Saturday, December 30, 2017

Book of the Year + Critiques

I hope you all had a lovely holiday and aren't resenting getting back to "regular" life (by doing things like reading my blog). Since the year is almost over ?!?! I will share my favorite read of the year and offer a critique opportunity for you guys! Consider it a hodgepodge.


First off, let me explain by saying this isn't a true Book of the Year because none of the competitors were actually published this year. ;) So it's more like Read of the Year. It was fairly simple to weed through my 5 star reads on Goodreads and select a few of my favorites. 

What was not easy? Narrowing it down between Some Kind of Happiness and Chasing Jupiter. Seriously. I loved both of these books so much. Honestly, I've made up my mind both ways now and am still waffling as I write this. 

Some Kind of Happiness describes me so well, and it was so well-written even in the areas I couldn't relate to personally. My main hesitation is that I apparently only rated it 4.5 stars for some language and the fact that it had. no. Jesus. I wasn't exactly expecting redemption, but it made me want to slam my head against the wall because it was so obvious that He's exactly what all the characters needed!!! :(

Chasing Jupiter was endearing and touching without being as relatable. It also had the most believable conversion of all time. So while it was comparatively a little less personal and impactful, I applaud it for actually offering a solution for all the problems it presents. And not just any solution, the solution.

So with that ... reflecting on how much I enjoyed reading these books in the midst of it all, my favorite read of the year is:

Chasing Jupiter


Have you read either of these books?
This bit is the simple part. ;) With my writing being on the back burner right now, I'm trying to focus more on my editing. It's bringing itself to the forefront rather of its own volition, but I was trying to think of good ways I could actually "promote" it. Blech, marketing.

Unfortunately, I don't have the time to beta read, and most people won't take the professional's own word for it. Thinking about how I hire help, I realized that I either take a trusted friend's word on how skilled someone is, or I make that decision for myself.

So this is an opportunity for you to make your own decisions about my editing. The proposition is this: drop a blurb (back cover book description) you've written in the comments. Simple as that. It can be for published, unpublished, unwritten, any genre ... whatever you want. Invent one for the purpose, even. As long as it's yours. I'll reply to the comments as usual and offer a critique on it! 

Almost everyone struggles with writing blurbs (myself included). I've found out recently that I actually really enjoy helping someone else find the sweet spot with their own blurb. It's so much shorter than any length of story, and it's complete.

I think this can also function as a great get-to-know-your-project type thing. I want to know what you guys are working on! And yes, even if you find this post weeks or months from now, you are welcome to drop your back cover summary in a comment. :)

This point is that then you'll know my editing style and hopefully that means you'll keep me in mind if you ever need an editor for your story. You can find all my updated details for this new year on my Editing page. :)
As always, thank you guys for reading. I hope your Christmas was fantastic, and I'll see you in 2018! (Or in the comment section if you have a blurb!!)

24 comments:

  1. I haven't read Some Kind of Happiness or Chasing Jupiter, but I kind of want to read the latter because I hear there's lots of peaches in it. (I'm obsessed with peaches. Smell, color, fruit, slushies from sonic...all of it. XD)

    Ooh, a critique. Well, I will drop my back of the cover blurb here because this is the book I'm hoping to publish in the summer of 2018, which is fast approaching.

    ***

    Reagan is a normal small town girl. She lives a normal boring life and she likes it that way. When her best friend moves back home to Bent Ridge, Texas from Idaho, she's hopeful that things will go back to the way they were before he moved.

    Peter is ecstatic to be back in his home town for senior year of high school. It will be the first time he's lived with his mom full time since his parents' divorce. He never felt at home in Idaho and is glad to be back in Bent Ridge. But with secrets he's hiding, maybe things won't go back to completely normal.

    Their lives change forever as the government slowly gains power and starts trying to control every detail of everyone's life. Underground rebellions come forward and begin to grow. Betrayal makes all things seem lost.

    Reagan realizes one thing: Trust no one.

    ***

    I have this up on my blog already, but any info on how to improve it would be helpful!

    ~Ivie

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    1. Oh, and just to add a little background information, this is a dystopian with contemporary themes. I just classify it as speculative. :)

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    2. I CANNOT WAIT TO READ THIS IVIE XD

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    3. Yessss peaches is the reason everything is okay in the end <3 You would enjoy it doubly for that fact. ;)

      I second Lisa. This sounds really awesome!! In trying to figure out how to do this, I messaged you the Google Doc with the full on notes through your blog (I didn't want the link available to everyone ;) ). For the sake of all perusers, here's my suggested renovated blurb:

      ***

      Reagan is a small town girl who enjoys her normal life. Change is her only nemesis. While the government continues to make life harder, her best friend is moving back. She’s hopeful his return will restore equilibrium to her life and give her someone to trust again.

      Peter is ecstatic to be back in his hometown for his senior year of high school. He’ll be back where he belongs: home and living with his mom full time. Yet with the stowaway secrets moving back with him from Idaho, normal may have a new meaning.

      Their lives change forever as the government continues to gain control over everyday life. Underground rebellions begin to form and betrayal becomes commonplace. Reagan's new reality requires one thing: trust no one.

      ***

      Obviously I don't know if all those details even work with your story, but I think you've got a lot of potential there, and your story already seems to be an interesting take on a popular niche. That's always good ;)

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  2. I haven't read either of those books but I have one of them on my TBR.

    Good luck with the critiques! I also hope that your hand is getting better.

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    1. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts when you read it :)

      Thanks! My wrist is slowly recovering. I've tried not to overdo it, but it does still wear out. Hopefully I'm building up some stamina!

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  3. I literally just finished Chasing Jupiter yesterday! I got it for Christmas and really enjoyed it. Not quite my top favorite book of the year, but it has a lot of worthy competition.

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    1. Oh my goodness, how funny! I'm so glad you liked it :) Yeah, it's strange because even though I really enjoyed it, it wasn't like THIS IS THE BEST BOOK EVER as I read it. But it's really stuck with me and so much of it was quietly profound. Interesting how that works. ;)

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  4. I've had so many people recommend Chasing Jupiter to me. I'm definitely excited to read it soon!

    Happy new year, Abi!

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    1. Yesss read it and let me know what your thoughts are! <3

      Happy new year ^.^

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  5. Chasing Jupiter sounds amazing! It's on my TBR for 2018. :D

    Okiedoke, here's a blurb for a short story/novella that I'm *hoping* to publish in a few months... :D

    While home from college for the summer, Shay Williams meets Daniel Rogers, a young mute man. She soon recognizes him as her childhood crush whom she hasn't seen since second grade, and a friendship blossoms between the two young people.
    Daniel Rogers is mesmerized by this sweet girl who has a heart for deaf and mute children. But is it wrong of him to pursue a relationship with her, considering his inability?
    Follow these two young people through a summer of discovery as they learn the truths of friendship and love – a love that speaks not from the lips but from the heart.

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    1. Ack xD MY HEART!! Faith that sound amazing -- also rather fluffy but ahem WHEN WILL IT BE FINISHED???

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    2. *grins* Hopefully February.... *winks*

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    3. AGAIN I second Lisa <3 <3 This sounds so cute XD

      I shared the Google Doc where I left some feedback for you with /only/ you ;) This was the result of me applying my own feedback to your blurb and revising it:

      ***

      Shay Williams did not plan on spending her summer home from college with her childhood crush. Yet when she meets Daniel Rogers, a young mute man, for the second time in her life, she enjoys the friendship that blossoms between them. After all, he inspired her occupation.

      Daniel Rogers is mesmerized by this sweet girl who has a heart for deaf and mute children. But is it wrong of him to want to know her better, considering his disability? The last thing he wants to become is another charity case.

      Follow these two young people through a summer of discovery as they learn truths about friendship and love—a love that speaks not from the lips but from the heart.

      ***

      You'll see in the comments that I'm not even sure if all of that fits your story, but you did an excellent job with your original. It's super cute and lovely as you have it. I hope the feedback was helpful :) And put me down for a review on your blog tour ;) ;)

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    4. Thanks for the critiquing opportunity! The feedback was super helpful. :D

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  6. Here ya go *throws blurb in with a flourish*

    ____

    What if your arch nemesis and best friend were one and the same?

    They both lead two lives. Robert Cayden Steele seems to be just a poor kid raised in the gutter whose hard work has finally paid off. And what everyone thinks about Mary Anna Goodwin is that she's the only the mayor's niece, lavished with all the money she'd ever want. But that's only the surface of things.

    Because when the darkness falls each night, one becomes the Fox -- bane of every high class citizen and master burglar whose robberies continue to baffle all of Delta. And the other turns into Snow -- superhero who has sworn to take him down.

    When Fox threatens to steal the mayor's 100 million dollar painting on Christmas eve, Snow jumps into action. For ages she, as well as the police's finest, have tried and failed to catch him . But not this time. There's going to be showdown, once and for all, before a hundred of the city's greatest people at the mayor's Christmas ball.

    But until that happens, Fox and Snow have ordinary life to live -- as Rob and Anna who room at the same boarding house, who study in the same college ... and who becoming increasingly curious and interested in each other.

    What they don't see coming though, is that soon, his enemy might be his best friend, and her best friend might be her nemesis.

    _____

    *cocks eyebrow and awaits answer*
    (Also this is like a once-edited spontaneous one sooo...)

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    1. Um, THIS SOUNDS AMAZING AND I NEED IT IN MY LIFE!!!!

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    2. Now it's my turn to second Ivie!!! This does sound really good, Lisa!

      I sent you the Google Doc with your full critique, but here's my revision (subject to the changes you want to make obviously):

      ***

      What if your nemesis and best friend were one and the same?

      They both lead two lives. Robert Steele seems to be a mere kid raised in the gutter whose hard work has finally paid off. Everyone thinks Mary Anna Goodwin is only the mayor’s niece, lavished with all the money she could ever want. But appearances aren’t everything.

      When darkness falls each night, one becomes the Fox—high class burglar and bane of every high class citizen with robbers that continue to baffle all of Delta. The other turns into Snow—superhero who has sworn to take him down.

      When Fox threatens to steal the mayor’s 100 million dollar painting on Christmas Eve, Snow jumps into action. This time, there’s going to be a showdown before a hundred of the city’s greatest people at the mayor’s Christmas ball. This time, Snow will aid the police in finally catching Fox.

      But in the months of anticipation, Fox and Snow have ordinary lives to lead as Rob and Anna who room in the same boarding house, study at the same college ... and who become increasingly curious about each other. What they don’t know is that this friendship—just like themselves—is a lot more complicated than it appears.

      ***

      Just how soon shall we be seeing this in bookstores?? ;)

      Also, I love that you girls took the time to comment on each other's work. That makes this project that much more meaningful! <3

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    3. Aww thanks Ivie and Abi <3

      That critique was super helpful Abi ^.^

      I haven't even finished draft one so it will take some time haha

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  7. Faith/Florid Sword being too lazy to log inJanuary 1, 2018 at 12:54 PM

    Thank you so much for offering this, Abi! I’m actually planning to hire you once I have a story that’s ready for that, (and when I have some money, because I’m poor...)

    Here’s a blurb for the back cover of my current WIP:

    She never forgets her nightmares...

    The world is at war. The land of Venaria, enslaved to the evil and mysterious dictator Dauthang, sends its army to Misue, the city of the King. Battles rage. Spies are everywhere.

    And in the middle of it all stands King Martin’s daughter, the princess. The prize Dauthang seeks.

    Esma never wanted to be thrown headfirst into the war. But one night, on a typical training exercise in the woods, something happened that sets that path as her only option.

    She met a boy from Dauthang’s army. And a few days later, he shows up again in her father’s throne room. Claiming to be a deserter.

    Both sides are fraught with secrets. Trust seems like a thing of the past, and Esma will need all her cunning to navigate the treacherous waters of this war...

    Ugh, I feel like it’s super long, but there ya go!

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    1. Oh awesome!! <3 I know, editing can be really expensive D:

      Thanks for sharing this blurb with me! I don't think it's too long. It's just a little spread out in content and format. I resolved some of that in my revision. In the Google Doc I sent you with a more thorough analysis, I go over all of that more and explain that you are in no way expected to use this exact wording :) It might not even all fit your story ;P

      ***

      Some nightmares cannot be escaped.

      The world is at war. The land of Venaria, enslaved to the mysterious dictator Dauthang, sends its army to siege King Martin’s city. Battles rage, and spies are everywhere.

      In the middle of it all stands Princess Esma—the prize Dauthang seeks. She is forced into the war that keeps her up at night when a training exercise brings her face to face with an enemy soldier. When the soldier reappears, claiming to be a deserter, participation is her only option for survival.

      Both sides are fraught with secrets. Trust seems like a thing of the past. Esma will need all her cunning to navigate the treacherous waters of this war if she’s to have any chance at peace again.

      ***

      Best of luck to you with your story <3 ^.^ I'd be more than happy to edit for you in the future

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  8. I'm a bit late to the party . . . Here's mine. XD (and if it's too late, that's totally fine. ;))

    -----

    A Man. A Brother.  A Traitor. 

    The war has taken everything Micah Wilson has ever held dear, and with all his being he wishes he could do something to stop the heartache. But his own loss is still fresh, and he often wonders of he'll ever be able to forget the brother who left six years before. How can God still have a plan, when it seems that the world around him is falling to pieces? To say nothing of his own heart.  

    Ann Wilson has seen two brothers changed by the war. And she's resloved to do something to stop the pain she sees in their eyes from becoming a reality for so many others.  The world is on the brink of Normandy when her Red Cross unit is shipped to England. While there, an unexcpected encounter promises to change her own life . . . Forever. But it's only the begining.  As the war in Europe rages on, Ann is caught in the crossfires. And when the unthinkable happens, she comes face to face with the evil of the Third Reich. Is it possible that the reality of it all is worse then even her worst nightmares? 

    Erich Essler never questioned his duty to his country. All his life he's struggled to live up to his father's excpectations, and bring honor to the Essler name. But he can't rid himself of the questions that continue to torment him. Is what he's doing really honorable? And does he owe his loyalty to his country . . . Or a higher power?

    Freedom for Europe dawns on the distant horizon.  But in the midst of the fight, four lives will be forever changed. And their loyalty to God and Country brought into question.

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