Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox

In general I am the kind of person who reads a book once (which does nothing to change the fact that I must own every book I ever fell in love with), but there are a few books I have to pull out now and again to re-read. Dreamhunter is one of these books. It was a books that I stumbled upon with no prior recommendation and couldn’t put down. On the cover it says it is “Book one of the Dreamhunter duet”. Duet? Best thing to call a series of two books ever!

The book follows fifteen-year-old Laura Hame and her family in a world similar to ours where special people called dreamhunters enter the Place in order to catch dreams and play them back for audiences in dream theaters. These dreams can have both healing and damaging effects, depending on the dream. Laura’s father was the first to discover the Place and is the most renowned of the dreamhunters. When Laura follows in his footsteps she finds herself deeply entwined in old family secrets, political scandal, and the mysterious origins of the Place.

Knox weaves the story through this book, and it’s sequel Dreamquake, with elegant ease. Within pages the reader feels as if they are walking alongside Laura. The complicated relationships of the family never fail to ring true even in the most trying circumstances they find themselves in. Laura is a captivating character to follow as she tries to figure out the Place’s secrets and begins to carry the burden of those secrets on her own young shoulders. Knox manages to make Laura both strong and vulnerable in turn with equal honesty. Even as she makes a decision that will have terrible consequences for hundreds of people, you are rooting for her because you know she is doing what is right, no matter what it might cost her.

From beginning to end Dreamhunter reads like a true glimpse into history. Knox manages to build a completely fantastical world that rings true with every word. In my mind that is something that only the best writers can accomplish.


Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I love finding a great series of books to read after the last one has been published. That is what happened with this trilogy. My friend told me I had to read them, and since I listen to her when it comes to books, I did. In two weeks I listened to all three of these books. I was obsessive over these books.

The basic story is our world in an undefined future where everything has gone to crap (already I love it). With one central government holding control in an iron grip from the Capitol, each of the 12 districts must send one randomly picked boy and girl 12 or older for a televised fight to the death. And everyone has to watch this on TV.

Having just watched the Japanese movie Battle Royale, I was ready for a lot of what was going to happen in the book. A lot of people seem to think that Hunger Games is a blatant ripoff of Battle Royale, but disagree. (like many people, my opinion comes from the movie BR vs the book HG) I liked Battle Royale, but I felt like it needed something more, something to make me care that all the kids were dying, maybe a little more plot? That movie boiled down to me as “Gee all our teenagers are running wild! Lets randomly make some of them fight to the death, that will sort out the rest!” Again, I liked it, but it had no depth for me.

Hunger Games has you follow Katniss. A normal girl who has been doing everything she can to help her family survive in a crappy situation. When she volunteers to go to the Hunger Games instead of her sister, I am already on her side. This is not some bad kid, this is a girl willing to die for her sister. Then add in that the boy chosen from her district, Peeta, is someone who has helped her family before.

From the time they enter the arena, this book flies. You know it’s not going to be some book where people are in danger but are saved at the last minute, people will die. You are not sure that there will be a happy ending for Katniss and Peeta. Also, knowing there was a second book, I was wondering if the whole thing would even be wrapped up in the first book.

Katniss is a smart, self sufficient girl, such a relief compared to so many girls in teen fiction who can’t do anything without a guy holding them up (::cough::Bella::cough::) Though there is a love story involved, Katniss never loses her strength to it. I would read all three of these books again and recommend them to everyone I know. However, I am still very upset with Suzanne Collins for what she did in the third book.


Editing, Editing, Editing

That is pretty much the story with Prime now. After receiving Stan’s advice on the book, I leaped right back into editing it for what felt like the 312th time. Thank God he didn’t have too much he wanted done. When I go back months or years later to read a book I wrote, I am excited, sometimes I don’t even remember exactly what happened. Usually I am surprised by how good I think it is. But when I am reading it over and over again, I start to hate it. I think Stephen King promised me that would happen in his book “On Writing”, but it totally sucks when it happens.

Almost done with the editing though, at least for this round. Next I will be tackling my greatest foe, the Query letter, a tool originally invented by Satan.



Characters are the most important part of any book.  You can write beautiful descriptions, but if your characters don’t pull people in, most people will stop reading.  The hardest part when writing is to make your characters do what they would do in a situation, not what you would do.

The best way I have found to make sure this happens is to just back off.  I start writing a character and soon it is like the character is telling me exactly what they would do.  Sometimes they do things that are surprising and so very perfect that you think to yourself “How did I not see that coming?” To me, that is when I know that I am building a good character, because they are surprising me.