Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Writing Blog

If you would like to, please feel free to follow my blog about my writing processes here:


 My journey is a bit slower than most, but I am determined. I'd love it if you'd join me.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Adieu

I am taking a most likely permanent hiatus from blogging. I am thankful for all the friends and contacts I have made both online and in person and for all the opportunities I have been blessed to have as a result of book blogging.

 Right now I have to prioritize my life, and my family and church will always have to come first.

To all my friends - I'd love to keep in touch... I just have to make the right priorities my first priorities.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Virtual Writing Conference for Teens Blog Tour

Hey everyone,

My name is Tahsha, and I’m a member of Writers Cubed. I’m here to talk about something I think is downright amazing:

Teenagers.

Particularly teenage authors.

Did you know that there are tons of teen writers out there? There are. And guess what? They are freaking good at writing! Good chance is you are one of those teen writers, or maybe you want to be but you’re hiding behind your facade of coolness, not believing that you actually have the skills to be a writer.

That was true for me (though I’m not a teenager-even though I act like one half the time.) I always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t believe I could. In fact, I was embarrassed to admit that I wanted to be. Silly, I know.

Then I found an awesome writing group, (feel free to pause and go to our website if you want to know just how cool we are--I’ll wait for you.) and we started learning how to write together. We attended classes and conferences that taught us that there is more to writing then just romantic tension.

Guess what we discovered through the process? There wasn’t much available to help the super talented teenage writers that we were friends with. So, with our combined brain power, super awesomeness, and freaking hard work…

Voila!

TEEN AUTHOR BOOT CAMP WAS BORN!!! 



The boot camp, held in Orem, UT, has been so popular in the past, that this year Writers Cubed wanted everyone out there a chance to be a part of it, even if you live in the middle-of-no-where and even if you are just a teenage wanna-be like me. So we are introducing the first EVER LiveStream of Teen Author Boot Camp.  

The keynote address by Newbery Winning Author Shannon Hale will be free for anyone to watch. It will be on March, 16th, 2013 at 9 a.m. MST. A subscription to the Live Broadcast costs $4.99 and includes the following:

9 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.—Writers Cubed: Welcome

9:15 a.m. to 9:55 a.m.—Keynote by Newbery Award winner Shannon Hale (Princess Academy)

10 a.m to 10:45 a.m.—Tyler Whitesides (Janitors)  Class: Imagine and Create. 

10:55 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.—Janette Rallison (My Fair Godmother)  ClassBad dialogue can kill a story.

12:50 a.m. to 1:35 p.m.—NYT bestseller Kiersten White (Paranormalcy)  Class: Plot Like a Villain.

1:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.—J. Scott Savage (Farworld)  Class: Finding Your Voice.

2:50 p.m. to 3:25 p.m.—Journey to Publication Panel:             Agent Amy Jameson & authors Chad Morris, Tess Hilmo, J. Scott Savage, Cindy Bennett

3:35 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.—NYT bestseller Aprilynne Pike (Wings)   Class: World-building is the invisible foundation to your book.

4:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.—Writers Cubed: Winner of the First Chapter Contest and closing remarks.

If you just can’t get enough of TABC, there is also an All Pass Subscription to the rest of the conference (including more than fifteen awesome presentations, including mine--haha). That only costs $9.99 and, as if it wasn’t a sweet enough deal already, you can watch the whole conference whenever you want for an entire year.

To register to watch Shannon Hale’s Keynote for free, visit www.teenauthorbootcamp.com and click on Livestream. It only takes a minute. While you’re there, check out the other presenters who will be teaching at the conference under the tab “Drill Sergeants.”

Stay tuned for details on how to win a subscription to the TABC Live Broadcast for FREE on this blog.

Tahsha Wilson is a co-founder of Writers Cubed, a group of Utah writing activists who created the Teen Author Boot Camp in 2010. Please visit her website at www.writerscubed.com.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Review + Giveaway: Notes From Ghost Town by Kate Ellison

Synopsis:

They say first love never dies...

From critically acclaimed author Kate Ellison comes a heartbreaking mystery of mental illness, unspoken love, and murder. When sixteen-year-old artist Olivia Tithe is visited by the ghost of her first love, Lucas Stern, it’s only through scattered images and notes left behind that she can unravel the mystery of his death.

There’s a catch: Olivia has gone colorblind, and there’s a good chance she’s losing her mind completely—just like her mother did. How else to explain seeing (and falling in love all over again with) someone who isn’t really there?

With the murder trial looming just nine days away, Olivia must follow her heart to the truth, no matter how painful. It’s the only way she can save herself.

Details:

Published February 12th 2013 by EgmontUSA

The Elliott Review:

The phrase that just popped into my head randomly while reading this book is "beautiful sadness." The prose in this book is so beautiful that it basically feels like a lengthy poem full of striking images and metaphorical phrases. The emotion in places was just overwhelming while not even once being overstated.

I love that the reader is left guessing about the true nature of what is going on. Is Olivia succumbing to schizophrenia like her mom, her world turning gray and Stern reappearing and guiding her ever more paranoid steps? Is she just grieving and her imaginations and wishful thinking are taking on a more visual quality than those of an average person? Or is Stern, in ghost form, really guiding her toward finding out the truth about his death? Olivia herself doesn't know the answer to this as she searches for the truth.

This book also has not one but two lovely boys. Although living Stern plays a very short role in the book, the connection that he and Olivia have is so poignant and real that her heartbreak over losing him feels extremely real (and devastating). On one hand I really wanted her to never forget about him and never think about anyone else ever again, but the living Austin seems alluring as well, though his motives and character are unclear.

The way Stern's murder affects the relationship that Olivia has with her family is also extremely well done. She by turns tries to understand and ignores her mother, wondering why (and if) she did what she did. She's further puzzled by her father's newfound happiness in his fiance, Heather. Her relationships with her friends suffer as well, as she is afraid to open up about the secret world she is dealing with.

This is an intriguing, beautiful read. I found myself reading so quickly, hoping to uncover the truth of everything, and then I would have to go back and re-read what I just read because it was so beautifully written I didn't want to miss anything.

Source: Thanks to Paper Lantern Lit for providing a copy of this title in exchange for a fair review and to Media Masters Publicity for making copies available for a giveaway!



About Kate:

 
Kate Ellison spent a lot of time as a child, in Baltimore, pretending to be things she wasn't: a twin, a telekinetic, a benevolent witch with a box full of magical stones, a spy, a soccer player. She trained as an actor in Chicago and has walked across the entire country of Spain. She is a painter and jewelry-maker, and has at least one artist friend who really does keep his true name a secret from the world. He told her, but don't ask her to tell you—she's not gonna do it. Kate lives in Brooklyn, New York. The Butterfly Clues is her first novel. 


Follow Kate:


Win 
Notes From Ghost Town
AND

The Butterfly Clues!

Open to US and Canada.
Ends March 14th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review: Catherine by April Lindner

Synopsis:

A forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you’ve never seen it before.

Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?

Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years—a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her—starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.

Details:

Published January 2nd 2013 by Poppy  

The Elliott Review:

This book is extremely well-written. If you know nothing about Wuthering Heights, the perfectly crafted characters and the intriguing mystery are interesting in their own right. If you do know (in my case, love) Wuthering Heights, the modernized story contrasted with the original is just mind blowing. April Lindner has ingeniously engineered a story that just feels so close to it in spirit as well as thematically.

Chelsea's tale of searching for her mother frames the compelling mystery, as she tries to locate her or at least find out why she disappeared all those years ago. She gets to know the moody, mysterious man known as Hence and must determine the relationship he had to her mother. She enlists the help of Hence's employee, Coop, and the two go digging for the truth despite Hence's violent intensity toward the idea.

Interspersed with Chelsea's search is Catherine's tale, revealed to us as Chelsea reads her mother's diary. In it, we see passionate love unfold between Catherine and Hence and painstakingly, helplessly watch as it all goes wrong.

I loved getting to enjoy the story of one of my favorite classics in this re-imagined way. I love the fresh way that these characters live those themes, making it almost more heartbreaking than the original. I will probably have to re-read this again soon.



Source: Thanks to LBYR for making this title available via Netgalley.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Review: Shades of Earth (Across the Universe 3) by Beth Revis

Synopsis:

The final book in the  New York Times bestselling trilogy, perfect for fans of Battlestar Galactica and Prometheus!

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.

FUELED BY LIES.
RULED BY CHAOS.
ALMOST HOME.

Details:

Published January 15th 2013 by Razorbill  

The Elliott Review:

I can't. Ahh.This book! This book!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, it just killed me so much. In a good way. Across the Universe and A Million Suns were both so amazing that I couldn't imagine there was enough tension/conflict/subtext left to make the third book as breathless and heart-stopping as they were. But I was wrong. SOOO wrong. So wrong that this review is, unashamedly, straight up fan girl.

I didn't read the above synopsis, so I had no idea what Amy and Elder and the rest would face upon landing on Centauri-Earth. I was just as confused as they were regarding all the planet-threats, so caught up in their experience of it that I wasn't even doing my try-to-predict-what-will-happen business. I was just like, whoah. Each and every step of the way, I was confused, befuddled, and intrigued. Beth Revis is a master in creating tension on all fronts, which is why this book is amazing.

Okay, and ... ELDER IS AMAZING. I have always loved Elder, but I feel that in this book he really has come into his own. Due to his relationship with Amy, he has had to change so that he was not on the same crazy courses as Eldest and Orion (the latter of whom I now love on a strange level). He has had to learn to be a leader in a very rocky, self-taught process, and now that there is true catastrophe to protect his people from - he steps up for real. Seeing that part of his character arc is just stunning to behold. I feel that he beautifully embodies the true definition of hero. I now have four main YA loves (Jace, Four, Vane, and Elder in case you are wondering!!!).

Also, in a slightly less fangirlish way, I really admire Amy's path as a character. She goes from being weak and scared and reacting to trusting and trying to keep herself open. And now on this crazy planet, things become very clear for her as to how she feels for Elder even though a lot of other things stand in the way and are confusing  - like dealing with her parents waking up. This is supposed to be an amazing thing for her, the thing she has wanted most throughout the time we as readers have known her. And then they finally do wake up ... and ... issues!! How do they and Elder and all that she has learned as a quasi-member of the Godspeed shipborn crew fit together? She's basically a translator/cultural go-between since she has experienced life on the ship and life on Sol-Earth. And Where does this newly appearing Chris fit into the landscape??

I was so entranced by this story and the way it ended (wish I could say more without spoiling it) that I just immediately started rereading the series. I have just finished re-reading Across the Universe for the second time, and I'm just happy to report that all the foreshadowing and trickery that take place in that book are glorious in light of what happens in this one.

I am kind of hoping Beth Revis decides to pull a Cassandra Clare and write some sort of follow up to the series. It really is perfect as it is, but I don't have time to start writing fan fiction so I can imagine the next chapter and would just much prefer there to be an official version! :)

Okay, again, sorry for the lack of cerebral content in this review.

Source: Purchased

Friday, January 25, 2013

Review: Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry 1) by Simone Elkeles

Synopsis:

A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created 'perfect' life is about to unravel before her eyes. She's forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for: her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect.

Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.

In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Details:

Published December 23rd 2008 by Walker Books for Young Readers  

The Elliott Review:

Yes, I am super late to the party on this one... Try five years too late! I was in the mood for some hot and spicy romance, and that is definitely what I got! This book an engrossing, lightning fast read that had me so strongly rooting for both characters I didn't even know what to do.

First of all, Alex is hot. Period. He is a typically sexy Latino with a haunting bad boy image to go along with it. Both of these things together are ... lovely! And what I like about him even more is that, while being a dangerous character involved in dangerous things, that's not all he's about. He has a smooshy, soft side to him that he keeps hidden due to being hurt in the past. Plus, a gang member showing vulnerability is not the smartest idea. 

The romance is hot. When Alex and Brittany begin to realize they have feelings for each other, the results are both emotionally and romantically satisfying. Both of them have to sort through their issues, remove the societal and personal barriers that they have in place keeping them from letting the other see who each truly is. Dios mio, there are some fireworks between them, both good and bad!

This book is another case of two individuals who learn to be their best selves because of what learning to love the other one taught them. This was the first book I read by Simone Elkeles, but it definitely won't be the last!



Source: Won

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Review: Uses For Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Synopsis:

Anna remembers a time before boys, when she was little and everything made sense. When she and her mom were a family, just the two of them against the world. But now her mom is gone most of the time, chasing the next marriage, bringing home the next stepfather. Anna is left on her own—until she discovers that she can make boys her family. From Desmond to Joey, Todd to Sam, Anna learns that if you give boys what they want, you can get what you need. But the price is high—the other kids make fun of her; the girls call her a slut. Anna's new friend, Toy, seems to have found a way around the loneliness, but Toy has her own secrets that even Anna can't know.

Then comes Sam. When Anna actually meets a boy who is more than just useful, whose family eats dinner together, laughs, and tells stories, the truth about love becomes clear. And she finally learns how it feels to have something to lose—and something to offer. Real, shocking, uplifting, and stunningly lyrical,  Uses for Boys  is a story of breaking down and growing up.

 Details:

Published January 15th 2013 by St Martin’s Press  

The Elliott Review:


I expected this book to be sweet and interesting - your average fare for a girl-doesn't-wanna-lose-boy story. My mind was blown by this novel in a lot of different ways. First of all, and I think most notably, the writing in this book is amazing. Every scene is so sensory and emotionally raw, all in the sparest of words. The prose feels so poetic that it almost hurts, all with not one ounce of overwriting or melodrama. The reader experiences the events of Anna's life with her, just the way she feels them... and nothing more.

And onto the events of Anna's life. It's sad and lonely even though it's filled with boys, and she herself feels so much.. yet it's under the surface. The choices she makes are all about breaking that loneliness and boredom inherent her life. Her mom has her own issues, her father is nowhere to be found, and even her one true friend isn't up front with her. The decisions she makes hint at a lack of value that Anna places on herself and her body and her life in general. They are not the pretty type of decisions that one always looks for in the heroine of a story, but they are so realistic in regards to what her life has been like.

I just feel like this book is pure writing without any crap, or even the author's own feelings toward Anna, thrown in. It's art, plain and simple. I don't love or agree with all of the choices Anna makes, but the writing leaves that decision up to me. I'm not sure how things will end up for her, but I feel that this writing is like a snapshot that truly and beautifully depicts the changes in Anna's life and thinking that take place in 240 short pages we get to follow her story. I really wish I could write like this!!!

Young Adult Notes:

A lot of sensitive themes - promiscuity, rape, abortion, substance use, etc.

Source: Thanks to St. Martin's Press for making this title available at NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

Trailer:


Friday, January 4, 2013

Review: The Lies that Bind (Liar Society 2) by Lisa and Laura Roecker

Synopsis:

Just when Kate Lowry thought she had life at elite private school Pemberly Brown figured out, she cracks open a fortune cookie to find a message from her best friend Grace--who's supposed to be dead.

Another Sister Gone

A classmate has gone missing, and Kate soon realizes that the disappearance is tied to the secret societies that rule her private school. Her best friend died for their secrets, and there's no way she'll let them get away with it twice. It's up to quirky outsider Kate to get some answers, but in a school where every answer leads to more questions and nothing's as it seems, who can she trust?

Details:

Published November 6th 2012 by Sourcebooks Fire
The Elliott Review:

This book is a perfect continuation of The Liar Society! I was sucked into it just as fast as I was in the first. Even though Kate has some answers about Grace's death, she is still mourning, still not over the whole thing. And in the midst of the campus trying to move on, another Sister disappears. This book develops the layers that the secret societies have at Pemberly-Brown, the way the Sisterhood and the Brotherhood are at war with each other. Even though she is not directly involved in either group, Kate is sucked into it all, trying to help find Bethany because she knows what it feels like to lose a friend.

My FAVE part of this book is the guy factor. Kate has, well, a lot of guys in her life be they hot or not. I love the continuation of her relationship with Liam ... but what's up with his not understanding her quest for justice? Will they be able to work it out? And then there's Bradley. Amazingly, he seems kind of sincerely like a decent guy... or is he?? And Seth. So loyal and sweet and always there for Kate. This would be so enthralling if he weren't always eating smelly Cheetos and being so unattractively going through puberty... Will he still be so semi-gross when he's done with the process? I just don't know how I feel about any of these guys. I like them all a lot, though, so I think it's, like, a love square??? I don't know. It definitely keeps me guessing.

The conclusion of the book is satisfying, yet some of my questions about the guys are still unanswered, leaving me basically crazy until the next book comes out.... At least, there better be!!! Ahh! So fun!

Source: Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for providing a copy of this title in exchange for a fair review.