Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Review: Girl, Stolen by April Henry

I had this book on my to-read list for a while so when I finished my WIP a few weeks ago (a YA novel about a girl who was kidnapped), I thought maybe I should give this book a read and see if my novel could measure up to another YA novel with a similar topic. It was a quick read, only taking me about 3 hours. Our books didn't have much in common but I really enjoyed GIRL, STOLEN. Here's my review:

Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of her stepmom's SUV when something terrible happens--the car gets stolen. Legally blind and sick with pneumonia, Cheyenne begs the thief to just let her go. But Griffin can't do that. He needs to get a way quick and he can't risk letting this girl tell the cops anything that might identify him. Griffin takes Cheyenne to his house where his dad runs a chop shop with two other thugs. All Griffin wanted to do was impress his dad but now he's done the opposite. That is until they turn on the TV and see just who Cheyenne is. Her dad is the president of Nike. Now Griffin's dad wants to ransom her for a million dollars. As Griffin keeps Cheyenne safe and slowly gets to know her, he decides he wants to help her get away. But Cheyenne doesn't need his help--she manages to escape on her own. But can she get to safety before Griffin's dad and the other two thugs find her? And what will happen to Griffin? Will these two unlikely allies ever be able to have a normal life again?

**I love a good, short read that's high on emotion and pace. From the start of this story, that's exactly what I got. Cheyenne's voice was authentic and her fear was real. The drama kept me turning the pages and I really felt bad for the position both Griffin and Cheyenne were in. I liked how Cheyenne stayed strong and always looked out for herself first. Her blindness and sickness were well described and added an intensity to the story without taking anything away. The ending was hopeful which matched well with the overall tone. GIRL, STOLEN is a quick, intense read I fully recommend.

Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to comment below.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New Book Releases

Some exciting stuff this week! As always, Goodreads links and genre/category follow. Remember, this is not a complete list--just some of the ones I thought sounded interesting. Check them out:

3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

YA Paranormal

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

YA Paranormal

Once We Were (The Hybrid Chronicles #2) by Kat Zhang

YA Sci-Fi

Dead Girls Don't Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

YA Mystery

Frozen (Heart of Dread #1) by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston

YA Sci-Fi

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Contemporary YA

Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts

YA Contemporary Romance

Some great choices, huh? I personally am excited for The Dream Thieves because I absolutely adore Maggie Stiefvater's writing and I loved the first book in this series, The Raven Boys. 

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think below (:

Monday, September 9, 2013

New Look and Links

Hey there!

Today I decided to play around a little with the look of my blog. As I do with the clothes and shoes I buy, I will probably stare at it for a few days before I decide if I'm going to keep it (: 

Also, take a look at the links to the right. As you'll see I've changed those around too. Under "My Writing" you can find the query for my first completed novel, I AM CARAWAY, as well as the query for my newest completed novel, DEFENSIVE GUN.

So, what do you think? Do you like the new look? What do you think about DEFENSIVE GUN? Let me know in the comments below. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Writing Tips: Pitches Part II

In honor of #Pitmad, the "After the Madness Twitter Pitch Party" coming up on Twitter on September 12 (Check out author Brenda Drake's blog for more details), I thought I would do a quick post about pitches in general. 

Pitching is something all new writers are faced with at some point. If you attend a writer's conference and want to get some face time with an agent or editor and tell them about your book, chances are they are going to want you to pitch it to them. This means they want a (usually) one sentence blurb about your book (aka, an "elevator" pitch). One sentence! you say. That's impossible--my book has several characters, a plot, some subplots, lots of twists and turns and a surprise ending--there's no way I can sum it all up in one sentence! Well, too bad. That's what agents and editors want and if you can't do it, you might lose your chance with said agent or editor. Part of being a good writer is good writing of course but it's also the ability to sum up your book enticingly, market it, and promote it. If you can't do those things then it makes people in the book publishing industry a little wary. 

Sometimes pitching can be more than one sentence, thought. When it comes to contests, whether they be on blogs or agency/publishing websites, the rules always vary. I've entered three paragraph, one paragraph, three sentences, and even five word pitches! It all just depends. Whatever the length of the pitch is, you have to be able to decide what the most important aspect of your books is, get it into the required pitch space, and make it not only grammatically correct but also enticing. Your pitch needs to grab the reader and make them want to buy and read you book. 

Sometimes pitches can be like movie posters, too. For example, the pitch for JAWS 2 was: Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water... 

And sometimes pitches can be comparisons like, MEAN GIRLS meets THE VAMPIRE DIARIES. 

Twitter pitches, however, are a whole other game. When agents want you to pitch on Twitter they usually want you to use a hashtag and include the genre and audience of your book. Well Twitter only gives you 140 characters to work with so you have to be able to fit a very short pitch in to whatever space is leftover after you fill in your hashtag and genre/audience info. I did a Twitter pitch recently and it wasn't easy! I was able to find a few different ways to sum up my novel that enticed from a couple of different angles of what my MS is about. One or two of those tweets were a success, getting "favorited" by a literary agency assistant and a couple of editors for small publishing houses. When that happens whoever favorites your tweet wants you to send your query to them referencing the Twitter pitch. 

Whatever way you decide to pitch your book, I wish you luck. Pitches are scary and thrilling and challenging all at once! I hate coming up with them but I love when they work. I've heard many seasoned writers and agents out there say more than once that it takes many different skill sets to be a good writer. You have to be able to write a book, a query, a synopsis, a pitch, and a proposal and they all are incredible different from one another. But with practice, patience and the support of the many wonderful people in the writing community, you can you get through it.

Thanks for reading! Comment away..