24 Book Challenge: A Book By An Independent Author

The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This is book #10 from The Ameri Brit Mom 24 Book Challenge in 2016. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, or outside influences.

Title: Dreamlander

Author: K.M Weiland

Publisher: Pen for a Sword Publishing

Copyright Date: 2012

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Last fall I admitted to doing something for the first time in years in my post The Great Book Abandon. As an adult I’ve always had a hard time quitting a book before finishing it. I don’t do it often, but sometimes it has to be done for my own sanity and love for reading.

Before I even begin to tell you about Dreamlander I must admit that I didn’t make it to the end of the book. I blame my inability to stick with it on several things. I really hate to put a book down once I start it, but at the same time I was wasting my time putting off this book when I could have been reading something I really enjoyed.

Dreamlander started out really strong. Chris was asleep and somehow the things happening in his dreams seemed to be affecting his real life. Later, Chris learns that he has the power to travel between reality and the dream world and becomes an imperative part of the battle going on for power in the dream world. For the first fifty pages I was engrossed with Chris’ story, but after that point he enters the dream world and things got a little less exciting for me from that point on.

Reasons I chose Dreamlander: When I was working on my first draft of my novel I read a book called Structuring Your Novel by K.M Weiland. In her book she referenced Dreamlander often and it piqued my interest.

Reasons I abandoned Dreamlander: I’m not a huge fantasy fan (which is weird because several of my book challenge books this year have been fantasies.) I lose interest pretty quickly in a made up world if it isn’t done the way I think it should be. (I can be a selfish reader.) And this particular fantasy novel has over 1700 pages in its iBook form!

So although I didn’t make it to page 1757, I still count this book in my challenge. I do so because I spent a lot of time and energy working through this book and I learned a lot as a reader and writer from its pages. It can be just as hard to walk away from a book as it is to finish it sometimes, but in the end I had to make a choice. Sorry, K.M., I plan to give another one of your books a try in the future! You are a great writer. Fantasy just isn’t my favorite genre.

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

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24 Book Challenge: A Book Written the Year I Was Born

The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This is book #3 from The Ameri Brit Mom 24 Book Challenge in 2016. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, or outside influences.

Title: Good Omens

Author: Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Publisher: Harper

Copyright Date: 1990

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This is a book I never would have chosen for myself. I guess that’s the point of a reading challenge, though. I decided to take on the challenge in order to expand my reading beyond just NY Times bestsellers. In the past, I’ve been a fan of some of Gaiman’s work (which usually flirts with the dark lines) so after reading several book reviews on Goodreads and reading through multiple Best Books of 1990 lists I decided on this title.

Good Omens is ,”a narrative of certain events occurring in the last eleven years of human history, in strict accordance as shall be shewn with: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter.”

Agnes Nutter, a seventeenth century witch recorded thousands of prophecies which have been passed down through the family heirloom of the Device family. The prophecies of this particular witch are extremely accurate, but hard to predict ahead of time. They are the types of prophecies one does not realize has been fulfilled until the event has already occurred. Partially because of the tiny details of the predictions and partially because many of the predictions involve objects and ideas for which there were no words when the book was recorded causing Agnes to create her own words.

Adam Young, is the anti-Christ. Although many people don’t usually think of the anti-Christ as being an eleven year old boy from Tadfield, England. Aziraphale, an angel and part-time rare book dealer, along with Crowley, a fallen angel, they worked together to switch out the biological son of the Young’s for the Satanic boy who would induce the end of the world.

Newt Pulsifer is a witchfinder private who works for Sergeant Shadwell. In his quest to learn of present day witches he comes across Anathema Device, the contemporary heiress of Agnes Nutter’s book of prophecies.

On the last day of the world as we know it all of these characters together with the four horsemen of the apocalypse (Death, War, Famine, and Pollution) meet in an old warehouse in Tadfield. The world is on the brink of extinction and each of these persons has an important role to play in that endeavor. Plans have been set and prophecies are being fulfilled, but some details have been missed in the process.

Witty, creative, and uncommon are three adjectives that come to mind after reading this collaborative effort by two of the most common names in fantasy literature. At times I was laughing, and to be honest at others I was completely confused, but in the end this book turned out to be a unique work of fiction unlike anything else I’ve ever read. I fell in love with the writing style of both of these men. As I read I could hear their humorous voices throughout the somewhat muddy plot. When things were confusing their wit brought me through and helped me to see this book through til the end.

I don’t know that I would highly recommend this piece for my usual followers. It’s a little different and the multiple conflicts and characters really challenge the reader’s attention. If you are looking for something different, however, to spark your reading habits or to approach a complicated fantasy then this is the book for you.

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

24 Book Challenge: A Book That Was Turned Into a Movie

The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This is book #4 from The Ameri Brit Mom 24 Book Challenge in 2016. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, or outside influences.

Title: The Mortal Instruments Book One: The City of Bones

Author: Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Copyright Date: 2007

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This book was read a little out of order. It had been my original goal to read my books in the order in which they appear on the 24 Book Challenge, however, the library took longer than expected to get me my book #3, so I jumped ahead to #4. I’ve already begun reading a book written the year that I was born and I can’t wait to reveal more about the novel to you in the future. But, today the spotlight is on City of Bones.

First of all, this book is endorsed by The Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight Trilogy and other popular books. She is the queen of the supernatural YA novel, and anything with her endorsement stamped on the front cover is worth a second glance.

Second of all, City of Bones is one of those books as a teacher that I’ve seen a lot of. Students tend to put this book on hold in the library and then read it within a week. I’ve also noticed the fandom which has risen from the students who start this engaging series. So many of the kids who get their hands on book one seem to continue through this series or others by the author. It’s been quite the phenomenon so it’s no surprise that this book has been on my TBR list for over a year. Now, with this reading challenge I’m able to really mark some of those titles off my list.

Thirdly, I would say that although my name may not be synonymous with Stephenie Meyer, I would agree wholeheartedly with her endorsement of the book. There is a unique draw to the world of this novel crafted by this author. This is a book that draws you in from the beginning and keeps you hooked all the way through. There is a good balance of action, romance, and detail. I’ve summed it up to others on social media as a cross between the wizarding world of Harry Potter and the magic world parallel to our own of Percy Jackson.

Clary is an average sixteen year old until she isn’t anymore.

While out at a teen night club in New York City she becomes a witness to a murder that the rest of the club is oblivious to. At first, she doesn’t know how to explain the fact that she could see what others could not, but before long she is drawn into a world of Shadowhunters, demons, forsaken, and other out-of-this-world beings.

The next day Clary learns that her mother is missing and that there may be a connection between what she witnessed the night before and the assumed abduction of her mother. Jace Wayland, a Shadowhunter from the night club, takes Clary under his wing and teaches her about the dangerous and fascinating world that co-exists with the world she had always known. Through a series of events Clary begins to learn that those she has always trusted may be the biggest threat to her life. She also learns that her mother may have been keeping some rather large secrets of her own.

Throughout the book, Clary begins to trust Jace and his circle of friends and embarks down the road to finding her mother along with them. Violence and pain pave the way of their journey, but Clary begins to figure out her role in this world she has only just discovered.

Like I stated earlier, this book has a perfect blend of action, romance, and detail. Throughout the book major plot twists keep you on the edge of your seat and the ending is far from obvious. With this being a series, the ending is not complete. Clare does wrap this novel up well, but you will want to put the second book, City of Ashes, on hold because this book leads so nicely into the second one.

Now, I’m off to find a copy of the movie!!

A Short Story About Mermaids

Lately, I’ve been trying to work on honing some of my writing skills by sitting down to craft a short story for a fifteen minutes or so each day. With each story I am focusing on something. Sometimes I choose to focus on characterization and really take time to develop a vivid character. Other ideas I’ve focused on in my prompted ramblings are setting, conflict, dialogue, and grammar. A website that has helped me not only build my skills through short lessons on writing, but also provided me prompts for writing ideas is called The Write Practice.

Today, I’ve decided to share with you this part of my creative writing process. This particular story was written with a focus of revealing plot information through dialogue. It may be an off-the-wall topic, but it was a good way to practice a skill I desperately need as I edit my novel.

The prompt is fantasy in nature: Mermaids attempt to install a democratic form of government, but the cephalopods are causing trouble.

Here is a glimpse at a short writing I did and posted on The Write Practice website.

The Oppression of Squid

Lauren Sisley

“Mira, where are you going?” Alexandra called after her best friend. She struggled to keep up with Mira’s pace as they swam through the Coral Village.

“I’m going to set this all straight. I’ve had enough.” Mira called back. Her voice trailed off in the distance between the two mermaids. Alexandra looked ahead and saw the golden locks of her best friend as she swam toward the Village Square. Soon her friend would be lost in crowd of sea creatures so Alexandra kicked her fins as quickly as she could. She began to gain on her friend.

“What makes you think the Dictator will listen to you? Plus, how do you plan to persuade an entire panel of cephalopods? They hate the mermaids. That’s why we’ve been living in oppression for so long.” Alexandra did her best to talk her boisterous friend out of whatever plan she had secretly devised.

“I’m so sick of this. I’m sixteen. I’m old enough to make my own choices and decisions. Why must I serve these nasty creatures?” Mira slowed down to look at her friend. Her blue eyes glistened in the light of the sea. They were large and round.

“Mira, it’s all part of our history. You know why we serve the dictator and his team of tentacles.” Alexandra reminded Mira of the fact that Hostile Mermaid History was the only true subject that the girls were taught in school.

“It just isn’t fair. You and I were not behind the nasty stories that were passed down orally for centuries about the cephalopods. Why do we have to pay the price?” Mira crossed her arms across her chest bumping the teal bra that she had made herself from shells she had found at the discount shell shop.

“No one ever said it was fair or justified. Nothing ever is here. But, it’s their reasoning. Don’t think for one second that a head strong sixteen year old will change the way things have been for so long.” The two girls moved closer to the town square. Their tones became hushed as they feared being overheard by the average passerby.

“Then let’s run away.” Mira’s eyes drifted to the distance as she entertained the idea in her mind. A devious smile creeped itself across her face.

“What are you two girls doing in the square unaccompanied?” A large squid dressed in his official uniform came within a tentacle’s reach from Alexandra. She moved back subtly.

“We are sixteen, Sir. That’s of age. And we’ve only come to speak with the Dictator.” Mira spoke matter-of-factly.

“Sixteen or not the Dictator will never hear from two young mermaids unsummoned. Run along to the village and get to work.” The officer spoke haughtily toward the girls.

Before she could respond the squid made a lunge toward the girls. Mira acted quickly pushing her friend out of the squid’s grasp. Taking Alexandra by the arm she pushed her way past the squid toward the large public square in the distance. The squid was caught off guard and soon lost the two mermaids in the sea of creatures going to and from the shops and reefs…