Friday, October 19, 2018

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I have a great YA book to share with everyone today, it is Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.

The Story-
Lanzlo Strange is an orphan, raised to be a junior librarian. He spends all his free time with books, researching the lost city of Weep. A city that many now believe to be just a legend. But, when a party of strangers come to town claiming to be from Weep, Lanzlo does everything he can to make sure he leaves with them.

Included within a group of scholars, Lanzlo learns what happened to the city of Weep two hundred years ago, and now the people of the city are hoping his new group can fix things. You see, there is a floating palace stuck above the city, blocking all light. It was the home of the gods, before the people rose up in rebellion and slew them.

Now, above the city in the floating palace lives five godlings, half breed gods who escaped the slaughter. They each have certain gifts and want nothing more than to get revenge on the humans who killed their parents and siblings. All except for one, a blue skinned goddess who is able to invade the dreams of humans, including Lanzlo's. Together, the two of them realize there is room in the world for both gods and humans, but they have to convince everyone else.

My Thoughts-
Amazing, creative and original. This story has it all and doesn't pull punches. How does the author come up with such original ideas? Wow. She does tend to get a bit over descriptive, and I found myself skipping paragraphs of description just to move on with the plot. The characters are solid, with real voice and feelings. There is great tension. The reader gets drawn into the mystery of Weep from the get go and I loved the pace of its reveal. It kept me turning the pages.

Though I am including this as a YA selection, it actually starts with the main character as a kid and goes till he's around twenty. There are references to sex, which fit the part because these five half gods are living and growing up by themselves for fifteen years. However, scenes cut off and no descriptions are given.

The ending surprised the heck out of me. I really thought something would turn around, but no. So, I'm excited to see how the sequel deals with things. I'm giving this book 4.5 stars!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

After the Fall- Short Story Writing Contest!

A new writing contest to tell you about! A short story contest from The Writer Magazine. The link to enter is below the graphic.


and don't forget the Serendipity Lit YA contest

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Grammar Guru- Faulty Parallelism

For Inside The Publishing World Wednesday I am spotlighting a grammar tip from grammar guru, author Terry Deighton. I had the privilege of listening to her tips at my recent ANWA conference. I'll be spotlighting several of her tips in the Wednesday's to come.

Faulty Parallelism

Faulty parallelism occurs when two or more parts of a sentence are similar in meaning but not parallel (or grammatically similar) in form. It often occurs with paired constructions and items in a series. The form, function, and parts of speech need to be the same in both phrases.

For example:
Wrong- I like eating cookies and books.
Right- I like eating cookies and writing books.

About Terry Deighton
Terry Deighton lives in Washington, the state not D.C., with her husband, Al. Their six children are grown and gone, and pets tend to complicate life. When she is not visiting her children and grandchildren, writing and revising, again and again, she works as a substitute teacher.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Rosetown by Cynthia Rylant

For Middle-Grade Monday I am reviewing Rosetown by Cynthia Rylant. Don't forget to check out the other blogs hosting MMGM over at Always in the Middle

The Story-
Nine-year-old Flora lives in Rosetown, Indiana. Things have changed greatly for her fourth grade year. Her beloved dog passed away, a new boy is in school, and her parents have separated. Despite all the turmoil, life has a way of continuing on, and Flora discovers her roots. She adopts a cat, befriends the new boy Yury, and learns piano.

During the week she goes back and forth between her parents houses, the yellow house and the old house. She feels unbalanced, but finds her stability in the town's old bookstore, Wings and a Chair, where Flora's mother works three days a week. Her and Yury spend many afternoons there reading adventure and survival books.

As Flora's life slowly returns to a more normal pattern, she is delighted to find out that her parents will be starting a business together, and hopefully starting a new life.

My Thoughts-
Rosetown is a year in the life book. Basically we start in the Spring of Flora's ninth year and journey with her through the Spring of tenth year. All the changes she goes through are tough on her, and the author does a good job balancing the worries with the new experiences that pop up for Flora.

It is a simple, quiet story that leaves one with a feeling of contentment when they are finished reading. The setting adds to this feeling. The story takes place in 1972, a time when kids said groovy and there were no electronics taking up their free time. For child readers it will be a great peek into the life of someone their own age who is trying to figure out life and friendships.

Interestingly, the story is told by an omnipresent narrator, who chimes in  occasionally with overall information, but the story reads mostly from Flora's point-of-view. I can't say the book blew me away, but it is well written and full of hope. I'm giving it 4 stars!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Promised Pics from ANWA Northwest Retreat

I had so much fun this weekend at the ANWA Northwest Retreat. The only damper was my cold, which decided to spring into full force the first day I arrived. Still, I got to go to some amazing classes and meet new people. I'll be posting information I gathered over the next few Wednesday's for Inside the Publishing World Writing Tips. But first, here are the promised pictures.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Having a Blast at ANWA

I wanted to share with you the awesome time I’m having this weekend at the American Night Writers Association Northwest Writers Retreat. The sun decided to shine for us up here in Washington too! You'll see the sun causing an issue in several of the author pics, lol. But that's just because I point and click. I'll add some more photo's on tomorrow's post.

I’m meeting with some amazing ladies and learning more about the world of publishing. Just take a look at these amazing authors.

Michelle Hansen- author of Before They Find UsPainted Blind, and Relax, Girl You've Got This.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Serendipity Literary Contest

Heads up YA authors, I just got this notice in my email!

Serendipity Literary Agency is hosting our 9th Annual Young Adult Novel Discovery Contest.

Do you have a young adult novel—or a YA novel idea—tucked away for a rainy day? Have you been putting off pitching your idea simply because you’re not sure how to pitch an agent? No problem! All you have to do is submit the first 250 words of your novel and you can win exposure to editors and a critique of your manuscript by one of New York’s TOP literary agents, Regina Brooks.

Regina Brooks is the CEO of Serendipity Literary Agency and the author of the award-winning book Writing Great Books For Young Adults, now available in its second edition.

Great Prizes

The Grand Prize Winner will have the opportunity to receive a full manuscript critique from YA literary agent Regina Brooks, plus a collection of gourmet teas from!

The Top Five Entrants (including the Grand Prize Winner) will receive a 15-minute, one-on-one pitch session with Regina Brooks, one of New York's premier literary agents for young adult books.  They will also receive commentary on their submissions from editors at major publishing houses, like HarperCollins, Little, Brown, Macmillan, Simon and Schuster, Abrams Books, Penguin Random House, and Disney.

 Here's How It Works

Entering the contest is easy and the rules are simple. Entries are to be submitted via the contest website at Valid entries shall include the title and ONLY the first 250 words of your manuscript.

One entry per person; anyone age 14+ can apply. There is a $15 entry fee.  Open to the U.S. and Canada (void where prohibited).  Entries for the YA Novel Discovery Contest will be accepted from 12:01 am (ET) November 1st, 2018 until 11:59 pm November 30th, 2018 (ET).

YA literary agent Regina Brooks and her team will read all of the entries and determine the top 20 submissions.  These submissions will then be read by editors at from some of the top publishing houses, including:

Sarah McCabe at Simon Pulse
Maggie Rosenthal at Viking Children's Books
Stephanie Guerdan at HarperCollins Children's Books
Mekisha Telfer at Roaring Brook Press
Trisha de Guzman at Farrar, Straus & Giroux BFYR
Olivia Valcarce at Scholastic
Heather Crowley at Disney

and more!

These judges will whittle the top 20 down to five finalists, including a Grand Prize Winner