Monday, October 27, 2014

Book review: The Melody of Light by M.L. Rice

Siblings Riley and Aidan Gordon are survivors. Together, they survived an abusive childhood, and when a fiery accident incinerates all they have—except for each other—they survive that, too. The tragedy leaves them with burdens and pain beyond their years, but it also sets them free to forge their own paths. Aidan’s road to happiness seems smooth and carefree. But Riley continues to struggle, her only saving grace being a passion for music that helps soothe her damaged soul. As their paths diverge and college looms, Riley will have to depend less on Aidan and more on herself. Fear of failure drives her, but will finding love derail her single-minded determination to succeed, or will it open the door to the family she’s always wanted?

When she was little, Riley and her brother Aidan lost their parents in an oil refinery explosion. From there, their lives were pretty much nothing but downs. Their aunt and uncle mistreated them, everyone in the group home they lived in through high school hated Riley, etc etc etc.

This is about where I started having problems with it. Riley isn’t that compelling of a character, and she actually has a pretty bad mean streak. Not the ‘she’s traumatized and has a hard time controlling her emotions,’ kind, though. She, and pretty much everyone in the book, suffer from what I like to call Not Like Other Girls Syndrome. Phrases like “They’re so shallow” or “They look so generic” followed by “But we’re great!” are pretty common, from Riley, Aidan, and all their friends. It’s treated like it’s a good thing, that she’s looking down on girls that she doesn’t even know and probably don’t care about her.

It also felt incredibly over-dramatic. I’ve heard of mean girls, but the way she’s treated through the entire novel just felt like all the author could think of for conflict for most of the book was making Riley suffer at the hands of mean girls as much as possible. There’s not much sympathy to be had for her, either, because a great deal of the book is done in summary, saying ‘this happened and then this happened’ rather than actually playing out the events. We’re told a whole lot (including about characters, how they supposedly act etc) but we never see it.

I don’t know a whole lot about the subject matter either, but I have a feeling there wasn’t much research done into group homes and the foster care system, either. I just felt like in the real world, even with the horror stories about the foster care system, Riley and Aidan would’ve been handled a lot better. With Riley’s constant nightmares and panic attacks, she would’ve been sent to therapy a lot sooner than she was (she’s pretty much forced into it near the end of the book). The book also erroneously said Riley had night terrors, when she really just had nightmares that were often followed by panic attacks.

The romance was probably one of the better features of the book, but it didn’t really redeem it. Both of the girls Riley’s interested in have the Not Like Other Girls Syndrome that I mentioned earlier, which pretty much turned me off to the idea of either of them, if they feel like the only way to compliment someone is to put down others.

Finally, although this is the first thing that made me flinch, it has a Twilight prologue. By that I mean it has a prologue that’s literally just copy-pasting part of the climax of the story. I haven’t seen one of those in a while, so I thought the trend was over. I personally find Twilight prologues sloppy and a cheap way to try to drum up drama.

I really wanted to like this book, but I’m one of those people that doesn’t feel like bad representation is better than no representation at all. I’d give this one a pass.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book trailer: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

The Book of Ivy
Releasing November 11th 2014

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and return the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My Summer Roommate Book Blitz: Guest post by Bridie Hall

Thank you for hosting me today and for letting me talk about my writing process.

Everyone has a different process of writing, one that suits their needs and the type of author they are.  Although I’m a bit of a control freak in general and I’d like to think I’m well organized, I’m not exactly a fan of plotting. A lot of my stories develop as they go along. Sometimes, like with My Summer Roommate, I even add characters or important events in the second or even third draft.
I start with a general idea about how I want the story to develop because every story has to have a point, it needs to have a message. I don’t mean an educational message necessarily, but there must be a conflict and the characters must go through a sequence of events that change them. So that’s my skeleton.

I try to write the first draft quickly. I strive to write 2000 words a day, if I can. I do as little editing as possible at this stage. When I realize a previous scene doesn’t tie in with the next, I’ll sometimes just write a note to change it during revision instead of changing it right that moment. So my first drafts can be very confusing to someone who’s not familiar with my thinking process. In other words, I write terrible first drafts. But I usually finish them in under three months.
For obvious reasons, all my revisions are extensive. Because I don’t follow a well-planned plot, a lot of things need to be changed for consistency’s sake and to nicely tie it all into a flowing story. So my first revision includes, but is not limited to, adding characters, deleting whole scenes (this breaks my heart every time), adding new events, twisting the plot into shape, and correcting grammar.
I try to let the manuscript sit on my desk for a while after this stage. A few months is best, but sometimes it’s only a couple of weeks if I’m on a deadline. I need to clear my mind of everything related to that particular manuscript, I need to cleanse it, so to speak, so I can return to the text with a fresh mind and a more attentive eye.

If all goes well (which it usually doesn’t) and if the story is approximately what I wanted it to be before I started writing it, this is the stage when I polish the text. This is the stage I like most, but also hate the most. I like that I’m beginning to see its final shape, that I’m adding the finishing touches that can make it shine. But I hate the polishing of grammar and syntax and all those more technical aspects of writing. I find all that tedious, although I love language and I certainly love to play with it – which anyone who’s read either Letting Go or My Summer Roommate will notice from the amount of puns.

Now is the time to send the novel to the editors, and I get to do another round of fine-tuning grammar and syntax and expressions – yay me! But at this point I’m happy to do it, because it means that the book is very near publication. Although I’m usually tired of working on the same story for so long, it’s very hard to let it go out into the world and into the readers’ hands. Every time I wait with baited breath to see how they’ll accept it.

You can buy My Summer Roommate on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

As part of the book blitz, each blog participating is giving away one copy of My Summer Roommate.  To enter, simply choose from the options on the widget below.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Cover Reveal: #Nerd by Cambria Hebert

Title: #Nerd (The Hashtag Series #1)
Author: Cambria Hebert
Genre: New Adult College / Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 3, 2014

Two people from completely different worlds are about to be thrown together…

In more ways than one.

She wants to keep her scholarship. He wants to stay on the team. An awkward alliance doesn’t even begin to cover Rimmel and Romeo’s relationship.

But that’s about to change.

It starts with a dare. An initiation. A challenge.

Quickly, it turns into more. But when you’re a victim of your status, there is no room for anything real. The rules are clear and simple.

Stick to your circle.

And never fall in love with anyone on the outside.

Cambria Hebert is a bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair. She currently resides in North Carolina with her children (human and furry) and her husband, who is a United States Marine.

Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (the real boss of the house).

Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: Text, Torch, Tryst, Masquerade, and Recalled.

Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC.