Are You A Hooker?

I think I might have just hooked you into here.

Have you hooked or are you bait-less?

I’ve accumulated thousands of rejection slips, both email and hard mail, dating back at least 28 years. We writers agonize over just about every word in these little snippets of rejection death, attempting to decipher some type of meaningful logic out of these one or two-line zingers.

Scenario: So the editor has read about three or four pages and stopped. She is in problem territory already. She sees snags and there are a few that stand out over the rest which indicate specific problems, and the rejection usually begins with, “I’m afraid I wasn’t pulled into the story,” or “I couldn’t identify with the protagonist,” “the front bogged down,” or “after a few pages, I wasn’t compelled to read any further.” “too dialogue heavy,” “static opener,” “excessive sentence fragments,” Something to that tone, anyway. What we have here is a failure to communicate up front with that all important “hook.” A hook doesn’t have to make logical sense. It’s better left less obvious.  

The hook is that mystical teaser, that pulls the reader into the story, and it usually begins on page one, and really never lets up unless it finally reveals but leads into another. You can craft a hook by using dialogue, action, narrative or even description, but the one thing it does is present a unique problem that is not answered immediately, or is a set of circumstances that confounds the reader, asking more questions that it’s answering. I think a really great hook uses deceit or misdirection. It presents a “What the hell’s going on here” in the reader’s mind, or a “why or how could this be happening?”        

Setting a good hook, I later learned, is a crafting trick–a tactic. There’s nothing artistic about it. Just like a magician uses sleight of hand, so too does the writer create an unfathomable scenario that begs explanation and further reading. Of course, it’s wise to take the reader up to the confusion threshold but not beyond it, where incidents and plot seem even more disjointed. There must be a method to your madness, allowing the reader to glimpse that sliver of light at the end of the tunnel. Which means, little answer and a bit more tease.  

I can pontificate all day long about how stunning and fast-paced my second and third acts are, but when I read and interpret those pesky rejection slips, the ones that hint at boring, tepid, stilted, stuffy first-page or fist-chapter passages, I know then that I’ve failed in capturing my reader’s attention–he/she will be reluctant to invest further reading time if I cannot make the mystery worth his/her time to solve. I’ve opened the story door and invited the reader to ride along, but they are inclined to pass and let me drive off without them if I haven’t grabbed their curiosity.         

Thick back-story is a killer, as is puffed up prologues, heavy, multiple character descriptions (laundry listing), too many characters, uninspired dialogue, weather reports and heavy handed scenery that tries too hard to be literary or cinematic.

I can have a dynamite query letter, but the editor or agent won’t get past page five if I haven’t pulled them into the story and forced them to wonder or agonize about something.        

The hook scene doesn’t have to be complicated. (First Page–First Paragraph)–Imagine average Joe Blow pulls over in a picturesque grove of trees, gets out of his car and lights up a cigarette. He’s on his way home but has a few minutes to kill. He happens to notice a church a few hundred yards away and the church parking lot is filled to capacity. The back of the church looks to be occupied with a reception area, filled with chairs, tables, colorful streamers and a small stage. But no one is out there celebrating, meaning that the festivities must still be under way inside. He crushes out his cig butt and happens to look up, being prompted by the sound of a twig snapping in the boughs of a large tree.

He sees a woman in a full sequined wedding dress, balanced precariously on a limb high up in the tree. The woman has a terrified look on her face; she is breathing hard and sweating profusely.

You’ve just set the hook. You don’t have to have this guy figure out exactly what she’s doing up there, but we have a pretty good idea. Or do we? We won’t really know until the writer let’s these two exchange dialogue. But we’re not going to do that either. Joe Blow has decided, against his better judgment, to help this woman out. Just by her demeanor, he knows something is way off the normalcy scale. She’s a runaway. He can sort it out later once he gets her in his car and down the road away from the church.         

He drives off and they’re safe for now. When it comes time for her to confess her problem, she’s evasive and remains quiet.  He slows the car down and then gets a phone call from his wife, wondering if they’re still on for their marriage counseling session that night. He can’t talk right now and hangs up. He slows down, looking for his pack of cigarettes that he’s lost, and he can’t get his seat belt up because it’s wedged in the closed door. She whines from the back seat and slips into a barrage of hacking sneezes, spraying phlegm all over his new upholstery. He also can’t see out of the rear view mirror because she’s got her head buried in the carpet and her pleated wedding dress has sprang up and blocked his view.         

Now we have conflict, while still nothing has been resolved. And that’s what you’re doing–leading the reader along, who thinks he/she is on the main storyline highway, but are actually ending up hitting potholes and speed bumps. I think you get what I’m trying to say. Don’t be predictable. Don’t underestimate your reader. Shock and surprise. Don’t explain the reason for this scene.

How important is the hook? It is the most important page or pages of your entire manuscript, and that includes the query and/or synopsis. You’ve got one chance, one pair of editor/agent eyes to entice, to compel, to convince the reader to keep turning pages. Any lull or stoppage in the text is the mark of death, and it means your bait is inadequate, it stinks of age or it’s missing entirely.         

Does your book really start on chapter 2? Then dump chapter 1. Is Chapter 1 a slough? Then cut and burn out everything that isn’t thrusting the plot forward or arousing conflict and asking new questions. Yeah, but Chris, you should read some of these dud first pages in these bestsellers; hardly grabbers. Let those brand name authors craft their books the way they see fit; they’re not hurting for readership and the fans know their style pretty well. Study some of the debut author’s works from some new books and see if you can’t find those subtle hooks, little red herrings–those attention grabbers that are starting to unravel things.       

Another mile down the road, our driver’s phone rings again—it’s his counselor confirming their appointment for that evening. He can’t answer because the girl in the back has rolled down the window and pitched out her bridal train and veil onto the street. He cusses her for that action and tells her to get down. She starts insulting him. He steps on the gas and comes to a screeching halt in front of the police station, where he forces her door open and yanks on her legs, only to tear her nylons off.

“Halp! He’s trying to rape me!”

“You get out of this car right now.”

“I won’t let you kill me, you masher!” she wails for all the city to hear.

You get the idea. This can go on and on and escalate into a full scale donnybrook–clothes being torn, saps and batons flying until our two are handcuffed and shackled and led through the entrance door to precinct 11. His new car starts to burn from a lighted cigarette which fell between the seats. He tries to get away but assaults the arresting officer. Just make sure if you lock him up make sure that his prison stay has SOMETHING to do with the plot. Now, if you can’t stand the notion of pulling your first chapter because it’s a slug, do a flashback scene. Exchange a really interesting future chapter with chapter 1, and then sew up the transition between that pulled chapter and the next one. If you move your slug chapter to the chapter 2 position, cut it down and make it move faster. How do you write a flashback scene? Google it.

It’s not that difficult.

Red-shifting otta here…

YA Book Review–Consequences By Darlene McGarrity

SUMMARY:

Second chances lead to new beginnings… sometimes, they lead to murder. Seventeen-year-old Rose Jackson is a self-righteous, nature-loving truth seeker whose rocky relationship with her mother, Doris Murphy, is tested after Rose is court ordered to a youth house.
With six months left before she goes in front of a judge for potential release, her patience is tested between an in-house bully, her neglectful mother, and an inappropriate therapist.
Fed up, Rose runs away before her court date and settles in a town she randomly chose on a map. Misinterpretation ensues as she falls for a town local, goes head to head with a biker gang, and the unthinkable happens.
Can Rose succeed in finding the freedom she craves or will her determination cost her everything?

REVIEW–5-STAR AMAZON


Rose Jackson has got a big problem, being institutionalized in a youth house, filled with chaos, nasty counselors and a depraved therapist. She’s worse off than inmate, and her drug-addicted mother had everything to do with her landing in the hellhole. Although she’s just under eighteen, Rose is not going to wait a minute longer and manages a covert escape into the freedom she desperately craves, otherwise she’ll lose her sanity.
She hikes miles and miles with sparse belongings and little money to land in a strange little town that she’s picked on a map. She finds out real quick she’s a Philly city girl trapped in a wayward town of drunks, misfits and bikers. She meets up with a biker prospect, Tucker, who takes her under his wing.  It just so happens that when Tucker gets his colors, he has to surrender a gift to the biker boys. He won’t have–she won’t have it–and they hike and ride for their lives. Meanwhile, her mother, who has sobered up and kicked drugs is desperate to find her daughter who escaped the youth house without her knowledge.
Consequences is a thriller, a coming of age story and a slow burn romance all rolled up into one. It’s a relentless chase and survival story, with harrowing scenes and tragedy. Rose is steadfast and courageous, fighting back at every turn. You just have to root for her, and find out how she’s going to get out of her next jam.
This was wonderfully written, the author using all five senses to describe and paint stunning visuals. The characters are diverse and well drawn. This was a page-turner and had some abrupt detours and spins. The young adult voice was captured very naturally. I would recommend this to teens who love frantic adventure, and adults who appreciate grownup themes. I think Ms Darlene A. McGarrity has got a future in the YA category. This tome begs a sequel.

AUTHOR INFO:

Darlene A McGarrity

Darlene was born and raised in Philadelphia but now resides in Bucks County, PA. Nature fuels her bones along with the love of a rescued black cat, wonderful husband, and strong coffee. She has been writing seriously since 2006, despite starting back in 1997. Some of her favorite authors include Stephen King, Kurt Vonnegut, Ann Rule, Edgar Allan Poe, and Chuck Wendig.

She uses music to adjust any mood for writing, for driving, and for life.

Nature is her church. 
AMAZON LINK:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07QTFHZ79/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i1



THE AWARDS CONTEST IS HERE!

Hello fellow scribes. I’m now eligible for the EPIC FANTASY FANATICS READERS CHOICE AWARDS. I would be solely indebted for your one-click nomination for Screamcatcher. My team thinks we can pull a spot in this prestigious event. Please tell your friends to do likewise. Your nominations will get me into the quarter finals. from there on, the semi-finals will be in sight. We have about two hundred entries and each entry must stockpile 100 nominations to advance. I couldn’t tell you what this mean to me. I have a hoard of supporters who are intent on helping me out. I can’t thank you enough for your time and consideration. There’s no need to sign in or reveal any of your personal info. You click and you are out. Blessed be. Here’s the link:

https://epicfantasyfanatics.com/screamcatcher-christy-j-breedlove/?fbclid=IwAR1YbLzoK7rBsjWJEdbwCd-Ighd1FVHBZS_KBrTfdSgENDXv4zVQTaU57sw

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The Mysterious Teenage Hominid

 Writing For Teens:

There was no question why I wrote YA fiction in the first place. When I got into it, it was a thrilling, lucrative and expressive category. Harry Potter was dominating the charts. The Hunger Games appeared, along with Divergent and Twilight. Writing young adult fiction then was like being on s speeding freight train which had no brakes and a throttle that only went forward.

There are no estimates of how many writers jumped on that band wagon.

I remember my first real YA book, The Girl They Sold to the Moon. That tiny tome sold six times and took the first place grand prize in a YA novel writing contest, which was sponsored by a small publisher. That wasn’t the reason I wrote it. I wrote it because I loved the characters, not the atmosphere, world or environment. Yet again, something clicked inside me. I had a handle on something. I could talk teen. Not spectacularly, but well enough to pull the wool.

Let me get something out of the way before I continue: I have a non de plume for my young adult stories–Christy J. Breedlove. There’s no mystery in changing a name for a genre. But I changed my gender. J.K. Rowling’s agent told her to give herself a neutral author name because “boys are less likely to read books written by girls.” Hence, the J.K. initials. I just took it a step further. 

I believe women can be trusted by other women to write with more emotional impact and feeling. Women don’t really have any problems reading the several male authors out there who excel in writing romance. However, women are less likely to read a romance crafted by a guy because it can’t quite reach inside them like one of their own. I hoped and prayed that if spontaneous buyers of my young adult books believed they were crafted by a gal (at first), it might go easier for me. Even men believe that gals can lay down a young adult story with more connection and honesty. I know I do. So, no gender bias meant at all. Only respect.  (And no, I don’t think I’m fooling anyone 🙂

Back on track: The teenage years are restless and oft times reckless years. They are an era in life that explores change, hopes, failures, experimentation, rebellion and growth. Especially growth. Most fundamental truisms are picked up during these formative years–rules or guidelines for life. What appeals to me so much about this time of life is that it can be so unstable. It’s a time when tragic mistakes are made–emotional upheaval is magnified. To me, this gives me a sense of freedom in exploring some deep-felt topics. Unlike an adult that might be more prone to decorum and subtly, a teen might very well blunder into a situation, causing higher consequences and repercussions. 

The exploration of the teen mind can offer a ton of latitude in subject matter–life, death, love, hatred, bullying, lawlessness, substance abuse, incest, pregnancy and even murder. The young, let’s face it, are resilient, forceful and courageous with their own convictions. They can take a hell of a lot of punishment, rebound and get their life’s compass back on direction in record time. Sometimes they fail, but the harder they fail, the harder they strive to crush the demons. 

My guilty pleasure in writing for, or about teens, is my utter fascination with their nonconformity. Looking back upon my own kid-hood, I can glimpse my errors and snippets of absolute stupidity. This stupidity allows me cartloads of humor and irony in my writing. There is nothing quite like a couple of teens going at it verbally or physically, and in many cases, only to drive a point home. There’s nothing quite like a teen hitting you smack between the eyes with blunt-force honesty. They regularly deal with each other in absolute truth. No words minced. Compared to adults, teens act; there’s no lolly gagging. We do have the quiet, shy and retiring types, but those are exceptions, to what I think is the overall demeanor.

In an action/adventure tale, or a post-apocalyptic story, I can bring teens to the edge of death several times and have them ultimately survive. Physiologically, younger adults are more fit than adults. Have you ever seen a walking antibiotic? They can suffer and endure much more abuse than an older person. I have been known to take advantage of this fact time and time again. Youth–strength–indestructibility.   

I think teen fiction offers higher stakes, loftier emotions and grander outcomes. Nowhere is YA fiction better told than in the hands of the teenagers themselves. The young set has a finger directly on the pulse of their own lifestyles. They don’t have to guess or research what they would do in any given circumstances–they know exactly the ways in which they would handle it, along with their own cultural oddities that so confuse the adults. Teens have a language all their own. You need a decoder ring to understand it. Look at their text messages–you need a cypher to crack them! Trust me, teens are not of this Earth!

As a person in my sixties, I cannot understand why I feel I was chosen to write young adult tales. Those years were some of the fondest times of my life. I don’t look back upon them with disdain. Albeit, there were many cringe-worth times. There were stage plays and scenes of stark terror. But I remember them with an awestruck gusto, a bewildering time of adventure and exploration. My over-the-top emotional writing style seems to fit right into the plots and characters. I’m always learning, because there are so many writers out there, both young and old, who are masters at expressing the teen world. 

I’m only along for the ride.

I have a lot of reviews that are about to come in for this latest book. The trickle has started. So far everything seems beyond expectations. Yet, all of these reviewers seem to be teen or twenty-something women. I can just about guarantee that if I’ve got something wrong in the text, it’s apt to be flagged. And I welcome that. It just means that I get to learn more secrets.

Christy/Chris–red-shifting outta here.

(BTW, blue shift means to come toward you. Red-shift means leaving or going away from you). 

Fan-Fiction Without Knowing It?

I’ve known for a long time what fan-fic is and what it’s not. I know what channeling is too. And we know what plagiarism is all about. Fan-fiction is an honored tradition of carrying on a single book, series or saga with well-known and loved characters in a similar setting to the original. 50 Shades of Grey actually started out as Twilight fan-fiction, and then developed a life of its own. Channeling happens when you’ve written something very similar to a book or story that has already been published. Channeling can happen unconsciously, an innocent retelling of a story that is dear to the author, with many of its aspects reappearing in the second version. Some say there is deliberate type of channeling, kind of a preemptive mini-theft of material. But that’s splitting hairs. Plagiarism is just outright theft of material.

But what if you have written a story that bears a remarkable resemblance to something already out there? When I say remarkable, I mean surreal or uncanny. A likeness that can make you uncomfortable. Because how in the Chuck Dickens could you ever explain yourself? My Planet Janitor was compared to Firefly, and I had no problem taking that it stride. I knew nothing about Firefly and it’s characters until I later investigated.

Now it seems I have another, more intricate doppelganger. On three different occasions over the past years my characters in Screamcatcher, Jory Pike and Choice Daniels have been called all but dead ringers for Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. For the sake of chronology, my book was written in later days of October in 2011,  It was just recently published on 4-23-2019. It took so long to see print because my agent suggested I make a trilogy out of it. It bombed out at the Big 5, but was offered contracts by 10 small presses within a 12 month period. We took Melange Books because they were so lenient and adaptable to our contract conditions.

The first Hunger Games book was published in 2008, then another in 2009 and the last one in 2010

The third time I was told about my book’s similarities to the characters in The Hunger Games was early 2018. I didn’t know who Suzanne Collins was, but I had heard of the enormous success of her trilogy. I’d only heard she was a TV exec or something, and that her series was pulling second rank just under Harry Potter, or had been doing so for a long time. I decided to investigate. Curiosity drove me to it, even though I was so dang busy with my own books and editing at that time.

I read the books first, then watched the movie series on a free channel. 

It smacked me right between the eyes. The last thing I wanted was to be compared to The Hunger Games. I had an oh joy! moment. Then I had a feeling of utter dread. Not only was Katniss unbelievably close, but I’d written Peeta, and his association wtth Katness, too. 

Jory’s similarities to Katniss.

Both are young teenagers, separated by a few years.
Both have Olive skin.(Jory is of Native America lineage)
Both have straight black hair (sometimes braided)
Both are graceful and surefooted.
Both are attractive 
Both are expert archers, with lightning fast reflexes
Both are unassuming and avoid the spotlight.
Both are independent, solitary but reluctant leaders.
Both have top-notch survival skills, knowledge of plants and animals
Both are avid hunters
Jory has a long bow, whereas Katniss has a high-tech composite compound bow.
Both have great intuitive senses.
Jory does have brown eyes, opposed to grey eyes and she is tall and lanky unlike the smaller Katniss

Choice and Peeta

Average height
Stocky, a bit muscular.
Same length hair, different color
Nearly same age
Loyal
Courageous 
Athletic

Attraction:

Choice’s attraction to Jory is intense but very subdued. He has a hard time not showing his attraction to her, and when he does he is rather embarrassed, sometimes internally infuriated.Jory is indifferent to him, not really in-like or in love. She’s not above using him to achieve gains. Her eventual commitment and love for him is a very slow romantic burn that culminates in their bond at the end of series story-line

My web world strings are called sectors, whereas in THG the state or territory divisions are called districts. Each sector has a deathly challenge–a true life or death trial before they can continue to the next sector. Likewise in THG they must advance to the next task or challenge. 

I could go on and on, because it just doesn’t stop. However, there are vast differences that keep these two stories from clashing into each other. I’m floored by how well THG was crafted, both in print and in video. It was truly one of the best books and movies I have every seen. I could never measure up to such standards as Suzanne’s craftsmanship. I can only say we were thinking about the same FMC and saw a place for her in her own tome. Katnes HAS to be fondly loved by Suzanne. I’m proud to have brought Jory to life. 

Has this ever happened to you, dear writer? Deja vu anyone? Could you swear that somebody else has ripped off your plot or characters? Or have you ever felt despair and felt like slashing your wrists because somebody beat you to the punch? Stephen King had a “Oh, damn it to hell!” moment when he heard the Simpsons had done a domed city story. Yet he raced on with his own story and it was well received. 

Am I going to compare my book to THG? Nope. The reviewers can do whatever they want. Besides, I like my premise BETTER. Bwahahahahahaha!

Portal v.s. Urban Fantasy–It’s War!

There really is no conflict between these two sub-genres. There is a difference, even if we’re splitting hairs. Charles De Lint first described urban fantasy with his story Dreams Underfoot in the early 90s, making it a relatively new genre, in retrospect to the times. In short, urban fantasy brings the fantastical into the mundane world or into the contemporary setting. It’s another dimension, another time and place, a different universe with it’s own rules. The magical invades our world, not the other way around. That’s the more precise definition. Examples might be well associated with the book,The Mortal Instruments. Writers like Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, Neil Gaimen, Deborah Harkness and Anita Blake’s Vampire Hunter are prime examples of this sub-genre of fantasy. I think the important thing to remember is that in an urban fantasy setting, their world invades ours. Something crosses over and materializes. Sometimes this transformation happens with our knowledge, but many times it materializes unbeknownst to us. 

They say (who’s they anyway?) that urban fantasy is a Mixxmaster, mashup of science fiction, horror, dark fantasy, paranormal and magic realism where they all come together in a melting pot. Fair enough. What a mongrel, wot?

Portal fantasy. It’s also been termed “low” fantasy. But who in the heck uses those terms to describe their work to publishers, editors or the reading public? You don’t see it do you? My agent had no idea what I was talking about when referencing my works as such. She agreed that it might be a unique way to describe a fantasy sub-genre to a potential purchaser. My publisher blinked upon hearing the term, but did admit that she’d heard before. She confessed that it was doubtful that using the term might sway any reader decisions, or for that matter, having Amazon recognize it as a mainstay genre. Amazon is lazy–they fall back on urban.

So what’s a portal fantasy? It is our intrusion into another world, be it deliberately or accidentally. We’ll split hairs latter, but for now, think about Neil’s Stardust. Where is the gateway or the portal? Why, it’s across the stone fence, isn’t it? Things become fantastic, abnormal, magical on the other side. Our world has not changed, it is still a contemporary setting. The magical land did not come from Them over to our side–we explored or blundered into it–we trespassed, so to speak

Some classic examples of true portal fantasies: Harry Potter: now what is platform 9 3/4 if it is not a portal, opening or gateway into another land and realm? There are even portals within portals in Harry Potter. Some will disagree with me on that. Alice in Wonderland: don’t we have a mirror or rabbit hole? There’s your gateway. The Bridge to Terabithia: step across that bridge and you’re in a world of make believe. Hook: Isn’t it the second start on the right that opens up into a sf-ish type planet/land? The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: step through a closet and we’re in Narnia. I can actually remember a Twilight Zone episode where a character marks off a section of wall to define a mysterious entrance into another world (De Lint, you might have been a little late in discovering it).Coraline: doesn’t Coraline step through a secret door to enter another dimensional frontier?

How can Harry Potter split hairs on these two? Well, Harry travels back and forth from his world to Hogwarts, doesn’t he? He’s not a muggle, nor was he ever a muggle. He’s a wizard in training. So when he comes back into his contemporary setting, he brings with him some special talents that are defined as magic. Therefore, to some degree, he impacts his real world, changing it every so slightly as his years in school progress. The Matrix could be consider a double whammy–we go in and pull things back with us. Stephen King’s The Mist, is an example of our military opening up a forbidden gate (portal), and then suffering the consequences when the beast of that other world come barging in on our modern day setting.

Weird Science: We opened a dimension, and she steps through. Opposite affect here–we opened up the portal, but something came through it.

Tron: We trespassed. Portal. 

Screamcatcher: The kids sleep under a decrepit, malicious dream catcher, and it implodes, pulling them into IT’s world. It appears at first that their real world has turned into something strange and dangerous. However, it’s not really their world–it’s a separate entity upon itself. The rules of the world are governed by the Web and what it contains within it. 

Kind of fun exploring these things. No harm done. No segregation. But I’m going to describe my trilogy as portal fantasies. Just you wait for the last book in the series called The Shimmering Eye. It was based on the true life scientific investigations of the Skinwalker Ranch, as reported by George Knapp, investigative reporter out of Las Vegas. I’ll need a new genre for it!

Red-shifting. 

Screamcatcher Reviews

Screamcatcher: Web World by Christy J Breedlove

April 23, 2019

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Screamcatcher: Web World

Add to Goodreads

Buy on Amazon

My Rating: 4/5 stars


About the book:

Four sleepover teenagers get sucked into a nightmarish world when an ancient dream catcher implodes and lands them in a realm of demonic and monstrous entities. Have they gone to hell? They must search for the light, the center of the web, the opening where all good things are allowed to pass. Their survival depends upon it.

My Review:

In a never before plot, our main characters get stuck in a living nightmare through an ancient dreamcatcher. Jory has recurring nightmares about her parent’s death and no matter what she does or what her grandfather does to stop these bad dreams, nothing seems to be working.

The book is entangled with Indian lore so when Jory’s friend Choice wants to give this old family heirloom (a dreamcatcher) a chance, there’s no point in avoiding it. But things go south when Jory and her friends go to sleep in Jory’s house but wake up in a hellish world.

Plot:

I loved the plot. It was so unique and fast-paced. After every chapter, I was waiting for new twists and turns, just expecting to read what new amazing instance the author’s imagination could conjure up this time. I especially liked the second half of the book. It was definitely more action-packed than the first half.

Characters:

There is just some wrong vibe I got from Choice. Every time I would read about him, I’d find more and more reasons not to like him. But Jory turned out to be the most likeable character in the book despite everything. I liked the presence of her grandfather in the book as well.

Writing:

The writing was the most interesting part of the book and though I liked the world-building and the characters as well, the book would have been nothing without great writing. The dialogues were well-managed and the prose described the emotions of the characters perfectly. Plus, this book was quite easy to read and I could picture all the scenes as if they were playing out like a movie.

Climax:

Ah, the endings are often something that leads to disappointment. And even in this book, it was somehow the same case. I found the ending to be a little predictable and though there is nothing particularly wrong with that, I just really think there was scope for a major mind-blowing twist at the end.

About the author: Christy J. Breedlove, originally born in California, moved to Sylvania, Alabama in 2009. Her occupations have included newspaper editor/reporter, astronomer, federal police officer and part time surfer girl. She has been writing off and on for 36 years, having officially published books beginning in 1988. Today she writes in her favorite genre, Young Adult. She was a finalist in the L. Ron. Hubbard Writers of the Future contest, and just recently took the first place grand prize in a YA novel writing contest for The Girl They Sold to the Moon. She writes the popular blog, Guerrilla Warfare for Writers (special weapons and tactics), hoping to inform and educate writers all over the world about the high points and pitfalls of publishing Christy’s Website|  BlogFacebook | Twitter

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