Camp Nanowrimo: April

Note: Image provided by campnanowrimo.org.

For those who don’t know November is National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo for short. During November writers of various skill levels from all over the world attempt the seemingly impossible– writing a novel (or at least the first 50,000 words) in a single thirty day period.

Writing 50,000 words in one month can be daunting for a number of reasons. Sometimes November is simply a busy month and work or school get in the way. Camp NaNoWriMo is the solution.

Camp is a more relaxed version of the main event in which participants can chose their own word count goals. Participants don’t have to write a novel either. There are people writing everything from scripts to memoirs to graphic novels. Feel free to edit or rewrite a novel for this event. The general rule for line edits is that an hour of editing counts for 1,000 words written according to the @nanowrimo Twitter page.

This event would not be complete without a summer camp theme. This year participants are sorted into a virtual “cabin” of twelve members. Participants can chose to be sorted randomly or chose cabin members based on the criteria of age or genre.

Cabin members receive an overall cabin word count goal and a “cabin forum” which is private to members of that specific cabin. There are also the camp forums over at nanowrimo.org which allow participants to get motivation from outside their cabin.

The next camp season starts in two days on the first of April, but it’s not two late to join. If April isn’t a good time then there is always the July session. Register at campnanowrimo.org.

The only major criteria to participate on the main site is that you must be 13 years of age or older. Under 13? No problem! Participate in the young writers version at ywp.nanowrimo.org.

Are you participating in Camp this April? Then comment below and share your experience or expectations!

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Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days, 1) by Susan Ee Book Review

Title: Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days book 1)

Author: Susan Ee

Genre(s): Young Adult, Paranormal, Apocalyptic

Release Date: May 21, 2011

Synopsis: Six weeks ago the world ended. Those cute little angel mosaics and statues? Turns out they’re about as far from the truth as it is possible to imagine. The apocalypse was not from an alien invasion or scientific invention. The world was destroyed by angels.

17-year-old Penryn Young doesn’t care about saving the world. She just wants to have her sister back, and there’s only one person who can help her. The only problem is that he’s not exactly human.

He’s a wingless angel named Raffe, and angels are the enemy.

If Penryn is to find her sister and Raffe is to get his wings back these two must make a temporarily alliance. Their only hope is to reach San Francisco where the angels have gathered in number, but there is no guarantee that arriving in San Francisco will give either of them what they want.

Review:  When I told my friends I had read this book in one night they thought I was crazy. When I reached the “100%” mark on my e-reader in one sitting I was not at all surprised. I enjoyed this novel that much. Angelfall is the suspense grabbing, action-packed type of novel that leaves readers wondering “what happens next?”

I must admit that I came into this book with some doubts. To put it simply, I had a prejudice against self-published authors. But, this book has helped change that. If I hadn’t known before I started reading that this book had been self-published I never would have guessed.

One of the main reason this books works is our main character, Penryn. Unlike most of the heroine’s I’ve read lately Penryn is a very strong female lead who never forgets what’s at stake and is determined to find her sister no matter what the cost. Penryn isn’t about to let anyone push her around– not even Raffe.

Raffe knows this about Penryn. He lets Penryn fight her own battles and acknowledges her strengths. Some readers might be expecting some Penryn and Raffe insta-love thanks to all the paranormal romances in existence, but this was not the case. This book does contain a touch of romance, but it is mostly found in the last ten percent. Perhaps one of my favorite elements of this book was the absence of the “love triangle” cliche that plagues paranormal novels.

The usage of angels in this book was fairly well done. The author was trying to write an angel book that appeals to the general audience. I know that a lot of people are hesitant to read books containing angels because they either a) don’t read books that are preachy or b) don’t read books that are the opposite of preachy. As this book takes a neutral stance, neither audience is likely to have a problem with it on this regard.

Raffe is not your stereotypical angel from modern YA novels either– none of the angels in this novel are. Most novelists either decide to have the focus of their angel novel be on fallen angels or  morally perfect beings who can do no wrong but Mrs. Ee has decided for her angels to be more like the angels of the Old Testament. Meaning that there is destruction to the point that the world can say goodbye to most of its major cities.

The world building was another strong point. This novel is set only a few weeks after the start of the apocalypses which results in characters who still remember their lives before and most modern infrastructure is still around but useless. I liked the way the author intermixed the highly popular Apocalyptic and Paranormal genres. I often see the two apart but almost never written into the same book, and I found the combination of angels and the end of the world to be a refreshing twist.

One of the only element that I didn’t enjoy was the cannibalism. I give a detailed analysis of my reasoning without giving away major spoilers so all I can say is I felt it was unnecessary.

This book was one of the best apocalyptic novels I’ve read in a while.

Disclaimers: If this book were a movie I’d rate it towards the more gruesome end of the PG-13 spectrum. This novel contains references to cannibalism and potentially disturbing depictions of dead bodies.

Rating/Recommendations: I recommend this book for people who enjoy strong heroines and are looking for a fast paced read. I would recommend reading this book when you have time set aside to read through it quickly.

I give this book 4.5/5 because I adored Penryn, liked that the romance remained a subplot, and found the world Susan Ee created facinating. The .5 is only taken off because I didn’t enjoy the way cannibalism is used in the story-line.

4.5 blue jays

earthBound By Aprilynne Pike Book Review

Title: earthBound

Author: Aprilyeen Pike

Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

Release Date: July 30, 2013

Synopsis: Travia’s former life was ripped away from her in an instant. She’d gotten on that plane expecting a bright future at a prestigious art school, but she’d gotten off alone and lucky to be alive.

Travia is the sole survivor of a devastating plane crash who just want’s to start a new and move on, but the world won’t let her. Travia begins to wonder if the crash might not have been an accident.

 

Review: Reading a book about a pane crash on a plane is not the smartest thing I’ve ever done. I picked this book up because of the cover and bought it because I’d heard of Miss Pike’s Wings Trilogy. Unfortunately for me I failed to read the description and only realized I had done the unthinkable as I read the first page.

My heart pounding, I glanced wearily at my seat number. I was not in seat E12, the seat of the main character. I sighed in relief and went back to reading, glancing out the window at the slightest sign of turbulence.

Sadly,  book wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as the story I’ve just told. For one thing the love triangle was a set up in a way that is used far to often and the main character got on my nerves. I didn’t find her decisions entirely believable.

The other aspect that put me off was the world building. I read this not long after finishing Unremembered by Jessica Broody. The whole “plane crash” scenario is almost eerily similar. The “Earthbound” concept wasn’t all that intriguing once it was explained. It was just too predictable for my taste.

Don’t get the wrong impression, this book was not terrible, but it didn’t meet my expectations. The book is very gripping after the first few chapters and is fairly fast paced.

The moral: Don’t bring books on a plane without reading the description first, or you may just be in for a panic attack.

Disclaimers: Some swearing, mild violence, kissing

Rating/Recommendations: I give this book 3/5 for giving me a good laugh and keeping me hooked but not holding up to my expectations. This book is good for people looking for something cute and doesn’t care if cliches of the YA Paranormal Romance genre are present.

3 blue jays