Category Archives: Tania Lasenburg

Quick Five© with Mindee Arnett

 Courtesy of Mindee Arnett            (Goodreads)
Courtesy of Mindee Arnett
(Goodreads)

Name: Mindee Arnett

Who is Mindee? A horse loving, former boxer who loves all things paranormal and Mumford and Sons.

Website: http://www.mindeearnett.com

Books: The Nightmare Affair (The Arkwell Academy Books 1 &2) and Avalon (Avalon #1)

Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Nobles

If you haven’t read The Nightmare Affair you need to read my review here and then go buy the book. When you speak to an author a book that you believe changes the whole game, the excitement you feel is off the charts. After having a brief fan girl moment, Tanya Pickles interviewed Mindee Arnett, cutting down the basics of her popular first book and what it took to get there.

Motif Ink is honored . . . Enjoy

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What inspired The Nightmare Affair?

             Tor Teen  Published March 5, 2013              367 Pages
Tor Teen
Published March 5, 2013
367 Pages

The primary inspiration came from the Henry Fuseli painting The Nightmare. It depicts a woman with a “nightmare” sitting on her chest. I saw it and wondered what it would be like if the situation were reversed, if the woman were doing the sitting instead. And voilà, Dusty was born.

You state on your website that you wrote four novels, only submitted one and received dozens of rejection letters. What pushed you to keep trying?

Well, publishing was always the goal, but the drive has always been the story. Regardless of failure I never felt any desire to stop writing. And it just sort of followed that I would keep on trying to publish as well. Also, more than anything I think beginning writers need to understand that writing is a skill that takes a lot of time to develop. And the only way to develop it is to continue writing. I don’t consider those early novels as failures. They were practice novels.

 How would you define your style of writing? What is it about your writing that draws people to read or continue reading your book/books?

Hmm…I’m not sure how to describe my style. I love vivid imagery and language, snappy dialogue, and a story that moves. I really don’t know what draws people to read my stuff other than the ideas themselves.

             Tor Teen    Expected Publication March 4, 2014             384 Pages
Tor Teen
Expected Pub. March 4, 2014
384 Pages

Do you feel that you are a successful writer? What makes you successful?

I think that success isn’t something you obtain. I think it’s something you have to strive for every day. It’s always ongoing. So I guess by that logic I’m only successful because I keep at it.

 Finally, what is the lasting impression you wish to leave in the literary world?

Ha! For now, all I aspire to is to keep having the opportunity to write more books. We’ll see if there’s any lasting impression later, I suppose.

Mindee loves cyber stalkers (hahaha) so follow her here

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For your Quick Five© email Tania at wordpress174@gmail.com

Book Review: For the Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

           Balzer + Bray   Published June 12, 2012              420 Pages
Balzer + Bray
Published June 12, 2012
420 Pages

It’s been years since a genetic experiment went wrong and caused the Reduction and the rise to the Luddite; people who banished most if not all technology.

Elliot North is a Luddite; Four years before she decided not to runway with her childhood love, a servant Kai and since then things have changed.  Choosing to run the family estate, Elliot is forced to allow a group of shipbuilders to rent the land and on that ship is Kai.

While Kai is determined to show Elliot what she lost, Elliot believes this is a second chance at love. But Kai and Elliot both hold secrets they are determined not to share.

Firstly, the book is formatted in two ways; letters from the past between Kai and Elliot and basic novel format. This did add character to the story because you read first hand the relationship between Kai and Elliot. You see the innocence and the growth and in any romance novel that is appreciated.

I was bored. The story, although kept me interested, didn’t keep me fidgeting in my seat. The relationship (because that is a pretty big focus) goes back and forth. It was horrible at one point and I wasn’t sure I could bear HOWEVER, Elliot has a lot of family issues as well as the Kai’s shipmates, so that kept the story going pretty well.

I didn’t like Elliot too much. The author tried to make her plain with a large heart . . . different from the other Luddites. It was a great effort but Elliot seemed too perfect and her biggest flaw was being a Luddite.

Overall I did really enjoy this book and was surprised that book two has nothing to do with book one. Hmm don’t know what that is about. This book gets 8 out of 10.

 

Love, Pickles

Book Review: Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

This book has to begin in like year 3045.

          Dutton Adult   Published June 4, 2013             448 Pages
Dutton Adult
Published June 4, 2013
448 Pages

Justin March has been living in exile after not completing his job as an investigator of religious groups. His job is “important” because the world has been pretty much destroyed due to religious extremists. But anyway, March is able to come back home when Mae Koskinen, a military elite, brings him back to the Republic of United North America.

Mae’s job is to protect March as he investigates ritualistic murders. But her job becomes a bit more complicated when feels become involved.

This was a decent read; different, slow but a bit unexpected.

Firstly, I didn’t appreciate the relationship between March and Mae. Things moved too fast and considering how Mae was called cold within the first 6 pages of the book, I felt her opening even for that moment was fake. I understand what the author was trying to do; surprise the readers with a “big” twist but it seemed pointless especially as the book dragged along.

However, I did like March as a character. Although it was noted that

he was an attractive man you really couldn’t see that through the book. He was annoying in a charming sort of way which made me believe his character. Mae just didn’t fit. Her willingness to be with or attracted to March was too easy for a military elite and also she had just lost someone she really cared about.

I liked the story and where the author was going with it despite character flaw. Yes, it was a slow read and but I didn’t mind the science fiction aspect of the book because it wasn’t over done.

I have never read Mead’s Vampire Academy series which I heard as amazing. With that being said as my first book by this author I didn’t think it was too bad. Should have been more action at the same time the homework was being done. Will I read book two? Probably not. Overall this book gets 7 out of 10.

Love, Pickles

Graphic Novel Review: Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Anya is a Russian American that has a hard time fitting in. Unhappy with her popularity status, unhappy with the way she looks, embarrassed by her family and embarrassed by her

         First Second    Published June 7, 2011          221 Pages
First Second
Published June 7, 2011
221 Pages

heritage, Anya just has it “rough”. While ditching school she falls in a well and meets a ghost who has become attached to her so to speak. A first Anya is completely against having a ghost by her side but when her grades pick up and the boy she is interested in begins to notice her she decides maybe its a good idea to have a ghost around.

I actually really liked this graphic novel. Firstly, the story wasn’t what I expected. Most ghost stories involve a human and a ghost becoming the best of friends trying to find out how and why the ghost was murdered or they involve some unfinished business. Neither are the case and that is what makes the book great. Almost nothing predictable happens. However, at this same time not only does Anya not learn anything of a huge significance, the book feels to be missing something. Maybe a strong realization from any of the characters or even an explosive ending. As well as the story was there was nothing off about it.

As for the art . . .very nice. Nothing too simple but nothing too complicated either. You see that Brosgol has extreme talent not only as a writer but as a artist. Also there is diversity; no two characters look alike in any form and that is extremely appreciated. The book was done in color so it added more appeal to the story and it stepped out the traditional black and white.

For a debut graphic novel, it was done with next to none flaws. Overall this graphic novel gets 9 out of 10. Short, entertaining read.

 

Love, Pickles

Quick Five© with Chris Grabenstein

Courtesy of Chris Grabenstein
Courtesy of Chris Grabenstein

Name: Chris Grabenstein

Who is Chris? Award winning author of both children and adult fiction with a love of all things library.

Website: http://www.ChrisGrabenstein.com

Books: John Ceepak Mystery (Books 1-8), Haunted Mystery (Books 1-4), Christopher Miller Holiday Thrillers (Books 1 &2), Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Itunes

Meet my new favorite author. There are no words to describe when you meet and author who writes exactly what you need and how you need it. From his adult books to his children books, this writer feeds my horror and mystery addiction at the same time. In this interview Chris explains how he is able to be so specific in his books and how he is able to keep both his adult and children audiences entertained.

Enjoy!

You write both Adult and Children mysteries; how are you able to stay pure to each genre without crossing the line into the other?

Well, at their heart, all mysteries are puzzles, where the reader gets to play along and solve a crime or figure something out before the characters in the story do.   The conventions of the genre work for both young and old.  You just have to watch your subject matter and language choices when writing for kids.  And, of course, realize that they have a much shorter attention span than even me!

     Random House Books for Young Readers         Published June 25, 2013            304 Pages
Random House Books for Young Readers
Published June 25, 2013
304 Pages

 

Your books are very involved with specific details about a person’s past or an event in history. What usually inspires these details for you?

I think that comes from the time I spent as a stage actor.  When you are creating a character for a play, you always build a “back story,” a history that would justify why the character is acting the way they are when the curtain goes up.  Details make anything more believable.   A lot of the details come from memories or my own.  For instance, the character of Kyle Keeley, the game fanatic in ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY, is based on my own memories of being the third child in a family of boys.  The only time I could beat my older brothers was when we played board games!

 In your latest book Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library  you’re putting the spotlight on those who completely love the library and have dreamed of spending the ultimate sleepover in the library. What made you decide to write a book about that?

Growing up, I didn’t have access to great (or even good) libraries at school or in my small Tennessee town.  Now that I have been visiting about 40 schools a year to talk about books and writing, I spend a lot of time with awesome librarians and media specialists.  I marvel at how enthusiastic they are about getting their students reading, always standing by with a fresh recommendation.  “Oh, it you liked X, you’ll love Y!”   I sure wish those librarians had been around when I was in middle school.   Then, maybe, I would’ve read more books instead of just a lot of Mad magazines (which, I think are also great).   I wanted this book to be a celebration of libraries and the democratic notion of shared knowledge.   That’s why Mr. Lemoncello’s motto is “Knowledge Not Shared Remains Unknown.”

How would you describe your success as a writer?

Well, it depends on how you define success.  For me, the greatest joy and sense of achievement comes when I hear from parents who tell me that their son or daughter “hasn’t a read a book in years” and “couldn’t put yours down.”  And, when I go into a school and get an assembly of 300 kids jazzed about reading and writing?  That’s a very good and successful day.

         Carroll & Graf   Published Sept. 20, 2005            321 Pages
Carroll & Graf
Published Sept. 20, 2005
321 Pages

Finally, out of all the books you’ve written, which is your favorite and why?

Whichever one I just finished!   Actually, I have a few.   THE CROSSROADS, because it was the first book I wrote for middle grades readers after doing five mysteries and thrillers for adults.   I LOVE writing for kids.   Next up, is I FUNNY, a book I co-authored with James Patterson.  When I first moved to New York City, I wanted to become a stand up comic.  Now, thanks to Jamie Grimm and James Patterson, I get to do it — on the page, anyway.  Finally I am thrilled with ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY.  The response from teachers, librarians, and, most importantly, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders has been phenomenal!

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Book Review: The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Katharine Tulman is being sent to London to find out why her

     Scholastic Press  Published Aug. 27, 2012           318 pages
Scholastic Press
Published Aug. 27, 2012
318 pages

inheritance is being dwindled away by the hands of her eccentric i.e. possibly crazy uncle. But when she gets there she finds out that her Uncle is actually this amazing inventor and he employs a village about 900 people.

While fighting her  feelings (to save her inheritance or a town) and trying to find the truth about her uncle’s way of life, Katharine beings to fall for the mysterious assistant, Lane, who works with her uncle.

This book was okay. I didn’t particularly like Katharine. She was too stuck up and I didn’t completely believe her transformation. The story surrounding her uncle was great and original. I was surprised to know it was based on a true story (it is detailed in the back of the book) and it only intrigued me more.

But the characters, Katherine, her uncle, Lane, everyone, didn’t do anything for me. I was bored. The setting wasn’t as details as I would have liked. Yes, the book had mysterious elements to it but it wasn’t enough for me to enjoy.

However, I did appreciate the fact that the relationship between Katharine and Lane wasn’t the biggest thing. It was a bonus so if it didn’t happen I wouldn’t miss it.

Overall the book gets 6 out of 10. I thought the story was original and a nice retelling of an actual life but it was boring.

 

Love, Pickles