My Top 5 Fiction Books Read in 2013

The Goodreads book challenge for 2013 commitment I made was 25 books. I read not only for my pleasure but for my education while working on my 1st novel.   For my year-end review I knocked my goal outta the park with 33 books read this year.  There were certainly some favorites along with some stinkers, and also note not all books where newly published in 2013.  In this blog I am going to focus on my top 5 favorite fiction books of the year from the books I read.  For fiction I enjoy Romance (Paranormal and Contemporary), Sci-Fi, Adventure, Mystery and Comedy.

Below are the books along with their jacket summaries.  I did write reviews on a few of them via Amazon and Goodreads, therefore my challenge for 2014 is to write reviews, especially ones where I think the author knocked it outta the park and share in my blog.

I am really taken away by #1, although the summary is brief it really packs a punch this book.  I couldn’t stop talking about it, whomever would listen to me right after I read it – heard about it.  I just love the concept of this book and the author’s ability to weave the story and characters growth is fantastic.  I honestly don’t care it’s classified as young adult.  Also, dare I say it, I have some love for Death (a new character) and excited to see where this series of books will go.

Are there any fiction books you where super excited about this year that you’d like to share? If so please leave a comment below!  I’m curious on your thoughts to my Top 5 as well and would love to hear from you.

#1 – Endless Knight (The Arcana Chronicles #2) by Kresley Cole

Endless Knight

Evie has her full powers as the Tarot Empress, and Jack was there to see it all. Teens reincarnated as the Tarot are in the throes of an epic battle for mankind. She must trust new allies against other Arcana, Bagmen zombies, post-apocalyptic storms, and cannibals. But she’s also drawn to Death, the Endless Knight, who shares history with the Empress. She can’t remember; he can’t forget.

#2 – Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies

‘R’ is a zombie. He has no name, no memories and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows – warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can’t understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.

This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won’t be changed without a fight…

#3 – Styxx (Dark-Hunters #22) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Styxx

Just when you thought doomsday was over…

Centuries ago Acheron saved the human race by imprisoning an ancient evil bent on absolute destruction. Now that evil has been unleashed and it is out for revenge.  As the twin to Acheron, Styxx hasn’t always been on his brother’s side. They’ve spent more centuries going at each other’s throats than protecting their backs. Now Styxx has a chance to prove his loyalty to his brother, but only if he’s willing to trade his life and future for Acheron’s.

The Atlantean goddess of Wrath and Misery, Bethany was born to right wrongs. But it was never a task she relished. Until now. She owes Acheron a debt that she vows to repay, no matter what it takes. He will join their fellow gods in hell and nothing is going to stop her.

But things are never what they seem, and Acheron is no longer the last of his line. Styxx and Acheron must put aside their past and learn to trust each other or more will suffer.  Yet it’s hard to risk your own life for someone who once tried to take yours, even when it’s your own twin, and when loyalties are skewed and no one can be trusted, not even yourself, how do you find a way back from the darkness that wants to consume the entire world? One that wants to start by devouring your very soul?

#4 – Enders Game by Orson Scott Card

Enders Game

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

#5 – Real by Katy Evans

REAL

A fallen boxer.

A woman with a broken dream.

A competition…

He even makes me forget my name. One night was all it took, and I forgot everything and anything except the sexy fighter in the ring who sets my mind ablaze and my body on fire with wanting…

Remington Tate is the strongest, most confusing man I’ve ever met in my life.  He’s the star of the dangerous underground fighting circuit, and I’m drawn to him as I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. I forget who I am, what I want, with just one look from him. When he’s near, I need to remind myself that I am strong–but he is stronger. And now it’s my job to keep his body working like a perfect machine, his taut muscles primed and ready to break the bones of his next opponents . . .

But the one he’s most threatening to, now, is me. I want him. I want him without fear. Without reservations. If only I knew for sure what it is that he wants from me?

*  *  *

Others by honorable mention, in no particular order, enjoyed as well in 2013:

Lover at Last (Black-Dagger Brotherhood #10) by JR Ward

Blacklisted by Luke Romyn

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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Are you geared up to read in 2014 ? I am…  Feel free to friend and connect with me on Goodreads (see link below), it’s great fun!

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7814803-cassie

 

Excuses Excuses Excuses…

I’ve been working on writing my 1st novel and with all my good intentions it hasn’t been so easy. There is the pressure that everyone knows I am writing that 1st book which in part was to motivate me along; however, some days I am one to rebel as other life issues pop up. You know the excuse that you must cook, clean, do laundry and work that day job. It’s tough to find time to write when your not a full time author. None the less this is how some of my days go…

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So if the blog is a little slow with only 1 or maybe 2 posts a month, know that I am either making up some grandiose excuse or actually putting my words to the page to finish this story that has been in my head for 5 years. I am sure many of you don’t have this issue!

You’re a well oiled machine that is working on your story without any interruption each and every day. You don’t run into issues of self doubt or the occasional road block of not moving your story forward, because you have an outline that shows you how to navigate to the end. Actually you may not have all the answers, but that is okay because your brilliance is self satisfying and the menial tasks are the dry run to your red carpet walk. The vision is so strong that you bask in the light, knowing soon you’ll be wearing sunglasses just to be comfortable.

Does the above describe you? Just know that if it does – I hate you. I envy you. I need you to tell me how.

How do you keep going and rock the above? Is it just experience and time that has made you so wonderful? Is it just that fantastic support system you have?

Comment and share for those of us that are not there yet. Let’s start the discussion and the psycho analysis 🙂

YOU BLOCK HEAD and other writer myths

Lucy pulls back the football
Lucy pulls back the football (Photo credit: niallkennedy)

Writers block.  It’s the sweaty palms of a teenage boy approaching a girl to ask her out on a date.  It’s the panic of the cursor just steadily blinking at you. It’s the knotted stomach of insecurity telling you to do something – anything.

All you really need is a swift kick in the pants.  It’s like Lucy pulling the football away from good ol’ Charlie Brown.  Lucy does this every-time, why would Charlie think it was going to be different? It’s the same with writing.

I curse those writers who say, oh I just sat down and started typing and wa’la a novel is done and dusted.  Calling it out – bullsh*t.  I have tried that and quickly learned that was me just gearing up for the fun ahead.  Its a part of any process – BRAINSTORM.  Write to your hearts content and write some more.  Let the pen, the keyboard take you in unchartered waters.  However, the end never really happens until you stop and plot the course.

Writers block is only a symptom of not following a system from conception – design (plotting) – research – composition.  When you don’t stop to plan once you get that fantastic idea going this leaves a writer trying to do at least four of these things all at the same time – in their head.  That’s like trying to build a car while driving it.  This would ‘block’ anyone about anything.  Then there’s the obvious point with the car, you won’t be able to get from point A to point B if your still building the car.

How do I know this? Been there done that.  Ah, heck I still do this from time to time.  What’s important is recognizing what your doing then getting onto what you “need” to do.  So don’t be a BLOCK HEAD and think your stuck, step back and start your design and stop the free writing for a minute.  Throw something at the wall, see if it sticks then let that artist in you prep the room for the makeover and build a story.

Anyone having a block head moment? What’s your plan to get out of it? Share/Comment – Looking forward to the discussion.

Introductions Behind the Wizards’ Curtain

IntroductionsI read this great article by Jeff Haden entitled “The Best Way to Introduce Yourself” http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/a-great-way-to-introduce-yourself.html?nav=pop.  This article had me thinking about introductions, not only verbally but written as well.  The point of the article is when meeting someone the most important audience member is not the person you’re introducing yourself too, it’s you. 

What was interesting about this article is that it’s the not He-man brute introduction that is important such as laying out one’s title, accomplishments and history (although I know a few, where that habit would be hard to break).  It’s more about knowing your audience and fitting into that space.  He goes on to give a few examples: See less as more, Stay in context, Embrace understatement and Focus on the other person. 

I certainly could see the points being made from a business point of view but I also made that connection with writing.  Below is my take on the article and it’s relation to writing fiction.

See less as more: Have brief introductions of characters first.  Give the bare minimum for the reader and other characters in the story.  Allow for backgrounds and other personality quirks to come out unforced and naturally in the story.

Stay in context: This boils down to keeping character introduction aligned with setting and the action of the story.  If you are at Grandma’s birthday party, you wouldn’t want a new character coming in and hijacking the scenery of the party because he won a bowling tournament that has nothing to do with the story at hand and adds nothing in moving the story forward.

Embrace understatement: In quoting Jeff Haden “To err is human. To err humble is divine”.  I thought this quite powerful for character statements.  If your character is bold and obnoxious by all means embracing the understatement isn’t in that character’s DNA, but it gives food for thought of really viewing your character’s attributes.

Focus on the other person:  When writing two or more characters, it’s always good to find those connections where they have a common goal, trait, compatibility or flaw.  Unless you’re writing in first person where the struggles are all internal, it’s a good idea to have characters focus, reach and stretch with other character involvement.  When done well, it moves a story forward more is more fascinating to read.

Any other examples you feel fit here as well?

Comment/Share/Discuss I look forward to hearing from you.