Thursday, October 17, 2013

Book Review: Reached


"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."

Author: Ally Condie
Year of Release: 2012
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Dystopia
Book Version: Hardback
Where did you get the book?: Library
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars

Warning: There are some spoilers in the last paragraph of this review

Review: I was vastly disappointed in this conclusion of the Matched trilogy. I thought Matched and Crossed were pretty good, with the latter being the best, so I thought this one would be good as well. I was wrong. The plot was immensely boring and dull. I could never get into it. It dragged on and on. It seemed much too long for no reason at all.  I found myself not even caring about any of the characters or who I wanted to end up with Cassia.

In 99.9% of dystopian books that have risings in them, there is action, suspense, and I get a feeling of anxiety wondering who is going to survive and who will be killed. Reached did not have any of that. There was no violence, no panic, nothing. The rulers of the Rising just simply took over with no battles or anything. There was death, though, but I found myself not caring. Instead of having the things I mentioned, the main dilemma in this novel consisted of a plague and it's mutation. That would have been an excellent problem in addition to a revolt, but obviously there wasn't a revolt.

One thing I did like about this book, though, was that the ending answered all my questions, and the boy Cassia didn't end up with, ended up with somebody else. But again, as I metioned earlier, this book was much too long for no reason at all. Many parts could have been shortened or removed entirely.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Author Interview: Jodi Meadows

I had the wonderful opportunity to interview the author of the Incarnate Trilogy, Jodi Meadows. I split the interview into two parts: questions relating to the trilogy itself and questions related to writing.

Part I: Questions Relating to the Trilogy:

EmilyHeartsBooks: I found myself relating a lot to Ana especially in the first book. Do you find yourself in Ana or in any of the other characters?
Jodi Meadows: Oh of course! Ana and I definitely have a few things in common, like our love of music and the need to improve -- to be better at something we love. In school, I played the flute, and I desperately wanted to be great at it. Ana definitely inherited that from me.

EHB: Many of the characters in the Incarnate trilogy have quite unique names. How did you create them?
JM: Many of the names are real names, just very unusual ones. Some characters appear on the page with names already, but some require a bit more work.  One of my favorite resources is While I was renaming characters (long story, but many of the characters' names changed in edits!), I cruised through the random name generator on until I came across something that clicked for a certain character.

EHB: I noticed that Ana was the only human in Heart without a gender neutral name. Was this intentional?
JM: In a way, yes! Originally, I had a different naming system -- one that was fun but definitely corny -- so during edits, I renamed almost all of my characters, including Ana. She started out with a name that fit with the original system, but my editor challenged me to think about why the people of Heart might have given her the name they did. We began looking for something brief, something the people of Heart might use to call
someone they saw as temporary and a life thief.

EHB: The mythological creatures mentioned in the previous two books are explored more in Infinite. Did you have a favorite one to write about?
JM: I think I love the sylph and dragons equally, and for different reasons. They're both pretty scary, but how cool would it be to have a guard dragon? Or a sylph to snuggle when it gets cold?

EHB: Was it emotional for you to finish the trilogy, or were you ready to move on and work on something else? 
JM: Oh my commas, yes, it was very emotional. The last, oh, third of INFINITE was especially difficult because I knew I was closing in on the end and that it would be the last time I wrote in the world. (That turned out not to be true; I ended up writing a novella from Sam's perspective months later.) I was -- and am -- excited to work on something else, though. I generally have at least one other project going on in the background, so I'd been tinkering with other things pretty much the whole time I was working on the INCARNATE series.

Part II: Questions Relating to Writing:

EHB: Do you have any unusual writing habits that you would like to share?
JM: I don't think any of my habits are unusual. I mean, it's totally normal to create detailed timelines, weather patterns, and note the phase of the moon for every scene (whether or not you use it in the story) . . . right?

: How many words per day (on average) did you write?
JM: That depends a lot! Some stories seem to fall out of my head more easily than others. Some days, I get only about 500 words. Others I can manage 5000. A lot of the time, it depends what kind of scene I'm writing, what story it is, how chatty the character is with me. . . . There are all kinds of factors. Lately I've felt good about 1000 words a day. (Which isn't much, considering I write for at least eight hours every day, often more. SIGH.)

EHB: How many words (on average) are in each of the chapters?
JM: Every chapter is as long as it needs to be. In the INCARNATE series, they're usually somewhere between 2000 words and 4000, but some have more or fewer.

EHB: How long did it take for you to write the first draft of each of the books?
JM: Probably about two to three months each? I did a lot of prep-work for the INCARNATE series, and they all required a lot of revision. But two to three months is a pretty typical time for a first draft for me.

EHB: Were there any parts in Incarnate or Asunder that you regretted writing because it changed a certain chapter or scene in Infinite?
JM: Not really. As I said, I did a lot of prep-work so I knew what the end of the story would be before I ever started writing the first page of INCARNATE. There were a lot of changes over the drafts, but I always had a clear vision of the story to work toward. 

Be sure to check out Jodi's:

A HUGE thank you, Jodi, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions! It was a lot of fun!!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Book Review: The Beginning of Everything

The Beginning of Everything

"Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings."

Author: Robyn Schneider
Year of Release: 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Book Version: Hardback
Where did you get the book?: Library
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Warning: There are major spoilers in the last paragraph of this review

ReviewThe Beginning of Everything is quite a bit different from most books that I usually read. I am glad that I do not limit myself to books of certain genres. I would be missing out on very interesting stories.The Beginning of Everything really made me think about life in a different way than I ever have before. It had some very deep messages that could be interpreted any way the reader wants and I liked that about this novel.

Even though the book didn't really seem to have a main dilemma that most books have, I still enjoyed this book. The story and the way it was written reminded me of John Green's books, especially Looking For Alaska. It's kind of funny because I didn't even like Looking For Alaska, but I liked this book quite a bit. However, they were similar in a few ways which I won't go into for those who haven't read Looking For Alaska.

The characters and the story seemed very authentic and genuine, like I was reading about real people in high school. I felt as though Ezra was talking right to me. Schneider used words that any teenage guy would use when telling a story about a significant time in his life. I really liked that. I also liked Toby a lot. He was quite hilarious and I liked his relationship that he had with Ezra. I also liked Cassidy somewhat, but she seemed a bit mysterious and I didn't like some of the decisions she made. I still thought Ezra's relationship with her was cute, real, and authentic. It wasn't a perfect relationship the way many relationships are portrayed in books, and I liked that.

Overall, this story was quite good. I enjoyed it. I liked how the ending wasn't a happy or sad ending, but a realistic ending. I really, really liked that. It is very rare for high school relationships to last, but it seemed as though Ezra's relationship with Cassidy opened his eyes a bit and made him realize some things he hadn't before.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #21

Waiting on Wednesday is a Book Hop hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I got the fantastic idea from Pam & Sherri over at [YA] Escape From Reality to do Waiting on Wednesday just once a month the first Wednesday of the month. The pick will be the book I'm most looking forward to reading that will be released that month.

The book I'm most looking forward to be released this month is:

Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Release Date: October 22, 2013

Okay, I seriously need to calm down. It is finally October 2013. I've been waiting for this ever since Insurgent came out in May 2012. That's 17 months ago!!! That's 17 months too long. I still remember being so disappointed when I found out that there would be a delay in the release due to Veronica needing more time to work on it. I think it will definitely be worth the wait, but I can hardly contain my excitement. I haven't been this excited for a book's release since the last Harry Potter book came out in July 2007. My soul goes a little crazy every time I realize how close it is till October 22!! AH!! CANNOT WAIT!!

Best Book of September 2013

Many thanks to YA Highway for the idea to post the best book that I read each month.  Last year upon deciding to stop participating it Road Trip Wednesday, I decided that I still wanted to post the best book that I read each month.

Please note: The best book of the month will not be a book that I re-read. Those books are already my favorites, so they will not be in the running for the best book of the month. All books considered will be books I have read for the first time.

Best Book of September 2013

Unearthly was the best book that I read in September 2013. It was a great book. It was fantastically written, well plotted, and the romance was amazing. I loved all the plot twists, especially those involving the romance. It was totally unexpected. I could actually go on complete rants about the romance in this series. The entire series was great, but Unearthly was my favorite. I really want to re-read it now! I probably will some day. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

First Lines: September 2013

First lines of books have always fascinated me ever since Maggie Stiefvater (author of The Raven Boys, The Scorpio Races, & The Wolves of Mercy Falls) posted awhile ago about their importance (I'll have to find that blog post or whatever it was). They are very crucial. They are essentially the first thing that a reader reads and is meant to draw the reader in.

Zabet from Reading Between Classes posts on a monthly basis the first lines of the books that she read that month. I decided to do the same thing because as I said, first lines have always fascinated me. This is also a unique way to keep track of the books I have read each month.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth-I wake with his name in my mouth.

The Transfer by Veronica Roth--I emerge from the simulation with a yell.

Infinite by Jodi Meadows-My death would not be another beginning.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand-In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees.

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand-In the dream, there's sorrow.

Boundless-The first thing I'm aware of is the dark.

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider-Sometimes I think that everyone has a tradegy waiting for them, that the people buying milk in their pajamas or picking their noses at stoplights could be only moments away from disaster.

What books did you read in September?

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