“I’ll Give You the Sun” by Jandy Nelson Review

Disclaimer: I read the paperback version of this book.

I'll Give You the SunI’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this book. While I liked the story for the most part, it threw me off that each chapter was from a different time period and a different character. It starts from the prospect of Noah at thirteen years of age, but for the next chapter it switches to his twin sister, Jude, three years later, and it does this for the rest of the book. If we’d read all of Noah’s parts first and then Jude’s it would have been a lot easier.

Also, even though I’m strange myself and I couldn’t begin to describe the random thoughts inside my head, being inside Noah’s head was so strange, and not always in a good way. He didn’t think like most young kids. He was often “painting in his mind”, which is not a bad thing, but then he would name whatever scene that was occurring, as if it was a painting, and sometimes it made no sense and disconnected me from the story because it didn’t seem to fit. Because the style continued throughout the book with each appearance of Noah, it did fit, but it didn’t feel like it.

Jude’s parts were much easier to understand (once I got past the fact that her parts took place three years later, and I *STILL* had trouble wrapping my brain around that) as she seemed like every moody teenage girl who hated the world and everyone in it. That being said, her connection with spirits and the conversations she had with her dead grandmother were strange at first because it made me think that this was a supernatural book and the girl had powers, but I knew it was a contemporary, so it was just another thing I had to wrap my head around.

The writing style for Jude’s chapters and Noah’s chapters were so different from one another that it was easy to see who’s perspective was who’s. They definitely didn’t share the same thoughts and feelings about things, but again, the flip-flopping of time periods threw me off a lot.

There are several controversial topics in this book: sex between teenagers, coming out and forcing someone else to come out, as well as cheating and affairs. Overall, it conveys all these topics well and we see each subject in a different perspective between the two characters, and we watch them handle it separately as well as together.

What I think I loved most about this book was that it broke the stereotypical setting I see with twins. Whenever I see twins in literature, they look exactly the same and have the same personalities. It’s easy to see the differences in the Jude and Noah’s personalities, and one of the other characters makes his surprise at their being twins known because he expected Jude (who he met second) to look “like Noah but with boobs” as she so elegantly put it.

I really wanted to enjoy this book more than I did, and I might go back through it and re-read it so that I read all of Noah’s chapters first and then all of Jude’s chapters second to understand it better because that was the main issue I had with it. I can handle the POV change, but it was the timeline change that killed me. It probably works for others, but it just did not work for me.

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A Bookish Christmas Blog Hop: Name 5 Fictional Characters You’d Invite to Your New Year’s Eve Party

A Bookish Christmas Blog Hop

0000HelloDragonlings!

I’m participating in another blog hop, but this time, it’s Christmas themed! I’m the last post for this particular hop, but I hope you’ll head over to some of the other posts and read everyone else’s questions and answers (links at the bottom). Enjoy!

Name 5 fictional characters you’d invite to your New Year’s Eve party

This is a tough one, but the five people I’d invite are:

  1. Vanyel Ashkevron, his Companion, Yfandes, and his lifebonded, the Bard Stefen from Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey. Vanyel is the last herald-mage and is pretty dang powerful in his use of magic. He could definitely teach me a thing or two. On top of that, he’s shay’a’chern, which is a term some of the characters use (I can’t remember which language it is in the book) for homosexual characters. And he’s lifebonded on top of that, meaning he’s got his soulmate. He’d liven up my party and it would just be great to meet his Companion (a spirit in the form of a white horse with brilliant blue or purple eyes), even if I couldn’t hear her like he can. Stefen also has his draws because he and Vanyel are nigh inseparable and he can play some music for everyone that would keep everyone in good spirits.
  2. Prompto from Final Fantasy XV, the video game. Prompto is a gun-wielding jokester in the FF universe, and I love him for it. He loves to have fun, but he is also a deeply caring person. Can I haz? Seriously?
  3. Haurhi Fujioka from Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori. Haruhi is a down-to-earth girl, and she has a way of making sure escalated fights drop before they become a problem, so I imagine it would be a lot of fun to hang out with her and have someone help “keep the peace” so-to-speak.

JoLinsdellJo Linsdell

  1. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series as she would probably bring Harry and Ron with her. She’d be great conversation, probably help save the day if anything went wrong, and could do magic tricks. Perfect!
  2. Phoebe Martin from Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira as we could talk about books and share reading suggestions for the new year ahead.
  3. Percy Jackson because he would have awesome adventures to share and be able to do some cool tricks with any water at the party to entertain everyone.
  4. Prince Rafael from Royal Games by Sariah Wilson because having royalty at the party would be cool, and because he is total crush material.
  5. Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones’s Diary because she’s one of all of us.

Leslie ConzattiLeslie Conzatti

Five? Okay, I’ll go with the characters I’ve come to be obsessed with!

First of all, Emma Beaumarchais from The Talented Series by Amy Hopkins. She’s a half-blood witch who runs a small tea shop outside of London and serves up enchanted teas and she is utterly fantastic.

Next, I’ll go with Baran and Raina from the Therian Way series by Kimberly Rogers. Definitely winners of Most Adorable Ship in my opinion! As Therianthropes, they belong to a special breed of mythical fantasy creature that I particularly enjoy, and the way their characters are written comes across so delightfully I would have so much fun if they were at my Christmas party!

Church, from the Grave Reports Series by R. R. Virdi! Strange and enigmatic, his would be a weird addition… but ye gods, the fun we would have! Mostly consisting of me probing for more information about him and his job–but also there might be a lot of jokes at Vince Graves’ expense!

Finally (dang, has it been 5 already??) I would invite Sean King and Michelle Maxwell from David Baldacci’s King and Maxwell series. (So it’s another couple; so what??) Especially if they were represented by Eric McCormack and Rebecca Romijin, like the short-lived TV series based on the books! 100-percent would NOT mind having those two over for dinner!

Casia SchreyerCasia Schreyer

Okay, if I don’t have to stick to books it would be the boys from Supernatural: Sam, Dean, Cas, and Bobby – plus John because I can invite anyone.

If I have to stick to books: Jack from Geralyn Wicher’s Cursed Seed; Hagrid (Harry Potter of course); Jacob Kowalski (Fantastic Beasts – does that count as a book if it was a movie first?); and Charles and Anna (Alpha & Omega series).

BelindaBekkers
Belinda Bekkers

This is difficult for me because I’ve been reading a lot of essays this year rather than fiction. I would have to invite the wife from Dept. of Speculation because she’s a writer with interesting stories to tell. Mark Watney from The Martian because, you know, he’s been in space and he’s funny. His nerdy knowledge would also lead to interesting conversations. Ania from With Blood and Scars. My amazing friend wrote the book and I imagine that if I sat down with Ania it would be like getting to have a chat with the author. I think Rob Fleming from High Fidelity would be great to help with the music. Also for the stories he would be able to tell, it would have to be Pi from Life of Pi.

Laurie Lucking Author HeadshotLaurie Lucking

Ooh, this is fun but hard! I’ll start with Audrey from Julie Hall’s Life After series because she has a great sense of humor and she’s so easy to relate to! Plus she could tell me cool things about heaven 🙂 Next I’d pick Brenna from J.M. Hackman’s Spark – the girl is hilarious and I’d love to see her Firebrand powers in action! Next would be Kamryn and Reese from Illusionary by Desiree Williams, because they’re both amazing and I can’t pick between them! And last I should have another guy, so I’ll go with Ky from Unblemished by Sara Ella since he would definitely keep things interesting 🙂

A Bookish Christmas Blog Hop

10th December Belinda Bekkers – Name a book you love so much you want everyone to find it under their Christmas tree this year, so they can read it too
11th December Jo Linsdell – Name a book cover that has a wonderfully Christmas feel to it
12th December Upstream Writer – Name a book you’d like to find in your Christmas stocking this year
13th December Casia Schreyer – Name a fictional character you’d like to spend Christmas with
14th December Lands Uncharted – Name a fictional character you’d like to kiss under the mistletoe
15th December Angela Guidolin – Name a fictional creature to replace Rudolph and meet on the roof
16th December Skye Hegyes – Name 5 fictional characters you’d invite to your New Year’s Eve party

0000ThanksDragonlings!

Long Books Or Short Books?

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Do you like short books or long books? Do you want something like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, or do you want Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin?

Me? I actually prefer shorter books. And stand alone novels. Maybe I’m weird, but that’s what I like – a mouthful of story I can read in a short period of time. I think that’s why I like short stories so much.

I’m also discovering that’s what I like to write as well. I am looking over the plots of several “novels” I have planned out, and if my word counts for those outlines come out anything like the books I’ve finished in the past, they will not be novels, but novellas.

And while most people wouldn’t like that, I’m finding I’m OK with it. I don’t want to write really long novels. I want to write shorter novels (novellas). Like The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton or Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut or any of the Harliquin romance novels. I want to be writing the stories that someone who doesn’t usually read can read in a couple of days and those who read all the time can read in a couple of hours.

These are the kinds of stories that make me happy usually. It’s actually been one of my biggest complaints about some of the romance novels I’ve read and even some of the fantasy ones too. Some of them have a lot of material I feel could have been cut and it would still be a compelling story, albeit a lot shorter.

I find that a lot of my first drafts are between 30-40K, and then I work through them to add more, but I don’t really want to do that. This is what I was trying to do with Hunters’ Betrayal and it fought be every step of the way until I gave in and made it a novella. Then, and only then, did everything finally click into place and then I did the same with Warren’s Rage and Scott’s Investigation.

Instead of trying to increase my word count, I want to try just strengthening and tightening the writing I have and publish shorter works.

What do you think? Do you like longer novels or shorter novels? Why (or why not)? Let me know below.

0000ThanksDragonlings!

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Friday Feature

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

About the Author

Kentucky-born Kody Keplinger’s earliest memory is sitting at an old typewriter, pressing random keys as she told her mother the story she thought she was writing. Once she actually learned to spell, the writing never stopped. She wrote her first published novel, THE DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) at the age of 17, during her senior year of high school. Since then she has written two more books for teens (SHUT OUT, A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE) and one book for middle grade readers (THE SWIFT BOYS & ME). She currently lives in New York City with her dog and a giant children’s book collection. When she isn’t writing, Kody is probably teaching a writing workshop or watching TV.

Disclaimer: All images pulled from Goodreads and Amazon.

October Reads

collage-2017-11-01

0000HelloDragonlings!

My reading has slowed this month, and except for ARCs, I don’t expect to read anything in November. Still, not bad if I say so myself.

  1. Four of a Kind by Kellie Sheridan
  2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  3. How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton
  4. Flower Moon by Gina Linko
  5. Barking Up the Wrong Bakery by Stella St. Claire
  6. Hearts & Other Body Parts by Ira Bloom
  7. Self-publishing Unboxed by Patty Jansen

Disclaimer: All images pulled from Goodreads.

0000ThanksDragonlings!

September Reads

collage-2017-10-04

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With participating in the #Sept100KChallenge this month, I did not expect to get any books read, honestly, but I managed to somehow (I’m still not quite certain how) finish four books.

  1. Traitor’s Masque by Kenley Davidson
  2. Grave Beginnings by R.R. Virdi
  3. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
  4. Sky Horse by Sharon Siamon

Disclaimer: All images pulled from Goodreads.

0000ThanksDragonlings!

2017 Quarter Four Goals

underwood-1492487

0000HelloDragonlings!

For some reason, I always seem to forget about these quarterly goals. I really need to write them down somewhere where I can see them on a daily basis because I’m not getting them done until I realize they are due (basically, when I look back my quarterly goals blog posts). I did get a lot of my goals done, but not in a decent time frame and not in a way I like…

Quarter Three Goals

– Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo (50K words; Hunters’ Betrayal) – COMPLETE
– Finish first on-paper edit of Endless Starry Nights
– Complete first draft of Hunters’ BetrayalCOMPLETE
– Create marketing plan for Puck’s Choice
– Complete first draft of untitled dragon prequel (3 chapters left)

To explain further, I’ll take each goal separately.

Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo (50K words; Hunters’ Betrayal)

I completed this. I succeeded at Camp NaNoWriMo, but I did not write what I wanted to write. In fact, I wrote almost nothing on Hunters’ Betrayal. That’s a lie. I did work on it. I added just under 26,000 (26K) to the manuscript. I spent the rest of Camp working on various other projects as I seem to do every Camp NaNoWriMo. *sigh*

Finish first on-paper edit of Endless Starry Nights

Back in 2015, a friend and I completely outlined Endless Starry Nights with the idea that we’d each write the novel based on the outline in our different writing styles so that readers would end up with two different novels based around the same outline.

Things happened and he had to drop it from his list of things to do, but I continued it and he offered to be an alpha reader, so I sent the roughest rough draft to him, but he hasn’t had a chance to read through any of it yet. I’m not in a hurry. I had originally planned on releasing it next year, but I’m willing to wait because I do want his opinion on it.

Complete first draft of Hunters’ Betrayal

This is done. Remember the 26K I wrote for Camp NaNoWriMo? Well, I took a huge chunk of that writing and turned Hunters’ Betrayal into a novella. I highlighted this plan in my Shifters & Mages series update. I still need to finish Warren and Scott’s tales, because my plan is to release all three novellas as a collection.

But the first draft of Hunters’ Betrayal is done! That’s progress!

Create marketing plan for Puck’s Choice

I’ve actually started on this a little. I have a bunch of ideas at least. Most of them are listed in my publishing plan, but nothing will be finalized until I’m ready to set everything in motion, which is not where I am yet. So this is… half-done? I really shouldn’t have added this to my to-do list until I was closer to being ready for publication and setting everything up to hit the ground running.

Complete first draft of untitled dragon prequel (3 chapters left)

First things first, I remembered the title of this novella. It’s called Spelling an Elemental Dragon and it’s the first in a series about dragon shapeshifters and relates to Merlin and Morgana le Fey.

When I first started planning this novella, I had only ten chapters and each chapter was only about 2K long, but there was so much I was missing and too much I was skipping. So I added a third part and five more chapters to round up the first novella and bring it all into the modern day.

I still may add another part because there still feels like there’s pieces missing. And actually, I might get rid of the parts completely and just create more chapters to fill in the missing information. I don’t know yet. We shall see.

Other Accomplishments

I participated in a blog hop.

Jo Linsdell invited me to take part of a month-long blog hop in the month of August. The idea was to have 31 readers and everyone post a single post during the month. It didn’t quite work out the way it was initially planned, but that’s OK. It was a lot of fun and I had a blast working with the author readers on the blog hop.

I created a logo for my future publishing company.

When CLP was first looking at closing, I was asked if I wanted to take it over, and while I would have loved to, I knew I wasn’t ready for everything (especially the tax side of the business). However, I knew that someday I would want to create a small press with a handful of authors – those who didn’t want to handle the business side of publishing and just wanted to write. I know a couple of people who are already at that stage, but I’m not ready to handle anyone else’s projects but my own at the moment.

Still, the goal is to have everything ready to go by 2020. So, a logo is a good starting point.

I participated in the #Sept100KChallenge.

It was tough. I had to write 3334 daily. It was hard. Really hard.

I started my YouTube channel again.

I’ve been missing since May, and since December/January before that. Yeah… Working on that…

Quarter Four Goals

  • Complete first draft of Warren’s Rage
  • Complete first draft of Mages’ Sacrifice
  • Complete re-write of Jenna’s Story
  • Complete re-write of Scott’s Investigation
  • Start marketing plan for Shifters & Mages series
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo
  • Establish goals for new year
  • Apply to three (3) conventions as an author

We’ll see how these goals go… Feel free to prod me every once in a while and ask me where everything stands. Maybe that will help me stay on track of my goals.

Do you have quarterly goals? How do you measure the amount of success you’ve had each month? Do you track it any way?

0000ThanksDragonlings!

Previously on 2017 Quarterly Goals: