Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top Ten Books Dealing with Tough Subjects

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week, they post a subject and the goal is to answer the question with your top ten picks. Once you've done it, link back to The Broke and the Bookish and check out what other bloggers have to say!
Top Ten Books Dealing with Tough Subjects
At first, I thought I might not be able to participate this week because I don't read a lot of contemporaries which tackle heavy subject matter. But then I took a glance at my shelf and found a few I'd like to share in no particular order.

1) The Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott (Kidnapping/Rape/Child Abuse)- This is one of those books that will live in infamy. I read it once all the way through and was so horrified by what I read, I re-read it again right away. Told in first, second and third person view, you can't help but be drawn in to this awful situation.

2) Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (Eating Disorder)- I read this quite a long time ago and was horrified by the raw, emotionally destructive character I found between the pages. Both gorgeous and terrifying at the same time, this is one everyone needs to read.

3) Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf (Abuse)- I wasn't expecting to really fall for this book. I knew it was going to be a sad, emotional read but what I also found was the hope of new beginnings. It's one of the main reasons a book about relationship abuse still sticks with me.

4) Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler (Alcoholism)- All of the characters in this novel are guilty of some crime but alcohol is what ended up running Gabby's life. Watching her fall victim to all of the things people thought about her or wanted her to be was just as awful as learning about the car accident that changed her life. But the subject matter is handled beautifully.

5) Hold Sill by Nina LaCour (Suicide)- This novel really got to me. Combining the written word and drawings from the girl who committed suicide, it's hard not to become invested in Caitlin's plight to come to terms with the fact that her best friend is no longer around. A powerful and touching read.

6) 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher (Suicide)- This is the first contemporary I read in YA and it knocked my socks off. The unique use of the 13 tapes to connect all the little incidents that pushed Hannah toward her decision was just awful and gripping. I couldn't put the novel down.

7) The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Celicia Galante (Cults)- Told in alternate views from Honey, who can see how their religious cult leader is brainwashing everyone, and Agnes, who believes in her faith and their leader, this book is both powerful and horrifying. I've always found cults fascinating and repulsive so I knew this would be a good choice for me.

8) Hate List by Jennifer Brown (School Shootings)- I thought this book had a really unique premise. It's about the girlfriend of a school shooter living with the guilt after a shooting has occurred. Valerie helped her boyfriend make the list he would use to shoot the students at school and she has to live with that. Plus, she is still grieving over the boy she knew, the one that would never be capable of such a crime, while the whole world hates him. Such a touching read.

9) How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford (Outsider/Friendship/Missing)- Watching Robot Girl and Ghost Boy get to know each other through the radio show and learn to trust each other made me so happy. But when I realized Ghost Boy was serious about disappearing, it broke my heart. Definitely a great read!

Those are the books that tackle tough issues perfectly! Which ones did you include?

Monday, May 13, 2013

To Cancel or Not to Cancel: The Fate of T.V. Shows I Love

So the fall t.v. seasons are coming to an end one by one and as each one reaches it's finale, I stay tuned to see if some of my favorite characters will be coming back for another season. Quite a few are staying but I'm reading some sad news too. So stick around with me and see which of your favorite shows are making a return, which are in danger and which shows are getting their last call.

1) The Vampire Diaries (The CW)- I started watching TVD when it first premiered but stopped after the first few episodes. Then I found the first two seasons on Netflix and was hooked. The  season four final is fast approaching and good news for all of us, we'll be going back to Mystic Falls later this year for a fifth season of our favorite vampires, werewolves and witches (oh my!). This one is confirmed for another season. In fact, it's doing so well, The CW ordered a spin-off series with The Originals staring Klaus!

2) Beauty and the Beast (The CW)- This show debuted this year about the detective Catherine (Beauty) solving crimes with Vincent (the Beast) who has a bit of an angry issue thanks to a government experiment gone wrong. I flipflop with this show. I don't need to watch it every week but I have been keeping up and I'll be interested to see how they are going to shake things up in season 2. This show was on the fence for a little while but The CW ultimately picked it up.

3) The Carries Diaries (The CW)- I watched this prequel to Sex in the City every week and definitely got my fix of easy, breezy fun. However, I'd heard that ratings weren't great and this show didn't get picked back up by The CW right away,  Luckily, The CW believes in the show as much as I did because they've decided to renew it for another season. However, it is unknown just how many episodes have been ordered.

4) Cult (The CW)- I decided to watch Cult because I really liked Matthew Davis and thought the concept sounded really cool. Though I'll admit that they didn't take the time to develop the characters very well, I did enjoy the show and was sad to see when The CW pulled the remaining episodes from air. I do hope they put them out somewhere because this show was a lot of fun. It's just too bad others didn't see it. Cult has been canceled.

5) Supernatural (The CW)- A few years back, I started watching this show even among the rumors that season 5 would be the last season. However, Supernatural got renewed and is still going strong. The proof? It got renewed for a 9th season the same time as TVD.

6) Nashville (ABC)- I didn't mean to start watching Nashville. I told myself "no". But I took an overtime shift at work and my co-worker wanted to watch the first episode. I got hooked. Great music, a fun rivalry and loads of drama has kept me tuning in every week. Lucky for me, I'll be able to tune in for a season 2. It's been confirmed!

7) Once Upon a Time (ABC)- If you're anything like me, you were enchanted by Once Upon a Time season 1 and felt season 2 was a little lackluster. I liked the story line better after the second half but I felt like the spliting the family up should have been the second half of the season. However, we are definitely going to get a chance to see what the new world split will mean because Once Upon a Time has been renewed.

8) Smash (NBC)- Dueling divas, beautiful voices and fun, broadway music had me from the beginning. I think Smash's second season is even better. They did so much to try and save this show and in the end, it wasn't enough. Sadly, the two hour finale will be Smash's final curtain closing. Smash has been canceled.

9) Bates Motel (AMC)- I wasn't sure about this show. I love Freddie Highmore and Max Theriot so I decided to give it a whirl even though I've never seen Psycho and I am so glad I did. Creepy, well acted and so full of suspense, this show is gripping from start to finish. Happy to say the network agrees. The light on Bates Motel will stay on for another season. The renewal is confirmed!

Other shows I love coming to an end:

1) Dexter (Showtime)- Dexter really hasn't been canceled. Michael C. Hall and the producers have just decided to end the series on a highnote instead of dragging it on and killing it slowly (after all, Dexter does make his kills pretty kick). So season 8 will be Dexter's final season and I am terrified for the fate of America's Favorite Serial Killer.

2) How I Met Your Mother (CBS)- For years we've been waiting to meet Te'd wife, the mysterious lady that launched 8 seasons. The final season of the show has been announced and hopefully we finally will. Like with Dexter, this show still has good ratings and people still love it. They are just going to go out while people do instead of dragging it along. So prepare for one last season of fun and then get ready to say goodbye to Barney, Ted, Robin and Lily and Marshall (since those last two are one person).

So there you have the fate of some of my favorite shows. Anything you love that isn't going to be returning

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Writer's Voice Entry

I entered a contest called The Writer's Voice hosted by Cupid's Literary Connection, Brenda Drake, Monica of Love YA and Krista Van Dolzer of Mother. Write. (Repeat.).  It works a little like The Voice on television. Those four lovely ladies are dropping by our blogs and picking teams. So here is my query and first 250 words of my novel. Wish me luck!

The Query:

Dear Amazing Coaches,

Kidnapped from a life of royalty as a child, seventeen-year-old Rose knows how fragile life as a dancing Flower can be. Forced into the Garden, a burlesque troupe of slave girls, she has learned to see dangers everywhere when a wrong word could mean losing your tongue—or worse.

When the Garden is booked to perform for the lord of the kingdom and her slave master kills a fellow dancer to keep Rose in check, she decides to break free. Her plan is simple: grab a hostage and run like hell. What she didn't count on was her hostage being the leader of a rebellion against the current ruler, and she definitely never dreamed she’d end up joining. But with her old slave master threatening to kill off a dancer a day until she returns and the kingdom looking to stamp out the rebels, Rose quickly realizes that nowhere is really safe, especially since she’s the unwilling heir to the throne.

Caught between the family she’s created for herself in the rebellion and the title she’s never wanted, Rose must decide whether her birthright is a crown of petals or a crown of thorns. Only then will she be able to rescue the other Flowers she abandoned, unite the war-torn kingdom and maybe even save herself.

GARDEN OF THORNS is a 91,000 word young adult fantasy in the vein of Jodi Meadows’ Incarnate and C.J. Redwine’s Defiance. A completed manuscript is available upon request.

I graduated with a degree in Creative Writing at the University of South Florida, blog about all things YA at Down The Rabbit Hole and currently am employed as a 911 dispatcher for the city of Vero Beach.

The First 250:

My new shackles are lined with needle-thin spikes that bite into my chapped wrists and ankles. Their constant prickling is a reminder of what an attempt at freedom would cost me, a warning of what a failed break will mean. My carriage, cage really, jolts to a stop and I fly off the splintered bench, landing hard on my hands and knees in the dirty straw that lines the floor. Inching up until I'm sitting, I look up at the wooden roof. A crack of light spills into the cart, its weak rays like gentle fingers on my face. It gives the illusion of hope. I turn away from the sun before that seed can take root in my chest and grow.

From the outside, our traveling band looks a lot like the circus that used to visit my father’s land every spring. The brightly colored carriages portray the traveling 13 Dancing Flowers, but unlike the circus, we aren’t meant to entertain the children. The paintings on the sides of our carts are meant to tantalize. Each dress is brighter than the last, accentuating the curves and dips of our forms as we dance, forced to lose one petal at a time.

Sounds rise up from the crack in my wooden cage: men shouting orders, horses whinnying impatiently, cart doors being thrown back and the materials to make our temporary garden being dragged out of storage. I crawl towards the small hole in the edge of my cart and wait. The banging begins like clockwork.

Thanks coaches for taking a look!

Happily Ever Endings... Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Happily Ever Endings is a synopsis of the ending of a novel that is part of a series. It is so that you can refresh yourself as to what happened in the last book so that you can be ready to read the next in the series!

Defiance by C.J. Redwine
Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan--the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her. 
At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city's top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor's impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared. 
As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.
To read the ending of Defiance, hit "Read More" but beware, there are many spoilers ahead!

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