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review 2017-04-01 15:00
Disappointing Follow Up to Conversations With a Fat Girl
The F Word - Liza Palmer

Please note that I received this book via Goodreads Giveaway. Also note that this will have spoilers from Conversations With The Fat Girl.

 

Well. That happened. I have been so excited about the follow up to "Conversations With The Fat Girl" that I kept checking my mail everyday. I finished this yesterday and needed some time to put my thoughts together. "The F Word" focuses on Olivia Marten that readers were introduced to in the prior book. It's been ten years since Olivia's wedding and she's content with her marriage to her husband Adam. When she runs into a high school crush (Ben Dunne) Olivia is thrown since the old her she kept hidden is starting to bubble up again. Throw in some PR crisis with a A list actress Olivia feels everything‚Äč she has ever wanted is slipping away.

 

Honestly this book just fell down with regards to Olivia. We got to see how she acted with Maggie in the prior book and she was nasty and a liar. When Maggie at the reception the day before the wedding blew up Olivia's world you would think there would be repercussions for that. Instead nothing besides her wedding was great is mentioned. There's no mention of Olivia's friends from her time in DC. And there's a throwaway line about a former best friend she used to know. If the book had ended with some acknowledgement of how Olivia hid her life from her husband and herself I would have given it five stars. Instead, Palmer turns this book into everything is Adam's fault with no introspection about how Olivia refused to allow the real her out as an issue and a ridiculous shallow love interest. And the book seems to slam everyone on how they view women (smart, gorgeous, think, fat, etc) which to me isn't a get out of jail free card for your actions.

 

I think I laughed one time while reading when Olivia realizes that she and Adam are terrible people. Yeah. You both are. 

 

Other characters are not developed very well.

 

Palmer rewrites how Olivia and Adam met. And in the ten years since their wedding he turned from a robot who wouldn't even share the same bed with her to a man that is affectionately dismissive and who due to Olivia's hangups about her body is having affairs. I really wish Palmer had them have an honest conversation. Go to couple's therapy. Something. Shoot have her get in touch with Maggie.

 

The writing was okay. I didn't get blown away by anything. The book started to feel like a chore after reading for a while. I was just not engaged at all. 

 

The book ending was not realistic to me especially since it reads as if Olivia is just trading one man in for another. 

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review 2017-01-29 16:16
Be a Writer that You already are
Robot Coconut Trees: Break Through Writer's Block, Unleash Your Creative Voice, and Become the Writer You Already Are - Kelsey Horton

* I have received this book through Goodreads Giveaways and I will be leaving my honest and heartfelt opinion on it.

 

** Note: I apologise for the delay in posting my review but I didn't wish to do it in a hurry so I took my time, re-read some chapters, put a lot of sticky notes throughout and focused on some exercises so I can fully grasp and appreciate this work that I so kindly received from its author.

 


I will start by saying that 'Robot Coconut Trees' is the perfect title for this book. Everyone who has read it will appreciate it tremendously. And I love the cover, it is full of colour, full of inspiration... full of life.

 

This book is an inspirational, spiritual, self-help type of a book in which the writer, Kelsey Horton, helps all of us, her readers, to unleash our creative voices and to become Writers that we already are. But this book is not just that, it's very difficult to put books like this in strictly labelled boxes because this book grows and expands from chapter to chapter and teaches us not just how to become writers but also how to love and accept ourselves as we are, to get involved in our communities more, to put our hearts out there and to be ready to receive all the good and bad that could come from it.

 

When it comes to helping us in our becoming a writer process, despite having exercises and advices, this book focuses more on breaking through our inner restraints and learning how to accept that we already are writers rather than giving us more technical advice on the process itself. In my opinion, this doesn't take away anything from the book itself because there are plenty of people out there - myself included- who do need to hear this and who do need help with unleashing ourselves because we think that the world doesn't need our boring stories or our uninteresting mundane books. This is the book which I would recommend to people to start with so they can be in a right state of mind before they set out on that journey which will not only make them better writers but better and more fulfilled people in general.

 

 

"We read and write to cling to a flickering hope that someone out there feels the same clatter of discordant emotions that we do. We toss our words out to the sea and beg for someone to identify with what we are saying and break through the isolation."

 

 

And this, along with many other thoughts and statements like this one, is something that has helped me see, really see. I am a very realistic type of a person, with somewhat of a negative outlook on the world and mankind and the future before us. But seeing so many of my doubts and negative thoughts clearly reflected and dealt with in this book has helped me realise... I am not alone. I am not the only one who thinks like that or who feels this way. There is someone out there who understands that part of me and who has been in the same spot on this journey of self-realisation that I am right now. And I felt - liberated. Because I see this isn't the end, this isn't how I will always be like if I dare to step out of my little dark corner and share my thoughts and fears and desires with the world.

 

I have been on the similar path that the author has been on. I was a creative child, my work has been published in magazines for children, I wrote poems, I loved seeing my thoughts take solid form as I wrote them down on a piece of paper. But the world has a knack for keeping us down, confining us all in the same safe little fake lives that others expect from us to have (like adults saying that writing isn't a real job right before you need to choose your college and direction in life) and smothering our creativity until it all becomes acceptably grey and unnoticeable. And many people will stay safe in those little bubbles going through life without even noticing the change of colours around them. But there are those who at some point in their lives realise that basic truth that they are different, that they are unique, that they are colourful and that they don't want quiet and safe, they want exciting and heartfelt and unruly and amazing and heartbreaking and tearful... but real, emotional, ever-changing path that will lead them to greatness.

 

The only problem I could see some people having with this book is that it is fairly repetitive. And I do admit that sometimes it is. But I will argue that it needs to be. Because the author is doing her best to reach our inner writers, our inner shining marvels, and she can't do that if she lets her words fall flat saying them once just for the sake of having it in there. She needs to repeat her convictions and encouragements and advices and positive thoughts so it will get through to us, so that it will break down our walls and touch our hearts.

 

On a final note, I will leave you all with a beautiful thought from our dear author which I have read many times over and which has made me a much happier me.

 

 

"This Universe is not a withholding universe: we can't 'blow it', we can't 'miss our chance' or 'throw that opportunity away' or fall prey to any other slew of imaginary failure stories. If we miss the boat once, a new boat will come around again - our boat this time, the boat that is a little more perfect for us. The boat we should have taken all along."

 


* This review has also been posted on my Goodreads page:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1895799646

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review 2016-08-11 19:58
Mixed feelings
Her Dollmaker's Desire (Beyond Fairytales) - Gina Wynn

 

"I need you. I need you right now, and I'll need you tomorrow, they day after, and next week. I'll need you always. Please forgive me for my past."

 

 

Romance? Check.

 

Difficult to love characters? Check.

 

Engrossing story? Check.

 

Inability to understand Amy? Triple check.

 

 

Not your usual contemporary romance but romance nonetheless. This novel has characters that I find very difficult to understand and relate to but their story still left me glued to my chair until I finished it. I read in all of my spare time because I needed to know how things will unravel and I was not left disappointed with the ending.

 

 

 

Summary

 

Amy is 28, a former ballerina and now a trying-to-be-a-journalist whose father got her the aforementioned job and who lives at home with her mostly-absent-father and her new young stepmother that she doesn't like... well, that feeling goes both ways actually. She danced most of her life until an accident happened that turned her life upside down and left her lost not knowing what and who to be anymore. She also has an overbearing, abusive, psychopath-like ex boyfriend and former dance partner who made her into this little frightened girl whose life is filled with his rules and trust me... those rules annoyed me to no end.... you will see soon. 

 

She is sent to do an interview with Tobias, a famous dollmaker, who has an exhibit of his life's work happening soon. There she meets his grandson, Peder. 

 

Peder is introduced to us as another dollmaker who instantly falls in love with Amy as she walks into his grandfather's home. He is smitten in a second. He is a leather clad, motorbike loving, tattoo having gorgeous-looking... dollmaker. Right. So... apparently he has some shady past which we only learn about more towards the ending so I am not going to spoil it for you. He is trying to do whatever is possible for Amy to relax, accept his company so he eventually make her fall in love with him. 

 

 

 

Characters

 

Amy is our heroine... but boy she is so unlikable... I don't even know how to describe it. She is 28 and she still living abiding by all of her abusive ex boyfriend's insane rules and she is a complete doormat. People trample all over her left and right. Everyone. Her father, her stepmother, her boss, her ex, the lady at the museum. It's remarkable how much people can throw at her and she will still say she is fuc**** sorry. Pardon. I just get so mad when I see that. I cannot relate to that character on no level whatsoever. But I am trying my best to at least partly understand her.

 

All of Amy's rules listed in the order as they appear in the book:

 

 

Rule Number 15: Know your place, always.

 

Rule Number 9: Mind your own business.

 

New Rule Number 83: Retreat, retreat, retreat.

 

Rule Number 23: You're just not that interesting; stop talking.

 

Rule Number 37: Always ask permission.

 

Out-dated Rule Number 1: Never question Jonathan.

 

Rule Number 19: Motorbikes...oh dear God.

 

Out-dated Rule Number 3: Eating...something about not doing it.

 

Rule Number 14: Be controlled at all times.

 

Rule Number 7: Whatever the situation, always remember to breathe.

 

Rule Number 93: Learn to break and enter.

 

Rule Number 8: Your opinion holds no validity and is of no concern.

 

Rule Number 11: There to be seen, never heard.

 

Rule Number 16: Calories don't really drop out when you cut the cake.

 

Rule Number 43: Little brains don't deal well with new concepts.

 

Rule Number 52: You can't do anything on your own.

 

Rule Number 19: The Victorians could teach us a lot about decorum.

 

Rule Number 5: When in doubt, count.

 

Rule Number 12: I watch you always.

 

New Rule Number 6: Stop expecting every man to have Jonathan's motives.

 

Rule Number 2: When in bed with a man, do not ever, at any time, for any reason, mention the ex. Nope, surely it should be Rule Number 2 ½: Thou shalt not consider the ex whatsoever during an intimate moment.

 

Rule Number 47: Memorise layout of houses owned by lovely men in case of awkward morning after situation.

 

Rule Number 32: Learn how to escape via drainpipe.

 

Rule Number 41: The people you spend time with reflect who you are.

 

New Rule Number 5: Judging a book by its cover was no longer allowed.

 

Rule Number 18: You'll never be worth anything without me.

 

New Rule Number 0: Ignore the rules.

 

Rule Number 25: Things could change for the better.

 

Rule Number 96: Never accept a sports bag full of cash from anyone. Under any circumstances.

 

Rule Number 1: Live happily ever after.

(spoiler show)

 

 

 

Peder (please do not look up what his name means in a Croatian translation) is a bit of a mystery for the most part of the story. He is supposed to be this hardass bad boy with a difficult past but also a gentle loving and caring dollmaker. Very hard stretch and very hard to put together. Especially since we ever know he makes that one doll of his love of his life. But okay okay. I can sort of understand his character more. At least he only had that one rule *sighs in relief*. 

 

Tobias is the dollmaker and Peder's grandfather and the person who helped Peder and Amy realise they were meant for each other. He is described as a recluse, a bit of an eccentric persona who also loved a ballerina, the love of his life and who inspired all of his work (dolls). 

 

Jonathan is Amy's ex. I don't want to spend too much time on him because if I was Amy and he did that to me, he'd be long gone from this world and no one would ever miss that abusive prick.

 

*puke*

  • "Jonathan liked his routine. Lying on a bed, quick feel between her legs – in, out, while she tried to think of something else, and then a shower because Jonathan found her disgusting and couldn't look at her until she cleaned herself up again."

 

 

Then we have Rosa, an Italian restaurant owner who helped Peder and his brother when they were growing up and getting into all sorts of trouble, Sebastian, Peder's half-brother who is presented to us as a leader of a gang but there comes a twist to this story later on, Belle/Maud, Amy's evil, not so evil stepmother, Mick, Amy's a$$hole of a boss who should spend some time with a dominatrix so he can be shown what a little insignificant a$$hole he really is. 

 

All of the characters we are introduced to add to the meaning of the story and there is a connection between all of them except for one person and his name is Nicodemus. Nicodemus is described in a lot of detail and introduced to us mysteriously with having a pet tarantula with him and visiting the old Tobias as though he will have a big meaning later on but no, we never see or hear of him ever again. It's a shame, I would have loved seeing his character a bit more, he seemed very interesting.

 

 

 

Thoughts

 

If I could... I would slap Amy silly, kill Jonathan, have a serious conversation with Amy's father, show Amy's stepmother and Amy's boss just how insignificant their little fits are and I would have paid more attention to Tobias but unfortunately I can't do any of it. So let me say the rest of my thoughts as if though I actually understand the characters.

 

Characters have pasts, they have layers, they mature and they develop well from what we see of them in the first few chapters. They move on and they find the strength to overcome their difficulties and reach a favourable ending to their story.

 

One thing I would like to mention to the author herself: Please bless us with a Sebastian story, I would be immensely grateful to you. 

 

The story itself is gripping, it very interesting and the writing is superb. The author wields her pen/keyboard well and I definitely enjoyed her style of writing. I also like her idea of a good bad boy so hey, another big plus for her.

 

The emotions run deep the deeper you go into the story so be prepared for it. It may not seem so at the beginning but eventually you do develop a bond with our main characters and you really have no choice but to root for them. I mean, as I finished the book, my breathing was laboured and my cheeks were flushed. So it's not all about creating characters everyone would like, it's about creating characters that will be remembered.

 

 

 

*I received a copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways and in return I gave my honest and heartfelt opinion on it.

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review 2016-05-24 20:35
Wonderful discovery
Quest Maker (Last Dragon Charmer) - Laurie McKay

*I received a copy of this book from the author through Goodreads giveaways in an exchange for an honest review

 

I have to say that this book brought back some good memories and a nostalgic feeling of how excited and happy and engrossed into the story I have been while reading fantasy books when I was a kid and even a teenager. It has that innocent tone to it that you lose as you grow older. Absolutely wonderful experience. 

 

I recommend this book to everyone, especially to those that feel young at heart and mind.

 

 

Quest Maker is the second book in the epic Last Dragon Charmer series and if you haven't read the first book this book will slowly let you catch up on the storyline not shoving the story down your throat which I truly appreciate in sequels. 

 

Prince Caden is still stranded in the Asheville, North Carolina where mysterious magic has transported him from his home, Greater Realm. He attends school which is run by an Elderdragon and staff which consists of banished villains from his realm. He surrounded himself with 'allies' who help him try to find his way home and protect everyone from the villains in school that 'normal' people know nothing of except that they are teachers, some hated more than others. 

 

In this instalment Caden has to complete a quest given to him by the Elderdragon. If he doesn't, she will eat him and his brother who is the newest addition to the banished people of the Greater Realm who are now stranded in Asheville. Caden needs to uncover a plot lead against the principle Elderdragon and find evidence that would count as evidence by the Ashevillean standard. He also suspects that this plot involves villains in Asheville as well as someone in the Greater Realm, someone he knows. 

 

 

 

I honestly enjoyed every chapter of this book. Fantasy set in our world makes it a lot easier to imagine the world author is bringing to us, and I am sure children fancy that as well because it makes it more believable. But I will let them decide on that. 

 

Action, mystery, plots, conspiracies, all wrapped up with a little humour and a lot of charm. I doubt anyone can ask for more when it comes to fantasy and especially so when we talk about books for children. 

 

Some say that Caden can be a pain in the tushy sometimes, especially when he says things like this:

 

"I'm fine," Brynne said, and smiled. "He's as he always is, difficult and troublesome."

Caden was neither difficult nor troublesome. He was charming and easy. He told the firefighter so but the firefighter looked skeptical.

No matter. Caden didn't have time to convince peasants of his likeable nature.

 

 

But it's totally appropriate for his character. He is a Prince in his world after all and he was raised as one. Although he is adjusting to this world, some things are very difficult to completely let go. And that is exactly what so often makes us smile as we see how he thinks and reacts to things we find normal.

 

Humour is very light and appropriate for children. I liked it and found it a refreshment from everything I have read recently. Definitely a big plus from me.

 

"He pointed at Brynne. "You've been training him."

"So?" Brynne said. "You've been training him, too. Why can't I?"

"I'm training him to become an Elite Paladin, not a thief."

"Actually I'm going to be an architect," Tito said."

 

 

I found no grammar or spelling errors which is very important to me. The cover is beautiful, very eye-catching. Paper, print, letters... all packed in a very beautiful package and it does the story justice in all ways. 

 

Fantasy world I'd love to read a lot lot lot more of. I hope the author continues down this road and makes our lives - magical. 

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text 2015-12-27 05:02
My 2015 writing year in review

This is my 2015 writing year in review.

 

You may want to read this for the following reasons:

- to see what I've tried in an attempt to promote my novels.

- to feel better about yourself because there's someone less successful than you are.

 

January 2015

- I self-published FOREST - Love, Loss, Legend, as both an e-book on Smashwords and as an e-book and paperback on Amazon. I promoted the release on my website, blog, Twitter and sent about 200 personal emails to people who had expressed an interest in my work.

- My publisher released the paperback version of NOT WONDER MORE - Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients.

 

March 2015

- I launched my video book review channel, Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Book Reviews on YouTube. These are reviews free from conflict of interest - not paid for, not swapped, not familiar in anyway. On it I review new work by self-published authors. Reviews are linked to Twitter and cover art is posted on my Pin Interest Page.

 

July 2015

- I began negotiating the release of two of my novels, Spirit Bear and Eagleridge Bluffs from my publisher as the contract had expired.

 

September

- I re-issued both these books on Smashwords as e-books and as e-books and paperbacks on Amazon independently and under slightly different titles: SAVING SPIRIT BEAR and LOVING THE TERRORIST - Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs. Both were re-issued that month as paperbacks and the e-books were re-issued as pre-orders. Saving Spirit Bear was out two months, and Loving the Terrorist out three. Both were offered at a special pre-order price of 99¢ as opposed to $3.99.

These re-issues were promoted on my blog, website, Twitter, BookLikes, Promocave, and about 200 personal emails were sent to people who have expressed an interest in my work.

 

October

- I entered my new novel, The Widower, into the Kindle Scout promotion. This was also promoted on my blog, website, Twitter, BookLikes, Promocave, and about 200 personal emails were sent to people who have expressed an interest in my work.

 

December

- In an ongoing effort to produce clean and uncontaminated e-books I'm learning to purge corrupt formatting from my manuscripts with the help of Mark and his team at Smashwords. This is a result of reading so many poorly formatted books published by indie authors. I don't want my readers to get as exasperated as I do.

 

The first couple of times are frustrating but with a little (okay, a lot) of patience you too can learn to do this. You owe it to your books and your readers. Download a free copy of Smashwords Sytle Guide by Mark Coker at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52

 

- I decided to try a Goodreads Giveaway. Until January 8, 2016, you can enter to win two paperback copies of both Saving Spirit Bear and Loving the Terrorist. Here are the links:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/164880-saving-spirit-bear

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/164881-loving-the-terrorist-beyond-eagleridge-bluffs

- The Widower has been re-named ABANDONED DREAMS and is now available on Smashwords and Amazon as a pre-order e-book, especially priced at 99¢ until it’s release March 6, 2016. Here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0191B3XDE?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

 

- I’m also giving away 100 e-books of The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic on LibraryThing. You can enter until January 26, 2016 at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0191B3XDE?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

 

- In addition, I've written 35 blogs (36 counting this one) and 52 book reviews.

 

What do I have to show for all the above?

 

- Royalties of $15.13 (and before you get all excited that's Canadian, equivalent to 73¢ US)

- Blog followers 57, up maybe 5 this year

- BookLikes followers 288, up maybe 50 this year (friendly bunch)

- Promocave friends 6. All new and I don't know where they came from since I don't follow or friend anyone - though I do respond to comments.

 

I think you can safely say that nothing I've attempted has worked. Does that mean all these things - blogging, tweeting, networking, having a platform, pre-ordering, contests, voodoo (is that politically incorrect?) won't work for you?

 

Probably, but not necessarily.

 

So, how do I feel about the past year?

 

Surprisingly, good.

 

The key, at least for me is to love what you do and have no expectations. And take satisfaction from small things like all my five of my novels now being available to borrow from the Vancouver Public Library, plus a couple (and I do mean two) absolutely glowing (blush) reviews that were unsolicited, came out of nowhere, written by perfect (yes, to me you're perfect) strangers.

 

Look at it this way, in 2016 there's nowhere to go but up.

 

You think?

 

Stay calm. Be brave. Watch for the signs.

 

 

 

 

 

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