Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Winner of the May Reading Challenge Giveaway!!

I almost missed this! I guess the holiday weekend completely threw me off, but I've been going about my day thinking it's monday, the 30th. But it's tuesday, the 31st, and it's also time to announce the winner of this month's reading challenge giveaway.

Fortunately, my brain caught up with the rest of the world. :)

How's your reading going? I'm up to 29(ish), which is far below my goal. But, hey, I'm reading, and still managing to write, so it's all good. :)

Anyway, the winner of this these two ARCs is...

Logan Turner!!!

Congrats, Logan! But, seriously, if anyone deserved to win, she did because she went on a reading/reviewing rampage this month! Good for you, Logan. :) I'll get your books to you asap.

As for everyone else, next month's contest will be announced TOMORROW, so stop by to see what I'm giving away!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Challenge: Going Filter-less

Last week, I talked about how too much internal monologue can be a detriment to your story. Today, I want to talk about how to make the internal monologue as effective as possible.

Once you have a balance of story vs. internal thoughts, you want your character’s thoughts to have the best kind of impact on your reader. Meaning, they are appropriate for the reader to know, and the overall style fits with the intent.

I am referring here to filtering language. A filter is a layer of something in between the reader and the rest of the story. Sharon Darrow, instructor at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, compares filtering language to a play with the curtain still down. A person (or filter) is standing at the curtain watching the play, and then telling the audience what’s happening. I.E.: “Priscilla just tripped and fell down, and it looks like it hurt. Oh! She just noticed that John’s the one who tripped her, and now she’s mad at him.” Etc.

When we write, we want the reader to be as close to our stories as possible, right? The closer he is, the easier it is to understand our characters’ motivations and actions. We don’t want a filter to translate the story for the reader. We want him to interpret it for himself.

These are your basic filtering phrases:
He saw…      She heard…     I smelled…      He tasted…   She felt…
I noticed…    He realized…   She thought…   I watched…  He wondered…
She hoped… I considered… He could see… etc.

Each of them tells us that the character is doing something, just like the person standing by the curtain at the play. But it doesn’t show us how it’s done. The how is what makes the impact on the reader. Anyone can watch a football game, but how they watch it shows us who they are. A sports fan will either cheer or yell at the players, but a non-sports fan will likely be bored and glance at the clock often.

There is also another drawback with filtering language: using “I” excessively.
- I saw Tom trying to peel his banana.
- I heard Jenna laugh at Mike’s dumb joke.
- I smelled Joe’s musky, overpowering cologne.
Each sentence is not actually about the main character, but the character makes it about her by telling us that she saw/heard/smelled something. That can often give the impression that she’s self-centered, even if she’s not. I’ve heard more than one person complain about the selfish attitudes of YA characters, and I think this is where most of it comes from.

If you’re writing in third person, then you don’t have the excessive “I” problem. But you still have the lack-of-how problem (see the sports fan above). In third person, you are already distant. Adding in a filtering layer will only make it harder for your reader to connect to the story, which is the last thing you want. Show us the how and we’ll love you for it.

I challenge all of you to take a scene that contains filter language and rewrite it so that it doesn’t. Feel free to post the before and after in the comments so we can all enjoy. :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Winner of the May Book Giveaway!

I can't believe May is almost over. School lets out soon, the year is almost halfway over, and it's still frigid here in Chicago. That's just WRONG.

But no one wants to hear me complain about the weather. :) We're all here to find out who won these two ARCs in this month's giveaway:

Right? Okay then, I'll tell you:

Congrats! I'll get your books out to you asap. As for the rest of you, there is still another giveaway going on until tuesday, so feel free to enter!

Otherwise, stop by next saturday to see what I'm giving away next month.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

When Kit Corrigan arrives in New York City, she doesn't have much. She's fled from her family in Providence, Rhode Island, and she's broken off her tempestuous relationship with a boy named Billy, who's enlisted in the army.
The city doesn't exactly welcome her with open arms. She gets a bit part as a chorus girl in a Broadway show, but she knows that's not going to last very long. She needs help--and then it comes, from an unexpected source.
Nate Benedict is Billy's father. He's also a lawyer involved in the mob. He makes Kit a deal--he'll give her an apartment and introduce her to a new crowd. All she has to do is keep him informed about Billy . . . and maybe do him a favor every now and then.

Just like in Blundell’s What I Saw and How I Lied, this story has a cast of vivid and realistic characters. Each has his own quirks, biases, and neuroses. I fully believed in them as people. The circumstances surrounding each character made perfect sense in the beginning, but as the story progressed it felt like it wasn’t as clear.

The details surrounding the time frame were amazing, right down to the cold cream she uses to take off her makeup. I felt like I was in 1950. It was the best part of the whole story.

The storyline itself wasn’t as compelling as I was hoping. Perhaps that’s because I’m not a 50’s buff, or perhaps it’s because it’s much quieter than most other stories. But some of the directions the story took either didn’t go far enough or didn’t quite feel justified. I don’t know. There’s just something about this story that’s lacking oompf.

I’ll still read more of Blundell’s works, but this one wasn’t a favorite.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chatty Main Characters

Last week, I talked about how internal thoughts don’t necessarily need italics to indicate they are thoughts—that the entire narration is coming from the main character, and can be considered his thoughts. This opens up all kinds of possibilities to really get inside his head and see for ourselves what he thinks and feels about things. And that’s a good thing, right?

For the most part, yes. The closer the narrative is to the character, the better we understand him, and the easier it is to make a strong connection. Also, the chattier the character, the stronger the voice. BUT (there is always a ‘but’), you can also run the risk of having a main character that’s too ‘chatty.’ We want our characters to have opinions, and a clever comment here and there, but if we’re getting a comment every other sentence, that’s too much.

A story’s pacing can be affected by many things. Flashbacks, back story, a lull in the plot, a weak or indecisive main character, too many characters, drawn-out scenes, etc. It’s also affected by internal monologue. If the main character is giving us a side note every two seconds, it’s going to get in the way of the story’s forward momentum and bog it down. The most effective way to weave in thoughts is to find a good balance.

The way to do this is to only let your character comment on what is absolutely necessary, at that moment in time. If a key piece of information is revealed, then we need to know what the character thinks about that. If he witnesses something that triggers an emotion, we need to know about that. But we don’t need to know what he thinks about everything little thing that comes across the page.

Disclaimer: this does NOT apply to first drafts. When you’re writing a first draft, the whole point is to be as creative as possible and give your characters free reign. If you let them comment on every little thing in the story, it’ll help you get a clearer picture of what kind of people they are. That will make their actions more organic to the story, and it will suck your reader in to the point where he won’t be able to put the book down.

So, if your character is filling up your story with comments and opinions, that’s okay! Just be aware that you’ll need to delete at least half of that when you revise. :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Those That Wake by Jesse Karp

New York City’s spirit has been crushed. People walk the streets with their heads down, withdrawing from one another and into the cold comfort of technology. Teenagers Mal and Laura have grown up in this reality. They’ve never met. Seemingly, they never will.
But on the same day Mal learns his brother has disappeared, Laura discovers her parents have forgotten her. Both begin a search for their families that leads them to the same truth: someone or something has wiped the teens from the memories of every person they have ever known. Thrown together, Mal and Laura must find common ground as they attempt to reclaim their pasts.

I had a really hard time writing this review. This book was a little strange for me, so it’s probably just not my cup of tea. It was a little too Matrix-y, even though it wasn't The Matrix at all. I loved some of the ideas and concepts, but much of it felt heavy-handed.

The beginning is really slow. It takes two thirds of the book to find out even an inkling of what's going on. And when we finally learn it, I only halfway believed it. I believed in the underlying concept, but not the execution. It's interesting to ponder as a possibility, but trying to make it reality was too far-fetched for me.

There is a lot of stuff going on here. A zillion things were introduced, but not really explored. I was hoping for more depth and less breadth. The POV was also clunky. It dives in and out of characters heads quickly, and the characters’ voices weren’t distinctive enough, so I didn’t always know who was speaking. It often took some re-reading and thinking to figure it out.

The end is either set up for a possible sequel, or to show that the enemy will never go away entirely. I'm thinking it's the latter, which is interesting in and of itself, but I wish the concept had been executed more effectively.

Monday, May 16, 2011

What to Do With Thoughts

This particular question has come and gone over the years, and lately it’s been coming back. I think it’s partly because of a new (and popular) style of writing conflicting with the standard rules. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard it in the last few months: Should direct thoughts and/or internal monologue be italicized?

Short answer: Technically, yes. That’s the rule for distinguishing between prose and thoughts.

Long answer: Not necessarily. This is one rule that can easily and effectively be bent, but it all depends on your story (and, yes, I realize this is an oft repeated mantra of mine).

First, let’s take a look at a couple styles.

If you switch from third to first person to show your character's thoughts, then you need to use italics. If you switch from past tense to present tense to show your character’s thoughts, then you should use italics (though this can get a bit tricky). After all, the rule clearly states that thoughts should be italicized in these instances.

But what if we don’t switch? What if we stay in third person, or stay in past tense? That would mean we’re also staying in the narrative, right? But does that mean we can’t convey thoughts?

Not at all. It's certainly possible to convey thoughts and ideas as a part of the narrative, without italics, as long as you keep things consistent. That means two things. 1) The entire narrative turns into the character’s thoughts, and the whole story is written from his/her bias. 2) You can’t switch from third to first person, or from past to present tense (except, of course, when you can). If you do, it’ll make the prose inconsistent and will likely jar the reader.

To me, not using italics makes the narration seamless because I feel like I am the character. When thoughts are put in italics, there's a subtle reminder that we're going deeper into the main character's head—implying that we weren't there a second ago. If there are no italics, then I feel like I’ve been there all along. I find this style far more effective, even in third person.

As a result, the story’s voice tends to be stronger because the whole narration is the character's playground for thoughts and opinions and his/her personality has more opportunities to show through.

But what about direct thoughts vs. internal monologue? Shouldn’t direct thoughts be italicized no matter what? Again, technically, yes. But I don't actually see them as being that different. They're both thoughts, really, where one is put in italics and the other isn't. You can still effectively convey the necessary emotions and such by turning the internal monologue into something like direct thoughts. Hence, no italics necessary.

There are plenty of successful first and third person stories that don't italicize internal monologue. The 'thoughts' are simply a part of the narrative, and it matches the POV, tense, and voice. But the information is most definitely the character's opinions, or it at least has that character's bias and perspective.

That said, it all depends on the story, and what kind of style that story demands. The only way to figure out what you, the author, should do is to experiment and see what works best for your story.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Red Glove by Holly Black

Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else. That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does.
When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue—crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too—they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can't trust anyone—least of all, himself?
Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose.

This book is the second in the Curse Workers trilogy (the first is White Cat). I enjoyed White Cat, but there were a few aspects of it that didn’t sit well with me. The premise was fresh and interesting enough for me to want to read the next book, but when I sat down with it I didn’t have very high expectations. I was afraid of seeing those same elements again, and I was worried that this middle book would, at best, muddle through.

I was wrong. Red Glove is better than White Cat. This doesn’t happen often, and it thrilled me.

The story hits the ground running, with very little reminders as to who was who or what had happened in the previous book (this can be both a blessing and curse—no pun intended). I had to wrack my brain for a bit to remember the basics of White Cat, but, once I did, everything fell into place nicely. If it’s been a while since you read White Cat, it might be beneficial to skim it to refresh your memory before beginning Red Glove.

Black has given us an entirely new story, with a fresh conflict and everything. I love the way she handles the situation between Cassel and Lila, the slow progress they make, and the palpable tension from the circumstances. Everything between them is strained in a fabulous way, and it makes perfect sense as to why. I loved the twist at the end, and I’m looking forward to seeing how their situation resolves in the final book.

Cassel’s character is clearer in this installment. I had some trouble with him in the first book, which is probably because of the nature of White Cat’s plot, but Red Glove allows him to explore who he is. I love the concept of blowback, and Cassel’s blowback is unique and vivid. It makes me wonder what continued used of his Curse will do to him.

I liked the conflict between Cassel and his brother, Barron. The resolution between the two at the end of White Cat was the perfect bandaid on a gushing artery, and that bandaid gets ripped off in Red Glove (as we knew it would). I was looking forward to how that conflict would get resolved, and I didn’t completely see the twist coming. Just parts of it. I’m itching to find out how that’s going to blow up (because I know it will) and who gets caught in the shrapnel.

The only thing that could have been a bit stronger was the owner of the red glove. That wasn’t really a surprise, but it was handled well. Overall, this is a quick and twisted story where no one is trustworthy, not even Cassel. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Note: Blogger apparently had some issues this week and many thursday posts couldn't be restored, so I'm reposting this. Though I'm bummed that all comments were lost... :(

Monday, May 09, 2011

Planting Clues in Your Story

Last week, I talked about keeping your clues subtle. This week, I want to talk about how to actually put the clues into the story.

Planting effective clues is an art form. I see it as similar to a really good painting—the details and subtleties are what set it apart from everything else. But those details and subtleties are also seamless to the overall picture. In order to see them, you have to look for them, and you have to kind of know what you’re looking for.

The same is true in writing. The clues need to be seamless to the story so the reader doesn’t see them at first. Then, once the reader knows what he’s looking for, he’ll be able to find them the second time around.

How do you plant clues like this? Well, it’s not easy, but I’m going to try to outline the things you need.

First and foremost, you must know your story. If you don’t, there is no possible way to plant clues that hint at the outcome—because you don’t know the outcome. Outlining and planning is very helpful here, and will allow you to plant some initial clues that tie into the resolution. But don’t stop there. After you write a first draft, you’ll know your story even better. Then, you can go back and insert subtle clues that will create a stronger connection to the resolution.

If you’re not a planner, no big deal. Just keep this in mind: you should not start the clue-planting process until your storyline is stable. That means writing your first draft, and then revising until you’re happy that the big pieces are in place. Then you can go back and insert subtle clues.

This is just another illustration as to why it’s impossible to write a good story in one draft. :)

As you go back through your story to insert clues, think backwards: once you know the twist, then you can figure out what it would take to make it happen. For example, let’s say a teenage girl has a secret admirer. She thinks it’s one person, when really it’s another. So, what would it take for the real admirer to leave her love notes and gifts and such? Those are the little things you can plant early on so that the reader can make the connection toward the end.

On that same note, what about the non-admirer? What sort of clues make the teenage girl believe it’s him and not the real admirer? These are the red herrings that throw the reader off. Red herrings are a must! They add depth to the story, and make the connection at the end that much more satisfying. As with real clues, though, red herrings must be inserted with the same amount of care. If they’re too obvious, the reader will see through them. If they’re too subtle, the reader won’t get it and the connection will come out of the blue. Work backwards with the red herrings, as well as the real clues, and then weave them into the story. Make sure you keep them appropriately subtle.

What’s subtle, you ask? That is the million dollar question, isn’t it? :) As the author, you know everything. You know your characters, where they’re going, how they’re getting there, the traps along the way, everything. In short, you are biased, and, therefore, may or may not be able to figure this one out for yourself. If you can’t, that’s okay. That’s what your critique partners are for. :)

Last week, Natalie asked if I would list some books that I thought handled plot twists and clues well. It took me longer than I expected to come up with them, but here are a few:

Tangerine by Edward Bloor
Invisible by Pete Hautman
Inexcusable by Chris Lynch
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

Can anyone add to this list?

Saturday, May 07, 2011

May Book Giveaway!!

More books! More books!!

This month, I've got two more ARCs to give away.

Hourglass by Myra McEntire
For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.
So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.
Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
Everywhere Silla Kennicott turns she sees blood. She can't stop thinking about her parents alleged murder-suicide. She is consumed by a book filled with spells that arrives mysteriously in the mail. The spells share one common ingredient: blood, and Silla is more than willing to cast a few. What's a little spilled blood if she can uncover the truth? And then there's Nick—the new guy at school who makes her pulse race. He has a few secrets of his own and is all too familiar with the lure of blood magic. Drawn together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick must find out who else in their small Missouri town knows their secret and will do anything to take the book and magic from Silla.
To enter, fill out the form below and then come back here on saturday, May 28th to see if you've won. Good luck!!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it. The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.
But there is a cost.
The Keeper likes to keep things.
Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

What a thoroughly enjoyable book! I had no idea what to expect when I picked this up, but I certainly didn’t think I’d love it this much.

I’m most definitely a fan of fairy tale retellings, and Entwined is based on The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Azalea is the oldest of twelve sisters, and she takes them to a magical place where they can all deal with the death of their mother. They dance the night away, each night, until their slippers are completely worn out.

This story is about love and loss, and how different people deal with it in different ways. Some want to be closer to their lost loved one, and others need to distance themselves. But they both feel acute pain. This is much of the conflict between Azalea and her father, which leads to misunderstandings common between teenage daughters and fathers. I thought this was really well done.

The basic story is very compelling, though a little out-there at times. But I just took that as part of the fairy tale thing, so it didn’t bother me. I liked the way the new king would be chosen—a nice modern twist to traditional fairy tales—and I liked the way the author went about the process. The characters were likeable, even when Azalea was being a difficult teen. :)

Overall, this is a light and fun story for teens of all ages. Definitely recommended.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Trusting Your Reader

It’s difficult to surprise me. I have no idea why, but I tend to see things coming early on. It drives my kids nuts because they’re always trying to sneak up on me or surprise me with something, and 99% of the time I know what they’re going to do well in advance. When they do surprise me, though, it’s like they’ve been rewarded with a triple decker sundae, and they ride that high for the rest of the day. It’s very amusing. :)

I’m the same way with stories. Occasionally, I come across a story that I can’t come close to predicting, or even guessing at the outcome, and that’s my triple decker sundae. :) I love it when that happens. It’s such a thrilling surge of excitement and I can never stop reading. Most of the time, though, I can see where a story is going very early on. It doesn’t really bother me, because that’s usually the natural path the story needs to take, and I can still find plenty of enjoyment in that.

There are a few times that it does bother me, though, and the result is usually a desire to throw the book across the room. Seriously, it feels like fingernails on a chalkboard. Why? Simple. The early clues were painfully obvious and often repeated.

Your average reader isn’t stupid. Neither are reluctant readers. Laying down a huge clue in the beginning and then pointing to it with big flashing lights certainly sends the reader a message, but probably not the one you want. It says this: “See? Do you see this clue? Do you see how I’m connecting point A to point B? Look how clever I am!” The reader does not care how clever you are. The reader only cares about the story, and obvious clues do not impress us.

So, what does impress a reader? Well, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can say what impresses me. And that is tiny, subtle clues that I miss the first time around. I want to miss the clues early on, and I get really excited when I do. Know why? Because it makes the second reading SO MUCH BETTER. It’s like getting two for the price of one.

Those tiny clues don’t go over my head. They go into my subconscious and allow me to fully enjoy the climax and resolution the first time through the story. Plus, they add another layer of coolness the second time. That’s when I say, all on my own, “This author is so clever! I want to read more of his/her books.”

The first step in creating that kind of reaction is this: Trust Your Reader.

What does that mean? Well, let’s look at the definition of trust.
Trust: –noun
1.reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
2.confident expectation of something; hope.

In other words, it’s safe to assume/hope/believe that your reader will understand what you’re trying to say without any kind of explanation (quite frankly, explanations inadvertently insult our intelligence...not that I have an opinion on the matter...). Your reader will get it. If not right away, then eventually. Trust me. :)

Here are a few tips to keep that level of trust high:

  1. Don’t go overboard. Big clues don’t do anything except give away the ending too soon. That defeats the whole purpose of reading a book. Also, don’t repeat yourself. The reader will get it the first time, even if the clue is small. If he doesn’t, it’s still not a big deal because he will definitely get it the second time, and it will raise his enjoyment level of the second reading. Bonus: he will think you’re super clever.
  2. Rely on character’s actions (both obvious and subtle) rather than loading the reader down with information. The reader doesn’t need to know everything at once, and we certainly don’t need to be told what’s happening. We can see the characters for ourselves, and, if they’re vivid enough, we’ll be able to glean what’s really happening.
  3. Don’t connect the dots for the reader—let him do it himself, either the first time or the second. For example, I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak has a great twist at the end, but the author then connects all the dots for the reader by explaining the how and why of the entire story. For me, that’s very off-putting. I got it the first time, thankyouverymuch.
  4. Have faith in yourself, and don’t try so hard. In order to trust in your reader, you must also trust that you know what you’re doing. It doesn’t mean you’ll get it right the first time, and you may flail along the way, but it will get you on the right track. Critique partners are key here, and will help you find a good balance.
So, how do you plant clues that will keep your reader hanging on your every word? That's next week's topic. :) Until then, I challenge you to think on this:

As a reader, what impresses you when you’re reading a book?
As a writer, how much do you trust your reader?

Sunday, May 01, 2011

100 Book Reading Challenge: May

Hey all you readers out there, how's it going? Are you still reading? Has life gotten in the way? How many books are you up to now?

I haven't had the chance to count up to where I am, but I think it's around 24 (ish). I'm waaay behind where I was last year, but, hey. Life happens sometimes. :)

This month, I've got two more ARCs to give away.

My Life, The Theater, And Other Tragedies by Allen Zadoff
High school sophomore Adam Zeigler, who lost his father to a sudden accident two years ago, thinks the best way to live life is behind the spotlight. As a member of the theater crew, he believes he's achieved it all when he wins the coveted job of spotlight operator. But that was before a young actress, Summer, appeared in his view. Instantly smitten, Adam is determined to win her over. But to do so, he'll have to defy his best friend and break the golden rule of his school: techies and actors don't mix.
Set against the backdrop of a high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Zadoff's latest is a bromance, a love story, and theater story in one. The politics of love and high school collide as Adam struggles to find the courage to step out of the shadows and into the light.

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage.
Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.
Until now.
Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem. And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.
To enter, fill in the form below. Also, you must follow these rules, or your entry will be disqualified:
  1. One URL per entry, and that URL must directly link to a book review. A general link to your blog or Goodreads account isn't specific enough (I simply don't have the time to go sifting through reviews to see if you're reading).
  2. You may enter as many times as you like, BUT you must keep to the one URL per entry rule. Otherwise your entry will only count as one.
  3. You must have read and reviewed the book IN MAY. Past reviews don't count.
FYI--to get to a direct link to your Goodreads reviews, click on the title of the book, and then click on the "My Review" heading just above where you type in your review.

Come back here on tuesday, May 31 to see if you've won. Good luck!!