Make sure your fan fiction is legal (or regret it later)

Some stories involve us so deeply that they can no longer be enjoyed passively: a character or setting grabs a reader in a way that only creation can satisfy. For these readers, writing fan fiction stories featuring pre-existing aspects of other works is a fantastic outlet for their creativity and their love of a particular story.

Fan fiction stories can be incredibly high quality, after all they’re labors of love written by people who possess an encyclopedic knowledge of stories that have already been proven to work. In fact, the quality is frequently high enough to sustain entire communities who share, appreciate, and write fan fiction.

The fly in the ointment is that fan fiction deals with legally protected works. By writing stories featuring someone else’s characters, fan fiction authors are treading on risky legal ground. This is doubly the case when they publish their work for others to enjoy.

So, in this article, I’ll provide some legal facts to help fan fiction authors stay out of trouble while they create, and work in harmony with the creators of their beloved source material.

read more via Make sure your fan fiction is legal (or regret it later).

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Book Review: Deluge

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Title: Deluge [River of Time 5]

Author: Lisa T. Bergren

Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel, Young Adult, Historical, Romance, Fantasy

Rating: 4 (3.5) Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

The Bettarinis and Forellis have found rich fulfillment together in medieval Italia. But after fighting off countless enemies, they now must face the worst foe of all. As the Black Death closes in upon them, threatening everything and everyone they hold dear, Lia and Gabi–and the knights they love–must dig deep within to decide how they might remain safe…and if they need to risk it all in order to truly live as they’re called.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

It’s hard to qualify my feelings about Deluge by Lisa T. Bergren. Like its predecessors, the narrative was clean, easy to follow, and well written. There weren’t any noticeable editing problems, and the characters stayed true to previous characterizations. Also, just as with the previous novels in the series, the plot was filled with tension-filled battles, romantic moments, and tragedy.

The first half of the book passed by in a blur as I was sucked in to the chaotic world of Gabriella and Evangelia Bettarini’s adventures in the 1300’s. After the two novellas of Bourne & Tributary that made up book 4 of the series, I was glad to get back to a longer novel-length story, and Deluge didn’t disappoint. I wasn’t thrilled with the continuing of the POV switches between Lia and Gabi, but I grew used to the switching POV’s (even if I still hold that Lia and Gabi’s inner voices are extremely similar).

Unfortunately, the second half of the book was a bit harder for me to enjoy. There is a lot of tragedy and death in this book—far more than with the previous books in the series, and I’ll admit, it made it a little less enjoyable for me.  As interested as I was in the events taking place… as much as I wanted to know what would become of the Bettarinis and Forellis… by the time I hit the end of the book, I was ready for it to end. With the exception of the short epilogue (that frankly, felt needless to me) the ending of this story was not a happy one. It left me feeling somewhat depressed, and that made the novel hard to enjoy as a whole.  Don’t get me wrong – the book was good… but I don’t know that I can say that I enjoyed it. I really wish the story had picked up more in the end, and that it hadn’t been left hanging in the darkest of times for Lia and Gabi.

Overall, I’m glad I read it. It felt like a pretty solid ending to the River of Time series… but I don’t think it was the ending I was looking for to this wonderfully imaginative and thrilling series. The last quarter of the book sucked all the enjoyment out of it for me. Would I read it again? Maybe. There were some really great moments for Lia in particular that I’m glad I got to see. Would I recommend it? Sure. If you’ve been keeping up with the series, this is a solid end, and you’ll probably be glad you read it. I’m sure there are a vast amount of readers out there that will love this book far more than I did… it’s just that the weight of the tragedy held within the ending was a little much for me to slog through. What can I say? I prefer happy endings, and this wasn’t much of one. I still highly recommend the series, and I think the first three books in particular are remarkably well done. I’ve given this 4 stars because despite my feelings about the ending, the book was well done. I think given a day or two to get out of the depressed funk this book left me in, I’d probably give it a pretty solid 4, no question.

Book Review: Bourne & Tributary

review-cover-bourne and tributaryTitle: Bourne & Tributary [River of Time 4]

Author: Lisa T. Bergren

Genre: Historical, Romance, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Time Travel

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

BOURNE, a novella, picks up right where TORRENT left off…Find out what has happened to men returning from the battle, gravely wounded, to the Betarrinis, fighting for the men they love, and just who is hunting them next…

TRIBUTARY, a novella, picks up a year after BOURNE… Lia struggles to overcome the fear that constant battle has heaped upon her; Gabi and Marcello face an unexpected crisis; and Lord Greco just may be ready to leave the grief and loss of his past behind him, so that he might grab hold of the future…

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

It’s a bit hard to qualify how I feel about Bourne & Tributary by Lisa T. Bergren. Unlike the previous three novels in the series, This, the fourth, is not a true novel, but an anthology containing two shorter novellas. Also, unlike the previous three novels, instead of following Gabi’s POV throughout the story, the viewpoints switch back and forth between a handful of characters, most notably Gabi’s younger sister, Lia.

On the one hand, it was interesting to see other POV’s this time around, and like the previous books, the writing was clear, easy to follow, and grammatically correct. On the other hand, I missed Gabi’s comfortable POV. I was used to Gabi, and being switched into different POV’s was a bit distracting. Unfortunately, Lia’s POV (which was the most often used) was extremely similar to that of Gabi’s. If I hadn’t know better, I would have thought them the same person… and that isn’t a good thing. I would have preferred the different viewpoints been more individual.

That aside, the stories were good, if short. Like the previous books in the series, Bourne & Tributary had elements of romance, adventure, and thrilling intrigue and battles. That said, I still wish there had been more to them. The conclusions to the stories seemed rushed, and I didn’t feel connected to any of the new viewpoints. In the end, the stories were so different than what I was used to with the previous novels that I found it hard to be drawn into the stories. The writing was good, the characters were my usual favorites… the elements of the story were there—but these two novellas didn’t draw me in. They didn’t feel like part of the series I’ve grown to love.

Overall, this was a decent addition to the River of Time series… but I could have done with out them. I wish this had been a true fourth book and not a set of novellas. They weren’t bad stories, but they weren’t what I was expecting, and in the end I didn’t like them as much as I’d hoped.  If you’ve been keeping up with this series, I’d certainly recommend that you give these novellas a look, but other than one major announcement, you aren’t going to miss anything by skipping them.

Book Review: The Maze Runner

review-cover-the maze runnerTitle: The Maze Runner [The Maze Runner 1]

Author: James Dashner

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers–boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out–and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

It honestly amazes me how many bad reviews I’ve read about this book. I’ll admit, The Maze Runner by James Dashner appeared on my To-Be-Read list solely because I knew there was a movie coming out for it—and gosh darn it, for once, I was going to read a book before the movie came out… not one week after. Determined to see what all the fuss was about, I dug in, and couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised.

For being a relatively new Young Adult book (Published within the last decade), The Maze Runner has a remarkably nostalgic feel to the way it’s written. It took me back to the early 90’s when Young Adult books were full of adventure and intelligent teens—not sex-crazed airheads. The characters within this novel were well written, and though the author didn’t delve too deeply into their characterization, I felt that perhaps the lack of complexity to the characters somewhat help bolster the impact of the most important character of all… the maze itself.

The world building in this book was flawless. Between the way the characters spoke, reacted to their environment, and the hints of a much greater backdrop, I was immediately sucked into the insular world of Thomas and the Gladers. Thomas was an intelligent character with the tendency to sit back and soak in his world before making too many judgments, and it was easy to see why he became the sort of pseudo-leader he did to these boys. He wasn’t the type of boy to demand a leadership role, but fell into it naturally. He was happy to sit back and let the other strong characters lead, but when needed, he didn’t back away from stepping up. You could tell that he was always thinking, analyzing the puzzles around him, and though he sometimes let his emotions get the best of him, he was a strong character with an innate sense of right and wrong.

This was by no means a complex edge-of-your-seat type of book, but I think that the messages this book presents to young teens are more important than the action and brutality of what is happening to the kids in the maze. There are ever-present themes of friendship, loyalty, courage, selflessness—helping those in need even if it is easier not to, and a strength of character that tells teens to never give up. Never give in to the fear of what may happen—push on instead. Do what is right despite the nay-sayers.

The narrative itself was a bit slow-paced. Thomas was a bit of an observer. He liked to puzzle out what was happening before jumping in, and this came across in the way the book was paced. The first chapter was exceedingly slow, and if you don’t enjoy slow-paced books, it could throw you off. I implore the readers out there to stick with it. The Maze Runner was such a gem. I would happily read this story again (actually, I am—to my 10 year old), and I’m glad I picked it up in the first place. I’d certainly recommend it to any Young Adult Fiction fans out there. It’d make a great discussion piece for students. I can’t wait to dive into the next book in the series!

Book Review: Broken Illusions

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Title: Broken Illusions [Midnight Dragonfly 2]

Author: Ellie James

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

It’s Mardi Gras, but for 16 year-old psychic Trinity Monsour this is no time for celebration. Another girl is missing. Haunted by visions she doesn’t understand—of an empty street lined by crumbling old buildings, a terrified voice warning her to be careful, and a body lying motionless in the grass—Trinity embarks upon a dark odyssey she could never have imagined. She’ll stop at nothing to better understand her abilities, convinced that doing so is the only way she can make sure the terrifying images she sees never actually happen.

But it seems everyone wants to stop her. Her aunt is worried Trinity might discover secrets best left in the past. Her best friend, Victoria, is afraid Trinity is slipping away, her boyfriend, Chase, fears she’s taking too many chances, and the lead detective will barely let her out of his sight. Only one person stands by her side, and in doing so, he slips deeper and deeper into her heart—and her dreams—blurring the lines of reality and illusion.

When the dust settles, one of them will be dead.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Intense. That’s what I have to say about this book. Deep breath. Okay, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. The writing was well done. There weren’t a multitude of grammar, spelling, or punctuation mistakes. The narrative was clean, easy-to-follow, and fast paced. However, there were a few problems with the story that made me rate this book as a 4 star rather than a 5…

While I love the world building of this series, it is incredibly convoluted and vague at at times. Despite this being the second book in the series, I am still no closer to understanding the lore behind Trinity’s gift, or behind any of the other “talented” people within the series. There’s just so much that I still don’t know about Trinity’s visions, Dylan, and the murderer, that it’s hard to keep up at times. The constant dreams and visions Trinity suffers from are so vivid, so ever-present that even I can’t distinguish between dream and reality any more when flipping through the pages of this book. I guess I feel that there’s just too many questions left unanswered—too many holes in the story that I desperately want to have filled, and because of that, it’s hard to feel satisfied about this book.

Another problem for me was the romance. In the first book of the series we were introduced to Chase… the popular boy at school that Trinity was crushing on. I liked him in the first book… although I wasn’t fond of how he was introduced. By the time the first line of the book rolled around, Trinity had already met and grown close to Chase… all off camera. I honestly dislike it when stories start the love interest off camera because I feel as if I’ve missed something. It was harder to connect to Chase from the very beginning than I’d anticipated, but by the end of the book I’d managed to get my warm-fuzzy feelings about him inline with what the narrative was telling me, and it was fine.  In this book however, the warm-fuzzies flew out the window. He was needlessly jealous and unsupportive of Trinity. It felt like he was pulling away from her all throughout the book, and though Trinity kept running back to him, trying to patch up the shambles of their relationship… I couldn’t help but secretly hope she’d dump the guy and run toward the real hero of the story—Dylan.

I really enjoyed the dynamic between Dylan and Trinity in this story. There’s this underlying current between them that seems to draw them together. Dylan is sweet and caring, and despite his standoffish appearance, it’s clear that he really cares about Trinity. Every time she needed him, he was there (which is more than I can say for Chase). I was desperately routing for him throughout the story, and secretly wincing every time Trinity ran back to Chase. There’s so much tension and longing between Trinity and Dylan that it’s hard to do anything other than support them. I won’t give away spoilers, but I’ll admit, despite a tragic happenstance in the later half of the story, I was gleeful at the ending. I’m a terrible person.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story, despite how much the story actually hurt my brain at times. It was so busy and tension filled that I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the pages. Would I read this story again? Yes. Would I recommend it? Yes. I can’t wait to move on to the third book in the series. If you enjoy YA fiction that is heavy on paranormal and mystery… You’ll probably really enjoy this series. Give it a try.