafts to get to, so of course my lousy first draft is nothing in comparison.

What about everyone else? Do you feel your first drafts are pretty good or just awful? What do you do to prep yourself for the revision stage?

Bravery

There are a lot of books that I don’t like. Some are widely popular, others not so much. No matter whether I like the book or not, I always admire anyone who is willing to put their work out in the world. It’s brave, especially nowadays because there are are so many different places that your work might get reviewed (good reads, amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and all those blogs out there) plus if you’re getting published the traditional route there are going to be critiques/reviews by magazine and newspaper contributors. I bring this up because I was reading Goodreads recently and there were a couple not-so-good reviews that were just plan rude, too. Yes, I feel gypped if I bought a book and invested the time to read it but am I going to go on a rant about it on a review? No. I’ll just say why I didn’t like it and move on.

Sometimes that bravery is premature, there are a fair number of e-books that could have used one or two more edits and revisions, but even then it’s brave. Even when I come across those, I’ll mention that it could have done better with another revision, but there’s no point in being rude.

I think about what it’s going to be like when my book finally sees the light of day (well, hopefully) and I get nervous. What if it flops? I’ll be doomed and never write again! What if it’s a success? Thank goodness, I can keep writing! What if it’s somewhere in between? What if everyone hates it? What if this and what if that? But at the same time, it’s a good nervousness. It energizes me to do more.

The same can’t be said for TV shows or movies. I mean, sure, it could but I wouldn’t. When it comes to writing a book it’s almost exclusively up to the writer — if it fails, it’s all on her. A literary agent and editor might have some say but in the end it’s up to the writer. With TV shows and movies, there’s usually a couple screen writers, a director, producers, actors, and at least a dozen other people that have a say in it. So if it flops, it flops for all of them, and they can usually pick themselves up and move along. It’s brave for an actor to take the stage, but unless they also wrote the play/movie then they are redeemable. Maybe their acting is decent or even stellar but the movie/play is just horribly plotted. The actor will get a pass, it happens all the time.

For a writer…? It’s a great deal harder to recover from a flop. Hence, it’s braver for a writer. Perhaps I’m a bit bias (well, probably a bit more than just a bit). But I can’t be the only one that thinks like this, right? Do you respect the bravery of publishing a book and even if you don’t like it, when you review you stay civil? I mean, really, what good comes from a rude review? A one star is a one star, regardless if tear apart the author or not.