As Summer Draws To An End…

Hello ladies and gentlemen of blogland! Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve updated, but I promise I haven’t forgotten about you. As predicted, summer was a hectic season for me. There were family logistics, jobs, health, Disney World plans… and as if that weren’t enough, I decided “Spring Cleaning” pertained to all of summer, and went spastic on my house. My kitchen has been spotless for WEEKS. It’s a new thing. I also got it in my head somewhere along the line that instead of feeding my family out of boxes, I was going to start cooking every meal from scratch. What started as a 2 week experiment became a summer-long life-style change. (Unfortunately this lead to way more dishes needing to be washed too. bleh!) I also decided, after stepping onto a scale one day and realizing it was time to do something about my health, that I was going to start trying to eat healthier and exercise more (as I used to do but gave up because I’m lazy). I’m happy to report that I’m down 10 inches and 12 lbs in the past three weeks, but it’s definitely a process I’m still getting used to.

Obviously, life has been very busy the past few months, and I didn’t have a lot of time to read books let alone write reviews – especially with my family home for the summer on top of all the other things I’d taken on. (Did I mention I also crocheted a king-sized blanket? No?) Whew! Now that summer is winding down though, I’m ready to hop back into doing reviews on a bi-weekly basis. I’ve gotten a few reviews saved up and ready to go starting August 25th (which by the way, is also my birthday!), so keep your eyes peeled for the new posts coming up.  I hope everyone has had a spectacular summer! I used to think summer meant vacation…. I’m starting to think the school year seemed less chaotic.

Book Review: Reached

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Title: Reached [Matched 3]

Author: Ally Condie

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Dystopian

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I’d expected. I loved the first book, and I loved the second book nearly as much, but by the time I got around to the end of the trilogy… I think I was just over it. Technically speaking, the story is well written. There weren’t a lot of grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors. The writing was clear and easy to read—but the pace in this book was slow. It felt as if a ton of tension had been built up going into this book for how the characters may defeat the society, and I guess I expected that to happen—I wanted the characters I’d grown to love to step up, throw off the shackles of the Society, and break it all apart.

That both is, and isn’t what happened. The story didn’t feel personal to the characters. Cassia, Ky, and Xander (and Indie, who I still don’t care for) seemed like Pawns for the pilot. They were shuffled around to different cities, the narrative kept switching POV’s, and I guess in the end… it felt like the story went from being Cassia’s personal struggle, to an aerial view of this jumbled mess of Society and the resistance. It was boring. Ky, Cassia, and Xander waffled on their romances. Most characters outside the main three only had cameos. It just didn’t hold my interest.

This wasn’t a bad book. The author stayed true to the quality of her writing, the story sped off in a logical direction… it should have been another 5 star novel—but I think the author pulled too far back. I didn’t feel connected to the characters this time around. Instead, I was annoyed at their wishy-washy attitudes towards their friends and their mission. The main trio barely spent any time together at all. I didn’t care what was happening, I just wanted the book to end.

Overall? It was “Meh.” I’m glad I read it because I finally got to see the end to the story and find out what happened to Cassie and Ky… but by the same token, I wasn’t impressed with what I was presented. Had this been the first book in the series, I probably would have put it down and not picked it back up. Would I recommend it? If you’ve read the previous two books, sure. If you haven’t? Skip this one.

Who Said What? Speech Tags Decoded

Author Unpublished:

And informative post on dialogue tags and how to understand and use them appropriately.

Originally posted on Lit Central | O.C.:

EditingLogoBy Heather G. Coman //

One of the most important elements of writing a novel is the speech tags.

Now I hear some of you going “What? What about character, and plot, even setting?” And I agree, those are all very important as well. A story doesn’t work without those elements being strong. But we’re also talking about presenting the story in a written format, and to do that you need to make it clear who’s speaking and how. For that, you need speech tags.

Speech tags have to be clear, coherent, and not distract from the rest of the content. They’re little accents, adding detail and depth, but without them the story would be impossible to follow.

Said

“Said” is the most common speech tag. Some people will tell you to avoid “said” because it’s repetitive, boring, overdone. Ignore that. Because said is ubiquitous, it’s background noise. It cleanly…

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BIYC: Dynamic Characters

Author Unpublished:

A great article on building dynamic characters – give it a read through!

Originally posted on Amy Spahn's Writing and Editing:

*Nonfiction* and *Fiction*

Whether you’re writing about real people who did real things, fictional people who do fictional things, or anecdotal people who prove your point in an informational book, you’re writing about characters. You’ve probably heard that dynamic characters are better than static characters. Yes, they are. But what does that actually mean?

Dynamic characters change over the course of the story. Static characters don’t. Dynamic characters move, adapt, learn, grow, and act. Static characters just come along for the ride.

Here are ten ways to improve the dynamism of your characters. Also, ten points to anyone who uses the word “dynamism” in a conversation this week. Tweet me and let me know if you do that.

1. Let conflicts play out naturally.
Two characters don’t like each other. Awesome! That’s conflict, and conflict is interesting. But wait; they’re supposed to be on the same team. How do we…

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