Monday, May 23, 2011

Kimber An at Daily Dose of Decadence

I'm talking about the PLAYLIST for the Ophelia Dawson Chronicles there today.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Summer Reads & Writes

Hey, Blog Buds, school's out!  I've been spending almost all my computer time on Sweet Bytes, the next full length novel in the Ophelia Dawson Chronicles.  Now that school's out, I can do more.
.
Writing must always come first now.  I was hoping to have Sweet Bytes read to send to Decadent by the first week of May.  Um...okay, so then I set my goal for the last week in May.  Well...then in my story analysis I came up TWELVE chapters short of my wordcount.  Yeah, I spewed coffee on my computer screen.  Good thing I have Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder or that would have taken me months to figure out and then months more to figure out what to do about it.  As it is, it took just a few minutes.  But, it will take a solid week to make up those chapters.
.
Anyway...I reckon my editors would rather receive a story that's as complete and good as I can make it all by myself. 
.
Once that's done, I'm going to be spending time on blogosphere-wide events, like Decadent's YA Blog Tour in July.  I'll be guest blogging all over the place and such.  Stay tuned to this station for more details.
.
Besides that and a massive amount of end-of-the-homeschool-housecleaning, I also plan to READ!  Yes, read!  Haven't had time to do that in such a long time.  I really do miss being a book reviewer.  With the last Harry Potter movie coming out, I want to read the whole series again.  My children and I are planning to read Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone out loud together.
.
I also want to reread Nefertiti by Michelle Moran again.  It's one of those books I like to read once a year.  I want to read Lottery by Patricia Wood, but I gave my copy to my mother and made her swear to take excellent care of it.  Signed by the author, you know!  I'll check out a copy from the library.  Other rereads will be Down Home Zombie Blues by Linnea Sinclair and Apocalypse Blues by Walter Greatshell. 
.
For first time reads, I want to squeeze in some Steampunk, like Boneshaker by Cherie Priest and a few swoony Historical Romances set in World War II and the Old West.  Any recommendations?
.
Ahhh, summer!  I can't wait to go camping! 
.
You know what I can't figure out about camping these days?  Why in tarnation do people even go if they have to take all their modern junk with them?  When I go camping, goshdarnit, I wanna get dirty!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Spy Girl: The Dark Side of Midnight by Carol Hedges

June 2005, Usborne books
272 pages, Paperback
Children's 11+, thriller-ish

Summary from Usborne.
Jazmin Dawson is a super-cool secret agent with hi-tech kit and a hi-octane life of crimebusting... in her dreams! In reality, Jazmin is a schoolgirl with a serious snack habit, whose biggest battles are with her maths homework. But then everything changes. Jazmin’s mum, who is a spy, goes missing and Jazmin is sent to rescue her. Stepping off the plane in Prague, Jazmin finds herself at the centre of an international mystery, and with a dangerous mission to infiltrate a rogue scientific institute.

Enjoying Ally Carter's spy series (ok so I've only read the first one to date..I do have the rest!), this one really caught my eye. It sounded awesome. Only at first I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd expected to. The style of writing is a bit different to what I'm used to, because there was a lot of pov changes in quite quick succession. I found it a little difficult to read the first paragraph of each section because of the style of font it was in, but that's a formatting issue.

It didn't take long before I was used to the style, and totally in love with Jazmin. I had formed several theories (just like Jaz) about what her cousin Clea was doing when she was away.((Jaz was staying with her cousin, aunt and uncle while her mother was away - she didn't want to be there! Clea didn't want Jaz hanging around, and kept disappearing. The mystery about Clea thickens when Jaz finds out that her cousin isn't actually with her friends - apparently Clea is with Jaz! Since they clearly aren't together, Jaz starts investigating) They were all wrong. I loved how Jaz dealt with everything thrown at her - she's so like me in some of the decisions she makes and her viewpoints. It's nice how imperfect she was, especially with loving snacks, and then realising she could get healthier by cutting down on them and switching what she eats. Her thoughts are very comical.

I think it was the way all the viewpoints started connecting together, then the way the links got thicker as the story progressed which grabbed my interest the most. I was sitting thinking 'oooooooo' as the book got closer to the end. Yes this is primarily a spy novel. It involves nutters (they are!). It also involves a key figure popular in children's & young adult fiction - angels. This angel isn't sweet - it's extremely scary! I was pretty freaked out by what it did. As for the end - that really blew my mind away. And Jaz's. Poor thing. Her cousin hadn't changed too much by the end of the story - which in some ways was a shame, but not entirely unexpected. As for Jaz - she changed a lot. She had to grow up very fast. Skip the next paragraph if you don't want minor spoilers.

Here's a minor spoiler: Jaz meets a guy who turns out to be more than he seems. Jaz doesn't know this though. Ever. There's a misunderstanding, they fall out, then tragedy strikes. How annoying! I was more mad than upset about this. Until what happened next...which was even more frustrating because Jaz doesn't know he survived! I'm so getting the 2nd book because I'm really hoping that the guy's disappearance will be an ongoing story. There's a real mystery there! 

Right back on track for everyone now. So many issues get addressed in this action packed book. Cults, parent-daughter relationships, life of high flying business men, a little bit of a futuristic style with some of the houses, paranormal with angels,  mild teen romance, life of spies and criminals.

This is definitely one of those books I'll be raving about to friends for a while, and insisting people check it out. Definitely gets 10/10 from me! Content wise it's relatively clean, with a bit of violence (on the gore-o-meter). Most of it is unseen violence though, all off the page.