Thursday, June 30, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth Book Review

I didn't get to post my book review yesterday because I was having trouble with the blog, so I am posting it today. But in addition to a book review I have had planned for two weeks now, I also ran upon a topic from the YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesday:

What is the best book you've read this month?

That's an easy answer.

photo found here
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.
(Mini-synopsis from

I wanted to read "Divergent" a few days before its release on May 3rd. The only dystopian novels I have read are Scott Westerfeld's "Uglies"; "Pretties"; "Specials"; and "Extras" . Those books were amazing, and so is "Divergent". Before reading the book, I was so confused about which faction I would join. Now I definitely would choose Dauntless for the experience and because it includes some of my favorite bits of action--guns, fighting, snarky attitudes--even though I would face the horrifying, feasible issue of becoming factionless. A few posts ago, talking about "Divergent", I said I was afraid to become Dauntless because I would hate be factionless. Now I believe that the Dauntless experience would be worth becoming factionless. Shocking, I know. Being factionless is horrible, an eternity alone and struggling for food and clothes with horrible, outcast jobs.

Two of my favorite aspects of a book are romance and action; if the romantic scenes and action scenes are exceptional, I will swoon. "Divergent" is packed with action, and I mean guns-up, butt-kicking action, mixed with a slow flow of romance--picture me swooning. I absolutely LOVED every SECOND of it! As if dystopian isn't an interesting subject already--and I certainly cannot wait to read The Hunger Games now--this futuristic Chicago is a city I would love to visit to observe and learn more about. I know, my Erudite is showing. *Grins*

Also, I would like to state that Tris (Beatrice Prior) is probably my favorite heroine. If I could choose to be like a character from a book, it would probably be Tris--I would love to have Hermione Granger's brain and ability to remember everything she's ever read, though. I love Tris' bravery and will, mixed with her Abnegation-self and her intelligence. To me, "Divergent" is a wonderful story about allowing yourself to be who you want to be, no matter the limits or obstacles, nor how terrifying or challenging those obstacles may be.

I cannot wait for the sequel, whose title has just recently been released:

(picture from Veronica Roth's blog.)

Here are some of my favorite quotes, though I do not have the page numbers:

"Human beings as a whole cannot be good for long before the bad creeps back in and poisons us again."

"What is it with you today?" says Christina on the way to breakfast. Her eyes are still swollen from sleep and her tangled hair forms a fuzzy halo around her face.
"Oh, you know," I say. "Sun shinning. Birds chirping."
She raises an eyebrow at me, as if reminding me that we are in an underground tunnel.

"Moths," repeats Will. "You're afraid of moths?"
"Not just a cloud of moths," she says, "like...a swarm of them. Everywhere. All those wings and legs and..." She shudders and shakes her head.
"Terrifying," Will says with mock seriousness. "That's my girl. Tough as cotton balls."
"Oh, shut up."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare Book Review

First I have to say, Happy Wednesday! You've made it halfway through the week; only two more days to go 'til the weekend. So for you bookworms searching for young adult books and to help through the Wednesday slowness, I have decided to start a segment called "Book Review Wednesday". To start my very first book review, I will be covering Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel.

Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gas lit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
(Blurb from
(Clockwork Angel trailer)
I've been a huge fan Cassandra (Cassie) Clare's work since I read City of Bones last December, and since, I've read all of her books except for City of Fallen Angels--it's coming up on my list. First and foremost, I have to say that Clockwork Angel's cover is the most beautiful cover I've ever seen. It is ultimately my favorite. I love the Victorian era--the dark cobblestone London, gentlemen in coattails and top hats, ladies in beautiful dresses, the whole enchilada--so it's only natural for me to be in love with the cover. I didn't want to take it off my "Currently Reading" list, because I thought it coordinated with my blog's layout so well. The cover aside, another thing I have found interesting this year is Steampunk, which is what genre Clockwork Angel falls under, other than Fantasy. For those who don't know what Steampunk is, it's science fiction set in the Victorian era focusing on technology and machinery.

If you're not familiar with Cassie's work, she known for her twisted plots, great characters, gripping romance, and cliffhanger endings that contort your insides until you have the next book--practically everything a writer wants to be--and Clockwork Angel does not disappoint.

Through out the book you'll want the protagonist, Tessa, to fall for both of the young males and have them--to have her cake and eat it, too--and you'll see what Tessa is capable of with her unique ability. Some of my favorite aspects of the book is the attractive, snarky Will; the gentle, sweet Jem; Jem's sickness; Will's sarcastic remarks to anything  and everything; and how well Tessa and Jem can deal with Will.

Clockwork Angel is the prequel to The Mortal Instruments series featuring City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, and City of Fallen Angels. They are all packed with action and are definitely some of my favorite books. I give Clockwork Angel 4.5/5 stars.

For fun, here are some of my favorite quotes from Clockwork Angel. (If it has ****** I'm bleeping out a name, because it might possibly be a spoiler and I don't want to ruin it. Enjoy!)

"Nice work in there, Herondale, setting the place on fire," Gabriel observed. "Good thing we were there to clean up after you, or the whole plan would have gone down in the flames, along with the shreds of your reputation."

"Are you implying that shreds of my reputation still remain intact?" Will demanded with mock horror. "Clearly I have been doing something wrong. Or not doing something wrong, as the case may be."
He banged on the side of the carriage. "Thomas! We must away at once to the nearest brothel! I seek scandal and low companionship."

(Pg. 268)

"I just wondered," Gabriel said, in a more subdued voice, "if perhaps you have ever had enough."
"Enough of what?"
"Enough of behaving as you do."
Will crossed his arms over his chest. His eyes glinted dangerously. "Oh, I can never get enough," he said. "Which, incidentally, is what your sister said to me when-"
The carriage door flew open, a hand shot out, grabbed Will by the back of the shirt, and hauled him inside.
(Pg. 269)

"Must you go? I was rather hoping you'd stay and be a ministering angel, but if you must go, you must." (Jem)
"I'll stay," Will said a bit crossly, and threw himself down in the armchair Tessa had just vacated. "I can minister angelically."
"None too convincingly. And you're not as pretty to look at as Tessa is," Jem said, closing his eyes as he leaned back against the pillow.
"How rude. Many who have gazed upon me have compared the experience to gazing at the radiance of the sun."
Jem still had his eyes closed. "If they mean it gives you a headache, they aren't wrong."
(Pg. 343)

"That was enterprising," Will sounded nearly impressed.
****** smiled. Tess shot him a furious look. "Don't look pleased with yourself. When Will says 'enterprising' he means 'morally deficient.'"
"No, I mean enterprising," said Will. "When I mean morally deficient, I say, 'Now, that's something I would have done."
(Pg. 363)

And that's only a few.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Release Day to "Hourglass" by Myra McEntire!!

(Description from the back of the book)
One hour to rewrite the past . . .

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn't there; swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She's tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he's around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.

If you don't already know, today is the day that the book Hourglass by Myra McEntire was released. (Congratulations, Myra, my fellow Tennessean). Today other author's and reader blogs and websites have been in a frenzy about how amazing the book is. I wish I could state my opinion, but I can't to that yet. I don't happen to have it yet, but it's certainly on my "To Read List".

....I need a library card.

For reviews, here are some great websites to check out what other readers had to say:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How About Some Free Books?

Sorry to be misleading, but they're not from me. Don't throw tomatoes, yet; I have good news! I do know of a place, however, where they are offering a contest/drawing for some of the hottest books to come out this year, and that place is the YA Highway. (Link: They are celebrating their two year anniversary, and what better way than with a contest to win some free books?

I know. I love them, too.

To enter there are two requirements that must be met:  the person entering must follow the YA Highway, and they must live in the United States or Canada for a chance to win most of the books offered. There is, however, an international prize of a signed copy of City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare. Talk about EPIC!!

As if the international prize itself isn't amazing enough, there are other books available to be won such as:  Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafia, The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney, and After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wadel. And those are only a few.

Personally, if I could win any book off the list, I would choose Shatter Me. What drew my attention to the book was the trailer which I first found on Facebook a few weeks ago. The first and only thing that passed my mind when I saw it was, "Wow!" After watching it a few times, I was finally able to think, "If I get my book published, I want the book trailer to be that awesome."

Even though I'm an avid reader, I find myself amazed by the beauty and majesty that words can create when pieced together correctly; how they can send tingles down your spine at a mere description. This one minute trailer is one of those wonderful examples. It might just be my opinion, but I suggest you take a peek and let me know what you think.

Which book(s) offered from the YA Highway would you like to win most?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Counting the Words

When writing a book, one of the most important aspects to keep track of is the word count. For me, I have a goal of about 120,000 words. It sounds like a whole heck of a lot of words and it is, but I believe that’s only about 400 pages.

I have a fear of going over that 120K, and I mean over. Way, way over, because I’ve done it. My first book, which was never published, was about 240K. It was ridiculous (lol). But the complete manuscript isn't what I'm concerned about at the moment. I'm nowhere near finished with my book. (Epic sadface --> :(  ) This time, it's not reaching my goal at all that I’m worried about.

I don't know how you feel about it, but writing can be hard. Sometimes it's very difficult to make yourself sit down at a computer and type out the scenes playing over and over in your head. Maybe it's because your easily distracted, or you have writer’s block, or you feel the writing isn't up to par, or because it's just plain ol' intimidating.  

Or is that just something I go through?

From reading other writer's blogs—even very famous author's blogs—I've learned that I'm not alone. Whew! *Wipes sweat from brow* So, I'm not a writer-freak! But I do need motivation and something to keep me grounded.

And I have it.  A good trick I have learned in the past few months is to make a goal for yourself every day. A lot of famous writers do it: Holly Black, Lauren Oliver, Veronica Roth. The only problem is how much? Every person types at different speeds, and sad to say, I'm on the slow side. And I don't just mean “cruisin' along” slow, I mean "snail trying to stampede through peanut butter" slow.

Okay, so that might be a slight exaggeration, but that's how it feels—not to mention I get distracted easily. (Darn wireless internet with it's cyber-candy of Facebook, Youtube, and Blogspot!) So this is my vow. I will write 1,000 words a day. It's not a lot, but it's a start. If I can focus more, I'll be able to write more, and faster. So, how much did I write today? Drum roll, please?

*Insert drum roll?*

765 words. Well, it’s a start :D I'll let you know how I do.

Tell me, how much would you start out trying to write a day, or how much do you write a day?