What I’m Working On: February 2015 Update #3

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Hi guys. I got the date mixed up for Pitch Madness, so sadly Our Reasons didn’t make it in time for submissions. Thankfully #PitMad is on March 11th so I don’t have to wait too long to pitch. I’ve finished editing the content and format, and have several Twitter pitches ready to go. This time I will make sure I don’t forget it.

I’ve also started to edit/re-write Creeper. So far I think it’s going to be even better than it was before. The actual short story publication will probably be at the end of this year or maybe the beginning of next year since I have to finish editing/re-writing the first two stories plus write and edit the third, along with all the other projects I have going on. I’ll keep you posted.

Here’s my revised writing goals for this year (subject to change):

-Edit Creeper in Feb-March
-Submit Our Reasons to PitMad on March 11
-Submit Our Reasons to Swoon Reads if Pit Mad is unsuccessful
-Edit You Know You Love Me in March/May
-Write Recovery in March/May/June
-Edit/Re-write The Birthday Bash for Camp NaNo in April
-Submit The Birthday Bash to PitMad on June 4
-Finish CHALTS in June–July
-Edit Recovery in July
-Format e-book/physical formats and order physical proofs for Creeper short story collection in August & September
-Submit The Birthday Bash to PitMad on September 10
-Set short story publishing date for Creeper collection
-Strengthen beginning of Whispertown in August–October
-Write hotel horror story for NaNoWriMo in November
-Submit Whispertown for PitMad on December 4

So that’s

*3 short stories (2 re-writes/edits and 1 new with edit/rewrites)
*1 re-write/edit novel
*1 new novel
*Finishing last year’s novel (which is about 80-90% completed already)
*Editing part of a edited/re-written novel
*Formatting short story collection for publication
*Submitting pitches and excerpts for 4 PitMad sessions

It may seem like a lot, and maybe it is, but I’m going to do what I can. If something doesn’t get done, there’s always next year.
 

 

jncname

Book Review–Time Between Us (Time Between Us #1) by Tamara Ireland Stone

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This is the 15th book from my 115 in 2015 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Time Between Us (Time Between Us #1) by Tamara Ireland Stone
Published October 9th, 2012 by Hyperion

 

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.

Fresh, exciting, and deeply romantic, Time Between Us is a stunning, spellbinding debut from an extraordinary new voice in YA fiction

 

 

 

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***The following may contain some spoilers***

Plot:

Similar to The Time Traveler’s Wife, though I liked this one better. The plot was very unique and something I wasn’t expecting. I really loved the traveling aspect in regards to both characters–Anna’s love for travel and Bennett’s ability to travel.

Setting:

The setting was very easy to picture. I almost felt like I was right there with them, especially in Illinois in 1995. Some of the exotic places were a little harder to imagine, mostly because i have yet to been overseas, but they sounded wonderful.

Characters:

I enjoyed most of the characters in this. Anna was a refreshing POV to read from and I loved her dreams of traveling. Bennett was more mysterious but also full of life. Emma was hilarious, Justin was sweet, and I also liked Anna’s parents as well as Maggie. They felt like real people.

Relationships:

I really enjoyed the romantic relationship between Anna and Bennett. While they fell for one another really quickly, I also know what that’s like. Their relationship is still new but I think they could definitely make it work. I also liked that there was some conflict in it.

Anna also has a great relationship with her best friend, Emma. Her relationship with her parents also seemed very realistic. The only relationship of Anna’s that I had trouble with was with Justin because he didn’t seem as solid of a best friend as Emma, and the attraction later on kind of came out of the blue. But other than that, I liked most of her relationships with others.

Besides his relationship with Anna, I enjoyed the one he had with Maggie. It was bittersweet.

Writing/Voice:

Very easy writing style to get into and had a realistic voice.

Ending:

I kind of expected the very end, but that’s okay–I can be a sucker for happy endings.

Overall:

Had me hooked from the first page and was very enjoyable. I could see myself re-reading it in the future.

 

4stars

 

 

jncname

The Book vs the Movie: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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Book written by J.K. Rowling, 2003
Movie directed by David Yates, 2007

Synopsis from Goodreads.com:

 

Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected…

 

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

VS

Picture Source: IMDB.com

Picture Source: IMDB.com

 

Which I Viewed First: The book.

Which I Enjoyed Most: Both.

Out of 5 stars, the Book Gets: 5 stars.

Out of 5 stars, the Movie Gets: 5 stars.

Things the Book Did Better: More details regarding the plot and back story, more scenes involving Dobby.Liked how the prophecy was revealed better. Ron’s character also seemed to grow more than in the movie.

Things the Movie Did Better:  Liked how it started at the playground, loved who they cast for Luna, scene with the department of ministries seemed more powerful, as well as the scene with Bellatrix and Sirius. Scenes with Umbridge also were more entertaining and the actress made her an even more annoying character.

Verdict?: Book, although the movie was pretty good.

Why?: I love both for different reasons, though I feel the movie was more entertaining overall. The newly casted characters and the special effects make the original idea shine.

Should the movie be re-made?: No.

What do you think? Agree, disagree? Would love to hear your thoughts!

 

jncname

Book Review–The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard

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This is the 14th book from my 115 in 2015 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
Published January 7th, 2010 by Viking Juvenile

 

Take Romeo and Juliet. Add The Outsiders. Mix thoroughly. Colt and Julia were secretly together for an entire year, and no one,not even Julia’s boyfriend, knew. They had nothing in common, with Julia in her country club world on Black Mountain and Colt from down on the flats, but it never mattered. Until Julia dies in a car accident, and Colt learns the price of secrecy. He can’t mourn Julia openly, and he’s tormented that he might have played a part in her death. When Julia’s journal ends up in his hands, Colt relives their year together at the same time that he’s desperately trying to forget her. But how do you get over someone who was never yours in the first place?

 

 

 

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***Review may contain some slight spoilers***

Plot:

The initial plot was intriguing and interesting, but there were so many subplots entwined with it that it felt a bit rushed and sometimes overwhelming.

 

Setting:

The setting was easy to picture and the Black Mountain vs the Flats reminded me of The Outsiders in a way.

 

Characters:

Most of the characters fell flat for me, though they were realistic. I just never connected with Colt or with Julia from the letters. The only characters I really liked were Syd, Tom, and Kirby. I especially liked how independent Kirby was.

 

Relationships:

There are several relationships in this book. I felt the way the relationship between Colt and Julia wasn’t quite as deep as I was expecting. The journal entries seemed very short and at times shallow, and the few memories Colt gives us don’t seem to show very much, either. I very much understand Colt’s obsession and guilt over her death, but it just didn’t feel like a deep relationship to me, despite it being a year long.

The relationship between Colt and Kirby felt much deeper and more realistic. I especially liked that she wasn’t willing to compete over a ghost.

 

Writing/Voice:

The writing style was great, and even though I didn’t connect with Colt as a character, he still had a realistic teen boy POV.

 

Ending:

The ending was kind of “blah”, but at this point I was just glad to be moving on.

 

Overall:

It wasn’t as good as I was expecting, but it was all right. Nothing I would ever read again, though.

 

 

 

2stars

jncname

What I’m Working On: February 2015 Update #2

wiwo14

 

Hi guys. I still have a few more chapters of last minute editing and formatting to finish up on Our Reasons, but I’m pretty sure I will knock that out this weekend. I’ve still been fighting the flu as well.

I also got some help with my pitch on Aussie Owned and Read. I’m happy with my final pitch and will be sending it in on Monday.

I’m hoping to start reading and editing Creeper next week. The release date for the collection will probably have to be delayed, but I’ll see how the editing, re-writing, and new story goes first.

 

jncname

Book Review–Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver

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This is the 13th book from my 115 in 2015 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver
Published March 5th, 2013 by HarperCollins

 

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven. Pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.

As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena and Hana’s points of view. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

 

 

————-

 Plot:

Plot-wise, this felt similar to the one in the second book, only with more action in the Wilds. The book is told from Lena and Hana’s POVs, which was interesting, but in a way I am wondering if Hana’s was necessary at all. I guess it helped give readers a conclusion of sorts for her, as well to see how people like her were coping, but otherwise I would have rather just had Lena’s POV all the way through.

Setting:

Similar setting to the last book, and also one from the first. For the most part everything was easy to picture until the real action packed scenes near the last third of the book, but not sure if it is on the author’s end or mine, since I have trouble with scenes that involve a lot of action.

Characters:

Lena has definitely changed over the course of the three books, and in a good way. She went from being an incredibly naive, kind of emotionless person to an independent one who deals with things better.

Hana kind of went in the opposite direction. I liked her okay in the first book, and was truly shocked at what she did to Lena and Alex in the short story. I did feel bad for her upcoming marriage to the monster mayor’s son, but she was so emotionless at the end that I was ready to be done with her.

It seemed like the rest of the cast was just there, which was kind of disappointing considering I really liked Julian and Alex in the other books. In this one, it was hard to remember why exactly.

I did like the twist with Lu–I never expected a thing.

Relationships:

Each of the past two books featured a different romantic interest, and for once I actually liked both of them. However, in this book, both relationships are strained. By the end of the book, I wasn’t quite sure if I liked one better over the other–though I give Alex props for his note.

The only other relationships worth mentioning other than those is the budding one between Lena and her mother. I felt it was well done, considering all that had happened. Same with Hana and Lena.

Writing/Voice:

As usual, Oliver’s writing is beautiful and easy to get lost in. The different POVs kind of disrupted the writing and at times, the story, though.

Ending:

I’m mixed on how I feel about the ending. On one hand, there’s a lot of unresolved issues. What happened to Fred? Tack? Hana? Did the resistance fully succeed? I’m okay with Lena’s decision concerning her love triangle. Overall, I like that the ending seems to at least wrap up with the importance of freedom. I wouldn’t have minded an epilogue, though. I want to know how things end for Lena and the people she cares about.

Overall:

It didn’t blow me away, but wasn’t a bad conclusion for the series.

 

3halfstars

 

jncname

The Book vs the Movie: Tuck Everlasting

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tucktitle

Book written by Natalie Babbitt, 1974
Movie directed by Jay Russell, 2002

Synopsis from Goodreads.com:

 

Doomed to – or blessed with – eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

 

 

 

Picture Source; Goodreads.com

Picture Source; Goodreads.com

VS

Picture Source: imdb.com

Picture Source: imdb.com

Which I Viewed First: The book.

Which I Enjoyed Most: Book.

Out of 5 stars, the Book Gets: 5 stars.

Out of 5 stars, the Movie Gets: 3 stars.

Things the Book Did Better: I felt the story was more enjoyable in written form. The relationships seemed deeper as well. I also feel the scene with the frog was stronger.

Things the Movie Did Better: I liked that Winnie was a bit older in the movie, because it makes her and Jesse seem more realistic.

Verdict?: Book.

Why?: I enjoyed seeing the movie made, and pretty close to the book, but the story and characters seemed much stronger in the book.

Should the movie be re-made?: Unsure.

What do you think? Agree, disagree? Would love to hear your thoughts!

 

jncname

Book Review–Valentine by Tom Savage

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This is the 12th book from my 115 in 2015 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture source: Goodreads,com

Picture source: Goodreads,com

Valentine by Tom Savage
Published February 1st, 1996 by Little Brown and Company

 

Jillian Talbot seems to have everything: a lovely home in Greenwich Village, a small circle of close friends, a handsome and passionate lover who has just proposed to her, and a glamorous career as a bestselling author of suspense novels. Her writing has captivated thousands of fans, but she has always been safe from the terrifying scenes she creates. Until now.

Somewhere in the shadows of New York City, someone is watching her. He knows her every move, her every fear, almost before she knows it herself. He is as devoted as a lover, courting her in his own mysterious way – leaving notes in her mailbox, gifts on her doorstep, messages on her answering machine. His motives are as cryptic as the name he goes by: Valentine. But his intentions are deadly clear. For Jill Talbot, the terror has just begun. Wherever she runs, he will find her. And soon she will meet him on his terrible day of judgment. His triumphant day. Her darkest day. Valentine’s Day.

 

 

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 I’ve seen the movie this book was apparently based on, though I remember very little about it. All I know is that the movie is hardly anything like the book.

Plot:

Although the plot has been done before in horror and suspense, it was nicely executed. I especially liked how the book was split up into the different parts, such as us not finding out more about what happened to the Elements until later on.

The plot reminded me a lot of a Mary Higgins Clark novel, but was less predictable than I expected.

Setting:

The book is mostly set in New York, though there are a few other locations. Although I’ve never been to New York, it felt very realistic and was easy to picture in my head.

Characters:

I have mixed feelings about the main character, Jill. On one hand, I liked her because she’s a kind of humbled successful author with a quiet life. On the other hand, she could be very bland and had a few obsessive qualities that got on my nerves at times. Overall she was a sympathetic character, though.

The antagonist was very interesting, especially because you’re not quite sure until the end who he is in the present. While I felt sympathy for his past, he is clearly very psychotic and sinister. There were some scenes where he was downright creepy.

I liked the love interest, Jill’s best friend, and the private detective who later helps Jill named Barney. And although the antagonist’s past victims are dead, the author manages to make them likable despite the awful prank that helped set the killer into motion.

Relationships:

The relationship between Nate and Jill was believable, but at the same time didn’t seem to hold much of a spark. I enjoyed Jill’s relationship with her best friend and even Barney better than I did with Nate, though perhaps that is to be expected.

Writing/Voice:

It was a little hard to get into the book at first, but once I did, it was difficult to put down. Especially during the scenes of the past victims as well as the final confrontation. The writing itself tends to be dry at times, and sometimes confusing as the author doesn’t always say right away (or at all) which character’s viewpoint we’re reading from, but he’s a great storyteller. The dialogue for the most part is realistic.

Ending:

I figured there would be a twist ending, similar to the movie, but it still caught me off guard. I had considered the correct identity of the killer near the beginning, but fell into the trap of thinking it was someone else. It made sense and was believable, so it was an enjoyable surprise.

Overall:

Overall this was a pretty good read and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys horror/suspense novels, especially fans of Mary Higgins Clark and such. I’d probably re-read this one again one day.

 

3halfstars

 

jncname

What I’m Working On: February 2015

wiwo14

 

Hi guys. I got hit with what I’m pretty sure is the flu virus last week so I’m still trying to recover. Despite all that, I have managed to almost finish editing and formatting Our Reasons. I only have a few chapters left. I’m confident I will be done before the end of the week.

Pitch Madness begins on Monday. I’m still going through my pitches, trying to pick the best one. Wish me luck!  And again, if no agents bite, I still have plans for submitting the book to Swoon Reads.I haven’t had a chance to do much with the Creeper collection, but I’m hoping to get the first two stories edited and the third written soon. I’m still unsure of when the publication date will be, but I will keep you posted. We might get snow tomorrow, so I am pretty excited. Hope we’re not let down!

 

 

 

jncname

Book Review–The Jaws Log by Carl Gottlieb

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This is the 11th book from my 115 in 2015 Reading Challenge.

 

17925700The Jaws Log by Carl Gottlieb
Published 1975 by Dell Publishing Co., Inc

 

Steven Soderbergh, Bryan Singer, Rod Lurie, John Landis, Steve Martin, and Rob Reiner are among the many filmmakers who concur, more than 30 years after its first publication, that The Jaws Log by screenwriter Carl Gottlieb deserves an enduring place as a “modern classic” on filmmakers and filmmaking.

The only book on how 26-year-old Steven Spielberg transformed Peter Benchley’s #1 bestselling novel into the phenomenal movie it became, Gottlieb’s chronicle of this extraordinary year-long adventure was first published in 1975, generating 17 printings and selling more than 2 million paperback copies. Long out of print, a new, expanded paperback edition was published in 2000 to mark the movie’s 25th Anniversary, featuring a 22-page behind-the-scenes photo album, a new afterword by Gottlieb updating readers on the fates of the filmmakers, and an introduction by Peter Benchley.

 

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 I’m a Jaws fanatic and a huge shark fan. Needless to say, I was pretty stoked to finally get my hands on a copy of this book.

If you’re into film making, you’ll probably love it. I’ve always been intrigued by film making, so I enjoyed this even though I feel a good bit went over my head because the author tends to get technical. However, I did learn some new things and appreciate how difficult it was to create one of my favorite movies.

There’s some pretty neat facts about the movie in this book, some that I knew and others that I didn’t. I am sad that the tiger shark used was killed for the movie.

The photos are mostly disappointing–they are all in black and white and I was honestly expecting more than what was included.

Still, a very interesting read that kept my attention. Recommended for fans of sharks, Jaws, film making, and all of the above.

 

 

3stars

 

jncname
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