Friday, November 30, 2012

NaNoWriMo '12

So guys, this is going to be my experience with NaNoWriMo 2012. This was my first year of participating, and I really and truly had so much fun with it! Here is my novel's mock cover I made as well as the synopsis to it:

Emelia "Emmy" Tide is apart of a deadly siren clan. Her group has always told her that she has the most enticing voice. But long ago, Emmy promised to herself that she would never harm a human being. Not ever again, at least.
But when the sirens lure in a ship of passengers, Emmy saves one boy -- Parker -- from the horrific creatures while he's unconscious.
Now she'll do anything to get his attention. But the only way to do that is to become human and not alert Parker of the wicked things that lurk beneath the ocean. The Wicked One, a cruel monster, will help her. But everything comes at a price. And Emmy isn't sure that it's worth it.
In this re-telling of THE LITTLE MERMAID, Brad Sells explores the dangers of what lies beneath the dark waters and how people will fight for love.

RADIANT WATERS is the first novel in the Radiance trilogy, and is a re-telling of the fairytale THE LITTLE MERMAID by Hans Christen Anderson with sirens! I had so much fun writing this novel (*I should point out that I'm am not yet done writing RW*). I really did. I loved getting to know these characters -- Emelia, Parker, Rowan, Alethea, Isobel, Xander -- all of them.

So I finished NaNoWriMo on Thursday, November 29, 2012:

Word Count for 29th of November: 50,047 (at the time that I am writing this blog post -- it's almost 4 in the morning, if we're being honest -- it is now up to 50,415 words)


I know that there are some people who aren't a fan of NaNoWriMo, but really, this gave me the determination to sit down and write a book. And I did just that. Almost... because I'm not finished just yet. Again, at the time that I am writing this, I am close to the end, but not at the end

Want to see my NaNoWriMo progression for each day in November? Click the link here

And there are so many people I have to thank who helped me along the way of writing Radiant Waters and the whole NaNo experience. I think I may make a video talking about. 

November has been crazy and hectic and I got barely any reading done, but I feel like I have a good excuse. This was so much fun! Ah!

How did you do in NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments down below! Happy reading!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Brad About Books: Lullaby by Amanda Hocking

Published: November 27, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Format: Hardcover for Review
Page Count: 290 pages
Source: Publisher
Series: Watersong, #2

Harper only wanted a safe, normal life. But when her younger sister Gemma runs off with a dangerous clique of beautiful girls, Penn, Thea, and Lexi, everything changes. Vowing to get her sister back no matter what the cost, Harper must face dangers unlike any she's ever experienced. Fortunately, she has Daniel by her side, a gorgeous guy who's devoted to helping her find her sister—and who's immune to the girls' dark powers. 

While Harper searches for her sister, Gemma struggles to adjust to her new life. Gemma's powers are growing by the day, and the longer she lives with her new "sisters," the harder it is to resist entering their magical world. It's a realm both dark and beautiful, and where she's plagued by strange hungers and unspeakable needs. Just as she's drifting far away from her old life, Harper and Daniel find her...but no one can deny how much she's changed. All she wants is to return to her family and the mortal world, but how can she do that when she's become something else entirely—and will they still love her once they learn the truth?

Prepare to fall under the spell of Lullaby, the second book in the Watersong series from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

I lost myself to the watersong once again! Amanda Hocking created a sequel that was even better than its predecessor. LULLABY was filled with secrets, tons of actions, and more of the sirens! It's official: I am addicted to this series!

LULLABY had so much action in it! Especially the ending. As we travel with Gemma and the sirens, we are introduced to more characters and more betrayals. And with action comes consequences, which leads up to this epic scene at the end! I'm honestly not sure how she did it, but Amanda Hocking raised the bar once again for this series (and for all of her novels). It's insane how much I loved LULLABY!

Gemma is my favorite character out of this series so far! She's defiant, brave, and will always stand up for the people she loves. Gemma is just a great character all around. Harper is another great character, but sometimes annoyed me (but not a whole lot.) In fact, all of the characters were great -- including the evil ones. And by evil ones, I mean the sirens. The three sirens were so much fun to read about! Even though they are the bad guys, I love to hate them and hate to love them.

The writing style of LULLABY sucked me into the story right away. I dived straight back into the world of the Watersong, and in it, the actions starts off with a bang immediately. The storyline drew me and wouldn't let me go until I had finished the novel. And now that I've finished LULLABY, I'm over here desperately wanting TIDAL so bad. Like, it's unreal.

And can I just add that the end scene is one of the best end scenes I've ever read. So much stuff happened, and lots of things were revealed, and I'M FEELINGS ALL THE FEELS. Seriously, LULLABY has made my list of Top 12 Books of 2012!

Overall, LULLABY was a great sequel on all levels. Amanda Hocking can do no wrong with YA novels! I highly recommend that you pick up this series! But prepared to be sucked in by the watersong.

M Y   R A T I N G:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Brad About Books: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Published: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 417 pages
Source: Bought
Series: Smoke and Bone, #1

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. 

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE was an excellent and well-thought out story... up until a certain point. I was loving this novel so much, but then, something happens and I had to push my way through the last 100 pages. 

Oh my gosh, Laini Taylor's prose is exquisite. Her writing style is beautiful and heart-shattering and all of the feels are in this book. I was immediately drawn into this story by the way she described the characters and especially the setting. Taylor made Prague seemed so magical and whimsical and dark. This is one story that makes me want to see the city!

And wow, Laini Taylor has such an awesome imagination! There was so much vivid creations and dark things all packed into this novel, and I couldn't get enough of this world's imagination. Even with all the darkness in this book -- that was really gross with the teeth, by the way -- I was loving the way that Karou and the other ensemble of characters explored the two worlds in this novel.

Speaking of which, Karou was a great character! She didn't take crap from anybody, but she wasn't this "I'm-so-tough-and-I-will-knock-anybody-down-in-my-way" type of girl. But there were so many weird characters in this book that made me shiver. Especially Brimstone: gosh, he was just so freaky!  Laini Taylor did an excellent job at weaving these characters together.

And then, we come to... the point. At about page 300, we are thrown into a flashback (NO SPOILERS), and the story started on a major decline. I had to seriously force my way through those final 117 pages, and I barely made it through. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE got super slow and boring, and the new characters we meet didn't capture my attention at all. And even the ending, I'm still kind of like what just happened? I still don't know.

Overall, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE was an awesome book, up until the flashback part. I would still recommend it, though! Can't wait to pick up DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT -- especially since I've heard there is more war than romance in it!

M Y   R A T I N G:
(more like 3.5 stars, but I'll round it up to 4)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Brad About Books: Forgotten Lyrics by Amanda Hocking

Published: October 30, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Format: eBook
Page Count: 60 pages
Source: Author's Website
Series: Watersong, #0.5 (Prequel)

Don’t miss this imaginative new short story set in the magical world of Watersong—a realm of enchanting beauty…and terrifying secrets.

Aggie is a mythological creature on a secret mission.  Lydia is a young woman from a magical family with no real powers of her own. And Daniel is a high school boy who’s made it his duty to protect his deeply troubled older brother.  Then one fateful night, their lives collide in a terrifying accident that changes them all forever. And beneath the surface, the ripple effects of the accident will have more impact than anyone could ever guess...changing not only their future, but the fate of an entire town.

If you don't know me, the first thing you need to know is that I love Amanda Hocking's novels. I started reading her when she was self-published, and now that St. Martin's has picked her up, I get even more of her awesome stories. WAKE is my favorite novel of hers, and this prequel is fantastic. It gave me more depth to a story I already loved dearly, and I was so happy that this was released.

Amanda Hocking's writing style always sucks me in from the very first line. Even though this was a short novella, I read this book in one sitting -- I couldn't put it down. Her imagination in this story (or series) was amazing, and I couldn't help myself by diving farther into this story and losing myself to the watersong.

I have to say that Aggie was by far my favorite character. Aggie was such a vivid and great character, and I was always loving their storyline and character. Even if I wasn't sure if they were good or bad at some parts in the novel. To be honest, I loved all the characters in this story. Not a single one annoyed me (which unfortunately happens sometimes in YA novels -- not all, though) and I felt myself connecting to these characters. It makes me want to re-read WAKE so bad!

And after I finished this novella, it made me want (actually, need) LULLABY so bad! I wanted to sink deeper into the Watersong series, and I can't wait to get my hands on LULLABY. And with all of these wonderful characters, mesmerizing prose, exciting storyline, and unexpected turns, FORGOTTEN LYRICS was such a great story. Gosh, Amanda Hocking never disappoints!

Overall, Amanda Hocking amazes me once again. Can November 27 come faster, please?! I need more of this story! 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Brad About Books: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Published: March 22, 2011 (hardcover)
Publisher: Philomel (Penguin)
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 338 pages
Source: Books-A-Million

It's 1941 and fifteen-year-old artist Lina Vilkas is on Stalin's extermination list. Deported to a prison camp in Siberia, Lina fights for her life, fearless, risking everything to save her family. It's a long and harrowing journey and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?

Brilliance is inbetween these pages. Ruta Sepetys has written a beautiful, heartbreaking and wonderful story about breaking the silence and letting the world know of important history.

I actually had the very awesome chance to meet Ruta at an event in Nashville, Tennessee, and even got to take a photo with her! And I just wanted to thank Ruta for writing this novel. I hate to admit, but I don't know if I wouldn't have known about this important piece of world history. And I'm glad that I learned about this tragedy, because it is important.

Not to mention heartbreaking. This book took a mallet and smashed my heart into tiny pieces. I'm a guy, so I don't get sad at most things in books, but seriously, I felt so much sorrow and sadness (and even teared up a bit!) for these characters and the situations that they were thrown into. Every page made me want to reach into the book and hug these characters. I was rooting for them to get their happily ever after the entire time!

Lina was such a great character. I connected with her character instantly, and never once did she ever annoy me or make my eyes roll, which unfortunately happens with some protagonists. The author made this character so believable and so pure, it was just amazing. Not just Lina, but I loved *almost* every character in this novel! Except for the bad guys and the man with the broken leg, obviously. These characters were put through so much in this novel, and I had felt a deep connection with them. Weird as that may sound, it's true. 

Each scene in BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY felt so vivid, and I felt like I had been thrown back in time with these characters. And when they reached their destination (more like prison), I just wanted to help them out somehow. And don't even get me started on Ruta Sepetys's wonderful writing style! I was sucked into the story immediately, and I never wanted to set the novel down. Her writing style was just so great and beautiful; I can't recommend this book enough!

Overall, BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY is an absolute must-read. Heartbreaking, beautiful and fantastic, BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY will captivate you until you've finished the novel.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Brad About Books: The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith

Published: November 9, 2010
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 358 pages
Source: Used Bookstore
Series: Marbury, #1

Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London as planned for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.

There is war in Marbury. It is a desolate and murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two younger boys. Conner is there, too. But he’s trying to kill them.

Meanwhile, Jack is falling in love with an English girl, and afraid he’s losing his mind.

Conner tells Jack it’s going to be okay.

But it’s not.

Before I continue on, I should say this: this is going to be a negative review. This is my personal opinion, and who knows, this may be the book for you! It just wasn't for me, unfortunately.

THE MARBURY LENS is the three 'D' words: disturbing, dark and disgusting. This book disturbed me in such a way that made me not want to pick it up, and when I would, I wanted to set in back down. There's creativity and what you can do with it, but there's a fine line when it comes to straight up weird. THE MARBURY LENS exceeds that line by many miles.

I have never read a book with so many cuss words. I'm not a fan of curse words, but they don't traumatize me or anything -- well, they didn't use to. THE MARBURY LENS has probably thousands of curse words in it, and I'm not exaggerating. I bet that you could flip to any page and there would be at least one cuss word on it. Seriously, if you're not a fan of curse words, do not pick up this novel. 

The First 'D' Word: this book is disturbing. So many awful events happen in the beginning! It's really gross and messes with your mind, which is maybe what the authors was trying to accomplish. Almost everything in this book was taken to a new level of nasty and disturbing (sorry I keep using that word, but it's the only one that really describes this book for me). Loads of things could have been toned down, and come on, IT'S A YA NOVEL. I would say that the age range for this book, in my opinion, would be either 16 or 17 and up.

The Second 'D' Word: Dark. Simply, this book has so many dark themes and elements, it's almost too hard to keep track of how many there were. Just when you think that maybe things just might work out with the characters, Andrew Smith is all NOPE and throws something unexpected and sometimes unnecessary at you. Just really, this book took a different route than what I expected and hoped it would be. And it really really let me down.

The Third 'D' Word: Disgusting. Yes, this book is utterly and totally disgusting. Especially with a few events that I can recall -- and to be honest, I hate that I even had to come across them because they were just so bad -- that made me shiver and made me go ugh. I will admit that I had to skip those pages, because I couldn't deal with it. Even though this does feature young adults, I honestly feel like this should be classified as "new adult". There were just too many adult themes in this book for a YA novel that shouldn't have been in here. 

And I was so excited to read this book! I truly was. The writing style didn't captivate me or grab me any, and the world-building of Marbury was complex, and I felt like there should have been a little more details about it, as long as it the descriptions weren't any of the 'D' words.

I understand that some books in the YA market are dark and deal with dark situations. I totally get that. But usually, those novels are actual situations and marketed as contemporary. This novel, like I said before, was way too dark and some -- mostly all -- parts, and I was actually keeping myself busy so I didn't have to read this novel. And I know that I could have stopped reading this novel at any point in time, but the second one was sent to me, so I knew that I had to read the first novel.

Overall, THE MARBURY LENS is definitely a book I would not recommend, unfortunately. Again, this is my personal opinion. Way too mature and dark for a YA novel. Maybe I'll pick up PASSENGER one day, but I'm not sure.

M Y    R A T I N G:

Monday, November 5, 2012

GIVEAWAY A Bad Day for Voodoo + Guest Post!

I'm here with another guest post and GIVEAWAY! This time, it's for A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO by Jeff Strand. Jeff has gotten a lot of questions lately about his novel, and some of them involve THE HUNGER GAMES. Let's see what his answers were that people have been asking him!

- - - - -

An informative Q&A with author Jeff Strand.

Q: Is A Bad Day For Voodoo as good as The Hunger Games?

A: Well, I wouldn't say that. I guess it's up to the reader to decide.

Q: Did you really just compare your book to The Hunger Games?

A: No! All I said was that it’s up to the reader to decide.

Q: But apparently you think that A Bad Day For Voodoo is worthy to be in the same sentence as The Hunger Games.

A: Um, no, I’m not the one who put them in the same sentence. You did that,

Q: But did you stop me? Did you say “Hey, whoa, whoa, whoa, let’s stop this Q&A right here!”? You most certainly did not. You were just going to let it happen. That disgusts me, sir. Your book is not worthy to be mentioned in the same sentence. In fact, the word “voodoo” is not worthy to be in the same sentence as “hunger.”

A: I’m sorry.

Q: The Hunger Games is 100% pure awesomeness and I resent you saying that your book reaches those heights. The Hunger Games is kind of violent, though. If they could get rid of the violence, it would be even better. I should write my own version that doesn’t have any kids killing each other. That would be sweet. Is A Bad Day For Voodoo a wholesome tale that contains no violence?

A: Yes.

Q: Are you lying?

A: Yes.

Q: For shame.

A: The book isn’t...I mean, there’s some violence...but it’s funny violence.

Q: So you’re basically saying that your book represents everything that’s wrong in today’s society?

A: No, I wasn’t basically saying that. Look, you asked if it was as good as The Hunger Games, and I just said that readers can decide for themselves.

Q: Everybody knows it’s not, though. I mean, duh.

A: Have you even read it?

Q: I skimmed the back cover. Do you have anywhere to be for the next few hours? I could read it right now and tell you what I think.

A: Could I maybe go get some lunch or something and come back?

Q: No.

A: Okay.

[A Few Hours Pass...]

Q: Well, shut my mouth. A Bad Day For Voodoo is way better than The Hunger Games. In fact, it makes The Hunger Games look like somebody just slobbered on some paper and called it a book! If I had a copy with me, I’d punch it!

A: Thank you.

Q: I should have said that I’d shoot it with an arrow. That would’ve been a better Hunger Games reference. Lots of arrows are shot in that book.

A: Oh well. Too late now.

Q: Yeah. Anyway, everybody should go read The Hunger Games, and then if they want to read something better, they should read A Bad Day For Voodoo. Don’t readA Bad Day For Voodoo first, because it will ruin The Hunger Games for you because you’ll spend the whole time thinking “This isn’t as good as A Bad Day For Voodoo.

A: No, it’s okay. They can read it first. I’m cool with that.

Q: Okay, so everybody should read The Hunger Games and A Bad Day For Voodoo in whatever order works best for their own personal schedule. Buy them both today!

- - - - -

That was so funny! Thanks for that, Jeff!

AND NOW, I HAVE ANOTHER GIVEAWAY! You can enter to win a copy of A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO by Jeff Strand! I'll even throw in a copy of HORRID HENRY'S MONSTER MOVIE by Francesca Simon. 

-This giveaway is international! Anywhere in the world is eligible for this giveaway.
-Winner must respond within 72 hours, or new winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway