REVIEW: Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer

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Synopsis:

For the first time in a stand-alone paperback comes Stephenie Meyer’s Life and Death, a compelling reimagining of the iconic love story that will surprise and enthrall readers.
There are two sides to every story….
You know Bella and Edward, now get to know Beau and Edythe.

When Beaufort Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edythe Cullen, his life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With her porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edythe is both irresistible and enigmatic.

What Beau doesn’t realize is the closer he gets to her, the more he is putting himself and those around him at risk. And, it might be too late to turn back….

With a foreword and afterword by Stephenie Meyer, this compelling reimagining of the iconic love story is a must-read for Twilight fans everywhere.

REVIEW

First off, I want to start by saying the NOSTALGIA WAS SO INTENSE YOU GUYS. And if you’re wondering why, it’s because Twilight was my first ever paranormal read when I was a kid (and also contraband since my mom didn’t approve of bloodsuckers lol). Like every other fourteen-year-old, Twilight was my fav read for quite awhile until I started to explore other series in the paranormal genre. But still, it holds a great place in my reading heart today, which is why reading this reimagined story was like revisiting a part of my childhood.

So…I had not idea what I was getting into when I bought this, not really. I knew the sex of the characters were switched, but I didn’t know just how much of the story Ms. Meyer would change to fit the new theme. And to a degree, all was relatively the same. Except one part, one VERY BIG PART, which I’ll get to in a minute.

I thought it was interesting, getting the same story but from a male perspective. Honestly, when I heard about this anniversary edition, I was really hoping we would get Twilight told from Edward’s POV. I think that would have been super interesting to read. But alas, it was taken in a different direction, and according to Meyer, it was because she wanted to shut down the haters that were saying that since Bella was a girl, her overwhelming feelings for Edward were because of just that, her sex. This new retelling was supposed to disprove that theory. And I agree, it would have been the same whether Bella was male or female. But one thing bothered me about this, and that was the hero worship Beau had for Edythe. I remember that Bella was incredibly in love with Edward, maybe a little too much. But I NEVER remember this kind of, he-can-do-no-wrong, crap. It was kind of annoying, if I’m being honest, for him to flaunt over her looks on every page. Especially when she would get mad at him for no reason, and he would just freaking apologize. A relationship should be about equality, mutual respect. This was idol worship, and it left me feeling kind of awkward, which I’m sad to say.

Now, on to what I really want to talk about.

SPOILER ALERT Y’ALL

GAHHHHHHHH THAT ENDING! Dude, I was thrown for a serious loop, thinking it was going to be the same as the original, because everything else had been up to this point, so why would that change? But oh, HELL, no. Instead we got to see what would have happened had Edward let the venom spread through Bella in the dance studio, turning her into a vampire, and essentially eliminating the need for the next three books in the series, and honestly, I was shook. I loved that I got to see how it could have ended had Twilight been a standalone, because really, that one moment of hesitation could have taken their lives in a completely different direction. No Jacob love triangle, no Renesme, no Voluri nonsense, NOTHING. It was bizarre, satisfying, but also sad to experience this alternative ending. In this version, Charlie and Renee think Beau died in a car accident, the werewolves still hate the vampires, and that’s how it ends. Just…done. Over. He’s gone, the Cullens move to another town a year later, and blah blah blah.

I’m not surprised to say that I liked the original better. Your first love is your first love, book or person, and I don’t think any version of retelling could have changed that for me. But I did enjoy this book and the nostalgia it brought back, the memories attached to it.

Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer = 3.5 stars

Currently Reading : Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

If you follow me on Instagram (@authorindaherwood) then you know I’ve been listening to the audiobook of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, which is my first audiobook read EVER. I never thought I’d have the patience to listen to someone else read slow (LOL), but this has been a lot of fun. And weirdly enough, out of all the Potter books, I’ve only ever read the last one, and that’s because I was impatient for the final movie to come out haha. So far I’m really impressed with how closely the movie followed the book, which is definitely not something I say often.

Review to come!

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Synopsis:

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.

REVIEW: Daughter of Smoke and Bone By Laini Taylor

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REVIEW

Boy, it’s been a long time since I’ve read an angel themed romance. But it doesn’t feel right to put that label on “Daughter of Smoke and Bone”. It was more a demon vs. angel thing, and yet both sides were neither all good or all bad. It was a weird toss up, one that had me constantly guessing.

I’m going to be honest, this thing had me confused until about half-way through. I felt like the author didn’t leave us enough bread crumbs to figure out Karou’s story on our own. It all kind of hit at once, near the end, and I was left slightly dumbfounded and a tad overwhelmed. Not to say I wasn’t drawn in by the beautiful world building and the immaculate descriptions of Prague and every other place mentioned in this book, but I’ll admit: I was kind of hoping for more. I don’t know. I feel like I’m going to get some backlash from this one because everyone kept telling me how much they loved it. And that was one of the main reasons I bought it in the first place. I guess you could say it was an alright read, but not one of my favorites, sadly. I was really hoping to fall in love with this one. I keep looking for my next ride or die series, kind of like how I felt with The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. I want the characters to suck me, make me think of them well after I’ve put the book down. Who knows, maybe I’m asking too much. But I’ll keep looking for it anyway 😉

In a nut shell, I wasn’t hugely fond of the characters but I was really impressed with the writing style of this author. Everything was described so well – places, smells, feeling. It was beautifully constructed to create this fantastical world of chimaera and angels. In that I give it a lot of props. But unfortunately, I don’t see myself picking up the second book. Overall, though, this was an interesting and different read for me.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor = 3 stars

 

Currently Reading: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

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As the title suggests, I’m currently reading the first book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor. I’m on chapter 26 and I won’t lie, I’m having a hard time getting into it. And I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been busy with everything else in my life, or if it’s because I have this terrible curse of not liking what the rest of the world seems to adore, but I’m hoping to focus on it this week and get it finished. Is anyone else like that, though? Have a running problem with not liking books that are super popular? If so, tell me which book/series had you casted out by the rest of the bookish community. Maybe we can form a support group lol 😉

 

Best Beta Reader – Now taking submissions!

So excited to say that my favorite beta reader/blogger is now offering her services to all my fellow authors out there! I’ve had Julia from The Romance Bibliophile beta read my last four books, and I couldn’t be happier about the results I get. She’s very precise about the things that need fixing, always gets back to me on time, and offers great incite as a reader. So happy that she decided to open her shop to other authors!

 

Your Figurative Yoda is Here to Help!

Something I desperately wish I’d had when I started my writing/publishing journey a few years ago was someone who knew a thing or two about self-publishing. Hell, maybe even some wisdom on drafting a manuscript, too. I was green as a pea, had no idea what I was doing, and made a billion mistakes in the process that could have been prevented had someone shown me the ropes. That’s what this post is going to be about. I’m hoping to be that version of a writing Yoda for any of you aspiring authors out there who come across my blog.

First of all, my biggest mistake when I started was writing the beginning of my story on an iPad. I didn’t have an actual computer at the time, and I eventually had to use my sister’s until I bought one for myself. On top of that, I had had no notes written down about the story, and I didn’t have great forethought for developing the characters. I just kind of went with the vision I had in my head, and that led me to a TON of editing in the future. And the book I’m talking about is actually Jump Start My Heart. Had I formed some type of plan beforehand, I could have been saved from a giant load of work I had to do afterwards. So this is lesson number 1: Put every detail of the story – meaning character names, back stories, descriptions, and places you want them to go – down in a notebook before you start. And when you have everything planned out, THEN you go and grab that laptop.

The second mistake I made was using the wrong software program. I was using a PC which had Microsoft Works on it, and it was only after I looked into publishing on Amazon (which is the site I use for publishing all my books) that I saw you need to have Microsoft Word in order to create a Table of Contents for Kindle formatting. It was a hard, $80 pill to swallow at the time, but before, when I had been trying to move my manuscript over to another free program that supposedly offered the same amenities as Word, I lost my book.

     Yes. It actually FREAKING DISAPPEARED IN FRONT OF MY EYES.

I had to call my aunt and ask her to call my computer savvy cousin while my sister and father tried to find the missing document. Cut to me having a panic attack on my porch, using a brown paper bag and everything, we were eventually able to get the thing back before my sister’s computer deleted it permanently. So, you see how important this is. Had I done more research, or hell, just sucked it up and bought the stupid program, I wouldn’t have had all of that chaos. And also, if you start your manuscript on the program you plan to save it on, it’s a whole lot easier. Because as I discovered, bad things happen when you transfer documents. (side note: always make backup copies of your book, no matter at what stage you’re in, on a CD as well as a USB drive. Trust me, having thirteen backups and looking paranoid to your friends is better than having a panic attack and almost passing out lol). So tip number 2: Do your research, and if you’re really serious about self-publishing, look into buying the right formatting programs to fit the digital retailer you want to sell on.

My last and biggest mistake was publishing a book I wasn’t a thousand percent happy with. Don’t get me wrong. I love the story I created, but looking back, there were so many editing and grammatical errors that I missed that it made me sick to think I didn’t put out my best work the first time. The number one way to have your book look professional is to have a clean and easy to read layout. Meaning you read over that thing a hundred times if it means you find every little error. And along the way you’ll find little things to add to a scene or a character, making it a touch more interesting and layered, and you’ll find that not only the structure/layout was improved, but so was the story itself. So, for my third and final tip, I give you this: Don’t put out a story with a ton of flaws just because you want to call yourself an author. That was where I went wrong and I ended up having to re-edit THREE TIMES because of it. You make sure that that story is everything you want it to be before you let the world have a chance at it. The quality of not only the story, but the way you present it, represents you as an author. You want the readers to come back for your other works because they saw the care and detail you put into the first one they read. It can make what was once a three star review possibly turn into a five, just by taking the time to make sure your book is clean, organized, and edited to perfection. And better yet, if you can afford it, have someone edit it for you. Or have a friend read the book before you publish it and give you feedback. It thickens your skin to criticism and gives you a great perspective from an outside source.

(TIPS THAT DIDN’T MAKE MY TOP 3)

Book covers: There are hundreds of graphic designers online who can offer you packages to make you a digital book cover for your novel. And if you’re like me and have a background in design, then you can choose to make your own. Amazon.com is nice enough on their KDP website (featured here) to give you the dimensions they require before you start the cover. I also like Pixabay for stock/royalty free images, and PicMonkey for free text designs when I create my own book covers. Also, the best covers are the ones that best represent the book. It can be a single element from the story that you incorporate into the cover, and it’ll be fine. The simpler the design, the better. Your eye is naturally drawn towards an image you can clearly see rather than something busy and loaded with colors.

Managing your copyrights: Now this is one I had a hard time getting information on, but it’s worth it in the end, because this is arguably what I was most worried about when I published my first book. You don’t want anybody stealing your book and claiming it’s theirs. Especially if you have zero documentation showing that it is indeed yours. To prevent this, you go to the Copyright office and register your book. Now I know that sounds daunting, but it’s really quite simple. For a sum that depends on the technical aspects of the book,  you can go to the official website (linked here) and register your book. That means that if anyone ever claims ownership of your work, you can wave a government official certificate in their face and scream “Oh, hell no you don’t!”

CONCLUSION

So…after that long winded post, I’m hoping that you all have a better idea of what you’re getting into. And if this didn’t sway your decision to become a self-published writer, then you have the stamina it takes to be one. But seriously, though. I didn’t write this post to scare you off. I just wanted to give you the information I wish I’d had when I first started. It truly is an awesome, frustrating, wonderful, horrible job, being a writer. But if you love writing a good story, and have the ability to do it, it really is a rewarding job; especially when you get to the end of your book and get to write those two coveted words: The End. You have the guts to do something only a small portion of the population is capable of, and in return, you make a lot of peoples’ days brighter because of it.

I thank you all for reading this, and if any of you have questions for me that I didn’t already cover, then by all means leave a comment down below and I’ll be sure to give you a response.

Happy writing,

– Inda