the vampire diaries:the awakening and the struggle by l.j. smith

Written by Darlyn At Wednesday, April 27, 2011 15 bookish peeps...
Title: The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle
Author: L.J. Smith
Pages: 492
Series: Book 1 and 2
Published: June 26th 2007 by HarperTeen
Rating: 2.5/5
Source: Own

Summary (Goodreads):

Elena, the golden girl, the leader, the one who can have any boy she wants. Stefan, brooding and mysterious, he seems to be the only one who can resist Elena, even as he struggles to protect her from the horrors that haunt his past. Damon, sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him. Determined to have Elena, he'd kill to possess her.

My Two Cents:

I was totally frustrated at the end of the second book in the volume. Of course I'm intrigued to know what's going to happen to Elena after she's turned into a vampire herself soon. When I took the book to read, I have such a high hope that it will be at least as good as the show, because who don't love the show, right? First of all, Elena is totally annoying to me. She's not like Elena I know on the shoe but, sickening, irritating and whatever miss-so-popular to me. Her parent just died and she's not really acting like how a person feel when they lost their parent. In fact, she just jumped into wanting a mysterious guy which ignored her. And acted pretended like she don't care? Is this really happened to anyone? So, okay, she fall in love with a guy that so hot and being ignored, make a fuss over it just because everyone at school want her to be their girlfriend and Stefan is not? She is totally annoying! She is not likeable, think only of herself and I think she's rude to her family. Stefan on the hand, is so dull, and I don't understand him at all! I know that Stefan is quite 'emo' on the show but he's so good at portraying a guilty brother, in remorse, for what happened for the past 1 and a half century. In the book, he seemed kind of lost and I don't feel his love to Elena to be pure or true. But Damon and Caroline really saved the day. Their characters were mean but also quite believable, I'm not so into bad boys, but in this, I totally like Damon. Maybe it was easy to write bad person's characters perhaps?

The truth is, I found the story line is very very interesting, but I don't know, there's so much lacking in the stories and I felt it just a bit dragged and I have to forced myself to finish it because I can't read a book halfway no matter how bad the book is. Nonetheless, at some point, the book actually has quite great scary and deadly actions that made my heart pounds a little. So, it's not that the book is totally wasting a time, maybe if Elena is like the Elena on the show, I will totally recommend and re-read it. Elena's character is just like a parasite that make us hate the book totally, slowly.

I don't know why I read the book at first place. Funny but I think maybe I want to read it ever since I read negative reviews on Twilight series last few years, how the vampires are so lame to sparkle when the sun shines on them, and wrote that Bella was so annoying, clumsy, selfish and 'begged' to be a vampire (well trust me, Elena was totally has all of the list!). And even compared that the Vampire Diaries is actually 'greater' than that. Well, good news, they're NOT. At least I think Twilight series has an honest writing and it totally can make butterflies ruffle in my stomach and I love that some vampires has certain powers.

My last verdict? I DON'T KNOW. Well, if you have read Twilight, maybe you want to read the Vampire Diaries. Some find they're good but I personally will not recommend you to read it. I just let you make the judgement since I've only read two books. I'm planning to keep going reading the rest of the series. I hope I will get better view of the book at the end of the reading. Though I bet Anne Rice should take all the verdict if you want to find the pleasure in reading about true vampires, no?

Have you read Twilight and The Vampire Diaries? What do you think about both of the book? Leave a link if you already post anything on your blog about this. Would love to read your thoughts on this one.

Note: The review participate in Book Review Party Wednesday hosted by Cym Lowell.

looking for ward by laurel osterkamp

Written by Darlyn At Sunday, April 24, 2011 4 bookish peeps...
Title: Looking For Ward
Author: Laurel Osterkamp
Pages: 80 (pdf)
Series: Novella
Published: August 22nd, 2008
Rating: 3.5/5
Source: Author

Summary (Goodreads):

What if your love disappeared and your loyalties changed? Would you change your life, or would it change you? In Looking For Ward a bride-to-be confronts these questions as she faces the ultimate threat to her wedding plans. Meet Chloe Langley, a wannabe jewelry designer and spoiled Daddy’s girl. Chloe is used to getting what she wants, and for months she’s been planning the dream wedding for herself and her finance, Ward. Then, thirty days before their wedding day, Ward disappears, leaving only an e-mail, instructing her not to look for him. In the month leading up to her wedding, Chloe must decide if and how she should find Ward, whom to trust, when to let go, and what to do about their wedding plans. The story is told through a series of e-mails between Chloe, her best-friend Bethany, and Ward’s best man Owen. As the month goes on and the wedding date gets closer, secrets come out that change the lives of everyone involved. In the process Chloe discovers the true meaning of love and loyalty, and finds that she’s capable of more than she ever thought possible. Looking For Ward is a wonderful story about what it means to believe in love, and to believe in yourself.

My Two Cents:

The novella was a fun read, as I feel like a total bad person, reading other people's emails. The email format writing style and a little bit narrative part from the characters really work. It started when Ward suddenly disappeared and left Chloe with full of questions when the wedding is in a month. I felt awful and sorry for her. Her best friends Bethany is likeable, she gave Chloe obvious advices and very rational to reasons why was Ward chicken out and make fool of Chloe like that. There was a conflict involved and despite of that, other truth about lost feelings and to come clean about it. I found the book very clever even though the cheesiness of it was there. A relationship that start with a lie will never work, same goes here in the story. Even when you love your lover very much, you will find it very difficult to give another chance to start over when you found out he's lying about himself and you don't even think you know him at all. This is the feeling that I got when I read the novella. I love Chloe, she's strong, sometime freaking out but that is fine, and brave enough to make a wise decision even though she's broken hearted in the end. I felt sorry for Ward, even though he loves Chloe, he don't love her enough to trust her to share his darkest secret, it brings frustration to Chloe because he lets his problem dragged until they are about to get married. Owen on the other hand wins all, well, he deserves it even though he kept his love to himself for years. All in all, the novella is fun, page turner and I really feel connected with the characters nevertheless of it was written in emails format. Read it and you'll find it okay.

About the Author

Laurel Osterkamp originally wrote this 22,000-word novella for fans of her chick-lit novel, Following My Toes. Those readers received a new installment of the story by e-mail each day during the month of March 2007. Now this 2008 Kindle edition offers Looking For Ward to the general public. Laurel Osterkamp has been a comedy writer for Minneapolis performance groups over the last seven years. She currently teaches creative writing to high school students, and lives in Minneapolis with her husband and son. Download here.

save magic city by rocsanne shield

Written by Darlyn At Friday, April 22, 2011 7 bookish peeps...
Title: Save Magic City
Author: Rocsanne Shield
Pages: 295
Series: Stand alone
Published: December 16th, 2010
Rating: 4/5
Source: Author
Buy at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound


Hurled into the time flow by a banishing spell, 13th century Edmund lands into the USA, 2007, in answer to Leona's fervent prayers for help to save her town. The corporation employing the townspeople has left, the bank foreclosures have created whole streets of empty houses, people are leaving in droves, the town is slowly dying. A black magician in his old time, Edmund is forbidden to do any magic if it is not for helping other people. He discovers and is fascinated by the magical powers of Internet and wants to bring instant relief to the townspeople, but Leona, who does not trust their dependency on magic, forbids him to do so. Leo, Leona's adoptive son, and his friends, Squirrel and Raccoon, accept the magic with enthusiasm and do their best to help the town to survive. When misfortune strikes, Leona gives her blessing for Edmund to use his magic.

My Two Cents:

The book is totally adorable. I mean, what will happen if someone from 13th century travelled to your doorstep with a little magic come in handy? Well, I think I want one! With interesting plot like this, I grew wondering what's the story behind it and keep on reading to the last page. It started with a little introduction of how Leo and Leona met Edmund one day and the adventure begun. Although Edmund has magic, he can't use it on his will unless to help others. Leo always made Edmund use magic behind her mother's back (Leona) while she solves everything manually like any other normal human does. The children's characters are very enjoyable and really stand out. Leo, Raccoon and Squirrel (yes I know it's quite weird for names), are very adorable kids and sometime they are witty and funny too. They were like a trio that tried to save the town, as to help Edmund uses his magic to let Leona wins the election to be the mayor of the town. The book is very suitable to kids, and readers of all ages. The kids will able to learn some good like friendship, teamwork, confident, learning history of another century, as well as doing good deeds to others. Even though some where in the middle will has a slow pace, the book is worth reading and you'll find it enjoyable too. This is a wonderful book that I fully recommend for kids and teens.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Author Rocsanne Shield for an exchange of a review. These are my honest review and receiving a copy in no way will ever reflected my review.

giveaway flash: $250 GC Amazon US, Amazon UK or Nook!

Written by Darlyn At Thursday, April 21, 2011 0 bookish peeps...
New contest!

Help get the best-selling thriller, "Fifth Avenue by Christopher Smith," back onto the Amazon Top 100 and/or Nook Top 100, and win a $250 Amazon or Nook gift certificate! The gift card will be good for Amazon US, Amazon UK or BN.com.

Here's how it works.

Drawing is on May 1. In the form at the author's site, rack up points by choosing how you want to participate. Then, in the box below, just provide us with links to show us that you have indeed participated. Those with the most points will be put in a pool and the winner will be selected by using the Random Integer Generator, thus making the contest absolutely fair.

If Fifth Avenue—available for .99 cents at Amazon US, Amazon UK and BN.com--hits the Top 100 list by or before May 1, a $250 winner will be selected.

If it doesn't, a $100 gift card will be given at random to one person in the pool of people who racked up the most points.

In other words, someone's winning something great, whether the book reaches the Top 100 again or not.

* To enter all you need to do is fill out the form at the author's website HERE.

interview: Author Rocsanne Shield

Written by Darlyn At Wednesday, April 20, 2011 3 bookish peeps...
Hi guys! Today I'm very delighted to welcome Author Rocsanne Shield for an interview. She is the author of Save Magic City, a children fantasy novel. I love her book and my review will be up in a few days. The interview today is a part of Rocsanne Shield Virtual Book Tour sponsored by The YP Publishing.


D: Welcome Rocsanne to Darlyn & Books! It's a pleasure to have you here.

RS: Thank you, the pleasure is mine. I'm ready to answer your questions.


D: How did you get started as a writer and why did you choose fantasy as your debut genre?

RS: I think I started writing from the second grade, when I produced a puppet show based on my own script. One of the dolls had initially had beautiful hair, but I felt the need to improve it until I left her without much to brag about. I started calling her "Forest Hag" and this was my first fantasy character.


D: What were some of your literary influences when you were a child, and what are some contemporary ones?

RS: I am of Romanian origin and at the time I loved fairy tales, just like most children everywhere. But we had very specific local fairy tales, collected by Romanian writers during their walks among farmers...Then, of course, Brothers Grimm, and then, Russian folk stories. If you want to know why Russian, the answer is simple -- I lived in a country under Russian control.

Contemporary influences are more difficult to pinpoint as I started writing Medieval Romance and changed direction in midstride. A book that I love to read again and again is "Faerie Wars" by Herbie Brennan.


D: What are your favourite fantasy books, would you mind to share your top five?

RS: I enjoyed the Nancy Drew series, the Faerie Wars that I mentioned before, but before gearing my writing to children, I loved romance. Avery sweet story I fins "A Knight in Shinning Armor" by Jude Devereaux, and "Vision in White" by Nora Roberts. And, of course, Agatha Christie.


D: Did you always know that you will be a writer? If you could not be a writer, what would you be?

RS: I knew I could write, but my parents discouraged me from the career of writer. It was not a good way to earn one's living. I choose to be a geologist because I like being outdoors, and when prospecting, one is mostly alone with one's thoughts. Today I am retired so the "making a living" went on second place.


D: What are some must you have to write? Anything in particular that gets the creative juices flowing?

When I said I did not become a writer until I retired does not mean I did not write all those years. Being an immigrant, many of my friends are immigrants too, and their stories made me want to immortalize them on paper. I have quite a collection of short stories about people I met during my lifetime.


D: Why would you think the readers will love your book? You know I love our book =)

RS: I hope the readers will find points of commonality, even if I used magic to solve most important problems. Who does not know a school fellow whose parents are separated? Or who does not know at least one whose parents lost their jobs and have to make do, maybe even lost their house. The times we are living-in could have looked fantastic when I was writing the book, but history confirmed my fantasy in the worst way. My example is Detroit. I finished the book for February 2009 when I entered it in a competition organized by Amazon. A year later I heard on the TV something that shocked me.

I wrote about this no-name American city that gets renamed to "Magic City" -- a place where there were so many jobless people, that they left town without even trying to sell their homes, for who would have money to take them over? And here they say over the TV that 23, 000 houses are taken over by Detroit City-hall to help them attract new businesses! And I thought I was exaggerating!


D: Do you plan to write other kind of genre in future or just stick to this genre?

RS: Hard to say. A good book asks for a sequel, or more. Edmund the sorcerer is in demand for his do-only-good-magic. I plan to continue the children's saga, sometimes with, sometimes without Edmund or Leona. And I have couple of novels still in the Medieval Romance genre, as well as a lot of short memoir stories that I would like to finish as a whole book, to leave my son and nephews.


D: What other hobbies or activities do you enjoy besides writing?

RS: That's an easy question. I like using my hands. I crochet though it is out of fashion, and I make silk flowers, so beautiful, I do not want to part with; I love puttering in my garden, taking pictures with my Canon camera, reading books with happy enough endings, dancing and eating. Ooops -- eating is an addiction not a hobby.


D: Can you tell us something about yourself that not a lot of people know?

RS: Well, only those who have worked with me know that I don't know how to keep a work place organized. Once a colleague wrote on the door to my office "Keep out! Disaster area!", but then, I was working with two sets of blueprints, comparing them for change work-orders, and I had them strewn all over the floor to better study them.

Thank you, Darlyn.

About the Author

Rocsanne was born in Romania many years ago, when communism was still the way of life in her country. She desired to escape the communism and find more about a freer way of life in the West. For this, she left Romania as a tourist, and never looked back. Her education includes Geological Engineering and Construction Estimating, thus being able to find work wherever she went. During all these years she wrote short stories, mostly about the people she met, finding them extremely interesting. But always she was sure she will write a novel someday. After she retired, she finally found the time to transform her dream into reality, and four novels in the Historical Romance genre were written, one connected to the next through their common heroes and heroines. And here she found herself in a quandary -- where to send the banished sorcerer -- the solution to her fourth novel, in which Edmund, the bad sorcerer is banished by his enemies, and disappears in thin air. She can say that inspiration comes from the most extraordinary places. In this case it was the TV, watching an animated movie for children. Forgotten was the romance; children, together with their parents became the new heroes. "Save Magic City" was born.

Visit her at: Website | Email


Thanks Rocsanne for your time to stop by!

the healing by oana

Written by Darlyn At Monday, April 18, 2011 6 bookish peeps...
Title: The Healing
Author: Oana
Pages: 258
Series: Stand alone
Published: November 8th, 2010
Rating: 4.5/5
Source: Author
Buy at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

"The Healings" offer a pleasing marriage of humor and seriousness of life's situations. A story of a depressed male - the universal human being in search of his own Self and his place in the society and, on a deeper level in the world. In his quest for healing, he is accompanied by his one and only partner, his talking cat. The thoughts and dialogues, naive and hilarious as they seem, offer a deep insight into life, death and what's in between. Written in the first person, the short stories depict his encounters with those whom he calls "sources of wisdom," from shamans to scientists, from dream interpreters to psychiatrists, from flesh-and-bone creatures to illusory entities or just bizarre life situations.

My Two Cents:

I have quite a mixed feelings on this book, at first. I thought it was a non-fiction, more like a motivation book that I rarely read. Look at the title; The Healing could have so many other synonyms of to get better for some kind of disease or sickness. And I never thought that it serves more than that. At first, I'm having a hard time to analyse and understand the story but it would get to your sense eventually. The more I read the more I want to know what is actually all about, the more I was hoping to know and wonder how it's going to end. The author introduced us with a nameless guy, which I think it actually would be anyone, or myself. He went for many shamans and healers, hoping that his whatever problems of life could be solved and go away. I think he actually felt cheated when there's no absolute solution and choices that would ease him from the tension he has. This brought him back to his cat, where he felt more centred, focused and he never to lonely to tell anything to his cat when his cat do nothing or even say anything. He can be open to his cat, or actually we can be open to ourself when we take the time to point out what actually is wrong with our inner self. Sounds funny and crazy but somehow he's healing. The author really knows her character, her book, and how to make the reader understand how to open up ourself instead we search for stranger's help in the first place. The writing is good, with a lot of humour, a little bit sarcasm, funny, and well-developed. I fall in love with this book. It may not have the best plot line, but the story made me feels something to heal myself from daily basis of work, school and my relationships. It's very easy to relate to. The book deserves the best attention from all of us and I personally think it's quit a silent healer itself. It makes us discover our personalities and self-awareness. Fully recommended!

About the Author:

Born in Bucharest, Romania, Oana lived twenty years under the grotesque dictatorial regime of Ceausescu. After the fall of the communism in 1989 she studied languages at the University in Bucharest, then received her Master’s at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. English is her third language. She has worn many hats, working as a translator, as a teacher, and eventually caring for animals both domestic and wild. She volunteered and worked for wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centers both in the US and Canada. She lives in Arizona, where she continues to dedicate most of her time to her animals and to writing.

Visit her at: The Healing Website | Facebook

Disclaimer: I received this book from Author Oana for an exchange of a review. These are my honest review and receiving a copy in no way will ever reflected my review.

once a princess by johanna lindsey

Written by Darlyn At Saturday, April 16, 2011 4 bookish peeps...
Title: Once A Princess
Author: Johanna Lindsey
Pages: 432
Series: Cardinia's Royal Family #1
Published: September, 2010
Rating: 3/5
Source: Own
Get your copy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Summary (Goodreads):

A bold and brazen prince came to America to claim his promised bride. But the spirited vixen spurned his affections while inflaming his royal blood with passion's fire, impelling virile Stefan Barany to take in sensuous and searing conquest the love Tatiana vowed never to yield. Born a princess in a politically unstable eastern Europe, Tatiana is wisked away to America for her own safety, where years later, the prince to whom she was betrothed as a babe finds her working as a servant in a Mississippi tavern.

My Two Cents:

A story of Tanya, a girl who never knows that she's a princess or her true name, Tatiana until a barbaric guy came to rescue her from an abusive tavern-owner, whom she believed her father and her family. As the King Sandor's men came to take Tanya, is finally able to gain control of her life where she was barely better than a slave will soon be hers. Tanya learned that she is betrothed to the King's son, Vasili as told by Stefan without knowing that Stefan is actually the king's son. He has no desire to marry a woman he never met or even worse, a beautiful woman. Unlike most heroes we met, Stefan's face is disfigured, scarred physically and emotionally, but still, I think he's handsome even though with scars. The story mostly took place with their journey to Europe and it's really not that all interesting when they mostly quarrel and having lots of misunderstandings, sometime with annoying conversations. The misunderstandings were quite dragging too. Although I have to admit that I like Tanya's attitude; witty, brave and strong, and independent, as well as Stefan's character; quite okay but sometimes I can't figure him and lost. The book actually has a very good storyline, but I found it lost its spiciness, and the ending was wrapped up too quickly. I feel no empathy and affection towards this book. I loved Johanna Lindsey's other books, but this one did just okay for me.

scrawl by mark shulman

Written by Darlyn At Friday, April 15, 2011 11 bookish peeps...
Title: Scrawl
Author: Mark Shulman
Series: Stand alone
Pages: 140
Published: September, 2010
Rating: 4.5/5
Source: From author
Get your copy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Summary (Goodreads):

Tod Munn is a bully. He's tough, but times are even tougher. The wimps have stopped coughing up their lunch money. The administration is cracking down. Then to make things worse, Tod and his friends get busted doing something bad. Something really bad. Lucky Tod must spend his daily detention in a hot, empty room with Mrs. Woodrow, a no-nonsense guidance counselor. He doesn't know why he's there, but she does. Tod's punishment: to scrawl his story in a beat-up notebook. He can be painfully funny and he can be brutally honest. But can Mrs. Woodrow help Tod stop playing the bad guy before he actually turns into one . . . for real? Read Tod's notebook for yourself.

My Two Cents:

So I read Tod's notebook myself, it's a-ma-zing! It's interesting and very intelligent. It might a story of a bully kid which at first I have nothing high to expect from it. I believe I was drawn and eager to read it because I think it's different and I never read anything from a bully perspective before. So, it's great that I did.

This story is not like other young adult story. Tod opened himself in the journal, instead of other people. He's funny and sometimes I grinned, or smiling when I read his writing in the journal. He's so easy to relate to and he brings out the real kid problems that sometimes we don't understand why they did wrong. Maybe for attentions or maybe just friends influences, or it might it's the kid really a trouble maker. Reading his daily journal, I think Tod never realize how much he has progress, but I think I do and hoping that he'll change to be better although I think we all know how difficult a kid bully to change. I personally don't like a bully but I can't to not like Tod. He has so many flaws to be hate, but as I go through reading it, it tells us to hope for Tod to be a better kid because I think he is clearly a smart kid.

The author creates such a unique character and it's obviously difficult to voice out what a bully would say and be, but he did it excellently. I find the writing style is very easy in journal format as well as it's a page turner that you'll keep reading till you know what's the ending. And not to forget the book cover, I love it! It tells a lot with only on a simple sheet of cover, don't you think?

The story is simply amazing and suitable for all age levels. I think young boys would love this as well as older readers, parents and teachers.

About the Author:

Mark Shulman has been a camp counselor, a radio announcer, a maitre d' in a fancy restaurant, a New York City tour guide, and a creative advertising guy. He's written many books about many things--sharks, storms, robots, palindromes, gorillas, dodo birds, Star Wars, Ben Franklin, how to hide stuff, how to voodoo your enemies, and how to make a video from start to finish. He's written picture books for Oscar de la Hoya (the boxer) and Shamu (the whale). Mark is from Rochester and Buffalo, New York, but he has lived in New York City for so very long that he tawks like he's from da Bronx. So do his kids. His wife Kara, a grade school reading specialist, has perfect diction.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy from Author Mark Shulman for an exchange of fair review. Receiving a copy in no way will ever reflected my review and these are my honest review.

guest post: Author Lynda M. Martin

Written by Darlyn At Monday, April 11, 2011 3 bookish peeps...
Hello everybody! I would love to welcome Author Lynda M. Martin, author of This Bird Fly Away to stop at Darlyn & Books today as a part of tour hosted by Enchanted Book Tours. Hope you enjoy her article!


"This Bird Flew Away – writing the child’s perspective"

I’d like to begin by thanking Darlyn for inviting me to write here today. It‘s always such an honor to be asked to share my thoughts and experience with others.

For those meeting me for the first time here, my name is Lynda Martin and I’ve been a writer all my life, though life often pushed my writing onto the back burner (as it does for most of us, it seems.) Today, retired from business and child protection work, I finally have the time to devote to my passion, and to teach all I’ve learned from some of the great mentors I’ve been fortunate to meet and, further, to share that knowledge with those just starting out.

One of the greatest challenges I faced in the writing of the This Bird Flew Away had to be the voice of our young narrator, Bria Connelly. We meet her at nine – ‘almost ten’—and leave her at twenty-nine, so her voice had to grow along with her. Above all, it had to be genuine.

Early in the process of writing this book, I chose the first person, past tense point of view for both narrators – Bria and her Aunt Mary, who becomes her foster mother. Why? Because this is such an intimate tale of a dark subject, child exploitation and abuse; it needed to be handled sensitively, without overt drama and certainly without graphic exterior descriptions that none of us want to read. The first person point of view allowed me to write from the interior of the child, her reactions, her feelings.

My years of listening to young victims articulate their trauma had taught me some very useful truths that helped me present this crucial and pivotal, but blessedly short passage of the story in an authentic manner. Survivors always distance themselves from the atrocities committed against them. The language they use reflects their self-protection, as though what has happened did not happen to them, but to their bodies alone.They often described how they ‘flew away,’ escaping into their inner worlds and leaving behind the despicable cruelty perpetrated upon them. Their language is usually passive, often in the third person, detached from any immediacy.

That’s the great thing about children. Kids go about the business of being kids, no matter what goes on in their lives. They possess the most wonderful resilience, able to reinvent themselves over and over, despite all the appalling circumstances – abuse, domestic violence, war, disaster – that goes on around them. I find the juxtaposition of childhood innocence against the cruel, cruel world inspiring.

I wanted Bria’s voice to reflect all I’ve learned about children and their ability to maintain their sense of self, no matter what. Were it not for that wonderful optimism. I often wonder when and how we lose that as we grow into adulthood.

Authors often short-change their child characters, following society’s preconception that children are inarticulate and unable to express their inner selves. They do, but as children and we must become aware of the limitations of each stage of development and find creative ways for our characters to express themselves. Most importantly, we must write the child as she is, not as we wish children would be. Such writing tends to be precious, condescending and preachy. If asked to give an example of one author who handled childhood and its challenges well, my answer would be Harper Lee and her classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. Scout (Jean Louise Finch) becomes a living, breathing, fully rounded little girl on the pages of this book, and I count this fictitious child among my friends.

Mary’s voice was easy, a mature woman perplexed and frustrated by her damaged daughter. I’ve been there; not only through my own two daughters, but with the number of foster daughters who enriched my life. Is there such a thing as thirteen going on thirty? Oh, most definitely yes, but also no.

Children forced to fend for themselves become street-wise, worldly, able to ape the mannerisms of adulthood – but they are not adults. Their brains do not function as an adult’s, no matter what their experiences. We must strive to keep true to that reality. Writing in the first person allowed me work with that disparity. We, the readers, are privy to Bria’s inner dialogue but those around her are not. They will see a girl older than her years, but we see the truth.

Bria’s journey from a young girl of nine to a woman of twenty-nine required many voices, and a great deal of introspection and remembering. Can you recall how you saw the world as a child? Writing from the viewpoint of the child allows us to describe our world from a fresh perspective, and perhaps to shed some of society’s preconceptions along the way. Children are painfully honest. What goes on in the mind is exactly what comes out; nothing is filtered, nothing censored. This is a great opportunity for a writer – no deviance, a lack of subtlety.

It’s a whole new way to see the world.

If you’d like to know more about this journey of discovery, the voice and world of the child’s perspective, here is a link to a full article I wrote as part of my ‘Good Writing Is… series,’ # 9 ‘The Importance of Voice #1 – Writing the Child’s Perspective’


"What is real love? The whole world wants to know. They should ask Bria Jean, because she has it all figured out. Opinionated, stubborn and full of woe, Bria would tell you real love is having one person you can always count on through thick and thin. For her, that's Jack. And it doesn't matter to her that she's nine and he's twenty-three-not one bit. When, at the age of twelve, Bria disappears, he and his Aunt Mary search for her, and when she surfaces, injured, abused and traumatized, Jack fights to become her guardian with no idea of the trials ahead of him. By then, Bria is thirteen going on thirty, full of her own ideas on how her life should run and with some very fixed notions about who is in charge."

About the Author

Lynda was born in Dunfirmline, Scotland in 1953, emigrated to Canada with her parents as a young girl. She grew up on the vast prairies of Western Canada, and loved the open wide spaces of that wild land. She was educated in Medicine Hat, Alberta, a town in the southeast corner of that province, and spent most of her time riding horses, barrel racing and hanging around rodeos and cowboys. Lynda and her husband Jim now make their home in the sunny state of Florida, and in her beloved Alberta. She has two daughters and four grandchildren. Now retired from child protection work, Lynda is a full-time writer, editor, writing teacher and coach. You may learn more about Lynda's writing, or her editing/coaching services for new writers at Lynda M. Martin, Writer and Editor.

Visit her at: Website | Blog | Email

any witch way by annastaysia savage

Written by Darlyn At Friday, April 08, 2011 9 bookish peeps...
Title: Any Witch Way
Author: Annastaysia Savage
Pages: 185
Series: Stand alone
Published: April 8th, 2011
Rating: 4/5
Source: Publisher

Summary (Goodreads):

Enduring the teasing and ridicule of her school mates, Sadie struggles through life as a pre-teen on the eve of her 13th birthday. Three years ago, a car crash took her mother, but Sadie never saw her body. She refuses to believe her mother is really gone. Holding fast to that feeling earns her the nickname "Crazy Sadie." Despite her one wish to be normal, Sadie only finds solace with a small group of unusual characters. These unlikely friends give her a “semi-normal” life outside of school in a bookstore where strange and mystical things seem to happen. In fact, if Sadie entertains her deepest suspicions, her friends are a little mystical.

When her birthday arrives however, Sadie finds herself whisked into a magical world that swirls just under the surface of normal, everyday life. Not only does she learn she’ll soon become a witch, but she also discovers she must battle The Syndicate to save her new world. Faced with fantastical encounters, unexplainable transformations, and startling fears, Sadie struggles against an unknown evil – all while searching for her real identity.

My Two Cents:

A cool book for a younger reader as the story is about a young witch, Sadie. What I loved about the story is it's sweet, very entertaining with all the adventure of Sadie to find herself and learned how to adapt with her new life as a witch.

All the characters in the story are great since they're magical creatures involved, other witches, talking cat which made the story more fascinating. The story has a fast pace from the start, and quite captivating toward the ending. I love the author creating a great setting for a modern fantasy story of a young witch. Other than that, what I loved most is there's a lot of good sides of something good to learn for teens as it's a mixed of how to blend in, fitting in, confident in who you are, and accept ourselves as who we really are. Sadie's lost of her mother and being undergoing foster care system, being teased was not a great experienced, but when she found out her life has some great purpose, her confidence grew.

The writing is easy to understand, so I think younger tween would love to read this. There's some cool illustration in the book, which is very good to imagine what's Sadie's experiencing. Sadie's character is easy to connect to, and I think she is quite fun. Although this is only a story of a girl in a transition to be a witch, I think it has in-depth storyline and very entertaining. Young adult of fantasy readers would enjoy to read this.


About the Author

Annastaysia Savage is both a writer and artist. She earned her BFA in Fine Art, with honors, from Arizona State University. She is one residency shy of a MA in creative writing from Wilkes University and is currently pursuing an MFA in sculpture and jewelry design from The Academy of Art University. Both writing and art have always been in her life, beginning at age 5 with her fist publication of a short poem and her first art exhibition entry that took first place. She has several short stories published in the last few years, her most recent a flash fiction horror piece for children and young adults in Crow’s Nest Magazine called “Grimalkins” and a short story in the anthology: JournalStone’s 2010 Warped Words for Twisted Minds.

i've been interviewed!

Written by Darlyn At Thursday, April 07, 2011 5 bookish peeps...

It's an honour for me and would love to share with you guys.

The Gatekeeper's Post interviewed me today at their site. Head on to this link to check this out! Come and say hi and leave some love *wink*

iClue: solve mysteries, win prizes!

Written by Darlyn At Wednesday, April 06, 2011 0 bookish peeps...
Do You iClue?

6 Authors
6 Mysteries
6 Chances to Win an iTouch

Six authors were talking one day and realized that even though their books ran the gamut from sci fi to romance, contemporary to ghostly, they all had one thing in common: a really good mystery. These authors--Lisa & Laura Roecker, Mandy Hubbard, Adele Griffin, Kimberly Derting, Lee Nichols & Beth Revis decided they wanted to give their readers a little more mystery...and if they solved that mystery, there needs to be a great prize, no?

The authors are working with The Reading Room (a book review site) and a slew of amazing book bloggers to bring you an exciting new contest that will be running over the next 6 weeks. For each mystery you solve, you get another entry into the contest. The grand prize is an iTouch loaded with 6 AMAZING eBooks from the participating authors.

Here's how it works:
  1. Starting on April 4th a new author will be featured on the iClue Site each week.
  2. The author will post their mystery on the site on Monday.
  3. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we will post links to The Reading Room and two book bloggers who will be posting a special clue to help you solve the mystery.
  4. Once you've solved the mystery you send us the correct solution using a form on the website.
  5. If you enter the correct solution you get one entry into the contest.
  6. Solve all 6 mysteries you get 6 entries to win the iTouch.

iClue launches from April 4th with Beth Revis's mysteries, featuring some of the characters from ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. Solve the mystery, get the password, and you'll get an entry to win an iPod Touch! So make sure you check back next week for this!

Meanwhile...we want to make sure to get the word out on this exciting month-long event! And that's where you come in...you, and six autographed books...


You can spread the word however you like! And for every way you spread the word, we're going to enter you in a contest for a grand prize pack of all six of our books, signed! And don't forget to come back to the actual event for your chance to solve fun mysteries and win an iPod Touch!! (And yes--before you ask, the contest IS open internationally--both prizes!)

Spread the word, and you'll be entered for a prize to win six autographed books, one from each of us! There are lots of ways to enter!

Part 1 here @ iClue/Beth Revis, Part 2 here @ The Story Siren
Part 3 here @ Today's Adventure, Part 4 here @ Beth Revis


Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

time to show off???

Written by Darlyn At Monday, April 04, 2011 15 bookish peeps...
Hello everybody!

I know this might be so out of blue when I get a NEW BLOG HEADER! Yes, you heard me right. I've won a credit from a contest at the marvellous Kirk's sibling, Alyssa, Jake and Gregory at Teens Read and Write (thanks so much!) not for so long ago for a design from the a-ma-zing Rachel at Parajunkee Design!

After a few discussions (and also a little miscommunication; it's really my fault!), I finally got a new blog header! Thanks so much to Rachel and I really appreciate her work. I'm totally impressed. You should consider and get her service if you plan to make over your site soon.

So, what do you think? I know it's quite similar with the previous one but this one more define and clean. The wordings are great! Totally love it! Yeay!

the falling away by t.l. hines

Written by Darlyn At Friday, April 01, 2011 6 bookish peeps...
Title: The Falling Away
Author: T.L. Hines
Pages: 366
Series: Stand alone
Published: September 10th, 2010
Rating: 3/5
Source: Publicist
Buy at: Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble

Summary:

He's been running from his calling, his troubles, and his demons. His demons just caught up. A member of Montana's Crow Tribe, he is called Dylan Runs Ahead. But that name couldn't be more off, because he's spent years running away--from his family, his people, his past...and himself. Now he's running out of places to run. He's haunted by his younger sister's disappearance, the recent death of a friend, and his impending sense of being chosen for something of great importance. But before Dylan can figure out what it really means to be chosen, and whether he's going to embrace the cost of that calling, he's going to have to slow down and face the demons he's been running from. Demons that are all too real...and aren't about to back down.

My Two Cents:

I never read anything from T.L. Hines so I'm quite excited to read it. The story is said as a supernatural thriller about a crippled veteran called Dylan Runs Ahead. He has been running all of his life from anything; from his past, from his future, and from his destiny. Worst, he also addicted to drug prescription and involved in a deal where two person were murdered. Then he met Quinn and Li which supposed to help him to face evil spirits/demon which was the cause of Dylan's running away. They confirmed that Dylan is the Chosen, and being protected who turns out also a Chosen, Quinn, a homeless woman. It may sound a little bit bizarre and but I started to like reading it even though I feel the story is so out of nowhere.

The writing style is quite okay and even though I don't feel connected with story in the beginning, it flows better once you start to understand what is actually happening to the characters. Sometimes I feel like I was off the hook with the story and keep wondering how it will turn out next. I thought the storyline is quite original and all the wondering that I have earlier at start will be answered as the story goes on. Like most thrillers, the element of suspense in the story works well and very attention grabber with all the twist and turns. The characters are very interesting, believable and there's also a sense of humour in it. Quinn is very mysterious for me and I always thought that she actually has something behind it. I only have a dissatisfaction on the ending, it rather ends abruptly after truth was discovered.

The book is actually has a Christianity element in it but it quite makes sense and I think Christians fiction fans would like this. I think the story is good supernatural thrillers as it claimed and anyone who like some actions and suspense would like this. It might have some flaws but it worth to kill the time.


About the Author:
TL Hines writes "Noir Bizarre" stories, mixing mysteries with oddities in books such as Waking Lazarus, The Dead Whisper On, and The Unseen. His work has won recognitions ranging from the Maryland Writers Association novel contest to Library Journal's "25 Best Genre Fiction Books of the Year" award. Currently, TL lives in Montana with his wife and daughter. Visit him at www.tlhines.com

Disclaimer: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. These are my honest review and receiving a copy in no way will ever reflected my review.
 

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