Posted in Book Extras, For Fun

#Blog Tour: Project Pandora – Guest Post with author Aden Polydoros and more!

 

ProjectPandoraTour

Welcome to my stop on the Project Pandora tour! I’m so excited to share information about this great book with all of you – including a guest post by author Aden Polydoros! Enjoy!

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Links:

Link to Goodreads

Purchase Links: Amazon – B&N – iBooksKobo

Giveaway Details: Project Pandora Prize Pack (US) or a $10 Amazon Gift card (INT)

Book Description:

EntTeen-01224-webbanner-ad2-STATIC(800x800)opt2Tyler Bennett trusts no one. Just another foster kid bounced from home to home, he’s learned that lesson the hard way. Cue world’s tiniest violin. But when strange things start happening—waking up with bloody knuckles and no memory of the night before or the burner phone he can’t let out of his sight— Tyler starts to wonder if he can even trust himself.

Even stranger, the girl he’s falling for has a burner phone just like his. Finding out what’s really happening only leads to more questions…questions that could get them both killed. It’s not like someone’s kidnapping teens lost in the system and brainwashing them to be assassins or anything, right? And what happens to rogue assets who defy control?

In a race against the clock, they’ll have to uncover the truth behind Project Pandora and take it down—before they’re reactivated. Good thing the program spent millions training them to kick ass…

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Guest Post by Aden Polydoros: How to Handle Pressure: Writing Under Deadlines

I have never been great at deadlines. I have a natural tendency to procrastinate on my work and wait until the last minute to finish it. However, with writing, I have found that it is easier for me to meet deadlines than when I’m working on schoolwork or other tasks. I have also come up with different strategies to compensate for my procrastination.

It is important to approach writing as a job. Although I love to write and hope to make a full-time career out of writing, I don’t want to view writing as a hobby. If I allow myself to fall into that line of thought, completing work by deadlines will seem less important to me and I might procrastinate more than usual.

For me, there are two different kinds of deadlines for my writing: Those I choose for myself and those that are given to me. The deadlines I have created are usually very short term goals, like write 1,000 words a day or complete this chapter by the end of the week. By thinking about it like that, the process of writing a novel becomes less daunting. I don’t have to worry so much about completing an entire novel, and can divide my work into small, manageable tasks.

This was one of the strategies I used while working on Project Pandora. I made a list:

  • Overall goal: Aim for 1,000 words a day
  • Specific goals:
    Add more status reports
    Add a romantic scene
    Make an event calendar to check for consistency
    Check for name and appearance consistency
    Research the D.C. metro system
    Write an outline for second half of the book
    Change names

I try to approach editor-enforced deadlines in a similar fashion. For example, let’s say that I have to complete edits by September 31st and it is currently September 1st. Before I even begin edits, I make a list of what I have to do based off of my editor’s notes. I estimate the amount of words that will need to be added to the manuscript. In the case of Project Pandora, I added 40,000 words to my 65,000 manuscript over the course of the editing process. I had aimed to add only 25,000 words, but when I reached that goal, found that there was still so much more to elaborate upon. I had aimed for 1,000 words added and one chapter edited each day. When I began to increase my workload, it felt like I was accumulating bonus points at a game instead of just meeting a deadline. I tried to beat each day’s previous “score”, and in doing that, the process of editing actually became more enjoyable than it would have been otherwise.

Which brings me to my next point: it’s important to enjoy what you are doing if you want to meet deadlines. When so much creativity and emotion goes into writing, if you are miserable at what you are doing, it will show. Even if you don’t think that your story needs a specific edit or that one chapter is good as is, it is important not to become resentful about the deadline. I try to approach writing as a job, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have fun while doing it.

I try to set awards for myself for each goal I complete. Usually, these are small things, such as watching a certain show on Netflix, going somewhere fun, or eating one of my favorite foods. If you are also motivated by rewards, what you can do is set aside some money after completing each task. Maybe you put two or three dollars in a jar after completing each chapter. Once you reach the deadline and submit your writing, you can spend the money on something special that you have been wanting to buy. It will make the purchase even more enjoyable, knowing that you met the deadline on time.

One of the most important things to keep in mind while working with deadlines is that if you don’t have time, make time. If a deadline is quickly approaching, I will write on the bus or train, or while in the waiting room during doctor appointments. If I don’t have my journal or laptop near me, I write on my phone. You can also dictate on your phone. If necessary, I cancel plans to meet with friends so that I can make a deadline.

Aside from that, it’s also important to mention that you should keep your emotional and mental health in check. Completing deadlines is actually very stress-relieving for me, but there are times when I feel completely overwhelmed with the task ahead. If I also have other problems in my daily life, this only worsens my stress. That being said, if you have something going on or there is an emergency, don’t beat yourself up over not meeting a deadline.

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About the Author

Aden PolydorosAden Polydoros grew up in Long Grove, Illinois, the youngest of three children. Aden’s family moved to Arizona when he was in second grade. As a kid, he spent much of his time exploring the desert near his home. When he wasn’t searching for snakes and lizards, he was raiding the bookshelves of the local library. As a teenager, Aden decided that he wanted to be a writer. He spent his free time writing short stories. He was encouraged by his English teacher to try his hand at writing a novel, which inspired him to begin PROJECT PANDORA. The YA thriller is set for publication with Entangled Publishing in Summer of 2017. He is represented by Mallory Brown of Triada US.

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Posted in Reviews

The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

The Secrets She KeepsThe Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s been awhile now since I’ve been so wrapped up in a novel that I have to take a peek at the ending. If I don’t, I can’t just relax and read the book – I’m just racing to the ending, needing to know how it all works out. “The Secrets She Keeps” made me peek.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot because it all unfolds beautifully as you get further into the novel. But, generally, the book alternates between two women’s point of view: Agatha and Meghan, both of whom are expecting babies. Meghan is a mommy blogger who leads a life that looks perfect from the outside, but is fractured from within. Agatha works at a supermarket and from the beginning, you can tell something about her is….off. Her story unfolds as the novel goes on.

This novel isn’t about suspense, since most people can guess what’s going on early on, but it’s more about the thrill – how the heck is this going to work out?! I was absolutely glued to the pages. Both stories are fascinating and it’s hard to say which woman I enjoyed reading about more. In different ways, both were fascinating and captivated me.

The ending was as satisfying as it could be, and left me with both sadness and hope. It really shows how good a book this was in that it made me feel so many emotions; from happiness to extreme sadness.

Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Posted in For Fun

Teaser Tuesday: “The Secrets She Keeps” by Michael Robotham

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. The meme is hosted by The Purple Booker!

It is very easy to play along:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  •  Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.

Today, I’m actually just starting a new book, so I’m just as excited to see the “teaser” as I am to share it! Here we go:

Turning a corner, I step around a cleaner’s trolley and glance into the ward. Curtains have been pulled around some of the beds, creating cubicles. One of them is open.

Book Description

In the bestselling tradition of The Girl on the Train and In a Dark, Dark Wood, from the internationally bestselling author whom Stephen King called “an absolute master” of the psychological thriller, comes a riveting suspense novel about the unlikely friendship between two pregnant women that asks: how far would you go to create the perfect family?

Agatha is pregnant and works part-time stocking shelves at a grocery store in a ritzy London suburb, counting down the days until her baby is due. As the hours of her shifts creep by in increasing discomfort, the one thing she looks forward to at work is catching a glimpse of Meghan, the effortlessly chic customer whose elegant lifestyle dazzles her. Meghan has it all: two perfect children, a handsome husband, a happy marriage, a stylish group of friends, and she writes perfectly droll confessional posts on her popular parenting blog—posts that Agatha reads with devotion each night as she waits for her absent boyfriend, the father of her baby, to maybe return her calls.

When Agatha learns that Meghan is pregnant again, and that their due dates fall within the same month, she finally musters up the courage to speak to her, thrilled that they now have the ordeal of childbearing in common. Little does Meghan know that the mundane exchange she has with a grocery store employee during a hurried afternoon shopping trip is about to change the course of her not-so-perfect life forever…

With its brilliant rendering of the secrets some women hold close and a shocking act that cannot be undone, The Secrets She Keeps delivers a dark and twisted page-turner that is absolutely impossible to put down.

Posted in Lists

Thursday Musings: The DNF Graveyard

 

I’ve had a really great streak going lately – the last several books I have read have all been great. I’ve really been on quite a roll.

Which got me thinking about books that I didn’t mesh with – specifically ones that I wasn’t able to finish. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t make them “bad,” they just weren’t for me. Usually, if I only get a couple chapters into a book and realize it’s not for me, I don’t post a review. I don’t feel I can truly review a book having only read maybe two or three chapters.

So for the first time, I’m admitting which books I couldn’t finish – at least the first time I picked them up (See more on that below).

  1. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) by George R.R. Martin: After hearing all the hype about the TV series, I was really curious about the books, because that’s how I think. But I couldn’t get more than 100 pages in. Even though I knew it was a fantasy/epic/drama, it was just SO MUCH of all of that. I couldn’t stomach it, I guess for the same reasons I don’t like soap operas. Oh well.
  2. The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff: I have always been fascinated by the Salem witch trials, and have even visited Salem, Mass. But I couldn’t get into this book, which blended reality and legend and lots and lots of small details. I couldn’t follow it at all.
  3. One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell: I got about halfway through this book before letting it just drift off and finally putting it away. I just couldn’t really sympathize with others the characters here. But maybe that’s because they were just so different from me. Or the fact that I never liked “Sex and the City.” *shrugs*
  4. The Girl with the Dragin Tattoo by Stieg Larsson: Ok, so the first time I picked this book up in an airport bookstore, I let the Swedish names trip me up. I couldn’t focus on the Tory because I was distract d by the hard to pronounce names and places. But then, maybe 2 years or so later, I decided to give it another try. And I DEVOURED the entire series. I absolutely loved it. Which goes to show you: never give up on a book totally. You may change your mind.

What books have you never been able to finish? Or do you think I should give one of these another chance? Let me know!

Posted in For Fun

Goodreads Monday: “Black Chalk” by Christopher J. Yates

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To take part, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners, and add your own links!

Here’s my selection this week!:

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It was only ever meant to be a game played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University; a game of consequences, silly forfeits, and childish dares. But then the game changed: The stakes grew higher and the dares more personal and more humiliating, finally evolving into a vicious struggle with unpredictable and tragic results. Now, fourteen years later, the remaining players must meet again for the final round. Who knows better than your best friends what would break you?

This book has gotten mixed reviews so far, but the cover and description intrigue me! Let me know if you’ve read this one!

Posted in For Fun

Goodreads Monday: What Remains of Me by Alison Gaylin

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To take part, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners, and add your own links!

My selection is:

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On June 28, 1980, Kelly Michelle Lund shoots and kills Oscar-nominated director John McFadden at a party in his home. For years, speculation swirls over the enigmatic seventeen-year-old’s motives. Convicted of the murder, she loses her youth and her freedom—but keeps her secrets to herself.

Thirty years later—and five years after her release from prison—the past has come back to haunt Kelly. Her father-in-law, movie legend Sterling Marshall, is found in a pool of blood in his home in the Hollywood Hills—dead from a shot to the head, just like his old friend John McFadden.

Once again, Kelly is suspected of the high-profile murder. But this time, she’s got some unexpected allies who believe she’s innocent of both killings. But is she?

I love books with double the mystery like this – it sounds like a great read!

Posted in Book Extras

The Girl From Rawblood: Preview and Giveaway!

image001In March, I’m super excited to be part of the blog tour for “The Girl From Rawblood,” by Catriona Ward, which I have just finished reading and am now obsessed with.

From the publisher – but trust me, the description can’t do it justice:

For generations the Villarcas have died mysteriously, and young. Now Iris and her father will finally understand why. . .

 

At the turn of England’s century, as the wind whistles in the lonely halls of Rawblood, young Iris Villarca is the last of her family’s line. They are haunted, through the generations, by “her,” a curse passed down through ancient blood that marks each Villarca for certain heartbreak, and death.

 

Iris forsakes her promise to her father, to remain alone, safe from the world. She dares to fall in love, and the consequences of her choice are immediate and terrifying. As the world falls apart around her, she must take a final journey back to Rawblood where it all began and where it must all end…

 

From the sun dappled hills of Italy to the biting chill of Victorian dissection halls, The Girl from Rawblood is a lyrical and haunting historical novel of darkness, love, and the ghosts of the past.

To get you excited, below is a Chapter One sneak peak, as well as a chance to win a free copy of the book (starting the 27!), which comes out March 7!

Continue reading “The Girl From Rawblood: Preview and Giveaway!”