First things first: I received this book through NetGalley.
I actually got this book over a year ago and I feel so bad, that I'm so far behind on this. I suck. I'm sorry.
This is the second book in the The Light trilogy, so I won't be posting a summary, cause I don't want to spoil anything. I'm also going to try to keep my review pretty spoiler free. I'm trying.
The beginning of the book took me a little bit, I read the first book two years ago and didn't have the time to reread it, so that partly why and also the beginning was just super confusing and threw me for a loop there, but all gets explained, everything made sense and made me love the beginning of the book even more. Feel confused about how my mind work? Welcome to my world.
One thing before I get more into the story a bit, I love LOVE the author's writing. It's seriously so damn beautiful and poetic and I just love it. Speaking of poetic. The thing that I truly loved about the first book were the poems, so when we got the first poem in this book, I was so happy and just grateful, that we were getting poems in this book, too.
So now about the story. As spoiler free as I can.
The world building was amazing. To be in this world, that we only heard about in the first book, to actually go there and experience things. I loved it. It wasn't as magical and peaceful as I thought it would be, it actually was pretty brutal.
We also got to meet new characters. Hilo. HILO. I'm so so so so torn. This hurts my soul to write down. I loved her, I hated her, I LOVED her and then I just got confused and frustrated and just WHY???? We got a lot of Noa teaming up with Hilo, being on their mission together, working their way through challenge after challenge. ALL THE GIRL POWER. And then everything towards the end had to happen. I'm mad.
While I'm being mad, LET'S TALK ABOUT MARENA. Cause I'm livid when it comes to her. That little sneak found her way into my heart right away. There was no escaping her. Then I thought we lost her, BUT WE DIDN'T. Just so we could actually lose her. I'm mad. She was the greatest, seriously. I loved her scenes with Noa. I just loved everything about this girl. Man, she deserved better.
But let's talk about Noa. One of my favorite main characters.
I love her so much. She is seriously one of the strongest characters I have ever read. She cries, she's in pain. She wants to give up. BUT SHE KEEPS MOVING FORWARDS. And she doesn't take crap from anyone. I seriously love how she focuses on the important things, two brothers fighting over her, who loves her more, who did what bad thing and who did it for the better reason and she's just, Shut the eff up and help me save my sister. YOU GO GIRL!!!!!!
The brothers. This book brought me firmly on Team Judah. But then things towards the end happened and things were being said and now I'm on Team Those faes better leave my girl alone. I still like Judah a lot more than Callum. I don't know. So many things were revealed in this book, that I don't know how to feel about just yet.
What I can tell you, is that I'm super super excited about the last book in this trilogy. Excited and super nervous. As soon as it comes out, I wanna read it. I'm not gonna wait a year after the release. I will and I can do it.
This is a fantastic memoir by a public defender with bipolar disorder, who occasionally experiences intense psychotic episodes. Zack McDermott is an excellent storyteller and onetime aspiring comedian, so this book will pull you right in, keep you rapt and sometimes make you laugh, despite its sometimes heavy subject matter.
The beginning of the book throws readers right into McDermott’s first psychotic episode: having met with a producer about his comedy routine only a few days before, he walks out of his apartment convinced that he is in the middle of an audition. He wanders New York City for hours, acting wacky for the cameras, until the police pick him up and take him to the hospital. Over the next couple of years, he’s hospitalized several times, struggling but eventually learning how to keep his disease under control. He is supported throughout by his mom “the Bird,” a rock star teacher of underprivileged teens who is there for her kid no matter what. The book also traces McDermott’s childhood – growing up poor in Kansas City with a single mom putting herself through school – and includes a fair bit about his work as a public defender. (I enjoyed those bits a lot; they are as no-holds-barred as the rest of the book.)
McDermott would probably make an excellent novelist, because he turns his life into a compelling story, with humor and sharp dialogue alongside a gripping plot. I read it very quickly, and it’s one of those books that’s hard to review in part because when I return to look at something in the book, I start reading it again. It seems to me that, despite some dark subject matter, the author chose to put an optimistic spin on his life in the book; an essay published the same week includes some of the same material but also discusses trauma that’s absent from the memoir. It seems like the book’s happy ending is true as far as it goes, but also isn’t the whole story. Probably no memoir is.
At any rate, it’s an excellent book. And without ever appearing to have an agenda (the author seems more upset about the way poor people of color are treated in the criminal justice system than anything that happens to him), the book challenges the stigma around mental illness, as well as the notion that a serious mental illness will inevitably ruin someone’s life or end in tragedy. I definitely recommend this one.
"You can smell it, too. Death. Dying. Decay. The sky is falling, the sky is dying, the sky is dead."
Let me start this by saying I would absolutely die in the world of Bird Box. Walking around the world, afraid to open your eyes because monsters are about to jump at you? Nope. So much nope. There are main characters in horror movies, and then there's that extra that dies 5 minutes in. That's me.
The premise here is terrifying. I can't imagine living in a world where the big bad is the light around us, our ability to see. And the start of the book shows that amazingly, I was terrified for our main character Malorie and her two unnamed children, that have no names for obvious plot convenience. Seriously, Malorie? I know you were busy trying to like, not die, but you couldn't take 4 minutes of your day to stop calling your children Boy and Girl? Name them after chocolate brands for all I care. Twix and M&M's would be lovely kids.
Besides this plot weirdness I thought the start of the book was amazingly written, and so is every chapter set in the present. Every moment that went back to Malorie, lost and blind in a boat, was chilling to me.
In a world where you can’t open your eyes, isn’t a blindfold all you could ever hope for?
The problem with this book wasn't there. The problem was the flashbacks.
Every character in Malorie's flashbacks is one dimentioned. Here is Tom. He is brave. Here is Don. He is cautious. Here is Jules. He has... a dog. Is having a dog a personality trait? I hope it is, because otherwise I would never be able to tell him apart from Felix. They are both completely useless to the plot.
As it usually goes, humans are theo other problem here. While the setting is creepy and unsettling, the humans are flat and boring. Even Malorie got annoyingly one sided in her flashbacks. I couldn't care less if any of them died. The only ones I liked were the children.
The ending was satisfying enough. Surprised me and rose this from 2 stars to 2.5.
Sentence: Honestly, if this has been just a short story with only the parts of Melanie in the boat, I'd be happy. But it wasn't, so I'm sticking to my 2.5 stars rating, rounded up to 3 on Goodreads.
This is a review of my writing for 2017. You couldn't call it a success, nor could you call it a failure since something would have had to have been achieved in the first place. Get what I'm saying? If you've never been up how can you be down?
If you don't, well, that's okay since I write this for myself to put the previous year in perspective.
Last year I decided to see what it would be like to take part in public readings and conduct writing seminars. The idea was to raise my profile while at the same time sell my books at these events.
It didn't take much to get booked for both, but the experience was not very satisfying, akin to pitching from behind a table you've rented at a flea market. After my initial experiences I didn't look for more opportunities. Sales just aren't that important to me.
The only thing I self-published was a novella, The Rocker and the Bird Girl. It began as an experiment on Inkitt to see if a shallow story about a rock star and a young woman who ran a bird sanctuary would be popular with the juvenile readers who populate that site. Unfortunately, or fortunately - I'm not sure which, I was soon having so much fun with this story and became so enamored with my characters (though very few Inkitt followers did) I decided to pull it from that site and self-publish it.
Novellas for "New Adults" (protagonist between eighteen and thirty) seem to be trendy likely due to the diminishing attention span of this age group and the fact they're read on cellphones during commutes. Quite unexpectedly I discovered I had a lot of story ideas for this heroine and I could easily expand it into a series. Series, according to the "experts" sell better than stand-alones so what the hell, nothing else is working.
Despite a thorough launch for The Rocker and the Bird: listed as a pre-order on Smashwords three weeks in advance of publishing, email ARC copies to my Advance Reading Team, giveaways on Booklikes and Library Thing, two weeks free on Smashwords, free with coupon on my website, and promoted unabashedly on my social media accounts - it so far has had two reviews and no sales.
Undeterred, the second in The Mattie Saunders Series, Cold Blooded, is set to be self-published in March of this year. Here's the blurb:
"When a suspicious death at the The Reptile Refuge closes it down, Mattie receives a desperate call from Liz, an old friend from high school, asking if it's possible to temporarily board some reptiles at Saunders Bird Sanctuary. Mattie's not concerned with the circumstances and sees it as an opportunity to reconnect with Liz as well as help some animals in distress.
Unwittingly, Mattie's drawn into a dark intrigue and soon discovers it's not just the displaced inhabitants of The Reptile Refuge that are cold blooded."
Still determined to break into traditional publishing I spent the balance of last year polishing the manuscript of East Van Saturday Night - four short stories and a novella and submitting it to Canadian publishers. The list of rejections continues to increase from those publishers gracious enough to send me one.
This year, as mentioned, the second in my series will be self-published, the third is already outlined (okay, only in my head, but it's only January 4th) and a first draft will be written, plus I'll continue to work on another full length novel with the working title, The Triumvirate - three exceptional people, one insurmountable challenge. I've already stopped submitting East Van Saturday Night and, once the disappointment abates somewhat will take another look at the entire project.
Promotions of my backlist are also a consideration for 2018.
Book sales from all sources in 2017 amounted to $174.44. Expenses including book proofs, book orders and postage totaled $253.88. You can draw your own conclusions.
Oddly enough I'm optimistic. Why not?
Besides, writing for me is its own reward - really.
Stand calm, be brave, watch for the signs.
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