Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: Crewel

Summary from Goodreads: 
Incapable. Awkward. Artless.
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.
Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.
Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.
Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.
Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

I was lucky enough to get a copy of "Crewel" at TLA this year and was drawn in by the gorgeous cover and interesting summary. I really enjoyed this book because it was different and it held my interest. It follows a sixteen year old girl who is taken from her house to "fulfill her duty" to her society as a spinster. Her entire life is taken away and she feels powerless against the powerful politicians who can order her death in a split second. She begins to learn that she has something that they want and they are willing to do anything to get it. I felt like this book was extremely well written and engaging. There weren't really any huge fight scenes or standoffs but it was all of the small scenes that came together to weave a very interesting plot with believable and lovable characters. It was the first book that has caught and held my interest in a while. I loved seeing the dynamics of the different characters and seeing how everyone was used against each other. Small hints are given throughout the book that lead to a shocking ending. I was unable to put this book down and I cannot wait to read the next book and see how the ending plays out.

 "Crewel" by Gennifer Albin
Expected Publication:October 16, 2012

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Guest Post: Joy Preble

And They Lived as Happily as They Could:
Writing a Crazy Russian Novel Saga
Joy Preble
(Author of the DREAMING ANASTASIA series, Sourcebooks: DREAMING ANASTASIA, 2009; HAUNTED, 2011; ANASTASIA FOREVER, 2012)

Russian fairy tales are not like the Disney ones. (Full disclosure: neither are the original Grimm’s Brothers tales. In the Grimm version of Cinderella, for example, those little birds peck out the stepsisters’ eyes on Cinderella’s wedding day. And to fit into that glass slipper? Those same crazy nut job stepsisters slice off their heels and toes. Yeah. Really.)

But let’s get back to that HEA thing. Happily Ever After. Everyone wants one, right?

Not the Russian tales. They mostly end with some variation of  “And they lived as happily as they could.” Which is not the same at all. But to me, much juicier and satisfying to work with. Because it means that I can make my characters sort of happy, maybe even very happy. But they’re going to have to suffer first. And I really like that.

Honestly, I’m not a fan of stories – movies, books, TV – where the main character gets her/his HEA without really earning it. Or even a ‘clean getaway’ from whatever bad stuff they perpetrated during the course of the story. Like the film version of Jurassic Park, for example. I love that movie. Those dinos still scare the pee out of me. But the sweet grandfatherly John Hammond in the movie who created the park and cloned that dino DNA? In the book he was a greedy CEO bastard who gets eaten by those very same dinos in the end. Because. He. Deserves. It.

In Spielberg’s movie? Not so much. He lives on for the sequel. And cause he’s a grandpa. But he’s done this really bad thing. And he should. Suffer. More. At least in my humble opinion.

All this informed my writing of the DREAMING ANASTASIA series and my plotting of the series arc once I knew for sure that this would indeed get to stretch over three books. (And actually, even before I knew. Some things you have to know even if you’re not going to get to use them. Which fortunately I did.)

Without giving away what happens in ANASTASIA FOREVER (which you are totally going to love, I know!), let me say that it was important to me that Anne and Ethan got their HEA, but I wanted them to earn it. Anne’s best friend, Tess, too. But there are many things in the novels for which there are no easy fixes. (Slight spoiler alert: If you have not read any of the books, I’m to give away a bit here, but nothing too major) Anne’s brother is still going to be dead. Her grandmother, even if Anne manages to break her mermaid curse, is still going to have suffered all that she suffered. Ethan is still going to have lost people he loved and made some dunderheaded mistakes for which he is paying and will continue to pay. Etc. etc.

All of which is why I decided that it was time in book 3 to go backward a bit and have Anne, Tess and Ethan do a little time travel. More than a little, actually. Because through the past we learn everything that’s at stake in the present. And when the HEA finally gets there – well, I think both the readers and the characters have the deepest appreciation possibly of what they’ve gained and what they’ve lost.

Maybe it’s those cold winters. Maybe it’s something else. But those Russians know their storytelling. I’m proud to follow their pattern in ANASTASIA FOREVER!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Review: Intangible

Intangible follows twins, Luke and Sera, who have special powers: Luke is a seer and Sera is a healer. They are the twins who have been prophesied long ago and everyone is looking for them because they can either make or break their future. Throughout this book the twins are tested and pulled through the ringer. Luke sees something that he desperately wants to change and Sera finds herself in trouble after healing somebody that a lot of people didn't want healed. Will the twins survive? Or will one of the many forces hunting them down win?
I could not put this book down. It was a quick read with a lot of action and excitement. I loved how tight knit the brother and sister pair were and that they would and will do anything for each other. I was able to relate to them because it reminded me of my sister and I. There are a lot of likable characters in this book, some you are drawn to quickly, and some take a while to warm up to. The book pulls you in from the very first page that leaves Luke fighting to save his sister's life.
This book is full of deception, intrigue, and excitement. Give it a try, you will love it!

Intangible by J. Meyers
Published January 21, 2012
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