Monday, October 27, 2014

Matched- Made in Heaven

Matched- Made in Heaven

        Recently I picked up the book Matched  by Ally Condie, and let's just say that dystopian romance has outdone itself. It's a heavenly page-turner, and it certainly kept me up late into the night reading. So, here are a few reasons why I love the Matched series so much:

1. The World


The Society that Cassia Reyes lives in is so well built. Condie went to great lengths to make sure that the reader has a firm idea of the world she lives in, and the creativity it must have taken to lay the foundation for the setting is incredible. You feel like you are really in Cassia's city, staring the Officials in the face.

2. So Many Secrets


It seems like everyone in this book has a secret, and I love it. Each character is unique and mysterious, and you have no idea who's hiding what- until you flip the page. This means that midnight will come and go and you'll still be hungrily turning chapters, anticipating the next plot twist.

3. It Reads Like Poetry


Condie's book really does read like a poem. It's interspersed with various poems that Cassia finds, yes, but not only that- the character's dialogue sounds like true verse at times. Especially inside the main protagonist's mind, you feel like you are floating on her words.

4. There are No Holes


Everything in the book comes full circle, and everything in the Society is explained. It's incredibly precise, leaving no question as to what the Society is or how it works, save for how to overthrow it. The lovely thing about this kind of accuracy is that it allows the reader to enter the world wholly, and without question.

5. Simply, it Grips You


The style of writing that Condie has is absolutely gripping. I never doubt the characters or the world, and when matched (pun intended) with the beautiful dialogue and love triangle, the book becomes something like a work of art. Truly, a wonderful read.

And there it is- five reasons I loved this book! Seriously, talk about a stellar dystopian thriller/romance, I couldn't put it down. So if you want to go to bed at 3am tonight, pick up a copy ;)

Best,

-Ashley Dawson

Friday, October 24, 2014

Uninvited is Unbelievable

Uninvited is Unbelievable 



So recently I picked up the YA fiction novel Uninvited by Sophie Jordan. Let's just say, the book was permanently glued to my hands until I finished. It was that good. Filled from cover to cover with an intriguing story, thrilling action, and witty dialogue, the book takes the reader on a wonderful ride and never lets go. So, without further ado, here are the top five things I loved about Uninvited.

1. The Plot is Scary Good

It's so unique I can't take it. Told from the POV of an "HTS" carrier (Homicidal Tendency Syndrome; aka: The Kill Gene), the plot twists and turns through the multitude of possibilities in a world where violence can be traced to someone's DNA. It's truly original and completely engrossing. 

2. The Characters are so Real 

Not only does the main character, Davy Hamilton, drag you in with her unique voice, but every character she meets does as well. They all have distinct, wonderfully written personalities, and the dialogue is to die for. 

3. The Romance is Gripping

So, we've got the whole homicidal thing going on- super cool. But then you add romance to the picture? It all just fits together beautifully. Amidst a crumbling world full of violence and a power-hungry agency fixed on her demise, Davy manages to fall in love in the last place she thought possible. Hopeless romantics beware. 

4. The Action is Awesome

This book is packed full of thrilling action scenes, and boy are they awesome. From fist fights to armed guards, every page is a surprise, and not one that you'd want to miss. 

5. It's Scientifically Spooky

The way Jordan weaves the tale is genius in that it all seems so real. Before each chapter is a short blip about HTS, and the way its described seems so plausible you can't help but shudder. It's truly a work of art, and utterly addicting. 

And there you have it! Five reasons why my latest read was so fantastic. Pick up a copy of Uninvited by Sophie Jordan, and I promise you that you'll be hooked. 

Best and happy reading,

-Ashley Dawson 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sort of Social- A Writer's Life

Sort of Social- A Writer's Life 



So lately I've been hitting my book hard, editing like a wild woman and throwing literary caution to the wind. In short, I've been sitting in a lot of coffee shops and ordering a lot of mochas. Needless to say, in this blast of creative power I've noticed a sort of shift in my social life (or what I like to call my social life): It's mostly comprised of fictional characters, (and a few chatty baristas). So here's a list of the top 5 things I love about my social life as a writer, mochas and all. 

1. People Don't Ask What I'm Doing

Whenever I'm writing furiously at my laptop, people don't even try to interrupt. It's like some wonderful veil has been drawn over my Macbook, and if the outside world were to intervene, what I'm working on might implode and destroy everything in the tristate area. It's great. Life lesson: look like you're doing something important, and no one shall question it. 

2. All of the Baristas Know your Order

Seriously. All of them. Anywhere you go. It's like some magic wizard arrived ten seconds before you and whispered the words "Skinny Peppermint Mocha" into your barista's ear. Not only that, but they know your name, where you work, and ask if you finally finished that difficult chapter that was giving you grief? Why yes, yes I did. And I'd like an extra shot with that.

3. Your Fictional Characters Never Run Out of Compliments

And they all love you. No matter what they always have a copious amount of good things to say to make you laugh, smile, and cheer- and you can write them into any situation and conversation that you want. Talk about interactive companionship.

4. Your Friend Circle is a Glorified Book Club

Most of your friends are avid readers, too, and you all share your latest finds. It's not only great to discover new reads, but cheaper than driving to the nearest book store and opening your wallet everyday to get your literary fix. Also, it helps that you have exquisite taste in books. Just saying.

5. Your Friends Understand the Importance of Alone Time

While you love them to death, every writer needs a large amount of time dedicated to her work in order to survive. Luckily, your friends all know this and leave you to your manuscript when needed. Not only that, but most of them pop by with hugs and junk food to help keep you sane. Best friends ever. 

And there you have it folks- the 5 things I love about my literary social life. So count your many blessings my fictional friends, and have at that manuscript! 

Best wishes and happy reading,

-Ashley Dawson


Check Ashley out on social media!

https://www.facebook.com/ashley.dawson.1690

http://www.wattpad.com/home

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

BIC Writing Method can work...right?

Butt in Chair- Get it Done With Minimal Hair-Pulling

http://acronymsandslang.com/definition/336655/BIC-meaning.htmlSo, as every avid writer knows, there are various "full proof" methods for beating procrastination and writer's block, and getting down to the nitty-gritty of story telling. Despite this helpful array, I tend to gravitate toward the old fashioned "Butt-in-chair" method, that is to say, sitting on my rear end long enough to lose feeling in my legs and run out of coffee money. Laughable? Yes. Silly? Maybe. But keeping my bottom in a chair and my hands on the keys for hours guarantees that I'll have at least something to show for my numb posterior at the end. 

Let me take you through the five reasons why this method can work: (though it may be a pain in the butt literally as well as knock out back, legs and sanity but only if you are over the age of 40 :)

1. It Minimizes Distractions 

Now, note that I said minimizes and not "eliminates" or "destroys." This is so because, despite the fact that we have made the pact to stay in this chair for hours, we as writers tend to get distracted by any and every idea in our heads that may lead to, oh I don't know, a trip to Walmart for an embroidered notebook that may "further organize our ideas". Right. Try again. However, imagine how much more difficult it is to be distracted if you're sitting in an empty room, placed firmly in a chair with a blank screen in front of you. No people, just sitting and writing. Much better. 

2. It's Easier to Snack

Let's face it, any good book is written with a plethora of dried figs and yogurt raisins. Well, the snacks vary (more like MMs and candy corn), but you get the gist. I like this method because it allows me to pack all of my favorite snacks into a giant bag and camp out in front of my computer. Healthy? Maybe not. Good incentive? You bet. I promised myself I'd sit in this chair until I accomplished something, and if I have easy access to food, all the better. 

3. It's Hard to Nap

Okay we've all been there. It's 6pm and you're in your bed with your computer, when suddenly bam- lights out. No warning required, your body sees words on a screen and just goes into hyper sleep drive (HSD for short, there will be a blog on the treatments for Hyper Sleep Drive in the future, rest assured). However, with your rear end in a very cold and uncomfortable chair, you may just have a chance at staying awake long enough to clean up that last chapter. 

4. Coffee/Tea

Any excuse I get to buy a latte, I take it. But here we have the perfect formula for caffeine consumption: a goal, a chair, and a possible all-nighter. As a writer I love my coffee, but when I'm sitting down for hours at a time and need to stay focused, there's nothing better than a hot mug and a dream. 

5. My Kids Won't Bother Me

I don't know about you, but I have kids that love to walk up and ask me how I'm doing. This will immediately cause me to lose my train of thought and throw me deep into the dark abyss of writing purgatory, where ideas wave goodbye to me over the vast expanse of a never ending ocean of book sadness. Not good. But when I turn off my phone and seclude myself in my office with a chair, immediately this interruption is no longer a threat. I can be the caffeine hogging, idea pumping writer that I so need to be. (This one is not proven yet though :)  Because my kids can open doors!

Well there you have it folks- all the reasons why sitting yourself down and forcing yourself to write will make all the difference in the world. Simply finding a chair and making the time is the hardest part, what with all the distractions of life, (and doughnuts), but it's what being a writer is all about.