Six of Crows

Six of Crows
“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”
-Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Suspense
Pages: 462
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Published: September 29th, 2015
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Synopsis From Goodreads:

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Six of Crows is very dark for a young adult novel, yet it still manages to be an easy and entertaining read. The character development is amazing, I loved the romantic tension, and it has some of the best world building I’ve seen since Harry Potter! The only major complaint I have is the plot. As far as I can tell, the first chapter is completely unnecessary, and the pacing seems kind of slow for the first quarter of the book. That being said, Six of Crows is easily one of my most favorite books ever because of the characters and world alone!

Embers

Embers
“We all have responsibilities from our circumstances,
even if we didn’t ask for them.”
― Karen Ann Hopkins, Embers

Title: Embers
Author: Karen Ann Hopkins
Series: The Wings of War #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 394
Publisher: Self-published
Published: March 15, 2015
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Synopsis From Goodreads:

There are descendants of angels walking among us. Ember is one of them.
Embers is an epic paranormal adventure/romance about a seventeen year old girl who discovers that she’s immune to fire and any other injury when she’s in a horrific car crash that kills her parents. Following a violent episode with her aunt’s boyfriend, Ember flees Ohio to live with an old relative in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Ember’s exuberance at escaping a bad home life soon turns to trepidation when she learns that she’s a Watcher, a descendant of angels.
While Ember is instructed about her heritage and the powers that go along with it, she strikes up friendships with two teenagers who live in a frightening walled compound in the forest. Inexplicitly drawn to one of the young men in particular, an impossible romance develops. But it’s cut short when Ember discovers that her new friends are fighting on the opposite side of a war that’s been raging between two factions of Watchers for thousands of years. When the compound’s inhabitants threaten the townspeople, Ember takes action, sealing her fate in the ancient battle of good versus evil, and the grayness in between. Ember is up to the challenge, until she realizes that she isn’t only fighting for the lives of the locals and the souls of her new friends. She may be one of the few champions willing to make a stand for all of mankind as the rapture approaches and the end of days begin.

My Rating: ☆☆

Embers is one of those books that has a lot of wasted potential. The premise is great, but the follow-through just isn’t there.
The plot of Embers is interesting enough to hold your attention, but the story starts earlier than it should. For starters, the prologue is entirely unnecessary! By unnecessary, I mean its only purpose is to make you wonder what’s behind the creepy wall in the woods. The writing of the prologue isn’t that amazing either… It’s in third person; the rest of the book is in first person. Also, it is very gorry and almost made me put the book down. Maybe it’s just me, but heads should not come off in the first twenty pages unless the book is a horror story or somebody super important is being murdered, (neither of which is the case here)! The first three chapters are also just a bunch of unnecessary set-up. The story doesn’t start until the main character gets to her aunt’s house, but for some reason we’re given explicit details about how she got there in the form of three extra chapters. That being said, Embers tells a pretty good story once the plot actually kicks off. It isn’t the kind of thing you read for brilliant writing or a message that’ll stick with you, but it makes good mindless entertainment!
The characters are… flat. The main character, Ember, is basically a puppet who does whatever has to be done to move the plot along. There was a lot of potential for her to go through some major development, but it was not fulfilled. I mean… The girl watched her parents burn to death in a fire and discovered that fire couldn’t hurt her in the process. She should be traumatized to the point of needing therapy, but instead she just comes across as a winy teenage girl who is quite honestly super annoying. Her love interest is slightly more developed. He’s a demon who doesn’t want to be a demon and has actually considered suicide to escape his demonicness, but again some great potential is wasted. The romance was also major instalove, and the love triangle that was introduced about two-thirds into the book was obviously just there for the sake of having a love triangle. Seriously… Who is going to believe that there is actually a possibility that the descendent of an angel is going to fall in love with a human guy when she basically threw herself at a demon the first time she saw him???
Embers is an excellent example of a book that should not have been written in first person. It would’ve been better if the characters weren’t so flat, but because neither of the two narrators was developed enough to have a strong narrative voice, the first person narrative was just really awkward sounding. Maybe I’m just an up-tight writerly snob, but I wanted to scream and rewrite the entire book in third person the whole time I was reading it. The only thing that got me to read through the writing was the plot. It kept me turning pages to see what happened even though I predicted every single twist from the midpoint onward. Overall, Embers is a pretty good read if you’re into plot driven stories with the “mindless entertainment factor”, but you should probably avoid it if you’re going to be irritated by cardboard characters and not so fantastic writing.

Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Gods and monsters
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil pressed their hands to their hearts
And started the apocalypse.”
-Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Title: Dreams of Gods & Monsters
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of smoke & Bone #3
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 613
Publisher: Little Brown & Company
Published: April 8, 2014
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Synopsis From Goodreads:

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited – not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as – from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond – humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Dreams of Gods & Monsters opens by introducing a new character to the series. I would normally consider it a “writerly no-no” to add a main character so late in a series, but in this case, it works! Without the addition of a new key player, the plot couldn’t have ended as it did. The new character is also very well developed to have entered the story so late, and she undergoes a complete character arck by the end.
The plot of Dreams of Gods & Monsters is tight and well paced. While Days of Blood & Starlight seemed slow in places, Dreams of Gods & Monsters flows quickly and holds your attention until the very last page.
The writing style is very smooth and almost captivating in some places, but as with the first two books, the narrator switches were not handled as well as they could’ve been. There were several instances where a narrator swap occurred in the middle of a chapter, and it got super hard to follow! The fact that there were so many characters didn’t help matters either… Honestly, the whole problem could’ve been remedied if the narrator changes had happened at chapter breaks, but because they didn’t, it became “borderline head-hopping.”
The ending of the series was carried out beautifully! I did NOT see the plot twist coming, but I love how everything was wrapped up! The worlds were saved, everyone who mattered got their happy ever after, and the only thing I could find fault with was the head-hopping problem!

Days of Blood & Starlight

Days of blood and starlight
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them.
And its snap split the world in two.”
― Laini Taylor, Days of Blood & Starlight

Title: Days of Blood & Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2, (click here for my review of book 1)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 517
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: November 6th, 2012
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Synopsis From Goodreads:

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Days of Blood & Starlight is a pretty good follow-up to Daughter of Smoke & Bone. The plot picks up basically where the first book ended, but introduces an entirely new setting and conflict. The overall plot was excellent, but the pacing did seem a little slow to me. It wasn’t the torturous kind of slow progression that makes you want to skip ahead, but it definitely could’ve gotten off to a faster start!
The character development was amazing! The book was definitely more plot driven than character driven, but all of the main characters began some kind of transformation that was obvious through their actions and the ways in which they interacted with each other. Each of the character arcs unfolded alongside plot events, and the changes they experienced were caused by the plot, which created a nice balance. By the end of the story, all of the key players were placed at a point where they had to make a decision for better or worse. At that point in the story, they had all progressed enough to understand the right choice, and therefore the story reached a form of closure while still leaving room for the next book.
The writing style of Days of Blood & Starlight is very unique. It has a melodic flow that is beautiful and interesting, yet hard to follow sometimes. Part of the confusion also came from the fact that there were multiple narrators. I think I counted three main narrators and a couple chapters from others. I normally don’t have a problem with multiple narrators, but this got super hard to keep up with! I definitely understand why there were so many narrators, and they were all necessary for the story to unfold, but I think it could’ve been written a little more distinctly. Thankfully it was written in third person, otherwise I don’t think I could’ve gotten through all the head-hopping!
This most definitely is not the kind of book you read for mindless entertainment! Coming from someone who can usually listen to audio books while doing a multitude of other tasks simultaneously without missing a thing in the book, this was not an easy read! I mean… I actually had to dedicate time to curl into a small ball on my bed with only a blanket and coffee to read this thing instead of just throwing on my headphones while being a responsible student! That being said, it told a very unique and amazing story, and I have already started the next book because I am totally hooked on this plot!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor | Spoiler Free Review

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Cover
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.
It did not end well.”
-Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Genre: young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 422
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Published: September 27th, 2011
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Synopsis From Goodreads:

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Coming from someone who is sick and tired of romance over-riding fantasy plots in books, this five star review is high praise! I literally cannot find fault with this book!
The quote at the top pretty much sums up the basic plot. An angel and a devil fall in love, and things end badly, but there is so much more depth to this story!
Karou makes an awesome main character! She knows nothing about where she came from at the beginning of the story. All she knows is that she’s caught between two worlds. One is made of magic, teeth, and monsters; the other is made of humans who can never know the truth. Karou keeps her secrets by telling the truth in such a way that people think she’s lying, which is a nice change. It seems that most fantasy characters simply weave a web of lies, but Karou hides behind a mask of sarcastically spoken truth.
The world building in Daughter of Smoke and Bone is super complex but blends almost seamlessly! In the beginning, Karou is part of two worlds: “Elsewhere,” where she spent her childhood, and the human world. However, her two worlds end up colliding with a third world: Akiva’s angelic realm. I can’t really continue with this train of thought because spoilers abound, but the way in which the three worlds meet is written very well. I don’t think I’ve ever known a book to juggle three worlds as well as Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
Something interesting is the way in which the “big reveal” was written. For the majority of the first half of the book, Karou has no idea where she came from, and that question is eventually answered through what is basically a giant flashback to her past. This kind of seemed like a writerly copout to me, but it also worked well in the situation. It was a little confusing to jump into another time and setting for a few chapters, but I honestly don’t know how it could’ve been done differently without altering the plot in a big way. I would typically knock off a star for something like this, but the writing was good enough that I decided to let it slide.
As you can probably tell, this is one of those books that you can’t really talk about without spoiling everything, so I’ll go on and end my review here. Overall, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is an excellent read, and I definitely recommend that you have the second book ready to go as soon as you finish it because… talk about a cliffhanger!

Writing Up Wednesday #3: What’s Your POV?

Writing Up Wednesday is a writing link-up created by Lizzy @ The Bent Bookworm. The theme for this week is POV.


When I sit down to write a story, I usually just start typing a scene from my outline and see what happens. Whatever words flow from my fingers are the words that will dictate my narrative POV for the rest of the story. Those first words are usually the most unfiltered by my own mind because they are the foundation for the entire story, and there is nothing that comes before them to dictate what they must make happen. In the case of my “Shaman Novel,” the first words that appeared on the page were in first person present tense and told through the eyes of Niko Deverow, my main character.
Narrative POV is very important to me. The POV has to feel exactly right before I can continue with a story. I see many authors saying that they only feel comfortable writing in a certain point of view, and in my opinion, your story and narrating character should be the deciding factor in your narrative POV and not your writerly comfort zone. The wrong POV can kill a book’s success, just as the right POV can make a story magical. I naturally gravitate towards first person for a lot of things, but I can usually tell if a character voice isn’t working with the narrative. I feel like first person is perfect for this story because it allows you, as the reader, to understand a character who might otherwise be difficult to connect with.

Shiny Broken Pieces, (Tiny Pretty Things #2)

Shiny Broken Pieces

Title: Shiny Broken Pieces
Author: Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton
Series: Tiny Pretty Things #2
Pages: 385
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: July 12th, 2016
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Synopsis From Goodreads:

June, Bette, and Gigi have given their all to dance at Manhattan’s most elite ballet school. Now they are competing one final time for a spot at the prestigious American Ballet Company. With the stakes higher than ever, these girls have everything to lose…and no one is playing nice.
June is starting to finally see herself as a prima ballerina. However, getting what she wants might cost her everything—including the only boy she’s ever loved. Legacy dancer Bette is determined to clear her name after she was suspended and accused of hurting her rival, Gigi. Even if she returns, though, will she ever regain the spotlight she craves? And Gigi is not going to let Bette—or the other dancers who bullied her—go unpunished. But as revenge consumes her, Gigi may be the one who pays the price.
After years of grueling auditions, torn ribbons, and broken hearts, it all comes down to this last dance. Who will make the cut? And who will lose her dream forever?

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Wow… I have kind of fallen in love with one of these characters. Remember how I said the characters were kind of underdeveloped in my review of book 1? Shiny Broken Pieces almost completely turned that around! All of the characters had more depth, but I was able to connect with June in particular. The others seemed less relatable by comparison, but I also think June had more of a story to tell than the others.
The plot was still as much of a roller coaster as it was in Tiny Pretty Things but I felt like it was a bit tighter. The first person narrative that I mentioned as a downfall in Tiny Pretty Things was one of the biggest strengths in the plot of Shiny Broken Pieces. It allowed the readers to know who was doing what and why, but it still allowed a bit of mystery because one of the key players was not a narrator. There weren’t a ton of plot lines like there were in Tiny Pretty Things, and that made it a whole lot easier to follow! Shiny Broken Pieces picked up right after the massive cliff hanger ending of Tiny Pretty Things and wrapped up all of the loose threads that it created.
The ending of Shiny Broken Pieces did leave me a bit disappointed, not because I wanted more of the story or thought it was a bad ending, but because I didn’t like where some of the characters ended up. Honestly I felt like the ending was dragged out longer than was really necessary simply for the sake of throwing in one last plot twist. It could’ve ended about three chapters earlier than it did, and life would’ve been great! But it didn’t, and that’s what caused some characters to end up in places other than where I wanted them to go. Without totally spoiling everything, June did not make the choice I wanted her to make, Gigi did lots of unnecessary traveling but eventually landed right where I wanted her, and Bette got exactly what she wanted and she did not deserve that by any stretch of the imagination!
I love these characters and have become invested in this story by now, but I really hope there won’t be another book in this series. It’s starting to feel too much like Pretty Little Liars, and that series went on forever and ever and eventually got to where it just didn’t make any kind of sense at all… I don’t want that for this story. One more book might be good if it were done well, but the plot and writing style of the first two books makes me doubt that it would contribute anything to the series besides another plot roller coaster that would intrigue the reader at best and make them exhausted at worst. The potential for a third book is certainly there, but I don’t think it should be expanded upon.
In the end, Shiny Broken Pieces gets a solid four stars. I have criticized it, but id told a good story, added some depth to the original characters, tied up all the dangling strings, and provided me some entertainment as I listened to it and cleaned out iCloud Drive so my iPad would stop yelling about not being backed up. When it comes right down to it, books are supposed to entertain, and entertain this series does!

Tiny Pretty Things — Spoiler Free Review

Tiny Pretty Things
“The moment you think you’re on top is the moment you’ve lost your passion.”
-Tiny Pretty Things

Title: Tiny Pretty Things
Author: Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton
Series: Tiny Pretty Things #1
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Fiction, Romance
Pages: 448
Publisher: Harper Teen
Published: May 26th, 2015
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Synopsis From Goodreads:

Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Are you a Pretty Little Liars lover? You’ll probably like Tiny Pretty Things! I can’t help but agree with the majority of the Blogosphere and say that Tiny Pretty Things is basically Pretty Little Liars in a fancy dance school with minority characters, but also the fact that I gave it four stars begs to differ with that statement. This is probably gonna earn me some angry bookworm screeches in the comments, but PLL doesn’t even register on the rating scale for me. Honestly the only true comparison I can draw between the two is the plot. The plot lines are very similar, but Tiny Pretty Things outshines Pretty Little Liars in every other aspect.
I must admit that I was pretty confused at first, but then I figured out what was going on. Tiny Pretty Things is told through the eyes of three POV characters, and what’s interesting is that it’s written in first person. Publishers warn against that, and now I see why… For the first three or four chapters, all of the characters kind of sounded like the same person, and it was hard to tell who was narrating, especially since I listened to it in audio and therefore didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the chapter headings. It also began in the past, but it looked like the first chapter instead of a prologue. Publishers warn against prologues too, but come on! If you’re gonna start a book in the past, please don’t confuse my poor little bookworm brain by making me think it’s the first chapter!
The characters didn’t seem to be well developed in my opinion, but the cast was definitely diverse! The main focus of the character arcs was how African American and Korean girls fit into the ballet world. The redeeming quality of the characters was getting a look at several different cultures instead of dealing with the average cast of prissy white girls competing for head diva status. It almost seems like the characters were intentionally poorly developed to direct focus towards the plot, but I also think that the plot would’ve been enhanced if there had been more emphasis on the character arcs.
The plot was… classic. What happens when you throw a bunch of girls in a ballet school and make them compete for major parts? They fight, people get hurt, and lives are ruined! Everyone does something horrible to look out for their own status, and you spend the majority of the story wondering who you’re supposed to trust! You go through plot twist after plot twist, and that is what reminded me of Pretty Little Liars the most! But thankfully the writing of Tiny Pretty Things was much better, so I was intrigued enough to keep reading.
I feel like I have thoroughly trash talked this entire book now, so you’re probably all wondering why I gave this thing four stars. The answer to that is actually very simple! It provided mindless entertainment and a good mystery after a crazy school week. You know those weird reality shows that are kind of pointless and stupid but still manage to hold your attention? That’s Tiny Pretty Things in a nutshell! The plot and character motivations were just flat enough to be ridiculous and hold my attention, and I even got a good laugh out of it when the title of the book was directly stated in the context of the story. It was hilarious because it really seemed like it was just there to relate the plot back to the title in any way possible!
All that being said, I really did enjoy the story, and I’d recommend it to anyone who needs an easy read that will keep them guessing. I’m invested enough now tat I want to know what happens to the characters because some of them did have some serious issues, (they just seemed a little underplayed to me), and that cliffhanger ending was epic! I actually have Shiny Broken Pieces downloading as I type this because of that ending. I don’t think this series will be everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s definitely worth a try if you want something different and entertaining!

These Broken Stars (minor spoiler with warning)

These broken stars book cover art
“For a moment the image before us is frozen: our world, our lives, reduced to a handful broken stars half lost in uncharted space. Then it’s gone, the view swallowed by the hyperspace winds streaming past, blue-green auroras wiping the after-images away.

Until all that’s left is us”
― Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner, These Broken Stars

Title: These Broken stars
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan spooner
Series: Starbound #1
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 374
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Published: December 10th, 2013
Find It On:
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Synopsis From Goodreads:

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

My Rating: ☆☆☆

Please allow me a moment to fangirl… I love this story and these characters even though they both have their flaws, but I promise I’ll try to be coherent!

The Writing:
To have a dual point of view, this book flows amazingly well! The writing is very elaborate as is typical for the genre, but it’s elaborate in a way that seems simple if that makes any sense at all… It pulls us as the readers into a new world and makes sure we know all the important details, but it also isn’t overly descriptive.

The Characters:
Lilac and Tarver are awesome characters! They are both very distinct, and even if the chapters weren’t clearly marked with who does the narrating, I would be able to tell them apart with no problem!

The Plot:
Uhh yeah… The plot does get a lil weird closer to the end, but let’s just… look over that and focus on the cool characters and setting! Just kidding!

What lost this book two stars?

I knocked off two stars for the plot because there are a few things that really bugged me, but these things could very easily be subject to opinion:
•Scenario: A boy and a girl have been flirting. Girl pretends to hate boy because father orders her to do so. Boy and girl get thrown onto a deserted planet. Boy and girl fall in love. Shocker…
•Minor spoiler alert pertaining to plot tropes! Skip to the next bullet point if your concerned: You know how sometimes characters die, and then they come back to life when the love interest is heartbroken and can’t seem to move on without the “dead character? I’m not saying that happened exactly, but yeah…
•The ending was a little sudden. One minute things were happening, and the next minute Lilac and Tarver were headed back to wherever their home planner was! Huh what???

What won this book three stars?

•Very distinct characters.
•Strong internal and external conflict.
•Really cool alien beings!
•Interesting use of character backstory.
•Easy to read writing style.
•Other general awesomeness!

Conclusion:

If you like SciFi at all, I think you’ll like this book! I will definitely be reading the rest of the series!

Share your thoughts?

Have you read These Broken Stars? Do you wanna read it now? Any thoughts on my rather scattered review? Let’s chat in comments!

How I Outline: (Yes, I Am A Crazy Person)

Guys! NaNoWriMo is happening in ONE WEEK! So… I am now writing a post about how I outline instead of finishing my outline… Yes, it’s counterproductive. Just go with it! This is the first time I’ve actually attempted to outline an entire novel. I used to be a hardcore pantser for the simple fact that having to outline analytical essays for school ruined me on the idea of outlining my own writing. And then the first year of NaNowriMo happened… I sat down on November 1st, typed out 35000 words, (a winning number since I did the YWP), and found out that my story had NO plot when I attempted to read back over it. That is now a project that we do not speak of, and it resides in the “stuff I don’t need now” folder on my desktop. If you’ve read this post, you know that this year’s NaNo project is majorly complicated and has a few different narrating characters, and after attempting to write a coherent synopsis, I decided that there was no way around it… I was gonna have to outline. I watched a ton of youtube videos about how different people outline, and I made my process based off of about ten different videos. It’s worked so far, (except for the small fact that I only have a week to put scenes in order and keep up with school work), so I thought I’d share it! *Note: My process for the book is very complex, requires lots of thought, has a few possibly redundant steps, and is going to make me look like the crazy person I am!

  1. Make a Dropbox folder for your project. I put it in Dropbox because it syncs like magic across my laptop, iPad, and phone, which means I can work on it discreetly at family functions if necessary! For now, the folder is just going to contain some notes in normal Word docs, but it’ll eventually contain my Scrivener project so I can still work in Scrivener on my IOS devices! If you didn’t already know, Scrivener got an IOS app, and it is possibly the best thing I’ve ever put on my iPad.
  2. Make a file called “Word Barf.” That IS the exact name of this document. Sound disgusting? It is. I pretty much just write down every single detail about my characters, the world, the setting, the plot, who has a blood fude with who and why, which royal families are allies and which will kill each other on sight, why this character is terrified of spiders, why another character never tells lies, a secret being kept from someone about a certain thing for what reason, and you get the picture… It is NOT a pretty file, and the next step is going to make you want to scream because it involves THAT file!
  3. Go through the “Word Barf” file and pick out every major plot event that could possibly actually happen in the story and isn’t just an insane thought that occurred at 4 AM! Yeah… That was fun… I should’ve probably just written down plot events in a different file as soon as I wrote them in the “Word Barf,” but that would’ve disrupted my brainstorm! They don’t have to be in order at this point, but just get all those good plot events separated out from the crazy!
  4. Look through the plot points and figure out where big wholes are. Then fill said big whole with other plot points. Note: This may be easier to do in the next step, but I didn’t think the first time.
  5. Write all those lovely plot points on index cards!!! Or… You could just print that file out and cut them up. 😉
  6. This is where the fun really begins! Start moving all those cards around until you get them in the perfect order! “But, Cheyenne,” you say, “I thought you loved Scrivener! Couldn’t you just do that in Scrivener?!” NO! Scrivener’s great for writing, but try dragging 107 scenes, (yes, I actually have that many), around on virtual index cards! It doesn’t work… Unless you’re reeeeeally good at remembering where stuff was when the screen scrolls down…
  7. Put the organized plot points on some sort of mostly permanent structure… I started out on a giant cork board, but it wasn’t big enough, so now they’re all taped to a trifold poster-board… Trust me… You’re gonna want to do this step because they WILL get shuffled around if you don’t, and then you will be very angry! Also, keep the cat/dog out of the room until you’ve got them stuck to something!
  8. Type all those plot points up in a new file, just in case something happens to the cards, or you just wanna work when you don’t have them. like at that family function I mentioned earlier!
  9. Put those typed plot points in your novel notebook, if you have such a notebook. This is one of those things that I said might be redundant since you have them typed already, but I’m the kind of person who has to have everything in a notebook even though it is stored digitally because I don’t like flipping between multiple files or programs.
  10. I told you I’m crazy! Put all of those plot points in Scrivener!!! I do all of my writing in Scrivener because I like to write by scene, and it is really handy to have the plot point for each scene nicely written in the notes section for each file so I know exactly what i’m going to write next. See! There is a method to my madness!!! You also need to put your character/setting/government info from the “Word Barf” in a Word doc, your notebook, and the character and research sections in Scrivener! Maybe those first two steps are redundant to some, but I gotta have a hard copy before it goes into Scrivener. My brain just won’t operate the other way! I was going to make the character and setting thing the next number, but then I wouldn’t have anything to go after it, and I also cannot stand to stop on an uneven number!!!

And There You Have It!

That is my outlining process simplified! NOT Feel free to adapt this process to suit you, and youTube “novel planning” if you think i’m completely crazy and that process makes you want to run far, far away from this blog… Please don’t run from me! I’m mostly harmless! I’d love to know how you outline in the comments, and feel free to link me to your blog if you’ve done a similar post. Also, are you ready for NaNo! Still planning? Have no idea what you’re even writing about? Let’s chat in comments! From Cheyenne 🙂