Thursday, March 31, 2011


I'm a huge Maria V Synder fan. Her Poison series rocked my world. (Check out my interview with her here) Ok, I admit that I was late on reading INSIDE OUT, the first book in her latest series. But this is one time when I'm glad I was late. It was one of the first books I ordered on my new Kindle after Christmas, and as soon as I finished I had an advanced copy (thank you Netgalley!) of OUTSIDE IN, ready to go. That is the one advantage to coming into a series late. You get to read the story straight through. (like how awful was it waiting a year for CATCHING FIRE and MOCKINGJAY!)

I loved loved loved both of these books, and even though OUTSIDE IN is the one that was recently released, I'm not going to say too much about that. It would spoil too much! And this is the kind of story that must not be spoiled. If you haven't read INSIDE OUT then I'd suggest you skip reading the summary of OUTSIDE IN. Yes, it's that good. For starters, Maria is a fantastic writer.The world she has created "Inside" is chillingly realistic. It's fast paced and full of the twists and turns I love. I mean that literally, too. Trella works inside a maze of pipes. Creepy.

It's not a typical love story. In fact, its in this way that it reminds me of THE HUNGER GAMES. The story, the plot, the characters, are bigger than that. They would be great books without the love story. Even if you're not a fan of science fiction, you'll love the futuristic world Maria has created. I highly suggest this series and have my fingers crossed that there's at least one more book to continue this amazing story.

Here's a little more info on the books. Go pick them up today!

INSIDE OUT by Maria V Snyder
ISBN 13: 978-0-373-21006-0

Pub date: April 1, 2010, Harlequin Teen
Price: $9.99 Trade-size paperback

Keep Your Head Down. Don't Get Noticed. Or Else.
I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. One of thousands who work in the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. The Trava family who rules our world from their spacious Upper levels wants us to be docile and obedient, like sheep. To insure we behave, they send the Pop Cops to police us.
So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? Not like it's all that dangerous--the only neck at risk is my own.
Until a lower level prophet claims a Gateway to Outside exists. And guess who he wants to steal into the Upper levels to get the proof? You’re right. Me. I alone know every single duct, pipe, corridor, shortcut, hole and ladder of Inside. It’s suicide plain and simple. But guess who can’t let a challenge like that go unanswered? Right again. Me.
I should have just said no...

Visit Maria's site to read an excerpt here.

OUTSIDE IN by Maria V Snyder
ISBN 13: 978-0-373-21011-4

Pub date: March 1, 2011, Harlequin Teen
Price: $9.99 Trade-size paperback

*Spoiler warning*

Me?? A Leader??

Okay, I did prove that there's more to Inside than we knew. That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion-between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled. Because of me, we're free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again-while still touching base with Riley, of course. He's the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there's outside and then there is Outside. And something from Outside wants In.
Visit Maria's site to read an excerpt here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Honest Balance

It started innocently enough this morning. I saw a comment about a book that caught my interest. I went to a site to see what people thought of the book. What I was looking for? Intellegent reviews and feedback on what readers did or didn't like so I could get a feel for this book and decide if it was something I wanted to purchase. What I got?
Now, I don't mean to get all mommy-minded here but honest and nice are two of the things I'm struggling to teach my toddler at this very moment and it's not easy. It would be way easier to teach him one of these very important life skills. Not both. Here's an example:

Toddler being honest: "Ew! *throws chicken* "This chicken is disgusting. I'm not eating it. I want something different!"

Toddler being nice: *winces and spits out a mouthful of chicken back on plate* "I'm done. My belly is full."

(yes, they are both things son has done or said) See the difference there? One lands him in big trouble and two leaves him hungry. I'm doing my best to teach him to combine them. State his honest opinion in a nice way. To me nice doesn't mean pretending to like something. No one should have to pretend to like something (unless it's a present from Great Aunt Marge that she's watching you open, but that's a whole different subject). I want my son to feel comfortable telling people his honest opinion on things in life. But I want him to stop and think of a way to do it nicely. I don't want him to let people walk all over him but I don't want him to be a bully either. I must tell him 10x a day now to, "Treat others as you want to be treated."

We aren't robots. We all have our own invididual opinions. On everything. That's part of the beauty of this world. We should embrace that. Share it. Honest does not equal nice or mean. Honest is honest. It's how we choose to deliver it. It's a choice. (I struggle with this daily in my personal life!)

I've been involved in creative endeavors in one way or another my entire life. I took art lessons all through school, went to college for art. I had teachers, judges and every one with an opinion, dissect my work. Some were honest, some were nice and some were mean. The only ones I remember are the ones that were a combination of honest and nice. The ones that helped me grow and learn. Become a better artist even if it stung.

Same with my writing now. I seek out the people who take the time to be honest and nice. Not only nice. As great as it would be to hear nothing but complimentary things all day it wouldn't do a thing to help me grow as a person. To me, being nice and honest shows that the person respects me even if what they have to say about my writing isn't all ponies and rainbows. It makes me respect them. Value their opinion.

Awhile back I made a decision not to post negative reviews on my blog or any review type sites. Do I read books I don't like?  Definitely. But I'm a writer before I'm a reviewer. I want to spread the love, support authors and help people discover books they'll love. That's my choice. I know a lot of people disagree with this. On the flip side, I'm grateful for those who share thoughts on both books they like and don't like. I resepect that. I just wish we could all remember that no matter where we stand on issues, what kind of lives we live outside the internet, we are all connected by our love of books.

What are your thoughts on this? I know there are some very strong opinions on this subject but
remember honest AND nice, people!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

When you know what's ahead

March is here! The sun is shining and the birds are chirping again. Spring is around the corner. Which got me thinking.

One thing that makes the cold dreary winter days bearable (for me at least) is knowing there's an end. Spring will come and bring with it the warm sun to melt away the snow. We know the grass will turn green and buds will appear all over the trees just like they do every year at this time. With the exception of a cosmic shift or some other freaky change, that's one thing we can count on.

Imagine if we it were that way with everything in life. How much easier would it be to suffer through a diet if you knew without a doubt you'd lose those 15 lbs? Hmm, or what about knowing for certain that the book you're writing would be a NYT bestseller?

As we all know, life doesn't work that way. But faith does.

Faith - firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

Like every other human being who chooes to write, I have bad writing days and I have good writing days. When the words don't flow or I get to page 230 only to discover my main character is a total douche bag that no one connects with, faith is what keeps me going. I have faith that I'll continue to grow as a writer. Faith that writing is part of my future. It may take 6 months from now or 6 years but I have faith that I'll see one of my stories as a published book.

What are your thoughts on faith? Does it play a part in your writing?

George Michael certainly thinks so...