Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A BOOK BASKET & MORE!

Hey everyone!! I hope you all had a great holiday.  I got way too much again this Christmas (no one's that good lol), but in our family Christmas is a really big deal.  We go all out; that's just how it is :D  So, I thought I'd share some of my favorites! Though, I loved everything I received, these were just too fantastic not to post.


My awesome book basket from Ninja Aunt!  Already read one book; review coming soon ;)


Tokidoki Rogue!  Too awesome for words


Ninja Girl Reads hoodie!!!


And finally, to feed my Kdrama addiction...Secret Garden season 1 DVD!!


That is a fair representation of the awesome found under my tree this year.  How was everyone's Christmas? Did you guys get anything too good not to share?  Did you give anything you're particularly proud of??  (I gave my own book basket that imo ROCKED!)  I'd love to hear how everyone's Christmas went!!

Hope you're all doing well and had a great holiday,

Ninja Girl

Friday, December 23, 2011

THE CALL: HOW NINJA GIRL GOT AN AGENT

So, here it is J  The post I've been dreaming of writing for years!!  Yes, you read right, I said years.  I've heard several stories of authors waiting longer than me to get "The Call," but believe me, I felt every moment of those three years.  In that time, I learned a lot about the submissions process, form rejections, full requests, and that little booger bear better known as subjectivity.  If you're interested, here's a quick rundown of my story.

I started my first manuscript in 2008.  It was shortly after I'd discovered Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series (little late to the game on that one J).  Now, say what you will, but those books inspired a lot of people.  Over in my profile description, you'll see that J.K. Rowling got me reading, but it was Meyer who made me think, "Hey, I can do that!  I can write a first person POV for teens that'll rock people's socks off!"

Yeah, not as easy as it sounds.

The biggest things that held me back could be narrowed down to two facts: 1) I didn't know how to write transition.  In other words, I had trouble skipping anything, thought I had to write every hour of every day and every action of my characters.  Those were dark days O_o.  2) I was afraid to write romance.  That one seems particularly ridiculous to me now.  All three of my completed MSs have a romantic element, but back then it terrified me.  I guess I thought people would laugh or that my take/what I thought was romantic wouldn't resonate with others.

Anyway, back to the point.  Book 1 was a YA paranormal that took me two years to write.  I queried too quickly, got tons of form Rs, had my confidence beaten to a pulp.  Each rejection was like a punch to the gut, but I learned a lot.  Part of my problem was I could never nail the query for that particular story (not to mention the saturated YA paranormal market).  I didn't sell it as good as I should have.  Novel 1 was my baby; I still love it, still think readers would enjoy it, haven't read a paranormal yet tackling the mythology of the book.  But as much as it pained me, after 50+ Rs, I knew it was time to write something new. 

Book 2 was a YA romance murder mystery (catchy right? J) that I wrote in less than a year and had agents requesting left, right and center.  I knew I'd done it this time.  The query killed.  Book 2 was original, nothing else like it out there.  The writing was better, the characters more realized, the mystery/romance combo a real winner.  But then…I got my first R on a full.  And my second, third…you get the picture.  Though some of those were personalized, and I got a lot of compliments on my writing, there was still something missing.

Then came the idea for Book 3.  It was like the heavens opened up.  *cue angels singing*  I outlined the story in a single night, sat down and wrote the book in about 5 months.  Seriously, it was like magic.  The process for this story (ironically a YA romance) was so easy, so certain. It probably sounds dumb, but Book 3 just poured out of me.  There was very little work involved.  It was fun and funny and romantic.  Who knew I had it in me???  I sure didn't J

When I started querying, I got requests faster than I ever had before (most of those for the full).  Even when the inevitable Rs rolled in, I remained confident in my characters and the story.  What's funny is even with all my belief and sureness, when I got my first Revise and Resubmit, it all came crashing down.  I continued querying, tried not to lose faith in the other agents who had my book, but I knew I'd fail.  This would be just like Book 1 and Book 2.  I was never going to find an agent.  My awesome characters would never see the light of day b/c I just wasn't good enough.

The pity party was in full swing when I got an update email.  The first I'd received form an agent--and she hadn’t even had my full a month!  It was so considerate that I liked her immediately, but I didn't want to get my hopes up.  Her comments were complimentary, but I'd heard it before.  There was no way I'd be lucky enough to get an agent--especially not a nice, considerate one.  Then a few days later, I got the call. *Cue angels again* J

During that call (the week of Thanksgiving), several things happened: I realized that this agent got my story, that she loved my characters as much as me.  She had ideas, real concrete ideas, on how to take the manuscript to the next level.  She was the one I wanted to rep my book.  Hands down, no questions.  I wanted to work with this lady.  Literally when she said the words, "I'd like to offer you representation," the volume on the phone went out (of course!).  So I sat there kinda dumbfounded, thinking, "Did she say what I think she just said?!?!?!?"  Still, don't know if I heard her right, but the contract's been signed and I've got my first edits, so I'm just going to go with it!!!!!! 

So, that's my story!!! Ninja Girl's Best Thanksgiving EVER!

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, full of great books, great surprises, and even better people!  The vid below is how I feel.  See the little girl with the dark hair and green dress?? Yeah, that's me doing my happy dance J



Ninja Girl

Thursday, December 15, 2011

DEADLY COOL by Gemma Halliday


An updated Nancy Drew (or should I say Veronica Mars? J) for this generation with sass, sarcasm, and a brash attitude that'll have you laughing out loud.  Truly, if you're looking for the funny, give Deadly Cool a try.  Halliday has written a fast-paced and fun mystery that keeps you hooked from page one.

Here's the rundown: Hartley Featherstone has just discovered an open condom wrapper in her boyfriend Josh's locker.  Worse, rumor has it he's cheating on her with the not-so-virginal Queen of the Chastity Club.  When the Queen's corpse is found in his closet with a pair of iPod buds wrapped tight as a noose around her neck, the cops finger Josh as the murderer.

Too bad he's suddenly MIA.

With Josh popping up in her bedroom at odd times, begging her to solve the case, Hartley has two options: Push him out the window like he deserves or help the dirtbag prove his innocence.  Decisions, decisions.  What's a girl to do?  If you're Hartley, you throw yourself head-first into the investigation, partnering up with your best friend Sam and the bad-boy-next-door Chase, asking questions and running down leads better left to the cops.  After she stumbles over her second dead body, Hartley knows she's in over her head.  But even with the bad boy guarding her back, it may not be enough to stop the killer before Hartley ends up six feet under.

The book was such a nice break from the Epic, Dark, and Scary in YA I've been reading.  I've noticed that after reading a few dystopians/urban fantasy/paranormal I always enjoy a good laugh.  Deadly Cool was a welcome change of pace and tone.  Hartley--though not dressed in leather and with decidedly no superpowers--had me cheering and laughing and wanting her to find the bad guy and get the bad boy J

I really enjoyed her sense of the ridiculous and the humor that was carried throughout the story.  She was so likable and fresh that she single-handedly rejuvenated the YA mystery genre.  Not many a MC could carry that one off, but Hartley did it without even a hint of paranormaly goodness!  Good on you Gemma Halliday J

Also, the mystery was interesting and never boring.  Although I think I called it pretty early, I still wanted to see how Hartley ended up catching the murderer.  For me, it wasn't so much about the surprise of "Who done it?"  The kind of mystery I enjoy matches the story with a character I want to follow, someone I'm interested in and care about.  The setup pretty much assured that: A teenage MC done wrong by her boyfriend, who she, despite his lying, cheating ways, decides to help anyway?  Yeah, there was no way I wouldn't like Hartley.

Chase Erikson, bad boy extraordinaire who's got smarts to boot, was an added bonus.  Rarely in YA do the Bad Boy and the Smart Guy mix, but Chase was a hybrid, and I was all about it J

I'll definitely be picking up Social Suicide (Book 2), and I'd recommend it to readers looking for a little light after all the dark popping up in YA.  It's a good, quick read.  You won't be disappointed!

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY

Hi everyone!  This is my first "Waiting on Wednesday" post, which is a really cool meme hosted over at Breaking the Spine.  It's all about the books that you've been eargerly anticpating, waiting forever for, keep looking up again and again to see if the release date has changed ;)

I've been waiting for this book to come out for months now, so I thought it'd be a perfect fit.


Summary from Ms. Glines's website:

What happens when you're stalked by Death? You fall in love with him, of course.

Pagan Moore doesn’t cheat Death, but instead, falls in love with him.

Seventeen year old Pagan Moore has seen souls her entire life. Once she realized the strangers she often saw walking through walls were not visible to anyone else, she started ignoring them. If she didn’t let them know she could see them, then they left her alone. Until she stepped out of her car the first day of school and saw an incredibly sexy guy lounging on a picnic table, watching her with an amused smirk on his face. Problem is, she knows he's dead.

Not only does he not go away when she ignores him, but he does something none of the others have ever done. He speaks. Pagan is fascinated by the soul. What she doesn’t realize is that her appointed time to die is drawing near and the wickedly beautiful soul she is falling in love with, is not a soul at all.

He is Death and he's about to break all the rules.

Seriously, I love the premise (and the beautiful cover!!).    Plus, that last sentence--He is Death and he's about to break all the the rules--totally rocks, great punch to end, made me want to own the book.  I've always been a fan of Death as a character, and in a YA setting, I think this concept could really take off.  I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for this one to release, and it finally came out yesterday *whoop*  Can't wait to read Existence!!

Hope you all are having a great week,

Ninja Girl

Friday, December 9, 2011

FOLLOW FRIDAY


Hey there, and welcome to another Follow Friday!!  I love finding new blogs and meeting new people, and that's what the Follow's all about :)  The weekly meme is hosted by the always awesome Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  This week's features are Keeping Up With Roxy's Books and Anonymous Reads.

Q: Keeping with the Spirit of Giving this season, what book do you think EVERYONE should read and if you could, you would buy it for all of your family and friends?

There's no contest.  I think everyone, everywhere should read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  I'd give a copy to every child, adult, girl, or boy that I know (or don't know).  I think Rowling's writing speaks to all people.  The magic she managed to contain in that book--that series--doesn't fade over time.  It casts that same spell every time you open the book, and I wish for everyone to experience that :D

Hope everyone's having a great holiday season!

Ninja Girl

Thursday, December 8, 2011

NICK & NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan



One of the best titles for a book (and movie imo) and the most fitting for this particular YA.  If I was as cool as either one of the MCs I'd be able to reference some awesome bands and throw in a few lines of song lyrics to sum up the book perfectly.  But I'm not, and I can't.  Ninja Girl = Geek to the core J  But what I can do is tell you why I thought the YA was such a hit.

There's something so intriguing about two strangers meeting and falling for each other over the space of one incredible night.  It's a little more believable than love at first sight, lets us get into the heads of the characters and actually see the "why."  What led up to that first kiss?  Why did Nick give Norah his jacket?  What was up with the evil exes?  Why would "frigid," too-cool-for-school Norah suddenly fall for heartsick, puppy-dog-eyed Nick?  We get to see the whole relationship unfold, its ups and downs--and there are plenty of those.  Nick and Norah were always perfect for each other (even if they didn't know it, we did), and it's that need to see how they finally get it together.  The want to see their happy ending that drives you to devour the book in one sitting.  183 pages?  I could've read about them for 300 and never been bored J

I will confess: I saw the movie first and loved it.  But the book didn't disappoint.  The same humor was there paired with a sweet innocence absent in so much of teen lit/TV/movies these days.  The gesture of Nick asking Norah to be his five-minute girlfriend to save face in front of the ex that trampled his heart.  The fact that a teenage boy would/could do that, put his pride aside and ask that question with no ulterior motive, made me love Nick immediately.  (Note: In the movie, it's Norah who asks Nick, but I liked it better when Nick asked J)  And Norah's near-immediate acceptance and how that first kiss sparked something neither of them had anticipated.  *Sigh* That, my friends, is why I love YA!

I loved Salvatore and how Nick said it looked better on Norah.  That jacket was one of my favorite characters lol!  I also really loved Norah.  I don't know why exactly.  She was guarded and protective and kind of a potty mouth, but her vulnerability, the depth of her thoughts, those won me over.  I loved the Nick in the movie a little better.  Michael Cera was not nearly as cool as the Nick in the book (and I love that Michael Cera kid; he's golden ;)).  But book Nick was wonderful, too.

Overall, I think I liked the movie just a tad better.  The innocence of it, the SOUNDTRACK, and of course, the Michael Cera.  Kat Dennings was the perfect Norah, and the chemistry was right on.  It was great to see where the movie got its inspiration (I'd actually have liked it even more if it kept in some of the parts that were left out).  The book provided a deeper look into these characters I'd enjoyed watching on screen.

I'd recommend it to readers looking for great contemporary YA with humor and heart!  And (b/c I loved the soundtrack sooooooo much!) here's one of my favorites from the movie.



Happy reading (and listening)!

Ninja Girl

Monday, December 5, 2011

BLOG AWARDS!



I got these awards a while ago, and I'm so glad to pass them on!  I follow a lot of great, great blogs so I love to pay it forward :D  The first award is called the Blog on Fire Award.  Thank you Jenni Elyse and Lynn(e) for passing it on to me!!  This one is so pretty O__O  Could stare at it all day lol!  To accept the award you post a few random facts about yourself and give it to other blogs you think deserve it.

The second award is called One Lovely Blog Award, and as you can see, it's gorgeous as well!  I received this one from Lynn(e) and CassieMae.  If you're not already following, these two writerly women are tops, so go check them out J Thanks ladies!


Random Facts:

1) I had some awesome news over the holidays: I got an agent!!!  One who really loves my book and wants to work with me on it to make it the best it can possibly be J  Best. Thanksgiving. Ever!

2) Florence + The Machine is one of my favorite bands to come out in the last decade.  Cosmic Love is freaking transcendent people, and so are the lead singer's vocals.  Could listen to them all day!

3) I usually love to watch new movies, but until The Hunger Games is released, it's pretty much a waiting game J

4) My favorite type of dancing to watch is either hip hop or contemporary (or anything where the dancers kill the choreography).  My favorite style to do is contemporary. The style I'm probably best at (and teach the most classes in) is tap.  The style I'm definitely worst at is pointe.

5) My deepest wish is for my family to be truly happy.  Forever.  To get everything their hearts desire and nothing less.  I hope to help out with that. 

So, that concludes my randomness!  Onto the great blogs I think are truly awesome and fantastic and all things golden:









Have a great week everyone!

Ninja Girl

Thursday, December 1, 2011

SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi


MY TOUCH IS LETHAL.  MY TOUCH IS POWER.

At first, I thought it was the concept that would make Shatter Me great.  A girl who's been locked up for 264 days without any human contact?  An MC whose touch is a danger to all those around her?  It was golden.  But what made the book truly extraordinary for me were two things: 1) Juliette's lyrical voice and 2) an irresistible bad guy with evil and charisma dripping from his pores.

As a longtime X-Men fan, the premise (i.e. the power) sounded somewhat familiar to me.  It reminded so much of Rogue and all the troubles her power brought her that I just had to see what made Juliette tick.  Immediately, from the first page, I could tell this girl was different.  She saw the world differently, processed images and interactions differently, and I enjoyed reading her lyrical thoughts.  Even locked in a prison cell, Juliette's inner voice read like poetry.  Bleak yet beautiful, hopeful yet haunting, she had an outlook all her own.  Reading her thoughts was like being re-introduced to the world.  It was refreshing to find a new voice in YA, a girl I'd never met before but wanted to know better.  Juliette feared herself--her touch--yet even with all her self-loathing she was a survivor.  Just b/c she felt weak didn't mean she was weak.  When the chips were down, Juliette showed more defiance and fire than anyone gave her credit for (except Adam and possibly Warner).

Speaking of, that brings me to the other element that made this book beyond awesome.

One word: Warner.

He was handsome, arrogant, cruel, ruthless.  Fearless.  Warner, the nineteen-year-old leader of the Reestablishment, was made out to be more evil than the devil himself…but.  There was something about him.  Like the best bad guys, Warner had qualities you couldn't help but admire even as you loathed him.  His self-assurance was obviously attractive, but the thing I liked best was his obsession with power (and therefore Juliette).  He wanted her to see that she was strong, that she could do and have anything she wanted.  Even though his outlook was a bit Hitler-esque, I loved how he encouraged her.  Or course, he was just using her to be a weapon for the Reestablishment, but that's beside the point J  Paired next to Juliette who could see so much more when she looked at the world, Warner was narrow minded, focused, a little sad.  I wanted to know more about him, and I greatly appreciate Mafi for creating an evil yet intriguing baddie.

The end of the book went even more into X-Men territory, but I liked what made it different, namely Juliette and Warner.  The romance was wonderful and so was the action, but Juliette's unique take on everything going on around her, that's what made the read worth it for me.  I will definitely be getting the next book when it comes out!  Loved it :D :D

Happy reading everyone,

Ninja Girl

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

TEASER TUESDAY: UNVEILED by Courtney Milan


Teaser Tuesday's is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading (click the image above to be directed to her page). Anyone can participate! Here are the rules:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open it to a random page
  • Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO REVEAL SPOILERS! (Be sure not to spoil the book for others!
  • Make sure your sentences don't reveal something important!)
  • Include the title and author to, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser is actually from a historical romance that I am loving at the moment!!  I couldn't resist participating this week b/c I'm 60 pages in, but I can already tell Courtney Milan is going to be a new favorite ;D



Teaser:

"It reminded him of the cacophony of an orchestra as it tuned its instruments: dissonance suddenly resolving into harmony.  It was the rumble, not of thunder, but its rolling precursor, trembling on the horizon.  It was all of that.  It was none of that.  It was sheer animal instinct, and it reached up and grabbed him by the throat.  HerHer."

Gah!  I can't even...just wow!!  It's nice to see adult romance can be just as passionate and heady as YA.

Hope everyone's having a great week,

Ninja Girl

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake


Anna Dressed In Blood takes the term "ghost story" to a whole other level.  Like the highest level there is.  If horror were a mountain, Anna would be freaking Mt. Everest.

Kendare Blake pushes readers to the very peak of terror and then, when you're scared out of your wits/think you can go no further, she shoves you from behind and watches you topple from the edge, plummeting, screaming like a little girl all the way down.  In other words, she's a master of murderous intent, the Jedi of all things scary, and I loved her for it!

Horror's not really my bag, but I can honestly say this book changed my outlook.  Not only did Anna contain plenty of gore and guts, it had story, characters, and a strong mix of romance, action, and mystery.  I couldn't get enough.  When I was through, I felt like I'd been on the best thrill ride ever and was ready to go a second time--and a third and a fourth...

The first thing I loved was the story itself.  The concept was like nothing I'd ever seen: Cas Lowood, teenage ghost hunter, goes to a new town in search of his latest target: Anna Dressed in Blood.  The ghost girl is a local legend, a mystery wrapped in the blood stained dress she was murdered in…a killer who needs to be taken out.  Cas thinks he's just the person for the job--until he meets Anna.  Anyone who enters Anna's house gets dead, no exceptions--except Cas.  He's stunned when she doesn't try to kill him, and with that one unexpected act, the ghost and the ghost hunter develop a relationship neither one expected.

It was the ultimate opposites attract story.  First of all, Anna's dead.  Like really dead.  But, despite this, Cas develops an instant attraction to her.  Even before he sees Anna, just the sound of her name does something to him, affects him in a real visceral way that I found unbearably appealing.  I'm a sucker for romance, and when you put in such an unexpected set-up (i.e. deadly ghost hunter attracted to deadly ghost girl), I can't say no.  And with Anna and Cas, I never wanted to.  Their relationship was unbelievable yet I bought every word, every shared glance, every touch.  It was clear from the start they could never be together (more so than any "impossible love" I've read).  But I wanted them to be.  Desperately.

I still hold out hope.  Please, oh please, Ms. Blake.  Do the impossible, defy the rules of the universe, and let these two wonderful characters end up together.  (Like I said, me = desperate to see Anna and Cas happy J)

The thing I loved most, though, were the two MCs.  I was immediately attracted to the voice b/c Cas was that guy.  The good-looking loner, cloaked in mystery with secrets he keeps from everyone.  I've never read that guy's POV before.  Cas was surprising, just a teenage boy yet so much more.  He had a confidence about him, was so self-aware.  One of my favorite lines was this, "Girls, on the other hand, have always come easy."  Cas wasn't arrogant or cocky, he just knew what he had.  There's something incredibly attractive about that kind of self-assurance, especially in a male MC, and I think Blake hit the nail right on the head.

Anna was the best villain I've come across.  Period.  She had so many layers, so much depth, I don't even know where to begin.  Anna Dressed in Blood might've been the mystery driving the story, but Anna herself was the bleeding heart.  I can't even do her justice.  You guys will just have to read it J

I've read some truly fantastic books this year, but Anna was my number one.  (Unless you count The Hunger Games--nothing tops that--but I don't b/c I was just late to the party on that one)  I'd recommend Anna again and again, over and over, at the top of my lungs.  This is one you definitely should not miss and a new Top Ten Books Ever for this ninja J 

Hope everyone has a very happy Thanksgiving!!!

Ninja Girl


Sunday, November 20, 2011

THE HUNGER GAMES OFFICIAL TRAILER

I know it's already everywhere, but because it's just that awesome (and I wanted to be able to find it on my blog)... :D


Do I seriously have to wait until March???????????

Hope you guys enjoy!

Ninja Girl

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

BECOME by Ali Cross


Become by Ali Cross is a gritty YA paranormal with a tough-as-nails heroine and an interesting take on heaven and hell.

Let me start by saying that Desolation Black was my kind of girl.  At just sixteen, the daughter of Lucifer wasn't afraid to show some defiance and more than a little backbone.  The descriptions in the book were spot on.  I could actually feel the icy cold of hell.  (In Cross's book, the fires issue a freezing burn).  I could totally understand how sensory deprivation could be its own torment.  (When Desi walks the halls of hell, her combat boots make no sound).  The details added so much to this world; the picture they created was terrible yet rich and completely believable.

One of my favorite things about Desi was her ability to deal.  When she's banished to Earth by her father, Desi doesn't cry about it.  She slips on her combat boots and leaves the only home she's ever known--even though her last trip to Earth ended in tragedy.  When she's forced to live with Daniel, one of Lucifer's loyal followers, and all of his perversions, Desi doesn't cave an inch.  One of my favorite parts was where Desi elbows Daniel's smarmy carhop in the face for trying to cop a feel.

Like I said, my kind of girl J.

Her mission is simple: Corrupt Miriam Carr, a suicidal alcoholic who's this close to the edge.  All Desi has to do is push her over--and into the waiting arms of Lucifer.  But things change when Desi and Miri unintentionally become friends.  The two girls form a bond that awakens a spark inside Desolation, a goodness she's tried all her life to keep hidden.  When she finally Becomes, Desi's convinced that her fate as a demon is sealed.  But her choices have only just begun--and with a war brewing between heaven and hell, the daughter of Lucifer may just be the world's only hope for salvation. 

I loved the tone of the book.  Talk about edge, Desi's voice was razor sharp, and Cross didn't pull any punches.  Daniel's house was truly a den of sin.  Drugs, sex, greed.  I felt so bad for Desi having to be around all that, having that be her legacy.  Also, the scenes with Michael were some of my absolute favorites--their first kiss in particular. *swoons*  James (the bad boy) was an interesting character.  Honestly, I wouldn't have minded seeing Desi end up with him.  I know, I know, that's not how it's meant to be, but what can I say?  I love going against the grain.  I'd love to see Desi go for the bad boy (or at least have it be an option ;)).

Now, the end was a bit confusing.  I don't really know much about Norse mythology, so all the talk of Odin, Asgard, Helheimer, Valhalla, the Spear of Destiny etc. kind of threw me off.  For me, there was too much info dropped too fast.  Once I sorted through everything, though, I was very satisfied with how the story ended.

Become was fantastic you guys.  I'd recommend it for the grit alone, but when you throw Desi into the mix, there's no question.  It's a must-read!

Happy reading everyone, and thank you so much to Ali for letting me be a part of her tour!!  This book rocked J

Ninja Girl

Thursday, November 10, 2011

FOLLOW FRIDAY


Happy Veteran's Day everybody!!!  As always, Follow Friday is hosted by Alison from alisoncanread and Rachel from Parajunkee.com.  There are two features this week: MotherLode and The Book Nympho.  Check them out!!


Q: In light of 11.11.11 and Veteran’s Day tell us about your favorite soldier and how he or she is saving the world. Fictional or real life.


I have a lot of respect for all of the men and women in uniform.  For fighting for what they believe in, for allowing U.S. citizens to live with so much freedom and in relative peace, I thank all veterans for their service.  For my answer, I had to go fictional since I don't many soldiers.  Had to go with Lt. Daniel Kaffee (aka Tom Cruise) from a Few Good Men.  Kaffee reminded me of a smartass Atticus with a need to know "the truth" and dole out justice.  Man, I woot every time I see him go after Jack Nicholson on the stand :D


Have a great Veteran's Day!

Ninja Girl

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

IF I STAY by Gayle Forman


Initially, I wasn't going to do a review of this book.  It's been about two weeks since I read If I Stay by Gayle Forman, and I still can't think of a way to review it without having some kind of spoiler L.  So, knowing that, if you don't read on I'll totally understand (but I don't think I'm really giving away much). 

ONTO REVIEW WITH SEMI-SPOILERS


Near the beginning of the book, there's a tragic car accident.  Mia loses her entire family as a result, but she survives, somewhere between life and death.  What I didn't realize was that Mia would be caught in this state throughout the book.  *smacks self in head* If I'd read more carefully, it clearly states that in the summary--but sometimes ninjas are known to skim J.  I have to say I'm glad I didn't know b/c it would've most likely stopped from getting the book.  Tragedy, melodrama, angst.  That's just not my thing.

But this book had something I can't resist.  The characters.  Oh, the characters were wonderful.  I loved Mia's parents; though they weren't physically in the story very long, we get a great sense of them through Mia's memories.  I loved how the mom wasn't afraid to get pissed and stand up for the ones she loved.  I loved how the dad called his daughter "Mia-Oh-Mya."  Forman managed to make them real/fully fleshed out, a near impossible feat considering they were in about a fourth of the book.

Mia's friend Kim was another favorite.  She wasn't just a stock character thrown in for kicks.  With her sarcasm, strength, loyalty and frizzy hair, she was a true friend to Mia.  No backstabbing gossipers in this book.  Kim stayed strong for Mia, two girls who really were friends.  I loved that.

Adam, Mia's boyfriend, was what actually made me want to read If I Stay.  I read a blog post with a few quotes of his and knew I had to know more about this character.  The rising-star rocker was more perfect than a teenage boy has any right to be.  Again, the loyalty and love he had toward Mia didn't waver.  Their affection/relationship rang true, more so than many of the love-at-first-sight YAs.  Adam's devotion to Mia made my heart melt.

And the best thing about all these characters?  They give us a sense of who Mia must be.  In addition to being told from her POV, Mia is surrounded by good people that love her.  Therefore, I had to love her, too.  Her feelings ran deep; she deserved a great friend like Kim b/c she was a great friend herself.  She deserved a guy like Adam b/c she had a heart as pure and open as his.  Mia was a decent person with an insurmountable inner strength--and I believed her.

That's one of the best things about Forman's writing.  All her characters were believable and likable.  I'm glad I got to meet them (even if this really isn't my kind of book).  Like others have said, the book is beautiful.  But I'll take it a step farther and add, that the book is beautiful because the characters in it are beautiful.

Happy reading everyone!

Ninja Girl

Friday, November 4, 2011

FOLLOW FRIDAY


As always, Follow Friday is a meme hosted by the illustrious Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  The features for this week are skyink.net and The Magic Attic.

Q: Today’s Question is something new, an activity. We want to see what you look like! Take a pic with you and your current read! Too shy? Boo! Just post a fun pic you want to share.

Here's me with Anna Dressed in Blood...am thinking with the pom-pom hairdo and frizztastic hair, Anna's looking a little better than me.  Drats!!



Hope you all are having a great Friday.  And no, I will not tell you how many tries it took for me to get a decent pic :P

Ninja Girl

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

TOUCH OF FROST by Jennifer Estep



A school for mythic warriors?  Yes, please!

The one-liner for this one was enough to make me want to read it.  The fact that I'd just started The Elemental Assassin series (and LOVED it) was another plus.  Jennifer Estep did such a great with Gin Blanco, assassin name: The Spider, I just had to see what she could do with YA.

Touch of Frost may not have had gritty feel or the hardened/irresistible MC.  It might not have contained all the assassin-y goodness of her adult series (there weren't dead bodies popping up on every page, though the book does kick off with a murder), but Estep's YA debut did have a certain charm.

Gwen Frost has no idea what she's doing at Mythos Academy--a school where Spartans strut the halls, Amazons wield swords longer than your arm, and Valkyries shoot magic from their fingertips.  Gwen's just a Gypsy girl--the only Gypsy at Mythos.  She doesn't have supernatural strength or fighting ability.  The only thing different about Gwen is her gift of pychometry: the power to read objects or people through touch.  The gift's not all that great--especially when it goes on the fritz right after the most popular Valkyrie in school gets murdered.  No one seems to care about the murder, more interested in the fact that an ancient artifact's gone missing.  But Gwen is determined to find out what happened--even if it gets her killed.

Things I loved about this book: 1) The concept.  I've seen people do schools for wizards, Gods, vampires, you name it.  But Frost is the first book I've come across that features mythological warriors.  For that reason (and with the addition of a smart-talking sword and these things called Champions: humans chosen by the Gods to be their representatives on Earth), Touch of Frost seemed like unique, untapped territory. 2) The action.  There was plenty of action/tight spots where I wasn't sure if Gwen would be able to hack it.  But with a healthy dose of self-preservation and the help of new friends, she pulled through.  3) Logan.  Nothing more to say.  If you want to know more about Logan Quinn, the smooth-talking Spartan with a bad rep and perfect timing, you'll just have to read the book J. 

Things I didn't love: The amount of repetition.  Like in the Elemental Assassin series, there's plenty of well-worn phrases, stuff that could be taken out to keep the pace moving forward.  The length--which was affected by the amount of repetition.  It just could've been tightened up, made snappier to keep readers on edge the entire time.  There were also mature instances (signing mattresses, kids hooking up here, there, and everywhere) that I think are more appropriate for adult audiences.  I mean, come on, isn't there any innocence left in YA?

All in all, it was very good.  I'm interested enough in Gwen and Logan and the school of myths concept to read the next one.  I've got a feeling Estep will get even better as she goes along/becomes more used to the YA voice.  It really was great, and I hope to see more of Logan in the next book!

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl

Monday, October 31, 2011

TELESA BOOK TRAILER

I'm not usually a big fan of book trailers, but believe me, this one is smokin' hot!!  I've been one of Lani Wendt Young's followers for a while now (if you're not, you should really check her out--she's fantastic).  Here's the trailer for her new book Telesa: The Covenant Keeper.




Awesome, right???  I'm a huge fan of strong women, fresh ancient mythology, and fire (Who can resist those hypnotic flames?), so this book was already firing on all cylinders for me.  Now, with the trailer, I'm even more excited!

Hope you guys enjoyed it, and Telesa is definitely at the top of my TBR pile :D

Ninja Girl

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth


Two things initially kept me from reading this book (even after I bought it):

1) The comparisons to The Hunger Games

2) My fear that all Dystopians have crappy endings

Number two I think is understandable.  I've only read a few Dystopians--only two that I've loved, more that I didn't--and one of my big pet peeves is the unhappy/hopeless endings.  What?!? You know it's true.  I know just by calling a book "Dystopian" that things aren't going to be all candy hearts and warm fuzzies, but that doesn't mean the end can't be satisfying.

That brings me back to my number one.  Oh, Suzanne Collins…you so won me over.  You lifted the veil, invited me into Katniss's brutal world, and made me fall in love with her and it.  Here's how the conversation used to go--Question: "Do you read Dystopian?" My answer: "Not if I can help it."  The conversion from Dystopian hater to lover can be narrowed down to three words: The Hunger Games, and maybe even just one: Peeta.  When I picked up Divergent by Veronica Roth, I was just coming off my Hunger Games high, and I didn't want to chance disliking it simply b/c it didn't stand up to one of the best series I'd ever read.

But when I finally gave in, I was happily surprised.

I can see where all the comparisons come from, but instead of feeling like Divergent was a Hunger Games wannabe, I was instantly drawn in by the characters, the world, and the choice that determined everything.

Sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior isn't allowed to look at herself in the mirror.  Her clothes are a muted slate gray, the same as the rest of the "stiffs" in Abnegation.  Selflessness above all; that's the faction's motto.  But as much as she tries, Beatrice isn't as selfless as she should be.  When the time comes, Beatrice must choose which faction she will belong to for the rest of her life.  Five factions, five possible choices: Abnegation (the selfless), Erudite (the intelligent), Candor (the honest), Amity (the peaceful), and Dauntless (the brave).  The outcome of Beatrice's choice leads to a new name, a grueling initiation process, newfound friends (and enemies), and the discovery of a plot by one faction to overthrow another.  Tris's secret could save them all…if she isn't killed first.

I enjoyed the book's mix of adventure, personal discovery, and romance.  Tris and Four were great together.  I loved how Tris stood up for Four and how Four always recognized Tris's inner-strength.  I look forward to seeing how their relationship develops in the next book.  One of my favorite character quirks was that Tris really wasn't perfect.  She was selfish at times--and I wanted to reach out and make her do the right thing, feel more sympathy, not look down on others for their weaknesses.  But that just wasn't who she was.  I didn't love how quick things happened in the end.  Some things seemed to be thrown in simply to up the drama (especially unnecessary character deaths) or to clear the slate for the next book.

Overall, a great read, and  Divergent definitely gets added to the "Dystopians I Liked" category J

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl