Kooky Babble #1: Finding Your Voice

Kooky Babble is a new monthly feature that I'm still working out the kinks to. It's rather spontaneous, and I think it will be exactly as it's called - Kooky Babble. I'll talk about whatever suits the blog and me at the moment. I'm feeling spontaneous and want to reject conformity. My blog, my rules. But if you don't like it, don't worry, it's only once a month :) check back for more details later.

Anyone that is a blogger knows what 'finding your voice' is. We have to learn how to write. You would think after two decades of being taught we'd be pretty good at writing, right? But there are so many kinds of writing. For example:
Expressive or Creative Writing

Creative writing - this includes novels, novellas, novelettes, short stories, (long?) stories, poems, and anything of the like.

Newswriting/Journalism - like newspapers and online news stories. I would probably put a lot of blogs under this category. Not necessarily to give the latest updates like CNN or whatever, but because blogs tend to be journals of information for one subject or another.

Screenwriting - screenplays, for movies, plays, one-man acts, the lot
English Class Writing Types
Essay writing - we should all know this from English. I've had to do a lot of these recently

Expository writing - used to inform or explain, you normally will find this in textbooks

Descriptive writing - I like to call this the 'I know but don't name' kind of writing. We all use it when describing things, like that pretty yellow flower with its gracefully arched petals (can petals be graceful?) and vibrant green stem. In English class they tend to name everything (humans do anyways, I mean, have you seen how many names there are for clouds?) like with metaphors and onomatopoeia. I don' like naming things. Not things that come natural to me. Teachers, unfortunately, don't really care. You also find descriptive writing in novels and other forms of creative writing. This is more of a style than a type of writing.

Narrative writing - another style, rather type, that you find in creative writing for novels and such

Persuasive writing - you're persuading someone (in an essay, usually) of your point of view on a matter. I suppose you could find this in debates too. I don't think I've ever used this outside of English class, though I have used it very recently.
Why It Matters
So what kind of writing do people use on blogs? That all depends on the blogs' content and subject matter. For example, I regularly visit Chelsea Queen - Nail Artist. I love having my nails look good (one of the few really girly things about me) and head over to her blog once a week to get inspiration for some nail art for that week.

It's not a fiction blog. She posts tutorials and her own nail art ideas. Occasionally she creates nail art based off of books (super cool idea, btw). My point being, she's informative. She's teaching us something. Okay, so it may not be life-saving (as I'm certain knowing the difference between verbs and nouns is) but you're still learning something that may not matter to everyone but that matters to you.

The biggest reason you need to be able to find your voice? So that you can be heard. If you lose your voice and you just become a murmur, no one will hear you over the roar of the crowd. You need to be loud and you need to find your inner song that your going to share with the world. Or don't share it with the world. That is up to you. But without your voice, you won't get very far blogging or writing, and you certainly won't get very far in life.

I think my blog is definitely a form of journalism. I have features, I do reviews, and yes, I do update you guys on book-related news that I hear around the blogosphere and in my life. Now that we've established what my blog is, let me tell you how I found my writing voice on The Kooky Bookworm.
My Voice
I don't know how many of you were around at the creation of the Kooky Bookworm, but if you were you would know my reviews were stilted and awkward. I was writing reviews the way I was taught in English class. People really weren't taken to them, so I tried something else.

I tried just speaking my mind about a book. And while that did entice people to read what I thought, it really was nothing more than me spewing my opinions in no particular order. What I've found recently is structure.

If you looks at my newer reviews you will see that they are structured. I give my own synopsis, a brief character analysis, what I liked, what I didn't like, what I thought of the writing, and a summary. I've organized my writing. But my voice shines through. If you read my reviews or even just what you're reading now, you'll see that there is a voice among the jumbled words.

It's incredibly important to know your voice as a writer. And that's what I am. I'm a writer. I may not be writing novels (at least, not this second. I definitely do in my free time), but I'm currently writing, am I not? I also keep a journal. That's three different types of writing, with three alternative writing voices all fighting to be heard. They're incredibly similar, no doubt, but with each style there is a different type of writing voice.
Kooky Babble #1 Explained
So this must seem really random to you. Like I said before, I was feeling spontaneous. And I suppose it's appropriate with NaNoWriMo just days away. How many people actually plan to participate? I can't wait. I've been planning for this. I really want to begin writing. But I'm biding my time, waiting for the moment when NaNoWriMo begins and my story can launch off of the ground.

As I was saying, before I got distracted by the prospects of NaNoWriMo, this was rather spontaneous, and I think I'll make it a monthly feature. I'm a little bit kooky, after all, I may as well have a feature that is just about kooky babble. It would be embracing spontaneity (which I really want to do after having just read J.A. Redmerski's, The Edge of Never, great book).

Spontaneity + feature + kookiness = a crazy mess. Who knows, though? Maybe it will be a good one. I've wanted to start a feature for a while now but couldn't think of anything. I thought maybe I could do it on travel or baking but I didn't like those ideas. I like the Kooky Babble. It means I can do whatever I want and not conform to the standards of a feature. But hopefully this was entertaining?

Let me know what you think in the comments! Feedback is always appreciated :)

Happy reading!

 

Renovation Complete!

Hi everyone!

I'm so happy that my blog is back up. These past few months have been incredibly stressful trying to fix-up the blog and get back into the swing of school. I really needed that break, and even though things on the blog we're slow-going, my life has been a whirlwind of activity these past few months.

To start off, I went to visit colleges. I was gone for a week and a half, and then got sick on the way back (so I actually missed two weeks of school-let me tell you, it's so not fun having to catch up. I'm still trying to juggle my normal course load and catch up the work I missed). I have also been sick twice since returning to school. I have not been a happy camper.

Now with one last week in the quarter, I am almost ready to get back on track here. This next week may be a little on the slow side, but I will do my best to keep the blog updated. Just bear with me. Especially since in just a short amount of time it will be my two-year blogoversery! Yay! I am so incredibly excited for that.

I have lots of goodies I have hoarded from book conventions to give away to y'all, so hopefully you guys will be just as exuberant as I am. If you have a moment, spread the word and save the date that November 8th is The Kooky Bookworm's second blogoversery and there will be several giveaways and prizes.

Changes to the blog:

I tried. I really did. But I have written so many reviews and I simply did not have the time to rewrite each one of them. So, I have come up with an alternative system. I will separate my new reviews and my old reviews. That's the best I can do for the moment. Note that my reviews are more polished and are held to a higher standing than my older reviews.

It's not that all of my old reviews are bad (though some, like the first I ever wrote, really are. In my defense though, I was trying to find my style and my voice. I'll go into that at a later date), it's just that my more recent reviews have a different style and (in my opinion) are better written.

And another thing to add, before I depart for today to go do my homework; next month is NaNoWriMo. For those of you who don't know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November people from around the globe spend 30 days trying to write a novel, usually about 50,000 words. I have done it for the past two years and plan to do it again next month.

I've been looking forward to NaNoWriMo for the entire month of October, planning and scheming in my mind what I'm going to write. I'm super excited. I think this is going to be another one of my stories that actually makes it. Out of the billion or so ideas I come up with, most don't make it past the first page of writing. But this one I think will. Just as Phoenix did. I even have had offers from people to be my beta readers when I'm done writing it.

Hopefully this won't impact my blog too much. I started my blog around the same time I started NaNoWriMo, and I've been doing okay so far. I only have to write about 2,000 words a day to meet my goal, and less than that to continue with my blog. So, let's cross our fingers, yeah?

Happy reading! More updates to come!

May the odds be ever in your favor... (who else is super excited for the release of Mockingjay, Part 1 next month?)

 

Blog Under Construction

In the past few months The Kooky Bookworm has gone through some major changes. The design has been completely redone, and I love the way it looks. But I still have a lot more changes to make. I really want to finish them before The Kooky Bookworm's blogoversery (November 8th), and I simply don't have the time to juggle schoolwork, keep posting, and make those changes.

For the time being I am discontinuing my reviews and book related events until further notice. I hope you stop by when the blog is finished with its refurbishing. I'm looking forward to the new and improved Kooky Bookworm.

Happy reading,

Sworn to Raise by Terah Edun

16061083Publisher: Amazon Digital
Date Published: April 10th 2013
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: Courtlight #1
Source: Purchased
Rating: Crazy Good 4 out of 5 stars
Seventeen-year-old Ciardis has grown up in poverty, a cleaner in a small vale on the outskirts of the empire. But beneath her empire’s seemingly idyllic surface lies a hidden secret. Whispers of an inept crown Prince are growing ever louder—intensified by the five year anniversary of the soulbond initiations.

Amidst scandalous whispers, Ciardis finds herself chosen to train for the Companion’s Guild. She leaves her home and sets off on a personal journey to become a Court Companion. A position she’d never thought possible for a lowly servant to obtain, she must prove that she has the skills to attract a Patron.

But she must master those skills quickly. If the legends are true, only Ciardis can harness the power to raise a Prince in an Imperial Court sworn to bring him down.

This sensational series debut melds intricate storylines with remarkable characters and unforgettable magic. Sworn To Raise is ideal for fans of Kristin Cashore, Michelle Sagara, and Maria Snyder.
Ciardis Vane was orphaned at a young age. In her small town in the north, no one wanted to deal with an orphan. The only job allowed to her was that of a laundress. But a strange lady known as a Companion shows up in town to buy her famous red dye. She offers a proposal of a life elsewhere. 

Ciardis takes that chance and is whisked away to the Companions Guild where she trains to become a companion herself. Soon it is discovered that Ciardis was no ordinary girl, no, she was the last remaining Weathervane, someone who could enhance the powers of others. Now everyone is interested in Ciardis, and she’ll have to choose where her loyalties lie.

Ciardis is the main character in the story. She starts off as an outcast in her village and then finds herself becoming the person of interest at the Companions Guild. Her personality is a bit, arrogant? Hmm, not sure that is the word I’m looking for. I guess she doesn’t have a shining personality. She’s not some fierce tough girl or a shy good girl. She’s a bit rough. Sometimes it works in her favor and sometimes against it.

Sebastian. I hope he does not become a lover in future books. He’s just so… childlike, I think. He’s young, and has limited life experience. I just don’t want him to be paired with Ciardis. His personality needs a little work too. I really would have preferred if he were older.

There are a few other main characters, but they are pretty static and don’t change. I do wonder if Damais is gay, or if that’s just my impression of him. The other characters don’t really stick. I imagine we’ll see more of them and get to know them better in future books.

I really liked this book; I haven’t read one like it in a while. I suppose it’s similar to Graceling, though Graceling seems to have more depth in it to me.

Even though the characters weren’t very substantial in my mind, I loved what happened to Ciardis. Following her along and how the world changed for her was pretty interesting. She became a dynamic character and had a full personality. I liked her dry wit and humor. It was entertaining.

Things I didn’t like… well, I think the characters could have been more memorable, and the plot could have had more twists to it. I did not like how young Sebastian was. Other than that though there wasn’t much I didn’t like. It was a captivating story.

I think as far as the writing goes it was a fairly well written book. The beginning was a little jarring, being thrust into a laundress’s world in a fantasy realm, but I doubt that could have been helped. When entering a fantasy realm it is best to just jump right in, none of this wading in that some authors do.

Overall, a wonderful story that I plan to continue to read and enjoy, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

 




Sworn to Raise is currently free, though I'm not sure how long that will last, so grab your copy while you can :)


Covert Cover Cracked by Missy Marciassa

22009970Publisher: Marissa Marciassa
Date Published: April 28th 2014
Genre: New Adult Action Romance
Series: Covert #3
Source: Author / NetGalley
Rating: Crazy Good 4 out of 5 stars

When 23-year-old Elle can’t explain why her job as an Information Scientist at the Library of Congress keeps her so busy (because she’s actually a CIA operative who just became field rated), her boyfriend dumps her, so she decides to focus on her career and enjoy a fling.

Navy SEAL Reese Beckwith seems like the perfect fling material except the more he sees Elle, the more he wants to know about her, and she can’t resist him. Things get complicated when Reese spots her with her CIA partner, a known womanizer. His questions for Elle get more pointed: he sees the potential for more than a fling, and once he sets an objective, failure is not an option.

Yet Elle tries to keep Reese in the “fling” category as her first major assignment heats up, becoming more personal with each development. When her personal and professional lives collide, Elle is put to the test. Does she have what it takes to be a covert operative? Will she have to choose between love and her career?
Elle is an Information Scientist at the Library of Congress. At least, that's one of her jobs. The other one is a secret, one that very few people know about. She's really a CIA operative. And she just became field rated. Her first op is successful, and nothing will take her down from her high of doing well on her first op. Except her boyfriend of one year, Lyle, decides to dump her for not being around enough.

Elle has to decide if having a successful career is really worth having a crappy social life. Except she's come so far. From being a total geek to a geek that can kick ass. She doesn't want to let go of her new life. She's not allowed to tell family and friends what she does, and its wrecking her personal life. But Elle wants her job more than anything. But if she can never tell anyone what she does, what kind of personal relationships can she ever have?

Reese is shipping out soon. He's a Navy SEAL and he isn't looking for anything permanent. All he wants is a fling to tide him over. Being stuck on a sub for six months is going to suck. But when he meets Elle, he's blown away. What starts as a fling becomes someone more. Reese knows that there's something about Elle that's different. And how does a Liberian, excuse me, Information Scientist, know krav maga? Reese is falling for her hard, even though they were only supposed to be a fling. But what if he wants more?

Elle is my dream girl version of me. She loves books, she gets to work for the Library of Congress, and she gets a healthy dose of action on the side, working for the CIA. I gotta admit, if I could be any character in any book, she would be it. She does struggle a bit with the relationship side of things, at least in the beginning, but she has the coolest job(s) a girl could ever want. And she can kick ass.

"I wouldn't want to hurt your manly pride. Or get myself arrested for assault."

I love that she's a kick-ass heroine and that she does struggle. She doesn't have everything fall into her lap. And she struggles within herself, too. It's believable, and I connected the most her. She struggles with her want to keep going and the realities of the job she has. Her dreams versus reality, basically. And she pushes herself. It's great. And she grows. She's not a static character. At the end of the book she understands more about her choice to work for the CIA as a field rated agent compared to the beginning of the book when she thought she understood what she was getting into, but didn't really understand on a fundamental level.

Reese you don't meet right away. He comes in a bit later. He's a sweet guy, can kick ass just like Elle, and he gets the job thing. They work relationship wise together.

"I'm up for some sparring. I'll even lick your wounds afterwards."

He is rather sexy too.

I do think that Reese is a bit more of a bland character compared to Elle, and I wished we had more from his point of view so I could understand him better. Most everything we read was from Elle's point of view, so we understood her the best. Reese we only got glimpses of. It bothered me that for the first half-ish of the book he was pretty scarce. I would have liked to know more about him.

Preston. Wow, that name has really begun to mean womanizer in books. I don't know how many books I have read where Preston is the player. Preston is a bit annoying for me. He seems like a know it all, and he keeps asking if Elle really knows the score. She didn't at the beginning, but that's not the point. It bothered me that he kept bugging her about it, even if he had a point.

Mason. God, you are gonna hate this guy. He has no emotions, may as well be a robot. And he's a good guy. But he's patronizing, critical, and puts Elle down with every minor mistake she makes. He does have a point about her complaining sometimes and threatening to quit, but still. He could be a little more cordial.

The romance in this story is more of a subplot to the story than the main plot of the story, which is great, because I like the action first and the romance second. If it's all angst-y romance and just a side order of action, I get bored. The action is the story, for the most part. Romances tend to be the same throughout most books, so the action is what captures my interest. This story had a heap of interesting things going on. I think there were about three op's in this book, which counted most of the actual fighting. But there was plenty of other action too. Elle sparred with Reese several times and they did things that were exciting. We didn't have another 'They went to the movies...' kind of romance. Theirs was exciting and fun.

You are thrown into this world from the beginning. It takes the first few chapters to get acclimated to the story and get a feeling for the world your reading about. There weren't any questions though. You understood what was happening and you got right into it. I'd say it was plausible and detailed, and for the most part you were shown the world, rather than told.

I will say that I thought the romance between Elle and Reese was slow. I was at 42% on my Kindle when I realized that we had only met Reese twice so far. I guess it's good that the romance was secondary in the scheme of the plot. If this was simply a romance book it would have been disappointing. But since there was action to make up for the slow romance, I wasn't too bothered. I think the middle and end were the best bits though. Like I said, the beginning was a little slow.

I would recommend this book to all of the readers who like action and romance hand-in-hand, rather than one or the other, because action and romance are best served together. My honest assessment of this book was I really liked it. There may have been some minor things that could have been improved, but I will without a doubt read this book again. And since I have not read the other books in this series, I will read those too. And this book can be read as a standalone, for those that are interested.

  



Amazon |


Taste by Cambria Hebert Release Day Book Blitz



TASTE is released!!! 

Can't wait another minute to download it? Get it here:


Coming soon to ibooks and to paperback

About Taste

One taste is never enough…

Spencer Waller’s main purpose in life is to protect and serve. After spending years in the military, he gets a coveted spot on the Secret Service detail protecting the president. Spence doesn’t have time for women or all the work having a relationship with one requires. But just because he isn’t looking for a lady doesn’t mean he can’t appreciate a beautiful one when he sees her.

And he makes it a point to see one in particular every single day.

Elle Bond has literally chopped and fried her way to the top of the food chain. Earning a coveted position in the White House as the president’s personal chef, she figures her professional life can only get better. Her personal life, on the other hand, could use a little bit of an overhaul, and because of that, she tries to ignore the charm-dripping cookie thief every time he comes into her kitchen. After all, she knows better than anyone that just one taste of something good is never enough.

One night after work, Elle is assaulted, threatened, and given an ultimatum. She can’t go to the police, and she sure as hell can’t do what she was ordered.

But she has to. Or else.

Pale, shaken, and scared to death, Elle confides in Spence, and his protective instincts take over. Together, Elle and Spencer have to uncover a sinister plot and stop it before someone ends up dead.

Extras!

Join the release party happening tonight (July 28th) on facebook for your chance to win a TON of great stuff! Click to join

          FYI- for those that purchase TASTE there is an EXCLUSIVE first look at the Trashy cover reveal! You get to see it first!!

There is also TWO recipes included in the back - Spencer's favorite cookie recipes!! You can make them and enjoy at home!

Spencer's Cookie in a Mug Recipe

A fast treat to enjoy while you read Taste!

Ingredients 1 tbsp melted butter 1 tbsp granulated sugar 1 tbsp brown sugar Pinch of salt 1 egg yolk ¼ cup flour 2 tbsp chocolate chips (mini’s work great!) Directions Mix all ingredients into a microwavable safe mug.  Microwave for 60 seconds. Serve to the cookie monster in your life!

Thank you all so much for your support!! I hope you download and enjoy Taste!

No Apologies by Sybil Bartel

20926029

Publisher: Carina Press
Date Published: June 23rd 2014
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Never apologize. 

Hard-edged rocker Graham Allen has it all. He's flush with cash from playing bass in a band by night and restoring classic cars by day. And there are plenty of women willing to share his bed for a night, complication-free.

Perfect, because if there's anything he learned from his past, it was to never get attached—to anything. So when bartender Carly Sullivan flashes her innocent smile, Graham isn't prepared for what happens next.

Never fall in love.

Two rules, that's all Graham has—never apologize and never fall in love. He knows Carly is everything he should avoid. Cheerful and sweet, she has "relationship" written all over her. But Graham can't stay away from her probing questions and concerned blue eyes.

When Graham discovers Carly is hiding a crushing secret, he's prepared to risk it all. Until in one single moment, everything changes and Graham's past threatens to collide with his future. His life is crumbling down around him, and soon no apology in the world can save him.

He should've known to walk away.

Graham has two rules; never apologize and never fall in love. So far its been working out for him. He plays bass in a band, works on muscle cars, and owns part of a club. More money than he knows what to do with. But lately he's been hanging around a bar, just waiting for his day to end on the gorgeous bartender's smile.

Carly is cheerful, all the time. Even when Graham is a total ass. How she puts up with his B.S. and still keeps up that gorgeous smile is a mystery to him. Soon Graham realizes that Carly isn't just another girl, she has scars, scars that he can't fix. And he's falling for her hard. But with his screwed up childhood and mommy issues, he's broken. And Carly has her own issues to deal with. Will Graham break his rules for Carly? Or will he continue not living, in a hope that he can just deal with life?

I was enticed by the cover of this book before the story, if I'm honest. The cover is amazing, I love it. And then of course I love womanizing broken bad boys. They make for the best love stories.


Graham. He's a complicated character. Not everything he does in this book I liked. He acted like a real ass sometimes. And not in a hot, 'oh he's being a playboy' kind of way. I understand he was afraid of what he was feeling a lot of the time, but he didn't respect boundaries and he did some screwed up things. I don't know if I would have been as forgiving as Carly. THERE WAS NO CHEATING! Thank god for that small miracle. I hate books with cheaters. Cheating is inexcusable. End of story.

Carly. She was like a ray of sunshine compared to Graham. Yes, she has a past that will make you want to punch a bunch of scumbags, but she isn't jaded. She still sees the world in the light, not the dark. I love that about her. Graham is jaded enough without Carly being jaded. They balance each other out.


I think the characters were believable and I connected to them on a basic level. I can't say that I felt the characters, exactly. I don't really have anything in common with the characters. I thought Graham was cool because of the muscle cars and playing bass, and Carly was a writer, but personality wise I didn't mesh with them. I did love Carly though. I mean, how many girls know cars, ride motorcycles, can actually hold their alcohol, fight MMA, and are still super nice and sunny? She's great.

Carly didn't grow that much in the story. I mean, she grew a bit there from the middle to end, but most of the character growth came from Graham. If you read the first few pages and then the last few, you'd find an almost completely different person. I mean, Graham wasn't a bad person, per se, at the beginning, but he was a player and his morals on sleeping with lots of women and getting drunk were pretty low. At the end he understood why some people wanted monogamy.


The romance in the story was a little slow going. There was an attraction from the first few pages, but it didn't turn into more until later. It felt like a real romance because of that. They had to build it up. It wasn't insta-love or anything, which was nice.

I'm not really sure whether the romance was the main focus or a subplot. I mean, it was definitely there, but there was a whole lot of other things going on too. I think it would probably be somewhere between the two. It wasn't really the main focus, because that wasn't the first thing that happened. They became friends before lovers. But it wasn't really secondary to anything in the story.

The story was detailed, you weren't left with any questions. That's always nice. I hate it when there are holes in the plot or the story. It felt real, I imagine there are similar couples out there everywhere who have issues akin to the ones in the book. The writing was done well, it was like watching a movie in your head rather than reading the script.

Unlike with some books, I think the middle was the best part of the story. There was so much anticipation and waiting to see what Graham did, how he would handle all of the hurdles thrown at him. And whenever he screwed up you could just roll your eyes and mutter 'men' under your breath. Thats what I did, anywho.

This story was in 1st person, told from Graham's point of view. I thought it was interesting, because we got complete access to his thoughts. And a lot of the time his thoughts didn't match his words. It was an interesting perspective.


I would recommend this book to all of the girls who love the broken bad boys. In real life, they suck. In books, though? They rock your socks off. And other clothing items :)

 



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Stacking the Shelves #38



Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. If you’re anything like me, you are probably hoarding books and even though you are excited about your latest book arrival, it might be a while before you get to review it. And this I'll be doing every Saturday. Started by @ Tynga's Reviews

20926029Publisher: Carina Press
Date Published: June 23rd 2014
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Never apologize

Hard-edged rocker Graham Allen has it all. He's flush with cash from playing bass in a band by night and restoring classic cars by day. And there are plenty of women willing to share his bed for a night, complication-free. Perfect, because if there's anything he learned from his past, it was to never get attached—to anything. So when bartender Carly Sullivan flashes her innocent smile, Graham isn't prepared for what happens next.

Never fall in love

Two rules, that's all Graham has—never apologize and never fall in love. He knows Carly is everything he should avoid. Cheerful and sweet, she has "relationship" written all over her. But Graham can't stay away from her probing questions and concerned blue eyes.

When Graham discovers Carly is hiding a crushing secret, he's prepared to risk it all. Until in one single moment, everything changes and Graham's past threatens to collide with his future. His life is crumbling down around him, and soon no apology in the world can save him.

He should've known to walk away.


 

The cover alone is drool-worthy. And the synopsis makes it sounds like the story will be amazing. It's a promising combination. So, I'm offering to giveaway one Kindle edition of the book. I have not read the book yet, so if it sucks (I really hope it doesn't) then its totally not on me. But it looks good, so it should be fine.