Friday, January 27, 2012

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

While the writing was phenomenal (or why else would I feel so many emotions), my mental health is not worth re-reading this book...ever again.  

If I had one wish for this series, it would have been for it to end on a high note rather than the anticlimactic 'it is what it is' ending I was met with after enduring the mental trauma I was made to suffer throughout the entire book.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

(5 Stars)


Katniss' selflessness and willingness to give her life for others along with her morals/ethics make her the perfect heroine.  Katniss' tales describing her friendship with Gale and their likenesses means there is no way to ignore the strength of their bond and makes you wonder if she unknowingly loves him.  Peeta's tender show of unrequited love makes the reader's heart squeeze, and they cheer for him as emphatically as they pull for Katniss to be the winner of the Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games and the Capital and the Districts.  The world which was created within the covers of this book is very real, making this unbelievable story suddenly plausible and horrific.   

I would highly recommend this book for people of all ages.  In fact, I'm dying to tackle Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2), which will be one of my next books.  Stayed tuned for that review.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Kindle Giveaway & Amazon Exclusive Debut

In honor of my most-recent agreement with Amazon, I'm celebrating with a Kindle Touch giveaway.  Before I summarize the details associated with the giveaway, I want to explain the reasons I, an indie author, made the decision to offer The Warrior Series' e-books exclusively on Amazon and apologize to those who will be unable to buy my books for the next 90 days.

I'm fast approaching my one-year blogger/indie author anniversary.  With that amount of time behind me, I have facts and data to help support my decisions (things I didn't have before).  For example, I know I sell more books on Amazon than all other outlets combined (at least ten times more).  That is because Amazon does a fantastic job at engaging independent authors and making their books available to readers who may never have known about the author's non-traditional published books without Amazon. 

Because Amazon is the site where the majority of my books are sold, I'm comfortable my choice will not isolate me - too terribly much - from the people most interested in reading my books.  The agreement I've made is to make my books available exclusively on Amazon for the next 90 days.  My decision makes me eligible for a share of the Kindle Owners' Lending Library Fund, which is calculated based on a share of the total number of qualified borrows of all participating KDP titles.  In the end, I'm considering this endeavor to be one more phase of my indie author education. 

Wish me luck by participating in my giveaway...and telling others.  THANKS!  THANKS!   


The Warrior Series Giveaway 

I'm not going to make this too difficult, but there will be a simple hurdle (or three) to cross before you can become eligible to win a great new Kindle Touch and some fabulous books by some inspiring Indie Authors.  It goes without saying that Warriors of the Cross and Guardians of the Cross will be two of the books included in the package.

The contest will go on indifinitely until all three of the following goals are met and the winning contestant must have contributed to the success by LIKE'ing or Following in all three places.  Click on each link below and LIKE or FOLLOW:
T. R. Graves Facebook Fan Page has 1,500 LIKES
T. R. Graves' Blog has 500 Followers
WARRIORSSERIES  has 1,500 Twitter Followers
BONUS: You'll get 3 extra indie author ebooks if you've become a T.R. Graves Goodreads Fan. 

Yes, you will have to move your mouse and click your finger a half-dozen times (oh the work) in order to be eligible to win this contest, but I'm absolutely sure you have done more for less.

✣ Above goals must be met (1,500 LIKES on T.R. Graves Facebook, 500 followers on T.R. Graves Blog, & 1,500 WARRIORSERIES twitter followers).
✣ Once the milestones are achieved, the person who is number X,XXX (the preselected number can't be disclosed...yet) to LIKE my Facebook Fan Page will be the winner of:
     ✦ 1 - Kindle Touch (& Prime Member 30-day free trial = Kindle Owners' Lending Library )
     ✦ 1 - Warriors of the Cross e-book
     ✦ 1 - Guardians of the Cross e-book
✣  The final winner has to have LIKE'ed the T.R. Graves Facebook Fan Page, followed the T.R. Graves blog, AND followed WARRIORSSERIES on Twitter. 
     ✦ If not, I will go backwards until I find someone meeting the eligibility requirements.

Friday, January 20, 2012

YA Indie Carnival - Reading's Lessons for Authors

This week, the YA Indie Carnival sponsors are talking about the things they learn when reading.  Without a doubt, the lessons I've learned are as vast as the sea of books within the largest library.  Every book's hundreds of pages and thousands of words hold power and knowledge - for those searching - deeply embedded within its character development, excitement, adventure, and romance.  

Through resilient lead characters, I've learned no man is an island.  No matter how strong, independent, or powerful, the main character must have a team of people supporting his/her efforts and at least one adversary trying to prevent him/her from reaching their goals.  Think Marked (House of Night #1), Zoey, and her gang.

The most awesome hero(ine) will not take you far if the reader does not fall in love with him/her...have a vested interest in their outcome...feel completely horrible when they lose...and beyond happy when they win.  For this to be the case, I've learned the importance of portraying passion, devotion, commitment, and friendship in ways so real the readers experience the characters' emotions.  Think Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1), Rose, Dimitri, and Lissa.

Through books, I learned the setting is as much of a character as anything else described between the covers.  Because of this, I make sure to write about places I know well, describing the look, feel, and smell in ways that produces images in the reader's mind, pangs in their heart, and scents in the air around them.  Think Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) and Bon Temps.

Through great authors, I've come to understand how powerful a book can be if the reader suffers alongside the characters in  a manner that makes them feel like they would know what it's like to be in the character's shoes...even if they've never taken one step in them.  Think The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) and Katniss' starvation and survival.

I love to read.  Studying the characters and the way the authors write sentences - ones that can be structured dozens of ways - and noticing how the writer's version is truly the best because it flowed from them during their writing trance or while they pounded through their writer's block.

Now, join me in finding what my fellow authors/blogger have learned while reading:

1.Laura A. H. Elliott author of Winnemucca & 13 on Halloween, Book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series2.Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3.Heather Self4.T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
5.Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga6.Cheri Schmidt, author of the Fateful Trilogy
7.Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 8.K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
9.Patti Larsen, The Hunted series and The Hayle Coven series10.Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy
11.Dani Snell's Refracted Light Reviews 12.Fisher Amelie, author of The Understorey
13.M. Leighton, Blood Like Poison Series, Madly, The Reaping 14.Kimberly Kinrade, Bits of You & Pieces of Me, Forbidden Mind
15.Madeline Smoot, Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls16.Cidney Swanson, author of Rippler
17.Gwenn Wright, author of Filter18.TG Ayer
19.Melissa Pearl, Author of The Time Spirit Trilogy20.Heather M. White, author of The Destiny Saga
21.Roots in Myth, PJ Hoover22.Courtney Cole Writes

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Clockwork Prince - by Cassandra Clare

✮✮✮✮✮ - 5 stars

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) is a fantastic follow-up to the Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1).  Of course, I would expect nothing more from Cassandra Clare.  What a phenomenal author, writer, and story-teller. 

This is one of those books that will make you want to stop the rest of the world so you can devote your undivided attention to Tess, Will, Jem, and the vivid world Ms. Clare has created.  If you do just that, you will not be disappointed.  Once finished, you will endure withdrawals and anxiously await Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3).

I love the way Tess is torn between Will and Jem.  I find myself pulled in exactly the same the one she is with is the one I think she should be with.  Then, I feel guilty for it later.  In fact, I really, really want to see who Tess ends up with and how Ms. Clare does it in a manner whereby the parabatai relationship between the two men remains strong and powerful since their demon-hunting success is dependent on it.

Making this book's characters real is the disappointment I feel anytime the Shadowhunters are betrayed...especially when that disloyalty comes from people who are deep within the Institutes circle of trust. 

In the end, I would say this series, its characters, its excitement, its world is absolutely comparable to The Mortal Instruments, one of my all-time favorite series. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

YA Indie Carnival - Books Worth Giving Thanks For

Welcome back to the first YA Indie Carnival post of 2012.  Today, the blogger/authors sponsoring this collaboration are sharing books they are thankful for.  I could easily let this post get out of control.  There are millions of great books to read, hundreds of authors who have impassioned me, and just as many new authors to discover.  In fact, if I don't concentrate on one book at a time, I become completely overwhelmed with my to-be-read list.

As an author, I'd be lying if I said my books were not the first ones on my Thankful List.  It never occurred to me that I could write a book when I was a young child.  In my mind, becoming an author was an unattainable goal.  At no point did it occur to me that one day I would be one of 'those' people who wrote exciting and addicting stories. 

With all that said, I'm thankful for Warriors of the Cross because it gave me and my readers the opportunity to get to know Allison La Crosse and her entourage.  I'm thankful for Guardians of the Cross because it allowed me to continue Allison's journey toward learning who she is and what God's preordained plan for her is.  I'm also grateful for Guardians of the Cross because it gave me the chance to introduce two books from my next series, Worth Living For, Underwater Series #1 & Worth Dying For, Underwater Series #2.  Finally, I'm in the middle of writing Enemies of the Cross.  I'm thankful for the fresh direction of this series...the chance to introduce greater characters, new villains who are so evil they put the others to shame, and a magical setting that will be unlike anything anyone has ever created.

Now, I'm going to include other books which have inspired me with their words, their characters, and their storyline (first in the series when applicable).  I should mention that none of these are indie books for two very simple reasons:  1) I'd never heard of indie books until I became an indie author - an opportunity I will forever be grateful for - and 2) I have to do a lot of my 'reading' through audio books which generally lends itself to traditional publishers.

Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out....

Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea.

The Night Circus by

Isabella Swan's move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife-between desire and danger.Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.