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text 2017-08-03 12:00
3rd August 2017
Omnibus: Four Complete Novels: Great Expectations / Hard Times / A Christmas Carol / A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be. 

 

Charles Dickens

 

August 3, 1861: The last installment of Great Expectations was published 156 years ago today. When Charles Dickens first came up with the premise for the novel, he referred to it as "a very fine, new and grotesque idea."

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review 2017-07-25 13:30
Lord of Shadows by Cassanra Clare
Lord of Shadows - Cassandra Clare

It honestly still surprises me how invested I can be with books. While this book wasn't the best thing I ever read, it was still so good and kept me reading even though it's incredibly long and probably doesn't need to be. These books are kind of like my guilty pleasure, but I'm actually not that guilty about enjoying these.


I have always really enjoyed Cassandra Clare's writing style. There are such vivid descriptions and her world is very imaginative with so many parts, but it works so well and doesn't feel like it's too much. I also love that the emotions the characters feel are so real and believable. It's so real that it's easy to feel the happiness and sadness the characters are feeling. 


For the most part, I absolutely adore the characters. I love how strong Emma is, but how she's also vulnerable in ways that make her human. She isn't an untouchable heroine that's hard to connect to because they might be too perfect and I really enjoy that. Julian has to be my favorite character by far though. His love for his family is so sweet and I just feel so much for him. The fact that he can be sweet, but also ruthless is what really makes me love him though.


Another thing that I really enjoyed about this book was the character development for Livvy, Ty, and Kit. In the last book I had complained that the siblings, except for Mark and Julian weren't developed enough. I'm so glad that Kit's point of view was introduced because Livvy and Ty became more central to the plot and less like background characters that were there only when it was convenient. The friendship that develops there is honestly one of my favorites and seemed to work so well.

 

I really love Julian relationship with Emma throughout this series, but I did get frustrated by them a lot for the majority of this book. Neither one will talk to the other about their feelings because they believe the other doesn't feel the same way and it's just so frustrating. I didn't understand why Emma couldn't tell Julian what she learned from Jem at the end of Lady Midnight. Why she thought that was a good idea I'll never understand.


I wish there had been more of Cristian in this book. She played a very central role for the first half of the book, but she gradually seemed to become less important as the story progressed. I was really interested in her relationship with Mark and Kieran, so I hope there's more about them in the next book. I also thought that this book was very long and probably didn't need to be as long as it is. It wasn't really slow or boring, but there were a few parts that didn't seem entirely necessary.


Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I will definitely be looking forward to the next one, but apparently that one doesn't come out until 2019. Why is it so far away? That wait is going to be like City of Heavenly Fire all over again. Of course this book had to end on a cliffhanger too.

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review 2017-07-21 13:30
The Rose Society by Marie Lu
The Rose Society - Marie Lu

I knew this series would be dark based off of the first book, but wow this series went farther with that than I originally expected it to. Honestly, I'm so glad this book went there. It stands out from the numerous young adult books that feature characters with special powers.

 

The main character, Adelina, is not the typical main character you'd expect. She fully embraces darkness and feeds off of others fear. She revels in the deaths that she causes and her ambition drivers her further to being a villain. It's incredible to read about because it's such a unique story and Marie Lu artfully depicts Adeline's ambition, as well as her madness. 

 

Adelina is not the only stand out character in this book. Due to events at the end of the last book, a new set of characters becomes the main cast of the story, aside from Raffaele and Teren. Teren is very clearly crazy and dangerous and I really liked the direction his character went in. It was believable, but also chilling, especially when it's clear that his mind isn't all there. I'm honestly not sure how I feel about Raffaele though. His chapters seemed the slowest, but honestly he seems like the only one in this series with his head screwed on right.

 

The main reason that I wasn't blown away by this book was because it didn't shock or wow me in any way. I enjoyed the characters and the story, but the plot played out almost exactly as I expected it would. I was hoping that this ending would surprise me like the last one did, but I had predicted how it would end before even picking up the book.

 

The romance in the book didn't overwhelm the plot, but there is somewhat of a love triangle. There also seems to be a bit of insta love with Magiano and Adelina. Honestly, I don't know why someone full of joy would be attracted to Adelina in any way, but somehow that happened. There wasn't really a build up to the attraction and I'm kind of confused by it. I quite like Magiano, but he deserves better than Adelina, especially because she still pines for Enzo.

 

As much as I enjoy the characters and where the story has gone, I was looking for a little more from this book. The beginning was fairly slow and consisted mainly of planning and setting up for the action at the end of the book. If you can get through the slower part, then the end definitely makes up for it with plenty of action.

 

Overall, I did enjoy this book though and I will be picking up the next book. However, my need for The Midnight Star is less than the need I had to read The Rose Society. I'm not sure if it's because I feel like I know how the series will end or if it's because this book didn't end nearly as dramatically as The Young Elites.

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text 2017-07-20 07:56
East Van Saturday Night - submissions, round two

 

East Van Saturday - four short stories and a novella, has just been sent out to three more Canadian publishers.

 

The process began in November of last year when I decided that self-publishing another work (currently I've self-published eight novels and two plays) wasn't going to achieve what I wanted.

 

What do I want?

Critical, serious consideration for my writing and you're not likely going to receive that as an self-published author.

 

Why? Because it's now dead easy to self-publish and guess what, everybody's doing it. In 2015 alone, 625,327 ISBN numbers were issued for individual indie books.

 

In the past six months I've submitted to five publishers. If you think sending out submissions is easy, well, I guess it depends on what you're comparing it to.

 

Consider:

- publishers are obsessively specific about how your manuscript should be presented: what font style, what type size, margin widths, headers, etc.

- part of the submission package is to explain why you think your work is a good fit for them,

- you must provide details on how you're prepared to market your book,

- in most cases they will not accept simultaneous or multiple submissions,

- they won't let you know they received your submission,

- you are under no circumstances allowed to contact them in any way,

- they won't let you know if they reject your work, they'll just shred it, using "a secure process".

 

Okay, so it's not that difficult, it's just extremely annoying to have to deal with their arrogance - and that's without ever having the opportunity to speak with any of them.

 

To make it even more galling, in 2014-15 these guys (and gals) received $30 million dollars in Canadian government subsidies - that's my tax money.

 

And what exactly do they do for this money now that all the services: editing, cover design, production, marketing and distribution can be done by the author or purchased from experts relatively inexpensively?

 

One thing.

 

They're the gatekeepers to literary acceptance. If you're an indie author you're a joke, if your traditionally published you're accepted by the literati.

 

Not that I'll make any more money. Emerging authors are lucky to receive a fifteen percent royalty on traditionally published books.

So here we go again.

 

East Van Saturday Night - four short stories and a novella, are to some degree autobiographical and impart to the reader why you can take the boy out of East Van, but you'll never take East Van out of the boy.


Though the stories are all set in East Vancouver (with the exception of Hitchhike, which is a cross Canada misadventure during the "summer of love"), the themes have universal appeal and the music, the fashions and the culture are distinctly familiar to "boomers".

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

 

Amazon Author Page   https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

 

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review 2017-07-18 13:30
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity) - Victoria Schwab

I can't believe this is my first Victoria Schwab book. I've been putting off reading her books for awhile now and I honestly don't know why. This book has such rave reviews, so I knew I had to at least give it a shot. I was really hoping that I would love it because it sounds amazing. Maybe it was my high expectations, but I'm not in love with this book as much as I wanted to be. I was expecting to be wowed, to feel things, to never want to stop reading, etc., but while this is definitely above average, it wasn't the flawless masterpiece I was expecting.

 

The book really shines with the unique world that Schwab has created. Monsters that are born from violence made by humans is so original and the idea kept me engrossed in the story. I wanted to the know the the whys of everything. Throughout the book I kept thinking "how could this possibly be resolved/fixed" and that makes me want to keep reading. I loved the little song that pops up throughout the book about the monsters, it's creative and chilling.

 

I really loved August as a main character, if not only because his character plays the violin (I have a weakness for violin playing characters, don't ask me why). I did enjoy his character for more than his music though. I really liked how he's a monster dealing with the fact that he doesn't want to be one. It's not a unique idea, but I really loved how it was executed in this story. It felt fresh and out of all the characters, I think I felt for August the most.

 

The story falls a little flat in the beginning. Kate and August are both new students, they're kind of drawn to each other/keep running into each other without meaning to, and at first they don't seem to like each other much. It's not a very original start to the story if you take out the monsters, but the story redeems itself with absolutely no romance. Honestly, I didn't see that coming. I thought for sure there might be some sort of romance, so I was pleasantly surprised that a friendship developed instead. I didn't dislike Kate, but she also wasn't my favorite, but I loved her friendship with August and how it developed.

 

The second half of the book is intense and so many things start to happen. I absolutely loved it and the ending left me kind of chilled. I really need the next book and I've heard it's even better than the first.

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