Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review: Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Title: Sisters Red
Author: Jackson Pearce
Page Count: 326
Summary: (from Goodreads) "Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris-- the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax-- but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they've worked for."

Review: I actually didn't intend to buy Sisters Red - I wanted to wait until my library got it. However, I was at the book store the other day, saw it, and knew I had to read it. I've basically been doing so nonstop since I got it!

For starters, I want to say that I liked this a lot more than As You Wish, Pearce's first novel. I can tell that her writing style has grown a lot. Whereas in As You Wish, I didn't think the alternating viewpoints added much to the story, in Sisters Red they definitely did. Rosie and Scarlett are two VERY different characters and that showed through in their voices; Rosie is the more innocent one and Scarlett is the badass, always hunting to protect her sister so she doesn't get the same scars.

The werewolves were viscous and not at all like the good guys of the Twilight or Shiver universes. They are gross and scary and need to die before they rip out the hearts of innocent girls. I'm really glad that Pearce returned to the roots of werewolf lore, where they aren't playful and love interests. The werewolves of Sisters Red don't have souls, which I guess is why they are so disgusting and inhuman.

Silas, Rosie's love interest, was totally cute, and they gave me little shivers when she was all alone and nervous to touch him.

There were tons and tons of good elements to this book and I would have given it five stars if not for a few things: the plot meandered and Scarlett kind of whiny and repetitive. Let me talk about Scarlett first. I liked her character in the beginning, how she was so focused and it was kind of cute how protective she was, but it got to be a bit too much near the end of the book. I understand that she has scars and wants to protect her sister, but it was mentioned over and and over how she needs to hunt constantly. It's like the weight of the world is on her shoulders because only a few people know about the Fenris and even fewer want to do something about it. But she went on and on and on and on until I just couldn't wait for Rosie's chapters because Scarlett was just too... intense for me.

Secondly, the plot. I kind of the guessed the whole 'twist' at the end right from the get go, but I think it was a really good twist anyhow. But the rest of the book, if you didn't already guess that twist? I think there was enough werewolf fighting but too much sitting around, researching and looking at microfilm and blah blah blah. I don't think I was ever bored with the book at all, but there were definitely some slow parts and the plot doesn't begin to pick up until the last 50 pages of the book.

However, I really, really enjoyed Sisters Red. I think it was definitely an improvement over Pearce's first book, which I also did enjoy, but there were just a few things that could've been tightened up, I guess? It's kind of funny - I can see Pearce's progression as a writer even in these two books!

Romance Score: 4/5 stars
Overall Score: 4/5 stars

Monday, June 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

So, it is Tuesday. I've been writing quite a bit this week - I've gotten about 5k done in the past few days, which is unusual for me because I'm a total lazy bones. I was thinking about trying JulNoWriMo, but I did it last year to try to finish TSTB and totally failed. I got a lot done on TSTB - it got over 50k from just over 25k, I think. I never finished it, though. So I don't know if I should try it again. I think I just want to relax this summer, seeing as it's my last summer before college.

But anyways. This little teaser is from THE UNLIKELIHOOD OF NOSTALGIA:

When the bell rang, I tried to leave before he could catch up in the crowd, but he just pushed past everyone and said, “Zoe, c’mon. I need to pass Photo or else my mom is gonna bitch and Zoe, please?”

I ignored him until we were in the parking lot, walking in front of all the cars that were trying to get out of the lot. Then I spun on him and said, “Do you have ulterior motives or something? Because I don’t understand why you can’t pass Photo without my help? It’s not that hard. You just take pictures of shit.” God, I was so vulgar when I was around him.

Something passed over his face, so quickly I almost didn’t see it. I was terrible at reading people’s faces anyway, especially for half a second. So I ignored it while he tried to look horrified at the thought of him, The Perfect Zach Morris, having ulterior motives. “Please? I’ve never begged for anything in my life.”

“Yeah, because you just give people that look and they fall to their knees.”

“What look?”

“You know, the puppy dog one?” I imitated it, but I could never manage to look as cherubic as he did.

“What are you talking about?”

“Forget it,” I said, rolling my eyes.

“So, will you?”

“Will I what?”

“Help me with Photo again? Please, Zoe?”

Oh God, the eyes. He was doing it again. Do not fall for it. He is not angelic. He is demonic. Zoey, don’t look! Don’t-

“Whatever! Stop looking at me like that!”

“Like what? Wait, was that a yes?”

No. “Maybe.”

We were at Holly’s beat up car. She was giving me a very strange look from the driver’s seat.

“Let me give you a ride home, okay? Then we can stop at my house and go running.”

I looked at Holly’s panicked face. I looked at Zach’s death trap Camaro. What kind of teenager owned a Camaro? What was this, the ‘80s? “Just meet me at my house. I don’t want to ride in that thing of yours.”

He was smiling too big to falter at my comment. “I’ll be there in half an hour!”

When I got in the car, Holly just stared at me. The Backstreet Boys were playing on the radio and she was looking at me like she’d just seen a ghost. “Were you just flirting with Zach Morris?”

I don’t know if it was possible to make a more disgusted face. “Flirting? Is that a joke? Please tell me that’s a joke.”

“It’s not a joke. I know how you flirt, Zoe; I’ve seen you do it more than enough times at parties when you want a guy to notice you. You get kind of bitchy-jokey. You were totally flirting. And he offered to give you a ride home.”

Eye Candy AKA Judge a Book By its Cover

It will be no surprise to anyone that I am obsessed with the cover art on books. I mean, what bibliophile isn't? And I've been reading tons of blogs lately in which I become fixated on cover art. Who hasn't bought a book for its cover? (Ahem, Shiver, anyone?) So, this is my tribute to all the beautiful book covers as of late.

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link

Sea by Heidi R. Kling

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams

Every Little Thing in the World by Nina de Gramont

It is very hard for me to see these books and not buy them. I keep thinking about it and a lot of the reason that books get so much hype is a) the author hosts giveaways and advertises their butt off and b) the cover is amazing. That's what happened with Hush, Hush and Fallen - I haven't heard much good about them, but they got a lot of hype before their release. Why? Their covers.

Publishers - take note.

I hope that if I get published, the cover of my book is as good as these ones.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Being Good At Failing

I've been reading a lot of inspirational posts as of late - namely Vee's post about self doubt, and it's made me think a lot about my own writing. I honestly believe that there is no such thing as writer's block; for me, writer's block is fear. It is being afraid to ruin what you think may have potential or being afraid that whatever you write won't be good. It isn't a lack of ideas. I always have ideas. I just don't apply them.

I have been working on The Shape that Breaks for almost four years and the reason I have yet to try to polish it off for publishing or actually finish the goddamn second draft - I'm scared. I love the story so much that I want to do it justice and, at the same time, I'm afraid it isn't going to be good enough. I'm afraid that it is stupid and no one will understand the characters or the fact that two teenage boys move in across the street from Celeste and she magically falls in love with them - I'm so scared no one will get it. No one will get them, these characters closest to my heart. TSTB was the first novel I actually finished. I'm not good with endings, and I ended it.

The thing is, though - fear of failing, fear of not being good enough - they don't matter if you don't try. JK Rowling said that the only reason she ever succeeded is because she got good at failing. I've never failed at anything writing related, aside from not winning a few contests. I've always been praised, especially in high school, probably because I was one of the only people who'd been practicing it since they were tiny. I'm bad at taking criticism, even in real life, and I always want it on my writing, but at the same time, I'm afraid.

So I don't finish things. They just sit there and rot because if they aren't done, they can't fail. There's still potential. But honestly? You might not be able to fail if you don't try, but you also won't be able to succeed.

We're all scared. The difference between me and those people who are out there, getting agents and getting published? It isn't fear. It's bravery.

We can all be brave.

Hopefully back!

I have been writing and reading for months now, but not blogging. See, my problem is that I cannot stick with something for longer than a month or so before losing interest. And everyone and their mother has a blog - no one will care if little ol' me doesn't have one! The fact is: I am lazy. That's why I don't write as much as I should and that's why I never clean my room. It isn't complicated, it is just that.

In the interval between the death and rebirth of this blog, I have:

-graduated high school
-gone to Marco Island with my best friend for a week
-gone designer-hunting at Goodwill with my mom (who sells stuff on eBay)
-stopped running (which I am restarting! yay!)
-become semi-addicted to Twitter (Follow me!)
-written 14k words of The Unlikelihood of Nostalgia

So, I haven't been that busy. I've been reading - in fact, I just got Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, which I am so excited to read since I follow her blog kind of religiously and think she is adorable. I just finished Susane Colasanti's Waiting for You, which I thought was totally cute.

So, here is my question for everyone else today: How do you avoid that laziness? How do you motivate yourself to blog when you really, really don't feel like it? Or: how do you motivate yourself to write? I need to have a year-round NaNo because that's the only way I write every single day.

And here, for inspiration: