Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Writers on Wednesday ~ Rachelle Christensen

Writers on Wednesday is spotlighting Rachelle Christensen today! She's involved in the writing community and willing to help other writers. Love her!
You can follow her on FB and Pinterest too.


Enjoy the post today:



Is there one book or author who changed your life/viewpoint/writing?
I can’t narrow it down to one, but I will say that when I discovered the LDStorymakers conference was pivotal. The knowledge/community was amazing and each year I have returned and learned so much.

What’s your favorite snack?
 This is a fun one and I even have a picture on my blog: http://rachellewrites.blogspot.com/2012/04/my-favorite-treat.html

What is your most memorable high school experience? 
Wow, how to choose? I had a great group of friends, enjoyed learning, and worked hard. I think playing the lead role in My Fair Lady, as Eliza Doolittle was definitely a high point and then writing an essay that won me a trip to Chesapeake Bay, VA to study the blue crab with scientists was pretty dang cool for an Idaho farm girl!


Are you a night owl or early bird? 

Early bird. I grew up on a farm and during my teen years was up most days before 5 so that I could be in the fields moving pipe. Now I feel like it’s sleeping in if I get to sleep until 7:30, of course there are a lot more interruptions in the night with 4 children but I still hope to get back to that 5:00 time someday.

What do you never leave home without? 
Water. Yep, I grew up in the deserts of Idaho.

Do you have any pets?
 4 cats and 6 chickens.

What is one piece of advice you would give aspiring writers? 

You can’t do this for the money, you have to do it for the love because there are going to be times when you hate writing and hate your book and only the sheer joy of creating something new from words you string together into amazing sentences will keep you going.

What are you goals for 2013?
To write that fun book that I’ve had on the back burner for about three years now. I’m excited about it, that and revising the book I just wrote for NaNoWriMo in November. I’m also continuing my goal from 2012 to find more joy in the everyday things and cherish the small moments with my kids.

Thanks for letting me visit your blog. That is one thing I love about writing--the great community of like-minded friends I’ve come to know and love!




Rachelle's bio:

Rachelle J. Christensen was born and raised in a small farming town in Idaho.
She graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a minor in music.
Her first novel, Wrong Number was awarded Outstanding Book of the Year from the League of Utah Writers and was also a 2010 Whitney Finalist. Her second suspense novel, Caller ID was released March 2012. She is also the author of a nonfiction book, Lost Children: Coping with Miscarriage for Latter Day Saints. She is represented by Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary.
Rachelle loves spending time with her family and writing every minute she can. She also enjoys singing and songwriting, playing the piano, running, motivational speaking, and of course reading. She lives in rural Utah with her husband, four children, four cats, and six chickens.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Whitney Awards Winners

What are the Whitney awards?

WHITNEYS

The Whitney Awards–named after LDS poet and author, Orson F. Whitney, who once proclaimed that we would one day have “Shakespeares and Miltons of our own”–were begun some five years ago to honor the best in fiction by LDS authors and, thus, help to raise the bar in LDS literature. LDStorymakers is proud to host the Whitneys each year on the concluding night of our annual writer’s conference. Tickets for the Whitney Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony are limited but available to the public until sold out.

 Who won this year?

2012 Winners

Best Young Adult Speculative Novel: EVERNEATH By Brodi Ashton
Best Young Adult General Novel: AFTER HELLO By Lisa Mangum
Best Middle Grade Novel: THE FALSE PRINCE By Jennifer A. Nielsen
Best General Novel: THE RENT COLLECTOR By Camron Wright
Best Historical Novel: MY LOVING VIGIL KEEPING By Carla Kelly
Best Romance Novel: EDENBROOKE By Julianne Donaldson
Best Mystery/Suspense Novel: CODE WORD By Traci Hunter Abramson
Best Speculative Novel: THE HOLLOW CITY By Dan Wells
Best Youth Novel of the Year: THE FALSE PRINCE By Jennifer A. Nielsen
Best Novel by a New Author: EDENBROOKE By Julianne Donaldson
Best Novel of the Year: THE RENT COLLECTOR By Camron Wright
Lael Littke: LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Carol Lynch Williams: OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

And who got to present Best Novel by a New Author?
Donna Weaver!
Well, and me. I was totally nervous but it was fun and I would do it again.



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

ESTHER the QUEEN by H. B. Moore

She is a beautiful young Jewess, content in her life of anonymity... He is the most powerful king in the world... When chance brings the two together, the course of history is forever altered.

The glittering court of the Persian Empire serves as the backdrop for one of the most poignant tales of courage in the Bible, brought vividly to life in the pages of bestselling author H.B. Moore’s sweeping saga. And it begins on a dusty road in the Jewish Quarter . . .

An unexpected meeting between Esther and King Xerxes results in an immediate and unmistakable connection. When Esther is summoned to enter the king’s harem—the first step toward becoming his wife—Esther is torn between her desire to be with Xerxes and the knowledge that they will forever be divided by the secret of her Jewish heritage. Encouraged by her family to do what she must to help her people, she deftly navigates her new position in the palace, quickly becoming beloved by all—including Xerxes.

But when a treacherous plan threatens to engulf the kingdom in violence, Esther must choose between love and duty.



First line:
“You will be the bride today,” Abigail said, tugging on Esther’s hand.

I read Esther the Queen in one weekend. Another good story from H.B. Moore, full of intrigue and romantic tension and, as always, historically accrurate. I enjoy learning history without knowing I am.
Esther is a good, strong character. Kind, gentle and strong in her faith. She inspired me to be better. That's good writing. I had no idea how long a woman had to be 'cleansed' before meeting the king. That's a long time to think and wonder if the king is still thinking about you. Even during this part of the story, Esther was kind to those around her and made many friends and allies.
King Xerxes is cute (at least in my head) and also kind. I liked watching him change into a better/moral person. And the drive to make his kingdom and people better also.
Haman is a fantastically written villain. Vile is a good word to use for him. I hated him throughout the whole book.
There were several intense places too: the plot to kill the king, Haman making the edict and Esther going to the king.
Then came the scene with Esther going before the king and then telling him the truth a few days later--very moving. I even got teary-eyed and that's hard to do with this reader.


Rating: PG
S:Kissing
V: No
L: No

Liked:
Ms. Moore's writing
Esther
King Xerxes

Disliked:
Nothing


4 1/2 STARS

Monday, May 20, 2013

Authors Incognito ~ Group extraodinaire



 
I belong to an awesome group of writers. 
We help each other with writing, editing, and quite often, life.
It's a great group of human beings having a writerly experience.
And they are extraordinaire.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

THE LOST PRINCE by Julie Kagawa

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.


The last line:
"And for the first time, I wasn't afraid."

The Iron Queen's brother, Ethan, has the Sight and can see the fey. But he knows if they know he can see them they will bother him and his family, even hurt them. But when a friend goes missing, thanks to a ghostly fey, he knows he has to enter their world. And see his sister again even though he's mad at her for leaving his family. But when he has to take someone else with him, the plot thickens. Mackenzie is a friend from school who was being threatened by the ghostly fey so Ethan had no choice but to bring her with him.
But Kenize wasn't friends with him at first. She tried to be but Ethan kept shutting her. He was mean! I'm not sure why she kept coming back to him to talk.
New fairies in this book. New characters and a few old but loved ones too. Ash and Puck have a cameo in this book! 
There is one swear word that the main character uses a ton in the beginning then hardly any at all until the end.
And Kenzie uses "tough guy" too much! It was starting to annoy me. It got old.
While I enjoyed this book, this isn't a favorite in the series for me.


Rating: PG13
V: Fighting
L: Swearing
S: Kissing

Liked: 
Another book in one of my favorite series
Keirran

Disliked:
Poor me! (from Ethan)


3 1/2 STARS

Monday, May 13, 2013

INSOMNIA by J.R. Johansson

It’s been four years since I slept, and I suspect it is killing me.

Instead of sleeping, Parker Chipp enters the dream of the last person he’s had eye contact with. He spends his nights crushed by other people’s fear and pain, by their disturbing secrets—and Parker can never have dreams of his own. The severe exhaustion is crippling him. If nothing changes, Parker could soon be facing psychosis and even death.

Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that is utterly addictive. Parker starts going to bizarre lengths to catch Mia’s eye every day. Everyone at school thinks he’s gone over the edge, even his best friend. And when Mia is threatened by a true stalker, everyone thinks it’s Parker.

Suffering blackouts, Parker begins to wonder if he is turning into someone dangerous. What if the monster stalking Mia is him after all?


 First line:
"It’s been four years since I slept, and I suspect it is killing me."

Oh my glob! This book made me tired...in a good way. Poor Parker! He has strange dreams that don't allow him any rest. For the last four years, the last person he makes contact before he sleeps is whose dreams he has. He witnesses horrible/odd/creepy things he wishes he didn't. (Four years!! How can someone go that long without sleep and not go crazy?)
Then he meets Mia. And looks into her eyes. Parker worries about entering her dreams but finds they are peaceful. And that he can sleep! Now Mia is like a drug to Parker. He can't get enough of her dreams because now he is rested. He almost stalks the poor girl. Then she gets threatening letters and everyone, including Parker, wonders if it's him.
Ms. Johansson has written an amazing, mind-numbing book. I couldn't take it all in at once and yet I couldn't put the book down. 
And the series is called The Night Walkers?? Creepy! And intriguing! Bring it on!


 

Rating: PG 17
L: No
S: kissing
V: Fighting, nightmares, blood,

Liked:
Unique story
Cliffhanger


Disliked:
Trilogy!
Cliffhanger

4 1/2 STARS

Thanks to Netgalley for the preview.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Writers on Wednesday~ Karen A. Hooper + Giveaway!

Welcome Karen Hooper today! She's talented, driven and fun!
She's also giving away one of her ebooks! At the end of the interview you'll find two book covers. Give a shout out to Karen in the comments, let me know which book you'd like to win and random.org will pick a winner Tuesday! THANKS, Karen!


Enjoy the post.


What’s your favorite snack?

York Peppermint Patties and coffee. Yum.


What is your most memorable high school experience?


Sadly, my most memorable high school experience is losing someone very close to me in a car accident. That tragic experience is a nightmare that always stays with me.


What was the first book that turned you into a reader?

I read tons of books throughout elementary and middle school because our county had an awesome kids reading program, but the book that got me addicted to magical love stories was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. *dreamy sigh*


Are you a night owl or early bird?

I'm more of an early bird. Also, I can only write in the mornings. My creative mind is pretty useless at night.


What is your favorite meal?

Tough one because I love so many foods, but it USED to be the Tuna Oscar at the Polynesian resort at Disney. They recently took it off the menu and I am still grieving.


What do you never leave home without?

My Burt's Bees lip balm.


Do you have any pets?

Yes. Two awesome, adorable, and very spoiled dogs: Moby, a 12-year-old lab and border collie mix who is too smart for her own good, and Rooney, my rescued American Bulldog who is a cancer survivor. *fist pump*

What is one piece of advice you would give aspiring writers?

Write what you love and never give up. (Okay, that was two pieces of advice but I made it into one sentence, so it should be allowed.)


What are you goals for 2013?

Finish and publish my two sequels: Dangerous Depths and Taking Back Forever. Also, I'd like to win the lotto.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

PRINCESS of the SILVER WOODS by Jessica Day George

When Petunia, the youngest of King Gregor's twelve dancing daughters, is invited to visit an elderly friend in the neighboring country of Westfalin, she welcomes the change of scenery. But in order to reach Westfalin, Petunia must pass through a forest where strange two-legged wolves are rumored to exist. Wolves intent on redistributing the wealth of the noble citizens who have entered their territory. But the bandit-wolves prove more rakishly handsome than truly dangerous, and it's not until Petunia reaches her destination that she realizes the kindly grandmother she has been summoned to visit is really an enemy bent on restoring an age-old curse. The stories of Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood get a twist as Petunia and her many sisters take on bandits, grannies, and the new King Under Stone to end their family curse once and for all.

Last line:
""It's for mine.""

Sadness!
This is the last book of the princess series by Jessica Day George.
I enjoyed this latest installment! Petunia is 'accidently' kidnapped by bandits but secrets are revealed, hearts touched and Petunia is taken to the place she was headed before she was kidnapped.
But more secrets are revealed! So many people aren't what they seem but through it all Petunia isn't afraid, until the nightmares of King Under Stone return.
The princes need brides! And the princesses of Westfalin are who the princes are going to marry. Unless, the princesses and a few of their husbands can stop the Under Stone King and his brothers. I kinda expected the princes to hurry and marry the princesses once they were all underground. I would have liked the husbands/betrothed to have to break up a huge wedding. And maybe one of the bad princes could turn good and actually be able to go out in the sunlight.
Red Riding Hood shows up as does the wolf and the huntsman.


Rating: PG
V: Some fighting, shooting, stabbing
L: No
S: Kissing

Liked:
The whole series
Petunia


Disliked:
A couple of poor edits
A few loose stroytelling threads

4 STARS