January Book Wrap Up!

Books Pledged to Read in 2015:

150

Am I On Track: 

3 books head

Books Read So Far: 

16

Total Books For January: 

16

This Shattered World

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Suspicion

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The DUFF (Re-Read)

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Half-Blood (Re-Read)

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Unleashed

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Paper or Plastic

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My True Love Gave to Me

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Everything Leads to You

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The Winner’s Curse

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The Orphan Queen

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Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless

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Inspire 

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From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess ARC

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Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys) ARC

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I Was Here by Gayle Forman 

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Fairest by Marissa Meyer

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Book Review: Inspire by Cora Carmack

22824819Genre: 

New Adult, ampoule Romance, sick Fantasy

Pages: 

284

Part of a Series?:

First Novel in a Trilogy (?)

Release Date: 

December 15th, more about 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author’s Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Kalliope lives with one purpose.

To inspire.

As an immortal muse, she doesn’t have any other choice. It’s part of how she was made. Musicians, artists, actors—they use her to advance their art, and she uses them to survive. She moves from one artist to the next, never staying long enough to get attached. But all she wants is a different life— a normal one. She’s spent thousands of years living lie after lie, and now she’s ready for something real.

Sweet, sexy, and steady, Wilder Bell feels more real than anything else in her long existence. And most importantly… he’s not an artist. He doesn’t want her for her ability. But she can’t turn off the way she influences people, not even to save a man she might love. Because in small doses, she can help make something beautiful, but her ability has just as much capacity to destroy as it does to create. The longer she stays, the more obsessed Wilder will become. It’s happened before, and it never turns out well for the mortal.

Her presence may inspire genius.

But it breeds madness, too.

My Review:

Seriously. Cora. How can you do this to me? First, you made me fall in love with Carson. And then Silas. Then, let’s face it, I’ll probably fall madly in love with Torres. But in the meantime, I just fell madly in love with Kalli and Wilder.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. It wasn’t that I didn’t think it was going to be good because the Rusk University series has seriously made me fall madly in love with Cora as a writer. I read Inspire because it was on sale for 99 cents and I couldn’t really turn down a deal like that, especially when I was feeling a little slumpy (despite the hundred books sitting in a pile, waiting to be read), so I decided to buy it.

And I just love it. It was such a beautiful and addicting book. I didn’t think it was possible for Cora to make me love her more as a writer but it was. I immediately absolutely love Kalli. You’re in her head, and you feel her struggle. She’s a goddess, a muse, weighed down by this power that she has to use…but also is dangerous to use as well. You feel her struggle and you just want her to have a normal life. She immediately felt like someone I would want to be best friends with, and not just because she would help my writing flourish haha.

Then we enter Wilder. And they immediately have a connection, from their brief encounter at the grocery store, to their first encounter…in…the…shower, I was sold on them. Their romance was quick, thrilling, sexy, hot. There is a thread of fate between them and I knew that I wanted them together so badly. They had an incredibly chemistry, and there are some seriously steamy scenes between them that made me blush in all the best ways possible. You really want to root for them. You really want Kalli to have a normal life even though she really can never possibly be normal.

And that’s where things get complicated. The book is in split point of views, so that we get both sides of the story, Kalli and Wilder. And when we learn things about Wilder that Kalli doesn’t know (which I can’t say, because, you know, spoiler free), your hands are clutched tightly to the pages, frantically flipping, waiting for the moment when things are going to implode, because inevitably shit is going to hit the fan. And when it does, I was in near tears, hoping that things were going to work out. This book is an emotional roller coaster. It made me laugh and blush, and it made me pant and it made me tear up more than once.

What really gets me about this book though is that its so different from anything we’ve seen from Cora yet. She says that fantasy is actually her forte, what she had spent many years writing and that she went with the contemporary of Losing It, to try and get published. Now, having read Inspire, you can see how that was something she felt so comfortable writing for so long. It seems effortless, the world and characters that she has created and I bought into almost immediately. And its a story of Greek mythology that I definitely don’t think is out there. Kalliope and her sisters, the muses, you don’t see versions of that at all.

All in all, Cora completely scores with this fantasy romance, with her characters, her steamy scenes and the mythology she weaves into the novel. Its beautiful and she leaves me with such an epic cliffhanger that I was super disappointed when the book ended. Luckily, hopefully, I won’t have to wait too long to find out what happens next!

Rating: 

4.5 out of 5 Stars

Cover Reveal: “All Played Out” by Cora Carmack

I am SO excited to bring you today’s cover reveal. Cora Carmack’s third novel in the Rusk University series, information pills All Played Out, online will be hitting bookstores in May (ugh, viagra the agony of waiting!) and I’m so excited for it. I love the first two books, and they’ve been massively inspirational for me. OH! I just can’t wait. In the meantime, I have to be satisfied with salivating over this brand new cover, and now I get to share it with you!

Let’s do this!

About Cora Carmack

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Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

You Can Find Her At:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / GoodReads

About the Rusk University Series

RU books 1and 2 Banner

All Lined Up

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated.

Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iTunes 

All Broke Down

Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.

Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians you name it, she’s probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He’s in for a different kind of fighting. And though he’s arrogant and infuriating, she can’t help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.

Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it’s trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He’s met girls like her before fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn’t think he’s broken, and he definitely doesn’t need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about: his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.

Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iTunes

And now the Cover Reveal!

All Played Out - Cover Image

First person in her family to go to college? CHECK.
Straight A’s? CHECK.
On track to graduate early? CHECK.
Social life? …..yeah, about that….

With just a few weeks until she graduates, Antonella DeLuca’s beginning to worry that maybe she hasn’t had the full college experience. (Okay… Scratch that. She knows she hasn’t had the full college experience).

So Nell does what a smart, dedicated girl like herself does best. She makes a “to do” list of normal college activities.

Item #1? Hook up with a jock.

Rusk University wide receiver Mateo Torres practically wrote the playbook for normal college living. When he’s not on the field, he excels at partying, girls, and more partying. As long as he keeps things light and easy, it’s impossible to get hurt… again. But something about the quiet, shy, sexy-as-hell Nell gets under his skin, and when he learns about her list, he makes it his mission to help her complete it.

Torres is the definition of confident (And sexy. And wild), and he opens up a side of Nell that she’s never known. But as they begin to check off each crazy, exciting, normal item, Nell finds that her frivolous list leads to something more serious than she bargained for. And while Torres is used to taking risks on the field, he has to decide if he’s willing to take the chance when it’s more than just a game.

Together they will have to decide if what they have is just part of the experiment or a chance at something real.

Pre-Order All Played Out at your local bookstore or the following links!

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iTunes

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Tuesday Top Ten – Favorite New Releases of 2014!

I seriously hate writing these lists. Seriously. Because the segment is called the Tuesday Top Ten. I’ve read 120-something books this year and, sale yeah, sick sure, a good number of them were either re-reads or books that were released previous to the year 2014. But I would say a majority of those books were brand new releases.

And I’m just supposed to narrow them down to the ones that I liked the most. I mean, come on. That’s just mean. And hard. I’ve read so MANY great and fantastic books this year. It just blows my mind how authors can just continue to write amazing stories over and over and over again.

And yes, I’m the brains of this operation which means, technically, I could make a whole huge list of books that came out this year that I loved but they legit would all make the list and the point of this is to highlight the ones that really stood out to me this year.

So that’s just what I’m going to do! Check it out :)

10. All Lined Up by Cora Carmack

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I was looking forward to this book because it has three of my favorite things in the world: romance, hot boys with abs and football. I hadn’t been massively impressed with Cora so far but this book completely changed my mind and I loved the second one as well. I definitely could use more Rusk boys in my life.

9. Cress by Marissa Meyer

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I was DYING for this book and when I finally got my hands on it, I was in the worst slump ever. Took me about a week and a half to read this book, but when I finally did, I was just blown away. Cress is an incredible character and I absolutely love this book. I couldn’t believe how long I had to wait (and am still waiting) for the final book.

8. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Oh Morgan  Matson. Please never stop writing. The closeness I felt to this book, the inability to remember how to do things, live life, make friends, have fun without your best friend…I totally understand that. Plus she’s just such a fun writer. Reading her books is easy, you just get sucked in and suddenly you realized hours have passed and you haven’t even moved.

7. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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This book completely blew my mind. I needed a really good fantasy book in my life and this one completely and totally delivered. I was just blown away by the incredible world building that Sara created in this novel and I loved every character that we meet, even the villains because I can appreciate a really well written villain. And I loved the surprises. I love when I’m reading and I feel like I have a handle on the story and something completely throws me off. Its beautiful and I absolutely love it. Get this book.

6. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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I LOVE Anna and the French Kiss. I LOVE Lola and the Boy Next Door. I literally ADORE and am OBSESSED with Isla and Josh and this story. I read this just a week before I broke up with my boyfriend and when I knew things weren’t good, and that’s kind of why I like this novel. This book is about romance, about how we get caught up in it and we forget that it can be hard work and that things aren’t always easy and they aren’t always sunshine and rainbows. That hit me hard, and the beautiful reality of love in this story just broke my heart. I love love love this book. It has a happy ending, which is fantastic, but I loved seeing the struggle to get there.

5. Alienated by Melissa Landers

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I am sure you are all so tired of me putting this in your face but guess what? Nope. Not at all. Because I truly love this book. I seriously seriously love this book. I am so glad I ran into Melissa at ALA and brought this book into my life! Its so beautiful. Great science fiction, awesome humor and the romance is just…ugh, I’m fangirling.

4. Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

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Dear Richelle Mead, Can I be your daughter? Love, Sara. I really liked The Fiery Heart but The Indigo Spell is my favorite so it was hard to follow that. Silver Shadows is now just below The Indigo Spell, because it just blew my mind. I loved the dual point of view and I loved the build up to the incredible climax and omg that cliffhanger broke my heart. A month until the end of it all!

3. The One by Kiera Cass

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I am so glad I got into Kiera Cass this year. I read The Selection at the very beginning of the year, at the urging of…someone. I can’t remember who. But I hadn’t really had a desire to. And now, I’m just stoked that I did because its such a good book. The Elite is a bit of a struggle to get through BUT The One was just a beautiful book. I was so emotional and I cried and when I met Kiera, I fangirled way too hard.

2. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

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Dear Leigh Bardugo, please teach everyone in the world how to end a series. Seriously. So many series enders have been so disappointing, so lacking but this book just blew my mind. I sat down and just consumed it. It was absolutely fantastic. Everything came to an end, and it was heartbreaking, utterly heartbreaking and surprising and just…ugh. It made me so happy. I wish I could have even just a fraction of the talent that Leigh has.

1. Grasshopper Jungle and 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

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I cheated ;) I put two books for my number one but that’s just because I legit could not choose between these two. They are both so different but so unique and just brilliant. Andrew Smith is such a one of a kind author that just blows my mind. 100 Sideways Miles was incredible and Grasshopper Jungle was unlike anything I’ve ever read in my life. I literally have never read a book like GJ and it just was….it was about everything and it was bizarre and funny and all of that. He’s truly brilliant. He might just end up on my top ten at the end of every year haha!

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What were some of your favorite new releases of 2014? Share in the comments

Tuesday Top Ten: Authors New to Me in 2014

Hello my lovelies! How are you all doing on this fine Tuesday? I hope fantastic. I hope you’re all watching fantastic shows and movies and reading fantastic books and just being all around nerdy and fantastic. Did I ever tell you how much I absolutely love the word “fantastic”? Well, seek I do.

But anyway…I had been trying to think of topics for a Tuesday Top Ten because I’ve been SO incredibly bad at doing them, and I was checking my emails and saw that this week’s post for The Broke and Bookish was the one I’m doing and I thought, hey that’s kind of fun!

So here we are, my top ten authors that are new to me, and a couple of honorable mentions as well because it was SO hard to narrow it down!

Honorable Mentions: 

All debut novelists who rocked my world this year. The Jewel and Love Letters to the Dead all absolutely blew my mind  and are books that I definitely won’t be forgetting any time soon.

Amy Ewing 

Ava Dellaira

10. Tonya Kuper

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I met Tonya at ALA in Las Vegas this past summer, and she made an impression on me. I didn’t know what her book was about, I didn’t even really know anything about HER. All I knew was that she was really nice, she was published by Entangled and that she was massively enthusiastic about her book. I went home, followed her on Instagram, became her friend on Facebook, and helped promote the hell out of her debut novel, Anomaly. I love her book and absolutely ADORE her so I’m glad she is a new author to me this year.

9. Cora Carmack 

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Cora Carmack came on my radar because she was friends with Jennifer Armentrout, who I adore to bits and pieces. The first novel I read of hers didn’t massively impress me, which I think was Losing It, back in the beginning of this year. However, when she started talking about her new series, which boiled down to football, hot guys, romance and sexiness, I knew I couldn’t resist and I immediately bought All Lined Up when it came out. Not long after, All Broke Down, released and I’m officially in love.

8. Lauren Miller

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I first met Lauren when she made an appearance at my fave event, Ontario Teen Book Fest. I was already about halfway through the ARC of her new book, Free to Fall. She was so FUNNY and I had a ton of fun talking to her and so I immediately went home and finished this book, and then read her first novel, Parallel. I love both of these books, so fresh, so new, I love the romance, and I adore Lauren. I’m also glad they’re both standalone so that I didn’t get sucked into the never ending abyss of series!

7. Jenny Han

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I had never read Jenny Han before. Ever. For some reason, her series just never ever appealed to me. I’m not sure why, but I know I went to the bookstore numerous times, and held her books in my hands and then ultimately decided not to get them. She did a signing in May with Morgan Matson and you had to buy one of their books in order to do the signing. I already had all of Morgan’s books (obviously) so I bought this one. Jenny read from it and it was funny and SHE was funny and I went home THAT night and read it in a few hours. This book is fresh and hilarious and beautiful and I’m already DYING for the sequel.

6. Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

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I had seen this book circling around the interwebs for a while, I think instagram or some such like that and finally I decided, hey, what the hell, I’m going to buy. Even though I had heard good things, I was still wary. I think the cover is totally beautiful BUT I also think its a little cheesy too haha. Its possible for it to be both right? Right. Anyway, what I found was a fantastically written science fiction novel that also held an incredible romance as well. I BLEW through this book and was amazing at every moment. This book is incredible and brilliant and I’m counting down the days until the sequel comes out.

5. Sara Raasch

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I literally read this book about a week and a half ago but that’s how much of an impression it made on me. I’m not really sure how it got on my radar but it did and it sounded really awesome and I liked the title and the cover and her name is Sara without the H which is brilliant and yeah. I was on a book buying ban, technically, but I decided, meh, what the hell, and ended up buying it anyway because I wanted to read it so bad and I am so glad that I did. Its a fantastic fantasy novel that I legitimately canNOT get out of my head and I hope there are more (please be more) because Sara’s writing was just so fluid and descriptive and real and beautiful that I need more of it in my life.

4. Melissa Landers

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This was another book that seemed to be floating around my radar on IG and that sort of thing. She was signing ARCs of the sequel, Invaded, at ALA and somehow, miraculously, I got my hands on it. We joked that I got mine early, before Sasha (because I think that’s who I had heard it from) and I kind of felt bad! I had a signed copy of the ARC and I hadn’t even read the first book! So I went to the book store, bought this one and read in a few hours. This book is INCREDIBLE. I swear by it. I keep telling people about it. Its beautiful. I love that its an incredible romance but it also has a great science fiction background with it. I love aliens and there just aren’t enough alien books out there, not ones like this.

3. Victoria Scott 

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I only found Victoria because of Jessica Brody and I seriously thank her SO much for that. She did a live vlog thing with Victoria because their books were releasing the same day and I won a trivia part of it and got some signed swag from Victoria. So when Fire and Flood released, I immediately bought it and I LOVE it. A lot of people compare it to The Hunger Games, which I *kinda* see but I honestly think its unique and fresh and I love the main character, Tella, so much and I LOVE Pandoras (read the book). I recently won a copy of the sequel and LOVED that as well, and I also read the first of her Dante Walker series and I’m just madly in love with Victoria. I’m glad to be part of her V Mafia now!

2. Kiera Cass 

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It took me AGES to read this and I can’t believe that it did. I think it was the cover. Scratch that, I know it was the cover and I just didn’t know what it was going to be about really but there wasn’t much desire to read it. That is, until someone gifted it to me. I had heard it described as The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games, and its totally that, in an amazing way. The entire trilogy was totally brilliant and I’m anxiously awaiting The Heir. I’m SO glad I finally buckled down and read it and I’m so glad that I totally have the entire series signed now too! Kiera is always a totally LOVELY human being that I adore to pieces so I’m glad I finally read this book.

1. Catherine Linka 

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This is the debut novel of a local author friend of mine. I had heard about it through Alethea, who runs Read Now Sleep Later and managed to get my hands on an early copy, because I was going to be meeting her at Ontario Teen Book Fest. This book completely BLEW my mind and I am seriously anxiously awaiting the sequel. I’m going to convince her to get one to me ;) The reason she’s number one is because I’m so inspired by her. She had a struggle to get it published, she had to change things, and work out kinks but the book has done SO well and won awards and she’s SUCH a great friend and inspiration. She’s constantly giving me tips and words of encouragement and I just adore her. Her book is fabulous and I can’t wait for the sequel.

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What are some new authors YOU’VE read this year? Share in the comments!

NaNoWriMo 2014: Actual Writing Advice from Actual Authors!

Hello everyone!

I am so so so so SO excited to be sharing in this post today.

I talk about writing and writing advice a lot when it comes to the blog and my aspiring career as a writer. I am lucky enough that I get to interact with authors on a daily basis, side effects whether over the internet or in person, buy more about and I’ve met SO many inspiring ones that have given me such amazing advice. The advice and guidance that I’ve received over the past two years as whatanerdgirlsays has been so helpful in my journey to becoming a better writer.

Now, I have a goal of 45K words for NaNoWriMo but my biggest goal is to really nail down my character and her development over the course of the story. Evie is my main character and Untitled (it will have a title one day, I promise…) is her story. Its her story in the past, when she’s 15 years old, and its her story in the present, at 19 years old. Both important, and it takes a lot of development. She’s going to develop in both stories and its a little overwhelming but I believe in her and my story.

So when I started planning my NaNoWriMo schedule on the blog, I knew that I wanted a post about writing and writing advice and I wanted to reach out to the authors that I’ve met over the past two years and ask for their assistance in creating and developing characters.

I hope you enjoy. Every single piece of advice of below is unique to this post. Each author was contacted individually and responded individually. There’s seriously awesome, quality advice down there, and I am so grateful for each and every single one of these authors for participating and helping out!

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Jessica Brody, author of The Unremembered Trilogy

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When first fleshing out a new main character, I like to start by asking myself one question: What motivates this person. Is it power? Ambition? Love? Idealism? Reason? This helps me begin to narrow down who this person is and how they think/respond to situations. Someone who is motivated by power is going to react very differently in a crisis than someone who is motivated by feeling loved. The second question I ask myself is “What does this character want?” And I don’t mean after the book has started. What do they want BEFORE the first page even begins. It always needs to be something tangible and concrete. Like to win a sports championship. To make it onto a team. To graduate valedictorian. This immediately focuses the story around a central goal. It gives the story direction and purpose before the plot has even begun. When your character’s goals are clear, the reader is more likely to come along for the ride.

Elana K. Arnold, author of the Sacred duology and Burning

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When I was a younger writer, I used to disbelieve it when I’d hear people talk about their characters surprising them, their characters heading off in directions they hadn’t planned. Impossible, I’d think. Your characters ARE YOU. They can’t disobey you… they aren’t REAL. For me, characters were like dolls that I bounced around from situation to situation.

I think that’s why I had a hard time completing a project, or even falling deeply in love with one. There was no RISK if I walked away from a story, no real LOSS. Honestly, I don’t know what changed. I think I got older. (Actually, I know I got older.) But over time, I started to become surprised when a plotted-out scene or chapter took a turn away from my outline. Pleasantly surprised.

With INFANDOUS, which will be published in March 2015, plot took a backseat to following around Sephora Golding, my main character, and seeing what she would do. Try this–give your character a secret, and then see where it takes you.

Livia Blackburne, author of Midnight Thief

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I’ve found it useful to have all my characters tell their life story and narrate the events of the novel itself in their own voice, with their own commentary.

Katherine Ewell, author of Dear Killer

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My main tip in character development is this: make your main character at least a little bit unlikeable. However, no matter how unlikeable said main character is, your reader has to root for them anyway. The easiest way to make a reader like an unlikeable character is to show said character’s weakness and humanity right off the bat: their fears, their likes, their dislikes, what makes them cry, what comforts them, etc. And you can go pretty far with how unlikeable they are at the surface level, take it from someone who knows! Some of the most vivid, fun characters out there are severely messed up. (Take a look at Game of Thrones for tons of great examples.) I feel as if the worst thing you could do in character creation is make a character that has no flaws, or has too few flaws: it is in their flaws that characters and their stories come alive.

Cora Carmack, author of the Losing It series and Rusk University series 

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When it comes to characterization, I rely pretty heavily on the idea that my main character’s desire should shape the plot, instead of the plot shaping my main character. I don’t want my MC to be just a cog in the bigger mechanism of the story. I want them being the one *making* the machine move, rather than just being a component of it. When I was studying theatre in college, we took a lot of time talking about our character’s objectives and motivations – asking “What does this character want? How will they get it?” and things like that – and that has continued to inform the way I shape my characters.

Tonya Kuper, author of Anomaly

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Every character, especially the main character, has to have a GMC – Goal, Motivation, & Conflict – in relation to the plot. I usually have a pretty good picture of my characters before I start plotting, but after the GMC is decided, I know what matters to them, which, in my mind, is the most important thing to know about her main character.

Victoria Scott, author of Fire and Flood and The Collector

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I often use friends and family members when creating characters. I note people’s real life quirks and incorporate them into my fictional world. For example, my husband points to what he wants on a menu when ordering. It doesn’t matter if it’s a difficult-to-pronounce dish, or french fires…that man is holding up the menu for the waitress to see, and pointing to his selection. As if she needs to see the item to understand. No matter how many times I call this to his attention, he still does it. That quirk will probably show up in one of my characters to make them more memorable. My advice is to watch the people around you, and keep notes on your phone.

Sara Benincasa, author of Great

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You have to love your main character. Even if you hate your main character sometimes, you have to love her. Because if you don’t love her, you won’t want to spend the time it takes to churn out 50,000 or more words centered around her. You don’t need to love her choices. You don’t need to love her attitude. But you do need to love her, somehow, in some corner of your soul

Catherine Linka, author of A Girl Called Fearless

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Getting a handle on a character can be pretty haphazard, because we might start out not really knowing them at all. One thing that helps me is finding an object that captures my character. I knew Yates wore tee shirts with quotes, but when I found Thoreau’s quote– “Let your life be the counter friction to stop the machine”–it hit me that was exactly what Yates believed and who he was at heart. In the sequel to A Girl Called Fearless, it was a scary religious tattoo that nailed the character of a new antagonist and suggested his unbalanced righteousness.

CJ Redwine, author of the Defiance trilogy

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If YOU aren’t connected to your characters, no one else will be connected either. Characters aren’t scenery to populate your world. This includes secondary characters. Characters aren’t pawns to use in playing out your conflict. Characters CREATE conflict. Connection takes time and effort, just like it does in real life. Take the time to get to know your characters on an intimate level. Find out what their deepest fear is, what they most regret, what they truly want more than anything, and the secret they hope no one discovers.

Lauren Oliver, author of the Delirium Trilogy, Before I Fall and Panic

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Do some work to understand what your character wants, and what your character needs, and how these might be different. Think about your character’s formative memories. How does he/she react under pressure? When frightened? What does she like to do for fun? What are her nervous habits? Where does she go to recharge? You have to know your character the way you know your best friend.

Gretchen McNeil, author of Ten, Possess, 3:59 and Get Even

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I start with the plot, actually, and the role of my main character in the story. What part does she need to play? What type of person does she need to be so that all of her choices are realistically motivated? Her personality is shaped by the plot, and once I know the core of that, I can begin to layer in the idiosyncracies of character: how she dresses, what she likes to eat, what songs on Pandora make her want to sing along or change the channel, and how she feels about everyone around her. Voila! Character!

Lindsay Cummings, author of The Murder Complex

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Characters are my favorite part of a book. Everyone is different…but I always start with a character, and build my world around him/her. For me, the best way to develop my characters and get to know them is to interview them–as if they were real people. I find that, even the silliest questions will give you a glimpse into who each character is, and what motivates them.

Bethany Hagen, author of Landry Park

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One of my favorite tricks for developing a character is to make a character sheet before I get started. I use these sheets to help me keep track of a character’s physical attributes (and I might even attach a picture of an actor or model to help me visualize the character.) And I also use these sheets to develop a character’s personality traits: their likes and dislikes, their hopes and dreams, their past mistakes. Not only is it a useful tool for conceiving of a character, but it makes a handy reference to come back to during the drafting process.

Beth Revis, author of the Across the Universe trilogy and The Body Electric

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When coming up with your main character, don’t be afraid to go into your own personality to find traits. He or she doesn’t need to be an exact replica of you, but if you have a strong emotion—a fear, a desire, a love or hate—build off that emotion to influence your characters. I was never stuck on a space ship alone, but I made Amy of Across the Universe feel alone the same way I felt alone when I had to go to college, 200 miles from home, with no one I knew near me. I never had my memories messed with like Ella in The Body Electric, but I have had relatives who were affected by Alzheimer’s Disease. Build on these real feelings you have to create realistic characters.

Mindy McGinnis, author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust

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I just let my characters go, be real people within the world that I built and let them react naturally, however they want. To me, this is the most organic way of building a “real” fake person.

Marissa Meyer, author of The Lunar Chronicles

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After I’ve determined the basics of who my protagonist is (name, age, gender, job, etc.), I like to ask myself two important questions. 1: What does this character want? Giving them a goal from page one will immediately give your story somewhere to go. (Although it’s normal for that goal or desire to change over the course of the story.) And 2: What is this character afraid of? Whatever they’re most afraid of is something that they should have to face (possibly multiple times), and will therefore give them somewhere to grow.

Tamora Pierce, author of The Song of Lioness, The Immortals, and the Protector of the Small quartets and more

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The way I write a character is–usually–to start with a person I know or admire (actor, musician, professional wrestler, the character played by an actor). The look has to grab me for the vague outline of the character I need–teacher/mentor, law enforcement in a very loose era, street kid, Then I go through my baby name books till I find the right name. Once I have the right name and the right look, I generally know the character: intellectual, absent-minded, can be very sexy when he wants to be, but easily distractible, and very dangerous when crossed–that was one. Then I needed the slacker daughter of two famous over-achievers who ended up as a spy in a foreign country. I looked through my files of pictures of girls until I had three or four I thought interesting, then I waited for one to grow on me–the one with her head tipped to the side and the knowing smile. I knew she was a smart-alec, really good at flirting and dancing and being silly while taking in everything around her, a daddy’s girl who lived to make mom nuts, but underneath she needs something to fight for.

Sarah Skilton, author of High and Dry and Bruised

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In my latest book High & Dry, a Young Adult novel written in the style of a hardboiled detective mystery, Palm Valley high school students “traffic in labels.” As a result, it’s very difficult for my main character, Charlie, to break free from his perceived identity, that of a varsity soccer star with a reputation for playing rough. The problem is, Charlie’s identity is a front he projects to the world in order to survive. I needed to show both sides of his personality: that of a tough guy jock accepted by his peers, and that of a heart-broken sci-fi nerd–a trait he keeps hidden. For example, Charlie tries to win back his ex-girlfriend, Ellie, by suggesting they both take Ellie’s little brother to a sci-fi movie. In this way, he gets to show Ellie he’s a “nice guy” while also indulging his own secret hope of seeing the movie. When constructing a main character, ask yourself, “Who is this person really, and who does he/she pretend to be?” The answers may surprise you!

Cinda Williams Chima, author of The Heir Chronicles and the Seven Realms series

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After publishing nine books and writing several more, I still haven’t settled on the best way to develop character. Everything goes much more smoothly if I know the character very well from the beginning. And yet, that process of filling out a character questionnaire or deciding what he has in his pockets or dresser drawer doesn’t really work for me.

With the Seven Realms series, I knew the main characters, Han Alister, Raisa ana’Marrianna, and Micah sul’Bayar very well, because I had already written extensively about them as adults. So all I had to do was think about what they would have been like at sixteen and seventeen. Because I had their characters well in hand, story flowed more or less effortlessly.

But writing three hundred thousand words about a character before you get started on a novel isn’t really efficient, is it? So mostly, I get to know characters in the same way as we get to know people in real life–by spending time with them. In other words, I get to know them while writing my first draft. And once I decide who they are, in revision, I go back and strengthen those elements of character and make them more consistent all the way along.

That’s my process—but it may not be yours. There is more than one way to craft characters and craft story. One of the first jobs a writer must do is find out what works for them.

Crystal Perkins, author of The Griffin Brothers series

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I try to have a cover idea when I start writing. When I look at the girl and guy-I write in dual POV-I think of how they’ll speak and act. It’s nice to have something, even just a picture to look at. Then when I think of them in my head, they already have a distinct personality.

Ann Stampler, author of Where It Began and Afterparty

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You know all those cheesy drama-class moments in B movies where the teacher starts panting that the kids need to beeeeee the wind in the trees (or whatever)?  That actually has a lot in common with the way I develop main characters : method writing.  I try to see the story through the eyes of the character in a very literal way.  While I’m writing, I don’t observe the character from the outside, but I try to see what she sees.  I think this helps me to stay with the character’s feelings and emotional reactions, and to remain in her point of view.

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Book Review: All Broke Down (ARC) by Cora Carmack

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New Adult, medical Romance

Pages: 

368

Part of a Series?:

The second of the Rusk University Series. Technically could be read without reading the first, help but I wouldn’t do that ;)

Release Date: 

October 28th, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.

Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians you name it, she’s probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He’s in for a different kind of fighting. And though he’s arrogant and infuriating, she can’t help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.

Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it’s trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He’s met girls like her before fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn’t think he’s broken, and he definitely doesn’t need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about: his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.

Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.

My Review:

While there will be no spoilers for this novel in this review, I cannot guarantee there will not be spoilers for the first novel, All Lined Up. You can check out my review for that novel here

Before I read Cora’s novel, All Lined Up, I was not 100% convinced of her as a novelist. Not that I thought her writing was bad or any of that, because that’s not true. She’s a great writer, with great stories. They just weren’t really my thing. I’m not usually a strictly romance reader, I like other things going on the background. But when I saw she wrote a romance centered around FOOTBALL, I had to read it. This a girl who likes sports. Plus I’m working on my own YA/NA book about baseball and romance, so I figured I could pick up a few pointers. Long story short, I fell in love with the book and have been anxiously waiting for the second installment, All Broke Down. I signed up to be part of the street team and unfortunately didn’t make it, but hey, no hard feelings at all. I was determined to get my hands on this book early somehow.

And today, I received an email from Edelweiss saying that I was granted access to the e-ARC. I downloaded it to my Nook and….proceeded to read it in about two hours. Yep.

Because Cora has done it again. She has created this super fun, extremely sexy romance story with the fun of football in the background. As soon as I read both Silas’ and Dylan’s points of view. They both come from different backgrounds but the way they are brought together felt so natural and I was rooting them from page one to page two. I liked their banter and I liked their immediate pull toward each other. I’m going through a break up and I need a good romance story right now and this was absolutely perfect. The give and take of their relationship was amazing.

While I felt more of a connection with Carson in book one, I felt more of a connect with Dylan, that desire to prove yourself to those who expect so much of her. She’s part of this family that expects a lot of her because she’s smart, polite and responsible and when she’s not those things, she feels like a total failure, which is so hard for a 21 year old to even handle. There are lot of expectations that can keep you from going for the things or the people that you want and I think that is very familiar about Dylan’s character. I think Silas not believing that he could ever have more than the very little he’s had his whole life, and the self-fulfilling prophecy that comes form that…its all very familiar which makes it so great about this book. Its easy to root for these two to get together when you like both of them so much.

Plus, god, there are SUCH fun, steamy scenes. When I can feel a blush on my cheeks during a scene, that means something good is going on and I felt that many times during this book. And there’s a super fun, sexy kitchen scene and I love when things like that happen in unconventional places. Its super fun and it adds spice to the story.

The only reason I wouldn’t give it a perfect five out of five stars is because I don’t think there was as much football in this book as there was in the first one, which is why I loved the first one so much, and I didn’t think there was as much character background for these two as much as Dallas and Carson. But those being said, I thought it was a great sequel in the Rusk University series and I’m already dying for the third one, even though this one hasn’t even been released yet. If you haven’t read the first one, click the link above and get yourself a copy and make sure to pick up this book when it hits shelves at the end of October.

 

Rating: 

4.5 out of 5 stars