Friday, May 27, 2011

Always Watching by: Brandilyn and Amberly Collins

The daughter of a rock star has it all - until murder crashes her world.

Sixteen-year-old Shaley O'Connor has the life that many people could only dream of. Her Mom, Rayne, is the lead singer in a band. Shaley's excessive life is full of limos, hotels, and behind-the-stage secrets. Besides that, Shaley is beautiful and famous. But then something happens. Shaley finds her friend, Tom Hutchens's, body backstage... he was shot in the eye.

From then on Shaley isn't even allowed out of her hotel room without a personal bodyguard. But bodyguards can't do it all. They can't keep her safe from the notes and white roses that keep appearing in mysterious places. They can't quiet her fears that Tom's death was just the beginning. They can't keep the paparazzi from stalking her non-stop all day. One of the paparazzi even goes to serious measures to get a picture of Shaley, including setting off a fire alarm, harassing her, and following her wherever she goes. The paparazzi don't care about Tom's death, they only want a "good story" to send into a magazine, where Shaley's life, now a living nightmare, would be displayed for the world to see.

But Shaley's mother refuses to believe that someone in the band could be responsible for this. After all, she knows them all too well for them to do something like that... right?

Somebody keeps sending Shaley white roses.White roses have a special symbolism to Shaley and her mother. White roses were what Shaley's Dad gave her Mom when he was courting her, no one is supposed to know that, though. But Shaley doesn't know where her Dad is, or even who he is. Where is God in a time like this?

Shaley learns that the person who was murdered, Tom, was secretly in love with her. This only raises more questions. Is the killer out to get her? Shaley's friend, Brittany, senses that something evil is going to happen. Life may seem pretty bad, but it's about to get worse.

My thoughts:

I liked this book!

One thing I would like to point out, though, is that this is a Christian book, but God is only mentioned twice. Once on the back-cover, and once inside the book. Actually, I didn't even realize it was a Christian book until my sister told me. To me, I think that a Christian author should make God shine through in their books so that it's clear that he's there.

I really liked the ending. It was such a surprise! Though I was kind of hoping it would be someone else who did it. But isn't that what everybody does? Makes you like the bad guy?

I thought the bad guy's reason for killing the two men was kind of silly, but it's never not silly to murder someone.

Language: Though they never specify the words, they will sometimes say things like 'Mom uttered a curse,' stuff like that.


Romance/Sexual Content: As I mentioned above, Tom (the person who was murdered) was secretly in love with Shaley. She found out after his death, because a detective found some paper with the words "I love Shaley" written on it, and he has pictures of him with her plastered all over the wall. I don't want to get into specifics, because that could spoil the book, but the reason that Tom (and another man) were killed, was because the killer was in love with Shaley.

Violence: Of course, having the two men die, is violence. Also the fact that the two men were shot in the eye doesn't make it any more pleasant. After that it's just smaller things, like the paparazzi (which Shaley is terrified of) crowding in so close that Shaley can't breath and having the possibility of them trampling her... things like that.

Drugs/alcohol: None that I remember, but there might be some, I'm not sure.

8/10 stars

13 and up (one review I read said sixteen and up. But I didn't want to rate it that high, since I don't think it needs it. Besides, I'm not even thirteen yet, so I guess, according to my own review, I shouldn't be reading it :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Author Interview with Heather Burch

Heather Burch has agreed to do an interview with me! Book one of her HALFINGS series will be available February, 2012. Visit her website HERE.

And here's her bio:
Heather Burch grew up weaving stories and rewriting movies when she didn’t like the endings. She loves a good romance if it’s set in the midst of danger with the fate of the world on the line and where characters narrowly escape with their lives. She is an award winning author and conference speaker. Book one in her series, Halflings, will debut in February of 2012 from Zondervan publishing. You can find more information about her at

Here's a little taste of her book:
Seventeen-year-old Nikki must entrust her life to three half human, half angel young men; the Halflings are sworn to protect her at all costs, but when two fall for Nikki, it puts more than their lives in danger; their very eternal souls hang in the balance.

1. When did you first begin writing?

I’ve always written. My first story, I was six or seven. It was about a trip to the beach. My mom sent it to our local newspaper office in Branson, Missouri—my hometown. The paper published the story. I guess that could be considered my first writing credit. *smile*
2. Do you enjoy writing poetry at all?
I wrote a lot of poetry during junior high and high school. It was a great way to express myself. Lots of frustration and confusion during those times, so poetry became a terrific outlet. I was able to explore territory on the written page that is difficult to sort through.
3. What was your first reaction when you found out that your HALFLING series was going to be published?
Shock, excitement, relief all rolled into one. I really believed in the Halflings. I also knew it would be a tough sell because it breaks a ton of unwritten rules. But I believed in the characters. I had to write about Nikki, Mace, Raven, Vine, and all the other Halflings. Their story took me captive. Which is why selling the series was a relief. I’d like to do ten more Halfling books. And because of the uniqueness of the characters, that’s totally plausible. The storyline has endless possibilities. If people love them the way I hope they love them, I’ll get to write several more.

4. Do you have any hobbies/things that you really enjoy doing?
We live near the beach now, and I love anything having to do with the ocean. I’m a certified scuba diver, but I don’t go as often as I’d like. I love to travel! I’m constantly looking for a conference to speak at or somewhere to go. Cruises are a favorite too. In fact, any boat will do. I love being on the water.

5. Where did you get the idea for the HALFLING series?
Years ago, I read a scripture that really stuck in my head. It suggested there was a time when male angels roamed the earth and actually took human wives. I’d always wanted to explore that scenario in a contemporary setting. But that was just step one of the idea.
I think teenagers are awesome. I wanted to write a story where the fate of the world rests in the hands of teenagers. I wanted a supernatural element to the story as well. One part X-men, one part angel fiction. And I wanted it to be “edge of your seat” suspenseful. All those thoughts were rolling around in my head. So, I started playing the “What if” game. What if the offspring of that human/angel union still roamed the earth? What if once they “tap into” their angelic ability, they stay teenagers? What if the entire world rests in the hands of these super human beings?
Then I got a picture of the first scene where Nikki is being chased through the woods by hell-hounds.
Once I wrote that, the story just kept coming! Literally, it consumed my thoughts for months. And with each passing day, the Halflings became more and more real.

6. Are you working on any books right now (aside from the Halfling book)?
Zondervan purchased the first three books in the Halfling Series, so those will keep me busy for a while. If the books do well, the door is open for many more—which I LOVE! The Halflings are quirky and fun to write, so I’d be happy to camp right here for a good long time!

7. What's your absolute favourite book to read? How about your favourite author?
That’s such a tough question for me because different things hit me at different times. Right now, I’m loving the Hunger Games. It’s so well written and beautifully crafted. Another recent favorite is Maria Snyder’s Inside Out.
8. What was your greatest inspiration to write? Did you ever want to be something else?
My mom was a huge inspiration because she always wrote beautiful poetry and encouraged me to write. Then, I married into a family of published authors. Book authors! I was gloriously ruined. But, I've done lots of other things. I worked in the spa industry for ten years. And I've always worked with teens in some fashion.

9. What genre is your favourite to write in?
Young adult. No question.

10. Do you have a favourite writing quote?
Yes. It comes from my first writer’s conference after the sale of the Halflings. Roxanne St. Clair was the key note speaker. She was talking about inspiration and writing great books. Her quote? Write Your Butt Off Every Day!
I will always remember that conference because Roxanne St. Clair was making her way around the room chatting with people and introducing herself before the conference began and when she asked my name, I told her and she said, “I know who you are!” Wow. It stunned me. I didn’t even know what to say, and at that point playing it cool was out of the question what with the big cheesy grin on my face and all!

11. What's the best part of being an author?
There are so many things I love about it, I don’t know where to begin. I really enjoy connecting with people. And I love helping people discover their own potential as a writer. I love words. People who read lots of books share my passion for words. It connects us.

12. What stage are you on in the HALFLING series (still editing, ready for printing, etc.)?
Halflings, book one in the series will release in February, 2012. I’m doing some final edits on book one right now. I am working on book two and will send it to my editor in the next couple of months, then on to revisions for book three. I’ve already done quite a bit of work on books four and five, but they will need a lot of attention before they’re ready. Book two will release about six months after book one, book three, the same.
13. Is life any different now that you're an author?

In some ways. I don’t feel any different, but sometimes now I get treated differently. Suddenly, people listen. I try not to give advice on writing unless I feel pretty sure about what I’m talking about. It used to frustrate me when I would give someone a solid piece of advice—you know, the kind that could turn an okay book into an awesome book—and I could almost see the words floating into one ear, passing behind their glazed eyes, and right out the other side. Glazed eyes. Maybe I’m just that boring. Hee hee. Anyway, I love, love, love to see people succeed! Writing is a tough business and anything I can do to help someone makes me feel great. So, I guess that’s how life feels different. People tend to listen.

14. How has your faith influenced your writing?

That's a tough question to answer because I don't think there's any area of life that our faith doesn't influence. It is everything to me, so it probably comes through in the writing. But at the same time, I'm vastly aware that my story is fiction. I'm not writing to "convince" people of anything. I'm not trying to make them see the light because as an author of fiction, I don't believe that can be your main goal. My books are deeply rooted and grounded in Biblical themes like sacrifice, loyalty, and being willing to lay down ones life. But as an author of fiction, it's my job to tell an amazing story and if it sparks people's questions about who God is, then that's a huge bonus. When the weight of responsibility gets overwhelming, God quickly reminds me He called me to write fiction. Not nonfiction. If not for Him, I would never have launched into this series of books.
Halflings by Heather Burch will release in February, 2012 from Zondervan Publishing.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Author Interview with Melanie Dickerson

I'm happy to say that I have here an author interview with Melanie Dickerson. I reviewed her book HERE.

Here's her picture:

And now for the interview:

Tell us about yourself.

I am a wife and mother of two school-age daughters and I live near Huntsville, Alabama. My life is pretty boring, which I’m thankful for, since writing seems to provide all the drama I can safely handle! I am a graduate of The University of Alabama with a degree in special education, and I spent a year in Ukraine and a summer in Germany.

Tell us about your current release.

My debut novel, The Healer’s Apprentice, is published by Zondervan as a Young Adult romance and was released this month. It’s a historical, set in medieval 14th century Germany, with a wonderful castle and medieval town as the main setting. It’s full of intrigue and plot twists, deception and loyalty, but most of all, romance!

How did you come up with the idea for The Healer’s Apprentice? Was that your original title for this book? If not, what was you working title?

I came up with the idea for The Healer’s Apprentice while watching Disney and Barbie princess movies with my little girls. I had loved fairy tales all my life, and one day when we were watching Sleeping Beauty, I started thinking, what if this story was rewritten to be more realistic? What if the hero felt duty- and honor-bound to his betrothed? What if he fell in love with a peasant girl but was horrified at the idea of betraying his betrothed in that way? After all, men want respect more than anything else, and he would lose the respect of everyone if he shirked his duty to marry his betrothed. So that was the beginning of my idea for this story. And the original title was The Woodcutter’s Daughter. I had a really hard time getting used to the new title after calling it The Woodcutter’s Daughter for three and a half years!

What first gave you the idea for this book?

I’ve always loved fairy tales, and when I started getting the idea for The Healer’s Apprentice, my two girls were very young and they watched a lot of the Disney princess movies and Barbie movies which were based on fairy tales. One day they were watching Sleeping Beauty and I started thinking how unrealistic it was that a prince, who was betrothed from childhood to a princess, would meet a peasant girl in the woods and decide on the spot to marry her. I started thinking, what would this story be like if it was realistic? If it actually happened? And I thought, if this guy was betrothed and fell in love with someone else, he would feel a lot of inner conflict. He would want the respect of his family and his people, so he’d fight his attraction to this girl he’d fallen in love with. So that’s how the idea started.

Please share how you plot and what your daily writing goals are.

It varies greatly! I don’t have a set way to plot. I usually let the plot come to me gradually. Sometimes I use the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook or another method, article, or checklist to help me with plotting. Mostly I just lie awake at night and think about all the possibilities. And my daily writing goals vary according to whether my editor needs me to do revisions. Normally, my goal is simply to get as much done as possible between the time my kids leave for school and the time they get home!

Do you have a link to a place to read the first chapter or an excerpt of this book?

Yes! Zondervan put the whole first chapter on their website:

Can you give us a sneak peek at what you have cooking up next? Can you tell us something about it? Do you have a release date?

Well, I have a second medieval YA romance, a Beauty and the Beast story tentatively titled The Beholder. I don’t know yet if Zondervan is going to publish it. I’ve been revising it, and I think it’s a really strong story. Hopefully I will be able to announce a release date in a few months.
I also have an adult series, set in 1800’s Alabama, that my agent is working on finding a publisher for. Hopefully I can announce something about that soon, too.

Do you have advice for the beginning writer?

Keep writing and don't give up! It takes most people a long time to get published, so be persistent. Secondly, be teachable. Learn all you can about the craft of writing by reading books on writing, articles, and blogs. Thirdly, write as much as you can. Write short stories, poetry, novels, whatever you enjoy writing, and just keep writing. The more you write the better you'll become. Besides, it will give you opportunities to apply all you're learning from the books, articles, and blog on writing. Lastly, after you start submitting your work to publishers and agents, look at rejections as just another necessary step to getting published. Whatever you do, don't let a rejection devastate you. It's okay to be disappointed but you have to keep writing and submitting. A rejection is your "red badge of courage" so be proud of those rejections!

How can readers get in contact with you?

I’m on Facebook as Melanie Dickerson, on Goodreads , and you can contact me through my website,

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Healer's Apprentice by: Melanie Dickerson

Rose has been chosen to work as a healer's apprentice, at the Hagenheim Castle! This is an unlikely turn of events, as Rose is a woodcutter's daughter, so her status is rather low. While she is squeamish about the sight of blood and doesn't like sticking needles in people, especially when they scream, Rose is determined to prove herself to Frau Geruscha, the lady she is apprenticed to.

Rose originally agreed to be the healer's apprentice because she didn't want to have to marry unless she found true love. Her mother's wish is for Rose to marry an aging bachelor, old enough to be Rose's father, that is disgusting and cruel and makes Rose feel ill. Rose's wish is to remain a healer's apprentice, eventually becoming an actual healer. Her chance to prove herself comes when Frau Geruscha leaves for a little while and Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is hurt and comes to her for help. It is Rose that must sew up his wound and heal him.

During the process of healing him something very unfortunate happens. Rose falls in love with Lord Hamlin. But of course it would be impossible to marry him, her being only a woodcutter's daughter and him being the future duke. He doesn't even notice her, or does he?

After two quite unlikely meetings with Lord Hamlin, Rose begins to wonder about him. Then he invites Rose to a ball, where she meets Lord Hamlin's brother, Lord Rupert. Lord Rupert is an irresponsible young man who falls in love with every girl he meets. But Rose is different. He wants to marry Rose. Lord Rupert is quite the contrast with his brother, Lord Hamlin, who is dignified, gentle, and carries the weight of his brother on his shoulders. Both wish for Rose's hand in marriage, but Lord Hamlin is already betrothed, to a lady who is in hiding.

Then Rose finds out that her parents are not her real parents. So who are they? And where is the girl Lord Hamlin is engaged to? Who is she? Rose must search for her true identity.

Here is the book trailer for The Healer's Apprentice!


My thoughts:

This is a great book! It's a modern/medieval twist on Sleeping Beauty.

My favourite character is Rose. She showed courage when she refused Lord Reupert's marriage proposal. She also was very kind when she didn't want want Lord Hamlin to step down from his position as duke so he could marry her.
Objectionable Content:

Language: None that I can remember.
Romance/Sexual content: Lord Hamlin and Lord Rupert both fall in love with Rose. Lord Rupert comes to call on Rose every day and kisses her fingers a few times. He also kisses her lips once. Lord Hamlin calls on her a bit. They kiss on their wedding day.
Violence: Rose gets attacked by a man that wants to marry her and she refuses. He puts a curse on her so she can see demons (or something like that. I don't remember.)
Drugs/alcohol: People get drunk at the ball, and at Lord Hamlin and Rose's wedding.

9/10 stars
12 and up
Highly recommend. I could not put this book down!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Author Interview with Denise Jaden

I have a very special post. Denise Jaden, author of Losing Faith, has agreed to do an interview with me (I reviewed her book HERE)! I highly recommend that you check it out.
Denise Jaden's website: Click HERE.
Her picture....

.....and her book.

Now, on to the interview.

1. So, is it true that "Losing Faith" is a NaNoWriMo novel? Did it really
only take you one month to write?

Yes, it's true! I actually wrote the first draft of LOSING FAITH in 21 days
during NaNoWriMo 2007. Just to be clear, I worked on an outline during
Sept./Oct. of that year and then spent about a year revising the manuscript
after NaNo, so it takes me much longer to end up with a polished book.

2. Are you working on any novels/stories right now?
Yes, I'm always working on something! At the moment I'm involved in edits on
a book currently titled APPETITE FOR BEAUTY (but I believe the title will be
changing). It's about the fragile relationship between two sisters, one, a
gifted photographer, and one, a dancer who struggles with bulimia. It will
be out in the summer of 2012.

I'm also slowly working on a companion novel to LOSING FAITH. It will be in
Tessa's point of view and is titled FINDING HOPE.

3. When you were little, what did you want to be?
I've wanted to be a lot of things, but a couple I remember are: a dancer
(I'm still very involved with my Polynesian dance troupe) and a themed
wedding planner.

4. Where'd you first get the idea for "Losing Faith?"When I was sixteen, I lost my best friend. I think the main inspiration
behind LOSING FAITH was that loss, that wishing so hard that I would have
paid more attention while I had the chance.

5. Is life any different now that you're an author?
The only real difference now is that I am often under deadlines for
revisions. I used to make self-imposed deadlines, and I still do to some
degree, but the deadlines my editors give me have to come first over most
other projects now in order to meet them.

6. Who was your greatest support while you worked on "Losing Faith"?
My awesome critique partner, Shana Silver. I could send her anything at a
moment's notice and she'd send me thoughtful feedback right away. She was
such an enormous help, in fact, that I dedicated the book to her.

7. Do you have a favourite writing quote?
"A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for
other people."  ~Thomas Mann

And I love this one too:
"Write your first draft with your heart.  Re-write with your head."  ~From
the movie Finding Forrester

8. Do you have a favourite author/book?
I have many, many favourite books, but I'd have to say at the top of my list
of favourite authors would be Laurie Halse Anderson. Her writing voice is
always thought-provoking and easy to read, and I also think she's just a
wonderful advocate for reading and writing.

9. What was your first reaction when you found out your book was going to be

Seriously, it was a little hard to believe, after many years of rejection. I
let out a small yelp and woke up some house guests we had visiting at the

10. How long have you been writing?
Around eight or nine years.

11. What's the best part of being an author?
There are so many wonderful things about it: having a group of amazingly
creative people collaborate to make it better, seeing your book in printed
form for the first time, walking into a bookstore or finding a blog where
your book is marked as a "favourite," these are all incredibly rewarding

12. What was your biggest inspiration to be a writer?
I remember reading a book by Jane Hamilton (A MAP OF THE WORLD) and it was
the first time I stopped and reread sentences because I was awe-struck by
the perfection of them. I remember thinking back then that I would love to
be able to put words together that well.

13. Do you have any hobbies? What's your favourite thing to do?I'm a professional Polynesian dancer, and love performing with my dance
troupe. Besides that, I spend a lot of time reading and hanging out with my

14. How long did it take you to edit "Losing Faith" after you had the first
draft done?

I spent about a year editing it myself with the help of critique partners
and then once it sold, about another year editing it with an editor. It took
about a year and a half from selling the book to seeing it on the shelves,
which is quite normal.

15. What's your best tip for wanna-be-writers?
Read a lot, write a lot. Don't compare yourself or your journey with others.
Everyone will take a different path with writing and especially on a path
toward publication, and it doesn't necessarily mean another writer is better
or worse than you. Enjoy the place you're in now--there are rewards to every
season as a writer, even the pre-publication season.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Author Interview with Stephanie Morrill

I am pleased to announce that Stephanie Morrill has agreed to do an interview with me on my blog (I posted this yesterday, but blogger deleted it. As you may have noticed, blogger wasn't working).

Check out her blog: Go Teen Writers,
or her website.

The three books she has out so far....

Here's her bio: Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. Her only talents are reading, writing, and drinking coffee, so career options were somewhat limited. Fortunately, she discovered a passion for young adult novels a few years ago and has been writing them ever since. Stephanie is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series and is currently working on other young adult projects. She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers and does so on her blog To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out

And now, the interview:

1. When did you first start writing?

I fell in love with writing in first grade and became serious about pursuing publication when I was a junior in high school. That's when I wrote my first novel and started sending out query letters.

2. What's your favourite thing about being an author?

I have two favorites. 1. Getting paid to do what I love - write stories. 2. Interacting with readers. I love hearing about their unique lives and how the Skylar Hoyt books have affected them.

3. When did you first know that you wanted to be an author? Did you ever want to be anything else?

In first grade I started saying that I wanted to be an author when I grew up. We had time everyday in class to write stories. When we finished, the school bound them for us and we could read them to the class. That was my favorite part of school. Sometimes I was interested in other professions, but writing was always in the picture.

4. Do you have any hobbies or things that you really enjoy doing?

Reading, as you might guess. I also love cooking. Right now cooking is tricky because I have a 10 month old who loves to sneak upstairs or get into the TV cables when I'm not looking.

5. Do you start your stories on paper or the computer?

Computer. Though on a beautiful day, I still love grabbing a notebook and a pen and heading outdoors to write.

6. How many books have you written? Which of your own books are your favourite?

Oh dear. Lots. I've lost track. I have three published books, which are all a part of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series (Me, Just Different, Out with the In Crowd, and So Over It.) I have about five other manuscripts that are quality, five or six that will never see the light of day, and about ten that are half-finished. I don't know that I have a favorite. I really like So Over It, which is the third book in The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series. When I started it, I had no idea what was going to happen, but everything came together great, and I'm really proud of the finished product.

7. Are you working on any books right now?

Yes. Right now I'm polishing up a book about a high school junior trying to get her manuscript published. It's been so much fun to work on! A lot of the teen writers at have had a hand in it, and it's been really fun to collaborate with them.

8. How long did it take you to write and edit your first book?

A long time, if we're talking about the first book I was able to publish, Me, Just Different. That book took about 4 years of on-and-off work. Mostly because I still had lots to learn about what worked in a story and what didn't. Out with the In Crowd and So Over It were way easier to write. They each took about 4 months.

9. What is your absolute favourite author and book?

I have three. I know she's all the rage now so I'm hardly unique in saying this, but I adore Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Also, last year I fell in love with The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson. A wonderful book. And my favorite young adult book is This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen.

10. Do you have a favourite writing quote?

I have lots. One that I'm particularly fond of is Stephen King. He's talking about why he likes hanging out with other writers, and he says, "We are writers, and we never ask one another where we get our ideas; we know we don't know." Which is kind of an interesting lead in to your next question...

11. Where did you first get your idea for your "The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt" series?

I don't know. :) In all seriousness, the idea germinated with Skylar herself. Up until I wrote Me, Just Different, all my main characters had been just like me. Quiet girls who hung around on the sidelines. I wanted to break away from that, and write about someone completely different than me. Oh, it was so much fun. Skylar is beautiful on the outside, but an utter mess on the inside, and it was so fun to write her transformation.

12. Is life any different now that you are an author?

In many ways, no, but that's because I treated writing like a job before I ever got paid. My husband encouraged me to stay home and write, to invest in the career I really wanted. Fortunately he made enough money that this was an option. So for about 3 years, I didn't have a day job and I didn't have kids. I sat in front of my computer from about 9 to 4 everyday. I wrote and I networked with writers and agents and editors. I worked more then than I do now, honestly, but that's because I have two kids.

One odd way that life is different now is that I write less. You would think being published would mean needing to write more, but it doesn't. I certainly have season where that's how I spend the bulk of my time, but there's also marketing and promotion stuff that needs to be done.

13. What's your best writing tip for wanna-be-writers?

It's so hard to choose. That's why I started Go Teen Writers ( because I always had such a hard time narrowing my answer for questions like this.

Something I think is really important is pushing yourself to write the whole story from beginning to end.

I love writing beginnings so for a long time, that's all I did. I wrote until I ran out of steam. And then I'd get excited about some new idea, so I'd cast aside the 25 pages I'd written and work on my new idea until I burned out on it. Rinse and repeat. I didn't see much growth as a writer until I really pushed myself to write the whole thing, not just the fun beginning stuff.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Little Princess by: Frances Hodgson Burnett

Poor. Rich. Magical.

Once upon a magical time...

Poor Sara Crewe is made to go stay at Miss Minchin's school for girls. Of course, being there isn't so poor... at first. Sara is given expensive toys and beautiful clothes. She is given maids to wait on her and her father, as a going away present, gives her a doll. But yet something is wrong with the academy. Sara doesn't like it and wishes for her papa back.

Snakey, sly Miss Minchin is mean to Sara, but in such a round about way that Sara can't accuse her of anything. In the classroom Miss Minchin is rude to Sara and doesn't give her a chance to speak up for herself. One time she told Sara that she had to learn French. Sara tried to explain to her that she already spoke French, but Miss Minchin would not listen and called someone to teach her. She could have saved herself a lot of embarrassment and trouble if only she'd let Sara explain that she lived in a French-speaking household. She actually was French! From then on Miss Minchin had a particular dislike for Sara.

While most of the girls are jealous of her, and Miss Minchin doesn't like her, life continues to go on. Sara fascinates some of the girls in the academy and she forms a fast friendship with them. She even befriends the maid. One of Sara's biggest enemies, Lavinia, doesn't approve of the friendship that grows between Sara and her maid. Lavinia is jealous of Sara because Sara took her place in the "rich person's spot" at school.

Then the worst thing possible happens to Sara. Her father dies. She can no longer afford to go to the academy. All her beautiful things are taken from her and she is forced to work in the kitchen, under the pretense that she is a lucky child to even be allowed to continue being in the school. Sara's precious doll, the gift from her father, is taken away from her. But she isn't afraid. This makes Miss Minchin even angrier at her. Her only companion is the maid, the few friends she had who were willing to speak to her after her status dropped, and her imagination. She uses her imagination to create wonderful stories to entertain herself and the other maid while they work. Sara is so full of spirit, but will it be enough to survive Miss Minchin's academy for girls?

My thoughts:

This book is a true classic! Sara Crewe is such a nice girl who befriends all the unwanted people in the academy. She doesn't put on airs about being the richest and she tells stories to everyone, even the maid (which was greatly disapproved upon). If you're looking for a cozy, heart-warming, magical book that you can curl up on the couch and read for hours, you've found it!

Objectional Content:LanguageNone.
Romance/sexual content: None.
Violence: None.
Drugs/alcohol: None.

8 and up
8/10 stars

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Losing Faith by: Denise Jaden

A terrible secret. A terrible fate.

In this fascinating novel by Denise Jaden, Brie Jenkins must deal with the death of her sister, Faith. Once Brie is finally over the shock of her sister's death, she begins to question how her sister died. She is told that Faith fell off a cliff, but is that the whole story? Or is there more to it than that? Brie turns detective to find out how her sister really died, and finds more questions than closure. Like, why did her perfect, church-going sister stop attending youth group just before her mysterious fall from a cliff?

Word has it that Faith wandered off on her own, got too close to the edge, and fell off. Some people think she committed suicide. But Brie thinks there is more to eat than that. And she is determinded to find out what. Brie decides to talk to Faith's best friend, Celeste. If anyone could shed more light on the situation, Celeste could. But Celeste is nervous around Brie and won't talk to her, making Brie even more determinded to find out what is going on.

On the side, Brie also must deal with her parents fighting and her boyfriend (Dustin) leaving her for another. At school she is suddenly tossed aside, unwanted, and friendless. She must live with not knowing the truth.

Brie and the girl that she once feared (Tessa) join together with a boy named Alis, the brother of the girl who was there when Faith had her fall, to find out the truth of Faith's death. Brie joins the Bible study group that Faith was with when she died, and soon finds out that there is a lot more to them than meets the eye.
On the final night, the night when Brie finds all the answers, justice is done. Brie finds her own life in danger, the same danger that Faith had to face.

Here is the book trailer for Losing Faith.

My thoughts:

This book was excellent!

The characters were full of emotion, and they felt so real! Big thumbs up to the title, too! I love things with double meanings. The cover art is beautiful as well.

Brie has to deal with Faith's death. She and Faith never really understood each other after Faith became a Christian, and she regretted not knowing more of her sister after she died.

My favourite character was Brie. She was the black sheep of her church-going family. She never gave up on finding out the mystery behind her sister's death, and she had a lot of courage on that last night.

Objectional Content:

LanguageThere is some swearing in this book
Romance/sexual content: Brie has a boyfriend, Dustin, and he leaves her. However, before they break up, they make plans to "do it". Fortunately, before they can, they are interupted. There is also a boy named Nathan who Brie meets in a grocery store that flirts with her. Also, Brie and Alis (near the end of the book) kiss.
Violence: It's not exactly violent, but the end of the book has a tense scene that includes hypnotism and two people almost getting pushed off a cliff by another girl, Reena. Reena also intended to throw herself off the cliff. 
Drugs/alcohol: Brie goes to a party with Dustin and Dustin gets drunk.

13 and up
9/10 stars

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Normally I like to post about books, but Sierra @ Mission Beautiful awarded me. Thank you for the award, Sierra!

To claim the award I have to:
~list 7 things about myself
~award some other bloggers
~thank the person who gave me the award

About me:

1. I love, love, love tomato soup! (but I can't eat tomatoes! and no, I'm not allergic)
2. My birthday's in February
3. When I grow up I'm going to be a music teacher and a writer
4. I considered being a whale or dolphin trainer for a while
5. I have a dog named "Chubby"
6. My eyes are blue
7. I love spending time with people

I award:

Scezzle @ PAWS
Tarissa @ In The Bookcase