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Thursday, December 14, 2017

What Light | Jay Asher

“It's your heart. No one else gets a say in that."

Genre: Young Adult Romance.
Number of Pages: 251.
Perspective: First.
Location: Oregon/California.

Sierra’s family owns a Christmas tree farm in Oregon and then spend Christmas time in California selling the trees. She shuts herself off to love for the month long trips to California, but can’t help it when she meets a guy who buys Christmas trees for families in need. For a complete summary, you can go here.

Well, this is definitely not what I was expecting from the author of one of the most controversial books (and shows), Thirteen Reasons Why. It was definitely a lot lighter and more of a romance than a suspense. Maybe Asher thought he needed to tone it down a bit? I’m not sure, but it certainly was on the opposite end of the spectrum. 

It was a well written and enjoyable story. It was perfect for Christmas time. I actually haven’t read a Christmas themed book in a while, so it was a nice change of pace. I have also been into really dark books lately, so this was probably a lot better for my soul. Maybe I should pull out a few more lighter books from my shelves…

I don’t have anything bad to say about this book other than it was just a cute YA romance. It’s what you would expect from a cute YA romance: a little cheesy and love at first sight. It wasn’t anything extraordinary and it probably won’t stick in my mind forever, but I am glad I read it. [I also have mention how gorgeous and festive the cover is.] 

I recommend this book for reading around Christmas time when you are surrounded by family and don’t want to read any more dark books around the most joyous time of the year. [Hands up if you are still stuck reading Halloween creepy, scary, dark thrillers. *Raises Hand*] If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 

“I can fight it, but that's exhausting. I can feel hurt about it, but that's torture. Or I can decide it's their loss.”

 4/5 Stars

Check out my review of Jay Asher's bestselling book, Thirteen Reasons Why.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Everything I Never Told You | Celeste Ng

What made something precious? Losing it and finding it.”

Genre: Young Adult.
Number of Pages: 304.
Perspective: Third.
Location: Ohio.

This book follows a Chinese-American family in the 1970s after their middle child is found dead in a lake. For a complete summary, you can go here.

To be honest, I am doing this review many months after reading this book. I had to digest it a little bit before reviewing it, and then it just got put on the back burner. So I apologize that my review of this book won’t be as specific as most of my reviews. 

What I remember most about this book is the way it handled issues that minority and biracial people go through on a daily basis. It was very interesting to get a new perspective on Chinese-American families. 

I also remember feeling devastated reading this book. The whole book is sad and, in the end, the characters don’t get the finality that we get as readers. I remember feeling completely sympathetic to these characters. Take some deep breaths before diving into this one. 

This is marketed—and may initially seem—like a thriller. There are a lot of secrets, but it is not your typical action-packed mystery. It is a slow build up and slow reveal. It is character and backstory driven. But you start to think about how even the people closest to you try to keep their true selves hidden. 

It was very fascinating, just a bit slow. I highly recommend it if you are mentally prepared for a few cries. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 

“Before that she hadn’t realized how fragile happiness was, how if you were careless, you could knock it over and shatter it.”

4/5 Stars

Monday, December 11, 2017

What Alice Forgot | Liane Moriarty

But maybe every life looked wonderful if all you saw was the photo albums.”

Genre: Chick Lit.
Number of Pages: 466.
Perspective: Third.
Location: Australia.

One day Alice faints during her workout and forgets the last ten years of her life. She has to reconcile what she envisioned for her 39-year-old self and what she has actually become. For a complete summary, you can go here.

I have loved all of Moriarty’s books so far, but this one was a little harder for me to get into. It was very different from her other books; it did have some mystery to it, but it was not a true mystery like her other books. It was nice to see a different format—this was one of her earlier books, so it makes sense that it diverges from her most successful books.  I liked it, but it was my least favorite of all of her books. However, like her other books, it does cover deep subjects, but always with a lighter and more humorous feel than most contemporary fiction.

The first half of the book was slow, but the second half did make up for it. I know this was written before unreliable narrators became a fad, but I still am over that being used as the main reason for mystery. I just want to scream at these books: why can’t someone just tell them the whole truth and not skirt around it for an entire book until they remember!?!

But Moriarty is one of the best at character building. You really feel like you know the main characters very well. Sometimes it can slow down the plot, like this book, but it still was very enjoyable and I would still recommend it. This book really makes you reflect and ask yourself if you ended up where were you hoping to at this point in your life. I will happily add this to my bookshelf next to Big Little Lies, The Husband’s Secret, and Truly Madly Guilty. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 

“Early love is exciting and exhilarating. It's light and bubbly. Anyone can love like that.”

3/5 Stars

Sunday, December 10, 2017

In a Dark, Dark Wood | Ruth Ware

I always thought that being self-sufficient was a strength, but now I realize it’s a kind of weakness, too.”

Genre: Thriller/Mystery.
Number of Pages: 352.
Perspective: First.
Location: England.

This book is about Nora, a solitary writer who gets invited to a long-lost friend’s bachelorette party in a remote cabin. She is forced to face the events of her past that she has run away from for the last ten years. For a complete summary, you can go here.

I was drawn to this book because it reminds me of my favorite story as a child:

In a dark, dark wood there was a dark, dark house.
And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room.
And in the dark, dark room there was a dark, dark chest.
And in the dark, dark chest there was a dark, dark shelf.
And on the dark, dark shelf there was a dark, dark box.
And in the dark, dark box there was… A GHOST!

The story does take place in a house in a dark wood, but it does not have to do with anything in a dark box, unless you are talking about metaphorical ghosts. I was intrigued by the story and it grasped me from the beginning. Similarly to Ware’s other book The Woman in Cabin 10, this book starts off with a good build-up, but the ending leaves something to be desired. It also seemed like an unnecessarily long time for the reveal due to [another] unreliable narrator. That trope is feeling overused in modern thrillers. However, I did like this one much better than The Woman in Cabin 10.

The book definitely was creepy, and worth reading. There are just some holes in the story--some actions and motives didn’t quite add up. When you are reading a mystery book, you expect to have either red herrings or clues, but not facts that don’t make sense. 

Overall, I recommend this book. It’ll make you not want to go to the woods for a while, so it is perfect for Halloween time. It would be a great book for a book club so you can discuss some of the plot points and figure out some of the author’s purposes. There is also a great list of questions at the end of the book that would be perfect for a discussion. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 


“There was something strangely naked about it, like we were on a stage set, playing our parts to an audience of eyes out there in the wood.”

4/5 Stars 

Monday, November 27, 2017

11 Book Promotion Ideas for Writers

This is a guest post by Heather Weidner.

Thank you so much for letting me stop by and share my thoughts on book marketing. Writers are always looking for ways to promote their books. You need ways to create a buzz about your book. Here's my list of some ideas.

1. Newsletter Swap 
Find another author who has a newsletter and readers similar to yours. You create a newsletter that she sends out, and then you do the same for her. Each group of readers get introduced to a new writer.

2. Guest Blog 
Find other authors/book bloggers who will let you do a guest post or an interview on their site. 

3. Twitter Party/Chat 
Host a Twitter Party or Chat. It's usually better if you can recruit several authors to help. Talk about your books and writing and have small giveaways.

4. Facebook Takeover 
Find an author who will let you take over her Facebook site for a promotion. Promote the event. Then on the day of the takeover, chat with readers and offer small giveaways. Usually, these are done for several hours. 

5. Facebook Party 
Host a Facebook Party on your author site. Talk about your writing projects, chat with readers, and do some contents/giveaways. It's usually better to start a new post for each different topic. 

6. Facebook Hop 
This is a scheduled event (usually over several days). When you organize one, you recruit authors who will participate and give away a prize. The organizer lines up all the participants, provides the promotional information, and the links. Each stop on the hop is linked to the next one. (All links have to work, or the hop stops.) It takes a little bit of time and energy (and patience) to organize one, but it's a way for all the authors to gain new readers and followers. 

7. Early Reader Groups 
Offer street team/early reader group membership to super-fans. You can create a private group on Facebook for notifications. You need to keep your team energized.

8. Your Email List 
You own your mailing list. Build your list. Take a clipboard for signups to EVERY event. Add a signup button to your Facebook page for your newsletter.

9. Write Your Next Book 
Your back catalog helps sell your current book and vice versa.

10. Author Pages 
Make sure you have an author page on Amazon and BookBub.

11. Look for Book Clubs 
Book clubs are the new book tour. Add a link to your web page for readers and book clubs. Let them know you'll visit or Skype with book clubs.

Author Biography:

Heather Weidner’s short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series and 50 Shades of Cabernet. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, and James River Writers. The Tulip Shirt Murders is her second novel in her Delanie Fitzgerald series.
Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers. 
Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan College and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. She blogs regularly with the Pens, Paws, and Claws authors.

Synopsis for The Tulip Shirt Murders:

Private investigator Delanie Fitzgerald, and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, are back for more sleuthing in The Tulip Shirt Murders. When a local music producer hires the duo to find out who is bootlegging his artists’ CDs, Delanie uncovers more than just copyright thieves. And if chasing bootleggers isn’t bad enough, local strip club owner and resident sleaze, Chaz Smith, pops back into Delanie’s life with more requests. The police have their man in a gruesome murder, but the loud-mouthed strip club owner thinks there is more to the open and shut case. Delanie and Duncan link a series of killings with no common threads. And they must put the rest of the missing pieces together before someone else is murdered. 
The Tulip Shirt Murders is a fast-paced mystery that appeals to readers who like a strong female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations such as larping and trading elbow jabs with roller derby queens.

Contact Information:

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Check out Heather's other guest post: 10 Things Writers Need to Know