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Posted in info, Reading

Next books to be reviewed.

When I first started this blog, it was just to be about writing. But I love to read as well, do I started doing reviews. They aren’t super serious, but I enjoy talking about the books and sharing that with other people who do the same.

So, here’s a list of the books I’ve read in the last month and the books piled up on my nightstand, waiting for me to read them. All will be reviewed at some point after I finish them.

In no particular order:

Already Read

-The Handmaid’s Tale By Margaret Atwood. I’ve already written part of this review, so this one will probably be posted first.

-The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

-What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

-The Faithful Kiss, book one of the kiss series by Michelle Hillstrom

Going to read next again. (Again, in no order.)

The Light Between The Oceans by M.L Stedman

The Nix By Nathan Hill

Beren and Luthien By J.R.R Tolkien (His son released another one!)

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore By Robin Sloan

Camino Island By John Grisham

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarity

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

The Husband’s Secret By Liane Moriarty

A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron

A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Bloom

Summer Sisters by Judy Bloom

The Possessive Kiss, book two by Michelle Hillstrom

The Kiss of Betrayal, Book three by Michelle Hillstrom

Well, there it is. It’s quite a list and I have some serious reading ahead of me.  But I like to have big stacks of books waiting to be read. Anything you’d like to suggest? I’d love to hear it.

~Ames

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in info, writing

Writing characters of the opposite gender.

I will admit; this is something that I struggle with all the time. It’s not much writing background characters or one-shot characters. It’s the up close and personal main ones.

As one can probably guess, I am female. Up until now, most of the books I’ve written have been female led. There have been some dudes, but I’ve been playing it safe for the most part.

I noticed and decided to do something new. I have been repeatedly that the only way to learn and grow as an author is to try new stuff and force yourself into new situations. Soooo, the next three books I’m writing with all have only male leads.

I’m both excited and nervous about this. It could either go really well, or it could be a huge mess.

The first book is about a set of fraternal twin boys and their friend who lives down the street. It deals with themes of family, loyalty and how deeply bonds of friendship run. But most importantly, I’ve always wondered if someone could ever kill their best friend. And I’ll be finding out in this one.

The second one will be about virtual realities. I don’t have the entire plot (or the character’s name) worked out yet. But it’s coming, bit by bit.

And the last one will be a sci-fi about dystopian and end of the world (and not about an evil government rising up). I’ve been excited for this one, but there’s still tons of research I still need to do.

I think the thing I’m most worried about is making my male characters too emotional. I’ve heard that complaint before, guys complaining that female writers’s male characters don’t sound authenticate. They talk/act weird and are way too emotional.

If anyone reading this has thoughts, do you have any tips or suggestions? What would be a good example, or something to avoid?

I’d really appreciate it =)

~Ames

 

Posted in info, writing

What makes good writing?

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. What makes good writing? Is it the style the author uses? The words themselves?

Maybe way the author plays with the words, so they roll back and forth in your mind, dancing and leaping until they explode off the page? Is it more simple terms? Shorter sentences, lighter words. Gentle and quick, soft and dainty?

Or when bright terms shine like stars, break across the sky and force their way into place. When leaves fall, jewels glow and shatter, eyes narrow and knuckle under in the agony of life?

Okay, I was getting carried away with those sentence, but you get the point. What makes good writing?

It’s probably one of the hardest things to do. Everyone says, make sure your writing is well done. Don’t write bad, write well!  Make sure everyone loves your writing. But then, they never tell you exactly what good writing actually is.

It’s almost as if you’re expected to go out and figured this out for yourself.

So I’m trying to suss out the truth. What does good writing mean to you? Is it bold sentences with sharp words? Or when the scene is set so vividly, you feel like you’re there living it?

My thought is with any other skill, you must work and work and work at it. No one wakes us knowing how to play the piano, you must practice and practice. The same with writing. Go out and try it, then have people rip it to shreds and have them say what they like the best. Then, someday, you’ll find some small but good jems in your pieces. After you find them, keep writing like that.

Let me know, I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

~Ames

Posted in info, Reading

Book reviews.

If you’ve read through some of my posts, you might of noticed a theme. And that’s while I do a lot of book reviews, I tear most of them  apart. Or at least have long rants about them. This could make some people believe that I don’t like books or enjoy reading.

And that isn’t true at all!

When I was in school, I was the kid who got her books taken away. The one that teachers would notice I was reading, and tell me not to bring books into the classroom anymore. While I had a difficult time learning to read, I more then made up for it and I read almost every night before going to bed.

In short, I love books. I love being teleported away, and getting lost in a good story. I collect both paperback and my kindle has over 200 books on it. I hope one day to own a house with it’s own private library. That would make me incredibly happy.

The thing is, I dislike cliches. And I hate seeing the same crap over and over and over in books.

Example, I read The Hunger Games when it first came out. I wasn’t one of those who read it before it got popular, I didn’t start hearing about it until the second book was about to be released, but I read it. And devoured the 2nd and the 3rd one in the series.

And I enjoyed it. I loved the dystopian setting, the brutal nature of the games and the love triangle. I honestly thought she would pick Gale (And still a bit miffed by that ending! But that’s another story).

But by now, that setting has been done to death. The world destroyed, a terrible government has taken over and a love triangle. Who know! Who will she choose????????????

The horse is long dead, please stop beating it. Try something new!

That’s mostly why I pick novels apart and am harsh. I don’t want to guess what’s going to happen in the first few chapters. I want surprise and twists and turns, not the same old, same old. If I ever became an agent for novels, I would be the one who makes people cry.

But I’m still hoping to find new and original work that I enjoy.

Thanks for reading!

~Ames

Posted in Reading

Book Review: Midnight Thief

Book review of Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburn. This is YA fantasy.

The book starts out with a girl named Kyra. She’s a thief, scraping by to get enough money to stay afloat. We learn she’s quiet, a good climber and very small and fast. Her friends include her older male friend, Flick. Bella, a woman who runs a tavern who likes to mother her and Flick. And finally, Two little street girls Kyra tries to help from time to time.

The book starts out when a man named James comes asking for her by name, to steal a ruby from the main palace. She tries her best, but finds no ruby. James pays her anyway and then shows up a few days later to chat. There was no ruby, it was a test of her skills. He’s a member of an assassin’s guild and wants her to join.

At first, she doesn’t want to, but she needs the money, so she does. She says she doesn’t want to kill anyone, and they agree, but overtime attempt to wear her down. A first, their gang is a robin hood type group, but then start to get darker.

Not long after, we meet another character. Tristam, who’s a knight (with a weird name) for the city and palace. He’s out riding one day when an attack happens. Apparently, there’s groups of people with large cats (called demon cats) who live in the forest outside the city. Tristam and his friend get involved with dealing with raids from them. We also see the other side of Kyra’s raids and such on the palace from his point of view.

As one can guess, the two are bound to meet.

I heard about this book and heard two things that interested me. One, there’s little romance. I am not someone who enjoys romance. Mostly because I think it makes for a boring story and I get annoyed when characters stop the interesting plot to kiss, cuddling and or have sex. The fact that I heard light romance, I was interested.

The second was the assassin’s guild. That got me right away.

(Some mild spoilers, but I won’t give away the ending or the big spoiler)

The characters are  good in this. I especially like Flick, as he’s pretty funny. Kyra is good as a protagonist and Tristam is okay. He was kinda bland, but I didn’t hate him.

I was almsot pleased that Flick and Kyra didn’t fall in love. I was completely expecting it, cuz it happens so much. But no, the author did well and kept their as more adopted siblings. Which made sense, when you’ve known someone for so long as a more “siblings”, it doesn’t make sure sense that they’re suddenly in loooooove. So I was really pleased that she didn’t fall into that trap.
What the novel really lacked though, was world building. This is a fantasy, that’s imperative! But we don’t get any story about Forge, or any other cities. As a curse, Kyra swears “three cities!” but we don’t know what that means or what cities. We also don’t get too much about the demon cats. They just came over the mountain to live in the forest… This kinda hurt the novel, I wanted more. More history, more world building.
The second that irked me was Kyra and her loyalty.  She has none.

(mild spoilers)

Kyra gets caught on a mission into the palace for the assassin’s guild and immediately turns on them. Later, she goes against the palace. Later, she ends up with the demon cats and their riders, who save her life and she turns on them when they threaten Tristam.

The first time, it was whatever, because she hadn’t been with the guild very long. But by the time it gets to the third, I was annoyed. Not enough that I hated her, but enough that it frustrated me. I really wish someone had pointed that out to the author. Yes, it made for tension in the novel, but come on.

The last thing was the light romance between Kyra and Tristam. I didn’t buy it, because they had no chemistry. Absolutely none. It felt forced to me. I didn’t think they hated each other, but I didn’t understand why they suddenly liked the other.

I will say the big reveal is a touch predictable, but okay. I’ve seen worse.
Over all, it was an okay story, especially for a debut novel. I even read the sequel, Daughter at Dusk, which was all kinds of confusing. I honestly had no idea what the plot was at certain spots.

In short, 6/10. I wouldn’t really recommend this, unless it sounds really interesting to you. If so, go for it.
Not a bad book, but not a good one either.
Posted in info, Reading

Review of Three Dark Crowns.

My apologies that I haven’t posted in months. I’ve had some very serious health problems that have been commanding my attention.  While I’m going to try to come back for an occasional blog post, it’s not going to be like I used to.

Anyway, review for the book “Three Dark Crowns” By Kendare Blake. I saw this book at B&N and decided to give it a read.

So, here’s the story.  Every generation, on the Island of Fennbirn, a set of Princess triplets are born, and all have an equal claim to the crown. Each one has a power as well, one can control the elements, one can ingest poisons and one have plant-like abilities. But since only one can be Queen, the night that they turn sixteen, they have a deadly game and last one standing wins.

Sounds pretty interesting right? But for some reason, the author decided to stretch this into two books. This is honestly a one book idea, someone (her or the publishing house) said we need to make this longer! And that’s really what hurts it.

In the beginning, we’re introduced to the three sisters. They have been separated for the past decade, they’re training. It’s very soon to their 16th birthday. I was really excited, I wanted to see how triplets would react to being forced to try and kill each other.

But instead of getting to that interesting, the book goes into chapter after chapter after chapter of just sitting around and talking scenes, or worse, romantic scenes. I don’t care about which sister ends up with random hot guy or childhood hot guy friend! Honestly, if I was in that world, I wouldn’t even try to date one until she’s actually queen. Don’t fall in love with someone who could die soon!

The other big problem I had with this book is it’s very minor character heavy. Each girl is separated from her sisters, so they all have their own cast of side characters. The problem is, they’re all very flat and there’s so little to distinguish them from others. At some points, it’s like white noise because I have no idea who the heck these people are.

It’s not that I can’t handle complex books, I’ve read A Song of Ice and Fire (The book series that Game Of Thrones is based off) and those books are extremely complex. But the characters there are memorable, here, most are one dimensional and dull.

Another problem the book has is the characters had weird names, like Arsinoe. I had to look that up to make sure I spelled correctly and I’m not even sure if I’m pronouncing it right. Remember the K.I.S.S rule, keep it simple, stupid.

To be fair, the last 10% of the book is a bit interesting and it leaves on a twist cliffhanger for the next book, but I honestly don’t think I’ll read it. I’d bet money it’s not going to be about one killing the other two, it will be about the three of them banding together to decide that this is barbaric and stopping this whole killing game thing.

My advice, read another fantasy book. I get that she was trying really hard to make a dark, high-fantasy romp, but there’s too many problems here. 3/10 stars.

~Ames

Posted in info, Reading

Book review: Shatter me

I haven’t had a good rant in a long time, so here we go. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (who interestingly enough is married to Ransom Riggs, the author of the Miss Peregrine’s home for Peculiar Children’s series.)

I did not like this book.

To make things clear, I didn’t hate this book. If I truly hate a book or find it boring, I’d put it down and not pick it back up. I certainly wouldn’t finish it (and then read the next two books in the series). So since I finished these books, I didn’t hate them. But they are nowhere near my favorite book list and I got frustrated several times while reading.

So here’s the plot. (some spoilers) The planet is dying and government has fallen, something called the reestablishment has taken over. At first, it seemed like a good idea to help due to the irregular weather patterns, the fact that animals and crops are dying like crazy and that people aren’t doing so well. But of course, they’re actually taking over in bad ways/

Enter main character, Juliette, a 17 year old. She has a strange power, where her touch is deadly and anyone who comes in contact with her will die. She accidentally killed a little boy three years ago, everything thinks she’s dangerous now and has been tossed in an asylum.  The novel starts with her locked away tight, half insane and hasn’t spoken to a person in many months. A handsome guy with dark hair is put inside her cell with her-named Adam and they start a friendship that you know will turn into a romance.

She is instantly in love. Also turns out the two of them knew each other as children and while they never once spoke, they loved each other secretly. It also turns out Adam can touch her without dying.

This all turns out to be a ruse of the leader of this city’s Reestablishment, army thing Warner, who is a 19  and crazy obsessed with Juliette. Adam is a soldier, but Juliette and Adam find a way to start a secret romance and make plans to escape. Along the way they meet another soldier named Kenji (By far my favorite character) and he get’s roped along for the ride.

But then they learn Warner can touch her as well! Dun dun dun.

I’ll first talk what I like.

Kenji. I wish he was the main character and Juliette was not. Without giving the ending away, he has a double agenda and actually has a personality. Even after reading three books about these characters, he’s really the only one who stands out. He’s funny, has a snarky mouth, swears constantly and has a knack for getting himself into trouble.

He’s the reason I didn’t put this book down. If he hadn’t been in the book, I prob would of stopped reading.

I also liked the (bit) of world building the book did and really wanted more. I’m still not sure exactly where in the world they are. I wanted more history and more about what happened and how this all came to be. Lot of missed potential.

Alright, now what I don’t like.

The writing. Holy crap, someone really needed to sit this lady down and have a serious talk with her. The writing is way too overdone and is full of stuff like this.

“My jaw is hanging from my shoelace.”

“My eyelashes trip into my eyebrows; my jaw drops into my mouth.”

“He leans back against the couch. Runs a free hand over his face. Seasons change. Stars explode. Someone is walking on the moon.”

To be fair, she does have a few that are poetic and lovely. But when there’s three or four every page (and half of them don’t even make sense!) it’s very tiresome.

Except for Kenji, the characters are really… bland and annoying. I don’t understand how Kenji is so awesome and the rest are so annoying.

Adam is the typical nice guy (at least until book three when suddenly aliens take over his body and he goes complete OOC) He’s described as having beautiful blue eyes and is instantly in love with her.

Warren, the leader (which as someone from a military family and knows a lot about the military, I find it so weird that they let a random 19 year old kid be in charge. But whatever) Is described as being “inhumanly handsome” (which makes me grit my teeth. I really hate it when author’s force us to believe their characters are the most beautiful things ever.) and has piercing green eyes. Again, he is obsessed in love with Juliette and wants to make her into a weapon.

He hardly tries to do this. Instead he dressed her in pretty clothes and calls her love and makes her sleep in a large beautiful bed. Yes, he does try to make her touch people a few times and does threaten Adam, but for the most part just talks like a cheese-ball Bond villain.

This could of been interesting. I wish he hadn’t been in love with her and spent his time actively trying to make her into a weapon. But no. He’s too busy smirking and being a “bad boy.”

And then there’s the main character. I didn’t care for her very much. She doesn’t have much personality. Warner describes her as feisty early on, but I have no idea why he does. She’s broken and scared, like the opposite of  feisty. When they actually escapes, she tries to help out, but until then, she just sits around and waits for Adam to rescue her.

I love love characters who start out as broken and grow and change. But man, I dislike her so much. In the second book, I wanted to slap the crap out of her multiple times.

Then finally, this is said to be dystopian romance, but it’s more romance with a touch of  dystopia in the background. Even before I read the second and third one, I could tell its setting up a love triangle. Juliette feels a spark toward Warner.

To sum one, one half baked idea, tons and tons of romance, one great character and a bunch of boring ones. I would not really recommend. Unless sudden romance where their lives are in danger, but they stop to kiss instead of running for their lives is your thing.

It’s not really mine.

 

Posted in info, Reading

Book Review: I hunt Killers

I hunt killers By Barry Lyga. Without a doubt, this is one of my personal favorite YA books.

I hunt killers is the story of Jasper Dent, a 17 year old who grew up the only son of the world’s most famous serial killer. Everyday was a lesson on how to kill, manipulate, torture and blend in. When he was 13 year old, his father was caught and thrown into jail. Now, four years later, dead bodies have started showing up again and everything is looking toward Jazz. And Jazz is desperate to prove that he isn’t turning into his father 2.0

This is such a great story because it has such a great main character. Jazz is locked into a constant war with himself in desperately trying not to become his father and overcome his dad’s terrible brainwashing. He has a legitimate fear that he will someday snap and kill someone, without even meaning to. Even worse, everyone around him is half expecting that as well.

That’s pretty terrifying.

The second part of what makes this book so good is the writing. Now I’m not going to rave and say this guy is the best writer of the 21st century, but this writing feels real. It feels exactly like a teenage boy would sound. He doesn’t sound seem too old or do anything odd like an adult would sometimes do. He’s still kid.

And the plot is great. Jazz feels like he needs to give back and help out because of his father, so when the dead bodies start coming, he does his best to help the police out. There are a few parts that it feels a bit forced that the police would share certain info and details with a 17 year old kid, but it’s still a good story. It quickly becomes a thrilling race to figure out the pattern before the next person is killed.

If I did have a gripe (a minor one) it would be that Jazz is a bit too… much at time. he’s a bit too smart, a bit too good of a liar and a bit too good at manipulation. It seems practically everyone falls under his charms when he wants something. I do feels like it’s a bit much at times, but it never annoyed me enough that I put the book down.

And the ending is great. Yes, it sets up the next book (Game) which sets up the next book (Blood of my blood) But both are great and make for a lovely trilogy.  While Jazz has a girlfriend, there’s hardly any romantic plot in this at all.

And for someone who really hates it when the main characters puts important stuff on hold to figure out if their S.O wants to make out or cuddle or something, I really really appreciate that.

Highly recommend. This book is a bloody and gory in parts. It’s about serial killers and there are a lot of deaths. (It makes you a bit worried about the author’s mind) But over all, a great read.

~Ames

Posted in ideas

The plot bunnies that just won’t stop

Oh man, I haven’t posted for almost three weeks. I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been really busy. This is partly true, as I did finish another manuscript last week (woot!) But I’ve also just been a bit lazy.

Anyway,

I’ll tell the truth, if I walked past you down the street, I probably wouldn’t even notice you.

(Unless of course you were doing something crazy. But then, only maybe) Mostly because I’m the kind of person who’s always lost in thought and as others say, have my head off in the clouds a lot.

It’s mostly because I have several books worth of characters (and sometimes characters who aren’t even mine) up in my head and demanding my attention. From the minute I wake up until I moment I go back to sleep. They are the plot bunnies and the characters who just won’t shut up.

Sometimes I think the only way I can get them to stop is to just sit down and write it all out. Seems to be the only way that really works.

Otherwise, everyone upstairs just sits up there and yaps until I’m half insane. ^^

As I’ve heard before, writing is only paid insanity. It sure seems that way sometimes. We are all just paid to listen to voices and then write them out. The characters do feel very real sometimes.

I really do hope I’m not the only person who has this problem of plot bunnies that just won’t go away. For me, sometimes I have ideas that go on for years and years before I can get rid of them.

On another note, this last week was a one year mark for me. I’m very happy and pleased. Very much looking forward to the next year and many more to come.

Thanks for reading!

~Ames

Posted in Uncategorized

Here we go again.

Wow, it’s been quite a week. Work and then I managed to twist my ankle. Thankfully, it’s not real bad, but still been sore. (It would of been really bad if I had hurt my hands so I couldn’t type.)

So, I’m starting to think a lot of my new blog posts are going to be based off conversations I have with my beta.

Because sometimes I agree with what they say and sometimes, I’m more like… No. But to be safe, I want to get a few other writer’s opinion.

So here we go.

In the scene, there’s two male characters (we’ll call them Joe and Bill). This is how the sentence goes.

“Joe stepped into the room carefully. “Bill,” He greeted with narrowed eyes.”

As the beta responded to this,  The basic rule with pronouns is: They describe the last proper noun. The way this sentence is put together, Bill is saying his own name. I think you mean Joe is saying it.

I personally don’t think so, as I establish in the first sentence that Joe is the speaker. And very rarely do people just say their own name just because.

Anyway, I’m always just curious to hear what other people think.  Does it make sense that Joe is the speaker here? I Mostly want to know because I like a third opinion in life and I think it works out way better that.

~Ames