Friday, April 1, 2011

(facepalm) Why?

So I'm in Paris right now and haven't been blogging about books (although I've read about ten since coming here, it's been really great- Shakespeare and Co, man). I might review Low Red Moon and Rosebush pretty soon, since I did read them both after buying them in the Belfast airport. (Rosebush was pretty great, and Low Red Moon isn't bad, but admittedly there were times that I asked myself "Why THIS book?")

But after my friend showed me THIS post- in which a self-published author behaves VERY improperly (and I'm sure plenty of you have seen fact, it's probably old news) I had to say something. I'll keep it brief-

PLEASE, please, I beseech you bloggers, do not take this woman's remarks to be the way that ALL self-published or "indie" authors feel and behave. Authors DO want fair reviews. Obviously we love to see good reviews, but FAIRNESS is what's important. This review was fair, constructive, honest, and all negative comments were justified. That's all we as authors can asked (whether self-published or not!). So please don't write off indie or self-published authors just because of one person who behaved badly. I love even the bad reviews I've gotten just because they've helped me see my writing from another perspective and also to FIX things that admittedly, needed fixing. Fair, honest reviews people. That's what's important. This lady doesn't represent the majority.

If you see this post, let me know what you think! Also, let me know what you thought of Low Red Moon because I know there's been some debate. I'll eventually post a review and what not.

And if you're interested in my Paris blog here's a link-

Saturday, December 4, 2010


(This review might be especially appropriate for those who have already read this book or Hush, Hush; some of my frustration may not make complete sense otherwise. If you want to skip my personal complaints and just scroll to the bottom line, be my guest.)

What a great cover, isn't it?

A few days back, instead of delving into my Oceanography book, I read "Crescendo" because it was staring me in the face at the library. All I could hear in my mind was "Go on, read it. It's right there. Think of all those great reviews of Hush, Hush. Think of how relaxing it'll be to read something that's NOT about picoplankton or the photic zone."

So I grabbed it and ended up checking it out, and MAN was it a page turner! I couldn't stop. I had to finish it before I could study for my exam. Obviously it really got to me. I wanted to know what happened, I wanted to know more about how the angel stuff worked and about the characters. Given that I hadn't read Hush, Hush I'm sure there are things that didn't quite click while I was reading, but for the most part I understood what was happening. The characters were pretty well defined, and Nora's voice especially was very strongly her own. There weren't any moments where I was like "This doesn't make sense for HER to do." I loved the exchanges between Nora and Vee, especially during their "detective" work; sometimes it almost reminded me of the antics of Lula and Stephanie from Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels. A lot of the imagery really struck me. There was one scene, if I'm remembering correctly, where the lights were going on and off as Nora was pursuing someone (or maybe it was vice versa). Whatever it was, I remember it working really well, helping me see it all more clearly in my mind. Some really great fight scenes. And the kissing scenes between Patch and Nora? Very hot. The last couple paragraphs of the book even threw me for a loop!

THAT said...

Okay, so maybe I didn't have moments where I thought Nora's actions didn't make sense for her...but there were plenty where I thought they didn't make sense. And maybe I didn't have a ton of trouble understanding the story, but I sure had some questions. My biggest question throughout the book seemed to be, "WHY can't she just ASK him?!"
But it was soon clear to me that Nora is incapable of truly asking anyone anything, especially not male characters. She instead has to follow them, search their houses, go through their rooms, or ask everyone else about them. Sure, it made the story more exciting and it certainly made for more suspenseful scenes, but it made it challenging for me to suspend my disbelief because before the scene even began I was thinking "What? Why does she have to follow him in her car?" or "Why is she searching his apartment?!"
The other part of the story that made me REALLY frustrated was her relationship with Patch, or more specifically, her confusion and distrust where he was concerned. Every time they fought, it seemed to me that a great deal of the angry words or final decisions were declared by Nora, and yet immediately after she would behave as though all of it were Patch's fault. For those of you who haven't read "Crescendo" yet, Nora breaks up with Patch not long into the book because of an inconvenience that has to do with nosy, meddling archangels who have it in for Patch (to find out why you'll just have to read the books) as well as some odd events surrounding Nora's arch-nemesis, Marcie Millar. I could certainly understand Nora's anger where Marcie and Patch were concerned; that would have bothered me to death if it were my guardian/boyfriend. But Nora almost breaks up with Patch instantly once he tells her that the archangels are watching (and why).
Once I got to this point in the book, I almost shut it because I was having "New Moon" deja vu. I couldn't STAND the book New Moon. I'm ashamed to admit that I skipped through almost the entire second half. (I liked the movie, though. Good fight scenes in Italy.)
At another point, Nora yells out that Patch is no longer to be her guardian angel, and doesn't seem to understand it when this actually becomes the case. She was so quick to be cruel to Patch at times.
In a way, I can understand. We all have moments where we're angry, we want to hurt feelings, and we say things we just don't mean. But he kept coming back. She almost took his protection for granted (maybe that's what you're supposed to do with guardian angel's anyway?) and she'd deliberately throw herself into dangerous situations either to SEE Patch or to show him she was okay on her own...and of course, she usually wasn't. This aspect of the book was a little reminiscent of New Moon as well, but I do think that Nora is a little more proactive as a character than Bella Swan is. Her voice was still entertaining, even when she was whining or venting out anger. I didn't skip through any huge chunks of pages with this book, which to me indicates relatively good writing (either that or I've become a more patient person). Point being, Nora Grey is a frustrating character, but not to the point where I had to slam the book shut.

Still, all the stuff with Patch bothered me. If he didn't care for Nora, why would he keep coming back? Why couldn't she figure that out? After all he did for her in the first book (er, after all I gather that he did), why would she think he'd just turn around like that? Why would he keep pressing, keep trying to tell her what was going on, etc. For a large part of the book, Nora thinks Patch has killed her father. This was a little hard to swallow, especially when they were like totally making out.
Basically, my problems with Nora and her Patch stuff all came to the surface in one scene, when Patch visits Nora in a dream and says he's been trying to tell her the truth in a place where the archangels can't see...and Nora leaves. Nora is DYING to know the truth, but she leaves because she thinks Patch is the killer. Even though she's still, of course, unbelievably attracted to him.


Why wouldn't she stay and hear what he had to say? If she's so determined to figure everything out, why not at LEAST listen to Patch's side of the story and THEN leave? What Nora does instead is frustrating as all hell. Just thinking about these parts of the book make me want to wring her neck, make me think "what a STUPID main character." But she didn't strike me as a completely stupid person....just extremely mixed up.


So the conundrum for me is, how did I manage to get through this book, like it, and still think the main character's teetering on the edges of ridiculous and idiotic? As annoying as Nora's odd decision-making could be, I couldn't stop reading this book, so I do care for her a little (or maybe I was looking for hot Angel sex?).

Another thing about this book...sometimes I can really tell when the writer was really into scenes and having fun writing them, and when she/he wasn't so interested. I know that even in my own work, this comes through, and in that respect I have a long way to go as a writer. (Maybe this is something I notice because I write, but I doubt it.) Anyway, the point is that the great thing about Crescendo is that when you're reading it, you get the sense that Becca Fitzpatrick was having loads of fun writing the whole thing. And that just makes it an even better reading experience.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I have a presentation I have to work on for the rest of the week, but on Saturday I'll post my review of Crescendo. Because I kind of just...picked it up...and started reading it and couldn't stop.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Ivy

I made a whole big list of books to read and buy over break, but I'm going to be so very very busy in the two coming weeks that I decided to put most of them on hold.
There is one book, though, that from the moment I opened it up at Barnes and Noble, I knew I had to read it right away. And that book is The Ivy.
Since coming to college myself, it's been my opinion that there just aren't enough YA books that are about college. I've read very few that actually take place AT college. ("Better Than Running At Night" is one book that has a college setting, though.) That's one of the many reasons I am DYING to read this book. I'm only a few pages in, but I'm already hooked. Those Harvard students don't mess around, man.

Another reason I'm so interested in YA books with a college setting is because the newest story that I'm working on is set on a college campus. (Set in? Set on?) There's so much you can do with a story within a college environment that it surprises me that this type of setting seems so hard to find.

However, it's occurred to me that perhaps I'm mistaken, or looking in the wrong places, or just completely oblivious. Can you think of any great YA titles that take place in a college setting?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Things Didn't Quite Go As Planned...

...because it just so happens that my mom is a librarian. And it just so happens that once I got home, she brought home about eight YA books for me to read. And it just so happens that I started reading those instead of the ones on my list.
But! There's still hope for Low Red Moon and The Duff, because I will be visiting Barnes and Noble this weekend.

So, what DID I end up reading so far? Well, only two books. And those books are...

OTHER by Karen Kincy
This book was pretty awesome. I have to admit, I was excited to read it as soon as I read the back cover. If you haven't already seen this one reviewed, it takes place in a world where "Others" —that would be beings such as werewolves, vampires, animal spirits, dryads, mermaids, pookas (a type of shapeshifter which applies to our heroine), and so on— are known to exist, and some even live out in the open, though they suffer a great deal of prejudice, even from OTHER Others!
Before I get into any symbolism or even political stuff, here's what the story is about, in my own words: Gwen is half-pooka as a result of a fling her mother had with a Welshman (is that even the correct term?). She can shapeshift; in fact, she MUST shapeshift relatively often or she feels discomfort, her "pooka side" acting up. She doesn't reveal her Otherness to many people (not even her boyfriend, Zach). But she does have her best friend, Chloe, who is a dryad, a sort of tree spirit, to share secrets with, and she suspects that Tavian, an attractive Japanese guy she met via the BLOGOSPHERE, might have some Otherness to him as well.
Who knows of Gwen's Otherness isn't so important, however, until someone begins to murder local Others of Gwen's Washington state town, Klikas...Klika..oh man, it's such a cool name, too...(looks it up) Klikamuks! Doesn't that name just remind you of the sounds your rainboots make when you walk through a puddle? Anyway, suddenly Gwen has bigger problems than worrying about how to tell her boyfriend she's a shapeshifter, because she and all of her Other friends are in danger!
I really enjoyed this book. I know it's not exactly a unique premise, what with all the YA authors scrambling to find the latest paranormal gimmick for their novels (myself included), but it was a fun read, and man was it quick! Even if you aren't sure you'd like this one, try it anyway because it won't take a lot of your time and it's a great ride. The characters were pretty well-developed, the dialogue was snappy yet believable. There was action, romance, mystery, paranormal-ness, danger, and politics. Yes, politics. Maybe Karen Kincy didn't purposely do this (I find that unlikely, or maybe it was just unavoidable), but the problems the Others ran into were so similar to those faced of any minority group. There was also mention of Alaskans hunting werewolves by helicopter (Palin, anyone?) and an Other-hatred based group called the White Knights (perhaps a bit like the KKK?). Not to mention the term "other" in general. As in, the way we tend to place people who are different from us in the "other" category? "Other" or maybe "exotic"? (Anybody see that post on the Story Siren?) My point is, not only was there a decent, fast-paced story that I found quite hard to put down, but there were some great messages involved. Kindness, tolerance. Okay, so you don't HAVE to read it that way, but it's in there to find if you want to. Plus it could make for a cool paper! (for those fellow college students out there)
You can find out some more about this one here:
And I'm sure there are some much more detailed and thoughtful reviews out there in the blogosphere, too. I should probably add that I didn't always take the book as seriously as could have, probably because I have a friend who used to call her boyfriend a "pooka" or "pook."

I also read The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan.
I think that this one was first and foremost, beautifully written. The style was lovely, and the way Lena, the main character's relationship with her family was developed was excellent, very strong. I read this one quickly, too, and didn't want to put it down. The ocean imagery, the eventual mermaid village, even the descriptions of surfing lessons were kind of magical.
But it was sad, and I'm not quite sure about the conclusion that was reached at the end. Okay, wait...


Lena's father, once a surfer and ocean-lover, can never again enter the sea. If he does, he will be ripped to pieces by sharks at the command of his former mermaid lover's own mother. So really, the purpose of this story seems to be so that Lena can discover her mermaid heritage and have her father's sea death penalty lifted upon her return to land. But in order to have this lifted, Lena must sacrifice seeing her mermaid mother, Melusina, and the merman boy she grows to love, Nix. She has to promise never to see them again or return to the mermaid village. At the end (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) Lena returns to land and reunites with her friends, her younger brother, stepmother and father. Finally, she and her father can surf together. I guess that, for Lena, it takes seeing her possible mermaid life and heritage to really appreciate, fully enjoy, and help her land family and life. But what about her mother?! She's just going to forget and absorb happy mermaid thoughts so that her memories don't depress her?! That really bugged me, a lot. Since I just spoiled the ending, I'm going to kind of leave the rest of the book for you to read.


I suppose it was sort of what had to be done, but it didn't all work for me. Still, it's a very pretty story, and I think anyone who loves mermaids, the ocean, or stories of finding one's self might find enjoyment in this book. (Check out the blog Escape in a Book- pretty sure she has a deeper review of this one as well as some second opinions!)
Oh, here it is:

I guess I'd better visit some other blogs and then go to bed before Black Friday comes!
Happy shopping, all!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Books...and books....and MORE books!

Thanksgiving break is rapidly approaching! And not a moment too soon, thank goodness. (I've been actively procrastinating in preparation for the occasion.) I have even made a list of books that I want to read over the break, just to have a little vacation from the usual textbooks and what not:

(I don't know if the pictures will work.)

1. You Wish by Mandy Hubbard..because how could I resist a book with a CUPCAKE on the cover? Also the plot sounds like so much fun! Imagine if suddenly you started to receive all of the birthday wishes you've ever made, since you were little. That's what's about to happen to the protagonist of this book. (Also, it's been sitting on my shelf since August!)

2. Annexed by Sharon Dogar...the story of Anne Frank's housemate, Peter. An imaginative, heartbreaking, YA story about the Holocaust, all based on true events and the written work of a thirteen-year-old girl. Also I've heard some good stuff about Sharon Dogar. There was no way I could pass this one up at the bookstore!

3. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger- Everyone in the book blogosphere has to have heard something about this book by now. DUFF= Designated Ugly Fat Friend, and the main character of this book. Apparently though, when it comes to this girl, there's more than meets the eye. To put it bluntly, this sounds like a book...and a character...that we can all relate to. And I have not read ANY bad reviews.

4. Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin...I've read a lot of reviews about this one and the only conclusion I've reached is that I'm going to have to read it. People have said a lot of sh*t about this book, man. Others thought it was, eh, okay. And others still valiantly defend it! I must say, I'm intrigued. If I can track down a copy, I'll definitely be reading this one.

5. All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab...I bought this one a while back, seduced by that magnificent, unsettling cover. I started it...and something came up. (I have a serious commitment problem when it comes to reading, I think. I got halfway through Dracula a few years ago and just stopped. Same thing with Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca. I should be ashamed!) So the goal is to finish this one. If I keep buying books and not reading them, well, that's not really fair, is it?

So that's my list, short and sweet, of books younger and older. There may be some changes, and if I can't find DUFF or LRM in time, well, sadly I won't be able to read them. But I will be letting you know what I think of them soon after the break.

I've been reading a lot of different blogs lately, sampling and what not, and I just want to make a promise that I will never expressly say here NOT to read a specific novel. I'm an author. That would be ridiculous, counterproductive, and not fair. Everyone thinks and reads differently. One person's "ugh" is another's "OMG SO GOOD!" (I was going to make that second part "ooo" but then I thought it sounded vaguely sexual. :/ ) We all appreciate an honest, outspoken review, but I would never say anything like "Man, toss this stupid book in the trash!"

Anyway, I'll be posting some of my own work up here soon too! Thanks for following.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I was so sure that Angels were going to be the Next Big Thing but now it looks like Mermaids are getting their chance too! And I LOVE Mermaids! I used to want to be one.
Yeah, really, I did. I love water, and I love and respect the sea.
Anyway, if you haven't already, you should check out the Bloody Bookaholic! Her latest post is all about some upcoming Mermaid books, and I was so excited to see it that I just had to share.
Did I mention how much I love the blogosphere?

In other news, I have some stuff for my new work that I might want to post in the near future. Thanks for those who've come and take a look at my blog even after my super long blogging break!
For those who see this post, what's your favorite paranormal/supernatural/fantastic/fairy tale creature? Mermaid? Vampire? Werewolf?

I don't think I'll ever be able to decide, but that's okay because there are books about all of them!