Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ARC Review - Carnival of Souls

Release date: September 4, 2012

Carnival of Souls straddles two worlds, and follows several characters throughout the story. Mallory lives in the human world, was raised by her mother (who eventually left), and witch stepfather, who is overly protective and teaches her how to fight to protect herself from daimons, who Mallory was raised to believe are evil. In the other world, The City, Kaleb and Aya are daimons who are taking part in a fighting competition where the winner will have a chance to move up to a higher class and a better life. Kaleb and Aya are each fighting for their own reasons.

I enjoyed Carnival of Souls; I’ve never been the biggest fan of books that switch narratives, but Melissa Marr had already made me a fan with her Wicked Lovely series. The thing I need the most is to care enough about each character to want to read from their perspective, and Carnival of Souls definitely drew me in. I was especially drawn in by life in The City, the class systems, the different kinds of daimons, as well as the fighting match. You might say it has a little Hunger Games in terms of the competition where it’s basically kill your opponent or have them surrender so you can move on, but it’s distinct enough to stand on its own without comparison to Hunger Games or even Throne of Glass, which was a recent read that involved a fighting competition.

What was most interesting was learning what Kaleb and Aya were after, what they were willing to do to gain it, and how their stories eventually came to intertwine. While I did find The City a very interesting place to be, I was a little confused sometimes by the distinction between the class systems and trying to figure out if overall it was a relatively happy place to live or if it was oppressive. Also, I couldn’t quite figure out if The City’s ruler, Marchiosas, was good, bad, or something in between, but I’m leaning towards the latter. I also wish Marr had given a little more description in terms of what her creatures look like, because when I read a name for a type of creature I had to figure out of it looked human like or creature like. However, this wasn’t an issue that necessarily threw me out of the novel.

Initially I thought the story would mostly follow Mallory, but I think the focus was more on the characters from The City. Mallory has a lot to come to terms with regarding her father and certain things she finds out about how he’s chosen to protect her, but she does meet and interact with Kaleb, who can travel between the worlds. However, Mallory is unaware that his is a daimon. There is no love triangle (refreshing), and Kaleb and Mallory have an instant attraction, which is especially strong on Kaleb’s part because he recognizes that Mallory is not exactly human and has a stronger connection to him than she knows. I will say that when Kaleb’s intense feelings come out I found it a little unbelievable because Mallory and Kaleb still only barely knew each other, but I think Mallory’s reaction to his intenseness was believable, so there is a balance there. There is also a romantic angle between Aya and her ex-fiancĂ© Belias, who have a very complicated relationship.

There were times where I wished Mallory would hurry up and learn the truths she was supposed to learn; I kept feeling like that’s what the story was driving towards only to come up short, but since this is a book one, I know things will progress in the sequel. The interweaving storylines and relationships between the characters was very interesting, and I look forward to continuing the series.

Carnival of Souls get 3.5 out of five.

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Blog - Requiem Words

I recently created a new blog after thinking it'd be nice to have a blog where I could solely post creative writing pieces like poetry, flash fiction, and maybe even excerpts from my books. It would be great if my followers here could check it out and follow along there too: Requiem Words

Also, if you haven't yet, sign up for Deana Barnhart's Gearing Up to Get an Agent Blogfest, it promises to be a lot of fun and will include pitch opportunities with agents and editors. Kicks off in September, go sign up!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What If? Blogfest - Rapunzel's Tragic Ending

I've decided to be Team Tragedy since I enjoy dark, tragic writing, ha. I've chosen Rapunzel, and my piece is a change to the happy ending Disney version (I don't mean Tangled though). So instead of an escape from the tower and happy ending with the prince, Rapunzel gets...well, nothing.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Loose Your Despair

Rapunzel sat at the window of her prison tower, watching the sun as it rose beyond the horizon. She didn’t know how long it had been since she'd lost him, but as she sat at the window, she recalled feeling heat, cold, and something in between. Nowadays, the world seemed to be cycling back to days of green and warmth, but even when the sun lit up the world, all she could see were shadows.

A dove fluttered onto the windowsill, startling her. It hopped closer, and when Rapunzel lifted a finger to stroke its soft breast, her body shuddered at the memory of his soft hair and how it used to give easily to the persuasion of her fingers.

"Could you find him and bring him back to me?" Her words were foolish, but who else did she have to burden with her yearnings? The dove cooed as Rapunzel looked away into her room. When she saw the inkwell and paper that lay on her desk, she suddenly pictured the dove taking flight with a scrap of paper, flying to wherever he was. She retrieved the pen and paper.

When she was finished writing, Rapunzel ripped a few strands of hair from her head, and the dove didn’t fuss when she tied the paper to its foot. She then picked the dove up and released it, watching it spiral up to the sky until she couldn’t see it anymore.

She knew the dove would never find him, but it brought her the smallest ease to know that wherever the dove went, her letter would be with it. A piece of her would be in the world where he was, and she held on to that thought as the door banged open behind her and the devil snarled her name.


Now, this was longer before I realized we were restricted to 300 words, so I had to whittle things down. If you want to read the entire piece, including what Rapunzel wrote, you can find it on my new, creative writing only blog: Requiem Words.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Buccaneer Blogfest - Reflection

Unfortunately I wasn't able to do the other blogfest posts this week although I had meant to, but I couldn't not do the reflection post. This was definitely a fun blogfest to be a part of, and I enjoyed being able to share things about my writing and reading and getting to meet other writers and learn about them. I'm glad I took part in it.

As for the next steps I want to take with my blog, I think I just want to continue to see it grow, meet more writers, and hopefully come up with interesting things to post. I realized that other than blogfest posts I don't post too much, but there are just so many fun 'fests out there that it doesn't seem like I have time for other posts, ha. Maybe it would be great if I had specific ideas for what I wanted for my blog, but I sort of like to go with the flow and go with things as they come and let the blog be what it wants to be.

I don't really know what pirates say for goodbye so I'll just go with Ahoy, it's been fun mateys! (had to include a corny pirate phrase).