Book Review: The New World by Patrick Ness

“Don’t open it until you’ve landed.”

“’Til we’ve landed?” I said. “That’s five months from now.”

He smiled and lowered his voice. “Do you know what separates us from the beasts, Viola?”

I frowned, sensing a lesson. “The ability to wait to open a present?”

He laughed. “Fire,” he said. “The ability to make fire at will. It allowed us light to see in the darkness, warmth against the cold, a tool to cook our food.” He gestured vaguely in the direction of the Delta’s engines. “Fire is what eventually led to travel across the black beyond, the ability to start a new life on a New World.

 

9412471Viola’s family is given a mission to prepare The New World for human colonization. It’s
a honorable mission because no one else on ships Delta and Alpha have lived on a real planet. In fact, humans haven’t lived on an actual planet since Old Earth was poisoned generations ago.

However, Viola doesn’t care how “honorable” the mission is. Deep down, she’s actually afraid. And why not? The last settlers didn’t come back. It’s disheartening! But everyone wants her to have hope.

Approaching their destination…something happens…

 

Overall I enjoyed this short read! The ending of this prequel makes me want to check out the rest of the Chaos Walking trilogy. Another thing that I really enjoyed was the theme of hope.

You can find The New World at Amazon for FREE, enjoy!

Basing Your Reading Habits off of Reviews is so…Grade School!

reviewsThe following conversation actually took place. Names have been changed to protect the Innocent:

Elf: My gawd, you’re just now reading that!

Alien: …yeah…

Elf: Even after the movie came out? Didn’t it spoil everything for you?

Alien: I didn’t read the book when it first came out.

Elf: Why?

Alien: Because the reviews were so bad.

Elf: …You base your reading habits off the opinions of others?

Alien: …Well…yeah.

Elf: Dude…that’s so grade school.


 

I’ve noticed a trend in the digital book market. It goes something like this:

  • 5 out of 5 (overall stars) – gets a book a lot of attention.
  • 4 out of 5 – almost the same as 5/5
  • 3 out of 5 – Makes people uncomfortable. They have to check the reviews!
  • 2 out of 5 – automatic skip
  • 1 out of 5 – You’re basically invisible
  • 0 out of 5 – You’d be lucky if someone accidentally clicked on the cover

Am I wrong? You’re free to disagree.

One day I was browsing through Amazon looking for a decent book to read. I found one, sampled it, liked it, and bought it.

Then I noticed it had a poor overall star rating.

One reader wrote a long review on how the author’s writing style was amateurish, that their characters were cardboard, and the manuscript was in need of a professional editor. The icing on the cake was this last part, “don’t waste your money on this rubbish.”

This reader’s review was declared the “most helpful” and one user thanked the reviewer for saving them money and time. I doubt they even looked at the sample…

Ok, the reviewer is entitled to their opinion. But the commenter…

Reviews are opinions of another reader. I’m not suggesting that we should do away with the starring/review system like some totalitarian regime. However–we (as mature readers, budding authors, and authors) should be adult enough to form our own opinions / decisions based on our own judgments.

At least give the author the courtesy of reading their synopsis and a sample of their work. It’s free! Still want to read the reviews? Go for it! But don’t base your reading / buying decisions off of them.

…it’s so grade school!

 

That’s my opinion, what’s yours?

Book Review: The Unfinished Boy by Chrystalla Thoma

“Have you nothing to say?” Mother stood, hand fisted. She fixed him with her steel gaze. “You, Raven.” She pointed with a fine white finger, so much like his own. “Oh, I told your father he made a mistake, but he wouldn’t listen. He took you from your maker to soon.”

Raven tangled his hand in his black hair. This information was new. “I have a maker? Who is it?”

16112120I am happy to say that The Unfinished Boy was a pleasant surprise! The novel contains two short stories that could be read in one sitting (at least…that’s what I did). There’s the title story and another called The Truth.

 

The Unfinished Boy
Raven is a young clockwork boy who was stolen from his maker, Chryse, for the sake of the childless Queen. However, Raven cannot feel emotion because his maker didn’t finish him.

So when his “dad” dies he’s unable to feel any sadness. Actually, he spends more time worrying why his “mother” cries crystals then about the sudden loss of his “parent.” He understands the concept of death–but that’s it. In his eyes, life just means to breathe. This strains  his “mother’s” patience and she sends him off to the Crystal Mines, a horrible horrible prison, because she can’t have a son that doesn’t feel.

Great parenting skills, right?

I’m not going to spoil the story for you. But I bet you’re wondering:

  1. Does he eventually develop emotions?
  2. What does this Chryse person have to do with the story?
  3. Will he ever be finished?
  4. Am I going to stop numbering obvious questions?

Well that’s for you to find out.

All in all, I really enjoyed the steampunk feel that this short story had. Not only that, but I loved the overall question that the narrative asked: What is life without emotions?

 

The Truth

The Truth is the untold story of Rumpelstiltskin. Be it that this short story was…short…I don’t want to give away important tidbits. BUT! I will say that Rumpelstiltskin isn’t the ugly-villainous-green-goblin that we were all told. He’s actually a protector.

Of what?

Go figure it out.

 

Here’s Crystalla Thoma’s blog–you should check it out!

Monthly Wrap Up: Ending May

Wipes sweat from brow and flick it at you.

Whew! It’s been one tough month for me. There was my 21st birthday, studying, late night headaches, more headaches, more studying, stress, STRESS, finals, and finally a relief.

The wrap up for this month is pretty short because of the things I talked about here and here. However, I still got some blogging done so that’s a plus! Take that college!!

Here’s what happened:

Here’s what happened last month.

What are your plans for June?

Dear [Friend], Your Book Was…

About a week ago I read a post by Damyanti about giving support to indie authors. How? One way is to leave an honest review of their book.

Easy right?

Well, what if that indie author was your friend? Could you still leave an honest review?

When I first responded to Damyanti’s post I said that it would be wrong not to give my honest opinion on a book (regardless if the author was a friend or not). However, I didn’t take into account the power of a review. These days, reviews can be the deciding factor in a customer’s decision to buy something. So my review could hinder or help my friend’s book sells. Yikes!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I wont write an honest review, I’m just saying that I may be hesitant to.

Here’s what Damyanti had to say about the subject:

“I do buy books for fellow authors, read them too.

I share their books on social media and feature both the authors and their books on my blogs. But I’ve stopped short of doing a review. I’m terrified of reviewing author friends–I could write a balanced review and probably not offend any of my excellent blog friends. But then, I could. So I do everything I possibly can, other than a review.”

What’s your opinion? Could you write a honest review of a friend’s book?

*Picture Credit

Love at First Sentences

Books. How do I love thee?

Enough to go on a book buying frenzy!

So after abusing the “BUY” button on Amazon’s website, I began to wonder what possessed me to buy a virtual truck load of books? What about them drew my attention?

The first few sentences.

It’s said that these sentences are the most important part of the book and I agree. It’s usually what readers use to determine if they want to buy your work or not. For me, the first sentences simply have to grab my attention and make me wonder what’s going to happen next.

Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy) by Susan Kaye QuinnimagesFZTDAOJE

“A zero like me shouldn’t take public transportation.

The hunched driver wrinkled a frown before I even got on the bus. Her attempt to read my mind would get her nothing but the quiet of the street corner where I stood.

Defiance Rising (Book 1 of the Rising Trilogy) by Amy Miles

“I’ve been told that this world used to be a beautiful place, filled withuntitled twinkling electric lights and tables overflowing with food. A place where children played in parks and couples took leisurely strolls on Sunday. A time when humans weren’t slaves to aliens or nature. Staring out over the concrete graveyard before me, I find that hard to imagine.”

Artificial Evil (Book 1 of The Techxorcist) by Collin F. Barnesuntitled (2)

“In 2153 the lottery didn’t just change lives, it ended them. And Gerry Cardle’s numbers were up.”

 

What steps do you take before buying a book?

 

The Call of the Herald by Brian Rathbone

“The majestic grove that had drawn them was no more. Not even one of the greatoaks remained standing. They were strewn about the plateau as if felled by a mighty hand. Some were almost whole but has been torn from the soil and apparently flung about. Others had been twisted then sheared off, leaving fingers of wood sticking out from stumps like splinters of bone protruding from grisly wounds.”

Admittedly, I first snagged this book because it was free (and still is) for the kindle. And I don’t regret doing it! In fact, I also have the second book (also free) waiting for me to dig into. But enough of that…lets get to the review.

Catrin has no idea about the ancient powers that she controls. In fact, once she accidentally uses them on a schoolmate it frightens her 6513600and the people of her town (who ridicule her). While Catrin is dealing with that headache there’s battleships sailing from the mainland with the intent of capturing her. I wont spoil anything for you, but the rest of the book involves Catrin hiding in the forest and eventually using her powers to protect her friends.

I found this story to be an entertaining read! It was interesting to see Catrin turn from a vulnerable young woman to…well the Herald. Once she finally realized that there was no going back to her old life she immediately got with the program.

Also there’s an intricate backstory for Godsland. In fact, Catrin’s teacher spent pages explaining the history of Godsland to his class. I’m not a fan of excessive info dumping (which happens a lot in the story) but I was able to forgive it since it allowed me to further understand the story.

If you’re someone who enjoys soft fantasy stories, then you’ll definitely like this book.

 

What type of books do you like to read?

5 Books That Have Influenced Me

Before National Reading Month officially closes next week, I wanted to talk about five influential books.

You grumble.

Hey, hey, hey…these five books got me further invested into writing (other than this incident). You may even find them interesting. Show a little bit of enthusiasm! Sheesh…

1. The City of Towers By Keith Baker

In elementary, I never liked fantasy because I thought it was…unrealistic. That all changed on my fourteenth birthday where I received this book as a gift. Suddenly, I became obsessed with the idea of magic, elves, dragons or whatever else fantasy writers and authors could think up. Baker opened up my mind to other genres and writing styles.

2. Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn

I remember the day I found this book. I was browsing the shelves in my middle school library looking for something to sink my teeth into. My fingertips brushing across the spines of assorted books until finally stopping at Nightingale. I flipped open to the first page and was transported into imaginary world. Its theme: feudral japan. I actually attempted to write this story out word for word and claim it as my own…then someone explained to me what plagiarism is. After that big let-down I decided to get serious about writing and made it a goal to pen my own manuscript(s).

3. Demon in My View by Amelia Atwater Rhodes

By high school, the only vampire book that I read was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Demon in My View was my first paranormal romance book that I ever read. I enjoyed every word of it though it was the author that fascinated me. Why? Well Rhodes published her first book when she was 13! To me, that’s awesome.

4. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

So, we all know how it feels to be assigned a book to read. You start skipping to the last page, letting your mind wander while you’re reading, and so forth. That wasn’t the case for me with The Outsiders. Something about Darry, Sodapop, and Ponyboy really drew me in. Maybe it was the silly names, the friendships and convincing sibling rivalry? I think it was more the author that captured my attention. In the back flap I remember it saying that Hinton needed encouragement to write this book. The fact that she did write and publish it, was also an encouragement to me too.

5. Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

This was the second assigned book that struck a chord with me. I actually read a couple of days ahead of schedule because I was so enthralled with the conflict. I wanted to know what happened to the preacher’s son in the end and if anything could be done to keep him (the preacher’s son) from facing the death penalty. I hadn’t read a book that had so much emotional value before. I interpreted Paton’s novel as a lesson of endurance in the face of strife (for example, in writing terms, rejection slips or writer’s block).

There you have it. Five books that have influenced and encouraged me to write over the years.

If you could choose five books that have had an influence on you, what would they be?

Book Review: The Cleaner by Mark Dawson

“Milton did not pause to think. His reaction was hard-wired, a response that had been drilled into him across ten years so that now it was automatic, an expression of muscle memory without conscience, sudden and terribly deadly. He swung the rifle around and squeezed the trigger for a longer burst. The car was peppered with bullets, half a dozen slamming into the radiator and bonnet, another handful into the windscreen. The officer was struck in the face and chest, stumbling backwards and then dropping onto his back where he lay for a moment, twitching horribly. Milton walked towards him, the gun cradled low, and put a final bullet into his head. Finally, the man lay still.”

 

Does that get your attention or what? I got goosebumps when I read that scene for the first time. Right then, I knew I was hooked! There was no going back–I had to finish this novel.

Anyway, here’s a brief (non-spoiler) description of the story:

18244345

Milton is the deadliest assassin of Group Twelve. But he wants to change. He feels guilty of his past crimes and “quits” being an assassin. His world is flipped upside down when he saves Sharon Warrener from her suicide attempt. He devotes the rest of his time trying to help her with her rebellious son Elijah as a way of trying to redeem himself. Though at the same time, his past is lingering in the shadows, ready to jump out at any moment.

The Cleaner was the ultimate page-turner! I’ve lost countless hours of sleep trying to figure out if Milton was going to pull through or if Elijah would finally go down the straight and narrow. It’s a story about family, love, trust, and redemption with a slight hint of James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Jack Reacher mixed in. If you’re like me and like to be thrilled at each turn of the page, dazzled with smooth descriptions, or just like to sink your teeth into a juicy story than you’ll love this.

 

What do you think of The Cleaner? Sound interesting?

An Update and A Big Thankyou to Followers!

Within only three weeks of opening up Inky Tavern, its managed to gather a lofty amount of patrons. It is a great pleasure to be able to do this blog (which I never expected to become this awesome) and to able to have you guys. Thanks a-billion!

Alright, now for the post.

College is getting to the point where it can induce headaches that puts heart attacks to shame. Yep, it’s midterms. With so much studying going on it’s a wonder how I am still able to even write this post. To be honest, I think I’ve started reciting the Declaration of Independence in my sleep!

Not that I’m complaining. Hardwork is apart of life.

Legend_Marie_Lu_Book_cover

Over the weekend I bought Legend by Marie Lu. I’m anxious to start reading it but…sadly…it’ll have to wait until after midterms.

I also worked on Restitution (my current WIP). I am dangerously close to finishing up my draft (it’s coming along very slowly). I can’t wait to revise, send it off to an editor, and then publish.

Crosses fingers, jumping up and down.

Breathes.

Baby steps, Desiree, baby steps…

Well that’s what my week has been like.

 

How’s yours? Also, how was the revision process for you (assuming you’ve written something)?