Harmony Book Reviews

Archive for October 2009

So. November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I, the crazy girl that I am, will be taking part. I’m SUPER excited. I’ve got a small start on an outline and I feel like I could start writing right NOW. But, you know, I can’t.

But, since I’m going to be writing 50,000 words in November, starting on my Christmas shopping, and attempting to keep straight A’s in school, I’m going to be busybusybusy which means there probably aren’t going to be very many posts here on the blog.

I was planning on scheduling some but I’m the the Queen of Procrastination and that never happened. I am typing up a few right now so it won’t be a complete Ghost Town during the next month but I definitely won’t be posting every day.

Just wanted to give everyone a heads-up on that ūüėČ I’ll still be around, just not as much. Be prepared for a bunch of writing-related posts throughout the month, though!

“Flashback” is a new weekly feature here on the blog where authors write a guest blog on their teen years. Authors, if you’re interested, email me at harmonybookreviews[at]yahoo[dot]com.

Today, I welcome Jessica Blank, author of Karma for Beginners.

It’s funny–I only started writing fiction about six years ago (I wanted something I could do on my own at my computer between acting and playwriting jobs, so I taught myself!) but looking back, I can see I’ve been a writer since high school.¬† I was a theater¬†kid, mostly–that was my first love, and what I knew I wanted to do from pretty early on—¬†but I’ve loved¬†books for as long as¬†I can remember, and I¬†had this one amazing creative writing teacher, Dr. Galvin, who I still remember.¬† He had a tweed jacket and a mustache and was the poet laureate of Maryland (really!) and he would bring other real live professional writers in to talk to us sometimes.¬† His class was an elective, a little haven for the artsy weirdo brainy kids, and I took it two years in a row.¬† His classroom had plants in it, and a tape recorder that he would play music on, and lots of posters everywhere–one of them¬†said, “A story is a big lie–but in the middle of¬†that lie, you’re telling the truth.”¬† I mostly wrote poems in that class–it took me till my twenties to figure out how to write a story–but I loved, loved, loved words, and Dr. Galvin was one of the first people who taught me that you could make beautiful things out of them. I am NOT a math or science person–like, not even a little bit—and I’d slog through geometry and trig and biology and all that, doodling on my¬†hand,¬†waiting till the bell rang and I could go to Dr. Galvin’s class. High school was kind of like that for me–some classes I couldn’t have cared less about and my parents had to kind of kick my butt to make sure I didn’t flunk them entirely–but other classes, the ones with the amazing teachers who told you that you could make things out of words and listen to music during school and talk about what was interesting to you and learn ways to make those things interesting to other people too–those classes were better than just about anything.¬† I felt kind of like a misfit in high school–like, I think, most high school kids do, even if they know how to hide it–but that creative writing class was a place where that was somehow okay, maybe even cool, maybe even something you could create something from.

 

Chasing Brooklyn

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder. I’m a total Lisa Schroeder fan. She was the first author I interviewed on this blog and I just adore her books. But I have to say – Chasing Brooklyn is, hands-down,¬† her best book yet. It makes her other books seem like they’re “just okay” because it is so awesome. If you’re going to pre-order any book, THIS IS THE ONE. (I also ADORE the cover!)

¬†Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken. I made a whole post dedicated to the awesomeness of this book but¬†I feel it’s worthy of being mentioned again. If you love Tamora Pierce or just a good story, this is the one book you really want to look out for!

¬†The Naughty List by Suzanne Young. This book is SO cute. I just loved it, even though the cover made my father look at me and go “I don’t think you should be reading that!”. It’s cute, it’s funny, it’s unique, and the ending will make you go “OMG.”

The Cinderella Society

 

The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy. Again, this is such a cute start to a series. It’s very empowering! I love it!

 

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting. I think this was the first 2010 release I read and I just loved it. It’s very fast-paced and I couldn’t put it down.

 

So there you have it – the five books I highly recommend you pre-order ASAP. What books do you recommend everyone should pre-order?

After posting the winners last time, very few emailed me with their addresses so I have to (once again) choose new winners.

The new winner of the journal from Elizabeth Scott is…DIANNA of Fictional Worlds.

The new winners of Haunted are…Emily Marshall, Lexie (of Lexile Words).

The new winner of a copy of Hush Hush is…CHELSIE (of bookluverreviews!)

Winners, please email me your address within 48 hours!

Beautiful

This month we’re giving away a signed copy of Beautiful by Amy Reed. To Enter:

 

+1 leave a comment on this post with your email

+1 comment on the guestblog (+2 if you already have)

+1 comment on the interview once it’s posted

+1 for Tweeting/blogging about this and leaving a link.

Deadline: October 31st

Beautiful

Title: Beautiful

Author: Amy Reed

Rating: 9/10

Summary: (Taken fromAmazon)

When Cassie moves from the tiny town where she has always lived to a suburb of Seattle, she is determined to leave her boring, good-girl existence behind. This is Cassie’s chance to stop being invisible and become the kind of girl who’s worth noticing.

Stepping into her new identity turns out to be easier than Cassie could have ever imagined…one moment, one choice, will change everything.

Cassie’s new existence both thrills and terrifies her. Swept into a world of illicit parties and social landmines, she sheds her virginity, embraces the numbness she feels from the drugs, and floats through it all, knowing that she is now called beautiful. She ignores the dangers of her fast-paced life?but she can’t sidestep the secrets and the cruelty.

Cassie is trapped in a swift downward spiral tinged with violence and abuse, and no one‚ÄĒnot even the one person she thought she could trust‚ÄĒcan help her now.

My Thoughts: Beautiful is one of those book you expect to be good from the start. The cover draws you in first, then the summary, and when you start it, the first chapter alone makes you want more.

While I can’t relate to a lot of what happened in the book, as I am extremely straight-edge, I could relate to Cassie and I think¬†a lot of other girls will also be able to. All of us have to deal with feelings we can’t control, peer pressure, crushes, and wanting to fit in, among all of the other things Cassie has to deal with and that makes Beautiful more realistic for teens who find Cassie’s world foreign.

¬†As much as I loved Cassie and the plot, I would’ve loved to see some of the minor characters developed more because I kept confusing some of them and I also would’ve liked to have seen more added onto the ending, though that’s partly because I didn’t want to see the book end.

¬†Overall, I completely recommend this but only for older/mature teens, due to the content. (I also think fans of Stephanie Kuehnert’s books would enjoy this.)

As any of you who follow me on Twitter or who have talked to me much at all know, besides being a reader I’m also a blogger. I don’t like to talk about my writing too much on this blog because I write under yet another pen name. But, I felt I would get more answers if I posted this year.

For NaNo, I’m rewriting what is my second finished rough draft and probably the tenth or so book that I’ve gotten half-way or more through. I have a plan that involves rewriting, beta-readers, and some other things before I even worry about agents/whatever. (Okay, so I’m thinking about them but what writer DOESN’T? Seriously.) Basically, I’m thinking the more feedback, the better.

I’ve recently come across some author mentoring/critique programs (like the one offered by Lynda Sandoval). I know most people are going to roll their eyes and tell me that I don’t need to worry about that, that plenty of authors have gotten published without using such programs, and that it’d just be¬†a waste of money. But here’s the thing – the more I think about it, the more I want it. Sure, it doesn’t guarantee anything will EVER happen with that book but I just feel that it’d give me a gigantic boost forward.

Anyway, the point of this post is – does anyone know of any other authors who offer anything similar? Or, you know, anyone who usually doesn’t but would be willing? (And hey, awesome blogger/unpublished writer people – if want to beta-read it, lemme know!) Of course, I’m not sure why I’m worrying about this quite yet because it won’t be ready until April/May at the earliest but if I have to start saving, might as well do it now. ūüôā



  • Megan: Just read LAST CHRISTMAS. I would SOOO reccomend it to people who havent even read the private series. It is soo good.The suspense was kiling me all t
  • Lola: Oh my gosh! i just finished it....i googled the song for i had never herd it before......may have been a mistake because it is in my head for taciturn
  • mais: heeeyyyy.... can anyonePLEASE give me the link or even send me the copy of the eighth book(revelation on my email because i cant find it anywhere for

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