Saturday, March 31, 2012

Review: Numbers

Numbers by Rachel Ward

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Ever since she was child, Jem has kept a secret: Whenever she meets someone new, no matter who, as soon as she looks into their eyes, a number pops into her head. That number is a date: the date they will die. Burdened with such awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. The two plan a trip to the city. But while waiting to ride the Eye ferris wheel, Jem is terrified to see that all the other tourists in line flash the same number. Today's number. Today's date. Terrorists are going to attack London. Jem's world is about to explode!

Jem tries to avoid people. It's not like she doesn't like them or the fact that she's been pushed from foster family to foster family ever since she found her mother dead from an overdose, it's just that she has a secret. She can see the exact day people are going to die, just from looking in their eyes. So, she tries to avoid them. That is until she meets Spider, another outsider and decides to break her rules. When the two plan a trip to the city and they wait to ride the Eye ferris wheel, Jem notices that everyone surrounding them has the same date of death: Today. After fleeing, panicked about what is going to happen, the police begin to seek them out, but whether it's to question over what they saw or to blame them for what happened, Jem doesn't want to find out because who would believe that a couple of troublemaking misfits were innocent?

This book definitely wasn't what I expected. I didn't expect to find a foul-mouthed orphan who deliberately pushes everyone away because she doesn't want to be burdened with knowing when they are going to die and not being able to warn them. After all, even if they did believe her, what would they do if they knew how many days they had left? At times it felt hard to connect with Jem because she was so distant from everyone, but that was her character. For a character who's life seriously sucks, Ward does a good job at creating a character that is full of conflict and doubt.

The beginning started off slow as the reader was introduced to Jem's school, life and the turmoil she has to deal with. Once the incident at the Eye happened, the story turned into an adventure with constant twists and turns as Jem and Spider tried to keep away from the authorities who wanted to question them over the tragedy.

While I wasn't expecting the adventure and chase to be the central focus as I would have liked Jem to be more concerned with proving her innocence rather than running from the law, the world Ward created around the power of the numbers was intriguing and I look forward to reading the second book to see where the power goes next.

Source: Audible
2012 TBR Reading Challenge: #4 of 11
2012 YA Reading Challenge: #15 of 50

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A light in the darkness

I've been on a roll with writing lately, and have more ideas still forming. The only problem here is that I'm submerged in horror and death. That's not all bad, because I love the dark and macabre. I have decided once I finish my YA horror I'll have to tune in to something a bit more light before I venture to write the psychological thriller that just popped into my mind yesterday.

I have just realised that sometimes too much darkness can be really draining. It could also be that I'm so tired from preparing for my classes and trying to control angsty teenagers who are already preparing for the holidays that start next Friday.

Maybe I just need to get out for a day and my energy will be restored.

What do you do to get away? Do you write one genre or do you like to work on several depending your mood?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review: Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe

Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school's struggling radio station, where the other students don't find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams's mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life. Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home.

Chloe is bighearted and always tries to add fun and enjoyment to everything she does, so when her friends start not only ignoring her but also shredding her reputation she doesn't know what she did wrong. While living as a social pariah and trying to avoid the World War III that's building at home between her mother and grandmother, she joins the struggling school radio station in order to try and pass her independent project. In order to get the much needed ratings for the station Chloe hosts a talk show which allows her to get close to the other misfits of the station, especially quiet Duncan, but also draws unwanted trouble for the station.

Shelley Coriell has created a fun and interesting character in Chloe. Chloe speaks her mind and always aims to bring laughter and delight into a person's day, but not everything is sunny in Chloe's life. Her best friends hate her and her grandmother is suffering from parkinson's disease. Even though she has been ostracised from most of the school students, she finds her place at the radio station and it was fun to see the many relationships develop, especially between her and Duncan who is also dealing with issues himself.

Welcome, Caller, this is Chloe is a fun, light read, but it does deal with serious issues such as bullying, parkinson's and addiction. Packed full of emotion, Chloe is someone you can't help but smile at, especially when she wears the ridiculous costumes such as the burrito one the story opens with. I recommend Welcome, Caller, this is Chloe to anyone looking for a fun, quick read.

Source: NetGalley
2012 Debut Author Challenge: #3 of 12
2012 YA Reading Challenge: #14 of 50

Friday, March 16, 2012

Review: Fracture

Fracture by Megan Miranda

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening? 

Delaney Maxwell shouldn't be alive. After falling through the ice of a lake and being under the water for 11 minutes, she shouldn't be alive. If anything, she should have some serious brain injuries, but she just feels normal. But when she starts being pulled towards the dying, she wonders whether something is wrong with her. Then she meets Troy, and like her, he has survived a serious accident and woke up from a comma with the same ability. As Delaney tries to assume her normal life and prove that she's not insane, she has to discover why she has this power and what is her connection to Troy, but will what she find destroy both of them in the progress?

Megan Miranda has created an original storyline that depicts the complexity of the human mind.  The story had plenty of twists and turns to keep the pages turning and emotions churning.

What drew me to this novel before I even knew what the story was the cover. It's absolutely beautiful. The characters, especially Delaney, are definitely complex and well-developed. It kept me wanting to turn the pages as she tried to work out her connection to Troy and figure out what relationship she had with her best friend Decker. At times I felt Delaney and Decker's was a bit repetitive with the will they, won't they get together angle and this could become frustrating because they seemed stuck in a loop, not really going anywhere, but when Troy's relationship with Delaney is introduced the stakes are raised.

I felt the ending was a bit rushed as there was so much character building and so many twists to the mystery surrounding Delaney's powers and Troy himself, but that saying, I did enjoy this story and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys an emotional story with a hint of supernatural.

Source: kindle
2012 Debut Author Challenge: #2 of 12
2012 YA Reading Challenge: #13 of 50

Thursday, March 15, 2012

You gotta love a good villain

Everybody loves a "good" villain. Not one who is actually good, but a well-developed and well-rounded villain that causes so many problems for the hero to overcome.

The more problems the villain causes, the more interesting the story becomes. And I don't mean those 'evil' villains that you can see coming a mile away dressed completely in black and stroking a cat while bragging about his latest scheme to take over the world, I'm talking about the subtle villains who keeps the reader guessing as to their real motivation.

These are the ones I love to read, and also writing. I have a tendency to try and hide the real villain of the story to add a twist and make the stakes at the end higher than if the villain's known.

Another villain I love is the one who believes they're doing things for the greater good, even if that includes killing many dozen innocent victims in the process.

What sort of villains do you like? Do you prefer to keep guessing or do you like the James Bond style villains?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Review: Tempest

Tempest by Julie Cross

Synopsis (From Goodreads): The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities. But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

Time travel isn't what it's like in the movies. Nothing changes, and people don't remember anything about the traveller. Jackson Meyer has the ability to jump through time. It's just harmless fun for him. When two strangers bursts into his girlfriend's room and attack Jackson and Holly, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back to 2007, further than he's ever jumped before. But this isn't like his other times, he's stuck there, unable to get back to his own time. As Jackson assumes his past self's life and learns more about his power, Jackson will learn the truth about his past and find out not even time will stop these attackers from finding him.

Julie Cross has created an interesting world where she has twisted the rules of time travel. I'm a sucker for a good time travel story, and this was just what I needed. Jackson was a strong character with so much depth. Not only did he lose his twin sister when he was younger, having constant regrets about what he would do differently if he could 'actually' effect time. He's also living with the guilt of abandoning Holly when he jumps to 2007. Holly, both of past and present, are two entirely different characters and it's interesting trying to figure out what has happened to her to have such a dramatic change of maturity.

The story was an original twist on the sci-fi time travel story with lots of twists and turns to keep you wanting to flip the page. All this leads to an ending that will definitely stir the emotions, and that's all I'm saying about that. I look forward to seeing where else Jackson can go in future stories.

Source: audible
2012 Debut Author Challenge: #1 of 12
2012 YA Reading Challenge: #12 of 50

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Inspiration is like being struck by lightning

I've been on a writing rush at the moment. I wrote over 5k on the weekend and am well over halfway through the first draft of Dark Sight.

When I get this sudden inspiration, it feels like my mind is totally open and allowing all these ideas to bounce around until the right one manages to escape and form itself into the words on the page.

I haven't been hit by lightning, or known any one who has, but with the inspiration surging through me at the moment I thought the lightning metaphor would fit right.

I think whenever we get the inspiration to write, or doing anything else creative, we shouldn't let it hold us back. When I get these bursts of ideas, I just have to write. I can't 'not' do it.

When you get inspiration do you write down all the ideas and start writing whenever or wherever you are or do you have a particular place or time of day that you need to write?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

So many ideas, which to choose from?

I have a slight problem that I've got too many ideas floating around my head (I think there's too many voices up there screaming for my attention). Sometimes it's hard to choose which story to focus on. Seriously, I've got 3 started, all which have been plotted out, ranging from paranormal to super hero to horror.

I do find it difficult at times to choose which story to work on. I know I should finish one before I start another, but I just can't do that. Instead, I find it a nice relief to have something to keep doing. It allows me to rest a project if I stumble upon writers block or my character's being too stubborn or say they get themselves locked in a padded room because they are seen as too crazy (yes, that has happened).

I do have targets of when I want my stories finished, and when I return to a rested project I have more momentum to push myself along, so I don't see it as a bad thing.

What about you? Do you just work on 1 project or do you like to have multiple ideas on the backburner?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Work or relaxation?

Since I started working full time (yeah, they're not lying when they say first year teachers are definitely busy every waking minute) I've been trying to get back to writing. It's only been this week that I've been able to look over my paranormal story DARK SIGHT and get some good work done on it.

I was speaking to another teacher who said she had to give up writing because it felt too much like work added on top of work, so I considered this. At the moment I love to find time to write. For some reason, when I'm in the mnindset of my characters, fighting evil monsters and solving mysteries it's the only time I get to relax and forget about all the stresses that I may encounter throughout my day.

I hope I never see writing as work or a chore because it's the only form of escape I have and I definitely need something like that in my hectic life.

What about you? What do you do to relax or forget about the stresses of everyday life? If you write, do you see it as work or a source of fun?
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