Friday, June 19, 2015

I Choose Beautiful

How many of you are familiar with the Dove Choose Beautiful Campaign?

This YouTube video was recently brought to my attention, and if you haven't seen it, you need to. As women, we sometimes devalue our beauty. As women, we tend to think of ourselves as "average" or "mediocre" or nothing "special." But the truth is, we are ALL special. We ALL have something to offer. We are all beautiful.

Yet, in the video, time after time, many women chose the "Average" door. Why? Because they didn't think they could call themselves beautiful? Or they didn't want to be judged off of other's perceptions? How often do we maybe "feel" beautiful but then think that others wouldn't label us as such?

And why is that? Is it because there is a preconceived notion of what makes someone beautiful? Full lips, flawless skin, size 2 body? 

Of course not. Women are beautiful based on who they are, not how they look. Throughout history, women have made a difference. Women have spoken out for what they believe. Take Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who stood up for education and was shot in the face by a member of the Taliban. One side of her face may now be disfigured, but she is BEAUTIFUL!  She is embracing the fact that she may never look the same, but she knows that her words are more important than her physical features. Her words can change the world, more so than her looks every could.

I recently read this book for book club and it was inspiring. As women, there are so many things we can do to make a difference. Sometimes even the smallest thing can help change the world. And that, my friends, is where our beauty lies. Not in the structure of our face or the shape of our bodies, but in the size of our hearts. 

So, the question is....

Which door would you choose?

On a side note, I made it to Round 3 of Query Kombat with my entry Life Sucks—I'm Stuck in Podunk. It started out as 64 Kombatants and we are now down to 16 of us which means only 8 match-ups left. The next round begins Monday! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Book Review: An Absence of Light

As part of this Book Review Tour, I received an eARC copy of AN ABSENCE OF LIGHT by Meradeth Houston in exchange for an honest review.

The novel grabbed my attention right away by opening with the murder of the main character's family. Of course, it made me want to read on to find out who or what killed them. Forced to flee because of the evidence stacked against her, the MC, Lee, finds herself out of gas with no money, stopped in front of a car repair garage. It almost seems like fate when the owner of the garage is the only person she's ever met who can see the Shadows too. And this middle-aged man, Manuel, is kind enough to take her in without asking too many questions or needing too many answers.

The concept of these otherworldly "creatures" is extremely unique in that they feed off darkness or evil. And soon they begin taking over the bodies of innocent people, eating their soul from inside out. They've set their sights on Lee because she's one of the few people who can kill these vicious "things." Then you add Adam, the cute but distant guy who's been "marked" by the Shadows, and you have an interesting setup. On one hand, they are desperately trying to stay alive and kill as many Shadows as they can while trying to figure out the Shadows ulterior plan, but also there's a connection between Adam and Lee that's almost palpable.

Even though this isn't a genre I would normally read, I really enjoyed it. There were places where the book slowed down a bit, but those scenes were nicely contrasted with a high action scene. And of course, the romantic tension between Lee and Adam makes you want to fly through the pages to find out if they do ever end up together. The ending was a satisfying (although sad) one. I won't say anymore because I don't want to give anything away.

Overall, I give this book 4 stars and would recommend it to anyone who likes thrillers/horror with science fiction elements and a little romance.

Here's a little more about the book and author.

An Absence of Light by Meradeth Houston
Published by: Evernight Teen
Publication date: October 31st 2014
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction, Young Adult


Leah’s always seen the shadow creatures. She thought she was immune to their evil—until now.
She’s walked into a massacre, stolen a BMW, and is running from the law for a crime she didn’t commit. Nineteen-year-old Leah’s life just went from mildly abnormal to totally crazy at lightning speed. But no one will believe that the shadow creatures are framing her for the murder, because she’s the only one that can see them. At least that’s what she thought.
When Leah stumbled across a group who share her ability, she discovers they have something she doesn’t: a way to fight back. When the group offers to teach her how to kill the shadow creatures, Leah jumps at the chance. But something is brewing with the creatures. They’re tracking down the hunters like there’s no tomorrow. Leah suspects that maybe there won’t be, and it’s up to her to make sure tomorrow comes. Because she’ll do anything to stop the shadows, including risking her life—and the life of the one she loves—to keep the world from being lost to darkness forever.


Meradeth’s never been a big fan of talking about herself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about her:

>She’s a Northern California girl. And now is braving the cold winters in Montana.
>When she’s not writing, she’s sequencing dead people’s DNA. For fun!
>She’s also an anthropology professor and loves getting people interested in studying humans.
>If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she’s terrified of heights.

Author links:

Happy Reading!!

**Updated: I almost forgot to fill you in on how the Query Kombat contest is going. I made it to the Agent Round which is happening RIGHT NOW! I'm thrilled because my entry received 2 Wild Card full manuscript requests from 2 different agents. I won't know how many other requests I've received until I've been knocked out of the contest, but I'm getting excited that there is probably more. *Keeping my fingers crossed!*

Oh, and if you want to check out my entry, you can find it HERE. :)

Also, it's my week to host Unicorn Bell and I'm talking about two of my favorite things...books and cookies! Stop on by for some great book reviews and yummy cookie recipes. Today, I'm reviewing THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE, a YA Contemporary that I absolutely fell in love with. You can read my review HERE.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

IWSG June: Query Kombat

Hi everyone!

It's time for another group posting of the IWSG—a group created to offer support to writers no matter what their stage in publishing or writing. It's a time to air our insecurities or triumphs and offer hope and support for others. A big thank you as always to our amazing ninja captain Alex Cavanaugh for creating this monthly blog hop. And thank you to the co-hosts as well:  M. Pax, Tracy Jo, Patricia Lynne, Rachna Chhabria, Feather Stone, and Randi Lee!

You may have seen a previous posting where I announced I made it into the first round of The Writer's Voice (which really meant I was one of the lucky ones who was chosen through the Rafflecopter drawing.)  I had entered my YA near future thriller I've been querying for the past few months. Well...I wasn't chosen for a team, so my journey with that contest is over.


I recently submitted a different MS (or my query and first 250 of a brand new, shiny MS that I wrote while querying Catalyst) to Query Kombat and guess what?! I made it into the 1st Round!!!
As of right now, I am "battling" against the query and first 250 of another Kombatant and if I win (which it looks like I might) then I move on to the next round which is the AGENT ROUND!

I'm feeling pretty excited right now. I never got this far in any contest with Catalyst. But I did what everyone says to do...I wrote another manuscript. Obviously, I don't know what will happen next or if this will be THE ONE to get me an agent, but I know that all I can do is hope. And keep writing.

**For anyone interested in checking out my entry or the battle I'm currently in, you can find it HERE. My entry is Life Sucks—I'm Stuck in Podunk.