Never have I ever... had such a discrepancy between my opinion and that of the masses. No...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
Never have I ever... had such a discrepancy between my opinion and that of the masses. Not since The Sea of Tranquility. In fact, I think The Edge of Never bothered me more than Sea did for reasons I will soon go into.
Goodreads, how could you lead me astray?
(Never mind. Have you seen this latest review policy change? Apparently leading people astray is something you're very good at.)
Read the rest of this review @ BookLikes HERE.(less)
Red Queen features one of the bitchiest, sanctimonious, self absorbed, and narcissistic characters I have EVER encountered in literature. The winner...moreRed Queen features one of the bitchiest, sanctimonious, self absorbed, and narcissistic characters I have EVER encountered in literature. The winner of the Righteous Bitch award is Margaret Beaufort, Plantagenet and progenitor of the Tudors.
You can read the rest of this review @ BookLikes HERE.(less)
***edit//10/20/13/: Hi guys! So as you may or may not know, Terrorscape was removed by Amazon for content violation. I guess because of the dark, dist...more***edit//10/20/13/: Hi guys! So as you may or may not know, Terrorscape was removed by Amazon for content violation. I guess because of the dark, disturbing content (i.e. rape, torture, dub/non-con, murder, serial killers, mindfuckery, etc. etc. etc.). Welllll, since I know some of you were very upset and messaged me about where you can read this, I'm posting to let you know that I'm hosting a giveaway on Booklikes!
You can enter to win 1 of 100 - yes, that's right - *100* - copies of Terrorscape. So far, only about 25 people are applying, so that just means that 75 sad little copies won't have homes to go to. APPLY NOW! Because I'm just giving these away!
Note that they will be ebooks. I am too poor to afford 100 hard copies of my book. One day, God willing....
Anyway, thanks so much for the support! I hope you win. Please spread the word and tell your friends. :)
This isn't a romance novel at all. It's a handy-dandy guide on what not to do as a w...moreI've figured it out, you guys.
No, seriously, I've figured it out.
This isn't a romance novel at all. It's a handy-dandy guide on what not to do as a writer, but disguised as a novel to underscore the point all the more effectively.
Ana, see, she's the epitome of Mary Sue - don't write your character like Ana!
Christian, he's the epitome of Marty Stu - don't write your character like Christian!
All that icky sex, like the tampon scene, the spatula scene, the soapy washcloth in the wahoo scene - all big no-nos! See how important it is to do your research? How else would you know that yes, you can get sex on your period, and that sticking soap up your cooch can give you a urinary tract infection?
I finally get what EL James meant, when she said she had "set the bar quite high in terms of storytelling." This is probably the most ingenious allegory I've seen since Animal Farm.
I am in bed right now sobbing the way I did when I read The Fault in Our Stars, or when t...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!
I am in bed right now sobbing the way I did when I read The Fault in Our Stars, or when the wife in Up died, or when my sweet little kitty had to be put down, and I'm not even ashamed.
Before I Fall is one of the most beautiful stories I've read in a while. Everything about it, from concept to characterization, is perfect. It's hard to write a flawed protagonist and still make her likable, but Oliver does, and I found myself wanting to like Sam in spite of knowing I really shouldn't. It's got a great supporting cast, and she really captures how it feels to be a teenager.
Read the rest of this review @ BookLikes HERE.(less)
Oh, book. How do you piss me off? Let me count the ways.
1. You try to masquerade as a strong female fantasy nove...moreFeminist fiction you say?
Oh, book. How do you piss me off? Let me count the ways.
1. You try to masquerade as a strong female fantasy novel when your MC is a total bitch who spends all her time debating over whether or not to give her husband permission when he ravishes her or not (because it's not rape if you're married, folks!).
2. The MC's first husband sleeps around, but she's totally OK with that - until he starts giving her younger sister The Eye. Oh, but god help the MC if she ever decides to cheat. When she even looks at a guy wrong her husband comes close to beating and then raping her.
3. Borderline pedophilia. Because if she's got her monthlies, you can give it to her daily, apparently.
4. Merlin is a pimp in this novel. No, seriously. He is. "Cheat on your husband - he's going to be dead anyway soon and this guy is a total stud. Plus, who's the whore and who's the wizard here? Exactly. NOW SLEEP WITH HIM YOU SLUT. AND BEAR THE SON I NEED FOR MY PROPHECY!"
5. He's not a rapist. He just didn't know how to deal with the young beautiful girl he was saddled with as a wife. As soon as she stopped fighting him and calling it "rape" he was a perfectly nice man. No, that's not Stockholm Syndrome at all. It's marriage.
It's not even particularly well-written, either. I found it very heavy-handed and full of purple prose. The words were so tangled up in their own sense of self-importance that I found myself forgetting the plot so many times that I eventually just stopped caring.
Plus, all the rape and girly things and rampant sexism really grated my cheese, if you know what I mean. I just can't read a book that makes me want to do this:
EDIT 04/21/2013: I have some new information about this book!
First: This book should really be classified as 'New-Adult' and not 'Young-Adult', since...moreEDIT 04/21/2013: I have some new information about this book!
First: This book should really be classified as 'New-Adult' and not 'Young-Adult', since it does contain situations and themes not really appropriate for younger teens. So this is just something to keep in mind. (Plus, I like to think of myself as a genre-bender, giving all those other NA books the ol' one-two! :D)
Second: the SEQUEL, Armed and Dangerous, (which I know many of you are excited about) should be ready by early to mid-May. I am working SUPER HARD on it right now, and have already finished about 25% on the final draft.
As always, I thank you for your support and consideration.
I started this book about six or seven years ago. I still remember what the original draft was like, and to this day I cannot think of it without cringing. Oh, the things that come out of a sixteen-year-old's keyboard.
Cloak and Dagger is my first published book. I guess that makes it my baby. But not a coddled baby. More like the baby who is misbehaved and is always throwing temper tantrums, and needs to be set down in the corner while author-mommy cleans up the mess and heartbreak, and angsts about how this was never how she pictured motherhood authorhood.
I didn't know how much work it was going to be. Years of revisions, building onto the original work, and then cutting it back down to size. I cut about twenty THOUSAND words from the final draft before submitting it for publication, and found out in the process that I have a rather inordinate fondness for lovingly placing extraneous adverbs within the text. Who knew?
C&D is the product of too many James Bond films, an annoyance of Stockholm Syndromesque romances, and the niggling question that fills each of our minds when reading darker romantic suspense: Why doesn't that gosh-darn 'bad boy' ever stay bad? I'm not going to sell this book as THE BEST BOOK EVAR!!1! because it isn't (that distinction is reserved for the Brontes and Jane Austen, thank you very much), but it was fun to write, and I hope people have fun reading it.
Once upon a time, there was a girl who read Twilight. And while she liked it--especially the creepier parts--she was annoyed by how sappy the male protagonist was and how easily the female got over his controlling, possessive behavior. And she thought to herself, "Wow, if this guy wasn't a vampire, this story would be totally effed up."
The Horrorscape series was born.
Well, actually, no. Not really. I'm lying. I started this story around '05 or '06, but it wasn't really fleshed out the way it is now until far later.
The premise is about a very young woman who gets romantically entangled with a boy whom she initially perceives as a twisted, tormented soul--only to realize that he's actually a burgeoning psychopath who's quite happy with the way he is, thanks, and by the way HAVE YOU SEEN MY BINDER OF WOMEN? No, seriously. He.... Well, that would be telling, wouldn't it?
Rather than the more usual route of the bad boy being softened by the good girl, Val starts to grow steadily more corrupt under his influence. She starts to develop some mental health disorders of her own, as a result of all the trauma he puts her through, a warped view of her own sexuality, and, ultimately, ends up far more cold and callous than the "nice" girl she initially was. I'm quite proud of this, and have taken great pains to portray him as unappealing as possible despite his attractive facade. While it was spurred on by books like Twilight and FSoG, it is really closer to Lolita or The Collector in tone because Gavin was never meant to be a real love interest, simply because, like the men in the two aforementioned books, he isn't capable of it.
When this was published online, I was often amused when people attempted to rationalize Gavin's sick and twisted behavior (sometimes the lengths to which they would go seemed rather, um, worrying. Men don't do things like this ((view spoiler)[e.g. murdering the friends of, sending threatening messages to, drawing graphic representations of (hide spoiler)]) to women they love). And saddened, because it just goes to show how thoroughly this "love trumps all" stereotype has permeated our culture.
It's definitely safe to say that the endless line of idealized abusive romances in YA and new adult romance prodded me into preparing this for publication. I'm a very contrary person, and my exact mindset at the time was something along the lines of, "They want abusive, border-line psychotic boyfriends? They'll get abusive, border-line psychotic boyfriends! IN SPADES!" Gavin is frightening--and the lengths he goes to possess the female character in this book and the others in the series are, well, horrifying.
Because the Horrorscape series is horror and while there are undertones of romance, the behavior of the characters contained within are far too dysfunctional and superficial to be considered love. And Lovescape doesn't really have the same sort of ring to it, does it?
edit//11/14/12: ENDGAME IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE OMFG. I'M DONEEEEE. YOU GUYS HAVE NO IDEA- HOW- HOW- HOW GOOD THIS FEELS. ;_____;
You can obtain a co...moreedit//11/14/12: ENDGAME IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE OMFG. I'M DONEEEEE. YOU GUYS HAVE NO IDEA- HOW- HOW- HOW GOOD THIS FEELS. ;_____;
You can obtain a copy for Kindle HERE. I would be absolutely honored. ♥
When I tell people I'm a writer (which I usually don't, because the usual response is a sneer), their first question is generally, "Oh, so you must write romance novels."
I take great pride in being able to say, in my super girly-girl voice, "Nope! I write spy thrillers, cyberpunk, urban fantasy, and, like, gothic horror?"
Their response is usually: O_______O
Me: 1. Sexist: 0.
The first useful writing advice I ever got was "write what you know." I can't remember who said that to me, but I remember the advice. I also played a lot of video games as a child. Hours and hours. And hours. Last summer, both ideas culminated in my messed-up little brain, and in a three-day writing frenzy fueled by Dr. Pepper and excessive boredom, I churned out the rough draft of this puppy.
Since it was written in three days, it didn't make a whole lot of sense at first, but there were some good ideas in there. Part of being a writer is that you also have to be a good archeologist. Except, instead of excavating bones from dirt, you're excavating prose from ...unmentionables.
This story is not yet available (it will be- soon!), but I wanted to show off the fancy-pantsy cover my wonderful graphic design major friend made for me. (She also designed the cover of my other book, Cloak and Dagger) I stare in awe at her talent. Thank you, Louisa. ♥
edit//08/10/13: OK. I AM WRITING THIS. WOOT WOOT. I have like fifteen different versions of this puppy on my computer so editing should be interesting...moreedit//08/10/13: OK. I AM WRITING THIS. WOOT WOOT. I have like fifteen different versions of this puppy on my computer so editing should be interesting.......
edit//12/08/12: The AMAZING LOU made me another gorgey cover. Isn't it beautiful? It is so beautiful. I am not worthy!!!
After noticing that YA PNR and UF tends to follow the same template (*cough* Twilight *cough*), I kind of wanted to try my own hand at the genre. Which turned out to be a bad thing, as I ended up with this bloated behemoth of a book filled with ass-kicking, monsters, complicated magic, a made-up language based off Latin, Spanish, and WTFuckery, a magic-based cult that uses and abuses christian theology, and I don't know what.
Black Beast is the first in a series called The Shadow Thane, though he doesn't really show up until later (your pants will thank me, he's f**king scary). The main character is a girl named Catherine Pierce who lives in a typical nuclear family--except that her mother sometimes turns into a hawk, and her dad doubles as the family dog.
During adolescence, shape-shifters are supposed to "settle" into one form (kind of like the daemons from Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy) except that Catherine, for whatever reason, hasn't. The other shifter families are tight-knit so the Pierces have become somewhat alienated because of their daughter's abnormal development.
There are racial tensions between shape-shifters and witches, who are united only in their fear of Slayers, wariness of humans, and abject hatred of vampires. But the truce is a fine one, capable of being overturned at any moment. Which is exactly why Catherine is not exactly what one might call pleased when a manipulative, dangerous witch named Phineas Riordan barges into her life hurling wild accusations.
I'm pretty proud of this book. Catherine has a strong mind and isn't afraid to speak it. I really enjoyed researching the animals in this book and getting in their "minds" when Catherine transforms. As a child, Animorphs was one of my favorite series because of how realistic the animal scenes were. I want to recapture that same sort of "knowledge is power" vibe without sounding preachy or pedantic.
"Grownups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
"Grownups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them" (p.8).
This is one of those children's books I haven't gotten around to reading until now, although upon starting it I came to the immediate conclusion that, like The Velveteen Rabbit, Bambi, and the legions of other kiddie books responsible for scarring children everywhere under the ages of nine, that this is one of those disillusioning books that forces you to See How Things Are. That is, death is not something reserved for Disney villains and Hitler. It Could Happen to You.
(Cue crying toddlers.)
Our narrator is a man who is clearly still a child at heart. He dreamed of being an artist, but the grownups around him destroyed that dream, and so he became a pilot instead. Except he ends up crash-landing in the Sahara desert. Oops. While there, he encounters a strange little boy who calls himself The Little Prince, and who comes from somewhere beyond the stars.
As the two protagonists wander through the Sahara, the Little Prince recounts his travels from his home planet - replete with a flower, three volcanoes (one extinct), poppies, and insidious baobobs - to other little asteroids peopled by peculiar grownups with their own off-brand delusions. Each inhabitant is an exercise in philosophy and morality. For example, the businessman who is determined to number the stars with the intent of owning them all some day -
"And what good does it do you to own the stars?"
"It does me the good of making me rich."
"And what good does it do you to be rich?"
"It makes it possible for me to buy more stars if any are discovered."
"I myself own a flower ... which I water every day. I own three volcanoes, which I clean out every week (for I also clean out the one that is extinct; one never knows). It is of some use to my volcanoes, and it is of some use to my flower, that I own them. But you are of no use to the stars..."
This allegory is not exactly subtle, though de Saint-Exupéry never actually gets preachy to the point where he could be considered to be beating the dead horse.
There is a fox, which I pictured as a Fennec fox, especially when the prince says that the narrator drew the ears too pointed.
The Little Prince wishes to befriend the fox, but the fox tells him that he cannot be friends with him because he has not yet been tamed.
Over the next few days, the fox becomes tamed, and the Little Prince realizes that the very same quality which has now made him stand out to the fox from the rest of mankind is the same quality that has made his dear beloved flower stand apart from the haughty roses he encounters on his journey.
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye" (70).
The Little Prince also deals with the idea of loss, as this revelation makes the prince realize how much he longs for his little asteroid. Despite the pain that accompanies loss, there is something about it that is sweet, too. Knowing that something can be taken away - that something is ephemeral - makes it a matter of consequence. It keeps us from taking it for granted.
It makes us appreciate the transient beauty that is inherent to existence.
"If you love a flower that lives on a star, it is sweet to look at the sky at night" (84).
If mankind were not mortal, what motivation would they have to live - really live?
Right around page 65, the passages start to lose a bit of the whimsy and become poignant and bittersweet instead. That sent off little alarm bells - I started having post-traumatic flashbacks to Velveteen Rabbit - and yes, sure enough, the book takes a dive off the deep end of sorrow.
NOOOOOO - DON'T THROW THE BUNNY IN THE FURNACE.
...Okay. Okay, I feel a little better now that I've had a good, hard cry.
All that talk of taming is a trick, a prelude. Why? Because it applies to books, and the aspiration of every writer who writes them. When you begin a book, you have no emotional investment in the characters. They are a work of fiction, indistinguishable from the billions of other fictional characters that populate that fictional world. It is only when they tame you - when you become familiar with them, and even grow to love them in a way - that you begin to care. That you open yourself up to hurt. I allowed myself to be tamed by the narrator and the Little Prince - and they broke my heart.
"One runs the risk of weeping a little, if one lets himself be tamed..."
If I have a weakness, it's probably for stories about out of control women...moreYou can read more of my reviews, faster, at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
If I have a weakness, it's probably for stories about out of control women doing crazy hijinks. I even have a shelf for it on Goodreads. I was lured in by the pretty title, the shiny cover, and the hype. Everyone seemed to love this book - maybe I would love this book, too! I should have stepped back, taken a deep breath, and thought to myself, Yeah, and everyone loved The Edge of Never, too, and look what happened when you read THAT.
Where the Stars Still Shine is derivative, it is cliche. It is 2 parts The Edge of Never and 2 parts If You Find Me, minus the bitchy step-sister and the bratty younger sister.
Callie was kidnapped from her family by her crazy mother who has some sort of vague mental illness that is diagnosed as borderline personality disorder in the book, but smacks more of mania with clinical paranoia. Every time she feels trapped, she and Callie jump ship again to some shitty slum where people don't ask questions.
Also, Callie's mom's boyfriends tend to find their way into Callie's room for a rapey good time, which is why Callie tries to leave the house whenever her mother is entertaining "company."
Anyway, due to police intervention she ends up with her Greek family again. Of course, she falls in love with the first bulkily muscled dude she sees. Of course, he's the town playboy and she is warned away from him almost immediately by her insta-friend slash cousin, Kat, whom Callie treats like shit.
Her family - especially her father, Greg - are so welcoming and kind and understanding that it will just about move you to tears. Does Callie care? No. She resents the rules, like having to tell her parents where she's going and having a curfew. She's always lying to her father, and doesn't really feel any guilt about it.
She treats one of the other boys, Connor, like shit. Jerking him around, basically trying to tear his clothes off in a field. And when he resists, she takes it as an insult and runs him crying because "he thinks she's too ugly to sleep with." She ends up sleeping around with Alex, that shirtless babe she saw on her first day in town, and it turns out that he is her fucking step-uncle. That's right, he's her stepmom's brother.
And she and him start humping in the kitchen, with her toddler half-brothers just down the hall.
If that is not fucked up, I do not know what is. And Callie wonders why her stepmom is loathe to trust her with her two young boys. Newsflash! I wouldn't either!
I don't mind books with unlikable protagonists - they can be fun, because you're just like, whatever the deuces are wild. But you can't have it both ways. Having an unlikable protagonist who constantly plays the sympathy card and essentially says with her behavior, "It's okay that I'm treating you like crap because my mom was a drug addict. It's okay that I behave in sexually inappropriate ways because I was molested. It's okay that I don't care about anyone but myself because I'm afraid of being hurt."
Why? Because that is not okay. And maybe if there was some sort of character development going on in the background I could forgive even this, but nope. Callie gets everything she wants, no matter how badly she treats the people around her. She is a Mary Sue of the worst kind: an Entitlement Sue.
Sometimes a writer has *too* many great ideas, and they try to cram all those ideas into one book and the end result overwhelms the reader. Brian K. V...moreSometimes a writer has *too* many great ideas, and they try to cram all those ideas into one book and the end result overwhelms the reader. Brian K. Vaughan's Saga is proof that this can work.
It's hard to describe, actually, because there's SO MUCH going on. There is a planet full of winged people with super-badass technology who are at war with the "moonies": animal-like people with magic spells and weapons. Also there are robot people who are like the Blue Man Group with TVs for heads, assassins, demonic-looking mercenaries, and cats who double as lie-detectors. Oh. And tree rocketships.
That's right. Fucking tree rocketships.
I know it sounds like something someone might come with after a drop or two of acid, but this was absolutely amazing. Alana and Marko, the two star-crossed lovers from opposing sides of the battlefield, are an amazing couple. I knew it was going to be great when it starts off with Alana's pregnancy and she's like, "AM I SHITTING?"
Seriously. They're the best couple EVER. So respectful of one another, and yet replete with all the flaws of normal relationships like stinky morning breath, awkward past relationships, and not always looking your freshest and bestest. IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.
The ghost babysitter, Izabel, was no less lovable. I loved the twist with the horrors, and the nightmarish "meet the parents" turn at the end. Hoo-boy. Talk about awkward.
Okay, you're right. I'm not calm. I'm fangirling my brains out right now.
WHERE THE 'H' IS VOLUME 2? I WANT/NEED IT NOW.
Oh--and guess what else? The main character, Alana? She likes reading trashy romance novels. You hearing this? She's a woman trained like a soldier married to a powerful renegade magician, and she likes reading trashy romance novels about rock men who hook up with miners' daughters.
I KNOW RIGHT
...Whatever, it's still a better love story than Twilight.
My first thought upon seeing this cover was, "Wow, that looks like Robert Pattinson's jaw...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!
My first thought upon seeing this cover was, "Wow, that looks like Robert Pattinson's jawline." Which I suppose makes sense, given that this originally started out as Twilight fanfiction. Gotta have those subliminal cues to pander to your intended audience.
Did I mention how much I hate P2P fanfiction? Because I really hate P2P fanfiction. It's just so uncreative. Worse, it entails leaching off the work of others. You're taking established character templates somebody else created and making them your own simply by changing their names.
Beautiful Bastard has relatively good ratings, but books like these tend to gather cult followings who don't care about the plot as long as there's gratuitous sex with some good-looking asshole and a dippy Sue whose empty head is perfect for self-insertion.
Several of my friends were reading this and their status updates and quotes, combined with what little I read of this book, succeeded in convincing me that I would hate Beautiful Bastard with every inch of my being. I need a good plot to keep me engaged, and I'm not interested in reading rehashed versions of books I was only lukewarm about in the first place.
It pisses me off that books like these become so popular when there are plenty of independent authors with their own characters, and creative plots, who are far more deserving of appreciation.
pride and prejudice is supposed to be every girl's favorite austen book. it's like a rule or something. but, as the austen girls consistently show aga...morepride and prejudice is supposed to be every girl's favorite austen book. it's like a rule or something. but, as the austen girls consistently show again and again
rules were made to be broken.
don't get me wrong. i can see the appeal in the tall, dark and brooding mr. darcy, and mr. bingley is a sweetheart (although somewhat pitiably oblivious) - but neither of them compares to the light-hearted, teasing, and downright devious mr. tilney. oh, my, gosh. that man is fiiiiine.
and while elizabeth bennet is someone i can admire, catherine morland is someone i not only admire, but can see myself actually being friends with. the girl's a sweetie - and she loves to read!
aren't they a cute couple?
catherine is a tomboy-turned-wallflower who is easy to please and even more eager to please - but she's somewhat naive. not a pushover or a prude, but just operating under the assumption that most people's intentions are as benign as those of hers and her family's and friends'.
this is how she finds herself making the acquaintance of the nefarious isabella and john thorpe who are both perfectly horrid. i hated them both pretty much on sight and was pleased when henry and eleanor tilney came on the scene - OMG. THE TWO OF THEM WERE SO SQUEE-WORTHY.
the first half is highly reminiscent of emma, except with a far more scheming and malicious female whose manipulations are designed to hurt, rather than to help. the second is that oh-so-delightful parody of the gothic literature, and i have to admit i lol'd when catherine opens up the wardrobe expecting to find a murdered woman's dying confessions and turns up a laundry list.
honestly, this book was so sweet and cute and feel-good. i'm so grateful to my dearest friend for forcing recommending me to read this book! ♥
Sometimes I just don't understand the popularity of these so-called "cult classics." I tr...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!
Sometimes I just don't understand the popularity of these so-called "cult classics." I tried reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and absolutely despised it. I tried reading Bret Easton Ellis's work, and was revolted. I tried reading World War Z, and was completely bored out of my skull. Given that, you may be wondering what possessed me to pick up Fiend.
I know the typical troll response to negative reviews is, "if you don't like something, don't read it." What they don't seem to realize is that you can't tell if you're not going to like something until you actually do read it. There have been books I absolutely thought I was going to love that ended up pissing me off. And there are books that I thought I might throw out the window only to realize that I loved them to pieces. It all depends on the subject, the writer, and the way the story is strung together. So really, choosing not to read something on the basis of its premise is a very close-minded approach to books.
Why didn't I like Fiend?
Several reasons, actually.
1. The main character is seriously tripping balls. He is so drugged out of his mind, that when he sees a little girl eating the brains of a dog he's pretty much just like, "Whoa, bad trip."
2. The writing is purposely squicky, with numerous metaphors and analogies involving bodily fluids. It's kind of like listening to a bunch of drunken frat boys talking about last weekend's party.
3. I'm not one of those people who immediately think, "Oh! Zombies! Cool!" Sticking a zombie in a book does nothing for me. If you want to wow me with a zombie book, you have to have good characterization, a good storyline, and something to set your book apart from the thousands of other zombie stories out there.
4. None of the dialogue has quotation marks. Maybe the author is trying to emulate Cormac McCarthy's "The Road." However, the Road is on a completely different level from this book: it has gorgeous writing, fabulous characters, and really good world-building. Considering that this is a debut novel from the author, one would think that he ought to work on making his novel less trendy and trippy and more accessible.
Because that's another problem with cult classics, they only have a small, specific audience. Which is great if you're already an established author with a large following, but if you're just starting out, it's probably best to include as many people in your target demographic as possible. Zombies are already on the wane, and just don't cut it anymore.
5. It's boring. Things happen too slowly or too quickly, or in such a disorganized way that you don't really get a grip on what's going on. I guess that's because these guys are all high, but still. It's about as fun reading from the POV of someone who's high as it is being the only sober person as a party.
Let me start out by saying that my readers, old and new, from GR are largely responsible for motivating me to write this. I was stumped about this story for the better part of four years, and to those who have been waiting all that time for the sequel, I apologize. Before I got started on its sequel, I really wanted to polish up Cloak and Dagger. It's a really bad idea to work on a sequel when you're revamping the prequel. Plot-lines, sequences of events, names, characterization--all these things change, as they did in the case of C&D. I'll be the first to admit my writing's not perfect, but I'm pretty happy with how the revision came out. Others seem to be, too.
Anyway, my main goal in writing this is to prove that I am, in fact, writing this, and also to thank everyone for their support and encouragement. Every time I see a review for C&D, I get so excited. It literally makes my day to see people buying my books, reading them, and writing about them. So thanks. I couldn't have started this without all you wonderful people. Especially the persistent ones among you.
Look at that cover. Just look at it. Isn't it gorgeous? A beautiful girl surrounded by sparkles and butterflies, glittering with liberal use of the p...moreLook at that cover. Just look at it. Isn't it gorgeous? A beautiful girl surrounded by sparkles and butterflies, glittering with liberal use of the photoshop dodge tool. It's absolutely stunning. I want butterflies to chill out in my hair. I'll be perfectly honest. I'm a shallow person; I judge books by their covers, and I wanted to read Exiled based on the cover alone. Unfortunately, that glorious, shimmering, magnificent outside did not match what lay on the inside.
This was another offshoot of my "free Amazon kindle downloads" binge. UnEnchanted was another, and if you're curious, you can access my review of it here. I pretty much downloaded all that they had, which was mostly YA and questionable-looking romance-novels. BUT. The most improtant fact is that this book is available for free download for the kindle. Yay!!! Free books! However, before racing to press that "buy now" button on Amazon, you *might* want to see if Exiled is for you. It's longer than most ebooks, and a bigger time commitment.
WARNING: SPOILER HEAVY (PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK)
Venus (*cringe*) is a Kelarian, an alien from a planet far, far away. Her people eventually become kelvieri, or immortals (basically gods), following a ritualistic ceremony. Venus is just setting off for hers, when she suddenly and inexplicably finds herself on Earth, where the air is toxic for her to breathe and enemies of the throne are staging a coup to steal her position as rightful crown princess.
I know what you're thinking.
Marooned on a planet where she is doomed to die, Venus learns that her planet's "gods" refuse to help her - unless she can help a boy named Michael find true-love. Unfortunately, Michael happens to be the disgruntled asshole who she encounters in the woods, drunk, crass, and completely heartbroken from being dumped. Michael is seriously damaged goods. He's abused by both his mother and his father - that is, until his father leaves and his mother takes over the job as stay-at-home-psychopath. He reads a lot of literature, but this intelligence is not really reflected in his day-to-day decisions. And he's on male PMS 24/7.
FUCK EMOTIONS! I'M A MAN!
Does this mean that he's a love interest?
. . . Is Christian Grey fifty shades of f***ed up?
Jigglypuff does not approve.
Oh, and if that wasn't bad enough, there's a group of evil kelvieri going around killing humans for the fun of it. And scientists get wind that there's an alien murderer wreaking havoc on the third rock from the sun, and once they get wind of Venus, they naturally assume it's her and pull an ET where they're like, "It's an alien so it doesn't feel pain and even if it does, fuck it! We torture in the name of science and have a damn good time doing it! TEAM ASSHOLE SCIENTIST!"
Originally, I was thinking this was gonna be a three-star book. Then a two-star book. But the ending whittled me down to 1, maybe 1.5, stars.
Granted, this is always a problem with self-published books as many of them don't have an editor, but there are some things that should just be common sense. As with UnEnchanted, the author does not seem to know how to properly quote dialogue spanning multiple paragraphs.
Also, she spells "okay" as "K." And "all right" as "alright." And hyphenated compound words mysteriously lose or regain their hyphens at will. Sometimes in the same paragraph.
The slang was, as with UnEnchanted, very bad. For example, one of the characters constantly says "Cheese!" instead of cursing. Yes, she's an earthling. Cheese, you guys! Don't you think I know an earthling when I see one? Are you cheesing kidding me?"
Michael, despite coming from a bad home, never curses. He only says "freaking" or "effing." As I have said in other YA book reviews, it is admirable if you come from a family that does not advocate cursing, but the fact of the matter is that people - especially teenage boys - do curse.
I really liked Zaren, Venus's other love interest. Unfortunately, that little subplot went nowhere. She treats him with condescension because he cares about her and wants to love her. She wants a real man - one who has emotional mood swings, will jerk her around, and make her feel like crap. Yeah!
. . . When she ended up with Michael -
- I just lost all respect for the book. Why? Well. -He's needy and suspicious of everyone. Even when he's not 100% sure he doesn't want to get back with Cheverley (the name of his ex - and yes, she's an earthling, too), he still is uber-possessive of Venus.
-Someone close to him gets murdered. Even though it goes against what he knows of Venus's character, Michael assumes that she did it and immediately decides to kill her. Makes sense, right?
Ash reads this scene aloud from his Kindle. Pikachu and Brock are horrified.
-Not a "nice killing" either. He sends her out to scientists, who plan to vivisect her. What a sweetheart.
-Oh, and when he helps her escape - he chases after her, thus leading the evil scientists straight to her. Zaren is understandably angry. What is Michael's excuse? "B-b-but I love her!"
-Which is precisely why he sneaks onto the spaceship to Venus's own home-planet, even though he knows the air there will kill him.
Venus wasn't much better. She was just so clueless. And she was a bit of a Mary Sue. Everyone around her kept nodding and saying they could totally see why she's a princess, she totally acts the part, but me? I don't get it. She has no sense of responsibility. She's reckless, and naive to the point of being developmentally challenged. She has poor judgment and even worse taste in men.
Looks like they're letting anyone be a princess these days.
Really, she's a bigger bubble-head than Sailor Moon. But at least Sailor Moon could defend herself! (Once she stopped mooning over Darian, that is - but Darian is actually really dreamy, so I can't really fault her for that, either)
If you are an older YA reader, or prefer your science-fiction and fantasy novels with strong female protags, you will probably not like this book. Likewise, if you are a hardcore grammar Nazi, and think that chatspeak in literature should warrant a punishment of being dangled from a very short participle, you should definitely not read this book. Just gaze lovingly at that pretty cover . . . and wonder about what could be.
Everyone and their mother seems to love this book. I know everyone says that, but in this...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
Everyone and their mother seems to love this book. I know everyone says that, but in this case it's true. Thousands of ratings, and only 12 of them gave Sea of Tranquility one star. I'll be honest: that's intimidating. But because I've always prided myself on honesty, I am giving this book one star. I'll also admit I couldn't finish this book. Gladly.
Nastya is . . . well, nasty. She's a total bitch, and one of the most repulsive protagonists I've read in a while. I get that she's depressed and has a traumatic past and all (even though I couldn't finish, I did read the spoilers just to get some perspective), but come on.
You can have a horrible character and still make them interesting. It's hard, but possible. I just read The S-Word and that MC was a total witch. But she was interesting, and the plot was engaging, and I wanted to know what she was going to do next, how she'd change.
I had no such investment in Nastya. For starters, she's incredibly self-destructive and she brags about it. It's hard to feel sympathy for someone who is so quick to debase themselves. Gosh, I sure do love throwing up! Man, is it ever so cathartic.
Golly gee, dressing like a slut is a total hoot! I love pissing girls off by having their boyfriends ogle me, and LOL this way no decent guy is gonna approach me and I won't have to get hurt. Oh and bee-tee-dubs, I'm wearing cute undies, so oops! accidentally-on-purpose crotch-shot!
Look at those self-congratulatory sluts. Wearing pink like they think they're teen hooker Barbie. I'm not like that. I'm funeral parlor Barbie. That makes me so much better than them. Because pink is for skanks.
Apparently this started out as independently published, and was duly purchased by Atria once they got wind of its success. I could kind of tell, and kind of not. It's good for indie, but goes on and on about nothing. It reads, in other words, like the Myspace journal of a particularly embittered teen desperate for attention.
Plus, the execution begs many questions such as:
WHY are they letting this girl into a shop class with high heels?
WHY does her aunt give her free rein despite the fact that she desperately needs help?
WHY has she not had any therapy?
WHERE are this girl's parents? And WHAT the hell are they doing that's so much more important than taking care of their mentally ill daughter?
WHAT is the point of the male- and female-hating? Making all girls out to be sluts and all boys out to be pimps/johns is just disgusting to everyone.
WHY do all the POV switches sound exactly like the same person?
And so on.
I honestly don't see why this book is so popular. She's like a female Travis Maddox.
Okay, so now that Armed and Dangerous is finished, I wanted to work on something (comparatively) light. Since most of th...moreCover reveal! (made by Louisa)
Okay, so now that Armed and Dangerous is finished, I wanted to work on something (comparatively) light. Since most of this is already written, it seemed like an ideal project that wouldn't take too much brainpower. Freaky Freshman is YA, but it's not a romance. It deals with bullying, especially the online kind, and how traumatic it can be on the developing psyche.
I wrote this when I was fourteen/fifteen years old. For the longest time I couldn't work on this because it hurt too much to revisit those memories. I'm trying to preserve as much of the writing as I can, as I feel it lends a really genuine feel into the mindset of a high school freshman. It is loosely based on my own experiences with bullying and the depression that followed, however a lot of the events have changed.
Since cyber-bullying has become such a prevalent theme on this site, this seemed like a good project to work on. A lot of people have been bullied. And the most tragic aspect of bullying is how isolate it makes the victims; it makes them feel as if they are trapped and alone. Worse still; it makes them feel as if they have been devalued as human beings.
I realize that this book may not be for everyone. (Actually, most of my books are not for everyone. I write some pretty messed-up stuff.) If you like it - great! If you get meaning out of it - great. If you don't like it, that's cool, too. Provided that you don't infringe upon the rights of anyone else, everyone should have license to be themselves and have their own opinions. The purpose of this book is more cathartic than anything else, but if it makes even one person feel less alone I will feel accomplished. (:
One of the things I'm proudest about of this story is the fact that the so-called love interest is a no-holds-barred psychopath. What at first seems like insta-love is actually psychotic obsession based on delusion. This is not a love story in the tradition sense because the two main characters are both so screwed up love isn't even a possibility.
Horrorscape is the sequel to Fearscape and takes place almost four years afterwards. Fearscape was actually written AFTER Horrorscape, since one of the main criticisms of the original work was that there was not enough backstory and what originally was supposed to be the prologue birthed an entire prequel because man, do these two MCs have issues.
Whole bucketfuls of issues.
This is probably the darkest story I've ever written, or ever will write, and the funny thing is that it originally started out as a romance that I wrote *sigh* when I was seventeen. And while it enjoyed its fair share of popularity back when it was serialized online, many of my readers had some qualms with the execution. My readers really helped make this series what it is today, so if any of you folks from Fictionpress are reading this right now, I salute you!
When I read Sharp Objects, I was really impressed by the sheer weight of the plot, and how well-researched the psychological angle was. A lot of peopl...moreWhen I read Sharp Objects, I was really impressed by the sheer weight of the plot, and how well-researched the psychological angle was. A lot of people get the details wrong in psychology--in fact, it's become somewhat stigmatized because of horror novels and mysteries--so it was really great to see a book from an author who took the time to actually do the research.
And oh my God, this is creepy. So creepy. Rape your soul creepy.
I didn't like Dark Places quite as much as Sharp Objects, but it was still really good, and very original. Libby Day is the sole survivor of a tragedy that took place over twenty years before, when her entire family was slaughtered like farm animals. She testified at a trial that her brother was responsible, thus sentencing him to a life behind bars. But then a mysterious group called "The Kill Club" approaches Libby. They believe her brother is innocent and are willing to pay her to dig up factoids for their real-life version of Clue.
The Kill Club had me rolling my eyes a little at first, but as Flynn went more in depth about the group, I was better able to suspend my disbelief. People are weird. The idea of a morbid group of Comic Book Guys collecting relics from solved and unsolved murders isn't as outlandish as one might wish. Libby is suffering for money. She came from a poor family and all her mother's life insurance money went towards paying the lawyers for Ben's trial. So for some extra cash she's (reluctantly) willing to start digging up the moldering past.
However, as Libby digs, she begins to learn disturbing secrets about her family, and the town. Secrets about pedophilia, Satan worship, drugs, false memory, and false testimony. Secrets that might prove her brother was innocent--or, worse, far guiltier than she ever imagined.
I loved the twist at the end. I thought I knew where Ms. Flynn was going with this (view spoiler)[I was (wrongly) convinced that Diane, Libby's aunt, was the murderess (hide spoiler)], and I thought wrong. Which is awesome. I love being wrong when I'm reading a mystery. It means the author isn't being so formulaic that the baddy is apparent from page one.
Libby Day is a distinctly unlikable protagonist, very morbid and angsty and tortured and mean. She's a bundle of issues wrapped up in lies and neuroses and half-healed wounds.
Now, Avril. That's not nice.
Actually, everyone in this novel was awful in their own way. And yet they were never so awful that I threw down the book in defeat. She even managed to work the multiple perspectives in, and in a way that wasn't too kitsch. All in all, I have to say I was rather favorably impressed.