Monday, November 25, 2013

Guest Post: Ingrid Jonach


Remember that post I did about how I was obsessed with an old dead guy on That Awkward Thursday a while back? Well, turns out there is someone else that is even more obsessed with Albert Einstein than I am. Today, I am happy to have Ingrid Jonach, author of When the Word was Flat on the blog to discuss Albert Einstein and how/why it influenced her writing!

Enjoy!!

When the World was Flat and Einstein




Albert Einstein died in the early hours of April 18, 1955 in Princeton Hospital. The official cause was an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The internal bleeding could have been stemmed by surgery, but Einstein insisted he had done his share and it was his time. He was working on his Unified Field Theory at the time of his death, which he had called an attempt to “read the mind of God.” His final words were uttered in German to a nurse who spoke only English.
My imagination was captured by the circumstances of his death and the opinions of his contemporaries that he had wasted his final years on his Unified Field Theory, which is colloquially known as the Theory of Everything.
When the World was Flat (and we were in love) explores a reimagined history where Albert Einstein accepted a life-saving operation and lived long enough to finish his Theory of Everything and read the mind of God.
We are heading into spoiler territory, so I will sidestep it by telling you that I stumbled on the Theory of Everything while researching String Theory. A third theory that I wove into the book (but which is not actually mentioned) is Quantum Entanglement, which is a theory where particles are linked and can potentially explain what we otherwise would term Fate.
I am not a physicist. I just have an interest in physics and fringe science. There were times when I thought my brain was going to explode while I was reading up on the various theories that went into When the World was Flat (and we were in love). I did feel a bit better when I read that Einstein was not understood by many of his contemporaries, except for English astronomer Arthur Stanley Eddington, who led an expedition to West Africa that provided the first confirmation of his General Theory of Relativity.
Einstein was very modest though. He reportedly said about his genius, “It's not that I'm so smart. It's just that I stay with problems longer.”
He also had a knack for explaining his theories through simple and humorous sound bytes. His sense of humor was evident by his friendship with legendary comic Charlie Chaplin, who told Einstein, “People cheer me because they all understand me, and they cheer you because nobody understands you.”
Luckily for the general populace, Einstein believed that his theories were useless, unless they could be explained to a barmaid.
I now give you some of his most quotable quotes on his theories:
                “Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.”
                “Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.”
                “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
                “Time is what prevents everything from happening at once.”
I really encourage everyone to read up on his theories and, if you are feeling like they are going over your head, just remember this Einstein quote: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

About the Book


When the World was Flat (and we were in love)
Author: Ingrid Jonach
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Available in hardcover, paperback, ebook and audio through all good bookstores and online.

Blurb

Looking back, I wonder if I had an inkling that my life was about to go from ordinary to extraordinary.
When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.
But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love.
When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again. 
An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself.

Author Bio


Ingrid Jonach writes books for children and young adults, including the chapter books The Frank Frankie and Frankie goes to France published by Pan Macmillan, and When the World was Flat (and we were in love) published by Strange Chemistry.
Since graduating from university with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing (Hons) in 2005, Ingrid has worked as a journalist and in public relations, as well as for the Australian Government.
Ingrid loves to promote reading and writing, and has been a guest speaker at a number of schools and literary festivals across Australia, where she lives with her husband Craig and their pug dog Mooshi.
Despite her best efforts, neither Craig nor Mooshi read fiction.
Find out more at www.ingridjonach.com






Thursday, November 21, 2013

Guest Post: Tracy E. Banghart


Today, I am pleased to hand the blog over to Tracy E. Banghart. Tracey has written an excellent post about her writing process in honor of NaNoWriMo (which I am totally behind in right now). I hope you all enjoy! :)

Thanks again, Tracy!!


My Writing Process – An Evolution


Ashley invited me to Wholly Books to talk about my writing process in honor of NaNoWriMo. Thanks so much for having me, Ashley!

The thing about my writing process is…it’s changed. You hear all the time about authors and their “formulas” or “she’s a pantser” or outliner or whatever. I’m working on my fourth novel now, and the truth is, my process is completely different this time around.

My first completed novel, Moon Child, was actually a Nano novel. Up to that point I’d begun a lot of projects, even gotten about 40k into one…but I’d never been able to go the distance. I’d get stuck or bored or distracted…and put it away, move on. It was a terrible habit and one I had to break. So, when I heard about National Novel Writing Month, I knew this was my chance. Nano TOTALLY worked for me. The forums filled with commiserating writers, the challenge of the word count graph, the email pep talks…the whole structure of Nano was the kick in the butt I needed to bang out a short, messy COMPLETE first draft.

I think, at the time, actually FINISHING was the biggest mental hurdle I had to leap. After I’d proven to myself I could do it, the actual finishing took less of my focus. With my second novel, By Blood, I gave myself a little more time. I still wrote fast (and kept my own daily word count chart) but I had space to be a little more thoughtful, to plan a bit more. I fell into the habit of taking notes for the next scene when I was finished writing for the day, so I’d know where to begin next time. I still do this…it’s a great way to overcome the pressure of a blank page.

When revisions of my third novel, Shattered Veil (also a Nano book) ended up taking years, I made a realization about my writing. Up to that point I’d been writing short first drafts…blowing through the story, rushing to the end as if scared (still) that I wouldn’t make it. My first drafts were filled with holes: missing scenes, absent character development, huge chunks of telling instead of showing. In revision, I had to unpack those rushed scenes. I had to fill in the blanks.

To be honest, it can be really hard to tell where the blanks are. I relied so much on my critique partners telling me where they felt the story was “missing something”...instead of polishing and adding nuance, my first several revision rounds consisted of writing entirely new scenes. Even occasionally creating new characters.

So, with my current work in progress, I decided to try something different. I told myself I’d write EVERYTHING down…and cut later. I wouldn’t watch the clock, I wouldn’t count words…I’d just write every detail that came to me and worry about whether it was “too much” later.

It’s taken me a lot longer to write this novel (definitely NOT Nano-worthy). But I’ve found that slowing down, taking my time, has made this first draft cleaner and more complete than any of the others. Maybe it’ll require less revision. One can hope. ;)

But one thing I’ve learned in comparing both processes….a good book takes time to write. Whether it’s time at the revision stage, where a messy first draft is painstakingly groomed into something beautiful…or at the first draft stage, each word carefully considered and given weight…if you want to write a good book, you have to do what works for you. And it’s okay to take the time – at the beginning or later in the process – to slow down, be thoughtful, and make sure the story you’re trying to tell has made it onto the page.

Whether you’re a slow writer, fast writer, plotter or pantser, it’s all about finding the best way to tell YOUR story. Good luck to everybody participating in Nano…and to everyone – Nano or not – who is striving towards those two magical words…

THE END.

About the Author


Tracy E. Banghart is the author of YA novels By Blood and Moon Child, and the forthcoming NA scifi Shattered Veil (Feb 2014). She’s an Army wife, Mom, and cupcake connoisseur.

About the Books



Moon Child

A Companion to By Blood


Before Emma's adventures in Oxford, her best friend Diana came face-to-face with a killer...

Diana Calvert is so over high school. Who cares if Olivia hates her? And David needs to forget about having a crush on her STAT. Even Emma’s crazy fashion choices can’t keep Diana entertained. All she can hope for is a dance scholarship to a college as far away as possible from too-small, too-boring, too-nothing-ever-happens New Freedom, PA.

Then Diana meets Nicholas Woodhaven. He’s pale, angry…yet weirdly charming. And she can’t stop thinking about him. The more time they spend together, the more she wonders who – or what – he really is. Because he isn’t anything like the other guys she knows. Not with the whole only-going-out-at-night thing. And living with his creepy aunt instead of his parents. Not to mention, he doesn't even go to school!

Just when Diana thinks she’s got Nicholas all figured out, people in her small, nothing-ever-happens town start dying. She has to wonder – can she trust him? And even more alarming – could she be next?

A murder mystery with a paranormal twist, Moon Child is best read under the covers with a flashlight...if you dare!
Add to your shelf on Goodreads!
Now available on Amazon!



By Blood

A Companion Novel to Moon Child





For 17-year-old Emma Wong, spending a summer in England should be a dream come true. Gorgeous scenery? Check. Lots of hot guys with accents? Yes, please.
Spending two months with her mom, Dr. Mike (don’t call him her stepdad), and their pooping, puking infant son? Not what she had in mind. It’s a disaster even her favorite cherry red leather jacket can’t fix (leather and spit-up do notmix).
Not only does she get put on diaper duty (gag), but there’s also Dr. Mike’s cute research assistant to contend with. The only thing more embarrassing than her trying to plant one on him hours after they meet is knowing he’ll be a witness to her family’s dysfunction all. summer. long.
So when Emma meets a mysterious girl who happens to be a Druid, the summer suddenly promises to be far more intriguing than she expected. Powerful rituals, new friends, an intoxicating sense of freedom...and Simon, the sexy foreign stranger she was hoping for. It’s all a perfect distraction from dirty diapers and awkward family dinners.
Trouble is, intriguing doesn’t often mean simple. And Emma is about to discover just how not simple her life really is.
Add to your shelf on Goodreads!
Now available on Amazon, and most ebook retailers.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (41)


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the  Broke and the Bookish!
  


Top Ten Books I would recommend to X Person


1. For someone looking for an unique post apocalyptic book... 

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

2. For a reader looking for a mystery book that will completely blow your mind...

Dangerous Girls by Abgail Haas

3. For someone looking for a book to make them laugh...

Ten Things We Did by Sarah Mlynowski

4. For a reader looking for lovable characters and just an excellent book in genereal...

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

5. For someone looking for a cute, fun book...

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

6. For a someone looking for a series with a love triangle that will rip your heart out...

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

7. For a reader that wants a book with a beautiful opening line...

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Liani Taylor
(The opening line is “Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”  in case you were wondering).

Okay, I only got 7 but trust me these are all really good recommendations! You really should read them! :) 

What books made your top ten?


Monday, November 18, 2013

Audio Review: Allegiant



Title: Allegiant
Author: Veronica Roth
Pages: 526
Format: Audio

Release Date: October 22, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Rating: 3 Cows




Goodreads Description:.


The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.




I think I should preface this review with two things. 1) This admittedly wasn't my favortive series from the beginning. 2) Despite the book being released for almost a month now I will do my best to avoid spoilers. 

As I said earlier, Divergent wasn't my favorite series but I didn't dislike it or anything. Veronica Roth is a talented writer and I didn't find anything majorly wrong with the first two books. Both recieved 4 stars I think, so definitely not bad, just not my favorite. With a bazillion and one dsytopian novels out there, it's understandale to feel a little burnt out and that's where I was when I read the first two books. 

As for Allegiant, I must say that the only thing that really kept me wanting to read was wanting to know how this ending that had everyone so upset/angry/sad/ect played out. In my opinion, the first two books were much better and the last book was kind of a let down. 

Maybe it's just me but the book just felt off, like it didn't really fit with the other two. I didn't like the corruption within the corruption thing. I know The Hunger Games did something similar but I liked in much better in The Hunger Games for whatever reason. Maybe I felt like I had already seen it, I don't know. 

However, the thing about the book that bothered me the most was Tris and Tobias's relationship. I really disliked it in Allegiant. I really liked their relationship in the first two books but in this one they just couldn't get it together. Tris acted like a know-it-all snob and tried to tell Tobias what to do like she was his mother, which really bothered me. I think part of that was the narrator for Tobias and how he talked during Tris's lines. 

Now, for my thoughts on THE ENDING. Don't worry I'm not going to tell you what happened in case you have by some miracle managed to avoid spoilers for this long. The shocking, jaw dropping ending that everyone was talking about had zero effect on me. Even though I knew it was going to happen, I still was completely unmoved. I thought I would feel something but I just didn't. I have to give kudos to Veronica Roth for ending the series that way but the thing is I think if you are going to end a series that way 1) you have to have a really good reason and I'm not convinced she did and 2) you have to make the reader feels something. Obviously, she was able to do the last one with a lot of readers but she didn't with me. 

Sadly, this book was just alright to me. I think there were a lot of things that could have been done differently to make me like it more. Still, I will likely read more Veronica Roth books in the future. 



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Audio Review: The Sea of Tranquility





Title: The Sea of Tranquility
Author: Kajay Millay
Pages: 448
Format: Audio

Release Date: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Rating: 5 Cows




Goodreads Description:
I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.



There was one thought that kept popping into my head as I was listening to The Sea of Tranquility, “This may be the best book I’ve ever read!” And while I can’t say for absolute certain simply because I have loved many books through the years and time seems to dull my memories of them, I can say that this book is definitely one of the best books I have ever read. It’s a brilliant, heartbreaking, soul-searching book and I loved every second of it!

It’s hard for me to decide which I loved more the character themselves or the story. Both were excellent so I think I’m going to just count it as a draw.

It’s amazing to me that Millay was able to create so many characters that I love. Nastya, Josh, Drew, and Clay were all so amazing. I loved that Nastya wasn’t one of those girls that moved to a new school and suddenly everyone loves her. She’s an outcast and likes it that way but she still manages to make friends. I think all of the characters learned something from being friends with Nastya and I think they all helped her.

Nastya and Josh’s relationship is one of my all time favorites now. I loved that their relationship wasn’t easy but their love was. They loved each other despite not wanting to and despite all of the secrets. It was great seeing how each of them helped the other become a better, more whole person.

Drew was the character that surprised me the most. I honestly thought he was going to be a big jerk but he turned out to be this great guy. I love that he ended up having redeeming qualities and that we learn that he isn’t the guy that everyone thinks he is.

Kirby Heyborne and Candace Thaxton did an excellent job with the narration. At first I didn’t like Kirby’s voice as Josh but by the end of the book I loved him. Kirby did an excellent job acting out the scenes. You can hear the anger or hurt in his voice when he spoke. Candace has a great voice for audiobooks simply because her voice is so soothing.

Simply put, The Sea of Tranquility, is a beautiful story that will captivate the hearts of anyone that reads it. And while I did figure out one part of the story I love how it was answered on the very last page.  Read this book! It’ll be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made!


BUY THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Audiobook Challenge Update #3



I missed the 2nd quarter update so I have my list divided into 2 parts. 

First, the audiobooks I listened to and reviewed in the first quarter:
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl 
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Second, the audiobooks I listened to and reviewed in the second and third quarter:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
What Really Happened in Peru by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
The Program by Suzanne Young
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Pure by Julianna Baggott
Spellcaster by Claudia Gray
Endless Knight by Kresley Cole

Also, I have listened to Alliegant and The Sea of Tranquility so those reviews will be coming soon!

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