Sunday, December 30, 2012

13 Reasons Why...Book 51

I'm reviewing the audio book.

"Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list."

This is not my normal sort of book, and it caught my attention from the very beginning. I'd heard a lot about this book from the blog and knew it was about a girl who'd committed suicide. I didn't know about the tapes, but you find out from the very beginning. And from the moment they start rolling, you can sympathize with Hannah.

I find this book to be amazingly well written. Hannah's telling her story through the tapes, and Clay is telling his story between the tapes--we get his thoughts as he's listening. At first, I thought Clay was a jerk--afterall, he is on the tapes. But as the story progresses and things become more and more clear, it was interesting to see that he's not. This was a brilliant debut novel. It addresses the issues of bullying and mental health head on. (Hannah was bullied, but I think she had depression). And what I loved is that the story was so engaging and sparked my attention right from the start that I didn't even care it was an issue book.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christ-Mass

Long, long ago in a land far, far away, in the dead of winter priests walked through the dreary night as not to be seen. The priests searched for a candle flickering in a window. The candle's warm glow indicated the home as a stopping place--not just a safe haven but the location of a celebration. The priest would stay in the home and the owners would invite friends and neighbors for a feast. Before the break of dawn, the priest would offer a mass honoring the birth of the Christ child followed by the feast.

Today, millions around the world still set out late night through the December cold to honor this tradition. Not I, for my little ELF melts if not sleeping tight by eleven, so we shall celebrate by day.

*I don't know if any of this is true. I got the info from a book of Irish folklore. But I do know Irish Christmas music rocks*

Merry Christmas!

Love Beth

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is hosted by Alison and Parajunkee.

Q: What have you learned from book blogging that you didn't know before about the publishing industry?

OMG! So incredibly much. In fairness, this is as much a writing blog as it is a book blog, so I started meeting lots of writers and getting involved with industry organizations about the same time. But I've learned so much from blogging. How to write a decent review, what an ARC is, how to write a query, voice. I even taught myself to plot on the blog. I often say I learned more from one year of blogging (and I've been at it three now) than from four years of college.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Point of Retreat Book 49

"Layken and Will have proved their love can get them through anything; until someone from Will’s past re-emerges, leaving Layken questioning the very foundation on which their relationship was built. Will is forced to face the ultimate challenge…how to prove his love for a girl who refuses to stop ‘carving pumpkins.’"

The crazy good sequel to Slammed. I loved the first book so much I immediately bought the sequel, but I admit I had a little bit of apprehension about it. Slammed was so complete with so much going on that I didn't see what could possibly happen in a sequel or why it needed one. Point of Retreat is like a continuation of Will and Lake's life. It just takes what happens in the first book and builds on it. It's a whole new complete story with the same roller coaster ride intensity. Truthfully, Lake did get annoying for about 1/3 of this book, but she starts acting sane again, and something else big happens. These books are so beautiful.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Slammed Book 48

"Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope.
Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.
Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart."

OMG! This book was crazy. Crazy Good! It's hard to talk about this book without giving too much away--things that would ruin your reading experience--but I'm going to try. Layken moves from Texas to Michigan, because after he dad's death her mom can no longer afford their home. This was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard until the middle of the book when the truth about the move comes out. Lake isn't looking happy about the move, because it's her senior year and she had to leave the only house she'd ever lived in and the only school she'd ever attended. But her next door neighbor is hot, nice and into poetry. That makes it easier. After their first date, she discovers something that means they cannot be together but will have to see each other. And from this point on the book is an emotional roller coaster. I pretty much read it one sitting. I didn't start it until late night, so I stayed up unitl 3 am.
5 stars!!! READ THIS BOOK!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Question for Paid Blog Tour Hosts

If you're here for FF go here.

In recent weeks, I've seen several posts on how tired people are of blog tours, yet they seem to continue to be the best way to get the word about your book out there. (And if you write a great book but no one knows about it, it doesn't matter). For a writer, this is scary. People aren't reading blog tours anymore. They're ignoring cover reveals. And how do I get my book out there?

I'm no marketing expert, but from the number of books sold on my blog tour earlier this year, reviews got the most sales. Why then are there so few options for review only tours? Or am I wrong? And people still seem to be reading reviews.

If you're an experienced book promoter (marketer/publicist), I want to talk to you. I'd like to get a guest post or an interview. Maybe, you can answer this question for us.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Follow Friday

Q: What is the last book that made you cry? Tell us about the scene...

Where She Went almost made me cry in several places. It's been a long time since a book made me cry. Dear John definitely did and that was in 2010.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Slayed Book 45

First of all, thanks to everyone who has shown interest in my crit group. I'll get back to you early next week, I'm recovering from oral surgery this week, and haven't had time to read the samples.

"The Van Helsing family has been hunting vampires for over one hundred years, but sixteen-year-old Daphne wishes her parents would take up an occupation that doesn’t involve decapitating vamps for cash. All Daphne wants is to settle down in one place, attend an actual school, and finally find a BFF to go to the mall with. Instead, Daphne has resigned herself to a life of fast food, cheap motels and buying garlic in bulk.

But when the Van Helsings are called to a coastal town in Maine, Daphne’s world is turned upside down. Not only do the Van Helsings find themselves hunting a terrifying new kind of vampire (one without fangs but with a taste for kindergarten cuisine), Daphne meets her first potential BF! The hitch? Her new crush is none other than Tyler Harker, AKA, the son of the rival slayer family.

What's a teen vampire slayer to do?"

Okay, so I read this the day before I had my wisdom teeth removed, and I don't remember much, except that it was fun, quick read, different than a lot of PNRs. It didn't have as much romance as I'm used to or as I like, but it still held my attention well. This book is kind of dark. It got scary in places. And it has an interesting concept. Kiki was my favorite character. She becomes the mc's bff. I think this is a 3 star book.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Looking To Start an Online Crit Group

Okay, so I got this idea from the YA Novel Writing Class I took with Nova Ren Summa earlier this year.  Everyone wrote and posted 15 pages/week. It's slightly less than 4000 words, but at 15 pages a week, you can totally finish a book in six months or less. Probably less, because if you stick to 15 pages/week you get on a roll and lots of weeks you'll write more.

We posted these pages for feedback from our 2 crit partners and Nova. But the class is over and I find myself a) needing somewhere to post a required # of pages/week and b) in need of feedback. I'd like to start an online crit structured the same way. This is my hope/goal: If you're interested send a five page writing sample to bethfred08(at) I'll pick one person to help me review 5 page samples from one to two more people. We'll work together to determine a due date for pages and a due date for critiques. We can either share these documents via google, or I'm willing to create a private forum depending on what the group is most comfortable with.

What I'm looking for:
--people who write YA/NA/Clean Romance
--strong writers who have not yet reached their full potential

Critique Style
This group will use a very specific critique style--gentle but honest. Nova never told students something was wrong. She would say she wasn't sure she believed something or she wasn't sure she understood something. The very next line would be "would it be better if ____." The "If" usually was better or at least gave us something to think about to come up w/ something. This critique style pointed out problems without crushing souls, and supplied the writer with options. We will use this critique style.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Book 44 The Vampire Stalker

"What if the characters in a vampire novel left their world--and came into yours?

Amy is in love with someone who doesn't exist: Alexander Banks, the dashing hero in a popular series of vampire novels. Then one night, Amy meets a boy who bears an eerie resemblance to Alexander. In fact, he IS Alexander, who has escaped from the pages of the book and is in hot pursuit of a wicked vampire named Vigo. Together, Amy and Alexander set out to track Vigo and learn how and why Alexander crossed over. But when she and Alexander begin to fall for each other, Amy wonders if she even wants him to ever return to the realm of fiction."

I read this whole book in a day! It was that good. I can remember being skeptical about things a time or two, but never enough to put the book down. I enjoyed this book from the first page to the last page. The concept is fresh for YA paranormal which in a saturated market is nice, and I liked the characters too. I felt all the characters were well rounded and believable. I even found the paranormal concept believable, and I love the term "literary physics." In truth, the romance was not as strong as I usually like, but the story was solid enough that I didn't mind. This is four stars!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

IWSG Uncertainty

Insecure Writer's Support Group is hosted by Alex J. Cauvenaugh.

As writers we're always in the face of uncertainty, and that does something to your nerves. I'm not even sure insecure is the right word, maybe the feeling that comes with uncertainty is just nervousness, but I have a lot of it right now.

I've sent ten queries of my YA contemporary romance. More than half of my queries are still out, and I've already got a full request, but we all know a request doesn't mean anything and with all those queries still out, I can't help but wonder what those letters will say. And at the risk of sounding ridiculous, I kind of expected five immediate requests with this manuscript. I know. I know. Don't we all. Hey, in 2011, I once got a rejection letter within seconds of sending the query. At least, I've surpassed that right?

I've applied to a couple of MFA programs and well vetted schools. I expect I'll be accepted to at least one, just because I sought out inexpensive low residency programs that would allow me to write YA and/or romance. It's not so much that I think I'm a great writer or a genius, it's more that I found schools I feel I'm a good match for. Still, it's another chance for a rejection. LOL. And more than that, this is my last week at my part time job as my position was eliminated. I'd planned to work through school to pay the tuition, because I already owe the government more money than I will ever make from undergrad. (It's a hard part time job to replace, because I did it from home taking care of my six month old). I'm attempting to look for scholarships, and I have plenty of time before school starts. But so far, I haven't found any to apply for.

I know that all this stuff is manageable, and it's stuff that most writers will face. But in the face of so much uncertainty, it's hard not to be nervous.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book 43 Lindy's Diary

See the #1 New York Times bestselling story Beastly through Lindy's eyes! This is her diary, kept while living in captivity with the beast. Lindy's Diary captures all the romance and edgy mystery of the original!

I loved Beastly so much I had to read Lindy's Diary. I enjoyed getting to know Lindy more. In fact, there was a line about how she knew it wasn't politically correct and women should rescue themselves, but she wanted a hero. She wanted to be rescued, and she didn't want a guy that needed her. And I thought wow I love Lindy! There did seem to be  some inconsistencies between Lindy's version of events and Adrian's, but other than that I love Lindy's Diary too. I'm not sure I'll read Bewitching, because I don't see any mention of romance. But these were great.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book 42 Beastly

"I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright--a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever--ruined--unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly."

You guessed it. This is a retelling of Beauty & The Beast. And it's my absolute favorite fairytale retelling ever! I heart beastly. It's such a cute story. I think the romance develops in a very mature and adult way, but the teens are still true teens. I loved it, and I think it meets every element of the traditional Beauty and The Beast story exactly.  Five stars, and that's rare around here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Goals #2

Update on November's Goals
1. Finish editing A Missing Peace. Done.
2. Write 10 book reviews I wrote 8 (2 haven't been posted yet).
3. Complete my grad school applications Completed one
4. Write Dhamir This did not happen
5. Lose 4 lbs. Done.
6. Work out twice a week  This happened some weeks but not others.
7. Start girl with the dead sister novel This did not happen.

December's Goals
1. Send remaining grad application Done 12/5
2. Write 9 book reviews. (In other words complete P-52)!!!
3. Lose 4 lbs.
4. Write proposal to teach online class
5. Write Demir
6. Work out 3 times/week.
7. Check into costs of blog tours
8. Drink 6 cups of water/day

What are your goals this month?