Showing posts from August, 2011

Book Review: The Fallen by Thomas E.Sneigoski

Genre: YA Fantasy

It was the book cover. Yes, that is the reason I picked up this book. Angels never interested me. But the broody, I-dare and pained look on the face of such a good looking guy made me buy this. And the black angel wings, ofcourse.

This series is about Aaron Corbet, a regular high school student who starts hearing voices, understand and speak foreign languages and have massive headaches right on his eighteenth birthday. Slowly, through a series of events, he discovers that he is a half-breed between an angel and a human. Also, that he is destined for greater things. But he is also being relentlessly chased to be killed by Powers for they think half-breeds like him are a blight on their heritage. The first book, The Fallen (of the omnibus The Fallen and The Leviathan), narrates how Aaron comes to terms with his changed body and future. The book ends with his decision to find his brother who has been stolen by the Powers.

What works for the book?
First and foremost, the …

Book Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

This is my first book review that I posted on Book Reviews couple of days back but never got to share it here. Below is the post.

Genre: YA Fantasy

Fantasy fiction novels introduce you to a new world bringing with it the story of an ordinary person like us. It is an absolute thrill for some readers like me and I cannot get enough of it. Yet there are only few such books that really stay with you for a long time. Remember Harry Potter? Twilight? Eragon? Therefore, I am delighted that I can add one more to my list - The Iron Few Series.

The Iron King is the first of the series and this review is only about this book.

The book is about a sixteen year old girl, Meghan Chase, who is half-human and half-faery. She discovers this shocking truth on her sixteenth birthday when she is forced to enter the faery world with her best friend Robin Goodfellow a.k.a Puck (who also happens to be a faery) to save her kidnapped younger brother, Ethan. Not just that. She also discovers that she is the dau…

Are We Hooked Yet?

We readers are impatient. The cover page, synopsis at the back cover, the first page, the first line. We are always looking for the hook. Ever more so, if you are of the internet generation. We have just about 5-10 seconds attention span! Now imagine thousands of wonderful books trying to claim that attention of yours when you are in the bookstore. Well, out of the thousands good books, your attention bows to only about a handful. And finally about couple of books actually make it to the counter. Ever given a second thought to those hooks that actually captivated you? Below are some hooks that worked for me and I guess for lot others too! :)

HP and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K.Rowling:
"Mr. And Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange ormysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense."

Twilight by Stephan…

Bye Harry Potter, Welcome The Night Circus?

Every imagined what would it feel like to be the center of another Harry Potter-like revolution with your first novel? I know its tempting to slip in to that dream world with a dreamy smile but think again. Erin Morgenstern, a debutant author (The Night Circus) is living it and she might not be that thrilled. Well, at least not about some parts of it. Especially not when her book is publicized as the next big thing after Harry Potter and Twilight by none other than Summit Entertainment (production company behind Twilight) even before it is published. Even before anyone has read as much as word of it. Scary, stressful? Hmm.

Erin is not alone. There is a high-stake competition out there both in publishing industry and Hollywood to en cash on the starry-eyed readers who have been reading fantasy fiction like never before. Harry Potter might be the trigger, but the fantasy stories are not limit to wizards alone. Vampires are getting an over-kill but they are still thriving. So, are faeri…

Author Thursdays - Julie Kagawa

Author Quote "Careful human. Do not lose your heart to a faery prince. It never ends well" - The Iron King
After devouring the Iron Few series in 3 days, I could not think of any other author for my Author Thursday than the author of the very famous YA Fantasy series,  The Iron Fey. 
Julie Kagawa has written 4 full length novels and 2 novellas (ebook) in the Iron Few series which has found immense popularity amongst the teens and YA enthusiasts alike. The books are about Meghan Chase, an ordinary sixteen year old girl who discovers she is half-faery. The books chronicles her journey in the Faery world and the two handsome faieries - Puck and Ash. 
Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California. She loves to read, paint and also spends a lot of time gaming. According to her, the idea for a faery book and its outline was more of a logical conclusion than just dreaming about it (finally an author who doesn't get ideas in a dream!). Her books ia a mix of traditional faery fanta…

Revision Can Be Fun. Seriously.

If you are writing a novel, you would know this - there is a first draft and then there are reviews. While some do two or three reviews, I have heard of writers who go on to 22nd version of the same book! Phew!
No matter how many revisions you did, it is always seen in a bad way. First draft is fun. Revision is hard. Because that's where the real work begins. But wait. Aren't first drafts just a place to store the story and revisions is where you actually write. And if you are a writer and you are revising your novel, that is writing it, how can it be not fun? Huh?

This comes from someone who had a small fit before she could start her novel revision. Yeah, that's me. As my blog post on this says, I got pretty riled up about my stupid fear and got all focused to finish the revision. So, I scoured through innumerable blogs and websites advising me on how to best revise it. I have to admit I was all the more discouraged from doing it. They described it as a very difficult job…

The Immortals of Meluha - and the story behind it.

When we look at the beautiful book cover of our favorite bestsellers, we often fail to appreciate the hard work that went behind it. The greatest being of the writer who struggles at every little step right from the first word to the first sale of his book. Most of the stories behind that shiny book cover might sound similar and inspiring, but there are some that take the inspiration quotient a notch higher.

The story of Amish Tripathi, the author of the best seller "The Immortals of Meluha" is one such example. Did you know he got over 20 rejections and publishers had told him no one would like to read his book? Yes. He did and when no one agreed to publish it, his agent (God bless him!) did it himself. He invested in the book and came out with 5000 copies as against the normal 3000 for debut authors in the first run. Did you know that the marketing and distribution of the first book of this Shiva Triology "The Immortals of Meluha" was handled by Amish himself? Yes…

My new Mouse and Mousepad!

A quick post on the new mouse I got. I loved the design on it and is now added to my can't-live-without list along with my HP mini. What makes it even more exciting is the little mouse pad that I made for it. I took a cardboard, cut it to required size (just big enough in my case), printed off an amazing design from Lolly Chops and pasted all over it. It looks gorgeous, isn't it? :)

Book Review: Tribute by Nora Roberts

I had always avoided books of Nora Roberts. For some reason, her book titles would create a minor emotional panic in my heart and I would move away from her section. I had this idea that ALL her books would be tragic and I might end up being teary-eyed at the end of it. Why did I think that way? I have no idea. However, couple of weeks back, I picked up this book in Calgary after lot of internal prodding about being brave about tragic books . "Tribute" read like the least of tragedies. No deaths, no loss of love, no heart-wrenching love letters. All it had was a strong woman's journey to find her true self. I sighed. It was relief.

The story is about a grown up former child actress, Cilla McGowen, grand-daughter of a legendary Hollywood actress who was single-mindedly determined to restore her dead grandmother's utterly neglected farm house much to her mother's chagrin who preferred her daughter's failed acting career. Cilla was a strong woman who, unlike her…

Author Thursdays - Agatha Christie

Author Quote: "I specialize in murders of quiet, domestic interest."

I wonder if there are any book lovers who did not read Agatha Christie's crime mysteries while growing up. Agatha Christie, often called as the Queen of Crime can be accused of immortalizing the crime solvers Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple forever in our minds. 
I remember reading her oh-so-many novels in school without ever getting bored. The best thing about her books was - they were not too long, crisp, the right amount of humour and oodles of mystery. I personally liked Miss Marple cases way more than Hercule Poirot because solving through intuition and her observation of the human race was far more impressive to me. 
She died in 1976 and the last book that was published was "Poirot's Last Case" in Oct 1975. This book had created shock waves among her book lovers for Hercule Poirot dies at the end of the book. New York Times had actually published a full page obituary for Hercule Poir…

Why Do You Enjoy A Fantasy Novel?

If I have a choice of both, there has never been an occasion when I picked a novel of any other genre over fantasy. If there is a fantasy book available, it needs to be read first. Period. A lot of my friends feel this way and I wonder what makes us such big fans of fantasy. For me, below are the reasons why fantasy is my number one pick on my bookshelf.

1) There's Magic! - Magic is cool. Magic is fun. Magic is hot. You can shout "Accio" and have whatever you wanted in your hand. How cool is that! Magic sprinkles awe in my fantasy books. It takes me to another world helping me escape the boring, mundane earth for a better, more comfortable atmosphere. It gives my imagination a high. 
2) There's Action! - Yes, most of the good fantasy novels have super plots that involves lot of high speed action. You do not have to get tangled in a long, confusing and really useless emotional out pours and relationships between even more confused men and women. In stead enjoy the fast …

5 Ways To Get Rid Of Writer's Block

It's inevitable - the block gets us one day. It is as if the words refuse to flow, thickened somewhere in the brain, not moving, getting hazy as moment passes...nothing to type. The familiar keyboard doesn't help. If you do use the keyboard, it is the backspace that gets the most hits! Does it ring a bell? Yes, we all go through this and you are not alone. We cannot avoid it - but we can definitely come out of it faster. I had written this for my other blog on freelancing writing but is long defunct as I moved to fiction writing. However, the tips I mentioned in here hold good for any kind of writer. Why? Because writer's block is a monster and doesn't discriminate at all!

Get rid of writer's block:

Write, write and write - The most easiest way to come out of writer's block is to write! Forcing yourself to write something no matter how ugly it is would help getting the juices flow. I feel that the block is nothing but the fear of writing something terrible, some…

The Help - The Book and The Movie

Only sometimes we come across a book that impresses you so much that you change your life's outlook. Even if it is in just a tiny way. The fact that a stranger sitting thousands of miles away could do that with just words written on paper that you bought/borrowed by chance makes it an even greater feat. I feel the author has every right to be proud of it and Kathyrn Stockett must be one proud woman today for she wrote a book that is a must read for everyone.

I am just 2 yrs late discussing this wonderful book and dearly thank the producers who are making this in to a movie for that was what drew my attention to it. A very unusual book for me to buy considering only wands and pixies interest me these days. Today I am glad I did. The book is based in 1960's Jackson, Mississippi. It is about three extra-ordinary women who take grave risks to write their story anonymously during the deep and hurting racial divide of the fluid sixties. Unlike the agitating and adrenaline pumping spe…

The Confession - John Grisham


A fast moving story, the book looks at three angles of such a cirminal trial - one, the victim and victim's family. Second, the accused and his family. Third, the whole circus of convicting and the death bed drama. So intensely has John Grisham described the pain, hopes, disappointment, tears and anger that is involved in a murder trial that you cannot help but feel deeply for every side of the story including the advocate Robbie. A very well knitted story, if you are anything like me, you would be reduced to tears as you go through Donte's pain. All in all, a very well written and must read book from John.  As an aspiring author, it would be prudent to note how John manages to evoke reader's response by introducing excruciating details, letting actions speak and making the characters so much more human. In fact, this book should be read repeatedly to pick up the nuances of what makes a novel tick. In his own way, John created a interesting little tutorial for other write…

Please Revise My Novel Draft

Some of my friends know that I completed the first draft of my fantasy novel almost 3 weeks back. My plan to start editing it is about 2 weeks old and by now, I should have been half through the hell. Yet, nothing of that sort has happened. What did happen was me going through the first 10 pages and declaring it to the worst novel in the history. Why? Good question.

History is witness to my phobia of revision. Back in school when I was a tiny tot, I remember my history teacher poking my belly for getting the spelling of "government" wrong. The answer was perfect but the spelling was wrong. Fast forward it to today, I still get spellings wrong when I email, comment on other's blogs, etc etc which leaves me red-faced (a very bright one at that) when I happen to read it later. All through it, I always promised myself to read it just once before I hit the submit button (back in school, before I submit it to the teacher) but never, I repeat never has that happened. Why? Good q…

And the bookmark for the bookmark box!

I made a quick bookmark to justify such a large bookmark storage box.  Here it goes!

PS: For the first time, I put in my initials at the bottom - @SMM. :) Oh and if you are wondering what the hell is a bookmark box, check it here.

Craft at Home - Storage Box

So, I got the familiar itch to cut and destroy things this morning and I made up my mind to do just that. I realized yesterday night that I was losing all my bookmarks that I somehow end up having in my so many books and wished there was a box where I can store them. That gave me the destructive idea to rip apart my Kelloggs cereal box (which wasn't empty BTW!). So, I cut the box, printed some paper and pasted all over it to gift myself a royal, pretty huge (need to print off more bookmarks now!) bookmark storage box. I can make it fancier or may be make another smaller one. Nevertheless, the thirst is almost satiated. Sharing with you some pictures of the same! Oh and you can use this for some other purpose as well - craft materials, receipts, etc etc. You get the point, right?