Saturday, December 29, 2012

Book Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Title: Grave Mercy
Author: Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: YA (historical fantasy)
Why I read it/how I found it: The author was at a book signing I attended.

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

I loved the concept of this book. Assassin nuns. I was a little curious about how it would play out, but LaFevers nailed the building of the saints/gods and how they interact with the world. Also, serving the god of Death isn't as morbid as I thought it would be.

The beginning starts out exciting, and sort of...fizzled from there. I can sit through long books, as long as things are happening. It wasn't a snorefest, but it got to be a little much for me. And the mystery wasn't so huge to me. I guessed it pretty early on, although I'm sure some other readers were taken for a surprise.

I loved Ismae's character. We really got a depth and understanding to her, and she used her brains. She's tough and definitely a character to root for. Duval, the love interest, is also a pretty great character. Not the stereotypical love interest, which was refreshing, and the two of them had time to get together.

Other information: This is the first book in a three-book companion series. You can find Robin LaFever's website here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Brand New World Blogfest

Jaye Robin Brown has set up a blogfest in which we imagine that on December 22, 2012, we wake up to a whole new world. What would we want that world to be like?

I could go into personal wishes of mine (snakes are gone) but there is one serious wish that I think wouldn't be terribly hard, and hopefully in light of recent events, people will take action on it.

And that's this: people would raise their kids right.

There's a lot of wonderful people out there, which means there are a lot of wonderful parents. And sometimes, even wonderful parents can't stop their kid from going bad. But I noticed in high school a lot of the people I hung out with were people whose parents were present and taught them morals, which made me feel comfortable around them. Those whose parents were absent and didn't guide their kids were the ones I didn't feel comfortable hanging out with.

Again, I know some people who have been amazing parents, but their kid made their own choices and it didn't turn out so great. But I see even more kids who could be wonderful, if only they'd been taught the right way to go.

Imagine every child was taught love and consideration for others. Imagine every child was taught responsibility and respect. It's not that a lot of people aren't capable of it, it's that they aren't taught it at an early age from their parents.

That's what I would want in the new world. A strengthening of parents to child.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sites that help a writer

The internet can be a distraction, sure, but I've also found a lot of websites that help my writing in some way. Here are some of those:
  • Pinterest. I delayed getting one of these, because I thought it was so cliche to get one, and if I did, people would think I was using it for wedding ideas. But it's been really helpful in gathering visual ideas for my story. They let you have 3 secret boards, so no one else can see it, if you want to keep things private (like me).
  • Etsy. A lot of people post their crafts on this site. There's jewelry, clothes, costumes, and other bobbles. I found a necklace there that matches what I imagine an important necklace in my book to be.
  • Wordle. Copy and paste your entire book (or just a section) and see what words keep cropping up so you know what to avoid.
  • I can't get over suggesting this site for finding names. They have the best advanced search option I've ever seen.
What are some sites that you find help you in getting your writing better?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Project for Awesome 2012

My roommate made this video for Project for Awesome 2012! If you don't know what that is, watch the video and she'll explain it. :)
Thanks you guys!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Book Review: Reached by Ally Condie

Title: Reached
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Dystopian
Why I read it/how I found it: Third book in the Matched trilogy

After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.

Both the books previous to this lack action. But for this book, when the Rising would take a place, I hoped for more stuff.

Everything's always just so peaceful, even though they're in a rebellion! When was the last time you were in a history class and a rebellion/revolution went about without violence? Fighting is at most hinted at, but never truly described. There's a little explanation about the Society's government (finally!) but even that is highly dissatisfying. Apparently they rule by committee. Really? Does that really get anything done? Even the Rising is unbelievable. The leader's this big huge secret, which I don't buy at all. People want a face to lead them, even if the mystery of the Pilot is what brings them in.

So instead of concentrating on all of the layers of a revolution, everyone just gets sick and Cassia and Co have to get a cure. This was a long, drawn-out process.

In addition, let's just say this: love triangles are B-O-R-I-N-G. I have never yet failed in knowing who the girl would pick. I wasn't surprised in this one, so that was a snooze, too.

Condie has undeniable skill in writing. Her words are poetry, her images sharp and clear, and just beautiful. 

I'm sorry, but I'm still stuck on just how calm everyone was through this whole thing, from the governments down to the people. I still don't like it. It's not realistic and brings out nothing for the dystopian genre. I think Condie's probably really good at contemporary, but as for dystopia, I just don't think she has the right tone or style for it.

Other information: The first book in the trilogy, Matched, is optioned for film by Disney. Ally Condie's website is here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Business Plan 2013

This semester has been the craziest of my life. Just last night I finished the first draft for my honors thesis that's due on January 30, so I have a whole lot of work to do! Next semester I'm graduating (SO WEIRD) but I should have more time on my hands. :)

Today Marissa Meyer, author of Cinder, posted on her blog "Business Plans for Writers." And honestly, when I first saw this I thought, "Um...shouldn't this wait for New Years?" until I's December 13. WAIT, WHAT? Where did the time go?!

So anyway, I thought I'd make my own business plan, as Marissa Meyer did. To make myself accountable, this list is going on the side of my blog, so it doesn't get buried and forgotten. Here we go!

My 2013 Business Plan

  • Polish honors thesis
  • Apply to MFA programs
  • Re-write FORGET ME NOT
  • Outline FMN trilogy
  • Polish FMN
  • Blog 3 times a week and revisit Writer's Guide to the Hunger Games
  • Comment on at least 3 blogs every day.
  • Practice writing queries (no promises on sending any out, though, I want to be ready when that step comes)
And now, the all-important succeeding at this. Giving deadlines.

Apply to BYU's MFA program.
Rewrite, revise, and edit honors thesis
Blog and comment (this continued the whole time)

Turn in rest of MFA applications
Outline FMN trilogy
Begin FMN

Continue working on FMN

Finish first draft of FMN, send to readers

Keep up revising, blogging, commenting, and everything else! Re-visit for more specific goals when it gets closer

So yeah, crazy year up ahead for me. MFA. I wasn't sure I was going to post about it in case I don't get in. And maybe I won't, but I'm trying. I feel like, with so much uncertain in my life right now, that's all I really can do. Just try and try and keep on trying.

What goals do you have for 2013?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Book Review: Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Goliath
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Illustrator: Keith Thompson
Publisher: Simon and Pulse
Genre: YA (steampunk)
Why I read it/how I found it: Third book in the Leviathan trilogy

Alek and Deryn are on the last leg of their round-the-world quest to end World War I, reclaim Alek’s throne as prince of Austria, and finally fall in love. The first two objectives are complicated by the fact that their ship, the Leviathan, continues to detour farther away from the heart of the war (and crown). And the love thing would be a lot easier if Alek knew Deryn was a girl. (She has to pose as a boy in order to serve in the British Air Service.) And if they weren’t technically enemies.

The first book, Leviathan, was a little harder for me to get into because a lot of it felt like introduction. But I'm really glad I stuck through with this series, because Goliath was amazing! There's a lot of angst and action, and I love Deryn's character. Even Alek grew on me, when I was apathetic toward him before. Seeing this alternate version of history wrap up was exciting and unpredictable. The illustrations are as brilliant as ever, and they make me wish every book had pictures with them.

Other information: This is the last book in the Leviathan series. Scott Westerfeld's website is here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I am a library addict

Hello, everyone. My name is Jenna, and I'm a library addict.
Provo, UT library. Yeah, it's gorgeous.
Libraries are free. They have so many things there: books, movies, CDs, TV shows, and all of them you can borrow for free. When I get inside a library, I buzz with the knowledge that I can take out up to fifty items without dropping a single penny. There's no guilt like a bookstore, because I'm not spending any money on this stuff, so if a book turns out to be bad, what does it matter? It was free anyway!

This may not seem like a problem, but believe me, when walking home with an armful of books you can barely carry, and then come back home to the mountain of books from your previous library trip, this becomes a problem. There's no way I could read all of these before they're due back, unless my professors decide hey, why give the students homework? Or make them come to class? And so sometimes, I have to return a book before I've read it which disappoints me, and other times I hold onto a book for weeks and weeks, making me feel guilty for hoarding it.

Oh, and other cool stuff that libraries do? They have author visits. So you can meet the actual person who wrote the book you read! I've met amazing authors like Lois Lowry, Ally Condie, Shannon Hale, Marissa Meyer, and a whole lot of others because they came to a library. Only if you want a signed book (which I have an addiction to as well) you need to buy a book and suddenly, this whole thing is a lot less free. Help! I'm going broke!

And then they do stuff like hold writing groups. Which, believe me, is great, except when I have a paper and two proposals and a test and a presentation to do! I go, and I feel guilty I'm missing out on school. I don't go, and I'm cursing my lack of time, wishing I could be there.

My name is Jenna, and I'm a library addict. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New Writing Routine

So I've come to my final year of college (yeah, weird) and for my honors thesis, I'm writing a book! I almost feel professional (minus the agent, book deal, editor, and all that stuff) because for the first time, I have a real deadline for a full book. I started off the year determined to do well in this.

But home is distracting! Friends coming over, roommates doing fun stuff, social media, you know the temptations. Now I've buckled down.

I set a word goal for the day, and I don't leave campus until that is complete.

This works for me because I like home. It's warm and there's food and it's a place to rest after a long day of classes and work. But by staying on campus, I'm still in the mindset of work mode. I have to keep typing until I hit that word count, and only then can I eat food and play around on facebook and start my other homework.

It's nice, here though. One of the buildings has comfy chairs with foot stools, an outlet, and no distraction from the strangers around me. It's working out great and I've gotten to my word goal every day so far!

What do you do to keep distractions at bay while writing?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Book Review Catch Up

Still really busy, but wanted to get together some reviews that I did for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge. I'm only one book away from meeting the 12 book goal!

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen:

Orphaned fourteen-year-old Sage is taken from his orphanage to aid a noble's plan to impersonate an assumed-dead prince after the rest of the royal family has died. He has to compete against two other boys, and those who doesn't get chosen will die, when the one who does must commit treason.

Sage's voice is excellent in this. I loved the characters in this and the inner conflict that Sage has with his own family and his past. This book is tightly plotted with nice twists that I wasn't expecting. A great book for boys who might be difficult to be persuaded to read.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

This book takes place in the Russian-inspired land of Ravka, where the "Fold," an inhospitable, dangerous, and dark place, separates the country from the "True Sea."  When  being attacked in the Fold, Alina lets out light to protect herself and her best friend Mal from the dark creatures, she is discovered to be the Sun Summoner, the first in hundreds of years. Her magical power is more than rare, it has the potential to get rid of the Fold and bring light to Ravka again. With the Darkling, the most powerful "Grisha" in the land, she learns to unleash her power.

While this has many similar elements to fantasy novels with the protagonist discovering her power, the unique situation and setting brings an added layer to this novel. The magical system is of a standard kind, with just enough explanation of how it works to keep the reader free from confusion. The plot goes along not slowly, but not quickly, either, at the beginning. Halfway through, the speed is at a gallop. The two opposing relationships Alina has with Mal and Darkling make excellent foils to each other, illustrating a deep, understanding relationship opposed to one based solely on the lure of power.

Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell

Chloe Camden, a junior who winds up doing a project on helping a radio show with promotion. This all happens just after Chloe's two best friends decide they can no longer stand her, and end up ditching her and spreading nasty rumors. But Chloe's upbeat personality won't be dampened, even if her grandma's Parkinson's is getting worse, and the boy she likes won't communicate with her.

Chloe's a fun, upbeat girl who always looks at how to better a situation through laughter. Her experiences with friends, family, and crush reflect what many teenage girls go through themselves. Sometimes I felt like her positive attitude diminished the pain she was actually feeling, but at the same time her character was refreshing among snarky teenage voices out in the YA market. Her life doesn't come to perfection, but it does come to happiness and plays out in a rather realistic manner. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I'm baaack! (hopefully)

Life has been, well, insane.

Let's just say: craziest semester of my life so far. But I'm hoping to get back into blogging again, because I miss it!

I'll be catching up with some 2012 debut author reviews and sharing more of my thoughts and writing updates. My life's going through some momentous changes soon (namely graduating from college in April) and it's going to be opening up in a very exciting and sometimes nervous-making way.

That's all for now. Tell me, what have you been up to while I've been buried in real life stuff?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Book Review: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Title: Sweet Evil
Author: Wendy Higgins
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA (paranormal)
Why I read it/how I found it: 2012 Debut Author Challenge

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.

Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but Anna, the ultimate good girl, has always had the advantage of her angel side to balance the darkness within. It isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

I'm sure people who consistently enjoy paranormal romances will find interest in this story. For me, I love paranormal stuff done well, like Everneath and Paranormalcy. Unfortunately, there are more bombs than successes in this genre. While structurally I couldn't enjoy Sweet Evil, the mythology presented in it is very unique, given the angel/demon thing has been done a lot in the YA category. I think what I liked most about it is that it didn't shy away from the actual presence of God, or angels, or anything, rather than kind of just ignoring Him. The few angel books I've read have done this before.

This has a lot of standard tropes you see in YA paranormal romance.
-The sweet, innocent female protagonist. That would be Anna. But OF COURSE Anna isn't socially accepted by her peers. Because she's "different."
-The dark, tortured, but hott (yes, two t's, because Anna insists he's hott with two t's)love interest. Who also happens to be British. And in a band. And rich. And an emancipated minor. And did I mention the hott factor? That is Kaidan.
-The guy who gets thrown in halfway as a potential love interest, but she can't get over how her heart goes thump-thump over the first love interest, the one her soul sings to.
-Insta-love! Four days is enough to feel love toward a guy, right? RIGHT?

This did hold more entertainment for me than most other books in this genre lately, and it wasn't HORRIBLE, but it wasn't even good. I'm sure a lot of people will enjoy it who like other stuff similar to this, but for people looking for something different, Sweet Evil doesn't deliver quite enough. 

Other information: This is a planned trilogy, but the rights to the other books haven't been bought yet. Wendy Higgins's website is here.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Book Review: A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont

Title: A Breath of Eyre 
Author: Eve Marie Mont
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Genre: YA (Er...contemporary? Fantasy? Fanfiction? Yeah, let's go with fanfiction.)
Why I read it/how I found it: 2012 Debut Author Challenge

Emma Townsend has always believed in stories—the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates in her head. Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn’t come close to filling the void left by her mother’s death. And her only romantic prospect—apart from a crush on her English teacher—is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre…

Reading of Jane’s isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane’s body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she’s never known—and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own.

I love Jane Eyre. It's one of my favorite books. Which is why this book was so disappointing for me.

Many sections of the book are plopped straight out of Jane Eyre. Conversations, actions and such. Which, I've read alternative POVs from famous books/plays before with the same dialogue, however this book did not either A.) Add more scenes/dialogue than the original or B.) Give new perspective to the scene. Whenever she was in Jane's world, I found it boring and also, really unnecessary to the plot of her own issues in her life. It did drift away from the original novel toward the end of her journeys as Jane, but then it was just stupid.

Rochester's blamed for everything. Bertha's craziness, her situation, all of it. Despite the fact that Charlotte Bronte says insanity runs in Bertha's family, that Rochester stayed with Bertha for four years trying to help her, and also that asylums in the nineteenth century were horrible. Absolutely horrible. Yet Emma thought it would have been a good idea to send Bertha to doctors and nurses. Honestly, for someone so smart she should know a bit about history and the fact that insane people were treated horribly back then. Rochester did Bertha a kindness keeping her in Thornfield. Was he perfect? No, but judging him on our standards today is unfair.

Bertha's insanity is reduced to a depression, rather than the homicidal insanity it truly was. I shook my head the whole time Emma decided she needed to "save Bertha" rather than forgive Rochester.

And what killed me the most--Emma claimed Jane was not a feminist. Because she stuck with Rochester rather than Bertha. I can't even muster the energy to write down how completely wrong and stupid that reading is. Flat-out stupid to call one of the most progressive feminist novels for its time anti-feminist.

Emma's story outside of Jane's world is all right. Fairly stereotypical with mean girls and boys and such. I felt that a lot of things that should be more serious and drawn out in Emma's life were cut short because of the pages spent as Jane.

Other information: This is the first book in a trilogy, the other two A Touch of Scarlett (taken from The Scarlet Letter) and A Phantom Enchantment (taken from The Phantom of the Opera). Eve Marie Mont's website is here.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Book Review: Endlessly by Kiersten White

Title: Endlessly
Author: Kiertsen White
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: YA (paranormal)
Why I read it/how I found it: Last book in the Paranormalcy Trilogy

Evie's paranormal past keeps coming back to haunt her. A new director at the International Paranormal Containment Agency wants to drag her back to headquarters. The Dark Faerie Queen is torturing humans in her poisonous realm. And supernatural creatures keep insisting that Evie is the only one who can save them from a mysterious, perilous fate.

The clock is ticking on the entire paranormal world. And its fate rests solely in Evie's hands.

So much for normal.

So, as is no secret to this blog, I adore the first two books, Paranormalcy and Supernaturally. They're fun, hilarious, with characters that jump off the page and have great voices. 

The last book in a series can be tricky. There's so much pressure to finish everything off in a satisfying way, to tie up all loose ends and get the characters in the place that they should end up. Endlessly does this beautifully. There really is no other way this series could have ended, for every character, from Evie and Lend, to Arianna and Reth. 

Endlessly hits a great pace, by page thirty you just can't stop reading until the end. The plot moves along without dragging anything along. As with the rest of this series, the humor doesn't stop and I found myself laughing just like the first two.

Evie and her journey has meant a lot to me, it's saved me from drudgery of college work and reading for something fun and meaningful. I loved seeing her story wrap up, although I'm sad that it's over now.

Other information: This is the last last last book in the Paranormalcy trilogy and world (sad day, right?). The first book has been opted for film. Kiersten White's blog is here.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Going on

*Climbs out of hole*
*Blinks in the brightness of the internet's light*
Hello, again.
I've been pretty much absent for a while. I hit a slump with my book, a huge one that I haven't hurdled past yet, and I'm working on still. Other stuff has happened, like my cousin getting married and my brother leaving for the Navy (he's going to be a doctor!), and my sister coming to visit with her kids.

But mostly, I felt worn out.

Which is weird, because it's summer and I should be all jazz hands about it. But things just got...moody. You know, when it happens for no good reason? When you don't want to do anything? Pretty much, I've been reading. Which is why my only posts here have been for book reviews. Oh, I pretended like I was working. I made a youtube channel to review all of the books I read, since I only do one a week here and don't get a chance to discuss them all. And I read, I've babysat.

But what's really important, I've been slacking on. My book. And for some reason, that just climbed into this blog as well, and I felt uninspired. I didn't want to post just for the sake of posting, which is why all we have are two book reviews since my slump hit.

Upon realizing that I'm leaving for school in a month, I know I have to get my act together and finish this book. Just the first draft of it! So I'm using this blog for accountability. I will be doing my regular post and keeping an update on how I'm doing.

Here's to ending ruts. Cheers.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Book Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

*Waves* Long time, no see. Things have been a little crazy for me right now, which I why I haven't been blogging, but here we go again. :)
Title: Beautiful Creatures
Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little, Brown
Genre: YA (paranormal)
Why I read it/how I found it: Saw a movie about it was coming out and had to read it.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

This book is really unique in the fact that it's a YA paranormal romance, but the BOY narrates it. That was very refreshing and I'm sure made it stand out when the authors were querying it. Ethan could feel like adult women writing from a teenage boy's perspective at times (like when he goes on about Southern architecture or when he explains he or his friend Link does something/thinks a certain way because they're boys). But it wasn't horrendous, just something I noticed.
Lena, his love interest, was pretty unique herself. She kept things important to her, but to others seemed like junk, on a necklace. Her struggle to fit in and yet not wanting to at the same time felt very raw and real for someone in high school, especially someone like her who never got to have a "normal" childhood. 
Of course, being the star-crossed lovers that they are, it got a little tiring to hear them say:
"It's not right for you to be with me." (Lena)
"I don't care! I want to be with you!" (Ethan)
On...and on...and on. This book is 563 pages long. I feel like 1/4 of it is the two of them with this same conversation. Also, I think this book could've been slimmed down a bit. Extra scenes/incidences/details here and there. The plot didn't feel very concise to me. But in the end, there's a lot of twists and turns I didn't see coming, yet at the same time, the authors put clues in that guide you there. The climax is very thrilling, with just enough action, suspense, stakes, and emotion to top it off in the grand finale.
The paranormal elements, Lena and her family being "Casters" (witches, essentially, but don't call them that) was interesting and well-thought out, although I feel like the magical elements will come out more in the later books.
I have a feeling those in the South might not take to some of this here. Ethan felt very superior to those in his town, determined he wasn't "one of them." He had been raised by educated people, learning to speak right and look to more than what's in their town, Gatlin. The people of the town, besides the outcasts and educated, are judgmental, closed-minded, vindictive, and basically every negative aspect you can think of in a stereotypical Southern small town. Ethan talks about how because his mother didn't want to join the DAR or Ladies Auxilary, had been educated, vegetarian, and a liberal, she'd been treated poorly when she lived and even when she was dead. Which, for me, was surprising because one of the authors grew up in the South. It seems to me like she didn't have much warm, fuzzy feelings about the place she grew up in. While the town created conflict and antagonism, Ethan's smug attitude and his pre-judgement of the town didn't seem to reflect any of the good things about the South, either. I've never been to the South, but I guess I just hoped for something more than stereotypes that I'd seen before.

More information: This is the first in a series of four, with the last one to come out this October. The novel's website is here. Kami Garcia's website is here. Margaret Stohl's website is here. Warner Bro.'s is adapting Beautiful Creatures into a movie, and is currently filming.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Book Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Title: Partials
Author: Dan Wells
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA (science-fiction)
Why I read it/how I found it: 2012 Debut Author Challenge.

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.

When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.

Whew! This book is pretty amazing, I have to say.
While Dan Wells isn't a "debut" author, this is his YA debut. I haven't read any of his adult books, but I 've been to several writer events and he's talked, and I've always found him very engaging when talking about writing. He's got it down pretty good.
I love the plot of this book. There's so many different threads that all interweave together to create their world and their conflicts.Oftentimes, I feel like YA science fiction is skimpy on the science. But this is definitely not Partials. Which, ok, I'm no science major, but to me the science here seemed to be sound, and rather than putting together some shoddy details to twist around the author's plot, the science behind this one is logical, and as far as I can tell, pretty legit. 
It takes a little while for the story to really pick up. Part One builds up the world, but for me was just barely keeping me there. Part Two and onto Part Three is when I really became invested in what the characters were doing, because they had a clear path ahead of them, rather than a sort of looping around their world to get a feel of it.
I was shocked a few times during this, with twists I didn't expect to happen. And when you read so much, it can become hard to be shocked. But this one got me a few times.
However, if you're a pretty hard-core YA fan, this might not be the one for you. While YA in the fact that Kira is 16, it doesn't feel YA. Not in the writing style, and certainly not in the characters. Kira's a medic, has a job, and has a boy talking to her about getting married. Their Senate has passed the Hope Act, which demands that women at a certain age (at the start of the book, it's eighteen), must be pregnant in order to produce subjects for them to find a cure for the RM virus and continue the human race. The Senate talks about lowering the age to sixteen, Kira's age. While I've read YA books that has a teenager with a job, or married/thinking of marriage, or pregnant, I've never seen one with all three. Or, for that matter, had the few teenagers in the book acting like adults.
The love story in this one kind of fizzles for me. Kira and Marcus are already dating when the book starts, and I just never got the connection with them. The romantic storyline is very minimal, and I feel might have been thrown in there just for the sake of making the more YA-ish. But I do now ship Kira with another character, Samm. I don't know if it'll happen in other books or not, but I ship it.
Also! This book is great if you're looking for racial diversity. Kira's Indian (she doesn't specify if that means Indian or Native American, but still, diversity!). Several other characters are Japanese, Hispanic, and black. 

Other information: A second book, Fragments, is due out February 2013. Dan Wells's website is here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Avoiding the Stupid Protagonist Syndrome

Have you ever read a book, watched a movie, or seen a TV show in which a character makes a stupid choice? Not a mistake. A mistake would be yelling at your mom when she hasn't done anything because you've had a rough day. That's a mistake we as human beings make, and help our characters become three-dimensional. A stupid choice is if a character puts themselves in a dangerous position for no good reason when they know there's danger.
A comment I often see on Goodreads reviews from low ratings is the reviewer complaining that the main character is "stupid." And they then go on to list the stupid things the character does. I've read some books lately which made me think, "Wow this character is stupid."
So how do we avoid our own protagonist from being stupid? I think that this clip from The Office explains it:
Just ask yourself "Would an idiot do this?" If you look objectively and see that yes, an idiot would do it, then don't have your character do it. Easy peasy. In theory, at least.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Book Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Title: Of Poseidon
Author: Anna Banks
Publisher: MacMillan
Genre: YA (paranormal)
Why I read it/how I found it: Debut author challenge, book signing, and MERMAIDS.

Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen's not fully convinced that Emma's the one he's been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves  that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help--no matter what the risk.

I love mermaids. LOVE. Which makes me sad I chalk this up as another mermaid book that didn't work for me.
But let's start with the good stuff. I liked a lot of the dialogue. It was snappy and oftentimes funny, so I enjoyed the humor. And I think the premise was interesting as well. And the mermaids. Because a book automatically gets a point for mermaids.
Now, the rest of it...not so much.
One thing that rubbed me wrong was Emma's reaction to her best friend Chloe dying. Within the first three chapters or so, Chloe's dead. Emma's depressed for about two weeks, has a rough first day of school, and then figures, "I'm not going to be sad anymore because Chloe wouldn't want me to." Uhhh...I have never known anyone to react to a death of someone they're close to quite like that. They might think that, but no matter what, you're emotionally effected. But instead of catching moments of missing Chloe deeply, or having any negative reaction to her friend's death, Emma traipses along flirting with Galen and not even remembering her "best friend." Also, for those sensitive to racial issues, Chloe's black and she dies pretty much right off. This probably wouldn't bug me as much if Emma's porcelain skin weren't mentioned over...and over...and over. 
Let's just say the romantic relationships here are wonky. Galen and Emma...well, I think I could have liked them, if Galen weren't so obsessive and Emma weren't so pigheaded to the point of stupidity. Their relationship's just plain unhealthy. Emma creates a game in which she tries to get Galen to barf. She makes a game to hurt him. How is this a good, romantic thing? And Galen's freaking possessive. I'd say he's between Patch from Hush, Hush and Edward from Twilight in terms of possessive qualities. 
And Galen and Emma isn't the only bad couple. Rayna and Toraf just have issues. I'd have to get into spoilers to explain, but it's just bad. Trust me on this.
And overall, I think this had a slow pace. A lot of introduction rather than action, and the plot doesn't really start until the end of the book when we get a cliffhanger.

Other info: Sequel Of Triton will be coming out sometime. My guess is next year. Anna Banks's blog is here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Begone, repeating words!

This is going to be a short post, but I think it'll be very helpful.

When I was at the LDStorymaker's Conference, someone told me about Wordle. You can copy and paste an entire novel at It then makes a cloud of your most-used words. Obviously, your character's names will probably be the biggest, but then looking at the rest of the cloud, you can find your tick words. I had "back" as the biggest word after the names of my main characters, and also "like" was surprisingly big.

This is a really helpful tool in finding those repeating words that we automatically gravitate to.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How to make twitter work for you

All right, so my last post is about twitter pet peeves of mine. So I thought to balance that negativity, I'd follow up with a post on how to make twitter work for you, and things that I like seeing on twitter.

  • The @ reply. I was recently followed by someone who has a book coming out in 2013. After I followed her, she engaged me in a conversation. I'm a lot more likely to buy her book now, because I feel like more than a number, and I feel like I know her better based on our personable conversation.
  • Tweet! Sometimes, I see a tweet and I realize that I'm following someone I didn't know I followed because they never tweet. So, this might be really obvious, but tweet. It doesn't really help you if you're so seldom on that people don't know about you or your book.
  • Share industry and craft-related articles. I always love it when people share articles on writing and books. This can be from your blog, someone else's blog, an article in PW, anything. Maybe this is just me who likes this stuff, but it gets me to notice you on twitter.
  • Get involved with a hashtag. #fridayreads #kidlit #writingtip any of these and others can get you connected. #confession I don't use hashtags much, but when I see people who do use them for this and others, I always get the feeling that they have more of a network around them on twitter. And for these hashtags, I mean more than what's trending. Instead, get involved with a permanent hashtag.
What have you found works in your favor when using twitter?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Giveaway Winner + Twitter Pet Peeves=This Post

First, the winner of my 200 follower giveaway is...Leslie! I'm emailing you about the details, Leslie. Please respond within 48 hours or the prize may be forfeited  to someone else.

And now, today I'm going to be talking about twitter.
Ah, yes, that social media sight in which we writers must hone our want to be wordy and keep it all in 140 characters or less. Many writers use it in hopes of building their audience and platform, helpful if they have published a book or want to prove to an agent they have a platform. Others are book reviewers and again, want to increase their traffic so they're more likely to get ARCs and such. Well, these are a few of my personal pet peeves when it comes to twitter and might make me less inclined to follow the person back, buy their book, or read their posts.

  1. Tweeting about your book and only your book. One gentleman I followed (and ended up unfollowing) only tweeted about where to buy his book, what reviewers said about his book, when a sale was happening for his book, etc. I didn't know a thing about him other than he wrote this book. First, when tweeting every hour to buy your book, it gets old. Second, I didn't know anything about him. I didn't feel like he was a friend or that I had any knowledge about him. Tweet about your crazy morning or your delicious lunch or about a book you've read and loved. Keep us up-to-date on your WIP. And then yes, go ahead and tell me where to buy your book or if there's a sale. I might actually buy it at that point if I feel like I know the person behind the tweets.
  2. Over-tweeting. Some people tweet A LOT. I'm going to be honest. I've followed some people where I constantly see a block in my feed of just their tweets. Yes, sometimes you need three or more tweets to get something out. But when I constantly see one tweeter taking up blocks of my feed once a day or more, I start to skip those tweets. I don't read them. That's not the point of tweeting. You want people to read what you're writing. But in order for them to find it interesting, you have to keep it low. That doesn't mean you can't tweet more than once a day, just, have courtesy to your followers' feeds.
  3. The contest tweets. This kind of goes along with over-tweeting, but I feel this has its own category. Now, tweeting about a contest, I like that. I've entered contests because I see someone else's tweet. I tweet about contests myself. But tweeting for an hour straight as you enter all of your contests, well, I tend to start overlooking your tweets again. If you like entering contests and they want you to tweet it, maybe get another account just for your contests. And then tweet about the ones you really want to get exposed on your twitter for networking.
  4. Unfollowing when you don't get the follow back. I've started to look at people's twitter before I follow them back, so I don't go through all of those things above that bother me. Now, obviously I don't follow back the people who tell me that their tweets will help my finances or my mental well-being. But when their bio says something about writing or reading, I bite. I look. And sometimes, I can tell that what they tweet about I don't want to follow. This happens rarely with readers and writers for me, but it does. It irks me when people follow, and then they unfollow me after I've gotten on, followed other people, made a tweet. I get they're trying to network and don't want to follow many more people than who follow them. But here's my thing: don't follow someone on twitter who you don't want to keep following. I'm not irked that they unfollowed me. I'm irked that they find twitter nothing more than a marketing tool. Your followers and the people you follow are not numbers. They are PEOPLE. I don't like Justin Bieber. So I don't follow him. I wouldn't follow him and then unfollow if he doesn't follow me back. And I'm following people right now who don't follow me, and I'm talking more than celebrities here. But I don't unfollow them because I like what they tweet. I want to see what's going on with them. 
Do you use twitter? Have any pet peeves about it or advice to people trying to market their work?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Book Review: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy by

Title: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom
Author: Christopher Healy
Illustrator: Todd Harris
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Genre: MG (Fantasy)
Why I read it/how I found it: 2012 Debut Author Challenge.

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You've never head of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as "Prince Charming." But all of this is about to change...

Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Guztav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it's up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other associated terrors to becom the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

This book is hilarious. It's competing with The Princess Bride for the funniest book I've read, which, if you've read that, is really saying something. The characters are what really make the hilarity come off the page, with their extreme personalities making it comical. In addition to its humor, this book has a great plot to it, twisting what you expect to happen. I also really enjoy this twist in perspective and seeing the fairy tales through the Princes' point of view. Healy has a unique take on fairy tales that sets this book apart from other retellings. Also, while this book has a sequel and it's been set up in this book, the plot has concluded, so it can stand alone. Except for the love affair with dialogue tags (lots of characters gripe) it's also well-written.

Other information: Hero's Guide will have a sequel, due out next year. Fox Animation has bought the movie rights to this book (fingers crossed it gets made, it'd be hilarious). Christopher Healy's website is here. Todd Harris's blog is here.   

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blog changes and sucking.

First, have you entered my 200 follower giveaway yet? You should!

And yes, I have changed my blog's URL. When I first started the blog, I thought the title of your blog was supposed to be your URL also. Turns out it doesn't have to. And after thinking about it, I wanted my name in my blog URL. Of course, getting anything just plain Jenna Cooper is impossible, despite my childhood belief that NO ONE ELSE IN THE WORLD IS NAMED JENNA (this was pre-Bush administration, and involves my siblings, a haircut store, and stickers). Anyway. So, voila, I now have There may be other Jenna Coopers, but I am the only writer (maybe).

And I feel like sharing this video right now, because I also need this one. It's from the time when Maureen Johnson stepped in for John Green for the vlogbrother videos when he was on paternity leave. Basically: it's ok to suck.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


This giveaway is now closed!
This weekend I hit and passed the 200 follower mark. Thank you all of my lovely followers for following, reading, and commenting. I've had such a fun time writing this blog, I'm glad others find it worthwhile to follow. :)

I like to do giveaways and such. I've done it once before for when I hit 100 followers. Right now I don't have anything to giveaway. I might in a while, but for now I don't. So, for my 200 follower giveaway, I'm going to...give you an option!

Showcase #1: A 25-page critique of your work (excluding any erotic scene). But other than that, it's fair game.
Showcase #2: This one you'll need to wait for. But it might be what you want. I'll be going to the Fierce Reads Tour leg in San Diego, where several debut authors are coming, including Marissa Meyer, Anna Banks, and others. Head here to see who'll be there. I will also be attending Kiersten White's book launch for Endlessly which means you can get any of the Paranormalcy trilogy signed. Also. I might be able to go to the Dark Days Tour which has Veronica Roth, Dan Wells, Aprilynne Pike, and S.J. Kincaid attending. This is where it gets a little complicated. If you want a book by one of those four authors, I can do my best to get there and get a book signed for you, and if I can't make it, you can take the 25-page critique or a book signed by Kiersten White (the Fierce Reads Tour is before this).
The winner will be chosen and announced next week on June 5, so get your entry in before that!
Got it?
I'll admit, I tried to do the whole rafflecopter thing and I just ended up confused. So it's back to my trusty google doc form!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Book Review: Slide by Jill Hathaway

Title: Slide
Author: Jill Hathaway
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Genre: YA (paranormal)
Why I read it/how I found it: Read it as part of the 2012 Debut Authors Challenge.

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body. 

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane. 

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

Well, let's start off with the good. I think that Vee's voice is spot-on for a teenager. Realistic, yet not over-the-top. It probably helps that Hathaway's a high school teacher, I definitely think she's able to insert herself into the mind of a teenage girl very well. I liked a lot of the characters, mostly Vee, Rollins, and Mattie (who I didn't think I'd like at the start). And this concept of sliding is very interesting, so it was fun to explore that.

Okay, well, the plot doesn't go along so well. I didn't expect who the murderer would be, but that's because the story of why this is happening is way too far-fetched to be believable. I want to have an "aha! So that's it!" moment when the killer is revealed, but instead I got an "oh...that's it?"
Also, there were a lot of cliches in here for me. Vee used to be a popular cheerleader, but now she hangs with the social outcasts and her baby sister's the popular one. Her mom's died from cancer and her dad's a doctor and buries himself in his work so he's not available for his daughters. I guess I just wanted more, you know?

Other information: There's going to be a sequel to Slide titled Imposter. Jill Hathaway's blog is here.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What writers do: Kid History style

I just have to share this video that we were shown at LDStorymakers Conference this year. It is hilarious.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Girl says "go." Boy says "no."

I want to start off this post by saying everyone's life choices are theirs and I recognize that and don't expect people to live my standards because they're mine and not everyone's.

Ok. Everyone agree on that? Yes?

I finished reading a book last night. Toward the end of the book, our heroine and hero have no choice but to share a hotel room. The boy decides to sleep on the floor. Our heroine says, "Oh hey. You should come sleep in the bed. Without your clothes on." *eyebrow wiggle* Boy denies. Girl protests. Their arguments goes round in circles, but in the end, our young brave hero does not give in (even though he's probably already slept with a girl) because this girl is different and he loves her, so he won't sleep with her. Our heroine gets all huffy and angsty and wonders if he won't sleep with her because she has small breasts.

I'm wondering if you can place this book with just this information or if you've seen this often enough in YA books that a few are running through your mind. Granted, it isn't as common as a love triangle, but I can think of quite a few YA books that have this kind of scenario. Did it phase me the first time? No, not really. But for some reason, this past book it did. Because I've read this so many times now, I'm starting to worry about this scene getting repeated so often.

Now, here's the thing. I don't think that reading a situation once will normalize it for a reader. So if one book has a character making a decision that I wouldn't want my younger cousin to make, usually I won't get up-in-arms about it. But the situation above alarms me because I worry it's becoming normalized.

I mean, hey, in this situation, they don't sleep with each other. So why get so alarmed about it? Well, who is this kind of book targeted to? Teenage girls. The heroine of the story wants to get down, and a lot of the time, with a boy who's been "bad" before. I get the authors, in this scenario, are probably trying to show how our bad boy has changed, or how the hero's love for the girl is pure. But for me, it also kind of hints that the man is in control of when the couple takes that step. I can think of one book right now (and maybe my memory's fuzzy and I'm only remembering one right now) in which the girl says "No, it's not the time" to her love interest--the one who she really does love, not the bad boyfriend kind of character. Other than that, it's always been the boy who stops it. Which makes me wonder, will teenage girls think that they can trust their partner? That once they get those urges, it's okay to bring it up and try to get him to sleep with her, expecting the boy to know if they're ready or it's okay for them to go ahead? If so, this is a VERY bad idea. Because the boy they have may not be as idealized as the one in the book. He's just as stupid with hormones as the girl is. And this could be very bad.

Like I said in the opening: people have different standards. That's everyone's choice and I don't mean to waggle my finger at anyone who's making different choices than me. BUT. Every person should make a responsible choice. And in these YA book moments, they're never ready, they've never thought about the consequences, they aren't responsible at all. And ultimately that's what worries me. That authors are so caught up in making it dramatic that it's setting a bad example for the teens who read it.

Tell me if you agree or if I'm being an over-dramatic prude.  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Name of the Star
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Genre: YA (paranormal)
Why I read it/how I found it: John Green said it was his favorite novel of 2011 and I saw it at the library.

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London, it's the start of a new life at a boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

This cover really intrigued me (ghostly nineteenth century dude did it for me). Premise intrigued me. The first three pages intrigued me.
Intrigue stopped.

Rory's from Louisiana and heading off to boarding school in England, and on the day she arrives a murder practically identical to Jack the Ripper's first murder has occurred.
You can thank me for skipping the backstory as to why she's going, how she got there, etc. etc. that Johnson didn't do. The intrigue of the first three pages (not from Rory's POV) gets sucked away as I have this girl prattling on about her life and parents and new boarding school in England and yadda yadda. 
From the get-go we're dragged through "this is how England is different from America" lectures. Oh. My. Goodness. I knew almost all of the differences Johnson felt it was oh-so-important to explain to her readers. And even if I didn't, if she just said "A-level exams" I'd figure hey, those are some exams that teenagers in England take. And please, I know what prefects and head boy/girls are. I read Harry Potter, and even though J.K. Rowling didn't give me a lecture I GOT WHAT IT WAS. At nine years old, I understood. Rather than giving us trivia on England for a Jeopardy episode I'll probably never get in, I'd like to get to the story. 
But really. The must have to cut the crap out of this book for its UK edition. Either that or British readers feel even more infuriated at these sections of the book.
Rory rambled a lot. Gave us information that had no point to the story or the plot, or even to her character. I'd skim pages before the story started again. 
Lots of to be verbs (sometimes filling up entire paragraphs) and sentences I mentally rewrote. I catch myself doing that now, but in this book it's more than it has been lately. The writing was bad to mediocre, depending on the place.
Rory was a boring character, except for when she was crying, and in that case she got annoying. And here's the thing, I love it when MC's go a little mental. Like Katniss in Mockingjay or Tris in Insurgent. Of course, that's after highly traumatic events happened to them and there's a reason behind it. Rory figures out she's a bit different than everyone else, and she loses it. Has a mental breakdown. She's one of the weakest MC's I've ever read. But of course, during the climax, she's forced into bravery or else there's no climax. Pansy Rory will just go walking into her death. Riiiight. 
Jerome, the love interest, is very meh. I mean, I have no reason to dislike him. But I have no reason to like him, and neither does Rory for that matter. He feels very plopped-in to give Rory some good make-out time and give us lectures on Jack the Ripper.
I liked Charlotte's role, the head girl they don't like. She's very realistic, and I can see why a teen would be rubbed the wrong way with her. She's not a stereotypical nemesis for a YA novel, and her role isn't that huge. It's very realistically portrayed (see, I did like some stuff in this book).
I liked a lot of the side characters, actually. Boo, Jo, Alistair, and Callum in particular. But alas, they could not save the show.
The plot was pretty predictable. I guessed most of what would happen, so that didn't exactly entertain me or leave me in suspense.

Other information: This is the first of a trilogy. Maureen Johnson's website is here.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Title: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegan
Genre: YA (dystopian)
Why I read it/how I found it: Sequel to Divergent

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Heart-pounding action. Romance. Psychological issues. Dystopia.
I've been so excited for Insurgent to come out, and I finally got a hold of it this week. There's a lot of action in it, and the pacing keeps it up and hardly ever slows down. A lot of psychological difficulties arise from the climax of Divergent, which created a lot more conflict. I think I might just be kinda twisted, because I was riveted with Tris's terrors and issues with the result of hers and other's action.
I enjoyed going out into the different factions and seeing how they live and their senses. I like that no two people (or at least main people) see things in exactly the same way, even if they're from the same faction or family. I think that Roth does a great job creating grey area that not a lot of authors make now.
Also, please give Ms. Roth a big round of applause for not introducing a love triangle!
I have to admit, I was worried. Sometimes book series will add in another love interest in the second book, but this kept its focus on Tris and Four. And guess what? There's still conflict and angst with them! No sacrifice of that for another overdone love triangle. Hooray!
I think the ending was a bit abrupt, though. The key to their world was revealed, but I can't say that I'm quite sure what that is yet. The explanation of it didn't cut it for me, and so why people tried to hide this information (thus the whole action of the book) confused me.
Overall, though, great sequel and great middle book.

Other information: This is the second in a trilogy. Veronica Roth's website is here