Saturday, 24 March 2012

Hunger Games/Dystopian Celebration Giveaway!!

There's no doubt that dystopian novels were around long before The Hunger Games ever existed, but it's safe to say the current resurgence it the genre's popularity is because of this book. Even though it looks like I'm not going to be able to see the movie until next weekend, I am still super excited about it. Especially since movie reviews are popping up all over the blogosphere!

To celebrate the movies release and spotlight other dystopican books, I'm going to be giving away to one lucky winner, a book from the below list:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (For you crazy people who haven't read it!)
Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Partials by Dan Wells
Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
Legend  by Marie Lu
Tomorrow When The War Began by John Marsden
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Angelfall by Susan Ee (Purchased from Createspace)
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Wither  by Laura DeStefano
Uglies  by Scott Westerfeld

Aside from Angelfall, all other books will be ordered from The Book Depository. I am happy for people to request sequels to any of the books mentioned if they have already read the first books.

Good Luck and may the odds be ever in your favour! (Score one for me for using that in this giveaway!)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

The Story (From Goodreads):

It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back. Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel. Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl. Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

My Thoughts:
 I'll be the first to admit that I'm a sucker for a bargain. I buy ebooks because if they're hit and miss, I've only spent about .99c. So it says a lot that I am going to buy myself a paper copy of Angelfall. 

 - I loved how fast paced Angelfall was. From start to finish it was just Go! Go! Go! and some of the things that happened really did shock me, which hardly ever happens.
- The explanation for the angel invasion is such a unique and clever idea and though some of the plot is a bit implausible, I was still able to suspend disbelief.  
- I really enjoyed the fact that Ee has def done her homework when it comes to aspects of angel lore. 

- Angelfall has restored my faith in first person/present tense writing.  It's intimate but without a smidgen of that self indulgent whining that tends to happen a lot when you're stuck inside someone's head.
- This is a book where metaphors are done right and they make sense. sigh. 
- I really enjoyed the banter and witty dialogue and I'm not at all jealous at how effortlessly it's been done *COUGH*

- I adore Penryn. She's one of the few heroines whose stream of consciousness thoughts don't make me want to hurl myself out of a window. She's strong and resourceful, but she also has a softer side. Some of her one liners had me grinning from ear to ear and I really admired her devotion to her sister. I loved that Penryn and Raffe don't just meet and then her whole world becomes solely about him. Their relationship is organic and without insta-love or even insta-like. Phew.
- Though he wasn't by any means the most swoon-worthy love interest IMO, I really liked Raffe as well. He too had some great one liners and his conversations with Penryn were amongst the best bits of the story. I liked that he wasn't overprotective of Penryn from the beginning which tends to happen a lot in YA books.
- Penryn's mum is a brilliant character. Easily my favourite.  Scary yet lovable is all I can say.

THE OTHER STUFF (may contain spoilers):
 - Just some random continuity stuff: There's a scene where Penryn has to put on a dress and be sexy in order to get into the angel aerie. Now, I don't know about you guys but if it's been six weeks since I did any feminine pampering stuff, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't look gorgeous. I'm just and stuff everywhere.
 - Speaking of the six week thing, I would really like to believe that if humans are good at one thing only it's staving of an invasion. So six weeks seems a bit of a short time for everything to fall apart. Seriously, there are so many rednecks with guns it's not even funny anymore. 

Overall though, I couldn't put Angelfall down until I made myself put it down because it was putting me off my own writing. Despite some of the minor inconsistencies, I really felt compelled by this book and that's saying a lot considering how insanely critical I've been lately.

The Rating:

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Free Ebook: Telesa: The Covenan Keeper!

Hey All,

Just wanted to drop in and let you all know that Telesa: The Covenant Keeper by the fab Lani Wendt Young is free on Amazon Kindle for 24 hours. If you haven't read this awesome book you should pick it up now while it's hot!

I can't say enough good things about this book, but you can read what I thought of it in This Review.

Go forth and enjoy!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Tagged by Gossip_Grl & Seeder's Poison Excerpt (Again!)

I've been tagged for the Lucky 7 MEME by writer, Gossip_Grl. Here are the rules:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines - sentences or paragraphs - and post them as they're written. No cheating
4. Tag 7 authors
5. Let them know

Okay, so here is the paragraph of Seeder's Poison in question (completely unedited):

      This part of the forest is incredibly dense, the canopy blocking out all but the smallest slivers of sunlight. Cedars, eucalypts, ashs and pines all growing within meters of each other. On my home turf, I could lose a hunter in minutes. But I don’t know these parts and that makes me slow. With every step, sharp pain radiates from the bullet wound in my calf. Thankfully, it’s a clean shot, entering and exiting without touching bone. It’s still agony to move, but I can’t let myself give in. 

Now onto the Lucky Questions to answer:
1. What is my dream Vacation?
Not being at work!! LOL.

2. Are you spontaneous or do you like to plan?
Depends on what we’re referring to. I plan most things in my life because I love writing lists and I hate being unprepared. That being said, I am super lazy so I even leave the planning to the last minute!

3. Tell us one thing you want to do, but don't dare do?
I don’t think I should answer this one. I already come off as enough of a sociopath.

4. What's your biggest phobia?
It would have to be a tossup between ghosts and mice.

5. If you were stranded on a desert island--what 3 things would you want with you (not including laptop or family)?
My Kindle, my bed and for survival’s sake, a really big knife!

6. Name 3 blessings in your life:
Family, friends and an imagination.

7. What was your nickname in high school?
Shorty. (Yes, I’m very short. Kids are so creative aren’t they?)

8. If you could meet the President of the US, what would you say to him?
Probably nothing. Politics bore me to tears.

9. If you could be any literary character for a day, who would you be?
 Elizabeth Bennett for sure. Darcy and Pemberly. Can’t go wrong.

10. What is your favourite quote?
I actually don’t have one. 

Thanks for tagging me Gossip_Grl. I had a fun time answering the questions and taking my mind off this very hectic weekend I'm having. I don't really know that many writers so I can't really tag anyone but Jessica, Cathy, Lani and BJ if you're reading this. Tag you're it!

See you guys on the other side of tomorrow!

~ Lan

Monday, 12 March 2012

Monday Updates:

- Have been starting a lot of books lately but not being able to finish them for some reason. I think the reason may possibly be that I can't be bothered writing up reviews for them. Sometimes I look at the reviews some other people are posting and think, man I can't be bothered writing up something as good as that.
- Have been going through a bit of Is It Just Me? syndrome. By that I mean I'm reading books that I should normally like but there's just one thing about them which sets me off and I go into a round of: is it just me or is this book such and such. Mostly this has been happening where I don't feel that great a connection to the characters or the motivation behind their course of action.

- Still trying to write those last chapters of Seeder's Poison. Am not struggling so much as re-reading and thinking, If I don't kill someone in these last few chapters, this is gonna be pretty boring. My supposed last chapters have actually turned into 10 chapters but to be fair, my first chapter was 7,000 words and the last few chapters have only been about 2,000 words max. I am going to need some serious editing.
- Am currently agonising over whether to bother getting traditionally published or to try my hand at self publishing. Pros and cons for both sides and I'm swaying towards self publishing but I am so technologically stunted that the thought of formatting and converting my MS into another format is a bit daunting. But I am too much of a tighta$$ too pay someone else to do it!

- What's that? With Gossip Girl on a temporary hiatus, I have been getting back into my gardening. Just in time for Autumn (Fall for you guys). I can sense this turning into a bit of a book/gardening blog mish mash!
- For some reason the husband has decided that he wants to see The Hunger Games with me but he can't stay up late for us to see it opening night so I'm not going to be able to watch it until the 24th. Bit annoying. Especially since he has no idea what it's about and doesn't want me to tell him. What's the point in that? Luckily I've already organised a repeat viewing with some friends who I forced to read the books.

- Can't complain. Although have taken to wearing band-aids on my fingers because I use the scroll button on my mouse way too much. They should document that as a real illness.
- A huntsman spider has taken up residence in my room. I've named it Charlotte. I was going to take a photo for you guys but then I remembered most people don' like spiders the way I do. They're very useful. Unlike mosquitoes which I still maintain can be eliminated from the this dimension without anyone caring.  

Friday, 9 March 2012

Why I Love The Hunger Games By Sherre of Beckoned By Books

As much as I like to rant about The Hunger Games, it's pretty clear that I love the entire franchise to death. I talk about it incessantly and try to force persuade others to read it so I can talk about it some more. Suffice to say I am out of control excited about the movie. I thought I was a truly hardcore fan until I put out the call for guest post for The Hunger Games Tribute month and Sherre answered with this gem of a post:

I’m so glad to be doing a guest post for Lan’s blog. I stalk her blog often as she’s probably figured out already. Guess what? The Hunger games movie will be out this month and I am beyond super excited. I’ve already purchased tickets to the 12:01 movie show time, and now I’m just bouncing up and down, watching the calendar, and the clock to figure out how much time is left. The boyfriend told me I was an idiot who needs to do something else with my time, so I thought the best way would be for me to let you all know how I began my fan girl obsessive lust for all things Hunger Games. (That’s probably not what he meant when he told me to do something else, but whatever)
       It began after my high from reading Twilight for the third time in a row. I needed something good. Something that made the world around me disappear and the adrenaline rush in my veins. Something that made my heart quicken and my emotions go into overdrive. I picked up a few books at Borders (May you Rest in Peace my Beloved Borders Books) and they all sucked. Like all of them. At this point I was giving The Hunger Games series the cold shoulder. Yeah, I read the synopsis, but I couldn’t bring myself to read the book. It looked too boring, to young, too depressing. Besides, there could never be a book that will make me feel as alive as Twilight, I was sure of it. Then, something happened.
          I was surfing the internet acting like a total Twilight groupie when I came upon a Hunger Games review. “Let’s see if the book sucks as much as I think it should,” I said to myself. I read the review that discussed the awesomeness that was THG and thought, well maybe she’s biased. There’s no way this book can actually be that good. So I read another review and more and finally I got literally upset! These people have no idea what they’re talking about. The Hunger Games has to suck. Look at that cover. It’s so boring. That stupid bird in a circle, what’s that supposed to mean? They’re spending time going bird hunting or something?  Oh and let’s not get started on the synopsis. Kid’s fighting to the death on TV? Talk about depressing! Maybe they’re all getting paid to do the reviews. Yea, that’s probably it. I’ll just go out and buy the book and read the horribleness and THEN I’ll be able to tell everyone that they’re total liars and the book sucks.
          It just so happened that it was December of 2010 so Christmas was coming up. I told my mom to buy the whole series for me along with some other books and she painstakingly obliged (she made the mistake of telling me as a child that as long as I read, she would buy me as many books as I want….talk about a bad idea. You should see my stacks of books) Any who, when I got it, I started reading………..and reading………..and reading……………………………..and was finished the entire book in 9 hours straight. No food, no cellphone interruptions, no breaks of any kind. People came and talked AT me, I think. I never paid attention.
         I remember walking around with my book when I heard the doorbell ring, opening it, and letting someone in. It was a family member, I think. It could have been a stranger though, I’d have never known. The book was amazing. SUPER, FANTASTIC, SUPERB, EXCITING, OH MY #(*^@&! GOSH HOW ON EARTH DID I LIVE WITHOUT YOU SO LONG, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, PLEASE NEVER LEAVE ME, I LOVE YOU, WILL YOU MARRY ME, ID FOLLOW YOU ANYWHERE OH MY GOODNESS OH MY GOODNESS OH MY GOODNESS AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! 
         It gave me the feelings I wanted and more, but, like an obsessive junkie, I wanted more!!!! I needed more!!! So then I got the audio books. I listened to them in the car, and in my iPod over and over. (Everyone hated riding in the car with me) I started to tell random people about the awesomeness that was THG. I started incorporating random HG lingo into my daily life – “I want to show them that they don’t own me. If I’m going to go to work, I want it to be on my terms. I want to show them that I’m just not another employee in their company,” “Remember boyfriend, we’re madly in love, so it’s ok to kiss me whenever you want,” “Do well on your test little sister, and may the odds be ever in your favor.” (That’s my favorite one, because she tended to look at me and roll her eyes as if I was crazy)The rest is history. I began consuming more and more books, but Twilight, and Hunger Games will always be my favorites (not necessarily in that order). A few other books have joined their ranks in my mind, Telesa, The Mortal Instruments Series and a few others, but Twilight and the Hunger Games have, and always will hold a very special, lust-filled, obsessive place in my heart.

 ~ Thank you so much Sherre for taking the time to write up this post. Obsession really does love company because I found myself nodding to so many of the things you said. I remember not wanting to read The Hunger Games because of all the hype and because so many people were saying how graphic the killing is. I'm glad (and also a bit disturbed) that the violence didn't phase me because I would have missed out of one of the best book I've ever read. 

On that note, I'd like to invite all you guys to share your stories about when and how you decided to read The Hunger Games. Was it on your WoW lists? Or did you just stumble upon it? I came into the phenomenon very late so I wasn't around for the original hoopla. Would love to recapture that now!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group #1: Licence To Kill

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where us totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
       Hmm...where to even start this month. I suppose that given this is meant to be my The Hunger Games appreciation month, I'll talk about a theme that has been bugging me on my writing journey for a while now. The concept of YA books (in my case YA dystopian more specifically) and killing people/things.
       You all know I worship the genius that  is Katniss Everdeen (I choose to ignore everything that happened in Mockingjay) but sometimes, when I have my super critical book reviewer pants on, I start to wonder about how unrealistic it is that Katniss doesn't ever go on the offensive unless she's given no choice. Kathy from Read This Instead and I had a brief discussion about this and it's got me wondering whether or not readers would be much less sympathetic to a character if they dispensed with the goody two-shoes and went out for blood.
       Even Peeta and Gale could be considered plot devices to support this idea (Peeta being Mr Con and Gale being Mr Pro). And readers seem to have responded in a way which suggests that they'd rather not have their heroes taking out the bad guys Terminator style.Everywhere I look, it's Team Peeta all the way.
      Sadly, I am not in this majority reader group and I'm worried that this will trickle down to my own characters and they'll end up being hated for their offensiveness. Maybe it's because I'm much more A than YA these days. Maybe I've been brainwashed by the insane amount of action movies I watch and I'm desensitized to violence. Perhaps as a second generation child of war, I just don't buy the whole stand up for yourself but don't get your hands bloody stance.
       Then there's the whole confusing grey area that is YA paranormal where it's okay to have the heroes kill as many vampires/werewolves/angels as possible but as soon as they harm a human (no matter how badly the human deserves it) it's all "you shouldn't have done that."
      So help me out guys. Which camp do you belong to? Does it disturb you when an MC takes matters into their own hands? Or do you prefer to keep it clean?

Sunday, 4 March 2012

The Hunger Games Month Kickoff @ Thoughts At One In The Morning

Hey Guys,

At times like these, when you're sick (again!) and you're desperately trying to finish a novel and also keep your blog semi alive, it's good to have blogger buddies.
        I'd like to direct you now to Jessica at Thoughts At One In The Morning's blog. I asked her to do a post about The Hunger Games and she came through bigtime with an amazing post about all the fun things you can buy on Etsy in The Hunger Games theme.

Thanks Jessica! Have fun browsing guys. I know I've added a few things to my to buy list.

See you soon,