2015

He Said, She Said: Writing Effective Dialogue

He Said, She Said

Summary:

Dialogue that drones on, clutters the page, or stalls the scene can ruin even the best of novels. Learn to avoid common dialogue pitfalls and dazzle your readers, editors, and agents with snappy scenes and smooth-as-silk transitions between dialogue and narrative. “He Said, She Said” is packed with innovative instruction, detailed information, and essential exercises to help your dialogue skills mesmerize and impress. 

The information offered in “He Said, She Said” is easy to understand and simple to implement. In this guide book you will learn: 

  • How to balance realistic dialogue with your narrative style, including addressing accents and learning the 4 things to leave out of your dialogue 
  • 5 ways to seamlessly insert dialogue into your scene, such as expressing gestures and employing summary dialogue 
  • 7 tricks to getting the most out of dialogue tags: everything from finding the right intensity level to avoiding POV issues 
  • 4 ways to improve your dialogue crafting skills, with prompts and exercises included.

Don’t waste an opportunity for success by settling for mediocre dialogue in your novel. Let “He Said, She Said” help you craft your characters’ exchanges with ease and skill. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Please note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review courtesy of Sage’s Blog Tours.

Review:

This was a quick read that I covered in two sittings, but I know that I will continue to reference for quite some time.  The tips and tricks are well explained and provide a good launching point for anyone in their writing.  The author uses similar sections of dialogues in order to show before and after improvements.  Having just finished my first NaNoWriMo, this was particularly of interest to me since I will begin the editing process in January.  I have already identified a few common pitfalls that I believe I completed during my writing so I’m looking forward tackling the editing and updating using the principles used in this book!

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Folks who would like to improve their writing skills.


The Gift

The Gift

Summary:

If you could wish for one gift this Christmas, what would it be?

Everyday Lou Suffern battled with the clock. He always had two places to be at the same time. He always had two things to do at once. When asleep he dreamed. In between dreams, he ran through the events of the day while making plans for the next. When at home with his wife and family, his mind was always someplace else.

On his way into work one early winter morning, Lou meets Gabe, a homeless man sitting outside the office building. Intrigued by him and on discovering that he could also be very useful to have around, Lou gets Gabe a job in the post room.

But soon Lou begins to regret helping Gabe. His very presence unsettles Lou and how does Gabe appear to be in two places at the same time?

As Christmas draws closer, Lou starts to understand the value of time. He sees what is truly important in life yet at the same time he learns the harshest lesson of all.

This is a story about people who not unlike parcels, hide secrets.  They cover themselves in layers until the right person unwraps them and discovers what’s inside. Sometimes you have to be unravelled in order to find out who you really are. For Lou Suffern, that took time.  (Summary and book cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

Ok, ok I confess, I was a serious sucker for this book! In so many ways it’s the epitome of chick literature.  The book is set during the holidays and it completely fulfills so many stereotypes, but it just somehow works so beautifully.   The not-so-subtle message of the book is that life is short and that it’s good to remember the things that REALLY matter in life.  You never know when will be your last opportunity to spend time with those you care about.

The book absolutely made me cry despite my best efforts and the ending is a sad/happy at the same time.  If you’re looking for a romance or happily-ever-after with a bow; this isn’t the one for you.  I thought the book was fantastic, but just be prepared for what you’re getting into!

Rating: 5 stars!

Who should read it? Chick lit fans looking for a tear-jerking (in a good way!) holiday read.

Alien Kisses and Holiday Wishes

Alien Kisses and Holiday Wishes

Summary:

This captivating bundle includes six ALL-NEW stand-alone spicy hot holiday romances that celebrate the true meaning of the season - escaping with hot sexy aliens. Grab a cup of hot chocolate, sit back and relax with Amazon's bestselling sci-fi romance authors. 

Ashley West - "New Traditions"

Altair comes from a bleak world, full of conflict and having to fight to survive. He's spent his whole life fighting enemies to protect himself and his people, and doesn't believe there's anything soft or good about himself. When he's injured in a battle, he's sent to Earth to recuperate, as injured people don't last long on their planet with near constant battles raging daily. He’s bitter about being sent away, since he believes that his place is with his people, but the choice isn’t his to make, putting him in a foul mood. 

But then he meets Charity, a young woman who doesn't even know who he is, but is determined to spread some Christmas cheer to her grumpy new neighbor, no matter how strange and standoffish he might be. Altair's going to learn that not everything has to be hard and dark, and just might open up a part of himself that he thought had died long ago. 

Pixie Moon - "Small Gifts Outshine the Stars"

Niya ~ Holidays are great! But being at this dagrinian one allows me to see that I’m losing myself in my alien mate’s world. Megan and Kanda agree. We may have started out as captives but we are beyond that now. It’s time we stand up and show them how we humans throw a party. 

We’ll just have to hurry since Megan and Kanda are about to give birth. Between creating a holiday, hot loving, enduring a few hateful dagrinians, spooky as hell lightning strikes, and a scary animal I’m sure we can pull it off. 

Crystal Dawn - "An Alpha Alien’s First Christmas"

It's Christmas time but what does it mean on Jaded where humans and Majuri warriors are learning to live together? Dervac has found his fated mate among the human females and his joy knows no bounds until she rejects him. 

Hannah has things to do and a sharp eyed, curious mate is the last thing she wants, at least for now. Can Dervac figure out what she's up to and save her from herself? Will she let him? On a new world as a new civilization begins, will love grow? 

Calista Skye - "My Alien Prince: The Christmas Tree Prophecy"

When a flying saucer crashes near her house right before Christmas, Amy Miller is surprised to see that Axa'rok, the alien in command, is just drop-dead gorgeous and hotter than any man she's ever seen. The fact that he's the warrior prince of his kingdom in the stars is just the icing on the gingerbread. 

The planet Axa'rok comes from has no women, and he's come to Earth to fulfill a very special prophecy. But now he's shipwrecked, and his crucial mission is in danger. 

Amy is willing to help, but who exactly is the legendary Mother of Womanhood that the prophecy revolves around? Who are the creepy aliens suddenly lurking in the woods? And how will she do her Christmas shopping now? 

When it turns out that curvy Amy is the key to everything, she has to step up and find some strengths she never knew she had... 

Lucy Varna - "A Warrior’s Touch" 

Yasmin Olvera has a problem only Benar Q'Mhel can solve, but can he help her before the situation explodes, taking the two of them down with Yasmin's stalker? 

Lisa Lace - "A Merry Vandwan Christmas" 

She wasn't looking for love, but she found marriage. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Please note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review courtesy of Lucy Varna.

Review:

Warning: Contains repeated sexual content.

Ashley West - "New Traditions" 

This was an ok read, but it was also fulfilling a lot of romance novel stereotypes to me.  Despite that, I have to admit that I still didn’t mind reading it as Charity’s enthusiasm for the holidays was contagious so it was a nice read in advance of Christmas.

Rating: 3 stars!

Pixie Moon - "Small Gifts Outshine the Stars" 

This story was ok, but I didn’t get into it as much as some of the other short stories.  I think the cultural aspects of this book had just a little too much science fiction for me.  The sniffing a little too weird for me although the exhibitionist aspects were also a bit much for me as well.  It was an ok read for a short story anthology, but I wouldn’t be interested in a full-length book.

Rating: 3 stars!

Crystal Dawn - "An Alpha Alien’s First Christmas" 

This was an interesting story that was a romance more in a colonization situation.  Hannah is a great character who is smart, independent and still manages to be believable.  I adored the “hunting party” story where Hannah can hold her own.

The ending of the story felt a little stereotypical to me (without giving anything away), but all in all a good short-story.

Rating: 4 stars!

Calista Skye - "My Alien Prince: The Christmas Tree Prophecy" 

I don’t love traditional aliens so I found some of the more traditional alien aspects a little creepy.  That being said, the way the story was structured was well-done and ended up being a nice story in the end.  I enjoyed it for it was, but I’m not sure I’d read a full-length novel. 

P.S. The epilogue was a cute addition!

Rating: 4 stars!

Lucy Varna - "A Warrior’s Touch" 

This was the most complete of all the stories providing a full story rather than a snippet that is a slight tease for a full-length novel.  As always, Varna manages to create a strong and independent female character who stands up for herself even as she finds a partner in life too.

This story is going to chronologically be right after what will be Varna’s next release.  I am looking forward to finding out more about the background and how it all lines up in the world of the Pruxnae!

Rating: 5 stars!

Lisa Lace - "A Merry Vandwan Christmas" 

I didn’t know anything about Lisa Lace before reading this short story, but I really enjoyed it!  The world building was realistic and intriguing.  I liked the unlikely circumstances and the strong friendship between the women.  Since I haven’t read the story that is before and after this short story I am going probably go back and learn the full arc.

Rating:  5 stars!

Who should read it? Science fiction and romance fans.

The Letting

The Letting

Summary:

What if the Devil doesn’t know he’s the Devil? 

This is the question Veronica “Ronnie” Billings poses to Phoenix, her sworn enemy, the leader of the Peaceful Revolution, and the one she loves.

Kidnapped by Phoenix’s rebels, Ronnie learns how wrong she has been. She had no idea that her patriotism was wasted on a corrupt government. Ronnie was proud to be a Leader; taking hundreds of harvested girls to the Letting facility. After all, she was saving them from future Couplings and bringing them to the safety of the New World. Or so she thought…

Confused, Ronnie realizes the only way to discover the truth is to trust her heart. Together, Phoenix and Ronnie devise a plan to stop their corrupt government and preempt the dangerous rebel coup which is approaching. But when their plan goes awry, will Ronnie be strong enough to save Phoenix, her country, and herself? (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Please note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review courtesy of the author.

Review:

This book had a premise that was completely unique to me.  The dystopian approach wasn’t something I’ve encountered before, which was a refreshing and interesting twist though a little creepy.  The characters are extremely well developed too, which I related to very well.  Veronica goes through some reasonable changes in her attitude towards the government and Phoenix so I was able to forgive the insta-love that could have otherwise felt like a bit much. 

At times I was a little confused as to where the plot was going, but it gave the story more of a thriller vibe than a more predictable young adult book.  It took a bit for the style to grow on me, but in the end I enjoyed it.  I’m looking forward to reading the sequel in the New Year!  Just be forewarned, there is a definite cliff hanger ending.

Warning: Contains violence and some sexual content.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Dystopian fans who are interested in a mild thriller or horror twist!

Want to read the whole series?