Sunday, September 29, 2013

Is Fear Hampering Your Writing?

It happened.  My mother read my novel.  It went better than I initially thought it would.  For quite some time, I had openly discouraged this.  Why?  Because, my mom doesn't like creepy. And let's be honest, who wants to disappoint their mother?  

Typically, moms are our first cheerleaders.  They're right behind us, encouraging each step we take.  Mine is no different.  She has been tremendously encouraging through the whole process.  So it was with trepidation that I finally handed her a proof copy.  

                                        (Crickets chirping)

Yeah, it was quiet - no calls at first.  I'm sure you can imagine my thoughts: She hates it and doesn't want to hurt my feelings...  The paranormal aspect is getting to her...   Finally, the first call - she had started it. The second call - she was captivated by my "bad guy" and had to take a nap as she had stayed up late reading. The third call - she had no clue that I had all that stuff running around in my head and my bad guy was getting underneath her skin. (Remember, she doesn't like creepy).  The final call - Thankfully, she was finished and surprisingly she liked it - but she felt like she had been on a roller-coaster and was so glad to be off.  

My point in sharing this is that like me, you may have that one person's opinion you're worried about.  I think those worries are probably normal.  That doesn't mean we should let those worries take control.  After all, it's my/your story.  Who else can tell it?  It certainly won't be told if we overly concern ourselves with what others think.  Writing is about expressing ourselves; it's about igniting our imagination and sharing it with others. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Book Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Amazon's Book Description:

You stop fearing the Devil when you're holding his hand...
Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White's sleepy, seaside town...until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet's crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet's grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery...who makes you want to kiss back. Violet's already so knee-deep in love, she can't see straight. And that's just how River likes it.

               What I Thought:

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is one of those novels that I had to mull over before writing my review.  There were things I loved about the novel. First of all, I loved the cover. It felt moody and dangerous and brought to mind old Gothic tales. I loved the first line: “You stop fearing the devil when you hold his hand.”       I loved the description of the Citizen – the neglected mansion that serves as a backdrop for much of the story. I loved that there was this creepy quality the author was able to maintain throughout most of the book. I loved the concept of the story – then again, maybe not.  Therein lies my problem.

The main character is Violet White. She and her twin brother are on their own, living in the Citizen while their artistic parents paint in Europe.  She's quirky and lonely and vulnerable.   In other words, she’s pretty much the perfect girl for the bad-boy River West.  River is a lying liar who lies.  He possesses supernatural powers which he uses to manipulate others.  It’s this manipulation that bothers me.   Perhaps it’s because the author presented him in such a way, that I found myself wanting him to be redeemed.  Surely, he couldn't be all that bad – yet, he was.  He’s the guy that parents have nightmares about and that teenage girls want to fix...

Back to Violet:   Violet’s reaction to River made me cringe. I wanted to pull her from the pages of the book and give her a good shake.  Good Golly Miss Mollie! Get that girl some common sense! 

About the climax:  It didn't hit the right notes for me.  It just felt too convenient.  Without going into detail (you may want to read the book and I don’t want to spoil it), there are worse things than River West - hard to believe but true.

Tucholke excels at creating atmosphere.   I could almost feel the “evil” peering into my window and for all the struggles I had with Violet and River, I enjoyed her writing style. 

My Rating:  3 1/2 stars

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Author:  April Genevieve Tucholke

  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Dial (August 15, 2013)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Review of The Forever Ones by Marjorie DeLuca

Amazon Book Description:
Paige is a forever, genetically altered to stay nineteen forever and live in the secret Iduna Corp compound, a place where age reversal and immortality has been perfected. Forevers are told to live for the moment.. Be what you want to be for a while and when you get sick of it – be something else. But when her friends start disappearing Paige suspects there’s a darker side to their luxurious prison. The official word is they’ve been kidnapped by criminals on the outside who want to use them as feeders. Feeders have a short and brutal life – kept in captivity and sucked dry of all their youth cells so the Crime Lords can enjoy eternal youth. Her friend Junius involves her in planning a daring escape from the compound so they can infiltrate the IdunaCorp organization and find out what’s really happening to their missing friends. They’re joined by the charismatic and musical Chale, a Keener whose attraction to Paige causes tension between her and Junius. What will they find on the outside? How has the quest for immortality changed humanity? The journey becomes so dangerous Paige is forced to push herself to the limits of her endurance and to make tough decisions about who she can trust – Junius or Chale.

What I thought:
We can't turn on the television without seeing a product which promises to reverse the signs of aging.  Marjorie DeLuca takes this obsession and carries it to the next level.  She creates a world where old age is scorned, where youth is prized above all else, where immortality has been achieved.  DeLuca offers a cast of interesting characters.  The main character, Paige is a forever - a genetically altered being who comes to the realization that nothing is as it seems.  While I wish that some of the others had been fleshed out a bit more, the characters of Chale and Junius were quite intriguing.  The chemistry between Chale and Paige/Junius and Paige adds to the tale. The story moves at a quick pace and while I questioned the ease at which the Forevers were able to assimilate and overcome the challenges they faced, DeLuca offered something rare - a couple twists and turns that I never saw coming.  I enjoyed the novel and look forward to the sequel.

My Rating: 

The Forever Ones (The Iduna Project, Volume One)
By:   Marjorie DeLuca 
Published:  July 12, 2013
236 pages

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: Till Human Voices Wake Us

Amazon's book description:  In the empty days after her son's death, left alone in her grief by her husband, Isabelle Berendon falls in love with the unlikeliest person in the world: her sister-in-law.

Till Human Voices Wake Us by Patti Davis

Patti Davis' Till Human Voices Wake Us tackles the highly sensitive and controversial subjects of death, divorce and same-sex relationships. In the process, she renders a story which reminds us that though we may differ with respect to our beliefs and views, we share the very same human experiences of loss and love.  

There are those who will refuse to read this novel because of the female/female relationship.  While this relationship is obviously important to the narrative, I felt it took back seat to the main character, Isabelle.  The story moves through Isabelle's recollections of her childhood, the shattering of her life and ultimately the choices she makes in rebuilding.  At its core, it is a story of forgiveness and acceptance.

There is an emotional depth and fluidity to Davis' writing that is rarely seen.  She created characters that were sympathetic because and/or in spite of their imperfections and in doing so she captured the longings of their aching hearts and gave voice to the feelings that many of us find hard to express.

Till Human Voices Wake Us isn't a story you read and forget.  It stays with you and requires you to delve into your own thoughts about life and to reflect on how you choose to spend those all too fleeting moments.

My Rating: 

Till Human Voices Wake Us
By:  Patti Davis
266 pages
Published:  April 30, 2013

Monday, September 9, 2013

Review of UnEnchanted: An Unfortunate Fairy Tale, Volume 1

On occasion, I troll Amazon's Free Kindle e-book section.  Typically, I take the story for a quick test drive - you know - using the Look Inside function.  I check out  the reviews and let me just say up front, I don't pay a lot of attention to the bad reviews, because honestly, I think there are mean people out there that like to find fault. (I will concede that there are novels that probably deserve poor ratings.)  I also don't pay too much attention to the five star reviews - especially, when the reviewer can't seem to string more than a couple words together.   All this brings me to the purpose of this post:   

I recently downloaded UnEnchanted:  An Unfortunate Fairy Tale, Volume 1
by:  Chandra Hahn
The Synopsis:

Mina Grime is unlucky, unpopular and uncoordinated; that is until she saves her crush's life on a field trip, changing her High School status from loser to hero overnight. But with her new found fame brings misfortune in the form of an old family curse come to light. For Mina is a descendant from the Brothers Grimm and has inherited all of their unfinished fairy tale business which includes trying to outwit a powerful Story from making her its' next fairy-tale victim. To break the fairy tale curse on her family and make these deadly occurrences stop, Mina must finish the tales until the very Grimm end.


This is a self published novel.  There are some grammatical errors that the author acknowledges per her website.  

What I thought:

I'm one of those people who can get caught up in a good story.  If that happens, chances are my mind will not pay too much attention to a misplaced comma or an occasional grammatical error.  I register it and I move on.  That being said,  I enjoyed the author's writing style.  Her characters were well developed and she did a good job weaving in the back-story.  She took the same fairy tales i heard as a child and gave them a fresh twist.  In regards to Mina, the main character - Hahn created a character with which the reader can identify.  I found her moments of fear, happiness and heartbreak believable. I was disappointed when the story was over  and can't wait to read the sequel.  In short, I was totally enchanted! 

My rating:  


st finish the tales until the very Grimm end.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Review of Partings (Death Walks Through,1) by Lisa Williamson

Product Details

Partings is the first offering in the short story collection Death Walks Through.  The author Lisa Williamson describes the stories as shorty shorts.  

Amazon's Story Description:  A lady, a Knight and a long awaited ending to their tragic tale.

Partings is indeed a short story.  However, the author quickly sets the tone of the story with beautiful imagery:   The ink black horse raced across the moor, a darker shadow against the night sky. The sound of it's hooves breaking the eerie silence.   

Williamson was able to capture the longing and desperate hope for reunion that separated lovers feel.  I found the story compelling particularly with the somewhat sinister undertone that left me wondering - "Why the long wait?"

There were a few grammatical errors but the story far outweighed those.